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Friday, May 27, 2016

Bolt Action - Making a Land Mattress

Hey guys, this week I take a look at the American artillery choice that is the Land Mattress. A while ago this little gem popped up in Easy Army and I gleefully rubbed my hands together. Playing against Garratt, I'd faced the fury of the multiple launcher before but other than the Sherman Calliope, the Americans didn't have access to the equivalent of the dreaded Nebelwerfer. Then along came the Land Mattress in the Battleground Europe Theatre Book. I immediately did some searching on the internet and was wholly disappointed to find that no one seems to produce a 1/56 scale model for this great little piece.

After giving up on the idea of owning this beauty, I was in Eureka Miniatures and by chance saw that they produce and sell a similar model. A type 63 rocket launcher (seen above) for their modern 28mm range. It's a fantastic sculpt and a testament to the quality that Eureka is known for. I hastily purchased 2 of these kits and set about doing some research into the Land Mattress.

The first odd thing I discovered is that this piece is of English design and manufacture and was used by the British and Canadian forces in the late war period. I'm not certain how it came to be in the American artillery options but either way I forged ahead (The Battleground Europe book is super ambiguous over who can actually use this unit entry but historically it should only be Brits and Canadians! - Anf). I glued the two separate rocket launcher together (minus the frame and wheels) and once the two pods were glued together I simply joined them so that the small pins that attach to the frame were facing top and bottom. I then cut the pins off and set the body to one side. Then I attached the wheels to one of the frames and attached the bracing legs. This gave me a decent frame to mount the rocket launcher body on. With a little positioning, I glued the body to the frame and I had something that looked reasonably close to the actual thing.

Once this was sorted I then started looking about for a crew. The Land Mattress comes with 3 crew so I used 2 crew members from the Warlord Games American medium mortar team and 1 additional plastic Warlord US infantryman. I found these model worked a treat and allowed me to accurately portray a Land Mattress crew. Now I had my crew I set about painting up the unit itself. My only piece of advice would be to make sure you either base coat in black or paint the individual pieces before assembly as painting between the barrels in nigh on impossible.

Other than the small painting issues I had no problems with this conversion and the person I ended up passing this on to (as I don't run Americans anymore) was over the moon! The Eureka kit is fantastic and lends itself easily to being converted and for those out that have sense the unit entry and wondered, you can finally join the multi-launcher club. Now you just need to roll those 6s!

Until next time, roll your 6s and have fun.



Fan said...

Great guide! Just call it an M16 Honeycomb and you're good historically

Anthony 'Anfernee' Mason said...

Sweet! Thanks, that should put our beards at ease :)

Faolan (Jake) said...

The US Army version (the T66 launcher, firing the M16 Rocket) was a 3x8 launcher. Not that it makes a huge difference.

They didn't really come into their own until Korea. It was mainly the Brits and Canucks who used them for the Western Powers in WW2.

Still, thanks for pointing out that there aren't really any available, I'll work on remedying that when I talk to Gorgon Studios next week!

geoff marchiori said...

That Eureka launcher is a winner, i also had to get one

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