Ironclads was a made for TV movie about the first ever battle between Ironclad ships which which took place during the American Civil War. The story centres on Betty Stuart (played by Virginia Madsen) a southern belle who is spying for the North and becomes involved with the race to complete both ships. The film touches on the development of the two ironclads, the USS Monitor for the North and the CSS Virginia which is more often known as Merrimac(k) as it was built upon the hull of the USS Merrimack and the encounter between the two during the Battle of the Hampton Roads. The story moves along a quite a good pace and the battle is very watchable. The film is very hard to get hold of and I think has only ever been released on VHS but I have found a copy posted on Youtube and would recommend it, especially for any FSA fans!
" I thought at first that i saw a massive bank of black cloud moving over the horizon of the hills and blotting out the pale sunshine. With the cloud came a great thrumming sound, like many deep-voiced gongs being beaten rapidly in unison. The sound grew louder as the cloud began to fill the whole sky, casting a dark and ominous shadow over the Valley of the Morning. It was the allied air fleet of five nations. each ship was a thousand fleet long. Each had a hull as a strong as steel. Each bristled with artillery and great grenades which could be dropped upon their enemies. each ship moved implacably through the sky, keeping pace with its mighty fellows. each was dedicated to exacting fierce vengeance upon the upstarts who had sought to question the power of those it served. A shoal of monstrous flying sharks, confident that they controlled the skies and, from the skies, the land.
The Warlord of the Air. Michael Moorcock
As part of this Blog I want to cover other bits of the wider Steampunk universe that might interest or inspire. I thought I would start of with Michael Moorcocks 'The Warlord of the Air'. The book is the first in a trilogy ('The Nomad of the Time Steams') that follows the time travelling adventures of Oswald Bastable who is flung out of his own time in the first book to an alternative 1973 where the first world war never took place and the Great Powers have maintained and expanded their imperial power and colonial rule. The book contains many of the classic steampunk elements and is considered one of the genres founding books. The sequels follow a similar vein, first with The Land Leviathan which explores an alternative 20th century where Europe and America have collapsed and are facing a rising new power from Africa, the Ashanti Empire. Amongst its arsenal is the titled Land Leviathan, a gigantic landship ' a vast, moving ziggurat of destruction'. The last book, The Steel Tsar' is set in an alternative where the Confederate states won the American Civil war and the October Revolution never took place. All three books are very easy to read with the lead character Oswald playing the gentleman adventurer and the explorer of each time stream. The series holds many elements that would tie in with the Dystopian Wars world.
Beasts of War is a massive online resource for war gamers and supports the lines of may companies including those from Spartan Games. As well as news, forums etc they also have an active Youtube channel covering unboxing, battle reports and other guides. I have added the link to their Introduction to Dystopian Wars;
I grew up with Games Workshop and only put it aside when I went to University and other interests and then the demands of work and life took over. Recently I have had a hankering to get back, both to the gaming but also the wider creative side, painting and building. My time is still quite limited, split with work and other larger hobbies so i wanted something I could quite small but still get a nice battle out of. My initial thoughts were for Warhammer 40K Epic but that has now been retired (though rumours seem to be floating round for a return!) and the restart costs for their other lines seem a little steep for what I wanted. Wandering round the net for an alternative I came across Dystopian Wars which seemed to offer what I wanted in Epic but with a lovely Steam Punk sheen and plenty of Airships!
Steamfleet will follow my wargaming in the world of Dystopian Wars and will cover not only building my collection but also useful links, other media that might be of interest and link in with the Steam punk theme. I also intend to add some 'Fluff', fiction and snippets from my Dystopian Wars!
UPDATE: All the posts from the Steamfleet Blog have now been folded into my wider wargaming Blog.