Friday 27 August 2010

Robur's Albatross is launched!

"From out of the clouds a long dark shape gradually emerged, and sank slowly into the overcast above the glittering Pacific; Nemo's Nautilus may have suffered under the combined bombardment of the Peruvian and Chilean Fleets, but now a strange ally had come to her aid.......The Albatross had arrived!"

Well, at least she has had a few coats of randomly applied paint smudged on by yours truly, so I thought I'd give a glimpse as to how she is progressing.

The colour scheme started off with red and white over a predominant black, but this made the vessel look more like a car ferry than a fantastic aeronautical wonder-craft, so I somewhat haphazardly added some accents in green, which at the time seemed like a good idea, but in retrospect does rather give her an unintended 'Italian' feel.....!

I'm quite pleased with the Robur coat of arms / sun symbol, but overall, for me this scheme is just not firing on all cylinders - it certainly says Victorian-era sky vessel, but somehow has lost all the menace and excitement you would expect of such an enigmatic craft with the Madman Robur at the helm.

The Albatross is also yet to be based, as although I'm intending to use rare earth magnets to match with standard plastic flight stands, I'm not sure whether to use one or two, given the weight of the mini; a top-heavy nose dive on the table could easily see her various protuberances smashed.

So although Nemo and his Allies could probably do with some aerial back-up (I'm currently working on re-inforcing the conventional Peruvian and Chilean navies), it may be that this prototype is launched, but is yet to be accepted into service.

So, whilst I think about how to improve things, I'm consoling myself with this web page describing various other preposterous craft:

Well worth a look! (Warning -some adult humour is involved....)

Thursday 19 August 2010

2mm Colonial: Nile Gunboat launched!

So, the SS Bordein has had a final lick of paint, as well as a couple of guns added at stern and bow, and is now ready for duty on the Nile. A few single 2mm figures act as crew, and hopefully she can now serve as gun support for whichever protagonist, whether Mahdist, Egyptian or British.

I decided on a white scheme to reflect her original peacetime role as passenger ship, and then liberally 'dirtied' it up over the added wooden baulking and various other protuberances. The scale had got slightly out of hand, and a sharp eye might detect that she is a little on the large side for 1/900th, but not too bad, I think, overall.

The base mounting card is now backed with some magnetic tape - and okay, the water colour is not exactly Nile like - less muddy Limpopo and more clear Mediterranean, but you get the general idea!

So, as Mahdist forces mass in the distance, the last penny steamer out of Khartoum tries to break the blockade:

How will she fare as she approaches the narrows - and what is lurking beyond the palm trees?

I couldn't resist emulating the ship's whistle by saying 'poop-poop!' whilst taking these shots - so why not view one of her companions in action:

From the movie Khartoum, of course. :-)

Saturday 7 August 2010

2mm Colonial: Nile Gunboat Update

The heaping of flotsam and jetsam continues, with some progress on making an already ramshackle craft look even more of a mess. What had once been a proud member of the Khedival River Fleet, scorched by the sun, damaged by innumerable collisions and runnings aground, has now been further sullied by the addition of wooden baulking to provide some kind of 'armoured' protection for the crew.

Or to put it another way, I've used every small scrap of card off-cuts and junk I could find to festoon my version of the 'Bordein' with. Pretty she ain't, but neither would you be after floating up and down the Nile under fire......

Mounted on a 65 x 25mm piece of Artists' card smeared with a bit of filler, and an odd mast culled from Brigade Model's Aeronef spares, a quick grey undercoat hopefully gives a slightly better impression:

Lots to do, yet, but I think if I slow down a little and pay a bit more attention to detail from now on, then hopefully she won't turn out too badly -don't think I'll go as far as depicting any 1/900th scale Maxim Guns on board, but hopefully can at least add in some sailors cut from the Irregular RBG11 Dismounted Dragoon strip - their broad brim headgear should make good Sennet hats.

It turns out the original was built on the Thames at the Samuda works, amongst some distinguished company as it happens:

Apparently Heihachiro Togo of Tsushima fame even did work experience there in later years - an historic area all long disappeared under the 1960s Housing Estates of the Isle of Dogs now, of course....

Tuesday 3 August 2010

2mm Colonial: Messing about in a Nile Gun Boat

So, what's this heap of flotsam and jetsam, then? Well, hopefully, it is the small beginnings of a Nile steamer to support the 2mm sized troops of the Queen Empress in her Colonial campaigns!

Having had a good rootle around in the fascinating Melik website I linked in a previous post, I decided to follow through with having a go at scratch-building a suitable vessel, and as a model, went with one of General Gordon's 'penny steamers', the Bordein.

She has the distinction of having served for Khedival Egypt, The Mahdists, General Gordon, and later under Kitchener - so pretty much the full set of protagonists!

A rummage in the bits box produced the usual assortment of odds and sods of plastic and foamcore, and I embarked on an ambitious plan of drawing accurate 1/900th sized scale plans for a prototype vessel.
In typical fashion, however, these were soon abandoned and I went with something that would at least look the part, rather than being feet and inches accurate. If anything, I think a scale boat would actually look too large against 2mm troops, particularly as I am hoping to post a few on deck where possible.

So, we have progressed thus far, the hull measuring around 60mm:

There will obviously have to be quite a bit of work to get her properly 'ship-shape', but hopefully will be ready to serve whilst remaining as ramshackle as the original.
More updates soon, Mahdist uprisings permitting........ :-)