Total Pageviews


'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.'

Thursday, 16 July 2015


.... distracted.

Some lucky fellows press on, come what may, with one wargaming project. Onwards! Forwards!
 Al Front! and such. However, it seems to me that the 'oooh shiny' syndrome is more common than the highly focused syndrome among the wargaming, toy soldier, and kit basher fraternity. And it doesn't even have to be shiny. No sooner had my wargamery mind returned, again, to the Western Desert, than I came across this little, 53 page booklet from 1999:

Of course, thanks to the Osprey, Axis Forces in Yugoslavia 1941-5 (1995), I was aware of the 'Russian Defence Corps' or the 'Russian Protection Corps' (both titles being used in a short entry in the Osprey). However, this little booklet provides a good deal more detail, and explains just how a force that was largely made up of men in their 50s and early 60s actually managed to fight in the utterly awful war that Yugoslavia descended into after the German invasion. In fact, the Russian Guard Corps appears to have been, by a good way, the least appalling of all the forces in that unhappy country. In small soldier land, the appeal is the brown uniforms (of varying cuts - Imperial Russian, Serb, German), the Czech helmets, a cavalry unit, and, as you can see from the cover above, a handful of Renault R35s.   But, how, how can a 20mm force be put together? Which manufacturers produce figures with Czech helmets, and, surprisingly, I can't appear to track down R35s in 20mm with the German split hatch and the long gun.  Mind you, if I wait a bit I'll see something...ooooh SHINY!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Tanks (model)...

... garden...aircraft models...

I've loved gardens since I was at least six years old, and used to have a small corner of my father's garden, behind a slowly collapsing shed, where my favourite plants were London Pride and forget-me-not. I've enjoyed kit bashing aircraft since I was seven or eight, when my father took me to the local Woolworth's and bought me the old Airfix Hurricane IV. The model tanks followed a bit later, with a Tiger tank from a school mate (which still exists, somewhere). So, plus ca change...

The Vickers Light is coming along. Is it just me, or did Humbrol matt enamel dry more quickly in the past? It definitely needs 24hrs to dry now, yet matt used to be ok in six hours - or am I imagining that?

The above photo was taken on Saturday morning, when I was sitting outside in my back garden, having one of my 'do this in remembrance of me' moments, but not for Christ (although the quotation makes one think of Him), but for my father and grandfather. I've returned to my pipe occasionally in recent weeks, so I was puffing away in the sunshine, sitting in one of my late father's garden chairs, remembering, and watching a bee carefully ascending then descending the hosta flowers. Both hostas and geraniums remind me of my grandfather, born 135 years ago.

And model aeroplanes. The next one could well be the much applauded:

Or, one that I've had in the stash for over a decade....

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Nut shells...

... small things...and nuts...of different types.

I'm currently in a nautical mood - a result of reading an obituary in The Daily Telegraph.It is of one of those lives that stand out because of its sheer exuberant decency. As you'll see if you follow the link, it was of a woman called Rozelle Raynes, whose abiding passion was small boats and the sea. So, having read the obit, I ordered a copy of her account of a three month coastal journey from Dover to Bergen (some 1,500 miles) in her 25' sailing boat, Martha McGilda, in the early 1960s.  It's entitled North in a Nutshell, and it's a marvellous tale, charming, funny, pleasant, and full of daring. I don't own a boat myself, although I once owned a home-made canoe, but I sometimes dream of a small, gentleman's cabin cruiser that I might pilot around estuaries and coastal waters. Until then, the Hobbit Bunker is flying this old style (pre-1704) naval ensign:

My own adventures are firmly land bound. I live as far from the sea as you can in England (the waves are around 75 miles away), and summer is really focused on growing food, rather than catching it from the sea. Here's my allotment plot at 8.30pm yesterday:

Broad beans, sweet corn, parsnips, carrots, potatoes (of two varieties), dwarf French beans, climbing French beans, turnips, swedes, and brambles are all in this photograph, mostly small, but growing.
For Father's Day, my son and grandson bought me this:

I think it was originally the work of another company, but is now boxed by Airfix. It is a very sharp, easy to build little kit, and apart from a bit of filler in sink marks around the coupla, went together easily:

But it is small! As my grandson said on seeing it built, 'It's so tiny! Did it come out of that box?'
It is tiny in 1/76, just look at it here next to an Indian Pattern carrier:

Like the carrier, the Vickers Light is headed for wargame North Africa, as I am a long time devotee of John Sanders' classic Airfix Magazine series from the 1970s. Who can forget his 1/32 (?) Light tank made of cardboard with shirt buttons for wheels!

Here in the UK, yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the 7th July bombings, when four "British" rag head jihadi suicide murderers with links to the now superseded al-Qaeda, slaughtered 52 people in London. As we are coming to expect in these times, there was a national minute's silence, the value of which I'm not sure about. However, the tenth anniversary brought back the then Labour Prime Minister (and war monger in chief) Tony Blair's insistence that the killings had 'nothing to do with UK foreign policy'. Oddly, in their farewell videos, the raghead nuts made it quite clear that, as far as they were concernd, it had a lot to do with UK foreign policy. These days, our Prime Minister and his followers keep on insisting that such terrorism (most recently the ISIL-linked, racist and religious killings in Tunisia) have 'nothing to do with Islam'. Blair was wrong ten years ago, Cameron is wrong now.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Long time...

... no blog. Bad.

What goes on ? What do I do with all my time (the little that's left, furthermore)? I go to work, I do family stuff (being a much reduced paterfamilias), tend my allotment plot, do bits in the little garden, read books, stare into space, drink coffee, beat myself up because I don't write stuff, or go walking in the mountains, or... fail to write this blog.  But, I have done a few wargamey/kit basher/toy soldierly things since I last posted.

First off, the rotten Yankee invaders of 1812. Now I have a unit of militia finished:

Here they come, creeping through the forest..

arguing amongst themselves about the precise constitutional position their officer is in when it comes to orders...

The good thing is that I now have US Regulars, militia, and artillery, all ready for the invasion. On the British-Canadian side, I've only the Royal Artillery to finish.
On the aero-kit-bashing front, I managed, with much blood, sweat and tears, to get this kit of the Vickers Valiant finished:

It's from 'Micro-Mir' in 1/144, and it was a bit of a swine to make. A short-run kit, it fitted where it touched, and my experience with the brass photo-etch has finally decided me against photo-etch. It's just too 'flat', too finicky, too bl**dy difficult to glue. There were, for example, 18 tiny (around 1.5mm in length) bits of etch for the vortex generators on the wings. After one long session, I got all 18 fixed, but they were only barely in place, and, of course, the slightest handling led to breakage. So I cut them all off, and was later pleased to find a photo of a Valiant in Australia without the wing vortex generators!

Nonetheless, it's a pretty impressive kit in 1/144, and now sits nicely next to my 1/144 Badgers on the shelf.
Meanwhile, in garden-land, all is beauty and peace:

While my 'study' is all unfinished projects....