Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Pitching a Tent

One of the features of Cold War Commander is the command system.  This uses command stands (either HQ or CO) to give orders to nearby units and it helps to make these command stands stand out so you don't lose track where they are!  Additionally CO have certain benefits over normal HQ so you need to track who's who.

I'd already use one of Heroics and Ros' FV105 Sultan CVR(T) Command vehicles (catalogue number BM17) for a HQ stand.

HQ in Sultan.  All figures H&R
Damn right that's '68 Pattern DPM in 6mm
I had one left to use on the CO stand.  I'm basing the CO on a larger 30mm x 30mm base so there's a bit of white space and I also wanted the Co to be distinctive from the HQ.  The H&R model has the "Tent CVR(T))" modelled on the back of the Sultan all rolled up.  It seemed easy enough to saw that off and then (not so easy) model up a deployed tent.

Initially, this was something of a pig.  None of the books I have have the damn thing photographed with the tent deployed.  The web was also tricky.  "Sultan" gets a lot of Ottomans.  "Sultan CVR(T)" starts getting the goods but, whilst showing a few with tents rolled off (apparently most Sultan's have had the tents removed in recent years), the only shot was of a computer model for a Battlefield 2 mod.  Now, from previous experience 'Reality Mods' can be a hit and miss affair as a source.  The tent looked about what I expected it to look but I'd still rather find a photo.
Thankfully, "Tent CVR(T)" actually got what I was looking for.  It's all about how you search for it!

The crusader80 website had a good variety of photos with the Sultan and its tent in view.  The main features to replicate seemed to be:
  • Height same as vehicle with slight peak
  • Width same as vehicle, slight flare out at bottom
  • Length about a 1/3 of the vehicle (or slightly shorter than the box bit of the body)
  • Canvas roll window each side
  • Canvas roll door at end.
Additionally, the model lacked a peaked bit of metal work that presumably stops the rain dripping down between tent and vehicle.  A bit of plasti-card would do that.

Chop Shop
So this is what I started with:

A pair of side cutters removed the majority of the rear with little subtly or trouble.  After that, a Dremel with a sanding head removed what little was left.  

Brutal, ugly work but thankfully it will be well out of view.

Putting Up The Tent Poles
I decided very quickly that this tent was not going to be hollow with a modelled interior.  A somewhat cowardly move but I find it important to know one's limitations!  Instead I mixed up some green stuff into a rough block of approximately correct proportions and slightly undersize.  This would be used to drape the 'fabric over'.  I did this a couple weeks ago and got on with some 6mm Infantry so that it'd be solid by the time I got back round to it.

Fabric Nationale
I did the tent in a few stages, sadly not realising toll later than I ahd not paused to take enough photos.
The first stage was the two sides.  I picked up some more green stuff and carefully pressed it flat onto a wet tile.  The tile is smooth and non-porous so the green stuff struggles to stick to it, especially if the tile is wet.
I then made sure my Stanley knife had  a fresh blade.  A scalpel would be easier to wield but I'm fresh out of blades at the moment.  Wetting the blade to stop the green stuff sticking, I cut out a rectangle slightly larger than the side.  I then carefully picked this up with the edge of the blade and laid it on the existing block.
I repeated the process on the other side and on the roof (having first used some green stuff to form a peak on the block).  I then used a pick to add some crease lines (always emanating from a corner) and very carefully scribed in a window shape in each side.

I left this to cure for 30 minutes so that putting on the rear of the tent wouldn't undo my handy work so far. 
At about this point I realised I had more mixed green stuff that I'd probably need, having ignored my own rule of mixing up half as much as I thought I needed (you'd be surprised how well it works as a Rule of Thumb).  

What's a boy to do with some rapidly curing and slightly toxic modelling putty?  

Camouflage Netting
Camouflage Netting is horrible stuff.  It has a wonderful ability to get tangled on itself and is semi-sentient, able to find and snag itself on every nook and cranny of whatever it is draped over.  It does do a fairly good job of breaking a silhouette up though.

So far I have avoided netting up the 6mm models.  This is partly from a desire to get them painted quickly and partly to make doing Mighty Miniatures Reviews easier.  Seeming as I was now the proud owner of a lump of curing Green Stuff and had time to kill, I set about green stuffing the Sultan and a Scimitar which will also be on the base.  I adopted the tried and trusted approach to green stuff camo netting which is to put a rough square or triangle onto the body and then jab it to death with a wet pick!
Good thing he's not going anywhere.  I covered the driver position!
Not even Camo can hide how bad the Skytrex Scorpion is
When I come to paint it I'll paint on some sand to add texture to it, but that's some way off yet.

Anyway, back to the tent

Rear Entry Point
So, we had one side of the tent still to do, the rear.  At this pint I still hand't decided whether I was going to model it closed or 'open' (albeit onto a black painted block).  I eventually decided to leave it closed for the sake of getting the job done. I had already left a 'sheet' of green stuff of more or less the right size which I dropped into place.  As with the other sides, I used a wet pick to add creases and a central split for the opening.

Finally, I used the thinnest plasti-card I had to add the metal work that overlaps the tent.  It's hard to give an inspirational speech about stopping the red menace when the rain's dripping right down your back!

I also used the last bit of green stuff to make a block that I'll paint up as a generator.  It needs filing into a squarer shape but that will have to wait till tomorrow when the green stuff isn't so soft.


There you go, the beginnings of a Command Stand!

I'm away from computer all of next week so I'll be updating the week after, probably covering either painting DPM (if I can get some decent photos) or just doing a photo trawl of the new vehicles I've painted.


  1. That's a spectacular job. I like the way you did all the detail on the tent. And it's 6mm! Awesome stuff.

  2. Cheers. It's come out a little lopsided but that isn't entirely unlike the real thing!