Friday, January 6, 2012

Cannon Modification

Another Christmas present I got myself was another  Britains cannon, this time a ten-pounder Parrott gun.

As with the 12-pound gun howitzer featured in my most recent post, the moulding, painting, scale, and assembly is superb.  The attention to detail, however, will be discussed momentarily.

The welt at the breech is the characteristic feature of the Parrott.  With its cast-iron tube the Parrott needed reinforcement to handle the pressures generated by the ignition of the charge.  The breech welt was designed to reinforce the breech; it was only marginally successful.  The Parrott was prone to tube "failure" after extended use, you know, like a battle.  Tube failure was an early euphemism for the tube explosively shattering, usually with lethal results for the men serving the gun.  The Parrotts were eventually replaced (by the Federals) by the accurate and dependable 3-inch ordnance rifle.  In its entire time in service the ordnance rifle had only one recorded failure.  I'll profile the Britains ordnance rifle at a later date

The muzzle-swell indicates that this is an early ten-pounder.  Later Parrots, sans swell, were standardized to accommodate a three-inch projectile.

Now the thing on attention to detail:

Hey! Where the heck is the sponge bucket???  This is a rather glaring omission, especially compared to the identical carriage of the Napoleon.  What gives?

Oh, that's right...

Red Chinese slave-labor - I forgot.

Like the Napoleon, this gun comes with the hand-spike deployed.  I want to use this as a towed piece, which required some modification.

With a razor saw I made my  fist cut at the rear of the taller ring.  By keeping the ring connected to the body of the gun enough support was provided for the next step...

the drilling.  Using a brand-new bit at low rpm the drill was easy but slow, a testimonial to the robustness of the metal Britians is using for these models.  After that first ring was drilled through I sawed off the remaining section of the hand-spike and drilled out the  second ring.

The result is quite satisfying.  True, in a towed configuration the tall ring would be folded flat, but that's a little beyond the tools that I have on hand.

Again, this is a nearly-flawless little gun from Wm. Britains.  Now, if you'll excuse me,  I've got some playing to do.

Soldier on!



Rodger said...

Lovely cannon and nice bit of info too.

Scott B. Lesch said...

Mannie, you may have already looked. The Parrott on the Britains catalog site has not bucket either.

"Collectors" may weep at you actually adding your own touch to the gun. Nice work.

Mannie Gentile said...


Thanks for the info.

Regarding collectors:

I swab out my smoking guns with the tears of collectors!!!!

Always good hearing from you Scott. Your posts are consistently great, by the way.