About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Friday, July 7, 2017

B is for Big Buggers Booming Belligerently in the Background

The soundtrack to modern war (or all war once gunpowder enters use) is the artillery, and Spencer Smith had a gun for every occasion, well; they had a gun for each range and a few other bits - as we shall see.

The picture is not as clear as it looks, there are two carriages for the AWI piece and no real clue as to why, the spare wheels, also called 'Limber Wheels' at some time are smaller than either of the gun-wheels, so presumably were intended for grebauvaille-system type limbers, not the full sit-on, storage-box types?

The Naval gun can cross periods as it's a pretty basic model of a weapon whose visual (at this level of detail) appearance changed little for a couple [several?] hundred-years. Then there are the two question marks, one of which appears to be a smaller naval gun calibre, but fits all three mountings, the other is very odd and we'll look at it again from a better angle in a minute.

The contents of a single 'set' to the left with a few colour variants and a made-up gun to the right. The far right cartridge is a mould-purge mix of blue and dark brown, the grey ones come with the black barrels and the brown one is the different carriage with a longer division between the trails - and a bit of 'old school' painting!

Differences between the two versions of the AWI carriage, the grey one appears lighter with more gaps in the 'ladder' between the trails, yet is actually a heavier moulding with deeper trails compared to the brown one.

The grey one is a tad longer too. I think the grey (and blue ones in the other shots) are later versions, with the brown one being a Camberley original and can only guess at why it needed re-tooling or even replacing with a near-duplicate?

With the two barrel types, originally sold in larger quantities with four guns (two field and two howitzers) and 30 crew, by the time I was purchasing these from Peter Johnson (from the ads in Plastic Warrior magazine!), they were sold separately as a pair with one of each barrel - although I dare say if you'd asked for two of the same; you would have got them.

The ACW gun is pretty straightforward as seen here (a crude'ish 'Parrot Rifle'?), but I think the smaller 'naval' barrel may be designed to convert this into a Napoleonic 9-lbr, but as most lists suggest an ACW pair of field-piece and howitzer, with similar pieces in use as Napoleonic artillery it's still not clear [to me].

Speaking of naval guns; 'The Naval Gun' (for which there were never offered sailors or marines?) is a large looking thing from a big ship's main gun-deck, indeed it is the biggest barrel of all the samples in my collection, by quite a margin.

As with the ACW photograph, this represents one complete set from the mid-years, one disassembled, the other ready for action and with both I only got two identical barrels?

So we come to the two question marks, they are definitely Spencer smith, same 30mm+/- size, same chocolate soft ethylene polymer, same drilled-out ends (nice touch) the one on the left could be the ACW/Nappy 'howitzer' or the Nappy 9-lbr conversion of the ACW carriage?

The one on the right could be a 6-lbr, appearing on some early lists? Or something for fitting to a ships deck? Or something missing its carriage? Or something . . . ?

So looking at the line-up again; AWI with a long barreled filed-gun and short barrel which may also be the Napoleonic and/or ACW howitzer barrel

Then the ACW which is also the Mapoleonic carriage, both possibly taking the larger (parrot) gun as a 12-16-lbr, and the smaller question mark as a 6-9-lbr? And/or taking the AWI howitzer barrel - as same?

The naval gun which may take the smaller question mark, the 'spare' or 'limber' wheels, to which were added larger metal ones in the later years and then the question marks themselves, both of which remain questions marks!

This won't help . . .

Listing - Artillery Only
Mid 1970’s Production (approximately 1974)
Standard Range
- Bag of 4 Cannon (2 field & 2 howitzer)
American War of Independence (suitable for conversion to 7 Years War)
- Bag of 30 Artillerymen and 4 Cannon (2 field & 2 howitzers)
- Bag of 4 Cannon (2 field & 2 howitzer)
American Civil War
- Bag of 30 Artillerymen (officers, buglers and gunners)

Early 1980’s Production (approximately 1981)
Standard Range (1980’s)
- Bag of 2 Cannon (field)
- Bag of 2 Cannon (howitzer)
American War of Independence (suitable for conversion to 7 Years War)
- Bag of 30 Artillerymen and 4 Cannon (2 field & 2 howitzers)
- Bag of 2 Cannon (field)
- Bag of 2 Cannon (howitzer)
American Civil War
- Bag of 30 Artillerymen (officers, buglers and gunners)
- Bag of 2 Cannon (field)
- Bag of 2 Cannon (howitzer)
Additional Items
- Bag of 2 Naval Cannon (24-lbr.)
- Bag of 2 Cannon (6-lbr.)

The 'Old Rectory' Years (circa 1992)
Plastic Range
American Civil War
P6 - 24 Artillerymen
P7 - 2 Guns (1 each of 2 designs? Can be used as Napoleonic Howitzers and Field-guns)
P10 - 4 limber wheels (all one size, smaller than all gun wheels)
Metal Additions to ACW Range
P11 - 4 Wagon Wheels (2 large, 2 small)
American War of Independence
P17 - 21 Artillerymen
P18 - 2 guns (1 Howitzer, 1 Field-gun)
Napoleonic War
P25 - 2 Guns (6-lbr’s)
Plastic Sample Packs (contents differ)
SP1 - Standard - 18th Century (15 foot, 2 mounted, 1 gun)
SP2 - Standard - Napoleonic (8 foot, 2 mounted, 1 gun)
SP3 - Standard - American Civil War (11 foot, 1 mounted, 1 gun)
Other Items
P26 - Naval Cannons (2)
P28 - ACW Beginners Pack (270 foot, inc. gunners, 66 mounted, 4 guns, rules, some metal)
Metal Range
American War of Independence/Severn Years War
AR1 - Artillerymen (pack of 3)
AR2 - Howitzer
AR3 - Field-gun
American Civil War
CR1 Artilleryman (pack of 3)
CR2 Cannon (duplicates as Napoleonic British 9-lbr.)

Internet Era Plastic/Metal Changeover Years
Standard Range
AR1 - Artillerymen (pack of 3)
AR2 - Howitzer
AR3 - Field gun (12-16-lbr. barrel)
AR3 - Field gun (6-lbr. barrel)
AR4 - Wagon wheels (4)
Civil War Range
CR1 - Artillerymen (pack of 3)
CR2 - Cannon (duplicates as Napoleonic British 9-lbr.)

Current (June 2017)
Spencer Smith 30mm 18th Century Figures
AR1 - Artillerymen (pack of 3)
AR2 - Howitzer
AR3 - Field gun (12-16 pdr barrel)
AR3 - Field gun (6 pdr barrel)
AR4 - Wagon wheels (4)
Spencer Smith 30mm American Civil War Figures
CR1 - Artillerymen (pack of 3)
CR2 - Cannon (duplicates as Nap. Brit. 9 pounder)

Eriksson/Tradition Range (sold by agreement with Tradition of Sweden)
Swedish Artillery 1700 – 1750 (Charles XII)
41A - Officer
41E1 - Gunner with match
41E2 - Gunner with rammer
41E3 - Gunner with ball
41E4 - Gunner, aiming
41E5 - Gunner with lever
41E6 - Gunner with powder trowel
41K - Driver
41SHv - Artillery Horse, left
41SHh - Artillery Horse, right
TK1 - Light Artillery gun
TK2 - Heavy Artillery Gun
TK3 - ?
TK4 - Limber
TK5 - Traditional Charles XII gun

This was found in the Spencer Smith folder while preparing these articles, I don't know where it came from or when (2014?), it could be a feeBay lot, it could be from someone called Clive, it's been cleaned and cropped but if you recognise it and want it removed, it's no problem; just eMail me.

It helps to illustrate how large the guns are in comparison with the figures - useful - as I for some reason decided to divorce all the artillery from the crew-figures in these posts . . . Doh!

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