Thursday, 28 November 2019

Roco Radio Truck conversion

Well, after the popularity of my Roco Dodge Radio Truck post, here is another one. Another truck I picked up at COW was a half converted crane lorry on a US chassis. The crane had been removed and a crude tarp made out of cardboard put around the truck bed. I toyed with converting it back to a crane again but in the end went with a larger radio/command truck.

I added a couple of radio antenna from brass and added some raised ventilation slits.

The cab and radiator are nicely detailed.

On this side I added a door, and filled in the rest of the back with some plasticard as well as adding more slits (they all help give it a bit more depth when drybrushed).

This got an overall OD paint job, with a brown inkwash over the cab and a pinwash around the raised bits on the rear as I didn't want to stain the vast expanses of flat surfaces. A drybrush tied it all together nicely and I'm pleased with how it came out.

I later discovered it is too tall to fit into my standard slimline A4 boxfiles without bending the aerials. Oh well, into the box with the King Tigers it went. 

Saturday, 23 November 2019

USS Pampanito

I was fortunate enough to visit Northern California recently and along the way visited the USS Pampanito , a WW2 US submarine docked in San Francisco. It is only 20 USD to look around, but very few people seemed willing to stump up.

The Pampanito fought in the latter half of WW2 and bears a distinct resemblance to a U Boat. She sank six Japanese ships and participated in the rescue of 72 Allied POWs abandoned at sea by the Japanese when their transports were sunk. 

Aft torpedo room, four tubes and four reloads. The boat was armed with both steam and electric torpedoes. 

Steam torpedoes, one with a cut away warhead.

Heads in the aft torpedo room. I was lucky enough to have the run of the boat to myself. 

Battery power controls in the aft manoeuvring room. 

Compartment door. I turned out to be a bit big for submarining and managed to bang my head on one of these. I've been on subs before and avoided that, but hey ho.

Aft engine room. A pair of ten cylinder diesel engines. The air vents to feed them are scarily huge holes in the hull.

Engine controls. 

Cutaway of the drive chain. 

The desalination plant, two water purifiers. The primary use was keeping the batteries topped up, with drinking and washing water as secondary considerations. 

Forward engine room. 

A tiny washroom. 

Crew bunks. Rather fewer bunks than crew, but these seem to be made of luxurious leather. The stowage lockers under the bunks were minute.


Tiny radio shack. 

The control room. Dive, dive, dive! Sadly the conning tower was off limits.

The Christmas Tree. Don't dive unless all the lights are green (red is an open hatch or valve). 

Dive control and depth gauge. Just like the movies. 

Yeomans  Station. At this point I noticed that the sub was actually floating in the ocean (unlike the other three subs I've been  on)  and the wave motion in the enclosed space was very soothing. 

Captains cabin, complete with depth and compass repeaters. 

Officers Mess. 

And a tiny supplementary officers galley. 

One of the two sonar extenders. These pushed the sonar apparatus out through the hull. 

Cutaway torpedo in the forward torpedo room. Six tubes and six reloads here. 

Forward tubes, two of them are open. 

Illuminated  tube. 

Loaded tube. 

Top of the pressure hull under the decking. 

3" deck gun. 

Twin Oerliken AA mount. 

Deck gun breech. 

Another AA mount, 40mm Bofors this time.

Back along the deck. The SS Jeremiah O'brien is moored in the distance. 

The conning tower. Unfortunately this was closed to the public. 

That was a really good morning, well worth the entrance fee and I'm amazed more people weren't on board. The sub is beautifully preserved and very atmospheric. I did have a moment of sadness however. My grandfather was a Japanese POW and lost his life on a Japanese transport when it was sunk in 1944. Sadly the Pampanito wasn't around to rescue him, but I'm glad she did manage to pick some prisoners up from the ocean. 

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Roco Dodge Radio Truck

I picked up a few bits and pieces on the Bring and Buy at COW earlier this year, once of which was that Charles Grant staple, the Dodge radio truck. I thought it would be handy for either my US or Russian forces, and although it is 1/87th, I do use some Roco things with my 15mm troops already and it looks OK.

It is a lovely little model, with well defined details and certainly a lot less clunky than the QRF metal ones. It is distinctly bigger than 15mm offerings, but not excessively so and as this is the only Dodge Radio Truck I'll own, I don't think it matters to much.

Lovely radiator detail. It has lots of raised lines and bumps which take a drybrush very well. I also like the empty windows which give it far more character than painted on glass/perspex.

And nice detailing on the rear truck body. I didn't add any antenna as the post bases are already there, and just did the whole thing OD without any markings so it can be used by Russian or US forces.

I first saw these in Charles Grants 'Battle', providing transport for the company HQs in his mechanised Russian infantry companies, and finally after almost 50 years, I actually own one! 

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Galactic Heroes - The Empire Strikes Back

After the triumph of Galactic Heroes a New Hope (see here) it was off to Tatooine for some more Star Wars silliness. In this scenario the players are elite Imperial commandos (Darth Vaders Inquisitorious plus associated hangers on, for those familiar with the Marvel Darth Vader universe).

Located in a remote mountainous region is a secret rebel base! Imperial forces have assembled to attack it, but it is defended by multiple energy shields there reports of a rogue Jedi in the area. Cue Darth and his Imperial commandos, who need to hunt down the Jedi and destroy the field generators before the attack can go in.

AT-ATs lined up to lead the assault from one flank.

And some AT-STs on the other. These all cheap die-cast toys from Japan, none of your 50 quid Revell kits here!

The surface of the rebel base, the Millenium Falcon seems to be parked here to.

Jawa sand crawler and some fried Jawas. I can't  think who would have shot these up, Sand People no doubt.

Over on the other side is a shot up hab near some moisture vaporators. More Sand People atrocities I expect. Poor Luke.

Some mega fauna roam the desert.

Tim C went for a trooper heavy assault team, including some Imperial Army heavy troopers. Thier first serious encounter was with Obi Wan himself. Oops!

Fortunately Obi Wan had an urgent appointment to do and swished away. This is not the base you are looking for.

John selected no lesser personage than the Emperor himself, no doubt keeping an eye on his wayward apprentice.  He also had this rather magnificent Imperial Probe Droid.

Tim G decided the Grand Inqusitor ws the one to go with, and outfitted with a dashing speeder off he went, chopping up some Rebel troopers with his double bladed lightsaber.

He went to investigate the hab and promptly fell nto a trap. This was to be a recurring theme.

Tim C began to assault the rebel bunkers.

While the Emperor checked out the trenches.

Tims stormtrooper squad had meanwhile commandered an AT-AT which set off towards the rebel lines. In this distance is Jerrys' enhanced Imperial Officer with a speeder and command na dscouting upgrades.

Jerry had also commandered an AT-AT which opened a withering fire on these unfortunate rebel troopers.

Tim C ran into Obi Wan again.

While the Emperor checked out the mountains.

Tim C and John commandered the AT-STs. A good job as some rebels popped up in the trenches.,

Jerry's AT-AT managed to fall into a trap, watched by the probe droid.

The AT-STs wobbled forwards slowly.

Jerry was rapidly up and running again, off to check out the Jawas.

The Grand Inquisitor chopped up some rebels standing around the Millenium Falcon.

Jerrys officer found some rebels up in the mountains. Sadly for them the AT-AT was in easy range.

ObiWan made a stand by the radar tower, but Imperials were all over the base by now.

Obi Wan and the Grand Inquisitor faced off by one of the generators.

The Grand Inquisitor was victorious however.

Jerrys'AT-AT fell into another trap by the sand crawler.

Everyone else converged on the last token, the moisture vaporators near the burning hab.

The Inquistor got there first, and promptly fell into a trap.

Half the Imperial forces converged on the trap to rescue him (and claim the token), but in the event he managed to free himself.

So at the end the base had been overrun. Sadly I can't remember who won! I have a suspicion it was Jerry, but may have been Tim. Anyway, as before it was a load of fun and not terribly serious. Mainly an excuse to push toys around and make blaster and lightsaber noises.