31 December 2011

On the horizon - 2012

Well, my last post of 2011!  It should be something thoughtful and witty, but what follows will have to suffice...

First off, I would like to thank all of the people that follow and visit this humble blog.  Having something to say is one thing, but also having an audience is another and I do appreciate all comments, so please keep them coming in!

Second, projects.  I seem to be good at finding new ones and not finishing old ones.  The past six months were not too kind to my hobbies, but that is over now and 2012 is shaping up to be a better year miniatures-wise.  The Lissa project continues - I actually sat down and slapped primer on 5 Austrian ironclads recently.  Plan Rubber is still cooking along slowly.  The Götland WW1 ships are waiting patiently for me to decide the next step.  And of course there are more that might never see the top of a table...

Third, this marks the 3rd anniversary of the start of this blog.

Last but not least, have a Happy New Year!

11 December 2011

Leviathans, part 3

After a long delay, here are some pics of another vessel from Leviathans, the French light cruiser Pontbriand:

Another nice looking model for the Leviathans game.

10 December 2011

Plan Rubber links

A brief post for today, as we are having our delayed Thanksgiving get-together now that my step-daughter has returned from Iraq...

Plan Rubber on Wiki

Plan Rubber at Sixtant

A couple of links that explain the situation and the historical outcome - from which I plan to deviate of course!

19 November 2011

WW2 naval, part 3

I think that I have a good idea of what the US force will have available for Plan Rubber, plus a couple of additions.

CV Ranger
BB Texas
BB Arkansas
CA Augusta
CL Savannah
DD Wainwright
DD Lang
DD Wilson
DD Hambleton
DD Emmons

During March 1942, all of the above ships, excluding the battleships, were formed as TG22.7 for a brief time, patrolling the Caribbean and Atlantic near Bermuda.  The battleships were being used as convoy escorts. shuttling back and forth from Maine to Iceland.  This, I feel, is a good basis for my Plan Rubber US force.

Additional forces could be drawn from the following:

CA Tuscaloosa  -  assigned to the US Atlantic fleet, she spent much time operating with the Royal Navy as a convoy escort.  As USS Augusta is a thin-skinned Northampton-class heavy cruiser, the better balanced New Orleans-class Tuscaloosa would be a good option.

DD Rowan and DD Hobson  -  these two destroyers were just coming off time in the yards for refitting and could be available for escort duties.

CVE Long Island  -  the first US escort carrier, USS Long Island spent much time as a plane ferry later in the war.  For Plan Rubber, I envision her with a small deck-load of USAAC P-40 fighters to be flown off for use at a captured Brazilian airfield, and her normal naval aviation complement - stored on her hangar deck - would be available afterward.  She would be very vulnerable prior to the flying-off, but there is a lot of potential with more US aircraft in the air.

14 November 2011

WW2 naval, part 2

When it rains, it pours sometimes... Just when I thought that I had figured out a simple WW2 project, I find something else that catches my fancy.  Here are the two candidates:

Plan Rubber - US forces try to invade Brazil to insure the security of airbases in Northern Brazil, vital to the transfer of aircraft from the US to Africa/Middle East/Australia.

The Med - France vs. Italy in a what-if based around Italy's earlier entry into WW2 i.e. 1939.

Plan Rubber, although hypothetical, has a lot going for it.  Most of the US forces are available in miniature from GHQ.  It can be limited in scope, or expanded.  I am thinking of two different starts to this project.  One, the US invades in March 1942 and provokes an angry reaction from Brazil, and two, Brazil has already turned to an Axis puppet and the invasion is an Allied reaction.  The first option I think would make a great short campaign, starting after US forces make their initial landings and focusing on the Brazilian reaction.  The Brazilian forces would not need as much added, although they would still be much better than their historical counterparts, as the Brazilian dreadnoughts were barely functional at this time and there was a severe lack of modern destroyers.  The second option would see a greatly augmented Brazilian navy and air force operating against an Allied (US/British) force.  So, there is a 'Small Solution' and a 'Large Solution' for Plan Rubber, which would allow for the inevitable desire for project creep.

The Med is being sparked by the soon-to-be-released Bretagne battleship miniatures by GHQ.  Again, this would be a project that could start small and expand.  GHQ makes most of the classes of the Italian Navy (except for some destroyers and smaller) while the French fleet is growing.  Project creep for The Med would include adding Royal Navy units.

Both plans have interesting features, and I have suitable miniatures for each of them.

Decisions, decisions!

06 November 2011

Looking at a WW2 naval project...

After a little bit of digging I was able to find a good quantity of GHQ WW2 naval vessels in various states of disrepair.  Many of them look like this:

The top pic shows, from the left:  a King George V class battleship, a Caio Duilio class battleship, a Littorio class battleship, and a Strasbourg class battlecruiser.  The second pic shows, clockwise from the top left:  Hood battlecruiser, Texas class battleship, Arkansas battleship, and a Graf Spee class pocket battleship.

Quite a disparate bunch.  Unfortunately, Littorio and Strasbourg have various amounts of paint, which would need to be stripped as I am certain that I no longer have those hues in my collection.  The others pictured above, along with Rodney and Barham, are bare or in primer.

The ships I have lean somewhat towards the Mediterranean campaign, but another idea struck me while digging for these miniatures.  I found this magazine during the search:

Inside, there is an interesting article:

The article details the planning that occurred in 1941 when policy-makers in Washington DC thought that Brazil might become pro-Axis.  While it seems to be a stretch of the imagination today, the population of Brazil contains a number of German emigrants and some of the Brazilian army officers were thought to side with the Germans.

The map above is perfect for the task, detailing airstrips of various sizes and the capacity of the ports.  The real task is assembling the miniatures for the campaign.  GHQ makes most of the US ships - including Texas and Arkansas which I have in my possession.  Panzerschiffe makes the Brazilian dreadnoughts Sao Paulo and Minas Gereas.

There is a lot of room for adding more forces to this what-if scenario.  Some of them are mild, such as adding German aircraft squadrons and U-boats.  Some are wild - adding Graf Spee and Prinz Eugen to the Brazilian fleet.  And there is the truly fanciful, with Bismarck and French ships making their appearance.  But I have to admit that the strangeness adds to the appeal, for me at least.

03 November 2011

Weak-willed me...

Well now, another fork in the road of hobby project completion looms up ahead.  Recently, I have been playing the on-line game World of Tanks.  This has stirred a latent desire for micro-armour, something that I have not played for more than a decade, and collected longer than that.  So, I zipped over to the GHQ Models web site, checking out tanks and such, when the urge to look at the Micro-nauts hit me.  Those beautiful miniatures, albeit expensive, are a siren's call.

I have some old GHQ ship miniatures around here, so I am going to drag them out and see if I can paint them to a reasonable degree...

05 October 2011

Austrian ironclads, part 2

After a long delay, I decided to get the shipyards going again.  Here is a brief glimpse:


Kaiser Max

A couple of Austrian ironclads to get the ball rolling again.  I am cutting the masts down somewhat, as I understand the Austrians ships, at Lissa, had reduced their rigging in advance of the engagement.  It will help differentiate the Austrians from the Italians, although the hull paint will cover that!

29 September 2011

Leviathans, part 2

Here are some pics of the British light cruiser for Leviathans, HML Hertfordshire:

The models for Leviathans are 1/1200 scale.  They are 'lightly' pre-painted in the colors you see in these pics, but I believe they come unassembled.

31 August 2011


At the recently concluded PAX Prime convention, I had the rare opportunity to see a great new game just before launch - Leviathans, by Catalyst Game Labs.  We had next to no spare time as we were on our way to another presentation, but I had a brief chat with Randall Bills, mastermind of Leviathans, and as a token of appreciation (we were among the early playtesters - a few years ago - for the game) Mr. Bills gave us these:

A French light cruiser on the left, and a British light cruiser on the right.  These are nice models, and I will have more pics later!

12 June 2011

Another naval blog

If you are not already following along at Castles of Tin, you really should - great stuff!

03 June 2011


Just a temporary slow-down, I am sure, but the shipyard here is looking at some downtime. Since I have not had a regular game group in several years, I do not feel any impetus towards completing projects, and with my regular game partner, my lovely wife, dropping a bit of a blast with "I don't really like naval games' (WHAT!!!!) I have lost all headway with the naval projects. I did manage to get Erzherzog Ferdinand Max cleaned up and on a base, but that has been all for many weeks. I am slowly getting stuff done with my other projects...
I'll be back I promise!

27 April 2011


I am rather shocked and a bit pleased to announce that this blog has been nominated for a Stylish Blogger Award! (I suppose that this means that I should update it more than once a month then.) Many thanks to David Manley for the tip-of-the-hat!

There are four rules that need to be followed after receipt of this award:

1. Link back and thank the nominating party - Thanks again Mr. Manley!
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Nominate 10-15 other blogs for this award.
4. Contact those bloggers above about the nomination.

Seven things...

> I like naval wargames but can not swim.
> I like air combat games but have never been in an aircraft of any sort (in the air at least).
> I have a degree in history.
> And work as a chemical lab technician!
> I have been to... Yaak Montana (and the Dirty Shame Saloon!).
> My sons paint much better than I.
> In my household, I am 'geek second rank' after my lovely wife.

And now, in no particular order, the next nominees:

A Wargaming Odyssey
Hetairoi Wargames
Geordie's Big Battles
Col. Campbell's Shipyard
The Single Handed Admiral
Baron's Blog
chirine's workbench
The Tékumel Project


20 April 2011


It has been a little quiet here at this mini-shipyard, so as an aid to get back into gear I'm listing the current naval projects:

1. 1/2400 Armada - The discovery of some long-lost Hallmark ships was a pleasant surprise, but I have not done anything else to them since. The two small squadron packs contain plenty of ships for now, but I am thinking of spicing them up a bit. I discovered just the trick for that - Tiny Tin Troops has a set of flags for Armada-era ships, so that has been placed on the To-Buy list. After that, just some paint and a set of rules then I'm set!

2. 1/2400 Ironclads - Ten Italian ironclads have been mostly finished, and there are 8 Austrian ships - 5 armored, 3 unarmored - waiting. I'm hoping to try a variant of DBSA to start once some Austrians are done.

3. 1/3000 WW1 - Still work to be done on these Baltic squadrons. Rurik and Novik are still not finished, and most of the German ships are only partially complete. These, however, have been stashed away since my recent move, but just a smidge of work would get this project afloat. DBSA will be the starter rules for this project as well.

And now for the 'other' naval projects I have been puttering around with lately:

4. 1/600 Tékumel naval - Fantasy gaming in the world of M.A.R. Barker - follow this link for a little bit of info.

5. 1/1200 Half-Continent naval - Also known as Monster Blood Tattoo or The Foundling's Tale, this set of novels details a blend of the fantastic with alchemy and the 18th-century. More information on my take of the story here.

Apologies for the lack of pics, and thanks for all the votes and comments on the previous post!

09 March 2011

A bit of a diversion, and a poll...

As many other gamers, I find it very difficult to maintain a singular focus on projects and periods - there have been many examples on this blog alone to prove that! But, I have endeavored to keep my blogs reasonably focused on certain genres. This blog is devoted to naval matters, and historical ones at that. But, I am also 'working' (more like thinking!) on non-historical naval projects, which I normally keep sequestered on other blogs.

As I seem to have made some real progress on another, non-historical naval project, I am wondering if I should repeat that information here as well. In that regard, I have set up a poll find out what my reading audience thinks of this idea. Please give me a minute or so to vote, and leave a comment if you like!

19 February 2011


Here is some of my unexpected collection of 1/6000 scale ships:

Just the Germans and British in this pic. My 1/6000 German fleet is an eclectic mix of battlecruisers, pre-dreadnoughts, and torpedo boats, while the British only have battlecruisers. I have to say that I do not remember the specific plan for these ships! But, they are beautiful castings - do I really need another scale?

12 February 2011

Back on track, with a surprise...

Far too slowly, but it is finally done - the hobby table is set up for business:

And, it is immediately besieged with projects and a few surprises as well if you look closely!

Here is the first one:

1/2400 Figurehead English 16th century squadron

1/2400 Figurehead Spanish 16th century squadron

I thought that these packs were sold off long ago, but they look intact and almost completely untouched. Looks like two to three ships per pack - plenty to start off. I really do not know much about the period - any rules suggestions? Since these minis received the official 'thumbs up' from the missus, they are keepers...

The missus and I are still debating the fate of all of those 1/6000 ships, scattered on the work table in the first pic; I am still sorting them out! Looks like British, German, Turkish (!), US, and Brazilian (?) ships, in a mix of WW1 and WW2 eras.