Wednesday 30 March 2022

HMS Audacious Finished


I finished off the converted cut and shut model of HMS Audacious this evening, so she is ready to be dispatched to the Mediterranean Fleet, which is where she actually spent much of her service, as opposed to some of her three sister ships which went off to the China Station, amongst other far flung corners of the Empire. HMS Black Prince is there to show what the original model looked like before I kitbashed it. 

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Strength & Honour Armies - The Parthians

This is interesting...although an earlier force than my 1st Century AD Parthian army...but it does give a neat overview of the Cataphracts and Horse Archer units that make up the bulk of my army. Thanks Mark.

Monday 28 March 2022

HMS Audacious Progress

I've made some progress over the weekend with the converted model of HMS Audacious and now only have the base to paint before I can give it a coat of matt varnish. I haven't painted any ironclads for a while but I have a method to follow based on my notes, so it matches the other ships in the fleet. I'm no great shakes at painting but they look good enough for the table, even if they're a bit bodged. I'm hoping to get this one finished midweek, then get back to the Parthians. 

Sunday 27 March 2022

Minairons Bilbao A/C

I  found a trader on eBay who had a box of the 1/100th scale Bilbao armoured cars in stock, so I will shortly have four of them to add to my Republican and Nationalist forces. At least one will go to my Assaltos as that's what they were designed for, with the others split between my regular Republicans and Nationalists, who often used captured examples. I may use the last one as a militia armoured car or as support for the International Brigade centuria. Not cheap but also much less expensive than ordering direct from Spain. 

Parthian Horses


I've been chipping away at the horse archer blocks in between other things and they are starting to look not too bad. The next bit will be painting the riders using a simple basecoat approach in various bright colours, which I've already been experimenting with on a couple of blocks. I haven't started on the individual strips of horses yet, as I want to get the finish right on the blocks first.

Saturday 26 March 2022



I found this hardback in the local charity bookshop today and it looks really good, being a narrative style account of the Nonomhan / Khalkhin Gol conflict from the perspective of a variety of both the Japanese and Soviet participants. This is one of the conflicts that I'm really interested in and I hadn't heard of this book before, although I have read some of the author's other books including his account of the battles of Imphal and Kohima, which was excellent. I'll save this one for the Easter holidays in a couple of weeks time.

Anglo Dutch 1/4800th Scale

I've gone and ordered a starter pack of 1/4800th scale Anglo Dutch ships from Tumbling Dice after being very impressed by the fleets assembled by Barry Hilton on the Mad for War FB page. I thought these would be a good option for fleet sized actions using the appropriately named Grand Fleet Actions in the Age of Sail rules, which I've played before and really like, rather than for Mad for War for which I intend to use 1/2400th and 1/1200th scale models at a squadron level. I'm not sure I really need three scales but why not?! 

Thursday 24 March 2022

HMS Audacious for Broadside and Ram


Here's what I've worked out in terms of ship classification data for the Audacious class central battery ironclads, HMS Audacious, HMS Vanguard, HMS Invincible and HMS Iron Duke, based on relative speed, armament and armour distribution, using the system in the Broadside and Ram rules:

Type AS    CS  3    MS 4     AF  5     DF  7      Notes: Ram Bow                                                                          

Speed: 12-13kts, Armament:10 x 9'' RML / 4 x 6'' RML, Armour: 6-8'' armoured belt, 6'' battery armour, 5'' transverse bulkheads          

This all adds up to a respectable points value of 15, which is pretty good for starters and comparable to the contemporary HMS Bellerophon in terms of armament and armour protection, if not speed.

QRF Panzer 1 Ausf B


The three Panzer 1 Ausf B arrived from QRF today and they are lovely models, with crisp details and very little flash. I've put one together next to a Peter Pig T-26 and random Falangist, to compare them for scale purposes, and I think they it looks spot on. Very good value for £2.50 each plus postage and they arrived in super quick order as well. They will look great painted up in Nationalist camouflage patterns, like the Spanish Foreign Legion example above, or just in plain tank grey.

HMS Audacious 1869


I had an idea this morning to convert a spare Tumbling Dice 1/2400th scale model of HMS Warrior into something more useful, so had a go at bashing together something a bit like HMS Audacious the central battery ironclad launched in 1869. This involved a cut and shut on the hull, cutting off and remodelling the clipper bow into a straight bow and adding the projecting batteries to the sides of the hull. The bridge aft is wrong, there's no box battery and the funnel is both too short and slightly too far aft, so I'll go back and replace it with a new one when the glue has dried, but otherwise it's not half bad for about an hour of work. At least it makes use of an otherwise surplus to requirements model and was fun to do.

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Pre Dreadnought Project Revival

I have decided to revive my pre-dreadnought project for this year, swapping out one of my air wargaming projects to fit it into the workbench schedule. I prepared two fleets for this over the last year or two, one Italian and one French, but stalled at the painting stage for some reason. I will now bring this forward and aim to get both of the fleets painted up for Broadside and Salvo, possibly once I've finished the Parthian army for Strength and Honour. The thinking is that, as they are already assembled, based and undercoated, it is a relatively simple job to finish them off and actually play some games*. I'll have to jiggle some of my other projects around a bit but I reckon I can get this one sorted in fairly short order.

(*Mind you, I said that back in September last year too: Jim's Wargames Workbench: Pre-Dreadnought Project (

28mm eBay Clear Out


I've started my pre-building work eBay clear out with some assorted 28mm stuff that I'll never get round to using but have accumulated over the last twenty years or so. I have concentrated on shifting the plastics first but there will be metal figures and vehicles up after this lot has shifted, again 28mm in the main as I'm moving out of the scale, except for a few chosen projects that I've already committed to like the Back of Beyond, Darkest Africa and War of the Roses, for example. Anyway my eBay 'non de plume' is jimandlo, so why not pop over and have look? You never know, you might spot a bargain?

Tumbling Dice Skis


Paul sent me a pre-production sample of the ski undercarriage parts that he's adding to the 1/600th scale range for the Gloster Gladiator and Fokker DXXI. These consist of undercarriage legs and two skis that glue onto lugs on the bottom of the legs, with a hole in the ski to help locate them. I assembled the Fokker DXXI example today and, with a bit of a fiddle and by cutting of the lugs to get a neat fit, 

I managed to put it together. It looks a little bit out of scale but not so much that it's not recognisable as a set of skis, although you might be excused for thinking they were floats. In fact I was wondering if you could make better use of them for 1/285th scale aircraft, although they'd probably be a bit under scale by comparison. It does mean I can now go ahead with a Winter War scenario project for Bag the Hun and possibly Wings at War, unless the Franco Thai War grabs my attention first?

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Castillo de Los Tres Reyes del Morro


This is the 1/2400th scale Morro Castle resin terrain piece from Tumbling Dice that I ordered last week and very impressive it is too. The castle itself is the larger model with the lighthouse / tower, while the other two fortifications are presumably other parts of the defences of Havana, although I have been trying to work out what they actually are. The ship is a large gunboat from the Tumbling Dice Victorian range, in this case the Peruvian gunboat Pilcomayo, which should give a good idea of scale. This is a really nice model and not just suitable for naval games, as I can see it working well for 2mm scale land warfare as well, especially late sixteenth to early nineteenth century conflicts. I will base mine and use it with my existing coastal terrain or possibly incorporate all three elements into an island terrain feature or some sort. 

Nationalist Armour

I have a spare 15mm Peter Pig T-26 that I can gift to the Nationalists but I wanted to get hold of some more light armour to deploy in games. I've been looking for an affordable Panzer 1a but they have been difficult to locate for less than £6.50 (metal), £5.00 (resin) or too expensive due to the cost of postage and tax from the EU (Minairons). As a second best, I have found a QRF Panzer 1b for only £2.50 a pop, which is far less expensive and also suitable for the Spanish Civil War, although they were less common than the shorter hull Panzer 1a. I'm pretty sure that no one will notice the difference anyway?

Monday 21 March 2022

The Battle of Cap Blanc - A Broadside and Ram Game

I had a cracking game of Broadside and Ram this afternoon on the trusty kitchen table, with a French squadron ambushing a Royal Navy coastal patrol off the North African coast in my 'What If?' 1870's war. The first three turns were tense but uneventful, as the Royal Navy squadron steamed at a leisurely pace past Cap Blanc, unaware of the lurking French squadron lying in wait behind the headland. The French commander, a wily old veteran, decided to wait until the lookouts on the Royal Navy warships spotted his squadron, releasing the ironclad ram Taureau to make the first strike.

In Turn 4, the lead ship of the British squadron, HMS Rapid, spotted the French ironclad flagship, the Flandre, signalling to the rest of the squadron before being ordered out of the way by the squadron commander in the flagship, HMS Caledonia. The British ironclads were ordered to full steam ahead, while the French squadron weighed anchor and moved to intercept, the ironclad ram Taureau also being set loose as an independent command with orders to strike a decisive blow against the perfidious rosbifs. 

The two squadrons approached each other at maximum speed, with Taureau the first to open fire, albeit to no effect, being armed with only a single barbette mounted 24cm breech loader. It was not long before both squadrons came into range, however, with the Royal Navy ironclads cutting inshore of the French squadron, which had turned to port to cut them off. The Taureau meanwhile prepared to ram the British line, resolutely steaming at full pelt towards the Royal Navy squadron undeterred by shot and shell. 

The first broadsides crashed out with the French coming off the worse, largely due to the superior armour of the Royal Navy warships. A broadside from HMS Prince Consort supported by the guns of HMS Rapid, scored a devastating hit on the French flagship, the Flandre, with a critical hit and a double six resulting in a massive magazine explosion, blasting the French ironclad to pieces in one fell swoop. At the same time, the Taureau slammed into the side of HMS Caledonia but failed to inflict anything more than a damage result, despite being reduced to silenced by the impact of her ram attack.

The Royal Navy had effectively won the game but the French now had to attempt to disengage, covered by the plucky Taureau which now rammed the next ship in the line, HMS Prince Consort. Once again the ram rolled low and ended up much the worse for wear, reduced from silenced to crippled and dead in the water. The two remaining French ironclads were now engaged by all three of the Royal Navy heavy hitters but the lead ship, Provence, managed to get away and escaped to the north, leaving the Revanche to face the music alone.

Now, HMS Prince Consort and HMS Ocean, moved to rake the Revanche, having already crippled her in the previous exchange of broadsides.  Not able to raise steam or fire her batteries, the Revanche just had to sit and take the punishment, but by a miracle was able to avoid being shattered by successive British broadsides. In a twist of fate, the Revanche just managed to roll enough AP's to effect repairs and raise steam, making it to the edge of the table and escape, following the Provence in the wrong direction but at least away from the perfidious Royal Navy.

At the end of the game, the French had lost their flagship in a very impressive and no doubt very loud 'kaboom' explosion, with the two remaining ironclads both silenced and the Taureau crippled but still afloat. I decided that the brave crew of the Taureau would have surrendered and she would have been captured by the Royal Navy, just to rub salt in the wounds of the humiliated French. The Royal Navy ironclads were all damaged but otherwise fully operational, while the sloop HMS Rapid was unscratched, despite having been in the thick of the action.

I had forgotten how much fun these simple ironclad games can be and how the Broadside and Ram rules, with a few tweaks here and there, result in a fast moving game with lots of action. The scenario stood up well despite being written on the back of a metaphorical fag packet and would be ideal as a War of the Pacific game, with the Chileans and Peruvians taking the place of the Anglo-French antagonists. I may well give that a go...


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