Sunday, 23 July 2017

A VSF French Landship! - Le Eclair

I’ve now completed a French “Landship” superstructure which fits nicely on my generic hulls, here's a bit of 'historical' blurb to go with it, enjoy!

April 1877 saw another Great Power join the Landship club, namely France. The announcement didn't come as a surprise to the British Government as S.O.E. had kept the Cabinet abreast of these developments on the continent as their best agent Edward Bigger was on the job!

In early 1877 Emperor Napoleon III pressed his General Staff to equip his armies with a Super Armoured Wagon capable of exceeding the capabilities of every other countries Landships. Under pressure to deliver on the Emperor's request they turned to France's mastermind  of the time, Gustave Eiffel. They contracted him to design and present a prototype to them by the end of March 1877. 

Eiffel gladly accepted the charter and he went to work with enthusiasm. The design called for a vehicle with four heavy main guns, four light secondary guns and a higher speed than any of the other countries existing designs while matching their armour. The plan he came back to the General Staff surprised them. The enterprising Eiffel ensured he could meet their demanding timelines and specifications by organising a British manufacturer to supply the hull and drive train while to complete the Landship he designed an ingenious superstructure to be built by the industrious French industrialists.

He tinkered with the planners design to fulfill their requirements. He managed to deliver high speed without reducing armour by including only two large guns in the design thereby reducing the overall weight substantially. Then even though only using two large guns he proceeded to over deliver on the requested firepower! He achieved this by installing a high speed loading system allowing the 2 large guns to fire twice as fast as other countries Landships plus he included six instead of four planned lighter secondary guns. The turrets and command control tower were all cast as single parts to speed production. The control tower set high for a good field of view rested on a frame similar to his famous Paris landmark. The vehicle Eiffel delivered to the General Staff put the French at the forefront of Landship design! That said the machine was far from perfect! The control tower was cramped and had limited views also access to it was not completely protected the pilot having to enter from a floor hatch through the tower frame that supported it. Also importantly the large gun high speed loading device did jam occasionally,

The completed prototype, Le Eclair was launched in a public ceremony with the Emperor present on the 2nd of April 1877. A military exercise to display Le Eclairs full potential was held later in April and representatives from almost every other European nation attended. The Delegates were suitably impressed by the French machine and it wasn't long before many of the features from this promising French Landship were incorporated into other nations latest Landships designs.

Full production of French Landships commenced in May 1877. They were initially built on complete hulls purchased from Britain This was thought to be a bottleneck by the General Staff build as many units as soon as possible so quickly a deal was struck with the British supplier where the French began making their own hulls and drive trains under licence in France.


The delegates from almost every European country accepted the French invitation to see Le Eclair on display. In the photograph below taken by an official French Cameraman on the right in front of the wooden store house can be seen British, Russian, German and even an Ottoman official...

This photograph taken from the new St Dumair Airship captures the same scene from above...

Another view of the scene reveals Captain Darling was present, unusually he is sporting a scarlet tunic and spiked helmet and is caught in conversation with a French Captain of the Tirailleurs near front of Le Eclair...

In game terms Le Eclair will have a couple of special Landship Rules:
Its heavy guns take only one turn to reload (roll and on a one reloading takes 2 turns)
Plus two inches to full speed moves

Building Le Eclair was pretty simple as only a superstructure was required. I used some of my supply of sheet and tube styrene plus a pile of bits from my parts box. This build did include an op shop buy, recently I picked up two model Eiffel Towers for the princely sum of $1.00! Initially I planned to have machine guns mounted on top of the main turrets but when it came to construction it just didn't look right so was not done!

Below is a picture of the superstructure parts with one of the generic hulls...

 The parts all painted up and ready for assembly...

The finished product...the French Landship Le Eclair...with Captain Smith...


Blog Picture update only nine more posts to update then the Blog is back to normal!

Next time, even more Gallic stuff...

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Scratch Another Martian Tripod - Captain Darling Adds to his Tally! - Wrecked Martian Tripod Marker

At the height of the Second Great Martian War mankind's newly developed war machines were turning the tide against the technologically superior Martians. Attacked from the air as well as from the land the Martians were surprised by the Humans successes so they designed a new class of walkers themselves, these remote controlled units were called Drone Tripods. The new smaller Drone Tripods were armed with only a single weapon system but they gave the Aliens more machines on the ground enabling them to occupy larger tracks of land. But these Drone Tripods were also less well armoured than the full size machines and therefore much more vulnerable to the new  Armoured Wagons employed by the Human armies!

June 1874: On a fine summer afternoon Captain Darling and Lieutenant Carden-Loyd were chatting with other officers of the 12th Light Triambulator Squadron after a splendid luncheon in the Officers Mess. After their meals while they imbibed on a fine port and drew on their pipes an Orderly burst in announcing a Martian Drone Tripod had been spotted in the vicinity! While many of the officers appeared worried a broad grin formed on Captain Darlings face enhancing his ruggedly handsome features and he turned to his second in command Carden-Loyd, "Well Squiffy that was a fine repast care for some Martian Tripod for desert?" Carden-Loyd known as a bit of an eccentric as he was often seen drinking from his boot when not in the Mess was eager for action and leaping from his lush Chesterfield announced "I certainly am Ol' Man and if I don't bring this alien fellow down before you do you can butter my behind and call me a biscuit..."

Together the two men had the engineers stoke up their Armoured Triambulators and headed off for an afternoon of Martian hunting...


Two hours later both Darling and Carden-Loyd were photographed by the wreckage of the rampaging Drone Tripod, Darling scoring a direct hit on the its evil eye bringing it down in a ball of flame... 

Creating a Martian Tripod Wreck Marker

I will be using Alien Dungeons Tripods (now defunct there's a new owner of this product range) in conjunction with my own Giant Martian Machines for some future games. I bought these kits as soon as they came out as they are fantastic looking and injection molded so great to build and adapt! I knew they would come in handy one day, here's one of my completed kits...

Now I really would like a Tripod wreck marker so with one of my best friends Pinkysil I made up a mold of the top of one of the AD Martian Assault Tripods and cast up a few 'Tripod Heads'...

 Then used the left over Tripod kit parts and some styrene bits and pieces to finish up the wreck markers...

Blog Picture Update...
I have now restored the pictures to 70 of the Blogs 90 posts so we're almost back up to speed...hopefully by my next new post every old post will be sorted out!

Next time, some Gallic stuff

Friday, 7 July 2017

The Great Picture Debacle - Restoring the Blog Begins!

Hello Dear Readers!

The recent policy changes of a certain online photo hosting site resulted in all the pictures from Captain Darling's Miniatures Emporium vanishing from Her Most Gracious Majesty's Interweb!

Well in light of these events I have decided to invest in my own steam driven bit of the internet and build complete with lovely brass cog wheels my own website! For all of you devoted readers of Captain Darling's exploits in his weird alternate Victorian Universe Thingee do not fear as I will continue to maintain the good Captain's Blog. It will remain my...err...Captain Darling's VSF outlet.

I have all my pictures as I kept them on my own hard drive backups so nothing has been lost and it will all be refreshed. However it will be a bit of a pain in the proverbial locating the required pictures and then re-posting them all!

As a first step I've just updated the picture of the parts I have collected for the French VSF Landship in the post titled 'Another Nation Enters the 'Landship Club'...' Damn it I shouldn't have typed that I just gave away the new Landships secret nationality!

Oh well I hope you'll all bear with me as I fix the old and get to work posting the new and there's the good news, I have two AAR's, a completed Landship, a completed Airship and some more figures all ready to post so I do hope you perservere with this Blog using your crystal and steam driven interweb devices!



Next time...something steam driven!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Another Nation Enters the 'Landship Club'...

I've been on a bIt of a WW II and Napoleonics binge over the last few weeks but now I'm returning to my core genre VSF...

I'll kick things off with some exciting news, another nation is about to enter the Landship arms race here's a picture of the parts I've collected for it's construction...any ideas dear reader as to which country it might be?



I'll be back soon with more 'stuff' soon...