Sunday 23 October 2011

Finger and Toe Models Quonset Hut

My latest card building, the Quonset Hut, appeared in my last batrep "Who's Laughing Now?" and I thought you'd like to see a much closer look at it. I've only just recently discovered Finger and Toe Models, who make this model and although they only have a few contemporary 28mm scale models, I like what they do, especially as they offer building interiors with their models. Mind you, the Quonset Hut comes without an interior, but that wasn't going to stop me from adding one!
According to the blurb given with the instructions, Quonset Huts were intended as temporary structures to create bases quickly. Although actually invented in the First World War (as Nissen Huts), Quonset Huts didn't achieve their widespread distribution until redesigned and mass-produced for the U.S. Navy in the Second World War.
This model represents a 20' by 40' version with corrugated steel ends, instead of the plywood found on the original versions. Quonset Huts can be any type of structure you like, from an airport terminal, base operations to barracks and offices, even a research station plunked down in the Antarctic. The structure is so simple, some version will likely continue to be used for many decades to come. I decided to use my model as a small barracks, configured for four residents.
 This photo shows the front of the Hut, with the door still open from Team Vampifan's visit. I cut the windows out and replaced the "glass" with an offcut of transparency paper.
The front and back walls were easy to make. I just glued the printout of the interior and exterior to a piece of mounting card. With the walls and roof being a curved structure I did wonder if reinforcing them with mounting card would work. I was considering using thin card to reinforce my printouts but in the end I was able to use thick mounting card.
If you look closely at the front and back walls, you can see that the curve is made up of 12 angled straight edges.
This made making the walls and roof much easier as I was able to score the mounting card about halfway through, so it could fold and match the shape of the front and back walls. The roof is reinforced and kept in shape by two inserts glued at either end that match the shape of the upper part of the front and back walls. There is a thick black line that runs a third of the way up along both sides of the roof/walls, which would have made a good place to separate the roof from the walls. The only problem was that it gave a lot less room to get your fingers inside to move stuff about. So, I made the side walls three sections high and the roof consists of six sections. The join between the two is more visible than if I'd used the cut where the thick black lines are but against that, I can reach inside far more easily. It's a compromise between aesthetics and playability
This photo shows an overhead view of the interior of the Hut. All of the furniture and props inside come from the Ebbles Ambient Elements set, specifically the Barracks, Storeroom and Workshop sets. I know that these sets are now no longer for sale but Chris Roe (aka Mel Ebbles) is reintroducing his back catalogue of models to the WWG webstore, so hopefully they will be available for sale soon. For the interior walls I simply printed out a second set of the external walls and used them. The only thing I had to change was the position of the door knob. For the interior doors I painted it out and repainted one on the opposite side of the door.
Here is a side view of the interior that you never got to see in my last ATZ batrep. As well as a bunk bed in each corner, there are two locker cupboards and a stack of four foot lockers, where the occupants can keep their clothes and whatever gear they need. The cupboards and foot lockers came from the Ebbles Storeroom set. The two cupboards had to be cut down in height and have their sides reshaped so that they would fit flush to the walls. Fiddly work that required some precise measurements to get the cupboard walls the correct shape.
This is the interior view that appeared the most in my last ATZ batrep. There is a bunk bed in each corner again. The table in the middle had to have its support base trimmed so that I could fit the chairs under the table at the two short ends. The support base originally ran the length of the table. I cut it in half. I added an Ebbles laptop computer and a sheet of notepaper on the table for some decoration. The table came from the Ebbles Workshop set and the chairs and bunks from the Barracks set
This is a view from the back of the barracks, showing the cramped conditions inside. You can see that on the front and back windows I painted a cross on them to indicate the window frames, rather than just leave them blank. It's the little details like this that add to the overall feel of the model.
I haven't commented on the window shutters on the side walls. They certainly help break up the drabness of the walls and roof but the way they're angled I do wonder how much light they would allow inside. The shutters do not come with interior detail, so I was able to counteract that when I printed out my second set of walls.
The Quonset Hut was not an easy model to make because of the curved roof and walls but I'm very happy with the final outcome. Mind you, if you were to build it as per the instructions, without any interior detail, then I'd describe it as an easy model to build. It fits in very well the Ebbles Folding Unit Structures. As I mentioned earlier, it is the kind of building you could find anywhere from World War One up to the near future. You could just imagine a load of these being used in the early stages of the zombie apocalypse to house refugees fleeing from the zombie menace. 
I should mention that if you do purchase this model, it comes with a 15mm scale version as well, which will be of use to some of you who prefer gaming in a much smaller scale.


  1. This is quite good. Hmmm could be fun to have a mission on a military base. (ex military) In the search for ammunition or perhaps canned food. Some of the cans you get in the military will be good for about 50 years!!!

  2. Nice Write-up as ususal Bryan. Unfortunately it seems that the Quonset hut has fallen out of favor for the US Military, now they seem to use something similar to the steel shipping containers (the Industrial Containers you had featured in one of your BatReps a couple sessions back). Though the Quonset hut styles structures still sees some use in the civilian market, for use as car ports for those who cant have a garage but want to have a covered area for their vehicle, storage sheds, workshops, small aircraft hangers, homes, ect...

    @Johnny- For the cans you can find, Ammo yes food not so much even if they try to tell you that a food item is nonperishable, it does have a shelf life, only "food item" that technically is non-perishable is Honey, though as it gets older it does crystallize, when this happens gradually heat it up and it should re-liquefy, archeologists have excavated jars of honey from Egyptian tombs and safely consumed the honey (after re-liquefying it). Ammo if stored properly can actually last for quite a long time. I have actually shot off through my USGI WWII M1 Carbine ammo that was manufactured for it during WWII, and my Mosin-Nagant 91/30 (Soviet Bolt Action Rifle used from 1891 to the present day, though the 31 designation denotes a modification to the design in 1931, similar to how the US Military has the M16A1, A2, etc...) I have shot surplus ammo that based on the head stamps on the 7.62x54r rounds places it as 1939 manufactured ammo. With any surplus ammo you do have to be careful and visually inspect the ammo first to make sure the rounds are in good shape, keeping an eye out of cracks, corrosion, bulging, ect... if a round has any of these signs you dont want to use it. Another thing you can do is if you are able to is pull a bullet on one or two rounds to check the powder, if its clumpy then that means water or even possibly oil has worked its way into the rounds and they are now unusable.

  3. @Johnny. I agree about your military base scenario, although given what Doug has to say, perhaps I should use the Quonset Hut in conjunction with the Ebbles Folding Unit Structures.

    @Doug. Excellent reply! One of the problems I found when making the interior is the same as what folk in real life discovered about them. Rectangular furniture does not fit in well in a semi-circular structure and so you use up more floor space than is necessary. I curved the side walls of my cupboards, but I wonder if that would have happened in real life? Somehow, I doubt it.
    Full marks to you, Doug, for your informative answer to the shelf life of canned food and ammo.

    1. why cant it be used for a military hospital sleeping quarters

    2. That is a possibility, Mr. Anonymous.

  4. I stand corrected! Thanks Doug.

    The military scenario could work with a recently vacated site. Thus the food will be better. (slightly)

  5. Great job on the Quonset hut. I've built the 15mm version of this kit without the interior. As you said it was a quick and easy build. Yours, though, is just outstanding. I thought it was brilliant the way you used the strips for the roofing material to follow the curve of the roof. And your conversion to make the roof opening larger was very well done. I love the little touches you do to add realism, especially the painted-on lines on the windows.

    One thing I remember about staying in Quonset huts was that we didn't have any tall furniture in the hut, except for some wooden shelves on the end walls. We had a foot locker at the end of a cot, and the cot was oriented with your feet toward the curved outer wall. Plus, you storage space under the cot for gear.

  6. @Johnny. True. A vacated site or more than likely, a site overrun by zombies would make for a better option.

    @Luckyjoe. I have never been in a Nissen Hut or a Quonset Hut so many thanks for your personal experiences of what it's like to live in one. According to Wikipedia they were not pleasant places to live in - too cold and draughty in cold weather and too hot and humid in warmer climes.

  7. Great looking model, I'm pleased to be able to see all the detail you've put into it, one thing though I would like to know is what is the footprint of the building ?

  8. @Colonel Shofer. Thanks.

    @Joe. More thanks. The footprint of the building is 4" by 8" and the base measures 5" by 9", giving it a 1/2" surround.

  9. Another great piece of terrain. I like it very much, as it is quite different from most of the other terrain out there. You've done a great job with the interior, it looks as though it belongs there.

  10. very nice, im waiting for your tut on how you make your buildings, mine allway look terrible

  11. @Biff. Thanks, although I have had years of practice.

    @Adam. The quonset Hut is very different from most buildings with its curved roof. The furniture and props do match well. I'm lucky to have so many card model sets to choose from.

    @Shintokamikaze. Patience is the key. Don't try to rush anything.

  12. Excellent work as usual. I suppose your architectural background comes in handy with regards to making all these tweeks.

    Quick article request: I've always been intrigued by how you manage to store all your cardboard/paper terrain pieces. They never seem to wind up bashed or crushed. Care to enlighten us?

  13. @Dangerous Brian. It's true that I have studied architecture and my brother is a fully qualified architect, so yes, I do know a far bit about the subject. How much my architectural knowledge helps to build models is debatable but it certainly can't do me any harm.

    Regarding storage, most of my models are kept in large cardboard boxes. Being a good customer of Amazon, I'm always receiving different sized boxes and if I think they are worth keeping they get kept. The other point to bear in mind is that I only game at home. So the farthest any of my buildings have to travel is from my bedroom upstairs to the dining room downstairs. If I was to travel to a gaming club or a friend's place then they might not look so pristine.

  14. Nice work Vampifan, the Hut looks great and it certainly added something extra to your scenery.

  15. Terrific interior as always. Great to hear Mel is re-introducing his back-catalogue. Iw as lucky enough to pick up the full catalogue CD, on fellow bloggers recommendations, so greta to hear other will be able to get them too.