Friday, August 25, 2017

A Curious Footnote

“Three Perfectible States of Being”, William Pantler, Henry Lintot, London, 1735.

The three perfectible beings are angels, men, and fairies.

Footnote #2, page 210, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Princess Akivasha

"'You have heard of Princess Akivasha?' inquired the girl on the couch.

'Her only sin was that she loved life and all the meanings of life,' said the Stygian girl. 'To win life she courted death. She could not bear to think of growing old and shriveled and worn, and dying at last as hags die. She wooed Darkness like a lover and his gift was life—life that, not being life as mortals know it, can never grow old and fade. She went into the shadows to cheat age and death—'

Conan glared at her with eyes that were suddenly burning slits. And he wheeled and tore the lid from the sarcophagus. It was empty. Behind him the girl was laughing and the sound froze the blood in his veins. He whirled back to her, the short hairs on his neck bristling.

'You are Akivasha!' he grated.

She laughed and shook back her burnished locks, spread her arms sensuously.

'I am Akivasha! I am the woman who never died, who never grew old! Who fools say was lifted from the earth by the gods, in the full bloom of her youth and beauty, to queen it forever in some celestial clime! Nay, it is in the shadows that mortals find immortality! Ten thousand years ago, I died to live forever! Give me your lips, strong man!'

Rising lithely, she came to him, rose on tiptoe and flung her arms about his massive neck. Scowling down into her upturned, beautiful countenance he was aware of a fearful fascination and an icy fear.

'Love me!' she whispered, her head thrown back, eyes closed and lips parted. 'Give me of your blood to renew my youth and perpetuate my everlasting life! I will make you, too, immortal! I will teach you the wisdom of all the ages, all the secrets that have lasted out the eons in the blackness beneath these dark temples. I will make you king of that shadowy horde which revels among the tombs of the ancients when night veils the desert and bats flit across the moon. I am weary of priests and magicians, and captive girls dragged screaming through the portals of death. I desire a man. Love me, barbarian!'

She pressed her dark head down against his mighty breast, and he felt a sharp pang at the base of his throat. With a curse, he tore her away and flung her sprawling across the couch.

'Damned vampire!' Blood was trickling from a tiny wound in his throat.

She reared up on the couch like a serpent poised to strike, all the golden fires of hell blazing in her wide eyes. Her lips drew back, revealing white pointed teeth."

Chapter 18: 'I Am the Woman Who Never Died', The Hour of the Dragon, Robert E. Howard

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Narrow Gauge Two Ton Flat Wagon

This 7mm scale 0-16.5 narrow gauge 2 Ton Flat Wagon is manufactured by Peco who produces “Great Little Trains”.  As you can see by its design the flat wagon is built off a British prototype.  In the US this wagon would be designated as On30 and run on HO gauge track. The wagon is made from white metal and wheel sets of a non-conductive material.

Some of the other items in this series are:

Model #



Tram Locomotive


Fletcher Jennings Saddle Tank Locomotive


0-4-0 Hunslet Quarry Locomotive


4-Ton Mineral Wagon


2-Ton Bolster Wagon


1-Ton Slate Wagon


4-Wheel Open Wagon


4-Wheel Box Van


Side Tip Wagon


4-Wheel Coach/Brake-Maroon Livery


4-Wheel Coach/Brake-Green Livery

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Ghoul Attacks Conan!

"Conan lay and stared, half expecting it to vanish like a figure of a dream, and then a chill of recollection crept along his spine. Half-forgotten memories surged back, of grisly tales whispered of the shapes that haunted these uninhabited forests at the foot of the hills that mark the Zingaran-Argossean border. Ghouls, men called them, eaters of human flesh, spawn of darkness, children of unholy mating's of a lost and forgotten race with the demons of the underworld. Somewhere in these primitive forests were the ruins of an ancient, accursed city, men whispered, and among its tombs slunk gray, anthropomorphic shadows—Conan shuddered strongly.

He lay staring at the malformed head that rose dimly above him, and cautiously he extended a hand toward the sword at his hip. With a horrible cry that the man involuntarily echoed, the monster was at his throat.

Conan threw up his right arm, and the dog-like jaws closed on it, driving the mail links into the hard flesh. The misshapen yet man-like hands clutched for his throat, but he evaded them with a heave and roll of his whole body, at the same time drawing his dagger with his left hand.

They tumbled over and over on the grass, smiting and tearing. The muscles coiling under that gray corpse-like skin were stringy and hard as steel wires, exceeding the strength of a man. But Conan's thews were iron too, and his mail saved him from the gnashing fangs and ripping claws long enough for him to drive home his dagger, again and again and again. The horrible vitality of the semi-human monstrosity seemed inexhaustible, and the king's skin crawled at the feel of that slick, clammy flesh. He put all his loathing and savage revulsion behind the plunging blade, and suddenly the monster heaved up convulsively beneath him as the point found its grisly heart, and then lay still.

Conan rose, shaken with nausea. He stood in the center of the glade uncertainly, sword in one hand and dagger in the other. He had not lost his instinctive sense of direction, as far as the points of the compass were concerned, but he did not know in which direction the road lay. He had no way of knowing in which direction the ghoul had dragged him. Conan glared at the silent, black, moon-dappled woods which ringed him, and felt cold moisture bead his flesh. He was without a horse and lost in these haunted woods, and that staring deformed thing at his feet was a mute evidence of the horrors that lurked in the forest. He stood almost holding his breath in his painful intensity, straining his ears for some crack of twig or rustle of grass.

When a sound did come he started violently. Suddenly out on the night air broke the scream of a terrified horse. His stallion! There were panthers in the wood—or—ghouls ate beasts as well as men."

Chapter 12: The Fang of the Dragon, The Hour of the Dragon, Robert E. Howard

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Lord Portishead’s Books on Magic-October 1807

The following is a small list of books purported to have been written by Lord Portishead, a fictional character found in Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell novel.

“By the time Lord Portishead had given up magic in 1808 he had written the following books:

  • The Life of Jacques Belasis, Longman, London, 1801
  • The Life of Nicholas Goubert, Longman, London, 1805
  • A Child's History of the Raven King, Longman, London, 1807 (this volume was illustrated by Thomas Bewick)”

A Gentleman with the Thistle-Down Hair, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Narrow Gauge Plymouth Locomotive

The first time that I saw this little locomotive it still held a pretty good coat of yellow paint. As it sits here it languishes and the rust has just about mastered it. The loco is a narrow gauge Plymouth Locomotive and in its day it might have been used at some foundry or mine. This is one of the last locomotive pictures I took at the event. It is a shame that this little loco is being neglected.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Reading Line Diesels

I overlooked this picture when uploading the others.

Reading Railroad Heritage Museum Railfest

This year’s Reading Railroad Heritage Museum Railfest was held on August 11 through the 13 and in addition to the normal historic exhibitions and displays included many off site events. I didn’t attend or participate in any of these events, but I did get plenty of nice photos of the scale layouts and out door equipment displays.

Indoor HO Scale Layout

There were two HO gauge layouts displayed at this year’s show. These images were taken of the “smaller” of the two.

Large Scale Layout (Is it S or O gauge?)

Large (110 foot) Modular HO Gauge Layout

N-Gauge Layout

There were all types of Reading Railroad equipment on the grounds.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Mr. Norrell Speaks and Brings a Young Woman Back to Life

O Lar! Magnum opus est mihi tuo auxilip. Haec virgo mortua est et familia eius eamad vitam radire vult.”

“O Fairy. I have great need of your help. This virgin is dead and her family wish her to be returned to life.”

The great magician, Mr. Norrell had made the stones of York Cathedral to speak and now through the help of a fairly, he brings Miss Wintertowns back to life.

Chapter 8, A Gentlemen with the Thistle Down Hair, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Saturday, August 12, 2017

On Order from HistroFigs

Qty. Part Number Description Proposed
1 SS-7 Double turret monitor, 2" long Dirorama and war-gaming
1 SS13 Frigate Dirorama and war-gaming
2 SS11 Brigs Dirorama and war-gaming
2 F-10a Goblin, in Morion, with spear/short pike -  20mm tall Diorama
1 TI-01 Zombies (bag of 20, mixed poses) To replace carboard tokens that accompanied a board game
1 TI-02 Heroes / Survivors (bag of 6, mixed poses) To replace carboard tokens that accompanied a board game
1 20-CL 20mm Carden-Loyd Tankette - sculpt by Joe Morschauser Might be used to face off the above zombies
1 SS-6  Monitor, 1 3/8" long  War-gaming
1 SS-1  Small ironclad, 1 1/4" long  War-gaming

Friday, August 11, 2017

When the Stones of the York Cathedral Spoke

February 1807

If only these stones could speak; what stories would they tell? Mr. Norrell had done just that, he had made the stones of the York Cathedral speak and stories they had to tell were horrifying.

“Long, long ago (said the voice), five hundred years ago or more on a winter’s day at twilight, a young man entered the church with a young girl with ivy leaves in her hair. There was no one else there but the stones. No one saw him strangle her but the stones. He let her fall dead upon the stones and not one saw but the stones. He was never punished for his sin because there was no witness but the stones. The years went by and whenever the man entered the church and stood among the congregation the stones cried out that this was the man who had murdered the girl, but no one heard us…”

Chapter 3, The Stones of York, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

Thursday, August 10, 2017

MVP Minis Plastic Emoji Characters Version 1

I have new mini goal. Collect all six of these emoji miniatures. They stand approximately 2-in. tall. There are size figures in all and future the following characters: ice cream cone, poop, puppy, love smiley, surf smiley, and see-no-evil monkey. Each figure comes with a card that identifies the character and relates their likes and dislikes. They are molded from what I believe is PVC.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Blog Posts and News

I was browsing Ebay the other day and found a metal HO gauge shack with a stove. I purchased the piece and will make my first post on a new series “Found, 10 Structures for Under $10 a piece”. I was surprised to find many of these economical priced models available. I am under no illusion; many of these structures will need some serious, kit-bashing, distressing and detailing to bring them up to par. It ought to be a fun exercise. Although finding structures in other scales and sizes for this price may be a bit of a stretch I may include structures of other scales and sizes.

I am getting bored with my current postings and I thought about getting back to some micro-miniatures posts.

I don’t really want to accumulate any more toys, but I did see two new play-sets recently at a local Dollar Tree. One of the play sets has a decent looking tank and the other with a very nice horse and covered wagon.

In addition, I still need small collection metal zombies to replace the card board ones that came with a board game that I purchased some time ago. These are on order along with a few micro-sized ships for war-gaming.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Raven King (a popular ballad)

“Not long, not long my father said
Not long shall you be ours
The Raven King knows all too well
Which are the fairest flowers

The priest was all to worldly
Though he prayed and rang his bell
The Raven King three candles lit
The priest said it was well

Her arms were all too feeble
Though she claimed to love me so
The Raven King stretched out his hand
She sighed and let me go

The land is all to shallow
It is painted on the sky
And trembles like the wind-shook rain
When the Raven King goes by

For always and for always
I pray remember me
Upon the moors, beneath the stars
With the King’s wild company”

Chapter 3, The Stones of York, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Rainbow Dino’s

Out of three packages of dinosaurs that I have reviewed this collection is my least favorite. They are not the best sculpts, a lot of them will not stand on their own, and their uni-color do them no justice. The fact that there are twenty-five in the bag is one saving grace.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Host of Characters - The Tiger of San Pedro!

"The Tiger of San Pedro! The whole history of the man came back to Sherlock Holmes in a flash. He had made his name as the most lewd and bloodthirsty tyrant that had ever governed any country with a pretense to civilization. Strong, fearless, and energetic, he had sufficient virtue to enable him to impose his odious vices upon a cowering people for ten or twelve years.

His name was a terror through-all Central America. At the end of that time there was a universal rising against him. But he was as cunning as he was cruel, and at the first whisper of coming trouble he had secretly conveyed his treasures aboard a ship which was manned by devoted adherents. It was an empty palace which was stormed by the insurgents next day.

The dictator, his two children, his secretary, and his wealth had all escaped them. From that moment he had vanished from the world, and his identity had been a frequent subject for comment in the European press."

His Last Bow, Arthur Conan Doyle

Thursday, August 3, 2017

HO Gauge Trackside Shanty with Stove

Stewart is a line of products formally of Virnex Industries a division of Guess Enterprises. Virnex Industries was incorporated September 30, 1982 and has since been dissolved. What happened to its line of products is unknown.

Besides this all metal model number 116 there were, besides other trackside details, a few other structures manufactured by Virnex Industries. I might post the other parts that I am aware of at a later date.

Part Num



Diesel Oil Storage Tank
and Pump House


Watchman’s Shanty


Crew Shelter


Two Story Yard Tower


Oil Pumping Station & Shelter

This the first installment in a new series that I am calling ten structures for under ten dollars apiece. I thought I might make the rounds of different materials, sizes, and scales. This one cost me $5.99 and as you can plainly see it is made of white metal.

It looks like it will be fun to build, in that the door is engineered to open and close and I will need to drill a small hole for the stove pipe.

“#116 HO Trackside Shanty Assembly Instructions
Smooth and finish all casting to your satisfaction.

Drill a 3/32 hole, 1/8 deep in top of stove. Cement in place with stove door facing shanty door.

Stand wall and door on the floor, put roof in place and check door to see that it swings freely, filing if necessary. Insert smoke pipe thru roof into hole on top of stove, cementing in place.

Paint to suit color scene of your layout. Colors commonly used are brown, gray or white with black or brown roof, black stove.”

Stewart Products
P.O. Box 613
Lake Delton, WI 53940

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dino World

This rack packaged collection includes nine different hand-painted, plastic, dinosaurs with a surprising amount of molded detail. Some of the included species are rarely seen in this type of packaging.

The largest in the package stands about 1-1/2 inches tall.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Professor Moriarty-A Host of Characters

“A touch! A distinct touch!” cried Holmes. “You are developing a certain unexpected vein of pawky humor, Watson, against which I must learn to guard myself. But in calling Moriarty a criminal you are uttering libel in the eyes of the law—and there lie the glory and the wonder of it! The greatest schemer of all time, the organizer of every deviltry, the controlling brain of the underworld, a brain which might have made or marred the destiny of nations—that’s the man! But so aloof is he from general suspicion, so immune from criticism, so admirable in his management and self-effacement, that for those very words that you have uttered he could hale you to a court and emerge with your year’s pension as a solarium for his wounded character. Is he not the celebrated author of The Dynamics of an Asteroid, a book which ascends to such rarefied heights of pure mathematics that it is said that there was no man in the scientific press capable of criticizing it? Is this a man to traduce? Foul-mouthed doctor and slandered professor—such would be your respective roles! That’s genius, Watson. But if I am spared by lesser men, our day will surely come.”

The Valley of Fear, Arthur Conan Doyle

Miniature Stegosaurus

Fossil Excavation Kit

The miniature Stegosaurus, made from a dense plastic, stands approximately one inch tall. It came encased in a plaster egg. The package included two excavation tools that were supposed to allow you to dig through the plaster. I resorted to using a knife. I found the three Stegosaurus bones and once I cleaned the three components, I could snap the Stegosaurus together. The package also came with a black display stand in which the specimen snaps into. I found that a drop or two of super glue kept the miniature in place on its platform.

Mini Stegosaurus Ready for Display