Friday, January 31, 2014

Week in Review

This has been another productive week. Here I have a mix of American protective cruisers in 1/6000 scale and the USS Olympia in 1/2400 scale. I have been going through my box of Spanish American War ships to see if I can put together the Battle of Manila Bay. Not a bad project idea Tony.

My Spanish American War miniatures were bought while I was in the Navy. The purchase happened before I moved my boat to the west coast which means next year they will be old enough to run for the US Senate (or President).

I also have a 1/144th 3 inch A.A. Mk .1 on Peerless Lorry from Shapeways. While this will be useful for TOOFATLardies Algy rules (soon to be released I hope) it will find a place on the table with my WWI desert troops.

Lastly I have three tiles of 2mm desert village terrain. Bought these to go with my 3mm PicoArmor miniatures. Not sure how to use them. For now they will make great background items.

Like I said at the beginning it has been a productive week. Now than I have to get back to my Germans and Ships.

5 Reasons Why To Have Monitors In Your Fleet

As I have been going through old miniatures and trying to get them painted up for Vis Lardica painting contest I have come across a bunch of 1/2400 scale monitors. These are than added to the completed 1/6000 scale monitors I painted up last week. To be honest, I have monitors in several scales and classes.

These pre-dreadnought wonders have seen battle in several of my games of Seekrieg 4 and Frank Chadwick’s Ironclads and Ether Flyers. Often they came out of these battles with the accolades of their commanding Admiral, but not always.

These warships were common not only in the New Navy of the United States but also had a part in the battle line of the Royal Navy and the Czarist Navy. Even a cursory glance of the first two volumes of Conways shows monitors in many of the navies of this era.

And they should have a place amongst your miniatures as well. Here are five historical and operational reasons why you should think of adding them to your fleets.

Fire Power - When you want to level a fortification or turn back a raiding force fire power is what matters. Monitors are able to bring heavy guns to bear on a small platform and a limited draft.

Pesky Governors - The Governor's of coastal United States during the Spanish American War (and other fictional wars) often demanded ships to defend their coasts and ports. Instead of using battleships and cruisers, which were in short supply, the Navy Department would release monitors for protection.

While they cannot with stand a battle line they and torpedo boats could cause sufficient damage to make the enemy think twice before raiding the east coast.

Support - Monitors were able to bring fire support in most conflicts in the late 19th century and early 20th century. From the Philippine Insurrection to The Great War monitors had a place in the line. During The Great War they were used to protect the British left flank along the English Channel as well as in the destruction of the
SMS Königsberg.

Cost - As a defense vessel these are very affordable. These ship carry a similar weapon to most pre-dreadnought but at a fraction of the cost. The initial New Navy Monitors were built over twenty years and used old Civil War era monitors for scrap. The savings from these were applied to the new classes.

As these were designed to be cost defense vessels, they operated with reduced crews. There was also only limited comforts for the crews as they were rarely away from port.

 "New Navy" Monitors
 USS Kearsarge BB-5
 ~ $250,000
 $5 Million
 10" or 12" Guns
 13" Guns

Retro - Lastly these ships are so retro. They looked retro in the 1890s compared to the vessels in the American Civil War. Even more so when they were used during the First World War. There is something special (at least for me) with these ships.

So what do you think? Do these ships have a place in your navy? Let me know.

Period Battleships(1/2400 scale) to the left. Monitors in
both 1/2400 and 1/6000 scale to the right.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night...

Another temperature drop here in the North East. Should be several inches of snow and a 40+ temperature drop coming tomorrow. So I took the last of the miniatures ready to be primed out and applied the black undercoat.

Right now I have two of the F2B 1/144 scale to be painted as well as six pieces of Desert Terrain and eighteen 1/6000-scale ships. Should keep me busy through the rest of the week.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Battle of Coronel AAR

Yesterday was the first day in this New Year that I haven’t picked up a paintbrush. (Not bad so far compared to last year.) And I had a great reason; I was playing Battle of Coronel a 1914 naval engagement off the coast of Chile.

Keith and I commanded the British, receiving a gift from Tony, both the Armored Cruiser Defense and the Battleship Canopus. Either of which could or should have been there. It made the sides more even.

Keith led with three armored cruisers and I followed with the slower Canopus, Glasgow and Otranto. The Germans came on board in two columns one containing the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau the other, the three light cruisers.

As Keith moved off to port and engaged the light cruisers closely. After two passes two cruisers were sunk and a third was limping off the table.

My weaker force was trading blows with the unusually slow German Armored Cruisers. The German player was new and was have trouble not masking his ship’s fire.  After 12 turns and 96 minutes of battle his two cruisers would have been able to make their escape but heavily damaged, but they would have met Keith’s squadron farther down the coast. Of my ships only the AMC Otranto was fresh and ready for battle. I hope Keith will send it off to hunt down the damaged German Light Cruiser.

It was a great game and I hope to play again. Tony ran a good game, even though we seemed to move the ships a little to close for comfort. We also found that we have enough miniatures to do many of the battles of The Great War. Thank you Tony and all of the players as well as the club for running this mini convention.

 British Line of Battle
 The end of the German Light Cruisers

 Keith's Cruisers
This cannot be good for the HMS Canopus

Thank again this does not look good for the Germans. We also see the 
HMS Glasgow having some engine difficulties.
Nothing Scotty cannot fix.

Friday, January 17, 2014


I am very pleased to be part of the 2014 TooFatLardies Game Ready Campaign started by Rob of the blog Vis Lardica. It has me painting through miniatures that I primed in 2013 (some in 2012) but never finished. You should take the time to get involved. I am sure you have some unpainted stuff you need to finish. Check out Rob’s blog to see what other Lardies are doing or email Rob @

While my mountain of white metal is going down, I have picked up a few 3D printed ships, but I promise I will paint them soon. Actually most are based and or primed. That has to be a record for me. These include monitors and protected cruisers for 1902 as well as a few moderns to play around with.

One of the moderns that lingered in my shopping cart for most of last year was the Arsenal Ship. One of the all time daftest naval designs. Here is a ship larger than most WWII aircraft carriers with a crew as little as two-dozen and the firepower of a battle group. The ship would have the ability to launch multiple land attack cruise missiles from 500+ vertical launch cells.

As a Cold War concept it is a good idea as it could suppress an area prior to an invasion. Unfortunately the idea came out after the Cold War and before the War on Terror. So the Arsenal Ship and all of its cousins (DDX Zumwalt, and the SC21s) were cut and I am glad as with its small crew it was a perfect target for terrorists.  But that does not mean I cannot have it on my table. Only problem is they came in a set of four and that is three to many. So does anyone need a modern/sci-fi 1/6000 scale Arsenal Ship? Let me know.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kaiser’s Navy

The Kaiser’s Navy has added two new warships and four auxiliaries giving even the pre-dreadnought Germans limited abilities for power projection outside the North Sea.

While the colliers are the work horses (or should this be draught horses) the real sexy ships have to be the battlecruisers. The first out for scouting, always in the thick of things and a choice position for all officers of the Kaiserliche Marine.

Here we have the SMS Moltke (sister of the SMS Goeben) and the SMS Seydlitz. Both armed with 28cm (11”) guns and able to do better than 28 knots. These were left overs mioniatures from a playtest I did on catching the SMS Goeben.The SMS Goeben always seems to get away.

Both of these battlecruisers will be available for all of the raids and battles in the North Sea including Battle of Dogger Bank and the Battle of Jutland. These are often the largest vessels in the early war raids and make for quick and enjoyable games.

Invincible Black Brigade

The Invincible Black Brigade tells the story of the Polish 10th Cavalry Brigade from inception to the end of the September 1939 Campaign in pictures. This is a short history about a unit that will be rebuilt again in both France and Britain ending the war occupying the German North Sea coast.

And the gamer, armchair general or modeler could not ask for more. Jerzy Majka’s photographs and supporting text makes this an asset for the hobby and historian. (It has gotten me to look again at the Forged in Battle miniatures in my painting queue.) I have not seen most of the photos taken from the Polish side. Those taken by the Germans of captured vehicles even include several gems.  There is the obligatory TOE and OB. Color plates at the end are better than anything else out there for the modeler. It is a definite buy.

With support from Alex over at Anatoli’s Game Room and TOOFATLardies gamers can jump right in using this book to bring history to the table top. Now I need to get back to reading through the Chain of Command Rules.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Odin Class @ Sea

Here we have two new additions to the Kaiser's Kaiserliche Marine. The Odin Class were follow ons to the to the Siegfried Class coastal defense ship. These will be useful in defending the peaceful German ports along the North and Baltic Seas.

The Odin and Agir Underway.

Painting of the Agir.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Naval Reinforcements Part II

For you Mark, here are images of two of my recent purchases. The little one is the HMS Endurance from the Falklands War and the other is an Arsenal Ship a concept that has a certain coolness factor but very misguided.

The figure is a 15mm camera man from the Peter Pig line.

The Endurance is not the smallest of the lot but the easiest to get based.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Naval Reinforcements

Today the USPS made me happy.  The postman brought me a box from Shapeways the 3D Printing people. Often Shapeways boxes are light but this is incredibly so. And it has ten different types of ships here. I think the packing weighs more than the models.

As I still need to base them I can only share a list.

1901 Project
USS Amphitrite
USS Cincinnati
USS New York
USS Baltimore (C-3)
USS Montgomery (1890)

HMS Endurance (1967)

Cold War (to current)
Nanuchka + Osa
Grisha & Poti
Arsenal Ships
022 Missile Boat

As you can see I have three naval projects going, although only 1901 is active. In my gaming workshop/studio I have two naval campaigns going on. 1901 is for a joint project (more on that latter) and the other naval campaign is Force Z. We are trying to see how well the Brits can do against the Japanese in 1941.

The Endurance has been in the purchase queue for over a year and has to be the smallest miniature I have ever seen. I should have the 1901 and the Endurance ready to be based by the end of the week. Have to clear out some Imperial German pre-dreadnoughts and colliers first.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I finished today two T-62s for my Egyptian forces.  While by design they were to be used for the 1973 conflict, but a quick Google search shows that these are not only still in use, but the Ukraine won the contract to renovate these antiques (a least they did before the Arab Spring).

The Khurasan Miniatures T-62 is on the right and the QRF to the left. I am very pleased with them both and I am unsure which I like better.

The Khurasan Miniatures has better detail but with inks and dry brushing the difference is minimal. If I were to do it again with the Khurasan tank I would have picked up some of the rare earth magnets as the gun it heavy on the resin turret. Also the tracks on the Khurasan T-62s have better detail compared to the QRF white metal treads.

It seems I can chose between them. This is a great addition and I look forward to seeing more from Khurasan Miniatures.

Do you have a preference?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Myth of foreign Nazi volunteers ‘debunked’.

Gamers often face the issue of using troops that are not very politically correct even for the gaming community. The Soviets have the NKVD and political commissars to content with. World War II Germans have the SS in all of its national formations. Similar unpalatable units can be found in the American Revolution, Korean War and the French Revolution.

Yet for some reasons research continues into the reasons why Europeans, both occupied and neutral joined one of the national formations of the SS.  If this is covered at all in college level history texts, the volunteers are shown to have been coerced into joining or were undesirables from the population as a whole.

Yet this article from historyextra is the latest to show that many of these volunteers, especially from neighboring neutrals were actively involved. They were middle class believers in Germany, the German economic solution or in general against Liberal Democracy or Communism.  As they were also educated they had the ability to know what they were doing. Economically they were well off and had little direct reason to become involved.

I had read a 1998 study that looked at Denmark and found over 6,000 volunteered for the Danish Free Corps. While this can be seen as different than volunteers coming from neutral Switzerland or Sweden the facts are worth looking at. This sizable sample were made up of the German minorities of southern Denmark was also highly educated and motivated fighting on the Russian Front. There were also some 77 Danish officers from the Royal Danish Army that took part in the Danish Free Corps. This does not look like the rabble I heard of in my college days.

So what does this matter? While I will not be going out anytime soon and painting up a Danish, French or Swedish unit (The Spanish Blues interest me) it is important to know at least some of the history or motivation behind the units and by proxy the lead figures we bring to the table.

Let me know what you think. Are there any historical units you will not use in a game or period?


Figure is from Flames of War.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

1950s Sci-Fi

Ok, I do not need a new period. Really I don't, but these "Martians" look too good to say no to. I was thinking of these and some Shermans or Pershings and a lot of GI Joe type infantry. We can even use the recoilless rifles on jeeps.

I wonder, can we take the Martians to the Middle East. Martians vrs Ishermans. Cool.

I know Mark has to be ready for this.

Figures are from

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Toys

This has been a busy day. After cleaning up from the snowstorm, a trip to the gym, and a romp in the snow with the wife and dog, I got a call that an order of miniatures was in. So I was off to Leigh County and pick up my World War I naval miniatures.

These 1/6000 scale beauties have become my go to scale for naval games. This goes for pre-dreadnought to the Cold War periods.

These will allow me to run the cruiser battles of 1914 were the British Empire (with French and Japanese assistance) hunted down the German raiders, as well as Falklands and Coronel. I will also with the Brandenburg and Siegfried and the colliers and tramp steamers I will be starting on a pre-dreadnought project that is also connected to a writing project. Time to get them to the painting table.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

US Navy and a Little Snow

Well we are getting a bit of snow here in the Northeast. The trip home from work instead of being 15 minutes was an hour. Never did see a snowplow or a salt truck. Hope it is better were you are located. So what is a guy to do, well go off to the painting bench.

As I am waiting on the rest of my Figurehead miniatures to bring my navies into the mid-1980s I am switching gears to my 15mm figures. As I am trying to clean up the painting backlog I am starting with two T-62s and a few pieces of terrain.

Here is my US Navy so far. With 47 ships I think it is respectable in size. Still need a few to get it to the Reagan 600 ship Navy. Have to do another count once the order comes in.

 Destroyers, Frigates and Submarines - Both sides of the ASW Equation.

 The Heavies - Carriers, Cruisers and Support on this side.