I have a number of scratch built mortar and ammunition carts for my 18th Century British and Jacobite Armies, so I thought that I would post this blog to show how I made them. This one is carrying a Coehorn Mortar.
For the carts themselves, the first stage is to assemble all of the pieces which I need in order to construct them, as shown below.
The first white sections for the sides and front of the cart come from Wills (now Peco) model railway fencing, as below.
The brown planks form the floor of the cart and come from sheets of Wills (now Peco) model railway planking. The wheels are from Airfix French Napoleonic Artillery and the axle is also from the simple limbers of the same set. The final two white sections are used as shafts for the cart and come from Airfix fencing, as below.
I start by cutting the axle in two (because it is too narrow), turning the floor planks upside down and welding the axle sections in place. I then weld more plastic in the middle of the axle, then weld another strip of plastic below the front of the floor.
I cut the front of the the shafts for the cart to taper them, then weld them in place to the front of the cart. I bend the shafts slightly upwards so that the cart will still be level when it is attached to the horse.
I then turn the cart over and glue the top superstructure of the sides and front in place, welding it on the joints to make it stronger.
Finally I push the wheels into place on the axle. I find that I need to push the point of a biro into the holes in the centre of the wheels, to enlarge the holes slightly, since these axles were made for the much smaller Airfix limber wheels.
I use Airfix French Napoleonic Artillery or Airfix Wagon Train draught horses for all of my carts. These do not have bases, so I cut strips of Airfix Napoleonic British Horse Artillery bases up to make these.
I weld the horses to these bases and glue them in place on a 40mm x 60mm card base. The British walking drivers are old Airfix AWI George Washington’s Army or British Army (the latter with different heads) and you can see one here on his separate base. I have also marked out where that driver’s base will fit onto the main cart base.
I then weld spare plastic sprue all over the base, including building some up into lips around where the walking driver will fit.
Here you can see the cart in place before I weld the shafts onto the horse and the wheels onto the base. I actually paint both the horse and cart separately before welding them, then touch up any bits as necessary.
Here is a completed cart, with the British walking driver shown separately. I have different figures as Jacobite and French walking drivers, so that such carts can change hands, just by slotting in a different figure to the cart.
I currently have a total of 8 of these carts and two more are half completed. Here is a selection of identical carts in different roles.
The front one has a small 3½ inch Coehorn Mortar, the second a larger 5½ inch Royal Mortar, the third one some ammunition boxes and the last one some gunpowder barrels. All of these cargoes are removable.