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


N505 Harushio Harushio
N506 Yushio Yushio

Destroyers (Guided Missile, Aegis and Helicopter)

N544 Murasame Murasame
N545 Kongo Kongo
N546 Asagiri Asagiri
N547 Hatazake Hatakaze
N551 Haruna Haruna

Destroyer Escort

N566a Ishikari Ishikari


N563 Abukuma Abukuma
N566 Yubari Yubari

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.

PLAN – Chinese Navy – Part 1

The PLAN fleet is stuck to bases and labels affixed to the underside with the vessel's name
The PLAN fleet is stuck to bases and labels affixed to the underside with the vessel’s name

I posted a while back about the Indian Navy – Part 1 I was building in 1/3000th scale for use with the Shipwreck! modern naval wargame rules. Their erstwhile opponents, at this stage, will be the People’s Liberation Army Navy of the People’s Republic of China (PLAN). Whilst at the moment these two powers seem to be on reasonably peaceful terms, there is still a number of border questions to be resolved, not to mention the Kashmir. The two nations have traded blows before so a scenario where a PLAN blue water fleet starts causing economic havoc to India in the Andaman Sea is not such a far fetched scenario.

The PLAN is therefore my second modern fleet from Navwar and I decided to get started on getting it ready for painting. I have started painting the Indians – more on that in a later post – but before finishing them I wanted to get the next batch ready. This was partly bought about by recent events after a trip to Jakarta where everything I tried to do was interrupted with me having to go to the smallest room in the apartment … frequently!

As with the Indians, the first step was out to the Internet and find out some details on the vessels that I had purchased. I had purchased a fleet pack from Navwar which comes with an assortment of vessels, some of which are no longer commissioned and iin one case, a packet of two vessels where only one vessel was built (the Jinan).

My PLAN Fleet ready for painting - the Chinese carrier is big compared to the Indian carrier ... but small compared to a USN carrier.
My PLAN Fleet ready for painting – the Chinese carrier is big compared to the Indian carrier … but small compared to a USN carrier.

While looking for information and pictures of the vessels I discovered a couple of things about PLAN vessels. One is that due to the sometimes unstable political environment of China in the past, some vessels had been named, then had the name replaced by a hull number, the renamed again with a name different to the first name. Now I think the PLAN stick with safer things such as names of provinces etc.

I also discovered that the Chinese vessels appear not to have crests. I therefore have just used the PLAN ensign on the labels. The labelling can be seen above.

The next step will be the painting process. For that, like the Indians, I will be undercoating the vessels in white, washing in black ink, painting the sea base then starting to paint with a heavy dry-brush in a mid to light grey.

Exactly what shade of grey to use is academic. Whilst I could, for example, try to get a paint chip and match to that colour, the appearance of the vessel changes depending on the ambient lighting. So a vessel with full on midday sunshine reflecting off its surfaces can appear almost pure white rather than the light grey we know the PLAN vessels to be painted in. A good example of colour variation can be seen in the two pictures at the bottom of this post.

The spare ship can be seen at the right of the picture above.

The two images below are taken 6 months apart in different parts of the world – note that the USS George H W Bush looks almost white in this image whilst the USS Denver is obviously a light grey. In the case of the Singapore Navy vessels there is clearly a bigger shade difference. It may well be that the one in the left hand photograph is a darer grey but it is not easy to tell from photographs.

Gulf of Thailand (Feb. 20, 2011) –  The amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver passes along side an Endurance Class Singapore Navy ship Resolution (LPDM 208) during Cobra Gold 2011. Denver is part of the forward-deployed Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is underway participating in Cobra Gold, a multinational military exercises co-sponsored by U.S. and Thailand, designed to ensure regional peace and stability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Geronimo C. Aquino /Released)
Gulf of Thailand (Feb. 20, 2011) – The amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver passes along side an Endurance Class Singapore Navy ship Resolution (LPDM 208) during Cobra Gold 2011. Denver is part of the forward-deployed Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is underway participating in Cobra Gold, a multinational military exercises co-sponsored by U.S. and Thailand, designed to ensure regional peace and stability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Geronimo C. Aquino /Released)
Arabian Sea (Nov. 15, 2011) Aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) steams alongside the Singaporean Landing Ship Tank, RSS Endeavour (LST: 210), in the Gulf of Aden.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kasey Krall/Released)
Arabian Sea (Nov. 15, 2011) Aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) steams alongside the Singaporean Landing Ship Tank, RSS Endeavour (LST: 210), in the Gulf of Aden. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kasey Krall/Released)

1/3000th Modern – a test vessel

Port-side on the Admiral Gorshkov
Port-side on the Admiral Gorshkov

I had a spare Navwar Admiral Gorshkov. I also wasn’t sure what approach to take with the sea bases and painting the 1/3000th ships, it has been a while and my painting techniques have been changing over that period. I recently painted 1/6000th scale ships and wondered if I could apply the same principles to the 1/3000th. I also was wondering how to do deal with the sea base as these ships do not have a sea base under them.

So many questions. The solution? A prototype or as we like to consider it now, the flashiest fridge magnet Thomo has ever made.

I had already glued the model to the plastic base I am trying currently, and yes, I over ordered when I put that Navwar order in before. I then undercoated in white. Next step was painting the base Vallejo Prussian Blue (a step I will drop next time). I then painting Citadel’s old Regal Blue and used a very diluted Goblin Green across that. A very diluted Ice Blue was then washed across the base followed by some white when the blue was still wet.

I should note at this point as well that I had tried using Vallejo’s Water Effects to model a sea base – mucking around with another carrier surplus to needs. In the words of twitter – #fail!

Starboard-side - I keep thinking of Frank Gorshin and the Riddler when I see the admiral's name
Starboard-side – I keep thinking of Frank Gorshin and the Riddler when I see the admiral’s name

The flight deck was then painted. I used two lighter shades than appeared in the photographs I had seen of the vessel as I am fairly sure they will darken a little more once the varnishing is done.

The next step was to take a white paint pen and paint the deck markings on. These are a little dodgy but I am getting used to the pen and learning a little patience – like wait for it to dry, shake it frequently and be happy when you need to redraw a line three times to get the white sufficiently opaque on the model.

Superstructure was painted and washed in black ink. It was then dry (really wet) brushed with a very light grey.

The missile silos were also touched up at this point.

The last step was the black on the funnel top. Actually the detail on this model is a bit odd at the top of the superstructure but what the heck, it is a wargame model after all.

A touch up of a couple of colours and then some white added to the wash around the bow.

Voila! The Frank Gorshin … sorry, Admiral Gorshkov is ready for the table.

I think next time I will use a lighter more fluorescent green on the sea base.

Hopefully I will get some time tomorrow to get out to Changi Naval Base and have a look at some ships. I’ll leave you with a picture of the real Admiral Gorshkov.


Modern Naval Ships

The Indian Fleet
The Indian Fleet

I had ordered Indian and Chinese fleet packs. In addition I picked up a couple of extra aircraft carriers as well as some aircraft. Everything is 1/3000th scale. The vessels in the packet are:

  • 8 Russian built kilo class submarines
  • 1 Vikrant aircraft carrier
  • 3 x Rajput Guided Missile Destroyers
  • 3 x Godaviry Guided Missile Frigates
  • 2 x Taragiri Guided Missile Frigates
  • 2 x Trishul Guided Missile Frigates
  • 4 x Khukri Guided Missile Frigates
  • 4 x Sukanya Patrol Craft

To that I added an Admiral Gorshkov as the newer aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya which is set to enter service with the Indian Navy this year.

The Chinese Fleet
The Chinese Fleet

The second pack I received was a Chinese fleet. It consisted of:

  •  3 x Han class Nuclear Attack Submarines
  • 3 x Ming class Patrol Submarines
  • 2 x Luhu Guided Missile Destroyers
  • 4 x Luta Guided Missile Destroyers
  • 2 x Jinaan Helicopter Carrying Destroyers
  • 2 x Jiang Wei Type 1  Guided Missile Frigates
  • 2 x Jiang Wei Type 2  Guided Missile Frigates
  • 2 x Jiang Hu Type 1  Guided Missile Frigates
  • 4 x Jiang Hu Type 2  Guided Missile Frigates
  • 2 x Jiang Hu Type 3  Guided Missile Frigates
  • 1 x Fuqing ((go on, you know you want to say the name of this like a naughty boy))  Fleet Oiler
  • 1 x Nanking Fleet Replenishment Ship

To that I added an aircraft carrier, the Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov (Адмирал Флота Советского Союза Кузнецов) as a sister-ship of the Varyag. TheVaryag was purchased by China and converted to serve in the PLAN as the Liaoning, being commissioned into the PLAN in September 2012.

The aircraft
The aircraft

To all of the above I added some aircraft for both sides. Unfortunately the 1/3000th modern aircraft from Navwar are on a base so the only thing I can really use them for is marking air-raids coming in. In the World War 2 range Navwar makes aircraft without the big base which is great as you can add them to the flight deck of an aircraft carrier and improve the look of the vessel.

The World War 2 aircraft can be mounted in flights on stands as well. Anyway, they will serve well as markers.

The only other thing to add is the rules.

A few weeks ago I ordered a copy of the Shipwreck naval rules from Quick Reaction Force. They were delivered and have provided some interesting evening reading lately. They have been around for a few years but they also simplify the game somewhat ensuring that a modern naval battle can be completed in fairly quick time.

I am tempted to get some American vessels as well and perhaps some Russian vessels. I think I might try them from GHQ or C-in-C (both of which are more expensive than Navwar and in 1/2400th but both of which make beautiful models).

Shipwreck Naval Wargame Rules
Shipwreck Naval Wargame Rules