Monday, 28 February 2011
Sunday, 27 February 2011
The Ypres Tower approached from the town side.
The Elizabethan Garden viewed from the battlements of the Ypres Tower.
Thursday, 24 February 2011
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
C and C Napoleonics this evening at the club and I am really looking forward to trying the game out and will report the results in due course.
'Cry Havoc, and let slip the Blocks of War!'
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Monday, 21 February 2011
One experiment I will try at some point is to use the blocks on my Hexon terrain - it will mean 3d games and there is sufficient space within a terrain tile to be able to deploy the blocks in actual formations (line, column or square) which will add to the look of the thing no end. As I (currently) do not own any Napoleonic figures (except for a Napoleonic Ottoman Turkish force) this will be viable alternative. I will also be able to make use of the 'Town in a Bag' buildings.
More to follow with this one as it develops.
Saturday, 19 February 2011
CSS Louisiana, CSS Mississippi, CSS Manassas, USS Tuscumbia, USS Chilicothe and three Cottonclad Confederate side wheel gunboats. The first two ships are huge and only the Louisiana fired her guns in anger, albeit as a floating battery. The Mississippi was a huge ironclad that was destroyed to prevent her being captured and she was barely half complete when this happened. The reason I am making these two ships is simply because for the theatre of operations I shall be covering they would be essential. The two big Confederate ships exerted a huge effect on Union planning for the area - a threat that never materialised (I am reminded of the WW2 Tirpitz in a way!) but cannot be ignored. Allowing their use on a 'what if' basis is part of the bread and butter of our hobby and besides, the resultant models will look very intimidating as well as offsetting the Union quantitative and qualitative advantage.
Friday, 18 February 2011
I am confident I have achieved this although I feel that I should acknowledge the shortcuts and deficiencies in the construction of the models I have built - if only because I am well aware of them!
- None of my models follow any attempt at scaling - although I have tried to ensure that relative size differences can be seen.
- Angles of armour etc has been based purely on what I can easily work with so that means 45 degrees - for everything!
- Funnels are too thick and too short.
- Gun ports are one size and design regardless of what they actually looked that - again for convenience.
- There are no masts or ships boats present.
- Much fine detail has been left off - anchors, ladders and such like.
- Pilot houses are usually the wrong shape and in the wrong place.
- Paddle boxes are all one size - again this is for convenience.
- Many ships had 'flaring' to merge the paddle box into the line of the hull - I have not bothered - mainly for convenience.
There are probably a lot more points I could add but that will be sufficient for the purposes of this post.
The simple fact is that I have made these models in a basic fashion for ease and convenience (not to mention cost!). They are gaming pieces pure and simple and as such are purely representational and not examples of the fine scale modellers art.
I feel so much better for having gotten that off my chest....;-)
Ellet Rams steaming in a loose formation preparing to engage the Rebels.
The next pair are my interpretation of the USS Switzerland and the USS Lancaster. These two ships appear to have had an extra deck added hence the extra height. Note the use of the cut plastic angle from the Mega Blok building brick I have used to endure that the angles at the front of the superstructure are constant. there should be more gun ports along the side as well as a 'flaring' from the paddle boxes but I have not bothered with this!
The next pair of models are my two copies of the steamer The Queen of the West. I have made two copies of her simply because she, like the General Price in my earlier post, served in both navies. Like most of the ships of this era, there are a number of different interpretations of exactly what she looked like so this is a reasonable compromise. Again, you can see the plastic former I used for the front of the superstructure.
The USS Vindicator (what an inspiring name!)was a sidewheel ram and featured in the pursuit of the final model from this batch - the enigmatic CSS Webb.
The final model from this batch is the CSS Webb. She was a very mysterious ship (as well as one of the longest surviving ships the Confederates possessed) and the only illustration of her I have been able to find was a line drawing from the civil war era newspaper Harper's Weekly that shows her in flames after having been set fire to by her crew. The only details I could make out for certain was that she had an angled superstructure at the front with a single gun port as well as a single funnel - the rest is pure speculation. One thing in her favour though was that she was fast and had fairly good engines which was rare for most of the Confederate navy!These have taken longer than I expected simply because of the lack of time I have had due to work but having said that, I am quite pleased with the way they have turned out. The variety of side wheelers is self evident and so in order to complete the full spectrum of river water craft I would really like to try my hand at some stern wheelers....but not just yet!
I am now clear for the weekend and so can concentrate of the labels for my C and C Napoleonics.
All in all then, in spite of having very limited time this week I am feeling very satisfied with my progress thus far and it sets me up nicely for a weekend of label sticking for my copy of C and C Napoleonics.
Thursday, 17 February 2011
I am really pleased with this as not only will I be able to finish them prior to the weekend it will also serve to free up some more time so that I can finish applying the labels to my C an C Napoleonic unit blocks. I am sure that many people have found this task to be quite therapeutic and relaxing - sadly I am not one them and have found the whole thing thus far to have been an exercise in tedium....;-(
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
I am also very close to having the first draft of the play test version of my hex based rules ready for use - I merely need to finish the ship specifications for the models I have in my collection thus far.
All in all then, progress is being made, albeit gradually.
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
The Mega Blok bricks are really useful and I acquired a bag of then at a boot sale a few years back. The plastic is far better than Lego for chopping about and of course has the big advantage of being consistent in their angles rather than the hamfisted attempts by yours truly who seems to have real difficulty these days in cutting anything in a straight line!
Sunday, 13 February 2011
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
I have only two large vessels to build for the Union - USS Tuscumbia and USS Chilicothe - and another pair of casemate ironclads for the Confederates so the rest of the numbers are made up of rams and gunboats of various types. I have also, in the meantime, made a lot of progress with the rules I shall be using which, although designed as a fast play set, feature a level of detail I do not usually employ for my naval rules.
More to follow....
Monday, 7 February 2011
Friday, 4 February 2011
....And now for something not-so-completely different! I am a huge fan and owner of some of some of Richard Borg's Command and Colours series of games including Battle Cry (ACW) and Memoir '44 (WW2) and so when GMT Games decided to release a Napoleonic version as a follow up to their highly successful Ancients series (which is next on the shopping list!) the temptation was pretty much more than mortal man could reasonably endure. I purchased a copy and boy was I pleased to do so!
By way of an explanation I should point out that Napoleonics were my first gaming 'love' as I cut my wargaming teeth on them back in the early 1970's with great hordes of Airfix 20mm plastic figures (including many conversions) used, inevitably, for the 1815 campaign. Aside from the British I owned at one time an 1812 Russian army of Hinchcliffe metal figures but as time passed and other periods of history came and went my interest in gaming the era withered. Despite keeping a small quantity of books (primarily for 1815) and a brief flirtation with 15mm figures about 10years ago, I have not actively played the period for some time. I own a couple of very good boardgames covering both the 1815 campaign and the Battle of Waterloo and have been content to use them but I have missed the tactical side. My immediate problem is that I have absolutely no desire to paint armies for the period - in any scale - so my gaming hankerings have been few and far between. Not any more.
The game primarily covers the Peninsula (although I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of 1815 scenarios included) although does not include the Spanish - these have made the cut for the first expansion (ho hum....). The components are absolutely first class - even the box is reassuringly heavy - and the wooden blocks used to represent the units look splendid when the unit stickers have been applied. The components you can see in the picture above and everything oozes quality.
The game mechanics are the familiar C and C card based system but the Napoleonic 'feel' has been added by introducing a number of period specific features including:
- Infantry Squares
- Varying weights of cavalry
- Militia/Line/Elite and Guard infantry
- Horse and foot artillery
- Combined arms attacks
- Cavalry 'retire and reform'
As a frustrated Napoleonic gamer this set represents a wonderful opportunity for me to indulge in my long held passion for the period without a financial outlay the size of the national debt. I am sure that the other powers will follow in due course (I wonder if the Turks will feature at some point?) and so I will happily acquire these armies as and when released.
I am hoping to get the labels tackled over the weekend with a view to having my first game in a couple of weeks but one thing is certain: whilst it is a sad farewell to any ideas of acquiring and painting armies for this period (I do have a figure based soul after all!), as a substitute this game is a more than adequate replacement.
Thursday, 3 February 2011
I am now in the position of being able to continue the great ACW build-fest and so will resume work on the CSS Baltic and the USS Essex this evening. The USS Vindicator will now have to be put to one side as the spare parts I planned to use for her - specifically the angled superstructure - are in fact too short so will need to be used for something else instead.
The sharp intake of breath came about as I reviewed the collection built so far - now at 19 models as I completed the fourth Cairo class gunboat at a little after 5:30am yesterday morning. They are looking pretty impressive (if I say so myself!) and I am really looking forward to building more of them, getting them painted and based and using them in the game or two.
I also played my first game of the new edition of Battle Cry last night at the club and it was tremendous fun. The game is subtly different from the original version - the command cards have a few changes to begin with; not to mention the increase in artillery models in a unit and infantry firepower - and plays very smoothly with the all important period feel being enhanced as a result of these 'tweaks'. My thanks to Steve for the game and Mr Fox for organising the action. The scenario was set in Arkansas and the heavily outnumbered gentlemen of the South, under the command of that celebrated bob vivant, wit and raconteur: General Ignatious Gaylord Crook, lost 4 - 2 on the night, although the Union did have four other units down to a single figure each!
Great fun and hugely enjoyable.
Tuesday, 1 February 2011
This meant that the CSS Baltic had to wait; as did the USS Essex (although I could have started the latter). The single piece of balsa wood I have though is sufficient for the additional Cairo class gunboat I needed so I was able to build the casemate for her with a view to fitting out and finishing the model this evening. Also underway (and not a model I had envisaged building until later) is the USS Vindicator – yet another side wheel ram that looks not unlike the General Price except that the front of her superstructure is angled and her guns are carried internally so some gun ports will be needed. As built she was pretty fast and touched 12 knots. To be honest, the sole reason I am building her is because I have a ready-made superstructure in the spares box and it would be a shame to waste it!
That will bring the total of models built up to 20 and I hope to have another couple ready for the weekend – assuming I can get the correctly sized balsa wood in time. If that does not happen then I can easily work on another couple of models instead as I have a number of alternative options I can explore.