A Vickers progress

You may be aware that I’ve been working on a project to produce a much-requested item – the Vickers machine gun.

I started the project in 2018 (which shows how long these things can take) with the creation of the gun and accessories (tripod, ammunition box, water can) digitally which was then 3D printed.

The gun and accessories were then sent to Andy Belsey to creating a diorama base before all pieces are sent to Nino Pizzichemi to sculpt the crew.

During this year Covid hit and the UK went into lockdown which meant delays to the creation of the base. However, I’m pleased to confirm that we’ve now signed off the base and it’s on it’s way to Nino.

Andy and I spent a lot of time talking about how the base works. I was keen not to follow the “usual” pose of the Vickers as shown below;

But instead I wanted a more “dynamic” pose;

Illustration by Peter Dennis

The main issue that we have when working with resin is the tripod and coming-up with a solution that means it won’t be prone to breakages. So, over to you Andy!

We had two attempts, but with the usual Belsey genius we agreed on a route for the base which solves the problem of the tripod, keeps the product light (and therefore cheaper to mail) and allows us to show the belt being fed into the gun.

You can see from the images below

You can see that the final result is quite stunning and shows the gun really effectively. Note that the figure is shown for scale purposes only.

The base consists of five parts that slot together to hold the machine gun. The tripod is embedded into the base, the gun itself will be supplied as a separate piece as will the ammunition box and water can
We’ll be showing the gun in action in the late-war period, with the crew wearing the small box respirator
The fifth section of the base are the sandbags that encase the front legs of the tripod
Andy’s ingenious five piece design means that we can manufacture the base cost effectively and it’s as light as possible for international postage

So, stage 2 of this three stage process is complete. We’re current sculpting a series of new figures and this project will follow those, so the figures for this aren’t scheduled until around spring 2021. It won’t be a simple sculpt for Nino and it will take some time to get the poses correct and we’ve got other technical issues such as creating the ammunition belt in the correct position – but we’ll work through and I’m aiming to get this release in the second half of 2021.

One final thought from me, the Peter Dennis illustration shows German casualties – if we imagine the gunner in the centre of the base, his number two on his right, would you want a casualty figure on his left?

Over to you! Let me know at darren@tommyswar.com