Thursday 31 December 2009

Aussie NYE Aeronef Championship

Held yesterday, one can read the results here:

And see some pics of the great looking fleets here:


Karsten's Brazillian Fleet - Nice eh?

Monday 28 December 2009

Factorium Closes

In preparation for next week's relocation to more southern provinces of the Colonies, my VSF Factorium has now officially ceased production. Today saw packing begin in earnest, including the boxing of factorium automatons and materiel.
We hope to re-commence production of vital war supplies as soon as possible.
Long live the Queen!

Thursday 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas to All!

Best Wishes for a very Merry Christmas to All!

Monday 21 December 2009

Rivers in 2mm scale

Sick of the lack of rivers terrain available in 2mm, SteelonSand has published an article on converting some from larger sclae ditches. Its simple and very effective - well done old Chap!

Its got me to thinking its just the thing to try some medium altitude bridge-busting sorties with some Harasser Squadron 'Nefs...surrounded by Anti-Aeronef Land Ironclad batteries of course!

SMLS Syren

Mssr Blease of Wessex fame has conconcoted a lovely replica of the Baron's hard hitting and extensively modified SMLS (Seiner Majestät LuftSchiff) Syren.

While you have to wait just a little longer to read about the Baron's adventures (worth the wait I hope!), enjoy Steve's modelling here:

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Sunday 13 December 2009

Aeronef over the Aegean!

More news from Wessex Games:

Having finished the typesetting of Aeronef Over Carpathia it has been
renamed Aeronef Over The Aegean as the battles take place there not
over Carpathia!! :-)

Hope to have it out the week commencing the 21st, Brigade are doing a
campaign pack for you to buy with all the models you need to play the



Wednesday 2 December 2009

Aeronef over Carpathia

From Wessex Games:

Apparently there is a rumour on TMP that Wessex Games are "intending to go out of business", not true, we've just been over taken by real life pressures that occasionally impact us.

As proof that we are still around we are going to release a nice little Christmas present for Aeronef gamers in the form of Aeronef Over Carpthia (Wrath of the Syren) - and the really good news is that it'll be free!

Written by Paul O'Grady, this is a three scenario mini-campaign centred around the actions of Hungarian noble Baron Lantoz in 1890's Eastern Europe against the might of the Ottoman Empire.

Typesetting is underway and we should have Aeronef Over Carpathia available as a free PDF download at Wargame Vault in time for some festive 'neffiness.

Sounds awesome (and well written to boot!). OK, I can now confess this secret project which I have been working on over the last few months. Kudos and much thanks to Ogrefencer for his significant written input, and to Zophiel for his excellent artwork.

Festive VSF cheer

Looking for that priceless present for the one you love?

Looking to convert your opponent to the wonders of VSF?

Fed up with socks from Auntie Mabel?

Fear not - Wessex Games are providing the world with some Festive VSF PDF
cheer this December...

For the whole of December we are selling Aeronef, The Aeronef
Captain's Handbook and Land Ironclads at a whopping 25% off the normal

Huzzah!! You cry, but wait there is more...

For December we are selling all three rules in one Les Guerres
Extraordinares bundle with a cataclysmic 33% discount!!!

Triple Huzzah!!!

Just click this link to bring yourself (or someone you love) some
festive cheer:


Tuesday 10 November 2009

Friday 30 October 2009

Tuesday 27 October 2009

HMS Rocket

Another YIAWWS Exclusive - by Vanvlak Industries!

HMS 'Rocket' is the lead ship of the MkII Airborne Steam Shunt (A.S.S.) class of unarmed vessel, a short range flyer used to shuffle cargo around docks. The long rail at the rear is used to attach cargo onto. The MkIIa is similar but has a redesigned aft section and is a dedicated dirigible and aeronef tug, although the MkII itself is sometimes put to the same use. The MkIIb is identical to the MkII but has an enclosed cockpit for space use.

'Rocket' is currently attached to the Mediterranean fleet, and has seen service in Malta and Graham Island.*


It's the first model in a new collection of vehicles I intend to build (no bets on whether I'll actually get them done...). They will be a loose assortment of Victoriana, mostly vehicles with some troops, all in 15mm scale. I'm currently working on the second vehicle, a Mk I Conveyancer. The vessels will be part of a joint British (Imperial)/Venetian force. I still have no idea what they are up to in the Mediterranean, or who their enemies would be (Barbary Coast Pirates? The Russian Navy?).

Peter Pig sailor at the helm.

Bravo old Boy - we've missed your unique style and great skills around here!

Sunday 25 October 2009

Attack on Melbourne

Interesting details of a colonial harbour defense plan (minus the aerostats and aquanefs of course!)

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Old School Balkan Dirigibles


Below are a selection of the scratch built Dirigibles I made for the Balkan Air Fleets some 4 years ago - certainly the Turks pre date Brigades models. They are now residing in the collection of Steve Blease and are rumoured to be appearing in the 2nd edition of Aeronef when it is published. These wee very simple to build - consisting of spare aircraft bombs and drop tanks with various pieces of scrap plastic and sprue added to taste. The Turkish Carrier started life as the Revell Hindenburg kit with much chopping about. I really must get around to making some more of these as the basic technique I used has improved with practise and the fact that Brigade produce a load of usable bits to add to the resultant model.
The Turkish carrier Messudieh - note the wing turret type rails for launching fixed wing fliers.

A Turkish cruiser squadron on patrol, no doubt searching the Greeks or Bulgarians.

The Greek Coastal defence Dirigibles Psara, Hydra and Spetsai.

A Greek escort squadron of small destroyer sized dirigibles.

Finally the Bulgarians - the large model in the centre has some outrigger launching rails for fixed wing aircraft although sadly I never got around to adding them.

It was great fun making these and I am sure the next lot will be even better.
I hope you enjoy this piece of Aeronef history as much as I did digging them out!

Thursday 15 October 2009

Zeppelin to America

From Our Correspondent: Lakehurst, New Jersey, 15th October 1924

Zeppelin Missing!

"Hopes are fading for a successful conclusion to the fantastic exercise of a trans-Atlantic crossing from Friedrichshafen, Germany, to here in New Jersey today. In one of the most incredible adventures yet seen in the world of aviation, the German Zeppelin, LZ-126, no longer the monstrous terror-bomber of the late European War, was to have been flown by its co-creator, Dr Hugo Eckener across the stormy waters of the North Atlantic to take her place amongst the burgeoning ranks of our own glorious Air Corps.
As our readers will know, this terrible symbol of Prussian aggression was to have been offered to our government as part of War Reparations, and would have been converted to civilian use.
The Hydrogen-filled monster was last seen crossing the Irish coast in cloudy weather, escorted by fighters that appeared as mere moths against her giant bulk; (See photograph above) her expert crew confident that they would make landfall on American shores within two days.
President Calvin Coolidge's Office has denied reports that her disappearance may have some connection to the recent activity of Air Pirates in the vicinity of the Newfoundland Coast, and have stated that all efforts are being made to trace the gaseous leviathan......"

An interesting anniversary today, the fifteenth of October, which saw the successful conclusion of a transatlantic flight some three years before the exploits of Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis, which have somewhat claimed the limelight ever since. Dr Hugo Eckener, co-developer of Germany's dirigible airships, convinced the Allies post WWWI that it would be better to support the fledgling aviation industry by allowing the construction of civilian airships, rather than seeing them dismantled. Although controversial, this decision saw the transfer of LZ-126 from Germany to the U.S. Air Force to become the ZR3, later the Los Angeles.
Once her Hydrogen had been replaced by Helium, she served on as a training ship, and had the distinction of being the only U.S. Airship not to be destroyed in an accident, making over three hundred flights in an eight year period.
Excellent information on this unusual footnote in history, and other early dirigibles can be found here:

Plenty of stuff to inspire scenarios, I think; was the LZ-126 intercepted by Air Pirates, or did Dr Eckener have more sinister motives for taking charge of the Zeppelin on her maiden voyage?....

(Photo shows Revell Minikit Hindenburg accompanied by flight of Irregular Miniatures 2mm IKGW6, generic biplane)

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Welcome Captain Shrike!

Another convert to the madness of VSF!

Welcome to the fray Sir.. and with tid-bits like your new 'Air Station Zebra' (pictured here) we can clearly expect big things from you!

Monday 12 October 2009

The Complete Military History of France

Intriguing facts from a recent lecture at the Imperial War College, delivered by Colonel Rowley Birkin, retired (you may recall him from here:

Gallic Wars - Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian.

Hundred Years War - Mostly lost, saved at last moment by schizophrenic teenaged girl, who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare; "France's armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman."

Italian Wars - Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.

Wars of Religion - France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots.

Thirty Years War - France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.

War of Devolution - Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.

The Dutch War - Tied

War of the Augsburg League/King William's War/French and Indian War - Lost, but claimed as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.

War of the Spanish Succession - Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved every since.

American Revolution - In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as "de Gaulle Syndrome", and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; "France only wins when America does most of the fighting."

French Revolution - Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.

The Napoleonic Wars - Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.

The Franco-Prussian War - Lost. Germany plays the role of drunk Frat boy to France's ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night.

World War I - Tied and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States (According to them - eh?) Thousands of French women find out what it's like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn't call her "Fraulein." (Yes, indeed lots of colonials served in France as well as giving old Johnny Turk a good fight at gallipolli!) Sadly, widespread use of condoms forestalls any improvement in the French bloodline.

World War II - Lost. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain (supported once again by stout colonial chaps!) just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song.

War in Indochina - Lost. French forces plead sickness, take to bed with the Dien Bien Flu.

Algerian Rebellion - Lost. Loss marks the first defeat of a western army by a Non-Turkic Muslim force since the Crusades, and produces the First Rule of Muslim Warfare; "We can always beat the French." This rule is identical to the First Rules of the Italians, Russians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese and Esquimaux.

War on Terrorism - France, keeping in mind its recent history, surrenders to Germans and Muslims just to be safe. Attempts to surrender to Vietnamese ambassador fail after he takes refuge in a McDonald's.

The question for any country silly enough to count on the French should not be "Can we count on the French?" but rather "How long until France collapses?"

All in good fun of course Chaps, what ho!

Saturday 10 October 2009

Eli's Land Ironclads

Eli (of "I see Lead People" blog fame) brought my attention to his LI army this week.
I like the twin turreted beasts with triangular treads in particular - well done Sir!

Thursday 8 October 2009

Dreadnought Class Battle Zeppelin

From the forthcoming animated steampunk epic "War of the Worlds: Goliath"

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Ragnarok 56 preview

The next SFSFW journal, due out this month:

Issue 56 contains the following:
Allies and Mercenaries In Warhammer 40,000
Fantasy Air Wargaming
Competition: Fantasy Air Wargaming
If Rome Had Not Fallen
“Tighten the Line” Scenario
Space Vixens: Divine Wind
Space Hrud
The Rules of War - 3rd Edition Space Hulk reviewed
The Melting Pot - Miniature Reviews

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Confederate Submarines

Davids, Hunleys, Pioneer II, they are all here in the neat little article... with a conspiracy theory thrown in for good measure!

Monday 5 October 2009

HML Leviathan unveiled

Catalyst Games have released this beautiful preview of the completed artwork for HML Leviathan.

Sunday 4 October 2009

Colonial Invasion fiction

Yes, we wrote it here in the Colonies too!

This series of articles was compiled for a Melbourne newspaper, The Argus, in 1887 and reflected the very real threat posed by the Russian Pacific Squadron.

This will make a cracking set of scenarios for Aquanef ....with a few digs and submersibles thrown in of course!

Wednesday 30 September 2009

Ironclad Ramming

A fascinating article from "War and Game" - dont forget that HMS Thunderchild in War of the Worlds was an ironclad ram!

"Ram Anything Painted Gray” – Wilhelm von Tegetthoff before the Battle of Lissa(1866)

The Austro-Prussian War (1866) was fought between the Austrian Empire on one side, and Prussia and the Kingdom of Italy on the other side. Prussia sought to gain greater control over Germany, while Italy wanted to take Venetia from the Austrians.. The largest naval engagement occurred near the island of Lissa in the Adriatic Sea. There an Austrian fleet of ironclads and steam powered wooden ships fought a larger Italian fleet. The Austrians caught the Italians unprepared and succeeded in “crossing the T” of the Italian fleet. The heavy side belt armor of the ironclads was invulnerable to gunnery, and the most effect offensive tactic was ramming. The Austrian fleet emerged victorious. In the war, however, Austria was defeated and ceded territory to both Prussian and Italy.

In more modern examples, many 19th Century ironclad battleships were so equipped. The first modern ram ship built was the French-built Taureau, in 1863. In fact, many ironclad ships were designed specifically to ram opponents. In ships of this type, the armour belt was prolonged to brace both sides of the ram to increase structural integrity.

The theory behind the revival of the weapon derived from the fact that, in the period around 1860, armour held superiority over the ship-mounted cannon. That is to say, it was believed that an armoured warship could not be seriously damaged by the naval artillery in existence at the time. In order to achieve a decisive result in a naval engagement, therefore, alternative methods of action were believed to be necessary. As it followed, from the same belief, that a ship armed with a ram could not be seriously damaged by the gunfire of its intended victim, the ram became, for a brief period, the main armament of Royal Navy and contemporary foreign battleships.

The frequent use of ramming as a tactic in the Battle of Lissa (1866) also led to many late nineteenth century naval designers equipping their warships with ram bows. This only really aggravated a number of incidents of ships being sunk by their squadron-mates in accidental collisions as ramming never featured as a viable battle tactic again. The fixation on ramming may also have inhibited the development of gunnery.

When it became clear, towards the end of the nineteenth century, that breech-loading cannon could hit, and hit effectively, enemy ships at several thousand yards range, the ineffectiveness of the ram became clear and ships ceased to be fitted with them.

No other ironclad was ever sunk by an enemy ship in time of war by the use of the ram, although the ram was regarded by all major navies for some thirty years as primary battleship armament. A number of ships were, however, rammed in peacetime by ships of their own navy. The most serious in terms of loss of life was the collision between HMS Victoria and HMS Camperdown,[Tas's note - a young John Jellicoe, the RN Fleet Commander at the Battle of Jutland, narrowly escaped death in this incident] which took place in the Mediterranean in 1893. The only battleship over submarine victory in history occurred during World War I, when the battleship HMS Dreadnought rammed and sank a German U-Boat, but this was incidental, and Dreadnought’s bow was not intended for ramming enemy vessels.

Tuesday 29 September 2009

General Staff expands

Yours in a White Wine Sauce to proud to welcome our newest contributor, Steelonsand, who is renowned for his recent work on the Turkish Aquanef Osman Pasha and who has earlier this year been involved in chronicling Weird WW1 (whatever that means!).

The General Staff has tipped him as one to watch, especially for his trademark and novel use of the eye drop pipette in modelling. A link to his blog now appears on the left hand frame under "Member Blogs".

So Huzzah and welcome to the mess Steelonsand.
The first round of drinks is on us!

And while we are at it, a bumper round of port and cigars for all in celebration of Mssr Ogrefencer's birthday! Many happy returns old Boy!!!

Monday 28 September 2009

Confederate sympathies in the colonies

In 1864, the Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah (a 1160-ton screw steam cruiser) was enroute to the Pacific to raid the US whaling fleet. After a few other adventures, she took refuge in the colony port of Melbourne in early 1865, where she was refitted, took on supplies and surreptitiously recruited "stow-aways" as crew.

After an effective anti-commerce patrol, Shenandoah became the only Confederate warship to circumnavigate the globe during the conflict and was the last Confederate military unit to surrender at the war's end.

A court later found that the British Government had breached the laws of neutrality in rendering assistance in Melbourne and ordered reparations to be paid.

Now what if this incident was based on a raiding Confederate dirigible instead...

[EDIT] Interesting news article posted here for the 150th Anniversary of this event

Sunday 27 September 2009

Seascape Sea Mats

These are a bit more expensive than Hotz (which are excellent, I have one) but these are
I also like the options for seperate throw down islands and coastline.

Now I know what I need for Christmas....

Saturday 26 September 2009

Turkish Aquanef 'Osman Pasha' at Sea!

Exclusive report from our Correspondent; Istanbul, 24th of September:

Persistent rumours of a new secret weapon in the struggle for supremacy over the Eastern Nations have been borne out by the appearance of a steel monster in the waters off the Golden Horn.

This Correspondent has seen with his own eyes the strange grey shape appearing from the depths, a modern Kraaken designed by the greatest technological minds as the latest plaything of the Sublime Porte. Were it not for its modern armament of torpedos and Nordenfeldt repeating guns, this could easily be mistaken for a fantasy from the Arabian Nights, this strange leviathan that at a stroke has made obsolete the Ironclads and Dreadnoughts of the Tsar, and of the Kingdoms of Italy and Greece, and no doubt will cause concern even in the bulwarked bosom of the mighty Empress Victoria herself.

Named the Osman Pasha, this terror of the deep is now undergoing sea trials, but will soon be ready to challenge for dominion of the oceans, whether above or below the waves......

Photographic evidence follows.

This correspondance is credited to special envoy SteelonSand.
Well done that Man!

You can find more of his great work with the Osman Pasha at his blog here:

Thursday 24 September 2009

Turkish Aquanef 'Osman Pasha' launched

Steelonsand has gone to town in a rash of creativity, recreating the Turkish Aquanef I posted here the other day. The result, mostly using eye drop pipettes, is fantastic - I can't wait to see this lovely all painted up and ready for battle!

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Sydney on the Red Planet

Eastern Australia today suffered a massive and extremely rare dust storm. Originating from central Australia, the dust was the typical ochre colour. The result - spectacular! (these are unmodified photos, the colour is real)

Or has some Vanwellian experiment gone awry and transported Sydney to the Red Planet?

Monday 21 September 2009

WWS reaches 100,000 Hits!

Huzzah and Hurrah - White Wine Sauce has reached 100,000 Hits (since Aug 07), with half of those since Sep 08!

My sincere thanks to all who visit and enjoy the posts material here, and especially those who have left comments and encouraged us to keep posting.

I would like to thank my fellow WWS partners for their wonderful input and motivating encouragement, particularly Mssrs Ogrefencer, Vanvlak and Zophiel.

And of course a Mention in Dispatches goes to Mssr Blease and Wessex Games for inspiring me with VSF madness in the first place.

Yours in Splicing the Mainbrace!

Sunday 20 September 2009

Cerberus in 1/1200

Inspired by my research into the real ship, I broke out my long neglected 1/1200 scale Cerberus by Brigade Models, and a lovely casting it is too.

The model comes in 5 separate parts: hull, 2 main turrets, breastwork superstructure and mast. All part were very crisply cast with no flash at all. All fit together nicely with no filler required. One particularly good feature is that the breastwork structure fits over the turrets, which in tun have a peg and hole fitting. This means that they the turrets can be painted and fitted without gluing, so they can rotate freely.

I painted the model prior to assembly, undercoating in white. I went for a traditional RN paint scheme, and as accurate to the real ship as possible. The hull was therefore black, the armour, superstructrue and deck fittings white, gun muzzles dark grey, mast and funnel ocre and the deck a faded wood colour. Finally, I added a RN White Ensign to the masthead (again by Brigade) and fitted her to a base in the style of Mssr Ogrefencer (name and flag yet to be fitted). A smallish wake befits a vessel of 10kts max speed - no big bow waves for Cerberus! Then again, nobody should ever rush a lady...

This model represents Cerberus as she appeared in the late 1880s, after her mast reconfiguration (in 1878) and the addition of the torpedo spars and nets (in 1887). I must admit that as a result of my research this became more of a modelling project than a wargaming one, but the overall effect is quite realistic I think and I'm looking forward to her first tabletop battle.

Ironic then that my first Aquanef fleet unit is a surface unit! There are also 4 Russian units about half done and I just found some Navwar 1/1200 ACW ships (again courtesy of Mssr Ogrefencer, thank you Sir!) which will be joining us soon...

Saturday 19 September 2009


I just picked up a lovely monograph on this wonderful piece of colonial naval history:
'HMVS Cerberus: Battleship to Breakwater.'

Built at the cost of 125,000 pounds (of which the British Government donated 100,000 pounds). She was laid down in 1867, completed in 1870 and delivered (after a perilous journey) the following year. She was ordered to protect Melbourne, one of the Empire's richest colonies at the time due to the gold rush, from the Russian threat. Not an inconsequential threat it turns out, as Russia was allied to the United States during the civil war and the Russian Pacific Fleet commander had sealed orders to bombard Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart should hostilities break out between the US and Great Britain.

The monitor was the first British armoured ship to fully dispense with sail and be powered purely by steam. She was also first vessel with a central superstructure with gun turrets at the ends, and the first design to have breastwork protection and low freeboard. She had two sister ships, Abyssinia and Magdala, built for service in India though they were completed later.

Gunnery drills on the uppder-deck: 2 quad barrelled Nordenfeldts and a QF 4pdr

HMS Devastation (1871), built 3 years after Cerberus, incorporated many lessons learnt from Cerberus can rightly claim credit as being the first ocean going modern battleship. (Whereas Cerberus was specifically designed for Harbour defence)

"Indeed Devastation itself was an enlarged version of the coast defence Breastwork Monitor Cerberus, whose construction marked the beginning of practical turret ship design" Birth of the Battleship, John Beeler, US Naval Institute Press, 2001

"Between the harbour defence ship and the sea-going battleship was a matter of degree - the Devastation was to develop out of Cerberus in due course." British Battleships, Oscar Parkes, Seeley Service & Co., London, 1957

She was a powerful warship equipped with two twin 10 inch gun turrets (muzzle loading, rifled Armstrong guns), 4 quad barreled Nordenfeldt machine guns and 2 six pounder guns (added in 1892/93). Armour plate ranged from 6 inches on the sides to 10 inches on the turrets. She was not initially provided with any protection against torpedoes, but outriggers and nets were later fitted for this purpose.

The local press commented upon her arrival that "Victorians can sleep peacefully upon their pillows, with the consciousness that Cerberus is in every way fit to fight their battles and to fight them in modern style".

Cerberus enjoyed a period of 53 years service in which she never fired a shot in anger. Ironic then that her guns caused such general collateral damage to windows that public protest effectively negated the conduct of firing practices close to shore!

A free 1/250 scale card model of Cerberus as she appeared in the 1890s (with mast modification and torpedo booms fitted) is available here:

In the meantime, I'm working on my lovely 1/1200 scale Cerberus from Brigade Models: pics soon!

Friday 18 September 2009

Ahoy and pass the Rum ye Scallywags!

Dont pretend you dont know what day it is!

Think I'll go walk the Quarterdeck with Capt'n Peaches...

Thursday 17 September 2009

Scientific Adventure Violence for Young Men and Literate Women

The year's foremost journal of progressive armaments and weaponry! Behold the latest line of defense captured in action!

The second book to emerge from the printshop at Grordbort Industries, Victory follows in the footsteps of the trans-galactically successful Dr Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory that was released last year.

Filled to the brim with first hand tales of exploration and progress from the great heroes of our time, picture strips of unimaginable escapades on the frontier, never-seen-before portraits of dazzling damsels and monstrous villains, and laudable accounts of man and robot pitted against our greatest enemy (the uncivilized world), Victory is an onslaught of action-packed scientific adventure in full-spectrum color - containing facts that every boy and literate girl should know.

Written and illustrated by Weta Workshop Conceptual Designer Greg Broadmore, this book sumptuously details a science-fiction history that never was. Hearkening back to the classic sci-fi serials of yesteryear, it reveals the backstories and mythos of Weta Limited's highly limited ray gun collectible line.

This gorgeous 64 page full-color hardcover will be available mid-November.

You can pre-order now (I already have!) directly from Weta here:

Wednesday 16 September 2009

British Leviathans

More Monsters in the Sky design development, this time its the British, who are looking great.
Check out the sketches and leave some feedback!

Tuesday 15 September 2009

The Mystery of the Russalka

I found this interesting article online, detailing some of the lack of seaworthiness of early ironclads. Or what it those mysterious Atlanteans....

Tsar's Battleship lost at sea in 1893.
by Christopher Eger

The Russalka (Mermaid), a 204foot long ironclad monitor built just months after the loss of the famous USS Monitor, eventually followed her American cousin to the same fate. Built in 1867 she suffered -like the Monitor- from a very low freeboard and poor sea keeping abilities. This led to insufficient flood ability and damage stability. After a quiet 25 years service on the Baltic the poorly designed warship left harbor on her final patrol. She had become largely obsolete and had since past from her place as a first-line battleship to that of a training ship assigned to the Gunnery Training Squadron.

Last Voyage of the Russalka
Never firing a shot in war, the HIH Tsar Alexander’s Imperial Russian Naval Battleship Russalka, sailed from the port of Tallinn (now in Estonia) to Helsingfors (currently Helsinki, Finland) on September 7, 1893. Today this is a regular 80km two hour express ferry service between the capitols of two Baltic countries. In 1893 this was an all day crossing from one Russian naval port to another. That morning the Russalka was to sail with another ship in her squadron, the gunboat Cloud ("Tutysa") at 0730. However Captain 1st Class Victor Hristianovich Ienish arrived aboard the Russalka an hour late from hospital due to a headache caused by concussion received just a few days earlier and the battleship cast off to sea at 0830, trailing her companion.

The morning started with a calm gentle breeze and 2 foot seas but with a gale forecasted. Some 17 miles north of Tallinn the pair of ships had closed to within a half mile of each other but the seas had grown considerably. By lunchtime the Clouds ship's log was noting sea state 5 conditions (16-20 kt winds, 6ft seas with long waves). Having to close her deck air intakes to prevent water from swamping the engines, the Russalka's speed dropped considerably and the distance between the two ships increased. The seas and wind increased to a strong gale and the two ships became further and further separated. Eventually they were over the horizon from each other, separated by the then 40 kt winds and 20 foot rolling waves of a fierce Baltic storm. The Cloud arrived in Helsingfors at 1500 and waited for her companion. She was to have a very long wait.

The Search for the Russalka
The next morning when the Russalka did not appear either in Helsingfors or back in Tallinn, Rear Admiral Buracheka ordered a search by all available ships. For 37 days dozens of ships crossed the Gulf of Finland looking for the overdue battleship but only found remnants. The Russalka's lifeboats were found un-used as if washed off deck and cast about the sea as were empty lifebelts and life rings. On September 15 the body of seaman 2nd class Ivan Prunskogo, a lookout from the Russalka washed ashore near the fortress of Sveaborg (now Suomenlinna). He was the only soul of the 12 officers and 165 crewmen to ever be found. A court of inquiry led by Rear Admiral Syridov found that Rear Admiral Buracheka, commander of the Gunnery Training Squadron had been negligent in ordering the ships to sea with bad weather on the horizon. Captain 2nd Rate Nikolay Mikhailovich Luzhkov, commander of the Cloud was dismissed from the service for leaving the Russalka alone during the storm. He would later die in the naval hospital at Kronstadt a broken man after his only son would die a hero a decade later aboard the Russian battleship Petropavlosk during the Russo-Japanese war.

The Russalka Remembered
The name Russalka was retired from the rolls of the Russian Navy and in 1902 a monument of an angel with outstretched arms named after the ship was placed on Kadriorg beach in Tallinn. Pointed at 23 degrees, the course the Russalka took towards Helsingfors, it was made of Finnish granite and carved by Estonian sculptor Amandus Adamason. To this day flowers and wreaths are laid at the feet of the angel for the lost souls.

In July 2003 the Russalka was found at the depth 74 meters some 25 miles south of Helsinki by the Estonian State Maritime Museum (Meremuuseum) research vessel Mare. The wreck is standing vertically almost upright, with her bow deep in the mud and the stern rising some 100 feet from the bottom. Now that she has been located after 110 years an investigation is under way to finally determine how the Russalka was lost.

Read more:

Monday 14 September 2009

A real Land that Time Forgot!

and right on my doorstep too!

Time to load up the Nef with my trusty dino-hunting gear and see if there is any "big game" there...

Sunday 13 September 2009

Strategic targets

I just found these while rummaging around in my bits cupboard and thought I'd share an idea I had.
Last year I visited London (and enjoyed a few ales eh DC?) and grabbed a few of these resin buildings from a cheezy souvenir vendor for about 1 pound each. Lovely detail and pre-painted.

So, Buckingham Palace or French chateau? Tower of London or enemy fortified building? St Paul's Cathedral or enemy parliament house? A lick of paint round the edging, neglected so far I must admit, and some nice buildings are had very cheap for minimal effort!

Now if only I could find those Revell Hindenburgs (which DC put me onto) that I was looking for in the first place....

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

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