28mm Artillery Position
The scenario we are using for the Dumfries show on 9th March requires the German artillery to be dug-in.
Also it turns out that Nigel has ordered a 150mm howitzer for the Germans, so an artillery position is required.
I dug about on the internet a bit but the contemporary photos I found were basically holes that had been dug into the ground and didn’t really offer anything in terms of looking like a prepared artillery position. I did a bit more digging looking at various scenic items offered by the various terrain selling companys in various scales. Also I had this desire to use corrugated tin sheeting in the model.
If you look at most tinned food cans you will notice that at least a part of the tin is ridged. Heinz soup tins have a bit of this but Heinz sweet corn tins have much more, for whatever reason… Anyway it seems to me that these ridged tins are perfect for making corrugated tin sheeting at 28mm scale and I was keen to try this out on an actual model.
So…I decided on a fairly basic premis of a dug-out area that would accomodate a gun (or two) with a covered area that could either be an ammo store or a make-shift shelter for the crew. And here it is:
The base is 2mm MDF and the blue is 5mm thickness blue foam board, 3 layers throughout with an additonal layer for the covered area.
The problem (it turns out) with making tin sheeting from food tins is that it is curved and does not want to lie flat, even after persuasion with gentle bending. the problem being if you hammer it flat which could be done, it will also remove the corrugations which are the whole purpose for using the stuff in the first place! So I ended up gluing the foam board into place and letting it dry. Next I had to glue/position the tin sheeting pieces and then drill holes in the base so that the match stick supports would actually hold the sheeting flat against the foam board. The pleasing aspect of this was that the match sticks have to be placed according to the need to hold the sheeting flat, which feels like it must be authentic to a full scale situation. In the photo the two pieces on the right have been bent further (around a paint pot) to make a curved roof for the covered area.
The sheeting is not difficult to cut but you must be careful as the cut sheets are sharp! I used a stanley knife which was more than up to the task of cutting through a food can but there was the danger of slipping while cutting which kind of focussed my mind on the job! I’d suggest extreme caution and wearing cut resistant gloves. Anyway, once the main body of the corrugated section was cut from the tin I tidied it up with an angle grinder fitted with a coarse flap-wheel, making sure to remove any burrs, and flattened the sheet as much as I could with gentle bending. Actually cutting the individual sheets from this was easy. Basically give it a fairly heavy score with a stanley knife and then bend/snap along the scored line. I cut all my sheets into standard sized sections of approcimately 20mm x 40mm which is roughly 4ft x 8ft in scale terms and approximately equal to standard corrugated sheet sizes. Actually it was a little less than 20mm as they were cut at an oportune corrugation.
After it was all glued and dry I coated all the foam board with polyfiller:
Photographed with a ruler to give an idea of dimensions.
Next I painted all the areas that would be ‘earth’ and added sandbags made from milliput. You could use green-stuff if you are affluent and even buy it from GW if you are really rich…
The problem with using this method for tin sheeting is that the metal sheets have very thin (sharp) edges and in particular sharp corners that could easily cut somebody. My solution to this was the liberal application of sandbags to the model to cover the sharp bits sufficiently that they are not a hazzard.
And then, the finished item:
Pictured with a BlackTree Designs German 75mm Infantry gun to give an idea of scale.
The sand bags were painted ‘khaki’ and then highlighted with a blend of khaki/light grey.
The actual model is probably not quite the right size. It feels to small for two guns but a little generous for a single piece. Perhaps it will suit Nigels 150mm gun though.
There was no authentic basis for this but it seems to me that troops would make use of what was available to them. There was certainly plenty of tin sheeting around in the England during the 1940’s so why would there not be a few sheets that could be scavenged from somewhere in Poland or elsewhere in Europe? Perhaps a little tenuous but it made a decent looking model I think.