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!