Thursday 30 June 2016

Book Review: Relics of the Reich from Pen and Sword Books

In a slight change of tack from my usual posts on this blog, I have decided to do a quick book review. I occasionally post book reviews over on my other blog Iron Mammoth's R&R, but I felt that this one deserved a place on my primary blog as it relates to both military history and architecture ( I run an architectural model making workshop, and well as being a wargamer and modeller).

Relics of the Reich by Colin Philpott from Pen and Sword Books

I am no World War Two scholar, so this book covers areas that I don't normally read too much on, however, I found the book to be both enlightening and fairly easy to read.

It approaches the subject with an even attitude, and a good deal of respect for the horrors that occurred within some of the subjects of the book. The main focus is on the buildings that survived both the end of the war and the period immediately after when quite a few Nazi buildings were destroyed, with very good reason.
Each chapter focuses on a selection of buildings (or structures) that share a common aspect, such as the triumphal buildings built to promote the Thousand Year Reich, or military structures or more disturbingly, buildings that were closely involved with the "Final Solution" and the concentration camps.

Obviously, the text gives some history to the new buildings or the conversion of existing buildings, their working life and how these buildings have been repurposed after the war. Some of this was very interesting as many aspects of the development of Germany between the wars and the rise of the Nazi party was unfamiliar to me. Looking at the rise of Nazism from the aspect of urban planning is certainly not one I had encountered before, but it is very inciteful and I learned a great deal from the book.

A lot of the book is focused on how Germany has come to terms with its past and how it has decided to commemorate the things that were done during the war. Some buildings, including the Reich Chancellery and the Fuhrer Bunker, have been completely destroyed and are simply commemorated with an information board erected on their site. Others, such as the Prora-Rugen holiday complex, on the Baltic coast, have seen various uses, including military barrack (while under soviet control), and are now actually being turned into hotel accommodation, some 70 years after they were built.

The book is illustrated throughout with black and white photos. Many of which, are photos taken during the building's prime. There a few photos of the damaged building immediately after the war, such as the one above, which show the Valentin Submarine bunker.

The Relics of the Reich is well written and easy to understand. The text holds your attention even through some of the more mundane planning details. The one real issue I had with the book was the author's repeated use of the word pragmatic/pragmatism. I appreciate that it sums up the attitude taken to a lot of the building that survived the war, but to reuse the term so many times does become a little tiresome.

A good book and I am pleased that I read it. It is probably not going to be at the top of many people's reading lists, and certainly wasn't at mine, however, for anyone interested in the rise of Nazism and also how modern Germany dealt with its history, I would highly recommend it.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

3D printing terrain and a few other projects...

After getting the Cthulhu Wars job out of the way I have been slowly getting back on track. I have painted most of my AvP: The Hunt Begins miniatures, with a few needing a bit of finishing off.

While I paint them we have been playing Osprey's A Fistful of Kung Fu. This gave me a chance to actually use the Shaolin Monk figures that I sculpted nearly 20 years ago (I added a few extras from CP Miniatures).

In this photo, they are not quite finished. I had to paint the rims of the bases black and then give them all a coat of matt varnish.

I recently received a Halcyon Aliens APC as a gift from someone I occasionally chat with in the friendly local comic/games store, who knew I am preparing to play AvP. The only stipulation was that I get good use out of it. So with that in mind, it got bumped to the top of my to-do list. I have decided to add a few lights to the model, so I have ordered some LEDs and some fibre optics. I will come back to this once I have done a little more work on it.

Terrain wise, I have managed to get a second Printable Scenery building 3D printed. This time, I have printed the Inn.


The model is printed in three layers, the roof, the upper storey and the ground floor.

I am going to glue the roof and the upper storey together, as I will not need access to it. I will also add some lugs so that the top doesn't slide off of the ground floor.

While on the subject of, they have a new Kickstarter campaign drawing to a close at the moment. This one is for ruins and various other terrain pieces with several different genres covered (fantasy, post-apoc, sci-fi historical etc.). Well worth checking out if you have any access to a 3D printer.

If all that wasn't enough, as we are playing A Fistful of Kung Fu at the moment, it seemed appropriate to put together the 4Ground Shogunate Japan Peasant Smallholder's Dwelling (to give it it's full name) , that I received as part of my prize from the painting competitions that I won a couple of years ago.

As a designer of laser cut kits myself, I can really appreciate the level of work that has gone into producing this lovely little building.

The 4Ground kits certainly are not cheap, but level of detail is stunning and I will be looking at getting a couple more from this range before we start to play Daisho or Ronin.

This kit took about an evening and a half to put together and even with studying the instruction sheet quite closely and dry fitting pieces, I still managed to make a couple of mistakes. However, they were not catastrophic and the finished building looks fine!

That about wraps it up for now...

Friday 10 June 2016

Why the Frostgrave project stalled. I was sculpting a Cthulhu Wars monster...

My post about my terrain build for Frostgrave dried up a bit, earlier this year. The main reason was that I landed a job to sculpt one of the monsters for the Cthulhu Wars expansion from Petersen Games.

I haven't been able to say much about it until now. However, Petersen Games have added a photo of the mini to their Kickstarter update, so I can finally let it all out...

The Librarian of Celaeno is a big beastie, the round plinth that she is standing on is around 80-90mm across.

The plinth with the piles of books was supplied by Fenris Games (the manufacturer of the minis).

I really enjoyed this sculpt, it is amazing how easy it is when you don't have to work within the restrictions of human, or known animal anatomy.
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