Sunday, 6 October 2013

British Expedition Firepower: The Screw Gun


Smoking my pipe on the mountings, sniffing the morning cool,
I walks in my old brown gaiters along o' my own brown mule,
With seventy odd gunners behind me, an' never a beggar forgets
That it's only the pick of the Army that handles the dear little pets - 'Tss! 'Tss!

For you all loves the screw guns - the screw guns they all loves you!
So when we calls round with a few guns, o' course you will know what to do - hoo! hoo!
Just send in your Chief and surrender -  it's worse if you fights or you runs:
You may go where you please, you can skid up the trees, but you don't get away from the guns!
(an excerpt from 'Screw Guns' by Rudyard Kipling)

Yup, my small British expedition is bolstered by that curious artillery piece which served in the Sudan campaign: the 7 pounder Rifled Muzzle Loader screw gun. Designed for use in the rough terrain of Britain's empire, it could be carried on five mules or camels, with the barrel in two parts, the breech and chase, which could be screwed together quickly in action, yet transported separately to spread the load.





There seems to be a difference of opinion on the gunner's uniforms, with the painted example of the Perry's site in their home service dark blue, as in Michael Awdry's fine example, while the Perry's very useful Sudan uniform guide has them in grey serge. I went with grey out of personal preference, to differentiate them from the Naval Brigade guns on the tabletop.

I am developing a strong dislike of basing miniatures after painting them: I find lots more time is take tidying up small drybrushing errors and brushing rogue sand off the painted miniatures.



An 1895 image of a screw gun battery in action (source), the posing of the Perry's miniature is pretty much identical, including the chap covering the vent to prevent an accidental discharge of the gun. I switched the positioning a little, to fitn them better on my choice of 60mm round base.

Incidentally, I was able to see a screw gun in the flesh on a recent visit to the Royal artillery 'Firepower' museum in Woolwich, at the site of the old arsenal. Quite a small museum, but well presented and unsurprisingly had a comprehensive collection of British artillery pieces from throughout the ages.




I was pleased how the binoculars came out on the sergeant, reflecting the sky and sand.



I'll be heading to SELWG at Crystal Palace next Sunday for a mooch around, quite looking forward to it as I've not managed to make it before. 

18 comments:

  1. Excellent work! I really like the finish to your work and share your basing woes. I now base and apply sand prior to priming, which I find easier.
    The Sudan interests me and I embarked on a 15mm expedition there once, only to abandon the venture; still, it may re-emerge to the fore again, sometime ;)
    Regards,
    Monty

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    1. Yes I usually base before priming and paint it first. Easier to tidy up the base than the miniature!

      15mm sounds like a good scale for the Sudan. I think blue moon have been putting a lot out for it recently.

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  2. That is seriously classy work! The reflections in the binoculars are just amazing!

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    1. Why thank you. Of course now I need to go back and do the same on the naval officer's... (I'm a bit like that)

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  3. Cracking work! These are some expertly painted chaps.

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  4. Very fine work, sir. Your bases are perfect, too, and I understand you. I hate the basing part!!!

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  5. Beautiful figures and great post...fantastic work!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed. In a few weeks I iChat have more to post! :-)

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  6. Great piece of kit, perfect for keeping the Dervish at bay.
    Cheers
    Stu

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    1. Tis indeed. I fancy getting another actually!

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  7. Blimey these are nice. Mr Awdry is spot on, the binoculars are some else!

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  8. Wonderful little vignette, Phil! I was always curious what made it a 'screw' gun (other than how the natives felt about being shot by it) but now I know!

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    1. British innovation at its finest.

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  9. Your usual superb work. You've done a fine job, especially with the sergeant and his binoculars. Though to me he looks more officerish with his sword, and I'd be tempted to put him on the staff.

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  10. That is totally insane work on the binoculars (in a good way, of course!)

    A lovely vignette, really something!

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  11. Fantastic work really love the putties on the sergeant,

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