Sunday, March 30, 2014

Paint Table VIII

I did not realize that I have not posted since last week’s table. I am glad to report that the Imperial German Navy is soon to be adding four Gazelle class light cruisers as well as thirteen Spanish warships and six Americans based and primed to the national fleets.

I also completed fourteen German troops making up six machine gun teams.

Once the warships are done I will be able to run not only the Battle of Manila Bay as well as cruiser actions in the North Sea. The German machine gun teams will be seeing action in Poland 1939 soon using Chain of Command.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Paint Table Saturday Seven

Has been a good week here for miniatures and gaming.
I hope to get a few more ships ready for a new set of naval rules

Here is the table. It is getting a bit more organized.

And we have a few dead colonials and a Kübelwagen for my early war Germans.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Churn at the Shipyard

This week my southeastern Pennsylvania shipyard has been prolific. Completing the 14,394-ton SMS Braunschweig, the American protective cruiser USS Olympia as well as two versions of the 9,745-ton Spanish battleship Pelayo.  (I do have to say I like the look of the WTJ miniatures.)

It is the smallest of the lot the HMS Endurance impresses me.  This is one of the most important ships of the second half of the twentieth century. At 93 meters in length and 3,600 tons displacement this ice patrol ship would easily be over looked in most naval ports. But she is an icebreaker with a pedigree.

Yet this little ship over a misunderstanding started the largest naval adventure in the South Atlantic since the Hunt for the Graf Spee, in 1939 not to be confused with the 1914 hunt for the squadron under Admiral von Spee. It was her planned withdraw from the South Atlantic they gave the Argentines the perceived signal that the British were no longer concerned with the Falkland Islands.

This is understandable as she was the sole patrol ship for Her Majesty Government in these waters. With her withdrawal and no planned replacement the Empire appeared to be giving up her interests in the Falklands and South Georgia island over European Cold War issues.

Once war was to come to the Falklands the HMS Endurance fought bravely carrying marines and support helicopters allowing for the retaking of South Georgia island. She was also the primary platform for the attack that sank one of Argentina’s two operational submarines, the ARA Santa Fe. Not a bad return on an investment of buying a second hand Danish icebreaker.

Would the Junta lead by General Galtier have conducted the invasion if they knew Prime Minister Thatcher was not going to back down? Probably not, but that is far from certain. There would never have been an invasion though if they knew of the pluck and spirit of the Royal Navy and the HMS Endurance.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Latest Addition to the Zoo

I have added to my animal farm having finished up this morning two Panthers and a Stug courtesy of a contest held by Chris Stoesen last September. I am a slow painter at times. Thank you Chris, I hope you like the results.

These goodies will be seeing action both in Normandy as well as the streets of Berlin in 1945.  The Berlin reference comes from “Mohnke business at Berlin Zoo” in the recent article in Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy. I am a big fan of WSS and it is one of the few gaming magazines I subscribe to. It is well balanced in its coverage even in theme issues. This gem, “Mohnke business at Berlin Zoo” is a great example of balance in an issue that covered a theme dealing with the conquest of the New World.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Painting Table VI

Here is my table and as it is after Cold Wars I am trying to finish up few projects. The Germans are now ready for the Battle of Coronel and the tanks are almost done. I have added the new WTJ miniatures to the queue along with two new buildings I picked up at Cold Wars that are suitable for The Great War (Nery) or World War II.

I am concerned that I may have a problem with my recent ship builds. So far this year I have completed 81 ships. That puts the 2014 fleet between the Republic of Korea Navy at 80 ships and the Turkish Navy at 91. Do you think I have a problem?

Friday, March 14, 2014

3D Printing

Be afraid, be very afraid. If I was a major miniature manufacturer I would be very concerned about the present state of the industry. Today gamers and collectors have access to hundreds, if not dare I say (Dare, Dare!) thousands of high quality miniatures and gaming pieces do up with 3D printers.

Found on tables of both gaming conventions and local clubs, where you find them engaged in naval battles of the dreadnought era or in the skies over Europe (both WWI and WWII).

So why is there such interest? Costs are the similar or less than conventional white metal or pewter figures. And the quality is over the top. The 1/6000 and 1/2400 scale naval miniatures I acquired miniatures from Shapeways and The War Times Journal and find them superior to anything else out there.  Detail and scale are exceptional. Detail is comparable for 1/144 scale aircraft foe The Great War and choices are incredible.

The WTJ miniatures complement other miniature lines out there with their pre-dreadnoughts, but I hope in time they will design the ships to replace those in other lines. The people that produce 3D miniatures for Shapeways bring out new miniatures each week. There is an abudence of riches here. Their are at least four gamers in two clubs that I play at that are using 3D printed miniatures.

USS Olympia and the Pelayo by both WTJ and Panzerschiffe. SMS Braunschweig is by WTJ. The Olympia and Pelayo have never looked better. Click on the image for greater detail.

The WTJ are newly arrived and based so they are only initially painted. I wanted to show off their great detail. I really like the ship's boats on the SMS Braunschweig.

I wonder if the major producers have a plan on how to compete with this new market? Are you using this new technology?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cold Wars Report

Another Cold Wars convention has come and gone. Even though there is a lot of room for improvements (this always seems to be the case with HMGS), it is good to see friends that I often only see once a year.

This year I found it amazing that there are six gaming clubs here in Pennsylvania between the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers. Only question is how to use this find for the betterment of the hobby.

Between catching up and chatting with friends I was able to get into three games, each different from the next.

First up was Al’s 1978 Battlestar Galactica were the peace loving Cylons (also known as toasters) were attacked by the Colonials we showed them what for.

The Battle is Joined. I think this is were Starbuck got it.

My Toasters.

That evening I played in Mark’s TOOFATLardies B'Maso! game set in Rhodesia were my forces set up an ambush on a police unit.
 Death in the swale.
Looks like the Rhodesian Police are having a spot of trouble.

It is wonderful what you can do with only two mines.

Lastly Tom Ballou ran a Chain of Command, also by TOOFATLardies, on Saturday for the Lardies that were not able to get into his Friday game. Here the Russians were trying to stop the Germans in 1941 with little success.

Funny thing is that in both Lardy games mines were a big part of the game. Worked in Rhodesia but not in Russia.

My purchases were limited to projects I was trying to complete. These include:
  • Items on my painting table
  • Néry 1914 not sure what rule system
  • Berlin 1945 for Chain of Command
  • Poland 1939 for Chain of Command
For the Berlin battle in a zoo I had to purchase a couple of Tigers. I have been able to hold off for 30+ years of gaming to purchase these WWII monsters. Not to bad I guess.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Paint Table Saturday Cinco

Just back from Cold Wars and I am more excited than ever about my gaming and miniatures. So far this year I have painted each day at least a little. That is 65 out of 68 days.

Here is my Saturday Paint Table entry.

The only days I missed were because of gaming working in four games. Yet the reason for my excitement does not have to do with painting or my miniatures. It has to do with getting together with gamer with similar interests and exchanging ideas. While I plod along with my 1902 writing and game design I have also set up for latter this year of naval games both modern and World War I.

All good things.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Naval Additions and Tanks For Sale

For this week I have only finished up three warships for my British Fleet. These will see action at Coronel and possibly the Falklands. One can only hope. Lack of painting comes from waiting on bases and paints. Some of which I will pick up at Cold Wars tomorrow.

I also see this week from the BBC that the Littlefield Collection is up for auction after the death of Jacques M Littlefield. This is the premier armored collection in private hands. The article can be found here. This collection is often see on TV including the Mythbusters.

It is hoped that the collection will find a home in one of the major armor museums, than again for $300,000 I can get that M50 as a second car.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hunt the Goeben

This battle report was a test run through of the rule system Grand Fleets by XII Majestic Twelve Games.

Here we have a very common game match up between the Goeben, the Breslau and Rear Admiral Ernest Troubridge’s 1st Cruiser Squadron. Based on points in the system Rear Admiral Troubridge has the edge. Well that is if there was no fire control conflict of four armored cruisers firing on one target. If they can only fire effectively two ships at a time the SMS Goeben’s 11” guns will have the edge. And in this game she did.

The speeds were similar so initially the Goeben turned and let off a broadside against the HMS Duke of Edinburgh. She was very unlucky getting hit hard and receiving two critical, one of which was fire. She was out of the game and Rear Admiral Troubridge had to shift his command.

The HMS Gloucester attempts a torpedo run.

The HMS Defense was next in line and headed towards the Goeben with the rest of the squadron. Over the next 30 minutes the British and Goeben traded broadsides with the Defense taking substantial damage. By the end of turn four the Goeben decided it was unwise to tempt fate and exited the board.

At a strategic level I see the Germans head to Constantinople with the HMS Gloucester following. The HMS Duke of Edinburgh and Defense will be heading to the naval base at Malta for repairs and the reduced 1st Cruiser Squadron will maintain its watch on the Austrians.

Even in a game defeat Rear Admiral Troubridge will come
out better than the historical results.

Official results, Germans acquired 52 victory points and left the table. The British acquired no victory points.

As for the rules, they were average. I had to change from inches to centimeters to keep the action more like a naval battle than a knife fight. I will play them again as I like the DIY rules for ships, but I will keep looking. Any suggestions? Oh Toney, which side do you want in the next game.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

WTJ Miniatures

With more snow on the way what can we do?

Well I put my fleet to sea hoping the Royal Navy will be able to find the elusive SMS Goeben. Well they did. Currently the HMS Duke of Edinburgh has taken it on the chin with two critical hits one of which is a fire from the opening salvo. As it looks to be a long game, I took a time out to take pictures of a recent purchase that showed up yesterday.

On Saturday arrived 16 new ships for the American, Spanish and German pre-dreadnought navies. I now have Dewey’s squadron done to a higher quality than my ancient 1/2400 miniatures purchased in 1985. These new ships from WTJ need to be based and primed but I want to give you my initial reaction. WOW!!!

These are crisp and clean and look spot on for the scale. The dimensions are not chunky as many resign and white metal castings can be. While in the raw they do not photograph well I have included a few images to show off their quality.

The pictures include the USS Olympia with an older resign cast next to it as well as the armed merchant cruiser St. Louis and the predreadnoughts Pelayo and SMS Braunschweig.

I have always liked the look of the Pelayo and look forward to paining her. How will she do against the Americans, I am not so sure.

The SMS Braunschweig was a surprise as it is a new release and is currently not on the WTJ website. She will be an asset used in the Baltic as soon as she is based and painted. She will also get her own blog post once she is primed. 

Over all I have to say that WTJ will be my preferred method of buying 1/2400 scale ships. Currently their fleets are limited but they are adding to them faster than most other companies. The company is accessible and they respond to inquiries quickly. Packaging and shipping was fast and efficient, with little chance of damage to these 3D prints. The ships were in sealed bags. I will write more once the bases I ordered show up. Not all companies are as fast as WTJ.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Gazelle Class

Cruisers are a needed part of navies. It does not matter if we are talking of frigates in the age of sail or heavy cruisers fighting in The Slot during World War II. They are the eyes of the fleets, leading destroyer squadron, and protecting their nations trade routes.

At the turn of the 20th century the major navies had several choices in cruiser design. Armored Cruisers were the heavies in the list able to fight in the battle line. These were followed in size by First, Second and Third Class Cruisers. Also called Protective Cruisers. The Second, and Third being little more than heavy gunboats with limited sea going capabilities.

The Germans with the Gazelle class created a new type of cruiser, the Light Cruiser. With ten 10.5 cm SK L/40 guns two torpedo tube and a speed of 21.5 knots these ships were one of the most powerful warships in their displacement. At 2,700 tones these cruisers are similar in size to Second and Third Class Cruisers but more sea worthy and heavily armed.

What made these cruisers even more powerful was what opposed them. Or more importantly what did not oppose them. While Britain and France were slow to build comparable ships the US Navy continued to use existing protective cruisers until they completed the larger Pennsylvania-Class Armored Cruiser.

In the United States it was easier to build Battleships, as local politicians would often vote in favor of a Battleship named after their state. They are big and powerful, and President Roosevelt loved them.

Even as late as the 1920s, the US Navy was in need of cruisers. This issue was not solved until the 1930s with the launch of the Treaty Cruisers.

The Gazelle class and the follow on classes would see service in the North Sea and on the trade routes. They would often be upstaged by both the smaller submarines as well as by the massive Dreadnoughts, but they served their country’s navy well.

It will be interesting to see how they fare in the 1902 conflict.

Painting Table Cinco

Here is a view of my table. Right now I have German infantry and tanks on hold due to the lack of two colors. That will be corrected next week at Cold Wars. I have three British cruisers getting ready to complete and a dozen or so Poles for support for the 10th Brigade and the ever-present F.2B. So far since January 1st I have painted everyday but one.

As for my blogs, I am pleased with the interaction with the readers although I want to keep on my writing. I have 18 unique posts for February and add to the 20 from January 2014 the blogs are going strong. I also have five blogs/articles in different states of compilation most of which are hardcore history that I hope you enjoy.

Let me know what you think or what interests you.