Ebob and Fray Bentos

We love hearing from our readers and shoppers, and this week’s hobby post is from Ebob. Ebob has to take the award for  the speediest hobby completion, taking just a weekend from purchase to completion.

Basing his scene on the Battle of Fray Bentos, which was not a battle over unappetising pies, but a battle involving a tank nicknamed Fray Bentos in the First World War. Ebob has made use of this Emhar model, which he reports was good to put together though the rails were tricky as they are in three parts.

And this is what he has produced…

If you want to know more about the battle there’s a couple of sites that might be of use …here and here.

If you’ve got a project you’d like to tell us about please do so by commenting or using the contact form!

This week in history: The Dreyfus Affair

All countries have their dark moments in history. Sometimes they are terrifyingly dark pogroms, and other times they are more subtle moments of sad indictment on a society. December 1894 was one of those moments in France. A trial against a young soldier by the French Government inspired Émile Zola to write to a national newspaper, and launched the Zionist movement which was itself so influential in the birth of Israel.

Alfred Dreyfus was born in Alsace in 1859, his father worked in textiles, and the young Jewish family grew up in a Yiddish speaking area of Alsace. When the Germans won control over Alsace after the Franco-Prussian war the population were given the choice of remaining in the place they had always lived and renouncing their French nationality, or keeping their nationality and leaving what was now German territory. The family opted for the latter and upped sticks to Paris…

After a French education Alfred entered the military, after watching his home town be overtaken by the German as a small boy he wanted to contribute to protecting France, and became an officer trainee in 1893.

The French were still, even after the loss of Alsace, embroiled in to-ing and fro-ing with the Germans, and espionage was as common as it is today, albeit a little more que than Q technology wise. In the office of the German ambassador the French placed a cleaning lady who though appeared to her German ’employers’ as a stupid illiterate commoner, was infact a highly literate spy. She served passing a number of secrets on, and in 1894 she passed on the letter that divided France.

The bordereau was apparently found in a waste bin, though its good condition may also suggest that Madame Bastian stole it by some other means, contained a list of secrets that a contact was apparently willing to pass onto the Germans.

After some investigation suspicion fell on the only Jewish officer trainee, Dreyfus. A man who had is roots in what was now Germany, Alsace. Further investigation convinced the intelligence agents  (who frankly weren’t showing an awful lot of intelligence) that the handwriting in the note belonged to Dreyfus.

Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, the anti-Semitism prevalent in the French military persuaded the investigators that despite an almost devoted love of France that Dreyfus was guilty.

The trial divided France. With those persuaded that he must be the criminal, this strange foreign sounding man who had even whilst in training argued with his commanding officers over his treatment, against those who protested his innocence.

Dreyfus was found guilty, and sentenced to life imprisonment on the charmingly named Devil’s Island, but his sentence did not end the divisions in France. The battle over Dreyfus continued. In 1898 Émile Zola accused the government of anti-Semitism, and the debate raged on…

Despite finally discovering the real spy in that same year, the military were unwilling to admit the snafu and Dreyfus even found himself subject of a further court marshal. Happily though, in December 1900 he was finally pardoned.

Despite the appalling treatment of the government and military Dreyfus returned to his commission, and served as a reserve Major during World War I (his imprisonment causing health problems), even serving on the front line in 1917.




Friday Round Up

Lots of lovely new toys and things this week…

First up from Plastic Soldier Russian Heavy Weapons in 28mm 

The pack contains:
2 maxim teams firing
2 maxim teams moving
2 x 50mm mortar teams
2 x 82mm mortar teams
2 firing PTRS anti tank rifles
2 moving PTRS anti tank rifles


An expansion for the Rate of Fire WWII skirmish rules which covers tanks, soft vehicles, halftracks, SP guns, Artillery, anti-tank weapons and infantry weapons. It includes data for vehicles from allied and axis, with details of main and secondary weapons. It is not a complete rules set to used alone though.

The Murdoch-Brooks-NOTW stuff is nothing compared to the news we have now….A new Perry Miniatures plastic release…Mahdist Ansār 1881-1885 tribesmen

They’re Perry’s , they’re new and they’re awesome, what more do you need to know?

Convenient segue here because you might like to use some rules which are not in themselves new, but new to us at Arcane Scenery Death in a Dark Continent by Chris Peers, which covers a range of Sub Saharan conflicts in 1870 to 1899 period.


Sticking with the rules theme Rules of Engagement Campaign Scenarios are now available on CD in PDF format.


And coming soon….From North Star more Matabele Warriors, more Great War British Cavalry and early Germans and Brits, to the Wild West range more Buffalo Soldiers….Next week we’ll be talking about some new Warlord releases, but in the meantime the Wittman’s Tiger is now in stock (as are some slave girls for those Roman Centurians to get all, ummm, motivated)

Battle of Bazentin Ridge

Trench Warfare-Picture Credit Great War Primary Document Archive: Photos of the Great War

The Somme is one of the more notorious battle series in warfare. There aren’t many people in the west who haven’t heard of it in some context or other. Even the most resistant to history lessons have probably watched Blackadder (heck even the sports section of London Tonight on Monday discussed the Somme). Renowned for its devastation, tragedy on both sides, rats, bloodbaths and mudbaths the horror of the Somme is well known.

The Battle of Albert launched the Somme; the Battle of Bazentin Ridge (14th-17th July) marked the beginning of the second stage of this offensive.

General Sir Henry Rawlinson

The British had captured Mametz Wood on the 12th and to push through German lines General Henry Rawlinson and Lt Gen. Congreve concieved a plan to counter the failings of the early part of the Somme. Though General Haig was doubtful as to its effectiveness the plan was allowed to go ahead and at dawn on the 14th the bombardment began; interspersed with infantry movement forward.

German troops-Picture Credit Great War Primary Document Archive: Photos of the Great War

They captured Bazentin-le-Grand and Bazentin-le-Petit within hours. They then moved to take Longueval and stopped at High Wood, which was still a German stronghold. The next stage of the plan was to move forward to Martinpuich.

British Cavalry-Picture Credit Great War Primary Document Archive: Photos of the Great War

However, in the time that it had taken for the 7th Dragoon Guards and 20th Deccan Horse cavalry to arrive, the Germans had regrouped and readied for an attack. Subsequently the cavalry instead of having a relatively easy run forward, were bombarded with artillery and did not take the wood.

Picture Credit Great War Primary Document Archive: Photos of the Great War

Despite the evident strength of the Germans and the failure to take High Wood the British commanders still moved forward with the push toward Martinpuich, against opposition from within ranks, and on the 15th July that part of the attack began. However, the attack failed and many of the brigades involved lost more than 2/3 of their number. Though tactically the British were victorious they did not take High Wood for another two months and troops were severely depleted.

Arcane Scenery’s First World War items can be found here