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Sword Beach D-Day Landings Options
birdaj2
#121 Posted : 21 March 2020 20:26:33

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Hi Robin - hope all is well with you.

I am amazed just how many parts and details you have added into those tiny tanks.

They look really very good.

Tony
Happy Modelling

BUILDING: Harley Davidson Fat boy, Lam. Countach, Hachette Spitfire Mk 1A, Constructo Mayflower
COLLECTING 1:200 Bismarck (Hachette)
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Plymouth57
#122 Posted : 27 March 2020 21:37:54

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Hi Tony and many thanks for those kind words!Blushing
Coping fairly well at the moment, keeping in apart from dog walks and the occasional walk over to the local shops for essentials - the queues are growing ever longer!Blink Haven't been on a bus in three weeks now, we live right on the bus route and this week I haven't seen one go past with more than three on board, many are completely empty - very disturbing times! Loads of DIY to catch up on, the problem is, if I haven't got what I need for the job there's no shops open to get it anymore!Crying

Anyway, if you liked the tiny tanks, here comes the insane bit!BigGrin


I found the source of the miniscule figures for the diorama whilst trawling through the internet. There are other types of figures available including some of which are apparently 3D printed and appear more detailed than these but their prices are horrendous! My own set(s) are from a supplier based in Shanghai and available through ebay, and whilst that means a wait of a few weeks to receive them, the prices are really good! Photo 1 shows the PE fret in its entirety, approximately 450 individual figures for £4.25. The full description of the set is: Ship Vessels Detail Update PE 1/700 D62 Navy Crew. They are mostly in aircraft carrier crew poses but nearly all can be adapted for ‘other roles’! Photo 2 shows them in close up. You’ll notice that the new fret is pristine and flat (especially flat) while the remaining photos show the fret somewhat ‘bent’. The reason for this is shown in Photo 3, an optimistic or as some might say ‘absolutely stupid’ attempt to see if it was possible to create a rubber mould to cast the little things in resin. The answer to that question was ‘don’t be an idiot!’ The green base in Photo 3 was a strip of Frog Tape masking tape, which I hoped would hold the fret down flat enough to cover it with liquid rubber. The problem was the fret and the figures were so thin that some of the silicone managed to wick itself under the figures and I ended up with 450 people buried under a microscopic rubber sheet! With some careful knifework I did manage to recover the fret but not before it bent all out of shape and eventually tore in half during removal. A subsequent attempt to cast from the sliced up mould revealed another problem – the figures and the flash were about the same thickness so I gave up and simply ordered another three frets from ebay.Blushing
Having rescued my stricken army/navy, the first job was to apply multiple coats of grey primer or in this case a Vallejo light grey acrylic paint. The ‘proper’ grey primer is designed to cover the subject with a very thin layer, preserving any fine detail, what I needed was a thicker coat to bulk the figures up as illustrated in Photo 4. As you can see in Photos 4 and 5, I have a line of torsos and a line of legs where the fret tore in half. I think the legs have had it but the torsos being painted in Photo 5, those I have plans for!Blink Photo 6 shows some of the infantry figures being painted. They are basically Vallejo English Uniform all over with Vallejo Khaki applied on the lower legs for the canvas gaiters and a couple of tiny ‘spots’ of khaki on the chest for the Universal Pouches. Vallejo Dark Flesh for the heads and hands and finally a stripe of Mig Satin Black along the fret join for their boots. Since Photo 7 shows the naval figures I have to make a confession here – I cheated! The naval crewmen should really be wearing Navy Blue life jackets and obviously steel helmets, also navy blue. The trouble is, paint them authentically and you can’t ruddy see them once they’re glue down! So for the sake of actually seeing the figures on the ships I’ve given them yellow life jackets and white sailor’s caps! (After writing that bit I watched a TV documentary on D-Day and one of the landing craft cox'n's was wearing what appeared to be a yellow lifejacket!) What Photo 7 illustrates is the painting of those caps. The figures are cut away from the upper fret with a razor blade and gently bent upwards from the feet. With sufficient clearance I could then apply a drop of Mig Matt White on the end of a sewing needle and just touch each head to leave them with a cap. The army got the same treatment with Vallejo Medium Olive for their helmets. Photo 8 shows a single soldier perched on my finger tip with a couple of them posed with a cocktail stick in Photo 9. Finally for this installment, Photo 10 and the enlargement in Photo 11, show the first of the LSI’s (the one steaming for the beach) with part of its crew and army contingent being fixed in place. Super glue gel was used to glue the figures down using either tweezers where space allows or, if the glue is applied to the ship first, a licked cocktail stick to pick the figure up and gently lower it into place (plus my strongest magnifying aids).
In the next installment you’ll see where those poor half soldiers went!

Until then, stay safe and Happy Modelling to you All!

Robin.
Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
Crew and Infantry pic 1.JPG
Crew and Infantry pic 2.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
tf64
#123 Posted : 28 March 2020 09:47:34

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Fantastic work Robin, now let me find my glass and see properly.

keep Safe

Trev
Building: Artesania Stage-Coach H.M.S.Victory / H.M.S. Victory Cross Section / De-Agostini Spitfire. / Short Sunderland 111 ( Flying Boat )

Full Kits: San Francisco. De-Ago Bremen. Sovereign of the seas. Artesania Stage-Coach.

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Markwarren
#124 Posted : 28 March 2020 09:56:46

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Now that is insane, well done.Love Love BTW, what mallet do you hit your head with so your eyes 👀 re-adjust?LOL

Mark
Plymouth57
#125 Posted : 15 April 2020 20:37:14

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Many thanks again to Trev and Mark for their kind words!Blushing Mark, I just use the standard NHS vision corrector as shown in the first pic below. I did think about the deluxe version with the self guiding laser thingy but this one seems to do the job without the 10kw power requirement!BigGrin
Anyhow....
Carrying on then from last time, here’s where those half soldiers went! Photo 12 shows the Churchill tank variants each now equipped with a tank commander in the turret. From left to right: Standard Churchill, Full Carpet Layer AVRE, Standard AVRE, Empty Carpet Layer AVRE and two more standard Churchills. Photo 13 illustrates the Shermans getting the same treatment with the latest Firefly up against the good old penny. The wireless aerial is from a 0.01mm black coloured copper wire – this will be seen properly later on when we get to the beach and wall defences. Photo 14 shows the bottom-most strip of figures from the PE fret, these are composed of kneeling and crouching figures, some will become AA crew and some will be at the bows of the landing ships looking after the exit ramps.
Photo 15 shows the full infantry figures fret with the painting under way. At this point, the whole fret has been primed, painted with Vallejo English Uniform with the gaiters picked out in Vallejo Khaki. The top row has gone further with the flesh painted in Vallejo Dark Flesh and with tiny dots of Khaki for the Basic Pouches. A stripe of Mig Satin Black provides the boots down by the sprue. You can’t actually see the basic pouches in this shot as this is the rear of the fret with larger dots of Khaki to simulate their backpacks, (which I forgot on the first figures!) Rather than cutting off the figures in groups as I did on the badly bent and twisted first fret, I’m going to slowly work down through this one until all the figures are painted, then I can separate the head ends from the fret and cut away the foot end at each side of the main sprue leaving the figures attached by their feet whilst I paint the helmets before finally cutting them free (hopefully easier to hold onto this way!)
Photos 16 and 17 show the production line from the twisted fret – 16 was taken a couple of weeks ago, 17 was taken a couple of days ago, recruitment continues!Blink Finally for this installment, Photo 18 shows the first gun crew installed on the LSI. What I never realised until I found a photo on the web recently is that the over hanging gantry at the bow is actually hinged in the middle of each of the ‘arms’! When travelling, the arm is swung back parallel to the hull with the pulley system attached to the exit ramp around half way along. Then when the ship grounds itself on the beach the pulley cables are pulled tight and the arm swung forward to the position seen here. As the arm swings around, the exit ramp is swung out at a slight angle and carried forward ready to be lowered to the ground. You learn something new every day!Cool
Completing the whole fret of infantry is going to take quite a bit of time, and once its done, guess what, there’s another two frets waiting in line after that! So in the meantime the next installment will be the return of the 0.01mm black wire as it gets turned into the first of the German beach defences (barbed wire) and also the pulley system for the LSI ramps before I can add the troops going down them!
Until then, stay safe everyone and Happy Modelling to you All!

Robin.
Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
Vision Corrector pic.JPG
Crew and Infantry pic 3.JPG
Crew and Infantry pic 4.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
Markwarren
#126 Posted : 15 April 2020 21:59:26

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LOL LOL LOL LOL You must have got that from the same dealer as mineLOL LOL
Great work Robin, they must look like tiny ants bunch together like that.Love Drool

Mark
Gandale
#127 Posted : 15 April 2020 23:20:35

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Incredible patience.… excellent progress Robin....Drool Drool Drool

Regards

Alan
roymattblack
#128 Posted : 15 April 2020 23:38:53

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Well - as I mentioned earlier, my Dad was there - and he's still with us. (The 'stern' one on the right.)
A great tribute to '75' that is coming up.

The other pic - me, my dad, my brother On his tee shirt.

roymattblack attached the following image(s):
47574083_2059677077409590_1683703712054247424_n.jpg
DAD 90 2.jpg
Plymouth57
#129 Posted : 10 May 2020 20:36:54

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Many thanks for those kind words from Mark, Alan and Roy!Blushing A great photo Roy, you keep him safe now, our parents generation have so much still to pass on to us all! Mum is still coming up with things I never knew - one of the famous VE Day photos was of Lady Nancy Astor dancing with a sailor on Plymouth Hoe during the celebrations. I knew that my father was one of the musicians who played for the crowds that day but I never knew until a couple of days ago that Lady Astor sat on his lap and played the drums just before the photo (she got around a bit that Lady Astor!)Blink Blushing BigGrin
Anyway....
Until now, all my experience of constructing barbed wire has been with the type of electrical wires found in small electronic devices – the general purpose 7/0.2 insulated wire. This is shown in close up in Photo 1. The ‘7/0.2’ simply means a cable or wire composed of seven individual strands, each one of which is 0.2mm in diameter. This was brilliant for making highly detailed barbed wire in 1/72 scale (see my Messines diorama diary for the ‘how to’ bit), but this is far too thick a diameter for 1/700 scale. My first attempt was with a fine copper wire half the diameter as shown in Photo 2. This was fine (excuse the pun) but had one drawback – because it was bare copper (designed for soldering repairs on PCBs) I had to try and colour it either black or gun-metal. I tried to blacken it chemically but it just didn’t want to know (probably the copper is lacquered which prevents the chemical from acting on the metal as it should), and trying to paint it with enough paint to cover the copper made it too thick once again. The solution was to get pre-coloured 0.1mm copper wire (which, when I sent off for the copper one, I didn’t know existed). The reel of black wire is shown in Photo 3, and whilst the copper version was obtained from an electrical supplier, the black one came from of all places a fishing supplier! There are so many different media our hobby can make use of – this wire is supplied for tying home made flies and lures! The difference in the diameters can be seen in the side by side shot in Photo 4. Photos 5 and 6 illustrate the methods I was using to create the coils of barbed wire. I say was, because it dawned on me as I was creating the first few coils for colour testing that I’m going to need quite a lot of this and perhaps there was a more ‘industrial’ method of producing it without quite so much intensive finger-work! After some searching on the web I discovered a nice little gizmo to produce different diameter coils (its actually called a gizmo by the manufacturers too!) Two of the diameters that come with it are the same as I'm using here! In the next installment I’ll be trying that one out to see how it goes, just as the black wire came from the fishing hobby, the gizmo comes from the beading craft hobby, that genre has a lot of useful looking tools to think about in the futureBlink . Anyhow, initially I was using a 1.5mm sprung steel rod (aka piano wire) for the beach wire and a 1mm beading needle, both held in mini vices, for the wall top coils.
Before carrying on with the barbed wire, Photos 7 and 8 illustrate the other use I have for the black wire – producing the disembarkation ramp pulley cables. Photo 7 shows the ramps after having their guard rails fitted. These were another of the PE ship’s rails sets from China and were fitted to the ‘in-board’ sides of the ramps. Some photos of troops debarking on D-Day show rails on both sides of the ramps (which I would definitely prefer if I was going down them) but others show only the in-board rails and since that not only means half the work but also its far easier to place the minute troops on later, I’m going with that version! In this shot, the LSI has been placed in its final position on the sea base so that the ramps can be superglued in place. Since the beach undulates a little (and therefore isn’t completely level) each LSI’s ramps will be at a slightly different angle, this first one won’t fit snugly against the shore anywhere else now, as you can see in the next pic, on level ground the ramp ends are suspended above the ground level matching the slope of the beach. Photo 8 shows the wires in place, a simple ‘U’ shape glued to the beam above and to the sides of the ramp below. Once the glue was set I snipped off the excess below the ramp and painted the glued on part grey to match the ship.
As I mentioned, the first attempt at 0.1mm coiling was with the copper wire, that result is shown in Photo 9, perfectly good coils but just very difficult to paint! The black coloured copper wire is shown coming off the 1.5mm steel rod in Photo 10. With the coil made it was time to experiment with various ways of turning it into barbed wire. I went through quite a few different ‘silvering’ trials, starting with the Uschi Metal Polishing Powder (Chrome) but that just wouldn’t take to the black finish. Then I tried Mig Polished Metal acrylic (looked too dark) and Humbrol silver enamel #91 (goes all stringy like candy floss between the coils). Eventually I found that the Humbrol acrylic #56 Aluminium gave the best results. I first applied it thinned down over the entire coil but that took away most of the silvery effect so I went for full strength which was better. Eventually I discovered that I could actually paint the coil whilst it was still on the steel rod but you have to be quick in sliding it off right after or the quick drying acrylic gums up all the coils! Once I had the metal effect I then had to try different rust effects. The Citadel Rust Brown Ink wash was a little too thin to be effective and I ended up with Mig –043 Shadow Rust for the best result. This is quite a thin acrylic to begin with and further dilution didn’t work well so it goes on ‘as is’ with a fairly big soft brush whilst holding both ends of the coil in sprung tweezers to keep it under tension. The results are illustrated in Photo 11. The bare black wire is at the top with the Humbrol Aluminium applied in the centre and the Mig Shadow Rust effect at the bottom. Interestingly, as you will see later, on the green mat the colours looked just right but when the first section was applied on the sandy beach the coil looked so dark against the lighter background I had to dry-brush more Aluminium over it to pick out the steel effect again!
In the next installment, hopefully the coil making gizmo will have arrived and I’ll give that a try plus putting in the first of the barbed wire fences on the beach and a new alternative to the Blacken-it chemical process for making the fence posts.
Until then, Happy Modelling to you All and stay safe!

Robin.
Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
Beach Defences pic 1.JPG
Beach Defences pic 2.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
tf64
#130 Posted : 11 May 2020 22:28:01

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Hi Robin,

Looking over your build tremendous work again, love the fingerprint (photo 8 ) when you see all those little men on the ships it looks very effective and a great overall impression.

Well done

Regards

Trev
Building: Artesania Stage-Coach H.M.S.Victory / H.M.S. Victory Cross Section / De-Agostini Spitfire. / Short Sunderland 111 ( Flying Boat )

Full Kits: San Francisco. De-Ago Bremen. Sovereign of the seas. Artesania Stage-Coach.

Finished builds: Westland Lysander MK.11 plus large Diorama.

Plymouth57
#131 Posted : 24 May 2020 20:21:18

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Many thanks again for those kind words Trev!Blushing
Firstly, in Photo 12, (just for you Mark) I couldn’t resist seeing if the painted figures really did look like ants! As you can see from the visitor, they actually look like they could be ant riders! (No ants were harmed in the production of this photo though I do understand she received a rocket from her squad leader for being AWOL from her assigned patch without permission, sorry about that!) Photo 13 shows that coiling gizmo I mentioned earlier. It consists of a ‘U’ shaped frame with a series of paired holes attached to a ‘G’ clamp by a couple of short bolts. Below that is the set of rods with shaped handles, which slide through the paired holes as shown in Photo 14. To operate the coiler, you first tie a simple ‘granny knot’ in the wire and fasten it around the end of the handle at position ‘a’ whilst still coming off the reel ‘c’. Then, holding the reel to keep the wire slightly taut (I found pushing a long tapered paintbrush handle through the centre of the reel was just about right) and holding the handle at ‘b’ you turn the handle clockwise winding the wire around the rod whilst moving the reel slowly down the length as the wire plays out. In theory you could make coils the length of the rod minus the width of the bracket. The only thing you have to watch is that the wire is not held too taut – my second coil snapped part way through but this wouldn’t be a problem with thicker diameter wire (0.1mm is VERY thin!Blushing ) This useful little tool worked out at about £11, there is a slightly cheaper version for £9 without the G-clamp which you simply screw to the work bench but I though just a couple of pounds more for the clamp was well worth it. Photo 15 illustrates the lengths of coil made with the different methods. At the top is a length of coil still on the handle/rod, in the centre is a long section of coil from the gizmo and at the bottom is the longest section I made with the old manual piano wire method. The main advantage is sheer speed and ease of winding, much easier on the fingers than pulling the wire around the manual version (plus on that one you had to cut lengths of wire from the reel first, if it was left on the reel it just tangled up when winding!)
So with the wire coils under way it was time to sort out the posts to fix it on to. The posts were made from 0.4mm brass wire, purchased from another bead craft shop on ebay. Rather than painting the posts I decided to blacken them chemically. Up to now I had always used a product called “Blacken it” as shown in Photo 16. I hadn’t realised until I was looking for the current price of Blacken it for this posting that the company making it had ceased production in 2017! There are still a few stocks left on line and I’ve since discovered that many other manufacturers like Vallejo and Mig make their own alternatives now. As you may have seen on my Chindit build last year, one of my other loves is collecting and renovating old guns and bayonets (I’ve now got an Enfield No4 Mk1 (1944) to go with my SMLE MkIII (1914). Both of them were de-rusted, cleaned up and re-blued using a product called Phillips Professional Cold Blue. This comes in a bottle about the same size as the Blacken it for around £3 more than that one, but is mixed with water to produce a far greater amount as you can see in Photo 17. To be perfectly honest, the Blacken it is far quicker as it was designed primarily for brass and would blacken the metal in a few minutes. The Phillips solution is designed for steel and takes a few hours to get the job done but it does get there eventually! (Steel takes about five minutes). Photo 18 shows the first set of brass posts with the electrical snips used to cut them to 9mm lengths (I later switched to 4mm lengths but that’s for the next installment!) Photos 19 and 20 were taken a few hours apart and show the brass when first dropped into the Cold Blue and after they had been blackened. The pieces have to be swilled around every 30 minutes or so to roll them around, if not, the side you can see goes black but the side resting on the bottom stays bright brass! After the process was complete, the Cold Blue was poured back in the container to be used again, the blackened posts were swilled around in some clean water to neutralise the chemical and then placed on clean toilet paper to dry them off (or kitchen roll for the more wealthy among us!BigGrin ) Photo 21 shows the finished product. Finally, in Photo 22, a 0.5mm drill bit in the pin vice is drilling out the first series of holes for the posts, which will create the barbed wire emplacement around the left hand bunker. The brass posts were then glued in place with Deluxe Card Glue by placing a drop of glue on a suitable card and dipping the end of the post into it before placing it in the hole with tweezers.
In the next part, the lengths of barbed wire begin to really appear and I discover a better and easier way to cut those posts out of the brass wire to size!Cool
Until then stay safe and Happy Modelling to you All!

Robin.
Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
Beach Defences pic 3.JPG
Beach Defences pic 4.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
birdaj2
#132 Posted : 24 May 2020 22:51:18

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Robin

That is all looking really good.

You certainly find some unusual tools to help you.

That wire coiling tool is not something i have ever seen but makes a good job.

Hope it continues well.

Tony
Happy Modelling

BUILDING: Harley Davidson Fat boy, Lam. Countach, Hachette Spitfire Mk 1A, Constructo Mayflower
COLLECTING 1:200 Bismarck (Hachette)
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Markwarren
#133 Posted : 25 May 2020 09:23:35

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Very nice work RobinLove Drool . That must have been weird for the visitor, bet he thought he’d been supersized.LOL

Mark
Plymouth57
#134 Posted : 10 June 2020 20:19:58

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Many thanks again to Tony and Mark! The arty-crafty sites on Ebay do have some great tools on there, mainly designed for other uses but really handy for a lot of modelling tasks!Cool Mark, I could have sworn I heard some of those figures shouting "Aim for the antennas!" ("Them" - a b/w classic from the '50's!)BigGrin
So, carrying on from last time, Photo 23 shows the first set of blackened brass posts glued down into their positions around the bunker. All that was then needed was to carefully stretch and place the coil of wire over the posts keeping them in the middle of the coil as shown in Photo 24. There are two methods of fixing the coil in place, which one is used depends on how easy it is to ‘get at it’ on the base. Method 1 uses the Deluxe Card Glue, which is either applied to the post before the coil is pushed in place or added as a little drop to the point where the coil is actually touching the post. Method 2 is only applied after the coil is in position and involves again applying a drop of glue to the coil/post but this time using Deluxe Rocket Hot extra thin super glue. Shorter lengths of coil are better suited to the card glue; longer lengths are easier with the super glue (provided the coil stays in place ‘unaided’ first!) Some locations its easier to place the coil down from the top but in others it can be better to slide the coil in from the side. The one thing that is common to both is that the coil has to be placed with fingers not tweezers! There’s no tactile touch with the coil gripped in a pair of tweezers and it tends to get squashed out of shape whilst positioning it. Photo 25 shows the other side of the base with the wire placed out from the ramp. This was two pieces of coil with the middle bent out of shape by the shell blast. I did later find that unless the gap was fairly wide, it was easier to simply wire right through, glue in position, and then snip out the destroyed part as you’ll see in Photos 27 and 30. Before then however, Photo 26 illustrates the first section of the sea wall being equipped with its own barbed wire. I was originally going to use a 1mm former for these sections but after making one up it just didn’t look ‘beefy’ enough for an anti-personnel defence so I went with the standard 1.5mm from the beach. As I mentioned earlier, I was trying to think up a way to make the barbed wire posts a little easier to produce. Up until now I had simply laid the 0.4mm brass wire alongside the edge of a steel ruler and snipped off the required length. When it was just a few 9mm pieces that wasn’t too bad, but once I needed loads of 4mm(ish) lengths it became very eye-straining to try and match up the ruler graduations. The solution was very basic and quick to make as shown in Diagram 28. I had some scrap pieces of 2mm styrene sheet so I just poly glued two pieces together to form a rectangle 4mm thick. Once the glue was dried I then drilled a line of holes of 0.5mm diameter (the same drill bit I’m using to drill the post holes in the resin base). I was initially going to cover the plasticard with holes but there’s no point really, half a dozen holes at a time are quite fast enough. Photo 29 is just to illustrate the cutting to size procedure with the snips, although posed on the cutting mat, in practise I needed to use something more solid under the jig, 0.4mm brass wire is like a needle, trying it on the cutting mat resulted in the wire sinking down into the mat and ending up more than the 4mm required! I eventually used a scrap piece of Perspex, stick the wire in the first hole and snip off flush as shown here then repeat for the other five holes then slide the jig off the Perspex over the little mixing cup for the Cold Blue solution and with a gentle tap all six 4mm lengths fall into the cup. Much easier, faster and better on the eyes than individual measured snippings!Cool Back to that coiled over bunker from Photo 27, and Photo 30 shows the same coil after snipping off the ‘gap fillers’ and some artistic bending at the wall breach. Finally, with a faster moving supply train of blackened posts I could drill all the post holes along the main length of the sea wall and stick the blooming things in place as seen in Photo 31, along with many more on the beach behind!
One of the techniques which has evolved as the build has progressed, is the method of painting the coils of barbed wire. As I mentioned earlier I was painting the black wire coils on the piano wire former and then quickly pulling them off before the quick drying Humbrol acrylic metallic paint stuck it in place! Once I began to form the coils on the coil gizmo that became a problem. I did try sharpening the end of the piano wire and ‘threading’ the coil onto it for painting but any slight movement off centre and the coil could be damaged. I then found an easier way as shown in Photo 32. The two straight ends of the coil are gripped by a pair of sprung tweezers as shown here. What you can’t see is a couple of Vallejo/Mig/Humbrol paint bottles placed between the tweezers during the painting which apply slight tension to the coil, lifting it off the work surface (not the pristine cutting mat) and allowing the slightly thinned (just a moistened brush) aluminium paint to be ‘flowed’ along the coil with a larger soft brush. Once that was dry, a repeat of the same procedure with the Mig Shadow Rust produces the sea-side weathering. The long stretch of the sea wall took two of the new full length coils which met somewhere near the middle. The join was so difficult to see that I had to place a little brass wire off-cut to mark it when I glued the full length down with super thin super glue. Without the marker I couldn’t remember which bits I had already glued or where the join was! The join is shown in Photo 33 with a lot more posts waiting in the background. The completed main wire defences are seen from above in Photo 34 with a lower level close up shown in Photo 35. I may well create some smaller ‘moveable’ barbed wire barricades to put on the inland sides of the bunkers (protecting the doorways), they’ll come when the tanks and infantry start to get glued down onto the beach and roads later.
I’m still undecided about any other of the beach defences that may have been present (the wooden poles with mines on top and the steel ‘X’ obstructions. There are photos of the beach at the entrance to Ouistreham harbour where the Free French Commandos who landed with the British forces on Sword Beach attacked and captured the German HQ complex, which shows a great number of the steel X’s but the great majority of Sword Beach photos seem to show an almost complete lack of anything defensive except the barbed wire at the sea wall! (At the time of D-Day, the Fortress Europa was still far from complete!) I’m waiting for a cheapie soldering station to arrive this week to try soldering some brass wire into the X’s just to see what they look like on the base (I haven’t got a clue where my existing soldering station’s gone!)Blushing Watch this space for an update on them, but in the next installment I must get on with the barrage balloons and I’ve just had a cunning plan for the trailers needed to turn some of the Churchills into Crocodiles!Cool
Until then, keep safe and Happy Modelling to you All!

Robin.
Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
Beach Defences pic 5.JPG
Beach Defences pic 6.JPG
Beach Defences pic 7.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
Plymouth57
#135 Posted : 02 July 2020 20:42:51

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Hi to All again! It’s been a while since the last post but I have been busy in the meantime! There’s quite a few tiny troops sprinting across the beach with the first of the tanks now in place (heck of a lot to follow yet) and as promised last time I’ve been working on the Barrage Balloon and Crocodile Trailer. Both of those are now completed after a few casting setbacks as you’ll see in the following installment.
First of all though, a little potted history of the Barrage Balloon I’m modelling for the diorama for those who like a little historical info. Photo 1 shows what you get in the Skywave Beach Head Vehicles set. A simple two-part model. Now when I was looking through all the photos of the landings the one thing that became obvious was that all the Barrage Balloons, British or American had one thing in common – they all had three fins not two as on this one, (although the American ones did have thinner fins like this). I immediately thought that Skywave had just made a twin fin type to make for an easier moulding but I was wrong!Blushing Photo 2 shows the exact type as in the kit. This is a later photo taken in the ‘50’s and that poor old balloon isn’t going to be around much longer as it was taken near Los Alamos and guess what was going on down there! That’s right – the balloons were being used to haul an atomic weapon up a few thousand feet for atmospheric detonation tests! In actual fact, after I found that photo I found another of a British (or possibly Canadian) Barrage Balloon crew launching the exact same type so both Allies did in fact use them in NW Europe. The type I want to model however is shown in Photo 3. This is the much beloved old ‘Gas Bag’, which was used to guard much of the south coast and the approaches to London as well as most bomber targets from Cornwall to Scotland. I always thought that Barrage Balloons were just that – a simple bag of gas at the end of a steel cable but in actual fact the British Balloons especially were far more than that, a quite sophisticated weapon in fact.
Diagram 4 illustrates the main parts of the Balloon. A) is the main body of the Balloon, filled with hydrogen gas to keep it aloft. Not all of the body is full of hydrogen however, there is an air filled inner ‘keel’ called a ‘Ballonet’. This helps to maintain the shape of the gas filled envelope and control it’s buoyancy to an extent, this is kept filled by an air scoop near the nose at B). The three fins at the rear C) are also filled and inflated with air, not gas through another air scoop at D) later photos seem to show an improved version with each fin equipped with its own scoop. The fins are simply wind vanes used to keep the nose of the balloon (and hence the air scoops) pointing into the wind. You can actually tell what the wind conditions were when any photo of a Barrage Balloon was taken – compare Photo 3 (with a bit of a breeze about) and the fully inflated fins to Photo 5 taken in a dead calm causing ‘droopy fins’! The hydrogen gas is fed into the envelope through a valve at the ‘er, back end of the balloon at E). F) is called a ‘Rip Panel' and I’ll come back to that shortly. The balloon is attached to the main steel cable by short lines attached to sewn on panels marked G) and above these are another set of panels with long ropes attached hanging down about 20 feet at H). These can be seen in both the photos and are called ‘Picketing Lines’. These are held by the ground crew (often women in Britain) and used to ‘walk’ the balloon from the gas vehicle to the winching position. Finally, the steel cable that does the damage is at position I).
In operation, the deflated balloon envelope would be connected by a hose to the hydrogen truck, which was carrying a number of compressed hydrogen gas cylinders and semi inflated to the point where the ground crew could walk the limp balloon to attach it to the winch and cable. In permanent locations the hydrogen would be made on site with another vehicle equipped as a mobile chemical production factory. Once attached to the cable the balloon was fully inflated and reeled out to its operating altitude. As the war progressed the humble gas bag became more and more sophisticated. At the start they had just a steel cable hanging beneath the balloon. If an enemy aircraft flew into the cable, the speed and impact it was hoped would damage or better still destroy the enemy. At the same time, the force of impact would pull an attached cable inside the balloon linked to the Rip Panel mentioned earlier, ripping the panel off and releasing the hydrogen causing the balloon to deflate for recovery and re-use. Later the cable was fitted with a pair of parachutes, one below the balloon and the other part way down the cable, known as a “Double Parachute Link”. When the enemy aircraft struck this one, the cable detached below the balloon (still pulling the Rip Panel) and also at the lower parachute, leaving the enemy with a cable wrapped around the wing with a parachute at either end dragging the plane out of the sky. Later again they came up with the idea of including explosive charges between the parachutes for good measureBlink . Whilst the idea of the Barrage Balloon was initially for defence against dive bombers and lower level strafing attacks, (and captured German pilots admitted they were very nervous of them), the long length of cable required to reach the He111 and Dornier Do17’s usual bombing altitude was too heavy to be supported by the balloon. They really came into their own again later in the war against the V1 Flying Bombs which flew at a lower altitude, bringing down a confirmed 231 before their launching sites in France were over run.
So that’s the history lesson! In the next installment, converting the Yankee into a true Brit!BigGrin
Until then, stay safe and Happy Modelling to you All!

Robin.
Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
British Barrage Balloon pic 1.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
birdaj2
#136 Posted : 02 July 2020 21:39:43

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Love all your research on this Robin.

Until i read your update i had no idea how these ballons were supposed to work.

Really interesting.

Hope it continues well.

Tony
Happy Modelling

BUILDING: Harley Davidson Fat boy, Lam. Countach, Hachette Spitfire Mk 1A, Constructo Mayflower
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tf64
#137 Posted : 04 July 2020 19:19:16

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Great write up Robin very interesting to read


Regards

Trev
Building: Artesania Stage-Coach H.M.S.Victory / H.M.S. Victory Cross Section / De-Agostini Spitfire. / Short Sunderland 111 ( Flying Boat )

Full Kits: San Francisco. De-Ago Bremen. Sovereign of the seas. Artesania Stage-Coach.

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Markwarren
#138 Posted : 05 July 2020 08:33:51

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Very nice piece of history.BigGrin Great work.Love

Mark
Plymouth57
#139 Posted : 14 July 2020 20:49:27

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Many thanks again to Tony, Trev and Mark, glad you found it interesting too!Cool


So the first task was to create the tiny little replacement fins to re-create the ‘inflated’ appearance instead of the US flat ones. Photo 6 shows the first one under way, with the outline pencilled onto the edge of a 2mm scrap of plasticard and the centre section being ground out with the conical diamond dust engraving bit shown in the foreground. After carefully sanding the edge of the depression to round it off, the outline was cut around by simply slicing through the plastic with a mounted razor blade, ‘nibbling’ off the corners and then sanding those to a rounded profile too. The three fins are shown along side the kit balloon in Photo 7 and attached to the de-finned balloon with its twin original in Photo 8. The set of ‘dimples’ drilled into the side are guides for the tension wires to be attached to the resin copies. Photo 9 shows the ‘sprue’ through which the resin will be poured into the silicone mould, this was created from a short length of styrene rod glued into a wider styrene tube with the assembly then glued to the nose of the balloon. Note also the miniscule air scoops from plasticard under the nose and bottom fin. The first half of the mould is shown in Photo 10, ready for the first pouring of the liquid silicone rubber, below the balloon is the prototype of the Churchill Crocodile Trailer which comes later (saves on rubber having them both in a single mould!)Blushing During last winter I bought a small heat mat of the kind used in reptile vivaria (and my Tarantula’s tank too!) It was bought to keep the two part resin bottles warm to improve the flow (it tends to get too thick for fine details when its cold), I’ve now found another very useful application for it – warming up the block of plasticene before cutting it to size and impressing the models half way into it as seen here. The locating holes around the sides and bottom came from pressing single width Lego bricks into the soft clay.
Photo 11 shows the results of the first trial castings. No matter how carefully or quickly I poured in the resin (you only get about three minutes before the cure begins) I got flaming air bubbles at the nose and also at the leading edge of the left fin. The white casting was using the long cure resin hoping the bubbles would rise up before the resin began to harden. Eventually I cured (oops another pun)Blushing the problem as shown in Photo 12 by carefully slicing out a channel from the nose to the top of the mould with another one from the offending fin root (marked with the asterisks). This allowed the air to escape up the channels as the resin pushed it out. (The wheels on the trailer also suffered the same problem which wasn’t fixed with their channels, but I came up with a simple method to fix that as you’ll see next time!) The first successful casting is shown in Photo 13, there is a small amount of ‘flash’ at the fin caused by the channel which has to be sliced down and sanded smooth but that’s much easier than having to fill in the bubble each time. The sprue is then sawn off and the nose sanded to a smooth rounded profile before proceeding to the painting stage. Photo 14 shows the ‘experimental flight’ procedure. I needed to find the thinnest possible means of supporting the balloon ‘aloft’. I had reels of 0.5mm brass wire (looked like a tree trunk), 0.4mm (looked like a gutter drainpipe) and even 0.3mm (better, but still too thick). This photo shows one of the bubble-nosed trials suspended on a single strand of 0.2mm electrical wire. I fully expected the balloon to nose dive to the work top but I was pleasantly surprised that it actually stayed up! I then expected it to very slowly arc its way over and so left it overnight. The following morning it was still proudly flying so I decided 0.2mm was the way to go. The only problem was that 0.2mm electrical is basically a copper wire with a veneer of tin and it bounces around all over the place (and is too easy to deform by accident) so I went back to the craft and jewellery suppliers and got a 0.2mm brass wire coil instead. Still the same diameter, but a little stiffer to use. All the following photos are using the brass wire.
Then it was time to paint the trial balloons! Further research revealed an account on the BBC archives of wartime memories of WAAFs repairing the damaged balloons by standing inside them, as they were inflated by compressed air blowers. They would stick patches over any rips and tears (or possibly bullet holes) and finish them off by “painting them silver”. I would assume the outer skin of these balloons would be possibly linen (the videos show it to be pretty thin and flexible) so I’m wondering if the silver paint might actually have been a silver dope to weather-proof the envelope just like the fabric surfaces on the older aircraft (and also the ailerons and rudders on some of the WW2 ‘modern’ aircraft too!) The memoirs also stated that they’d spend thirty minutes painting and then twenty minutes in the fresh air, which sounds like a smelly dope to me! Anyhow, a silvery finish was required. The two shots in Photo 15 shows a coat of Humbrol acrylic Aluminium in the top frame, and a quick spray of Daewoo Matiz Silver car paint in the lower one. The Humbrol paint was hard to apply in a smooth coat as the silver particles are a little on the thick side whilst the paint itself a quite thin and the effect wasn’t quite ‘silvery’ enough. On the other hand, the car spray went on fairly smoothly but looked like the thing was chrome plated – too silvery!Blink The eventual solution was a couple of coats of Humbrol Clear Matt enamel varnish, which dulled down the silver nicely. Next came the really fiddly part – adding the steel control cables which attach the balloon to the main cable. These are shown in Photo 16 alongside the reel of Uschi Rigging thread. This comes in two diameters, standard and fine and this is actually the thicker standard one! This is the rigging thread I used on my Card Sopwith Pups, it’s really elastic and was attached by first applying a tiny drop of superglue at the front location (those little dimples I included in the resin castings), holding the last few mm of the thread with tweezers and touching the end to the glue droplet where it instantly sticks fast. Then I applied another drop to the main cable under the balloon and stretched the thread down to touch that before adding a third drop at the rear location, winding the thread around the cable and then stretching it back to touch the rear drop. Once it was set in place I could then grip the excess thread, pull it away from the balloon and use the microsnips to cut it off. Because it was under tension when cut, any tiny excess left over shrinks back level with the balloon. The same procedure was then repeated on the other side before doing the same thing with the second and fourth locations. This then left just the middle cable which was attached, wound around the main cable and back to the centre on the opposite side. Sounds fairly easy – just extremely frustrating in practice! (So much so in fact that I made do with the five cables on each side instead of the six it should have had!Blushing The finished cable can be seen in Photo 17 with my thumbnail below (still with the odd silver particle from the car paint spraying several days earlier! The final pieces remaining were the Picketing Lines used to handle the balloon on the ground. As these were ropes, I was able to use my reel of EZ-Line Rigging, this was quite a bit thicker than the Uschi and being the Rope variety was already coloured brown! Again I ‘shaved off’ a line putting in four instead of the actual five. The final effect is shown in Photo 18 with an ‘in situ’ shot in Photo 19. I drilled a hole down through the resin LSI right beside the aft cable winch to stick the brass wire into, this isn’t glued in yet which is why the balloon is 90 degrees off – I can’t glue the cable in yet as I’ll need to work around the ships with the sea effects once they’re fixed in place, a bunch of wobbling barrage balloons in the way would be a right hindrance! (But only doing their job!)Cool
In the next installment, making up the Churchill Crocodile’s armoured trailer.
Until then, stay safe and Happy Modelling to you All!

Robin.
Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
British Barrage Balloon pic 2.JPG
British Barrage Balloon pic 3.JPG
British Barrage Balloon pic 4.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
birdaj2
#140 Posted : 17 July 2020 20:10:04

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Robin

Another fact packed update and very interesting read.

I am finding your resin casting details very interesting and something I must have a try at soon.

I have a ship kit with some decorative posts missing and you cannot get these as replacements so the option looks like casting some spares (for my own use) might be the way to go.

Looking forward to your fuel trailer build on that crocodile. That is going to be very interesting as its quite a distinctive shape so will be good to see how you put that together in such a small scale.

Tony
Happy Modelling

BUILDING: Harley Davidson Fat boy, Lam. Countach, Hachette Spitfire Mk 1A, Constructo Mayflower
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