Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Action Front! A Redemption Story


Battery B, 4th US Artillery

Here's an artillery story, start to finish.

Recently, on ebay,  I bought this Hong Kong knock-off of the Swoppet limber, gun, and crew.  Upon arrival buyer's remorse immediately set in.

Although the castings were mirror images of the Britains originals, they were finished in a bizarre fake pewter finish.  What, exactly, might have our Hong Kong friends been thinking?

Oddly, the limber was the only piece not pewterfied (or perhaps, putrefied). Two outriders and the lid to the ammunition chest were missing in this counterfeit cannon convocation.

That omission of the lid was quickly remedied with a visit to my table and band saws. 

The result was a perfect fit.

Now came time to deal with that wacky metallic finish.

The bugler sounded "assembly" and all hands mustered into an oatmeal can.

All concerned were about to understand the phrase "Better living through chemistry."

Always keep those old toothbrushes around.

Stripped of their finish, a remarkable array of colors was revealed.

Keep an eye on Manny, Moe, and Jack here as you'll be seeing more of them.

Everybody got a nice coat of Floquil white primer. 

Our gleesome threesome is ready for painting.

These are the outriders which were missing along with the limber lid.  Fortunately I had acquired this pair earlier in their original and  not-very-impressive Swoppet colors.

Using the hot water treatment. I reshaped them with different arm positions and narrowed their stance for a better seat on the saddle.  Left is before and right is after.

Out came the Testors paint and the sergeant and corporal are transformed.

 I finished everyone in the traditional bright toy soldier finish. 

And here we go, the reclaimed detachment, fully redone and rushing into action:

It's a mighty fast and bumpy ride...

but our steadfast trio hangs on tight as the limber and gun charge forward...

over hill and dale...

The noncoms whip the horses into a lather in hopes of beating the Rebels to the high ground.

It's nip and tuck.

Arriving in the nick of time the detachment commander oversees the unlimbering

The gun is man-handled into place...

carefully sighted,  and loaded with double canister awaiting the order to...


The rebel charge is broken.

All in a day's work for Battery B, 4th US Artillery.

Buyer's remorse is gone.

Soldier on!



dan mclaughlin said...

mannie you did more than an outstanding job on this poor old gun team and limber,now when devils den has them on e-bay again i wont be so weak at heart to bid on one or two.
also if you want a copy of the original limber seat send me your mailing address and ill send you one not that the wood look good as it does.

many thanks for your wonderful blog
many thanks
dan mclaughlin


dan mclaughlin said...

mannie you did an absolutely wonderful job reviving this old fella,if you would like i hav some re-cast limber seats made in uk and id be glad to send you one if you give me your mailing address.
happy holidays
dan mclaughlin


joppy said...

Great project, well illustrated. I like the final glossy finish.

Mannie Gentile said...

That's very generous of you, but that seat is fitted so tightly there's no way it's coming back out.

But I do thank you for the kind offer.


Hugh Walter said...

Lovely lot, I've seen most of the Detail range treated to antiqued or Gold 'chrome' finish, but never a piece as fine as this.

I would have left them in the unpainted/non-antiqued state, but that's me. Any clues to a maker? Blue Box, Lucky or ABC?

Also; A bit worrying that American Paint-Stripper looks like peach and banana baby-food!! Ours (Nitromores) looks like evil snot!

Tim Gow said...

Great story as ever Mannie - although the painting in the last photo is a bit dodgy....

Scott B. Lesch said...

Mannie what a great resurrection of a great piece. when I was a kid I could only press my nose against the glass of the local upscale toy store that carried Britains Ltd.
Glad you painted the set Union!

Unknown said...

I think the original set was Confederate and the pewter was the result of the galvanization process after capture.

Anonymous said...

Swoppets ?

JohnnyRockets said...

So impressive and so cool!

Thanks for such a great piece!


Jim Rosebrock said...

That was a dandy post Mannie!! Skillful integration of the live Battery B gunners at the end. Jim