Monday, July 16, 2018

Mimi and Toutou go forth - A book review

Every once in a while you read a book that makes you think:

·     This is weirder than most fiction I ever read.
·    And why has no one made a movie out of this?

“Mimi and Toutou go forth” is such a book. It deals with the battle of Lake Tanganyika (even the name of the battle seems too weird to be real. But it is) in 1915. This battle was fought between British and German Navy ships and resulted in a British victory.

Why and how a battle was fought on the worlds second largest, oldest and deepest lake (not to mention it lies nearly 800 meters above sea level) and how those ships got there in the first place is a tale whose epic proportions are only rivalled by its absurd details.

Giles Foden recounts this details in brilliant tongue-in-cheek prose, serving a bizarre episode of history rich with colonial arrogance and jingoistic madness with a pleasant dose of humour.  

He finishes with no less amusing details about the book and the movie "The African Queen" which were loosely based on these events. So apparently someone did make a movie out of this. It is just a shame the most amazing events were omitted from book and movie alike to serve the public an easier and more believable tale with some romance in it. And to such an extent that few would guess the book was related to the battle of Lake Tanganyika. 

For last, however, he saves the harsh present. Hitching a ride on Liemba, the last surviving ship of that battle, he recounts the hard lives people in that region still have to live, the fleeting benefits of "civilisation" and colonialism and most of all the transience of events once great but now forgotten by nearly everyone. A sobering finale. 

Nevertheless the book is a great read and I'd recommend it to anyone. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Rome was not built in a day..... Part 3

Last episode's cliffhanger was of course a bridge, to be hung between tow housing block so as to facilitate a second level of play. 

And with that the project is practically finished. The house without balcony received some shades for over the porches and that was it. And of course the graffiti, which was a Roman invention as far as I know.

The entire table, including the not-quite-finished temple from the starter set.

The balconies were made from matchsticks, carved with a motor tool and glued together in that typical Roman symmetrical woodwork. The bridges were made in the same way.

The one piece of graffiti that is not historical, but literary. Anyone (except Sander :) ) who knows its source?


Since the terrain is modular it can be placed in all kinds of ways to make squares as well as alleyways.

A game in full swing.

Fierce fighting among the vegetables....

Lucius chickened out....

Mommy mommy I want to see the fight!!!!

My son musing my -extremely narrow- victory which literally depended on the colour of the first pebble of the turn....

On cork....

I built this entire project in cork plate. Growing curious about working with the material and seeing the fantastic results people like Matakishi achieved with it I decided to use it for Rome.

Lets state first that cork plate is a fine material that can be easily worked, glued and painted and even looks like Roman concrete without any special effort. That aside, I don't think it is very well suited to buildings that can be disassembled. It is very flexible which does not help the fit. It is also not very strong and will tear or break relatively easily. If I would attempt this same project again, I would use foamboard or MDF.

I remain convinced however that it is eminently suited for glued-together buildings. Alas, I usually lack the storage space for such things, so I don't see myself using cork again any time soon. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Rome was not built in a day....part 2

Following part 1 here is the second phase of me building Rome.

Using self-adhesive cork sheet for windowsills and door posts. And mesh for the windows.

The roof base is posterboard, reinforced with cork triangles to keep the shape.

Some alternative positioning.

Rooftiles made from corrugated cardboard, scored to give the impression of rows of rooftiles.

And it still fits in that one box!

Spraypainting the parts. Grey underlayer and cream white light-up. The rooftiles are dark brown, to be highlighted with Blood Red.

More painting.

All the painted parts so far.

The balcony railings made from matchsticks. I was unsatisfied with my first attempt and threw that away. This looks much better.

And what will these be?
You will see...
In part 3!