Saturday, 1 March 2008

Around the World in 80 Models!




My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen!

In celebration of a glorious two years of this august journal - Huzzah! - a meritorious and magnificent test of modelling mastery is hereby announced.

"To all sportsmen and personages of rank and title, notice is hereby given of the grand Yours In a White Wine Sauce Eighty Day Modelling Challenge!"

Simply put, in Eighty days from today (May 19th 2008) those gentlemen that wish to partake must undertake to complete a VSF themed model or models. The choice of model can be anything VSF related but certain conditions are of course appropriate. For example, an Aeronef fleet should consist of a minimum of 12 models - 6 escort, 4 cruiser and 2 capital. Other forces should be of a similar size.

There is no hard and fast rules per se (other than the restiction referred to) and neither is a deposit of £20,000 at Barings Bank available to the winner. This is merely an excuse to ensure that those projects that never seem to get off the ground will have an opportunity of seeing the light of day in the spirit of friendly and gentlemanly competition.

Entrants should record their preferred contribution within this august journal in order that an indication of what delights will await in 80 days time.

That doyen of the modellers craft - Vanvlak - first suggested this flight of whimsy and it has been heartily endorsed by both Commander Tas and Lord Royston of Rayleigh.

His Lordship was quoted as saying, " Dashed good wheeze and all that! That Vanvlak chappie has really thrown down the gauntlet and only a complete cad or boundah would refuse to take it up! Jolly good show I say, now where is my Madeira.....?"

Commander Tas was oveheard in the corner on his club mumbling over a ridiculously large Cognac:"....of course I shall pariticipate, the Honour of the Colonies is at stake.......but I freely admit, I was very, very drunk!"

Smoke has already been observed coming from the stacks inside Vanvlak Industries secret factorium.

So there you have it, Around the World in 80 models........
Gentlemen, the chronometer is ticking!


Don M said...

I can guarantee that there
will be several entrants from
the VSF and 15 mm Science
Fiction Gaming quarter...)

This is over and above and
quite separate from our "Naval
Challenge" that you are judging
of course.

Bill said...

Very well, I'm sure The Russians
can have a Landship of some sort ready..)

Vanvlak said...

The original start was to have been 29th February, but things slipped - still, seeing that here at Vanvlak Industries we started yesterday, we appear to have jumped the gun!
Seeing we are the dirty rotten scoundrels of this game, we don't care one single bit.
The VanderWellin fleet is in progress even as we communicate....

RobH said...

Jolly Good show what.
About time I dug out that box of Sky Galleons and got the coolies working on a new vessel.
Count me in for this one.

La Coloniale said...

A steam powered walker is
being built by the Fukuoka
Foundries, after wining the
bid for the Imperial Army's
"Steam Samurai" project.

Joe said...

Herr Friedrich Alfred Krupp
has dedicated a vast amount
of his Ruhr facilities to
the building a very large
Land Dreadnought to be
commissioned as the
Frederick IV, of a three
ship class.

Don M said...

A recent report in the
Times Of London broke
the news that the New
York based Maddox Industries
has taken a contract to
build several large steam
powered and armored
conveyances.The paper has
learned only that the
contract was entered into
on behalf of a Doctor S
through a bank in Zurich Switzerland. It was also
learned that these conveyances
will be produced at the
companies' plant in Buenos
Aires,no doubt to evade US governmental scrutiny. The
owner of the company refused comment, it should be noted
that Maddox Industries motto:
"In Posterus Vacuus Question" translates to "into the
future without question".

Tony said...

Fantastic - count me in! I'll try to model something new and different - but 80 days! WOW no time to stop and talk - start those furnaces.


Tony said...

From Tony (Dampfpanzerwagon)

I'm going to try two seperate projects;

A German Land Ship squad, two attack tanks, one command tank and an assault walker. Maybe even a 'Flying Circus' colour scheme as WW1 German Jasta's! We will have to see.

A 1/300th scale airship dirigible for my Fenian force of Aeronefs, to support the 'Fenian Ram' and 'Irish Folly' Hullcutters. I'm thinking of a black and cream colour scheme with a gold harp logo - and the ship could be called the Toucan.



Zophiel said...

I intend to make a fleet of either Martians or Anarchists — or, perhaps, even Martian Anarchists.

Mors said...

Godalming Ladies And Diligent Youth Society, otherwise known as Gladys, announce their sponsorship of an aerial fleet to advance the Empire and widen knowledge of home produced jams.

Skrapwelder said...

SLD News reporting from County Clare in the United Counties of Ireland

Mr. Michaleen Guinness and Dr. G. Livet, owners and founders of G&G Boiler Makers and Foundry Works have been honoured by his Royal Majesty Conn O’Clancy, High King of Ireland with the advice and consent of the Senate and Assembly of the United Counties of Ireland with a Royal Commission for the outfitting of several steam conveyances to mount the new Tesla weapon recently purchased from the United States. Great secrecy surrounds the design of the vehicle and the G&G compound has refused admittance to members of the press for reasons of national security.

Tony said...

Around the World in 80 models

German steam powered land-ironclad squad – Chapter One
Progress has been very slow, following the surprising dismissal of the German project leader, Herr Trotter caused by a blazing argument between the Special Projects Commissioner, Chancellor Sachs and Herr Trotter over the best way forward and who should be chosen as the lead designer.

The mild mannered Austrian, the good Herr Dr. Lacher – a proven manager and visionary was given the job of ‘pulling the project back on track’. He has employed the very special talents of the gifted Italian designer A. Angellon to design the land-tanks and Krupp’s the German engineering company to supply the weapons and specialised equipment. The Initial designs have been supplemented by some additional design blueprints that were ‘acquired’* from the American tractor company Holts! While a Scottish engineer called Professor Souter has been working with Angellon on the mechanical problems associated with the steam walker.

Mechanically all is moving forward and although slightly behind plan the 80 day deadline is still very achievable.

One issue that is beyond the control of the project team is the lack of steel plating that will be needed for the armoured compartments of each of the fighting turrets, the German Navy has placed a ban on all non-essential requests for armour platting and something will have to be done soon to make sure that this project is ready on time and up-holds the fine reputation of the German Army.

* ‘acquired’ is a euphemism for the black arts of international espionage!

The Fenian Airship (Toucan) – Chapter One
Fenian revolutionary forces on Mars have through the very generous contributions of American sympathisers been able to buy and re-equip two Martian Hullcutter; ‘The Fenian Ram’ and ‘The Irish Folly’. However the inability to procure any other ‘liftwood’ vessels has led the leaders to look elsewhere.

The Fenian engineer O’Driscall has managed to produce the envelope and gas bags for his first dirigible ‘Ireland One’, based on the French ‘Clement-Bayard airship No1,’ and is now looking to American fund raising to supply additional money to allow O’Driscall to continue with his ground breaking attempts to produce the first ever home-grown Irish airship, a bomber!

Some critics are dismayed that O’Driscall has stooped to the level he has in accepting a form of sponsorship from a well know producer of alcoholic beverages and produced the envelope in the company colours of black and cream, a quick witted worker at the factory has volunteer to paint a golden harp motif on each side of the gas-bag! And the airship has acquired the nick-name ‘Toucan’ in reference to an advertising logo used by the brewery.

The construction is proceeding to plans and should, provided that the funding is forthcoming, be proven and flying for the planned celebrations in 80 days time.


The comments above were copied from;

BaronVonJ said...

The factories of Proffessor Thaddeus J. Nightshade, genius and unrecognized Master of the World, will work continuously to belch forth a veritible horde of mechanical monstrosities!

Tas said...

Huzzah for one and all - the Competition pegboard has been updated!

Hawkeye said...

I think this is worth a try. I was originally thinking of finishing my Turkish fleet, until I realised there was a distinct lack of Cruisers! It looks as though I will have to go with the forces of the Tzar. 11 Russian aeronef assembled, one still to buy.

Anonymous said...

This seems a good way to encourage myself to complete a few of my models.
As I have just found a distinct lack of cruisers in my Turkish fleet it appears I will have to concentrate on the forces of the Tzar instead. 11 Russian nefs assembled, one still to buy! i think a call on those sterling chaps at Brigade Models is in order when I attend Salute next month.

Petty officer Smith said...

I have a fine fleet I just completed. You can check it out on:

Petty officer Smith said...

I have a nice scratch built Danish fleet I just put together. Check out my blog to view them.

Tony said...

German steam powered land-ironclad squad – Chapter Two
The construction and testing of the Holt caterpillar mechanism has gone well and although there is some disagreement as to whether the steam engine has enough horse power, the general agreement is that the project is progressing well. Further up the chain of command the situation is not so good. The American Government has lodged a complaint against ‘under-hand business practices’ and the American Patent office have started proceeding against the German Special Projects division for breach of Patent AS 12867/1887 ‘Chain Track’ Held by The Holts Tractor Company of Ohio.

One point of interest to the reader is that the Holt patent track laying system is the basis of both the German A7V, and the French Renault tanks.

This is not the only issues affecting the project as the German Navy is still refusing to release any armour platting and now Krupps have written to Herr Dr. Lacher to suggest that they are being put under pressure to refuse to supply the naval designed guns! The political intrigue surrounding this project is growing by the day and it will take all of Dr. Lacker’s skills to negotiate a suitable outcome.

We have a compromise – The German Navy have agreed to allow the steel plate and naval guns to be used, provided that the project is now a joint venture and the Land Ironclads are now referred to as Land Ships! Herr Lacher is said to be ‘delighted at the combined expertise of the Imperial German Army and Navy working together. It is hoped that this amalgamation will speed up both development and construction times.’

The Fenian Airship (Toucan) – Chapter Two
The airships envelope has been successfully test filled and although the event went without a hitch, there is concern that the existing envelope may need to be increased in size, or at the very least altered to include one extra gas bag – a similar experience has been encountered in a number of dirigible builds, and the usual way around this is to extend the envelope in the centre section. O’Driscall is against such actions and it might be that the gondola will have to be reduced in size and/or the maximum load reduced.

The high pressure steam engine has also been delivered and is undergoing trials, to confirm its maximum pressure out-put and to investigate ways that the whole assembly can have its weight reduced. On this point a new member and specialist engineer has been brought in to the project to oversee the mechanical specifications and build, Robert Lock, a Welshman, who has worked in Italy and been involved in many similar project’s will also help with the building of the gondola. ‘Bob’ Lock has also expressed an interest in piloting the airship, a position that has already had a number of candidates and should prove a ‘delightful aside’ to the more serious project of construction!

The ‘Fenian Ram’ and ‘Irish Folly’ are both engaged in testing the new Shillelagh stick bombs. The bomb is shaped like the British Congreve Rocket, but intended to be dropped rather than rocket propelled. Many civilised nations have reportedly tested such devices, few will admit to owning any!

The comments above were copied from;


Tony said...

German steam powered land-ironclad squad – Chapter Three
In chapter three I thought I would update readers on the progress to date of the models. My plan was to produce a squad of Landships, or ‘Land Ironclads’, two assault tanks, one command tank and an assault walker.

(Please note that as one of the competition rules is not to post photos, I will hold back until the end of the 80 days).

So far the models are nearing completion the main fighting compartment is made from an oval shaped, plastic pencil sharpener bought from Wilkinsons for less than 50 pence each. The command tank uses two pencil sharpeners stacked on top of each other. The tracks on the two assault tanks and the command tank were constructed by me with wheels from a toy train and tracks from plastic card. Once the master was made I cast six sets in resin. The steam walker uses the same pencil sharpener – fighting compartment and the legs from a Wild, Wild, West Dr. Loveless steam walker, additional detail is from plastic card and plastic sprue.

The models are built to a scale of 1/180th, simply because I had some 10mm ACW artillery crew and I will be using them as crew.

In addition I was able to pick up some German WW1 crosses at the WMMS show earlier this month. My plan is to paint at least one of the models in a Flying Circus colour scheme as seen on German WW1 aircraft Jastas – for example the Red Baron!

The Fenian Airship (Toucan) – Chapter Three
As with the German Landships, I will be talking about the construction to date of the model airship ‘Toucan’. The envelope has been carved and sanded to shape from ‘blue foam’ then layers of paint, glue and filler are added and sanded, the process is then repeated until the shape is correct and the surface is smooth. The gondola area and control housing has been greatly reduced in size from my initial plan, with windows, detail and two gun ports are already modelled.

The shape is very similar to a Goodyear Blimp!

I have also added the tail assembly, which follows the practice of early Zeppelins where the horizontal control surfaces are built as bi-plane assemblies rather than single surfaces. My immediate reaction is that the tail surfaces are a little too large but as I ‘Googled’ early airships I see that if anything they are too small!

Late in to the construction phase I saw pictures of an early airship that had noticeable fabric patches on the centre envelope section and I have tried to copy this texture by adding small sections sticky-back-plastic and paper labels across the main envelope. Having under-coated this section I believe the effect has been achieved.

I intent painting the centre section black (or at least very dark grey) and the nose and tail cream with a golden harp motif in the black section. I would expect the gondola to be painted brown to represent varnished wood with brass detail.

The comments above were copied from

robh said...

Our officers dismissed the initial reports about the new vessel being constructed in the Southern Kingdoms of Mars. No-one took seriously the vast quantities of scarce liftwood reportedly assigned to the project.

However the rumours refused to die down and now we can finally reveal some staggering news. The keel of the new vessel, laid down in 3 parts in different workshops measures almost 600 feet in length, with a beam of almost 100 feet. The configuration is similar in outline to a huge Whisperdeath.

The Governor General is reportedly considering the feasibility of a raid or some other punitive action to end the construction before the monster is completed.

More information as we have it........


Tony said...

German steam powered land-ironclad squad – Chapter Four
Construction has progressed well since the last update. The armoured compartments have been built and await roofs, which will be added once the guns have been tested and installed. The Holt inspired caterpillar mechanisms are already installed, but await final testing and the management and engineers are happy that they will remain within the planned 80 days deadline.

Naval engineers and specialists from the new Luft force have helped in weight reduction and new ideas.

The only negative is the balancing giros on the armoured walker, as expected this new technology is causing some concern, scale models of the walker mechanism and giros have already been tested, however the greater mass and weight of the actual battle walker has raised additional problems and experts are being recruited to help sort out this issue before it starts to hold up production. One train of thought is to increase the power available in the additional boiler and steam engine being built in the walker body as well as the original one in the fighting compartment, thereby increasing the overall steam power. We await more details.

It is expected that two specialist operators plus reserves will be needed to synchronise the mechanics of walking. The ‘in house’ joke – loosely translated is that these specialists are not allowed to drink any strong alcohol for fear that they will cause the new walker to stumble and fall!

The Fenian Airship (Toucan) – Chapter Four
Additional gas bags have been added to the main envelope, which now gives the impression of a ‘fleshy fish wife in young maiden’s clothes’. It is sincerely hoped that the new pride of the Fenian Aeronef Force (or FAFers) handles better than it looks. The envelope has had to be strengthened as a precaution against tearing and the gondola yet again lightened!

The Shillelagh stick bombs have proven successful and are now being refined to aid stability when dropped. One point of humour is the fact that one of the biggest arguments has been about the colour the bombs should be painted, the test bombs were initially made from compressed card and paper (to keep the weight as low as possible). The next batch were painted green, however there has been talk in the production factory that they should be black with a white or cream head! Senior managers have tried to remain out of this petty argument, however, as the project moves forward this subject looks like it could prove a sticking point.

Another test inflation and tethered flight of the newly increased envelope has been booked for later this week, weather permitting.

The comments above are copied from

Skrapwelder said...

SLD News reporting from County Clare in the United Counties of Ireland

Construction of "Gae Bolg", the first of three fighting vehicles in production at the G&G Boilermakers and Foundry Works is now complete. Its companions: "Luisne" and "Claiomh Solais" are still in the construction process.
Having left the assembly area where it has been fitted with an experimental Tesla gun "Gae Bolg" now waits to be painted.

With news of the Prussian invasion of England and the fighting in Teddington, security has been tightened at the foundry works in the event of any attempt the Prussians might make to abscond with the new vehicles.

Tony said...

German steam powered land-ironclad squad – Chapter Five
The main construction is completed and active field testing has begun, the Holt caterpillar mechanisms have proved to be very reliable and easy to maintain, achieving speeds of nearly four miles and hour. The walker engine and steam hydraulics are proving difficult to operate, however tests have been carried out and the progress has been positive.

Naval and Army engineers have begun to ‘customise’ individual elements of the equipment and guns, which has led to a number of mishaps as teams swap between vehicles. The obvious answer is to allocate individual vehicles to one or the other of the main arms, however senior commanders cannot agree and as such these little problems look like they will continue.

Following a mishap late last week, where one of the assault tanks, was miss-identified it has been decided that each of the four steam vehicles, the two Assault Tanks, the one Command Tank and the Assault Walker will be painted in very distinctive heraldry, and following this decision the individual vehicle commanders have also been agreed on as well as a simple allocation of overall command responsibility. One of the Assault Tanks and the Command Tank have been allocated to the Army Engineers Corps, while the second Assault Tank has been allocated to the Armed Naval Development Division. The Steam Walker has by necessity been allocated to the new and experimental ‘Q’ Division. In an attempt to integrate, the remaining crews will be a mix of Naval and Army personnel and each vehicle will display army numbers and identification as well as Naval ensigns!

The Fenian Airship (Toucan) – Chapter Five
Although construction is completed, there has been nothing but niggling issues with the whole project, tempers have flared and arguments have been seen to erupt in to fights and sulks. A noted independent American observer commented that The Fennian Irish are perhaps not best suited to such engineering feats! The same observer has now been admitted to a high security hospital while his injuries are treated.

Flight tests have once again been delayed and it is noted by those in the know that although the envelope has successfully been inflated and flown in tethered flight, the gondola, engines and equipment has not yet become airborne.

Development is painfully slow - there is even talk that the 80 day deadline may no longer be feasible! For the honour of the Fenian’s and Ireland we all hope that the Toucan can be operational in time.

A side effect of these recent setbacks is that candidates for the position of airship commander are disappearing fast. No body wants the responsibility of commanding a new and un-proven airship while the pressure and expectation of success is so palpable. It will be a brave man or a fool who volunteers for such a position. Test crews were initially recruited from amongst volunteers, however as the technical difficulties of this new form or war grow, the selection process that was initially envisaged has had to be modified, in fact there are now mercenary elements that have been recruited to fill key roles. Of special interest is the revised plan for crewing this Aeronef. The initial plan was to have two separate crews each training alongside one another and competing for the honour of becoming the ‘A Crew’. A dedicated ground team with engineering support. There now seams to be a core crew (with some dubious mercenary elements) and a very small back up team!

The comments above have been copied from;

robh said...

Pre-Emptive military action avoided!!

Further to the recent dispatches between His Excellency the Governor and the management of the shipbuilders we are pleased to announce the monstrous Kite currently nearing completion is of purely peaceful purpose.

She is to be commissioned as the "Kalimha", a freighter kite of the Warm Winds class. The dimensions alluded to earlier are in fact correct and apparently based directly on the design concepts of Mssrs Chadwick, Miller, Wiseman and Brown. As yet the shipbuilders refuse to name the sponsors of the vessel, although the chosen name implies a Spanish or Latin connection.

The massive vessel is due for completion shortly and will be commissioned on the 18th Day of May this year.


Tony said...

The deadline is getting very close - how do we proceed?


Tony said...

From Dampfpanzerwagon

I have posted two separate 'how I built it' articles to my Blog. I am aware that it is a day early, but I will be in work for most of tomorrow and felt that a day early was better than a day late!

I hope that you like the final results.


BaronVonJ said...

I had originally planned to do Prof. Nightshade's Mechanical monsters, but I decided to do his enemies instead:


Skrapwelder said...

Submitted for your approval:
The Fenian Republic of Ireland is proud to announce the completion of three steam powered armored vehicles.

Photographic images have been transmitted via the aether to the following location:

BaronVonJ said...

Again, my models are done:
Not Professor's but his enemies the Russians instead

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

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