WTJ Naval is the manufacturing and foundry branch of The War Times Journal. Their main goal is the creation of affordable wargaming miniatures that have clean, accurately scaled features. The current line of 1/3000 scale naval miniatures was kicked off with the release of a long sought selection of pre-dreadnought battleships and cruisers, which will eventually include both war time fleets of the Russo-Japanese and Spanish-American Wars, as well as many rarely depicted European capital ships of this important era. The vessels are 1/3000 in scale allowing players to put on games within a medium to small sized area. Large fleet actions on larger battle zones can also be used. For example, using the General Quarters Rules and replacing the inch measuring system in them with centimetres, the Battle of Tsushima can be fought on an area the size of a standard table tennis table.
Once again, to tempt me something terribly, Jim of WTJ has sent me another two vessels from the range as samples. Jim knows I like the Russian Japanese War of 1904-1905 so one of the vessels was the Russian vessel Poltava. The other was the Spanish Cataluna. The Cataluna was painted in the “Victorian” colour scheme of the time, with black hull, white upper works and turrets and buff masts and funnels. The Poltava was painted in the overall white and yellow scheme found on vessels of the Russian First Pacific Squadron at the start of the Russian Japanese War. Both vessels are shown above and more detailed photos of them can be seen in the Gallery of Thomo’s Hole ( http://thomo.coldie.net). To both vessels I added a minimum of gilding, being a representation of the masts carried by the vessels (two tall masts to the Cataluna as pictures of her show the masts as twice the height of the funnels, one mast to funnel height for the Poltava. These were made from fine brass wire and add to the appearance of the vessels. To assist in this process, the WTJ vessels have guide “dimples” placed around where the mast enters the deck or superstructure of the vessel. On then to the models and the ships, starting with the Cataluna.
The Cataluna was one of the vessels of the Princesa de Asturias class of cruisers. These vessels were almost the same as the Infanta Maria Teresa class of vessel. The builder of the Cataluna was Cartagena. She was launched on 24 September 1900 but the vessel was not completed until 1903. She had two sister ships, Princesa de Asturias and Cardenal Cisneros. The Cataluna managed a top speed of around 20 knots and had a complement of 542. Armament was 2 x 9.4-inch/40 calibre guns in single gun turrets fore and aft; 8 x 5.5-inch/35 calibre guns; 8 x 6-pdr; 10 x 1-pdr; and 5 torpedo tubes.
The model itself measures 36.5mm length with a width of 6.5mm. This scales out to 109.5 metres long by 19.5 metres wide and compares to the actual vessel length of 364’1” or 110.97 metres overall (347’9” or 106.03 metres pp); and actual width of 61′ or 18.59 metres. In my opinion, the lines of the model capture the original vessel well.
To complete this vessel, I added two masts from 20 thou brass wire (around 0.5mm). Painting was performed on the vessel after undercoating the model in black. The colours used were Games Workshop Chaos Black (hull), Skull White (upper works), Bleached Bone (decks) and Vallejo paints #953 Flat Yellow for funnels and masts. The decks and upper works painting was achieved by continues heavy dry brushing (almost wet brushing). The technique involves repeated applications of a thin amount of colour over an area (rather than a single coat and trying for a high degree of opaqueness, here I am repeatedly brushing colour, waiting for it to dry and then brushing again). A light spray of matt varnish completed the model (and for wargaming in Thomo’s Hole, it will be based on a separate base).
A recommended model and if you have an interest in the Spanish American War, then check out the other vessels from WTJ (and tell Jim that Thomo sent you).
The Poltava was one of three ships in the Petropavlovsk class of vessels. Her sister ships were Petropavlovsk and Sevastopol. All three ships were members of the Russian First Pacific Squadron and were present at Port Arthur when hostilities with the Japanese started.
The vessels armament was 4 x 12-inch/40 calibre guns in two turrets of two guns each (fore and aft); 12 x 6-inch/45 calibre guns (4 x 2-gun mountings, 4 x 1-gun); 12 x 3-pdr; 28 x 1-pdr; and 6 x 18-inch torpedo tubes (two above water and four submerged). They also carried 60 mines.
The Petropavlovsk was blown up by an explosion of her magazines after striking a mine on 13 April 1904.
Poltava was present at the Battle of the Yellow Sea on 10 August 1904 where she was hit by 14 12-inch to 8-inch shells. She was later hit by 6 11-inch howitzer shells during the Siege of Port Arthur, one causing a serious magazine fire. After the surrender of Port Arthur the Poltava was raised by the Japanese and served as the Tango until 1916 when she was sold to the Russians, renamed Tchesna and stationed in the White Sea.
The Sevastopol was mined on 23 June 1904 and again on 23 August but not seriously damaged. She took the same number of hits as the Poltava at the Battle of the Yellow Sea and suffered 5 11-inch howitzer hits at Port Arthur, causing her to be moved from the harbour to the roads outside the port. At the surrender of Port Arthur to the Japanese she was towed out to deep water and scuttled.
The model itself measures 36mm length with a width of 7mm. This scales out to 108 metres long by 21 metres wide and compares to the actual vessel length of 369′ or 112.47 metres; and actual width of 70′ or 21.34 metres. The model is sweet in appearance however, capturing the “stubby” appearance of these ships.
To complete this vessel, I added a single mast from 20 thou brass wire (around 0.5mm) to the height of the funnels. Painting was performed on the vessel after undercoating the model in black. The colours used were Games Workshop Skull White (hull and upper works), Bleached Bone (decks) and Vallejo paints #953 Flat Yellow for funnels and masts. GW Chaos Black was used for the top of the funnels. A light spray of matt varnish completed the model.
If modelling the Sevastopol then note that the Sevastopol has shorter funnels than the other two vessels and these should therefore be trimmed back a little.
All in all, as with the Kearsarge and the Shikishima reviewed on Thomo’s Hole already, both these models are truly excellent and I can recommend them to any naval gamer interested in this period. Note also that apart from WTJ producing Russian, Japanese, Spanish and American vessels from these times, they are also producing vessels from European navies. Also, if you check the link for purchasing the vessels, Jim explains how he does his masts there. I need to say that I use a vertical mast only – Jim adds cross-spars as well to his display models.