Sunday 31 March 2024

Setting Sail with Far Distant Ships

One of the sets of rules I'll be trying out over the holidays is Long Face Games Far Distant Ships. These are designed for fleet actions but I'm going to start small with a couple of squadrons of French and British third rates, using the 1/2400th scale models I've brought along for the purpose. I'll be playing solo too, which is always a good test of a set of rules and how easy they are to manage. 

White Army Extra Bits

A figure swap and some epaulettes is all that's needed here

That'll look nifty

A nice old fashioned and very rugged kit

The Bolshevik Version

I'm scraping the barrel to find extra bits and bobs to add to my rag tag White Army. The first of these is an anti-aircraft machine gun that I converted for my Bolsheviks but never painted, needing only a figure swap and a spot of green stuff to be modified for the other side. The second is an old Smer Nieuport 11 model kit that I will glue together, adding a Copplestone pilot in the cockpit, very much in the same way that I equipped my Bolshevik air support. Together these will add a useful 178 points to the total.

Saturday 30 March 2024

Ragged White Cossacks

I was originally going to use some Copplestone Caucasian Cossacks for my White army but, after a bit of a rethink, I'm going to use the White Cossack figures instead. The Caucasian figures are a bit too neat and tidy for my ragged White army, so although I already have the figures, they will be used as additional Circassians in my Turkish army.  Instead, I've ordered three packs of the White Cossacks from Northstar, which will give a nice ragtag look to the unit, mixed in with a few spare figures and with some head swaps for added variety 

Holiday Painting Plans

After a very stressful term of teaching and a  long journey, we're finally on holiday in Brittany once more. I've brought along my 1/2400th scale Royal Navy Napoleonic fleet to paint and have got everything I need to finish them over the next couple of weeks (I hope). I've also brought the French fleet, some rules, dice and a sea cloth so that I can play some games, both to learn the rules and to enjoy a bit of solo wargaming without any distractions. I'm looking forward in particular to trying out Nick Jones' rules, which I really like the look of for small scale frigate actions. 

Friday 29 March 2024

Red InActions!

With regret I've decided to postpone painting my Red Actions AFSR army scheduled for this year to 2025, mainly due to a lack of time to properly complete such a big project. The units are all based and mostly undercoated, so I will be able to pick it up again when I have more time and less workload to deal with, hopefully when I return to a  part time job next year. In the meantime, it's back to smaller projects that I can chip away at slowly but still get finished in a realistic timeframe.

Thursday 28 March 2024

A Shortcut to the Back of Beyond

The Back of Beyond game was such fun the other day that I've found myself once again mulling over the options for another army. I realised that I actually have nearly 300 points of ragged White Russians as part of my expedition army, including a unit of infantry, a machine gun, an armoured car and a mountain gun, so a great core for a new 750 point force. Adding a second infantry unit and a unit of Cossack cavalry will give me another 200 points or so, with a field gun, an aircraft and a staff officer bumping it up to 450 or thereabouts. Not bad for a minimal outlay of time and money, so I may well add it to my projects for the summer holidays. 

Tuesday 26 March 2024

Back of Beyond Club Game

A bit of a not unexpected pasting for the Bolsheviks tonight at the club but, it has to be said, they did put up a pretty stiff fight against the far superior and better equipped British forces. Despite being hammered into defeat, the Reds fought very hard and didn't rout, repeatedly brushing off morale tests with the persuasive support of three commissars. Comrade Colonel Igor Tubugerov did just that at the end of the game, ordering a glorious reverse advance to save what was left of the Third Peasants and Workers Shock Brigade, with the imperialists clearly having suffered a few nasty surprises, a bloody nose and a wobbly stiff upper lip. Great fun.

Monday 25 March 2024

Alma Class Ironclads


To round off my holiday project I've added four Alma class ironclads to the pile of Tumbling Dice French models that I'll be assembling over the break. I have three already painted but can add four more - Thetis, Montcalm, Reine Blanche and Jeanne d'Arc - as there were seven in total. They're only ironclad corvettes but can still be deployed in the line of battle or for smaller skirmishy type actions, so pretty useful.

Sunday 24 March 2024

HMS Mars and HMS Hercules / Hercule

I repurposed two of my assembled and undercoated Tumbling Dice 74's this afternoon to represent HMS Mars and the French Hercule, latterly HMS Hercules after her capture in April 1798. These were then blocked in with sails and decks painted, before being tidied up with matt black. I'll add these to the painting schedule for the holidays, with the Hercule probably being used as HMS Hercules after I've played the scenario in which she was captured on her maiden voyage.

Saturday 23 March 2024

Mars vs Hercule 1798

I was searching for some small scenarios for solo Napoleonic naval wargaming over the holidays, when I came across this. It would be great with Nick's rules, Quick's the Word and Sharp's the Action, or possibly Kiss Me Hardy, especially as there are only two third rate 74's involved.

The furious action between H.M.S. Mars and the French '74 Hercule off Brest on 21st April 1798 by John Christian Schetky(1778-1874).

The 74-gun third rate Mars was built at Deptford and launched on 25th October 1794. Initially assigned to the formidable Channel Fleet upon completion, she was still serving in Home Waters when, on 12th April 1798, she sailed from St. Helens, Isle of Wight, as part of Admiral Lord Bridport's squadron bound for Brest. On 21st April, whilst cruising in company with H.M.S. Ramillies and two frigates, Mars sighted two French vessels closely followed by a third enemy warship to which they all gave chase.

The biggest quarry proved to be the 74-gun Hercule and, after three hours, Mars brought her to action in what was to prove a classic engagement between two perfectly matched adversaries. With Ramillies trailing behind due to a lost foretopmast and the frigate Jason too far off to participate, the two opposing 74's soon became entangled thanks to fouled anchor cables and opened fire at 10.30pm. 

After a merciless pounding lasting two hours, Hercule could withstand it no longer and struck her colours shortly after midnight. Damage to both vessels was extensive, with each ships' starboard side burnt cinder black, whilst losses were high on both sides, including the commander of the Mars, Captain Alexander Hood. A nephew of Lord Bridport as well as of Lord Hood, Captain Hood was mortally wounded about twenty minutes into the action and died just as Hercule surrendered.

The battered Hercule was coaxed back into Plymouth, repaired at a cost of £12,500, such was the damage inflicted on her by her opponent's thunderous broadsides, and eventually commissioned into the Royal Navy under her own name."

Rhubarbs and Roadsteads Revisited

I've been struggling to get anything done recently due to working full time and having busy weekends, so I've been rethinking some of my larger projects to scale them back to manageable proportions. One of these is the Arctic Eagles scenario development project for Bag the Hun, which I'm keen to do but which will also be a major commitment in terms of time and painting. 

Instead, I'm thinking of reviving my mid-war Westland Whirlwind themed project, which I've already developed to a point where about half a dozen historical scenarios are ready to be worked up for play testing. These focus on anti-shipping attacks against coastal convoys and ports in Brittany and the Channel Islands. 

I will need to paint up some Whirlwinds in 1/285th scale and some 1/600th scale ships, but both of these are already assembled and ready for painting, the latter killing two birds with one stone. Alternatively, I can use 1/600th scale aircraft as they are quick to paint anyway and look better on the table in terms of scale effect.

The only issue is how to make the scenarios long enough for a decent game, as once the attack goes in the RAF fighter bombers then turn tail and bugger off at high speed. There were very few situations where German fighters intercepted attacks on shipping but I can always add that as an option, with Spitfire V top cover tackling them while the Whirlwinds go in for the attack.

Friday 22 March 2024

Submarine Safari Sea Creatures


I have a decent collection of plastic prehistoric sea beasties for Submarine Safari but few of the smaller creatures, so I have ordered some nice metal ones from HLBS. If you spend twenty quid on dinosaurs they also send you a free copy of Saurian Safari and Submarine Safari as pdfs, which I thought was great customer friendly service, especially when I just asked if the underwater reptiles counted as dinosaurs and was immediately sent the rules free of charge. Top marks to Richard from HLBS!

Thursday 21 March 2024

East Coast Convoy Coastal Forces Resources


I have a lot (and I mean a lot) of coastal forces books in the library but this one evaded me and, as it was very reasonably priced on eBay, I ordered a new copy. The East Coast convoys will be my reading project over the holidays, with the aim being to develop some historical scenarios for Narrow Seas, so this is a good addition to the book pile.

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Broadside and Ram French Fleet Action


We had a chat yesterday about a Broadside and Ram fleet action game in the near future, which reminded me of my plan to reinforce the French with some additional broadside ironclads:

These would give La Royale a bit more punch, so rather than glue together some of the later ironclads as originally planned, I think I'll get these sorted out. The later stuff has been organised by Geoff anyway, so there's no real imperative for me to double up with those, leaving me free to add the earlier ships to my existing fleet.

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Broadside and Salvo Club Game


A cracking game at the club tonight using Geoff's splendid Tumbling Dice pre-dreadnoughts based on his superb printed bases. I played the Royal Navy for a change, attempting to get a convoy past a French light cruiser blockading squadron, with the help of two coastal battleships and an armoured cruiser. The French got hammered but also sank the armoured cruiser and one of the transports, forcing the other one back to port. Great fun!


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