Monday, 21 August 2017
I have some of the excellent Shellhole Scenics vehicles for the American Punitive Expedition including a couple of trucks and a Jeffrey Quad armoured car, but as yet there are no models available to use as 1916 Dodge Touring Cars. These were the standard light vehicles used by the American army in pursuit of Pancho Villa, rather than the Model T Ford as you would have expected. They were so useful that several hundred were eventually supplied over the course of the operations in Mexico and Pancho Villa was so impressed that he even had acquired one for himself.
I thought it would be a good idea to try and locate a suitable 20mm or 1/72nd scale model to use in skirmish scenarios, including the Patton's First Fight scenario from the Fistful of Lead:Viva La Revolucion! supplement. They aren't really needed for the scenario itself but would be great as terrain cover features and would be handy for other games too. However, this was less straightforward than I thought, with no wargaming manufacturer apparently making what I am looking for, so I decided to check out diecast toys instead.
After a fairly extensive search on eBay, the best I could come up with was a Corgi Model T Ford van, which is roughly 20mm and could be the basis of a conversion, cut and shut job. If I sawed off the van bit and rebuilt the open back seat part of the body in plastic card, I might have something not too far off the Dodge Touring Car. I could even cover up the back end with a canvas hood adapted from the plastic roof if it looked too rough and ready, although it would be nice to have some interior detail or at least some seating. I'm not sure it would be worth all the effort to be honest?
We're off home in a few days so I thought I'd trawl the newsagents again before we leave. I usually pick up a copy of Aerojournal as it rarely has nothing of interest, so here's the latest edition. Sure enough, there's a fascinating article on the Dutch East Indies air force, with some stunning art work and profiles to whet your appetite. I had some plans a long time ago to do a few Bag the Hun games based on the defence of Java and Sumatra but they came to nothing. It's still a very interesting topic, however, so I'm pleased to have another resource to tap into. There's also a lengthy article on Luftwaffe night fighters, with a focus on the 'free hunting' Wilde Sau single engine fighter operations, which is well worth reading even with my dodgy French, and an article on Regia Aeronautica ground attack aircraft which is also full of wargaming potential. Excellent!
Sunday, 20 August 2017
I've always wanted to visit this museum which is located in the Chateau de Brest above the original naval harbour. It is an impressive location but the museum itself was a bit of a let down, apart from the section on the eighteenth century dockyard, which was very interesting. There were some good exhibits too, the highlight being an original Kriegsmarine Seehund mini-submarine which was operated by the French navy after the war into the 1960's, a fact that I wasn't aware of at all. Not bad if you have a rainy day in Brest to kill but not as good as some other museums that I've visited on similar themes.
Saturday, 19 August 2017
Just down the road from the Musée Mémoires 39-45 is the Pointe Saint Mathieu, which is well worth a visit as it is the site of the French naval memorial and cenotaph. This has recently been opened to the public and is situated in a typical Napoleon III coastal fort It features an impressive display of photographs of every single individual lost in battle or at sea from the late nineteenth century through to the current day. There is also a very imposing cenotaph monument which is situated adjacent to the fort itself. I thought they had done this all extremely well, in an understated but thoughtful way.
Friday, 18 August 2017
We've been away camping near Brest for a week, during which we visited this excellent museum located in a former German artillery observation and command bunker near Plougonvelin, not far from Pointe Saint-Mathieu. It really is a very impressive museum with numerous exhibits and a lot to see, let alone the restored interior of a very large piece of the Atlantic Wall. It's a bit of a way to go but not too far if you are in the vicinity of Brest or if you take a day trip detour from the ferry port in Roscoff. Anyway, here are some more pictures and a link to the museum website, so you can see for yourself: