David Knights' Weblog

March 31, 2020

Valom Firebrand

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 4:30 pm
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Valom has released the boxart on their Firebrand TF.V.  Way cool.

March 30, 2020

Cold war spying

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 3:22 pm
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It amazes me how thoroughly the British intelligence serves had been penetrated during the cold war.  Story here.

March 18, 2020

Intelligence gathering

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 12:22 pm
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It is a dirty job.  A great read.

March 12, 2020

Movie review: The Trench (1999)

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 4:43 am
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I’d never heard of this film before Dr. Hill lent me the DVD.  Apparently it was an independent film made in 1999.  I don’t think it got a very wide release.  I haven’t been able to find any box office numbers for it.  It is a shame that it didn’t get a wider release.  It is a good film.  Not a great film, but a good one. The story centers on a British Army platoon holding a section of forward trench that will be part of the jumping off point for part of the attack on the Somme.  The film’s goal is to illustrate both the boredom and tension that the troops in the forward trenches were under.

The movie stars Daniel Craig in his pre-Bond career as the platoon sergeant who know what stress his troop are under and what awaits them in the coming battle.  He spends the story trying to both educate the men in the skills that will increase their chances of staying alive, while also trying to maintain order and discipline and keep the boredom from degenerating into insubordination.

I liked the movie.  I think it did a decent job of telling the story in a way to keep the viewer interested while imparting the feel of trench warfare.  The movie is a tight 98 minute long and well worth the time to see it.

March 9, 2020

MXY-7 info

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 5:19 pm
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My last model completion was the Brengun kit of the MXY-7 OhkaHere is a blog post by someone who assisted in the restoration of the one at the IWM. (h/t Jeff “Inch High” Groves)

February 21, 2020

Movie review: The Lion in Winter (1968)

Filed under: General — dknights @ 10:00 am
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The Turner Classic Movie channel is one of the best channels on DirectTV.  The only bad thing about it is watching the movies on that channel will quickly make you realize what crap movies and crap actors we have in Hollywood today. The Lion in Winter is the story of an aging King Henry II in 1183. He has 3 sons. He has imprisoned his wife, the queen (who is also the former queen of France) and is having an affair with his ward, a French princess, who was sent over as a child to be the wife of his eldest surviving son Richard. Henry wants to bypass his eldest Richard for the title of the next King in favor of his youngest son, John. (BTW, in actual history Richard is later to become Richard the Lionhearted and John is evil King John of Robin Hood fame.) The queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, favors her eldest son Richard.  Eleanor and Henry are locked in a love/hate relationship and use every weapon at hand to hurt each other.  In fact, in many ways the question of who gets to be the next King doesn’t much seem to matter to either except in the fact that each chooses in opposition to the other out of spite.

The movie is phenomenal.  Peter O’Toole is amazing as Henry and Katharine Hepburn is great as Eleanor.  I did not realize that at the time of the movie, Hepburn was 25 years older than O’Toole. Anthony Hopkins plays Richard in one of his first movie roles. The dialogue is sharp and the interplay between Henry and Eleanor, switching between spite and love and back again is fantastic.  The film was nominated for 8 academy awards and won 3.  If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely add it to your must watch list. 5 stars.

February 15, 2020

Book review: Gloster Gladiator Aces

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:00 pm
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Gloster Gladiator Aces
Osprey of the Aces #44
Author: Andrew Thomas
ISBN 1 84176 289 X
Publication year 2002
Pgs 96

The Gloster Gladiator was the last RAF biplane fighter put into service. It was also the last biplane fighter to see combat service with the RAF. While most people tend to think of the Gladiator as proceeding the Hurricane and Spitfire, it actually was developed and built almost contemporaneously with those other two, more famous aircraft. The Gladiator was a progressive development of Gloster’s Gauntlet biplane fighter and it was developed and ordered as an insurance policy in case the more radical Hurricane and Spitfire failed to live up to expectations. They didn’t, and as a result the Gladiator had a very limited front line service with RAF home fighter squadrons, with only a couple of squadrons seeing limited service in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain. However, the Gladiator saw more extensive service in the Mediterranean, Greece, Egypt and east Africa. In addition, the Gladiator was used by the Greek, Chinese, Belgian, Norwegian and Finnish air forces. Most famously, the naval version, the Sea Gladiator saw limited but vital service on Malta, constituting its only air defense for several months after Italy’s entry into WWII

This book is in the classic Osprey format.  It starts with a history of the aircraft and then flows naturally into discussion of the use of the aircraft in a particular theater, highlighting the stories and combats of some of the pilots who became aces flying the aircraft.  in addition, in the center of the book there are 9 pages of color side view illustrations of some of the aircraft flown by the pilots whose stories are told in the book.

While the book is by no means comprehensive it is an excellent introduction to the Gladiator and its combat history. While a little expensive if purchased at full price ($18) the titles in this series can often be purchase at a discount if you shop around.  I recommend the book to anyone wanting a basic introduction to the Gladiator’s combat experiences in WWII.

February 14, 2020

I did not know this

Filed under: General,Technology — dknights @ 10:36 am
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Story here.  I didn’t know that the British dumped the ordinance there.  I would have thought they’d have taken it to a deeper part of the ocean.

February 1, 2020

American Battlefield Trust

Filed under: General — dknights @ 6:36 am
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These folks do great work preserving American Battlefields and in teaching history.  Here is a 4 minute video on combat in the Revolutionary War.

January 30, 2020

The amazing stuff you find on YouTube

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 3:38 pm
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Was doing some research and found the video below.  It is from a French officer’s home movies that he took while participating in the 1940 Battle for Norway.  Freaking amazing!

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