Friday, December 28, 2012

Photo finish


Here's a parting shot to ring out the old year.

Over hill, over dale...

bouncing and jouncing down a country road...

rattling window panes...

Battery B 4th US artillery thunders into position.

Pioneers hastily remove rails to allow passage of the limbers and guns.

Freed from the constraints of the road...

the limbers and riders burst out onto the fields.

The battery commander indicates the direction of fire

and the guns are man-handled into position

While the elevation and deflection are being adjusted on one of the guns...

a second gun is sponged and the projectile is brought forth from the limber...

while a third has the projectile rammed home.

The firing lanyard is drawn taut, and at the order "FIRE!"...

the lanyard is abruptly drawn back...

unleashing fire and thunder  from the gun.

shells hurtle down-range as...

dumb-struck rebels await their fate.


Soldier on into 2013!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Columbia the Gem of the Ocean


For some time now I've wanted to make a toy battleship in the same style as the WWI Krupp gun that I made a couple of years ago (you can see it here).

A ship in the livery of the "Great White Fleet" is what I had in mind, but chunky, simplified, and obviously the type of toy that might have been under a Christmas tree in 1898.

My favorite kind of toy projects are the ones that require no specially purchased wood, I just used scraps that were on hand. Lengths of 2x4 formed the hull.

Positions for the sponson guns were transferred using carbon paper (a staple of the shop).

I used hole drills on the drill-press to make the gun positions, finishing them off on the bandsaw.

Stacked, glued, and clamped the hull is complete.

Now came the various gun turrets.  Again using stock on hand, the sander came into play.

Primary and secondary batteries are finished.

All the subassemblies fit together and are ready for painting, and the ship will be ready for launching.

Eleven-inch guns loom over the victorian sky-light on the fantail.

The secondary battery of six-inch guns and the smaller three-guns will make the Spaniard fleet quail.

O Columbia! the gem of the ocean,
The home of the brave and the free,
The shrine of each patriot's devotion,
A world offers homage to thee;

Thy mandates make heroes assemble,
When Liberty's form stands in view;
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,
When borne by the red, white and blue.

When war wing'd its wide desolation,
And threaten'd the land to deform,
The ark then of freedom's foundation,
Columbia rode safe thro' the storm;
With her garlands of vict'ry around her,
When so proudly she bore her brave crew;
With her flag proudly floating before her,
The boast of the red, white and blue.

Or, listen here

Soldier, and sailor, on!



Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Redemption Story III: Back in the Saddle Again


Back again to that heap of forlorn arms, legs, heads, and torsos that I got on eBay.  This sad assortment was a once-upon-a-time horde of toy soldiers for some young boy...a young boy who was particularly hard on the troops.

The mission this time was to see how many of the ten damaged cavalrymen could be made 
whole again.

Like the foot soldiers who appeared in my most recent posts, the men of the mounted arm were in equally , if not worse, stages of damage and destitution.

This cavalry officer has at least his head to hang his hat upon, others were not so lucky (as will be seen).


The first step was to go through the heap of limbs and fragments to determine
if he could be made whole again.

In this instance I (and he) was fortunate.  Everything was present and...

with the help of a few drops of Krazy Glue...

Captain Dumpty had come together again.  However the rehabilitation process has just begun.

Not so easy is one of the more typical troopers of this truncated tribe.

This was the appearance of the majority of the ten cavalrymen.

As with the captain, the missing pieces needed to be located, fracture lines matched and Krazyglued back together.

 These early Britains plastics are far superior than the current generation.  Note the cool carbine, molded separately hanging at his side.  Now to find that other arm.

Krazy Glue alone only "bastes" the pieces together.  The real bond is made by "heat welding" one piece to another with a modified soldering iron

Once reassembled everyone got primed and ready to paint.

Sarge LaFarge leads the way, fully restored to duty, finished toy soldier brite and sporting the chevrons of a newly-minted NCO.

I like his neatly-trimmed Van dyk.

Choosing to completely alter the painting of these soldiers from their original Britains scheme is a reflection of the licence that comes with resurrecting destroyed (and some would say "noncollectable") toy soldiers.

Our captain has returned to the active list and is anxious to rejoin his unit.

Generally, when I do chevrons, I simply paint a large chevron shape and then use a 000-nib technical pen to create the individual stripes.

Here they come!

Sabers drawn and galloping into action...

Of the ten, only two were total losses.  There little plastic families can take comfort in the knowledge that their men had given their all for Lincoln and Liberty.

This eBay deal is getting better all the time.

Soldier on!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

“[No] matter what a waste one has made of one's life, it is ever possible to find some path to redemption, however partial.” ― Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain


What to do with broken toy soldiers who wish to soldier on for the cause of Lincoln and Liberty?

Specialized situations call for specialized soldiers

A new lease on life came for more of those fractured, limb-less,  and abused Britians and Cresent soldiers from my most recent post.

I've begun the repair and painting of many of the "salvageable" soldiers, the group of six in the center had legs and bases that were too brittle and shattered to even begin to try to glue back together, having, you may recall, the tensile strength of a crayon

I decided to look at each figure not as what it had been but what it could become
including this legless rebel who is about to be repurposed as a galvanized Yankee but first...

Those stumps need to be even'd  up on the belt-sander.

The sander transformed a figure similar to the one on the right to the work-in-progress on the left (you'll see him again soon).

Repainted and sprayed with a "brite" finish, and new transparent bases at the ready,  these little fellows are nearly ready to reenlist.

Scoring the base with a "cross-hatch" pattern makes for better adhesion with the super-glue

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present the newest addition to the miniature Army of the Potomac:

 fully recovered and re-purposed little Yankees, again rushing to the sound of the guns

as they splash across the creek under heavy rebel fire.

 [please do click on the photo for a larger and more dramatic effect!]

Brave toy soldiers taking the fight to the far bank.

Some do fall in the effort...

but will be avenged by their tiny comrades!

This saga will continue.

Soldier on!