Bordurian Air Force Bf 109

In the Tintin adventure of King Ottokar’s Sceptre the Bordurian Air Force are shown operating Messerschmitt Bf 109s.

Bordurian Air Force Bf 109

However, these were added in the redrawn and colourised 1947 edition. The first, black and white, edition – that was serialised weekly from August 1938 to August 1939 – shows them operating Heinkel He 118 dive bombers.

Bordurian He 118

Whilst the individual panel compositions have basically remained the same, the page composition for this sequence has been changed in going from four pages down to two:

King Ottokar's Sceptre, 1939 edition, page 95King Ottokar's Sceptre, 1939 edition, page 96King Ottokar's Sceptre, 1947 edition, page 55

King Ottokar's Sceptre, 1939 edition, page 97King Ottokar's Sceptre, 1939 edition, page 98King Ottokar's Sceptre, 1947 edition, page 56

Heinkel He 188

The photo of an He 118 from Wikipedia matches one frame of the book exactly. Hergé was known for keeping extensive scrap books and using them as reference when drawing Tintin books so it is likely that this photo ended up in his scrap book before becoming the basis for this frame.

Luftwaffe He 118

The He 118 was a prototype German dive bomber design that lost out to the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka in the mid 1930s and was never ordered by the Luftwaffe. So, whilst it would have been contemporary when Hergé was initially writing the book, the Bf 109, being the main fighter of the Luftwaffe during WWII, would have been much more recognisable to readers in 1947.

It seems that Hergé didn’t have many reference images for the He 118 as the inboard sections of the gull wings are drawn as wing root fillets in most images.

He 118 from King Ottokar's Sceptre showing gull wing rendred as a wing fillet

Which Bf 109 version is it?

The Bf 109 was probably drawn by Edgar P. Jacobs who, as part of Studios Hergé, oversaw a lot of the background detail work of post-war Tintin books. It doesn’t exactly resemble any one specific variant of the Bf 109: the nose – and specifically the chin mounted radiator – most closely resemble the Jumo engined B that saw service in the Spanish Civil War but the rounded wing tips most closely resemble the F.

Bordurian Bf 109

Other details that don’t match between versions are the fixed tail wheel (it was made retractable in the F); the lack of bracing struts for the tail plane (they were first removed for the F); the small triangular panels in front of the cockpit are shown as unglazed (first seen in later F models); and it’s shown with five exhaust stubs on each side that would indicate a V10 engine which was never used in the airframe.

It does look somewhat like the Merlin engined HA-1112 but the details of the nose and the lack of under wing radiators don’t match.

Perrin acoustic locator

The Syldavians are shown as using what looks very much like a Perrin acoustic locator to detect the approach of Tintin in his Bordurian aircraft.

Syldavian acoustic locator

This was designed by French Nobel prize winner Jean-Baptiste Perrin and the locator featured on the cover of Popular Mechanics in December 1930 – which may well have found its way into Hergé’s scrapbook.

Cover of Popular Mechanics, December 1930, showing a Perin acoustic locator


Second compost bin

We’ve now got two compost bins, one (right) is the working bin and the other (left) is the maturing bin.

Two compost bins - left full, right empty

When the working bin is full it is turned over into the maturing bin – i.e. the top of the working bin gets put into the bottom of the maturing bin leaving the oldest compost at the top.  We can use this compost from the top whilst the bottom of the bin continues to compost.  The working bin can then be filled up with new material and the process can be repeated.

Nice compost at the top, ready to use

Big lumps of grass cuttings don’t compost very well, they tend to turn into layers of anaerobic slime.  Normally I try and cut the grass often, taking less than a third off the blades means I don’t have to use a grass box and the cuttings will break down in the lawn giving the nutrients back.  When the grass is growing faster and opportunities to cut it are less – mostly in spring and autumn – then I’ll collect the cuttings, put them in a pile next to the boxes and then put them into the working box in small batches so it gets mixed through.

As a bonus, some of the potatoes we’d put into the compost had grown so we have an unexpected harvest.

Compost heap potatoes




Climb classifications in the Le Tour de France

Apparently the climb classifications (4,3,2,1,HC) in the Le Tour de France are based on the gear you’d need to use in a 2CV to get up that hill. This is quite clearly horse poop and – as the owner of a 2CV – I have a 100% subjective personal anecdote to prove it:

The Le Tour has been past the village were I grew up twice (’94 & ’07) and both times there was a 4th cat near by. There’s no way you’d get a 2CV up those hills in 4th – they’re solid 3rd and maybe a quick dip to 2nd near the top if you didn’t get a good run at them on the way in.

As for HC (which is supposedly impassable to a 2CV) I similarly call horse. 1st gear in a 2CV is so low it won’t even get you half way across a set of traffic lights without needing to change up – you’ll run out of grip on the tyres long before you torque stall the engine. (Admittedly the grupetto would be faster up the hill but that’s not the point.)

Generally your biggest problem on hills in a 2CV is some idiot in a modern car in front of you that slows down for the corners – it’s all about conservation of momentum, as this person ably demonstrates.

FACT.



Aberdalgie War Memorial

This is situated in front of the church.

Aberdalgie War Memorial

Aberdalgie War Memorial

In honour of those belonging to this parish who fell in The Great War

Aberdalgie War Memorial

Aberdalgie War Memorial

Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends

Aberdalgie War Memorial

Their name liveth for evermore

Aberdalgie War Memorial