Monday, November 04, 2013

Antonine to Zimmerit: another busy few days.

Not much painting done again this last week, apart from a bit on my first Empire of the Dead figure, Captain Nemo, as I have been whizzing around Britain a bit.  Tonight I have to stay up to take Guy to buy some computer game he has ordered which comes out at midnight so I may just sit and type a bit while the varnish dries on Nemo.

I was in Poole on Tuesday visiting the RNLI college.  I had sort of expected a sort of Portakabin not the impressive edifice I was presented with.  This was one of just five huge buildings on the site with another new lifeboat factory under construction.  The impressive indoor wave tank is used for practising rescues, capsize drill and life raft work and can generate waves a metre and a half in height.  I have been a supporter of the RNLI ever since I had to jump off a burning powerboat into the Solent in the seventies and was picked up out of the sea by the Yarmouth lifeboat.  I also really like their special Lifeboat tea so picked up some more in the shop there!  I can't paint without it!

I hadn't been to Poole since about 1973 and the thing that was most noticeable on the waterfront was the huge Sunseeker factory churning out massive motoryachts destined for places which are a lot warmer than Dorset.

I finished earlier than I had expected at the RNLI and was surprised when my wife suggested we go on to Bovington Tank Museum which was about fifteen miles away.  Again, I hadn't been there since 1971 and remember absolutely nothing about it but I suspect it looked nothing like the splendid museum that is there today.

My "little boy" with a Challenger

Whenever I see real tanks I am always surprise by how big they are.  It's a life of being brought up on Airfix kits I suppose!

Little Willie

 Mark I The Airfix one!

Mark IV

 Mark V

 Renault FT-17

Medium Mark A Whippet

When I went in 1971 I was fixated on World War 2 tanks and German ones in particular, so didn't appreciate the really outstanding collection of WW1 tanks they have there. It really made me want to get on and finish my Great War Miniatures Mark IV tank.  It was nice to see that my choice of Humbrol No 29 was spot on for this period!

Mr Hayton works on the Tiger unaware that he is about to be collared by the Old Bat.  Even a Tiger cannot protect you!

Guy was more interested in the modern tanks and he and I wandered off leaving my wife behind.  Now all of her family have this embarrassing habit of striking up conversations with perfect strangers.  When I was small I was told not to talk to strangers.  Not because they might be dodgy but because they were probably going to be ghastly.  As a result the Legatus is a shy, retiring type but not my wife.  Having lost her, we went back on ourselves and found her up in the turret of the famous Tiger I.  Yes, she had got chatting to the workshop manager. Mike Hayton, who was now giving her a guided tour of the Tiger.  He was preparing it as it is off (this week) to the set of the new Brad Pitt World War 2 movie Fury, which is currently filming.  Mr Hayton did not seem too enamoured of the idea of his beloved Tiger going off to a film set!  Brad Pitt visited the museum last week but Mr Hayton said he didn't recognise Pitt and had to have him pointed out to him!

I took dozens of pictures which I won't inflict on everyone, especially as someone on one of the blogs I follow took some much better pictures this summer.  I was intrigued to see the Bolt Action rules on sale in the very good shop as well as Flames of War rules, tanks and figures.  I didn't buy anything though!

On Thursday it was up to Edinburgh to see how Charlotte was getting on at University.  As she had to do Astrobiology on the Friday we went to see the Falkirk Wheel, as Guy is interested in doing engineering at university.  This is an impressive piece of equipment that removes the need for a staircase of locks and replaces it with a massive lift that can carry boats from one canal to the other.  Frankly I thought it looked more like some sort of rocket launching accelerator ramp.

 The grassy bridge across the ditch is the main Roman road into the fort (centre bottom in the picture below)  The wall is the bank on the left.

I was pleased to discover that only about a mile from the Wheel were the remains of the Antonine Wall and Rough Castle Fort.  All just grassy banks now (it was a turf and wood wall not a stone one like the more southerly Hadrian's Wall) but it was a bit of a bonus to climb around it for an hour.

These are some of the defensive pits that would have been filled full of spikes on the northern side of the wall.

The main fort from a neighbouring hill.  The fort was built on top of a high hill which would have had very good visibility all round.

Next day a solid breakfast was called for (although no haggis disappointingly) before the ascent of Arthur's Seat in weather that could be politely called inclement.  Horizontal sleet is always bracing.

I have to say that the more I see of Edinburgh the more I like it and I can see why Charlotte chose to go to university there, although as we were moved away from our airport gate due to a fire alarm on Saturday I did rather wish she had gone to Southampton, which is an hour's drive away, instead.  Next stop is Houston next week and then on to Colombia and Cartagena, pirate capital of the Caribbean!  Hopefully that will be it for travel in 2013.


  1. I hadnt heard about "Fury"... will have to watch out for that one... great to see the Tiger getting used in a movie :-)

  2. Yes, it's due out in about a year's time...

  3. You weren't kidding about being busy! I find tramping about old fortifications gives a far better sense of what they would have been like to storm. Hills that seem scenic in pictures or on maps become an entirely different prospect when you have to slog up them.


  4. I was in Edinburgh myself last week for a flying visit to parade the grandson and heir to the northern branch and can only confirm wholeheartedly your view on Edinburgh - a delightful city matched only by Bath in my opinion.. thanks for the heads up on that fort - I might drag the pater familias round it the next time I'm up there.

    PS. Stonking breakfast - is that a deep fried Mars Bar under the fried eggs? :o)

  5. So Mrs Legatus' talked her way inside the Tiger... impressive!