One of those fortuitous eBay finds, these two Britains No. 1263 '12 Pounder' light field guns. Now I was already undertaking my own conversion of a Britains 25 Pounder in order to make just such a light - or 'mountain' - gun. However, this bit of luck negates the necessity of all that hard work.*
They were going for peanuts - another of those sales that had been badly and misleadingly described and so wasn't picked up by the ardent diecast collectors - so I snapped them up immediately (despite having already gone over this months toy budget).
The toy is a pretty simple one and has neither the breech loading nor adjustable elevation of the Britains No. 1201 18 Pounder or the No. 1264 4.7 inch Naval Gun. It uses the spring 'pull back' lever system similar to Britains 25 Pounder gun (and so, in effect, is a muzzle loader). It's also relatively small - being roughly half of a 1/32 figure's height - which is understandable as it is, after all, a 'light' gun.
Historical note: I am not entirely sure what the basis for this model is - or was. It looks to me like an attempt to replicate an early breech-loading piece, a very early version at that as it has no recoil suppressor and is mounted on a cannon carriage. The closest historical piece I can find that is similar to the Britains toy is perhaps the British 1859 12 pdr. Armstrong Gun...
|The 20 Pounder version of the Armstrong breech loader. Although these guns had no|
shield fitted I no reason why at some point one might not have been retro-fitted.
EDIT UPDATE: My brother has done a bit of research and found a artillery piece which seems to fit the bill as the inspiration for this Britains toy gun. It's the 1892 Ordnance BL 12-pounder 6 cwt. In 1899 a primitive recoil system was rigged but in any case it had a short service life - seeing moves to replace it as early as 1901. Again, the problem is that this gun didn't have a shield in any reference I have been able to find so I must conclude that this *may* have been a bit of creative thinking on the part of Britains (unless anyone out there knows any different?).
|BL 12 Pounder 6 cwt in use with the RHA in 1897. Source: Wikipedia|
I have it in mind that these shall constitute the light artillery support for my Molaterian Jaegers (they being my designated mountain warfare specialists) and will complete my modest collection of light, medium and heavy artillery for my army, along side those Britains guns I have already collected.