Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare Audio Book Review

Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler’s Defeat

Authored and Narrated by Giles Milton

Audiobook, 12 hours and 38 minutes

Published by Macmillan Audio

Language: English


While “not fighting fairly” was frowned upon in the upper levels of the British military, those advocating commando and guerrilla operations found a powerful patron in Winston Churchill.  Churchill supported the expansion of sabotage and clandestine operations by removing bureaucratic obstacles and providing funding, and delighted in the demonstration of new weapons and successful operations.  He referred to the engineering and clandestine operations as his “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”.

This book explores two separate but related efforts.  One focus is the work of engineers and inventors who developed various weapons and devices.  One of the more well-known is what has become known as the Limpet Mine, which was originally produced in a garage workshop using kitchen pans, condoms, and candy.  Another is the spigot mortar, which was developed into the Hedgehog anti-submarine projector and used to devastating effect by both the Royal Navy and the USN.  The PIAT anti-tank weapon was another off-shoot of this.

The second effort is perhaps better known; the training and deployment of Commandos and sabotage operators.  Trained in various street fighting techniques by Sykes and Fairbane, several of their missions are legendary.  Covered in this book are well-known operations such as the destruction of the Norsk Hydro heavy water plant in Norway, which prevented Germany from pursuing atomic weapons.  Another is the Saint Nazaire Raid which destroyed the Normandie Drydocks.  Other less well-known operations are described as well, a few of which were new to me.

This is a very interesting and informative work.  It does not suffer from shifting from the workshop to the field, as each perspective builds on the considerations of the other.  The difficulties in producing a reliable time delay fuse which is able to function under a variety of conditions is something which is easy to take for granted, but proved to be quite a challenge in practice.  Overall this book offers several insights and is well worth the read.

Scammell Pioneer Tank Transporter with Churchill Vignette Build in 1/72 Scale

The Scammell is the third tank transporter I’ve built in the last few years, and I have developed the habit of showing them hauling their loads on bases. In order to give the vehicles a bit more of a “lived in” look I wanted to add some stowage. There are a few odds & ends from the kit itself, but most of this cargo is from Value Gear, which I highly recommend. Value Gear here:
I’m not the best figure modeler, but I like to add figures for scale. This fellow is a combination of Preiser parts. If you want to see the judges get out their rulebooks at an IPMS show, ask whether your entry is a vehicle with a base, a vignette, or a diorama. This appears to be unsettled law. You will see clubs make different determinations depending on number of vehicles, number and placement of figures, and even the height of vegetation.
Here is the base, representing a well-traveled tract in the desert. It is a 4” x 12” (10 cm by 30 cm) piece of Oak trim with lightweight wall filler and stones from the driveway. Ruts were formed by rolling a Nickle along the filler, along with a few sizes of brass tubing. Vegetation tufts are from the train section of the LHS.
Bits and bobs painted and washed. One thing which I like about the Value Gear is most of these items are molded with straps in place – no “magnetic stowage” here.
I put a few pieces inside the cab of the Scammell, but most wound up in the bin under the cab or on the deck of the trailer. The jacks are spares from the kit, dressed up with some Evergreen stock.
The Scammell was loaded with the Italeri Churchill Mk. III and secured to the base. I had tried painting and washing the figure but didn’t like the result, so he was repainted and blended with oils. I’d like to see manufacturers produce more figures in casual poses, British or Australian figures gathered around “brewing a cuppa” would be very useful!

Scammell build here:

Churchill build here:

Soldier Dogs Audiobook Review

Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes

By Maria Goodavage, Narrated by Nicole Vilencia

Audiobook, 8 hours 6 minutes

Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Language: English


Soldier Dogs describes the lives and experiences of Military Working Dogs and their handlers in the U.S. Armed Forces.  It details the dogs’ acquisition process, screening, training, medical care, deployments with their handlers, and eventual retirement.  This is augmented by interviews and anecdotes from those involved in the training and combat deployments which adds a human (and canine) perspective and keeps the narrative interesting.

The dogs receive specialized training and are categorized based upon their abilities.  Many of these take advantage of the dogs’ exceptional sense of smell, such as explosives detection, tracking, and narcotics.  There are also patrol dogs which would be the equivalent of “guard” or “attack” dogs.  Dual-purpose dogs combine the two.  The two most common MWD breeds are Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds, although many other breeds are used as well.  Altogether, there are approximately 13,000 dogs serving with U.S. forces.

There were several details which surprised me in this book.  The majority of the dogs are purchased from European breeders, who also give them their names.  The dogs are usually not purebreds for health reasons.  After passing their screenings they receive an alphanumeric tattoo in their left ear which becomes the equivalent of their last name.  The dogs are considered “equipment”, and are assigned to different handlers for each deployment.  They are generally not housebroken because they live in the field with their handlers or in kennels on bases.

I enjoyed this book.  The dogs bond with their handlers, and often become the unofficial mascot of the units the dog teams are attached to.  For the soldiers they are considered comrades, sharing the same food and foxholes as the other members of the unit.  Recommended for both military history buffs and dog enthusiasts.

Pavla Curtiss AT-9 Jeep Build Part II

The wings and horizontal tail planes are butt-jointed and required some filling and blending. I filled the wing seams with superglue and Mr. Surfacer 500, the tailplanes were filled with Perfect Plastic Putty.
The canopy was vacuformed from a soft plastic. An experiment with the excess sheet on the spare canopy revealed that sanding scratches could not be polished out, which negated my usual technique of blending the canopy and then polishing the transparencies clear again. A self-inflicted problem seen here I have managed to reverse the orientation of the landing gear legs, the pins should point outwards.
The model got a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000 and any imperfections were sanded out. Most of this effort was focused around the canopy and wing roots, I was never quite satisfied with the canopy seam. The NMF finish is Alclad Candy Apple Base over their black primer. The landing gear legs were cut off, pinned, and put in their proper places.
The wing walk areas were masked off and painted with Mr. Color Tire Black. The Alclad finish is hard enough that the paint will stand up to masking if you don’t go overboard with it.
There is no aftermarket for the AT-9, so the kit decals were used. These performed perfectly. If you’re not comfortable with the NMF finish, there are markings for an Olive Drab over Neutral Gray scheme as well.
The finished product. I’m not entirely satisfied with this effort, I had trouble blending the canopy in particular. I do like the lines of the AT-9. The limited-run kits take extra work, but allow you to improve your modeling skills and build some interesting and lesser-known types.

More completed pictures here:

Women Warriors 127

US Navy Master at Arms
Danish Navy
Belgian Crown Princess Elisabeth
Ukrainian army with T-55
US Navy WAVE Ensign
IDF Canine Handler
IDF Merkava MBT
ATA with 3.7 AAA gun

To see more Women Warriors, click on the tags below:

Women Warriors 118

ww469e_Lithuanian_Iron Wolf_Mechanized Brigade
Lithuanian Iron Wolf Mechanized Brigade
Royal Navy Engineering Officer
First ATA pilots with Tiger Moth
US Navy
USMC Sea Cobra Pilot
WRENs moving submarine torpedo at Portsmouth, 29SEP43
USAF F-16 pilot Major Wendy Hendrick
ATA pilots with Hurricane

To see more Women Warriors, click on the tags below:

By Way of Introduction

Forsake hope all ye who enter. Here be Dragons.

… and Tamiya, and Eduard, and Revell, and Airfix. So nothing really dangerous save the occasional slip of the Xacto knife.  Nothing of general interest to average folk either, but if you are one of the modeling fraternity then hopefully you will find these pages enjoyable.  I have had an interest in modeling as long as I can remember, and a corresponding interest in military history.  Early on I focused on 1/72 scale due to the wide variety of subjects available in that scale and my desire for commonality.  The name “Inch High” is a reflection of that, a six foot tall man is an inch high in a 1/72 world.

With the desire for accuracy comes the need for research, modelers tend to collect reference material by the truckload. I am but one example of that among many.  Half the fun of a modeling project is the research.  When I come across a particularly useful reference I will cite it, when I can I will offer a brief review.  Hopefully I will be able to present some material which is new to many readers, and also to dispel some persistent misconceptions.  Much of what you will see here is the result of my own curiosity and efforts to research a potential modeling project.  Sometimes that results in a model, sometimes it simply results in interest in another rabbit hole.

The internet has opened up additional avenues for research. History must be preserved in order to be understood, and the internet affords a remarkable opportunity to enhance our knowledge.  I believe in the legal doctrine of Fair Use, but I also believe in attributing due credit wherever possible and acknowledging the research of others, along with any historical information regarding the time, place, or military service members involved.

Errors or omissions are my own, but they can be corrected. I will edit posts as needed to correct any factual errors or include amplifying information.  If you notice a problem please contact me,  my desire is accuracy.

Happy modeling!

– Jeff