Sunday, 31 December 2006

Champagne pouring tips!

"In victory, you deserve Champagne, in defeat, you need it.” Napoleon Bonaparte
Just to make sure you get it right, lets spell it out now:

Chill the Champagne to 45°F, usually three hours in the refrigerator or 30 minutes in an ice bucket (silver or pewter look the nicest). Cut the foil and remove.

Wrap a towel around the bottle; this will help to keep the cork from flying away and to catch any Champagne that might spill. Hold the neck of the bottle while securing the top of the cork with your thumb.
Twist off the cage; it takes about six turns to undo it. Remove the wire cage while you are still holding the cork. Hold the bottle at a 45 angle. Hold the cork with one hand and the bottom of the bottle with the other; turn the bottle (not the cork) slowly and carefully. Release the cork gently, and pour the Champagne.
Use flute glasses that focus the aroma, rather than coupes.

Pour the Champagne down the side of the glass to give the champagne fewer "head bubbles."

Don't shake the bottle; it increases the internal pressure and the Champagne will have less "fizz" when you serve it.
Of course for the truely stylish, you can open it with a sword: hit the glass ring at the top of the bottle below the cork and the weakest point of the bottle seam - NOT for beginners!

Cricket scores update!

[Though this reads very much like the results from last week's 4th Ashes Test Match in Melbourne (where England was crushed by an innings and 100+ runs in 3 days!), it is in fact from The Illustrated London News, July 1, 1882, p.10 - sound familiar chaps?]

As the match between the Australians and the Gentlemen of England excited such universal interest, some 50,000 spectators being present at the Oval during the three days of play, we append the full score:—

It cannot be denied that the result was a sad disappointment to all partisans of the English team, for though the unaccountable error had been committed of making up the eleven without a single fast bowler, such a group of batsmen looked like making at least 300 per innings against any bowling that could be brought against them.
As it turned out, only Grace, Patterson, and Leslie, played anything like good cricket in the first innings, and the follow-on was even weaker. Let us hope that the combined eleven of Gentlemen and Players will make some amends for this crushing single innings defeat.
In the match between Kent and Sussex the former eleven ran up 521 at their first attempt. Lord Harris (176), Lord Throwley (82), G. G. Hearne (64), and Mr. C. Wilson (not out, 62) were the chief contributors to this gigantic total, and, though the Rev. F.J. Greenfield (107) batted exceedingly well, he had little assistance from the other Sussex men, who were eventually defeated in a single innings with 175 runs to spare. This week, Lancashire has beaten Derbyshire by an innings and 47 runs. Mr. Hornby (79) was the only large scorer for the winners, and Mr. Foster (52) did most for Derbyshire. Cambridge has won the Inter-University match by seven wickets.

Remember where we parked...

Tas and I had a conversation online last night and I informed him of some of my new projects — one of which includes Aeronef-specific buildings. He indicated that he'd like to see some Dig sheds (we call them hangars over here) and I informed him that that was first on the list.

A few moments later, I found this:,com_remository/Itemid,81/func,fileinfo/id,142/

It took quite a bit longer to determine how to download this paper model. You'll notice the phrase, "British Airship Shed regard and to expressions." This is the link that will take you to an intermediate page. Scroll down to "To print your own model." and click "Go to the down load PAGE."

Here, you will finally find the images and instructions needed to assemble a paper model Dig shed. You will, of course, have to scale it properly. I recommend measuring your largest Dig and adding a few mm on either side. Hangar One in Lakehurst New Jersey, for example, would need to be scaled to about 80.5% of an inch for length.

When the cast versions are ready, of course they will differ from this representation. I plan to make the front and back ends as separate pieces with a sort of modular middle — allowing the structure to be extended. But for now, enjoy the paper models...

Saturday, 30 December 2006

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to everyone for a great evening tonight in Welcoming in the New Year!

I'll be dining in the Mess with a rare and warmly welcomed appearance by Colonel Rowley Birkin, a former Regimental Commanding Officer, who left the service after our return from the Martian plains to take appointment as a barrister with the prominent firm Pratt & Sons.

An eloquent man with a brilliant vocabulary, you can always rely upon him to regale with tales of adventure and high spirited hijinx, where inevitably he freely admits.....he was very, very drunk!

Friday, 29 December 2006

Your own peculiar aristocratic title!

Lady Fortune the Absurd of Greater Internetshire presents your opportunity to receive your very own eccentric British aristocratic title:

Mess dinner placecards look splendid with this kind of thing, says I,
Grand Duke Tas the Mad of Menzies on the Minges!

Reporting for duty...

I must first offer apologies that this post provides you with no stereopticon images. But according to Tas, if I may speak for him, my presence here is long overdue. Perhaps I shall create a proper calling card shortly after making this post.

By way of introduction, I'm 42 years of age and I live near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) with my wife of 14 years. We have no children by choice but do tolerate the presence of three cats. VSF has long been a passion of mine; I believe "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" was my first science fiction novel experience.

As far as VSF Gaming is concerned, most of the story of my exposure to it is told here: and in 208 posts on Brigade Models' forum (where I've taken to calling myself the "Anarchist for the State".

You may have noted Tas' mention of the 1910 World Map and the new banner. I'd love to hear comments on either.

Your friend,


Thursday, 28 December 2006

Lost World Safari Tours!

Ever wanted to hunt big game?

REALLY Big Game?

Game that can outrun you, squash you and gobble you all up in 2 mouthfulls?

Well this is the Safari adventure for you!

Swill gallons of wine and brandy in the company of short lived friends as you tour the jurassic throwback of the Lost Valley. You'll REALLY have a talking point trophy in your Dining Room at home afterwards (if you live).

So go grab the biggest gun you can find, hire some luggage bearers and contact Lost World Safari tours here:

This group isn't devoted to any one game system, more the Dino Hunting genre in general, from the VSF to Pulp era.

Saurian Safari - 2nd Edition

Personally, when hunting extinct beasts from antiquity at grave personal risk, I prefer to use the free flowing Saurian Safari 2nd Edition rules, available from a number of suppliers.

Easy to use with lots of animal encounter sheets, random activities for the beasts and conveniently with a plasticised cover to wipe off any spilled brandy.

Keep a large supply of ammunition handy and Good Hunting Chaps!

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Argentinian Carrier unveiled!

You may recall the dispatch I posted earlier in the year (21st April), announcing the arrival of the Argentinian Escuadron Independencia. Rumours of carrier support to this squadron have now ben confirmed and the Aircraft Carrier A.R.A. 9 de Julio is ready for action!

Here she is with escorting Torpedo Frigate A.R.A. Rio Negro and a fighter squdron on Combat Air Patrol.

And for the Fleet review flypast, here she is in all her glory:

In making the Carrier, Francisco says he:

"used the Albion flight deck which was just about the right size for the Buenos Aires class cruiser hull.

To make it look less like the Albion and more like a different ship I cut the back part of the flight deck (that is why my flight deck is a bit shorter).

The island comes attached to the flight deck so I took the bridge section of a Mendoza class destroyer, took the secondary guns off and put it looking backwards behind the Albion's island.

To paste the full flight deck to the cruiser hull I had to do quite some work to shave the main turrets of the cruiser ! Being my first ever conversion I was afraid at some point that I would end up with two ruined ships ! but it turned out ok. A little modeling paste insured a good fit from the flight deck to the shaven hull of the Buenos Aires cruiser.

Final touch I attached the tail fin of the Albion to the tail of the Buenos Aires cruiser to disguise the model a bit more. I am quite happy with the end result.

I would have prefered a flat deck so that I could put the island to one side but the Albion's flight deck was the only good fit and since the Island is attached there is nothing I could do. "

A lovely ship, a cunning conversion and some detailed modelling notes - thanks Francisco!

You can see the whole thread at Brigade Models about his Argentinian Squadron here:

And of course it is his Aeronefs that grace the covers of the recently unveiled "When Dreadnoughts Ruled the Skies" Nef rules.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Subscription updated

the nice fellows at Blogger have offered me a new subscription to their fine periodical and I'm in the middle of moving to the new version. Please bear with me durng the move as thingies flick on and off! Note too the new ability to use categories for entries. Quite tiddly.
One day I trust I shall have the skill and fortitude to rebuild this Blog into awebsite proper. But thats only a Campaign dream for now I'm afraid.
Thanks awfully to Zophiel for the great new Blog Banner at the top. And yes, that is a pic of the Sands of Mars he used as a backdrop - smashing work Old Bean!

New Links

I have rearranged and added a few links today, including one to Langton Miniatures, manufacturer of exceptionally high quality models and terrain. They have some brilliant Napoleonic era 1/1200 coastal scenery, including harbour defences, buildings and martello towers. Just look at this pic of the "Toulon Tower" from the Langton site (ref RB1):

The site says: "The models were all built for an 8ft x 4ft diorama, the larger items being cast in resin, the rest in white metal. Some are based on actual buildings in Toulon while others are generic in design. Their style is appropriate to the 18th/19th century and so could be used in a variety of settings."

As for anything, you get what you pay for. The prices may be higher than other companies, but having bought and handled some of Rod's work at SALUTE a few years ago, I can promise that you are buying the best I have yet seen (no I'm not getting kickbacks!).

Aeronef World Map Project

Tying very neatly into my post yesterday on the "Invasion of 1910" book, Zophiel has started a project to map the world as it stands in 1910 in the Nef universe background. I'm sure you'll agree it has a great feel of authenticity.

You can see the full version and thread on the Brigade Model forums here:
He would love to hear your feedback and input

Monday, 25 December 2006

Festive Wishes and The Invasion of 1910

Merry Christmas Chaps! Very best wishes to you all

Well Santa brought this Officer a rare treat - an original 1906 edition of William Le Queux's "The Invasion of 1910: With a Full Account of the Siege of London".

Its not often you get a century old book, and a classic VSF piece at that! And most charmingly this one is labelled "For Distribution only in India and the British Colonies"

(Note that 1906 is also the year that Professor Percival Lowell published his second influential non-fiction book "Mars and its Canals" filled with his theories of Martian civilization that built the "canals")

Here is a description of the book: and you can read about William Le Queux more here:

BTW The First Royal Christmas Message was given by King George V in 1932

Saturday, 23 December 2006

The Invasion of Cardiff

I discovered today a site called 'RhysyNet: A fairly pointless and badly-designed website dedicated to the art of Rhysy". In it, amongst some other rather impressive CGI projects, is the Invasion of Cardiff:

"After seeing Steven Spielberg's rare but extreme foolishness, I was inspired to create my own version of the War of the Worlds. Set in modern-day Cardiff with Jeff-Wayne inspired tripods, handling and flying machines, and lots and lots of explosions. Not an animation but a QuickTime panorama – view the destruction of inner-city Cardiff as if you were there ! Heavily inspired by those wonderful illustrations in the Jeff Wayne album. Not set in Victorian London, since Jeff Wayne is making that anyway. "

"Bows and arrows against the lightning. They haven't seen the heat ray yet."


Friday, 22 December 2006

Martellos Moved!

In my entry of June 13, I mentioned some Martello tower models available on the web. They do look frightfully drafty and damp though - hope my regiment doesn't get to pull some darn fool sentry duties in them!

Anyhow, the site has now moved and the Paper Shipwright can now be found here:

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Guest Spot - How to do the Dip

It is a pleasure to serve as a guest commentator on what has to be the best named blog around, “Yours in a White Wine Sauce.” While Tas was at sea, Maksim asked me for a contribution. We had some issues getting it posted, but the guys have been kind enough to add me to the blog. It is not 2mm, but it is VSF, I hope you enjoy it.

When I started my VSF project at the beginning of the year, I was a bit daunted about doing it in 28mm, I tend to be a slow painter. But, I stumbled across the infamous Dip method on The Miniatures Page and decide to give it a try. It does give the figures someting of a "toy" look, but I like that for VSF and it does cover a multitude of painting sins. I have been happy with the results, here how I do it.

Step 1: Paint Figures

Currently I am working on finishing up my Russian force. The infantry consists of figures from Old Glory’s Boxer Rebellion range and I picked up the Romanov Holiday set from West Wind’s Gothic horror range to use as a force commander and the Tsarina and kids as objectives.

As you can see, I have done a very basic paint job, nothing fancy, no dry brushing or shading, just the basic colors.

Step 2: Prepare the materials

To do the dip, you’ll need a one step wood stain / sealer, such as Olympic One Step. Chose a dark color, I use a dark walnut. You will also need some rubber gloves and sponge brushes. I got all of these at my local Lowe’s home store.

Most importantly you will need a work area that can get messy, do NOT do this on your wife’s antique dining room table.

Step 3: Do the Dip

Stir the stain, put your gloves on, and grab a figure. Grit your teeth, and dip the figure into the stain. This is really difficult the first time you do it, but it gets easier.

Pull the figure out and let the excess drain off.

Use the foam brush to dab (not brush) the excess off. If you do not, then it can pool. The objective is to let it settle into the cracks and bring out the relief in the figure.

Here are the results…

Stoic Russian riflemen ready to serve the Tsar on Earth, Mars, or Venus.

The Tsar and family prepare for a trip to the red planet.

Here are some dipped figures next to more traditionally dry brushed figures for comparison.

I hope you enjoyed this, glad to have you back, Tas.

Nautilis Surfaces!

Nick AKA 'malamute' from 'Displaced Miniatures' posted these cracking pics of Capt Nemo and crew to TMP a little while ago while I myself was at sea hunting these aquanef deamons!

He says "I have just posted some photos of my Nautilus with crew. The model was made by PMC Games and I don't think it is still available. The crew are by Redoubt Enterprises and came with the ship. I have just got some of Redoubt's ACW sailors with pistols and cutlasses to use as my shore party."

You must admit he has done a stirling job, and that metallic effect is simply smashing! Bravo old Bean!

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Steampunk Republik

Krzysztof Janicz of Poland, has put together an excellent Steampunk resource site with many many themed links.

There is some great art on the site too and an Aeronef style cartoon strip which looks awesome but, unfortunately, is only in Polish.

Great work though, with weeks of link trawling potential here.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006


These rather awe inspiring pictographic images show the dimensions of the tripod machines that caused so much havoc during the invasion. It seems amazing to me now that we have forgotton so much from that summer of crashing cylinders, black smoke, heat rays and Martians.

These pics are from the Lone Star site, and shows Steve Miller’s awesome "War of the Worlds – 25mm -Hussars and Tripods – 1879" game at their con "Skirmish 06".

When Dreadnaughts Rule the Sky!

Good grief!
A chap spends a few months away in the service of the Queen, only to find that upon his return some chap has gone and made a whole new set of rules for fighting dirigibles! Whats a stout fellow to do?

Anyhow, here is the cover of "When Dreadnaughts Ruled the Sky" by Dave Bennett at Lone Star Historical Miniatures. I'm looking forward to giving them a solid drubbing, over a gin or two naturally.

You'll find them here avalable for free download:

Saturday, 30 September 2006

The Book Meme Strikes the Master of 2mm VSF!

Hi Everyone,

Recently I, Maksim-Smelchak, tagged Tas for the book meme from my blog... umm I mean Gentleman's Gazette:

( )

...and he's trustily responded from his posting with the Australian Navy at sea (...through the miracle of Aethersphere satellites and the tried and trusty carrier pigeon)... the navy keeps a man busy, it does.

G'day Maks,

1. Name one book that changed your life:

"The Hunt for Red October" by Tom Clancy.

(I was in high school when it was released and got me seriously interested in joining the Navy.)

2. One book you've read more than once:

Sun Tsu's "The Art of War".

3. One book that made you laugh:

"He Died With a Felafel In His Hand" by John Birminham.

4. One book that made you cry:

"Biography of Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz" by Constantine Fitzgibbon and Rudolph Hoess with an introduction by Primo Levi.

5. One book you're currently reading:

"Moby Dick" by Herman Melville.

6. One book you wish you'd written:

David Weber's "Honour Harrington" series.

7. One book you wish had never been written:

"Das Kapital" by Karl Marx.

8. One book you'd want on a desert island:

"The SAS Survivor's Handbook"

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

"The Military Maxims of Napoleon" by Dr. David G. Chandler.

10. Tag another person:

Ralph AKA L-4, Retired Member of the US Army, Romantic Advice Columnist and Fitness Guru.

Have a great Saturday!

And don't forget your Gin and Tonic!

Shabbat Shalom,

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ahoy Mateys,

Avast me hearties... Ye best be rememberin that 19 September is thee annual Talk Like a Pirate Day! So's wherever ye are--at port, or out ta sea, or in the dungeon, don't ferget ta use yer best pirate voice at all times, or ye may end up tied to the yard arm, or in Davie Jone's locker at the bottum of da briney sea. scurvy dogs, ye best folla da Pirates code, or suffer yer fate.

Avast scum!!! Here be the link to the Talk Like a Pirate Web Site:

Aaargh...Remember, those that go there during ye work time will have to waaaalk the plaaaank!!!

Yo ho ho...

Cap'n Maksim "Peg-leg" Smelchak.

A hearty greet'ins to me mate, the right honurable Commander Paul James "Tas" O'Grady out at sea with da Ozzie Navy!

Da wench below be fer all ye lecherus uns! Aaargh! Needs a meal, that wun does...

Monday, 31 July 2006

Raid on the Isle of Dr Loveless

The London Illustrated Times reports a massive clash has taken place in the mist shrouded islands belonging to the mad scientist Dr Loveless....

While the raiders managed to penetrate the screen, including a home designed aero-carrier, and get their bombers overhead, damage was minimal and who knows how the madman will retailiate?

For full details see the full article here:

Meanwhile, the Turks under "Pasha Dave da Turk", have been rapidly expanding their fleet with foreign purchases!

Great stuff Dave!

A new Invasion from Mars?

The Royal Observatory reports a close encounter with Mars will soon be upon us!

Watch out for the green flash in the sky!

This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287. Due to the way Jupiter's gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth in the Last 5,000 years, but it may be as long as 60,000 years before it happens again.

The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be (next to the moon) the brightest object in the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest75-power magnification Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye. Mars will be easy to spot. At the beginning of August it will rise in the east at 10p.m. and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m.

By the end of August when the two planets are closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30a.m. That's pretty convenient to see something that no human being has seen in recorded history.

So, mark your calendar at the beginning of August to see Mars grow progressivelybrighter and brighter throughout the month. Share this with your children and grandchildren. NO ONE ALIVE TODAY WILL EVER SEE THIS AGAIN!

Saturday, 29 July 2006

Venetian LandIronclad unveiled!

Through the Royal carrier pigeon service, John has sent me a pic of his latest discovery - the Ventian LandIronclad "Rialto".

The first of what will undoubtedly be a squadron of hissing steam and clattering steel beasts to defend the offshore city-state, the defences of Venice are being stringly uphraded in light of te increasing Turkish threat.

One can only hope that this Venetian buildup isnt too late....
(modelling and painting by John of "Vanmullikan" fame)

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Czar's New Steam Tank Revealed at Muscovy Exposition!

Hello Everyone,

Ace reporter, Maksim-Smelchak, reporting from the recent Muscovy Arms Exposition and Yarmgorod Agricultural Faire...

Many wonders of the "modern age" were revealed including the Czar's very own twelve foot beets and turnips from top secret superscience farms in Little Russia (Imagine the delecious Borscht from those puppies!), but the showstopper came from...

Smyrl Ironworks, who revealed their new steam tank to much acclaim.

Please check out the following news bureau for more photographs and information:

Ace reporter, Maksim-Smelchak signing out...


Sunday, 16 July 2006

Deployment to the Far East

Thats right Chaps - the feathery hats and drinks cabinets are loaded up on the coolies' backs - the Regiment is on the march! I'll be back as soon as possible, with fresh tales of mess dinners in exotic places, dusky local lasses and the usual misadventures.

Till then keep a stiff upper lip and when in doubt, a refreshing GntT will restore your spirits...


An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!