Saturday, 28 March 2020

Ottiss the Otter

You know when you get a new toy, and everything else just moves back in priority?  So that happened this week.

Chris from Trumpeters has a couple of 3D printers and has been looking for projects to work on.  At the same time, I've been looking for an Otter Light Reconnaissance Car (LRC) for my Canadians in Sicily.  I found a STL file on Wargaming 3D which Chris was able to print on his fancy new resin printer.  

The Otter LRC was based on the CMP 15cwt chassis, taking advantage of this vehicle that was being mass-produced in Canadian factories.  The idea was to make something that was the equivalent of the Humber LRC, a widely used British armoured car.  The Otter had a more powerful engine, but as it was one ton heavier, performance was actually lower than the Humber's, but still considered satisfactory.  Having found one reference to them as "wretched" and "arguably the worst military vehicle ever produced in Canada", I knew I needed to include this marvelous creature in my army. 

The Otter was armed with a Bren gun in the small turret and a hull-mounted Boys Anti-tank rifle.  It's not really intended to engage the enemy directly, it's only supposed to provide enough protection to a recce team to allow them to report the presence of the enemy as they get themselves out of harm's way.  As described by Major Harold Parker of the Plugs, "We keep driving until the enemy shoots at us.  Then we know he is there."

The "Plugs" or the "Piddle-dee Gees" was the nickname given to the 4th Reconnaissance Regiment (4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards), which was the reconnaissance regiment of the 1st Canadian Division.  They were equipped with a combination of Otter LRC, Fox Armoured Cars and universal carriers, and their scouting role meant that they were most often at the forefront of the 1st Division's actions throughout all the action in Sicily and southern Italy.

Chris provided me two complete Otters, as well as a slightly miscast hull that I can use to build a wrecked car.  You can see in the photo above that I've given them the '41' green-over-blue insignia for the Plugs as well as the red patch of the 1st Division.  The vehicle names are invented.  Bison was a name I saw on an internet photo of an Otter model that someone else made.  Ottiss, however, has a special story.  For Christmas, I gave Erik a stuffed otter.  He immediately adopted it, gave it the name 'Ottiss" (not Otis, I confirmed with him right away), and Ottiss sleeps with Erik every night.  So the name for the first Otter to join my army was of course pre-determined!

The Otter is based on the CMP 15 cwt truck, and of course I already had one (the Rubicon Models version) in my collection.  The CMP looks to be ever so slightly larger, but I carefully measured, and the dimensions are as correct as I can determine for both vehicles.

In particular, you can see that the wheel base is identical.

A couple of comments on the 3D models.  If you look very carefully, you can see the striations from the printing process on these models.  I understand that I can use solvent to smooth out the striations, which I will experiment with on the scrap hull.  However, the striations are very subtle, so they don't bother me and I'll probably find the extra effort not worth the bother.  Chris also provided Bren guns and Boys rifles for these models, but I decided the detail on these were poor, so I substituted some resin guns from my bits box, left over from some Die Waffenkammer kits. I also added some smoke dispensers (the tubes in the front between the two windows).

I'll be looking for opportunities to get these on the table soon, will just need to see how long this COVID-19 isolation lasts!

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