Tuesday 10 April 2012

Japanese Mules -a work in progess.

An indoor shot taken with poor light and no flash.
 Having acquired a number of Airfix Supply Mules from Glenn, I am making up a couple for use with my Japanese forces.  One of them was missing its load, so I decided to give it a new load of barrels from the bits box, and construct a carrying frame out of matchsticks. Because the barrels stick out from the body of the mule, I decided to base it on a larger base, rather than the normal 20mm x 30mm piece of MDF.
Outdoors with natural lighting - a much better photo.
The carrying frame is made from Beehive Matches - only the best for my mules!
The poor mule looks quite overloaded!

The resulting conversion is very simple, and in is something quite different from the normal supply elements on the table. Two different types of barrel were used to add to the mismashed look of the element.  A rough calculation of the barrels containing around 158ltrs each, and having the weigh of the liquid at around 160kg (320 for both) and then adding in the weigh of the empty barrels, plus the weight of the carrying frame, puts the load in excess of the upper end of what a mule can carry - meaning that carrying this load long distances is going to be very bad for the health of the mule - if indeed the poor bugger can even move with the load! A more normal weight for a cargo load would be around 70kg. (according to the good folk at GDW, who give that figure in  Twilight 2000  Version 2.2  p.88, and other less game related sources on the internet.) The maximum load for a pack mule in the US Army during the Plains Wars was 275 pounds or 125kg. Odds are then, that the barrels are only around a quarter to a third full each, putting the load at a more practical level.

The other two mules are built straight out of the box.
All three stands await an undercoat of black spray paint.
 The Airfix Jungle Command Post set has always been a favourite of mine, as it is an excellent source of bicycles, boxes, another other fine items - as well as having a very nice native building.

Undercoated and overloaded.
A distance shot.
And the close up.
 So all that is left to do is to paint them up, flock the bases, and then get them on the table. Easy - unless I get sidetracked into another project.

EDIT: Drum volume changed from 200 liters to 158 liters, as I was using figures for the US 42 Gallon Drum. This makes the weight figures given make sense....


  1. I love the explanations ... and this specialization for the mules!
    One more time a very good work!

    1. I just reliased that i had a major tpo as to the metric volume of a 42 gallon drum, i have 200 liters when it should be 158 and a bit liters (thus the roughly 160 kg weight). I will just go and edit it...

      I like putting in explanations for why I do things as I think having detail adds something to the fun for converting figures - I'm glad you like it!

  2. pretty cool. I like the injinuity of it all, exactly like the japanese in WWII

    1. My Japanese WW2 army is one of my favourites for exactly that reason, all of the wonderful little bits and pieces that you can stratchbuild for it, and add it to create some character for the force.

  3. That's a great conversion. Looking forward to see these finished!


  4. I like that you are taking into account carrying capacity for the mules. I have the same penchant but end up going so far down the rabbit hole that I can't get an actual game in. Looking forward to seeing the final paint job.