Monday, 29 October 2012

Richard III 'Debate'

I've already blogged about the search for RIchard III's remains, and it's been interesting to follow the archaeologists' search.

But now we have the unedifying  sight of politicians getting involved...

Last week Leicester, Nottinghamshire and York MPs discussed where the king should be re-interred.  According to the BBC
Campaigners from both York and Leicester have said the remains, should they prove to be the king, ought to come to them. 
In the debate, Labour MP John Mann, from Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire, offered Worksop as a halfway point between the two.
An MP sent the justice minister Helen Grant  a Written Question on the subject (why?).  She confirmed that 'it is the plan' that he should be buried at Leicester Cathedral (which happens to be the closest church to his current burial site, so would be the usual choice in the case of archaeological excavation of Christian remains).

In the meantime Prof Lin Foxhall, head of archaeology and ancient history at the University of Leicester has issued a statement in which she basically tells the MPs to butt out
It is premature to speculate on the outcome of the investigation – and people should certainly not jump to any conclusions. 
As archaeologists, we go where the evidence takes us, but we have not yet proven that these remains are Richard III, because we do not yet have the evidence to do so. I'm worried people will lose sight of how cautious we were when we announced our findings – it is part of the rigour of academic research that we thoroughly examine all the evidence before reaching a conclusion.
It's important for the integrity of our work to conduct our research unencumbered by speculation linked to a particular outcome.

It seems that there are suggestions today that the minister spoke too soon. This evening I had the misfortune to hear these buffoons continuing the debate on the radio along with cries of 'Government U-Turn!'

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Arthur Wilson

Adm of the Fleet Sir Arthur K Wilson, VC, GCB, OM, GCVO

Arthur Knyvet Wilson was born in Swaffham, Norfolk, on 4 March 1842.  He was the son of Rear-Adm George Knyvet Wilson and nephew of Maj-Gen Sir Archdale Wilson, who commanded the garrison during the Siege of Delhi (Arthur was to inherit the baronetcy awarded to Sir Archdale for this).He was educated at Eton and entered the Royal Navy in 1855.

Early Career

As a Midshipman, he served on HMS Algiers during the Crimean War. The ship served in the Black Sea, near Sebastapol and was involved in the bombardment of the Kinburn forts. Wilson transferred to HMS Colossus when the Algiers went for a refit in Malta. While serving on this ship, he was sent ashore to search for an Army Captain’s dog that had got lost near Balaclava. By the time he returned, the ship had sailed for Britain and he was forced to use another ship to return home. He was then posted to HMS Raleigh which was to serve on the China station. In March 1857, the ship ran aground on a submerged rock and was lost. The officers and men were landed and Wilson was then transferred to HMS Calcutta, the flagship. He was serving on this ship during the Second China War.

In 1867, he was one of the party of British naval officers sent to Japan to set up a school for naval officers at Yedo and take up the post of Instructor.   In 1870, while at HMS Excellent, he was a member of the committee appointed to inquire into the capacity of the Whitehead Torpedo.  In 1876, he became Commander at HMS Vernon, the newly established Torpedo School at Portsmouth in recognition of his previous experience in torpedo research. While he was there, he was promoted to Captain in April 1880 and asked to re-write the navy’s torpedo manuals. He also invented aiming apparatus for the torpedo and worked out a method of submarine mining and countermining adapted to naval requirements. In 1882, Wilson was appointed to command HMS Hecla, a torpedo depot ship.

Egypt and the Victoria Cross

Hecla was used as a transport ship during the Anglo-Egyptian War. The ship contributed a small detachment as a Naval Brigade for the second battle of El Teb on 29th February 1884. Although Wilson was not actually part of the brigade, he joined the battle as an observer. 

What happened next is recounted in the London Gazette for 21 May 1884.
Sailors using a ship-based Gardner Gun
This Officer, on the staff of Rear-Admiral Sir William Hewett, at the battle of El-Teb, on the 29th February, attached himself during the advance to the right half battery, Naval Brigade, in the place of Lieutenant Royds, RN mortally wounded.  As the troops closed on the enemy's Krupp battery the Arabs charged out on the corner of the square and on the detachment who were dragging the Gardner gun.

Captain Wilson then sprang to the front and engaged in single combat with some of the enemy, thus protecting his detachment till some men of the York and Lancaster Regiment came to his assistance with their bayonets. 

But for the action of this Officer Sir Redvers Buller thinks that one or more of his detachment must have
been speared.

Captain Wilson was wounded but remained with the half battery during the day.

Richard Noyce, Curator of Artefacts at the National Maritime Museum, gives a more vivid account in this video:

Wilson was presented with the Victoria Cross at a special ceremony on Southsea Common on 6 June 1882. He recorded in his diary 'Docked ship.  Awarded Victoria Cross.'

Later Career 

In 1889, he was again appointed to command HMS Vernon. In 1893, he was appointed to HMS Sans Pareil and witnessed the collision of HMSs Camperdown and Victoria, which led to the sinking of the Camperdown with severe loss of life, including Admiral Sir George Tryon.

Wilson was promoted Rear Admiral in 1895. He was appointed as Controller of the Navy and Third Sea Lord. Four years later, in 1901, he was promoted again to Vice Admiral and made Commander in Chief of the Channel Squadron. During his period in this position, he improved and brought in modern methods of tactics in view of the technical advances in battleships.

In 1907, he was made Admiral of the Fleet by a special Order in Council, after successfully commanding the Channel and Home fleets. In 1910, he was appointed First Sea Lord. He did not favour the use of submarines as a means of firing torpedoes, famously calling them 'a damned un-English weapon'. After two years, he was dismiissed ('like a butler') after differences of opinion in regard to administration and policy with the First Lord of the Admiralty (his Parliamentary counterpart), Winston Churchill. On his 70th birthday he was placed on the Retired List and was made a member of the Order of Merit.

However, on the outbreak of war in 1914 he returned to assist Lord Fisher, the new First Sea Lord, at Churchill's request.  Fisher and Wilson clashed continuously until the former's resignation in 1915.  Due to strong opposition from sea-going admirals and others, Wilson was not re-appointed First Sea Lord
let it not be A. K. Wilson who is a man of quite inferior calibre and who backed up Winston in his folly over the naval attack on the Dardanelles. AKW is all right knocking down Fuzzy Wuzzies with his fists, or getting a cable round a bollard, but the idea that he is a strategist of the first water has no foundation in fact and he is dumb at War Councils and institutions of that character
He retired for a third time in 1918. When his brother died in 1919, he became the 3rd Baronet. Wilson died on 25 May 1921 at his home in Swaffham.

The Medals 

Sir Arthur's medals are held by the Royal Navy Museum, Portsmouth.

Victoria Cross
Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Bath (GCB)
Order of Merit (OM)
Knight Grand Cross, Royal Victorian Order ( GCVO )
Crimea Medal (1854-56), 1 clasp: 'Sebastopol'
Second China War Medal (1857-60) 2 clasps: 'Canton 1857' - 'Taku Forts 1858'
Egypt Medal (1882-89) 3 clasps: 'Alexandra 11th July' - 'El-Teb' - 'Suakin 1884'
Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Medal (1897)
King Edward VII Coronation Medal (1902)
King George V Coronation Medal (1911)
Grand Officer, Legion of Honour (France)
Order of the Medjidieh (3rd Class) (Turkey)
Order of Naval Merit: Grand Cross (Spain)
Khedive's Star (1882)
Turkish Crimea Medal (1855-56)
Knight Grand Cross, Order of Dannebrog (Denmark)
Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Netherlands Lion (The Netherlands)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Books and Stuff

A weekly update of my book news.

What I've been reading....

I finished Fool Moon.  Second book in to the Dresden Files and I'm now hooked - the plot is intelligent and the pace fantastic.  Harry Dresden is feeling left out in the cold by his police contact, but once he's called in after a particularly grisly murder, he's soon up to his elbows in werewolves in several different flavours...  Great stuff!

Sadly, there aren't many people selling these for a penny on Amazon.  I'll pause in the series before I get carried away.

Having got my pulp fix that out of the way, I picked Shark Island up again and finished that.  I must stick to one thing at a time...  This was the second in the Wiki Coffin Series - murder mysteries set on the American Exploration Expedition of 1838-1842 - and it settled in nicely, with some decent character development and scene-setting.  The murderer was less glaringly obvious than in the last book, which always helps!

I'd recommend both these, very different, books.

After that, I feel the need for non-fiction, so I've started a book I bought last month - Iain McCalman, Darwin's Armada, which is about the different voyages made by Darwin, Huxley, Hooker and Wallace. 

What I've bought....

For some reason I've never read any A.E. van Vogt, so I've picked up the 1950 classic The Voyage of the Space Beagle (£2.80), which came highly recommended.  Onto the to-read pile it goes...

John Scalzi, Old Man's War (£2.81) - I've heard some good things about this, but we'll see.  I was a little disappointed by this when it arrived.  I'd bought it second-hand through Amazon but hadn't read the small-print well enough - when we opened the packet we found that the cover was badly torn.  Caveat emptor!

Not home unfortunately.  I lost my main book room when The Wife Decided we need a new bathroom.  I did get a shed though.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Royals in Medals #4: Prince Michael of Kent

HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO
His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO

Prince Michael was born on 4 July 1942, the second son and third child of Prince George, Duke of Kent (the fourth son of King George V) and his wife Princess Marina of Greece (through whom he is connected with the Russian royal family).  Prince George died in a plane crash a few weeks after Michael's birth.  At birth he was seventh in line to the British throne and, as the grandson in the male line of a monarch, was granted the style of Prince and Royal Highness.

At the age of 5, Prince Michael was a page boy at the wedding of his cousins, the Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. He was educated at Sunningdale School and Eton.

Prince Michael entered the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in January 1961 and was commissioned into the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own) in 1963.  He saw service in Germany, Hong Kong and in Cyprus as part of the UN peacekeeping force.  He retired as a Major in 1981.

On 30 June 1978 Prince Michael married Baroness Marie Christine Anna Agnes Hedwig Ida (née von Reibnitz), who thereby became HRH Princess Michael of Kent.  As the Baroness was a Roman Catholic, Prince Michael forfeited his right of succession the the throne under the terms of the Act of Settlement of 1701.

They have two children:
  • Lord Frederick Michael George David Louis Windsor, born 6 April, 1979
  • Lady Gabriella Marina Alexandra Ophelia Windsor, born 23 April 1981
Prince Michael has carried out minor official duties and in the past represented the Queen overseas.  He carries out private consolatory work.

Honorary Military Appointments

United Kingdom
  • Honorary Rear Admiral, Royal Naval Reserve 
  • Commodore-in-Chief, Maritime Reserves
  • Regimental Colonel, Honourable Artillery Company (2009–2012)
  • Royal Honorary Colonel, Honourable Artillery Company (2012–present)
  • Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Benson
  • Canada 
  • Colonel-in-Chief, The Essex and Kent Scottish (November 2001–present)
  • It is expected that Prince Michael will become eligible for the Canadian Forces Decoration during 2013 in respect of this service.

    Orders, Decorations and Medals


    Royal Victorian Order
    Knight Commander (KCVO) July 1992
    Knight Grand Cross (GCVO) June 2003

    Most Venerable Order of St John
    Knight of Justice

Prince Michael of Kent aboard the boat ‘Havengore’ watches the flotilla during theThames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames in London on June 3, 2012.Queen Elizabeth II sailed Sunday on a royal barge at the centre of a spectacular 1,000-boat river pageant on the Thames, the set-piece of celebrations to mark her diamond jubilee.
Campaign Medals

      United Nations Medal (UNFICYP)

    Commemorative Medals

    Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953
    File:Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png  Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977
    Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png  Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 2002
    QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png  Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012

    Foreign Awards

    Russian Federation: Order of Friendship (2009)

    Prince Michael of Kent with the Duke of Atholl, May 2012

    Tuesday, 23 October 2012

    Prince Edward - Mystery Medal

    Following on the post Royals in Medals #1: The Earl and Countess of Wessex I've noticed this photo of the Wessexes at the 2011 royal wedding in Monaco.

    What is the last medal Edward is wearing on his rack?  Given the occasion and the fact that it seems to have Prince Albert's cypher on the ribbon, I suppose it's something to do with Monaco, but can anyone identify it?  Thanks.

    He doesn't appear to have worn it since, so it seems to have approval for local wear only.

    For those interested, Edward is wearing the uniform of Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.  The cypher on his should-boards and the aiguillettes reflect his appointment as an ADC to the Queen

    Monday, 22 October 2012

    Admiral Sir Harry Rawson

    Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson, GCB, GCMG

    Harry Holdsworth Rawson, the second son of Christopher Rawson of Woolwich, was born at Walton-on-the-Hill, Lancashire on 5 November 1843, and educated at Marlborough College.

    He entered the Navy at the age of thirteen years and five months, and was appointed to HMS Calcutta, the flagship of Sir Michael Seymour on the China Station. As a Midshipman he served in the Second China War, being present in Calcutta’s launch at the capture of the Taku Forts in 1858. In 1860 he landed as ADC to Captain Dew of the Encounter, and was present at the second capture of the Taku Forts, the Battle of Palikao and the taking of Peking. He subsequently saw extensive service against Chinese rebels and was mentioned in despatches for the capture of Ning-po, which he held against the insurgents with 1300 Chinese under his command, and for Fungwha where he was severely wounded. One night on the Shanghai River he displayed remarkable presence of mind when he leapt from the quarterdeck of his ship and saved the life of a drowning Marine.

    225px-Harry_Holdsworth_Rawson_Vanity_Fair_25_April_1901.jpgPromoted Sub-Lieutenant in April 1863, and Lieutenant the next month, he was one of the officers that year who took the Gunboat Empress out to Japan. Empress, a present from Queen Victoria to the Mikado, was the first modern ship of the Japanese navy. Having specialised in gunnery, Rawson served as First Lieutenant of the Bellerophon in the Channel, and was appointed in January 1870 to the Royal Yacht.

    In August 1871 he gained the Royal Humane Society’s silver medal and the Civic Cross of Belgium, second class, for saving life at Antwerp.  Advanced to the rank of Commander the next month he served two commissions in Hercules in the Channel and Mediterranean, and in June 1877 was promoted Captain. In November of that year, he was appointed to the Minotaur as Flag Captain to Lord John Hay in the Channel. In 1878 he hoisted the Union Jack at Nicosia and served there as Commandant for a month.

    Following further service with the Channel Squadron, he was appointed to the Thalia and served as Principal Transport Officer in the Egyptian campaign. Created a CB for services in Egypt, he next served from February 1883 to September 1885, again as Flag Captain to Lord John Hay, the Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean. He was then appointed Captain of the Steam Reserve at Devonport. From 1889 to 1891 he commanded the battleship Benbow in the Mediterranean, and from August 1890 until promotion to flag rank on 14 February 1892, served as an ADC to the Queen.

    Between 1895 and 1898 Rear Admiral Rawson served as Commander-in-Chief on the Cape of Good Hope and West Coast of Africa Station, with his flag in the St George. In August 1895 he landed the brigade that captured M’wele, the stronghold of the rebel leader Mbaruk, and effectively ended the Arab domination of the Kenyan coast. In August 1896, he ordered part of his squadron to bombard the palace at Zanzibar and thereby disposed of the pretender to the throne. For this service Rawson received the Orders of Hamud, 1st grade, and the Brilliant Star of Zanzibar, 3rd grade, from the rightful Sultan, and when his action was officially approved he gained the thanks of the Admiralty. In February 1897 Rawson landed with the Naval Brigade drawn from his squadron and commanded it in the successful expedition to capture Benin City and punish Chief Overiami for indulging in human sacrifice and slave trading.

    For services on the Cape of Good Hope and West Coast of Africa Station, he was created a KCB, and on 19 March 1898 advanced to Vice-Admiral. From 1898 to 1901 he commanded the Channel Squadron, and after a brief period as president of a committee investigating the structural strength of torpedo-boat destroyers, he was appointed Governor of New South Wales. He proved a popular Governor and in 1908 his term of office was extended by one year to May 1909. Promoted Admiral in August 1903, he retired on 3 November 1908, and was made a GCB in June 1906 and a GCMG in November 1909. Admiral Rawson died on 3 November 1910, and is buried at Bracknell parish church.

    The Medals

    Admiral Rawson's medals were sold at DNW in Oct 1996 as part of the break-up of Capt K Douglas-Morris' peerless collection of medals to the Royal Navy (much of this blog entry is stolen from their catalogue entry).

    The Wikipedia entry on Rawson has several inaccuracies in listing his medal entitlement, and should not be trusted.

    Sunday, 21 October 2012

    Bucket List For Dogs

    The Daily Telegraph is reporting that a list of 50 things for dogs to do before they die has been compiled MORE TH>N pet insurance and TV vet Marc Abraham.

    1. Flop down in front of a morning fire
    2. Go for a swim in the sea
    3. Go mad in the snow
    4. Dig up a flower bed
    5. Do the 'Beethoven' shake and soak everyone around you
    6. Have your own spot on the sofa
    7. Accompany your owner on a run/cycle ride
    8. Attend a family picnic
    9. Help your owner bad a date
    10. Cheer your owner up when they are down
    11. Visit a different continent
    12. Roll around in a really stinky, muddy puddle
    13. Ruin a pair or slippers or shoes
    14. Sleep in your owners bed
    15. Wake your owner with a big wet sloppy kiss
    16. Chase a cat during a dream
    17. Learn the word for 'sit' in another language
    18. Join in a football game in the park
    19. Meet a famous dog
    20. Try your paws at dancing
    21. Convince your owner you can howl English words
    22. Get filthy within 30 minutes of a bath
    23. Howl along with your favourite song
    24. Ride in an open top car
    25. Learn to skateboard
    26. Have a personalised Christmas stocking
    27. Show the postman who's boss
    28. Be a ring bearer at a wedding
    29. Try to follow a squirrel up a tree
    30. Go to work with your owner
    31. Have your own social media page
    32. Bound through a forest
    33. Have a personalised kennel
    34. Go on a boat and get your sea legs
    35. Play frisbee on the beach
    36. Receive your own birthday card
    37. Steal someone's lunch when they're not looking
    38. Watch an entire episode of 'The Washing Machine'
    39. Eat doggy ice cream
    40. Create a diversion and steal another dog's dinner
    41. Rug a doggy marathon
    42. Receive a doggy birthday cake
    43. Rip the stuffing out of a pillow or cushion
    44. Unwrap birthday presents
    45. Watch Lassie on TV
    46. Be in a family portrait
    47. Have a stand off with your own reflection
    48. Have a favourite local pub
    49. Star in a YouTube video
    50. Sleep in a boutique dog hotel 
      My own dog is more inclined to follow the example of Off the Leash
    Photo: Another Day...

    Happy Trafalgar Day!

    File:Battle of Trafalgar Poster 1805.jpg

    Cheers Shippers!

    Saturday, 20 October 2012

    Twinned With... Mars

    File:PIA16154 fig1-Mars Curiosity Rover - Road To Glenelg.jpg
    Glenelg, Mars

    The small Scottish settlement of Glenelg (popl 291)  is celebrating the arrive of the Curiosity Rover at its namesake in the Gale Crater, Mars (popl ???), with a twinning ceremony and ceilidh tomorrow - Party On!

    Although the NASA team named the martian feature after one in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada and the fact that it is a palindrome (they'll be visiting on the way out and the way back), the name originally comes from the Highland settlement opposite the Isle of Skye.

    Glenelg, Scotland
    For a comparison of the two Glenelgs, have a look at the BBC's site, which also has an interesting story
    Cosmic coincidence on the road to Glenelg.

    Friday, 19 October 2012

    Books and Stuff

    A weekly update of my book news.

    What I've been reading this week...

    This week I was feeling like something light and non-threatening - comfort eating for the mind.  What I really fancied on Sunday night (feeling out of sorts) was some guff science fiction, something pulpy, but I couldn't decide what.  Normally in these circumstances, I'd fall back on one of Heinlein's juveniles, but I couldn't face something I'd already read.

    In the end I picked up Jim Butcher's Storm Front, the first of his Dresden Files Series, which hit the spot.  The Dresden Files are a series of stories about Harry Dresden, a wizard and hard-boiled PI who acts as a consultant to the Chicago PD on cases with a supernatural aspect.  Quite fun, and I enjoyed it a lot.  That being so, I jumped right into the second book in the series, Fool Moon.

    What I've bought....

    Henning Mankell, The Man Who Smiled (an Inspector Wallander mystery) - 50p.

    Wednesday, 17 October 2012

    Wooden Ships and Iron Men

    Sorry not to have posted properly of late - I've been distracted by other things, so this has run the risk of just being a list of the Obits and Books posts (which are easy to do!).  I'm going to have to make a better effort to bring back some of the 'regulars' [sic].  Even The Wife asked where the Mustaches had gone (and she doesn't read the blog!).

    This morning I was walking past our local charity shop when I saw that they had a copy of the American Bicentennial edition of Avalon Hill's Wooden Ships and Iron Men, untouched in it's box. It's a wargame simulating sea battles from the Age of Sail.  It was only £1.00, so I picked it up. 
    As I've said before, I've often toyed with the idea of wargaming and I'd heard of this game before, partly because of that and partly because of my maritime interests. BoardGameGeek rates it fairly highly, says that the rules aren't too tricky, that it's recommended for ages 12+ and can be played in about an hour. 

    Looking at the pictures there, it looks like many people use their own little ships rather than the cardboard counters provided in the box.  That does appeal, though I haven't got anything to hand.  We don't have a printer at the moment (still less a laminator), or I'd download some of the ships I've seen in the past on the Junior General.

    Now to persuade The Wife she wants to play...

    Friday, 12 October 2012

    Books and Stuff

    What I've been reading this week...

    Finished reading Seapower Ashore, which I enjoyed.  For me the more interesting bits covered the nineteenth centuary, but that's to be expected I suppose.

    Carried on with Shark Island.

    What I've bought...

    Brian Thompson, Imperial Vanities: The Adventures of the Baker Brothers and Gordon of Khartoum - £2.81.

    Monday, 8 October 2012

    Milestones in Space

    Two milestones in space exploration today.

    The first is that the Voyager 1 probe has probably left the Solar System, 35 years into its epic journey.

    Voyager I
    The second is the launch of the Dragon cargo spacecraft on the first commercial mission to resupply the International Space Station - the first of twelve missions that SpaceX is contracted to undertake for NASA.

    Dragon capsule
    The Dragon spacecraft seen from the ISS

    The first shows the triumph of the unmanned space probes and the second is a long-belated entry of private enterprise into space following the time and effort squandered on the dead-end that was NASA's shuttle programme.

    Saturday, 6 October 2012

    This Week's Interesting Obits

    Rear-Admiral Carlos Büsser (d. 29 Sep 2012). Argentine naval officer who led the invasion of the Falkland Islands.
    Daily Telegraph 3 Oct 2012

    Friday, 5 October 2012

    Books and Stuff

    What I've been reading this week...

    Continuing with Shark Island and Seapower Ashore.  The latter had an interesting account by Andrew Lambert of the Syrian Campaign of 1840  - one I'd not know much about before.


    What I've bought this week...


    Wednesday, 3 October 2012

    A Project for Autumn

    As the evenings are becoming longer, my mind has turned to an autumn project.

    I already have two on the go - this blog and Howard's MM Project - but these are both computer-based and I feel I want to do something with my hands. Those who know me will already know that I'm not very creative or good at practical things; every so often I feel angst about not being able to draw or design jewelry or make my own furniture.  So sometimes I feel the need to start a little something.

    The Story So Far

    A modern Britains
    Observer (bennyinkwell) Tags: toysoldiers oldtoys britains metaltoys leadtoys collectabletoys hollowcasttoys civilianfigures johillco
    This is more to my taste
    About five years ago I went through a phase of being interested in toy soldiers - the 54mm, cast and painted sort that were popular before and between the wars, and are best exemplified by Britains.  Not for me the modern type that are being produced, which are in effect small models, but toys - the kind of thing that used to be lined up on the nursery carpet or used to defend a wooden fort.
    That being the case, I thought I might like to have a go at getting some castings and painting them up myself.  Accordingly, I bought myself some from Dorset Soldiers.  I didn't get very far with them and ended up with some in a half-done state.  In addition, my Wife very generously bought me some figures from Tradition of London - these were very superior, so I immediately set them aside as too difficult!

    My Wife bought me a camel!  Camels (like Fezes) are Cool!
    No longer!  I've decided to pick up the pieces, finish the Dorsets (which are Sudan Wars figures) and have a go a the Traditions.

    What's Next?

    I could get some more of the same, but my inclination is to try something else.

    PLP574 Archaelogical Expedition
    What will the archeologists unearth? (Artizan Designs)
    There is plenty of stuff out there, mostly for the use of wargamers and RPGers.  I'd like a sci-fi theme, but I'm not a fan of all these muscle-bound guys in powered-suits that have been the vogue since Warhammer and it's ilk came out.  Accordingly, there's VSF (Victorian Science Fiction - the Empire on Mars, and stuff like that), figures inspired by Intrepid Explorers and Beautiful Assistants (battling mummies, traveling to Lost Worlds, etc) and 1930s Mad Scientists and Occult.  Loads of scope then.  The problem is that they all tend to be small scales - 28mm down to 6mm!  These would be a severe challenge to my lack of talent and shaky hands.

    Centurion (standing)
    Retro Raygun Centurion
    Nevertheless, I've taken the plunge and ordered some 28mm figures from Hydra Miniatures' Retro Raygun range, because I like the look of them.  Sadly, the Robot Legion ones are out of stock with their UK supplier, so I've settled for some Flash Gordon types.  I'll see how I get on.  I would have preferred a robot or two...

    If I can manage 28mm, then a whole world of possibilities opens up.

    However, the brains behind our operation (the Wife) has pointed out that I needn't concentrate on figures at all, but that vehicles on the same scale would be more manageable.  So a future project might involve a steamtank...

    Monday, 1 October 2012

    The King's Dog

    I had intended to blog about Caesar, Edward VII's dog, who won the hearts of the British people and caused the ire of Kaiser Wilhelm by being given prominence at the King's funeral in 1910.

    However, in looking around on the web, I found that it's already been done so well that I can't better it. Read this, it's a good story (skip the comment though - most were written by people who think they were channeling their dogs).

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