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Friday, 29 April 2022

The Portable Wargame Compendium is now available in PDF format!

Wargames Vault have pulled out all the stops and have made THE PORTABLE WARGAME COMPENDIUM available online in watermarked PDF format.

It is on sale for the same price as the Kindle edition (£5.00 or its equivalent in local currency) and can be found here.

If this proves to be a success, I may well publish some of my other books in the same format with Wargames Vault.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Soldiers of the Queen (SOTQ): Issue 183

The Spring 2022 issue of the Victorian Military Society's SOTQ (Soldiers of the Queen) arrived in the post yesterday, and as I have come to expect, it contains a very interesting selection of articles on a wide variety of subjects.

The articles included in this issue are:

  • One Book and Many Films: 'The Four Feathers' by Dr Rodney Atwood
  • 'Comrades ... stick together!' The Life Guards' mutiny of 1892 by Dr Andrew Windrow
  • 'Soldiers of the Queen' in the Great War by John Sly
  • Fatal accidents and misadventures that occurred during the War with Russia, 1854-1856 by r Mike Hinton
  • Obituary: Captain Howard S. Brown
  • Book Reviews by Dr Roger T Stearn
  • Officers of the Victorian Military Society

As 'The Four Feathers' is one of my favourite films (I own three versions on DVD!), the article by Dr Roger Atwood was by far and away my favourite one in this issue, but the article about the Life Guards' mutiny was a topic that I had never heard or read about before, and it certain ly piqued my interest.

The cost of membership of the Victorian Military Society (UK: £25.00 and Overseas: £30.00) is well worth it.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

A review of my Belle Époque imagi-nation Armed Forces

In response to several requests, here are some photographs of the four sets of imagi-nation Armed Forces in my collection.


The Armed Forces of Burgundy


The Armed Forces of Khakistan


The Armed Forces of Schwarzenberg


The Armed Forces of Stalbania

Monday, 25 April 2022

The Portable Wargame Compendium has been published!

Amazon was very fast off the mark when I approved THE PORTABLE WARGAME COMPENDIUM for publication, and the printed paperback edition is now available to buy online. Furthermore, the Kindle edition is available for pre-order for publication on 28th April.

The hardback edition will be available to purchase once they have been printed in Europe and shipped to various Amazon warehouses.

I am still trying to find a way to make a PDF edition available. One avenue that I am exploring is distributing it myself. If I do, I will ask buyers to contact me on a dedicated email address, and then bill them using a PayPal invoice. Once that is paid, I will email a copy of the PDF to the purchaser.

Sunday, 24 April 2022

The Armed Forces of my Belle Époque imagi-nations

Having completed the model ironclad battleships for my Belle Époque imagi-nations, I thought that a review of the collection I have been building up was due.


THE ARMED FORCES OF BURGUNDY

Navy

The Burgundian Navy currently comprises the following ships:

  • Battleships
    • République
    • Liberté

Army

The Burgundian Army currently comprises the following units:

  • Infantry
    • 1st Infantry Regiment
      • 1/1st Infantry Battalion
      • 2/1st Infantry battalion
    • 2nd Infantry Regiment
      • 1/2nd Infantry Battalion
      • 2/2nd Infantry Battalion
    • 3rd Infantry Regiment
      • 1/3rd Infantry Battalion
      • 2/3rd Infantry Battalion
    • 4th Infantry Regiment
      • 1/4th Infantry Battalion
      • 2/4th Infantry Battalion
    • 5th Infantry Regiment
      • 1/5th Infantry Battalion
      • 2.5th Infantry Battalion
    • 11th Infantry Regiment
      • 1/11th Infantry Battalion
      • 2/11th Infantry Battalion
    • 12th Infantry Regiment
      • 1/12th Infantry Battalion
      • 2/12th Infantry Battalion
    • 13th Infantry Regiment
      • 1/13th Infantry Battalion
      • 2/13th Infantry Battalion
    • 21st Infantry Regiment
      • 1/21st Infantry Battalion
      • 2/21st Infantry Battalion
    • 22nd Infantry Regiment
      • 1/22nd Infantry Battalion
      • 2/22nd Infantry Battalion
    • 23rd Infantry Regiment
      • 1/23rd Infantry Battalion
      • 2/23rd Infantry Battalion
    • 1st Machine Gun Battalion
    • 2nd Machine Gun Battalion
    • 3rd Machine Gun Battalion
  • Cavalry
    • 1st Cavalry Regiment
      • 1/1st Cavalry Squadron
      • 2/1st Cavalry Squadron
    • 2nd Cavalry Regiment
      • 1/2nd Cavalry Squadron
      • 2/2nd Cavalry Squadron
  • Artillery
    • 1st Field Artillery Regiment
    • 2nd Field Artillery Regiment
    • 3rd Field Artillery Regiment
  • Engineers
    • 1st Engineer Battalion
    • 2nd Engineer Battalion
    • 3rd Engineer Battalion
  • Train
    • 1st Supply Column
    • 2nd Supply Column
    • 3rd Supply Column
    • 4th Supply Column
  • Generals
    • A General (Mounted)
    • Three Major-General (Mounted)
    • Two Brigadier-Generals (Foot)

Units shown in italics are reserve units.


THE ARMED FORCES OF KHAKISTAN

Navy

The Khakistani Navy currently comprises the following ship:

  • Battleship
    • Zafer

Army

The Khakistani Army currently comprises the following units:

  • Infantry
    • 1st Infantry Regiment
      • 1/1st Infantry Battalion
      • 2/1st Infantry Battalion
    • 2nd Infantry Regiment
      • 1/2nd Infantry Battalion
      • 2/2nd Infantry Battalion
    • 3rd Infantry Regiment
      • 1/3rd Infantry Battalion
      • 2/3rd Infantry Battalion
    • 11th Infantry Regiment
      • 1/11th Infantry Battalion
      • 2/11th Infantry Battalion
    • 12th Infantry Regiment
      • 1/12th Infantry Battalion
      • 2/12th Infantry Battalion
    • 1st Machine Gun Battalion
  • Cavalry
    • 1st Light Cavalry Regiment
      • 1/1st Light Cavalry Squadron
      • 2/1st Light Cavalry Squadron
    • 2nd Lancer Regiment
      • 1/2nd Lancer Squadron
      • 2/2nd Lancer Squadron
  • Artillery
    • 1st Field Artillery Regiment
    • 2nd Field Artillery Regiment
  • Engineers
    • 1st Engineer Battalion
  • Train
    • 1st Supply Column
    • 2nd Supply Column
  • Generals
    • A Major-General (Mounted)
    • Two Brigadier-Generals (Foot)

Units shown in italics are reserve units.


THE ARMED FORCES OF SCHWARZENBERG

Navy

The Schwarzenberg Navy currently comprises the following ships:

  • Battleships
    • Kaiser Frederick
    • Kaiserin Augusta

Army

The Schwarzenberg Army currently comprises the following units:

  • Infantry
    • 1st Infantry Regiment
      • 1/1st Infantry Battalion
      • 2/1st Infantry Battalion
    • 2nd Infantry Regiment
      • 1/2nd Infantry Battalion
      • 2/2nd Infantry Battalion
    • 3rd Infantry Regiment
      • 1/3rd Infantry Battalion
      • 2/3rd Infantry Battalion
    • 4th Infantry Regiment
      • 1/4th Infantry Battalion
      • 2/4th Infantry Battalion
    • 5th Infantry Regiment
      • 1/5th Infantry Battalion
      • 2/5th Infantry Battalion
    • 6th Infantry Regiment
      • 1/6th Infantry Battalion
      • 2/6th Infantry Battalion
    • 11th Infantry Regiment
      • 1/11th Infantry Battalion
      • 2/11th Infantry Battalion
    • 12th Infantry Regiment
      • 1/12th Infantry Battalion
      • 2/12th Infantry Battalion
    • 1st Machine Gun Battalion
    • 2nd Machine Gun Battalion
  • Cavalry
    • 1st Hussar Regiment
      • 1/1st Hussar Squadron
      • 2/1st Hussar Squadron
    • 2nd Hussar Regiment
      • 1/2nd Hussar Squadron
      • 2/2nd Hussar Squadron
  • Artillery
    • 1st Field Artillery Regiment
    • 2nd Field Artillery Regiment
    • 3rd Field Artillery Regiment
  • Engineers
    • 1st Engineer Battalion
    • 2nd Engineer Battalion
  • Train
    • 1st Supply Column
    • 2nd Supply Column
    • 11th Supply Column
    • 12th Supply Column
  • Generals
    • Three Major-Generals (Mounted)
    • Two Brigadier-Generals (Foot)

Units shown in italics are reserve units.


THE ARMED FORCES OF STALBANIA

Army

The Stalbanian Army currently comprises the following units:

  • Infantry
    • 1st Infantry Regiment
      • 1/1st Infantry Battalion
      • 2/1st Infantry Battalion
    • 1st Machine Gun Battalion
  • Artillery
    • 1st Field Artillery Regiment
  • Engineers
    • 1st Engineer Battalion
  • Train
    • 1st Supply Column
  • Generals
    • A General (Foot)

Saturday, 23 April 2022

Funny Little Wars

Some time ago, I (and several other people) helped to encourage Paul Wright to produce a new, revised edition of his FUNNY LITTLE WARS book. He has, and it is now on sale from Lulu.com for £20.00.

The book is substantially different from the first edition and reflects the developments and changes the rules have undergone in the intervening years. The book comes in two parts, the first explaining the background to the rules, the way the rules work, a couple of scenarios, and suggestion on how to build a suitable toy soldier army and to conduct a garden wargame. The second part contains useful information and a brief summary of the rules.

The contents include:

  • Introduction
  • 01. The History of Mr. Wells
  • 02. Playing Little Wars Yesterday
  • 03. Playing Little Wars Today
  • 04. The Basic Rules
  • 05. The Advance Rules
  • 06. Some Sound Advice for Such Men
  • 07.Two Classic Scenarios from Little Wars
  • 08. The Historical Setting of Little Wars
  • 09. Building an Army
  • 10. The Garden or Arranging the Country
  • 11. The Idle Hills of Summer, and a Last Word
  • Funny Little Wars Kitbag
    • I. Toy Soldier Resources
    • II. Further Reading
    • III. Army Lists
    • IV. Players Aide Memoire
    • V. Playing Aids

The Army Lists include ones for:

  • Army Red (AKA Britain)
  • Army Blue (AKA France)
  • Army Black (AKA Germany)
  • Army Black, Yellow, Red (AKA Belgium)
  • Armies Orange/Green (AKA The Irish Republican and Protestant Volunteers)
  • Army Dark Green (or the Tumbling Bear) (AKA Russia)
  • Army Cerise (or the Rising Sun) (AKA Japan)
  • Army Orange (AKA The Boer Republics)

The book contains numerous colour illustrations, both old and new. and in my opinion is even better than the first edition.

The book opens with a very interesting statement which sets the stage for the rest of the book:

This is a work of the imagination.

Picture a garden, with HG Wells and toy soldiers ...

...the idea of a Late Edwardian afternoon, and a little campaign in the sunshine set in the far away world of hills, forests, castles and forts.

This is a game of imagination ...

'I dream, therefore I exist'

August Strinberg


FUNNY LITTLE WARS: EDWARDIAN GARDEN WARGAMES IN THE STYLE OF MR HG WELLS was written by Paul Holcroft Wright and published in 2022 by Battlefield History Litd. (ISBN 978 1 4583 7005 1).

Friday, 22 April 2022

The Khakistani ironclad battleship

It took me less time than I expected to build my model of the Khakistani ironclad battleship and to paint it.

The colour scheme I chose was similar to that on the other ships I had modelled, and featured a black hull, beige upperworks, and an ochre funnel.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

The Portable Wargame Compendium ... is being proof printed!

Yesterday I finally drew a line under any further work on the forthcoming PORTABLE WARGAME COMPENDIUM and uploaded the text to Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). There were a few minor problems that needed to be solved, but these just took a bit of time and some effort on my part to sort out. Once that was done, I saved the book in draft form and ordered some printed proof copies. These should be with me by the middle of next week, and once I have checked them, I will release the book for publication.

The cover of the paperback edition looks like this:

They will be printed in colour and the final price will be about £20 for the hardback and £14 for the paperback. I’m still looking at how to make the book available in PDF format as KDP does not support the sale of books in that format.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

The trials and tribulations continue

At 9.00am on Tuesday I was phoned by one of the nurses from the Urology Department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich. They asked me to go for a short consultation at 11.00am and to collect a prescription for the first stage of my treatment. Sue and I drove to the hospital, and by 11.00am we were sitting in the reception area for the Urology Outpatients Clinic, waiting for my appointment. The nurse was running a little late, but by 11.45am I had been seen, and we then set of to the hospital pharmacy to collect my prescription.

That is where things began to go a bit awry.

On reaching the pharmacy, I had to join a queue to hand my prescription in. This took fifteen minutes ... but when I got to the front of the queue, I was told that the prescribing doctor had not written their name in the correct box on the prescription form and that I had to go back to the Urology clinic to get this error corrected!

I did as requested ... and then had to re-join the queue to hand my now correctly completed prescription in. I then had to wait for a further forty-five minutes for the pharmacist to complete my prescription. During this hiatus, Sue went off to find somewhere outside to sit.

By the time I left the hospital and re-joined Sue, it was after 1.00pm. On the way back to our car I tried to pay for our parking, only to discover that the single coin payment machine in the whole car park was full and would not process any further payments. I then tried to pay online ... but as I did not have the parking company's app on my telephone and I hadn't got my credit card with me, I could not pay! I now risk a £80.00 'fine' for non-payment, so I took a photo of the machine showing the fact that I had tried to pay but was unable to do so.

The icing on this particular day's cake came later in the day when I went to my GP's surgery to hand in the paperwork the hospital had given me for my doctor so that I could arrange an appointment to have an injection that will form part of my treatment. (I have to take a course of tablets for four weeks, and halfway through I have to have an injection of another drug that will work with the tablets.)

When I spoke to the receptionist at the GP surgery, they told me that they were not able to arrange an appointment unless they had the drug ... but they were not sure if they had to give me the prescription for the drug so that I can get from the pharmacy and take it to them or if they could order it directly.

The receptionist consulted the practice manager, who then had to discuss the situation with the person in charge of processing prescriptions. They eventually came up with a solution; the GP surgery will order the drug directly and then contact me to arrange a date and time for my appointment.

The thing that I found disturbing was the fact that they had no idea how long it would take for the dug to be delivered. I kept repeating that for the drug to be effective, I needed to have the injection on Wednesday 3rd May. The practice manager assured me that she didn't expect there would be a problem ... but I was not convinced when I left the surgery and won't be until they confirm my appointment.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

My Khakistani ironclad battleship

Khakistan is an imagi-nation that draws its inspiration from Ottoman Turkey, and when thinking about a design for an ironclad battleship for the Khakistani Navy, I looked at the various warships that served in the Ottoman Navy during the 1880s and 1890s. After considering the options, I chose to base my design on that of the Osmaniye-class.

These ships were constructed in the 1860s as broadside ironclads, ...

... but they were modernised and reconstructed in the early 1890s. They were re-boilered, re-engined, and rearmed with two 9.4-inch/24cm guns mounted in single centreline barbettes fore and aft of the ship’s main superstructure.

The modernised ships looked like this …

… and when ‘cartoonised’, the design looked like this.

Monday, 18 April 2022

The Schwarzenberg ironclad battleships

The two Schwarzenberg ironclad battleships have now been painted and varnished.

As Schwarzenberg is a simulacrum of Imperial Germany, I painted them in one of the colour schemes used by the Imperial German Navy, black hulls, white upperworks, and ochre funnels.

Saturday, 16 April 2022

The Portable Wargame Compendium

I have finally decided that I need to get the Compendium published as soon as possible, and have made the decision not to add anything further to it. At present the contents page looks like this:

I had hoped to add a couple more battle reports, but I felt that this would delay publication past my self-imposed deadline of the end of April. I need to add a couple of biographies for some of the contributors, and then I will send the draft off to be proofread. Once any necessary changes have then been made, I will publish the Compendium.

Friday, 15 April 2022

Trials, tribulations ... and more tests!

Since I my recent stay in hospital, my medical situation has dominated pretty well everything that I do. My sleeping pattern is very erratic thanks to my being fitted with a catheter and bag (if you turn over in the night and catch one or other, boy do you know it!) and my mobility is limited. I have managed to drive to the shops and back, but even with an automatic transmission, sitting in the car can be painful. I can walk (slowly) and can climb the stairs in our house (even slower). The latter is very inconvenient as our home office and my toy/wargames room are on the top floor, up two flights of stairs.

Despite all of the above, I am managing to cope, thanks in no small part to my wife, Sue. She has been a great support, putting up will my occasional outburst of ill temper and depression, and keeps me on an even keel all the time. She makes concessions to my condition, but she hasn't allowed me to become a slave to it.

Wednesday is a case in point.

I had to go to University College Hospital, Lewisham, on Wednesday for yet another scan. This time it was a CT scan, and because there was a possibility that they might have to sedate me, I was not allowed to drive myself there and back. The appointment was at 12.15pm, but I was required to be there an hour earlier so that I could drink a litre of special liquid that would enhance the effectiveness of the scan. Although Google Maps stated that the journey would only take twenty-five minutes, we set off over an hour beforehand.

To get to the hospital, we had to drive around the South Circular. For non-Londoners, this is a route across South London that was proposed over one hundred years ago. A short section was built in the early 1920s, but further development was delayed, and eventually a number of local roads were joined together by little more than road signs to form the current route.

The North and South Circular Roads now form the outer boundary of the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone), and all vehicles travelling inside the zone that do not meet certain exhaust emission standards have to pay a daily charge of £12.50 for cars, vans and motorcycles, and £100 for coaches, HGVs and buses. As a result, traffic levels on the South Circular - which were already high - have increased as drivers seek to avoid entering the ULEZ.

Despite the heavy traffic, we reached the hospital just after 11.00am ... and then could find nowhere to park! As a result, Sue had to drop me off and drive home (a journey that took her forty-five minutes) after agreeing to come to collect me when my scan was over.

After drinking my litre of special liquid and being fitted with a cannula so that a chemical marker could be introduced to my blood system during the scan, I went into have the scan. Unfortunately, the cannula failed and I had to be taken out of the scanner to have a second cannula fitted. This delayed the scan, and I wasn't actually finished until 12.50pm. I phoned Sue, and she drove back to the hospital to collect me. By the time she had negotiated her way there, picked me up, and we had got back home, it was well after 2.15pm. We were both very hungry (I was not allowed to eat before the scan), and after a late lunch, I had a very long sleep in my armchair.

In fact, I kept dozing off until it was time for our evening meal, and I felt dog-tired when I eventually went to bed ... only to find that I could not sleep!

This is not an untypical day for me ... and until my medical problem is identified and I can begin treatment, it is likely to remain so. Doing the occasional bit of modelling or work on the Compendium is helping to keep my mind occupied and the pain at bay, but progress on both is slow.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

The Schwarzenberg ironclad battleships: A progress report

The models of my two Schwarzenberg ironclad battleships are now assembled, and once they are painted and varnished, they will form the backbone of the Schwarzenberg Navy.

Monday, 11 April 2022

My two Schwarzenberg ironclad battleships

My design for the two ironclad battleships I wanted to model for my Schwarzenberg Navy is based on two related designs that were built by AG Vulcan of Stettin for the Imperial German and Imperial Chinese Navies.

The Sachsen-class ironclads consisted of four ships (Sachsen, Bayern, Württemberg, and Baden) and they were designed to form part of the coastal defences of Germany. They were expected to operate from fortified naval bases from which they would sally forth to break any naval blockade of the German coast or to counter any enemy landings.

The were well armed, and when build they had a main armament of six 10.2-inch/26cm guns in a paired barbette mounting forward and the remainder in a central casemate. They entered service in the late 1870s/early 1880s and were rebuilt in the 1890s when their armour was enhanced and their machinery replaced with more modern engines and improved boilers.

When the Imperial Chinese Navy decided to add some ironclads to its fleet, one of the designs it was offered was an improved version of the Sachsen-class. It was originally intended that there would be twelve ships in the Dingyuan-class, but only two (Dingyuan and Zhenyuan) were built.

They were well armed, and had a main armament of four 12-inch/30cm guns mounted in a pair of hooded barbettes that were situated en echelon forward. These hoods looked like turrets, but were in fact cylindrical shields with roofs.

During the Sino-Japanese War, both ships took part in the Battle of the Yalu River on 17th September 1894, where they suffered considerable damage. In early 1895 they were in action again against the Imperial Japanese fleet. On this occasion Dingyuan was hit by a torpedo, run aground to stop her sinking, and later blown up, and Zhenyuan surrendered. She was subsequently recommissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy as Chin Yen and rearmed. As Chin Yen, she took part in the Russo-Japanese War as a second-class battleship and coastal defence ship. She was later used as a target and scrapped in 1912.

My design was based on the Dingyuan-class, but with a single hooded barbette forward, thus:

When foreshortened or 'cartooned', the design looked like this:

I have begun building my two models and hope to finish them in a couple of days.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

COW2022: An announcement

COW 2022 will not be held at Knuston Hall, which is closed until the autumn (details below).

The COW organisers are committed to holding a WD event this summer - either a VCOW over the weekend 8th - 10th July or a face-to-face COW at an alternative venue and possibly over a different weekend.

We hope to make an announcement at the end of this month.

The details from the Knuston Hall website and Facebook page are as follows:

Knuston Hall is currently closed and courses are cancelled until Autumn 2022.
The Council is reviewing operations, including looking at improvements to the facilities and safety upgrades.
We understand this will be disappointing for our customers and hope to conclude the review as quickly as possible.
In the meantime we are not taking any bookings for future courses and any monies paid for courses in the cancellation period will be refunded. We will not be transferring money to future courses.
We will be working through cancellations in date order and will be in touch with you regarding your booking.
Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience and disappointment this has caused.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

Nugget 343

I will be collecting the latest issue of THE NUGGET later this morning, and I hope to post it out to members on Monday morning. In the meantime, members can read this issue online.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the seventh issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2021-2022 subscription year. If you have not yet re-subscribed, a reminder was sent to you some time ago. If you wish to re-subscribe using the PayPal option on the relevant page of the website, you can use the existing buttons as the subscription cost has not changed.

Friday, 8 April 2022

The Burgundian ironclad battleships

Yesterday, despite feeling a bit under the weather, I managed to finish painting my two model Burgundian ironclad battleships.

I kept the colour scheme simple; a black hull and ochre upperworks. This was the colour scheme used by the French Navy during La Belle Époque, and as the design of the models is based on the French Amiral Baudin-class ironclads and Burgundy is a simulacrum of France, this made sense.

I have now begun to design two ironclads for the Schwarzenberg Navy … and I’m looking at a couple of early German designs for my inspiration.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

The Portable Wargame Compendium: The current state of play

I have been continuing to work on the PORTABLE WARGAME COMPENDIUM as and when I have felt well enough to do so, and I think that I have reached a stage where I will have completed the first draft by this time next week. At present, the contents look like this:

I do need to add a couple of battle reports and some biographical details for Mark Cordone, Marc Pavone, and Mike Taber, but once that is done, the draft will be complete and can go out for proofreading. Once that is done, I will publish the COMPENDIUM.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Nugget 343

The editor of THE NUGGET sent me the latest issue over the weekend, and I hope to pass it on to the printer today. If they turn around the printing as quickly as they usually do, it should be ready for collection by the end of this week, and I will then be able to post it out to members at some point over the weekend.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the seventh issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2021-2022 subscription year. If you have not yet re-subscribed, a reminder was sent to you some time ago. If you wish to re-subscribe using the PayPal option on the relevant page of the website, you can use the existing buttons as the subscription cost has not changed.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Clive Smithers: Collection for sale at auction

Although I never met Clive Smithers, we corresponded over the years via email, particularly about vintage and 'old school' wargaming. He was an avid collector, and when he died last year, he left behind a huge collection of 'old school' figures that numbered in the tens of thousands. (It is thought that there at least 33,000 figures in the collection!)

Clive's brother, Gavin, has asked Hanson's the auctioneers to sell the collection by auction on 27th May.

As yet no catalogue of the collection has been printed, but judging by Hanson's normal practice, it should be available online about a month before the auction takes place.

An old friend of Clive's – Bob Kett – has asked a lot of bloggers to mention this auction, and I for one will be scanning the catalogue with interest when it is published.


Hanson's is owned by Charlie Hanson, a well-known auctioneer who has appeared many times on TV in such programmes as BARGAIN HUNT, FLOG IT!, and ANTIQUES ROAD TRIP. He has what can best be described as a very singular style of auctioneering, and always seems to be able to get the best price for the items he sells. It will be well worth attending the auction just to see him in action ... and to buy something from Clive's collection!

Monday, 4 April 2022

MRI scan

Yesterday I had an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan of my abdomen in the hope that it will identify the cause of my current problems. I know that is is related to my enlarged prostate, and the scan will help the consultant decide on the best course of treatment I need to undertake.

An MRI scanner at work. I went in feet first for my scan.

The whole thing took about forty minutes, and for most of that time I laid with the main part of my body inside the machine. I had to wear earplugs and a pair of headphones because the noise made by the scanner as it works can be quite deafening. In fact, it seems to spend most of its time making various loud 'beep, beep, boop, boop, bopp, bopp' noises or variations thereof, with sudden pauses in the soundtrack. It wasn't quite as disturbing as the sound made by the brainwashing tape in the IPCRESS FILE, neither was it soothing so that I could doze through the procedure.

The results should be with my consultant early next week ... and hopefully treatment will begin soon afterwards.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

A bit of a mouthful

I began work on my FUNNY LITTLE WARS/PORTABLE WARGAME project just over a year ago, and since then I have created four armies. I am now beginning to put together some naval forces to go with them, and I have decided that my current working title for this project is just too long. I have therefore decided to change it to LA BELLE ÉPOQUE.

La Belle Époque can best be defined as the ten years before and after the beginning of the twentieth century (i.e.,1890 to 1910). It was a time of great change and saw economic prosperity, colonial expansion, and technological and scientific innovation. The latter included the development of the motor vehicle, the telephone, early aircraft, and medical advances in the fields of germ theory of disease, bacteriology, and X-ray photography.

It was also a period of military change. Magazine rifles with smokeless powder cartridges were introduced, growing use was made of effective recoil systems for artillery pieces, heavy, long-range artillery became more mobile, new, and more effective high explosives and propellent powders were developed, and automatic machine guns were produced and gradually adopted by most armies.

This is project has some way to go before it will even approach completion. In fact, I suspect that it has the potential to last me a very long time ... the longer, the better!

Friday, 1 April 2022

My two Burgundian ironclad battleships

The first step that I usually take when constructing a 'cartoon' version of a ship design is to take a side view (and if it is available, a plan view as well) of the original design and change the ratio between the length and height by a ratio of 1:2, thus:

I find that this exaggerates the main features of the original design and allows me to get some idea what the end result will look like. This gave me that starting point for the design of my two Burgundian ironclad battleships.

At this point I remembered that Fred Jane had included illustrations of the Amiral Baudin and Formidable in the very first issue of his All The Worlds Fighting Ships. I dug out my reproduction copy and found the images and description of the two ships to be a very useful sources of information.

Amiral Baudin.
Formidable.

I finished building my 'cartoon' versions of the two ships yesterday, and although they are by no means '100% accurate models of the original ships', I think that they do have a passing resemblance.

(I totally accept that I am biased in this view, but they are wargame models designed to be used, and not to be on display in a cabinet.)

I did try fitting shorter funnels, but for some reason they did not look right. The original ships had pronounced tumblehome sides, and I have tried to suggest this by adding 'bulges' to the waterline of the models.

The next step will be to give the two models a couple of coats of PVA to seal the wood. Once that is dry, I will apply a couple of coats of undercoat/primer before painting them in Burgundian livery ... which is likely to be similar to that used by the French Navy at the turn of the century, namely yellow ochre upperworks and a black hull.