Thursday, 27 July 2017

I have been to ... the Model Ship Collection at the Tallinn Maritime Museum: Part 2: Harbour Craft and Icebreakers

The Baltic Sea freezes during the winter months and icebreakers are essential if harbours are to be kept open all year round. Many of those operated in Estonian waters also acted as tugs.

Harbour Tug/Icebreaker Tasuja

Harbour Tug/Icebreaker Jaan Poska

Harbour Tug/Icebreaker Juri Vilms

Icebreaker Suur Toll

Tug Leiger

Buoy Tender Lood

Harbour Tug/Icebreaker Merikaru

Dredger Nord

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Back to my wargame board!

Back in February 2015 I built a small, portable wargame board to use with my Hexon II hexed terrain using a robust 2' x 3' (60cm x 90cm) notice board (i.e. one made from wood and MDF and not cork).

In order to ensure that the hexes did not move about whilst I was using the wargame board, I attached thin beading inside the edge of the notice board.

This not only stopped the hexes from moving, but also helped to stiffen the wargame board so that it did not flex as much whilst it was being carried or moved about.

Once finished the game board could accommodate a 6 x 8 hexed grid …

… and during the following weeks and months I used it for several mini-campaigns set in Eastern Europe …

… and the Middle East.

Having seen what MAN OF TIN ...

... has done using Heroscape hexed terrain on a small wargame board ...

A photograph of MAN OF TIN's recent Battle of Pine Ridge River Crossing wargame. It used Heroscape hexes, old Airfix American Civil War figures, and a repainted 'Train in a Box' railway set.  I thought that the whole thing was an inspired use of relatively easy to obtain components. © MAN OF TIM.
... it made me wonder how many Heroscape hexes I could get onto my wargame board. (I bought loads of Heroscape hexes years ago, and I have been waiting for an excuse/good idea to use it ever since.) I tried it ... and found that I could fit a 14 x 19 grid of Heroscape hexes onto my wargame board.

The Heroscape hexes are 4cm from face-to-face as opposed to the Hexon II 10cm face-to-face hexes, but having a greater number of hexes to manoeuvre on has set me thinking. By using single figures (i.e. one per hex) I might be able to develop a skirmish-level version of my PORTABLE WARGAME rules. Alternately I could deploy smaller figures on the warboard and use the rules as they are … but on a much larger grid that I can get on my normal wargames table.

It is certainly something for me to think about.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

An 'intermittent' fault can be so frustrating!

Over the weekend we have had what our ISP describes as an 'intermittent' fault on our Internet connection. By 'intermittent' one might think that the loss of access is only happening occasionally and for a short time. They truth is that we have lost access for hours on end, and often when we have been in the middle of doing something online.

As you can imagine, this has been more than a little irritating, and has meant that I have had work with a cobbled together connection using my mobile phone, Bluetooth, and my iPad. This has allowed me to read emails and surf the net, but not to do much else.

In my frustration I finally started work on re-writing LA ULTIMA CRUZADA, and so far progress has been quite good. I have decided to restructure the content so that it is more thematic (i.e. the chapter on the Spanish Army in 1936 will be followed by chapters on the Republican and Nationalist Armies from 1936 to 1939 ... and then I'll cover the Spanish Navy and Spanish Air Force in the same way). I also intend to add relevant illustrations wherever possible.

This looks as if it is going to be a much longer project than I expected, and is one that I will dip into every so often when the mode takes me.

Monday, 24 July 2017

I have been to ... the Model Ship Collection at the Tallinn Maritime Museum: Part 1: Sailing Ships

The Tallinn Maritime Museum has a very large collection of ship models that represent the many and varied types of vessels that have been built, owned, and/or sailed by Estonians. In order to to justice to this collection, I intend to write a number of themed blog entries that cover the types of ships whose models are included in the collection.

Barquentine Estonia

Barquentine Tormilind

Schooner Delphin

Barque Rock City

Lightship Neckmangrund

Barquentine Andreas Veide

Barquentine Georg

Lightship Revalstein

Motor Sailing Ship Jaen Tear

Barque Krusenstern

Sealer Kihnu

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Military images in the Fabergé Museum, St Petersburg

During our recent visit to the Fabergé Museum in the former Shuvalov Palace, St Petersburg, I happened to notice a large number of military images on the walls of the Knight's Room. They were not captioned, but seemed to illustrate various units of the nineteenth and early twentieth century Imperial Russian Armed Forces.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Battle for Moscow: Panfilov's 28

I recently bough a copy of a DVD of BATTLE FOR MOSCOW: PANFILOV'S 28, and have just managed to watch it.

After the initial scenes, during which the numerous characters are introduced to the audience, the film depicts a series of attacks by German Infantry and Tanks on a Rifle Company of 316th Rifle Division. The latter was commanded by General Panfilov, and the film purports to tell the story of the heroic defence conducted by the company during the German offensive to capture Moscow in November 1941.

There is some doubt as to whether or not the original story is totally true or whether it might have been a propaganda version designed to bolster Russian morale at a very difficult time. Regardless of that, the film seems to portray the fighting that the 316th Rifle Division took part in very realistically, and shows why the unit was renamed 8th Guards Rifle Division.

Two things to note:
  • Firstly that very few of the special effects were done using CGI. Most were done using models ... and in my opinion everything looks more realistic because of it.
  • Secondly that this film was crowd-funded in the earlier stages of development and production, although it did receive state support later on.
I bought my copy of this DVD for £3.00 ... and felt that it was very good value at the price. It certainly entertained me for two hours and revived my interest in starting an Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project at some time in the future.