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Battleship Artwork - HMS Hood 1937

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The Nebula Hawk Battleship Spaceport has currently reviewed the following:

Battleship Artwork - Military Artwork - Digital Commission, Battleships - Battleship Board Game, Battlestar Galactica - Season One, HMS Agincourt, HMS Dreadnought, HMS Queen Elizabeth, Star Wars - Complete Vehicles, The Mighty Hood - Ernle Bradford

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Battleship Artwork - Military Artwork - Digital Commission

3D Modellers, with a passion for preserving the past, particularly pertaining to Battleships, and the Weapons that they wielded. Here you can see, the Pride of the Royal Navy herself, HMS Hood (as she appeared in 1937), together with one of her anti-aircraft guns (an eight barrelled 2-pounder Pom-Poms mount):


HMS Hood 1937 - Midships - and Royal Navy Pom Poms


Battleships were the Greatest Warships of their time, and to the Men that served on them, they lived a way of life, that now no longer exists ... Our Military Artwork, aims to help preserve these bygone times, and it is hoped, that it shall be of interest to Military Museums, and to other such areas of public interest (e.g. education).

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The Mighty Hood - Ernle Bradford

At first glance, the most prominent feature of this book (on HMS Hood) - is the fact that it was written, within just a few years of HMS Hood, having been lost:


The Mighty Hood - The Life and Death of the Royal Navy's Proudest Ship


Initially, I felt somewhat apprehensive - as haven been written in 1959, how good could it be? Well ... Whilst it took me a chapter or two, to get into the text, I was so pleased that I did :) For one simple reason: this book on the Mighty Hood, contains a wealth of information, that you just don't find, in other (more modern) Battleship books. A clue lies in the book's subtitle: The Life and Death of the Royal Navy's Proudest Ship. And it is Hood's Life, that the book primarily concentrates on ... And of this Life, is Hood's Empire/World Cruise, one of the most important parts of the book. For it is here, that I started to feel, just something of the values of the Men, and of the importance of Routine (to the men that served on her) ... For a Sailor learns the Ways of the Sea: where to polish, where to knot, where to stand, where to tuck, where to box, where to train - but not after Rum! For a sailor endures the Trails of the Sea: in the sweats of the Tropic, in the freeze of the Arctic, in the storms of the Pacific, in the fogs of the Vikings, in the cheers of the Empire, in the demands of the Bow. As practice makes perfect - and all is not quite :) For a Warship is Alive: foot-steps in her corridors, meals in her galleys, lights in her decks, breathes in her hull, study in her gauges, commands in her Bridge. For a Warship, is the Heart and Soul of her Crew :) And yet, is there no accounting for luck ... As when Hood's fatal blow was struck, did all of it end: her lights and sounds were no more - just silence. The book's handling of this fate, was just as sudden - which left me with a feeling of, how can this be? How can a warship that sailed around the World, be lost in a matter of seconds? How can a warship that was a Legend the World over, suffer such an instant demise? Well ... We shall never know for sure - although the book does hint, at flaws in her design (especially the thinness of her deck armour, compounded by the stresses of her long hull form). In any case, I found several surprises within this book ... First: Was the level of competitiveness, that existed between the sailors of Destroyers/Cruisers, and the sailors of Capital Ships (such as HMS Hood). Destroyer men, seemed to feel that Capital Ships (such as HMS Hood), could not look after themselves - and did not want to be outdone (especially in terms of seamanship), by the crews of Capital Ships (that to them, almost never put to sea!). It is with some irony then, that such Destroyer/Cruiser men, longed to serve on-board HMS Hood :) Second: Was the level of luck encountered (or lack of it!), on the day of Hood's loss, by her Commander - Vice Admiral Lancelot Holland. For all intents and purposes, decisions that Holland took on the day, all appeared to be logical and correct (as of a wise and talented commander) - but without one key ingredient, luck of any kind! An example would be, when he sent his accompanying Destroyers, further North (to seek the Bismarck), only to stumble upon the Bismarck himself (well away from his Destroyers). The irony is, that at every decision he took (even those that were based upon, sound naval value) - luck simply conferred, his advantage away. For example: He had more heavy calibre Naval Guns (eight 15 inch and ten 14 inch), but his manoeuvrers during the night (whilst seeking the Bismarck), meant that he lost much of his Angle of Approach advantage - and as such, could only bring his forward naval guns to bear (four 15 inch from Hood, six 14 inch from Prince of Wales). Third: was the order, in which HMS Hood fired her guns (one barrel from each turret fired, followed by the other barrel, alternating for continuous fire). It's the first time that I'd read, such a specific fact like this, which I feel is a forgotten fact - from the time that this book was written ... Added to this, did I also find another forgotten fact - the fact that Hood, was not a new ship: she had been heavily used, throughout the oceans of the World, and her boilers plus turbines, were no longer capable of propelling her, at her design speed (of over thirty knots). Thus, it may appear obvious, that she was in need of a service - but I'd not thought about this requirement before (preferring instead, to ponder upon, her potential redesign). Overall: this book contrasts the Life of HMS Hood, against the Loss of HMS Hood. Her life was long, for a warship (around twenty-five years). She'd navigated the World. She was known to most (if not all) of the British Empire. She was known to the VIPs (such as Kings and Queens). She was known to the Children (that in peacetime, had both danced and played - upon her decks). She was known to the Sailors (both those that served on her, and those that wanted to). She was Alive - but she was still a warship. Her guns, that had been primarily used in training, were now for war. She was a Legend (known to all), that bore an Achilles Heel (known to few). Her men knew the calibre of her steel, the power of her guns, and the meaning of her flags. For they served a way of Life, that now no longer exists ... Silence: for those that know the Sea, may never walk upon the Land again - our Mighty Hood.

15/01/2017 | Nebula Hawk

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Battlestar Galactica - Season One

For those of us that remember the original 1970's television series, I really wasn't sure what to expect, from the revamped (2004 onwards) version of - Battlestar Galactica:


Battlestar Galactica - Season One


For me, the first four episodes, seemed to be full of both discontinuity, and the asking of a particular question: what on earth is going on? The Starfighter pilots - always seemed to be tired ... The Battlestar commanders - always seemed to be fatigued ... The Science Fiction Characters themselves, just didn't seem to be making much sense! Fortunately, I persevered, and eventually realised, that the remnants of the Human Race (as protected by the Battlestar Galactica), kept having to jump, to different locations in Space - as their enemy (the Cylons) were hot on their heels! My confusion, and hence the pondering of my question, came from the fact that I couldn't seem to fully connect with, the storylines - of the first four episodes (which are called 33, Water, Bastille Day, and the Act of Contrition). Until I realised one simple fact ... Perhaps this discontinuity (or at least the feeling of it) - was intentional? For having now watched, the entirety of season one, and seeing each episode increase, in it's levels of continuity/sense - do I know that this is the case :) As consider: how would you feel, if the entire Human Race, had just been (pretty much) annihilated, by it's own Robotic creation - the Cylons! Would you be firing on all four cylinders? I think not ... Even so, there are some major differences, between the new version of Battlestar Galactica, and the original version (of Battlestar Galactica). Perhaps the most fundamental difference, is the fact that Starbuck (the radical Starfighter pilot), is now portrayed, as a female character - as opposed to a male character. I found this confusing - especially in the earlier episodes! Another major difference, is the fact that the Cylons, can also appear as Human now - and as such, can easily fool their Human friends, counterparts and colleagues. I liked the fact, that such Cylons believe (at least to themselves), that they are also capable of experiencing, complex human emotions - such as the ability to love ... In particular, do such abilities, lead to a draw dropping season finale - with me in turn, uttering the phrase: I didn't see that coming! Another difference, which I quite liked, is the season's spicing up, of it's comedy element ... In the original series, I seem to recall that the comedy, mostly surrounded the character of Starbuck. In the new series, is this completely different - as the character that is wrapped in such comedy, is the Fleet's Scientific/Medical Doctor ... Only here, does Doctor Gaius Baltar, take this comedy to all new levels: having an in-his-head Cylon Girlfriend (but then again - is she a real Cylon?), whilst seeming to stumble through each episode (always ending up, in just the right place - at just the right time) and generally being off talking to himself (whilst jumping back into - a real conversation!). I think if it wasn't for him, then this series would have struggled, to capture an important human trait: the ability to have fun :) When it comes to the season's episodes, is there one that I found, to be considerably more memorable ... It's the episode called: You Can't Go Home Again, where Starbuck is shot down (into a moon-like atmosphere), and she ends up, having to save herself - by piloting a Cylon Starfighter (back to the Battlestar Galactica). I particularly enjoyed, Starbuck's ingenuity, as she battled to understand, both how to control and fly, the Cylon Starfighter (aka Raider) - as it's controls are totally different, to it's human counterpart (the Colonial Viper). As for the Battlestar Galactica herself? Well ... She has been completely updated, and is now rendered using, computer graphics :) Whilst still being both a Capital Ship, and the Flagship of the Human Fleet/Race - do I find that the Battlestar Galactica, is more akin to an Aircraft Carrier, rather than a Battleship (at least at present). This view is indeed supported, by her roles within this season - both in terms of the Starfighters (that she carries/deploys), and in terms of the Hopes of the Human Race (that she also carries). Overall: A revamped Science Fiction Fantasy series, that has many plot twists in it, and also many jumps in both locations, and storyline ... For example, I found myself wondering, exactly where/what, this Earth like Planet was - that the storyline, kept returning to? At first, I thought that they were memories (thanks to the fact that Cylons can look like Humans), but then I realised, that this Earth's storyline, was proceeding in parallel, with that on the Battlestar Galactica - and that the associated characters, had simply been left behind! And what of these Ruins? Well Doctor, you've been here before! But this is not Earth? And you are a Cylon ...

08/11/2016 | Nebula Hawk

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Star Wars - Complete Vehicles

When it comes to a Science Fiction book, that guides you through the Battleships and Starships, of the Star Wars Universe - then there really is no better source of reference, than Star Wars - Complete Vehicles:


Star Wars - Complete Vehicles - Starship drawings and cutaways.


I like the fact that this book, includes large cross-section drawings and cutaways, of the Capital Ships - that make up both the Imperial Navy, and the Rebel Alliance. The artwork is outstanding! In both terms of it's quality, and in terms of it's details - such as showing the inner workings of Capital Ships, Cruisers, Fighters and Assault Craft (including weapon systems, sensor arrays and command/control positions). Each drawing is also accompanied, by a wealth of textural information, that helps you understand just how, these Interstellar Capital Ships - actually function :) I particularly enjoyed, the section on Republic Technology, which explains the combat and manoeuvring systems, of both large Starships, and small Starfighters - including: shields (which deflect incoming laser beams and ballistics), armament (an entire range of futuristic laser cannons and gun turrets, together with conventional missiles and shells), power systems (such as nuclear fission and fusion reactors, which both supply power for weapon systems, shields and life support) and engine systems (such as sub-light Ion Engines, and greater than light-speed Hyperdrives). I also enjoyed the sections, that describe both the Republic's Firepower, and the Imperial Navy's Firepower ... As there's heavy-duty turbo-laser gun turrets, that can punch through both the shields and armour, of enemy Battleships, Starships and Cruisers! And it is these laser gun turrets, that are fitted to the Capital Ships, that are found within this book :) When it comes to the Capital Ships, do I find that they draw my eyes the most (as they are highly detailed behemoths) - and I have three favourite Battleships/Starships ... First: is the Venator Class Star Destroyer. With it's red hull markings, contrasted against it's grey/beige metal hull form, and it's high dorsal ridge (aka conning tower), does this Starship look extremely domineering :) At over eleven hundred meters long, does this Starship also function as an Aircraft Carrier - as it can deploy an entire Fleet of Starfighters and Assault Vessels! Of it's on-board weapon systems, do I especially like the inclusion of it's eight heavy turbo-laser gun turrets - which are used primarily, for broadsides against enemy Starships (in traditional Navy style Fleet Encounters). Second: is the Republic's Home One (Fleet Flagship). Being of an elongated cylindrical shape, do I especially like the concept of size, that's found within this Starship's midship section :) As it's outer decks (of accommodation and personnel), are wrapped around it's internal vitals (of power and atmospheric processing plants) - together with a unique twist, of an internal Paradise Lagoon (recreational area)! Added to this, is the concept of two smaller Spaceships (one large, one small), that can detach from the larger Mothership - and Home One takes on a class, all of her own :) Third: is the Starship Invisible Hand, which having it's cutaway drawing, spread out over four pages (when folded out) - is truly impressive :) Being a long Starship, can you see exactly where her hull form, suffers tremendous breakup stresses - when she ends up passing through, a planetary atmosphere! You can also see, the arrangement of internal bulkheads and frameworks, that support her thickened hull form - together with the large internal hangers, that house the various assault ships/vessels (of the Droids and their Army). A further twist (for me), is the inclusion of emergency air brake panels - which protrude from the sides of her hull form (in a bid to slow her down!). Her hull form also features a conning tower (which I feel is overly tall), together with external communication sensors and masts (which I again feel, are somewhat protruding). What of the smaller Starships and Starfighters? Well ... There's again three, that stand out for me :) First: is the Millennium Falcon, which although I knew she was fast, I didn't know that the reason (that she is fast), is because of her upgraded Ion and Hyperdrive engines! I also didn't know, that she carried military grade, quad laser gun turrets - that are insanely powerful, for a Spaceship of her size :) Even so, I was pleased to see, that I could relate to the logic, of locating her vitals (such as her power core and engineering station), towards the centre of her hull form - where it affords the most protection! I even found myself amused, by the idea of added armour plates (that thicken her hull form), as it seemed to me, that they were added in a somewhat - haphazard fashion :) Second: is the T-65 X-Wing Starfighter (as used by the Rebels). This entry made me laugh, when I read that the X-Wings (quad) laser cannons, operate at the limits of safety - in order to maximise firepower! I was also surprised to learn, that the X-Wing is capable of undertaking Deeper Space Missions by itself - as it incorporates life support systems (for it's pilot), that can last for several days. I also liked the complexity of the X-Wing (upon it's schematic) - which I feel, comes from it's high levels of manoeuvrability (such as it's various thrusters), and the fact that this small Starfighter, also packs a Hyperdrive! Third: The Imperial Tie Bomber. Which I found provided an interesting twist, as it's really a Starbomber (as opposed to a Starfighter) - which is able to precision bomb, both planetary targets (such as military installations), and Starship hull forms. Thus, did I like the fact that the Tie Bomber, augments the already fearsome bombardment capabilities, of the behemoth Capital Ships - such as Star Destroyers :) Overall: this is an amazing Science Fiction book, that contains a wealth of information, on both the Capital Ships (such as Battleships and Starships), and the smaller Spaceships and Starfighters - that are found within, the Star Wars Universe. Added to this, is the books coverage of land based assault vehicles, both the smaller (such as the AT-RT one man walker), and the larger (such as the AT-AT assault force walker) - and you start to gain some idea, of the amount of quality information, that's contained within this book :) I also liked the fact, that this book can be read, in two specific ways ... Either - 1) pick-up and read a random page (as there's so much detail on it, it's just as distracting!). Or - 2) read from cover-to-cover (as this examines the various Starships, in a chronological order, that reflects the sequence - of the Star Wars films). In either case, do I feel that you shall loose many an hour (just like me), pawing over specific Starship drawings and cutaways :)

27/10/2016 | Nebula Hawk

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HMS Queen Elizabeth

Of all the Royal Navy's Battleships, there are none more highly regarded, than those of the Queen Elizabeth class - and of those, is there none more renowned, than the lead warship herself - HMS Queen Elizabeth:


HMS Queen Elizabeth - with eight fifteen-inch Naval Guns and twenty Dual Purpose four-and-a-half-inch Quick Firing guns.


HMS Queen Elizabeth, was one of five sister battleships, that having been laid down in 1912/1913, became the workhorses of the Royal Navy (throughout both World Wars). In terms of Naval Architecture, is there an important milestone, that is usually accredited to them: that they are seen as, the World's first true, fast battleships :) For one simple reason - their designs were close to, the ideals of matched: armour, guns and speed! For me, I feel that the Queen Elizabeth, was also the most glamorous (of her sisters) - as she received, the most modifications, throughout her long service life (of thirty-six years). When it comes to the Queen Elizabeth's profile, are there four features, that I particularly liked ... First: Is the arrangement of her primary armament - two naval gun turrets forward, and two naval gun turrets aft. Which for me, has always felt, like it encapsulated, the ideas of balance. And yet, do these ideas of balance, also transfer themselves, to the choice of naval gun calibre. For the Queen Elizabeths, were armed with eight fifteen-inch naval guns, which are believed to have been, the best well balanced guns, within the Royal Navy (of all time). As the fifteen-inch naval gun/shell, met the ideals of: maximised destructive fire-power, with low barrel wear/tear, and considerable engagement range :) Which is perhaps (just slightly) ironic, because it was feared, that the fifteen-inch calibre shell, would not be as successful, as the earlier, thirteen-and-a-half-inch calibre shell, nor as successful, as the much more widespread (and familiar), twelve-inch calibre shell - which had both been fitted, to previous battleship classes. Second: Whilst the earlier profile, of the Queen Elizabeth, was certainly impressive - they are as nothing, when compared to the Queen Elizabeth, when she was overhauled, with her imposing block like, forward superstructure (and conning tower). As this feature, really modernised the appearance of, the Queen Elizabeth :) Whilst at the same time, do I feel that it improved, her fighting capabilities no-end, as there was so much more, available space and vantage points - for fire control :) Third: Originally, the Queen Elizabeth was armed, with sixteen six-inch (case-mated) secondary naval guns - which were again, at the mercy of turbulent seas! The fact that these six-inch guns, were also intended, with the soul purpose of engaging, enemy vessels - meant that they were of little use/value, against enemy aircraft. Thus was I glad, when the Queen Elizabeth was overhauled, with a dedicated secondary armament, of twenty dual purpose four-and-a-half-inch guns - that could target both enemy vessels, and enemy aircraft :) I also liked the fact, that these dual purpose guns, were both enclosed in turrets, and that they were located, at higher levels, above the hull form (e.g. at main deck level), which afforded more usability, in turbulent seas :) Forth: Was the addition of bulges, onto the sides, of the Queen Elizabeth's hull form. Where as earlier battleships, had been coal powered (with the coal providing reasonable levels of dampening, against the shock/power of a torpedo impact/explosion) - there was no such protection, within the Queen Elizabeths (as they were oil fuelled). Thus, did the hull form bulges, provide a layer of protection, against the menace - of the submarine/aircraft launched torpedo :) Despite this, was there one particular modification, to the Queen Elizabeth (and her battleship class), that I was not-so-keen on: their aircraft arrangements. Whilst I understand the logic, of having aircraft launched from a battleship (e.g. a spotter plane), I feel that such modifications, were really too space occupying, and should have been reserved/relegated, to the role of a support ship (such as an accompanying aircraft carrier, or an accompanying destroyer/cruiser - equipped with sonar, for the detection of submerged submarines). Overall: the Queen Elizabeths, were the most heavily used, of all the Royal Navy's battleships. They were present at every major theatre of war, even being useful - when heavily damaged! An example of this, was when HMS Warspite (one of Queen Elizabeth's sisters), was limped into position, to bombard the invasion beaches (of D-Day) - whilst only having six usable, fifteen-inch naval guns. And as for the Queen Elizabeth? Well ... I just loved the fact, that her later modifications, resulted in a truly impressive and imposing - Titan of the Seas :)

20/10/2016 | Nebula Hawk

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