David Knights' Weblog

November 6, 2008

More sad news

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 2:17 pm

It is being reported over on Hyperscale that Alan W. Hall, the man behind Scale Aircraft Modelling as well as the aclaimed author of numerous books and magazine articles related to modeling and avation generally, has died.  Mr. Hall was a giant of our hobby and responsible for the interest and growth of the hobby.  He will be sadly missed.

His home IPMS chapter in England has a tribute to him on their website here.

November 5, 2008

Neat website

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 6:00 pm

I am a member of the Small Air Forces Clearing House (SAFCH).  In the latest issue of their magazine, No. 126, there is a note about a website on military aircraft insignia.  The site is here. (Link is dead now, 2019) This might come in handy from time to time trying to identify some of the more obscure markings.  You might want to bookmark the site.

Sad News

Filed under: General — dknights @ 2:58 pm
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Author Michael Crichton has died.  I enjoyed many of his books.  Other than Terry Pratchett, I’ve probably read more books by Crichton than by any other author.

UPDATE:  Mark Steyn has a nice final column about Crichton here.

November 3, 2008

Book Review: Wellington’s Smallest Victory

Filed under: General,Modeling — dknights @ 5:31 pm
Tags: ,

Book Review: Wellington’s Smallest Victory

By Peter Hofschröer

Review by D. M. Knights

ISBN: 0-571-21769-9



This is a book any model builder would love.  It is the story of Lt William Siborrne, a British Army officer who was hired after the battle of Waterloo to create a diorama of the battlefield at the height of the battle.  This time in the battle was commonly referred to as the “Moment of Crisis”, when the final attack of the French was beaten off by the British.  This diorama, known as “The Large Model” to distinguish it from a separate diorama that Lt. Siborne did of a portion of the cavalry battle, took Siborne from 1830 to 1841 to complete.  Worse yet, initially commissioned to do the model for the government, he began the work and was paid a small sum for his initial expenses, but then successive changes in governments caused each successive administration, including the government headed by the hero of the battle, The Duke of Wellington, to refuse to pay for the completion of the model.  Siborne, who had poured his heart and soul into the project, refused to be deterred and completed the model using his own funds, to the point of going into hock for everything he owned to finish the model.  The Duke of Wellington apparently did not want to see the model finished and displayed because it depicted the Prussians as having had a much greater part in the final defeat of the French than Wellington had given them in his own report on the battle.  For years Siborne stubbornly held to his depiction of the battle, but in the end he was so desperate to see the model finished and displayed that he even agreed to change the model in exchange for the government paying him back for what he had invested.  Thus it was Wellington’s “smallest victory”.


As a modeler, I couldn’t help but feel for Siborne and his trials as he struggled to complete his amazing model. The completed model measures 21 feet by 19 feet.  It is still in existence and is on display in London.   We, as modelers, have all been there.  Maybe not with governments opposing us, maybe not with the threat of financial ruin hanging over our head (though with the price of photoetch and resin accessories that time may be coming) but none the less any modeler reading the book can sympathize with the struggle to complete the model.  I found this book at Half Price Books and took it with me on vacation in Jamaica.  I couldn’t put it down.  I highly recommend it.

November 1, 2008

Movie Review: Scoop (2006)

Filed under: Family,General — dknights @ 11:06 pm

I do book reviews on the blog from time to time.  However, this is my first movie review.  The modelwife has Netflix.  I am not particularly interested in Netflix, since I have limited time as is, but the modelwife rents movies and gets some for the modeldaughter.  Mostly it is either kids movies or chick flix.  However, recently the modewife rented this movie.  I wasn’t particularly interested since 1. I had never heard of the movie and 2. I HATE WOODY ALLEN.  Ever since his movie “Manhattan”, I have just absolutely hated the few Woody Allen movies I have seen.  However, as we were painting the family room at the modelmanse, I couldn’t really object when she wanted to watch Scoop, while we were painting.

Color me shocked.  It was a good movie.  I even enjoyed Woody Allen’s character, even though he was simply playing Woody Allen, rather than actually acting.  I am not saying it was great, but it was a good story and very entertaining for the hour and a half running time.  If you get a chance, watch it.

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