Thursday 30 July 2009

Thunder Along The Mississippi........Part 5

Much brushwork has taken place - certainly on the ironclad contingent - and I am at the tidying up 'twixt metal and woodwork stage on all those that have some wood on display i.e. NOT the monitors! I am hoping to have this lot ready for early next week with the added bonus that I have already started the sail elements - they are lovely models and will look nice on the tabletop. The whole collection will be finished by mid August at the latest and I then need to look at the land side. I have a pretty radical idea for this - details of which will be forthcoming once I have the mock ups ready. I also have yet to decide on the rules but there is no immediate rush for this either. The stuff for the land side, should my plans work out, will only take a couple of weeks to complete so September will see the OGRE project tackled - prior to starting at college.

Black Sea Naval Action

At the club last night I gave both the Russians and the Turks a run out using the latest version of the DBSA The Great War Gridded rules that I have been tinkering with. I chose as the forces the following:

Turkey - Yavuz Sultan Selim (BC), Midilli (LC), Hamidiye, Mecidiye (PC) two bases of destroyers - one Samsun (French Durandal types) and one Muavenet (ex German) making four DDs in total.

Russia - Evstafi, Ioann Zlatoust, Pantelejmon (all PBs), Parmiat Merkurija (PC), a base of Bespokoinyi DDs and two bases of Leitenant Pushchin DDs - 6 models for the three bases in total.
I wont describe the action in detail as, once again, this was very much in the nature of a play test (don't worry, when the rules are finally finished I will do so!) but it did serve to highlight a number of issues that need to be addressed. The most significant of these was that I need to clarify exactly how firing arcs and ranges need to be expressed. This caused a little confusion and I must confess that I was probably not clear in my intentions! I think that the ship classifications are fine (although I may revise these in the light of further research) but I want to radically change the firing and damage system as the existing range brackets are a little clunky. I also need to consider stacking and the impact of ships in a potential collision environment.

The action was fairly muted as the Turks dared not risk damage to the Yavuz Sultan Selim so were content to stay at maximum range whilst trading long range potshots with the Russian battleships. Indeed, whilst holding the range the Turks managed to completely circle around the Russians but at the cost of the cruisers becoming detached. The Midilli was hit at long range by the Evstafi whilst acting as close escort to the Yavuz Sultan Selim and as a result retired at top speed from the action. The high spot of the affair came within the last couple of game turns when the Hamidiye and Mecidiye were engaged by the Russian Destroyers. After a short, sharp action the Hamidiye was torpedoed and sank instantly whilst the gunfire of the two cruisers accounted for a base and half of Russian destroyers (3 ships in total). Neither sides main units suffered any meaningful damage although a number of close misses did occur.
Taken in an historical context, the action was probably quite accurate as the Russian battleships could neither catch or out gun the Yavuz Sultan Selim and were certainly not going to take it on individually. The Turks could ill afford to have any substantial damage inflicted on such a large ship as their dockyards were ill served in dealing with major warships. So the honours were fairly even and as a tactical exercise overall it worked well.
The picture is of the Yavuz Sultan Selim and amazingly she was not scrapped until the early 1970's.

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Thunder Along The Mississippi........Part 4

All the models have been undercoated and the business of finding names for them is underway. The next step will be to put the magnetic paper on the undersides of the bases for storage purposes. Originally I was not going to use the cast seascape bases provided but have decided to go with them after all - otherwise I would be stuck with a pile of metal of which I would have little use. I have also decided to stay with the existing Confederate flag I will be using on the bases so there will be no need to order another version. I must confess that my ignorance on the subject of Confederate flags has been well demonstrated in this respect - the version I am using is a modern composite of what the CSA flag should look like and I am using it for simplicity!

Whilst readying these models I have also been giving some thought to the land dimension - forts, shore batteries and troops etc. I have a plan for this that I will reveal in due course - I just need to make a few enquiries first......;-)

Monday 27 July 2009

Thunder Along The Mississippi........Part 3

After a herculean effort I have managed to get all the models assembled and on bases for painting. I have also placed a small order with Tumbling Dice for a Gloire (to use as USS New Ironsides - see the picture above), a couple of screw sloops and a couple of stern wheelers. This will suffice for the time being and the painting schedule breaks neatly into two parts - basically thems with sails and thems without. I shall be tackling the non-sailed vessels to begin with as the paint job will be a lot easier!

Sunday 26 July 2009

More Boot Sale Bargains - Synchronicity in Action

By way of a change I was actually selling at the boot sale today - the lazybones boot sale at Rettenden - and as is customary on these occasions I was able to have a wander around and to hopefully snaffle a couple of bargains. This indeed proved to be the case and the first acquisition was a pristine paperback copy of The Bloody Crucible of Courage by Brent Nosworthy for the princely sum of £2 - not bad when the cover price is £18.99! Given my current foray into the American Civil War this was a superb example of synchronicity in action! The book is a study of the 'Fighting Methods and Combat Experience of the American Civil War' and should complement nicely Rally Once Again by Paddy Griffith.

The second bargain was something a little more unusual. It is a complete copy of the boardgame Conquest designed in the early 70s by the late Donald Benge. The game is an abstract ancient/medieval wargame using point to point movement and features cavalry, infantry, chariots, elephants and two types of warship. Dice are not used and the idea is to either wipe out your opponent or capture his capital. The board features both land and sea areas and chariots, elephants and one of the ship types can also transport troops, thereby increasing tactical flexibility. The box is pretty battered but the contents (52 stylised plastic pieces) are intact; together with a book of tactical puzzles based on the game. I have played this game although many years ago and so it was a welcome acquisition, albeit of an abstract nature.

Selling wise the day was pretty grim but the two items acquired more than made up for it.

Thunder Along The Mississippi........Part 2

Once more into the research breach as I attempt to find suitable names for the ships in the collection. In this I am fortunate to have a few titles in the collection that will be of enormous help - namely Warships and Naval Battles of the Civil War by Tony Gibbons which is an absolute bible for the period. The ironclad stuff should be pretty straightforward although the Confederates suffer from having, aside from Virginia, only one type of casemate ironclad represented, or more specifically, one size. I need to identify a couple Confederate ironclads about the size of the CSS Texas (she is the named vessel that comes in the pack with the Virginia) so this should be pretty straightforward. The real difficulty will be with identifying and naming the bewildering array of various sized screw and paddle vessels of all shapes and rigs employed by both sides.

I also want to find out which, if any, of the various European ironclads in service at the time was closest in layout and design to the USS New Ironsides as i would like to have her as the Union flagship.

Saturday 25 July 2009

Thunder Along The Mississippi........

I know, I know - chopping and changing your mind about a project is the easiest way NOT to get anything done but the sight of the 1/2400th Tumbling Dice ACW fleets laid out on the table in front of me (with the added advantage of all having been acquired previously) was frankly more than mortal flesh could bear and so I shall push on with them instead of the Sci Fi stuff - of which I am still waiting for some of the constituent parts (thin excuse I know!). The Sci Fi OGRE project will be quite a quick 'blitz' job in any event.

There are 36 ships in total, of which a half are ironclads of one sort or another and they are really nice castings although some of the ships are a little odd looking when compared to their historical originals. Some of them, especially the CSS Virginia and the Cairo type river gunboat are almost 'cartoonish' in their profile. Very nice though, all the same. All the models have a cast 'seascape' type base which is separate for most of the models although not for the smaller sloops and gunboats. I shall still but these on card bases so as I can apply names and flags and I will apologise in advance for the fact hat the Confederate flag I shall be using is not the naval version - I only discovered that after I had ordered the normal one!

Tumbling Dice will be adding to the range in due course but there is sufficient to be going with. I am undecided about the rules etc I shall use although I have a number of sets in mind.
Thunder Along The Mississippi refers to the book of the same name by Jack Coombe that describes the riverine battles during the ACW and is a great read. The author also wrote a companion volume called Gunfire Around The Gulf culminating in the battle at Mobile Bay.

Friday 24 July 2009

I, Robot............Part 3

After a flurry of activity (basically getting the order in to Ground Zero Games) I have worked out exactly what I will be doing re the OGRE set up. In terms of size the project will not be huge - one OGRE cybertank and around two dozen bases of assorted tanks, APCs, missile carriers, howitzers and power armoured infantry - and the inevitable command post. GZG confirmed the order and it will be in the post on Monday - I was impressed with the fact that Mr GZG - Jon Tuffley - emailed me to tell me when the items would be in the post. I appreciate this level of customer service and they are a company that are a pleasure to deal with.

In the meantime, and as a minor diversion, I dragged out the 1/2400 Tumbling Dice ACW naval stuff I have..................hmmmmmmmmm..;-)

I, Robot............Part 2 (Whoops! I did it again!)

It suddenly occurred to me whilst sorting through the assorted items of 2mm Sci Fi kit from Ground Zero Games, that I had been perhaps a trifle rash in my first rush of enthusiasm to get the project on the table. Not because of the size of the undertaking - more because I had given insufficient thought to the whole subject! The 2mm stuff was originally acquired to make a miniatures based version of the old Steve Jackson board game OGRE (one of my all-time favourites) but was only partially collected i.e. I had some but not all of the items I needed. So, stepping back from the plan slightly i now think that it would be better to to go with the original idea and follow this through with the option of adding the Robots in later. I do not need very much in the way of material to finish off this as a stand alone project - no more than £10 worth of models - and for completeness it would preferable to go down this route as the forces currently at my disposal are a little unbalanced when facing a, for want of a better description, more conventional army level of opposition.

So the Robots will be put to one side for the moment and the extra 2mm stuff ordered so that the original OGRE project can be tackled first. I would not describe this as a U turn in any way shape or form from the original intention - more like an ever so minor adjustment to the plan..........;-)

Wednesday 22 July 2009

I, Robot............

With apologies to both Isaac Asimov and Will Smith - my gap fill mini-project is firmly rooted in my long term passion for matters science fiction related. I have a number of old MJ Figures robots that were produced to support a set of rules called Bad Command from back in the 80s. The rules used the premise that mankind was on the verge of extinction and that the robots had taken over; or rather the computers had, with the use of robots to carry out their plans. The rules were very much a product of the times in my opinion - stuffed full of tables etc - and I doubt I will use them. The models though are a different matter altogether. The robots ranged in size and capabilities from giant three inch high models down to those that are a little over a quarter of an inch. These will form one side whilst my collection of models from Ground Zero Games 2mm range will form the opposition. I have everything I need except for scenery and as I will be cheating and fighting over desert terrain I will need very little of that! Irregular Miniatures produce a couple of Middle Eastern villages and some Sci Fi bases in their 2mm terrain range so that will suffice. Everything will be based on a 40mm frontage and the rules are yet another DBA/HOTT inspired set. It will be fun, fast and furious - a true epic space opera type of set up. I want to get this finished in its entirety before the Balkan Wars kick off properly and I am allowing myself until the end of next month to complete the task.

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Black Sea Fleet Russians Part 5

I feel a bit of an Archimedes 'Eureka' moment coming on.........At long last (and despite the best efforts of my camera - note to self: GET A NEW ONE!!!!!) the Black Sea Russian Fleet is ready for action and takes the number of 1/3000th models for the whole Eastern Mediterranean/Black Sea/Balkan War/World War 1 project to just over the 100 ships. Phew! First up, appropriately, is the 1st Battle Squadron with its escort of some 300 ton destroyers. These ships bore the brunt of the fighting for the Russians early on in the war - at least until the dreadnoughts started appearing. They had an active war and frightened the Yavuz Sultan Selim on more than one occasion. The Russians, quite sensibly under the circumstances, used these 'mob-handed' and had also taken the precaution of increasing the elevation of the main guns to extend the range. Later on, once naval superiority had been established, they enjoyed an active career bombarding Turkish coal mines and supply lines. Pantelejmon was previously known as Potemkin.

Above are the three dreadnoughts that ensured that the Turks would never have anything like a chance in the Black Sea - the only advantage the Yavuz Sultan Selim had over these was speed and even that was dependant on the state of the boilers and hull and was a major problem given the paucity of Turkish dockyard facilities for dealing with large warships. In attendance are some of the Novik class DDs and yes, they are really 1/3000th!

In the shot above are the three cruisers the Russians used in the Black Sea and the top two in the picture in particular are really lovely castings. The Prut was in fact the Turkish Mecidiye that the Russians had saved from sinking when she was mined and repaired and took into service. The Kagul and the Pamiat Merkurija had a very active war and were forever trying to catch the Turkish Midilli (ex Breslau) but given that she had a five knot advantage it was always going to be difficult - they did give it a good try though!

Finally we have a couple of very old battleships being used as guard/depot ships. I always like ships where the name is longer than the model!
So there you have it, three fleets now ready for action and virtually complete. There are some other vessels I would like to add - gunboats for all three, some torpedo boats for the Greeks and some seaplane tenders for the Russians but this will need a little further research in order to identify suitable alternatives. I will need to speak to Navwar Tony methinks!

Monday 20 July 2009

Black Sea Fleet Russians Part 4

I know I said these would be finished over the weekend but it will now be tomorrow! lets just say that due to circumstances beyond my control intervened! All I need to do to finish them is the waves, wakes, labels and flags and the fleet is then ready to roll. I have enjoyed the project - the research, reading and model making has been very therapeutic. I now need to organise something in a campaign setting to start getting some return on the labours thus far.

The next nautical adventure will be delayed somewhat as I will be gap filling with a mini project before starting on the Balkan Wars armies. It will be completely different to anything thus far and has come about as a result of unearthing some late 80's castings whilst reorganising my office at home.

More on this mysterious project later.

Saturday 18 July 2009

Boot Sale Bargains Again

Another trip to our usual Saturday morning boot sale at Sadlers farm bore fruit in the shape of three more books - one most certainly for my own use the other two more likely to head for either the club or ebay. The book I shall be keeping is 'The American Civil War Source Book' by Philip Katcher. This is in hardback with the dust jacket although slightly 'sunned' on the spine. A very useful book to dip into. I have had a curious relationship with the ACW for many years - some facets I find absolutely fascinating and others very much less so. I am very interested in the naval and riverine side - in fact I have a couple of 1/2400 Tumbling Dice fleets to prepare at some point - and also the Western theatre but the bias that seems to extend to the Eastern campaigns I find less appealing. I have also had some bad gaming experiences of the period with rules of dubious value which probably does not help my feelings toward the subject! This first edition cost me the princely sum of £1.

The next two titles I am undecided about as although I am interested in the subject matter i.e. modern aerial combat I am not so 'into' it that I would actively game it. That said, Dave Manley has produced a great set of modern air combat rules and there are some lovely 1/600th scale models from Tumbling Dice available so it could potentially be a project for the future. My own feeling though is that if I were to tackle modern combat at all it would be from the land or sea with the air element as an abstract add on. The jury is out on this but I suspect that the club or ebay will see them at some point. the first if 'Fighter Missions' and is a large format book stuffed with profiles of the many different missions flown in combat. It is a real 'under the skin' title giving details of what happens and when during a combat mission. Really useful background material for adding accurate meat to scenario design.

The second title is 'The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes' ans was published in 1995 with the well known aviation expert Bill Gunston as the editor. Basically the book has the specifications of around 250 aircraft in service with the world's air forces at that time. It makes a good companion to the title above and the pair of them came to the mind-boggling sum of £1.50!

All in all then it was not a bad day out but it has given me much to think about. Do I really need to start yet another project? I tend to think of air games in the same terms as naval - you don't need a lot of stuff for a good game so they are fairly cheap to set up in 1/300th or 1/600th...................oh dear, I think I need to lie down, my wallet is groaning under the potential impact!

Thursday 16 July 2009

Black Sea Fleet Russians Part 3

By virtue of some well disciplined application I was able to get the 'edging' finished this evening - the tidying up 'twixt hull, superstructure, turrets and decks so am now back on track to finish them over the weekend. I forgot to mention that previously I had also stuck some magnetic sheet on the underside of each base - this of course being for storage when finished.

The models look very nice and the Novik class DDs look huge and will certainly cause the Turks some problems. Historically they had no answer to them and even with the addition of the RN requisitioned Talisman class they will still be up against it.

My reading of the naval conflict in the Black Sea during WW1 has thus far been limited but there is plenty to provide inspiration for scenarios that are small enough to be easily gameable - both on a club night or as a solo exercise.

A Find of Historical Importance

The past few days have been fairly busy in a time consuming kind of fashion but I was able to sneak a visit to the home of my good friend Mr.Fox whilst he is on his annual holiday. Aside from a cup of very good coffee and some quite outstanding aerial photos taken at Duxford the previous weekend (I will try and persuade Mr.Fox to send me a couple to add to the blog) imagine my surprise and unalloyed pleasure when he presented me with a cut out article from an old edition of Wargames Illustrated - being a set of tactical DBA-inspired rules to use with the Balkan Wars - for 15mm figures no less! The rules formed the tactical part of a two part article with the other part (in issue 66) containing a matrix campaign game and a very useful map. The tactical rules were designed by that doyenne of the wargames table: Mr Bob Cordery. These rules were of 1994 vintage but are pretty much complete and need only minor tweaking. Of course it does now present me with a very pleasant problem - do I use these or 'When Empires Clash', or indeed both? I will contact Bob and see how much further light can be shed on these.
To say I was pleased to come across this piece of history would be an understatement and I fully intend laying hold of the other article for completeness - Mr.Fox is already on the case with this. I am also pretty sure that a campaign map appeared in Miniature Wargames at some point although I think it may have been the whole of the Mediterranean.

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Axis and Allies: War at Sea Part 2

You couldn't make it up! I have sold the French Fleet to a Frenchman living in France on Bastille Day! What would be the odds on that I wonder?

Monday 13 July 2009

Axis and Allies: War at Sea

Above is the US task Force, based around a couple of carriers and a whole pile of close escort.

This is the Japanese Task Force, again based around a couple of large carriers, some escort carriers and the minor consideration of the Yamato as an AA platform..........;-)

Finally the French, including the incomplete Jean Bart

As readers of the blog may have noticed on previous post I am embarking upon an intended Balkan Wars set up for land actions using Bob Cordery's excellent 'When Empires Clash' rules. These are designed very much with the 'fast-play-ideal-for-club-night-and solo-project' type of action and so are ideal for me and my mini projects. However, as I am still unemployed i need to be very careful with any expenditure and so in order to finance any new acquisitions I need to dispose of items that are surplus to requirements from the existing collection. With this in mind, I am listing on ebay a number of Pacific theatre ships from the War at Sea collectable miniatures game. I started on the Pacific by accident as I had a lot of spare US and Japanese models kicking around and it kind of grew from that. The two fleets (plus the accompanying air groups) look really nice and I am reluctant to part with them although if I retained them then the newer additions to the set up would be another unbearable expense as the Pacific, in my mind, needs a lot more material to game than does the North Atlantic.

I am keeping the Royal Navy, The Germans and the Italians and will add to them when the next release hits the stores later this year - I am especially keen to get Repulse and Renown to be able to re run Operation Seeadler with the right ships!
Should anyone be interested in these fleets (there is also a shed load of aircraft to go with the US and Japanese fleets - 14 bases for the Americans and 22 for the Japanese) then they are listed on ebay under my user id of drcroguejedi and I am happy to answer any questions relating to them.

Friday 10 July 2009

Black Sea Fleet Russians Part 2

Further progress has been made with the Black Sea Russians this evening - the base grey has been slopped on, to be followed with the first deck coat tomorrow. This is also a 'rough' coat as I then go back over the grey to get the edges tidied up. I then pick out the ships boats where possible and then black wash varnish the whole thing. After this the decks are touched in with the base deck colour as are the ships boats. They, together with the funnel tops (which I paint black), are then given a clear varnish. I use a white undercoat as I cannot get on with black!
Whilst the grey was drying I took the opportunity to type up the ship names for the labels as this will save time later. The plan is to finish them by next weekend which should be easily achievable.
The picture above shows the Black Sea Battleships on a patrol with the Ioann Zlatoust in the van.

Black Sea Fleet Russians

I managed to get the models undercoated last evening for the Russias and am still pondering not only which shade of grey to use but also what the next opposition will consist of. For the Mediterranean my good friend and long term opponent Neil Fox has both the Austrians and Italians so logic would dictate that the French should be next. The problem is for me with that is that it will need a lot of ships to do it justice -although they do have some truly odd looking ships!

There is also the possibility of a RN Mediterranean squadron which could be fun - lots of pre dreadnoughts and armoured cruisers. Thankfully I dont need to decide just yet as further research will be needed.

The picture is of one of the Russian dreadnoughts - Imperatritsa Mariya - that was built for the Black Sea Fleet. There was three of these and I have all of them - they should give the Yavuz Sultan Selim (ex Goeben) something to think about!

Thursday 9 July 2009

I am Spartacus.................

It was a low key affair at SEEMs last night - in fact there was only five of us present - so Mr Fox rolled out the old standby game of Ludus Gladiatorius by EM4 for the delectation of the discerning few. This is a man to man Gladiator combat game with some very nice pre-painted 28mm figures supplied with the rules and game components. All the main types of gladiator feature including the Retarius as well as a very nice Lion - just right for chasing criminals etc. The game is simple to play and great fun and the night finished with my figure bleeding like a stuck pig with his opposite number in a similar condition. The only other combatant left in the arena was too far away (and staying that way as well!) to take part in any other unpleasantness and the final figure of the four protagonists was the only casualty of the dead kind.

I have a couple of very good books on the whole Spartacus Slave Revolt - Spartacus: the Man and the Myth by M.J.Trow (who also wrote a similar title on El Cid) and The Spartacus War by Barry Strauss. There is also an Osprey Warrior title (number 39) Gladiators 100BC to 200AD by Stephen Wisdom and a forthcoming Campaign series title on the subject is due. Of course we also have the added bonus of the film (one of my all time greats) Spartacus as well as Gladiator with Russell Crowe.

I must confess that the idea of a Spartacus Slave Revolt DBA 15mm army is very appealing and I know that Donnington produce the figures..................;-)

All in all, a great diversion for a club night and as it requires very little in the way of material a sure fire credit crunch winner!

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Balkan Intrigues

Now that the Balkan fleets have been 97% finished (more about the 3% later) I am in the position of being able to take stock as to how I want to proceed with them. I intend running a mini campaign at some point - based on the Balkan Wars but with all the new ships involved. I will be using the strategic system from the Great War at Sea: Mediterranean to make the map moves and will then fight the resultant actions using my own DBSA gridded variant. I also plan to write the campaign up in the form of a journal - rather like that which was done to great effect in the Madasahatta campaign in years gone by. I also intend covering the land actions as well - I am currently considering ways to finance the acquisition of the appropriate figures from Irregular Miniatures (short of selling an organ or two!) and some other associated bits and pieces - mainly books.

The 3% mentioned equates to a few more ships needed for completeness. The Greeks will need 6 German built 120 ton torpedo boats, the Bulgarians need a torpedo gunboat whilst the Turks need a class of 8 French built gunboats. These will be small but having gone as far as I have it would be churlish to ignore them!

I shall post further on this project in due course and it will be set up on the blog under a separate heading.

Beware of Greeks bearing 14" Guns........

At last the Greek contingent of the Balkan Fleets has been completed! It is smaller in scale than the Turkish aspirations but significant nonetheless. The only only vessel of the batch that was never laid down was the Vasilefs Konstantinos which would have been a straight copy of a French Bretagne class dreadnought. The Salamis was laid down (she was being built in Germany) but never completed and the cruiser Antinauarkos Kondouriotis was requisitioned and became the RN HMS Birkenhead, sister to HMS Chester. The DDs Chios, Lesbos, Kriti and Samos were HMS Melampus, Medusa, Medea and Melpomene respectively.
Of the ships the Greeks actually received I have the two ex US battleships Idaho and Mississippi which became the Kilkis and Limnos (sometimes spelt Lemnos). Both sported the very distinctive lattice masts painted black and both were sunk by the Germans in 1941. The small cruiser Helle was purchased in 1914 from the Chinese whilst building in the US and was to have been called the Fei-Hung.

I am quite pleased with the way these have come overall and am now pressing on with the Black Sea Russians. There are a couple of vessels I need to add to both the Greek and Turkish Fleets but this is not urgent and can wait for another time.
The reference to 14" guns in the title was the provisional armament of the Salamis.

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Not Quite A Greek Tragedy

I had hoped to have been able to post the pictures of the completed Greek ships today but sadly will be unable to until tomorrow. The reason is that the blue paint I use for the bases (Humbrol Matt 25), being a new tin, did not take very well on the card I use and so a second coat was required. This was duly applied and is drying fine and so tomorrow will see the 'waves, wakes, names and flags' added. In the meantime though I was able to finish the storage for the extra models as well as for the impending Russian fleet. On the subject of the Black Sea Russians I have been able to get the castings cleaned up and stuck on their bases prior to undercoating and painting so the evening has been pretty successful after all.

Monday 6 July 2009

'Fifteen men on the Dead Man's chest......'

More from a Boot Sale and welcome on a number of levels - not least of which was the price (£1 for the two) I acquired the two titles pictures above in pristine condition paperback. The whole Pirate thing has always had a fascination for me and the resultant actions are very gameable - if only because you do not need a truckload of kit to game it. A few dozen figures, a couple of buildings and perhaps a representative ship should suffice - any tricorn wearing regulars would suffice for the local garrison and away you go. My interest would be on the land raiding type of action or a small scale naval affair and from a mini campaign or club night activity it has a lot to commend it. Peter Pig carry a large range of 15mm figures as well as 1/450th scale ships and a set of of rules to go with it that cover such combined operations - which are, I believe, gridded. Another project to add to the list but in terms of time and outlay it should be quite inexpensive.
I shall have to dig out my copy of George MacDonald Frasers 'The Pyrates' for additional suitable inspiration................;-)

Sunday 5 July 2009

The 'Not-quite-so-Sick Man of Europe'

One of the things I love about this hobby of ours is how we can, quite literally, change history. How many historical re fights and campaigns that gamers have run contrary to what actually happened? It was with this in mind that I decided to expand the Greek and Turkish Balkan Wars fleets to include those ships that were ordered and either requisitioned or scrapped on the stocks There is no doubt that had either of the navies mentioned taken delivery of these ships then it would have been a very different naval situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. With this in mind I would like to introduce the new Turkish ships as follows:

Resadiye - HMS Erin
Sultan Osman-i Evvel - HMS Agincourt
Drama - the Italian Libia

Also the four Talisman class DD Flotilla leaders. I have been unable to source the Turkish names for this class so have instead opted to call them the Turkish equivalents.

Termagent - HMS Termagent - a certain A.B.Cunningham commanded her late in WW1
Turbulansli - HMS Turbulent
Tilsim - HMS Talisman
Uc Disli Mizrak - HMS Trident

I have also aded the Yavuz Sultan Selim (ex Goeben) and the Midilli (ex Breslau) to the set up and so the naval forces of the Sublime Porte stand ready to heap the Sultans displeasure on his enemies (just as well really as there are quite a few of them!).

Thursday 2 July 2009

"Some Damned Affair in the Balkans" Part 4

Thus far I have managed to get the Turkish ships up to the 'touch-of-black-paint-in-the-varnish-to-give-a-shading-effect' stage so progress has been pretty good. I shall be finishing them off over the next day or two so they at least should be ready for the weekend. The Greeks have had the base grey and the decks painted so should follow shortly after. I have opted for plain white for the ships boats - probably not entirely accurate for wartime but in this scale they stand out far better. The only snag is that it now means I will have to do the same with the rest of the Balkan fleets!

I need to push on with both these navies new additions as I am itching to start on the Black Sea Russians - they have some really nice ships and the Navwar castings are very nice indeed. The Bogatyr class cruiser is one of the nicest models I have seen in 1/3000.

Wednesday 1 July 2009

WW1 Black Sea Russian Navy Part 3

Well I have to say I am staggered! If you recall I was lamenting the fact that I had managed to buy the incorect models for the Lejtenant Pucsin class TBDs for the Black Sea Russian Fleet. I duly returned these to Navwar via the post on Monday morning with a plea to Tony to help with the identification of a suitable replacement. I also supplied Navwar Tony with a copy of a picture of the said TBD from Rene Gregor's book 'The Russian Fleet 1914 to 1917'. Now I could have probably found this out myself eventually so imagine my surprise when an envelope dropped on the mat this morning with not only the replacements but a mini rationale as to why the models in question would be most suitable. The models I shall be using are Japanese Akebono class (circa 1899) as they are virtually identical in this scale. I am really impressed with the service and would wholeheartedly recommend using Navwar for this scale. Three days is outstanding in anybodies book and it will enable me to get the Russians underway much sooner.