Monday 30 November 2020

And now for something completely different....

In fact it's not entirely different from the last project, being a naval wargaming thing, but it is a long way removed from the shores of Chile, or for that matter Peru, in 1879. Fast forward eighty five years and transport yourself half way round the globe to the sweltering shores of Indonesia and the tropical islands of the Borneo coast. The next thing that I'm going to tackle is my 'What If?' Indonesian Confrontation modern naval project, which I originally thought up a few months or so ago, with the Soviet equipped naval forces of the Sukarno regime against the Royal Navy c1962-1966.

In some ways, this is a test run for the Cold War naval project that I'm planning to do next year, with some experimentation in basing and painting 1/3000th scale models as the key focus. I'm going to kick off with the Indonesian navy, which had been largely re-equipped with Soviet supplied warships by the time of the conflict. There were no actual naval engagements at the time, if you ignore a few minor skirmishes with the Dutch slightly earlier, but it's a 'What If?' project, so anything goes within the bounds of realism and historical accuracy.

As you can see, the Indonesian force consists of a Sverdlov class cruiser, five Skoryy class destroyers, six Riga class frigates and four Whisky class submarines. I also have some Kronstadt class subchasers which I might add in and, if I can find a model, I'd like to add some Komar class FAC's. To back this lot up and provide a scenario option, I have included four ex-WW2 LST's for amphibious operations, together with an air wing of 1/600th scale MiG-17's, MiG19's and Il-28's. As a game changer, there's also three Tu-16's with AS-1 anti-ship missiles.

I'm looking forward to basing and painting this lot, as from previous experience with 1/3000th scale models, they're a lot less fiddly than 1/2400th scale ironclads!

Sunday 29 November 2020

1/2400th War of the Pacific Naval Project Finished!

The Peruvian Fleet

The Chilean Fleet

I finished off the half a dozen or so 1/2400th scale ships for the Peruvian and Chilean fleets today, so have now pretty much completed the War of the Pacific project. I could add some gunboats and torpedo boats for both sides and the corvette Esmerelda for the Chilean navy, but I think I have more than enough ships for the major engagements of the war, although major is a bit of an exaggeration. I'm particularly pleased with the way the heavily converted Independencia came out, as it was a bit of a long shot to say the least. The plan now is to run some historical and some 'What If?' scenarios using Dahlgren and Columbiad, with an eventual solo campaign a distinct possibility at some point next year?

Saturday 28 November 2020

Cold War French Taskforce Take Two

I had a very apologetic email from Navy Models and Books yesterday to tell me that the moulds for the French frigates in their modern range have been retired, with the result being a major gap in my taskforce escort contingent. To solve the problem, I've turned to Navwar and have ordered the missing ship models from them instead, along with a Soviet fleet pack to provide the opposition. 

I think  I would have been better off sticking with Navwar in the first place, although I've never had a problem with Davco when they were part of the Skytrex range. I've also ordered some 1/600th scale F8 Crusaders and a Breguet Atlantic from Tumbling Dice, so my air wing will have some CAP cover and an early warning capability. Bof!

Spanish Galleon vs English Galleon

This was a pre-order a few weeks ago and it popped up just as I was thinking of doing some reading in preparation for a potential project next year. It's a typical Osprey, in that it's quite brief and to the point, but Mr Lardas clearly knows his stuff and the illustrations are excellent. Very good!

Thursday 26 November 2020

Save the Royal Navy

This is well worth a look as, although there are some axes being sharpened in the background on behalf of the Senior Service, there's a lot of really relevant and well-informed commentary about the Royal Navy in the current economic, political and strategic context. From a wargaming perspective it is definitely relevant if you have an interest in modern and even near future developments in naval power projection, technology and strategic thinking. Here's the link:

Chile - Peru Ironclad Highlighting

It's been slow going but I have almost completed the highlights and detailing on the 1/2400th scale Peruvian and Chilean ships for the War of the Pacific project. I think I will add a wash of GW Seraphim Sepia ink to the masts before I start on the bases but that's about all I need to do. I have had less time to spend on these over the week due to work but will aim to finish them this weekend, so that I can move onto the Cold War 1/3000th scale project. The 1980's French ships haven't arrived in the post yet, so I am going to go back to my mid-1960's 'What If' Indonesian Confrontation naval project, with either the Indonesian fleet or a Royal Navy East of Suez carrier battlegroup as my first port of call. I'm looking forward to it!

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Small Scale Age of Sail.

I'm thinking about which Age of Sail project to include in my plans for next year, one of which would be to have a go some 1/2400th Spanish and English ships for Elizabethan naval wargaming, with an emphasis on small, skirmish level actions rather than fleet sized Spanish Armada scale engagements. It's just a sketchy idea at the moment, as I already have the Napoleonic fleets to complete, but I quite like the sound of it. I'm doing some background reading now, so that I can work out what I'd need to do to make it a solid project.

Monday 23 November 2020

Cold War French Task Force

Here's my proposed line up for the early 1980's Cold War French naval battle group, which can either be for carrier escort based on the Foch or an amphibious / anti-submarine warfare task force using Jeanne d'Arc as the key element;









I have enough models to swap things around a bit, for example, including a second Tourville class frigate or three Georges Leygues class frigates, depending on the scenario and mission profile. A few things I haven't got are a dedicated amphibious ship, a fleet replenishment ship or fleet tanker, but I'm going to have a look at the Navwar modern range to fill the gaps. The aircraft and helicopters will be from Tumbling Dice in 1/600th scale, as I already have a few in my project pile and they are ideal for use with 1/3000th scale ships. Bof!

Sunday 22 November 2020

Chile - Peru Ironclad Blocking In

I finally got round to blocking in the 1/2400th scale Peruvian and Chilean ironclads that have been sitting on my workbench for a couple of weeks, with all of the base shades now applied ready for an overall wash in my usual mix of brown inks. I'm going to aim to get them finished off over the next couple of days and squeeze in the Battle of Angamos game as well, which I had to postpone today due to competition for the kitchen table, with the wife and daughter grabbing the furniture for their online art class before I even got a look in. Typical.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Cold War Naval Carrier Battlegroup

One of my proposed projects for next year is to have a go at Cold War naval wargaming, which is usually seem as being a bit complicated and less than tub thumpingly exciting, perhaps due to the complexity of most modern naval rules. I've chosen Rory Crabb's Naval Command as the ruleset to deploy, as it seems to be a bit less mind bending than some other rules options and also covers pretty much all of the aspects of modern naval warfare that you would expect including maritime strike and surveillance, submarine and anti-submarine warfare and amphibious landings. 

On a slightly different tack from the usual RN or USN option, I've decided to start with a 1980's French carrier battlegroup built around the aircraft carrier Foch with an escort of anti-aircraft destroyers, ASW destroyers and frigates and an attack submarine. I'm using Davco 1/3000th scale models rather than Navwar this time, as the castings are better even if the range available is more limited. I'm going to start this project early next year and will be adding a Soviet battlegroup to match, once I've cleared the decks of my current ironclad projects.

Action at Angamos

I've been at work but also under the weather health wise over the last few days, so there has been a bit of a hiatus in wargaming related fun that I'm hoping to resolve this weekend. The plan is to run the Dahlgren and Columbiad scenario for the Battle of Angamos that I worked out a few days ago, with the ship record sheets now filled in ready for action. It will be interesting to see how the Huascar manages against the two Chilean broadside ironclads, or at least for how long she manages to stay afloat. In the scenario, if the Chileans do sink or severely cripple the Huascar they will lose anyway, so they will have to try to win without inflicting too much damage. Thus far, all of the games I've played using the rules have given a fairly historical outcome but who knows what will happen this time round?

Thursday 19 November 2020

Number One Son's Space Marine Squad

The boy has painted up some Crimson Fist space marines for Warhammer 40K and, bearing in mind these are the first 28mm figures that he's painted, I think he's done a pretty amazing job. He's now deciding how to texture and paint the bases, with an urban theme which will finish them off really well. A really cracking effort!

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Norway 1940

The Norwegian Campaign is a long term interest of mine, from a naval, air and land angle, so I'm reading this at the moment. One of my ideas for next year is to scale back my projects to manageable proportions, so instead of producing the entire Kriegsmarine fleet, foro example, I just focus on the destroyers and merchant shipping for the first battle of Narvik. I think this might be a way to stop a log jam developing and enable some games to be played out in a relatively short timeframe?

Monday 16 November 2020

Do you want ships with that?

I was planning to switch my project focus to sci-fi wargaming next year but I've had a change of heart and have decided to stick with naval wargaming for the fourth year in a row. This is mainly due to having several naval projects on the go, with boxes of assembled and based models queued up for painting, so that my project to 'do list' is very much undone. I also really enjoy naval wargaming and despite the backlog have had a lot of fun in the process, even if I'm currently a bit behind. 

To move things along, I'm going to re-jig my objectives for next year, moving some projects aside to make space for some new ones, while revisiting other projects that have been overlooked. One of the reinvigorated  projects will be Cold War modern naval, for which I've just ordered a carrier battlegroup worth of 1/3000th scale French warships from the old Davco range. I've got several more ideas up my sleeve but it's early days yet, so there's plenty of time to work it all out for Give Us The Ships 2021.

Sunday 15 November 2020

Comus Class Corvette

I was wondering what to do with my surplus to requirements model of the Independencia, so did a bit of research into contemporary warships of similar dimensions, rigging and hull profile. The best fit I could come up with was the Royal Navy Comus class corvettes, which are am almost perfect match in both dimensions and appearance. The end result is a useful model that I can add to my later Victorian ironclad fleet of the 1880's, which as yet doesn't feature anything equivalent. I may go back and swap the main sail for a smaller sail set, as the one supplied with the model is a bit too large, but I'm pleased to find a useful role for the model which will neatly fill a bit of a gap in my project. 

Independencia Comparison

I was asked to post some comparison photos of my converted Tumbling Dice ASV45 Armide with the new model of the Independencia, which is bundled with the Huascar in the ASV61 pack. As you can see, I've based and started to paint my converted model, but you can see the comparison between the two even though the ASV61 model hasn't been assembled yet. 

Saturday 14 November 2020

Small Scale Actions for Broadside and Ram

I have been thinking of adapting Broadside and Ram, which is designed for fleet sized games, for use with small scale, ship to ship scenarios like the Battle of Angamos. I really like the simplicity of Broadside and Ram and the fast play aspect of the game, so it would make sense to try it out with two or three ships a side but with a few tweaks to make it work better. 

In the rules this would normally involve designating ships as individual commands, meaning that they do not require AP's to move or turn. The change I'm thinking of trying out is for each ship to roll an AP dice at the start of the turn, allocating pips for movement, turning and repairs. I may consider making basic speed cost a single pip and maximum speed an additional pip, but I'm not sure that's necessary. 

I also thought I might fiddle the initiative system by determining the order of activation each turn using the AP roll but again I think this would overcomplicate things, rather than keeping it simple. I will give each ship's commander an AP rating rather than the overall admiral AP rating, as that seems more appropriate, while I will also allow ships to form squadrons under one command, as the rules stand. 

I will try out the tweaks over the weekend to see if they work.

Friday 13 November 2020

Back Issue Blast from the Past

I was up in the loft the other day in search of old wargaming magazines, when I discovered two CD's with Issue 1 to 50 of Wargames Illustrated. I bought these years ago to fill some gaps in my magazine collection and to get hold of specific articles, although what they were I can't remember. They ended up stashed with my old wargaming magazines and then I completely forgot about them, so it was a nice surprise to unearth them again. I'll enjoy having a browse through both discs over the weekend!

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Back in the Day

I started a thread over on the Wargames Website as a nostalgia trip to my wargaming epiphany in January 1983. It cheered me up!

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Cruisers and Camouflage

I've been reading this very interesting book over the last few days, even though the subject matter isn't really on my current wargaming radar. I've read a couple of the author's other naval historical and counter factual books, which were written in the interwar period, so I thought this would be a worthwhile addition. Despite its vintage, it is eighty one years since first publication, it is an exciting, well paced account of various WW1 cruiser actions, most of which will be familiar but one or two being relatively obscure. 

There's a lot of scenario potential here, not just for historical actions but also to be translated into other periods including the Victorian ironclad era, for example, by simply 'camoflaguing' the opposing forces as earlier ships and shifting the scene of the action to similar but different locations. I remember reading an article in an early Miniature Wargames by Andy Callan, where the charge up San Juan Hill was converted into an ACW scenario titled the Battle of St James. A simple idea but it really works!

Sunday 8 November 2020

Peruvian Ironclad Loa

I've ordered a second Huascar model from Tumbling Dice today, so that I can deploy her in Chilean service after her capture at the Battle of Angamos. It's such a neat little model that I couldn't resist the temptation and it isn't entirely frivolous as I can use her against the Peruvian monitor Manco Capac for the Battle of Arica. I'm also thinking of having a go at another 1/2400th scale scratch build to make a model of the Peruvian casemate ironclad Loa, which didn't  take part in the war but might have done if she hadn't had her armour removed as a training vessel. It's an interesting 'what if?' and should be relatively simple to do. There's a really interesting thread here all about her:

Independencia Ironclad Surgery

I thought I'd try to convert the Tumbling Dice ASV45 Armide model into the Peruvian broadside ironclad Independencia, rather than just using the model straight out of the box, so to speak. For the Battle of Punta Gruesa the Independencia had her topmasts, spars and bowsprit struck, leaving only military tops and no sails set. The model has no sails cast on apart from a spanker on the mizzen mast, but it does have full masts, so some surgery was required.

To replicate the simplified rigging and military tops, I cut off the top two stages of the masts and bowsprit, cut off the fore and aft sails and spars, then trimmed the tops of the masts to a level surface. I used some spare masts from Brigade Models 1/1200th scale Aeronef cut down to size as the military tops, which I glued on to the stub of the masts, before adding spars and gaffs from metal staples cut to size. 

To finish off the job, I cutaway the funnel, trimmed down the deck and drilled a new hole for a funnel, which I then added in the correct place using a section of brass rod. It's a bit rough and ready, especially where I removed the sails but I think it looks a lot more like the Independencia when she went into action, even though she subsequently grounded and was pummelled into an ignominious surrender by the tiny Chilean gunboat Covadonga.


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