Christmas Day, I thought I rather than gloat over the gifts from this year I would, instead, start sorting and tidying up the lead pile under the house.
First actual metal I ran across was a German Aeronef and British Land Ironclad pack, filed them! Next was some WTJ 1/3000 pre-dreadnoughts. Filed them as well. Checked then and packed them away. Came across a 1/1200 scale GHQ 74-gun Napoleonic ship of the line. Packed that away as well.
Next was some Langton 1/1200 Ancient ships – Egyptian and Sea Peoples, 10 of each. Now I’m trying to decide whether to keep them or sell them. I’m leaning towards eBay.
If anyone wants them, let me know here in the next day or so, make me an offer and I’ll see what we can do.
There are 10 Sea Peoples boats and 10 Egyptian boats – one of which is a pharoah’s boat.
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:
Amphibious Transport Dock/Landing Ship Tank (LPB/LST)
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.
As we were speaking about Submarines the other day, Douglas sent me a link to the Telegraph. I will admit, I do prefer the UK Telegraph to the Australian abomination but I never really read the UK Telly all that much when I was there. Obviously, after this article, I should have.
It seems that the Spanish have been busily building a nice new submarine – the S-80, of which four are on order. There is only one slight problem. Apparently the submarines are too heavy. The Telegraph reported that:
Last month it emerged that the Isaac Peral sub – part of the new S-80 series and named in honour of the Spanish man credited by some as the inventor of the underwater vessel – was at least 75 tons overweight, an excess that could compromise its ability to surface after submerging
Oops. Seems the Australians are not the only ones with Submarine woes.
Oh, and in the way of things, the S-80 is being named after Isaac Peral who is credited with designing and building the first practical submarine. And yes I know, the American Civil War produced submarines on both sides, Brutus de Villeroi being credited with the first of the Union ones, but these were all powered by hand. Peral’s had an engine!
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).
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.
If you are going to have some submarines and you are new to them, then really, you need a good submarine rescue vessel. The Singapore Navy has the MV Swift Rescue.
The Swift Rescue is a submarine support vessel. It was launched in 2008 and is the first vessel of its type in the South-East Asian region. As a submarine escape and rescue (SMER) vessel, the Swift Rescue is equipped with a submersible rescue vehicle, Deep Search and Rescue 6 (DSAR 6). The submersible and the Swift Rescue permit the escape of sailors from a distressed and submerged submarine.
The vessel has a helipad for emergency evacuations of wounded and a medical centre with an 8-bed High Dependency Ward and 10-bed Sick Bay. The vessels also has a re-compression chamber that can hold 40 personnel at a time – and as the Republic of Singapore submarines are crewed by 23 crew, there is space for expansion or the future purchase of larger submarines.
The MV Swift Rescue was launched on 29 November 2008. She is 85 metres long with a beam of 18 metres and displaces 4,000t. She has a crew of 27 and a speed of 12 knots. She is unarmed.
While visiting the Changi Naval Base last Sunday I had the chance to look at a number of units of the Republic of Singapore navy. It was an excellent day out and organised really well.
Both submarine classes in the navy were on display, although the RSS Swordsman was only really seen at a distance.
One thing that strikes you immediately when standing next to them is how small the Challenger-class vessels actually are. Both the Challenger class and the Archer class were designed originally for service in the limited area of the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Sweden.
The Archer class submarines are the newer vessels with the addition of an Air Independent Propulsion system. The Challenger class are older vessels.
Whilst the Challenger class vessels are old (the first hulls are over 40 years old now) their modernisation and use in the Republic of Singapore Navy did give the Singapore Navy an underwater capability in local waters and more importantly, allowed the navy to develop experience in underwater warfare.
The Challenger class vessels are about 50 metres long, have a complement of 23 and are armed with 4× 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes, 2× 400 mm (16 in) torpedo tubes and mines. The sensors and processing systems are FAS.
Given that the vessels are about 50 metres long (compare this to, say, the Collins class vessels of the Royal Australian Navy which are 77 metres long and it becomes apparent that long cruising periods may be quite uncomfortable for the 23 crew). The vessels were designed for coastal work and small sea areas.
The Archer Class is an upgrade of the Västergötland Class diesel-electric submarines which were originally developed for the Swedish Navy. In the Swedish Navy the upgraded Västergötland Class was known as the Södermanland class. The same upgrades made to the Swedish Navy vessels were made to the vessels delivered to Singapore.
The addition to the upgraded propulsion system with the Stirling Air Independent Propulsion system required the submarines be lengthened from their original 48m to around 60m. The submarines (both classes) were modified for tropical use. Tropical waters are considerably warmer than the Baltic so newer air refrigeration units were needed to cool the internal vessel. At the same time, the warmer tropical water with a higher salt concentration than the Baltic has two effects – metalwork corrodes faster and little marine animals and vegetables are more likely to attach to and grow on the hulls.
The two Västergötland Class submarines, HMS Hälsingland and HMS Västergötland, were commissioned into the Swedish Navy during 1987-1988. It was in November 2005 that the Singapore Ministry of Defence placed a contract with Kockums for the supply of two Archer Class (Ex-Västergötland Class) submarines under the Northern Lights programme. The contract also included crew training and logistics support.
The Challenger class vessels were originally commissioned into the Swedish Navy in 1968-69. They were retired from service in the early 1990s and later purchased by Singapore in 1997-2001.
The C4I systems of the Archer class vessels are fitted with command and weapon control system, active and passive sonar, radar, electronic counter measures and an integrated navigation system. The modern sonar system aboard the Archer Class submarines allows the detection of long range objects on or below the surface of the water. I am guessing the C4I systems on the Challenger class have been upgraded to the same standard.
I had a spare NavwarAdmiral 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!
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.
The first step was out to the Internet and find out some details on the vessels that I have purchased. While looking for information and pictures of the vessels I discovered the crests to some of the ships. This inspired a change to the way I label vessels so after sticking the vessels to a 3mm thick base with some magnetic tape underneath, I labelled the vessels as can be seen above and to the left. I will also talk about the basing material later as it is new to me.
Next will be the painting process. For that I will be undercoating the vessels in white, washing in black ink then starting to paint with a heavy dry-brush in an Indian Navy grey after the sea base is finished underneath.
What colour that grey will be will be decided on the weekend when I visit Changi Naval Base here as there are two Indian ships visiting Singapore at the moment. The are INS Satpura (F48) and the Kora class Corvette (P62) INS Kirch. Vessels of both of these classes can be seen in the second row in the picture to the right so this will be one of the few chances I’ve ever had to see the 1:1 scale item that I will be painting later.
Interestingly, also visiting at the current time or back in home port are RSS Valiant (Victory Class corvette P91), RSS Bedok mine countermeasure boat (M105), RSS Formidable (F68) and RSS Tenacious (F71), both Formidable (La Fayette) Class frigates. Also present is Ladroite, the French experimental OPV, the Royal Thai Navy HTMS Rattanakosin (F441), HMAS Bathurst, and USS Freedom, the first Littoral Combat Ship of the US Navy.
Also present are the Malaysian frigate KD Lekiu frigate (30), the Indonesian KCR 40 class patrol craft KRI Kujang  and Diponegoro Class Corvette KRI Frans Kaisiepo .
Looks like an interesting day for a navy buff coming up!
Last weekend we went across to Harbourfront. My partner’s HTC Windows 8 phone had not started since Jakarta and the HTC service centre is at Harbourfront. Two minutes with HTC and we had a functioning phone again. The problem was the charger not the phone. We then decided to stroll through the Cruise Ship terminal and Vivo City. A cool glass of something felt in order so we ended up sitting at the pub overlooking the water.
As I was watching I saw two vessels dancing around. I also noted that on the stern was emblazoned the location “Belize”. Seems both these small boats as well as at least one other were registered in Belize.
The vessels were called the Sea Robin and the Sea Heron.
Of course, if you are really curious about vessels you can check their details very easily these days. I know the following now about the Sea Heron:
Ship Type: Crew boat
Year Built: 1978
Length x Breadth: 29 m X 9 m
Gross Tonnage: 135, DeadWeight: 1 t
Draught: 5.5 m
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 8.1 / 7.1 knots
Call Sign: V3NN
IMO: 8827090, MMSI: 312018000
Last Position Received
Latitude / Longitude: 1.2575° / 103.7714° (Map)
Speed/Course 8.1 knots / 0˚
Last Known Port: SINGAPORE
Name Change History:
PELICAN 33 1 October 2009
PENGUIN 33 1 March 2007
TRIDAYA BARUNA IV 1 July 1997
Details for the Sea Robin:
Ship Type: Tug
Length x Breadth: 26 m X 8 m
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 10.4 / 9.8 knots
Call Sign: V3QF
IMO: 0, MMSI: 312721000
Last Position Received
Area: Singapore Area
Latitude / Longitude: 1.2349° / 103.8495° (Map)
Speed/Course 10.4 knots / 0˚
Last Known Port: SINGAPORE