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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Part 2: Nearly Ready for Action

The control surfaces were a particular issue with this build. Initially I used the aluminum landing struts from R/C aircraft. I cut these in half and widened the existing holes in the sides of the aft hull. I bashed up some rudders from plastic and aluminum stock.

Original rudder and elevators

I decided I really didn’t like this. The angle of the horizontal parts looked good but the rudders were terrible and there were no horizontal control surfaces. This is when I took the two Ryan Spirits and decided to use their wings. For the 1:48 scale kit I took the top half of the wing, cut it in half and glued it together as a top and bottom of a single airfoil. I used Green Stuff and sanded until I had a single long smooth airfoil. This provided a really nice “generic” airfoil for use as a rudder or other control surface. The 1:72 scale had a solid single piece wing. I cut this in half at the center line and then sanded the bottom sides off both pieces. Once these were flat I glued them together and puttied the leading edge to sand it smooth as well.

 

Two sizes of Spirit of St Louis wings as masters for airfoils

This gave me a pair of masters for the production of resin parts. I sent them up to Wayne in Michigan who provided really excellent castings. Once the parts had arrived back in St Louis I had to decide what to do with them. One thing that a lot of VSF designs lack is enough control surfaces. The ships will be moving slowly and will have a lot of mass. Combined that with the limited resistance of air compared to water and a lot of control surface will be needed. I decided to do a fairly complex set of surfaces. I wanted to make maximum use of the pieces I had. The main surfaces would be made from the larger airfoil and I would fill in with the smaller one.

On the full scale machine the basic design idea was for the horizontal surfaces to be a single piece; what is called a stabilator because it is both a stabilizer and an elevator. This would pivot along its center line. Through the pivot point axle would run a structural member and gearing to control the rudders. This would connect to a gear box upon which the upper and lower rudders would be attached. The Upper rudder would be the larger of the two and the lower would be able to swing out 90 degrees and act as an air brake (if both were swung out at the same time) or as a drag rudder if only one was extended. The lower rudder would also be connected to a box on its lower end and from there back to the main hull buy a long brace piece. This brace piece and the axle of the stabilator would form a strong structure for the control surfaces.

I used the two chop saws to cut the large airfoils into the correct shapes. The rudder was easy. I just marked up the ten pieces and cut the same length off each of the outboard ends. The stabilators were cut out on the outboard side to allow the rudders to swing without interfering and had an angled cut on the inboard side to natch the angle of the hull. This required a paper template to be made and the chop saw to be marked so i could use its mitre guide. All worked well. Now I drilled all the necessary 1/8 inch holes for brass rods in the big pieces and 1/16 inch ones for the small rudders.

The three airfoils and one of the gear boxes in place. Note the shapes used. These were cut on the chop saws

Control Surface sub assemblies

 

The gear boxes (two per control surface assembly) were made from acrylic square stock. The larger gearboxes were from 1/2 square stock and the others from slightly smaller material. The central boxes got three holes drilled in them and the lower boxes just a single one.

A main gearbox. This has been drilled and all three rods are being tested to ensure proper fit

The paired assembles were put together. I had to make certain there was a “left” and a “right” for each ship and that all the airfoils were lined up in the correct directions.

Once assembled and primed they were set aside to dry and to ensure the glue was set.

 

Next I detailed the upper hull with Mirco Engineering girder pieces.

Micro Engineering girder in place on deck house

The places for turrets were drilled. I assembled the Male sponsons, but left off all the bits that allow the 6 pdrs to elevate and traverse. With the close space behind the sponsons these parts will not fit. In fact I had to snip off the entire breech to allow it to fit. Even then the circular gun shields only fit if the weapon is traversed to a near broadside firing position. I cut the gun tube short as well, to me this represents a howitzer, not a long 6 pdr.

Sponson in place

 

Sponson is close enough to the hull that it doesn't interfer with the massive 9.2 inch rocket batteries.

Nearly ready for service!

The first of the Heavy Troop Ships is almost ready for the table top.

 

Flying over the Jungle one of Her Majesty's Flying Ships sports a tropical white paint scheme

 

This has been a very complex build. It started as a quick and cheap conversion of the old Disney Toy. When the toys went on sale I picked up a total of five of them, which will make for a good sized sqaudron. I was originally building it as a liftwood flyer for Space 1889. Once Hive, Queen and Country took on its own life I repurposed the build.  I game in 15mm so this is a “big” ship, 11 inches long so over 100 feet long in scale. The original toy is a bit “chunchy”.  I would have perfered a hull about 20% longer in proportion, but had to work with what I had.

Here is the final parts list:

Tools used:

  • 2 Inch cut off saw
  • 6 inch cut off saw
  • Drill
  • Drill press
  • Various hobby knives
  • Files
  • Sandpaper
  • Clamps

Assembly and Modification of the Aqua Evac

The Aqua Evac comes in a box set that includes parts and such for various versions that can be assembled into a number of ways. Assemble the parts for the standard submarine version. This is a toy so be ready for some poor fitting.  The Hull will be made up of nine peices. Each side is made of a front and a rear section. The bottom consists of a flat peice and a bow ramp. The top has the deck and deckhouse moulded as a single piece. An upper door for the bow ramp is at the forward end and a large boxy structure is the aft end of the hull. A variety of propellors, fins and such come with the kit. They can all go into the parts box. The surface details will be used to the fullest. The toy’s fins were mounted on the sides and the fittings will be reused to mount the rocket batteries. There is a fitting on each side aft that I drilled out for the shaftes for the stabilators. I drilled them out to 1/8 inch, so I could run in brass rod. There were two holes in the aft section that are perfect for the drive shaftes of the propellers. A number of other holes exist in the upper deck. Fill those in with Green Stuff or cover them with fittings such as hatches. Gun turrets will be mounted on this surface so several of the holes will get covered by or drilled out to take the turrets.

Rear hull panels from a pair of Airfix WW1 tanks cover holes in the hull of the toy and add detail and texture

 

N Scale girder from Micro Engineering covers another hull and again adds interest and texture

Bottom of an Airfix tank hull becomes the front plate of the lander, glued in just below the ramp

 

Bottom hull of the toy with Airfix parts in place. The hole in the center will be used for the Corsec Engineering flight stand

Here are a number of pictures taken showing how the various parts I took from the Airfix WW1 Tanks kits. The kit provides a hull rear plate I used two of them to cover the holes in the lower aft hull of the toy . I cut the bottom of the Airfix tank hull as a front plate under the ramp.

 

MLRS Cabs cut and glued together to form the bridge of the heavy lander

The MLRS cabs were cut off their hulls. Two cabs were used, cut them to size so they can cover the entire front of the deck house when glued together. Cover the sides of the deck house with Micro Engineering HO scale bridger girders. Cover the slots in the rear hull sides with the N scale girder plates.

 

I will continue the step by step in the next installment

 

A simplier conversion

Someone asked for a photo with 15mm miniatures to show its size. Here are a couple of pictures as requested.

Small Trooper with 15mm Old Glory for scale

Another view for scale. Note the resin cast of a kit bashed steam tank in the background

The conversion of the Aqua Evacs to heavy troop carriers has been a complex build requiring a lot of parts from other kits. I thought I’d show a simpler and much less expensive conversion. This is of a much smaller troop carrier.

Completed small troop carrier

For this conversion I used parts of four kits. For the basic hull I am using an Airfix Buffalo Amphibian in 1:76, a pair of Female WW I tanks (various panels and plates as well as pair of sponsons for weapons), also from Airfix and a 1:72 A-10 for the tail.

Buffalo hull with deck plating from a pair of WW I tanks and the armored cab in place

The Buffalo is a rear ramped tracked amphibious tractor. It has a smoothly curved bow with the driver and commander in a cab. The troop compartment is opened topped. The new vehilce will be a fully enclosed lander with a front mounted ramp.

Construct the Buffalo hull starting on step 3. Do not worrry about steps 1 and 2. The floatation cells and all those raod wheels will go in the parts bin. On step 4 install parts 57 and 58 (the two hatches),

Now take the first WW I tank kit. Build the Female sponsons in steps 1-4. Take part 27 from each of two kits. Glue them side by side. Glue the hatch, part 46 in place as usual. Take parts 25 and 26 and glue them together. Remove the front glacis plate up to where the vertical plate begins. Install hatch cover 45 as normal. Once the pair of parts 27 have set remove the rearmost part of the parts at the last line of rivets.

Glue to combined parts 27 with the plates reversed. The front edge will be glued to the back edge of the Buffalos cab, over the troop compartment. There will be a space about 1/4 inch wide between the ramp and end of the plates. Fill this with sheet plastic. I used an N scale peice from Micro Engineering, which had some nice rivet and panel detail. Install the cab on the left front of the top of the vehicle, with its rear edge glued to the rivet line on the panel.

Side view of vehicle. Note spaces that will need filler. The Female sponson with its twin auto weapons is already in place

Take a piece of tubing or rod. carve it to the contour of what was the front of the Buffalo. This will be the propeller shaft. Over it place the three part A-10 tail. Cut the rudders short and glue the assembly on upside down.

Fill as needed with sheet plastic and Green Stuff putty.

 

The ship ready for final sanding and detailing

 

This will give a decent small landing craft. With a few tweaks such as replacing the airscrews with jets or something more high tech will give a good 15mm small grop ship. Other modifications could give a more heavily armed varient. By replacing the Female sponsons with the Male version a larger gun replaces the automatic weapons in this version.

The tube that will house the prop shafts is visible. I think this craft will have coaxial props. I may use clear disks to simulate the rotation, or find good propellers and paint them up

All in all this cost less than 30.00 and took about a day to build. There is very little waste. The WW I tanks are nearly entirely consumed by this conversion and the heavier assault flyers.

If anyone is interested in discussing this build please either join my yahoo group at http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Hivequeen/ or on The Miniatures Page http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=269381.

I’d be very happy to trade ideas and techniques.

 

 

 

A few blurry pictures of Ornithopters

Getting the three squadrons of British Army Aerial Detchment Ornithopter MkIs ready for combat against The Hive at Diecon 12

 

Several of the flappers getting their war paint on.

These craft are going to be sporting two paint schemes. One will represent a non tactical scheme of gloss bright blue over undoped linen. The white tails and noses will get a sold “sqaudron” color of red or orange. Time permiting the Squadron Commander’s ships might get colored wing tips.

 

The second will be a tactical scheme based on RAF day fighters in 1940, Dark Earth and Dark over Duck Egg Blue.

Flapper in tactical colors

Detailing the Assault craft

The sponson in place, with the rocket batteries mounted as well. The darker panel on the deck house is a part from Micro Engineering

Since I started this project I have found additional resources. One of the coolest things I found was a company in the St Louis area called Micro Engineering http://microengineering.com/. Mark Twain Hobbies  http://hobby1.com/store/ stocks and can special order from Micro. In addition to complete kits Micro makes a number of sets of bridge parts http://microengineering.com/products_br.htm. I picked up a selection of girder plates in both HO and N scale.

A closeup showing various deatil parts scavenged and bought for the project

These are highly detailed, very precise and make great “rivetted up” plates for ships. They add great detail for the sides of the deck down and nicely close off a pair of premoulded holes in the aft hull.

Male Sponson from 1/76 scale British WW1 Tank from Airfix. I'll mount a howitzer in place of the 6 pdr. The larger scale of the original makes for a bigger sponson capable of mounting a heavier weapon in 15mm scale.

In addition I started adding the sponsons on the lower hull. These are from the Airfix 1/76 scale WWI Female Tank kit. The Female Tank is a slight rework of the older WW1 Male Tank. The Male kit only includes the male sponsons with 6 pdr guns. The Female kit inlcudes both Male and Female sponsons. For little or no cost the extra parts are well worth it.

The assault ship and the Airfix Kit from which some of the parts were taken

 

I placed an order for a number of turrets from Gaming Models http://www.gamodls.com/index.htm from Craig. I ordered some A-9 and Bishop turrets from his British WW2 line http://www.gamodls.com/Scripts/British.htm. I’ll cut the barrels down on the Bishops. This will make them look more like howitzers rather than the longer barrelled gun howitzers of the 25 pdrs. The A-9s will be regunned with either Gatling guns or pom pom barrels to give the ships close in defense. Craig does great stuff and produces some of the most reasonably priced and good looking resin models out there in 15mm. He also makes tons of things no one else does, like British early war vehicles.

 

Here are some pictures of the craft as it gets some additional details. I’ll be priming it up this weekend.

 

More Pictures of Hive, Queen and Country Aerrolyth craft

With the able assistance of my friend Tom I’ve been learning the ins and outs of the airbrush. The flappers have gotten their undersurface colors and I’ve spent the evening masking them for upper surface. We painted up one of the non camo ships, to see what it would like with the two base colors in place.

 

Non Tactical scheme upper surface, tail and nose will be red or orange

 

 

The nose and tail will get their squadron color of either red or orange. These craft are painted to represent a non-tactical scheme of undoped linen beneath an upper surface of light blue with several coats of high gloss dope. The undoped linen is because the undersides tend to take a beating as the craft take off and land.

A Flapper cover the tail and props of an assault ship

 

A "Little Friend" escorts a "Gladstone".

I’ve also included pictures of the flapper with one of the assault craft. This shows the comparative size of the two craft. I’ve pulled the air-screws off the assault ship so we can give her a good coat of paint this weekend.

Tactially the smaller craft escort the bigger assault craft into the landing zone, trying to keep the flying bugs away from the ships’ rudders and props. The bigger ships are well enough protected to allow the smaller ships to hose them off with rifle caliber machine gun fire.

Both craft are mounted on CorSec Engineering stands.

Terry

Work on the Assault Flyers progresses

 

As I mentioned I had not been happy with the rudder/elevators before. I had tried to use landing gear legs from R/C aircraft and other buts and pieces. I broke down and scrapped a pair of Spirit of St Louis Ryan aircraft, one in 1/48th and one in 1/72 scale. I took the wings and kit bashed the righ and left together to give me a single streamlined structure that was symmetrical along the center line. This gave me a nice “generic” airfoil for use as rudders or any other surface I might need and the sizes were fairly useful for 15mm aerial gunboats. I sent the masters up to Scott and Wayne in Michigan and quickly the finished goods came back.

 

In the mean time I had drawn up several different configurations for these surfaces and finally decided upone one I liked. This would use the 1/48 scale wing cut in two pieces and about 1/3 of each of the smaller scale wings. Knowing it would take forever and look crappy to cut them by hand I went off to Harbor Frieght and picked up their two smallest sized chop saws, a 2 inch and a 6 inch. These made short work of the many cuts I had to make.

Three pieces for each tail section, all mastered from Ryan Spirit of St Louis wings

Next I had my wonderful wife stop on the way home from from work at ACS Plastics and get some various sized acrylic sqaure stock for use as gear boxes. I used brass rod in 1/16 and 1/8 sized as axels for the various moving surfaces.

Gear box of acrylic and brass rods

The idea is that the horizontal surface is a single piece As on the F-104 Starfighter) with the control shaft and supports for the verticals running down its axis. The upper vertical is the main rudder and the lower piece (which will attach at its bottom to a support going back to the hull) acts as a rudder and a speed break.

Rudder and Elevators in place

The ship is set for on Corsec Engineering universal stand, with a 5 inch hex base. I inserted a heavy piece of acrylic in the hull to take the anchor and then ran the rod through the existing hole in the lower hull.

Heavy bracing for mounting the Corsec Stand

I “test flew” the ship without its rocket pods, to check the balance on the stand. Just as with any maiden voyage there was some tweeking but the builder’s crew seemed to have no issues.

Rudders in place, time for a trial "flight"

 

Another shot of the ship during builder's trials

Next I reinstalled the 9.2 inch rocket pods and decided to see what she looked like.

 

 

Rocket pods mounted, just waiting for turrets and hull guns and paint!

I’m pretty darned happy so far. What do other folks think?

 

Heavier ships under construction in the shipyard

 

 

Original prototype, this is being reworked, especially the control surfaces

 

I’ve posted some pictures of the resin cast flappers that Scott Flower remastered for me. Here are some pictures of the heavy landers I’m kit bashing for the British. The basic structure is an old toy from the Disney Atlantis the Lost World: the Aqua Evac submarine. In addition a number of other kits were used. Wings from kits of the Spirit of St Louis in both 1/48th and 1/72 scales became masters for resin cast elevators and rudders. Various turrets and gun mounts will be fitted. I will be using Airfix 1/76 scale MK I Male sponsons on the lower hull and turrets mounting 75mm howitzers from the Peter Pig armoured train and 1 pdr pom poms in converted Humber armoured car turrets. The rocket pods are from 1/87th MLRS units. I also cut off the cabs of the MLRS chassis and used them for the bridge of these ships. Also in 1/87 scale was the Salidin armored car rear engine decking that was used to detail the after upper deck. Various hatches came from H&R’s lines of model ship fittings. The large gears in the drive were from American Science and Surplus. Finally the props are muffin fans from old computers. These will be mounted on stands from Corsec Engineering

More bits and pieces. I am reworking the prototype a bit, notice the former positions of gun mounts and the small machine gun turrets.

Props and drive systems ready for instalation aboard these vessels

Parts is Parts, every construction dockyard exhibits a surprising level of chaos