Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

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Robert Reid
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Robert Reid » Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:14 pm

When we last left the project... we were getting ready to rivet the reinforcing brackets onto the shield... but the press for some reason would not expand the copper rivets. Still working on that... this press should crush them perfect.

This is a brake riveting press, BTW. Also for clutches. And I built my 1:1 Model T Armored car with it. 5,000 rivets...

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Using custom-made dollies for the 3/32nd (ish?) rivets on the front shield. I turned the dollies up from mild steel and they will double-end the rivets. The 25 pdr is kind of an experiment. The real test will come on the Rolls!

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Shield with rivets set on both ends. And markings for footman loops and other holes. A few of the 8BA bolts and nuts in place, instead of using cap screws.

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Other side of the shield showing rivets dollied on both sides. Some of the Armortek bits going on with 8BA bolts and nuts.

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Hubs, which took quite a bit of modifying, but I think because I made a mistake and put the Armorpax web pieces too far outboard. But the backing plates work great and the drums work with spacers and a bit of machining. I am going to revisit Dave Dibb's build tonite as I think I need to move some axle parts around before I put in my linkages, lever, etc.

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After much riveting, much tightening nuts, much soldering and a bunch of other work, a beautiful shield is starting to emerge! I machined the sight 'tube' so that it is now hollow with a removable cap. The footman loops are pressed in the holes and soldered from the back (small torch melts them into a perfect little rivet!) I decided to steal from a couple of amazing builds here and do some brass work, especially for the wood toolboxes, which I will probably build tomorrow. The Armorpax boxes are great, but I think I can make them 'complete' with hinges, lids and ironwork (brasswork?) to go in the brass cradles. The Armorpax boxes are perfect patterns, too!

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One of my brass projects... a cradle for the wood toolbox. Love the way it came out and it was super easy using brass strip and a small press/shear I got from eBay.

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Front of the shield with footman loops fitted. The factory shovel clips are going to get replaced with some brass ones I'll make tomorrow. It's a lovely piece!!!!

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Self-etch primer applied to the front... the rear tomorrow after a few more details go on. Seems a shame to paint over all these neat little details! But it's coming together nicely!

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And last... starting to mock up assembly. One can never really appreciate the scale of an Armortek kit until it starts to come together like this! Not just the scale, but the opportunity it has for detailing!

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A fun Saturday... when I should have been doing other things. But I needed a relaxing weekend!

Cheers,

RPR

Robert Reid
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Robert Reid » Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:44 pm

Just three more from today... I had hoped to get more done, but I got kind of obsessed with brakes and the brake handle... wanted to make my wood tool boxes, too. But it turned out to be time for a nice Shiraz and some cheese!

I ended up modifying Dave Dibb's great parts (again... like with the limber) to add a few details to the white metal castings. And made another support tray for the wood tool boxes I intend to build.

Here you can see the modified lever and the linkages. Added some springs which looked great in Jeff and Marcus' builds. And some linkage-looking accessories. It turned out that I had messed up the brake backing plates initially (fortunately, they were only fitted with no adhesive) and so figured out my errors and got everything right thanks to the great pictures from the above mentioned builds and Armorpax. Forum is, again, invaluable!

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Here is a picture of the left (offside, in UK-speak) hub showing the linkages. I was a bit creative in the use of Dave's parts, but I think it looks the part and has some nice detail!

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This mainly shows the rack for carrying the wood box, with its handles. The brass work is really fun to do and very satisfying. A small shear/press and good solder and it takes no time. This took under 30 minutes from start to finish.

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That's all for this weekend... a lot done! Very fun. Next I have to start to get into the sighting mechanism and gearboxes. And the big sighting platform. I think that is going to be fun, and I am trying to figure out how to do degree marks without going blind. Thinking a scribe on my rotary table... But I have a lot of detail work to start pulling together before I start another big subassembly! Breech is high on that list. Lots of good ideas here!

Cheers,

RPR

Robert Reid
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Robert Reid » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:19 pm

I only got about 3 hours this weekend to work on kit... getting ready for winter, stacking wood, putting on studded snow tires, putting away tractors and mowing equipment....

But in that time, I got a good start on my two wood storage boxes. Which is really timely, because I think that Dave Dibb's tools will go very nicely in one of these boxes!

The Armortek kit boxes are nice and fill the role. And Dave's resin boxes are gorgeous and show all the right detail. But I wanted wood boxes that open and close and store tools and kit. So I made them from scratch.

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In front are my two boxes that will fit in the brass racks. In back are the kit box from Armortek and the Resin box from Armorpax. Both great... but I wanted to go further.

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Here is a close-up of one. The nails in the brass are made from brass wire, 1/16th pounded in the wood and then ground to look like a nail head. The rivets on the brass strapping are nails. I have to come up with hinges and latches. I'd rather buy than make. But can do either. Also, rope handles will be fitted using model sailboat rigging line, which is really good scale rope!

That's all for this weekend.. not much. But fun!

Cheers,

RPR

Robert Reid
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Robert Reid » Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:38 pm

Waiting for some hinges to come in for the boxes... so moved to some engraving and plates and my Clinometers.

Started the breech, too. I should have that done tomorrow. Damn, that is complicated!

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Original clinometer with the pair I made. Engraved... they actually look better in person. The close-up shows all the warts! And still need to add a glass or lucite 'rod' for the bubble level. But the housing is there.

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Close-up, which shows that the engraving, under high magnification, looks pretty crude. But it is pretty good to see!

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As I am building the Mirbat Gun, here is the plaque that was affixed to the shield which showed that the Sultan gave it to Woolrich in 1978. It is on the gun. I also learned that about the only 'remaining' part of the gun was the barrel. Most of the rest was destroyed/scavanged. So the gun is not exactly 'as used' since everything but the barrel was basically replaced. George Washington's Axe? Head replaced twice and handle replaced three times. But it was George Washington's Axe!

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And stealing from Jeff's beautiful build.... here are some additional engravings. Done with a 'trophy' engraver and freehanding on a printout of a GR crest. I had not tried using that machine freehand... and it works quite brilliantly! Thanks for the tip, Jeff! And the inspiration!

Cheers,

RPR

simon_manning
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by simon_manning » Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:24 pm

Another superb 25 pdr Robert, interesting to follow and great detail, regards simon manning.

Robert Reid
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Robert Reid » Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:02 pm

I get one more weekend (and Thanksgiving Day) to work before heading off to deer camp for a few days. So trying to make it count!

Last weekend, I got a lot of small breech parts done. This weekend, I got most of the breech assembled and working. With much credit due to some great other builds here on the forum!

Still some pieces to add, but most of it is in place. Mostly some fasteners. The breech lever/lock works perfectly and came out better than I had hoped. It was a bit of a daunting filing/milling/soldering project... but the main thing was getting the design right. And it came out great! Breech itself was finally lapped in and is smooth as glass, even without oil (which I'll add after I glue on some aluminum or brass plates to cover the coutersunk Allen screws.

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Side view showing the breech lever and latch. Infernally complex little bit of machining and filing... and design! But the paddle unlocks the latch and the stop keeps the lever from going too far and the whole thing opens with just perfect perfection and smoothness!

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Breech open showing the chamber that takes my 24-ga shotgun shells (brass hulls only) that simulate the 25 pdr almost perfectly. This one is not going to fire, even blanks. It may be going back to UK when it's done, so it has to stay totally static.

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Side view with the breech open. I kept the original armortek breech actuating cam/pall and added the new lever and stops. The geometry on this is actually somewhat challenging! But ended up right on!

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Decided to make a 'moving' version of one of Armorpax parts, which is the side lever that mounts on the left side of the breech. Dave's part is great, but I wanted it to move. So decided to make my own version from German SIlver sheet and brass. Once complete, the lever will move like the original.

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More tomorrow, but the 'gun' is almost finished. Carriage needs a lot of work still and, of course, still have to do all the sighting and elevation/screw work!

Thanks for all the inspiration and kind words, guys!

Cheers,

RPR

Robert Reid
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Robert Reid » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:11 pm

I should get in a good day Thursday, then likely on hiatus until almost Christmas... But we'll see!

Here is the finished breech assembled on the barrel. The 'gun' mechanism is just about done. Except for the recoil levers off the left side of the carrier. That's going to go along with the sighting trunnion/yoke.

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Left side with the cocking? lever fitted Not sure what this lever does, actually. Assume it is cocking or ejecting the spent shell. In any case... it works and the actuating rod slides perfectly through its eye. So my buffered recoil works really well! Lots of little parts on all this!

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Closed breech showing the top view. Getting the breech to drop smoothly is real work!!! Lapping, filing, using sharpie to mark high spots. Not helped by 'aluminum on aluminum' is the worst possible thing when it comes to smooth operation! But once lapped and put together with lithium grease, it is just as smooth as can be!

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The .004" brass shim is perfect to cover the cap screws (which need additional countersinking.... check the lengths while pre-fitting). After putting the cap screws in, I plugged in aluminum plugs, but they still were not perfect. So I used the shim brass. This is perfect to cut with scissors, but it is rigid enough that it won't crumple.

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Breech finished and open. Earlier I mentioned using a 24 gauge brass shotshell for a cartridge. In fact, it is a 28 gauge. Made by a company called MagTech. Now can set the gun assembly aside and finish the carriage and the sighting mechanisms. Oh and the wood boxes. Those are coming out great!

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Have a great week everyone! See you, perhaps, on Thursday when we do some pre-turkey Armortek work!

Cheers,

RPR

Robert Reid
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Robert Reid » Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:29 pm

So finally got a weekend to get back to the 25 PDR... and finished the boxes and the aiming platform. Well, almost finished the aiming platform... more on that later.

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Finished the two boxes except for painting and staining. The detail was kind of fun, but a little more involved than I had planned on. But, well, there ya go! Here we see the two boxes with hasps, Dave Dibb's clasp and some home-made padlocks. The hinges are varied. I did one in canvas and one in brass. Kind of got lazy on the second one!

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Here are the rear views showing some brass dollhouse hinges and a canvas hinge which is actually some recycled bookbinding. Very rugged material that is good for model hinges!

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Boxes open... the insides will be painted either green or orange. I have seen a lot of original British Limber boxes and transit cases with orange interiors for some reason. My Bren and Vickers cases... both are orange! I'll decide this week what to paint them. I am not sure either is wrong.

On to the aiming table.... followed the advice from several great builds here and turned around the beams. Also made upper and lower plates with an aluminum spacer. One big bit of advice for builders using the Armorpax kit... Drill Holes in the Beams before riveting/gluing together! Also note that the plates on the outside will need some cipehering out to make sure the rivets are correct. Test assemble. I didn't and had to be creative to get the plates on after I had set rivets (with a riveting machine... see earlier post.) Here we see the finished aiming platform with epoxy filler drying on the edges.

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Here is the center plate fitted. And I used rivets to 'fill' the extra holes after reversing the beams. I could have filled them, but some simple rivets will look good when painted. The nuts are actually part of studs that I used... 8BA... instead of a second row of rivets. Not exactly exact... but will look good and made assembly with the spacer and the bottom plate... WAY easier!

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These little hookie things are wonderful, but a warning for all builders... make sure you do your drilling BEFORE assembly. The Armorpax stuff is great, but does not come with instructions (except what you see on the forum and on the Armorpax site.) So you have to really think through using the bits. This is part of the fun of all this. I ended up grinding off the pegs on the hookie-things and attaching with cyanoacrylate and epoxy. And they will be fine. But they would be stronger with a hole and a hot screwdriver blade to 'solder' them on from the back.

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Last picture... The rear plate. WIth dummy rivets and studs. Not sure I needed to go this far, but I saw it in another build and loved the symmetry of it. So what the heck!

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Next weekend begins a 12-or-so day off Christmas vacation in my model shop... working on the 25 PDR among others... and maybe even starting the Rolls-Royce! That build is going to go crazy!

I also started the cable box for the back of the armor plate. But I won't show that until next weekend.

Cheers,

RPR

Marcus Kwa
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Marcus Kwa » Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:10 am

Great progress!!
Love the boxes. Might try that during the coming holidays.....
Bought a metal sheet cutter/bender some time ago and still have not had the time to use it.....

Marcus

Robert Reid
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Robert Reid » Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:06 pm

Thanks, Marcus! High praise coming from you and your builds have been inspirational!

This is sort of for the group... as the 'color' has been a real question. There are a number of pictures and the color has been somewhat equivocal. The gun, as it sits, is in bronze green (or pretty close) but is sort of restored to parade condition. I've also read that there is 'not much left' of the original gun. But that the barrel is original. And it was restored in Oman and presented to Woolrich by the Sultan of Oman in the late '70s. There is a plaque on it.

The best picture I have seen that shows the color of the gun when it was at Mirbat is this:

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It definitely is not tan and I assume it is a bronze green. Almost appears, in fact, to have the nice gloss of a parade gun! One assumes 'before' the battle!

My plan is to paint it using Land Rover Bronze green (from the Series Land Rovers... not the later Defender Coniston Green). But if anyone has a formula or a source for the exact color... I would love a reference. But I can get rattlecan bronze green no problem and it's good paint.

Any advice or input on the color from the experts is most appreciated! As I am replicating the Mirbat Gun it is somewhat important to get it right.

Cheers,

RPR

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Adrian Harris
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Adrian Harris » Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:20 pm

I wonder where is it now, as the Firepower museum closed in 2016 ?

Adrian.
R.I.P Margaret I.L.Y

Robert Reid
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Robert Reid » Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:41 pm

Still at Woolrich, but from what I understand, since closing they still have not decided where to send the 'inventory.' And it is possible that they may reopen, but would need lottery funds or a 'Royal Grant' or similar.

I am hoping that it will reopen... but more likely the collection will be broken up and sent to Duxford, IWM, Royal Armouries at Leeds... and who knows where else.

As of this past summer, the gun is still at Woolrich, but off limits to visitors.

Cheers,

RPR

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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Robert Reid » Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:13 am

So the Christmas playtime in the model shop begins... but as it took me most of the day to make this box.... But came out great!

I really have to stop looking at some of the other threads here. They instill me with evil ideas that are very time-consuming! But this was well-worth it to do. It just took a lot of time to get right!

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Box opened and before putting in the retaining straps. Took me a bit to figure out the middle part, then I realized that it's a handle that 'locks' the retainers. With an 8BA nut soldered on... it works like a charm!!

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More coming... for some reason they're only letting me post 2 images... they may be large!

Cheers,

RPR

Robert Reid
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Robert Reid » Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:24 am

Two more images:

Primed and in place on the shield. Two 10BA bolts to secure and the center post is attached through the back.

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The shield about ready for primer. The wood box temporarily fitted. It will get varnished and the brass painted flat black tomorrow. I am not going to do leather bags, only because I have a pretty good technique for painting things to look like leather. Though it is tempting to see if I can get some from Belgium.... the ones in the other thread are awesome looking ;-)

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Thanks, as always, for all the ideas and inspiration!

Cheers,

RPR

P.S. Can anyone tell me what is on the triangular plate/plinth at the top center of the last picture? RIght below the watch strap and to the left of the resin bag. I think it has something to do with the aiming... But does anyone have a photo of what should be there?

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Dave Dibb (Armorpax)
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Re: Starting my 25 Pdr... Mirbat Gun.

Post by Dave Dibb (Armorpax) » Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:11 am

Hi Pierce,

Can't get PB to work this morning so have sent pics of the plate that goes on the wedge by email.

Merry Christmas,

Dave
www.armorpax.net

There used to be a nice banner here till Photobucket lost everything.............................

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