Thursday, 31 March 2011

Through Adversity to the Stars.

Today, after 22 years in the Royal Air Force, I finally realised what the RAF motto actually meant.

Yes, I knew that 'Per Ardua Ad Astra' translates as 'Through Adversity to the Stars' but today I finally realised what it meant.

After nearly six weeks of exceptionally bad luck, where the helicopters were breaking down all the time, today we managed to get all four of them up and flying.

I am tremendously proud of my whole shift for getting everything serviceable...even though it has been a horrendous struggle to keep our humour when all around us was falling apart.

To see all four flying past in a (loose) formation was a moment when I thought to myself...

...yep, we did it.

I can't say fairer than that.

See you over the horizon...the birds are aloft and the journey is homeward bound!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A bit of a mixed bag.

It has been a long week. We have been working hard and have finally managed to break the back of the evil luck we have had with the helicopter's serviceability...we actually had three out of four cabs flying at the same time!!! It was short lived...but it happened!

The rains have come with a vengeance. There have been some torrential down-pours with thunder and lightning to add to the flooding yet...

I had a bit of a small triumph this week...I finally managed to get a picture of one of the monkeys that keep coming into our hangar and causing a bit of mayhem:

Click the Pic!

They have always managed to be out of range when I get my camera out...but not this time. These monkeys would be awesome if they didn't leave smelly little monkey presents everywhere...

Speaking of smelly little presents...with the rain has come new life. There is blossom on the trees, there are flowers in the newly grown grass and there are far too many of these:

Click the Pic!

You won't see what they are until you click the pic...and even then you'll struggle. They are a small swarm of beetles. I like to call them 'coco-pop beetles' because they are about the right size and there are a lot of them. The picture above shows a small pile of them after one night and under one of the many windows. Every window was like this and the inside of the hangar was like a snowstorm when the lights were on over night...MILLIONS OF THEM!!!

Fortunately, help was at hand in the form of a rather energetic toad:


Unfortunately, the awesomeness of the toad was nowhere near a match for the horrendous camera I have at my disposal...couple that with poor light and we end up with the poor excuse for a photo above.

It is with a heavy heart that I must report the demise of a dear friend...This friend carried me across some of the harshest of terrains and for hundreds of miles...It is my mate the CALM lorry. Sadly, it has become beyond economical repair and is now it has been loaded onto a truck and taken to a new home...

Click the Pic!

A sad end for an awesome piece of military hardware.

On that note...I will say tarrah.

See you through wind-swept clouds of purple blossom!

Monday, 21 March 2011


Just a couple of random pix from when we went on Safari...

Click the Pic!

Click the Pic!

Just as an explanation, I need to print some photographs off fo a bit of a report on the event and this is the only way I could see of doing please excuse the randomness of these pix :).

I have been thinking a bit about the box of Grymn I have at home that have been set aside for my urban army.

I am planning to add a bunch of the new Grymn available (Heavy infantry, Snipers, HMG specialists and Rocket Launcher specialists) bolster the numbers but I am still undecided as to the direction I want to take.

I could make them totally autonomous...paint them in greys and have them as an Urban army.

I could paint them in a similar way to the Tunnel Fighters and have them as regulars, with the Tunnel Fighters being the elites.

I could completely change my mind and paint them in a different camouflage style...I was thinking of the Kenyan airforce Camouflage pattern...

One thing is for sure. I have about 30 tunnel fighters to finish off when I get back to the green and pleasant land...then my focus will turn to the Urban army; in whatever scheme they may take...and that means another army for the expansion of the race.

...and I already have some APCs, IFVs and tanks to go with them too...

The future is Grymn...

See you over the score sheets (I'm off to a quiz night...the things they do to keep us out of mischief when we are on military exercise)!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

It's Just a ride around the park, gentlemen...

Wow...what a week! First up lets give a warm welcome to Joao Mota...WELCOME! If you've come for some eclectic model making, miniature painting/sculpting and general everyday've come to the right place!

On to the post and being in Kenya has it's perks. As part of the deal, we have to undertake compulsory adventurous training. This time around I went abseiling, canyoning, hiking and topped off the day with a bit of a safari...

...the first thing I saw was a zebra:

Click the Pic!

...I actually saw a whole host of them but my 'not so brilliant' camera wasn't up to group shots (apparently) so this one was the only one worth seeing :).

Giraffes are a bit less widespread but I managed to get pretty close to these ones:

Click the Pic!

The best part of the day was how close we got to wild elephants. These were about 100 metres from us and even stayed there long enough for us to get some nice pix...well...obviously mine aren't too nice but you can see the elephants so it is as good as you'd expect:

Click the Pic!

...But let's not forget the trusty vehicle that we rode around on...Health and Safety Beware! We rode around on the roof, over bumpy terrain and that was almost as good fun as seeing all the animals!:

Click the Pic!

I'm the one sat on the left of the picture on the roof...

On the way to the safari, we were driven by a local driver in a Range Rover. Obviously, things break when they are used heavily and the Range Rover was no exception. If you look in the following picture, you can see a modification to the clocks from a completely different vehicle have been grafted in:

Click the Pic!

This got me thinking about how much people out here 'make do and mend' using whatever they have at their disposal...if they can find a use for something, they will! It also reminded me of us model making types. We have our bits boxes full of old kits...and when we are out and about we are always looking for that next component...the next bit of rubbish that could turn out to be a rocket nose-cone, a Mecha's chest-plate or even a piece of scenery...

...A case of life imitating art?...

See you across the dusty plains!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Be Careful at a Zebra Crossing!

I will start today's post with a warm welcome to SR; the newest follower to this humble blog. WELCOME!

Well it has been an interesting couple of weeks in Kenya. We have had a LOT of reset work to do on the aircraft out here and have practically had every engine out and put back in...add to that, the flying faults and general maintenance and we have all been extremely busy. Mind you...when the weather is like this and we can work outside, it isn't all bad:

Click the Pic!

Even when the day is nearly over and the sun is setting, it is difficult to get upset about working hard when you look out across the airfield:

Click the pic!

So...what has been happening out here? Well, I have been a complete mad-dog Englishman who has definitely gone out in the midday sun! I have taken to applying copious amounts of sunblock and running around the golf club grounds...with the air being so thin (we are at 6000+ feet above sea level), things get pretty tiring very quickly but I can safely say that I am blowing away all of the old cobwebs!

I have been looking out for unusual wildlife too and so far, we have had to slow the bus down for a Springbok, a camel, lots of local farm animals and a herd of zebras! I have sat and watched the local magpies mob a rather large bird of prey (akin to a British Buzzard in size and outline) and have really enjoyed watching the cheeky little 'Brilliant Starlings' wander into our mess and start feeding off the crumbs. The local cats are also quite happy to hang about around the may keep the pests down but it can also lead to quite a lot of mess...and so far, only one of the cats has demonstrated any form of friendliness; begrudgingly offering the top of its head for a stroke whilst glaring at me...

The shifts we are working mean that we are working hard beut still able to get washing and housework done. They also enable us to sample some of the local fact, only yesterday evening, I was singing Karaoke in one of the local bars...

I must admit to not having thought too much about any hobby stuff. The nearest thing to a hobby I have done is to make a PG-Tips monkey a jacket and belt...but that is for another day!

See you across the plains!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sunday again?

Hello everyone!

What a week I've had in Kenya. The sun has been raging, I've been working hard fixing the helicopters, doing plenty of PT, enjoying a few Tuskers here and there and marvelling at the fantastic landscape all around the camp and airbase.

Unfortunately, I haven't really got anything to show because I have just got back from work and it is midnight...I have to be up at 06:30 again for more work. Hopefully I'll get a couple of pics done tomorrow and put something on here when I am a bit more awake.

See you through the dusty air!