Monday, February 10, 2014

Cardboard Cars - and other Army Men schemes...

I really ought to be following up on other topics - something about combat game mechanics, marking the state of troops, play testing rule sets, and the opening battle that, in 1740, though the Emperor Violoncello was yet living, triggered the War of the Imperial Succession - but, to be honest, I'm just not in the mood.   Instead, how about some pics of stuff I've been doing in respect of my Army Men project.

I began these 'Beaverbug' light armoured cars about 6 months ago, but until recently had only completed the hulls.  Here they are as of a week ago, with front grilles, engine hatches, vision slits and turrets added.  

 Four are armed with a light 20mm cannon; the fifth with a MMG.  The last was Brian's idea ('Uncle Brian' of A Fist Full of Plastic blog spot).  Originally I was thinking of a couple of these in a turretless 'open topped' vehicle, and a 'dry run' indicated they would have looked fine.  But in the end I stuck him in an open topped turret instead, and made just the one.  It serves as the command vehicle, offering anti-personnel support fire.

'C' Squadron, 17th Recon Group, on the march.  The commander in in the centre of the column.
 A section of the recon Group's Assault Platoon: tan trousers, brown jackets, green helmets.

Now these things have become my Kiivar water-cooled HMGs.  The gun bit was originally the weapon atop a buggy-like vehicle that you will see below.  The turn table and legs were made from sprue pieces from the Wargames Factory 'War of the Spanish Succession' figures.  A brad driven through the circular sprue centre and into the base of the gun gives it a traverse capability.

These are the vehicles that originally transported those weapons about.  A heavily trimmed and cut down figure has become the driver, and a great deal of surgery was done to achieve the standing machine-gunners.  I can't say it was a tidy job, but they don't look too bad from a distance. 

The  camouflage scheme on these scout buggies I've decided as the standard for the Kiivar Army, though it is intended as a rag-tag sort of affair.  

The Beaverbug Armoured Car Squadron in its final livery.  The first digit of the vehicle number indicates the squadron - 'C' Squadron in this case.

I've used house paint on these, a good deal of it left over from painting the kitchen just before Christmas: a very light beige and a darkish green.  The green is heavily outlined with black marker pen.
The next few pix I've added 'cos I think these little guys make a handsome force of armoured cars.
Of course these are light vehicles, two of a crew (driver and commander/gunner), of moderate cross-country performance, so not what you would call 'fast'.  The Raesharn equivalents will be larger and faster, and possibly armed with a coax cannon and machine gun - unlike the single weapon with which the Beaverbugs are equipped.

 'C' Sqn/17th Recon advancing: armoured cars, supported by scout buggies and a Recon Assault Squad.

           A lower angled view...

Finally, I painted up the very few recognisably Japanese figures as a section of the infantry of Omez - allies, or more accurately, auxiliaries to the Army of Raesharn.  

The yellowish uniform colour, with an ink over-wash (Nuln Oil) comes out rather well, though the paint job itself is pretty untidy.  The putties and webbing has been done in an off-white, pale beige colour and also over-washed.  A single section won't do, of course, so I'll probably add in other figures to bulk them out into at least a platoon of 20 figures, and possibly a 2 or 3-platoon company of 50 or 60 figures.  One thing I'm not short  of is Army Men figures!


  1. Nice work on the vehicles, both the cardboard ones and the converted plastic ones, and on the guns and troops!

    1. Thanks, Fitz-Badger. I've decided in the interests of not acquiring any more Army Men figures to augment my equipments with a lot of cardboard stuff...
      As these are 'el cheapo' army men figures, they aren't going to receive top-notch paint jobs (which would be spoilt by mould markings anyhow), but I hope at least they'll do.

  2. Replies
    1. Cheers, Don. Not the accuratest work, but functionality and speed of assembly and/or paint work are the criteria I'm aiming for.

  3. Archduke Piccolo,

    Very impressive ... and it shows just what one can achieve with a bit of imagination and some basic modelling techniques.

    All the best,


    1. Thanks, Bob -
      Actually, I'm beginning to have quite a bit of fun with this sort of thing. I've just completed a 2-gun artillery battery - tomorrow, I daresay I'll have built a limber and have a 2-horse draught team ready.

  4. They are irresistibly cute! I didn't mean to say cute, really, but the name Beaverbug forced me to.
    Well done.

    1. 'Cute' is good! I don't mind 'cute'. I believe the original was a design sponsored by Lord Beaverbrook for the Home guard in WW2. As a fighting Recon vehicle, I daresay it was on a par with New Zealand's 'Semple' tank, sponsored by the Labour MP Bob Semple. Broadly speaking the thing was a corregated iron cladding on a tractor... Fortunately it never saw action. Canada seemed to have more clues about what would make good and useful military vehicles.

      I don't propose making any 'Semple' tanks, but the 'Beaverbug' in my army Men world is a fairly handy little recon vehicle.

  5. I am frequently in awe of your ability to scratch build equipment. The whole ensemble is coming together nicely. I'll confess that I spent sonetime looking for under scale, cheap plastic cavalry but ended by looking at semiflat PA homecast 1930 Swedish cavalry of about the right size and had to walk away before whole armies of semiflat between the wars started wandering about my gameroom!

    Btw how did your wife react to a beige kitchen with dark green mickey mouse ears camoflage?

    1. She was most impressed. I seem to recall 'accurate' was one of the adjectives she used...Perhaps I should post a pic...

      As for the Army Men thing, the tricky bit is organising all the 500 or so figures into armies.with proper TO and Es. The last time I posted anything on organisation - well over a year ago now, I think, I had maybe 150 figures or so, tops.

  6. Beaverbug are my favourites- amazing.Can you tell us a little of the process?

  7. Lots of scratchbuilt goodness in this post Ion. NZ actually had Beaverette's as well.

    "A total of 208 of these vehicles were produced in New Zealand between Febuary and July 1942. The pilot model was built in the NZR workshops, in the Hutt Valley, in August 1941, from plans drawn up by the AFV School in Waiouru. In November 1941 approval was given for production to start. They were based on a Ford 4x2 truck chassis, and used steel from the wrecks of the ships, MOKOIA at Dunedin and PORT BODEN at Wanganui. They were used by the Light Armoured Fighting Vehicle Regiments (LAFV Regts) until about July 1942, when they were phased out of service with the Army. Some were taken over by the NZ Air Force for airfield defence"

    Well done on the pain scheme as well.

    1. You learn something new every day: I never knew Kiwiland had these chappies. Of course, in my imaginary world, they are called Beaverbugs, which I'm beginning to think might have been my own coinage for them!
      Thanks. Paul,

  8. Replies
    1. When I saw an article on their construction in an old Mil Mod magazine, I thought to myself I thought: 'I just gotta have a fleet of those!' The MG variant was Brian's inspired suggestion.

  9. Those cars are truly amazing. It's crazy how good they look.