Monday, 17 August 2020

Thoughts on WW1 Afloat

Elements of the Royal Navy....

....and their High Seas Fleet opposition - and a couple of stray Frenchmen!

I seem to be caught on the horns of a very pleasant dilemma! I am in the fortunate position of being able to look at gaming WW1 naval actions effectively in three scales. At the top end - 1:1200th - of course there is the recently rediscovered portion of the Turkish imagi-navy from Eric’s South East Asia campaign of long ago. Then there is my recent acquisition of a 1:3000th set up and finally there is the  considerable collection of ship counters I have based on the Avalon Hill game of Jutland - and these are roughly 1:4800th.

I will outline my thought processes behind each collection and how I tend to make use of this wide variety of scales. For the record I will not be looking at 1:1800th although 1:2400th may well be an option at some point. I should also mention that I fully intend using a table top with a maximum size of 6ft by 4ft.


This is the scale of the collector and the models available tend to be expensive although there are a few cheap alternatives that can be used - M.Y. Miniatures have a small range for the period and there are also some plastic kits - Airfix and Revell. With a battleship being 6” long or more it follows that using only a few models a side would make sense in the available sense. This is good in another way as it would keep the expenditure down. I have said that I am keen to make use of the Turks once again so with a few selected purchases it would be all I need.


My newly acquired collection in this scale will work for large actions and small so has a lot of practical versatility. It also has the advantage of there being a huge amount of material available from Navwar (which is only half and hour up the road from me!). The only drawback for me is that the models are a little on the small side but this is largely offset by the huge variety that can be called upon.


I have no intention in using models for this scale but I do have a huge number of counters derived from the Avalon Hill game Jutland. This is the scale for large actions and to be honest, I can see me using this scale exclusively at this level.

These 1:1200th models appeared in one of the boxes of 18th century infantry that I collected from Bill as part of the very first batch from his father’s collection. These must have been acquired after the conclusion of the campaign as they certainly never appeared during the fighting

Invincible class battle cruisers

Koenig class battleships

Helgoland class battleships

Of the two scales I have models for both will need some work to get to readiness. I do not mind this as the scale of game I am looking to fight in either scale would not need a lot of work. In 1:1200th I would need some suitable opposition for the Turks and indeed, the Ottomans will need rebasing but it is all fairly straightforward stuff. For the 1:3000th collection there would be an element of rebasing involved and a larger degree of acquisition but luckily it is all low level stuff - destroyers, light cruisers and for the Germans, SMS Seydlitz.

There are a few rivers to cross before I would be ready to roll either model option out but it does not hurt to have a plan in place. The thing with the 1:1200th option is that using the available range of plastic kits available - Airfix, I am looking at you! - There is a lot of fun to be had just chopping them about, using the bits and pieces, and seeing what comes out!


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Those 1/1200 (Invincibles in particular) are beautiful and if I were a man of infinite means and infinite monkeys I would not be able to resist .. methinks WWI Falklands rather than Jutland though .. Fletcher Pratt rules with chalk dust on the cheek;)

Nice to see a 1/3000 ship collection back in your possession ;)

David Crook said...

Hi Geordie,

The 1:3000th will need some work - only adding some additional ships and rebasing - as will the bigger stuff. I rather like the idea of using the smaller numbers of the larger ships on a 6ft by 4ft so there will also be some movement with them as well.

Not Fletcher Pratt though....

All the best,