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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Sunday 17 August 2014


... and relics.

No, not a post about me, or any other middle-aged wargamer.

Instead; this evening I was walking along my favourite stretch of coastline here in Blighty. It's on the north Norfolk coast - Nelson country. Out from the village of Burnham Overy Staithe, the sea defences stretch as dykes towards the North Sea (the 'German Sea' as it was called for a while, until 1914), with salt marsh, grazing cattle, and an abundance and variety of birds unlike almost anywhere else in England. Given its geographic position, it will not surprise you to hear that the whole coast is littered with the wrecks and relics of Britain's 1940-41 defences. Pillboxes sink into the shingle and sand, everywhere the concrete and stainless steel of Spigot Mortar mounts, even the occasional Allan-Williams' turret survives, and last winter's storms revealed twisted barbed wire stakes. And, this evening, walking away from the sea and the grey-blue clouds, I came across this:

The tail fins of a mortar bomb.

Can any well-informed chap out there give me name, rank and number on this relic?

3" mortar bomb? Or something else?

Tuesday 5 August 2014


...Lovitznia....and the wanderings of a middle-aged duffer's mind.

Regular readers of this blog may remember the adventures, in 42mm, of the heroic Maj. Vlasov during the defence of Brnad, ancient border town in Maltovia. Inspired by Biggles, Algy, and Ginger, along with the 'Rattle of Dice' rule set, and old school shiny toy soldiery, the long struggle between those Mitteleuropa enemies continued at the end of the '13 campaigning season on the green felt table top. While on my recent trip of filial devotion, I bought a paperback copy of:

My boyhood copy (second hand in 1970, and, even then, missing its spine) is somewhere in my loft, and, in any case, who could resist the rather splendid tri-motor (SM81?) on the cover of this edition of W.E. Johns' account of the 1930s' clash of Lovitznia and Maltovia.
The upshot (appropriately enough) of this re-reading was a quick order to Irregular Miniatures of York for reinforcements in 42mm, but also the extraction of this kit from my stash:

No direct relation to the Maltovian business, but some to Biggles (Of The Camel Squadron etc), and more evidence of butterfly syndrome. So, this evening, my huge mitts struggled with this:

A nicely rendered engine, but as it is only 20mm in length, and composed of eight parts, you can imagine the Anglo-Saxon at the work bench...

Monday 4 August 2014

Known Unto God...

'Looking back towards safety from the Auchonvilliers trenches, one daily saw a high crucifix at the end of the town, silvered and silhouetted in the sunset. Before we came away, this sad sculpture had fallen...'

Saturday 2 August 2014

Sea Hurricane...

... end state.

Finally, I've finished the Airfix 1/72 Sea Hurricane IIc in Fleet Air Arm 'Operation Torch' finish. I strongly suspect that the serial number I've used (from the 'Sky' decal sheet) is incorrect, and I'm not sure that I am happy with my choice of greys. The finish should be 'dark sea grey' and 'extra dark sea grey', but, to my ageing eyes that combination looked like having too little contrast. Anyway, it is done:

Although the cockpit cover comes in two parts, as they are injection moulded they are too thick to position open, so my careful detailing of the cockpit sides, and the addition of the seat harness, is rather wasted. Oh well.

This past week I have been visiting my aged mother in Dumfries and Galloway - a fine county. As well as bathing in the Irish Sea with my grandson, I also visited the plentiful, but not always interesting, book shops of Wigtown. Despite limiting my purchases (it's the age of austerity, don't you know?), I picked up a very nice copy of this:

The question is, how long can I resist hunting down a kit of the He 112?