Wednesday 30 November 2011

Brigade Xmas sale

Its time to get 15% off your Aeronef and Land Ironclads at the Brigade Models Christmas Sale!

Monday 28 November 2011

US Aero-navy Conversions

Have a look at these great conversions by Nic at "Fen Edge Wargaming" - some great new takes on Brigade's designs:

Saturday 26 November 2011

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Les Mystères du Nautilus

During our recent visit to Paris, we surprised the Lad with a surprise trip to EuroDisney.  Aside from the other great bits about this day out was the "The Mysteries of the Nautilus" walk-through attraction, based on the 1954 Disney adaptation of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (starring James Mason as Captain Nemo).

As a big fan of the movie (despite its departure from the novel) I really enjoyed this attraction and took a bunch of pictures.  Amused at my detailed observations, SWMBO reminded me at one point that it wasn't a museum at one point!  Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures from a modelling/design perspective.  The quality isn't great because of the lighting and crowds, but from an architectural perspective they do the job.

Captain Nemo's Cabin : This cabin shows the Captain's belongings and bunk.  One bulkhead is the main navigation chart, which has a neat brass armature which appears to track the submarine's position (which BTW was in the northern part of the Sandwich Islands)

The Chart Room : This room is the hub of the Nautilus, with staircases ascending to the wheelhouse and the main deck above (although these cannot be visited). Several charts are displayed, including one representing Vulcania (which I have posted here:, Nemo's lair in the movie.  The others were mostly of islands and areas in the Pacific Ocean (so no divulging the secret location of Altlantis!)

The Diving Chamber : In the center of this small chamber is a water well and diving suits hang on the wall.

The Main Salon : This is the heart of the Nautilus with books and  treasures of the sea gathered here. The Captain's organ stands on the far side and you can see Nemo's reflection when staring at the mirror just above the keys. One scuttle opens on the ocean's depths and you to witness the attack of the giant squid. As it approaches, its beak reaches for the submarine then gets repulsed by an electric charge.

The Engine Room : sadly no detail here or looking into the reactor like on the movie.

So overall I really enjoyed it in a nerdy VSF kind of way that few can appreciate!

And some more pics taken by others of this attraction:

Monday 21 November 2011

Paddlesteamers and Gunboats

A wonderful scratch-built paddlesteamer for the Sudan campaign, 1884-85:

and a great scratchbuilt Colonial Gunboat (sadly not by me):

Monday 14 November 2011

Musée de la Marine

While in Paris recently, my Lad and I visited the French Maritime Museum.  Somewhat lost among the 200 odd other museums in that lovely city, I really enjoyed this site and its treasure trove of goodies which includes some ship models over 200 yrs old.   Naturally I took lots of pics to share with you!
The multifaceted helmet was designed to give better peripheral vision
An 1882 registered patent by the Carmagnolle brothers, this wonderfully Vernesque design weighed in at approx half a tonne.  An articulated design, it was claimed to be effective at depths of up to 150 metres (very speculative - see more here  Nevertheless, its very 20,000 Leagues under the Sea and was one of the highlights of the visit.
Blurry pic aside, you can see that you wouldn't squeeze a big lad in there easily
The Suit in action! from: 
This is the Imperial Barge, built in 1810 for Napoleon, but also used by his successors.

The famous Whitehead torpedo, revolutionary in its design-  not sure what HM Government though of Mr Whitehead selling his patent to foreign powers though...  Note the polished metal finish.
Lad added for scale
There were also these three samples of anti-torpedo netting (to defend against aforementioned torpedoes).  Self-evidently, each design balances protection with weight which would be considerable when deployed underway.  I thought this was interesting as I had only seen WW2 vintage harbour defence netting before.

Then there was the rather wonderful collection of Ironclad/Pre-Dreadnought era models, ripe for some VSF modelling action.  Sadly many of them didn't have very good labels or descriptions (and there were no books available in English) but they say a picture tells a thousand words so here they are (if you can help identify these ships please do!)
An early, pre-turreted ironclad very reminiscent of some US Civil War designs.  Look at that armoured ram!

Edit: 'Captain Bill' advises that this is the USS Dunderburg, built in 1862 and sold to the French after the Civil War in 1867 where she was commissioned as the Rochambeau -

This is L'Amiral Duperré, the first barbette ironclad built by France in 1879 - thanks for the information 'laptot'

An early submersible and an interesting ironclad with one massive turret up forward.  Reminded me of the RN's Nelson class battleships on WW2 actually. Here is a beam view, clearly showing the dual battery layout.

She may be the Fulminant, a Tonnere class turret ship completed in 1882, or perhaps the very similar Tempete class breastwork monitor.
EDIT: 'Latot' has confirmed that this ship is of the Tempete class

I believe this is the Battleship Hoche.  You can see that the torpedo netting would have been difficult to deploy and a massive drag.

This is le Trident, an ironclad of the Colbert class built in the 1870s.

The ironclad Le Ocean

The Alma class armoured corvette L' Jeanne de Arc (1867-1883)

A cutaway of the early (1860s) submarine Plongeur

The evolution of the torpedo boat as a sea denial weapon under the Jeune Ecole doctrine, adopted by the French to combat the dominance of the Royal Navy. (

And finally, this may not be very VSF or Ironclad navies, but it is a wonderful piece of modelling!

Overall a great little museum and well worth an hour or two of your time if you are in Paris.  My pictures don't do these wonderful models nearly the justice they deserve!

Thursday 10 November 2011

Lest We Forget

Thanks to Mssr Blease for this pic he took of the Australian memorial at Mouquet Farm, the Somme.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Confederate Aquanef

Hot on the heels of the Tsar's designers are the Confederate Aquanef builders!
CSS David Charleston 1865 - public domain image
Confederate inventors were the first on the board when William Cheeney developed a small three man submersible in the James River of Virginia in 1861 shortly after the outbreak of hostilities. A second, larger craft was developed by the same team and was similarly experimental. Cheeney’s craft were unsuccessful and were poorly documented although their existence was reported by Union spies. They were the first of a long line of curious craft...

Read more at Suite101: Confederate Submarines of the Civil War: From The CSS Hunley to the CSS David |

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

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