Saturday, July 24, 2010

PBRs for the Bassac

Earlier this year I received two Britannia 20mm PBRs for my Vietnam project. The hull and canopy are cast in a tan resin that is very hard and quite brittle; the other parts and crew are cast in metal. The crew consists of a partial fig in the twin .50cal turret, and three standing figs; the boat commander, an M60 gunner, and the rear .50cal gunner. The castings are very clean, and the crew are quite nice.

The hull comes with a wake cast as an integral part of the hull, which looks nice. After some consideration, I decided to remove the wake with a Dremel, as I plan to scratch-build other riverine boats and craft, which will not have the wake cast into them. Unfortunately, I did not take a pic of the model before removing the wake, but a photo can be seen on Britannia's site showing a model with the wake.


One of the canopies was broken in shipping, so I decided to make a replacement out of sheet styrene. After roughing out the first one, I decided to make a second so that the two models would match. I used Bondo brand automotive glazing putty to smooth out the hulls and to add texture to the canopies. The putty is the orange stuff in the photo below.


I then sanded and primed the models and located the crew positions on the model.

At this point I noticed that the model was different from the boats depicted in my source materials. On the model, the rear .50cal is mounted on what appears to be an engine cover, and the there is no deck or armor for the M60 mounts.

The actual PBR Mk2 has a slightly raised deck with two armor plates and mounting points on each for an M60 GPMG, and the .50 cal is mounted on three legged tripod, there is no boxlike structure located in the rear of the boat.

So I Dremeled out the box under the .50, and built up a deck and armor for the M60 out of sheet styrene as shown below.

Rather than build the tripod, I simply used a piece of styrene tubing for the .50 cal mount, as there is little space int he back of the boat, and I wanted to be able to move the gunner freely to face the enemy. The legs of the tripod would have made this a little harder.

This was the last of my modifications, so I painted the boats, glued the boat commander in place in each boat, but left all of the gunners loose, so that they can be positioned to face the enemy during game play.

So I'm finally making some progress, my PBRS are ready for the river. Next, I have to finish my Seawolves (which are just about done), and then build some terrain.

I used a number of references including the old Squadron book "Riverine" by Jim Mesko, and photos and information from the following sites:

http://www.militaryfactory.com/imageviewer/shp/gallery-shp.asp?ship_id=PBR-Patrol-Boat-River

http://www.riverinesailor.com/PBRLinks.htm


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