Some of the Austrian navy from the SE Asia campaign. It looked nice but met a ignominious end despite using Russian dreadnoughts for target practice....
I met up (observing the appropriate social distancing conventions) with Bill Knowles yesterday to take delivery of what will be the final part of the first phase of the great disposal of his father’s collection. By way of clarification this means the last of the 18th century stuff, the Napoleonic collection and some other assorted bits and pieces.
The Napoleonic collection was rather a late entry into the lists in that it did not form part of the initial disposals. In fact much of this only came to light when Bill was moving boxes around. Eric Knowles took part in the famous 1965 refight of Waterloo featuring Donald Featherstone and Tony Bath amounts others, taking the role of Picton. Much of Eric’s Napoleonic collection is Waterloo period and there are some rare old gems in terms of the figures. Time has not been kind to the collection in that most of this was in deep storage for nigh on 50 years and experienced several house moves. As a result units are completely mixed up, figures are off their bases and inevitably there are some casualties. It will be a major undertaking to sort this lot out but sort it I will.
There was also the remnants of Eric’s unpainted 20mm WW2 Russians - mostly gun crews and support stuff - and also a complete 14th Army for Burma.
A couple of painted late 17th century Spanish and Venetian cavalry units and some assorted camp follower/ camp scenic bits and pieces more or less completed the picture, apart from an innocuous looking paper box tucked to one side with a couple of Airfix 1:1200th scale Prinz Eugen boxes.
I was intrigues by these as they sat forlornly on the floor of Bill’s garage, the dust of ages adorning them and with the writing pale and faded.
Turkish destroyers - metal models from god knows where although I remember the large B97 types being sold at Eric’s shop. Actual Turkish ship names were used but as I recall we very soon ran out of these as the navy I was using was far larger than anything the Turks ever had!
I am not going to lie but seeing these again after some 40 years actually brought a lump to my throat.
Note the monitors - converted from 1:3000th scale Queen Elizabeth class dreadnoughts and named after something from Mark and Mindy! The submarines are Minifigs but I could not tell you what anything else is or was before Eric got his hands on it!
A selection of cruisers, again Eric had heavily converted some models, the origins of which are lost in the mists of time although both Airfix and Eaglewall plastic kits featured. Note the small cruiser in the bottom right hand corner.
The Turkish seaplane tender Omar Khayham. This started life as cheap ‘made in Hong Kong’ type toy so my role was merely applying the paint - Eric would routinely pass over a box of models that he had made to be painted so all of these models received their plumage from me. I was rather pleased with this one as it is the only 20th century warship I have EVER painted with a camouflage scheme!
The Omar Khayham looking rather dashing in her rather German 1941 looking paint scheme....
Although Eric provided the lion’s share of the models for the Turkish navy - my role was primarily painting them and preparing the Fletcher Pratt ship cards - I did produce a few of my own. The cruiser you see above one one of two that I built (the other being the Hamedieh) using the hull from an Airfix 1:1200th Tribal class destroyer. By inverting the hull and levelling the sides you were left with a really useful flush decked hull with a rather splendid ram bow. Both of these models came from a single pack of Tribals (there were two in a pack). Neither of these models were historically accurate but they looked close enough to what they should have and not only had the correct number of funnels but also guns in the right places! I was really pleased with them and even after some 40 years I would not be ashamed of putting these on the tabletop!
Another view, because I could! The guns were metal but everything else was plastic. The boats came from the spares box. I got a little carried away with the fore and aft tripod masts but they looked good!
Much of Eric’s collection has brought back many fond memories for me but this lot has really struck a chord, mainly due to my own involvement. I will look forward in due course to seeing what other ships surface (or should be submarines?) but for now I will think back to the days when the Turkish navy sailed proudly across the South China Sea whilst avoiding the allies....