Monday, May 30, 2011

Soap Factory Lorry

Here's my second effort at repainting a diecast vehicle. This one is also a Lledo which I scored from eBay recently. In this case it's a BOC Gases lorry (sans gas tanks which will go to make a bit of terrain I think).

This one was red with black running boards to start with and although I've kept the red colour for the chassis I've switched the tray to black as much because I could as anything I suppose. To begin with everything was disassembled before rubbing back with a fine paper. The black parts were sprayed and the red hand painted using GW Foundation Red followed by GW Red Gore. Everything got a drybrush and the details were picked out before being put back together. As with the BUF vans the wheels were immobilised, a new timber tray installed and the Photoshop signage applied. A number plate and matt varnish will see the end of work on this little chap too.

Remember to click on the pics for full sized versions...

If anything I'm happier with this one than the BUF vans. The colours really work plus the posters add a nice touch and tie it in with the factory of course. I'll need at least one more factory lorry but I'm not sure about the colour scheme for the next one. More red and black would be in keeping with a livery theme but maybe not as interesting from a modelling perspective.

Next up? Not sure as yet, although I already have a saloon in pieces ready to start. Maybe I should paint some chaps to ride about in the completed vehicles first!


BUF Transport

Today I've just about finished my first repainted vehicles. The following are two of the Lledo vans I got from eBay (Dairy Farm Bakery and Marks & Spencers). The Dairy Farm Bakery van was missing the roof and was quite knocked about so I decided to armour that one up, plus rebuild my own roof. The M&S van is pretty much as it arrived in terms of structure. They will both (obviously!) be in service as BUF transports.

Both vehicles were completely disassembled, rubbed back with a fine paper and resprayed in matt black. From there it was a case of dry brushing and picking out details. The armoured windows are corrugated craft card a.k.a. corrugated iron. The wheels have been immobilised. All the insignia and propaganda posters were knocked up in Photoshop and printed on high quality paper. All that remains to be done is number plates and a couple of coats of matt varnish.

Remember to click on the pics for full sized versions...

Having never repainted a diecast before I'm fairly happy with these overall, especially the artwork. I'm a bit worried about the durability of the paintwork but only time will tell on that score.

Next up: transport for the stalwart factory chaps from the soap factory.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Yesterday's Wirral

Huzzah! History books!

Something I've been very eagerly awaiting arrived in the post today - three books from the Yesterday's Wirral series published by Ian Boumphrey and available from (no surprise) the Yesterday's Wirral website. These are fabulous local history guides to various parts of the Wirral and include a tremendous collection of period photos, time lines and text.
Yesterday's Wirral. More inspiration than I could have hoped for!
I was extremely lucky to get my hands on some of these as they are OOP. I just happened to get lucky in that when I emailed Ian (lovely guy BTW!) he had a few copies which had been returned to him by another chap.

The one I am most impressed with is Port Sunlight: A Pictorial History 1888 to 1953 which runs to a massive 120 x A4 pages and contains nearly 500 black and white photographs covering all manner of things backed up by 1,200 odd factoids.

To say these contain more inspiration that I could have hoped for is a massive understatement. It's going to take a good few days to read through them two or three times over. Then the real task begins of restraining my enthusiasm! Just tonight I've found great ideas for two of my protagonists - The Port Sunlight Company of Territorials ('D' Company, 4/5 Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment) and the Works Fire Guard.

See the bibliography page for full details...

Toodle pip,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Motor Pool part II

My second set of vehicles arrived from eBay yesterday to add to the growing motor pool. This time around there was 9 in total, plus I also found a sports car I was given a while ago by friends.

This first photo is comprised of three Matchbox cars and a truck. There are the largest vehicles I've bought and although I'm not very happy with them in terms of size (they are on the large side) they are certainly nice cars.

Matchbox saloons and a van
The second photo comprises six Lledo cars and trucks. These are the most pleasing of all the vehicles I've bought and there are a couple (BBC radio van and saloon) which I'm tempted not to do anything to at all. Not only is the scale the best match to 28mm miniatures, the overall quality of materials and finish is supeior.

Lledo cars and trucks. Nice!
So there we have it. I'm going to hold off buying any more vehicles now until I've got the vast majority of these into a "finished" i.e. table-ready state. In most cases that will mean a repaint as a minimum. In several instances it will also mean some conversion work which will be fun. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Maps, maps, maps...

As I start to plan some activity in and around Port Sunlight I need a decent reference. Fortunately there are quite a few decent mapping sites on t'Internet which allow purchase and download of a range of good period maps.

Today I purchased and downloaded a "1923-1924 Popular Edition" at 1:30,000 scale from Cassini Maps. This gives me a good idea of the higher level features and terrain in and around Port Sunlight. Here's a snippet:

Port Sunlight and surrounds - 1923-1924 Popular Edition by Cassini Maps
I've also got my eye on a "1938 Pre-WWII" at 1:10,560 from Old Maps. That's super detailed and will give me some much more specific info on buildings, roads and terrain for individual scenarios. Even better it's bang on 1938 so I don't think I can do much better than that.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

The beginnings of a Motor Pool

Having read a lot of material on using diecast vehicles in 28mm I decided to have a try at it myself. Given the considerable cost difference between these and resin / whitemetal scale kits this is a good place to start.

I got the following from eBay for about AUD $15 which was pleasing. They're a mixture of Lledo (x1) and Corgi (x4). The Lledo vehicles are a fair bit nicer, especially the wheels. The Corgi wheels have a very cheap look and feel about them.

Corgi, Lledo, Corgi, Corgi and Corgi.
So what to do? The Lledo van will get turned into something armoured, probably for the BUF. The two tankers might do for some sort of factory vehicles or army fuel tankers. The bus is trickier and I might give that some more thought.

I've got another nine vehicles of different sorts on the way, also from eBay. That should do me for a while I think given I still have to clean them and and repaint where necessary.

What ho!

Sourcebooks! At last!

Last night my first three source books arrived from North Star Military Figures and I've been madly reading and filling my head with ideas...
Core source book (2nd Ed) and background supplements 1 & 2
Published by Solway Crafts and Miniatures, the books are simply brilliant, chock full of interesting background, ideas and some marvellous pics of other people's miniatures and games. I'd highly recommend them to anyone considering gaming VBCW.

Now if only some miniatures would arrive from Gripping Beast...


It begins...

Where it all started! The iconic Sunlight Soap packaging
Hello all,

Welcome to "Port Sunlight 1938", a wargames blog about Port Sunlight and the Wirral in the UK.

The genre is A Very British Civil War (VBCW) in the late 1930s, so although the setting itself and much of the background is real, from now on things get interesting...

Port Sunlight is an ideal setting (to my mind!) for an ongoing struggle. The soap factory has a natural byproduct in glycerin, which has obvious uses in the manufacture of explosives. The workers of the soap factory, desperate to preserve their more or less idyllic working environment, struggle against outside influences who would invade, take over or otherwise infringe on the factory, the community and surrounding area. They are aided by and allied to the more formalised pro-Sunlight forces in the area (see below). The communists of the LFS, local BUF / fascist bodies and other militant forces would all dearly love access to the glycerin and raid frequently to that end.

My initial planning so far is heading this way...

Potential protagonists:
  1. Port Sunlight Worker's Militia (PSWM). More socialist than communist, the workers of the soap factory have formed themselves into a militia to defend their jobs and homes. They often "borrow" factory assets like trucks to further their activities.
  2. Leverhulme Local Defence Volunteers (LLDV). Raised by the current Lord Leverhulme and based at Thornton Manor, the LLDV are dedicated to preservation of the local area, including the industrial infrastructure.
  3. Others: Cheshire Yeomanry, Liverpool Docks Communists, Manchester BUF, Welsh, etc, etc.
Caveats of the project:
  1. At all times the memory and history of the original Lord Lever, his family and what they stood for should be respected. My "inner gentleman philanthrope" will not permit anything less!
  2. Anyone is free to suggest ideas, participate or otherwise enter into the fun provided they respect point 1.
So here we go. Post number one is out of the way.

Tally bally ho!