woensdag 18 augustus 2010

Event: Happy day out, WWI Ypres/Ieper Part 2

This is the sequel, and last part, of the Happy day out to Ypres.

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We got on our way to Passchendaele, the place where the battle with the most casualties around Ypres took place. On route, we wanted to make a stop at the s'Graventafel bunker and the New Zealand Memorial, but they were closed for maintenance. So we drived on to Passchendaele.

From Ypres to Passchendaele

Arrived around 16:00 at the Memorial museum Passchendaele 1917 in Passchendaele (of course).

The new and the classic Mini in Passchendaele

Around Passchendaele were the biggest battles of Ypres, at least there were the most casualties. The scale of the destruction in and around Passchendaele is best to be seen with the aerial photographs shown below.

Passchendaele before and after the battle (photo from wikipedia)

The entrance to the museum is through a small gate. If you don't know it's there you could easily miss it. Look's nice though.

the entrance to the museum

Not there yet, it's a 5-10 minute walk through a park to the museum .

a walk through the park

The museum is a relatively small timber and stone building, but it has quite some room in it (including a cellar). Below is the only photo I made....

The museum

The museum has some interesting equipment and uniforms, quite an interesting collection actually. I won't post them all, because that could ruin your future visit.


What I liked in this museum was the clarity and accessibility of the information. This museum is one of the better museums in that regard. Below an example, on different locations on progress in the museum there are a total of 7 very clear maps reporting about the progress of the battle.


And ofcourse enough examples of life at the front.

German dugout

Machine gun

There are also two big overviews of the complete battlefornt in the area.

The battlefront in the area

The pathway leads you along a machine gun position into the dugout (in the cellar of the museum) where you can get a tiny part of the experience of life in a dugout (except for the flies, the scent of blood, mud and cordite and the noise). There is of course more to see than the photo's show, but then you would have to go there yourself.

The machine gun that marks the entrance to the dugout

Going down.....

The office


Field hospital (with badly wounded casualty)

I can say it was an impressive tour, to be honest, I wouldn't like to be in the shoes of the men that actually have been in that area in the war.
After a while (30-60 minutes) we found the way up, once above the guys had to get rid of the impressions and tension build up during the experience below..... and quite strange things started to happen...

When this guy got out of the dugout, he wanted to shake hands with some plumbing......
Lobotomized in the field hospital below I guess....

And I still wonder what these guys were doing down below....or maybe it is better not to know.
"I need to kill !...... It hurts so bad !!
 Yeah....a boner.....
again !"
".....will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me..."  

I believe the next guy is innocent.....but I'm not totally sure.

"Helloooooo, I'm so cute !"

Well, after hanging out in the many hallways of the museum, we finally got out. Seeing the sun again was good for some guys and bad for other. I wonder....is a lobotomy actually a permanent thing ?

Will it fit or will it hurt ?

After the tour there's a good place to come to oneself, a nice peaceful pond. (well, maybe not with the guys I was travelling...)

A nice, peaceful, pond

Guy on the left: "It's really a nice pond"
Guy on the right: "Look, it fits !"

After a short break, we would go on our way to the next visit. Most of us had a richer experience, and one of us a lobotomy and a shell....
The next visit would be to Domino, a modelling shop at the 'Zwarte berg' or 'Mont noir', in english, the 'Black mountain', I haven't investigated the source of the name, but I don't think it would be a blessed source.

From Passchendaele to the Black mountain

The black mountain was for a part in France (the parking lot actually). One guy isn't quite fond of the French, he swore to buy new shoes and new tyres for his car because they were 'contaminated'. And, to his luck, all the shops in town were open and there was a market. I bet you can guess from which country almost all the visitors came.....indeed.....France. The guy had a field day !

A view of the peace and quit on the Black mountain

I can say that Domino has a great range of miniatures and very large range of plastic scale models, I haven't seen such a large collection in a shop for years. The store is worth a visit, take a look on the site (which isn't as impressive as the store): http://www.domino.be/

After buying some things a gamer doesn't need, but are quite cool, we got quite hungry. So, first we had to get out of France and find a nice Belgian restaurant which would serve nice Belgian beers.
We found one around 19:00 in Loker, called "D'Hellekapelle", which means "Hell's chapel". It seemed to us that beer would certainly be on the menu !

From somewhere in France to Loker

In "D'Hellekapelle" there was a little brawl about who got the best seat. The restaurant is cozy and the environment was quit and peaceful. Whe had to wait a short while for the beer, and a little bit longer for the food. When the meat was on the table we got duly relaxed. One guy wrecked the toilet in the restaurant....he had to do a big message and supposedly did forget about the shell that was still in his....uhm....body..
(I can't even imagine that you could forget such a thing )

You're on my seat !

Nice !

Meat is back on the menu boys !

Around 21:30 we were finished with the meal (and desert) and it was time to go home. Well, it's a long way when you're full an tired.

The road home

My passenger: "Hey, look at that small car !"

We were home around 01:00. It was a nice, exhausting day out.
On the battlefields of the Great War there is more to be seen, but what we did was enough for one day. It was impressive, and more than once the shivers went down my spine. I can recommend a visit to the Belgium museums of the Great War, you can get a little feeling of how it really was, but I still cannot comprehend the scale of the horrors that took place.
We also had quite some fun, what I think is a good thing when you come totally depressed out of a museum....

Well, until next time !

woensdag 28 juli 2010

LoTR RPG: Building terrain part 2

I have been working on the Shelob's Lair board, wich also will function as the Badlands board.
I have been busy with the second stage, making removable roofs for the cave's and building the top layer.

This board measures 115 cm wide, 125 cm long and approximatly 18cm high.

LoTR RPG: The book of Mazarbul quest

I am writing a campaign with a rules set for LoTR. The scenery I'm making is to be used for this role playing game.

As I have been busy with the scenery last week (update will follow soon), I want to share some more information.

I'll show the first pages, I converted them to black for easy reading.
It can take a while before I post further pages, because I want to keep certain things secret for the players.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

vrijdag 16 juli 2010

Note: Price rise Flames of War

Aargh ! The products from Battlefront will have their prices increased on Monday 9 August 2010.

For more information, see http://www.flamesofwar.com/hobby.aspx?art_id=2067

Well, at least they are very open and honest about it.

maandag 12 juli 2010

40K: Ork Trukk building part 2, the Chassis

I won't go through the part explaining that one should cut out parts and remove the mouldlines.
I won't glue all of the kit together. I want to create sub-assemblies that I can paint with ease. After the painting I'll glue the sub-assemblies together and then finish the kits with details, weathering etc.

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First I assembled the axles and shafts, except for the one from the engine. I also assembled the fuel tank. Nothing special yet.
Chassis and axles assembled

Test fitting the wheels. This is the first reason to buy two kits. By swapping some of the wheels there is already an individualistic look of the vehicles, the easiest 'conversion' you can make. I didn't glue the wheels on to the axles for painting purposes.
Wheel swapping

Next step was to test-fit the engine, cabin and flatbed (deck). The cabin didn't fit properly, on one side it didn't rest on the chassis, but on one of the straps holding the fuel tank (see image below).
The cabin rests on the fuel tank instead of the chassis (the problem location is circled)

The solution is to remove the rivets on the underside of the cabin (see the circled part in the image), and to file down the top of the strap holding the fuel tank until the cabin fits (less then 1mm). You cannot see anything of the filing after assembling the cabin.
Rivets removed and fuel tank strap filed down (both encircled)

It felt like there were some parts missing on the fuel tank, a fill cap for instance. I made one from the shaft of a choppa. I also made a fuel line from electrical wire (normally used for train modelling).
Added fill cap and fuel line for the fuel tank

Looks ok !

That was the chassis, I will still have to smooth out the moldlines, glued edges and irregularities, but the basic work is done.

Next part will be the building and dress-up of the engine.

zondag 11 juli 2010

GK: My new orders for July

As I said before, I duly try to order no more than 1 Garage Kit each month.
Okay, I couldn't resist and ordered two kits. 

Marie Mamiya
I was interested before in this kit, but I thought her chest was to much pronounced, so I didn't put her on my wishlist. After a few weeks when I surfed the 'last one' pages on E2046, she reappeared (only 1 in stock left). I did have another look at her, and do think she is classy and stylish. So I ordered her. I did have my regrets about it because I shouldn't buy more than one Garage Kit each month. However, these regrets lasted only about 5 minutes...
The kit has arrived in the mean time and she more beautiful then on the pictures. The chair is included in the kit. I think she will be a pleasure to build and paint. 
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Human Mage
Well, this kit was already on my wishlist, but I wouldn't buy her this month if it wasn't for a friend I had to order a kit for. I think she fits well with the magician. I don't like her pose that much, but the face and hairstyle appeal to me. I like her.

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Well that's it for this month now.

zaterdag 10 juli 2010

Event: Happy day out, WWI Ypres/Ieper Part 1

Normally we play a (miniatures) game every month. But to avoid making it a monthly routine, we decided last year to have a day out once in a while instead of a game.
Last year we did historical, the Varus battle, or battle at the Teutoburgers forest, in Germany where three roman legions (17th, 18th and 19th) 'disappeared' in 9 ad.
This year the day out would be WW1 or the Great War in Belgium.

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Event: Happy day out, WWI Ypres/Ieper Part 1
Event: Happy day out, WWI Ypres/Ieper Part 2

The trip was last sunday (4 july 2010). I went with a couple of friends (maybe you recognise most of them from the Salute event). Here a list of our group.

- Umfufu, the butt-naked Zebra killer
- Janus, a stranded alien, hitchhiking from Venus to Uranus
- Bokito, the double-action lapdancer
- 'Nee hoor !" Endie-pendie
- 'The Amish'
Who's who on the pictures is for you to guess and for me to know :)

A brief introduction to Ypres:
Ypres was one of the battlefields of WW1, there were three major battles;

On these fields some 500.000 to a million soldiers were wounded or died, and who knows how many civilians.

As the drive to Ypres would be about 2,5 hours, we agreed to leave quite early. The time was set at 07:30, but one of the group was late (the bastard, he should be flogged). We finally left at 08:30.
The first visit would be to the Ypres Cloth halls, which houses the In Flanders Fields museum.

The route to Ypres

Because the group consisted of 5 people, it wouldn't fit in the Mini, so we drove with two cars. One new and one classic Mini :)

Assembly at 8:30

About 10:30 it was time for a stop...err...second breakfast. The Belgian restaurant offered an english breakfast (well, something like an english breakfast, but without the mushrooms, scrambled eggs, beans and toast...)

The restaurant

The 'english breakfast' is yet to arrive

Finally at 12:30 we arrived at the Cloth halls, from which I took a nice picture, later this week I found a photo of the cloth halls in WW1 (below). Quite something different.

The cloth halls, In Flanders Fields museum

The building on the right side is the Cloth halls, 
look for comparison to the small tower on the corner.
(photo from Wikipedia)

The scale of the devastation of Ypres
(photo from Wikipedia)

In the halls there was an exhibition about the hundreds of thousends chinese workers, who were brought to Belgium to labour for the War effort. They didn't get what was promised (except for the labour). Some made art-work from the shell-casings to make some money.

Some stuff the chinese laboured

Shell-casings with art engravings

After the exhibition we went to the museum, which had an impressive entrance. We also got a card, with which you could follow the personal story of someone who was there in WW1. Sadly the story was factual (only places and times) and the timline consisted of only three terminals. There were a lot of personal stories in writing and some were quite thrilling.
I took a lot of pictures, below are a few of them. If you want to see more, you should visit the museum.


Various material

Various material II

Machine gun

Shell casings

Diorama, left side

Diorama, right side

Diorama of a dugout at the front (in reality some 10 metres below ground)

Around 14:00 we were finished in the museum and quite in for a 'bite'. Next to the Cloth halls there were some nice little restaurants which hopefully could serve us well.

The place where we ate a snack (in the red circle)

All the guys

After the feeding, one of the guys had to do his Jiggly Dance, arousing a lot of people (men and women) on the square (sometimes with desastrous results).

The Jiggly Dance

One that's got aroused. 
A boner with too little room in the pants results in peculiar facial expressions

The only edible remains after the feeding....chocolate sauce.

For the next stage of our visit to the battle fields, we discussed where to go. So I went back to the museum to get a map. I left my camera on the table, so in the mean time the guys made some interesing pictures of the rebuilded Ypres centre, the Belgian architecture and the layout of the town.

Rebuild Belgian architecture etc.

Finally we decided to go to Passchendaele, where to largest battle took place. Around 15:30 we left Ypres and headed for Passchendaele. When entering or leaving Ypres we came trough the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, a very impressive sight.

Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing

Well that's it for now. Passchendaele will be continued in part 2.