Wednesday, 20 July 2011

WW1 Naval via Jutland and with a little help from Minifigs


Before and after - I class to Moltke

Now in order to clarify a fairly significant point I have to say that what you are about to read is not a new project - it is merely a subtle variation of an existing idea!

I have in my collection a quantity of Minifigs WW1 warships. Half of these I acquired via ebay and the other half were very generously donated by Bob Cordery. These models are primarily of British ships and my inventory consists of the following (details as per the original Minifigs list):

  • 1 x No.1 Lord Nelson/Agamemnon class battleship
  • 4 x No.5 Lion/Princess Royal class Battleship (should be battle cruiser!)
  • 3 x No.7 Drake class cruiser
  • 3 x No.8 Devonshire class cruiser
  • 2 x No.10 Weymouth class cruiser
  • 5 x No.11 Invincible class Battlecruiser (actually Indefatigable but with turrets along the centre line rather than 'winged' - whoops!)
  • 5 x No.12 Dreadnought Battleship
  • 3 x No.13 Early Turret Battleship
  • 1 x No.15 Transport Ship
  • 5 x No.20 Destroyer
  • 11 x No.21 Destroyer
  • 1 x No.22 Destroyer
  • 14 x No.24 Destroyer
Also three submarines - 1 x No.25 and 2 of No.26.

As you can see this is a pretty good selection and I would really like to add to it if I can. This has left me though with a small dilemma, one of which up until now I unsure how to resolve - what should I do with them?

This answer came, as usual, in a round about sort of way - as is the norm for this kind of thing, at least in my case anyway. The Airfix 'Sink the Bismarck! set mentioned yesterday fuelled all kinds of happy memories of the celebrated naval campaign ran by Eric Knowles back in the early 80s - more specifically the great naval arms race as the participants scrambled to build, convert and acquire warships from all manner of sources and with the timely releases of the Airfix models providing much in the way of raw material. As did the Minifigs ships that were donated to the cause by Bob Cordery (again - the quantity of these models he  possessed must have been huge!).

I fully intend in raiding Airfix once again in due course for this set but the subject in hand is the Minifigs ships I own and what I intend to do with them. I am going to be using most of them as they are but a number will face some conversion - the first of which will reveal exactly where my idea is leading.


Just the before....


Take one Minifigs 'I' class battle cruiser, remove the rear funnel, reduce the rear deck house, add a further turret, remove the two centre turrets and redeploy to the wings, drastically reduce the height of the remaining funnels, cut down the forward bridge almost to nothing, add a pair of plastic wings to the bridge, add a couple of crane assemblies next to the centre funnel and voila! - Instant Moltke class battle cruiser, or in this case, the Goeben.


....And the after! As the Meerkat would say...."Simples!"

The plan is very simple. I am going to use a few of the models for a representative Turkish navy whilst the main bulk will be used for the RN - but specifically for the Med as all the good stuff was kept in home waters to face off against the High Seas Fleet. The Med had to make do with whatever could be spared aside from the occasional cycling through of early dreadnoughts or battle cruisers (yes I know the QE calibrated her guns  there but that was a fairly unique circumstance). I am assuming that the French are occupied in the Western basin of the Med so I don't really have to worry about them too much.

The idea I have is for an almost Bismarck type operation set in the Med with the Goeben and the Breslau taking the place of the 1941 protagonists. I need to spend some time organising this but I have all the models and the rules are ready so it should be pretty quick to set up.

As for the Goeben, well she is pretty crude but a reasonable enough representation - I am aware of most of her deficiencies as a scale model - simply because I have a lot of pictures of her in my collection. She will do.

More to follow....

8 comments:

Sidney Roundwood said...

That's quite a fleet list, David! With the ships available, I think it's agreat idea to do a mini-Goeben and Breslau campaign setting, with the British Med Fleet as opponents. Very much looking forward to how this shapes up going forward.... I've had some 1/3000th Great War ships hanging around for a while - so I'm looking to you for inspiration! No pressure, of course :)

Peter Douglas said...

DC

Great stuff. Have been over to check out http://castlesoftin.blogspot.com/

yu have a knidred spirit there!

PD

David Crook said...

Hi Sidney,

It will be very much a case of using what I have rather than what I would like to have - the model mix suits very nicely for 1914 and I can get away with using Hexon tiles which is a further bonus.

Oh, and the fact that the Turks are the main opposition for the RN helps as well....;-)

I will see what I can do re the inspiration!

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Peter,

Steve's 'Castles of Tin' Minifigs ship chronicles are outstanding to read and his work on his collection is really inspiring. It is a great blog for reference purposes and how to get the best out of these old models.

All the best,

DC

Peter Douglas said...

DC

I love the cranes - what did you use to make them?

PD

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

Plastic rod - the scratchbuiders life saver!

All the best,

DC

Steve Cady said...

David,

Great job on the conversion ! Simple, yet most effective. I look forward to seeing her in warpaint.

And thanks so much for the kind reference to my blog.

Best regards,
Steve

David Crook said...

Hi Steve,

I must confess to feeling more comfortable converting 20th century ships rather than going from scratch.

Your models are simplu stunning and I would love to see your interpretation of the Seydlitz in due course!

I am looking forward to your further Minifigs/BMC adventures and as mentioned, they are hugely inspiring.

All the best,

DC