2019 … That’s a Wrap

I was listening to podcasts on the drive from mum’s at Macksville to Sydney to catch a flight back to Manila. One podcast I listened to was the last episode (number 283) of Meeples and Miniatures (https://meeples.wordpress.com/). This podcast has been running for 12 years and whilst I can’t say I have been listening for the last 12 years, the last couple of years have provided a great deal of wargaming amusement.

In this last episode Neil Schuck (Twitter – @TheBrummieDwarf) and Mike Hobbs (Twitter – @HobbsThe Gamer) discussed their 4 or 5 best games. It was pleasing to note that I had at least one of the games they had mentioned. The podcast finished just prior to my arrival in Sydney so I spent the rest of the trip considering wargaming tasks for 2020.

As many of you will know, I have an interest in matters nautical as well as a commitment to 6mm. Two things that amazed me while at mum’s. First was the number of books that I will need to ship to the Philippines, I am thinking that maybe it will be 2/3rds of the collection that needs to be eventually shipped. The second was the commitment I had to 15mm Ancient wargaming. I will need to decide at some point whether to sell those collections or ship them.

That is not what I am talking about here though. Currently in Manila I have literally thousands of 6mm figures to paint – some sets have been discussed here previously. I also have hundreds of ships in both 1/3000 and 1/1200 scale. There are also aircraft, principally the Winter War collections, Finnish aircraft having graced my Instagram account.

I decided to reduce my Christmas gifts to myself then to just the following:

  • Terrain items and buildings from Irregular Miniatures
  • Racing Chariots from Irregular Miniatures, enough to cover the Blues, Greens, Reds and Whites
  • Ancient British figures from Baccus 6mm as one additional opponent for the Imperial Romans – DBA sized
  • Bag the Hun from Too Fat Lardies
  • General d’Armee from Reiswitz Press from Too Fat Lardies – Napoleonic Wargaming

Later in the year I may add some 6mm Napoleonics to the collection or perhaps 6mm American War of Indendence. I will make an order for some 1/1200 modern aircraft from Magister Militum to finish the modern 1/3000 naval collection. I may also buy some more rulesets … but just to plan for 2021 😉

This year then will be one for painting and finishing collections (and maybe getting off to Makati Marauders to play some games). I will play some more boardgames (more? I haven’t played any for about 20 years). I have many books to read and review on the table and hope to get two or three of those off in the next two weeks. Lastly, I want to start some more research and writing, and I am looking at both my admittedly poor YouTube channel and considering some podcasting.

So, 2020, the year of getting on top of things!

Late Addition (1 January 2020): Of course, I did neglect to remember that I had also sent some readies off to Warlord Games for copies of Black seas and Black Sails – just the rules as I have a collection of 1/1200 coastal vessels and it would be a shame to not get them on the table at some time. In addition, I have some 1/2400 and also some 1/3000 sailing vessels that need a reason for painting and then an outing. And I will be sending an order off tomorrow to Magister Militum for some 1/1200 scale modern aircraft to complete the modern naval fleets.

Any other pruchases in 2020 will be rules, books and, maybe, occassionaly, some figures to finish out a set I am starting to paint!

Labels on 1/3000 scale ship models

Japanese vessels – ready for Modern Naval Wargames

With a large collection of 1/3000 sale ships (more unpainted than painted I will admit), remembering the name of all the vessels can be a memory trial. As the vessels are primarily painted to wargame with, it is good if both sides can see the vessels name during battle.

One option is to put the name under the base, but this suffers from the vessels being lifted off the game surface constantly to check. A second is to add the name to a tab at the rear of the base, in the wake as it were, in the same way that Figurehead provide a label area for their 1/6000 scale vessels.

Chilean Navy Ensign

I prefer to base my vessels on 3mm thick bases and add the vessels name to the side. The 3mm thick base is good as it allows those of us with corpulent fingers to grip the base and not hold the vessel in our fingers. More importantly, I like how it looks 🙂

The method used to produce the base labels is quite straightforward.  Using word processing software such a Microsoft Word or similar, I create a table of six columns. In the second, fourth and sixth columns I type the vessel’s name.  Let’s use three modern Chilean Naval units for an example: Almirante Cochrane – a British Type 23 class; Capitán Prat and Almirante Latorre – Jacob van Heemskerck class.

Ensign placed

I then decide on whether I will add the national flag or the naval ensign. I usually lean towards the ensign although in some navies the national flag and the ensign are the same. In this case, a hunt on Wikipedia for “Chilean Navy” will return the basic details, including national flag and ensign.

Table set to Autofit to contents

Next step is to resize the text. The font I use is Calabri (not sure what the Apple font equivalent is) and it is set to “bold” and resized to 6pts. I also set the table contents to “Autosize to contents”.

The ensign is then copied and pasted to the first column, first row of the spreadsheet. It is usually quite large at this point. Once the ensign has been copied in, then we resize that image, using the size of the text as a guideline.

Ensign resized

The image of the ensign is then copied to the empty cells we have ready for the. We set the wrap text option for the image to “square”

It can then be moved to the next column where the name of the vessel is.

Set the distance between image and text … make 0.1cm in this case

When formatting the layout of the image, under text wrapping set the “Distance from Text”, Right to 0.1cm (or 1mm).

After this it is pretty much straight sailing.

Drag the ensigns to the left of the name of the vessel (see Almirante Cochrane below). Once the columns the flags were originally in are empty, they can be deleted.

The table can then have a design adjustment in “Borders and Shading” by turning off the cell lines in the table.

Select the table one last time, set font colour to “white” and the “fill colour” to a dark blue, close to the shade you will use on the base. You end up with something like below.

The final name labels

Of course, when I got to the end of this it occurred to me that the blue on the ensign may make it disappear after printing. In this case I would add a white border around the image.

I then use a sharp knife to slice the names from the sheet and some PVA glue to affix to the base. Slap on a bit of varnish and job done!

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!

Fujimi/Navwar 1/3000 Naval Vessels – Ready for Paint

I have been working a little on two of the Fujimi ships as well as the equivalent Navwar vessels, getting them ready for paint in between bouts of coughing, sneezing, sleeping and putting up with a nose running like Usain Bolt. The Fujimi vessels came from Hobby Link Japan. The metal vessels are Navwar. The vessels are the carrier Shōkaku and the battleship Yamato. They have been attached to bases and the start of a sea surface added. I will get around to painting later this week or early next week.

Fujimi 1/3000 Naval Vessels

A friend here (hi Servillano) put me on to Fujimi’s 1/3000 ships. Now, having a sizeable collection of Navwar 1/3000 vessels plus some from War Times Journal, I was curious to see how Fujimi’s efforts stacked up. Now up front I will admit the GHQ’s 1/2400 vessels are the crème de la crème of model  vessels around this scale however Navwar provide, in my opinion, a better value for money being considerably less expensive than GHQ.

Fujimi adds another dimension. For a coupe of thousand Yen, I could pick up the 5th Carrier Division consisting of the carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku as well as 6 destroyers. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

I will of course display both again after painting but clearly the plastic from Fujimi has greater detail. It also has  deck decals to add later 😁

Lastly, I also picked up a second box that contained a Yamoto. Unassembled, the Navwar and the Fujjimi Yamoto’s, side by side:

The vessels are from Fujimi but I picked up mine from Hobby Link Japan.

January 2018 Summary – Work in Progress

The soon to be Polish Army circa 1975

It has been a mixed month. A longer than planned enforced stay in Australia waiting for the alignment of the juggernauts that are the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Australia Post, to return a new passport to me has meant that I have only spent a few days working on my hobbies. So, what have I achieved this month so far?

Last year I had ordered some Poles to provide an opponent for my Cold War Commander Danes, so started work on those in January, getting them ready for some paint (that is the army off to the right there).

Of course, feeling bored, I was glancing through an Heroics and Ros catalogue and decided that I should upgrade the armour in both armies so an order went off to Heroics and Ros for 12 Leopard 1 tanks for the Danes and 12 T-72M tanks for the Poles. I’m a wargamer, I plead guilty to being addicted to buying more figures. I expect the reinforcements to arrive any week now.

The Type 74

I also ordered some more ships early in January while sitting in Oz at mum’s waiting for the passport to arrive. In the fleet order are some World War 1 Russian vessels, a Soviet modern fleet and XXXXXX <– OK,  so I can’t remember the third fleet.

I also have the JGSDF type 74 tank (1/72 scale model) sitting on my work bench. I have started to work on that as well.

Lastly, in January, I managed to finish reading a few books and had them up for review here. So, not a bad effort overall. February target is less beer, lose weight, more hobby!

Wargamer’s Dilemma

The Son to be Polish Army circa 1975

I had purchased some figures from Ros and Heroics to make up a Polish Army circa 1975 to use with the Cold War Commander wargame rules.

Can you spot the error?

I ordered artillery but neglected to order artillery crews.

While I was not planning on buying figures this year except, for the few ships I bought for my Christmas present, I had to purchase artillery crew.

Well it would be rude to just order artillery crew so I decided to do what any self-respecting western government do, and that is to upgrade my armed forces.

I ordered my artillery crew and then ordered some T-72M to upgrade the Poles from 1970 to 1990 standards.

The Danes circa 1975 – with the odd bit of painting to still to do

Of course this would mean that the Danes (pictured on the left) needed to have some additional firepower as well to have a chance against the Poles. I therefore ordered 12 Leopard 1s to even things up again.

I can now bring both armies up to 1990 standards from about circa 1970.

The T-54s line up against a single Centurion

This is now the first painting project for 2018 – to finished both armies.

I am looking forward to this painting, but the first steps for the Poles will be to get them on bases, then add some sand to the bases. undercoat, probably in dark brown, then crack on with the painting.

Of course, a wargamer does not need an excuse to purchase more figures, I mentioned I have an order for some ships on the way to Manila from Navwar. It occurs to me as well that the ZSU-57-2 was replaced in Polish service with the ZSU-23-4 “Shilka” in this period so there will need to be an additional order soon.

The Wargamer’s Dilemma – buying more lead means painting more lead and researching more troop types which leads to buying more lead!

A New Project – The Lobster War

A number of posts have been floating around the Internet recently about a game called Cod Wars, set in the period of the Royal Navy’s losses to the plucky Icelanders. The game was developed by David Manley, run at Salute this year and there is a write up on his blog, Don’t Throw Bloody Spears at Me! This had me reading about the Cod Wars. The Cod Wars led on to the Turbot Troubles of Newfoundland (and I learned a lot about Newfoundland’s political history at the same time). All this then naturally enough led to the Lobster War.

Briefly, [from Wikipedia] the Lobster War (also known as Lobster Operation) is a name given to a dispute over spiny lobsters which occurred from 1961 to 1963 between Brazil and France. The Brazilian government refused to allow French fishing vessels to catch spiny lobsters 100 miles off the Brazilian northeast coast, arguing that lobsters “crawl along the continental shelf”, while the French sustained that “lobsters swim” and that therefore, they might be caught by any fishing vessel from any country. The dispute was resolved unilaterally by Brazil, which extended its territorial waters to a 200-mile zone, taking in the disputed lobsters’ bed.

There was, however, two fleets mobilised and involved and it could have got nasty. Best reason yet for this as a project however is the chance to use some 1960s naval technology and by 1960s I mean anything from about 1942 onward. The competing fleets were the Brazilian and French Fleets. The Brazillians utilised:

  • Ipiranga (V17) – a corvette
  • Paraná (D29) – a Fletcher class destroyer
  • Babitonga Pará (D-27) – a Fletcher class destroyer
  • Acre (D 10) – a destroyer
  • Araguari (D-15) – a destroyer
  • Greenhalgh (D 24) – a destroyer
  • Almirante Barroso (C-11) – a cruiser
  • Tamandaré (C-12) – a cruiser
  • Minas Gerais – an aircraft carrier
  • Riachuelo (S15) – submarine
  • 1 Squadron of B-17 maritime patrol aircraft
  • 1 Squadron of P-15
  • 4 x P-16 Tracker

Arrayed against this formidable force were the French forces offshore Brazil and the west coast of Africa:

  • Offshore Brazil:
    • Tartu (D636) – escort vessel (I guess like a frigate)
    • Paul Goffeny – despatch boat
  • Offshore West Africa:
    • Clemenceau – aircraft carrier
    • De Grasse – cruiser
    • Cassard (D623) – escort vessel
    • Jauréguiberry – escort vessel The Picard – destroyer
    • Le Gascon – destroyer
    • L’Agenais – destroyer
    • Le Béarnais – destroyer
    • Le Vendéen – destroyer
    • La Baise A625 – tanker

What’s not to like about this – could make for some fun wargaming. Now to hunt up my Navwar catalogue!

WIP – The Jutland Project – Part 6 – British Grand Fleet – The Battle Cruiser Fleet – The Task

The Battle Cruiser fleet
The Battle Cruiser fleet

And this is the last of the vessels that need to be painted. The battle cruisers and their supporting vessels.

Many of the destroyers for this fleet are photographed with the Grand Fleet so the painting load here does not look as large as it may have done.

Next off – getting the labels and bases prepared.