An oriental flavour, this time, for some photographic views from the SteelonSand Pre-Dred miscellany, or 'box full of old stuff', as my significant other calls it.....
First up, we have a nice view of the Japanese 1st Class Torpedo Boat, the Fukuryu. She was around 42 meters long, and capable of speeds in the region of 20kt; armament two 47mm QF guns, and three 14" Torpedo Tubes. (The bow mounting can plainly be seen here)
What is perhaps more interesting about her is that she had a previous incarnation as the Chinese vessel the Fulong, part of the Beiyang Fleet. Built in Germany at Kiel in 1885, some sources credit her with damaging the Japanese Cruiser Matsushima at the battle of the Yalu, although I have been unable to get any confirmation of this. In any event, she was surrendered with the balance of the Chinese ships to the Japanese at Wei-Hai-Wei, and taken into service by the victors.
There is a good, quick summary of the Chinese Fleet available here:
Next another Torpedo Boat view, this time of the enigmatically named "Number 10", a shot with the weapon tubes plainly visible; nice pair of tandem funnels too:
She is likely a Third Class boat, as described here:
I recently came across an online modeller's reference which would definitely come in handy if considering painting vessels of this ilk for the table top:
Next up, we have the redoubtable Gunboat of 1889, the Oshima:
She was rather unfortunately sunk at the start of the Russo-Japanese war, when she collided with her comrade, the Maya Class Akagi on May 17th 1904.
A very useful site for contemporary reports on Pre-Dred activities, is the online archive of the New York Times; this allows you to search a database of all articles published thus far, and offers PDF scans of the original articles; here's a tidbit from 1905 (Just click on the button marked "View Full Article"):
Finally, we have a view of the grand-daddy of all Japanese Pre-Dreadnoughts, the immortal flagship of Admiral Togo, the Mikasa:
It would be nice to think that this is a picture taken at the time of Tsushima, but in all likelihood is probably a bit later in date, when her fame would warrant such photographic attention....
Of course, she is one of the very small list of original ships that remain preserved today around the world, and can still be visited, if you ever happen to be in Yokosuka!
A great site with a list of preserved Pre-Dreds can be found here:
All I need to do now is co-ordinate this list with my future holiday plans, without letting on to my aforementioned significant other......Well dear, how do you fancy St Petersburgh this year?.....or Piraeus, or even Portsmouth?!?...... :-)