One of the particularly helpful benefits of my recent Heroscape acquisitions has been the greatly increased number of blue 'water' tiles I have accrued. I now posses over 250 and this will give my small scale model naval games a major boost as these can look a little lost in a standard Hexon tile. Going forward the plan is to use the Heroscape water tiles in conjunction with the normal land based version to be able to models river banks, coastal areas and such like. My interest initially centred on the ancient period and the use of 1/1200th galleys but I am already thinking about 1/2400th for the Armada, the Anglo Dutch Wars (I bet you did not see that one coming!) and possibly the ACW/Victorian naval. Taking it further forward in time possibly even WW1 and WW2 using 1/4800th or 1/6000th but that is a long way off.
I guess it may have been easier just to get a plain blue hexed mat for naval games but for me that misses the point. I like the idea of having some land as terrain - either riverbanks or coastline - especially as many of my gaming ideas involve combined operations and similar. Heroscape lends itself very well to this approach and for me offers a lot of potential.
I have acquired a modest collection of Navwar 1/1200th ancient galleys - including some later types for the Punic Wars - and am looking to use these for a refight of the battle of Salamis. This was one of the most significant naval battles in history and my inspiration for this project has come from various sources. Many years ago I used to play the Avalon Hill game Trireme which was huge fun. I never used models but always planned to do so at some point. Fast forward a few years and I had the good fortune to pick up a copy of Richard Nelson's book on the subject published in the Battles for Wargamers series. A copy of his fleet action rules published by WRG appeared courtesy of EBay and a copy of Warfleets of Antiquity from my good friend Chris Hardman.
The rules from book by Richard Nelson are in effect a cut down version of the WRG set. they feature enough detail to cover the refight of the actual battle and in terms of the number of ships involved he uses a scale of 1 model equalling 12 actual ships. Based on the sources he has used this translates into 54 models - which is eminently achievable. I only need a further 16 triremes from Navwar (not as detailed as Rod Langton but a lot cheaper!) and I will be good to go.
I will have to make some important decisions about the models. They are all going to based on a 40mm by 30mm base with the nationality and number as a label. That much I have decided upon but the main area of contention concerns sails. Do I have them mounted on the ship or do I leave them off? The former would look better but the latter is more historically accurate. I did toy with having them detachable but in 1/1200th they are a little on the fiddly side. An associated problem is there is a huge hole in the deck where the mast is stepped which is quite an eyesore without the mast in place. Of all the options I am leaning towards having the masts in place - simply because the models look nicer.
Ah but what of Jutland? I can almost hear a collective sigh as yet another project is launched. I shall be tackling something Jutland based to commemorate the anniversary next year but it is unlikely that models will feature. Salamis however is a lot more achievable and so my naval efforts will be focusing on this for the next few months. the final models will be acquired at the weekend.