Painting guns. The Spanish 75mm Krupp mountain gun
Javier Gómez "El Mercenario"
Although in the War of Cuba and the Philippines of 1896-1898 various types of artillery were used by the Spanish Army, including medium and heavy calibers despite the difficulties in dragging them in the rough overseas terrains (especially in the Philippines, where Chinese carriers were often used), there was a piece that stood out for its ease of maneuver, the 75mm Krupp mountain gun –and the Plasencia mountain gun, similar to the former although with a bronze barrel. The 75mm Krupp mountain gun was a rapid-fire artillery piece made of steel, which for transport, “a lomo”, four mules were used: one for the barrel, another for the front of the gun carriage, another for the rear and a fourth for the wheels.
The 75mm Krupp mountain gun would prove its effectiveness in the battle of San Juan Hill, where the two pieces deployed by the Spaniards managed to locate and silence in just three quarters of an hour the four pieces of Grimes’s battery deployed on El Pozo Hill, while remaining hidden from the enemy throughout the whole day (unlike the Americans, the Spanish artillery used smokeless gunpowder).
And we can not continue without showing our gratitude to Javier Planells of La Pica en Flandes, the shop of the Museo Histórico Militar de Valencia, for the valuable photographs and information he kindly sent us of the original Krupp and Plasencia exhibited in the museum.
Our 75mm Krupp mountain gun consists of six parts, the gun carriage, two wheels, two steering wheels or cranks and the barrel. Although the piece comes very clean, we will eliminate any mold left over and optionally, we will clean it with a wet toothbrush and dry it with paper towels. We must take special care when cleaning the most delicate pieces, such as the lever of the gun chamber or the steering wheels.
Note: the barrel used in this tutorial has a small design error, a vertical reinforcement near the right of the mouth of the piece that should be further back, and that has been corrected conveniently for production, so the guns that you buy will be correct.
First of all we will glue on the left side of the barrel support the longest steering wheel, so that it is parallel to the ground, as can be seen in photo 2.
Next, we will glue the shorter crank on the right side of the gun carriage, where we find a small hole. In the Krupp design drawings, this crank is seen in a position parallel to the wheel, but in existing models that we have had evidence, we can see it slightly oriented backwards, and so we decided to glue it in that position.
If a lighter wood color is desired, use Beige Brown (875) as the base color, with successive dry brush of Cork Brown (843) and Iraqi Sand (819) or similar.
Although sometimes we see Spanish guns of the time painted gray, for the colonies they sent them unpainted, in the raw tone of the metal, that is, black. After seeing the photos of the Military Historical Museum of Valencia, I realized that it is a matt black tone that lightens by the wear and the dirt, reason why, instead of painting it in black and then highlighting somehow, I opted for the opposite formula: paint the base color with gray and simply apply to the whole piece (including the tube) a wash of Black (950) with a pinch of Chocolate Brown (872), very diluted in water. This wash will give the gun carriage a black tone but not completely matt, as it will highlight the volumes to a more grayish tone. We let it dry.
Once the wash is dry, we will repaint the metals, again with Gunmetal Grey (863) for the barrel and Brass (801) for the side crank. If desired, the tube can be painted with a lighter metal, such as Natural Steel (864), as it appears on the Museum piece.