Thursday, 31 January 2008

Ogrefencer's VSF Madness, Part 1

Ogrefencer has used his wiley skills to convince his local gaming group to indulge in a little 28mm landironclad battle royale - excellent! Good work matey!

Here are some pics from the first encounter, though he notes that it was a trial run and for that reason they used a white table cloth with squares marked off for movement.

More pics to follow...

More Blackhawks Down!

My mate Owen, who came up for CANCON, has posted more pics of the Blackhawk Down demo game we played in. You'll find them at his new blog; the Predator's Lair...

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Karsten's Aeronef Fleet

A gentleman is as good as his word, and have no doubt that Karsten is that.

As promised on the weekend, he has sent me some pics of his German Aeronef fleet (figs by Brigade) click for larger images

Thanks Karsten, they look great. I especially like the Digs and the WW1-esque cam scheme.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

International Conference scheduled

Envoys from the Home Office and the Colonies will convene a seminar next week in London to discuss a coordinated strategy to simulatenoeusly defeat the Russian menace in Asia, pacify the Turks, insult the Swiss, ignore the French, titter at girls and sneer at the Prussians.

Indications are that these discussions will be followed in quick succession by the inaugural inter-Regimental drinking competition with the winner awarded large estates in Africa and a gunboat flotilla armed with Nordendfelts and crewed by local lovlies- it should be a cracking good time!

The Officers of the 3rd Saxon-Wantabees Dragoons Regiment are anticipated to come dead last in the forthcoming Guiness boat-races competition and be forced to endure the humilating de-bagging ceremony in the Mess

No doubt the envoys will also discuss matters of little lead men and exchanges of goodies will be done - Who know what else else can happen when Tas finally makes the personal acquaintance of Ogrefencer!

Monday, 28 January 2008


A quiet weekend from me with no posts from me for two good reasons:

1. Jan 26 is Australia Day, our National Birthday and great cause for BBQ, Beers and celebration; and

2. This weekend was the premier Australian Wargaming convention, CANCON, organised by the Canberra Games Society and held just a few Kms from my house

Long time subscribers may recall that I went last year and had a ball with the kids I was just reading that post and saw my comments "Sadly my mate Owen, who had planned to come up for the weekend and the Con, had to cancel at the last minute. There is always next year though right?". Well this indeed this year was the year and he did made it up for a cracking great time.

There wasnt much in the way of VSF, though I did spy a nice Boxer Rebellion style game. Owen and I played in a great demo scenario of Mogadishu in 1994, as famously portrayed in the movie "Blackhawk Down!". The terrain, figs and vehicles were fantastic, and the rules were fast and quick playing. We did even worse than the movie writers thought the Americans did and had a ball doing it. And yes, more than one Blackhawk crashed, as unlikely as the odds were for that!

Over the weekend I also met up with friends old and new, including Nic of Eureka Miniatures (, Mike of Battlefield Accessories (, Mick from Mick's Metal Models (, who among other ranges is the Australian distributor for Peter Pig, and Greg of Cannon Fodder miniatures ( who made all the Somali gunmen for the demogame (and they were good shots too!). Needless to say, money was spent and goodies were brought home...

I also was reacquainted with Karsten whom I met last year and who has promised me pics of his and his mates' newly finished Aeronef fleets!

So a great weekend of gaming, gaming shopping and seeing my mate - thanks for coming up buddy!

Saturday, 26 January 2008


I've been pondering thrift in wargaming of late and have these notions to offer:

For smoke stacks and piping, consider black drinking straws. They come in three basic sizes — sipping, standard, and jumbo. The precise diameter of the latter depends largely on the manufacturer.

2000 for $6.95.

700 for $6.95 US.

Super, Jumbo, Mega...

And, while on the subject of "drinking accessories," prehistoric terrain can be supplemented with palm tree stirrers.
Pillars in temples and government buildings can be represented by wedding cake decorations. The resin bits that some companies offer are more or less the same design but usually quite a bit more expensive.

I have long thought that land mines can easily be simulated by spent hearing aid batteries. Of course, unless you have a device that uses them, collecting a good number of them may require a bit of resourceful thinking.

Simiarly, the flint wheel in disposable lighters is — in essence — a gear. Both the battery and gear can also be used to add detail to vehicles and robots.

And this last idea isn't mine (and, to be honest, I forget to whom it belongs) — but I have heard of someone using dried fruit and beans to add "nodules" and mounts to spacecraft models.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Scratchbuilt Aeronef Fleet

Eli has posted pics of his home designed aeronef fleet which he scratch built predominantly from balsa. I think he has done a cracking job!
Actually, now I think of it they remind me a lot of GZG's New Swabian League ships from their Full Thrust Sci-Fi range.

Great job Eli!

King Solomon's Mines

Here is the 1 hr 20min version from 1927 - free download!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Paul's Aeronef Page

A fantastic recent discovery by Joe of the silly 15mm VSFers ( is Paul's Wargaming site:

It seems Mssr Hooper and his merry bunch inspired pals have been busy playing, amongst other genres, Aeronef. They have amassed an impressive collection of models including some extensive scratchbuilds, including Portigese, Swiss and Barbary Pirate Fleets! And dont forget to check out the Spanish floating dock either (now there is challenge for you Mssr Vanvlak!)

Paul has also compiled some scenarios, home rules modifications, and a neat campaign map for you would-be Conquerors of Europe...

Thanks for the insipring Fleets Paul&Co - I look forward to even more in the future!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

20,000 hits!

It was only 2 months ago that WWS celebrated 10,000 hits and that milestone doubled this week to 20,000! I guess all that Chrstmas holiday time gave everyone a chance to do extra surfing :-)

I'm still rather stunned at the amount of traffic flowing through here and I'll take it as a sign that the team here are doing a good job - Huzzah and Thanks to All!

Tooth and Claw scenario

Jim at the Lost World Safari group writes:

For all potential Tooth and Claw gamers...The latest edition of WI has a scenario for Toth and Claw by Chris Peers titled "Into The Jaws of Death":

I haven't had a chance to read through it yet but it looks pretty good, being designed as an introductory game for several players. I'll post a review once I've had a chance to read the scenario through properly.

Thanks Jim!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Garnet Joseph Wolseley

"La Coloniale" of the silly buggers Brigade at 15mmVSF Blog, has entered this stirling chap in the esteemed White Wine Sauce Hall of Esteemed Gentlemen!

You can read his biography at that blogsite here:

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Victorian Era Naval Reference

While searching around for information on Admirals Hewett and Cowan, I came across this excellent resource. While its not a full record, it lists the history of various Victorian era Royal Naval vessels and their Captains.

Monday, 14 January 2008

20,000 Leagues under the Sea

I know this isnt the first film version of Verne's aquanef classic (which incidentally has never been publically released) but this version (1hr 39mins) does includes the first underwater filming. Its a very liberal interpretation of both 20,000 Leagues and its sequel Mysterious Island.

The Lost World

A copy of the 1925 film - complete and available for free download - a great find by Mssr Vanvlak!
1 hr and 8 min of nostalgic fun:

Explorer Professor Challenger is taking quite a beating in the London press thanks to his claim that living dinosaurs exist in the far reaches of the Amazon. Newspaper reporter Edward Malone learns that this claim originates from a diary given to him by fellow explorer Maple White's daughter, Paula. Malone's paper funds an expedition to rescue Maple White, who has been marooned at the top of a high plateau. Joined by renowned hunter John Roxton, and others, the group goes to South America, where they do indeed find a plateau inhabited by pre-historic creatures, one of which they even manage to bring back to London with them.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Vice Admiral Sir Nathan Hewett

Further investigation into some 'Fighting Admirals' of the Victorian era has revealed this man:

Vice-Admiral Sir William Nathan Wrighte Hewett VC KCB KCSI
b.1834, entered RN 1848, d. 1888

Aged 20 and but 8 years after entering the Royal Navy, William Hewett was awarded the Victoria Cross for services during the Crimea War.

In 1854, he was serving as Acting Mate on HMS Beagle but was commanding a Naval Brigade detachment manning a Lancaster Battery at Sebastopol. being threatened by the enemy. Through a misunderstanding he was ordered to spike his gun and retreat. The lieutenant, however, took on himself the responsibility of disregarding the order, shouting 'Retire? Retire and be damned! Fire!' He then pulled down the parapet of the battery and with the assistance of some soldiers, slewed his gun round and poured on the advancing enemy a most destructive and effectual fire until the Russians retreated. For this exploit and for further great bravery during the battle of Inkerman, that he received the Victoria Cross.

A slightly different account of his actions:

Among all the acts exhibiting gallantry, coolness, and judgment, one performed by Mr N.W. Hewett, then acting mate of HMS Beagle, stands conspicuous.

On the 26th of October 1854, the day after the battle of Balaclava, he was in charge of the right Lancaster battery before Sebastopol, with a party of bluejackets under him, when the Russians made a desperate sortie from the walls against Sir De Lacy Evans’ division. The advance of the Russians placed the gun in great jeopardy; and their assault was so vigorous that their skirmishers had got within 300 yards of the battery, and were pouring in a sharp fire from their Minié rifles. By some misapprehension the word was passed to spike the gun and retreat; but Mr Hewett, taking upon himself to disregard what he heard, answered, “That order did not come from Captain Lushington, and till he directs us to desert the gun, we’ll not move.” This proceeding was hazardous, for at the time the gun was in an ineffectual position, in consequence of the enemy advancing on its flank. With the assistance, however, of the seamen with him, and of some soldiers who came to his aid, he got round the gun into position; then, blowing away the parapet of the battery, he opened on the advancing column of the Russians so effective a fire, that they were completely staggered, and their progress was stopped. Seconded by his companions, whom his spirit animated, again and again he discharged his death-dealing gun, till the enemy gave way and retreated.

A story is current that he actually did receive an order to abandon the gun, and that afterwards, while he was reflecting what might be the consequences of having disobeyed it, his commanding officer inquired,
“Mr Hewett, were you not ordered to spike that gun and retreat?”
“I was, sir.”
“And you chose to disregard the order, and fight the gun?”
“I did, sir; but I am sorry if—”
“Well, then, you are promoted.”
Sir Stephen Lushington brought Mr Hewett’s conduct before the commander-in-chief, and he received from the Admiralty, as a reward, his lieutenancy, which he so well merited. At the battle of Inkermann his bravery was again conspicuous, and he was soon afterwards appointed to the command of the Beagle gunboat in the Sea of Azov.

He was promoted to Commander on 13th Sep 1858, Captain on 14th Nov 1862 and Rear-Admiral on 14th Nov 1862, spending much of his career at sea commanding a number of RN vessels, including some of the first ironclad warships. He also commanded the Naval Brigade in actions in West Africa, Egypt and the Sudan, gaining in the process a reputation as the Navy's finest exponent of Combined Operations.

Sir William Hewett rose to the rank of Vice Admiral in 1884 before retiring from the Navy in 1888 and died the same year.

Vice-Admiral Hewett was awarded the following medals:
Victoria Cross
Knight Commander of the Bath
Crimean War Medal
Turkish Crimean Medal
Crimean Medal 'Al Valore'
India General Service Medal
Ashanti Medal 1873–74
Egypt Medal 1882
Khedive Star 1882
Order of Mejidieh 4th
Class Legion of Honour 5th Class

Friday, 11 January 2008

Nile Gunboats

I recently found this site, which goes nicely with both the "How to build a Nile Gunboat" article I posted a little while ago (look in the Modelling Hints category) and yesterday's entry regarding Admiral Cowan.
This site has a number of great fact and figs on the Nile gunboat flotilla, the men who served in them, and the wars in which they served - enjoy!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Admiral Sir Walter Cowan

A true fighting naval officer I have recently been reading about is worthy of much admiration, and I am pleased to share with you my research into a man who is simply inspirational. So much so that I have started a new article category for him: Gentlemen of Renown and Infamy. If you have one of your own to suggest, I would greatly welcome your submission.

Admiral Sir Walter Henry "Titch" Cowan, 1st Baronet, KCB, DSO and bar, MVO
b.1871, joined the RN in 1884 (aged 13), d.1956

Early years - served in verious expeditions in West Africa, commanded the gunboat HMS SULTAN during the Battle of Omdurman and the whole gunboat squadron during the Fashoda Incident with the French during which he was awarded the DSO. Cowan then went south to participate in the Second Boer War, saw extensive sea service as a Destroyer Captain afterwards and then service the the Battlecruiser force during WW1 (including the Battle of Jutland where his ship was heavily damaged) during which he was known to be one of "the most offensively minded of the Grand-Fleet officers."

In his great book "The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command", Andrew Gordon writes:

"Walter Cowan, Captain of the [Lion class battlecruiser] Princess Royal, had been a close friend of [Admiral] Beatty's from both midshipman and Nile-gunboat days. He was a ferocious midget who loved war so much that he spent his leave periods in the trenches in France and wept when the Armistice was announced. "

It was also said that he "was the only Officer in the Grand Fleet that was sorry the war was over"

Gordon continues: "He became the scourge of the Bolsheviks in the Baltic in 1919 [As a Rear-Admiral he commanded a Light Cruiser Squadron from his flagship Delhi and sank 2 Russian Battleships and 1 destroyer], and ended his naval career as Admiral of the Fleet.[not quite true, but he was a full Admiral]"

Cowan came out of retirement in 1940, accepting demotion to the rank of Commander, to join an Indian armoured regiment in North Africa. He was captured by the Italians when he personally attacked a tank by himself armed with only a revolver! Subsequently released by the Italians on humanitarian grounds he joined the Commandos as a Naval liasion officer, aged 72. He saw further action in clandestine actions in Italy and the Med from 1943 where he won a second DSO in 1944 (more than 40 years after earning his first one) before retiring once more.

There are 2 books dedicaed to his service which would be fascinating reading:

  • Lionel George Dawson, Sound of the guns, being an account of the wars and service of Admiral Sir Walter Cowan (Pen-in-hand, Oxford, 1949);
  • Geoffrey Bennett, Cowan's war: the story of British naval operations in the Baltic, 1918-1920 (Collins, London, 1964) - reprinted in 2002 as "Freeing the Baltic" (

    His Service biography is:
Naval cadet 1884; Benin, Nigeria 1887; Cdr, HMS REDBREAST, Red Sea 1893-1895; HMS BARROSA, Cape Station 1895; Brass River and Mwele Expeditions 1897; commanding gunboat flotilla, Nile during Sudan operations 1898; Aide-de-camp to Gen Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Viscount Kitchener of Khartoum and Naval Aide-de-camp to FM Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts of Kandahar, Pretoria and Waterford, during South African War 1901; World War I 1914-1918; HMS ZEALANDIA, Grand Fleet 1914; Capt, HMS PRINCESS ROYAL 1915-1917; Battle of Jutland 1916; commanding 1 Light Cruiser Sqn of the Grand Fleet 1917-1920; Baltic Force 1919-1920; Battle Cruiser Sqn, Atlantic Fleet 1921-1922; Commanding Officer, Coast of Scotland 1925-1926; Commander-in-Chief North America and West Indies Station 1926-1928; retired 1931; Commando Forces, World War II 1939-1945; liaison officer with Commando Bde, Eastern Mediterranean 1941; attached to Indian Regt, Western Desert 1941-1942; captured at Bir Hakeim 1942; repatriated 1943, Cdo forces 1943-45

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

King Solomon's Mines

by Rider Haggard
Published 1885

Wikipedia reports that "The book was first published in September 1885 amid considerable fanfare, with billboards and posters around London announcing "The Most Amazing Book Ever Written". It became an immediate best seller. By the late 19th century explorers were uncovering lost civilizations around the world, such as Egypt's Valley of the Kings, and the empire of Assyria. Africa remained largely unexplored and King Solomon's Mines, the first novel of African adventure published in English, captured the public's imagination."

It was also the best selling book of 1885 and is arguably the first of the "Lost World" genre of fiction. I love the book's dedication, which reads:

This faithful but unpretending recordof a remarkable adventureis hereby respectfully dedicatedby the narrator,ALLAN QUATERMAIN,to all the big and little boys who read it.

And of course any novel with a Naval Officer named "Captain Good" cant be bad at all!

Sketchmap of the route to King Solomon’s Mines

Aeronef terrain on the cheap

They are technically Monopoly™ houses and hotels, but with the right paint job, I suspect they'd make good ground targets and table decoration.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Electric Blockhaus

Another treasure direct from the Vanvlak archives!

Its always reminded me of a mobile steampunk version of the Rebel batteries on Hoth, in "The Empire Strikes Back". Mssr V scratchbuilt this little beauty about 2 years ago from gosh-knows-what components...

Boys Own Adventure!

A new VSF blog has popped up on the horizon:

Having claimed this heretofore blank space of the Web, forestalling the odious French, ghastly Huns and dastardly Russians, I welcome you to Boys' Own Adventure! Under the aegis of the Union Jack, and the protection of the Queen Empress it affords, on these pages you will be able to absorb the mores and morals of yesteryear when all that was needed to subjugate the globe to Commerce and Civilisation was a stiff upper lip, handsome moustaches, a pith helmet and the occasional recourse to one's .455 Mk. IV Webley. Huzzah!

Here you will find information on literature, films, games and more which all bear the stamp of Boys' Own. "But, hold on, Sir," I hear you cry, "just what is Boys' Own? What its characteristics? Whence its origins? Wherefore its heyday?"

That, dear Reader, is the subject of another post...

And it must be a top-hole kind of place because there is a link to Yours in a White Wine Sauce under the banner 'The Right Sort of Chaps" - guess it takes one to know one eh?

Monday, 7 January 2008

Vanvlak Industries financial report

It wasnt like this in the Sudan you know...

...or maybe it was, now I think about it!

The silly buggers over at the VSF and 15mm Wargaming Blog ( posted a great link the other day, and I have been perusing it with great interest.

Lots of great stuff there for the colonial and VSF gamer. I particularly like the recent emphasis on the Royal Marines, who often seem to be get sidelined for those smart looking chaps in their redcoats.

Thankyou Gentlemen!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Sad Loss Of Inspiration

From Graham Evans at Science versus Pluck
If any of you haven't noticed, that fine chronicler of Victorian
colonial warfare, George MacDonald Fraser died earlier this
week. I attach the notification from the BBC website.This is
obviously very sad for all fans of his writing & not just the
Harry Flashman books. Inevitably all of us who have read
and loved the books can only lament at the information we
will now never know. How did Flash Harry get to Mexico?
How did he fight on both sides of the ACW? How did he get
back from China?
The only answer is for a noted author and fan of Victorian
memoirs to take up the challenge and complete
the series from GMF's notes.
Anyway, to all members of the group, if you haven't already done
so, raise a glass to the memory of the finest historical novelist ever
this evening.


Friday, 4 January 2008

Gaming Resources

Here are some nifty sites that you might find useful:

Official seal generator:

Latin Motto generator

Newspaper article generators

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Vanvlak Industries

We've had a slight reorganisation here at WWS and introduced a new article category: Vanvlak Industries

Now you can quickly and easily peruse the many and varied works of Mssr Vanvlak and be reminded of his impressive imagination and skills.

We here at WWS are honoured to hold the exclusive rights to display the products of Vanvlak Industries!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

The Junior General

Zophiel kindly pointed me towards this great site today, which has a bunch of paper models ready to print and cut out for quick easy playing. They may not have the appeal of lead figures, but are cheapoer and quicker to play with, especially if you just want to try a game out without going to the expence of buying the models.

Pretty much anything you can think of is here, from Dinosaurs and Cavemen to Colonial Troopers of varying Nationalities and Regiments. There are also some great pre-dreadnought models which could work very well for Aquanef, such as the Russian Heavy Cruiser Admiral Makarow above, and these US Civil War Ironclads.

CRYPTO-CRITTERS Anthology Series


A terrific new collection of stories featuring crypto-zoological subjects from around the world! Everything from Big Foot to pink elephants is tackled in this one, and the most fun for visitors to this website, of course, is the fact that CJ has two stories in this one.


In remote parts of the planet they lurk, the unknown, the unsuspected, the sometimes rumored ... they are the creatures of myth and legend, until someone finally finds one and pulls it whole and breathing into the modern age. This is it, the much anticipated follow-up to the original smash hit, Crypto-Critters, and it’s packed with the best crypto-zoological sci fi, fantasy and horror stories of all time. Join Bruce Gehweiler, Patrick Thomas, James Chambers, John Sunseri, Edmund R. Schubert, Diane Raetz, Scott Thomas, Graham Watkins and, as you might suspect, our own C.J., who brings three tales to this stunning sequel!

Scratchbuilt Aeronef protoype revealed!

Eli at "I see Lead People" has revealed his mate's first attempt at a Nef - I cant wait to see what else he comes up with!

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Mad Scientist President?

Just to prove that all is not well in the former colony (and you shouldnt have rebelled should you?), a mad Scientist is now running for President. Of course, he cant be a very good mad Scientist if he is actually going through the democratic process rather than just seizing power through some kind of doomsday device...

Just in time for the Iowa caucus and owing to the fact that I am not entirely pleased with any candidate being offered by the major parties, I am glad to announce my candidacy for President of the United States. As I recently stated on the Exile Games forum, I will be running on the Mad Scientist party ticket.

At a recent press conference, one of my carefully placed plants in the audience raised a cunningly scripted question about my stance on zombies. Here was my spontaneously pre-packaged response:

I'm glad you raised that issue. Millions of Americans such as yourselves are rightly concerned with this clear and present threat to our way of life. My voting record will show a strong and decisive response to this concern based on three key principals: preparation, research, and response.

Preparation: I have repeatedly stated that zombie survival hinges on resource management. Therefore, through tax incentives to private citizens and auto manufacturers, I will strive to ensure that every household in America is prepared with a basic survival kit including water, chainsaws for both utility and defense, lumber to board up windows, and car batteries that will insure every car made in this country will start on the first turn of the key, even in the dark with a legion of Oogie-Boogies shambling towards you.

Research: Some of my detractors have suggested that we should ban all zombie-related research. However, this would mean that Al Qaeda has won. Such strictures would weaken our nation's economy and erode our God-given right to play Prometheus in our basement laboratories. We cannot allow America to suffer from a Zombie Gap any more than we can afford a Giant Robot Gap or a Deathray Gap. In the past, those of us in the Mad Scientist party have been accused of not doing enough to ensure adequate safety procedures in our zombie research facilities based on a few isolated incidents of our studies spilling over into the general population and leading to plagues of brain-munching ghouls. I will insist on the highest attention to safety; under my budget, for every 8 billion dollars spent on zombie research, companies will be required to spend $3.79 on a really good padlock to keep the undead blighters in their pens. That ought to take care of it.

Response: In the event of the inevitable zombie breakout, I will personally parachute into the afflicted area equipped with running shoes, camouflage cargo shorts, my kukri, a pump action shot gun, and all the ammo bandoleers I can carry. Within forty-eight hours, the zombie threat will be quelled. That is my campaign promise to you.

I hope I can count on your vote in the upcoming primaries. Vote for me and I'll put a ninja on every corner and two in between. Thank you.

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

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