Creeping up – 95 followers

Who would have thought? I just noticed that Thomo’s Hole had 95 followers – not a bad effort over the 13 years it has been a blog rather than a webpage. It occurred to me I should celebrate the 100th follower when that follower comes along … if I notice them 😊

I can see I shall need to lift my game and post more content more frequently, at least to speed the 100th along. Perhaps it is time for some Philippines travel tales? Certainly I will spend some more time adding to the YouTube channel – very low cost production but it seems people like to see what was in the parcel.

There are a couple of items that need to be fixed here as well and some odd things that cannot. For example, there are many, many comments from 30 November 1999. That was the result of adding a widget to WordPress that gave me greater control over comments. I did that when Thomo’s Hole was hosted inside coldie.net but as we (or rather Jeffro the no-longer-a-boy-but-still-IT-genius) decided to release that web space. I moved Thomo’s Hole back into the WordPress domain. With the low cost of cloud these days and as I am getting close to the maximum storage of images here in WordPress it is time to assess whether to move the Hole again soon.

There are also a few links that are missing back in the older pages – well, the links are not so much missing as more the target of the links is. This applies to pictures and documents. I am slowly working through the repair of them as I discovered a storage cache of my stuff that I had forgotten about (happens, doesn’t it?).

OK, so coming up – more book reviews, more incoming parcels from the UK (at least four more for me), and I will spend some time opening the Fujimi 1/3000 ship boxes, one by one, and look at the contents with you all.

In the meantime, back to work … need to pay for the toys somehow!

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Silver State Dreadnought – The Remarkable Story of Battleship Nevada

Received in the post today from the Naval Institute Press – there goes my painting and other reading for the next few nights. Very much looking forward to reading and reviewing this one.

Review next week I hope.

Past the Block

Or at least I will be if manage to paint some more tomorrow night. All it needed was a good Fokker – a Fokker D.XIII D.XXI.

I decided that I would work on the Winter War 1/285 scale aircraft that I have in a set – Finnish fighter, Soviet bombers and fighters. These game from Raiden Miniatures. Tonight I managed to paint a top surfaces white (Army Painter flat white), the under surfaces light Grey (Tamiya British Light Aircraft Grey) and then start on the Olive Green disruptive pattern. Photos below.

I stopped at the point I did for two reasons. One os that I was not going to paint past midnight and the second was that Tamiya does not play well with Army Painter paints and the top colour was starting to strip the white. Hopefully tomorrow there will have been a more thorough drying and thr Tamiya will not strip the Army Painter..

Lastly, I started on the Fokker D.XIII D.XXI simply because I could not find the Brewster Buffaloes. They will be next on the list.

Overcoming Painting Block

I’m having a Rimmer moment – writing and planning lists of the items to be painted in the lead pile and collecting (again) the colours to be used.

I was thinking of painting the Winter War (Finns vs Soviet) aircraft collection I had. Aircraft are quick and easy and should get me in the mood fairly quickly. Then there was the Prussians mentioned yesterday. At much the same time, I sorted the Greeks I had purchased for the start of my Peloponnesian project. Then there are also a large number of Aeronefs that I enjoy painting and want to get started on. And of course there are the 1/3000 scale fleets for Jutland (and I have my copy of Conway’s here to assist with masts etc), the two fleets for Matapan (and I have both Mal Wright’s Camouflage of Commonwealth fleets and Marco Ghiglino’s Italian Naval Camouflage of World War II) not too mention the British Pacific Fleet from World War 2 along with the US and Japanese fleets from the Battle of the Philippine Seas along with sundry German and British vessels from the early part of World War 2.

Also I have the Russian World War 1 fleet; the Soviet modern fleet; 1/300 scale modern Poles to finish along with World War 2 Japanese; and the 1/1200 World War 2 coastal set (British, German and Italian torpedo boats and the like).

Oh, I almost forgot, there is the Future War Commander Indonesians as an opponent for my FWC Aussies.

Definitely a Rimmer moment.

I think I’ll go home tonight and re-plan everything over dinner. Results tomorrow night … perhaps!

Prussians – 1813-1815

As I have been suffering a painting block, I thought I would do some mundane things like sorting and tidying over the weekend to see if that helped me over the block. The Prussian project I started nine years ago seemed like a good place to start. I had brought the figures from Australia to Manila packed rather well as it turned out – they survived the trip in Hold Baggage well. The figures painted and based are below.

Those still requiring the bases to be finished are included the following image.

The full force thus far – including those with part finished bases

So far looking at the painted figures, while the infantry uniforms are a Prussian Blue, it appears almost black here. I am thinking I will need to lighten them up a little.

I am happy with the artillery and cavalry colours however.

Once I started unpacking the unpainted figures, I quickly got a sense of the size of this project as in total, when completed, the force will consist of:

  • 33 Infantry Bases (792 figures)
  • 14 Cavalry Bases (140 figures)
  • 12 Artillery Bases (12 guns, 12 limbers and 60 crew)
All the unpainted Prussians in the box now. Time to get cracking

I’m building the army with Heroics and Ros figures. H&R do a Prussian musketeer which I am using for the musketeers and fusiliers, the stovepipe British for the reserve infantry and then the Landwehr figures for the Landwehr. That seems to provide enough variety between the figures.

The Landwehr will be in dark blue coats, the same as the regulars, but some will be in white trousers, some in grey. Perhaps even in a couple of battalions I’ll mix the trousers in the battalion. I haven’t thought that far in yet.

The reserve infantry (British in stovepipe shako) look the part, especially compared to some of the images from the time. The only minor quibble I have with the detail is that the Brits have a backpack and the almost ubiquitous Prussian blanket roll is missing. To be fair to myself however, I have seen a picture of a Prussian reserve infantry figure like that – with pack and sans blanket. Colour of the Reserve Infantry will be a mix of grey and blue uniforms, and maybe even the odd red battalion – again, I am still researching that.

 

Russo-Japanese War Fleets – 1/3000 Navwar

Nineteen years ago I purchased the Navwar Battle of Tsushima pack. Back then if I recall correctly it cost about £19.00 or £25.00 £39.95*. Now, pack 3CBP04 costs £55.00. The pack itself contains all the major vessels from the Battle of Tsushima, Japanese and Russian sides, in 1/3000 scale. I added some extra vessels around the time as well to be able to reproduce most of the vessels involved in that conflict.

At the time I put this set together I did not have much in the way of painting information so painted the Russian fleets in basically the “Victorian Livery” of black hulls, white superstructures and ochre funnels. The Japanese vessels larger than a TBD were painted in a tropical white livery. Over time access to better research and information as well as some nice contemporary prints from Japan suggested that pretty much everything was in the wrong colour. Oh well, my excuse is that at the time I was a wargamer first and whilst an avid reader, my knowledge of nautical matters was limited – but I was learning.

So, I learnt that the Japanese vessels were in grey, and given that later in the 20th century each of the arsenals in Japan used a different shade of grey, I figured at least that the shade of grey was not that important for this project. I started to repaint them.

The Japanese TDBs and torpedo boats were in black. Everything was coal fired at this stage.

On the Russian side, as I mentioned above, everything had been painted in the Victorian Livery. Repaint started there as well. The Black Sea Baltic Fleet, “the Fleet that had to Die,” had very little needing to be done as they were in a Victoria Livery it seems. The Vladivostok and Port Arthur vessels were another matter however. The Vladivostok fleet was reported in some reading I did to be in a dark green colour, presumably to make it harder to discern the vessels against a green landscape. I had the impression that it was a Brunswick green but I may be misremembered the reading of 15 years ago and mixing them up with the pre-World War 1 Austrians. However, I opted for a slightly lighter shade.

The Port Arthur fleet was reported in some reading I did as having been repainted in a cinnamon colour. This is a darker brown and I guess it was to make the vessels harder to discern against the dusty hills behind Port Arthur. The brown shade may also have come from a shortage of paint in the correct shade so that when the paints available in Port Arthur were all mixed together to be able to maintain he vessels tied up there, a brown shade may have resulted. I opted for a lighter shade which I am not happy with and may repaint again when motivation strikes.

Lastly, at this stage of my naval wargaming career, I was taking a quick and easy route to basing. I picked up some Hammered Metal, Coral Blue from the hardware store. The Hammered metal ranges of paint are designed to look like old style metal filing cabinets. When painted on a flat surface they provided a sea effect. On the vessels I have repainted, I added a wake from the vessels to it is easy to see what has been redone and what is still in the original colours I painted in. That Hammered Metal when painted on a flat surface such as a 6’x4′ pieve of particle board. provides a very suitable sea surface.

The only other work I did on these vessels was to add a brass wire mast or masts where appropriate. Photos below.

*Note re pricing. How hazy the grey matter gets over time. It was £39.95 at the time, not the £25.00 I later remembered – although I am now thinking that the Matapan set may have been around 25 quid. I looked back to the original post about the RJW ships from Navwar from about 10 years or so ago and had the price recorded there. In any case, it is a good purchase!

Wargaming Tasks – 2019 – another indulgence I am sure!

Back in 2017 I wrote a post, a Self Indulgence – the Wargaming Tasks for 2017 which was, really, a self indulgence. Doubly so as I achieved the following in the two years since then … painted 24 tanks for the Cold War Poles, 12 for the Cold War Danes and prepped the rest of the Poles. So, the painting queue then is still there in the painting queue now.

I also noted that apart from the items illustrated in that painting queue (none of which have had anything done to them), I had a few other items on that list including:

  • Anthony’s 20mm World War II British
  • Finish off the 1/285 scale World War II Japanese
  • 1/285 scale World War II Hungarians
  • 1/300 scale Cold War Commander Danes to be completed
  • 1/1200 scale Coastal Warfare Ships
  • The 1/3000 scale Jutland Fleets
  • Houston Ships Italians and Austrians from the Battle of Lissa
  • Dystopian Wars fleets, and
  • Peshawar,

I am pleased to report that over the past two years, while doing some work on Anthony’s 20mm World War II British, they are not yet finished (although I am planning on correcting that error tonight as I reckon they are my painting block).

I did complete the 1/300 scale Cold War Commander Danes … mostly. There  is a useable army there with reinforcements in the form of some Leopard tanks but there are still about 12 bases of Infantry that can be painted and added to that army to finalize it.

The 1/1200 Coastal Warfare boats and ships have been based and undercoated and I have also added Italian MAS boats to the collection.

And that is all.

So, to all of the above, which is still outstanding I have added to the paint queue by either order or bringing from Oz:

  1. 6mm Prussians – 1813 Napoleonic Prussians. I actually started these back on 2010 but have bundled them up and brought them over from Oz – Heroics and Ros figures
  2. Some 6mm Napoleonic Poles – Baccus 6mm I think
  3. Some 6mm Napoleonic German states – Adler I think (actually I need to sort points 2 and 3 out one Saturday afternoon)
  4. 6mm Baccus Napoleonic Brunswickers and Dutch Belgians (on order) – don’t ask me why, it just seemed like a good idea at the time
  5. My 1/3000 Russo-Japanese War fleets – with about half of the vessels repainted into more correct colours
  6. A 6mm Baccus English Civil War started set – both sides. I am trying to decide however whether to use them for the English Civil War or the Thirty Years War. That internal debate should keep them off the painting queue for some time
  7. Heroics and Ros, and Rapier Miniatures, 6mm Greeks for yet another Ancient project
  8. Heroics and Ros 6mm modern French for Cold War Commander
  9. Fujimi 1/3000th Pacific War World War II ships. These are nice, see Fujimi Navwar 1/3000 Naval Vessels Ready for Paint for images
  10. Seven fleet packs from Navwar – 1/3000 scale ships, for:
    1. Modern British
    2. Modern Dutch
    3. Modern French
    4. Modern Italian
    5. Modern US
    6. World War I Argentinian
    7. World War I Brazilian

So, add to that the other stock items here such as the fleets from the Battle of Matapan, Philippine Sea and Jutland and you can see that if a wargamer never dies while ever he has items to paint, I should live tp about 150.

Oh, and to add to all that, I brought a couple of boardgames back that I really want to get some game time on!

My painting queue, an indulgence indeed!

 

Little Wars TV – The Battle of Kharkov (Donets Campaign)

I am enjoying the wargames put one from time to time by the Little Wars guys. Little Wars has become my favourite wargaming channel. I enjoyed the Fourth Kawanakajima Wargame in early November. This week it is the Battle of Kharkov.

The Third Battle of Kharkov was a series of battles on the Eastern Front of World War II, undertaken by the German Army Group South against the Red Army, around the city of Kharkov between 19 February and 15 March 1943. Known to the German side as the Donets Campaign, and in the Soviet Union as the Donbas and Kharkov operations, the German counterstrike led to the recapture of the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod.

The commander of the German forces for this campaign was Erich von Manstein, with Paul Hausser, Hermann Hoth, E. von Mackensen and Theodor Eicke. The Soviets were led by Filipp Golikov, Nikolay Vatutin, K. Rokossovsky and Vasily Koptsov. Manstein’s. Wikipedia has a reasonable description of the Battle of Kharkov.

The battle was technically a German victory – against hugely overwhelming odds if Manstein’s report is to be believed however with the German losses in materiel and men, I think overall this can be considered a strategic victory for the Soviets, especially as by this stage of the war the Soviet tactics of attrition were really starting to pay off.

The Little Wars guys were refighting the battle using 1/285 scale vehicles and aircraft and 6mm figures. The wargame rules they used were A Fistful of TOWs. I had always thought of a Fistful of TOWs as modern wargame rules but I see that version 3 has extended the period covered from 1915 to 2015. As they are available in PDF form as well as hardcopy, I am thinking of downloading a copy for reading on my upcoming travels to Oz.

Enough of my rabbiting on … enjoy watching the wargame!

River Gunboats – An Illustrated Encyclopedia – Review

I had my reading schedule well planned out then River Gunboats – 
An Illustrated Encyclopedia by Roger Branfill-Cook turned up in the mail and for the last couple of weeks it has taken over from my reading pile. What a great book.

Branfill-Cook has surveyed the river gunboat from their first appearance in 1824 with the Honourable East India Company’s gunboat Diana, in action on the Irrawaddy River in Burma through the river gunboats used in the First and Second World Wars to The US Brown Water Navy in Vietnam and into today’s gunboats.

What was amazing to me was the number of nations that ran river gunboats and Branfill-Cook notes vessels from places such as the Republic of Acre (I had to look this one up but let me give you a hint – think South America 1899); Austria-Hungary; Cameroon; USA and CSA; Estonia; Manchukuo; Sudan (and the Mahdi); Uzbekistan; and Yugoslavia to name a few of the 56 states listed as having gunboats.

Around 40 military campaigns in the 150 years from 1824 involved gunboats – some campaigns were large, some small and some are best described as bizarre. The book does not only look at the historic vessels but updates on modern riverine craft of today.

Apart from a useful bibliography, there are two appendices – one briefly dealing with River Gunboat Camouflage Schemes and the other looking at River and Gunboats in Popular Culture – and many of the older movies mentioned there can be found today on YouTube.

Each chapter looks at the vessels used by that country and includes photographs of the vessels where possible as well as details such as the date launched, armament, speed, and fate.

As an example of the content and as I mentioned Acre above, the entry for Acre covers the period July 1899 to November 1903 and the three declared republics. The gunboats involved were the Bolivian armed launch Rio Afua later captured by the insurgents and renamed Independencia. After the diplomatic peace settlement of 1903 the Independencia became part of the Brazilian Navy.

The book is in Hardcover.  The book contains 336 pages and is published in the US by the Naval Institute Press (published on October 15, 2018). US ISBN: 9781591146148.

The book was originally published in the UK by Seaforth Press on 25 June 2018, UK ISBN: 9781848323650 and is also available in an eBook form (Kindle I believe).

This is a book that would grace both the coffee table and the reference shelf and it is one I will refer to many times in the years coming. Recommended.