A Box of Magic

Well, I had a funny day yesterday on Lard Island, I had planned to do one thing but circumstances dictated it didn’t happen, so I seized the moment and had a bit of fun with a box of bits I had bought off EBay for seven quid.

Nothing wildly exciting at first glance, but the contents are really great for anyone seeking to enhance their table or their 28mm model AFVs. It contained a miixture of US and German oil drums and Jerry cans, a dozen drums and thirty-two jerry cans in four different designs. On top of that was a selection of bags, napsacks, bedding rolls and other bits and bobs one can use to add some features toyour 28mm tanks. All of these are, I should point out, in 1:48 scale. Not a 100% perfect match for 28mm toys but is anyone really going to say “That German napsack is 1mm too small”? If they do just punch them right in the mouth; they deserve it.
So Clarkie, what do you want all this old bric-a-brac for? Well, our forthcoming rules for WWII platoon level actions, Chain of Command, use a number of Jump-Off points on the table which we currently mark with some rather spiffing little markers 40mm across and marked with an Allied star of a German Balkan cross (see the bottom row in the photo below). They are pretty enough and small enought, but I thought it might be nice to have something a little more prominent which actually added something visually to the game. And here’s what I came up with.

These mini-fuel dumps used all of the drums and jerry cans in the box, but I think they really look the part. I bought some 38mm washers from the local hardware shop for 20p each (see one in its “naked” state in the photo, bottom right) and added the bits and pieces with a few bits of baggage and road signs to bring them to life. The usual basing mix I use was then added and Bob’s your Uncle.
What I should say is that when one enters the realm of the military modeller you should not expect things to be simple. The jerry cans came as three part kits (why?) , the barrels four part kits. It took me most of the morning to stick these together but you find the right podcast or radio show and it’s no real hardship. So, that’s a full complement of Jump of Points for Chain of Command for seven quid. Can’t be bad.
But there’s more…
Inspired by the stowage provided I thought I’d have a bit of a dabble with an AFV. My old chum Simon Bargery, the original founder of Bolt Action Miniatures and, by coincidence, the man who inspired me to write Sharp Practice (sorry Sean, it wasn’t you!) emailed me a while back to ask me if I’d like some vehicles for Chain of Command. Apparently he had a box of bits in his garage and was happy to see them go to a good home. Naturally, being a poverty stricken rule writer, I bit his hand off; it made a change from Findus horse meat lasagne.
So, Simon kindly boxed up a whole raft of resin vehicles and sent them via Postman Pat. The best bit was a mis-cast SdKfz 251 halftrack with a dodgy back door section. I say “best bit” because I love wrecked vehicles as terrain features but I hate to smash up a nice new kit to make a broken one. So a mis-cast was perfect for me to have a dabble with. Especially as I had just been reading a piece on line by the amazingly talented Troop of Shewe (see his stuff here: http://www.troop-of-shewe.co.uk/ ) where he cut the rear section off an SdKfz 250 and replaced it with an open door and all sorts of other bits.
Well, I am NOT Troop of Shewe. I did do a bit of military modelling when I was a teenager, but that is a long time ago. I don’t have the tools I need to do stuff like this but I had found one sheet of plasticard when I moved my stuff into the new office and that was a good starting point.
I cut the rear section off the halftrack with ease. I was surprised how easily resin cuts so that was a good start, especially once I tidied it up with a sharp knife. Once that was done I used a piece of paper to create a template for the rear section. Fortunately this is the late war model D vehicle so the rear section is a flat sheet with two flat doors. I cut this out of the platicard, cut out the doors and then stuck them on in the open position. I now needed some thinner plasticard to add some details but, as mentioned, I don’t have this sort of stuff to hand. I looked round to find a suitable replacement and used one of the plastic boxes my Artizan figures had come in. The clear plastic was a bit thinner and pretty much ideal, so I added stuff like hinges with that. At the end of the day I am not going to be sending photos of this off to Military Modelling magazine; this will be viewd by my myopic mates on the gaming table so getting the detail perfect isn’t really on the agenda; close is good enough.

You probably can’t see much of the detail here as the thinner plastic I used was transparent, but hopefully when I paint it you’ll see.

You’ll note that I added some baggage from the Tamiya set and then added my own straps from green stuff. I also cut off the front wheel, sliced the bottom section from it and put it back at an awkward angle to show damage. I added the “flat tyre” look around the bottom of the tyre with green stuff. It was a shoddy attempt, but sod it, I will add a silfor tuft strategically and no bugger will notice. Apart from you…
All in all this very minor conversion was a lot of fun to do and I hope it will add a bit of colour to some of our games. Here’s another snap.

So, seven quid well spent and a pleasant use of an unexpected day off-schedule; especially as I managed to cram in a few pints with some mates down the village pub.
Hopefully you’ll be seeing more of these bits very soon as later this week we’ll be recording a preview of the rules for Lard-o-vision TV.


6 thoughts on “A Box of Magic”

  1. Liking the oil drum and jerry can markers. I’m very interested in learning more about CoC – I’ve been looking for an excuse to paint some AB 20mm figures.

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