Saturday, 25 April 2015

My Gallipoli connection

Today is ANZAC day here in New Zealand when we commemorate the sacrifice among the Austrailian and New Zealand Army Corps in the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915.

I don't have a direct connection to the ANZACs because I am not a New Zealander - I was born in Canada and both my parents are English born. But I do have a Gallipoli connection. 

My great uncle, George Strachan, was a gunner in the  Ross & Cromarty Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, 4th (Highland) Mountain Brigade, attached to 26th Division. He died of wounds at Gallipoli on 5 June, 1915 and is buried in Pink Farm Cemetery, Helles, Turkey. He was 27 year old.

The only records I have of him are the entry in the cemetery record book above and the brass medallion below that was issued to his family in 1916.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

More Fortifications

I was so pleased with the stand alone gun emplacements that I made over Easter that I decided to go even further and build a fairly substantial piece that I need for a game coming up in October.

This is to be part of a significant fortified hill that will rise up in three or four levels and will be the centre piece for the game. Two of those levels of the hill will be formed by trench sections that I had built a couple of years ago, but the crown of the hill is this command post with a gun position on either side.

From the front

From the rear

The lefthand gun position

The righthand gun position

The command post

The two stand alone pieces.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter Project

Having cleared most of the lead pile, I needed an Easter project, so I turned to the old stand by - terrain. I need several gun positions for a Russo-Japanese War game that will be played later in the year.

Each model had to be large enough to take one gun model and crew which, when based, measures 40mm wide and 90mm long. So the model would be 105mm deep and 80mm wide. The forward edge would be angled back. The model would be open backed. The height of the walls would be 20mm.

The first thing was to make the basic form, which was pretty quick to build - just cardboard roughly cut and glued with PVA. This could be quite rough at this point.

The basic cardboard form.

Next was to construct the interior, which would have been constructed from whatever materials that were availble. I chose to use logs and timber. I gathered some twigs from the garden, roughly broke them to the right length and glued them into position, before gluing a few matchsticks in front of them vertically as though holding the logs in position. For the rest of the retaining timber I used matchsticks broken roughly and layed in a mix of vertical and horizontal. Finally on the base of the model I glued a track of matchsticks as a bed of timber on which the gun will stand.

The basic form with the retaining timber in place.

When all of the glue is set, I cut a piece of polystyrene about 150mm square. Roughly centred on the back edge, I cut the shape of the emplacement from the polystyrene and glued the emplacement into its final location, trimming the polystyrene to the apptoximate final outline.

The polystyrene cut to shape and the emplecement glued in place.

Once the glue is set, the polystyrene is roughly shaped.

The roughly shaped polystyrene

The next step is to tidy up the joint between the rough cut cardboard form and the rough cut polystyrene. First is to glue a few more broken matchsticks along the joint, as though they have been hurredly thrown aside. Then, using an epoxy putty, I constructed sandbags across most of the top edge of the retaining timber. I also put some sandbags at the open ends of the emplacement.

The sandbags in position

When the putty is dry, I coated the polystyrene with PVA, scattered a coarse builder's sand over it and left it to dry.

The whole piece with sand glued in place

Once dry the whole model is painted with a black undercoat. Then the whole model is painted with various tones of brown. Then a few finishing touches - some grass flock, a broken wheel and a bit of Woodlands Scenics foliage - the model is complete.