How an Usherette’s torch won the air war (a parody)

This is the second installment in an occasional series which pokes gentle fun at the slightly odd, mostly useless and downright dangerous aeroplanes from what I like to call the ‘slightly foxed but still desirable’ age of British aviation.

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 15.34.12

Call it if you will, a ‘re-imagining’ of the accepted official history…

“I say chaps!”

Many aircraft companies of the inter-war era seemed to lack any sense of customer engagement or marketing savvy, and had a policy of thinking up a name for a new aeroplane by sitting down with an old copy of The Boys Big Book of Aeroplanes and a pin.

In the case of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, there was an unfortunate turn of events which saw them left with a bit of a naming issue for their new Type 156 Heavy fighter.

Indulge me, (it’s worth it). Continue reading “How an Usherette’s torch won the air war (a parody)”



I’m a big proponent of reciprocal action, the sharing of knowledge and skills and in my forthcoming book about Scale Model Photography, I cover the benefits of building modelling communities via our online images and creating mutual support through a personal blog or web page.

It’s not about the negative connotations of the hackneyed ‘attaboy’ responses, it’s affirming, supportive and encouraging.

This is a reblogged post from Jordan Peters and his advice is a great start if you are a blogger and model maker.

The Art of Blogging

Imagine you’d just decide to send out a lot of Christmas cards early in the month of December — to complete strangers.

What would happen?

Nothing? Maybe a few confused phone calls or letters?

Most likely you’d receive a great deal of Christmas cards in return, from people who don’t even know you.

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Fake news, flaky reviews (a parody)

Thanks to the runaway global political gravy trains that are behaving like mammoths on mescaline; and an incandescent media which thinks it’s all such a laugh, we have a phenomenon called fake news.

Like most things it’s not an original idea…


“See how our tireless workers smite the American weakling with ease”

In the good old bad old days, fake news was called propaganda. A dirty bomb of a word, it was largely confined to posters, newspapers and an occasional pompous gentleman on a state-sponsored news reel. It is wedged in our psyche and projects blunt images of blood stained bogeymen or the thinly veiled creeping tide of a menace to our ‘freedoms’.


As an interesting aside, did you know that the slogan “Keep calm and carry on” was never seen by the public in Britain during the war? (JSTOR, August 20, 2018)

Fake news like good old fashioned propaganda, is still the manipulation and conflation of fact with fiction… it just has an ‘always on’ button now.

What the..? This is a ‘modern adventures in model photography’ blog, not some deranged sociopolitical rant Anthony… what’s your point here young feller me lad?

Err sorry, kit reviews is where I’m going with this.

  • Can we really trust them to tell us the unadorned truth?
  • Are they the real deal?
  • Can you:

“tell your plastic from your trash, your culture from the crash, the stripper from the paint, the sinner from the saint, the ladder from the snake?” 

Caveat: Before we go any further, this is a satirical poke at our rapidly disintegrating world, addiction to consumerist marketing spin at the hands of commercial greed and our (at times) unwitting complicity in all of it by taking the word of others at face value.

So, don’t growl at me if your sensibilities are offended or your favourite reviewer’s ego takes an Aichi Val amidships, it’s meant to be tongue in cheek; and I’m a sensitive lad who doesn’t take kindly to shouty men with no sense of humour.

Also, watch out for the purple prose and tangential song references…”Ask questions, demand the truth” Continue reading “Fake news, flaky reviews (a parody)”

“Use both exits, no loitering”

This is the first in an occasional and light hearted series on inter-war and post-war British aircraft designs.

#1 in the series considers the ins and outs of vacating the ‘office’ and takes a sideways glance at the ergonomics of cockpit design and how the prevailing thoughts of designers in the 1930s and 40s tended towards form over function.

“It looks bloody marvellous  Sid, but are you sure it will fly?”

Sir Sydney Camm, W. Heath Robinson and the Hawker Typhoon

If Walter Gropius crystallised the European design ethic with a clinical functionality and clarity of line that resulted in the Beetle, Bf 109 and Tiger; then Sir Sydney Camm possibly spent much of the inter-war years in the Dog and Weasel with his good friend and mentor William Heath Robinson.  Continue reading ““Use both exits, no loitering””

Big Big Train’s True Founder: Tom Bombadil

I’m a big fan of Prog Rock and grew up with the likes of Genesis, Camel and even Asia. Big Big Train are a favourite and having spent five years working for someone with more than a passing obsession for all things Tolkien, I thought this might be interesting.


Since his first appearance in English literature, in 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Tom Bombadil has intrigued readers to no end.  Could he be an angelic vala gone native, an Adam without sin, or merely an enigma?

With the Bodleian’s new exhibit on J.R.R. Tolkien, some vital and compelling evidence has surfaced.  Vala gone native, Adam without sin, and enigma, Bombadil is also the founder of the greatest British progressive rock band of all time, Big Big Train.

Look closely at the Hildebrant Brothers’ depiction of Tom.  You, too, will be amazed.

39077920_1815178288518354_1047249031199195136_o Photoshop by Brad Birzer (but, really, by Martin Teraud).

The evidence, of course, had always been there, but most refused to see it.  Here’s the most telling passage from The Fellowship of the Ring.

He then told them many remarkable stories, sometimes half as if speaking to himself, sometimes looking at them suddenly with a bright blue eye under…

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