Not getting much done at the moment! Having had a good browse through my WW2 Russian stuff in preparation for the game I never had, I found that the quad fifty mount on my M16 anti-aircraft half-track was one gun barrel short! Curses!
I hate finding things broken, since I usually store vehicles and troops quite carefully. But in this case, it could just have been old age. The M16 is the old Matchbox kit and I think mine was originally built, you’ve guessed it, back in the 80s! I had a bit of a resurgence with WW2 Russians in the early 90s, adding an IS-2 heavy tank and three SU-57 half-track tank destroyers to my army, along with re-painting some T-34s and the M16 (with the latter painted in a similar style to the SU-57s, see photo below – that’s when I could still see well enough to paint tac marks and numbers). And after that, everything got put away for a while.
Anyway, I thought I’d have a go at fixing the broken barrel. Didn’t have a 50-cal Browning to replace it, but it’s not the easiest model to fix anyway, since the turret is glued in position! Didn’t have any brass or plastic tube, so thought I’d have a go with plastic rod. Stuck a short bit of 1mm diameter rod (the flash hider) onto a longer bit of 0.5mm rod (the barrel) with plastic cement and let them dry overnight. Using plastic glue let me periodically straighten them as the glue dried.
The 0.5mm rod is a bit smaller than the other barrels, but not too bad at a distance. Cut the flash hider to length and then thought “how do I fix the barrel to the mount”? I filed the thicker portion of the barrel left on the mount flush and then, and this is the bit that surprised me, managed to drill a 0.5mm hole in it (given that it’s only about 1.25mm in diameter) dead centre and without damaging anything! Then just cut the new barrel to length and glued it onto the hole! Couldn’t believe it worked.
Didn’t want to varnish the whole vehicle, so used some Humbrol gunmetal for the new barrel (Vallejo gunmetal would have looked too shiny), to find that it’s a lighter shade than it was 20 years ago! Mixed in some black and then painted all the barrels, adding some shading in black. Job done!
And, before I get a deluge of comments telling me that the Russians used the M17 and not the M16, I know that, and can still sleep at night (as you read this, one of my colleagues who reads this blog will be googling M16 and M17 to find the difference)! And it’s not as if I got the model to provide anti-aircraft protection for my Russian units anyway – as the Americans found in WW2, the M16 makes a fearsome ground support weapon!