Plan B – Battle of Lissa on Hold

So the other day I noted that I was looking at the Battle of Lissa as a new Project. Over the last couple of days I dragged the fleets out of the boxes and had a look at them. Decided I would start on the Austrians first and the Radetzky and sister ships first.

A close examination of the Redetzkys suggest there will be a lot of work here, especially from the age of the moulds and the poor pouring when cast – see the images below for examples.

So, given the enhanced community quarantine here currently and the fact that I would need to get some green stuff to work on these, it is time for a plan B. Another planning session is in order this evening. And in the meantime, I will at least do some more reading and research into the Battle of Lissa and in fact, the war at sea in those times.

This could, of course, lead into a more full-on attempt at the Third Italian War of Independence on land as well, which was the war between the fledgling Kingdom of Italy and the Austrian Empire fought between June and August 1866, where Lissa was the unexpected win for Austria. The conflict paralleled the Austro-Prussian War and, like that war, ended in an Austrian defeat, with Austria conceding the region of Venetia and the city of Mantua to Italy, the Italians having been persuaded to war against the Austrians by Otto von Bismarck.

My worry is that this will ultimately lead into a desire to look at the Schleswig-Holstein War between Prussia, Austria and the German Confederation on one side and the Danes on the other. It is then only a short step backwards to the Second Italian War of Independence with France and Italy squaring off against Austria and then it all concluding with the Franco-Prussian War, a long forgotten project from my past, which I had started using Heroics and Ros 6mm figures.

Oh dear, time for my anti-megalomania pills again!

Time for a New Project — the Battle of Lissa

Enough plastic for the time being, and regardless of how great the detail is on those 1/3000 plastic vessels from Fujimi, it is time to return to the Real Man’s Wargamer MaterialTM … metal!

David Manley’s Broadside and Ram, published by Long Face Games, was purchased from Wargame Vault when there was a special on some of their other rules.

Sitting here in the enhanced community quarantine, I thought to myself, I have some ships here for Lissa somewhere. A rummage through the lead pile turned up two boxed sets of the Lissa fleets, from Houston’s Ships. I had no recollection of when I purchased these fleets, so a hunt through my emails and I discovered that after trading some emails with friend Doug, I ordered these when I was living in Singapore, on 2 January 2012!.  He was working on his Houston’s Ships in January 2012, mine have remained in the lead pile since.

The Broadside and Ram rules provide a brief history of the naval campaign between Austria and Italy 1866. This resulted in the largest ironclad fleet action in history, just off the island of Lissa on 20 July 1866.  Apart from a brief history the rules also include:

  • a campaign system
  • fast play rules
  • a complete set of ship data for the rules

The two boxed sets I purchased have been carried from Singapore to Manila and remained untouched in the lead pile for the past 8 years. The length of time figures have remained untouched and simply stored in the lead pile can usually be measured by the thickness of the dust layer on the top.

These had recently been cleaned off as a result of a deep clean of the apartment here in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. My cleaner insisted on cleaning everything in the condo … twice.  My grumpiness made no difference, nor did my grumpy explanation that COVID-19 does not live in dust layers on old books or unmade wargame models that have been sitting on the shelf for years, so in the end I simply ran the white flag up the pole and assisted the cleaning a little here and a little there.

The models and therefore the moulds they were poured from are old as well and you can see the amount of metal flash that needs to be removed from around the models to the left.

Houston’s Ships are no longer readily available with the exception of the American Civil War range. Great Endeavours (where I purchased these from) stopped making them sometime in 2017 and the range is dying away as moulds deteriorate. These models are therefore old. Houston’s Ships were always a little dodgy with regards to scale but they do have a lot of character and once the masts are gently straightened out, and the davits and lifeboats, funnels and ventilators are added, the ships will then be begging for paint. Prior to painting, the vessel will be added to a sea base, either like the ones I make for my 1/3000 scale vessels or made using acrylic gel, which will be a new technique for me.

The reference for these vessels is Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships, 1860 to 1905. This is one of four volumes covering fighting ships from 1860 to 1995 and this volume, originally published in 1985, is still available from specialist booksellers with prices ranging fro US $98 to $125+. If you ahve any interest is warships, I can thoroughly recommend obtaining all four volumes from wherever you can source them. They are so good that my Conway’s 1906 to 1926 volume was stolen when I lived in Mongolia in 2005 and even then it was the devil’s own job to get a replacement volume.

Painting reference for these ships will be courtesy of Mr. Google. There are photographs of many art works of the battle in museums and galleries in Europe and they are available to view online.

So, time to put the other projects away and break-in a new one.

18 days to go … and wash your hands!

Formidable-class multi-role stealth frigates

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RSS Steadfast at berth at Changi Naval Base

The open house at Changi Naval Base gave me a chance to see a some of the Republic of Singapore’s stealth frigates – the Formidable-class vessels. They really are a good looking vessel. At berth were RSSs Steadfast, Intrepid and Tenacious.

Singapore has six of these vessels overall and they are the most modern frigates in the South East Asian area.

The vessels are multi-mission derivatives of the French Navy’s La Fayette class frigate. The frigates serve as key information nodes as well as fighting units, and the six ships form the 185 Squadron of the Republic of Singapore Navy.

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RSS Intrepid at Changi Naval Base from under the bow of MV Swift Rescue

The class leader, RSS Formidable was launched on 7 January 2004 and commissioned into the Republic’s Navy on 5 May 2007. The rest of the vessels followed over the period February 2008 through to January 2009, being commissioned in two groups.

The main armament of the frigates is Boeing’s Harpoon missiles with the almost ubiquitous OTO Melara 76 mm gun for surface defence.

A S-70B Seahawk multi-mission capable naval helicopter completes the main offensive armament of the vessels in the class. These provide an anti-submarine capability along with an active low frequency towed sonar enabling long range submarine detection and classification. Lightweight torpedoes fired from two B515 triple-tube launchers hidden behind the bulwark along with the same model torpedo carried by the helicopters enable the frigates to engage submarines.

RSS <em>Tenacious</em> at berth at Changi Naval Base, SIngaporeThe full armament is, for anti-ship, 8× RGM-84C Harpoon SSM. Anti-air is MBDA Aster 15/30 launched from 4× Sylver A50 8-cell VLS. The torpedoes are EuroTorp A244/S Mod 3 torpedoes launched from both the 2× B515 triple tubes with reloads as well as from the S-70B Seahawk. As mentioned, the main gun is the Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun (mounted in a stealth cupola). Also carred are 4× CIS 50MG 12.7 mm (0.50 in) HMG, 2x 25mm Mk38 Mod2 Typhoon Weapon Station Stabilised Gun.

Electronic warfare and decoys include RAFAEL C-PEARL-M with decoys Sagem Défense Sécurité New Generation Dagaie System, 2× forward & 1× aft.

The vessels are capable of 27 knots and have a range of 4,300 nautical miles cruising at 18 knots.

The vessels on the class are:

Name Pennant
Number
Launched Commissioned
RSS Formidable 68 7 January 2004 5 May 2007
RSS Intrepid 69 3 July 2004 5 February 2008
RSS Steadfast 70 28 January 2005 5 February 2008
RSS Tenacious 71 15 July 2005 5 February 2008
RSS Stalwart 72 9 December 2005 16 January 2009
RSS Supreme 73 9 May 2006 16 January 2009