It started innocently enough. Goat Major suggested number 11 from the scenarios book, The Compleat Fondler, for our game of Sharp Practice he’s hosting next Saturday. ‘Sounds good’, I said, spotting, as GM had done, the need for a couple of rocket launchers. I offered to have a go at knocking something together. The Goat generously anticipated a lack of results and said we could always just use a couple of guns to represent them. The gauntlet was laid down then!
I knew I had a box of Victrix British Napoleonic artillery and thought I might use the gun carriages, at least temporarily. Then I spotted the limbers on the sprues and thought they might do even better. At this point I realised that I didn’t have much of a clue about what a period rocket launcher looked like, so I Googled Congreve and looked at some images. A ladder with some upright supports – not very inspiring (or mobile!)
However, the scenario mentioned that these rockets weren’t Congreve’s but were the invention of a competitor mad-scientist, so I decided that I had plenty of artistic licence to play with. I also remembered that I had a Warbases balcony set to plunder for bits, and I was good to go.
Assembling the limbers couldn’t have been easier. The main body, the axle and 2 wheels went together with plastic cement and I was then onto the rocket launcher frames, using the very handy balcony supports in the pack and some cut down railings. The pre-squared-off MDF meant everything was easy to glue together.
I also added a some bits to hold the rockets (which I wanted to be loose, not stuck on) in place – some thin metal modelling tube at the bottom and a couple of bits of card at the top. Next up were the rockets themselves. I was originally going for a very simple (lazy) approach – just pieces of brass rod, but I decided I could do better with a bit of effort. So, the brass rod had cut-down flags poles with pointy heads (from Huzzah! Miniatures) super glued to their tops, and I wrapped and glued some cotton thread round them to look the part – and to leave a length hanging down as the fuse. I made 4 so that my 2 launchers could be fully loaded.
The assembled battery, and showing the removable rockets:
The painting was pretty straight forward; black undercoat followed by Prussian blue main coat, and a lightened shade of the same as a drybrush/highlight. I picked out some metal fittings on the limbers with a metallic wash and then moved onto the rockets. These received brown shafts, black-grey heads (I was tempted to go with red and white but controlled myself) and pale ties and fuses.
So, here’s the finished battery, proudly paraded by Captain Bardolino and moved into position for a test firing (although if I was a member of the crew I’d be giving the rockets a much wider berth!):
I couldn’t resist the firing option, which simply involved some plastic tube as a sabot for one of the rockets, with cotton wool wrapped round it. A fun couple of hours all round, and watch out Major Goat!