donderdag 25 mei 2017

CSS Alabama vs USS Kearsarge Cherbourg 1864 - Mark Lardas

Part of the Osprey "Duel" line of books, this details not only the titular duel, but ALL duels between Confederate raiders and Union hunters.

Well, all 3 engagements that is, in which a total of 5 ships over the whole WAR have been involved.

From the back cover:

During the American Civil War the Confederacy's commerce raiders sought to weaken the United States by driving US merchant shipping from the seas.  The pinnacle of commerce raider designs, CSS Alabama, enjoyed considerable success in this endeavour, capturing some 60 merchant vessels.  One of the US Navy's most advanced warships, the cruiser USS Kearsarge, spent most of the war hunting these Confederate raiders, culminating in an epic clash with Alabama off the coast of France in June 1864.
This book presents the complete story and development of the Confederacy's commerce raiding force and the ships the Union sent against them, covering three dramatic warship duels: CSS Alabama vs USS Hatteras, CSS Alabama vs USS Kearsarge, and CSS Florida vs USS Wachusett.

The book itself is nicely illustrated and has a real trove of ancient maritime pictures, both from the pre-war up to the post war era (even Antwerp's cathedral is pictured!) as it goes through the whole history of the types of ships.
From how they both had fleets of unsuitable paddlesteamers to the faster raiders and ironclad cruisers, and how that affected not only the size of the vessels, but also how it shifted the balance of power in duels between the older and newer designs.

A nice and informative read of a not often spoken part of the ACW.

woensdag 24 mei 2017

Build Report: 75091 Flash Speeder

It`s been a while as I did one of these, but I`m going to try and work away all stored build reports before the end of the year (and I had weekly material for that until 2019...) before tossing them off my hard drive.

Starting this avalanche of build reports, we have the Star Wars Flash Speeder set, based on the "prequel trilogy" Naboo vehicle.

Opening the box we get three bags of parts, a small sticker sheet, and the instruction manual.

The first figures we get are the two Battle Droids.

The speeder begins on a 4x6 black plate, to which greens are added, the predominant colour of the small anti-grav transport.

Large Technic bricks make up the sides, using short pins to add the rounded edges.

The bottom plate is added to underneath these bricks.

The "core" of the vehicle is then filled to give it the required height and build base where needed.

The front end plate of the vehicle is then assembled.

We start building up the central part of the vehicle, where the seatings for the figures will be placed afterwards.

The rounded front side is then added as well to the speeder, again using snot techniques.

Trans clear horseshoes go on the bottom, and secure the plates.

Adding the windscreen, the hubcap area of the speeder is then given form.

We get three more figures in this set, this time for the good guys, with Tanaka probably being the most intresting of the whole set.

A bit more detailing at the front.

Next up is the raised area at the back, where the gun platform will be placed.

The passenger seating is installed in front of this.

 The back spoiler / wings are then build and installed on the, well, back of the speeder, and covers the antigrav engine.

Curved slopes are used to make for a smooth transition between this spoiler and the back of the passenger seats.

The sides of the vehicle are also build using snot, and the large green curved slopes give a nice and smooth look to it.  A point of note, during playtesting (aka, the swoosh test) these tended to come loose though, as the front ends of it aren`t that well secured compared to the back ends.

The big guns are then being build up, which holds a long bar shooter at it`s center.

These go on either side of the back wings.

A flick missile blaster is then installed at the center of the back area, representing the large blaster that fires at the hangar during the Phantom Menace finale.

And the vehicle is then completely done.

We had a few additional parts in this set as usual:

And the full set completed:

The pro of this set is that I love it's green colour.  But the big drawback for me was the sidepods, not to strong when handled by childish hands during play...