Monday, 21 April 2014

The Second of the Battle Cruisers

The final battle cruisers currently in the collection - a pair of the Lion class

I have just returned from a family Easter (and a belated happy Easter to all) in the wilds of Norfolk, deep the heart of the Broads. It was a pleasant way to spend a bank holiday weekend - even the traffic was relatively kind although I still despair at the road manners of many drivers!

The Royal Navy contingent thus far - H.M.S. Tiger at the top of the picture completing the formation.

We arrived back early this afternoon and as the rest of the day was free I took the opportunity to finish the two Lion class battle cruisers for my 1/2400th scale WW1 naval collection. Once again the Stonewall castings are fairly basic but they scrub up rather nicely and whilst not in the same league as GHQ and C in C they are perfectly adequate for gaming pieces. The painting technique was my usual black undercoat and dry brush top coats withe main part of the decks picked out Humbrol Mast Oak. Mention of this particular colour has raised a couple of points to consider. Firstly, the old Humbrol Authenticolour range is no longer (as far as I know anyway) and I only have around two thirds of a tin left. I recently had to give the tine a good mix, stir and dilute with thinners which should prolong its life - at least for long enough to complete the remaining models anyway.

H.M.S. Lion - Admiral Beatty's flagship 

H.M.S. Princess Royal - sister ship to the above

I have a third casting of this particular class and was tempted to paint it up to represent the Queen Mary but for the fact I would need to change two of the funnels for round versions. I have some rough castings that could easily sacrifice the appropriate round funnels if so desired and I may tackle this at some point but it is not essential at present.

A gentle reminder of what the opposition looks like so far....

It has taken me far longer than usual to get these five models completed but now I am back in the 'zone' I can press on with a little more urgency. Talking of urgency, I will need to get some earlier battle cruisers for both sides and this will be my priority as soon as the funds are available.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The First of the Battle Cruisers

The first of the new 1/2400th scale WW1 warships for the Royal Navy and the High Seas Fleet completed today. They have been painted using my now standard black undercoat and umpteen layers of grey dry brushing - all using Humbrol enamels (except for the bases).

S.M.S. Lutzow and Derfflinger - the later Hindenberg differed in minor details.

H.M.S. Tiger - the design was similar to that of the Japanese Kongo class.

S.M.S. Derfflinger - the first of the class

S.M.S. Lutzow - hit by some 24 heavy shells at Jutland and sunk by the Germans when flooded with some 8,000 tons of water.

H.M.S. Tiger - a very handsome looking ship until her late war makeover, described in Jane's Fighting Ships as "her present hideous rig."

I was absolutely delighted with the way these turned out and should now push on with the rest of the collection. I will need to add some of the earlier battle cruisers - which of course means I will be able to add the Seydlitz - which will give me a pretty good WW1 set up for the North Sea and further afield should the need arise.

It was great fun painting them as well!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Clearing the decks....Part 1

SMS Lutzow. She had a short service career and was scuttled as a result of damage received at Jutland 1916.

As much for my own inspiration (or rather making sure I stay on track for a couple of weeks - at least until after my Pendraken order arrives!) as for any other reason I wanted to follow up on the mention of some painting in my previous post. I have a tray of based and undercoated WW1 1/2400th scale warships for both the Royal Navy and the High Seas Fleet . These were originally going to be used is but then with my one of my periodic flights of fancy I decided that hey would instead be gracing the fleets of both Fezia and Rusland. That has now passed and so the plan is now to use them as intended.

A plan view of the same

The models closest to completion are a selection of battle cruisers and their escorting destroyers. For the Germans I have a pair of Derfflinger class battle cruisers whilst for the Royal Navy there is HMS Tiger and a pair of the Lion class. Each side has eight destroyers for escorts. The destroyers are at the 'funnel tops, boats and basing' stage whilst the capital ships need a little more work which was the object of the painting session of yesterday (which made a pleasant change from messing around with figure samples I can tell you - especially those being experimented with, some of which were truly horrible!).

The main object was to tidy up the decking and I was able to do this with the result that, for the Germans and HMS Tiger at least, they are quite close being finished - the two Lions rather less so. As soon as this group are ready I plan to run a game (I should point out that I have light cruisers for each side already to go) based around a battle cruiser action using my dreadnought era adaptation of the Bob Cordery's Portable Naval Wargame.

It will be nice to commission the above models in time for Easter which should be achievable as they are quite well advanced.

The Pendraken stuff will remain in ite envelope until they are so that should be an incentive to finish them!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Marking Time

The order is in to Pendraken for a smattering of 10mm goodness - I could have asked someone to collect them for me at Salute but sadly didn't think of that until after I had sent the order off....

In the meantime though, I have some time this weekend to tackle a few items of housekeeping. To begin with, I finally managed to sort out my bases and zip lock plastic bags (cries of what an exciting life you lead!) which is a handy thing to do, albeit a tad uninspiring. Certainly having them all in one place is very handy - especially as I now know where that place is!

I also managed to tackle some painting. I still have a tray of 1/2400th scale WW1 British and German warships under way so I was able to get some work done on the battle cruisers. I am hoping to get these finished fairly soon but am once again thinking of changing the nationality - this time back to what they are supposed to be i.e. The Royal Navy and the High Seas Fleet and not those of Rusland and Fezia. I must confess to really enjoying this - there is something soothing about 50 shades of grey....;-)

I also picked up a couple of sets of rules which look like they could be fun. Of Gods and Mortals is a set of mythological rules by Osprey designed around skirmish sized games. Each player fields a force of a God, some Legends and the inevitable Mortals. The number of models needed for a game is quite small so raising forces in, for example, 28mm should not be too onerous. I would have liked to have seen some mores cultures - there is only Greek, Norse, Celtic and Egyptian included in the rules although you can add your own - represented but I am sure this will follow in due course. North Star produce a range of models to go with this and very nice they look as well.

I also picked up a copy of a set of grid-based WW2 divisional/corps rules called Krieg ohne Hass (war without hate) by Lance Flint. These are designed to be used with 1/200th through to 1/600th scale models and look very interesting indeed. At first glance they look like a cross between Megablitz (Tim Gow) and Square Bashing (Peter Pig RFCM). Initially I was attracted by the use of a grid but my preliminary reading has given me much else to consider. The grid used is of the square variety and is typically 6". Suddenly my 10mm idea has taken on a whole new dimension....;-)

It was quite a therapeutic afternoon in many respects and I also uncovered a few other bits and pieces lurking in the depths of the man cave. A couple of these have certainly got me thinking in a number of directions - certainly not in the 'Ooh shiny' way though - but that will be for another day methinks.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Getting N-Gauged

Turks in action against the Greeks. 

After a couple of weeks of, for me, careful deliberation and experimentation (including painting up some samples) I have finally settled of the scale I intend to use for my armies. In making this decision I have considered a number of factors but it is safe to say that he key one was the relative ease with which the chosen figures can be painted - especially important considering the painting technique I intend employing.

The scale I am opting to use (and the first small order will be on its way to Pendraken very shortly) is 10mm/N Gauge/1:150th. Aside from the painting aspect I considered the following:

  • Cost - they are pretty cheap
  • Choice - the range available is very extensive
  • Size - large enough to paint but small enough to do quickly
  • Ease of storage.
I intend using an 'old toy soldier' style of paint job - probably with gloss varnish - which the majority of figures in this scale lend themselves to rather nicely. I have seen some very detailed painted examples of models in this scale but that is not a path I intend to follow - it would defeat the object for me because if I wanted to paint detailed models (actually painting models in detail is more accurate) I would use a larger scale and indeed, I shall do just that for any skirmish type games.

I have ideas for a number of projects using this scale but first under consideration will be the Russo Turkish War or Fezia and Rusland by another name.

I shall still use other scales for various things - I have in mind some larger scale skirmish games and even some very small models for another idea I am messing around with but the main bulk will be 10mm figures based on 40mm frontages - ideal for using with Hexon tiles.

I feel better now having gotten that off my chest....;-)

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Ideas of a Mysterious Nature

It has been a funny couple of days. I have been able to spend some quality time in the man cave, sorting through a few things - and it has given me much to think about. I have a hankering to get some figure painting tackled but as I am currently undecided what direction I should head in have decided against spending vast amounts of cash on what may eventually turn into a whim. I have been caught out by this in  the past so a degree of care is needed to ensure that my fickle attention span is not overly challenged.

Whilst rummaging through assorted boxes I came across a number of items acquired at various points - all of which seemed like a good idea at the time - that have given me a good idea or two. I found myself asking - 'why not finish these models and figures before you move on to something new?'

Why indeed.

For some reason - perhaps I am mellowing in my old age - this seemed like a very good idea and whilst it is certainly not my usual method of operating I have decided that there is something in this. the two 'projects' need very little spent on them in order to be at the ideal size and I am thinking they should not take a huge amount of time either - especially one of them. I should point out that neither of these have featured at any point in the past on the blog in the form I intend realising them and in both cases I already have the rules organised.

So what are they?

What indeed.

I do not want to sound enigmatic nor in anyway mysterious but I am not rolling these two out into the public domain just yet - for the simple reason they both involve me painting in a scale I have not yet attempted. I want to see how they turn out first of all. I should also add though, that should this experiment prove successful the potential for me going forward is very significant.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Return of the Boot Sale

This should be read in conjunction with Riding the Retreat methinks.

I had almost forgotten to mention - last Sunday saw SWMBO and I visit a local indoor boot sale held in the village. This is quite a small affair but I have managed to score a coupe of odds and ends there in the past. I am happy to say that Sunday was no exception and I was able to pick a hardback copy of Tommy - The British Soldier on the Western Front 1914 to 1918 by the late and great Richard Holmes. I must confess that the Western Front has never really appealed to me from a gaming perspective - 1914 and 1918 excepted but I have wanted to explore the whole thing in more detail, mainly to get a better understanding of the whys and wherefores of this awful environment. The image of the trenches and the slaughter of the Somme etc are in my opinion indelibly etched on our understanding of the war so I want to gain a greater understanding of the human perspective.

The price for this tome was the princely sum of £1.

Not a bad Sunday then, all things considered!