To say the Naval history of the American Civil War gets short shrift in most accounts is a massive understatement. Indeed, most people with a casual knowledge of the conflict have little idea how big of a role the Navy played in the ultimate Union victory. Some can name the Battle of Mobile Bay, know there was a battle between two ironclads named Monitor and Merrimack, and are aware that there was a blockade. That is usually considered the bulk of it, whereas the truth is that the naval units of the conflict shaped it profoundly. In Capital Navy, John Coski takes a look at a little known aspect of this in his study of the Confederate’s James River Squadron, stationed just outside of Richmond on the James River.
Coski gives a good overview of Richmond as a shipbuilding city before the war, and how it laid the foundation for what was to come. While the city built four ironclads and had a Continue Reading »
Several weeks back I attended the 2015 Jersey Fest show here in New Jersey. As part of the three day weekend, I registered to take a miniature painting class, taught by Maya at Morland Studios. For the class fee of $65 you got two figures, one of which is the Sybil, Steampunk Lady Bust shown here, multiple bottles of paint, some high quality brushes, and, not least of all, hands-on training and critique by an extraordinary figure painter.
I used to paint a lot of gaming miniatures. While in the Navy they were the only things portable enough for me to take with me to the bases and aboard ship. I was never very good at them, though, as soft modeling (organic shapes and surfaces) has never been my forte’, I’m better suited to the realms of hard modeling (mechanical items). I’ve always wanted to learn to paint realistic skin tones, Continue Reading »
A memoir of the first year of the war, written by a veteran after the fact. Does a great job of filling in some of the “day in the life” of being a sailor at that time. This is the second book I’ve read by someone stationed in Pearl Harbor, and it’s odd to hear how the place was universally hated by military personnel. It wasn’t yet the paradise it is today. Continue Reading »
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
INTO THE STORM is in some way pretty much exactly what I expected, and in other ways not at all what I expected. It’s a quick read that doesn’t go too far in to the explanation as to how a WWII US Navy destroyer ended up in a parallel and prehistoric universe — which I like — but deals with the actions of the characters and how they deal with their new reality.
The things I expected and did find in the book are the stock characters that make up the crew. All from varying backgrounds, they all have the typical hard-assed or meek or jokester personalities, that you expect in a book about the crew of a warship. While these generalizations are typical of military books and seem cliche at times, much of is actually on-track with what my own experience in the Navy.
In the “I expected more of this” area, I did expect more action in this book. Of course as this is the first of the series, the world building needs to be done, and here it takes up a Continue Reading »
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Robert Kurson’s “Pirate Hunters” relates the story of two shipwreck hunters, John Chatterton and John Mattera, and their quest to find a verifiable Golden Age pirate ship. While a true story, the nature of the search and the backgrounds of those involved make for fact that’s more enthralling than most fiction.
The quest in “Pirate Hunters” is for the Golden Fleece, the 17th century pirate ship of Joseph Bannister, a well respected British merchant ship captain that suddenly turned pirate later in life (broke bad, if you will) and raised hell all over the Caribbean, even fighting off two British men-of-war while his ship Continue Reading »
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Mason has done a fantastic job of describing the life of an enlisted man on a battleship on the eve of WWII. His description of arriving at the training command in San Diego in 1940 was almost exactly the same as mine in 1988: the same late night arrival, not knowing what’s going on, finding an open bunk in a strange barracks in the dark, and the following days of figuring out where one belongs in a totally foreign new world.
His descriptions of time in the fleet also show how little the Navy changed in a half-century, with the Continue Reading »
My most recent completion is the Battlestar Valkyrie. A small-ish kit at just under 6 inches long. The intial cleanup of the resin parts took a while to get done, but once completed, the build and painting was fairly straight-forward.
Added to the website HERE.
The blog was down for a few days. According to the lovely lady at GoDaddy tech support, they “Made a change that didn’t affect 99% of our users”. But me, of course… I’m never in the good 1%.
Toasted Cake has published a podcast of my flash fiction piece “Forgotten”. Tina Connolly does a wonderful job with the reading. You can give it a listen HERE.
I finished this one some time ago, and have finally got around to posting it to the Model Building page of the website. You can see it HERE.
I’ve got another build or two that I’ve finished in the past year that have yet to be posted, and another two projects that are nearing completion. Now that I’ve upgraded my computer and got a newer version of Photoshop up and running, I’ll get around to adding them in due time.