31 December 2013

A new year!

Looks like 2013 is on the way out, and 2014 is at the doorstep, so here is yet another post on the blogosphere about it all!

2013 was quite a mixed bag for this blog.  The fact that there were posts here at all marked a major improvement over 2012!  But, what was accomplished?  Just about the only thing that happened was acquiring some sense of what and where I would like my naval projects to proceed.

Despite some verbiage to the contrary, I keep coming back to a few projects:  ancients, now headed by my Tékumel fantasy ships (using Langton ancient naval miniatures); Renaissance (although this is the outside chance of all); ACW naval; and pre-dreadnoughts, buoyed by the excellent new releases from WTJ.  With the exception of the ancients ships, no decision has been made on these.  I think it best to stick with getting this one set out and usable before tackling others (my lovely wife agrees!).

I would like to thank everybody that visits/follows/comments my blog - it is appreciated more than I might let on!

Happy New Year!

p.s.   In case anybody is counting, today is this blog's 5th anniversary...

26 December 2013

Langton ancient naval rules available

It would not surprise me that I am, once again, late to the party on this, but the set of ancient naval rules from Langton Miniatures, Naumachiae, is available as a free set of downloads... at this link.  

It is in PDF format, and fairly large, but worth the download wait!

24 September 2013

New ships at War Times Journal!

It appears that War Times Journal, a producer of 1/3000 naval miniatures, has greatly expanded their selection.  By shifting to rapid prototyping methods, several new ships and many old favorites are now available in several scales, 1/1500 (!), 1/1800, 1/2400, and 1/3000.

For more information, please visit their web site here.

Please note that if you are a fan of their pewter miniatures, you should get them while you can as they are being phased out of production in favor of the new material...

01 September 2013

Part Two!

I had intended to continue the wall of text approach with my decision of a genre to pursue more closely.  But, I think it makes more sense to just cut to the chase and get going.  WW2 naval it is, specifically The Med as a starting point.

Now, does this mean that I am taking the narrow historical account?  Nope.  The collection will start with some hypothetical French/Italian actions, maybe even as early as 1939.  It is my intent to collect the proper forces to do historical battles, but I do not want to be limited to only that approach.

Slowly, this will include the British and Americans as well.  Plan Rubber has not been forgotten, but I will not be working on it to a large extent for a year or more.

The task has started already:

The pic above shows what is left of my WW2 naval collection, being re-organized.  These are all miniatures from GHQ.  Over years past, I sold off all of my completed ships, including a large Italian contingent.  Now, I am starting with two battleships, a Littorio class and another BB which I have yet to identify - probably Cesare.  One French ship is there - Dunkerque.  Two US ships were spared, Arkansas and Texas.  Four British ships are waiting - King George V, Hood, Rodney, and Barham.  And, a lone German ship - Graf Spee.  I have a large quantity of bits from past work, and one can see that they are being organized into a more sensible system.

It is a start, yes, but much more needs to be done.  Basing, rules, paints, and more are still to be determined...  Clear for action!!!

27 August 2013

Fish, or cut bait!

Well, for quite a while I have floundered along with my naval projects, and maybe it is time to put that to an end.

The key is, as always, the perfect plan.  Well, I have yet to figure that one out so a close facsimile will have to suffice.

The easiest way to go about it is to start eliminating options.  I want to try and keep this project to a 'near historical'  aspect.  It could never be completely 'historical', as that just is not how I do things.  Close is enough.

So, what gets eliminated first?  It is easiest to talk periods, so let us start there.  Now, I enjoy all periods of naval gaming, but I will need to draw a line somewhere as my lovely wife (and current gaming partner) has some preferences.  One of those preferences is the ability to maneuver freely.  This will mean that the various 'Age of Sail' periods will be shunted to the back burner.

Next to go will be the 'Ancients' period, as this will be covered quite adequately by my fantasy Tékumel naval project, which will continue to get coverage here.

The two strokes of the knife described above just pared over 2000 years of naval history from The Plan!  This leaves just the past 150 years or so left...

The Modern naval era, or maybe more precisely the Missile era, is also out.  As I have stated previously, I do enjoy all sorts of naval gaming, and it pains me a bit to narrow my focus, but it needs to be done.  I am not stating that it is not a possibility in the future, however  :)

What is left?  'Ironclads', 'Pre-Dreadnought', 'WW1', and 'WW2', as the groups are commonly known.

And now, the choice becomes much more subjective.  Sending off the other periods was easy compared to this task, as each of these periods has special charms and obstacles.  Scale of the miniatures also has an impact.

Enough text for now, more later!

25 June 2013

Another distraction?

Father's Day went by on the calendar recently, and my lovely wife took it upon herself to get me something.  She went through my Amazon wish-list and came up with this:

I do have a soft spot for pre-dreadnoughts, but what to do?  The Spanish-American War is one which seems one-sided but throw in a few what-if situations and just maybe it could be interesting.  But, how about a different tack?  What other opponent could be possible?  Or, perhaps a bit of time-twisting is in order... maybe some 'hypothetical' actions between the US and Japan, in, say, 1907 or 1910 or so.  I could go on!  But, some thought is really needed before any other planning is done.  One thing is for certain - this is a project for the future and I should not expend too much time and effort into it before getting the Tékumel naval stuff along......

22 June 2013

Langton ancient ships

And now, a closer look at the Langton ships:




These are among the largest ancient ships that Langton makes.  For Tékumel, they will fill the role of the zírunel, the largest of the common classes of warships.  I believe that there are larger warships plying the oceans of Tékumel, but they are rare and I will not worry about them, for now...
Roman quinquereme

Carthaginian quinquereme



The next step down in size, these are slated to represent the qél for my Tékumeli navies.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the relatives sizes of these miniatures are very close.  This will allow a lot of variety, not only for different navies but also within a particular empire's navy (Langton has other miniatures of this size that I have yet to purchase).




These three miniatures are markedly more narrow than the previous four, as well as being slightly shorter.  For Tékumel, I think these will work as the srügánta, although the hemiolia is a bit smaller than the other two and might be better as a séscha.  Out of these, the liburnian is especially appealing with the stern platform.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the appearance of these miniatures.  There is still work to do, as the representation of a séscha is not fully set yet, and there are a couple of trireme variants I would like to look at before setting it all in stone (heh) for the building of some flotillas.

09 June 2013

Fantasy naval, part 2

The first flotilla of Langton Miniatures (ordered through Waterloo Minis) has arrived:

They are looking good so far; I just need to sort them out by size to match their Tékumel counterparts.  I think that I will need a few more samples as the smallest ships types might not be covered...

02 June 2013

Fantasy naval, part 1

The first set of ships has arrived - from Valiant:

A trio of Heptares.  Although a length for the miniature is given on the Valiant web site, I was still surprised at them.

Here is a closer look:

Looks like assembly will be straightforward, although I seem to have too many starboard-side oar banks (see the bottom ship in the above pic).  I will send off an e-mail about that.

No matter what scale I finally choose, and I can see using a combo of 1/900 (for larger ships) and 1/1200 (for the rest especially cargo ships), I intend to use some of the ideas found here.

26 May 2013

Something missing?

Over on one of my other blogs, I have been slowly working on a system to create a fantasy naval collection based on Tékumel, which can be seen here.  Unfortunately, I have found that I really do not like the Xyston ships that I had originally purchased, and my source of very inexpensive Xyston ships dried up, so I am investigating a different scale.  And, recently I found these:

No actual ships though, which is a bit disappointing!  (These are bases for Langton ships)

I do have a selection of Langton ancient ships on order, and some Valiant ships as well.  I will be posting pics and info here and the other blog, so apologies in advance if you are one of the few that will getting multiple posts on the same subject matter...

26 March 2013

70 years ago...

Seventy years ago, as of the time of this post, a battle was just ending in the North Pacific.  Task Group 16.6, USN, under RAdm Charles McMorris, had just successfully disengaged from combat with a superior Japanese force under RAdm Hosagaya Boshiro.  This battle is commonly known as The Battle of the Komandorskis, after the nearby Russian island group.

There are some good on-line articles on the action, with one at Microworks, and another at HistoryNet.  The order of battle is listed in a concise fashion at NavWeaps.

The only book on this specific battle is authored by John Lorelli.

My father served aboard USS Richmond from 1942 through 1945, and was present for this battle.  He never did talk about it much, but one night decades ago, when we were at my sister's house, and my sister and mum were off, my father spoke briefly about his war experiences with my brother-in-law and myself.  He did admit that he was not so scared that day, even though it could have turned out much worse especially when USS Salt Lake City (old Swayback Maru - the ship a visiting German delegation declared in the 1930's as a ship good only for payclerks and cooks) went dead in the water and things were looking grim.  He was much more worried during a patrol a year later, near northern Japan, when, during an unusually clear night, his radar screen picked up an approaching aerial contact out of the west.  This was, presumably, a Japanese recon plane.  Richmond's captain ordered an unorthodox maneuver - he called for 'All Stop' and brought the cruiser dead in the water.  This was to prevent the aircraft from seeing the faintly phosphorescent wake left by the ship.  Minutes seemed like hours as the crew waited for the aircraft to either find or miss them... The recon plane moved closer, closer, then turned away. 

To the sailors of TG 16.6, and especially my father - you are not forgotten.

05 January 2013

Austrian ironclads, part 3

Not really an ironclad, this is an unarmored wooden steam vessel from the 1/2400 Figurehead line:

I intend to use it as the Austrian frigate Novara.

Building this one will be a bit different from the previous ironclads, as it appears that the fore and main masts are carried over from the Figurehead sailing ship lines.  The ironclads from Figurehead have the mast as an integral part of the hull, with the sails being separate, and the sailing vessels have the masts+sails as separate pieces.  Cutting the sails from the masts would be a delicate task; it will be easier to make a new set of masts.

04 January 2013

Stoking the boilers again...

Well, 2012 did not come off as I expected in the hobby department, especially with regards to naval gaming.  Suffice to say, I completely lost the plot!  I did manage to do a little with some of my other projects (I have a series of blogs specific to certain projects, click on my profile if you are interested) but I did not get very far with anything.

Recently, however, I have been trying to shake off the cobwebs and get some wok done again, and that includes naval projects.  Once again, one of the biggest obstacles is focus.  I can launch off on a new project very easily, but getting the miniatures on the table seems to be a bit hard for me lately.

So, coming up with the right set of projects will be my first goal.  As always, I have several options:

1.   Renaissance naval - I have several Figurehead 1/2400 ships waiting patiently;

2.   Ironclads - Again, more 1/2400 Figurehead ships from 1866 waiting;

3.   WW1 - A bit more complicated with this, as I have 1/2400, 1/3000, and 1/6000 scale ships;

4.   WW2 - Also a choice of scales here, with 1/2400 and 1/6000.

And this list is just for miniatures that I already possess!

One point that I want to check on immediately is this question - Can I paint 1/6000 ships to my liking?  If so, then I might have the post-1900 situation sorted.  1/2400 seems to be a good choice for any action from 1500 - 1885.

Also, I have begun to change the look of this blog.  I have added more links to other blogs on the left, and hopefully it is a bit easier to read.