Thursday, August 26, 2021

A wise decision

 * * * *

Hopefully sometime this weekend I'll play out another Moroccan Crisis naval scenario, where the German fleet attempts to slip an armoured cruiser or two through the Denmark Strait on an Atlantic commerce raiding mission. Guerre de course was banned under maritime law, but in wartime laws were quite often ignored for the sake of expediency...

Monday, August 23, 2021

Heligoland in miniature.

Or thereabouts. The torrid summer heat here in the Midwest rather restricts what I can or can't do modelling-wise, but I did finish the almost-Heligoland Island for the Morocco Crisis-turned-Hot campaign. 

The urban area is an approximation of the real settlement circa 1906. It's not really important to the plot so I made it abstract, but the kasern (barracks) is represented by the small building on the left since this is a legitimate target for naval bombardment. The two grey squares represent the approximate sites of the two twin 21 cm guns. The defences also had eight 28 cm howitzers, but I've yet to determine where they were sited.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Gibraltar, 1904

A panoramic view of the harbour and anchorage at Gibraltar in 1904 showing seventeen battleships, armoured cruisers and numerous other craft. This was only a small portion of the Royal Navy's strength at this time. Makes you think...

The Heligoland building work is about done, with two strips of houses, the kasern and St. Nikolas church all done. A little more work on the harbour mole and it'll be ready.

Monday, August 16, 2021

British Empire exhibition 1924-25

It's always fascinating what a little research brings to light. Here are a couple of photos from this rather lame-duck event which was held almost a hundred years ago. 

The first is a monorail system built to get visitors around the 220 acre site. I don't know about you, but the corkscrew locomotion system looks like an accident about to happen.

The next shot is the interior of the Palace of Engineering. My eye was immediately drawn to the 15-inch gun in the foreground.

I'm still working on the Heligoland project. The rows of houses are done, and I've moved onto the island's church and the kasern (barracks) for the island garrison-which will present a juicy target for naval bombardment.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Island Project ~ Basic bit done

A slow and leisurely spot of progress later...

This is the basic form, after a bit of paintwork. It looked like a very generous slice of red velvet cake before I wet-brushed the cliff sides. For the next step I'm going to make sections with rows of houses that'll sit on the island and the wide beach piece to make it more like Heligoland. Take the sections off and it turns into a generic island.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Sicily '43 by James Holland


I borrowed this from our local library, and it's a fascinating account of the Sicily Campaign of 1943 - the Allies' first assault on Europe - told from original records from both Allies and Axis. Holland doesn't spare any details: Some of the accounts are horrifying. 

I'm about halfway through, and it's a real page-turner. There are a number of accounts of engagements which would work well with Chain of Command. It's almost tempting me to begin a new period...

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Island formation

A little more progress on the island project...

More pizza box card cut to size and shape filled in the sides. From what I can see, at one time the upper level of Heligoland Island was reached by just one hairpin road running up the eastern cliff. I added an approximation to this. I glued dried tea leaves to the surface to give a rough key for the spackle to adhere to.

A mix of spackle/filler and tissue paper came next. It gives a rough surface to represent the cliff faces. Once this is complete I'll do the top.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Problem with reading list?

Is anyone else having an issue with seeing the Blogger reading list? I've tried several times yesterday and today but it's not showing up.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Island project ~ Beginning

I've noodled with the idea of creating a scaled version of Heligoland Island for a while, for use in my 1906 Moroccan Crisis-turned-hot naval campaign. The recent happy find of a couple of bit of polystyrene foam in almost the right shape spurred me to make a start on the project.

I sandwiched the foam between two pieces of pizza box cut to shape. Next step will be to lay down the groundwork, probably using paper and spackle/filler. 

The island itself has changed shape dramatically since the immediate aftermath of WW2. First the British Army stuffed all the surplus explosives left from the war into the extensive cave system the Germans built throughout the island - and touched it all off at once. 

There goes the neighbourhood...

The eastern side of the island slumped down several dozen feet. It remains the biggest non-nuclear explosion to date.

Since then the German government has greatly expanded the harbour, and extended the island northeastwards with the aim of eventually connecting it to the smaller island of D√ľne.

I'm aiming more for how the island appeared just before WW1...

I'm not sure if I want to make the town a permanent part of the model, as it would limit the usefulness. It might be possible to make the buildings removable, perhaps by constructing them on separate sections. We'll see.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Four Siegfried class coastal defence ships

After a longer than expected spell on the slips, the four Siegfried class ships are launched, fitted out and under way. 

From l-r, Heimdall, Beowulf, Frithjof, Siegfried.

Built between 1888 and 1894, these were an earlier type than the two Odin class that superseded them, but they shared the same unconventional configuration of two paired turrets forward and one aft. Their top speed was a leisurely 15 knots, but from all accounts they were very stable gun platforms - something I'll take into consideration in the rules.

Next project will be a kinda/sorta Heligoland Island...


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