French Armoured Cruisers, 1887 – 1932 — Review

John Jordan, well recognised for his many books on ships over the years, has penned with Philippe Caresse, a volume on French Armoured Cruisers from the late 19th Century to early 20th Century (1887 – 1932).

The armoured cruiser was like other cruisers, with long range and designed to project naval power to the colonies and elsewhere but it was designed with heavier belt armour, so able to stand up to any ships except battleships.

The role of the armoured cruiser was taken by the development of the battlecruiser, and as a result the armoured cruisers dropped in importance, but lasted until 1922 when the Washington Treaty effectively scuppered them and set a 10,000 ton limit for cruisers and a maximum 8″ guns for main weapons.

Jules Michelet at Tanjung Priok, Dutch East Indies

Who doesn’t love the shape, form and style of the French ships around the turn of the last century? Funnels fore and aft, tumblehomes and really, a transition to the steel warships of the 29th Century.

The Jules Michelet to the right here was one of the French armoured cruisers of the time, with her sister ship, Ernest Renan, built for speed. It is also one of the vessels covered in the book. As with all the ships covered by this book the section commences with a general discussion of the vessel and how it came to be. There as a profile and plan drawing of the vessel, drawings of the bridge deck, layout of the magazines, main guns with detail, the Barr & Stroud 2-metre rangefinder, the torpedo tubes, secondary armament and so on. The authors then go on to describe her sister ship, the Ernest Renan and cover the differences between the two vessels. Further drawings of the Ernest Renan follow.

The authors also cover the specifications of the ship including size of main guns (194mm or 7.6″), medium guns, ATB guns and torpedo tubes. Displacement (in this case, 12,600 tonnes), protection, crew and so on. Each the the vessels is also illustrated with many contemporary photographs of the times from the collection of Philippe Caresse.

Vessels covered are:

  • Dupuy de Lôme
  • Amiral Charner class
  • Pothuah
  • D’Entrecasteaux
  • Jeanne d’Arc
  • Dupleix class
  • Gueydon class
  • Gloire class
  • Léon Gambetta class
  • Jules Michelet and Ernest Renan
  • Edgar Quinet and Waldeck-Rousseau
Armoured Cruiser (le croiseur cuirassé) Dupuy de Lôme

There is also a section in the book on organisation and the Great War 1914-1918 and it aftermath.

French Armoured Cruisers — 1887 – 1932 by By Philippe Caresse, John Jordan and published by Seaforth Naval on 4 September 2019, is a large format book of 272 pages with 240 illustrations, ISBN: 9781526741189.

If you have any interest in the development of modern steel warships and their history, or indeed the French Navy of the 19th and 20th centuries, this book is a must. I have never been disappointed with John Jordan’s works and this book is so well illustrated by contemporary photographs from Philippe Caresse, the book is, quite simply, almost impossible to put down.

Well recommended!

Maritime Operations in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905, Volume 2 – Julian S. Corbett – Review

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:

  1. Genesis of the Baltic Fleet
  2. Cruise of the Smolensk and Peterburg
  3.  The Dogger Bank Incident
  4. Situation at Port Arthur to the First Attack on 203-metre hill
  5. The Blockade of Kwangtung
  6. 203-metre Hill
  7. Destruction of the Ships at Port Artur and the Torpedo Attack on the Sevastopol
  8. Fall of Port Arthur
  9. Progress of the Baltic Fleet
  10. Japanese Preparations for the Baltic Fleet
  11. Fleet Movements in March and April
  12. Concentration of and the Final Approach of the Baltic Fleet up to Contact
  13. The Battle of the Sea of Japan (Tsushima) in five phases
  14. Admiral Nebogatov’s Surrender
  15. 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.

Product Details

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.

Maritime Operations in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905 – Julian S. Corbett – Review

One of my favourite periods of Military History is the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 (RJW). I will also admit to an interest in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95  as well as  these were the last real naval battles of the pre-Dreadnought period (OK, so there was the First Balkan War of 1912-13 as well and the poor performance of the Turkish fleet there but I would still set the RJW as the watershed of the pre-Dreadnought naval battles).

My collection of books on this war includes the Fleet that had to Die by Richard Hough (ISBN-13: 978-1841580449 for a paperback version) and The Tide at Sunrise: A History of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-05 by Denis Warne and Peggy Warner  (ISBN-13: 978-0714682341) but until recently I had not seen a copy of Corbett’s work

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).

The publishers do note however that:

it was impossible to reproduce the illustrations that accompanied the 1914/15 edition of this work owing to their size and condition. References to maps, charts, and plates have been left in the text in order to maintain the scholarly integrity of the work. The only known originals of these illustrations can be found in the Library of the Royal Naval College and at the Naval Historical Branch, Ministry of Defense, London.

This is really the only criticism that I could make against this work but perhaps a quick side trip if visiting England could be fruitful.

After the preface, the book commences with the opening page from the 1914 report and notes that the publication is confidential. It then goes on to say:

This book I the property of H. M. Government
It is intended for the use of Officers generally, and may in certain cases be communicated to persons in H. M. Service below the rank of commissioned officer who may require to be acquainted with its contents in the course of their duties, The Officers exercising this power will be held responsible  that such information is imparted with due caution and reserve.

It then notes:

The attention of Officers is called to the fact that much of the information  which this history is based has been obtained through the courtesy of the Japanese Government in giving facilities to our Attaches, and in placing at the disposal of the Admiralty their confidential  History of the War. This was done under the understanding that the information should be kept strictly confidential, and it is therefore most desirable that the lessons learnt from this History should not be divulged to anyone not on the active list.

Japan was an ally of Britain at this time.

There are 25 chapters to the book as well as 12 Appendices. The appendices also include the fleet lists for both navies at the time of the confrontation.

This book belongs on any naval historian’s bookshelf, an now that it is available in both paperback and electronic form it is available to a wider reading audience.

I would recommend as well, as a companion set to Maritime Operations in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905, Vols 1 and 2, looking 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 for a view of the war from the Russian side.

The Product Details are:
Paperback : 600 pages
Publisher: Naval Institute Press (March 15, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1591141974
ISBN-13: 9781591141976

As I mentioned, highly recommended. I am now looking forward to getting  copy of Volume 2.

The Great Storm at Samoa – Death of Calliopes Commander

The Hobart Mercury on Friday 2 February 1917 ran the following piece, as an obituary for Admiral Sir Henry Kane, the Captain of HMS Calliope of the Hurricane at Apia, Samoa fame mentioned elsewhere here in Thomo’s Hole.

LONDON, February 1

The death took place to-day of Admiral Sir Henry Kane, the hero of the great storm at Samoa, in 1880. Admiral Kane was, born in 1843, his father being Sir Robert Kane, F.R.S. He chose the Navy as a career, and in 1863 was promoted to a sub-lieutenancy. After being naval attaché to the Maritime Courts from 1883 to 1887 he was appointed to command the cruiser Calliope, and in 1889, an international dispute having arisen as to the rights of Britain, the United States, and Germany in Samoa, she was sent out to the Pacific to represent British interests. The Calliope with three German and three American warships, and a number of merchantmen, was lying at anchor at Apia on March 16, when a terrific hurricane swept the island One by one the ships began to drag their anchors and go ashore. The American ship Trenton was dismasted and thrown on her side on the beach, while of the German cruisers only the Elbe was afterwards found to be sound enough to make salvage operations worth while. Seeing that delay would inevitably result in the loss of his ship, Admiral Kane-then captain-decided on the bold course of trying to steam out through the narrow, rock-bound entrance in the teeth of the hurricane. For some time it seemed that the Calliope’s engines were not strong enough to take her out against the gale, but she gradually gathered way, and, to the accompaniment of cheering from the crews of the Trenton and other American vessels, steamed out to the open ocean and safety. All the other vessels were driven on the rocky shore, and many sailors were drowned in, the surf in spite of the particularly gallant efforts of the natives to effect rescues. Admiral Kane was appointed a Director of Naval Ordnance in 1894, and this post he held until his retirement in 1897. His services at Samoa brought him promotion to the rank of admiral and a knighthood.

The other pieces in the Hole here are:

Still such stirring stuff.

1/6000th Ship Painting – Part 3.2 – the Greeks

Back in the middle of September I started to write up the description of 1/6000th Ship Painting Part 3.1 – the Greeks which described the general preparation for painting these vessels as well as the specific detail for painting the Capital vessels up to the stage that the painting of them and their sea base is complete. We will now continue and describe the rest of the painting process for the TBDs as well as the finishing for all the Greek vessels.


The TBDs had been painted basic Grey Black from Vallejo whilst the sea bases had been given a coat of Vallejo’s Dark Prussian Blue after they had been undercoated in grey and then had a black wash applied to them. The lifeboats were painted brown (Citadel’s Bestial Brown) after the grey black had dried.


The next in the process was to wash the TDBs in Citadel’s Devian Mud wash – even though the vessels are basically black, I found the brown wash actually works a little better than the Citadel Badab Black Wash. The reason, I guess, is that the black was is so close to the black paint in shade that it just gets sucked in to the basic colour whilst the brown stands out just a little. The sea bases were also given a “wet-brush” or heavy dry brush on Vallejo’s Flat Blue 056.


The next step was white. White was used for the canvas colours of the lifeboats  as well as being dry-brushed across the sea base to form both the vessel’s wake as well as the chop on the sea. The tops of the funnels were painted in flat black at this point as well (and yes, before you ask, whilst it is not apparent in the photographs accompanying this post, you can actually see the difference between the two blacks I have used on these vessels).

At this point the vessels are essentially painted. Now we will look at finishing this fleet off.

Finishing the Vessels


Before we can take our vessels into battle there are still a couple of things that need to be done to them. Firstly, those vessels that have a separate sea base are gently separated from the tongue depressors and glued to their sea bases. For gluing these I did not use a super glue or a metal glue but rather a PVA based white glue (used for wood normally). In Australia I would use Selley’s “Aquadhere” which is water-based. The reason for using this type of glue is to avoid using anything that would strip the paint or cause the paint to “frost”. The PVA glues are quite inert with respect to the paint and have the added advantage of drying clear so that any extra used is not seen on the final model. As it is a flat surface to flat surface join, the wood glue provides enough grip to hold the model together.

The next step necessary is to label the vessels. To do this I used two labels. One to go on the top of the sea base identifying the type of vessel and giving it an ID number, as shown in the picture above.


The second label is the navy and ship name which I affixed to the bottom of the sea base. So here, for example, I show the navy by using an image of the ensign flown by that navy’s vessels at the time along with the name of the vessel. This labels and the vessel ID numbers I made up as a Microsoft Word Document and printed on a colour laser printer (although I am sure that an inkjet printer would work just as well). The typeface for the ID numbers was Calibri, set in bold at 6pt with the font colour white and the background fill colour a dark blue. The vessel name for under the base was also Calibri font with the size varying on how much space there was for the vessel name (especially important when I did the Ottoman vessels later. The ID Number also contained the vessel type – e.g., BB, TBD, CA etc.


The last step in the process was the varnish the vessels, sea bases and labels. Here I had to decide between gloss varnish for the sea base whilst using a matt varnish for the vessels or compromise. Being basically lazy, I compromised and used Vallejo’s Satin Varnish for the vessels, the sea bases and the labels. This gives a nice, well, satin finish which highlights the ships and the water quite well. The picture of the Greek fleet here is about the same size as the vessels in the flesh – maybe just a shade smaller. Clicking on it will show them to you about three times their normal size.

As you can see, the final appearance is quite neat, the labels blend in well although perhaps I could have used a slightly darker blue. Any excess label can be carefully trimmed off with a sharp knife. You can also see on the enlarged picture of the TBDs that the black of the funnel tops is slightly darker than the black the vessel is painted with.

The next parts (Part 4.1 and 4.2) will cover the painting of the Ottoman fleet. The articles covering this painting progress are:

If anyone wants a copy of label sheet I made up for the Greeks (or the Ottomans for that matter), then drop me a line and I’ll email it on to you.

Lastly, if anyone wants the original documents I used for the labels for these vessels, then the links below should give them to you in either Word 2007 format (.docx) or as a PDF.

Word Format

PDF Format

1/6000th Ship Painting – Part 3.1 – the Greeks

This is the third part in my painting 1/6000th scale Figurehead ships. This post deals with the Greeks from around the time of the Balkan Wars and World War 1.

The Greeks had a tidy little fleet at these times, consisting of a couple of pre-dreadnought battleships purchased from the USA (these were the Mississippi class battleships that were named the Lemnos and Kilkis. There were also three older armoured cruisers armed with 5.9-inch guns, the Hydra, Spetsai and Psara. There was a scout cruiser, the Helle and a number of torpdeo boat destroyers. The TBDs included in the Figurehead pack were the Nike, Doxa, Aspis, Velos, Thyella, Nafkratonsa, Lonchi, Sfendoni, Aeto, Ierax, Panthir, Leon, Nea Genea and Keravnos. Whilst Greece was not a protagonist through much of the First World War ((Greece declared war in 1917)), some of her vessels were taken over by the French Navy and used in that conflict. The destroyers Niki, Doxa, Aspis and Velos in particular.

Colours of the Ships

At the time of the Balkan Wars and World War 1, the Greek Navy vessels were painted in two general colour schemes. The TBDs were painted black whilst the heavier vessels, the cruisers and battleships, were painted mid grey on all vertical surfaces. Decks on the capital ships were wooden with some corticene (a linoleum like material) used on upper surfaces, especially where crew moved about or spent a long time like, for example, the bridge. Ships boats were wooden and that was varnished and those ships boats were protected by canvas covers. These canvas covers were oft-times painted in a grey to match the grey used on the vessel however in the case of these 1/6000th ships, I’ve painted then white (or very light grey) to aid in actually seeing that detail.

One thing about colour in this scale is that as there is little light reflected from a 1/6000th scale model, then the colours always appear a little dark on them so painting them a lighter shade gives something that appears to be the correct colour to the eye as it views it. You will see, for example, when painting the TBDs that instead of using black I used a very dark grey which on the finished vessel looks black but also enables the detail to be seen.

Painting the Ships

paint6000_10 Picking up from the previous post in this series, the Greek ships are all undercoated in Citadel’s Foundation Colour, Astronomican Grey and have been washed with Citadel Washes Budab Black. The result of this is shown in the photo to the right.

This has provided a painting surface as well as outlined the detail on the vessels and on the sea bases – now we can see that needs to be painted. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, I will do this step by step with photos to illustrate each step.

The next step was to start with the base colours for each of the vessels. As mentioned above, the capital ships were painted a mid grey and the TBDs were painted black. The sea bases were representing the ocean (the Mediterranean in this case) and would need to be painted to provide a “sea effect”. Water is difficult to model and paint as it is a clear liquid and transparent in small quantities but in large quantities it becomes opaque and colours. From the perspective of the sea, the colour depends mostly on the weather around and can range from a bright blue through the a dismal green-grey colour. I decided to paint the sea bases blue as that is the most recognisable colour for the sea for most folks.

paint6000_11 The photo to the left shows the ships after the next coat of paint. The capital ships have been given a coat of Vallejo 70943 Grey Blue as their base colour. The torpedo boat destroyers were given a base coat of Vallejo 862 Black Grey – which is a very dark grey. The sea bases were painted with Vallejo 899 Dark Prussian Blue. The technique used on the sea bases was to adopt a dry-brushing technique but using a wet brush so the blue covered almost everywhere but left some low spots black in appearance from the earlier washing. The ships were painted with a wet brush as well and I looked for good coverage on all vertical surfaces as well as turrets and rooves on the capital vessels. On the TDBs I looked for good coverage on all surfaces.

paint6000_12 Now we will split a little and follow the painting of the capital ships. We’ll return to the TBDs later. To the right is a photo of the capital ships with their deck colours painted. The metal main decks on these vessels were covered with wooden planking and that  colour was represented by using Citadel’s Desert Yellow. Remember that these vessels spent a great deal of time in sunshine and with salt water spraying over them so wooden decks tended to be light in colour.


The next colours added were Citadel’s Dark Flesh which was used to colour the exposed corticene areas, principally the bridge area. Citadel’s Bestial Brown was used to paint the side of the ships boats, the canvas covers will be painted on the next step. A wet brush technique (like dry brushing but with a wet brush) was then used on the sea bases. Vallejo’s Flat Blue (056) was used to provide a lighter layer for the water. At this point you can start to picture the sea bases finished as well as the ships – they are starting to look more like the real thing.

paint6000_14 The next step after the one described above is the penultimate painting step. The first thing I did was to paint a wash of Citadel’s Wash, Devian Mud over the ships. This just darkened the decks a little and helped pick out some additional details. I then painted the canvas boat covers white (they are likely to have been mid to light grey but I want them visible as they are detail that adds to the ship model – also the real covers would likely have faded in the sun as well). I used Vallejo’s Foundation White for this but could just have easily used Citadel’s White. White was also dry-brushed across the sea bases to make the vessel wakes as well as to represent the top of the sea chop. Black funnel tops were also painted at this stage (these were Citadel’s Chaos Black). The ships and bases are essentially finished at this point, just requiring assembling, labelling and varnishing.

The next part (Part 3.2) will cover the finishing of the Capital vessels as well as the TBD. Part 4 will then show the painting of the Ottoman fleet.

The articles covering this painting progress are:

1/6000th Ship Painting – Part 2

I had been given some 1/6000th ships to paint, those mentioned in 1/6000th Ship Painting and 1/6000th Ship Painting – Part 1 here at the Hole. I mentioned I was going to write up a step-by-step process of painting these vessels, especially as it was the first time I had painted 1/6000th scale vessels. I also wanted to explore techniques, share some information and be able to provide a warning.

paint6000_01A warning? Well, yes. The warning is that carton cutters are very sharp – or should I say VERY sharp. Most wargamers who paint their own figures have the odd scar or five on their fingers from small cuts with sharp knives when trimming figures. I am no different. However, this time I have a slightly larger scar caused mostly by my own carelessness with a carton cutter (the type of knife I never use for the task I was undertaking but which I was using because I was too lazy to get off my fat a*** and go to the other room and get the slightly blunter knife that I normally use for that task). More about that when it occurs in the painting process.

So, what was there to paint? As I mentioned, John had sent me two fleet packs of the Figurehead 1/6000th vessels. These were vessels from around the time of the Balkan Wars and World War 1. There was one pack of the Greek Navy vessels and one of the Turkish Navy vessels (or more correctly then I suppose, the Ottoman Navy). The content of the Greek pack was:


Pack 1K01 Greek WWI Navy
5 pre-dreadnoughts The battleships Kilkis and Lemnos
The armoured cruisers Hydra, Spetsai and Psara
2 cruisers The Georgios Averoff and the scout cruiser Helle
14 destroyers More correctly, torpedo boat destroyers (TBD) in 4 classes of vessels:
Niki, Doxa, Aspis, Velos (turtle-back destroyers)
Thyella, Nafkratousa, Lonchi, Sfendoni
Aeto, Ierax, Panthir, Leon

Nea Genea and Keravnos (ex German V5 and V6)

The Turkish pack contained:


Pack 1Tu01 Turkish WWI Navy
1 battle-cruiser Yavuz Sultan Selim (ex German Goeben)
3 cruisers Midilli (ex German Breslau), Medjidieh and Hamidieh
2 pre-dreadnoughts Torgus Reis (originally purchased from Germany and which was the Weissenburg) and the Heireddin Barbarossa (the ex German Kurfurst Friederich Wilhelm)
8 destroyers Yarhisar, Tasoz, Samsun, Basra
Muavenet-i-Millet, Jadhigar-i-Millet, Numene-i-Hamije, Gairet-i-Watanije

So, 35 ships in all to paint.

Allowing for time out to watch football games on the TV, do the shopping and other domestic chores, I painted these over the space of about 10 days. I took my time painting them as I was pondering the best approach to take on this, for me, new scale as well as considering how best to handle the sea bases and the labelling. Now I know I could do 35 vessels like this across about 3 nights – maybe less – spending between 5 and 10 hours in total on them.

The first task I did was to research the colours of the vessels as well a have a look at pictures of them to get a feel for what was located where on the vessels. I’ll talk about the colours specifically when I discuss the painting of each fleet in upcoming posts to the Hole.


As for preparing the models for painting, I took the models from their packets, trimmed any excess flash or mould lines (which is another reason for looking at some old pictures if you can find them as that makes sure you do not trim off some detail you thought was flash). The models were then glued to tongue depressors (paddle-pop or pop sticks work just as well for this), the tongue depressors were then labelled with the ship class name to make identification of each ship easier throughout the painting and labelling process. The tongue depressors, glue and small sized vessels are also the reason I can say that carton cutters are very sharp.

paint6000_05 The glue I use for this process is generally a fairly brittle sort of glue – something like, in Australia, regular Tarzan’s Grip, or a PVA “white” glue also works as I just want to tack the models down but also be able to get them off the stick again after painting ((I’ve found that double-sided sticky tape generally does not grip the figures or ships well enough when painting although others have found that method of tacking the ships down quite effective)).

After the trimming and gluing process, I then undercoated the vessels. There are many methods and styles of painting wargame figures and model vessels. Some start on a white undercoat and use many shades for depth and variation, others start on a black undercoat and use layers of brushing to achieve depth and shadows whilst still other methods start by undercoating the figure or model in the basic colour it will be. All provide slightly different results that look slightly better or slightly worse depending in the eye, taste and whim of the viewer. For these models however, given their small size and the fact that I do need to get to an optometrist for a eye check up and new glasses, I opted to undercoat the vessels in a light grey.

Throughout this series of posts , I will illustrate the step (or the result of two steps) with photos plus I will identify the paints and colours I used. I usually use acrylic paints for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here and my paints are normally Vallejo and Citadel. I had just picked up some of the newer Citadel Foundation colours and washes and wanted to try them out. John’s vessels were the first opportunity I had to do this ((I should note that the advantage of trying out a new paint or technique is that if you screw it up, you can always paint over it in a better style so there is not too much risk in trying new styles and techniques)).


I undercoated all the ships in Citadel Foundation Colour – Astronomican Grey (yes, the spelling of that is correct – they are after all a series of paints designed for painting fantasy figures). Once the undercoat was dry I think washed all the vessels with the Citadel Budab Black Wash. This darkens the crevices in the vessels and bases for what is to come as well as makes it easier for this old wargamer to see the detail he is painting. As paint reflects light of the colour of the pigment in the paint, and as the pigment consists of very small particles of pigment suspended in a medium of some sort, then paint often does not have 100% opacity. Think of house paint and painting a room – you normally use two coats of colour as after the first coat you can still see what is underneath the paint. Model paints are no different so the black wash on the sea base, for example, will darken the next colour that is painted on just a little bit in the lower troughs. You’ll see the effect later. The picture below is of both fleets after undercoating and the first wash.


The next post will look at painting the Greeks. After that, a separate post will discuss painting the Turks. In the final post I’ll talk about labelling the vessels and then you’ll be able to see both fleets completed.I should add one final note here. Where you see a grid behind or underneath the vessels, the grid is from my cutting boards and the squares are all 1cm by 1cm.

The next post will be 1/6000th Ship Painting – Part 3.1 – The Greeks

The articles covering this painting progress are:

1/6000th Scale Ship Painting – Part 1

I mentioned in 1/6000th Ship Painting here in the Hole that I had some ships to paint on a commission. As I have not painted vessels in this scale before I decided that I would chronicle my efforts painting these vessels. So, over the coming week or so I will post the tale of my first efforts at painting 1/6000th ships. I will describe how I started with this


which is the Hallmark/Figurehead 1/6000th Greek vessels from the Balkan Wars and World War 1, the Averoff, Limnos and Kilkis (the Limnos and Kilkis were Mississippi class battleships purchased from the USA and in the photo are the two vessels with the large masts representing the American lattice or cage masts). The squares marked on the cutting surface in the photograph are all 1 cm square.

and then turned it into this averoff et al

These are the Averoff, Limnos and Kilkis painted along with their sea bases. I still need to attach labels to the painted sea bases to complete the job. We are currently just trying to think of how to do this.

The next part in this series will be the preparation of the vessels of the Greek and Ottoman fleets to make them ready for painting. I’ll then describe the painting process and show pictures of the vessels at each stage of the process.

I will freely admit that as I looked at the completed vessels, I was quite surprised at how good they looked one painted – rivalling the detail and appearance of the 1/3000th scale vessels I have painted to date. If I had not made such an investment in 1/3000th so far, then I think that definitely I would be considering 1/6000th as my naval wargaming scale of choice.

I’ll leave this post with the words of John, who commissioned me to do this painting. I had sent him a photo of the painted vessels and he responded with:

WOW!  Great job!  Its hard to believe the change when they are painted.

The articles covering this painting progress are:

1/6000th Ship Painting

I don’t often take painting commissions but when I was asked to paint some World War 1 ships I weakened and said “sure”. I had just finished painting my Italians and so thought painting some extra ships would be fun. I worked out some prices and we struck a deal. Then I discovered that these ships were, in fact, 1/6000th ships from the Hallmark (Figurehead) range. I had assumed they were 1/3000th scale.

So, I received a packet of them today to start painting – Greeks and Turks from World War 1 and thought I would record the process as I kind of sorted it out as I went along. First task then was to adjust the prices. This was done.

Second task was some research on vessel colours. I turned to my usual three sources, namely Conway’s, Jane’s and Mal ((See Colour Schemes of World War 1 Warships here in Thomo’s Hole)). I uncovered the following from those sources

The Greek ships will be in a basic mid grey with torpedo boats painted black. Ships boats on those vessels were brown (where these can be seen of course – the 1/6000th vessels are really quite small but you will see more about that in later posts).

The Turkish ships at the time of the Balkan Wars as well as later in World War 1 were khaki in colour with wood decks. The bridge floor and upper surfaces were a bright tan colour. Areas between the funnels (where coal was handled a lot) were painted in a flat black, I guess so that the coal dust did not show. Ships boats were dark tan. Torpedo boats were either a chocolate brown or black colour – I’m trying to see if I can work out which ones were which … but I suspect that is going one step too far and I’ll end up trying to guess off the black and white pictures in Conway’s and Jane’s.

Oh, and the large Turkish ships (and here I am assuming the Yavuz and the Midilli) were likely in Light Grey – just for a bit of variation.

Next article on this will be the prepping of the ships, and then I’ll follow the painting progress.

The articles covering this painting progress are:

More on the Calliope and Samoa

h75964 A recent post to Thomo’s Hole from Cesar commenting on “Banjo” Patterson’s poem, The Ballad of the ‘Calliope’ by A B “Banjo” Paterson, and a previous posting in Thomo’s Hole on the Cyclone in Samoa – March 1889 led me to do a little more reading on this, especially as Patterson was a newspaper reporter by trade and as the historic texts of many of Australia’s early newspapers are now available online.

The Brisbane Courier of 22 January 1889 had an interesting piece in relation to this – namely:

The War in Samoa.


LONDON, January 21.

Senator Bayard, the American Secretary of State, has heard that the United States subjects imprisoned by the German authorities at Samoa have been released. He has expressed the opinion that the whole situation has been exaggerated, and that probably it will be found, when detailed reports are to hand, that American rights have not been infringed.

AUCKLAND, January 21.

The object of the German war vessel Eber in visiting Auckland is to open cable communication with Berlin and to await despatches from the German authorities regarding Samoa. The Eber has taken no further action since the recent fighting, pending instructions from the Government. The officers of the Eber deny the statement published in a cable alleging that German sailors burned American flags and imprisoned American subjects.

The Calliope sailed for Samoa to-day to relieve the Royalist

The West Australian noted on Wednesday, 23 January 1889 (presumably as a result of receiving the same telegraph/cable message as the Brisbane Courier above), that:


(By Telegraph.)

(From our Correspondent.)

Auckland, Jan 21.

The object of the visit of the German warship Eber to Auckland, is to open cable communication with Berlin and await despatches. The German authorities at Samoa have taken no further action since the recent fighting, and will not do so pending instructions from their Government. The officers of the Eber deny the statement which alleged that German sailors had burned American flags and imprisoned American subjects, H.M.S. Calliope sailed for Samoa to-day to relieve H.M.S. Royalist. A fire occurred at the German consulate at Apia on the 9th inst. It was caused by a lamp upsetting. Before the flames were extinguished 9 large and 13 smaller buildings were destroyed, including the Hamburg Hotel and a Samoan church.

Some fire – 22 building destroyed and supposedly an accident, although at a time of a great deal of international tension.

The Adelaide Advertiser of Saturday 30 November 1901 ran a brief obituary of a Lieutenant Kane, nephew to Rear-Admiral Henry Kane of the Calliope. It read:

Lieutenant Kane, who died so gallantly at Fort Itala on September 26, with “no surrender” as his last words, was a nephew of Rear-Admiral Henry C. Kane, C.B., whose indomitable pluck and seamanship saved the warship Calliope at Samoa in in March, 1889-when, in the teeth of an almost unprecedented hurricane, he, relying on his engines, steamed to sea. It will be remembered that the vessels that remained at the anchorage were all wrecked, with a loss of 130 lives. Lieutenant Kane was also a nephew of Mr. Justice Kennv, who was M.P. for the Stephen’s Green division of Dublin and Irish Solicitor-General in the Government.

I can see I will need to do some research on Fort Itala now, which was, as I understand, captured by the Boer General Botha on 26 September 1901. This was after an unsuccessful attempt earlier (and reported in the New York Times of the time).

All in all, the Calliope is definitely something of a “Boys Own” kind of tale.