Friday 14 September 2012

Tile over Substance....Part 2

Pook's turtles - or the magnificent seven if you prefer

It has been one of those days. One of those days where the brain goes into overdrive as an idea suddenly becomes inflated into something far larger. One of those days where the possibilities of such an idea suddenly appear to be endless.

Ok, I know that all sounds very dramatic but indulge me if you would. I spent lunchtime today considering naval stuff and how best to game some of the periods prior to the 20th century that I have an interest in. Obviously any such game would be hex based and so the need for a suitable playing surface that suits the size of models used is a priority. Hexon is fine for either ships that engage at a long range and with moves that are correspondingly smaller in order to remain within the playing area or for a small number of ships that are neither fast nor manoeuvrable engaging at shorter ranges. For me the earlier era translates as the following:
  • Squadron level ACW river actions – my own ‘scaled to fit a Hexon tile models’ or 1/1200th
  • Squadron level Victorian/Napoleonic/18th century – 1/1200th        

In each of the above cases the models will fit on a Hexon tile quite happily and look fine when used in conjunction with the full sized block armies for combined operations actions. Moving back in time, the next periods under consideration begin to struggle in terms of filling a Hexon size as the models are now starting to get too small. I am talking about the Armada, Lepanto style galleys and then back to the ancients. Now it is possible to game these in 1/600th scale but that misses the point as far as I am concerned as here we should be dealing with fleets. An Ancient trireme an inch long in 1/1200th will look lost on a Hexon tile and having multiples of models in a hex is just plain too complex to allow for so the obvious thing is to reduce the size of the hex; thereby providing a larger number of hexes for a given playing area and retaining the 1 ship per hex ideal. By extension, this could also apply to models from the Napoleonic/ACW/Victorian era – especially if using smaller models e.g. 1/2400th. These models are really nice  - I am referring to Tumbling Dice here – and have the added attraction of not only being cheap but crucially, are also easy to paint.

A major bonus of using these smaller models is the fact that I can model terrain using Heroscape far more easily than with Hexon because taking my maximum playing area of 6 x 4 foot it would mean that I could get effectively twice as many hexes on the table. This would give me more ‘sea/river room’ for manoeuvre. This would be especially useful for ACW river actions as it would be possible to model a larger stretch of water than I could with Hexon. This has given rise to a monumental decision.

(Pauses at this point for a very sharp intake of breath, squares the shoulders, flexes the neck and clears the throat to the accompanying roll of drums )

A pair of sidewheelers

I have decided that in order for me to successfully game the naval wars on the rivers during the ACW I will need to acquire a pair of fleets in a smaller scale than I currently have available. In short, the fifty models I have scratch built (of which 17 are fully painted, based, named and flagged) are now surplus to requirements and will be disposed of. This will include the name labels as yet unused, the printed flags and the clear plastic I am using for the bases.

CSS Louisiana - she is now painted.

I intend using the proceeds of the sale to furnish the fleets in 1/2400th for the not only the ACW but also for those Napoleonic or Victorian ironclads ideas I have, possibly also expanding into the 16thcentury.

There, I’ve done it.

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