Pre-Dreadnoughts


1/2400th 1864 Prussian Naval Squadron

I'm back at work tomorrow, so I suspect very little will happen at the workbench for a while, especially as most of my weekends are also taken up with various family things. Nonetheless, I've decided to finally finish the 1/2400th Prussian and Danish naval forces for the 1864 Second Schleswig War, which have been hanging about for years and really should have been painted a long time ago. In a slight change of plan, I'm going to paint the entire Prussian fleet first, give or take,  followed by the Danes second. The Prussians have more ships but most of them are first and second class gunboats, which should be relatively quick to do, with only three of four larger ships, none bigger than a small frigate.  This means I should, famous last words, get them done in short order, assuming I get on with it and don't get side tracked. In the longer term, there's obviously the Danes and Austrians to paint, along with some generic merchant shipping, but I'm also thinking of starting fleets for the Pacific

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Naval Projects and Plans

I'm back at work tomorrow, so I suspect very little will happen at the workbench for a while, especially as most of my weekends are also taken up with various family things. Nonetheless, I've decided to finally finish the 1/2400th Prussian and Danish naval forces for the 1864 Second Schleswig War at some point this Autumn, as they been hanging about for years and really should have been painted a long time ago. In a slight change of plan, I'm going to paint the entire Prussian fleet first, give or take,  followed by the Danes second. The Prussians have more ships but most of them are first and second class gunboats, which should be relatively quick to do, with only three of four larger ships, none bigger than a small frigate.  This means I should, famous last words, get them done in short order, assuming I get on with it and don't get side tracked. In the longer term, there's obviously the Danes and Austrians to paint, along with some generic merchant shipping, but I'm also thinking of starting

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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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Small Scale Splash Markers

In most naval rules you need splash markers to indicate fall of shot or damage from shellfire, with Naval Thunder being a good example, where you use splash markers to track ranging in and targeting. I've made some of these before for Victory at Sea but thought I'd make some more, as I won't have enough for scenarios with more than a handful of ships. I've used the same method again, gluing a woodscrew to a circular lasercut mdf base, then texturing with a mix of filler, PVA, acrylic paste and my new discovery, artist's textured gel, for that frothy plume effect. When this lot are fully dry, I'll spray undercoat them white and paint them using the shades that I've used for my ironclad bases, so that they can be used for all of my small scale naval projects.

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The Siege of Tsingtau

This is turning out to be a very interesting read, as it doesn't just detail the actual siege but covers the establishment of the whole German Far East Asian Empire in the South Pacific and mainland China. There's a fascinating insight into the fundamental role of the Imperial German Navy as a driver and mechanism for colonial expansion, both to obtain coaling stations and naval bases but also to project power in one of the few remaining places that offered 'a place in the sun'. I have a long ferry journey tomorrow so plan to read further and pinch some ideas for a 'what if?' pre-dreadnought solo campaign.

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French Commerce Raiders

I have ordered a couple of Tumbling Dice armoured cruisers for my up and coming pre-dreadnought project, which is based in the Far East c1900-1905. These are two Gueydon class armoured cruisers, two of which, Montcalm and Gueydon, were deployed to French Indochina and the South Pacific to fly the flag in 1902-03. I've just started reading the Siege of Tsingtau by Charles Stephenson, in which he sets out the rivalries over the Philippines after the Spanish American War as well as the clashes between the various powers over China and Manchuria. There's loads of 'what if's' to be used as scenario and campaign 'hooks', so a couple of  commerce raiding French cruisers are a very handy addition to the set up. 

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Tsushima

I've just quickly read this new(ish) book on the Battle of Tsushima to refresh my pre-dreadnought project ideas, although in typical Osprey fashion it includes an overview of the whole Russo Japanese naval war. It's not bad at all, despite the strange cover art and limited scope for a detailed historical account. It's not as good as the two volume coverage in the MMP series by Piotr Olender, both of which are excellent from a wargaming perspective, but it's useful as a basic overview, with some good maps and illustrations.

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Pre-Dreadnought Flotilla Basing

One of the things that has held me back on the pre-dreadnoughts project is the basing for torpedo boats and destroyers. The rules I'm thinking of using, Broadside and Salvo or Naval Thunder: Rise of the Battleships, both use flotilla basing for these smaller warships but don't actually specify how to go about it. I've seen it done in different ways including four or five models based on large rectangles, two or three based on smaller rectangles and even individually based models with magnetic strip underneath and magnet lined movement trays. I'm thinking that the best way forward would be to use group basing of between two and three models, depending on their size, on square or slightly rectangular bases so that they can be organised into divisions or flotillas. The square format means that they can also be arranged in formations without looking odd or taking up too much space. I'm going to stick with a base width that matches the rest of the warships too, probably 30mm to allow for larger models to fit

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Tumbling Dice French Pre-Dreadnoughts

I spotted the latest addition to the Tumbling Dice 1/2400th scale Age of Battleships range yesterday, thirty two pre-dreadnought era warships for the French navy c1883-1909:http://www.tumblingdiceuk.com/product-category/12400-naval/age-of-battleships/french-abfI've been eagerly waiting for these to be launched, having heard on the grapevine that they were on the way after the Italian and Austrian fleets, so I will definitely be ordering a few for my pre-dreadnought collection. I have some British and Japanese ships already but some French 'floating hotels' would be fun!I've been wanting to make use of my lovely new blue sea cloth, so on reflection it really would be more sensible to concentrate on naval projects this Summer, rather than starting something completely new involving loads of figure painting and terrain construction. My naval projects include both the 1/2400 scale ironclads and pre-dreadnoughts plus the Cruel Seas coastal warfare models, amongst other things.This is a much better idea for al

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WW1 Naval Book Bargains

There are some cracking discounts on pre-dreadnought and WW1 naval digital books for the Kindle at the moment including this book on the siege of Tsingtau, which I thought about getting ages ago but didn't because it was too expensive. There's also a couple of books by Norman Friedman, which are always packed full of detailed information but normally cost a fortune. I decided to download The Kaiser's Battlefleet by Aiden Dodson, however as it's spot on for what I'm interested in and at £1.19 you can't go wrong!. 

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Plans are of Little Importance...

...but planning is essential.So, said Winston Churchill, apparently, so I'm going to take his advice (not Bojo's) and do just that. The planning bit involves extending some of my existing projects into 2019 and starting a few new ones, but the latter will definitely be outnumbered by the former. I will once again focus my efforts on both naval and air wargaming, although I'm sure other things of a more terrestrial or even extra-terrestrial variety will pop up. If they do, it will be very much at a skirmish level, rather than anything too grand.In the air, I'm obviously going to be focussed on the 1/285th scale aircraft for the 'Come And Have a Go If You Think You're Lard Enough' event in March. If that goes according to plan I might well do another Bag the Hun project in the same scale, with an eye on the Winter War for Blue Swastika Rampant. If not, then I'll definitely be expanding my 1/600th scale efforts but only after I've finished the MiG Alley / Bag the MiG and Corsairs and Cavaliers projects first. If

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New Year Resolutions!

Happy New Year!I only have one New Year resolution this year and it's to get more wargaming done, both at the local club and solo in the holidays. I also have some clear plans and projects for 2019, some of which I've already started and a few which are new, so I'll set out what I'll be up to in another post. In the meantime, it's also Xmas here, as we open our English presents today, rather than floating them across to France then bringing them all the way back again. I now have a very nice blue Sea Cloth from Tiny Wargames so will be rethinking the bases on the ironclads and pre-dreadnoughts for a start, and a couple of boxes of Perry 28mm ACW figures, for which I'll have to think of a possible use, perhaps Sharp Practice or those new rules from Dan Mersey, Rebels and Patriots, who knows? I doubt I'll get round to doing that this year, however, as the focus will definitely be on more naval and air wargaming once again. More about that tomorrow!

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Give Us The Ships

Back in March I set out some ideas for naval wargaming projects that I hoped to tackle and possibly even complete in 2018. I was then unexpectedly side tracked into What a Tanker! before returning to the naval wargaming theme over the Summer. In the end I managed to make some really good progress with my 1/2400th scale ironclads, with which I even played some games (!), and also my 1/700th scale modern fast attack craft, although these only got to the basic assembly stage. I didn't start my 1/2400th scale pre-dreadnoughts or finish off any more of my 1/600th scale WW2 coastal forces models, but that's fine as they were not the main focus. I really enjoyed the Broadside and Ram games that I played in the Summer holidays, so I'm going to make the French and British ironclads a painting priority in 2019, perhaps also getting the Prussian and Danish ships painted as well, which was the original aim of the project. I also want to complete at least one more naval wargaming project next year, whether that'

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Santa's Sea Cloth

I've been allowed to buy myself a 6' x 4' Blue Sea cloth from Tiny Wargames as a stocking filler, so that it arrives before the holidays and can be wrapped up to go under the tree well in advance of our habitual trip to the French in laws. I've been after one of these for ages as a companion to the Dark Sea cloth that I bought for my nocturnal coastal forces games. This one will be used for my 1/2400th scale pre-dreadnought project and for other naval things that don't need a dark sea surface like my projected Cold War project in 1/3000th scale, but I will probably keep the original 'stormy waters' cloth for my Baltic and North Sea ironclads, as it just seems more appropriate somehow?

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The Particular Service Squadron 1885

I was looking for something else a few days ago when I came across this fascinating late Victorian naval exercise, which was focussed on a potential war with Russia in the Baltic. I've included a couple of extracts from The Late Victorian Navy by Roger Parkinson, as it gives a better explanation and overview than I could. A really interesting story and there's some excellent contemporary illustrations from The Graphic for inspiration. It would make a great naval wargaming 'What If?' and almost all of the various ships including HMS Polyphemus are available from Tumbling Dice in 1/2400th scale too.

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