Saturday, 29 February 2020
I found this scan of an old map of the English Channel a while back but then forgot about it. I was searching through my picture files for something else today when I stumbled across it in my folder of ironclad images. I remembered that I was thinking of using it as a campaign map for my 'What If?' Anglo French naval conflict c1870-75, so I have had a go at extending it to provide a bit more space for strategic manoeuvres. This involved some basic cut and paste in MS Paint to add the Western Approaches and some naval ports along both the French and English sides of La Manche. It woud be great to have a bit more of the Bay of Biscay and Irish coast too but that's not possible with the basic map that I've edited. I think this will be perfect as a starting point for a very simple Broadside and Ram naval campaign?
I have just finished another quick conversion of a Tumbling Dice model to add a 'what if?' ironclad to my Prussian fleet for the Second Schleswig War. This started out as the Independencia (ASV61), which was a badly cast model full of pit holes and rough surfaces, which is very unusual for Tumbling Dice but occasionally happens. Rather than bin the model I decided to try to convert it into something like the CSS Cheops, sister ship of the CSS Stonewall ironclad ram, which was sold the Prussians in 1865 but arrived too late to see action in the war.
This involved cutting away the main mast, funnel and deck fittings, adding a replacement main mast to match the foremast, adding a new funnel, adding a circular fixed turret on the quarter deck and building up the gun casemate at the bows with green stuff. I also added some spars from brass wire as the model looked a bit odd without them. It's not exactly accurate and the circular turret isn't quite aligned with the centreline but it isn't too bad for what would otherwise have been binned. It's also going to put the wind up the Danes, if I get to deploy it in action!
Thursday, 27 February 2020
I realised the other day that, aside from a fourth shell splash marker, I had nothing to indicate when a ship was Shattered in Broadside and Ram, or in other words, when it was in the process of actually sinking. I thought it would be a nice touch to have some sort of specific marker for this, so considered chopping up a couple of models to make sinking ships and floating flotsam. While I may still do this, it would actually be quite an expensive way to go about it and would also mean a fair bit of modelling and painting, so I had an idea for something less time consuming.
There is a pack of ships boats (ASN15) in the Napoleonic range which includes bases with twin longboats and single longboats, of which I just happened to have a set. I picked out the single boat bases and will glue them to 2mm laser cut mdf circles or squares, then paint them up as markers, with additional use for cutting out or amphibious landing scenarios. In their primary role, however, they will make excellent 'abandon ship' markers that I can place next to a sinking ship rather than just adding a fourth shell splash. I quite like this idea and it won't take so long to do!
Wednesday, 26 February 2020
I ran and took part in a couple of games of Broadside and Ram at the club yesterday, the first a warm up game to run through the rules and the second a scenario based on my previous INWARD game - Action at Toulon 1871. In the warm up game, the French and British faced off against each other in a line of battle slogging match, with the armour of the Prince Consort class ironclads balancing the firepower of Gloire, Magenta, Solferino and Couronne. This was really good fun and involved some nifty tactical manoeuvres but once the rules were running smoothly, we moved on to the main scenario.
The Action at Toulon game worked really well in the expanded format that I decided to use, with the French attempting to tow a broken down monitor under the protection of the shore batteries, while the port picket ship and coastal defence ram sallied out to protect them from a Royal Navy patrol. The Royal Navy had the extra firepower of HMS Wivern to boost their forces, while I added the Taureau and Atalante to the French defences. In the end, the French scraped a narrow victory, sinking HMS Rapid and severly damaging HMS Wivern, at the cost of serious damage to the Mogador and Onodaga.
Vive la France!
Tuesday, 25 February 2020
I worked out that to play a couple of scenarios of Fistful of Lead at the club would require shifting a minor house removal worth of terrain boxes, so we'll be doing that at the weekend at home. Instead, we'll be playing another couple of games of Broadside and Ram, with the main scenario being a tweaked version of my INWARD 2020 game - Tow, Tow, Tow the Boat, rather prosaically re-titled Action at Toulon 1871. To give it a bit more leg room, I've added a couple of ironclads for the French defenders including the ram Taureau, as well as an additional ship for the Royal Navy in the shape of HMS Wivern. I'll post an after action report later but in the meantime, here are the scenario sheets and a customised cover for the rules, which I'm sure Mr Manley won't mind?
I've made some progress with the twelve Luftwaffe fighters for 5./JG2 but they do look a bit messy at this stage of the painting process, with some cleaning up to do after the black ink wash. The next step, after I've cleaned them up a bit, is to block in the yellow panels, paint the prop bosses and exhausts, then block in and paint the canopies. I have some golden yellow Vallejo paint in the post for the identification panels, so they will be done when it arrives. I'm hoping that all this will be done by the end of the week but I suspect it'll take some of the weekend as well, especially the decals which I hate doing!
Monday, 24 February 2020
I finished preparing the 1/2400th scale Tumbling Dice models for the North Atlantic Squadron c1870 over the weekend, with the last ship being the USS Worcester, adding a fourth unarmoured screw cruiser to the line up. I have couple of monitors that I could include but I think this is more than enough for a potential clash with the Royal Navy, assuming I can devise some sort of excuse. I will start painting these over the next couple of weeks in between the 1/285th scale fighters, so that they are ready for a game at some point next month. I will need to work out the AF and DF factors for Broadside and Ram, however, which should be an interesting way to assess their relative strengths and weaknesses compared to the broadside ironclads of the Royal Navy.
Sunday, 23 February 2020
I added the decals to the 1/285th scale Spitfire Vb's today, which took ages but without any major problems, so they are as good as finished. I left off the squadron codes as I just couldn't hack any more after four hours at the workbench, so they may or may not get added later on. I'm not too pleased with the end result to be honest, with the canopies being particularly average, but they'll have to do. I'll put it down to my dodgy eyesight and the resulting short cuts I wouldn't have taken back in the day. I'm now starting the painting of the FW-190's and Bf-109's so hope that they will look a bit less messy when I've finished.
I've finished painting the Spitfire Vb's for No129 Squadron and just need to add the decals, so will be cracking on with the Bf-109's and FW-190's of 5./JG2 over the next three days or so. I'm hoping to get most of the painting done by the weekend as they're a bit less fiddly than the Spitfires and therefore quicker to complete, in theory at least!
Friday, 21 February 2020
I wanted to have USS Powhatan in the US North Atlantic Squadron but there was no suitable model in the Tumbling Dice range, so I have made a cut and shut conversion instead. This involved the back two thirds of the ASV17 HMS Retribution paddle frigate, mated to the front half of the ASV8 HMS Arrogant small frigate model, with a replacement stack made from a cut down drill bit. It's not quite correct but is a fairly good visual match the real ship, so I'm happy with the overall result, even if it looks a bit rough and ready in an unpainted format. I enjoy doing these conversions and have plans for some more to create an early Russian Baltic force based on some of the French ironclads in the Tumbling Dice range. In the meantime, I've also based and undercoated two more of the Kalamazoo class twin turret monitors, USS Nebraska and USS Massachusetts.
A few years ago I had a brief flirt with the Spanish Civil War, played a couple of game of Bayonet and Ideology 2 at the club and assembled a few packs of 15mm Peter Pig figures, only for the whole thing to fall by the wayside as often happens with these things. Today I found a digital version of Bob Cordery's excellent wargamers guide to the Spanish Civil War, so downloaded a copy and have been reading through it over the last three hours or so.
This has sparked my interest again but I wasn't keen on BAIT so am looking for an alternative. I did consider Chain of Command back then but think that the 15mm figures would be better on multiple bases for company level wargames, so I'm now more likely to be going down a Nordic Weasel route, possibly using Fivecore Company Command, the AK47 rules variant Mexicanski 36 or even I Ain't Been Shot Mum. It's all a bit sketchy and will probably never happen but it's worth a bit more thought?
Thursday, 20 February 2020
|The Fajitas Brothers Banditos|
|Rico, Tico, Chico, Mongo and Loco|
|The Rev Ullysses T. Boggs and Lawmen|
|The Long Arm of the Law|
I've booked a table at the club for next week, for a game of Fistful of Lead Reloaded, as the sprog wanted to give it a try. I was very surprised to find that, after a troll back through the blog, the last game that I played was way back in 2015! How did that happen? Anyway, I'll be digging out my figures and terrain, of which I have a good selection, so that I can play through two or three gunfight scenarios. The two rival posse will be the Fajitas Brothers - Rico, Tico, Chico, Loco, Mongo et al - and the lawman posse of the Reverend Ullysses T.Boggs.
I was thinking of using my homemade desert terrain board but it's warped having been stored in the garden shed, after The Management complained about it being in the house. I think I will eventually have to make a proper 3' x 3' board to replace it or at least some terrain tiles to match my existing scenery. I will, however, be setting out my cactus terrain bits that I made ages ago but have never actually used, so at least one scenario will be set way out in the Badlands. I'm really looking forward to a bit of good old fashioned gunfighting as Fistful of Lead is one of my favourite sets of rules and always delivers the action. Brilliant!
I'll be off to watch some Westerns now...yee ha!
Wednesday, 19 February 2020
I've made some good progress on the 1/285th Spitfire Vb's over the last day or so, with most of the blocking in done and only the canopies and black lining to sort out, before they will be ready for the decals. They're a bit rough around the edges at this stage but they should clean up fine, especially after the back lining stage when it all starts to work together. Fingers crossed!
I finally bit the bullet and have sold off my incomplete SAGA Norman warband, which I've only used a couple of times and really didn't feel like finishing. I was never happy with the painting, which I did over the holidays with a very basic set of paints, although the basing wasn't bad. I've sold them to a chap at the club, so they'll be used there rather than re-sold on eBay, which is a good result and may well lead to some more SAGA games. I'll now have to paint a new army which I'll try to do at some point this year, based on the Gripping Beast Welsh warband that I bought ages ago, with some extra figures to bulk it up to a full six points.
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