Monday, 29 August 2011

Aeronef Mega Carrier Update

A quick update on the progress of the Aeronef Mega carrier, tentatively named 'The Eagle' (Space 1899 I suppose.......), which has seen a quick blast of spray undercoat, and has had the beginnings of the final detailing.

So far this has included various gun turrets, some of the watch parts, and principally, as you will notice, the addition of the brass propellor booms.

The booms were a compromise, in that I felt I needed something relatively sturdy, but that would still look the part - so I made use of some 38mm size square shoulder Cup Hooks from Homebase. I had to hacksaw some of the threaded screw end off on each, as the width of the hull was restricted, and as yet the Lego plastic airscrews are merely plonked over the upright ends, but I think overall, they don't look to bad - at least they won't need painting!

The various watch part flywheels and balances are principally going to form the basis for various contraptions and lifting gear that will enable the entry and exit of lighter-than-air craft into the carrier bays, as well as for a catapult-style 'plane launcher I am planning for the bows.

Obviously, still a long way to go, and lots more detail to add, but I think given her humble beginnings, we are gradually getting there!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Aeronef Mega Carrier: the monster takes shape...

The shape of the Aeronef Mega Carrier has been decided, in a move that I know might disappoint some viewers, the final form being that of the whole shebang turned turtle.

I shied away from the perhaps more ambitious acres of flight deck meets city-scape idea, and went with something that I felt had more of a VSF ship-of the-sky vibe, as we see in the photo above, the bare model perched atop a couple of those plastic flight stands.

Rather than abandon the sky habitat idea altogether though, I decided to populate the now bare underside with various gubbins that could stand as the basis for structures and weapons mounts:

I also fitted the docking station for Aeronef to the stern, equipped with a small rare-earth magnet that will meld with those usually attached to my ships - seen here is a proto-pirate dirigible, made from an Ottoman Assari Shevket Dig Destroyer, turned on its side, with the funnels removed and the side-mounted weapon bay serving as an upper gondola:

Also glimpsed in the final shot, a growing panoply of bits and bobs that will eventually populate the model - some amazing Lego plastic propellers that I sourced as spares on EBay, and the insides of a defunct watch, as well as the ubiquitous and very useful spare weapons mounts available from Brigade Models:

There is obviously a lot of work to do, not least finding an effective way of mounting those propellers, but have no fear, all the details will appear here in due course; now all I need is a name for the thing.....Robur had his Albatross.....dare I propose the.......Eagle?

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Aeronef Mega Carrier: Upside down again.....

All this talk of turning my Aeronef Mega Carrier/snap-kit monstrosity hull upside down has got me thinking....(always dangerous) I missing a trick here?

The original intent was of course to break away from the modern outlines of the USS Eisenhower base, and create something more charismatically VSF in appearance, when a sudden realisation hit home....

What if I retained the model as conceived, but just turned the whole d*rn thing upside down rather than just the hull part?

In spite of some detailing that would help the craft look older, could I really get away from that tell-tale flat-top look? Merely flipping the model as a whole would take me from this:

To something more like this:

Pretty nifty, no?

Yes, we've lost the acreage of flight deck, and the space available for cityscape-in-the-sky type conurbations has been restricted, but is it just me or does this version look rather better?

Less flat-top and more ship afloat amongst the clouds?

We retain the hangar entrance nooks and crannies, seen here with various 'Nefs and 'planes busting loose, and the original cut-outs for the roller wheels provided with the model allow for some deck-lift action, bringing craft up ready for launch....

I think the flat rim around the hull edge should offer some space for adding weapon mounts, some habitation and other odds and sods, just enough to break up the outline a little - the vast expanse of flat base would now also mean I can affix all sorts of downward-facing gubbins along the same lines - what do we all think - I guess I have to designate this Mad Idea mark II.....

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

3mm ACW - The Union forever, yes it is taking that long...

So, just to prove that it is still ongoing in the midst of my other flights of fancy, a quick sneak peek at some very much 'in-progress' 3mm ACW for the Union side.

Not the best of photos, but at least they prove that I have not been neglecting the boots-on-the-ground type projects entirely, during the recent spate of Real-Life annoyances that have cut down my painting and modelling time.

I found the sea of blue a bit difficult to work with on these small sized figures - the lighter Confederate uniforms made them much easier to see and pick out the odd detail - here that has been a bit tiresome for the old eyes....

I've done most of the work, though, on four Infantry regiments, a battery of Artillery and a dismounted Cavalry unit - so just the basing and we should be up to even par with the Rebels - although of course, their bases still need detailing and sealing....

I've also come up with an idea for a slightly different form of infantry base, depicting a column of infantry advancing to contact covered by more skirmishers - so there should be a few of these on the horizon for a sort of phase II of the project, I suppose.

Toughest so far with these little ones, though, has been approximating the flags at this tiny scale - don't you go counting the number of stripes on those Old Glories, now will you..... hand painting is all very well, just wish Oddzial would start on a range of paper flags and banners!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Mad Idea No1: Further Aeronef Megacarrier Musings!

Following some really useful comments, suggestions and guidance from the kind readers of this Blog, I have had some further thoughts with regard to Mad Idea No1, as I have now decided to formally call it...

The Aeronef Mega Carrier has a sketched out realisation, with some concrete ideas as to how it might appear, and as you can see in the accompanying photos, I've roughed out how the bare bones will look by cutting out the hull and flat-top, and adding a few bits of scrap plastic here and there.

First off, the consensus of good advice is that the Carrier is more a 'City-in-the-Sky', lair of a super villian, rather than the military vessel of any particular faction - its primary character and appearance will be formed from habitation modules and as the mounting point for various fiendish technological devices, (think Tesla coils/Steam driven Mcguffin machines/Death Rays...) rather than merely being the springboard for its complement of aircraft.

Perhaps it might be the base of the Air Pirates, or even the secret lair of Robur himself....

There will be the capability for both runway and catapult launch and retrieval of aircraft, as well as a docking station at the rear for Aeronef and Dirigible types.

The colour scheme will be boilerplate and black - more ironclad than modern warship, and there will be no particular iconography on display - this to allow a shifting identity dependent on the setting - perhaps removable flags might bear the symbol of Robur the Conqueror or the Ottoman Aether Corsairs....

The first concrete decision is that although I am going to retain the full length of the flight deck, I'm going to try and break the modern look by reversing the hull, and mount it upside down, with the flat top on top - the empty hull will be capped by a plain sheet that will have various protuberances affixed to break up the outline.

This should also offer some neat looking habitation and hangar openings below deck level - it's funny, but the uptuned hull on it's own has me thinking that it would be a good stand in for the Nautilus sub as depicted in the 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', as can be seen here:

Of course, the varied plastic scrap currently randomly placed in the photos is but a pale shadow of the eventual cornucopia of junk that will adorn the final product....

But then this is 'just' a mad idea.....right? Never see the light of day, right?
Well, in typical fashion, it is definitely beginning to grow on me - perhaps this latest diversion will be taking over all other projects.....

Further suggestions and comments will be gratefully received!

Hopefully more updates from the SteelonSand Shipyards to come soon.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Pre-Dreadnought Photos 14: Japanese circa 1900

Another entry into the series of original Pre-Dreadnought views now, this time with a Japanese theme, after a recent lucky score on a certain internet auction site saw me acquire a number of interesting original photographic postcards.

The cards in this post are all from a series of photographic images taken I think, in the wake of the successful Japanese involvement in actions against the Boxer Rebellion, and date to perhaps 1901 or thereabouts - I think it is likely that the cards themselves were printed later, probably to cash in on the patriotic upsurge after the all-encompassing victories of the Russo-Japanese War, where anything related to the armed forces of the plucky new Colonial power became hot property both at home and abroad.

The images are interesting in that they show the vessels in their true Pre-Dreadnought colour schemes, before the boring grey tones prevalent by 1905.

Above we have a nice characterful shot of the Battleship Yashima, and below, we see her sister-ship, the Fuji, with a clear view of the forward turret:

(Remember to click the image for a Macro view)

The cards do not display either publisher of photographer's information, but all are titled in both Japanese characters and a transliteration in Roman script, so the Fuji is subtitled 'Nippon Gunkan Fuji' - perhaps therefore, these undivided back cards were aimed at a domestic market, bearing the characters 'Hagaki' or postcard on the reverse, as is common to this era.

Next up a nice stern view of the Armoured Cruiser Tokiwa - in my view, pound for pound one of the best warships afloat circa 1900, having been designed by Philip Watts for Armstrong at Elswick:

Her sister-ship, the Asahi - both were damaged at Tsushima, the latter is reputed to have fired the final salvo that sent the Russian Battleship Borodino to her doom:

Moving down the scale somewhat, a really interesting image that must depict some sort of Naval open-day - perhaps directly in the wake of the conflict of 1900? Certainly wish I was part of the crowd headed for a guided tour of the Takachiho on the left, and the Yoshino on the right:

The Takachiho was famously lost during the siege of TsingTao in 1914, having been torpedoed by the German TBD S90.

Next up, the Takasago, with a lovely clear view of the bow crest, as well as a sentry with rifle on the foredeck!

She is accompanied by the Chiyoda, the oldest of the Japanese Armoured Cruisers, and the first to be fitted with 4.7" QF guns:

Moving swiftly along, we have the Chitose - there is a good Wikipedia page on her here, which contains a short film shot by Thomas Edison of her launch!

Finally we move on to the little ships, namely a couple of Torpedo boats, first the Shinonome,
of the Murakumo class, based on the Thorneycroft 'thirty knot' design:

Then the Hayabusa, the first of four boats built by Normand in France, which were then followed by a further twelve built in Japan itself:

Both of these class of vessels were particularly active in finishing off the floundering Russian Fleet after Tsushima, and effectively destroyed any hopes that the survivors of the main battle might limp away to fight another day....