Saturday 28 April 2012

Retirement Arrives

Well, it's here at last. As from 4.30 this afternnon I am officially retired and my time is all my own. According to my wife I can now call myself as a 'househusband' as I can do the housework while she continues in her job!

I've had a quick look at the current projects and see I have some way to go. My 54mm toy soldier 'Heptarchy' project has about 50% of figures ready, the 28mm Grand Duchy of Humperstein project has half the troops and I'm researching a suitable oponent (this project has a considerable background, and may be the subject of a seperate blog), while the 30mm 18th century project is hardly off the ground. All of them need an infrastructure. There's also the numerous ship models (wargame and static display) and general woodwork I want to do.

Plenty to keep me out of the pub. In the meantime, here are a few more photos from the Musee Des Blindes in Saumur, apologies for the lack of captions.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Musee Des Blindes, France

I promised some photos from my recent visit to the French Musee Des Blindes (Tank Museum) at Saumur in the Loire Valley, here are a few of the 80 odd that I took. First a brief tale of the museum itself. Please excuse any poor facts, but I'm translating the french guidebook, as the english version is reprinting. thankfully the museum signage has english translations.

The museum is very close to the French Army Cavalry School, and the basis of the collection was started by a Colonel Aubry and built on by the Mistere de la Defense from 1965. It now houses some 850 vehicles with 250 operational, often taking part in local and national commemorations. there is a website -

The museum extends over 10 large rooms, and these are
1914-18 war
Campaign of France 1940
German Room WW2
Room of Heroes - (Rommel, Patton, Kuthozov, Monty, Leclerc, and of course De Gaulle)
Room of Curiosities (including a 'training tank' with road wheels)
Allies of WW2
French post war room (including Indochina)
Room of engines
Modern Room

All in all a good three hours viewing, an enthusiast could be there all day. It is very underused, with only 7 visitors during our stay (including the three of us) and this on an Easter saturday.

The foyer, with a life size paper soldier on the wall. Unfortunately they've missed an opportunity here, as we didn't find any on sale.

Schneider CA61 from WW1.

A view of about half the German WW2 room

Voiture Pliable. Designed for airborne use, a very light 4 man vehicle that folds up into a packing case. and can be set up in 'several minutes'.

Part of the Warsaw Pact room

View of the WW2 Allies room.

AMX 30B - If I've got this right this vehicle is the only one of its kind. Developed by the French during the Iraq war for mine clearance, it is radio controlled.

I only regret that I couldnt get a picture of the anti-tank Vespa. A scooter fitted with a 75mm canon. You don't see many of those on model battlefields!

So that is just a taster. I hope you agree that it is well worth a visit. The Chateaux and wines of the area are great as well.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

A Little Teaser

Well, I'm fully (?) recovered from recent ailments, 14 working days left to retirement, and just back from ten days caravanning in the Loire Valley, where a number of us (three caravans in convoy, I bet the local road users loved us) indulged in a bout of wine-tasting and purchase, museum visiting, and Chateau ogling.

During the second we visited the Musee Des Blindes at Saumur, the French museum of armoured vehicles. I'm not well up on tanks, but the museum has approximately 800 assorted vehicles, from WW1 to date, covering all nations. I took so many photos the battery in the camera died. Eventually, after I've weeded out the rubbish, out of focus, and camera shake ones; and identified the rest (I did make a list as I went round), I will post the best. So keep an eye out.

In the meantime, here is a photo from another visit, this time to the Chateau du Clos Luce, final home of Leonardo Da Vinci (no, I didn't know he died and was buried in France either). This is of one of his inventions, models and replicas of quite a few are on show.

and his tank. I can see how this wouldn't catch on, as it seemed to be worked by four (big strong) fellows turning handles while the artillerists (?) worked the guns in very cramped conditions.