Scrap modelling a SteamPunk Tank

His and Her Majesty’s esteemed shipwrights and steam boiler makers have used all the available materials including scrap to make His and Her Majesty’s first Land Ship.

I blame Mr. Alan Gruber of the Duchy of Tradgardland blog.

If he hadn’t mentioned in the comments about building a tank for my WW2 tanker inspired Steampunk infantry, I probably wouldn’t have got around to it. Thanks Alan.

So ‘corrugated card tracks’? This made a connection with some Lockdown grocery packaging in my scrapbox.

I didn’t go for the WW1 Rhomboid tank with tracks top and bottom, I went more for the more interbellum type Sno-Cat tank track.

The body of the tank was going to be another trusty milk carton. Some readers might remember the LCC Landing Craft Carton of 2019.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/milk-carton-creation-no-1-cheap-landing-craft/

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/11/02/landing-craft-carton-two-more-how-to-photo/https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/11/02/landing-craft-carton-two-more-how-to-photo/

I discovered bizarrely that one set of such tracks would suit one of my LCCs and make it a tracked landing craft (like a US Buffalo). That’s for another day.

Landing Craft aside, I kept the rhomboid shape that Alan mentioned by pushing the Carton ends out at the front and steeply in at the rear. Staples held these shapes roughly in place.

The basic tank shape and turret hole

I thought the central turret would come from a handy tin, but all the ones I found were too wide. Instead I found a spare lid and plastic jar.

The tools for the job … staplers, Sharpies, corrugated card and milk cartons.

There is a lot of space inside the Carton that could be used in other designs.

Old sprues from Pound Store mini tanks and coffee stirrers add instant scrap texture

The sprues I thought might suggest steam tubes or steel plating?

The Milk Carton pouring hole created the tank commander’s cupola.

The gun barrel was a pen lid. Additional armament is a front machine gun.

The bit that was most fiddly but fun was making the tank track wheels. I could have bought a set of brass gears and cogs from some of the many jewellery, crafting and even Hornby site. However keeping with the scrap modelling and scratch built feel, I found I had a few spare “cogs” and “gears” from not putting the friction motors and wheels in Pound Store mini tank kits (which is yet another blogpost).

Add to these some tiny buttons as the smaller road wheels and you have a quirky set of tracks, gears and wheels.

I like the scrap toy nature of these button wheels …

The buttons, big and small, came from a charity shop £1 bag of old buttons (retrieved from unsellable clothes?) that in the past has provided button ‘shields’ for conversions.

Copper painted button wheels and button viewing slits on escape doors.

The most useful buttons were ones with straight holes as they made very good concealed front and side viewing slits for safe firing and viewing.

A small hatch below the turret allows the turret crew, gunners and drivers to enter and escape.

Cupola open and cut down tank commander figure
The steampunk infantry sit between engines and turret. A step over the track links allows safe deployment of infantry without hitting the tracks.

Rear view of the copper and brass steam exhausts – note the signal flag.

One day I might work on individual tank track plates, but not yet. I might coat the cardboard tracks with PVA.

This Land Ship could work with a range of figures, from Victorian Redcoats right the way through Steampunk into Sci-fi.

All that remains now is to choose a name for this Landship – Any ideas? We’ve had a few family suggestions already.

All Land Ship name suggestions in the comments box, thanks!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 28 / 29 August 2020.

Steampunk Pound Store Plastic Warriors or WW2 Tankers?

Readers of the Pound Store Plastic Warrior might recognise the penny or tuppenny dreadful plastic tat from pound stores and seaside shops that make up our blog header.

Looking at a group of these 45 – 50 mm figures, I picked out the figure pose carrying a rifle (second from right) as a possible space figure.

I had intended to do a larger version of my 32mm Pound Store Flash Gordon inspired space marines and opponents which you can read about at

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/little-green-men-pound-store-plastic-space-warriors/

32 mm pound store “1930s futuristic” space marines and orange suited enemies

I thought some bright Flash Gordon or Dan Dare type spacemen in 1950s cowboy type colours and toy soldier style would be the thing.

Which is of course why they ended up as steampunked French tank crew in leather jackets.

In the usual way, this vague plan of colourful space figures went awry as I searched through Pinterest for Steampunk and VSF (Victorian Science Fiction).

Researching images on Pinterest – French WW2 tank crew, re-enactors and steampunk cosplay

Highly influential in my eventual ImagiNations colour scheme were the stylish uniforms of French tank crew and despatch riders.

Source unknown: French tank crew with the very futuristic rear end of a WW2 French tank

There are some very nice 1/35 Alpine Miniature figures tank Crew in their Brown leather jackets, tan trousers and Flying style helmets c. 1939/40.

https://www.squadron.com/SPECIAL-ORDER-1-35-Alpine-Miniature-WW2-French-Tan-p/lp35198.htm

This gave me the base colours – they were going to be painted in gloss toy soldier style using a mix of available Revell Acrylic Aquacolor gloss and matt, finished off with gloss spray varnish.

The figures after gloss Varnish but before the Steampunk copper highlights were added.

At this stage before Steampunk copper highlights were added, some of them could pass vaguely as WW2 or modern figures.

I wanted them to keep that 1930s to 1950s shiny gloss hollowcast look including the pink cheek dot traditional toy soldier face, as if they had just been taken out of their red box.

Once the copper or brass highlights were added, picking up cloned and distorted webbing details, this looked more like power cables for their brass steam or laser weaponry, breathing gear or comms equipment. Nothing too specific …

Grey basing rather than green was chosen for the plain toy soldier style tuppenny base, reflective more of an urban setting or even steel plate metal, maybe even the decking of airships and space craft.

An Officer and An NCO figure (with dark blue tanker beret) can be seen amongst them

I was surprised at how practically well these two tone figures fitted into the landscape, despite the shiny Steampunk bits and gloss Varnish.

Add in some suitably weird Pound Store / playset type Chinese made plastic tat Steampunk Artillery

The closest I could do to the French tankers and the futuristic back of their tank photo here …

Quel petrolier!” or A rough French translation for Lardy tank rules fans of their mischievously named ruleset “What a Tanker!”

… was a rough reconstruction of this historic photograph using the backside view of my lovely cap firing action friction based US tinplate tank (Thunderbolt USA 4U, unknown maker)

So there you go, you start off intending to make Flash Gordon space marines and end up with French tanker inspired Steampunk activity.

Proof that all you need is some time, paint, distraction, a few tangents and you can make something smart out of these unloved overlooked cloned and distorted Pound Store type figures.

For my simple 54mm Donald Featherstone inspired sci-fi rules Close Little Space Wars

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/close-little-space-wars/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/in-a-garden-far-far-away/

For more futuristic sci-fi toy soldier figure fun https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/international-star-wars-day-may-the-fourth-be-with-you/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN

Seaside Pound Store Plastic Clockwork Airships and Paddle Steamers

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Potential airships from  submarines? Sky boats from Paddle Steamers? 

I spotted these lovelies in a seaside plastic gift shop whilst looking for plastic pirates and other plastic ‘tat’.

Into my Pound Store modelling brain leapt the thought – steampunk airship bodies? Silver and bronze and wood panelled?

Civil War Paddle Steamer bodies, reversed and given some planking at rear?

They wind up well and on a smooth wood floor just keep rumbling for a long time along like speedy WW1 era landships.

These will all need a jolly good wash before painting, so they may have some proper launching, sea trials and naval manoeuvres first (otherwise known as “putting them into the bathtub”). Just to clean them up you understand …

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Imported or distributed by Kandytoys, purveyors of lovely beach toys and seaside plastic tat across the Southwest. 

My steampunk brain started working overtime on the dirigible possibilities of wiring     on a plastic bottle ‘gas barrage balloon’  and fixing the whole on a stand. Maybe Steampunk Submarines and Paddle steamers will be easier.

A bevy of WAAF style balloon handlers might be required for such dirigible beasts (they were not nicknamed ‘pigs’ by their WAAF crews just because of their shape). So far Bad Squiddo only does suitable crews in the form of WW2 Ack Ack searchlight Girls in 28mm, which may be a little small?

I have seen the beautifully painted original of  Laura Knight’s  detailed painting of such balloon girls, well worth seeing if you can http://www.damelauraknight.com/artwork/a-balloon-site-coventry-1943/

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Dame Laura Knight, Barrage Balloon site Coventry 1943 (Imperial War Museum collection Art.IWM ART LD 2750) Non-Commercial reuse. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/15503

This whole airship business might be because I have just finished the second Mortal Engines book by Philip Reeve and have the third one lined up.

Post apocalyptic / Futuristic ‘Municipal Darwinism’ (city eats city, town and suburbs). Steampunk with strong echoes of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Star Wars. Airships, mech troopers, predator cities on gigantic caterpillar tracks, submarine ice breakers …  what’s not too like? (Did I mention Steampunk enough?)

It’s not a million pulp or steampunk miles away from the Edwardian to 1930s era Scout ‘Wide Game’ ideas over on my sister channel, the Man of TIN blog.

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32mm Pound Store conversion Airship Troopers? 

They will hopefully compliment my Flash Gordon style 1930s airship or starship troopers converted from Pound Store 32mm plastic figures

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Pound Store conversion  32mm crews for scale of these futuristic steam punk Paddle streamers and sky boats. At the very least, bronzed and silvered up, they would make a great steam punk submarine and Paddle steamer base for gaming scenarios. 

Distracting Cheap plastic joy! More tat for the painting table?

Blog posted by Mark,  Man of TIN on 6 May 2019.

BPS – Blog Post Script

I have yet to see the much maligned Peter Jackson directed Mortal Engines movie, as  I became too busy near Christmas to see it in the cinema. I will catch up with it on DVD soon. Watch the Trailer here: https://youtu.be/IRsFc2gguEg