Wednesday, 5 September 2012
A look now at the first part of the Minifigs 'Imagination' fleets, here in the person of the Empire of Bostro-Danubia.
In 1910 or thereabouts, this ancient monarchy is located either side of the Danube, and was once the bulwark between the West and the Oriental expansionism of the Ottomans. However, these old glories have tended to fade of late, to be replaced by the inertia and inefficiency characteristic of late nineteenth century bureaucratic states.
In spite of this, the shrewd political decision to fully support British colonial adventures in Egypt and the southern Mediterranean was rewarded by a beneficial Naval Treaty, the Anglo-Bostro-Danubian Pact. The outcome is that soon the concentrated output of such firms as Armstrong Whitworths and Yarrow is pouring into the naval inventory in the form of modern warships and technical expertise.
(At least that is how I am rationalising the heavily British bias in the BMC/Minifigs inventory....)
Whether of course such innovation and development will sit well alongside centuries of autocratic and conservative military practices remains to be seen, particularly in the context of growing rivalry with their nearest neighbours, the Republic of Risorgimentia...
Above we see the Canopus class battleship that has been adopted as the flagship of the reinvigorated Kaiserliche Marine, and named the 'Graf Rudolf'.
(BMC style hollow casting marked as B1 at the stern)
This ship is now ably supported by a pair of Swiftshure class battleships, the 'Kaiser und Konigin Elisabet Marie' and the 'Kronprinz Radetsky'.
(Two further BMC style hollow casts marked B2 at the stern)
Moving away from the main battleline, we see a pair of Town class protected cruisers, the 'Huszar' and the 'Pandur'. These vessels are of note in that they can be seen wearing the most recently innovated light grey colour schemes alongside the older "Montecoccolin Green", which had a brief flowering after many years of the typical peace-time pre-dreadnought black and white.
(New Minifigs solid sculpts, minus their integral masts, marked '10' underneath)
These lighter warships have been augmented by a trio of Highflyer light cruisers, whose colours cover the whole gamut from the dusk of the nineteenth century to the dawn of the first decade of the twentieth; the 'Admiral von Trapp', the 'Esterhaz von Esterhazy', and finally the 'Cattaro':
(New Minifigs solid sculpts, minus their integral masts, marked '13' underneath)
Bostro-Danubia has been somewhat slow in introducing modern Torpedo Boat Destroyers, and these next craft were added via German shipyards as part of an experimental trial - there is something far too underhand about all this whizzing underwater exploding silver cigar business....
(New Minifigs solid sculpts, minus their integral masts, marked '20' underneath)
That is not to say, however, that the Danubian flotilla would pass up the chance to own some of the fastest small craft currently produced by Britain, particularly as these were a gift from interested parties that were keen to stay one step ahead of their competitors - it is rumoured that these ships run all the faster for not having any of those unsporting torpedos aboard!
(New Minifigs solid sculpts, minus their integral masts, marked '21' underneath)
Finally, and somewhat counter-intuitively, the twin monarchy is also the proud owner of U3 and U4, modern unterseebooten of German pedigree, which are tolerated by the Naval staff because allegedly the young Kronprinz won them in a wager with his cousin Kaiser Wilhelm, and to refuse their deployment would be taken as a personal insult and career suicide...
(New Minifigs solid sculpts, marked '26' underneath)
So there we have it for part one of the 'Imaginations' - these all need basing of course, but a disastrous attempt at scoring and snapping perspex for bases has caused some delays, so they remain a work in progress.
I'll end with a view of the cruisers en masse, and also a couple of useful links, one a discussion on the use of a distinctive green colour scheme by a country not a million miles away from Bostro-Danubia:
and finally an informative and detailed post regarding the pedigree of these enigmatic and characterful warship sculpts:
Well worth a read, following on from the detective work done by Steve Cady at Castles of Tin, and David Crook of AWargaming Oddysey.
Next post: The ships of the Republic of Risorgimentia!