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...


Saturday 8 July 2006

MayDay Battle Report

Warren recently posted some pics of his great Aeronef Terrain which he used at a convention demo he ran. I asked him for some more info:

"MayDay is an annual convention put on by a wargaming group in Edmonton, Canada, for the bulk of you who I’m sure have never heard of it. At this year’s event I put on an Aeronef game, featuring a selection of miniatures from Brigade Models. The game set a British Squadron against a German Squadron for control of their respective colonial holdings in Central Africa. The British force was centered around the carrier Athena, and the heavy cruisers Agamemnon and Hector, with a number of supporting destroyers and escorts. The German force was based on the dirigible battleship Rhineland and heavy cruiser Derfflinger, with a flotilla of light cruisers, Kolburg, Bremen and Nurnburg, in support.

The initial German deployment had the heavy guns of Rhineland and Derfflinger in the centre of the field, with the Kolburg flotilla on the left flank. For their part the British concentrate on the left, aiming to engage the German light cruisers first, before taking on the heavy German ships.

The British plan worked well in the early rounds of the battle, with the Germans having difficulty coordinating their manoeuvring between the slow moving dirigibles and their much fast nef cruisers. The opening exchanges definitely favoured the British and the German light cruisers, along with their accompanying patrol nefs, suffered badly. As the engagement progressed, the Germans were finally able to bring Rhineland and Derfflinger’s heavy guns into action. This added firepower started to turn the tide back from what had been shaping up to be a British route. Several rounds of pounding by the German ships gradually wore down the two British heavy cruisers, while the British were successful in heavily damaging the Derfflinger. By the end of the time period, the Hector had been sent crashing to earth, while both the Derfflinger and Agamemnon were severely damaged, and the Athena and Rhineland were largely undamaged.

Neither side was able to deliver a clear knock-out blow, but overall the British were able to inflict marginally more damage on their opponents so I gave them a slight victory. That being said, both forces would certainly be able to recover and have another go at it before dominance in the region could be decided. All and all I was quite happy with the way the game went, and I believe that all of players had a good time.
- This picture shows overall layout of the battlefield before the two respective forces arrived on the scene.
- Here are the initial set-ups of the two forces, with the German heavy ships in the centre and the light flotilla on the left flank. British forces concentrated against the German light cruisers, with the heavy cruisers Hector and Agamemnon in the lead, the carrier Athena hanging back from the frontlines.
- Fighters from Athena and the heavy cruisers move in to pound on the German light cruisers in the open stages of the battle, inflicting heavy damage on the outgunned Germans.
- Once the German heavy guns got into the action the British light nefs began to pull back, leaving Hector and Agamemnon to forge ahead alone and engage the Rhineland and Derfflinger"

I asked him speciifically about the great looking terrain, which really looks spectuacular I think.

"This is my first attempt at creating terrain for my growing Aeronef fleets, so there was some trial and error before I finally found a system that worked. From the start my goal was to create the illusion of the battle happening high above the ground, so the terrain was created to support that vision. As a result all of the terrain pieces are very low, barely more than two dimensional, with just enough height on each piece to show some depth, but without being tall enough to ruin the idea that it was all a very long way below. This approach has the added benefit of making it easy for all the ships to fly right over terrain features, the bases sit nicely on top of all the terrain without problem, so there is no issue with having to fly around terrain features, or move them doing the game to allow for ships to pass over top. The construction was actually quite simple, albeit a little time consuming. All of the fields, towns and forested areas are based on of all mats! I've found that they are great for basing things on because they don't have the same tendency to warp when they get wet I've found with cardstock or the like.

To create the, I first cut the beer mats into the desired shapes, roughly square for the fields and towns, and irregular shapes for the forests. I first coated all of the cut pieces with black primer, and then painted each with whatever base colour I or brown or yellow for the fields, green and brown for the towns, and green for the forests. At that point I flocked each area with the corresponding scenic ground covering, and for the towns I drybrushed a lighter brown over the dark brown base.

Once the bases were set for all the respective terrain types I added small elements of height to make the features stand out a little. For the fields I took small bits of scenic foliage and glued them down along the edges of the pieces themselves, and along the divisions between different coloured fields on the terrain piece, with the goal of simulating hedges. Along the exact same lines I covered all of the forest pieces with different shades of green scenic foliage.

The town pieces also received a scattering of scenic foliage, to represent hedges and trees and such. The buildings for the towns I made from 2mm square beads, with the string holes filled in. I had initially attempted to give the buildings peaked roofs, but in the end decided it was far too much work, and given their size it didn’t add much to the overall effect on the gaming table. The buildings were painted with a black base coat, then drybrushed over with white, and finished off with a red brick colour for the roofs."

Thanks very much Warren - great stuff!

Friday 7 July 2006



Please accept my sincerest apologies for the lack of news from the Middle East - I have been caught up in several real world issues which have impacted on my time somewhat. Suffice it to say, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Similarly, the Rayleigh Factorium, whilst being a veritable hive of ideas, has been somewhat tardy on the construction and painting front.

Of one thing though you may be certain, as soon as the Factorium is back to full operation then the readers of this august journal will be the first to know.

BTW, for those of you that are unaware, I am in fact using the contents of my various postings as the basis of a full scale novel based on an alternate 1910 with an Arab Revolt against the Turks as the centrepiece. The book will be very VSF based and will feature all the best elements of Land, Sea and Air - Aeronefs, Dirigibles, Aquanefs and Land Ironclads. Think 'Red Storm Rising' only Victorian style....................

All the best,


Tuesday 4 July 2006

HUMOUR: Socialist Super Mario Bros?


Hi Readers,

Ace reporter, Maksim-Smelchak reporting from Imperial Russia, or what used to be Imperial Russia before the Revolution...

You see, I used a time machine to travel to the future and see what might have happened...

If we didn't live in a cozy VSF universe...


Imagine if the USA had lost the Cold War...

What would Super Mario Brothers have turned out like in the alternate USSR-dominated universe:

(Check out comments section for full link)

I used this site to compress the URL:

I found a bunch of old Soviet propaganda posters here:

Oooh, weird! Norman Rockwell on Socialist crack...


Have a nice day!


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

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