Saturday 26 April 2014

Shades of Those Magnificent Men....

The Morane....

....and the Fokker

This is very a much a WW1 related post staring with a very pleasant afternoon spent at the home of Mr. Fox. After a Richard Holmes style lunch (you would have to read his excellent Riding the Retreat to know what I am going about!) we set to with a game of Wings of Glory - the 1/144th scale WW1 aerial combat game. Mr fox has a huge collection of the models for this - including such wonders as Gotha bombers and more fighters than you can shake several sticks at. Many of his models have been custom painted and, like everything he turns his hand to, are absolutely magnificent.

The game pitted a pair of Fokkers against a pair of Moranes and the 'Fokker Scourge' was uch in evidence as both Moranes were downed. I was very pleased with the result - especially as one of the Fokkers was in Turkish livery - although one of my aircraft did its best to take itself out by ramming one of the Moranes and catching fire in the process....;-)

The game was played on a couple of Mr Fox's newly acquired scenic mats designed to go with the game - very nice but not cheap.

Oooh shiny!

I also took delivery from Mr Fox of a very nice book indeed - the one pictured above in fact - and it is really good. I mean it is REALLY good! Published by Amber this came from the Works for the princely sum of £4.99 and it covers virtually every aspect of the Great War in the air and with theatre specific coverage - including Turkish Albatross fighters....It is very colourful with lots of technical details and as good a selection of side views as you could wish for. It has got me even more inspired following on from Kaptain Kobold's 1/600th aerial adventures using his home grown Spandau and  Lewis rules. All I need is a Tumbling Dice catalogue and a cunning plan or two.

Finally, I managed to watch the last of 37 days - the BBC dramatisation leading up the outbreak of WW1. I enjoyed this - if enjoyed was the right word - and it has given me much food for thought about the war in general. Finally (yes I know I have said it already!) I also managed to make a start on the eight dreadnoughts for the High Seas fleet.

All in all it has been a pretty good Saturday and I would like to extend my thanks to Mr Fox for a quite superb afternoon - the Green King IPA went down like nectar!

Monday 21 April 2014

The Second of the Battle Cruisers

The final battle cruisers currently in the collection - a pair of the Lion class

I have just returned from a family Easter (and a belated happy Easter to all) in the wilds of Norfolk, deep the heart of the Broads. It was a pleasant way to spend a bank holiday weekend - even the traffic was relatively kind although I still despair at the road manners of many drivers!

The Royal Navy contingent thus far - H.M.S. Tiger at the top of the picture completing the formation.

We arrived back early this afternoon and as the rest of the day was free I took the opportunity to finish the two Lion class battle cruisers for my 1/2400th scale WW1 naval collection. Once again the Stonewall castings are fairly basic but they scrub up rather nicely and whilst not in the same league as GHQ and C in C they are perfectly adequate for gaming pieces. The painting technique was my usual black undercoat and dry brush top coats withe main part of the decks picked out Humbrol Mast Oak. Mention of this particular colour has raised a couple of points to consider. Firstly, the old Humbrol Authenticolour range is no longer (as far as I know anyway) and I only have around two thirds of a tin left. I recently had to give the tine a good mix, stir and dilute with thinners which should prolong its life - at least for long enough to complete the remaining models anyway.

H.M.S. Lion - Admiral Beatty's flagship 

H.M.S. Princess Royal - sister ship to the above

I have a third casting of this particular class and was tempted to paint it up to represent the Queen Mary but for the fact I would need to change two of the funnels for round versions. I have some rough castings that could easily sacrifice the appropriate round funnels if so desired and I may tackle this at some point but it is not essential at present.

A gentle reminder of what the opposition looks like so far....

It has taken me far longer than usual to get these five models completed but now I am back in the 'zone' I can press on with a little more urgency. Talking of urgency, I will need to get some earlier battle cruisers for both sides and this will be my priority as soon as the funds are available.

Sunday 13 April 2014

The First of the Battle Cruisers

The first of the new 1/2400th scale WW1 warships for the Royal Navy and the High Seas Fleet completed today. They have been painted using my now standard black undercoat and umpteen layers of grey dry brushing - all using Humbrol enamels (except for the bases).

S.M.S. Lutzow and Derfflinger - the later Hindenberg differed in minor details.

H.M.S. Tiger - the design was similar to that of the Japanese Kongo class.

S.M.S. Derfflinger - the first of the class

S.M.S. Lutzow - hit by some 24 heavy shells at Jutland and sunk by the Germans when flooded with some 8,000 tons of water.

H.M.S. Tiger - a very handsome looking ship until her late war makeover, described in Jane's Fighting Ships as "her present hideous rig."

I was absolutely delighted with the way these turned out and should now push on with the rest of the collection. I will need to add some of the earlier battle cruisers - which of course means I will be able to add the Seydlitz - which will give me a pretty good WW1 set up for the North Sea and further afield should the need arise.

It was great fun painting them as well!

Monday 7 April 2014

Clearing the decks....Part 1

SMS Lutzow. She had a short service career and was scuttled as a result of damage received at Jutland 1916.

As much for my own inspiration (or rather making sure I stay on track for a couple of weeks - at least until after my Pendraken order arrives!) as for any other reason I wanted to follow up on the mention of some painting in my previous post. I have a tray of based and undercoated WW1 1/2400th scale warships for both the Royal Navy and the High Seas Fleet . These were originally going to be used is but then with my one of my periodic flights of fancy I decided that hey would instead be gracing the fleets of both Fezia and Rusland. That has now passed and so the plan is now to use them as intended.

A plan view of the same

The models closest to completion are a selection of battle cruisers and their escorting destroyers. For the Germans I have a pair of Derfflinger class battle cruisers whilst for the Royal Navy there is HMS Tiger and a pair of the Lion class. Each side has eight destroyers for escorts. The destroyers are at the 'funnel tops, boats and basing' stage whilst the capital ships need a little more work which was the object of the painting session of yesterday (which made a pleasant change from messing around with figure samples I can tell you - especially those being experimented with, some of which were truly horrible!).

The main object was to tidy up the decking and I was able to do this with the result that, for the Germans and HMS Tiger at least, they are quite close being finished - the two Lions rather less so. As soon as this group are ready I plan to run a game (I should point out that I have light cruisers for each side already to go) based around a battle cruiser action using my dreadnought era adaptation of the Bob Cordery's Portable Naval Wargame.

It will be nice to commission the above models in time for Easter which should be achievable as they are quite well advanced.

The Pendraken stuff will remain in ite envelope until they are so that should be an incentive to finish them!

Sunday 6 April 2014

Marking Time

The order is in to Pendraken for a smattering of 10mm goodness - I could have asked someone to collect them for me at Salute but sadly didn't think of that until after I had sent the order off....

In the meantime though, I have some time this weekend to tackle a few items of housekeeping. To begin with, I finally managed to sort out my bases and zip lock plastic bags (cries of what an exciting life you lead!) which is a handy thing to do, albeit a tad uninspiring. Certainly having them all in one place is very handy - especially as I now know where that place is!

I also managed to tackle some painting. I still have a tray of 1/2400th scale WW1 British and German warships under way so I was able to get some work done on the battle cruisers. I am hoping to get these finished fairly soon but am once again thinking of changing the nationality - this time back to what they are supposed to be i.e. The Royal Navy and the High Seas Fleet and not those of Rusland and Fezia. I must confess to really enjoying this - there is something soothing about 50 shades of grey....;-)

I also picked up a couple of sets of rules which look like they could be fun. Of Gods and Mortals is a set of mythological rules by Osprey designed around skirmish sized games. Each player fields a force of a God, some Legends and the inevitable Mortals. The number of models needed for a game is quite small so raising forces in, for example, 28mm should not be too onerous. I would have liked to have seen some mores cultures - there is only Greek, Norse, Celtic and Egyptian included in the rules although you can add your own - represented but I am sure this will follow in due course. North Star produce a range of models to go with this and very nice they look as well.

I also picked up a copy of a set of grid-based WW2 divisional/corps rules called Krieg ohne Hass (war without hate) by Lance Flint. These are designed to be used with 1/200th through to 1/600th scale models and look very interesting indeed. At first glance they look like a cross between Megablitz (Tim Gow) and Square Bashing (Peter Pig RFCM). Initially I was attracted by the use of a grid but my preliminary reading has given me much else to consider. The grid used is of the square variety and is typically 6". Suddenly my 10mm idea has taken on a whole new dimension....;-)

It was quite a therapeutic afternoon in many respects and I also uncovered a few other bits and pieces lurking in the depths of the man cave. A couple of these have certainly got me thinking in a number of directions - certainly not in the 'Ooh shiny' way though - but that will be for another day methinks.

Thursday 3 April 2014

Getting N-Gauged

Turks in action against the Greeks. 

After a couple of weeks of, for me, careful deliberation and experimentation (including painting up some samples) I have finally settled of the scale I intend to use for my armies. In making this decision I have considered a number of factors but it is safe to say that he key one was the relative ease with which the chosen figures can be painted - especially important considering the painting technique I intend employing.

The scale I am opting to use (and the first small order will be on its way to Pendraken very shortly) is 10mm/N Gauge/1:150th. Aside from the painting aspect I considered the following:

  • Cost - they are pretty cheap
  • Choice - the range available is very extensive
  • Size - large enough to paint but small enough to do quickly
  • Ease of storage.
I intend using an 'old toy soldier' style of paint job - probably with gloss varnish - which the majority of figures in this scale lend themselves to rather nicely. I have seen some very detailed painted examples of models in this scale but that is not a path I intend to follow - it would defeat the object for me because if I wanted to paint detailed models (actually painting models in detail is more accurate) I would use a larger scale and indeed, I shall do just that for any skirmish type games.

I have ideas for a number of projects using this scale but first under consideration will be the Russo Turkish War or Fezia and Rusland by another name.

I shall still use other scales for various things - I have in mind some larger scale skirmish games and even some very small models for another idea I am messing around with but the main bulk will be 10mm figures based on 40mm frontages - ideal for using with Hexon tiles.

I feel better now having gotten that off my chest....;-)