Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Maritime Museum

After the Museu do Combatente it was across the road to the Jeronimos Monastery, I visited the church and cloisters, then moved on to the Maritime museum, which occupies two side of the monastery.

It's a huge number of rooms many filled with model ships in cases from many eras. Helpfully I had read up on Henry the Navigator a year ago so it was easy to assimilate all the information on the age of discoveries.

The vessels used at the time seem unbelievably small

The trading post (fort) of Diu in India, a marvellous setting for a obscure campaign (link)

Lots of classic ships from the age of sail

Some splendid marines in green with red facings

steam/sail hybrids


More modern Portuguese ships

Then you move to a modern extension containing real vessels

A royal barge last used for Queen Elisbeth's visit

It took over two hours to go round and it could easily have been three. Perhaps I should have taken notes as there was so much material that was new to me, however with the internet I can still check up on the bits I remember.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Museu do Combatente Lisbon

There is a new military museum adjacent to the Tower of Belem. Its theme is those who fought in Portugal's Twentieth Century wars.

It;s inside a more modern fortification and is overlooked from the Tower.

I has a selection of guns and equipment like this 75mm pack howitzer.

It is concerned with all the military forces involved in foreign combat including the police.

Part of the original equipment of the fort

Yes that is a Stuart at the far end.

I didn't take any pictures inside. One room had modellers collection of aircraft and it's surprising how many different types the Portuguese airforce fly.
The most interesting section of rooms was the African liberation struggle - lots of intriguing pictures, but with Portuguese captions so it was difficult to get a proper impression.
Each of the casemates had a section concerned with one arm of service with explanation of the uniforms and past and current roles. Finally like many museums at the moment there was a WW1 trench experience.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Tower of Belem

All along the Tagus estuary are a series of small vauban syle forts defending various landing points, but the most impressive is the Tower of Belem on the old outskirts of Lisbon.

It used to be beyond the shoreline but this is no longer the tidal shore it once was and has been expanded seawards.

The lower level is where the real power lies as it has openning for guns all round. No picture I'm afraid as it was full of tourists.

The level below the guns has ammunition storage and was also used as a prison.

The tower is the forts real feature with a traffic light system for controlling ascent/descent.

Splendid views from the tower across the Tagus.

The other side of the tower with yours truly!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros)

Positioned on a high above Sintra in Portugal overlooking the Tagus estuary and the west coast is a fantastic castle.

You can take the bus up, but better is the stiff climb through the trees of the Quinta Sasseni, about 15minutes from the top the castle appear above you

This is a popular area for rock climbers as well

The view directly down to the national palace shows how far we climbed

The Moors built the fort in the tenth century in a col between two hill tops.

The view down the way we ascended.

The opposite hilltop with Pena palace beyond

The castle was "invaded" by King Sigurd I of Norway in 1109

It actually fell to the Portuguese following the conquest of Lisbon in 1147.

During the 12/13th centuries the fortifications were improved

While the structure was well fortified by 1383 most of the population was moving down to Sintra

The castle was badly damaged in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake

It was rebuilt by King Fernando II at the same time as Pena palace was constructed.

Another view of Pena.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Normal service will now be resumed

It's been a bit quiet here for a while because I took advantage of some cheap flights to visit Lisbon and nearby. I managed to visit a number of interesting sites and museums and they will be the subjects of some future posts. Now I just need to re-motivate myself to get painting again.

Friday, 30 October 2015

A slight diversion - French R35s

Having failed to buy any S-Model R35s at Derby as PSC was out of stock. I took the plunge and ordered direct from China, the price including postage was virtually the same. Although I had some 1/76 resin R35s I always wanted some more.

The package arrived while I was in a lull with my cossacks so opening the kits I decided they would be quick to assemble. Indeed they were, I assembled three as the early version with the short 37mm and one with the later long version. I general Im ignore the PE parts but I did use a couple of bits and some "Sgt's mess" stowage.

The commanders came from the Matchbox Char B1 and a Solfig set I won at a SOGGy auction a few years back.

Out of the various camouflage schemes possible I picked this one as it looked the most suitable for fighting in France, the Levant or Morocco

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Last of the half tracks - for now!

An Esci sdkfz 250/3. This should have been completed at the same time as the rest of the 250s. However on starting construction I found the model was badly warped and I had to try various method to get it stright again. In the end It was done by actually cutting the upper hull into pieces and then reassembling and filling the gaps.

I also scrapped the interior, which was badly modelled as well as warped and used a left over PSC interior cut to fit and added in the supplied radio plus some PSC crew.

To finish the saga, I realised that I would be better painting it for early war.

I did have an unwarped 250/10 but after my experiences with this one I sold it.