I received some decals from Flight Deck Decals which allowed me to complete my modern Soviet fleet. Pictures below. Vessels are from Navwar and are in 1/3000 scale. These were finished in late 2019 – actually, they are not quite finished. I need to add air support to these – will be sometime in the next couple of months using 1/1200 scale aircraft and helicopters.
On December 31, 2019 I posted two letters, you know, those old fashioned things in envelopes with stamps on them – you must have seen them on the Classic Movie channel! One letter was addressed to my bank in Singapore, then other to Navwar in Seven Keys, Ilford, Essex, England!
I’ve not heard anything back from my Singapore bank yet. Perhaps they do not know how to deal with a letter.
I did notice today, however, that the balance of my credit card had depleted by approximately £100.00. That can only mean one thing – Navwar have packed my order and are about to post it. Ships ahoy. Now in the post 2019 … That’s a Wrap I intimated that I had not ordered any 1/3000 ships. I lied! I did. I can’t remember all I ordered and as the order was made by a letter, I do not have any email confirmations 😦
I do recall that I think I added some US and French World War One vessels as I was a bit light on in that area. Still, it really will be like Santa delivering a Christmas gift (or at least PhilPost) as I will not have a complete idea of what is in the parcel until I open it!
I had a couple of packages arrive recently with the odd book to read. OK. so there was a lot. Some interesting titles in there however and I wuill get around to reviewing when I get a chance (which means when I actually finish reading a few. The temptation is to read them concurrently rather than serially. I shall try and resist that temptation.
The first batch will be pretty quick reading:
The second batch will tale a wee bit longer I will admit:
Mind you, I started on the second batch, in particular Steve Dunn’s. Southern Thunder, The Royal Navy and the Scandinavian Trade in World War One, which frankly I new absolutely nothing about. I can see some great scenarios for a wargame or three there as well as the need to acquire some more ships. Navwar order coming up.
I received my Christmas gift to myself from Navwar. Seven fleet packs were included (World War 2 Argentinian and Brazilian and Dutch, Italian, French, UK and US modern). Here we have a brief look at the contents of each pack.
I will show more as I prepare each pack for painting … but first I need to finish Anthony’s 20mm World War 2 Brits.
Watch it here:
Before anything else, I need to point out that I have a vested interest in this volume. There is a photograph on Page 77 of RSS Swordsman, a modernised Västergötland boat on the Singapore Navy. The photograph was taken by me at a Republic of Singapore Navy Open Day at Changi Naval Base.
Having said that I look forward each year to the release of the World Naval Review with its summary and roundup of the world’s navies. This edition is the tenth annual edition, but regrettably I have only been reading this publication since 2018. I am thinking of starting to look for copies of the previous editions.
Covered in this volume are:
- Overview (introduction)
- Regional Review – North and South America
- Royal Canadian Navy
- The Peruvian Navy
- Regional Review – Asia and The Pacific
- Republic of Singapore Navy
- The Indian Ocean and Africa
- Europe and Russia
- Significant Ships
- Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carriers
- Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers
- Technological Reviews
- World Naval Aviation
- Modern Naval Communications: An Overview
- Autonomous Systems: A New Horizon for Surface Fleets
The introduction is a great place to start reading the Review as it lists the top 10 countries by defence expenditure over the ten years 2008-2017. It then looks at defence budgets and plans and follows that with a summary of the change in type of the Major Fleet Strengths for the ten years 2009-2018.
For example, Australia in 2009 is listed as:
- 6 x SSK
- 12 x CG/FFG/DDG
- 6 x MCMV
- 2 x AO/AOR/AFS
In 2018 this had changed to:
- 2 x LHA/LHD/LPH
- 1 x LPD/LSD
- 6 x SSK (if they can keep 6 crews up to it)
- 11 x CG/FFG/DDF
- 6 x MCMV
- 2 x AO/AOR/AFS
which partly reflects the change in roles of the RAN over that 10 year period.
Similar comparisons exist for the US, Royal, Brazilian, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean (both), and Indian navies over the same ten years.
The regional review then looks at the strengths of major regional navies. For example, the Americas lists current strengths for Argentina; Brazil; Canada; Chile; Colombia; Ecudor; Peru and the USA.
Given that the cost of regular updates from Janes is beyond most of us, World Naval Review becomes my go to publication for a review of the recent past as well as what is on the horizon for the near future. This is one of my favourite reads along with Warship.
The book is available on both sides of the ditch, published by Seaforth, an imprint of Pen and Sword and also available through the US Naval Institute Press, along with Amazon, Book Depository and so on. It was published in hardcopy, ePub and Kindle versions.
- Hardcover : 192 pages
- Publisher: Seaforth Publishing (UK) and Naval Institute Press (US)
- Date: November 15, 2018
- ISBN-10: 1526745852
- ISBN-13: 9781526745859
Interestingly I cannot find this on the Pen and Sword website, even though my copy came from Pen and Sword. Look for this publication at:
Back in September 2018 I reviewed Volume 1 of Julian Corbett’s Maritime Operations of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905. Volume 2 arrived recently and replaced my reading list for a period of time as I followed the maritime operations from the Genesis of the Russian Baltic Fleet, through the Battle of Tsushima (or as Corbett describes it, the Battle of the Sea of Japan) and which completes with a look at the two Sakhalin expeditions.
So this volume covers:
- Genesis of the Baltic Fleet
- Cruise of the Smolensk and Peterburg
- The Dogger Bank Incident
- Situation at Port Arthur to the First Attack on 203-metre hill
- The Blockade of Kwangtung
- 203-metre Hill
- Destruction of the Ships at Port Artur and the Torpedo Attack on the Sevastopol
- Fall of Port Arthur
- Progress of the Baltic Fleet
- Japanese Preparations for the Baltic Fleet
- Fleet Movements in March and April
- Concentration of and the Final Approach of the Baltic Fleet up to Contact
- The Battle of the Sea of Japan (Tsushima) in five phases
- Admiral Nebogatov’s Surrender
- The Sakhalin Expeditions
I will admit that in the past I have tended to stop reading the histories at the climax that is Tsushima so reading the last chapters in this book were well worth the effort.
Adding Corbett to my Kindle copies of Semenoff as well as the works by Hough, and Warner & Warner in particular, I feel I have a good view (at least as good as an historical view can get) of the Maritime side of the Russo-Japanese War (RJW). I will look for further works on the land warfare at the time but I can’t help but wonder if the performance of the Japanese against the Russians during the RJW encouraged the Japanese to take on the Soviets and Mongolians at Khalkin-gol (Nomonhan), a battle that resulted in the Japanese agreeing to a peace with the Soviets and which allowed the Soviets to concentrate on their war with Germany.
Julian Corbett (Later Sir Julian Corbett) wrote the Maritime Operations of the Russo-Japanese War as a confidential publication for the Intelligence Division of the Admiralty War Staff. It was never made available to the general reader until well after Corbett’s death. Corbett composes a picture of the war by writing a continuous narrative that weaves the interrelationship of land and sea events as they affect each other. He examines the political objectives, the geography of the area as well as the naval aspects to tell that story. Because Corbett writes in a continues narratives he is easy to read as well.
Naval Institute Press published a hardback version of Corbett’s work back in 1994. This is the first release of the history in paperback. It is also released in an eBook version (Kindle). As with Volume 1, there are none of the original illustrations that accompanied the 1914/1915 editions of Corbett’s work.
This volume is smaller than the first volume but arguably more exciting. There are 24 chapters in this volume. 11 Appendices and an Index.
For example, on page 404 is Appendix III, which contains a translation of the Instructions for the Vladivostok Squadron sent by Vice-Admiral Stark to Rear-Admiral Baron Shtakelberg at Vladivostok and notes:
I must point out that Japan has not subscribed to the Paris Declaration of the 16th April 1856; and therefore we shall not hesitate to inflict as much damage as possible to the enemy on the sea. Being convinced that during war the Japanese merchant vessels will not think twice about flying the flags of other nationalities, I am forwarding to your Excellency copies of the regulations laid down for Japanese merchant vessels, which may be of use in establishing the actual nationality of vessels stopped by you, of which only valuable prizes captured at no great distance from Vladivostok may be sent to that port; all the remainder must be sent to the bottom without consideration of pity and without hesitation.
This book belongs on any naval historian’s bookshelf, and now that it is available in both paperback and electronic form it is available to a wider reading audience.
As before, as a companion set to Maritime Operations in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905, Vols 1 and 2, look for a copy of The Russo-Japanese War at Sea 1904-5: Volume 1-Port Arthur, the Battles of the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan and Volume 2: The Battle of Tsushima and the Aftermath by Vladimir Semenoff These works provide a view of the war from the Russian side.
- Maritime Operations in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905, Vol 2
- Paperback : 486 pages
- Publisher: Naval Institute Press (March 15, 2015)
- ISBN-10: 1591141982
- ISBN-13: 9781591141983
In the same way I did with Volume 1, I highly recommend this work, especially for any naval historian, general reader with an interest in naval or Asian history, or anyone interested in the zenith of the pre-dreadnought period.
I mentioned the Little Wars TV Channel a while ago as a favoured YouTube channel and the Little Wars guys are preparing another season. I suspect there is a frustrated TV channel executive in the group.
Another channel that I particularly enjoy at the moment is Drachinifel’s. As many of you know, I have a great interest in matters nautical, both historical and wargaming. I have a collection of 1/3000 scale ships for wargaming with, 1/1200 coastal forces and ancient galleys tucked away somewhere.
As mentioned above, Drachinifel’s channel is one of interest to me at the moment. In a series of 7 to 10 minute pieces (sometimes longer) he looks at a particular ship of interest and builds a programme around it – with contemporary photographs where available, sometimes with reference to a model and with archival film where available. He also runs a Patreon account to garner support for his efforts.
The link to his channel is below – well worth having a look if your bent is a nautical bent (and even if it is not).
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!
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.