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KNOCK KNOCK

Gun Motor Carriage M12 ‘Doorknocker’ and a Cargo Carrier M30 From RKX Miniatures


I’ve become a bit of a fanboy of RKX Miniatures. After the release of their M4 High Speed Tractor which I covered in a previous article, I became excited about the release of the M12 and M30, which once again has RKX filling a gap in what’s available in 28mm. The M12 was a 155 Gun mounted on a M3 Lee/Grant Chassis with updates (M4 running gear). The M30 was an ammunition carrier since the M12 could only carry 10 shells/charges. While designed for long range, it was also used to great effect against bunkers in direct fire and consequently got the nickname 'Doorknocker'.

I purchased the 2 as a bundle which RKX offer at a slight discount. www.rkxminiatures.co.uk Now either through my own stupidity/overexcitement or some mischievous IT spirit I didn’t have any ‘straight out of the box’ Images when I came to write this. Fortunately Richard (the owner of RKX) kindly supplied me with some pictures to enable me to complete this article. So, this is what you get in each set. Both its come in 6 pieces and are easy to assemble – just remember the tracks hold the earth spade and the access step in place son ensure that you assemble those parts together. As with the M4 there was virtually no filing or clean up required.

I immediately had in mind modelling the vehicles in action with a crew. Each vehicle had a crew of 6 so 12 if the 2 are together. I’d initially modelled 11, slight miscount on my part, and had to add a 12th right at the last minute. The crew are all made from Warlord US infantry and USMC figures I had considered an Empress jeep crew figure, for a seated crewman on the M30 but he is going to be the pilot of my Piper Cub observation plane- that's for another time, so I went back to the USMC sprue- probably my favourite sprue in the Warlord range due to its flexibility and is my go-to for conversions- for any army.

I also wanted to add some additional detail, to achieve the look I wanted. The RKX kit is fine straight from the box for game play, but since I’m a sucker for a Rubicon kit too, I find that sets the benchmark on the detail I want from any of my vehicles irrespective the source. So, I set about adding stowage from several sources. The RKX kits take to additions very well. Sadly, at the time, the Rubicon Commonwealth Stowage 1 set wasn’t available, or I would have used some of the parts from that. I had several reference images that showed a frame for a canvas top, crew protection from the elements while on the move.

The gun is in use and just the canvas is removed. So, I fashioned a jig via the laser cutter to bend floral wire to the right shape. The wire was also used on the rear track guard. Speaking of track guards on the M12, again from photo reference I added spare Rubicon Sherman front and side track guard. Tow cable on the M30 tow eyes from one of the Rubicon stowage sets and wire made of 2 strands of fine floral wire, the M2 on the AA ring is a Rubicon spare. The fiddliest, but to my mind essential addition, is the pulley system that raises and lowers the earth spade on the M12. This is a series of slices of plastic rod and fine gauge floral wire.

So, coming back to the crew. The first figure was on the M12 adjusting elevation on the gun. I took a running figure and swapped a leg from the options from the USMC prone figure giving a walking/leaning forward pose, the head and arms are USMC.

Next up was the guy setting fuses on the shells. The shells are a 1.35 Italeri modern accessories item. I had used some previously to provide a load in the back of the M4 HST. I actually struggled to find these in my bits box and will have to source some more if I do something like this again. The figure is USMC with US infantry arms. The spanner is a ‘holding magazine’ arm with the hand repositioned and the spanner top is from a BAR bipod. (I’ve also regularly used bipods as wire cutters for Pioneer/Combat Engineer figures). The other chap is carrying a charge bag which was fashioned from Green stuff.

Next Up the guys with the shell pusher. This is from the Japanese infantry sprue, the lunge mine. I Did however cut it at the hands and replaced the arms as they were a bit spindly for the figures which come from the US infantry set. The awkward ones were the guys with the shell on the carry frame, finding the right arms was a pain and I think they come from 4 separate sprues in the end, there was quite a bit of trial and error.

Field phone operator and Gun commander were pretty much from the box, again it’s the arm selection which ‘tells’ the story.

The one that perhaps looks a bit odd is the guy who appears to be doing Tai Chi, if he’s not on the display base. Since the M30 is essentially the Magazine for the M12 any representation of crew needed to indicate unloading, so this guy’s has one foot on the ‘step’ reaching up too.

Finally the *NG, the new guy. I couldn’t have him on foot since there was no miniature base available for him – I’ll come back to that in a minute- he would therefore have to be on the vehicle. I decided he would represent one of the 2 drivers and as such would have a tank crew helmet on the figure is made from 8 parts, USMC kneeling figure with both lower legs replaced, map hand from the new British infantry, arm from the German Panzer Grenadiers, the other arm is USMC and a head surgically removed from one of the Warlord Metal US dismounted tank Crew.

Someone asked me, when I posted a work in progress picture online, 'what's the point you cant use the bases in game play they are too big' well the point is 1) cos' I can- which is reason enough and 2) I thought about that and made the vehicles and crews detachable. As an aside its heavy artillery, it stays on the board back edge and does its thing!

The bases are custom made via my Laser cutter.

Basing was the usual premix all purpose filler. The flocking I will cover in another post since I was asked how I go about it.

The rest of the images here are the virtually complete thing - there is some sealing and varnishing to do.

So, I'm quite chuffed with this. Far from perfect and there are things that need more attention next time, notably some filling on the 2 layers of the base. But overall its progress on what I've previously achieved so its a positive move forward.


I'm looking forward to RKX's next wave of releases and I already have a couple of them on pre order. I'll be sure to share what I do with them.

That's it for this time round, hope you enjoy it.

As ever please feel free to leave any comments or questions.


Cheers


Andy


6, 5 out.

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