Out of the Shed: A load of model aircraft kits … and other sundry models

In a recent blog entry I mentioned finding a crate that contained a large number of unmade 1:1200th-scale model warship kits. I also mentioned that the same crate contained a number of other unmade kits. What I didn’t state was what sort of model kits they were.

In fact the majority of the unmade model kits in the crate were 1:144th-scale aircraft, including:

  • 5 x Revell Sea Harrier Fighters
  • 7 x Fujumi Lynx Anti-submarine Helicopters
  • 5 x Revell Bf-109E Fighters
  • 1 x Revell FW-190A Fighter
  • 5 x Revell Ju-87 Diver Bombers
  • 3 x Revell Ju-88 Bombers
  • 3 x Academy Minicraft He-111 Bombers
  • 2 x Academy Minicraft North American P-51D Mustang Fighters
  • 1 x Academy Minicraft Lockheed P-38J Lightning Fighter
  • 2 x Academy Minicraft Grumman TBF-1 Avenger Torpedo-Bomber
  • 1 x Academy Minicraft Martin B-26B Marauder Medium Bomber
  • 1 x Crown Nakajima C6N1 Fighter

An interesting and somewhat eclectic mixture of aircraft types! I seem to remember buying the Sea Harriers and the Lynxs to go aboard a model aircraft carrier that I later passed on to Chris Kemp. The rest were bought to supply air support for my Megablitz armies … but somehow never progressed beyond being bought.

There was a single 1:87th-scale model aircraft in the crate, a ROCO Minitanks Ju-52. I saw this in a shop and just had to buy it. All I need now is a game to use it in. (I can hear the theme tune of WHERE EAGLES DARE in my head as I write this!)

The other kits in the crate were all of ships, including:

  • 2 x Heller Potemkin Pre-Dreadnought Battleships
  • 2 x Noch HO-scale Tugs
  • 1 x Noch HO-scale Motorised Barge
  • 3 x Noch HO-scale Dumb Barges

This is enough ships to mount a bath-tubbed version of Operation Sealion … with added off-shore gunfire support!

A cheap bunker/pillbox

During a recent visit to a local craft shop I saw some ready-made balsa wood/basswood hexagonal boxes on sale for £1.25. I had previously bought some slightly smaller versions with the intention of using them as the basis for some nineteenth century fortifications, but the larger ones looked ideal subjects for conversion into concrete bunkers or pillboxes that I could use with my 20mm-scale figures. I bought two of the boxes, and over the past few days I have been converting them.

The first thing I did was to remove the hinges that held the top and bottom halves of the box together.

I then set the tops of the boxes to one side and marked the position of the weapon slits on each face of the lower half of the box.

I carefully made vertical cut in each face of the box down to the line I had drawn around each box. I then used a craft knife to gently cut along the line between the two cuts on each face of the box. The thin gap that was created allowed then me to use the tip of the knife to gently prise out the wood between the vertical cuts. Once that was down each of the ‘slits’ in the faces of the hexagon was tidied up and sanded.

As I wanted to use the tops of the boxes to form the roofs of the bunkers/pillboxes I needed to make sure that they would not fall off during a wargame. I therefore glued pieces of matchstick in the corner of the bottom halves of each box, making sure that the pieces of matchstick projected slightly above the top of the box sides.

Once the glue was dry I checked that the tops of the boxes fitted snugly onto the bottoms. I then sealed the wood using two coats of PVA glue, making sure that first coat was properly dry before the next was added.

The bunkers/pillboxes were then undercoated before being painted light grey.

Mimi, Toutou, and Kingani

I am about to start writing what I think will be the last chapter of my book about gridded naval wargames, and it will feature an explanatory battle report about the fight between the British gunboats Mimi and Toutou and their German opponent, Kingani.

The models I am using are approximately 1:600th-scale and were built from various bits and pieces I had in my spares box; in other words, some spare ships’ boats and light guns from Airfix warship kits. For ease of handling they were stuck on pieces of Plasticard and labelled. They are not the most beautiful models I have every built, but they serve me well enough in several tabletop battles.




The story of how Mimi and Toutou got to a lake in the centre of Africa is an epic tale that inspired C S Forester to write THE AFRICAN QUEEN and would make a wonderful film.

My American Civil War ironclads are finished

I finished painting my two new model American Civil War ironclads yesterday … and this is what they look like:

With luck I should be able to see how well they perform in action later this week. I will not be writing a detailed blog entry about any battle I fight as I intend to include it in my forthcoming book about gridded naval wargames, but I will share any interesting photographs that I take.

American Civil War model warship plans

I have spent quite some time today turning the hand-drawn pencil drawings I made as I constructed my two American Civil War ironclads into proper drawings that other people may be able to follow.

The results are as follows:

Plans for the Casemate Ironclad.

Plans for the Monitor.

They will be used in my forthcoming book about gridded naval wargames as part of a ‘How to construct simple American Civil War model ironclads’ appendix.

A quiet Monday finishing some models

After all the excitement of visiting SALUTE and then writing my photo-report, I managed to spend part of yesterday quietly sitting in my toy/wargames room finishing two models ships that will be featured in my forthcoming book about gridded naval wargames.

I needed a couple of American Civil War ironclads, and so I built a Casemate Ironclad …

… and a Monitor.

I intend to include an appendix in the book that explains how I built these two models, but the techniques I used are similar to those I have used before.

Before I can use the models, they will need to be given a couple of coats of PVA glue to seal the wood they are made from, after which I will paint them … probably in contrasting shades of dark grey. Once that is done, battle can commence!

A short progress report … and another ‘thank you’ to Ian Dury

Work on re-writing my Spanish Civil War book continues apace, and the end is in sight. On the Heroscape front, after some experimentation I have now chosen the three basic shades of green I am going to use. They are

  • Main colour: Humbrol Matt Grass Green (No.80)
  • Wooden areas: Humbrol Matt Dark Green (No.30)
  • Marshes and poor going: Humbrol Matt Mid Green (No.101)

I am now thinking about the colours I want use to signify areas of sand and rock as well as roads/tracks.

I recently received another small parcel from Ian Dury. This one contained two further gun emplacements suitable for use with ROCO Pzkpfw VI Tiger I turrets. They look very impressive …

… and I hope that he will write a short article for one of the wargaming magazines to explain how he scratch-built them.

I think that they could serve both as part of a system of land defence (as was done across Europe during the Second World War) and as part of a larger coastal defence fortification.