Ebob and the Viking Ship

We decided again to show you some more work from Ebob, whose fabulous work with a tank we had as our hobby post last week.

Ebob sculpts models, and we really recommend you check out his page, but this project is another from a kit. He made use of the Revell Viking Ship for a Norman Landing ship which he uses when playing Saga. Its another project that he completed in a weekend and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a great model.

If you’ve been inspired to show off your work to the world do please get in touch with us at arcanescenery@gmail.com

The week long ago: 4隻の船が航行すしド来 る (4 ships came sailing by…)

On 14 December 1913 the Kongō class battlecruiser, Haruna, of the Imperial Japanese Navy was launched. During the ship’s active service in World War I she patrolled the Chinese coast, as one of the most heavily armed ships in the navy.


The Haruna in the 1930s.


The Kongō class battlecruisers though a fundamental part of the Imperial Japanese Army, were designed in Newcastle (yes that Newcastle) by a man named George.

Sir George Thurston was for many years the chief naval architect for Vickers Ltd (which became then Vickers-Armstrong). The company which over its history is responsible for all manner of items from artillery and submarines, to parts of the metropolitan railway infrastructure (that’s the classy bit of the London underground boys and girls). They had at one point the legendary Barnes Wallis designing airships for them, and were responsible for the design of the Mark III Valentine tank which served for both the British and Red Armies (disappointingly it was not festooned in hearts or Hallmark cards). Vickers and Vickers-Armstrong were also some of the most significant employers in the UK, particularly in the North of England and Southern Scotland with shipbuilding taking place in Newcastle, Clyde and Barrow in Furness.


Valentine tank of desert service.

But back to the ships…The Japanese ordered the battlecruisers in 1910 to be the capital ships (the most important vessels) of the Navy and by 1915 they, including the Haruna, were all in service. At 27.5k tonnes , armed with up-to 40 guns of one type or another, and a quarter of a kilometre long,  they were imposing vessels which could travel at 26 knots through the water to whomever was on the wrong end of their ire.

There were four ships in the group, the first Kongō was built in the UK and then driven (for want of a more appropriate term-help me out here!) to Japan, whilst the remaining three were built wholly in Japan. And though Yokosuka Naval Yard may not be a name familiar to all, Mitsubishi and Kawasaki, who built the Kirishima and Haruna respectively, undoubtedly are.

Corresponding to the British Vickers-Armstrong, which at its height was involved in many different types of British manufacturing, the Japanese heavy weights Kawasaki and Mitsubishi do far far more than motorbikes and  televisions. Much like Vickers, both companies have their roots in shipbuilding, though now Kawasaki (川崎重工業株式会社) are far more famous for their noisy bikes and industrial boring machines (that is machines that make holes, rather than those that make conversations tedious-they’re called Blackberries) and for us train fans they are one of the many Japanese companies that make Shinkansen carriages…Whilst Mitsubishi (三菱グループ) are known more now for their ugly cars and giant turbines, and are also Japan’s largest bank…


Iwasaki, founder of Mitsubishi


In the interwar years the ships were refitted, making them heavier, but also sturdier and more war capable…which came in handy for the upcoming hostilities…

During the war though, despite some notable successes, the ships did not fair too well.

The Kongō was sunk in 1944.


The Hiei had a rudder failure and had to be scuttled.

The Kirishima capsized losing 212 sailors.


The Kirushima

And the Haruna survived the longest, and was looking to make it through the second world war, until she was bombed nine times in July 1945, and somewhat unsurprisingly sank.

And whilst Vickers-Armstrong may not be what they once were (just ask most of Newcastle and Glasgow) they do sort of still exist, albeit now they are now part of  BAE Systems Submarine Solutions (no, we don’t know what would possess anyone to name a weaponry company as mealy mouthed as that either) and are currently building the latest addition to the Royal Navy’s submarine collection in Barrow-in-Furness.

George Thurston died in 1950, after a lengthy career designing bits of almost everyone’s military forces, in Torquay.

Do we have any Japanese battle fans reading? What periods are you interested in? Any shipping fans too?


DE 678

On 31 August 1943 a new ship joined the United States Navy. The ship was a Buckley Class destroyer, one of 102 in the fleet, a 306 foot long escort ship. Several Buckleys were also leased to the British Navy to become Captain-Class ships during the war. They were convoy escort ships, similar to frigates, with a good armoury of 3”guns,  21” torpedoes, depth charges, and a  hedgehog (which is a kind of mine, not a small spiky mammal).

A new 12,000hp ship in the midst of the second world war is hardly an unusual thing, but this one was. Or at least it’s name was. For DE 678, USS Harmon was the first American Naval ship to be named after a black person. Leonard Roy Harmon, was a Mess Attendant from Texas. He enlisted in 1939 and was posted on USS San Francisco. In November 1942, early on in the Guadalcanal (Operation Watchtower) campaign  the San Francisco was subject to an aerial assault from the Japanese , killing most of the officers. Harmon, helped to evacuate the wounded, and as he was doing so attempted to protect a shipmate from fire, and was killed.

The Navy cross was posthumously awarded and the decision to name a ship after him was announced in May 1943.

Sadly the ship itself was smelted in 1967, after a career that incorporated Iwo Jima, Pearl Harbour  and the Panama Canal .

Pictures from United States Navy Historical site 

Battle of Winchelsea 29 August 1350

The Hundred Years War (which was of course not 100 years but 116 years, which evidently isn’t as catchy) was a series of battles between the Plantagenets/Angevins and the Valois. The House of Anjou’s forces comprised: Burgandy, Aquitaine, Portugal, Navarre, Flanders, Hainaut, Luxembourg, England, the Montfort house of Brittany and the Holy Roman Empire (always good to have the big guys on your side…). The House of Valois, younger sons who suceeded the House of Capet in Burgandy, were supported by France, Castille, Scotland, Genoa, Majorca, Bohemia, the Blois house of Brittany, and the Crown of Aragon (said in movie voice over tone this sounds like the Arthurian sword “the crown of Arragoooon”).

The 100 Years war is often characterised as one of those many occasions on which the French and the English had a rather big tiff, and though there are no shortage of such moments in history (or indeed in the present), this was a lot more convoluted. Firstly, the Kingdom of France was not France as we think of it today but rather part of the eastern side of modern France, and secondly more of what is now modern France, was Aquitaine (as in Eleanor of). So indeed yes, France and England were of different sides, but a fair bit of what was then France is now Belgium, and an even larger part of the side that the Kingdom of England supported is now the bulk of France. And if all that fails to convince you its worth keeping in mind that the English crown was part of the House of Plantagenet, which is itself part of the House of Anjou, which was based in Orléans and Angers.

Medieval Kingdom of France, Aquitaine and all the other bits that are now France

The Battle of Les Espagnols sur Mer or the Battle of Winchelsea was part of the 100 Years war and took place in August 1350. Castille, as an experienced and talented sea warring kingdom had provided support to the House of Valois in this capacity. Their support had on occasion been less warfare and more general piracy, but so too had that of the English naval support. After a series of attacks by Carlos De la Cerda, Castillian nobleman cum mercanary-mercantile-navalman, Edward III resolved to attack the Castillian fleet on its way back from Flanders. With his fleet comprising around 50 ships with a range of enchanting names from the romantic Isabelle, to the Awdry-esque Thomas and Edward, to the Beveridge -Bevan-esque Welfare.

Edward III

Don Carlos expected some level of attack and whilst in port at Flanders he had recruited mercenary soldiers (Belgium doesn’t only make chocolates they made not only ponytailed scary boy Jean-Claude van Damme remember, but the utterly terrifying Tintin and Poirot) and set about attacking Edward’s ships that were anchored at Winchelsea. Which is currently a very very very small village a couple of miles south of Rye, but then was an important trading and naval port.

The Castillians took the battering ram approach to warfare, and chose to steer their ship into the vessel of the King, which promptly began to sank. The Castillians made use of their mercenary archers from Flanders and proceeded to deplete a number of Edward III’s navy, whilst also taking advantage of their exceptionally tall ships and dropping hefty lumps of iron onto English ships. In amongst which also sank the vessel of the  Black Prince (so named because…well frankly pick one of a dozen reasons ranging from he actually was black, or at least part Turkish so probably a bit browner than most pasty anglo-saxons, to it being in regard to his coat of arms).

Edward III and Edward, Black Prince

Remarkably the English did not lose…

Robert Namur, who was later knighted, was taken by a large Castillian (no snickering at the back) and despite cries for help, his comrades proved deeply unhelpful. However, one of his squires, Hannequin, who was not later knighted, saved his master and enabled the Castillian vessel to be taken.  Then a further 14 enemy vessels were taken, and though the English suffered heavy losses they evenually won, and arrived at a truce with the Basques.