Papa Legba vector veve

Papa Legba is the loa who facilitates communication so represents a powerful force in infomancy. I use his veve as a technomantic sigil and my current iteration is a digitally native vector format: as a set of instructions it is literally drawn out by the computer.

Legba veve

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

Trabi trip

Had a ride along in a very nice soft top Trabant, with 26hp it’s very similar to a 2CV (with 29hp) in that it’s all about the conservation of momentum!

Soft top Trabant

This car dates from 1983 and the soft top conversion was done in 1994. There are rails down the side of the car that were added during the conversion and you have to step over them getting in and out of the car. Numerous parts in the interior are from a Golf – including the front seats.

The engine is a two cylinder, two stroke – inline and transverse.

Trabant engine

Trabant engine

The black box at the back with the red diamond is the fuel tank, it’s gravity fed and there’s a control inside that turns a stop cock on and off for the fuel flow and a third position for reserve which opens a lower fuel pickup.  This has an additional fuel level sender behind the fuel cap.

On the left of the bock it has a crank driven fan that’s blowing under the jacket and out through the heating system. Seems that the main causes of overheating in a Trabi are under maintenance and/or over driving. back in the day K’s grandad drove his to Romania for a summer holiday with no issues.

Trabant engine

It’s not got the magic carpet ride of a 2CV but it’s sprung to ride rough surfaces and the owner was similarly loading it up into corners.  As an air cooled two pot it has a similar rasp but being in line and a two stroke it doesn’t have the whirring hum of a 2CV.  Bit hard to see but it’s got a transverse leaf spring across the two front wheels.