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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bolt Action - Putting Chains on Your Winter Vehicles

Welcome back Bolt Action fans!

Old Man Morin here, as discussed on the most recent Ghost Army Podcast, Anfernee recently challenged me to take my hobby to the next level while updating the vehicles for my Battle of the Bulge Americans. He saw that I was painting all my vehicles in variations of weathered white wash and the Rocket Man wanted more. He pointed out that many wheeled vehicles in the Ardennes in December of 1944 had... chains on their tires. Now I am never one for doing things the easy way so away I went and I thought I would share the process with you.

Please note that this is not the easiest process in the world and requires a lot of patience and maybe a secluded place where you can use colourful language when needed. 

I started by heading over to our local shopping mall. I found a cheap, teenage girl accessory shop and picked up a couple of necklaces on sale that had suitably small linked chain. I then cut 4 equal lengths of chain that were slightly smaller than the circumference of the wheel. How did I find the circumference? Easy, I just coiled the chain around the wheel.

Important note: It is MUCH easier to do this with the wheels off of the vehicle.

I must stress that hurrying this process with end with ruined models and very frustrated you. The step by step allowed me to get this process done with relatively few tears. I then took a wheel and put a small line of superglue along the edge. I laid it on a flat surface and let it COMPLETELY dry. I did the other wheels while I waited for the wheel to dry.
 I then added more glue in the same path and laid more of the chain down. I did this in lengths that were about a quarter of the way around the wheel each time. Again, waiting for the glue to completely dry is huge here.
 I then repeated the process again and again until the chain was all the way around the tire. You might notice that, though I tried, my chains are not strict circles. That is fine though once you get to the next step.
 I then cut a pile of shorter lengths of chain for the over the tire strips. I did not put chains on the back side of the tires because a) that would have driven me insane and b) you would never see that on the tabletop.

Starting at the non-circular parts of the front of the tires, I then put a strip of glue from the front of the tire over the top to the back side. Like this.
 I then carefully took a short length of chain and laid it from the from tip of the glue strip, over the top, to the back of the tire.I was careful to have both lengths of the chain touching at some point.
 Like this.
 As you can see, by having the chain wrapping points touching the non-circular points on the front of tire chain, it looks like the chains are pulling the chain so it is not round. Now, I grew up in Boston, in LOTS of snow and I know this is not how chains usually sit on tires (they are much tighter). Visually this works and covers the sins of my work.

Though I started with 4 wrap around chains per tire, I had extra chain and a few ugly spots to fix. I dry fit the tires (without glue) and saw that where I could add extra chains. You can see the dry run below. The front tire on the upper left had a non circular bump. I then took the tire and added another wrap chain at that point.
 Now I have not finished painting my Company B, 3/4 Ton Dodge Truck (a fantastic kit BTW) but I DID want to show you what the tires do looked like once they were painted.
I encourage everyone to get a little wacky conversion wise every now and again as it can really make portions of your army "pop." It also makes your force uniquely yours and in my mind that is something pretty special.

'Til next time...


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