Napoleonic Naval


Form Line of Battle - Vive la France!

We've had relatives staying for the last couple of days, so I've only now been able to catch up with assembly of the Tumbling Dice 1/2400th scale Napoleonic ships. Here is the progress thus far, with six 74 gun third rates (ASN5) and a single 100 gun 1st rate (ASN3), although the latter will represent a single 110 gun three decker, probably the Terrible or the Républicain.I've decided that I'll use this lot as the basis of my French fleet c1798, so the next instalment will be four or five 80 gun 2nd rates (ASN4) and a couple of 120 (118) gun first rates (ASN2), before I move onto the frigates and unrated vessels. It's coming along nicely and I'm hoping to get the whole thing done by the end of next week, although I will have to some filler to the bases and undercoat them when I get back home.

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Tumbling Dice '74' Test Build

HMS Superglue cleared for actionThe various bitsBefore filing and sandingReady for the SuperglueAttaching the sailsLining it all upJib Sails and Sprit Sails addedA Stern View (very old joke that one)I grabbed half an hour or so this afternoon to test build one of the Tumbling Dice 1/2400th scale 74 gun 3rd Rates, prior to starting an assembly line for the eight others that I'm planning to glue together. The various pieces were cleaned up with a craft knife, files and a sanding stick, ready to be glued together from the stern forwards once the hull had been attached to the base. The sails went on without too much trouble, although I changed my usual approach and applied the glue to the masts rather than the sails themselves, bending the sails first so that they had a good contact with the masts. The jib sails also had a bit of a trim so that they glued well to the bowsprit at an appropriate angle. This was easily done by truncating the lower points of all three jib sails.The final bit was adding the fiddl

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The Sky's The Limit

Today, I was reading Matt H's excellent battle report for INWARD 2019 on his Shell Splash blog, based on the Battle of Pacocha in 1877, which features some lovely Tumbling Dice 1/2400th scale ships, not to mention some very professional ship record cards for Dahlgren and Colombiad. However, the thing that caught my eye was his very effective coastal terrain and, in particular, the clever use of a sky background to add some atmosphere and perspective:http://shellsplash.blogspot.com/2019/08/inward-2019-battle-of-pacocha-1877.htmlI hadn't thought of this before but it reminded me of the model railway sky backscene paper strips that you see being used on layouts for the same purpose. A quick Google and I discovered that you can now get photorealistic sky sheets in 5' long by 15'' tall sections, supplied in packs of two, one of which would provide all the sky you could need in 1/2400th scale. They also come in different themes of overcast, clear sky and with clouds, so you can even represent the weather conditions

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Tumbling Dice Third Rates

I've been on holiday a week now but have yet to start on the 1/2400th scale Napoleonic naval assembly project, so it's about time I got on with it. I'm going to get cracking over the next few days with the core of the project, the 74's and 80's that will form the backbone of the French and British line of battle. I'm hoping to be able to run a bit of an assembly line to get as many of them built and based as I can, assuming I can work out which bits go where?

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INWARD 2019

This is on again in a couple of days, so I'll be organising a solo game of something while I'm away from home, using card and paper ships in the absence of my ironclad fleets. This year I have two possible options, one being a Napoleonic frigate action using the Fleets in Profile: The Battle of Trafalgar 1805 paper flats and some sort of 'back of a fag packet' rules from somewhere or other. The other option is some ancient naval galley warfare using the top down paper miniatures from Tiny Tin Troops and Long Face Games's fast play Ad Mare Bellum rules, which I left here last time I was over at Easter for just this sort of thing. Time to get cutting out and gluing I think!

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We're all going on a...

It's amazing what you can pack into an A4 box!We're off on holiday to France for a couple of weeks again tomorrow, so I'm taking along some things to do if the weather socks in or if it's too hot to go out in the midday sun, mad dogs not withstanding. I've put together a box of 1/2400th scale naval goodies including the Napoleonics and a handful of late Victorian British and French ironclads, which will extend my project into the 1880's and 1890's. I'm not taking anything to game with, however, as I have some card and paper miniatures already over there if I want to set up something for INWARD 2019, for example, although I could possibly use some of the assembled Tumbling Dice models at a push. Happy days!

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Broadside and Board?

While there are plenty of Napoleonic naval rules out there and I have quite a few of them to start with, I do like the simplicity and fast play aspects of Broadside and Ram, so I thought I'd work out a basic conversion of the rules to Age of Sail warfare. This shouldn't be too difficult, as there are rules for sail movement already and I just need to adapt the gunnery and damage tables, along with adding rules for boarding actions. A lot of this can be pinched from David's other rules in the series or just worked out based on common sense. I will make this a little side project for the holidays, aptly if not very originally titled 'Broadside and Board'

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The Frigates

I read this excellent book many years ago but, as I'm about to start assembling two Napoleonic fleets in 1/2400th scale including several frigates both light and heavy, I thought I'd read it again. It really is stirring stuff and absolutely spot on for potential scenarios featuring no more than a handful of ships and often only two. Brilliant!

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Kiss Me Hardy Turn Templates

 I was ordering some bases for my 1/2400th scale Napoleonic ships the other day, when I spotted these nifty acrylic turn templates for Kiss Me Hardy on the Warbases website. As KMH is one of the possible sets of rules I plan to use for the Napoleonic project and as the templates match my existing Arc of Fire ones from the same place, I thought I'd buy the set. Here they are with a small 1/2400th scale ironclad, which is mounted on similar sized base to the ones I'll use for the Age of Sail frigate models. Very nice! 

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Assembling the Fleet

I've been very busy of late, both with work and weekend activities, so wargaming has been shoved aside and little has been achieved at the workbench. However, I have started to assemble the various components of my summer holiday projects, the first being Napoleonic Naval fleets in 1/2400th scale using Tumbling Dice miniatures. The plan, as usual, will not be to paint anything but to glue together and base enough model ships for two small fleets or squadrons, one British and the other French, although I might add a few Spanish or Danish ships to the production line as well. After digging out the models from the lead pile, I have done an inventory of the various packs and have more than enough to begin with:2 x 120 gun First Rates3 x 98/100 gun Second Rates6 x 80 gun Third Rates 7 x 74 gun Third Rates3 x 64 gun Third Rates4 x 50 gun Fourth Rates1 x 50 gun 'Razee' Fourth Rate frigate3 x 38/40 gun Fifth Rate frigate3 x 28/32 gun Sixth Rate frigate4 x 16 gun sloops5 x 12 gun brigs3 x 12 gun cutters3 x b

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Coastal Terrain Finished

To all intents and purposes, I've now wrapped up my brief but productive coastal terrain project, with the gun batteries and slightly dodgy fort now finished. The paintwork on the gun batteries isn't brilliant but they are certainly useable and will be good as scenario elements. The fort is a temporary stand in until I can find something more accurate and less bodged together, but it will also be useful in the meantime. I know Hallmark have some forts and Martello towers, while the Irregular Miniatures 2mm terrain range is also supposedly fine for 1/2400th scale. I'm sure I'll be back to make some more terrain tiles but for the moment I'm done and dusted.

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Coastal Terrain WIP

It's been a stupidly hot and busy day but the coastal terrain is nearly there, with the headland painted and awaiting a wash and brush up to be finished. I think I've managed to match it to the other terrain pieces fairly well but I'll have to wait and see. The fort and batteries are also nearly finished and are just waiting for the guns to be installed. I haven't got enough of the guns and mortars to fit every embrasure so will have to compromise, with the smaller batteries reduced to two mortars a piece. I'm now thinking about some terrain templates to drop on to the top of the tiles, so that the shoreline isn't as barren and to cover up the joints between the tiles. 

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More Coastal Terrain WIP

I started painting the shore batteries and the coastal fort yesterday but didn't get very far due to various unwanted distractions. I decided to upgrade the Tumbling Dice batteries to a more substantial brick built construction rather than just improvised earth and timber, which is what they are supposed to represent. They're neat little models and I may well get a couple more. The scratch built fort is also coming along and will get some cement surfacing on the parapets and stonework details on the walls when I get the time. In addition, I've also started to scratchbuild a headland module to slot into the existing coastline, using the same 9'' x 6'' artboard tile rotated ninety degrees. This should break up the profile a bit and add some visual interest.

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DIY Coastal Terrain WIP

I made some good progress on the experimental modular coastal terrain today, which is now drying off after a final ink wash. The terrain sections were coated in filler and sealed with PVA yesterday, so today I was able to crack on with the painting using a selection of cheapo acrylic paints from the Works that I had stashed away. These were only 99p but are super gloopy and have excellent opaque coverage (note to self: get some more!)I started with a Fawn base coat with a Fawn and Sand wet brush, followed by a drybrush in a Fawn and White mix. The grass areas were painted in a Pale Olive Green and Sap Green mix, followed by a drybrush in Pale Olive Green and Fawn (useful stuff this Fawn!). I then washed the cliff areas with heavily diluted Seraphim Sepia and the grass areas in diluted Athonian Camoshade ink, which is now drying out.While that was going on and in-between the drying bits, I based up some Tumbling Dice coastal gun batteries on textured plastic bases from Brigade Models, which came with a Land Ir

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DIY Coastal Terrain

I decided on the spur of the moment this morning to make a start on some homemade coastal terrain for my 1/2400th scale naval wargaming. I have had a stash of high density polystyrene foam off cuts for years in the garden shed, so I dug them out and sliced them up to glue on to some 9'' x 6'' art board panels, so that they have a protective base and so that I could make a modular set of cliff and headland pieces. The 9'' x 6'' format just happened to be the size of the art board that I had lying around but it's not a bad size, being easy to store but also suitable for 6' long shoreline or a slightly less than 4' one, give or take a 3'' filler section that I can easily make to extend the length. I doubt I'll need a whole 6' length of shoreline anyway, although I may need to make some corner pieces so that I can form projecting headlands.I've only made a few pieces but can add some more, as I have plenty of foam left over and some spare cardboard too. The next stage will be to wrap the edges in masking tap

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