Author Topic: Fire Support Base Humble  (Read 1516 times)

Offline ScranJ51

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Fire Support Base Humble
« on: May 07, 2016, 08:29:54 AM »
Few years ago i started a fun project to build part of a Vietnamese era Fire Support Base.

Here is how it turned out:

Overall view

Humble complete 1 by David Freeman, on Flickr

Humble Complete 2 by David Freeman, on Flickr

Guard posts at front, the centre being a .50Cal.  In this post, as with the Mortar and Gun sections, there is a hooch for the gunner to sleep in.


Left hand (as you look) is manned with a M60


Right hand is just a rifleman
humble inf by David Freeman, on Flickr

The mortar pit
humble mortar 1 by David Freeman, on Flickr

crew "accommodation" on right and left front - ammo storage left rear.  The crew are about to fire a support mission


The gun pit
humble arty 1 by David Freeman, on Flickr

Crew accommodation on the left, workshop/tools right front - ammo storage otherwise.  Note the shells laid out for any "QRF" fire mission.

The crew are currently having breakfast


Oh - no smoking
Humble fuel by David Freeman, on Flickr

Originally to be part of the dio was a command post - but it was getting to jumbled/cramped, so I built the command post as a separate dio:
command group 01 by David Freeman, on Flickr

command group 03 by David Freeman, on Flickr

The roof lifts off to reveal inside
command group 04 by David Freeman, on Flickr

crew quarters to right front - commanders "room" top right.



Figures for both come from different sets, as does the mortar and gun.

all 1/35th

enjoy   :D
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 10:06:27 AM by ScranJ51 »
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Offline ScranJ51

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Re: Fire Support Base Humble
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2016, 08:33:49 AM »
oh - the "buildings" are scratch built from framers foamcore.  Guard posts are balsa and rippled card. The sand bags are all air-dried clay.  The roof of the artillery crew accommodation and the mortar pit also lift off
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Online Brian da Basher

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Re: Fire Support Base Humble
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2016, 06:02:51 PM »
That's incredibly well done and the details really bring it to life!

I really like your work on the figures. My favorite is that sad-sack rifleman with the "Mutt 'n' Jeff" look to him. You captured that 1,000 yard stare perfectly!

Brian da Basher


Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Fire Support Base Humble
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2016, 06:20:25 PM »
I love the smell of napalm in the morning! ;D
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 04:21:37 PM by Old Wombat »
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Re: Fire Support Base Humble
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2016, 03:50:28 AM »
 :)
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Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Fire Support Base Humble
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2016, 04:54:10 AM »
Fantastic work! The FSBs of Vietnam captured my imagination when I was younger and you really brought it to life! Bravo!
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Online Camthalion

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Re: Fire Support Base Humble
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2016, 03:39:27 PM »
Nice work

Offline ScranJ51

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Re: Fire Support Base Humble
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2016, 05:04:19 PM »
The Story of Fire Support Base Humble


Somewhere alone the line I had bought the Airfix 1/35 Scale 155MM M1-a2 Howitzer kit.  I honestly can’t remember when or why: it was either on sale/really cheap somewhere or I saw it and decided that I’d never built an Artillery piece. Anyway, it had sat in my “stash” for quite a while until I decided that I wanted to take on a project a little out of the ordinary using a brace of 1/35 Scale stuff that I had.

So, while reading through “The Vietnam War” (The Illustrated History of the Conflict in Southeast Asia - Salamander Publications 1979) I came across an artists impression of a US Fire Support Base (page 28/29).  In particular, the impression contained a diagram of a Howitzer emplacement – so the seed of Fire Support Base (FSB) Humble was born!

First up – a couple of definitions of “left and right or arc”.  The diorama only represents part of a fire support base, and in that respect, is also much closer than in reality (due to space constraints).  Initially, the plan was to include the Command Centre, but I soon realised that given space constraints etc this was not possible, hence the second part of the diorama being built separately.  Secondly, there is/was probably no set design for actual components of a FSB, so I have applied some “artistic” licence to the build(s).  Some may ask why the name FSB “Humble”.  Well, that’s two-fold.  Firstly, the build was only meant to resemble part of an FSB (as discussed), but more importantly, the street on which I live is Humble Court……….


The Dio contains parts/elements from a wide range of sources, as follows:

The Artillery section.  The Gun is the Airfix M1-A2 as discussed.  The gun crew is from the MiniCraft Soviet Soldiers at Rest kit, with helmets substituted from other kits to replace the fur caps in the original.  The tools in the workshop section are from numerous sources, and the gun rounds are from the AFV Club 155/203 Howitzer Round and Stowage Case Kit.

The Mortar Section.  The Mortar section is from the Tamiya M106AI Armoured SP Mortar Kit.

The Infantry Troops.  These come from a variety of sources, the 50Cal is from an M113 APC kit, the figures from either the Tamiya M113 APC kit or the Dragon 1:35 “Nam” Series US 1st Cavalry kit, suitable modified.

The Fuel dump is made up of items from the Tamiya (from memory) Jerry Cans set etc.

The dio contains parts that were built in modules.  The Arty module was completed first, with the crew quarters, Ammo Storage and Workshop area scratch built using balsa and 3mm foam core (available in large sheets from most framing stores).  Likewise the Mortar area and 50 Cal area were scratch built.  I took some artistic licence here, in that there are (somewhat crude) living accommodations built into the Arty, Mortar and 50 Cal positions in the expectation that crews would live close to the weapons (which was certainly the case with the gun crews).  The overhead “protection” in each case lifts off to expose these crude living conditions, which equate to nothing more than a sleeping position, with “scratch’ built pillow and sheet included.  No doubt if FSB Humble had been real the troops would not have been happy!!

All the sand bags are “scratch” built from air drying clay, and balsa was used to build the crude steps between some of the positions.

The Command Dio.

As discussed, this was originally planned to be part of the dio, but I soon realised that the concept would not work, so the command bunker was built as a separate entity.  Again, the command bunker was built from scratch using balsa and foam core.  The figures are a combination from the aforementioned Dragon “Nam” series kit as well as figures from the Tamiya M557 Armoured Command Post Car kit (including the desk).  There is some scratch built furniture, with the radio from (I think) the M1-A2 kit. 

The Command bunker is of my own design, and uses the concept that the command “crew” (the Commander and a couple of selected staff) would live inside the bunker – hence the separate “living” areas included.  Note there is a (very) slightly larger area for the Commander (featuring a door – luxury!!), with an area for four support staff (separated from the command area by a black curtain, made simply from some material offcut) included.  In the actual dio an “off-duty” member is shown in the “crew” quarters.  The gun rack near the door was scratch made from balsa and is entirely my own design.

The maps etc were produced by down loading images from the Internet, saving same onto a PowerPoint side, printing on a colour printer then using a colour photocopier to reduce the images (time consuming but very effective!)  The “Fuel Storage No Smoking” sign for the fuel dump was produced by the same process.


I had a lot of fun creating “Fire Support Base Humble” and the “Command Post”.  While not modelled off an actual location, I intended them to portray what operating conditions may have been like during the Vietnam War.  I hope you enjoy the dioramas.
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Offline ScranJ51

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Re: Fire Support Base Humble
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2018, 10:07:06 AM »
re-imaged
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Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Fire Support Base Humble
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2018, 12:10:25 PM »
All rather cramped, isn't it?  In real life, you'd have tens, if not hundreds of metres between the various firepits.  You'd also need to build your sandbags a lot closer together to get them interlocked properly so they could stand up against enemy shelling.  Also, the weapons' pits are a bit "open".  You want them as closed as possible, to present the smallest target to the descending artillery rounds.   You'd also have overhead protection as much as possible, somewhere the crews could shelter.  Finally, you'd need some means to get the artillery pieces in and out of the pits (ramps usually) and a means for the crews to get easily in and out (stairs/ramps/ladders).  You'll also need a weapons rack, for their individual weapons, where they can put them while working their guns/mortars.  We used to built them from three convenient saplings in a "H" shape.  It would keep them out of the dust/dirt.

I know those needs often appear a bit contrasting but they work out.  Soldiers have a unique way of making such matters work for them.  I remember one of my first Army exercises spending hours building a CP only to have the CSM look it over and say, "Nope, all wrong.  What you want is this..."  And he sat down and explained how to design a proper working CP, one which the diggers could work in and if necessary fight from.   He taught me a lot about how to build defensive works.

Offline ScranJ51

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Re: Fire Support Base Humble
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2018, 12:21:36 PM »
Rickshaw,

Yes it is rather cramped!  That is a factor of physical size of the Dio - to build one suitably spaced would take up a whole room!  It is meant to be only a small part of the overall FSB.


Your comments noted.  I didn't say it was perfect...................................
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