Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Real Yellow Submarine

        A couple of years ago I went to mow my lawn. My mower was running really rough. There is someone down the street that repairs and sells used lawnmowers as a side business from his home. I visited him and he agreed to fix my lawnmower and I also gave him a broken one that I had for parts.

   Instead of trying to back onto a fairly busy road, I used his large driveway to make a three point turn. As I pulled behind the garage he has his shop in, I noticed what appeared to be a submarine.  When I went back to pick up the mower, after taking care of business I inquired about the sub.

    He told me that his wife's grandfather had built it in the 1950's.  It is not self propelled but is towed behind a boat. It is weighed down by a large weight on the bottom, which can be seen in the picture. It also had some kind of water ballast, which could be blown out with on board air tanks, which seemed to be controlled using a common garden hose sprigot. He told me that there was enough interest in it that the famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute sent a team to observe the maiden voyage.

   The maiden voyage took place at a local pond. It seems all went well at first, the sub performing as planned. However, when it came time to surface, the sub didn't! After some tense minutes, they managed to get the sub grounded and save the captain. I was told that was the one and only time it went out.
    For backyard engineering it was quite interesting. Low tech to be sure, but still an amazing artifact none the less.  The photos were taken with my cellphone (with permission). Unfortunately the shots of the interior didn't come out. It's kind of a pity that it sets behind the garage where it is unseen.

Notice the large weighted keel on bottom.

I don't know it the pipe coming out of the top was where the blown water ballast would have drained from.

Closeup of the  pilots cockpit.

Ring on bow that the towline attached to.

Friday, August 23, 2013

20mm Aylmer Miniploms

My last couple of posts about 20mm figures started me looking at Ebay for figures of this scale. Among  the figures were several sets of Aylmer Miniploms. They come 4 to a base. They seem to originally come in little display cases.  The two sets I got are missing the plastic display case.   The photos I saw are closeups that make the figures look really cheap. However, when looking at them without magnification, they are quite handsome figures. They are metal that have been hand painted.  I paid $7.00 for each set I got, which after getting them I feel is a good price. My original plan for these were to take them off their base to use the for molds; after getting them I have decided against that.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

20mm The Complete Brigadier

          Like many war gamers, I tend to buy more figures than I ever use. I get a great idea for a project, go whole hog researching the wars and figures that cover that period. After buying samples from different companies, I'll decide which figures I like the most and then buy the needed forces.  Usually I'll be motivated to paint the armies, start planning the battles and find the rules to use. If I'm lucky I might get a couple of games in. In the meantime, while looking through the different lines of soldiers, I'll see figures than plant the seeds for my next project.  So now I have thousands of toy soldiers, the majority I have never used.

     Among the figures that I never used was 20mm Frying Pan & Blanket Amalgamated, LLP. Yes, that's the name of the company! The figures are manufactured to be used with their rules, called "The Complete Brigadier". The figures are based on early American wars, from the French and Indian War to the War of 1812.  They even have a line of Wayne's Legion.

    When you buy the rules, you get a good boxed set with two books, one an introduction to wargaming and the second, the "Complete Brigadier" rules for battles.  The books are nicely illustrated, with delightful drawing a'la "Little Wars" in the columns.

     The figures themselves come in boxed sets. The infantry sets are enough for a regiment using their rules. You get two officers, two flag bearers, two drummers, and 18 privates.  You also get stands to mount the figures on. As for cavalry, you get six horses, six riders, and six dismounted. For artillery, you get two guns, two limbers, and two horses. Artillerymen are separate. They also have pontoon wagons and supply wagons.

  I bought three different sets; Prussian Grenadiers, Prussian Fusiliers, and War of 1812 Militia.  Below are some samples of them. I had painted the Militia regiment and figured they would be good to show what they look like. Unfortunately, being militia, they must have gone home, as I can only find one flag bearer!
The Prussian Grenadiers, with a Hinton Hunt Pavlov officer for scale.

Prussian Fusilier officer, War of 1812 Militia flag bearer and Prussian Fusilier Flag bearer.

Airfix grenadier with figures for scale.

One of the boxes the figures came in.

The Complete Brigadier: Introduction to Wargaming.

The Complete Brigadier: Rules for Battles.
         I am wondering if these figures are still available. The only way was through the mail. There is no  website for the company itself.  For several years one of my interests was the War of 1812. I am starting to think that I would love to get some of their figures from this period.

Monday, August 12, 2013

20mm Hinton Hunt Napoleonics

          Over the weekend I came across a blog with Hinton Hunt miniatures.  When I first got interested in wargaming again, I had come across some stories involving Hinton Hunts.
       After reading "Charge!" I thought that Hinton Hunts might be good for "Charge!" armies. I found someone who was producing the figures. At the time you had to buy bags of 100 and really couldn't pick what poses you wanted (I wanted march attack poses). Still I ordered Russian Pavlov Grenadiers and French 1806 French.  I liked the figures, but they ended up in war-game limbo. Occasionally I will come across them  and think that they deserve better.

 After seeing the blog, I started thinking of the fact Hinton Hunt had Crimean War figures, so I spent half an hour looking for the old catalog, without success.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Battle Maps of the Persian War of 1856

There seems to be some interest in the Persian War of 1856. I scanned the maps showing the battles from the Persian campaign of 1856. I think this will give a good idea of the potential of this war for gaming. These maps come from the book "The War for a Persian Lady".

The landing and battle of Bushire.
The expedition against the Persian Army leading to the battle of Khoosh-ab.

The opposing forces at the battle of Khoosh-ab.

The naval attack on the town of Mohammeran.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Homecast 2nd Generation SYW Prussians

       A while back I was contacted by someone who was interested in getting some Minifigs 2nd generation SYW command figures copied; the  3rd generation command figures just didn't work with his armies. He was wondering how much detail was lost in the process. A fair question so I decided to cast a 2nd generation Prussian grenadier.

I look forward to hearing if these figures would be compatible to his army.

              The six figures I poured came out as usable figures, although the pouring spout was on the edge of the back of the base and that corner broke off. One figure broke at the legs when I snipped the spout off. However, as can be seen the figures still stand fine.  Now if I can get my Peter Laings to this level.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Persian War of 1856

       Among the discarded books I found was one titled  "The War for a Persian Lady" by Barbara English.  I was ready to throw it in the trash when I took a second look.  I decided to keep it and just finished reading it. At first it seemed like it had great war-game potential. The British fighting the exotic Persian Army in 1856. With battles named Bushire, Khoosh-ab and Mohammerah, it just screams "war-game me!" However the battles themselves were little more than skirmishes with the Persian Army breaking quickly once the shooting started. Battle deaths for the British forces were next to nothing and even the Persian Army lost less than a thousand dead in each of the battles.

      Still, this campaign could be the basis for a good war-game. I think my Peter Laing Napoleonic Egyptian forces would be ideal for this war. Peter Laing Indian Mutiny would fit the bill for the British forces, as all the troops who fought in this war were deployed from India. In fact, as the Persian War was winding down the Indian Mutiny started and the forces in Persia were rushed back to India. It would be a simple "what if" the Persian Army was commanded by an inspirational General that the army respected?

Cover of the book. Sadly, I believe I'm the only person who opened and read this book in 38 years.

Some Peter Laing "Persians" to resist the British invasion.

"New" Old Osprey Books

            As I mentioned in an earlier post, while vacationing in Maine I stopped at a bookstore which specialized in military books. I found myself in a situation where I had to decide which books I wanted most.   I left behind four old Osprey books on British regiments that I really wanted. Well, after paying for the vacation and bills, I found I had the cash for the books and used the business card the owner had kindly put in one of my purchases. A few emails later and the check was in the mail. The books came in the other day; all are first printing from 1971 and 1972.