Monday 30 August 2010

A New Lens

I upgraded from a digital compact camera to a digital SLR earlier in the year and I haven't stopped shooting pictures since. The camera came with an 18-70mm zoom lens which is ideal for the sort of close quarters reportage style of pictures I like to take. Its an ideal 'Holiday' lens, but its not so good for long shots.

My Boss is a keen photographer and lent me his 70-300mm zoom lens for my trip to Bovington in June and I was very impressed by its versatility. So impressed I borrowed it again a few weeks later for the Damyns Hall Military & Flying Vehicles display. But borrowing an old lens that has been re-chipped for digital isn't an ideal solution so I started looking for a new lens to purchase myself. After looking around at various options and weighing up the costs I settled on the upgraded version of the lens I had been borrowing. Then my lovely wife stepped in and bought it for me as an anniversary present. I love my wife, but especially when she buys me new toys.

Its lighter than than lens I was borrowing, the auto focus is quieter and faster and the optics are clear and precise. I've shot a few practice pictures but the real test will be the Battle of Britain Air Show at Duxford next weekend. Keep an eye open for my pictures sometime next week.

Sunday 29 August 2010

Big Picture : Hatfield House

These models were on display at Hatfield House Hunting Lodge when I visited in 2004. The collection filled a whole Gallery and covered many periods of history.

As I recall the collections were thematically grouped and were mostly of Historical miniatures. The models were in a range of scales from 6mm right up to 54mm and beyond.Most of the painting was of very high quality and I happily wiled an hour away looking through the collection.

Friday 27 August 2010

Ingatestone Hall

I had an interesting encounter a few days ago when I went to a Civil War living history event. My wife and I had a day without the kids so decided to visit a historical house near Chelmsford, Ingatestone Hall. It so happened that they were hosting the Essex Militia (a Civil War era Living history group) that weekend and we had a chance to meet and talk to some of its members.

Ingatestone Hall was built in about 1541 by Sir William Petre and has remained in the family possession for 18 generations. The current Baron Petre is also the Lord Lieutenant of Essex. While still remaining a private residence a large portion of the house and grounds are open to the public on specified days and several events, including reenactments, take place throughout the year.

The Essex Militia is a historical living history group, that covers the time period from James I through to James II (the years 1603 to 1703) and have become a regular feature at the Hall. There were only a few members present but all were happy to talk with visitors and were showing off various period skills from wig making through to herbalism and of course the martial occupations.

These flintlock muskets had an accurate or effective range of about 50 yards but without rifled barrels they were not accurate. Instead armies relied on massed units of troops firing in unison and at close range. All the reenactors were having problems keeping their powder dry on the day we visited as it was very humid. They assured me that aside from grain size (its regularity coming from modern machine milling methods) the black power they use is essentially the same as that used during the time period they represent.

One of the things that was quickly evident was the amount of smoke generated by just a few muskets. On a battlefield with hundreds of musketeers visibility would have been reduced to virtually nil. A small comfort for soldiers that had to close to less than 150 feet before firing at the enemy.

Our visit to Ingatestone was cut short by the weather but it was an interesting visit none the less. On a slightly bizarre side note I had a long chat with one of the members of the Militia (the guy pictured at the top in the Tan coloured coat) and couldn't shake off the feeling that I had seen him before. I never said anything at the time but it bugged me all day until I realised who he reminded me of. Is it just me or does he look like Emperor Palpatine?

Wednesday 25 August 2010

British Dragons

I'm taking a brief rest from reading books about Normandy and WWII. Instead I'm enjoying a charming volume entitled British Dragons by Jacqueline Simpson. This is a very well researched and comprehensive look at the legends and folklore of the British Isles.

The word Dragon is actually derived from the Latin Draco and the Greek Drakon and generally describes a creature that is large, reptilian and often snakelike. Some dragons have four legs, some two legs and some none at all. Not all dragons of legend have wings and neither is fire breathing a requirement, although it does feature in many stories.

Dragons are viewed differently according the the culture from which their myth derives. So in the East dragons tend to be wise, benevolent and associated with good luck. The dragon of the West, and in particular of Northern Europe is strongly linked with malevolence and evil. Dragons are snake like creatures and Christian stories firmly associate snakes with Evil. Therefore most post Christian stories are in effect morality tales wherein the evil of the Wyrm is vanquished by good.

Ancient myths include Tiamat which comes from the Babylonian Creation epic Enuma Ekish which was first written down about 1700BC. However the story itself may have origins going back to 2000BC making Tiamat one of the oldest Dragons to be specifically named. In this legend the hero Marduk kills Tiamat and after splitting her body into two pieces, he set one piece in the sky to create the heavens and the other at his feet to form the earth.

Many Northern legends also associate Dragons with treasure. The stories of Beowulf and Siegfried are the most famous but many local legends also make this connection. British Dragons seem to have a particular fondness for hoards and burial mounds that guard secret treasure. Some stories also associate Wyrms with ancient stones and earthworks. There also seems to be a link with water as many stories refer to rivers, waterfalls, lakes and sea inlets. This may just be the storytellers way of rooting the legend in local geography that the listeners could recognise.

One of my favourite English dragons stories is that of the Lambton Worm. The central character is John Lambton, heir to the Lambton Estate in County Durham. As a young man John was a rebellious character and one day decided to miss church to go fishing. On his way to the river he met an old man who forewarned him that no good would come of his actions. John ignored the warning and went fishing anyway. He failed to catch any fish but just as he was ready to leave his hook found a willing mouth. John then pulled forth an eel like creature with nine holes either side of its salamander like head. John immediately pronounced the creature as the devil and threw it down a nearby well.

John Lambton grows up and eventually goes off to the crusades as penance for his early life. Meanwhile the villagers of Lambton start to find livestock going missing and eventually find that the Worm has grown into a huge Dragon that has coiled itself around a nearby hill. The monster is attributed with eating cows, laying waste to the land and even snatching away young children. In the end the dragon can only be placated by Lord Lambton (John's father) who feeds the dragon the milk of nine cows every day. 

When John Lambton returned from the Crusades he finds his fathers estate in ruins and its people suffering. John realises he is responsible for this situation and seeks advice from a wise old lady (some say a witch) who lived nearby. She told him to cover his armour in spear tips and to fight the dragon in the river Wear, where the dragon has taken to sleeping. However he was also told that he would have to kill the first creature he saw after killing the dragon or else bring down a curse upon nine generations of the Lambton family. To avoid the curse John arranged to blow three times upon a horn after killing the dragon whereupon his father would release his favourite hunting dog. This would run to John and be killed to fulfil the terms of the curse. 

When John attacked the dragon it immediately tried to crush him in its coils. As it squeezed its victim the worm cut itself on the spear tip covered armour. The flowing water of the river Wear washed away the torn body parts stopping the dragon from regenerating and eventually it was slain by the brave young Knight. With the dragon vanquished John blew his horn three times to call the hunting dog. But his father, anxious to see his son alive, forgot to release the dog and instead ran to the banks of the river. John couldn't bring himself to kill his father and thereby the curse of the witch fell upon the Lambton family for nine generations.

There are dozens of charming stories like this one in this book and every one is quirky and entertaining. From a gamer and writers point of view this collection of stories is also excellent source material for any game featuring a Dragon or Wyrm.

Monday 23 August 2010

Imperial War Museum Duxford

I had last week off work to coincide with the kids summer holidays. We didn't go away but instead decided to do several day trips to attractions within an hour and a half of home. Fortunately, I got to pick where we went so on Tuesday we visited the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. The site is huge with a range of collections in different buildings. At the far end of the site is the Land Warfare Collection and featured an interesting collection of vehicles and artefact's. The following slide show includes all my pictures from this exhibit plus those from the American Air Museum and the Battle of Britain collection.

Sunday 22 August 2010

Big Picture : Sally B

I shot this picture recently at the Damyns Hall Military & Flying Machines event in Rainham. This incredible warplane has featured in several films and documentaries, most famously the film Memphis Belle. Sally B is the last remaining airworthy B-17 in Europe.
From The Big Picture

Friday 20 August 2010

Scratch Built Hamlet

My gaming group, the Dagenham Dungeon Delvers, are a talented bunch. This week I discovered more evidence of this when one member of the group Derek posted pictures of a modelling project he has been working on in secret for some time. All the buildings pictured here are scratch built using a variety of recycled materials and novel techniques that I thought would be of interest to other gamers and model builders.

The initial inspiration for these models came from an article that Derek saw in an old copy of White Dwarf magazine (issue 143 to be precise). The article gave plans and suggestions for building a Coaching Inn suitable for 28mm scale models. Once he had completed this project he then took what he had learned and applied his new skills to building several more buildings in a similar style.

Incidentally there were a series of articles in White Dwarf around the same time showing how to build other buildings like a cottage and a town house. If you can get your hands on one of these old issues (there always seem to be copies sold on Ebay at one time or another) they are well worth a look and give plenty of ideas for further construction projects.

All the buildings are based on Foam Board for rigidity and use beams of Balsa Wood form the main framework of the structures. Last year Derek went around collecting the sticks from used fireworks after Guy Fawkes Night. We all thought he was a little mad but it seems there was method in his madness and these sticks also found their way into the models. As he puts it himself... "People often think I've flipped when I sit looking at odd things and wondering what I could make from it - hence the reason for finally revealing some model photos."

Another clever bit of recycling came from the use of the wooden stirrer sticks you get in coffee shops. These were ideal for wooden cladding, door panels and shutters. I have used these myself for making wooden floor model bases and as tools in model making (stirring glue, supporting armatures while they dry etc.)

Derek insists that all the sticks he uses have stirred coffee in a previous life, making this barn 100% recycled. Who says our hobby can't be eco friendly?

The thatched roof was made from fake fur taken from an old hat. Cut into strips it was stuck to the roof of the cottage and then heavily painted with Games Workshop paint to make it ridged.  For the buildings with roof tiles the shingles were simply cut from strips of card then painted in red and then dry-brushed.

"I try to take pictures of olde worlde type buildings when I'm on holiday and any nice scenic calendars that come my way help to give inspiration. Other than that what I make depends on what sort of setting I need."

The white plaster walls were made from... plaster. The ready mixed varieties are easy to apply and if applied roughly look very effective. I've used this material myself and found that some experimentation is needed to find a brand that works best. Some makes are flexible, fast setting and smooth grained but ultimately its down to personal preference and cost factors.

Derek also used modelling putty on occasion, particularly for detailing like the stone chimneys.

Most of the buildings are free standing because they have been built with gaming in mind however the Mill/Water wheel house has a larger base with some landscaping. Standard materials and regular acrylic paints were used throughout the construction process.

I asked Derek how he worked out the scale for those buildings he didn't have a plan for and it was mostly " eye". He used some of his regular 28mm models as a guide to door height and worked everything else from that point. The resulting lack of conformity I think works very well for a small hamlet and these models would look good on any games table.

I hope you find some inspiration from these pictures. I certainly find myself quite humbled in the presence of such skill and creativity. Derek describes the creative process as starting "...with a basic design, but quite often these things develop a life of their own during construction".  

Next time I need to build something from scratch I know who to go to for advice.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Games Table of my Dreams

When I was a child I played on the floor with my toys. Then I grew up and played at a table. Then I found Wargames and the table wasn't big enough, so it was back to the floor. Now I'm getting old a creaky and crawling around like a rug rat is not an option. I need a proper games table.

I've been inspired by several great looking tables that other blogger's have either purchased or built for themselves. I'm not very handy with a chisel so I guess I'll have to focus on buying rather than building something to play on. The current dining table is showing it's age and (like me) starting to look a little wobbly. We probably won't get round to replacing it until later in the year but in the meantime I'm dropping some hints about its potential replacement. These are mostly centred about buying a table that is big enough to double as a games surface and sturdy enough to take the weight of hundreds of lead models on it.

Somehow though I don't think our savings can run to buying the Sultan Gaming Table. At $8,800 its a little beyond our budget and probably wouldn't serve its main function as a dining table very well.

I wish I had paid more attention in Woodwork lessons when I was at school.

Monday 16 August 2010

Overlord by Max Hastings

I judge the success or failure of a history book by whether it brings new information and a new perspective to familiar events. I've read several books about the Normandy landings over the last few months, and while the outline of events is now familiar, this book was still able to shed new insight on the summer of 1944.

Max Hastings has built a firm reputation as an erudite historian displaying clear objectivity but with an eye for detail. He also has a narrative style that is easy to read and flows effortlessly across the page. Despite the immense complexity of Overlord, Hastings brings the detail together in a way that gives an overview of the whole campaign while not losing sight of the individual actions that made the whole.

Much has been made by many historians of the apparent failure of OVERLORD to achieve its objectives as planned (ie to schedule). Many books on the Normandy campaign have focused on the blunted offensives of the British and Canadian armies while giving possibly overdue credit to the sweeping success of the US push to Cherbourg and the wild ride of Patton across Brittany. Hastings does not undermine the sacrifices and successes of the American army in Normandy but he does go some way to restoring the image of the British effort on the eastern flank.

Montgomery was often inclined to rewrite the objectives of operations like GOODWOOD and EPSOM to fit the outcomes achieved. This did little for his popularity with other Allied commanders, it damaged his reputation and undermined the post war analysis of the importance of those offensives in grinding down the German Army. Hastings acknowledges that most of the allied offensives up to COBRA did not achieve all that was hope for them but he shows that that was as much because of the quality of the enemy as it was a lack of will amongst the allied troops.

"The Allies in Normandy faced the finest fighting army of the war, one of the greatest that the world has ever seen. This is a simple truth that some soldiers and writers have been reluctant to acknowledge, partly for reasons of nationalistic pride, partly because it is a painful concession when the Wermacht and SS were fighting for one of the most obnoxious regimes of all time."

Landing ships at low tide on OMAHA beach during the first days of the operation, June 1944.
Ultimately it was Material that made victory possible. The allies poured equipment and supplies into Normandy and losses were replaced almost immediately. By contrast the German forces opposing the invasion grew steadily weaker and weaker in a war of attrition that they could not hope to win.

Some reviewers have suggested that this is the definitive story of D-Day. I disagree, although I do think it is one of the best books on the subject that I have read. To get a truly definitive view you must read more than just the words of one historian, no matter how good his words are.

Sunday 15 August 2010

Big Picture : LARPing

I've never understood the attraction of Live Action Roleplay myself but this group seemed to be having a good time. The group are 'based' at Colehouse Fort in East Tilbury, Essex and regularly use the site for 'Battles'. They also help run an annual Halloween event that regularly draws in visitors and more importantly revenue for the restoration of the site. 

Friday 13 August 2010

Damyns Hall Military & Flying Machines 2010

Last Sunday I went to another Living history event and of course shot a load of photo's. This event is held annually at a small airfield (Damyns Hall) in Rainham, literally 10 minutes from where I live. Although not as large as events like War and Peace and Military Odyssey I think this has to be one of the best 'small scale' events in the south of England. There were a wide variety of vehicles on display and this years air display was absolutely awe inspiring with the highlight being several passes by the B17 Flying Fortress 'Sally B'.

Here are my slides from this years event.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Venn will it End?

I've been thinking about my lamentable progress with painting this year and stumbled upon a universal truth that I suspect applies to most tabletop model painters to some degree. Its a hobby cliche that every gamer has a 'Lead Mountain' that never seems to shrink. I'm no different and I only managed to reduce my mountain by 'getting rid' of a load of unpainted lead. Despite the drastic measures I still have no fear of running out of models to paint.   

The web comic Larry Leadhead famously suggested that if a gamer ever painted his last model his heart would give out on the spot and he'd drop down dead. However I'm not sure if that's something most painters have to worry about. After all the chance of reaching the end of the 'to-do' list is incredibly small.

I put this Venn diagram together with myself in mind (designed under the label 'procrastination') but when I'd finished I realised it could probably apply to most gamers. All you have to do is change the proportions according to your own situation. On the face of it this is a rather depressing truth that all gamers and painters have to come to terms with. But being a 'Glass half full' kinda guy I look on it differently.

If painting your last model is likely to prove fatal then think of this equation as a formula for immortality.

Monday 9 August 2010

Hollywood Schmollywood

On Friday I mentioned the news that James Cameron (Alien, Terminator 2, Avatar) is getting involved in the making of H.P.Lovecraft's masterpiece At the Mountains of Madness. At the moment he is teaming up with Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pans Labyrinth, Hellboy II) for a slated release date sometime in 2013. At this stage I don't know what his involvement is, there are no roles cast and no apparent script yet (not according to the articles I have read anyway).

I'm both excited and terrified by this announcement. Not 'sanity destroying' terrified, but deeply worried non-the-less. The quality of work from both these writer-directors is unquestioned and there is little doubt that if they make this film it will be slick, big budget and entertaining. But I fear that Hollywood will do what it does to most niche genre films and will try to "make it more relevant to viewers". This usually involves inserting a precocious child into the plot, or worse still, telling the story in a modern setting. And its this latter possibility that scares me the most.

Imagine this. A group of modern day Antarctic scientists fly in for a weekend of exploration. They don't discover the bodies of the Old Ones by drilling boreholes because they use radar to map everything below the surface in a few seconds. When they do dig up the 'fossil' of an Old One they Tweet the news to their colleges and post pictures of their discovery on the University Facebook page. Then some bright spark decides to explore the mountains using satellite photo's and Bam! they discover the lost city of the old ones within minutes. The TV crews arrive a few hours later....

It doesn't work does it? I expect the film executives will justify such blatant abuse of a classic of literature with some nonsense about connecting a new generation of readers with Lovecraft's work. Utter rubbish. Some stories need to be told in the setting in which they were written. I believe that the fantastic stories of Lovecraft, HG Wells, Jules Vern etc would still work with a modern audience because, not despite of, the fact that there is a disconnect with the audience.

We live in an electronic age that makes the science and technology of the Victorian and Edwardian eras (and even the interwar years) mysterious and unfathomable to many people. The growing popularity of 'Steampunk' and colonial wargaming is a testament to the untapped fan base that imagination, nostalgia and a fascination with old-tech has created. These are fantasy stories at the end of the day and part of the fun of Fantasy is that it takes the reader or viewer (or gamer for that matter) out of their normal life, and away from the stress of the 24/7, news saturated, instant access, social media rat race.

OK. Rant over. For the record I enjoyed the 2005 version of War of the Worlds but it would be nice, just once, not to leave the cinema saying "it would have been better if they had stuck to the book".

Sunday 8 August 2010

Big Picture : RAF Manston

This was taken at RAF Manston Spitfire & Hurricane Mamorial Museum in 2004. Divided into two parts each has an aircraft in it and is surrounded by artefacts and stories associated with the battle of Britain.

This was a fascinating museum and the two old gents running it on the day we visited were full of interesting stories that made this very enjoyable visit. 

Friday 6 August 2010

Mi-go dreams

My youngest daughter drew me some pictures yesterday. Most were the usual sort of thing you would expect from a 5 year old; pictures of the family standing outside the house; images of flowers and animals; a nice seaside picture... and then there was this.

Its a great drawing with lots of colour and a big helping of imagination. But is anyone else a little freaked out by the passing resemblance to a Mi-Go from the Cthulhu Mythos? I may be stretching the resemblance a bit but that was the first thing I thought of when I pulled this picture out of the pile. It sent a palpable shiver down my spine. Maybe I'm reading too much H.P.Lovecraft at the moment...

Talking of which I recently read an article that suggests that James Cameron is set to collaborate on a movie version of At the Mountains of Madness. Apparently Guollermo del Toro is teaming up with the Aliens and Abyss director to make what will arguable be a very challenging film adaption. Whatever you think of their previous work (and I'm thinking of Titanic Mr Cameron...shudder) its good to see Lovecraft's work given such a high profile.

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Can of Worms

Why oh why did I venture into the subject of scale?!? I must have been out of my head. Thus far pretty much all of the feedback I have received on Mondays Guide to Scale has been positive and informative and I have learned a lot. But I have also come to truly understand the complexity and intangibility of the whole subject. Crunching the numbers and deciding which assumptions to adopt and which to abandon is giving me a headache. Whatever I do It will be utterly wrong for some people...and they will be completely right to think so.

I work in an industry who's unwritten motto is "Assumption is the mother of all muck-ups" (or something like that). Scale, as defined for gaming purposes, seems to be built on a huge foundation of assumptions built on top of different definitions which in turn rest on a sandy beach with the tide coming in!

Firstly, what is the average sized human? Height varies between ethnic groups, between the sexes and over time. So whatever height a manufacturer (or blogger) settles on as 'average' is by definition a compromise. I have based my table on the height of the average man being 5ft 8inches and the height to eye level as 5ft 3inches. The only reason I have done this is because it seems to correspond to average heights for European males and because several other sources online have chosen the same height. Its a compromise and an assumption, but its a firm point from which to start calculating scale.

Another big problem is that manufacturers and most gamers measure height in different ways. It seems to be an 'industry standard' that model height is the measurement "to eye level". However this isn't always the case and its impossible to definitively state that all manufacturers use this method when clearly some measure to the top of the head. One change I'm planning on implementing with my original table as posted on Monday is to add a second height column showing the theoretical height to the top of the head. The current height listed is based on the assumption that height is measured to eye level.

I think the biggest misnomer however is the idea that our models are a particular 'scale' and persist in referring to the height (such as 28mm) as a 'scale'. To be utterly pedantic about this that is not the correct definition of the word. One definition I found online says that scale is "A proportion used in determining the dimensional relationship of a representation to that which it represents". Now I'm no linguist but that sounds a lot like the Ratio or Fraction (eg 1:72 or 1/72nd scale) rather than a vague height to eye/scalp/hat level.

For me - and this is just my opinion, not a statement of right or wrong - which definition we use doesn't matter. I'm not a scale modeller, I'm a Gamer and slight variations in size don't bother me too much. For some gamers this is utter blasphemy and I wouldn't be surprised if a whole group of readers un-followed this blog immediately! [Please stay, I promise to behave in future] What I am most interested in is can models from different ranges and manufacturers be used together? and that is a much more difficult question to answer.

Monday 2 August 2010

Tabletop Gaming - Scale Guide

This chart of scales/sizes has been compiled from various sources and is my attempt to bring some clarity to the subject of scale and more importantly what alternatives are compatible with your chosen models. I have deliberately limited this guide to the range of tabletop gaming scales encountered on this blog and have left off anything smaller than 6mm (1/268th) or larger than 54mm (1/30th).

There are two measures of scale that seem to get used interchangeably between different manufacturers, groups of gamers and collectors. However where applicable I have also referred to the equivalent Railroad Scale as it is often possible to use buildings and models for tabletop gaming purposes.

  • Ratio or Fraction (i.e. 1:72 or 1/72) – The number on the right shows how many units (Inches, centimetres it doesn’t matter) on the life sized object are equivalent to one on the model. So a 1/100th model that stands 1cm tall represents a real object 100cm tall.
  • Size (i.e. 15mm or 28mm) – This is usually taken as the height of the average male figure and is measured from the bottom of the foot to eye level. But this isn’t standard across the industry and a lot of variation has resulted in “scale creep”.
The following table refers to the Ratio/Fraction in the first column and gives the equivalent Size next to it in the second column. I have highlighted the “scale” as it is referred to by gamers (i.e. 1/72nd, 15mm) in bold.

FractionSizeCommon Applications(& Example Manufacturers)
1/2686mmEquivalent to 1/285 scale and 1/300 scales. Popular for ‘Micro armour’ games.
1/2207mmZ scale model railroad scale
1/2008mm20th Century armoured vehicles and aircraft
1/16110mmFantasy, historical and science fiction. (Pendraken Miniatures)
1/16010.06mmN scale model railroad scale. Trees in this scale work well with 10-15mm models.
1/14411.2mmOfficial FOW Aircraft scale (Battlefront)
1/10715mmPopular Wargaming scale. Official FOW infantry scale (Battlefront / Old Glory / Peter Pig)
1/10016.1mm0TT Gauge. Alternative for 15mm
1/8718.5mm HO scale. HO Buildings are suitable for 15mm models (Hornby / Airfix / Revell)
1/80.520mmSkirmish-level 20th Century Wargaming.
1/7621.2mmOO scale. Plastic miniatures and kits are available in this scale for aircraft, ground vehicles, and soldiers. (Hornby)
1/7222.4mmPopular for die-cast toys and plastic kits. (Revell)
1/6425mmS Gauge. Traditional Wargaming scale. Fantasy Wargaming, historical skirmish-level games, science fiction, and for use with role-playing games.
1/5828mmSometimes referred to as "large" 25mm figures. Popular size for roleplaying models. (Games Workshop / Perry Miniatures)
1/5430mmAnother scale used for pre-20th Century miniatures.(Enigma Miniatures)
1/5032mmLoTR’s models (Mithril Miniatures)
1/43.537mmBritish O Gauge based on 7mm to the foot
1/4833.5mmUS O Gauge which is 0.25 inches to the foot and referred to as "quarter inch scale". Popular for plastic aircraft kits. (Tamiya)
1/4040mmACW & Napoleonic figures (Old Glory / Eureka Miniatures / North Star Figures)
1/3842mmRoughly corresponds to old B Range (Irregular Miniatures)
1/3546mmPlastic kits of armour. (Tamiya)
1/3250.3mmI scale.
1/3054mmSometimes called "Toy Soldier" scale

Links to Sources and Further Reading:
The Miniatures Page - Wikipedia - Model Makers ResourceAntenocitis Workshop
There is also an excellent series of articles about scale creep and figure proportions on the blog The World According to Tom

I'm treating this as a work in progress (like so many other things) so please let me know if I've made any glaring errors or omissions. Once I'm confident this is accurate and comprehensive I'll post the table as a Page for ease of reference.

Sunday 1 August 2010

Big Picture : Sound Mirror

This is a picture of a sound mirror on the escarpment north of the Dungeness peninsular in the south of England. These were built in the years before the invention of Radar and were used to amplify the sound of incoming aircraft and thereby provide an early warning system in the event of attack. The acoustic mirror programme was the brainchild of Dr William Sansome Tucker but was quickly abandoned once radar had been proved as a workable concept.

There are several different types of sound mirror around this area and many have been preserved because Dr Tucker ignored official orders to destroy them.