Just What a Wargamer Needs – Another Period

The Hallmark Haul from Magister Militum
The Figurehead Haul from Magister Militum

I sent off to Magister Militum recently for some rare earth magnets. While cruising through the Magister Militum website I browsed across the 1/1200th and 1/1250th scale World War 2 coastal ships and aircraft. I had dabbled a little with 1/600th scale coastal forces before and those models are quite lovely, especially with aerials added. Torpedo boats were large though as were destroyers and some merchantmen. I therefore stopped collecting and working on that project.

So, what does every wargamer need? Yep, one more project. The 1/1200th scale stuff really looked nice. Size was good too and would allow me to play some narrow seas type stuff in the limited space I have in Manila for gaming. Best of all, it is inspiring enough to get me off my rapidly expanding other end and back into painting and modeling.

A few Vosper Power Boats, Fairmile D MGB and MTB, ASW Trawler, M/S Trawler, Sutherland (merchant), Gogovale Steam Merchant, Tramp (Belford), T-22 Class, S-Boat S-18, R-Boat R-41, Bristol Beaufighter MkVI, Lockheed Hudson MkIII as well as some S-Boat and a Torpedo Boat purchased previously for a look and I have another period.

Come Christmas and I will be back home for a while so it will be a good time to pick up my Coastal Forces rules and find what I have available by way of painting references for Coastal Vessels.

If this goes well, then I might look at some Japanese and American forces, or some Italians to pit against the British.

Oh I just love it when a new period takes hold!

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!

First Batch of Repairs

The damaged aircraft

The damaged aircraft

As I finally had a painting area set up I thought I would start repairing the Balikbayan Box damage – the damage after the move from Singapore to Manila. The 1/1250 scale aircraft were the first cab off the rank.

The damaged aircraft were an Indian Naval Air Force Il-38 May and a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy Aircraft Tu-26 Badger. The Il-38 had developed a really weird dihederal during transport.

So, dihederal corrected and a touch of super glue Gel and the aircraft are as good as new.

What is a little more interesting at the moment are the coins.

The aircraft, repaired and in the air again
The aircraft, repaired and in the air again

There is a collection of 10 and 25 piso coins on the table as well. These are reasonably new here from what I can determine and whilst the 25 piso one looks brass and the 10 piso coin looks copper, both are magnetic.

I noticed the same thing in Singapore with the new coins there, Regardless of the silver appearance, they were also magnetic. I’m starting to wonder now either what the metal is they are made of or what is added to the coin to give it the magnetic features.

The reason I have the coins is that I am thinking of attaching them to the underside of the aircraft bases to give them a little more stability. Anyway, first repairs complete! 🙂

The coins are adhering to the magnet under the base
The coins are adhering to the magnet under the base

The Modern Japanese Fleet – Complete

Well, complete except for the aircraft.

The painting method of the Navwar ships was simple. I started by cutting some 3mm thick bases to an appropriate size. Added some Woodland Scenics Flex Paste to the base. Tapped my finger across the wet flex paste to give it some texture. I then slid the ship into the paste and waited for it all to dry.

I under-coated the ship and base in white. To see what I was doing, I then covered the whole ship and base in a black ink wash.

The base was then painted a dark blue (use your favourite). Once that was dry, a light blue was made into a thin wash and washed across the base (and I mean thin). When dry a colour like Games Workshop’s Citadel Snot Green (or whatever it is called these days) was also made into a very thin wash and washed across the base.

The ships were painted in Army Painter Ash Grey. I kind of use a wet/dry brush technique. Some black ink again and then a light grey touch on some of the raised detail and the vessels were painted, except for the helicopter markings on the stern. These were painted as much with a fine pen and ruler as possible however as I cannot find a yellow pen (go figure) I used Citadel’s Sun Shining out an Orc’s bottom Yellow and some careful(ish) brush work.

Add some name tags, some white paint, thinned, for the ship’s wash then gloss varnish on the sea surface and satin varnish on the ship. I’m quite happy with the way these have turned out, especially the simple sea bases. I will go back over the Chinese and Indians and gloss varnish the sea surface to make it more reflective.

The photos below were taken with a camera and because of the light, a flash, which has kind of washed the grey out a little like a sunny Pacific Ocean day. Next for the Japanese (and Chinese and Indians) is the aircraft – but that will need to wait until I sort out some employment.

New Toys – the Japanese Fleet

I had always intended getting a third or fourth modern fleet (megalomania? Of Course!). To join the Chinese and Indian fleets I purchased a Japanese modern fleet pack from Navwar code FPMD 5. Even after the arcane ordering process (I sent another letter through the mail to England) the postman brought me a parcel two weeks later. Included in the parcel was a 15mm DBA Mongolian Army for the lady – figures from Naismith Design and a modern Japanese fleet.

I had learned from previous orders to just stick with the fleet pack to start with as that was surely going to provide enough vessels for future gaming. This fleet pack contained:

Pack Number Vessel Class Ships in Thomo’s Navy Sister Ships

Submarines

N505 Harushio Harushio
Natsushio
Hayashio
Arashio
Wakashio
Fuyushio
Asashio
N506 Yushio Yushio
Setoshio
Mochishio
Okishio
Nadashio
Akishio
Hamashio
Takeshio
Yukishio
Sachishio

Destroyers (Guided Missile, Aegis and Helicopter)

N544 Murasame Murasame
Harusame
Yuudachi
Kirisame
Inazuma
Samidare
Ikazuchi
Akebone
Ariake
N545 Kongo Kongo
Kirishima
Myoko
Chakai
N546 Asagiri Asagiri
Yamagiri
Amagiri
Yuugiri
Hamagiri
Steogiri
Sawagiri
Umigiri
N547 Hatazake Hatakaze
Shimakaze
N551 Haruna Haruna

Destroyer Escort

N566a Ishikari Ishikari

Frigates

N563 Abukuma Abukuma
Jintsu
Oyodo
Sendai
Chikuma
Tone
N566 Yubari Yubari
Yubestsu

Amphibious Transport Dock/Landing Ship Tank (LPB/LST)

N590 Oosumi Oosumi

This fleet pack, apart from providing some interesting opponents for the Chinese and the Indians, will also give me the chance to try a new (well new for me) basing technique to see if I can move away from the two-dimensional painted sea bases that I have done in the past.

The British Pacific Fleet – World War 2

2013-10-18 08.31.45The most powerful of the British fleets in World War 2 was the one that eventually ended up, facing the Japanese as part of the US Fifth Fleet then the US Third Fleet. The vessels in the British Pacific fleet were from Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand principally.

The British Pacific Fleet is one that I have had an interest in since my time in Mongolia and in 2005 I bought a book about Task Force 57/37. In 2009 I purchased enough 1/3000th scale Navwar vessels to reproduce that Task Force and to provide an alternate opponent for the Japanese from the Battle of then Philippines Seas set.

The United States Navy had control of Allied operations in the Pacific Ocean areas during World War 2 and so gave the British Pacific Fleet the designation of Task Force 57 when it joined Admiral Raymond Spruance’s United States Fifth Fleet on 15 March 1945. On 27 May 1945, it became Task Force 37 when it became part of Admiral William Halsey’s United States Third Fleet.

The fleet itself consisted of 2 battleships, 10 aircraft carriers, 9 escort carriers, 11 cruisers (heavy and light) as well as 41 destroyers, 14 frigates, 18 sloops, 19 corvettes as well as submarines, auxiliaries, fleet oilers and so on.

It was a reasonable fleet and the carriers embarked 34 fleet air arm squadrons.

I saw the David Hobbs book and thought it was a useful addition to my naval library. Hobbs covers the history of the fleet with the eye of someone who served in the Fleet Air Arm for 30 years. The book itself has 16 chapters that cover (1) Background, Theory and Experience, (2) Forward Planning, (3) Evolution and Expansion, (4) Strikes against the Sumatran Oil Refineries, (5) Australia and Logistic Support, (6) Operation `Iceberg I”, (7) Replenishment in Leyte Gulf, (8) Operation `Iceberg II’, (9) Operation `Inmate’, (10) Repairs in Australia and Improved Logistic Support, (11) Submarine and Mine Warfare, (12) Strikes against the Japanese Mainland, (13) Victory, (14) Repatriation, Trooping and War-Brides, (15) A Peacetime Fleet, and (16) Retrospection.

There are also 12 appendices.

I’m just starting to get my teeth into the reading of this book and so far the narrative is easy to read. I think I will be recommending this in the future.

Just stop painting! Rajput-class finished

The Rajput-class of the Indian Navy with some of the Navwar aircraft
The Rajput-class of the Indian Navy with some of the Navwar aircraft

I have to learn when to stop – even now I can see some extra things that need to be done – like lightening the deck colour a wee bit, it’s about 2 shades too dark. After spending just over an hour tonight on the three ships I decided that I just need to learn when to stop painting – so I stopped painting.

Still, I am quite happy with the results. The Rajputs are Navwar and in 1/3000th scale.

The vessels are about 40mm long.

The Rajput class guided-missile destroyers built for the Indian Navy are modified versions of Soviet Kashin class destroyers. The ships were built in the former Soviet Union after considerable Indian design modifications to the Kashin design. These included the replacement of the helicopter pad in the original design with a flight elevator, as well as major changes to the electronics and combat systems. Five units were built for export to India in the 1980s. All units are currently attached to the Eastern Naval Command.

Rajput class destroyers were the first ships in the Indian Navy to deploy the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile systems.

The Rajput class have an anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare role for carrier task force defence against submarines, low-flying aircraft, and cruise missiles.

Also pictured are some of the Navwar aircraft. In this case there are 6 Harriers, three Ka25s masquerading as Ka27s – the helicopter carried on the rear flight deck of the Rajputs. Also shown are two Il38s, maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft.

I am planning on replacing the aircraft with some 1/1200 scale models later from the Cap Aero range or from Alnavco. In the meantime, these will serve.

Indian and PLAN subs – finished

The Indian navy and the PLAN submarines finished. 8 kilo-class, 3 Han class and 3 Ming class
The Indian navy and the PLAN submarines finished. 8 kilo-class, 3 Han class and 3 Ming class

Well finished except for the varnishing.

Eight Indian Navy kilo class submarines on the left ready to take on the PLAN.

The PLAN are not defenceless and facing off against the Indians are three Han-class nuclear submarines to the rear at the right and three Ming-class submarines at the front. The Ming-class are Chinese built based on the Romeo-class diesel-electric submarines built by the Soviet Union in the 1950s. The Romeo-class can be traced to the World War II German Type XXI Elektroboot U-boat. At the end of World War II, the Soviets obtained several Type XXIs, from which they were able to obtain key technologies.

These technologies also assisted in the design of the Zulu- and Whiskey-class. Further improvements on the design led to the Romeo class.

These submarines really are obsolete, but still have some value as training and surveillance vessels.

Several navies operate or have operated Romeo class submarines:

  • Russia and the Soviet Union had 20 Romeo class vessels in service
  • China has operated an estimated 84 but 31 are still in use for training.
  • North Korea operates 22 Romeo class submarines
  • Bulgaria operates one Romeo class submarine
  • Syria has decommissioned the three Romeo class submarines
  • Egypt operates four of an original eight Romeo class submarines
  • Algeria has decommissioned its two Soviet Romeo class submarines

The Han-class is a 4,500/5,500-ton vessels and the first nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) class deployed by the People’s Liberation Army Navy. The first submarine in the class was commissioned in 1974 and the fifth and final boat of the class was commissioned in 1990.

The Han-Class is the among the first generation of nuclear-powered submarines in the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

The Han-Class is well known for having a noisy reactor and poor radiation shielding. The submarine is also inhibited by an inability to launch missiles while submerged.

A Han shadowed a U.S. carrier battle group in the mid-1990s. In November 2004, a Han made an incursion into Japanese territorial waters and prompted Japan’s maritime forces to go on alert for only the second time since the end of World War II. The incursion was through the Ishigaki, Okinawa island group, a lightly populated group of islands very near Taiwan. China later apologized for the incursion saying for “technical reasons,” it ventured into Japanese waters.

The Kilo-class is a naval diesel-electric submarine that is made in Russia. The original version of the vessels were designated Project 877 Paltus (Halibut) in Russia.

The boats are mainly intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations in relatively shallow waters.

The Kilo-class are used by:

  • Algeria : 2 Original Kilo, 2 Improved Kilo
  • People’s Republic of China : 2 Original Kilo, 10 Improved Kilo
  • India : Designated as the Sindhughosh class; 10 active
  • Poland : 1 Kilo ORP Orzeł
  • Iran : 3 Kilo
  • Romania : 1 Kilo
  • Russia : 17 Kilo in active service, 6 Improved Kilo ordered
  • Vietnam : 6 Improved Kilo

All models are from Navwar.

PLAN – Chinese Navy – Part 2 – A Rimmer Moment

1/3000th Scale Aircraft Models - F-18s, Ka-25s and MiG-23s
1/3000th Scale Aircraft Models – F-18s, Ka-25s and MiG-23s

In what can best be described as a Rimmer moment, I decided that rather than paint Indian ships, I would keep up the planning and preparations for both fleets. ((In my defence, lately I have only had about one hour a night free for painting so that time is generally best spent in preparation tasks))  I started with the air support for the Chinese last night. Navwar makes some 1/3000th scale modern aircraft although these are on a base so not suitable for placing on flight decks. Some are quite small (the Ka25 Hormone for example) so I can understand the base.

The aircraft prepared were some F-18s. ((I know, the Chinese don’t fly F-18s but at 1/3000th scale the look close enough to a J-15)) The Chinese carrier supposedly carries about 30 of these so I reckon 15 is near enough to represent in Shipwreck. 2:1 scale for these (some will be flying CAP after all).

Also prepared were some Ka25 Hormones. These will be used to represent the Ka27 and Ka31 in use by the Chinese as at this scale, again, they look the same.

Lastly I prepared for painting some MiG-23s – not quite sure where I will fit these in but am sure I can find somewhere 🙂

Tonight I will prepare the Indian aircraft – Harriers, Sea Kings, Ka-25s etc for their aircraft.

Later I will replace the Navwar aircraft with Cap Aero 1/1200th scale aircraft. These look really nice flying across a fleet and the perspective of looking from above onto the aircraft with ships below looks about right. See some modern ships for Shipwrecked on the wonderful ofdiceandtinymen blog – another wargamer and painter I am in awe of the skill of – love his water bases, not to mention the ships.

Indian Navy – Part 2

The first prototype for the Indian Navy -a Kilo class submarine in 1/3000th scale

I took the prototype painting effort on the 1/3000th Navwar modern ships mentioned in the post, 1/3000th modern – a test vessel and applied it to the first of the Indian vessels as a second test bed. For the sea base I used a lighter more fluorescent green this time which seems to give a better finish.

As submarines are essentially black and as black in this scale is very absolute in that it sucks all the detail out of the figure, I decided that I would try with a very, very dark grey and trust to the black ink wash to leave some detail showing but to make the vessel look black overall.

An easier to paint vessel would be hard to find. After painting and inking the hull it was out with the paint pen to mark the edges of the hull hatches that are, as far as I understand, the escape hatches.

It is quite a satisfying black this way. The difference in shade between “black” black and really dark grey with a black ink wash is apparent if you look at the dot of black paint inside the white rings – it looks darker. Still, I am sure that will even out after varnishing.

One down, 5 more boats to go, then to start in the ships.