Saturday 31 January 2015

Closing in on the big finish....Part 3

I had hoped to have had the remaining German ships completed for this weekend but the fates have conspired against me. If you recall I was a little concerned about how dark the German ships were looking and I was right to be so as when placed alongside the other ideas the difference was noticeable. Then I remembered that originally I had added a further lighter dry brush to the first batch and with the current models I had forgotten to do so. Luckily it was easily resolved by the application of a very careful and lighter grey dry brush. Of course this also meant a further coat of varnish so I decided to tackle the dreadnought bases first before finishing the pre dreadnoughts. A minor delay but nothing major.

I will completely finish the dreadnoughts - including the waves, wakes, names and ensigns before spending any more time on the pre dreadnoughts. I shall be able to make some progress with these but it now looks like the great photo shoot will take place a week later than planned.

Monday 26 January 2015

Closing in on the big finish....Part 2

The remaining dreadnoughts for the German High Seas Fleet for the Jutland 2016 project have been painted and varnished with just the bases to complete. The six pre dreadnoughts of the 2nd battle Squadron roughly halfway there so should be ready for the weekend all being well. If I am honest they seem to have come up a little darker than I would have liked but this is nothing that some careful additional dry brushing should put it right should I decide to do so. I worked on a basic rule of thumb that German ships should be a lighter grey than their RN counterparts and by and large this is noticeable but this final batch do seem a little darker. Still, no two ships, even if painted the same, would weather at the same rate so a little variation in colour can be allowed for!

In any event I have no plans to repaint them....;-)

Thursday 22 January 2015

An ACW Conumdrum

This is typical of me I suppose. After what I think is thoughtful, considered and disciplined approach to identifying exactly what I want to tackle gaming wise I end up doing something, rather rash....

The case in point is my long term and on-off relationship with the ACW. I have flirted with this period over the years - firstly in respect of the land side and more recently with the naval dimension. I am sure you can recall my project to scratch build around 50 odd models for use on the rivers - indeed, some of my games featured a number of them in action alongside the block armies (check under the Games folder to find them if you are interested in the AAR).

But that was then.

I took the decision to abandon the whole idea (for reasons that seemed and indeed, still are perfectly valid) and focus on more Euro-centric campaigns and so the small library I had acquired on the subject is now in the hands of Mr Fox and the models have gone, as I recall, to Scotland via Ebay.

I was then attacked with a major 'Ooh, shiny' moment and acquired a couple of forces of 12mm figures from Kallista for the the land side - and I should mention this came about as the result of boot sale purchase of a hardback copy of McPherson's award winning book: Battle Cry of Freedom for 50p. From such small and cheap beginnings do mighty endeavours result....

I had then naturally considered the ACW again for the naval side but had been toying with 1/1200th rather than 1/600th - as much on the grounds of cost as anything. If I am honest I had not really given the whole idea much thought although the Kallista figures have sat on the painting tray as a continual goad to my conscience. Then came the opportunity to acquire a collection of 21 ships fully painted, based, rigged and ready to use which was very hard to turn down at the price. So I didn't - and the results are below.

Rather nice although I will need to identify both the ship and the model manufacturer!

Union river boats. The biggest being the U.S.S. Essex (centre) with a City class gunboat to the right (with blue funnel bands) and the Indianola to the left. I am not sure about the model at the top.

Union monitors of various types

Confederate casemate ironclads and a solitary river boat. The ironclads include the C.S.S. Virginia (middle far right), the C.S.S Arkansas (middle far left) and the others - note the Louisiana, the rather large vessel top right.

More Union vessels including the New Ironsides in her reduced rig (centre).

Finally a couple of Confederate commerce raider types. I need to check these as I have a feeling the twin turret ship was used by the RN.

Now don't get me wrong, these models are very nice indeed and need minimal work to be ready for action - there are a few chips here and there to touch up, some lifeboats need gluing back and some of the rigging is a little slack - but I am unsure what to do with them. There seems to be little form to the collection - it is almost as if it was 'one of each from the catalogue' scenario. The actions I would fight using these would be very small scale affairs - much smaller than I would normally consider and trust me, that would not be very large anyway! I will need to give this some careful thought as I have no plans to add to this collection in any way, shape or form so for now I will give it some careful consideration.

They are rather nice though.

Friday 16 January 2015

Closing in on the big finish

I have managed to make a start on the remaining German ships for the High Seas Fleet for the Jutland project. The plan is to tackle them in earnest over the weekend for the grand finale - aka the photo shoot - taking place next weekend. I am rather excited by this and am looking forward to this final stage. I have really enjoyed the whole process and am now busily planning the cruisers although this will be rather a large undertaking due to the need to include some 'non-Jutland' types - mainly earlier vessels that would be second class by 1914.

More to follow once I have finalised the plans.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Slightly out of Sequence

If I am honest this is the post that should have gone up prior to the Grand Fleet Review but I was so excited about getting the whole shebang onto the blog I opted to write this after. During the course of painting the models for the collection I have made a point of posting those models that are completed as and when they are done and so for good order sake I wanted to finish off the RN collection with the following pictures. The photographs also benefit from being rather closer than the squadron versions so that the detail of the model is more apparent.

The following batch of models are, quite coincidentally, all made by Panzerschiffe and are cast in a resin type material. they are only available from the USA and are pretty basic in respect of detail - I remember reading someone once describing them as having "carved from a bar of soap"; a little unkind in my opinion although GHQ they are most certainly not. As gaming pieces they are absolutely ideal and as a scale - 1/2400th - I am completely sold on them over 1/3000th.

H.M.S. Canada. Ordered by Chile as the Almirante Latorre she was purchased by the RN and served during WW1. She was returned to Chile and was not scrapped until 1959. After Pearl Harbour the US gave serious thought to trying to buy her to bolster their fleet - I am quite sure the Kates and Vals of the Japanese Navy would have been delighted to make her acquaintance....

H.M.S. Agincourt. Ordered by Brazil, paid for by Turkey and, ahem, requistioned by the RN. The only dreadnought to feature seven main gun turrets.

H.M.S. Erin. Ordered and paid for by Turkey and again requisitioned by the RN. She was highly regarded and differed from the RN centreline ten gun dreadnoughts in having Q turret mounted a deck higher. 

H.M.S. Colossus and Hercules. Built to allow limited ten gun broadsides using the offset turrets - these were the opposite way around to the German ships using the same technique.

H.M.S. Neptune. The first of the group of three ships including the two above.

That concludes the 'close up' pictures of the RN ships thus far. the next batch will feature the armoured cruisers but they will not be appearing for a while yet as the German High Seas Fleet needs to be finished first.

Monday 12 January 2015

The Grand Fleet at Jutland - A Review

I have finally managed to finish the Royal Navy battleships and battlecruisers for my Jutland 2016 project so I thought perhaps a fleet review would be in order. The German opposition should be finished by the end of the month which will mean that phase one of the project will be complete. Phase two will see the cruisers (armoured and light) tackled and phase three will feature the destroyers. I am not working to a set timetable for these - as long as they finished by the end of the year it will make little difference to the overall plan.

Grand Fleet - Admiral Sir J. R. Jellicoe, C in C

                              4th Battle Squadron - Vice Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee

Fleet Flagship - H.M.S. Iron Duke
Flag - H.M.S. Benbow
H.M.S. Bellerophon
H.M.S. Temeraire
H.M.S. Vanguard
Flag - H.M.S. Superb
H.M.S. Royal Oak
H.M.S. Canada

1st Battle Squadron - Vice Admiral Sir Cecil Burney

Flag - H.M.S. Marlborough
H.M.S. Revenge
H.M.S. Hercules
H.M.S. Agincourt
Flag - H.M.S. Colossus
H.M.S. Collingwood
H.M.S. Neptune
H.M.S. St. Vincent

2nd Battle Squadron - Vice Admiral Sir T. H. M. Jerram

Flag - H.M.S. King George V
H.M.S. Ajax
H.M.S. Centurion
H.M.S. Erin
Flag - H.M.S. Orion
H.M.S. Monarch
H.M.S. Conqueror
H.M.S. Thunderer

Attached 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron - Rear Admiral The Hon. H. L. A. Hood

Flag - H.M.S. Invincible
H.M.S. Indomitable
H.M.S. Inflexible

Battlecruiser Fleet - Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty, C in C

Fleet Flagship - H.M.S. Lion
Flag - H.M.S. Princess Royal
H.M.S. Queen Mary
H.M.S. Tiger
Flag - H.M.S. New Zealand
H.M.S. Indefatigable

Attached 5th Battle Squadron - Rear Admiral H. Evan-Thomas

Flag - H.M.S. Barham
H.M.S. Warspite
H.M.S. Valiant
H.M.S. Malaya

All of the models have been painted using a matt black undercoat and a combination of enamel and acrylic paints. I use two shades of grey for the RN and a single for the Germans with some final highlights in white - as are the lifeboats. The decks for both sides are painted in either Vallejo buff or Humbrol Mast Oak/Unbleached Linen. the bases are painted, rather un-North Sea-like, in a Windsor and Newton colour called Cobalt Turquoise. I chose this as it is a close match to my Hexon sea tiles and also is very Eastern Mediterranean - which is where this little lot may be seeing action in the future. The name labels I designed myself and the naval ensigns are 1/600th scale self-adhesive types prepared for me by Brigade Models.

The collection prior to going into its designated storage facility

The models themselves are from two sources - Stonewall Miniatures and Panzerschiffe. I should also at this point doff my cap to the redoubtable Mr. Fox as had it not been for him and his passing over of his collection of Stonewall models into my tender care I may never have even considered undertaking this project. Many thanks old chap!

I am rather pleased at how these turned out....;-)

Tuesday 6 January 2015

12 Days Late....

Along with many other things blog related towards the end of the year I manged to miss out on posting details of the seasonal haul. To be accurate some of the items were acquired after the day but as they came about due to Christmas presents of one kind or another they will still be included so without further ado....

Turkish delight to be sure - and certainly hugely inspirational

I have the hardback version to add to the Waterloo section of the library - it is a cracking read.

Delighted to have this Blu Ray and thoroughly enjoyed the film. A different take to be sure but great fun to watch.

As was this - BC was suitably imposing as Khan and the story was outstanding - roll on the next one!

One of my favourite films and with that haunting soundtrack.

Ill met by moonlight - the story of the kidnap of a German general from occupied Crete - I know the story but this fleshes it out somewhat and my interst in anything Greek island related is well known...

This is really good overview of the whole alpine region during the war and the various plans afoot concerning Switzerland and the 'alpine redoubt' idea. For me, inspired by Where Eagles Dare this was a no brainer....

Finally (and with a nod to Conrad Kinch) a detailed account of the fighting for the Vercors region of France in 1944. The Maquis versus the Wehrmacht.

It was a pretty impressive haul and the books were certainly very much appreciated (rather the gift card was for the last title I should say). I am very partial to the idea of small scale WW2 gaming using partisans/resistance or SOE types - even special forces etc so this is a diversion I may explore in time - it certainly should be cheap enough to tackle anyway!

Sunday 4 January 2015

The Painter's Progress

Despite a busy day out with the family I was still abe to make further progress with the remaining RN  battleships - 12 of the last 18 are now complete. I should qualify this by saying that the models are painted and varnished and have the base coat on the bases. I have yet to tackle the waves, wakes, ensigns and names bu am planning to do this once all 18 are ready.

I should also point out that all of the models recently suffering from the great varnish disaster have now been repainted!

I shall be posting a grand fleet review in a couple of weeks and then it is on to the remaining German ships - the last 13.

It is a good feeling to have gotten back in he saddle and I a keen to press on to finish this stage of the project.

Friday 2 January 2015

1815:2015 and 1916:2016

These are the dates that will be featuring prominently on the blog over the coming year - especially in the case of the former as the anniversary is in June!

I have had a relatively productive day today as the six RN battleships have been successfully varnished (phew!) and the bases merely need the 'waves and wakes', the ensign and all-important ship name to be finished. I have also managed to give the second dry brush coat to the remaining twelve battleships before tackling the last of the Germans. I have also been taking a long look at the Panzerschiffe catalogue in readiness for the order of cruisers. I will tackle these first and will finish up with the destroyers.

As far as the Waterloo project is concerned I managed to find all my old notes concerning the orders of battle and how to represent them. I think I am pretty much decided on how this will play out  and so the work involved will be fairly minimal - famous last words!

It will be a block based project so look away now if this is not your bag! A quick review of what I have ready has shown up a few minor gaps but nothing too onerous. the one departure from the norm though is that I shall be using some form of naming convention for the relevant commanders. It will serve to add to the flavour and is something I have been considering for all my bock based adventures.

The best thing about the 1815 project though is that much of the work has already been tackled so fine-tuning the various notes I have made should be pretty straightforward.

It may even reignite my long dormant Napoleonic gene and set me off on a figure painting frenzy.....

Or maybe not....