Tuesday, 23 April 2019

HMS Scorpion and HMS Wivern


I lined up my based and undercoated Royal Navy ironclads today, to remind myself what I had prepared and also to spot any gaps that I might want to fill. I need no excuse to acquire more Tumbling Dice 1/2400th scale ship models but I found one when I realised that I didn't have either HMS Scorpion or HMS Wivern, which would be a handy addition to the squadron as I'm a bit light on turret ironclads. I've put in an order so they'll be added to the painting queue when they arrive.

French Ironclads Part Deux

Here's what's left to paint for the 1/2400th scale French ironclad project, which I've started on by blocking in the sails and bases. They look pants at the moment but they will be much better once I've added a few more layers. The line up consists of the Magenta, four Provence Class ironclads, Flandre, Provence, Guyenne and Revanche, together with three Alma class central battery ironclads, Alma, Armide and Jeanne D'Arc. The plan is to get these painted up over the next few days, work and family permitting, with a deadline after the weekend if all goes according to plan. I could add a few more to the fleet but I think this will cover most of the potential scenarios that I can think off.

Monday, 22 April 2019

French Ironclads First Half Finished

Eleven down...eight to go!

Coastal Defence Ironclad Rams

Ironclad Monitor and Ram

Early Ironclads

Later Ironclads and Screw Sloop

Scratchbuilt Casemate Ironclad 
Not too bad a match?

I had a very productive day at the workbench, with half of the 1/2400th scale French ironclads finally painted and finished. I have been 'um-ing' and 'ah-ing' over these for months but decided to bite the bullet and just get on with it, which turned out to be a good idea as they ended up looking not too bad. I also sorted out a sea colour scheme, using Foundry Union Blue as a basecoat with various dry brushed layers on top, which isn't a bad match for the Tiny Wargames blue sea cloth that I'll be using for games. To round things off I also repainted the base on the Onondaga to match the new sea shades, so I now have an extra ironclad monitor to add to the squadron. I'll tackle the remaining ships over the next week or so, then hopefully get on to the Royal Navy sooner rather than later. Full Steam Ahead!

Clear Bases for Cruel Seas

One of the things that spooked me a bit when I played Cruel Seas is the absence of bases for the models, which for some inexplicable reason just seems wrong. I thought that clear acrylic bases would be a good idea, as they would protect the models, which have some fragile parts, from handling and still allow the wake markers to be used. They would also make storing the models easier. I've now found a source of inexpensive laser cut acrylic bases here:


I'm going to get some for my S-100 E boats and G5 MTB's to see if they work.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

European Ironclads 1860-75

I pre-ordered this new Osprey a while back and it arrived as a digital copy yesterday, so I read it on the boat over from France. It's actually not bad and better than the companion volume on British Ironclads, at least as far as the artwork is concerned. It does jump about all over the place to begin with but then has clear sections on each of the main European nations and their ironclad fleets, with the French being my particular area of interest. It's in no way a detailed study but as a general introduction and for wargaming purposes it's fine. The best bit is probably the last section on the Battle of Lissa, which is a good wargaming explanation if a very brief one. I am going to use some of the artwork as a painting guide for my French ironclads too.

Friday, 19 April 2019

The Siege of Tsingtau

This is turning out to be a very interesting read, as it doesn't just detail the actual siege but covers the establishment of the whole German Far East Asian Empire in the South Pacific and mainland China. There's a fascinating insight into the fundamental role of the Imperial German Navy as a driver and mechanism for colonial expansion, both to obtain coaling stations and naval bases but also to project power in one of the few remaining places that offered 'a place in the sun'. I have a long ferry journey tomorrow so plan to read further and pinch some ideas for a 'what if?' pre-dreadnought solo campaign.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Ironclad Sea Blue Base Shades

I need to match this using Vallejo colours
This is my previous basing for the dark sea cloth...too grey!

I'm on the way back home over the next couple of days but have been thinking ahead, so that I can squeeze some wargaming into the last couple of days of holiday time. One thing I need to do is pick up and finish off my 1/2400th scale French ironclads including repainting the sea bases to match my new Tiny Wargames blue sea terrain cloth. At the moment, they are blocked in with a blue/grey shade to match my other sea cloth which is a darker colour. I wasn't very happy with this as it looked a bit too grey but it has left me with the challenge of finding a colour match using Vallejo or Army Painter shades for the new blue cloth. Any suggestions for a good three stage approach that works would be very welcome!

French Commerce Raiders

I have ordered a couple of Tumbling Dice armoured cruisers for my up and coming pre-dreadnought project, which is based in the Far East c1900-1905. These are two Gueydon class armoured cruisers, two of which, Montcalm and Gueydon, were deployed to French Indochina and the South Pacific to fly the flag in 1902-03. I've just started reading the Siege of Tsingtau by Charles Stephenson, in which he sets out the rivalries over the Philippines after the Spanish American War as well as the clashes between the various powers over China and Manchuria. There's loads of 'what if's' to be used as scenario and campaign 'hooks', so a couple of  commerce raiding French cruisers are a very handy addition to the set up. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2019


I've just quickly read this new(ish) book on the Battle of Tsushima to refresh my pre-dreadnought project ideas, although in typical Osprey fashion it includes an overview of the whole Russo Japanese naval war. It's not bad at all, despite the strange cover art and limited scope for a detailed historical account. It's not as good as the two volume coverage in the MMP series by Piotr Olender, both of which are excellent from a wargaming perspective, but it's useful as a basic overview, with some good maps and illustrations.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Pre-Dreadnought Flotilla Basing

One of the things that has held me back on the pre-dreadnoughts project is the basing for torpedo boats and destroyers. The rules I'm thinking of using, Broadside and Salvo or Naval Thunder: Rise of the Battleships, both use flotilla basing for these smaller warships but don't actually specify how to go about it. I've seen it done in different ways including four or five models based on large rectangles, two or three based on smaller rectangles and even individually based models with magnetic strip underneath and magnet lined movement trays. 

I'm thinking that the best way forward would be to use group basing of between two and three models, depending on their size, on square or slightly rectangular bases so that they can be organised into divisions or flotillas. The square format means that they can also be arranged in formations without looking odd or taking up too much space. I'm going to stick with a base width that matches the rest of the warships too, probably 30mm to allow for larger models to fit but also not so big that smaller ships like cruisers end up looking silly.

I think this should work well and avoid having to move loads of individual models each turn?


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