Sunday, 5 June 2011

Back in Action!


After a somewhat length hiatus I'm dusting the blog off and actually doing an update.  Apologies for the rather length intermission.

Whilst I've been off the air I've been working away on my BEF era 3RTR.  There's been a few hiccups trying to find a quick and easy way of painting the shear quantity of tanks (25) that makes up the force without sacrificing quality.  It's been a learning experience but the the first troop of Vickers light tanks is done and the next two, plus HQ Vickers, are underway.

Possibly the finest tank of the war (that was called 'Vickers Light Tank')

I'll go into more detail on the Vickers next week but want to go with what I've been doing over the last week, some mild converting on the Daimler Dingo troop.

One of the things I wanted to get into my army was a troop of these little scout cars.  The Dingo was lightly armed (a single Bren LMG!), lightly armored but fast and nimble, serving throughout the war and on into the late fifties.  3RTR's recce troop in and around Calais were equipped withe the vehicle and the Daimler Fighting Vehicle website has a good account written by Major Bill Close, then a troop sergeant.

Coming into the project, there were two things I wanted to reflect in the model:

  1. that the crews looked suitably tankee like!  Black Berets were a must, even if somewhat doubtful from a historical perspective.
  2. that the Dingo looked like a Mk I or II variety, the type most likely in Calais, rather than the late war variant depicted straight out of the blister.
Here's how a Dingo looks using the bits in the blister (AA Bren not shown and I've already added aerials).  One of my pet peeves is how exposed the crew is.  The driver should be a lot lower in the Dingo and the commander looks like he is out on a Sunday drive!
It's a little bit crowded!
The major difference between the early and late Dingos is the roof.  Dingo Mk I and II have a combined sliding and folding metal roof. The front half hinges back on three hinges allowing it to be partially open.  The hatch, still folded, can then be pushed all the way back, where it sits on a metal frame.  The best detail I could find on this arrangement was this project log on a Dieppe diorama which has period photos and a very nice scale model Dingo.
This sliding hatch was apparently very prone to shooting forward under braking, costing more than a few crew some serious, possibly fatal, head injuries.
Later in the war, the folding metal hatch was exchanged for a canvas roof and what looks like a seat fitted behind the commander on the right (I suspect this is a perch from which to fire the AA MG).

The Bren gun could be fired though a hatch in the hull front and the Blitzkrieg book lists the Bren as a 'Hull MG' which implies that's how the Bren should be depicted, not on AA mount.  Wikipedia has a good photo of the Bren so fitted.  It also shows the canvas roof adopted later in the war.

The first thing I did was to set about cutting the firing slot in.  This is a notch in the front plate running from the top of the vertical plate to the bottom and can be closed over when not in use.
Just cut along the red line...
Annoyingly I couldn't find the large diameter collet for my Dremel so I couldn't just whack in a cutting/grinding disc and do this in a few seconds!  Instead, I used a drill bit to drill a few holes then, using gentle side pressure, started joining them up.  Annoyingly, on the last one and the one I was going to photo, I slipped and did a diagonal cut!  A thin rectangular file quickly sorted that out.
Firing Slot open
Next, I set about making some crew.  I wanted one Dingo fully unbuttoned, one with the front hatch folded back but still slid in place and one fully buttoned up.  The fully unbuttoned Dingo would need a bit more detail on the crew whereas the partially unbuttoned one would have them mostly out of sight.  The fully buttoned up Dingo wouldn't need any at all.
The BEF army box comes with a tank commander for each tank so, having only used one commander per troop, I had plenty to spare.
The driver (and crew of the partially buttoned Dingo) was simply one of the commanders cut down to shoulder height.  I'll probably green stuff in the top of the steering wheel and driver's seat but the main thing is to get him low and forward like this photo shows the seating arrangement.
I guess he uses "Head and Shoulders"!
The commander is a bit more involved.  I chose the commander Depicted as leaning on his hatch as the arms are more or less in the right position.  I want the commander to have the Bren's stock in his shoulder with left arm steadying the top of the Bren.  I cut the AA monopod, stock and pistol grip of the Bren off.
It's mah Bren gun!
I then started filing the chest and right arm of the commander until the whole thing looked about right.  I also filed the torso of the commando down so that he sat lower in the compartment and leaned slightly forward.  The commander's arms and the stock of the Bren will all be green stuffed on later.
The Dingo is so small only one armed crews were selected
This is how the crew look blue-tacked in roughly.
Still not roomy but at least we're armed!
Next thing to tackle is the hatch.  Firstly the old protrusion was cut off using a pair of clippers then sanded flat.
Clippers 1 - Resin 0
I then drilled two holes in the Dingo's rear plate, towards the base where it joins the engine deck, using a 0.4mm drill bit.  The wire from sandwich bag ties was extracted from its plastic outer.  I then bent it up at each end, leaving about the length of the front plate flat.  This was glued into the two holes as shown.

Wire work
That just leaves the hatch.  I filled the crew compartment with blue tack to hold so think (0.5mm I think) plasti card in place and marked the outline so as to follow the hull quite closely.  I then scored the line for the front hatch so that it could either be folded back (on the unbuttoned ones) or follow the slight dip of the front hull (buttoned Dingo).

This leaves the Dingo's looking like this:
Partially buttoned or partially unbuttoned?
Unbuttoned and fancy free
This gets the majority of the hardwork done.  Still to do:
  • Green stuff hinges and handles onto the hatch
  • Green stuff the compartment and crew of the unbuttoned Dingo
  • Possibly remove the spare wheel - Can't find any photos of the Dingo with one fitted as depicted.
The Dingo's will go on the back burner for the moment.  We'll look at the Vickers Light Tank next week.

See you all then!

1 comment:

  1. and people say I got patience :D Awesome work man!