Sunday, 15 July 2012

Congreave’s Patent #37 Automated Spitfyre

Helblaster volley gun

“An harquebus that shall contain balls or pellets of lead, all of which shall go off one after another, having once given fire, so that with one harquebus one may kill ten thieves or other enemies without recharging it.”
Sir Francis Walsingham
(who knew a thing or two about killing large numbers of people)

“Forsooth brother, I wouldst put a cap in thine ass.”

The main artillery for my Dogs of War army comes from the rather splendid Bronzino's Galloper Guns, yet I also found a plastic Empire cannon in the ‘to-do’ stack.

I think the only reason I bought the kit was for the extras (I wanted the shot locker for my Paymaster's money chest and the barrel for my Bugman dwarves) – but I thought it would be rather wasteful not to get use from the other 95% of the kit.

Not wanting another cannon, and since I’m reinventing the Dogs as an Empire army, I thought I’d convert it into a Volley Gun. Not the oversized steampunk-style of the official model, but something within my modest converting abilities.

Helblaster volley gun

I did try a few other combinations, but converting is not my strong suit, so I settled on this: a regular cannon, with a platform of cut toothpicks and four Mordheim blunderbusses (chopped-down and hollowed-out) on top. It reminds me of the sort of gun a five year-old would invent: “give me one big gun and stick lots of other guns to it!”

Filing the hands off the blunderbusses took a while (and gave me time with my thoughts: such as, “you realise a Volley Gun kit costs the SAME as a Empire Cannon kit?”), and I ended up removing the butts, so they didn’t look quite so much like handguns glued to a cannon.

GW handily provide lots of little accessories with the kit, and I used up most of them to class up the conversion: the metal brackets make the toothpick platform more realistic, and the brass ‘doorknockers’ went on the end of the handgun barrels (I saw them acting as a kind of lanyard for the gunners).

Helblaster volley gun
"To fire your load, take a firm grip on the knockers. Stop giggling."

The crew were painted in Regal Blue and Skull White (washed with thinned Shadow Grey, to take the edge off the white), with Shadow Grey trousers. This matches them to the other war machine crew in the army (royal blue being the colour of British Foot Artillery). The fact that the Master Gunner has an eyepatch is, of course, entirely intentional.

Helblaster volley gun crew
Depth perception ain't nothin' but a thing.

The two standing crew were a mix of Cannon and Mordheim sprue. The one cowering on the cannon base is an extra from the metal Giant kit. The idea was to have a gunner clasping his hands over his ears, as C20th artillerymen did, but it just looks like he’s terrified after reading the Misfire Table. That works for me too.

Helblaster volley gun
"Sigmar be merciful - anything but a 1. Or a 6."
To finish this off, I also painted the chap responsible for this mad invention. Back when this was a Dogs of War army, he was going to be Leonardo da Miragliano character, but he’ll do nicely as an Empire Engineer.

Empire engineer
"When I'm not inventing death machines, I make up church puzzle games for Dan Brown."

The model is an off-brand nobleman that I picked up in Orcs Nest. The steed is metal, which makes for a heavy model, but keeps in with the realistic-proportions of the humans in the army. I removed his sword hand and instead had him reaching into a side-pouch filled with spheres (all modelled with green stuff). I think the original Leonardo da Miragliano had alchemical orbs as a weapon, so I wanted to show this model had easy access to his balls.

The head was the trusty ‘bald-moustachioed’ head from the Mordheim sprue. More green stuff gave him a full beard and long grey hair along the back and sides, which I think looks suitably inventor-ish.
Empire engineer

So that’s Mister Congreave and his Patent #37 Automated Spitfyre – impersonal mechanised slaughter at a price you can afford!

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