Welcome to my blog. I have upwards of 100 projects in various stages of incompletion or total abandonment, so you may well find something of interest if you rummage about a bit (check out the Labels at the bottom of the blog). I concentrate on air and naval wargaming, but other 'skirmishy' things quite often pop up out of nowhere, only to disappear again after something else grabs my attention. I even finish the occasional project now and again!
I decided to wrap up a couple of half finished things today, one being the 1/600th scale Peruvian aircraft for my Target Locked On! Flashpoint:Alto Cenepa project, which have been hanging about for years, the other being the 1/600th Soviet Cold War PVO interceptors that I start on a few months ago. The Alto Cenepa planes have been sitting in a box since 2015, so I really should have finished painting then by now.
I did manage to finish the Peruvian aircraft this morning, although I had to simplify the insignia because all I had to use were Turkish roundels without fin flashes for the tails. I will now need to do the other half of the project at some point, by painting the planes for the Ecuadorian Air Force, again using magnet basing rather than my usual wire stands so that they match. Who knows where the decals will come from for those?
I didn't finish the Soviet planes, however, as I ran out of time to do the decals. I'll tackle these tomorrow morning, so that they are finished off properly. I am pleased with the bare metal finish on these, as I used a different approach from the one I used on my Korean War planes, with Foundry Metal rather than Spearpoint as the base layer. I think this looks better once it's been ink washed and highlighted.
I've been tied up with other things over the last couple of days, so have yet to get started on the Tumbling Dice 1/2400th scale French ironclad squadron, although I have added a trio of additional ships to the fleet. I have added the name ship of the Alma Class central battery ironclads, of which I have two, because they are such good looking models. I have also added a fourth Provence class ironclad, the Guyenne, to the ones I already have as they were the core of the French fleet.
The best of the bunch, however, is the Ocean, which is a more recent addition to the ASV range and a bit more advanced than the other ironclads I have assembled, due to her cutting edge (for 1870) barbette gun mountings on the corners of the central battery. It's a lovely little model but I can only justify the one, as her sister ships weren't operational until the latter half of the decade, which is a bit too late for my timeframe.
I'm hoping to get started on the sea bases for all of these ships and the rest of the fleet tomorrow, although they do look a bit daunting once they are all together! At the very least, they should start to look less like liquorice allsorts and more like warships, given a bit of colour to the bases, decks, sails, spars and masts. Takes deep breath.....
I bought a load of 30cm x 30cm mdf placards in the Poundland 25p sale back in January with some modular terrain boards in mind. I did an experimental one yesterday by gluing two boards back to back, filling the holes then texturing with sand. I sealed the sand with PVA then undercoated the boards with some old emulsion paint (One Coat Matt Cashmere) I bought cheap in a Homebase sale, so that the mdf was sealed properly.
I then did a bit of over spraying with Halfords Matt Khaki and a little bit of dry brushing with various tester pots. I'm not entirely happy with the end result but it's getting there. I think it needs some more dry brushing or possibly a wash of some sort to bring out the texturing but I'm not sure how to go about this just yet. It does match most of my existing desert terrain pieces, however, which is the idea.
I will do some more of the desert boards when I've got hold of more spray paints, so that I can set up a basic 3' x 3' scenario area for Fistful of Lead and also Strontium Dog. If I can get some more of the boards I may even make some river sections by cutting out a 10cm wide winding slot in the top boards. I'm also thinking of some sea or riverine boards for naval games using the same method but with acrylic paste for the texturing.
A while back I found some cheap self adhesive magnetic tape in Poundland for a pound a roll, funnily enough. I put it in a box and then forgot about it until yesterday when, searching for some masking tape, I found the two rolls that I'd stashed away. I was in the process of finishing the monitor model that I'd painted when I realised that the tape was 20mm in width, an exact match for the bases I'd been using on the 1/2400th scale ironclads. It is also the same width as the bases I used on my 1/600th scale WW2 coastal forces models. I am now going to apply it to the underside of all of the ironclads, so that I can store then securely in a metal lined plastic box. Not bad for a quid?
I've decided that instead of the Prussian, Danish and Austrian ships for the Second Schleswig War, I'm going to paint the French ironclads that I've assembled for the counterfactual 'What If?' Anglo French conflict that I've been gaming over the holidays. This will give me some much needed time to work out how to paint 1/2400th scale ships and also enable me to get the French back onto the table for a game or two over the next few months. The 1864 stuff can then be tackled afterwards, once I've painted the British ironclads as the perfidious enemy. Good plan!
I have been busy today but spent an hour or so painting the bases on the Prussian warships for the 1864 project. I tried to match the bases to the Tiny Wargames Dark Sea cloth by adding a heavier drybrush of Army Painter Wolf Grey but they ended up a bit too dull as a result, so I've repainted them again in Vallejo Dark Sea Blue. The experimental version can be seen in the photo below and you can see that, although it's a better match for the cloth, it does looks far too blue grey:
It matches but it's too grey!
After this minor screw up, I decided to paint up the scratch built monitor, the ex-USSOnondaga, that I made the other day, both to see what it looked like in colour and to get a result for the day's paintwork. I think it came out looking the part although I still need to add a label to the space at the back end of the base and possibly a French ensign on the stern, if I can rig one up from fine wire and a paper flag from Tumbling Dice. I'm not sure how best to do that, so more experimentation is probably a good idea?
I decided to start painting the 1/2400th scale ships by tackling the bases, as this will avoid making a mess of the paintwork later on. I needed to match the bases to my Tiny Wargames Dark Sea cloth, so have used a basecoat wet brush of Vallejo Dark Sea Blue, followed by a drybrush of Army Painter Wolf Grey and a final light over drybrush of Vallejo White. This seemed to look right although I might tone down the amount of white at the end, before I apply a coat of gloss or satin varnish to make it look suitably wet. I tried out the combination of paints using a spare base but I don't think it will be too hard to apply the same approach on the models that I've already glued down.
I'm glad to see the back of these 1/600th scale jets, to be honest, as they've been hanging around on the workbench for months and have blocked the way to other projects. I finished painting the bases this morning then added the tiddly decals, although I have cut some corners to simplify the insignia for some aircraft as they just wouldn't fit. Anyway, after a brief varnishing disaster and a quick respray in Army Painter matt varnish to save the day, they are now ready for action. I quite like the way the F100's and F16's have turned out, but the F5's, the F86D's and the two black night intruders are a bit of a let down, especially after the varnishing mess up on the latter. Never mind, I can now get started on the 1/2400th scale ironclads for 1864. I'm hoping that this will give my eyes a rest and be a little less fiddly?
I've been doing a quick bit of tidying up on the ROCAF fighters for Target Locked On! this evening but, due to my dodgy eyesight and lack of focus, I'll probably have to go back and tidy up the tidied bits again! I added tail stripes to the F100's, F5's and F86D's, together with some touching up of gaps here and there. I'm hoping to get the bases painted then add the decals tomorrow, if I get the time, clearing the decks for some 1/2400th scale naval painting instead.
I finished scratch building the USS Onondaga for my 1/2400th scale French fleet today. The only thing I didn't make is the metal sea base, which I pinched from a Tumbling Dice model with very similar dimensions but a slightly different hull profile. The rest is all plastic card, sliced sections of 15mm tank gun barrel and plastic strip cut to size. It's not perfect but it's not bad either, especially as he only alternative is to order a model from Panzerschiffe for £13, once you factor in the postage to the UK (!). The Onondaga is a powerful addition to the French arsenal and will be perfect as a coastal defence monitor to protect Brest. Here are the relevant details:
Broadside and Ram Type CSMSAFDFPoints
AS 2 3 4T 5 11 Dahlgren and Columbiad
Maximum Speed 4''
Armoured, AF 3
FPS: GF 3 / PF +4
APS: GF 3 / PF +4
Armament: 4 x 9.4'' Rifle Muzzle Loaders in two turrets.
Next scratch building project...the Danish monitor Rolf Krake or even theFrench casemate ironclad Rochambeau!
I haven't done much today in terms of wargaming primarily due to feeling rough, as I'm on anti-biotics for a sinus infection, but also due to the other half deciding it would be a good day to sort out all the kid's stuff do a car boot sale tomorrow. However, I did put my mind to scratch building a 1/2400th scale model of the twin turret monitor USS Onondaga, which the French bought from the United Sates Navy after the Civil War.
I had intended to use a converted Tumbing Dice model for this but, having done the necessary cut and shut job it just didn't look right, especially in plan view as the hull shape was far too narrow. It looked more like a submarine that a monitor, despite having all the right bits in all the right places. I chucked it away and instead have used the metal sea base from a French Alma class ironclad, as it had almost identical dimensions and I had a spare model, even though the shape isn't quite right.
I have cut and sanded a hull from 1mm thick plastic card which took a lot longer than I expected, as the hull shaped hole in the base wasn't completely symmetrical and a bit lumpy. I can now start thinking about how to add the turrets, a funnel and other fiddly bits to the basic monitor deck. I will get on with this tomorrow. I think it's looking promising thus far but, in my experience, these sort of apparently simple little projects often go pear shaped when you least expect it!
I watched Top Gun last night with the family, as there was nothing on telly and the other half wanted to see it again. I haven't watched it for years and then only in snippets, as I got bored by the bits in between the dogfighting. It's very cheesy but the action sequences are great, even if they aren't particularly realistic. The "MiG 28's" are laughable but then the film was made before the advent of CGI, so there you go.
Anyway, I have the urge to get some F14's now for Target Locked On!, which is no surprise. These will be from Tumbling Dice rather then Oddzial Ozmy, so that they can be used against my existing PLAAF MiG21's and MiG19's. A bit unfair I know but they will be heavily outnumbered and have rules of engagement to make things complicated, not to mention being gas guzzlers especially when they go for the afterburners!
Right, here are the ship statistics that I've worked out for the Danish, using the Dahlgren and Columbiad system, some online and book based research, together with a bit of logical guesswork for one or two minor details. Once again, I have rounded down the maximum movement ratings and rounded up the armament ratings for some of the guns, as they fall between two classifications. To keep things simple I have also not included any bow or stern chasers, as I don't have enough information to allocate the required armament. The end result is a fairly homogenous set of figures for the corvettes and frigates, despite some inconsistency in armament, although there is some variation in maximum speed.
The Screw Corvettes - Dagmar, Thor and Heimdal
These all have the following ratings despite having a slightly different mix of 30pdr Smoothbores and 18pdr Rifled Muzzle Loaders.
Maximum Speed 4''
Unarmoured, AF 0
Broadside, Port and Starboard (PS), GF 2 / PF +1
Armament (per broadside): Dagmar (8 x 30pdr SB) Thor (5 x 30pdr SB + 1 x 18pdr RML) Heimdal (7 x 30pdr SB + 1 x 18pdr RML)
The Screw Frigates - Tordenskjold, Sjaelland, Jylland and Niels Juhl
Again, these were all slightly different and had individual characteristics that made them distinctive, but all have the same ratings for defence factors, manoeuvre, armour and gunnery. The Gunnery Factors are based on the probable armament for each ship in 1864, but there is a lot of conflicting information about this, so there is a bit of room for disagreement. The maximum speed ratings are, however, clearly different as engine horsepower varied between the different warships.
Armament (per broadside): Tordenskjold (7 x 30pdr SB + 8 x 18pdr SB + 1 x 60pdr SB)
Sjaelland (15 x 30pdr SB + 4 x 18pdr RML + 2 x 12pdr RML) Jylland (16 x 30pdr SB + 4 x 18pdr SB + 2 x 12pdr RML)
Niels Juhl (15 x 30pdr SB + 6 x 18pdr RML)
The Screw Ship of the Line - Skjold
There is little exact information and quite a lot of disagreement about the Skjold's armament and performance, but I have been able to give it some accurate ratings by digging through the various sources that I have uncovered. I have uprated the Gun Factor (GF) by +1 to distinguish the greater broadside firepower of the Skjold, probably 25 30pdr Smoothbores and 6 18pdr Rifle Muzzle Loaders, from that of the screw frigates.
Maximum Speed 5''
Unarmoured, AF 0
Broadside, Port and Starboard (PS), GF 5 / PF +1
Armament (per broadside):
25 x 30pdr SB + 3 x 18pdr SB + 3 x 18pdr RML)
The Broadside Ironclad - Dannebrog
The big hitter for the Danes but the Prussians manged to avoid her!
Maximum Speed 4''
Armoured, AF +5
Broadside, Port and Starboard (PS), GF 3 / PF +3
Armament (per broadside): 8 x 60pdr RML
The Broadside Ironclad - Danmark
Although the Danmark arrived too late for the war, it's an interesting 'what if?' and would really give Von Jachmann a headache.
Maximum Speed 4''
Armoured, AF +4
Broadside, Port and Starboard (PS), GF 4 / PF +2
Armament (per broadside): 10 x 60pdr SB + 4 x 18pdr RML
The Ironclad Monitor - Rolf Krake
If only the Rolf Krake had been involved in anything other than coastal bombardment?
Maximum Speed 4''
Armoured, Turrets AF +5 / Hull AF +4
Fore Turret (T), GF 2 / PF +2
Aft Turret (T), GF 2 / PF +2
Armament (per turret): 2 x 68pdr SB
Some useful reference sources, if you wish to find out more about this interesting subject:
It's Friday, so although I'm not paid due to the holidays, I thought I'd keep supporting the UK lead industry by adding the Strontium Dog Search and Destroy boxed set to my set up. I always loved these skimmer bikes in the original strip and think they are one of Carlos Esquerra's most iconic designs, really giving that Wild West in space look to the storylines. I particularly like the dust cloud effects on the models, which are a key feature of the images in the 2000AD storyboards. I also don't have a miniature of Wulf yet, so this is a good start, even if he's riding a bike rather than standing up. Cool!