Sunday, November 14, 2010

Motoring Into Battle

I've always wanted a Jeffrey Quad. Strike that; not always. Just for the past few months, once my understanding of the vehicle grew.
And it's not like there aren't a lot of Great War era 1/32 military vehicles. In a word; they are virtually nonexistent. True, there are a few 1/35 armor kits, some resin models, all pricey stuff and most really not suited for play. There are a few 1/32 models available, such as a German A7V and British Mark IV Tadpole, that are specifically designed to be used with 54mm soldiers. There are even a few limited production diecast models as well, that usually require a line of credit to purchase; play is out of the question with these, and I'm afraid I don't have the budget for them.
Where are the FT-17's, the Liberty trucks, and, yes, the Jeffrey Quads?
Which brings me to my model.

This was started in the summer of 2010, more of a test build to see if another craft kit, this time the covered wagon, could be turned into something a bit more usable. I picked up a few to use as limbers, but decided to convert one into a very simple Jeffrey Quad, using mainly the parts from the kit. I got as far as most of the body, which is extremely simplified. The cargo bed is wider than the prototype, but there were so many trucks that were conscripted that differences are to be expected. The wheels, though, were too large, and the replacement wooden wheels I had on hand were too thick.
That didn't work the way I had hoped.
I stopped in August when it was discovered that the plan to use nothing but parts from the kit was a poor one. At the beginning of this week, I decided to change my approach.
New wheels were made from 3/4" craft wheels extended out to 1 1/4" using black-brown scrapbook stock, 3/16" wide strips glued to the circumference to make new tires. The wheels would be turned around, with the flat side facing out. Axles were made from 1/16" dowels, using paper to shim them up to allow the wheels to fit snuggly.
A new frame was made from 1/8" square strip stock. While more detailed leaf springs could have been made, I chose to simplify those as well using 1/8" balsa sheet. 3/16" coffee stirrer wood was used for making axle rails.

The grill was made from scribed cardstock with strips for detail. The single light was made from a 3/16" wooden plug in a yoke made from copper wire. The steering wheel was made from a 1/2" snap that was worked with files to make it appear more accurate. The radiator cap is the head of a brass brad nail.
The canvas cover for the cargo bed was made from the fabric supplied in the kit, as was the wire frame found at the front and back. I designed this so that it can be removed. Coffee stirrer stock was used to reinforce the canvas at its edge. A brass jewelry hook was used for the tow.

Additional wire and wood bits were used to finish the model out, and it was painted with Testors Flat Olive, acrylic black for trim, acrylic gloss black for the steering wheel and seat, and Ceramcoat Timberline Green for the canvas.
It's not 100% accurate, and will certainly not win contests. But for toy soldier play, it is just right.

(Note: edited 15 November to correct some grammatical errors and to add some additional content)

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