Sunday 31 August 2014

Medway Club, Star Wars X-Wing

The Medway Club has gone all Star Wars recently and some members have some very big models.

The Red Arrows Over Kent

As a former resident of Newquay I have seen most of the NATO air display teams at the St Mawgan air base and while they are all very good, especially the Yanks and the Portugese, nothing matches the Red Arrows for precision flying.

The best of the best.


Thursday 28 August 2014

Wicca Faction, The Countryside Alliance

In any revolution there are winners and losers. The losers in the Steampunk Revolution were the rural poor,  their communities shattered when they were thrown out of work by the new machineswhich polluted and defiled the countryside.

But the countryside is fighting back.

Enter the Countryside Alliance and the Wicca Faction.


My new faction is coming along nicely.

I give you The Witches including:
  • two hags, one with scrying stone and one with magic sword
  • two witches plus broomsticks, witches for the use of
  • a magic witches cauldron

Monday 25 August 2014

Wings of War: Dunfold Wheels & Wings Show

A vic of SE.5as return after a dogfight, the leader trailing smoke from a damaged engine. The SE.5a was strong, fast and well armed. One of the best interceptors of the war, it was operational in Spring, 1917.

Fokker Dr I Triplanes landing. Slow and obsolete when introduced this plane still built up a fearsome reputation in Autumn 1917.

Another SE5a.

Junkers CLI all metal monoplanes. They were mainly used by the Freikorps after the war for ground attack.

Sopwith Triplane, which started the triplane craze in 1917. It wasn't a bad plane despite being a triplane.

Junkers CL.I.

Formation turn.



Stacked up.

Triplane dawn patrol.

Saturday 23 August 2014

Steampunk: The Worzels

Have painted the first few of my next steampunk project.

Can you guess what faction they will be joining children?

Thursday 21 August 2014

In the Bowels of the British Museum

Deep in the bowels of the British Museum something unholy has come to life.....

The Commission has been alerted.

A Really Big Gun

We have lots of military guff lying around in Kent. This piece is a gate guard at the Royal Engineers Museum in Chatham.

Chem Geek

Bought a Lego present for No 1 daughter.

This will apparently grace the laboratories at one of our leading drug companies.

Must say they have her off to a 'T', even down to the scowl and the hair. :)

And she could have followed in her father's footsteps and been a bio geek

Tuesday 19 August 2014

West Wind Customer Service, Steampunk Dragonfly

Having a steampunk week.

I have bought quite a few Empire of the Dead models from Jim and Tori at Rochester Models including this little beauty: an Ornithopter.

I guess that ornithopter has become a generic word for an animal kingdom-based flying machine but I am a career zoologist so I must - pedantically - insist that this is a dragonfly: an Aeshnacopter, if you will. :)

This is a great model that comes with alternate heads that can make it look very different. I opted for the Prussian-look to match my IHMN North Star Society of Thule.

A word about West Wind's customer service: I lost one of my wings and as this is an expensive quality model wrote to West Wind asking if I could buy another.

A few days later two arrived in the post - two because they are matched left right pairs and I hadn't specified which I wanted.

Not finding an invoice I rang up Wendy Cooper who declined further payment - all part of the service.

Now THAT is customer service!

Sunday 17 August 2014

IHMN - The Nautilus Crew - Westwind Productions

My Nautilus crew sourced from the superb West Wind Productions, Empire of the Dead range. If you haven't seen them this is a very large steampunk range that could have been made for IHMN.

I bought the Crew of the Nautilus set, £25, the Captain Nemo character £4, a Steam Cannon £7,  and a Gyrocopter, £20.

The miniatures are high quality beautifully sculpted small 28ml, about the same size as the Warlord-Empress Rourke's Drift models or the North Star IHMN miniatures.

Total cost of the army was £56 - £36 if you exclude the gyrocopter which was a bit of a luxury item.

So, the stats and points, courtesy of Lady Kate’s Marvellous Maniacal Enumerator.

 From left to right we have:

Captain Nemo - 79pts
Pluck 2+, FV 5+, SV 3+, Sp +1, Duelist, Fearless, Leadership +2, Inspirational, Magneto-Static Waistcoat, Pistol, Sabre, Breath Preserver.

 Bosun Pengelly - 31pts
 Pluck 3+, FV 3+, SV 3+, Sp 0, Leadership +1,  Brigandine, Pistol, Sabre, Breath Preserver.

Professor Pierre Arronax - 49pts
Pluck 4+, FV +2, SV +3, Speed 0, Engineer, Lined Coat, Pistol, Grenades Explosive x3, Bricklane Bottle x2.

Harpoonist Ned Land - 33pts
Pluck 3+, FV +4, SV +3, Speed +1, Lined Coat, Spear, Sabre.

Atlantean Merman - 46pts
Pluck 5+, FV +4, SV +4, Speed +0, Duelist, Terrifying, Anti-Venom, Scales (chain shirt), Sabre, Breath Preserver.

Steam Man - 28pts
Pluck 4+, FV +0, SV +3, Speed +0, Strongman, Brigandine, Steam Cannon, Breath Preserver.
The steam cannon is used to clean off the Nautilus but it doubles as Weapon which functions just like a flamethrower.

Nautilus Sailor2 - 18pts each
Pluck 5+, FV +2, SV +2, Speed +0, Strongman, Brigandine, Carbine, Combat Knife, Breath Preserver.
Nautilus sailors are equipped with  powerful electrically powered  'dart pistols' that function as carbines.

Pilot Budgie - 79 pts
Pluck 4+, FV +4, SV +0, Speed +0, Mechanic, Brigandine, Congreve Rocket Gun, Grenades Explosives x5, Breath Preserver, Gyrocopter.
The gyrocopter functions as an ornithopter.

This team is a highly specialised one. I assume submarine crews will not be equipped with long range military gear but the sort of weapons that might be used when boarding a ship or in a dockside tavern brawl.

Total Points 417 if I use all the figures.

Saturday 16 August 2014

Flying Into History

Kent reverberated to the sound of the mighty Merlins this afternoon after an air display by the Battle of Britain Flight: two Lancasters escorted by an element of Spitfires. It is very unlikely that anyone will ever see Lancasters flying in formation ever again.

The Lancaster was arguably the best bomber of WWII, capable of carrying bigger bomb loads further than anything else.

The Lancaster fleet grew to around one thousand aircraft by the end of '44. The night battles with the Luftwaffe over Germany pioneered modern air warfare. Lancasters were equipped with radio navigation, ground following radar, fighter warning radar and electronic countermeasures. The fleet bombed on illuminated flares placed by pathfinder Lancs controlled by an airborne command plane. In the bomber stream were wild-weasel electronic warfare planes to interfere with the Ludtwaffe's night fighter control systems.

Losses were horrendous as the wings were full of petrol. Few crews survived a tour of duty in the night bomber fleets. One was my uncle who flew as navigator in an Australian -crewed Wellington. They even survived being raked by a night fighter's 'jazz music' cannon over Berlin although the navigator's chair was blown out of the plane - fortunately my uncle was passing the pilot a course correction at the time.

The men who crewed this historic aeroplane fought and died so my generation wouldn't have to live in fear of the concentration camp and the gas chamber.

Last look.

Warlord games: Macedonian Phalangites

Assembled and painted the last twenty models out of the Warlord Games Macedonian Phalanx box

I wash them with the Army Painter black-toned varnish. I dilute it with white spirit 50-50 (shake can well to lift the pigment) and paint it onto the figures. One gets a very pleasing result as it runs into all the cracks.

All this for £22!

Highly recommended for filling out your Macedonian-Hellenistic armies.

Friday 15 August 2014


 A dragonfly alighted on one of the bushes in my back garden, sunning itself in the warm weather. I managed to grab my camera and fire off a couple of shots on auto before it flew off.

One of them came off.

If you click on the photo it is high res and will enlarge. The colours and markings on the body are astonishing and you can just make out the diaphanous wings.


Wednesday 13 August 2014

Hail Caesar: The Poison King

The weekend involved the first outing of my developing Pontic Army. The infantry is pretty well done but the cavalry had to be fudged a bit from what I had available.

I use half size units, ten infantry and six cavalry per unit, when playing Hail Caesar at home because southern England rooms are small and there isn't space for a full size table. I still use inches for measurements as it makes the game zip along to completion in a reasonable time.

I was playing against the famous Roman warlord Lucius Shaunus. Shaunus and I haven't played HC for a while so we probably forgot some of the rules but the game is very forgiving.

The photo above shows my current army.

Battalion A, Cavalry:
  • 1 Three small units of light Iranian cavalry
  • 2 Unit of Hellenistic heavy cavalry
  • 3 Unit of Iranian heavy cavalry

Battalion B, Hellenistic Infantry
  • 1 Small unit of slingers
  • 2 Two small units of javelinmen
  • 3 Unit of medium bowmen
  • 4 Two units of regular phalangites
  • 5 Unit or ersatz legionaries
  • 6 Unit of thorakitai (OK, hoplite models standing in for thorakitai)
  • 7 Unit of peltasts

I formed the infantry in two rows, with the bowmen and phalangites in front and the medium infantry forming a reserve.

Battalion C, Galatians
  • 1 Small unit of slingers
  • 2 Four warbands arranged in a chisel formation to cut through the legions.

The Romans in their famous 'five spot' formations:
  • B Baggage
  • Ax Auxiliaries
  • Ar Scorpions
  • L Legions
  • C Cavalry

The photo shows the centre of the battlefield after a couple of turns (and the 'hand of Shaunus').

  • 1 My cavalry ripped through the Roman right wing, rolling over the cavalry and artillery
  • 2 Had a bit of a command control issue in the centre with a single phalanx advancing unsupported
  • 3 On my right flank the slingers occupied the attention of the Roman cavalry while my column of warbands piled into the legions - again, command control could have been better.

  • 1 Mixed results on the right wing: the slingers continued to tie up the cavalry but the legions splatted my first warband
  • 2 In the centre, the advanced phalanx and a legion unit fought a grinding clash of attrition
  • 3 A Roman legion unit punched right through my centre and slaughtered my medium infantry
  • 4 The cavalry turn in to the legion's flank

 Both armies show signs of exhaustion (i.e. units shaken). Shaunus doubled up his legion units (shades of Cannae).

1 My cavalry surround and smoke a legion unit
2 My second phalangite unit finally got into combat and was trashed in one turn by a doubled-up legion unit but the yellow shield phalangites rolled over the front unit of lehionaries and the second support unit was swept away in the debacle
3 The legions on the left flank ground away the Galatian warbands whose wild charge could have been much wilder
4 The last of my reserves engages the Roman cavalry which finally swept away the valiant Galatian slingers
5 Having destroyed two units of Pontic medium infantry, this Roman unit refused all orders from Shaunus to return to the battle - they obviously considered that they'd done their bit

At this point Shaunus generously offered to concede but I pursuaded him to fight on - wot a prat I am!

  • 1 Right flank still stalled
  • 2 Roman advantage in the centre with three active units against a shaken phalanx and a warband
  • 3 Pontic cavalry rule the left flank

At this point we remembered the battalion break rules which we hadn't applied and called it a draw.

So what did I learn:
  • 1 Get more cavalry
  • 2 Don't use warbands in a chisel beacuse they get defeated in detail
  • 3 Given the way HC works sizable reserves in more than one line are a must
  • 4 Roman legionaries are well hard

Monday 11 August 2014

Steampunk Sculpture

They had a demonstration of metal art at Godinstone at the weekend. This wonderful steampunk creation caught my eye. I wonder what it is?