From old digital radio to 54mm houses and coastal gun emplacement

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I loved making these unusual buildings over several weeks, using scrap materials.

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The larger house at Das terracotta clay stage onto a wooden radio base.

An old, long dead Roberts digital radio with wooden frame and stylish fabric print has been upcycled into several wooden 54mm buildings.

Brick ruin walls were provided with air drying Das terracotta clay.  This took a week or two to dry!

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The smaller house – yet to be painted – its shape dictated by the base, an internal piece of radio woodwork.

I wanted to create buildings that could serve a number of uses in a desert scenario or European Countryside on tabletop or garden games.

I wasn’t sure how best to paint these with Acrylics, so went for a ‘Blend’, inspired by two old stalwart childhood favourites, the Airfix Desert Outpost and the ruined house European strongpoint.

My Airfix Painting Inspiration?

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The amazing 1:32 Desert Outpost from Airfix
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The wonderful old 1:32 Airfix Strongpoint

After a non-descript base paint colour of sandy Afrikabraun  and brown Acrylic to suggest a sand or mud floor, I used a mixture of white and offwhite Acrylic for the whitewashed walls, followed by a dry brush of brown to weather the walls to a more ruinous state. Several coats of white / offwhite were required.

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The desert ruin setting
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Repaired Broken Britain’s and other 54mm hollowcast soldiers in this European ruin setting.
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Back view of the larger ruin.

Lolly sticks, cocktail sticks and wooden coffee stirrers provided the ruined window frames. Pushing a couple of ragged holes through the clay walls suggests that the building has been damaged by shell fire or the walls loopholed by troops.

I still have the smaller clay building to paint, which has been based on  another oddly shaped wooden internal section of the old radio.

Coastal Gun Emplacement?

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Looking at the other part of the old digital radio, once I had removed the electrics / electronics, the shape suggested some kind of camouflaged bunker.

I was inspired by some of the simple wooden  Hugar style buildings made in the 1930s for Britain’s. Paul Brookes has written a recent Illustrated History of Hugar, available via Amazon. 

https://www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk/index/Category:Hugar_Models

The metal front speaker grille that would form the bunker roof would be fine on a sci fi bunker. It didn’t look right on a 1930s/40s one, so was replaced by cardboard covered in some of the fabric pattern removed from the radio back before the back was used as the  larger terracotta house base.

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Inside the bunker, the simple gun mounting blocks and improvised crews.

Other internal bits of wood from the radio suggested two gun platforms.

I had no plyboard left and had already used the radio base for the larger house ruin, so I substituted stiff cardboard for a base. I tend to use whatever I have to hand, just to get on with the job whilst in the mood.

Amongst job lots of Broken Britain’s figures had been a couple of damaged old Britain’s AA guns without their trailer bases. I had been saving three of these guns for wooden gunboats but two seem to serve well enough here as requisitioned or improvised coastal guns.

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A scratch machine gun team from various damaged figures and pieces. The officer with binoculars was created from a trashed metal detecting find.

A scratch team of repaired Broken Britain’s and other hollowcast lead Khaki gunners  and  Infantry give the right feel.

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These steel helmeted Khaki infantry mounted on tuppenny bases are Britain’s East Kent Regiment on Guard, all broken figures gifted to me by John Forman rather than being scrapped, all of which needed base and rifle repairs.

I’m not sure who the textile designer was for the textiles on this limited edition (but dead) Roberts digital radio c. 2004/5, but I think the strong blotch camouflage colours are reminiscent of experimental wartime camouflage schemes.

For a bit of barbed wire, the metal spines of old notebooks come in handy.

On a scrap hound basis, I also have the old radio aerial  for mounting model aircraft at different heights, once a suitable wooden base turns up. Waste not …

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 13/14th October 2018.

 

 

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Author: 26soldiersoftin

Hello I'm Mark Mr MIN, Man of TIN. Based in S.W. Britain, I'm a lifelong collector of "tiny men" and old toy soldiers, whether tin, lead or childhood vintage 1960s and 1970s plastic figures. I randomly collect all scales and periods and "imagi-nations" as well as lead civilians, farm and zoo animals. I enjoy the paint possibilities of cheap poundstore plastic figures as much as the patina of vintage metal figures. Befuddled by the maths of complex boardgames and wargames, I prefer the small scale skirmish simplicity of very early Donald Featherstone rules. To relax, I usually play solo games, often using hex boards. Gaming takes second place to making or convert my own gaming figures from polymer clay (Fimo), home-cast metal figures of many scales or plastic paint conversions. I also collect and game with vintage Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, wishing like many others that I had bought more in the 1980s ...

6 thoughts on “From old digital radio to 54mm houses and coastal gun emplacement”

  1. Very inspirational article. Thank you. Never knew about Hugar – they are a style of building that I like to try and achieve for my toy soldiers. Thank you for sharing this. The emplacement is great. May need to adapt something similar!!!

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    1. Thanks John. I really enjoyed making these. I have a copy of the Hugar book on order for Christmas. There are a fair amount of Hugar building pictures on Pinterest and on the web from auction sites, some of the sale prices are eye watering.

      Like

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