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War and Peace Show Scales Down....

Keith Palmer completes the Pacific

A unique model Pacific tank transporter will go on display at the War and Peace Show in July.
It’s the culmination of a year’s work by Keith Palmar, from Blean, Kent, who has undertaken to create models of all the major military vehicles in the War and Peace Collection.
“The project came about almost by chance,” said Keith, who has been building models of all kinds since he was a boy.
“I was with Rex Cadman – organiser of the War and Peace Show – when a call came through from a film company asking if he had any of Hobart’s ‘funnies’.”
These were the improvised tanks used on D-Day to clear mines, lay fascines, clear broken down vehicles, and generally prepare the beaches for the invading Allied forces.
“When Rex pointed out that these vehicles were just not available any more, they asked about models. That led to me being asked to build a flail mine clearer and a fascine layer, based on Sherman tanks.”
The Pacific, which makes its debut this year, follows hot on the heels of the model Diamond ‘T’ tank carrier Keith produced for last year’s Show.
A former technical illustrator who has worked in the defence industry as well as for model companies such as Airfix, Keith always draws a model in great detail, before attempting to build it. Sometimes he just has old photographs to work from.
From the drawing he takes his measurements, and then comes the never ending search for materials from which to make components.
“There’s a lot of improvisation involved,” he said. “Knitting needles, bits from B&Q and old springs out of ball point pens have all found their way into my models.”
The flails on the flail tank make use of chains used for jewellery combined with fishing weights, which create a completely realistic effect. For the fascines on the second of his Hobart’s ‘funnies’ he snipped sections from the straw blinds in his conservatory.
Motors are often a challenge, and the ‘funnies’ both make use of Scalectrix racing car engines.
For both the Diamond ‘T’ and the Pacific tyres had to be just right. Keith created a wooden plug on his lathe from which he cast a hard resin mould. Using a miniature Dremmel drill he cut the grooves to the exact pattern of the original vehicles, and the final version was sent off to have soft resin copies cast.
A major challenge on the Diamond ‘T’ was the rear suspension which comprises independent bogies, pivoted in the middle, which in the real thing would have ironed out to some extent, bumps in the cratered and pitted roads.
The Pacific is chain driven, which also presented challenges, as did the rear suspension, which again had to be hand built from scratch.
“It’s taken a long time to get these models right,” said Keith. “But I enjoy what I do. There’s a lot to do to get the collection complete, for example a Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle (BARV), an Achilles tank and an M40 self-propelled gun.
“I’m also working on a series of one-sixth scale German model tanks for another client.”
But Keith does occasionally depart from the Lilliputian world of model making. He has restored a three-quarter ton Dodge military vehicle and a six wheel GMC. Currently he is working on a 1979 Chevrolet Blazer 4 x 4, which has no military connections at all.

More information on the War and Peace Show website


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Keith is a prolific model maker  
It's all about the detail...



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