08 May, 2014

Stand-off scale Light Mortar Theatrical Prop

I was asked to make a 60mm Light Mortar non-firing theatrical prop as a commission. The brief was that it had to;

  1. be cost efficient.
  2. accept some inert 60mm training rounds that the client already has.
  3. be stand-off scale. i.e. Give the impression of the item without being an exact replica.
  4. be robust.
  5. be incapable of ever firing a projectile should it be stolen and modified.

As usual this is not a build tutorial and do not try this at home.

This is what I was aiming to replicate as a 1:1 stand-off scale model...
image copyright ZM Tarnow.
This is what I came up with...

It was made out of some scrap scaffolding tube, a scaffolding foot, an old car jack and an old spacesaver wheel that were donated by various people. To this donated pile of bits, I had to buy two small pieces of steel plate, 68mm plastic pipe, some plastic brackets, a delrin (engineering plastic) plate, various M10 and M6 bolts, welding rods and two tins of spray paint.

That is a lot of steel to cut. Luckily I have two of these Evolution saws, a circular saw and a small mitre saw which can cut through steel like butter...

With all the parts cut, I set about welding with my little stick welder. Hands up I am not a good welder. I weld once or twice a year, and I do it so infrequently that its always a learning experience for me. Because the donated steel was galvanised (with zinc), I had to sand off the zinc layer where I was going to weld. Welding with zinc can cause troubling health problems.

This is the first fit. Note the mole grip holding it together...

I found cans of this this nice 'Soviet Green' colour in Lidl. Here you can see the prop in it's three parts. In use it slots together and stands solid...

The prop cannot be aimed, as it has no aiming device. It cannot be adjusted as it is welded solid, and the plastic pipe and fittings are incapable of containing energy. Therefore it is truly non functional.

Thanks for reading. :)