Well... winter has come to the midwest. The last couple of days has been a good time to stay indoors and work on projects. I decided that my project would be to weather and detail my M2A1 Half-track and my Dragon Sherman. Actually, I did the weathering over the weekend before it got so cold. I've spent the last couple of days working on detail. This first picture is of the afternoon that I spent casting ammo cans and small crates. I had made a couple of different sized crates for the half-track out of styrene and I thought it would maybe be worth it to make a mold of the smaller crate. The ammo can was one that Phil had and was originally made by 21st Century. I cut the can in half with a Dremel since the piece was hollow. I just figured I might not have a terribly clean casting, but I would probably get more pulls out of the mold.
Here are the assembled ammo cans and the crate castings prior to painting. There was a lot of cleanup on the ammo cans, but since most of them are sitting in the side rack on the outside of the vehicle, they are good enough for government work.
Here are the painted cans and ammo crates that are going to be used on the half-track.
Here is BIG JOE standing next to the half-track. The crates on the table are the styrene ones. Since they are light, they will be used up on the windshield screen. The crate sitting up there now is one that was made from bass wood. You can see the weathering that I did on the half-track is fairly light and is on the lower half of the vehicle. I wanted to simulate fairly light "road dust" as compared to some of the heavy weathering that folks do on some of their armored vehicle. I have just never been able to pull off that look.
I got the idea of tying some poles and rope from a picture of a reenactment half-track that I found online. They had looped rucksacks over the pole and then tied the whole mess to the side of the vehicle and I really liked the way it looked.
I decided to add 30 caliber machine guns to my half-track. One of the guns is tied down and the carriage attached to the hull is empty. The other one is set up and ready to go. The Dragon air-cooled gun would not fit in the 21st Century carriage, so I cut the barrel off of one of the Dragon guns and replaced the 21st barrel. The Dragon barrel was attached to the 21st gun and it all worked out.
Here are some of my details waiting to be placed in and on the vehicle. I ended up not using the 37mm ammo crates, but I used everything else seen here and a bit more.
Here, you can see the crates have been added above the windshield, and one crate between the bumper and the roller.
Here are the ammo case castings in the side stowage rack. Thank goodness they fit, honestly... I didn't measure ahead of time when I did the racks.
My driver is ready to go... or he's bored; I'm not really sure.
Yes, I know it's a little large, but I thought the rabbit's foot in the cab was pretty funny. Fred had it at the last meeting in his sales stuff and I had to have it. Well, they have pretty big rabbits in some parts, so maybe this came from a really big bunny.
There is a tarp and a 30 cal. tripod tied down on the right front fender. That was a detail I saw in another online picture and I wanted to include it.
I only filled one of the Stowage racks on the back of the vehicle. I could have made and found more stuff and filled up both I suppose, but I kind of liked the contrast of empty and full. Those are cast crates, a cast U.S. fuel can, a Dragon German fuel can and hand made bed rolls.
Inside details include; cigarettes, rations, a Yank magazine, Stars and Stripes, French francs, a Michelin guide and more. I think the soft details give the vehicle a "lived in" look, especially once you get some troops in the vehicle.
The weathering on the Sherman was also light "road dust". The wood beam on the front hull was made from styrene and was "painted" with oil paint, which was rubbed off after the application to get a grainy wood appearance. The beam and the extra tracks are not glued down as I might change up the details later on. I've though about sandbagging the front of the vehicle.
A couple of the cast resin crates were added to the back stowage shelf to fill in between the gas cans. I really don't need any more detail back here as I have a squad of U.S. Infantry to ride the back of this Sherman.
On the commander's side of the turret I added a rail and hung some rucksacks off it. Once again, don't need a whole lot because that back deck is going to fill up with infantry and there will be enough going on.
And that's about it. I have some more infantry to complete for the half-track, but other than that I'm calling it a wrap. Took a while to get around to finishing these off, but they went pretty quick once I got into it. Thanks for looking! - PM
Well, it's the start of a new year and I've just finished a big project for myself and Gray Ghost. These three Shermans are part of 1st Platoon, B Company, 37th Tank Battalion. They were painted and weathered last week, just in time for the January SSCC Meeting in Cincinnati.
Big Bad Betty below is one of my two Shermans and the two behind her in the picture above are Phil's. All three, plus the one not shown in these photos are part of our fictional TASK FORCE COMBAT unit. The 37th Tank Battalion had a B Company full of Sherman tanks, but as far as I know they did not look like the ones on this table.
Last summer when Phil and I were building our M2A1 half-tracks, he decided that he wanted to letter his vehicles for the same unit I was doing so that he could participate in photoshoots for my TASK FORCE COMBAT online comic. So far our unit includes four Shermans, four Stuarts, 3 halftracks, a couple of Scout cars, weapons carriers and multiple Jeeps; and about 60 some infantry figures. I'm sure that there are probably larger units out there, but we are pretty pleased with what we have been able to put together thus far.
Here, a couple of infantrymen try to get some information from French citizens about what lies on the road ahead.
A majority of my vehicles have been weathered and detailed, but this new Sherman and the half-track both need to be weathered and kitted out. I've got quite a bit of gear for the half-track already and as you can see uniforms and gear to create a squad to go with it. I still have a few crates and bedrolls to complete for the vehicles.
One of the things I did as I worked on putting the unit together was to create a Handbook that describes the unit and some sector maps that will provide an outline for creating future stories. So far, only the initial episode has been completed and placed on this website. I know it seems like it is a long time between episodes in my various comics (it is). Creating vehicles and building units unfortunately takes quite a bit of time and then on top of that, weather conditions effect what can and cannot be done (it's snowing here today). I am hoping that before too long I will be able to do a couple of small indoor shoots that will allow me to move the story along just a bit. And I need to do the same with THE BAR AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE as well. Just thought I would let you all know where I am with all of this - PM
POINT MAN'S PROJECT