Saturday, 19 March 2016

From DaveD - Sudan - Royal Engineers - Up Up and Away... (70 Points)

A little sideline of something from left field for the Sudan. While flicking through some reference material I found mention of the "Royal Engineers Balloon Detachment " that took part in the 1885 Suakin campaign. In a fit of madness I thought that would be something very different, and an interesting modelmaking challenge.

Balloons were first deployed by the British Army’s Royal Engineers during the expedition to Suakin in 1885. The balloon, which was of goldbeater's skin (a thin transparent membrane with great tensile strength which was traditionally used as an interleaf for the manufacture of gold leaf) , covered with a netting. It  measured twenty-three feet in diameter. When filled it contained seven thousand cubic feet of gas.This had to be brought all the way from Chatham in the UK, a distance of nearly four thousand miles.

anyone seen any Fuzzies?


The balloon would be used above a column of troops at about 200 feet up to give advance visibility - communications was by dropping message down to the ground. Here it is mounted on a 300mm long, 5mm diameter transparent acrylic rod set onto a CD sized base. The rod fits in to the base of the balloon through the basket.

Tell Major Docherty to send for Corporal Millsy - I see a good spot !
The balloon itself is made from a 11cm Polystrene sphere from a craft shop with Milliput used to form the base inflating area part. I found a large "O" seal in the spares box to stretch around the equator part of the balloon. The netting was recyled from a bag of onions , and was used to cover the painted sphere and tied round with a cable tie to the base of the balloon. I made the basket from balsa wood , and the rigging and ground rope hanging from the balloon is twisted wire all soldered together.  Oh and two 28mm figures, and observer in the basket and ground person.


I now need to get my head around making a full ground crew, and transport for the deflated balloon and gas - but that's a project for another day or several.
 
This will be my last post for the Challenge - I was going to try and finish another couple of large Indian army units over the last two week , but too much day job got in the way.. So overall short of target,  but I got the main stuff done I wanted too.

Its been a blast to help out the SnowLord with minion duties over the Challenge. I have really enjoyed reading some of the "wind ups" and banter ...

So until another time - thats me...   
Wow. Just wow. What an absolutely fabulous final entry Dave. I'm just gobsmacked - it's such a wonderful build and looks gorgeous.  The onion netting is a stroke of genius and the transparent rod works very well in this application. I know you had a slow start this season, but you rallied with aplomb and gave us many wonderful things to look at, including this wonderful bit of whimsy.
Thank you so much for all your help this Challenge, Dave. Your 'Tribute' is on the desk so please stay tuned in this following week for that. Here's to meeting at Partizan this May and Challenge VII this autumn!

34 comments:

  1. Now that's what I call a left-field entry Dave. Superb! :)

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  2. Brilliant. My VBCW forces are about to get an observer corps

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    1. Martin, I am sure I have enough spares to sort one out

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    2. Maybe. I'm also planning to go to partizan so see you there

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  3. Curt, oh yes , I will be in for Challenge VIi, maybe even back to Napoleonics...

    And Partizan is done deal my friend,,

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  4. Spectacular Dave, I love it. Great use of the spare bits and the Nixon bag is genius. Also great ground work, it blends in perfectly with your boards.

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    1. Cheers Peter. It's certainly not bad for a bits n pieces build.. If into another it will be even better

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  5. Stunning wirk alround Dave. Does the model onclude any sandbags for ballest?

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  6. This...just....this is...awesome. I wish I could think of something better. But this is awesome. Well done Dave, you continue to WOW all of us.

    Also, I assume that Private Ray would have stolen all the sandbags from the depot...

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    1. Thanks Greg.... Yes there were some sandbags around at some point ... Until Ray saw the I think

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  7. This is fantastic Dave! A real stunner of a piece and a perfect ending.

    We'll see you next year!

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  8. Bloody hell, he's only gone and done it again! Another stellar submission, Dave, that is spectacular!

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  9. Now that's what I call a finale! Love it Dave, absolutely smashing work. Where did the hot air come from? Oh, wait, I think I know...

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    1. Cheers Millsy, thought you might like it. Oh I did think about doing a flight of them,,,!

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  10. Utterly brilliant. One of my favourite posts of the challenge - creative, wacky and will look great on the tabletop, which is the real test. Almost unbelievable that they actually did it (they transported gas how far?!?!?)

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  11. As mentioned above I also feel my VBCW troops deserve an observer corp! And a Beer wagon and a... (The list goes on!)

    Curse you now I Have to make one of these as well. Maybe 2 I think another club member will WANT one also. What have you started?

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    1. Aah yes.... Sorry about that..

      I found the poly sphere at Hobbycradt , think it was £3 for two...

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  12. Now that's really something different. Ace, just ace!

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  13. That is gobsmacking, Awesome! ;)
    A grand objective and set dressing too! A really slick finale, Dave. I like the pilot I can almost hear him screaming" Too High! TOO HIGH! I absolutely did not say higher!" ;)

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