Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2 US Ships of Line Ready for Service

 My 1/1200 Scale US Fleet has been enlarged by two new ships of the line - the 74 Gun Third Rate USS Columbus (on the left) and the 44 gun Frigate USS Congress (on the right).
 A view of the other side of these ships.  Next up for the US is the 38 gun frigate Essex and then some odds and ends from GHQ - a Xebec, a 24 gun East Indiaman and a Baltimore Clipper.  I'm hoping to put on an Age of Sail game in the next few weeks.

I had a visitor in my pool yesterday - a newly hatched Terrapin turtle - cute little bugger isn't he.  He swam up to my wife while she was exercising in the pool.  I'm not sure who was scarred more my wife or "Bubba" as we've dubbed him.

After making sure he wasn't hurt, I re-located him to the marsh and wished him the best of luck.  It's a tough world out there for little turtles.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

1/1200 Langton Merchant Ships Completed

 The four merchants I've been working on are now complete and ready to see some action on the table top.  Of course, action for a merchant ship in a naval game is essentially being hunted down but that how the dice roll.

 I also made up a marker for a sunken ship.  Ships in this time period took a long time to sink and often lingered at the surface posing a risk to other ships in the battle.

I did break down and order a few East Indiamen ships from GHQ - no collection from this period could be considered complete with a few of those beasts.  East Indiamen are armed merchants and were favored by pirates - hmmm pirates???...

I highly recommend 1/1200 scale Age of Sail ship models as a hobby.  If you choose to give it a go, I do recommend you pick up a copy of Rod Langton's assembly guide - it really is a hobby gem and I constantly refer back to it when modeling.

Monday, August 25, 2014

1/1200 Langton Merchant Ships

 The naval bug seems to have bitten hard lately - In addition to filling out the US fleet, I've made some progress on some generic merchant ships to use as game objectives.  The models are all from the Langton line and consist from top to bottom of a single small merchant, a large merchant and 2 medium merchants.  The only thing I'm missing is a few Indiamen but I don't have any of those in the 1/1200 naval stockpile.

These ships will be painted in drab browns to reflect their lowly merchant status and make sure they stand out on the table top.  I also don't have the usual brass ratlines so these models will likely look very plain.

Once these little tubs are done the 1/1200 Napoleonic lead pile will be down to a handful of British Frigates, the Agamemnon (a 64 gun third rate) and one lone GHQ model - the 38 gun Frigate USS Constellation.

In other naval gaming news, turn 4 of Clint's "Anything but a One" play by blog game has been posted and the Spanish and British fleets are just about to come into range of one another.  My command, the Spanish frigate "Mercedes" has just come onto the board and it will be several turns before I can bring her into action.  I really like the play be blog concept - thanks Clint

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

1/1200 Langton US Third Rate Almost Complete

A bit more progress on the US Third Rate from Langton Models.  All that's left is a few more rigging lines and the National flags / pennants.  After numerous tabletop mishaps, I've learned to keep the rigging to a minimal level.  Taught rigging becomes un-taught when the masts get bent.  Such are the tribulations of the table top Napoleonic Sailor!


I need to come up with a name for the ship, but don't have my research files handy so that will wait until after vacation.  This ship becomes the fourth of my planned 7 ship US fleet (3 Frigates and 4 74's).



Next up is a US Frigate - the 38 gun Congress.  The model was one of the first I purchased directly from Rod Langton and will be modeled at full sail using all those somewhat fiddly brass sails.  Once the Congress leaves the workbench dry dock will be another frigate - the 32 gun Essex.


Still trying to get the hang of posting with an I-Pad



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Langton 1/1200 74 Gun Ship of the Line

 A return to 1/1200 sailing ship models is in the wind.  Why?  Three reasons - firstly because I haven't built one in a while and I find these kits to be both challenging and rewarding to do.  Secondly, I've been doing a lot of 1:1 scale sailing and was in a nautical mood and lastly because I was able to get into a very interesting "play by blog" game that features Napoleonic ships over at Clint's "Anything but a One Blog"

I've been given command of a nice 38 gun Spanish Frigate, which I named the Mercedes after one of the Spanish frigates involved in the Treasure Fleet action of 1804.  Hopefully I'll captain her to a better outcome.

As for the model that's in the "dry dock", it's a British 74 gun Third Rate which we be painted and rigged as an American Ship of the line for some what if scenarios.  In the background there are some more historically correct frigates that will be added to the fleet namely the Congress and the Essex.

I'm also planning on hosting a Napoleonic naval game in the near future so need a few extra ships.  This is also my first post using an I-Pad and the blogger app so it will take a little work to get the formatting right

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Trenchworx: French FT Tank

 Trenchworx is a new miniature company that is currently running a very successful Kickstarter campaign for 28mm WW1 tanks.  At Historicon, one of the guys behind the company (Nate) very generously gave me some sample models to try out and all I can say is wow - these are some top notch models.  First up is the smallest of the three tanks - a French FT.

 The model is resin based but comes from a master that is 3D printed - Nate is astonishingly talented with 3d CAD design and these models are proof it.  The French FT kit comes with 11 pieces - a body, two track sections, the skid assembly and two gun options - a machine gun (which I used) or a light howitzer.  All of the parts were flash free and had no defects (as in none).


 I primed the model with grey auto primer and then made up my own camo scheme.  Decals will be added later when I figure out what nationality will use the FT.  Assembly, priming and painting took less than 90 minutes.
 I do have some experience with some of Trenchworx other products - namely the Japanese Type 97 Tankettes.  I have a blog post on the tankettes which can be seen here.

 This model was a pure joy to both build and paint up and I really can't recommend it more.  In fact Trenchworx has now replaced Blitxkrieg Miniatures as my favorite provider of top notch 28mm scaled vehicles.  I can't wait to get started on the British and German models I've got.

I was very grateful to receive the demo models and can't wait to get started on both the British and German tanks - which are big beasts indeed. You can get a peek at the British tank over on the Bolt Action.net

As for scale, here's a shot next to a 28mm scaled Perry British figure - the FT was a tiny tank and it's model reflects that well

Trenchworx has a e-store up and running where you can get some of their ww2 stuff.  I highly recommend these models and the kickstarter.  Give them a try, I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Friday, August 8, 2014

By Fire and Sword: Swedish Skirmish Force

I've finished painting and basing the figures that came with the Swedish skirmish force that I received from the By Fire and Sword Kickstarter.   It's a nice little force that has 4 stands of reiters, 4 stands of Dragoons (both mounted and dismounted) a light gun and commas group.

Also pictured is the fortified farm terrain piece which should also work nicely for FOW Eastern Front actions.

 A close up of the Reiters - these are essentially medium cavalry.

 The mounted version of the Dragoons

Finally the dismounted Dragoon stands, the light gun and the Command Group.  Soon to be joining these figures will be another Dragoon and armored Reiters group, two infantry infantry regiments and some more guns.  I should be able to field a full division of Swedes in the next few months.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

1:1 Scale Sailing: Asymmetrical Spinnaker Rigged

 I played hooky yesterday and spent the day on the water installing a Asymmetrical Spinnaker sail on the Bucentaure.  Spinnakers are used for adding speed when the boat if "running" the wind is coming over the stern.  An asymmetrical spinnaker can do this but also be configured to work when the wind comes from a beam reach position (coming at a 90 degree angle across either side of the boat.  Spinnakers are traditionally "gaudy" sails and my sail is a very patriotic red, white and blue.

 Here's a shot of the spinnaker furled (rolled up) next to the jib (which is also furled).  It was a very light wind day which usually isn't the best for sailing but is great when one is installing something that one really doesn't know how to work yet.

I've got a lot to learn in sailing the boat and what conditions work best for each sail plan.  I'm also fairly clumsy in deploying sails (let's just say I can be a bit slowwww...), so there will be a lot of practice needed.

 Obligatory shot of the Bucentaure in her slip just prior to heading out.  At the bow you can see the 2' metal boom that I installed for the spinnaker rig - technically it makes my boat just a little bigger.  In a gaming related note, my slip mate - the gentlemen who owns the 50 foot cruiser to the left knows a little history as he asked me where I was going to put the 80 guns the Bucentaure is required to carry!  It isn't such a big jump from naval history buff to naval gamer when enticed by 1/1200 Langton model!  Now I need to figure out how to raise the gaming issue in a socially acceptable way...

Nothing tastes better after a day of sailing than pizza and a beer.  You can see one of my crew in the picture - Elvis.  My wife and I are dog sitting Mr Elvis for the next week or so.  He's not too bad despite being a poodle and he did seem to enjoy sailing which is a big positive.  I did tie a line to him in case he went over the side.

A dog in a restaurant?  St Michaels, MD is a very dog friendly town and most of the restaurants that have outside patios allow people to bring their dogs.  Very civilized.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Regimental Fire and Fury: McPherson's Ridge Play Test

 Yesterday, I spent a very pleasant Sunday afternoon at Rich's play testing another scenario for his new scenario book for Regimental Fire and Fury (RF&F).  This was a big, 8 player game and recreated the afternoon fighting for McPherson's Ridge during the first day of Gettysburg.  As usual, Rich put on a visually stunning game with superb and historically accurate terrain and well painted 15mm figures.

 I commanded the Union right flank and had two brigades of infantry and a battery of artillery (I love heavy smoothbores in RF&F).  This formation had fought in the morning so was very chewed up resulting in a large number of very small regiments.  While small, all my regiments were vets which would be very important down the line.

Our Pinkerton agents were able to discern the focus of the Confederate attack by observing strange cloud formations over the battlefield that seemed to "point-out" where the giant confederate army would concentrate.  This was my largest game of RF&F to date and I was very impressed with how smoothly it went.

 My battered formation was to be assaulted by a fresh Confederate brigade with huge regiments.  I was out numbered 2:1 in terms of men.  My forces had a bit more tactical flexibility in the I had nine small regiments vs four giant confederates.  Of course, the Rebs had to cross a wheat field (open ground) which proved problematic.

 The Confederates close on my positing and begin maneuvering to try and flood my extreme right flank.  I was trying to get some regiments up in support but was struggling with command rolls.

 Through a bit of luck the initial confederate charge is repulsed.  Then disaster struck for the Confederates as confusion reigned in their ranks while reforming for a second go - (in game terms they failed a critical command roll (rolling a 1 on a 10 sided die) and were stuck out in the open for a turn.  My troops unloaded their muskets into the rebels and reduced them to below their casualty limit which incurs a -1 on command rolls.  At this point the battle was heating up and I forgot to take pictures for about half the game - I was having way too much fun.  During the Confederates second assault, I was able to execute a counter attack on their exposed right flank and destroyed one regiment and reduced another to a shell of it's former sense.

 My flank was cleared of rebels towards the end of the game.  I'd like to say it was my brilliant generalship that brought about this victory but it was really just luck.  My confederate opponent rolled, in succession a "1" another "1" and a "2" (10 sided dice) for command rolls which forced his units to stay out in the open to get chewed up.  They finally broke and fled the field.

The real fighting was over on the other side of the railroad cut where the Union took grievous casualties (oh the poor iron brigade) but managed to hold off the confederates.  The game was called as a minor Union victory and a hard fought victory it was.

I am very fortunate to have stumbled onto such a great group of players and really want to thank Rich for hosting the game and creating such a fun and welcoming environment.  If you're looking for a ACW ruleset that's fun and has a very good historical feel, I really can't recommend anything better than RF&F.  The new scenario book is coming out in a few weeks - take a look here for some details on Scenario Book 2.  I've play tested four of the scenarios and have enjoyed all of them immensely.

Now if I can only get Rich's group to convert 15mm to the one true scale of 28mm.....
:)


Thursday, July 31, 2014

By Fire and Sword: Swedes part I

I backed the original "By Fire and Sword" Kickstarter and received armies for both the Swedes and Poles.  I've played a number of demo games at some HMGS cons and really like the game system - it has a very unique command system that works well and the units types available for the different armies is very impressive.  The game is set during the late 1600's and focuses on the conflicts in Eastern Europe involving the Poles and all there enemies and allies.  It's a fascinating time period that I knew little about but have enjoyed researching.  Oh yeah, the Poles get to field Winged Hussars! 'nuff said.

The one minor drawback for me is the game is 15mm in scale, which it really needs to be given the heavily calvary focused armies of the day.  I spend most of my time painting 28mm so going back to 15mm's is always a bit of a challenge.  First onto the table will be my Swedes and I'm painting up the Skirmish box set which comes with a Dragoon force (mounted and dismounted) on the left, some Reiters (medium cavalry) in the upper right, a command stand (center right) and a light gun and crew.  I've got several other boxes of Swedish infantry and some more cav to add to the army once these boys are done.

Given the success of the game the company that makes it has another kickstarter "The Deluge" in the offing, which of course like a moth to the flame, I jumped in on.  Come on, one of the new armies is Transylvania - who can say no that that?

The US Distributor for the game is Sergeant Major Miniatures - If you like 30 years war period, I suggest you check this game system out.

With a new project on the workbench at least it's returning to its more natural, cluttered state.  A disorganized workbench seems to be the proper environment for a miniature hobbyist.