Friday, June 03, 2022

"Firing into the Brown" #17 - thumbs, books, Bellona and stuff..

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martinis firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"

Time for another update..  and yeah, I appreciate I am off target, but hey ho..  the summer is here...  😁
 
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Book catch up first...

Seventh in the Bernie Gunther series, and a real watershed in the story as this is the one where Bernie's past as the member of a police unit on the Eastern Front in WW2, so often alluded to in previous books, finally catches up with him..

Following the events of the previous book where Bernie had holed up and dropped out of sight in post-war, pre-Castro, Cuba looking for a quiet life and trying to get by un-recognised he is arrested by the American's and investigated for war crimes, before being handed over to the French to do the same..  

The key to his eventual outcome is a Communist he helped once in in pre-war Berlin, and it would seem everyone is after him.. more than any other writer, Kerr has the ability to describe and picture how monstrous crimes can be explained in terms of people responding that they were "only following orders" or were"only doing what they were told to do" or were "helpless to make a difference..  if I hadn't done it I would have been killed/imprisoned"...  as an imagined snap shot of a tie in history he writes cracking books!  9/10

A Pan 70th Anniversary edition..  and I reckon I must have first read this about 50 years ago..  probably because I had just read his other well known book "Escape or Die" which I had enjoyed enormously and as a result was looking for more of his books..

Unlike "Chastise" which I read last year, this book is more an operational history of the squadron than an exhaustive look at the Dams raid..  in fact the raid only takes up about a third of the book, as the rest of it covers events after the raid, and how 617 Squadron became a special operations squadron known for their fantastic ability to drop bombs from considerable heights into very small area's (one of the bomb-aimers in 617 had an average of dropping a bomb within 70 yards of a target, which given this was pre-laser is astonishing!)

The squadron had a very close relationship with Barnes Wallis who is best known as the inventor of the bouncing bomb, but who also designed and invented the Grand Slam and Tall Boy bombs (and also the Wellington bomber, by the by)..  known as 'earthquake bombs' they were massive (10 and 6 tons respectively) designed to bury themselves deep underground, and explode on a delayed fuse causing shock tremors to destroy the target..  

617 were the specialists in dropping these with pin point accuracy, and focused on the U Boat pens, the rocket sites, and enemy concentration sites (marshalling yards, bridges, viaducts, etc) 

Grand Slam bomb - the fins would cause the bomb to spin as it dropped helping stability and it's ability to drive deep into the surrounding ground..

The Wikipedia article on Grand Slam [clicky] is well worth reading..

Brilliant book - well worth reading...  10/10

Probably the edition I first
remember reading.. 😊

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The last post I did on Bellona products sparked a smidge of interest, and the excellent Jim Walkley sent me a scan of another catalogue that he had discovered - thanks, Jim..

This one pre-dates even me, and is from 1965 (!)

Badgers Mead by the way (above) is gone...   it looks like a property developer got it and then rebuilt it, but as is my way I found some pictures of the original building here [clicky]



I'd completely forgotten about the Bellona AFV prints (above) - they were an intrinsic part of the scratch builders armoury back in the day..  I remember them featuring a lot in Airfix Magazine..  πŸ˜€

Magic stuff..  thanks again, Jim..  good to save this stuff for posterity..

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Things have slowed down slightly (following)... only a thumb, only the top joint of the thumb, but booted and splinted for a few weeks..   amazing how many things you require a fully working right hand for, even when you're nominally left handed...  scissors...  trouser zip fly's (😁)..  the list goes on..


How? Came off Gertrude [clicky] while looking at helicopters rather than where I was going.. what can I say, it was a very low helicopter and I am a foolish old man..  πŸ˜‚

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Laters, as the young people are want to say...

Friday, May 06, 2022

"Firing into the Brown" #16 - spares, freebies, books, and stuff..

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martinis firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"

Time for another update..  and apologies, other priorities are seeing my schedule slip..   summer's here and the boat's in the water - focus has shifted.. πŸ˜€

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Gettysburg refight - picture I took at Warfare in 2107 - glorious..
 
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Books first - as they are a given..

Love these Bernie Gunther books - the way that the author manages to switch backwards and forwards in the life line of the protagonist, so in this one we move on from post-War Nazi refuge Argentina which Gunther has left in some haste, to pre-Castro Cuba where he has taken up residence, and is living quietly, that is until two significant people from his past turn up..  excellent. 

What I found most fascinating (and the flashbacks to a pre-WWII Berlin under increasing Nazi domination are brilliant in themselves) was the description of Cuba under Batista..  the increasing threat of the Castro lead revolutionaries, and the sheer amount of money and the associated corruption that flowed..  

Very good..  9/10 for me..

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Bit of a change after the previous book, but it was a Kindle bargain that arrived at the right time! 

A long time ago this series of books by Arthur Ransome featuring the Swallows and the Amazons kick started a sailing hobby for me that has lasted the better part of 50 years  - I would say Ransome has been as influential on me as Featherstone! 

So in this, the fourth in the series we are introduced for the first time to Dick and Dorothea Callum who will provide an ongoing story line through the books. It is winter in the Lake District, snow and ice all over, the lake is freezing, and Dick and Dorothea have been sent to spend the holidays with their mothers old nurse. 

While there they make friends with the Walker's (the Swallows) and the Blackett's (the Amazons) and despite the lack of boats, embark on an "arctic" adventure featuring skates, sledges, storms, and feasts...  just brilliant..  straight 10/10..

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The last post where I did an "unboxing" of the spares box seemed to chime with one of my reader (I'm absolutely delighted to say) and the Minifigs 25mm ACW stuff has now moved in it's entirety to Northern Ireland - stonking news - really pleased to say that the new owner is very much looking forward to getting them on the table, and on his blog..  I'll post here when that happens..

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With thanks to contributor Jim Walkley, how about this for a walk down memory lane for the older amongst us?? 





..and from that page.. U-RV2 I do believe on my table.... that piece has traveled to Australia and back...
 
 

...and U-RV9..


...and look'ee there - a few pieces of U-WV1 or 2 - that brick wall set was the one we all wanted - being vacuum formed you could make yards and yards of wall simply by using it as a mould for plaster of paris.... 😁
 




You'd give your right arm for either that English Civil War star fort, or the Bunker Hill fortification...



Brilliant - cheers, Jim! 
 
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 Laters, as the young people are want to say...

Friday, April 22, 2022

"Firing into the Brown" #15 - spares, freebies, books, and stuff..

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martinis firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"

Time for another update..
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Progress is almost complete in the loft on the gradual replacement of all the tatty, but well served, cardboard boxes I used to use for troop storage - at the time of writing only two box files remain, and replacements for those are on the way..  this weekend however I scored a cheap 'Really Useful' 9 litre box in Tesco (other supermarche's are available) and this time it was the turn of what I euphemistically call the "Spares Box"...

..the "Spares Box"

Seemed rude not to have a rootle through the contents, as the box weighs an absolute ton..

First off, assorted and partially painted Minifigs 25mm ..  look like Iron Brigade from the hats..  guessing these would have come from the collection/paintbrush of Lofty C ('Ave', John) via DG when I first contemplated the ACW project which eventually went the 20mm route..   I'll not be using them and I rather they were being used, if anyone reading wants them they are yours for the cost of postage and a donation of your choosing to any Ukraine support charity - let me know via the contact widget to the left..


..another sorted bundle with what looks like a solitary sharp shooter in the middle (Berdan's?) - same deal - if you want them contact me...


Lovely..  Minifigs Samurai archers from my old WRG army (6th Edition naturally)..these aren't going anywhere..  πŸ˜€


Ahh - the rest of the Sharpshooters - Minifigs 25mm - same deal - if you want them, ping me


I wonder where on earth I picked those up?! Same deal - if you want them, or can use them, ping me..


Assortment of 'artillerists' - Union and Confederate - almost certainly Minifigs 25mm - you know the score by now, if you want them then..


The first metal figures I ever bought..  only the riders...  in Nottingham I think on a visit to see my grandparents..  Hinchliffe? Years later I could finally afford horses, so they are mounted on the definitive Minfigs fat ar*ed horse.. πŸ˜€   These are not going anywhere...



A huge long time ago, DG and I played around with Spearhead in 1:300 scale and I think these are left overs from the project - guessing they are H&R.. Spitfires and Stuka's.. a strange mix... going to keep these as one day I might like to do some WW2 Air Wargaming..


Next - officers - ACW - 25mm - Minfigs - if you want them, you know the drill..


There is one horse in the pack that isn't Minifigs, going to guess Hinchliffe, but a comparison of ar*es is in order..  see what I mean about Minifigs horses? He answers to the name of Kardashian..  😁


Huge bag of ACW cavalry in kepi's - weighs most of a ton - if it's of any use to you, let me know..


Lord only knows how old these (next) are - but they date from the time when Minifigs sold their 15mm's in strips.. I'll be keeping these for nostalgia reasons..  sad I know..  😊


No idea what this was doing in the spares box, painted by me but far too nice to be in there so I have moved it to the AWI collection..


I have no idea what where or when these entered my hands..  not even sure what they are...  Asiatic perhaps Chinese??? Same deal - if they are any good to you, then contact me..

A small job lot of partially painted Samurai...  again I have no idea where these came from, or make..  the horses loo like grey hounds...  if you want them, you know the deal...

 
..and after all that - this was left..  😁A glorious mish mash of all sorts...

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 Laters, as the young people are want to say...