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Being a modeller for quite a few years now, I decided to explore the endless possibilities that the world (through internet) offers, and come up with a series of ways of building, modelling and painting fast (but not hastily), to create the worlds I was seeing in history books since I was little. . .If you care to join me. . . This is the place to be! And, I promise you to find the way (or ways)!!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

5.5’’ Gun Ammo Crates tutorial

Hello everyone!

Since I took the decision to build a respectable British armed force for my Normandy campaign, I thought to give it a try and be as consistent as possible.
With this decision in mind, I started building this army from the actual beginning, which in gun terms meant  the Artillery section. The Brits since the emergence of gunpowder relied a lot on the assistance of artillery during their campaigns, and WW2 could not be a different case. Its firepower had played a significant role in most of the battles the British were involved in, and also gave a huge morale boost to the ordinary ‘’charge-to-occupy’’ soldiers, before every attacking maneuver.

As you (who follow my blog) know, I recently purchased a model from Airfix (#1314 AECMatador & 5.5’’ gun), and up to this day, I am waiting for some reinforcements by post, which are three more Airfix’s Matador kits and some figures, as the crews for the guns. It usually takes 10-12 days to get my orders from England (country of my orders’ dispatch), so there will be coming any day now.

Instead of waiting like a sitting duck for the plucky Brits to show up, I did some research through the net, and found some interesting photographic material showing all sorts of details for these weapons. What I couldn’t find to buy for my 5.5’’ guns, was ammo crates. Well, to be honest there are some excellent models from Accurate Armor, but unfortunately they come out in 1/35 scale, so these models weren’t going to be of much use!

To do what I had in mind, I wouldn’t let some minor implications discourage me. That’s why I decided to make some ammo crates of my own – made by me - M(iniatures) T(errain) P(age) copyright! :-)

And, in order to give you an idea of how easy it is to make some for your arty pieces, I will post a sequence of photos of every step of the making process.
(In the end I will make a book with my tutorials and I will start selling it, but as I come to think of it, they are already available on the net…oh bugger! Chance: missed!) 

We live in a different world nowadays, so I reckon it’s better to drop keys instead of building cages, especially for such an important thing as our hobby. 

On with the tutorial then!

Part 1.
I took a sheet of 0.5 cm balsa, and I marked (with a simple ball point pen), two lines of 3cm width.

Part 2.
I then marked vertical internals of 1cm each (photo explaining). Between each 1cm crate, and with the help of my pen and my ruler, I marked some lines on every one of them, so as to give the impression of wood plunks glued together to make the crate.

Part 3.
I cut them (you can see the small pile).

I then took a strip of plastic (0.1 cm width) and cut some small pieces (0.8 cm/each) out of it. I was going to use three pieces of plastic for every crate (below you see the pile).

Part 4.
I then glued these fiddly pieces of plastic vertically, onto the wooden ‘crates’ .

Part 5.
I then took a strip of plastic (0.2 cm width) and cut some small pieces (0.4 cm/each) out of it. I was going to use four pieces of plastic for every crate (in the next phase you will see why).

Part 6.
I then glued these fiddly pieces of plastic vertically, onto the sides of the wooden ‘crates’, as holsters .

Part 7.
I then painted the whole lot with a brown colour. When dry, I used some brown wash (GW Devlan Mud) and when this wash got dry as well, I drybrushed the crates with the brown that was used as the base colour.


Part 8.
The crates: considered: finished!
Below you see the full array of these crates. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any brass rods to make small pieces of used cartridges and place them next to the crates, but I think I’ll manage to find some in the future, so stay tuned for perhaps a new tutorial (as if you needed another). :-)

I hope you found this tutorial useful.
C & C are, as usually, more than welcome!
From warm (as usually) Athens, have a good night!


  1. Your a talented individual Thanos, Ray says it's sickening!

  2. Thanos, you've done a great job with the tutorial here and I greatly appreciate it. Things like this help me ever so much as I am still learning. And these crates looks as good as or even better than what one would buy from a manufacturer.

  3. Great modeling and how-to do instructions, sir.

  4. Another great tutorial, you're the best

  5. A great tutorial Thanos, very helpful.

  6. Superb tutorial Thanos; I love the way you clearly illustrate the process. Great work Sir.

  7. These are excellent Thanks Thanos

  8. No need for cartridge cases. 5.5 gun uses bagged propellant

  9. Further to above: Not meaning to be an anonymous nit-picker, I just don't have an account that allows me to post with an identity. For my 155mm long tom I made propellant bags from Milliput painted white with red ends. Enjoyed your tutorial MIKE