Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dear Santa: Thanks for the Artillery


Under my Christmas tree were not one but two 54mm Wm. Britains 12-pounder light-gun howitzers, commonly called the "Napoleon". Needless to say I am a happy boy.

The gun is up to Britain's usual meticulous standards and is a joy to look at.

In a side-by-side comparison with the real thing it's a dead-ringer.  (Isn't it cool that I have daily access to an actual gun and limber?)

Britain's sets a high standard for packaging though one can only imagine how this impacts the cost of the piece.

I am not one of those unusual types who keeps toys unopened as an investment.  Regular readers of this blog know that I am all about playing with toy soldiers.  High-end miniatures are no exception.  The only warfare that this piece will be exempted from will be rough outdoor play; for table top combat, however, it will be expected to do its duty. 

Join me for a quick walk-around

The scale is right on and the details are exquisite (first use of the word on this blog)

Note that even the front sight is in evidence.

 Like the real thing it has a hand screw below the breach for elevation and a hand-spike for deflection.

The only anomaly in the design of this piece is that the hand-spike would not be deployed while the implements are still in the stowed position. 

For that reason I may remove this hand-spike, drill out the trail rings, and use this as a towed piece behind a limber.  I realize that this idea is anethema to "real collectors" but Hey, get your own gun.  My gun, my rules.

The "prolonge" is well sculpted and proportional to the rest of the guns.  The vent is distinct as is the bracket (above the knob) for the pendulum-hausse ( the removable rear-sight).

 The water bucket and implement hooks are perfect, though the bucket, in an act of gravity defiance, is canted slightly forward, though this angle is appropriate in the towed position.

Both the sponge-rammer and worm are correctly positioned and stowed. Goodness!  That is one factory-fresh sponge, n'est-ce pas?

Trunnions and spare hand-spike are  also beautifully sculpted.

Land o' Goshen! even the underside is fully detailed.  Britains just can't be beat.

Here's a quick look at the real thing in action:

Let's get a half-detachment in place to put this bronze beauty through it's paces.

While number 1 stands by with sponge-rammer, and number 3 dutifully "thumbs" the vent, number 2 fills in on the hand-spike, setting the deflection.

That this detachment is only half-staffed will be rectified as soon as the paint cures on their 54mm comrades-in-arms.

To prevent premature firing, and the resultant maiming of number 1 it is  essential that number - keep his thumb-stall snugly over the vent throughout the loading process.

See my Park Service video here for a full explanation of the loading and firing process for a twelve-pounder.

Time to get this piece in battery for some actual combat.

With that incredible Britains accuracy its difficult to tell which twin has the Tony

This gun's going to look great with its five sisters.  I'll keep you posted.   Until then...

Soldier on!




Rodger said...

Awesome model. It really looks the part.

Anonymous said...

Who's a lucky lad then! I have two English Civil War 9 pounders with crews coming but they didn't make it to Santa's sleigh.

I enjoyed the film. I've seen a UK group doing British gun drill of the same period, interestingly, there are a number of differences.

Bill Hupp said...

I have been working on my ACW batteries and got a number of those Nappy's when they first came out in 2010 at the Chicago show (end of the day I got a couple of discounts from dealers not wanting to repack.)

Based on your comments I will now have to take OFF all those lovely tools as I have the guns posed in action not being towed.

Love the rust on the wheels.


Scott B. Lesch said...

Those Britains guns are nice. I can see TSSD artillery men with them if you mix plastic and metal.

Bill Hupp said...

Here is a link to my ACW batteries, both the planning and some of what I have finished.

The Collector said...

The TSSD gunners are great but just too big IMHO.