Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Scale of my Naval....Part 2

Following on from my previous post concerning sizes of ship models it dawned on me that perhaps in the past I had been guilty of allowing the tail to wag the dog to an extent. How many of us I wonder, have been attracted to a model or models and have purchased the same only to then realise that perhaps for the game they were intended they are either too large/small (delete as applicable)? Guilty as charged M'Lud is all I can say! Now that I have a naval 'clear slate' so to speak, I can look at the subject with a good deal more objectivity about what I want and how I want to do it.
Anything from the Ancient era up to and including the Napoleonic Wars means for me large battles with squadrons of ships. Yes I know that small scale actions with perhaps a handful of models a side are equally rewarding (indeed, for some periods would appear to be almost obligatory - take the War of 1812 as an example) but that is not what I want to game as a rule. Using my 6 by 4 ft table means that if I want a reasonable number of models on the table - say up to 50 a side - then I will need smaller models. If I wanted to tackle a small action, again taking the War of 1812 as an example, I would look to use larger models or the smaller models on a smaller playing area.
The ACW for me at present means my 'large' models that vary in scale (in fact I could not tell you what scale they are!) are the models of choice simply because the ranges they fought at were pretty close. Essentially even large scale river actions occupied a relatively small area so visually using the larger models looks fine. My thoughts were along the lines of anything up to the close of the pre dreadnought era using larger models - again because the gun ranges were shorter and so they would not look out of place within the confines of my table top. The only problem is obtaining models for the era larger than 1/3000th and without having to sell the house! Tumbling Dice have the makings of a nice little range of Victorian warships in 1/2400th and are now producing models for the period after the ACW - including some torpedo boats of the 1884 variety. Now I would have no problem using these en masse although probably for hypothetical engagments or 'imagi-nations'. Are they too small to use for this period, or indeed earlier periods? Well the answer to that particular question would have to be yes and no. Yes because they are so small and so would not really be suitable for small actions (or so some would say....I could'nt possibly comment....) and no because they are ideally suited for large squadron or fleet sized engagements. Using these models would raise a number of issues concerning the use of Hexon tiles simply because a single model, even a largish type for the period would look alittle forlorn within the 4" span of a tile! One could argue that visually they would actually look better from a scale perspective but then the numbers you could deploy would be limited by the larger hexes used. The answer would be to use smaller hexes (assuming one wanted to stick with 1 ship in a hex) but that would mean that the Hexon collection would be consigned to the store cupboard as a result. A solution would be to use multiple ship bases but I have never really been sold on that idea. Allowing models to double up (perhaps allowing two to occupy a tile) may be an idea but I will have to give this some further thought.
For WW1 and WW2 the solution is far more straightforward as 1/4800th would work really well on a 6 x 4ft table and with a Hexon tile based set up. the diatnces between forces would look sensible and the range available from Mike Yarrow is sufficient for most of the key types for WW2 and even a fair amount of WW1. Again, this is a subject that I want to tackle but need to be sure that I am not going down yet another blind alley.
The whole point of this ramble has been to help realign my thinking about what I want from my naval games in terms of the game itself and the how the models can best serve that. To that end I have drawn the following conclusions:
  • I want to use my Hexon with its 4" hexes on my 6 x 4ft table
  • I want large scale games (squadron or fleet level) for the periods up to the ACW
  • I want large or small scale games for the ACW and including the 20th century
  • I want to use larger models when the action is up close or with less models and use smaller models when the action is further apart or with more models
Essentially the bigger the game, the smaller the models - usually, and I can't believe I hadn't considered this before!


Bluebear Jeff said...

You had asked about what the 1/2400 Panzerschiffe's looked like.

You can see some quite nice photos if you browse back through the posts on the following blog (he takes much better photos than I do):

Also I should point out that they have an extensive range of merchant ships:

Some of the above can be seen here:

-- Jeff

David Crook said...

Hi Jeff,

Many thanks for this - they certainly look the part!

All the best,