Tuesday 27 April 2010

Useful Map Link

Courtesy of an excellent posting Graf Spee Game the game creator kindly passed on this great map link from the University of Texas:


A nice one for those of a naval persuasion seeking to sail the Seven Seas

Sunday 25 April 2010

CV 5 USS Yorktown in 1/1200

Seeing as I won't be having so much free time to post in the coming months (see previous post) I think I will make the most of a few spare minutes I have as everybody downstairs is blissfully sleeping ;)

Already having passed through the 1:1200 painting yards (aka my desk) is CV 5, "USS Yorktown" of Coral Sea and Midway fame, courtesy of the Revell Mini-Ship range.

The natural lighting is from a sunny day outside. I still have to give her some decals and flight deck markings. Sadly the angle I chose to take the photograph neglects to display any of the camouflage pattern of which I adorned her side with!  :)

I continued while the sun was out to play with US Pacific Fleet

As far as I know this is an impossible meeting, as I think the USS Yorktown had been sunk by the time USS Iowa was commissioned on active duty (however I do stand to be corrected if this was not the case).

This leaves me at a modelling milestone, I have now completed one of each of the 1:1200 warship classes modelled by Revell. True, I do still have several sisters in each class to paint (i.e. a raining day modelling project IMHO).To go further and extend my range, I will have to go into expensive metals or hope Airfix release their old 1:1200 "Sink the Bismarck" range :)

My one regret was not purchasing a Revell Mini-Kit version of the IJN Shinano when I was visiting the Hannants shop in London over ten years ago, I literally had it in my hands! Since then I never had the opportunity (bar eBay) to buy it. There is a moral there. I am also missing the IJN Yamato, but don't feel too let down as I already have the Musashi. Technically I could buy another two KGV (for HMS Anson and HMS Howe), another Roma and another Iowa, but I must confess the urge is not all that strong ;)

Saturday 24 April 2010

A St.Georges Day Addition

We are pleased to announce a new edition to the family:

Born on St. Georges day
Weighing in at 9lb and 7oz
Quite a chunky, but very chilled chap

Most importantly of all mother and baby (as yet unnamed) are both doing well

Friday 23 April 2010

"The Big Stick" in 1/1200 BB61 "USS Iowa"

The USS Iowa (Revell 1:1200 Miniship) was very satisfying to (eventually) paint. Seen here photographed in natural light outside, on a very sunny day.

A mighty American battleship, possibly the ultimate in modern battleship design. I did not appreciate what a nice vessel she was until the undercoat black turned into the grey and deck. Must remember to add the BB61 decals on later. :)

Thursday 22 April 2010

Moving onto the Japanese Carriers in 1/3000

My ongoing naval adventures in 1/3000 scale:

Moving from the IJN dreadnought battle-line to the real "war-winning (or losing)" Pacific battle-line, the IJN carriers prove an interesting research problem. With the dreadnoughts it is a question of which bit is deck tan and which bit is grey, whereas the IJN carriers are a bit more customised and individualistic.

Hence a Google Image search on a carrier by carrier basis is called for. The Pearl Harbour "killer" six (search template = " aircraft carrier") are first up:

Kaga (Name is a province of Japan):

My first attempt at painting this, as seen from a reconnaissance Catalina:

Then lower down from from some attack aircraft angle (the large yellow sun denoting The Battle of Midway marking):

Not bad for a first attempt, but I may rework some of the white lines, possibly adding a few more. The sea is another experiment, this time an oil painted canvas. Too bright blue at the moment for my liking. I plan to play around with mixing some oils for sea-effect later :)

Akagi (Name means "Red Castle" and is also a name of a Japanese mountain):
Soryu (Name means "Blue or Green Dragon"):
Hiryu (Name means "Flying Dragon"):
Shokaku (Name means "Flying Crane"):
Zuikaku (Name means "Fortunate Crane"):

One down, five more to go :)
These searches turned up an interesting company specialising in 1/6000 ships:

Before I get carried away with all the 1/250 and 1/700 scale detail I must remind myself I am working with models of 1/3000 scale :)

Monday 19 April 2010

Anyone also else getting visits from unseen Chinese "Friends(?)"

A curious tale to tell, especially since I was just listening to a Radio 4 program yesterday describing the activities of Chinese Internet hackers (state-sponsored or not), particularly as I was looking at the different countries making access to this blog.

English speaking ones I can understand (even as second or third language), but I ask you who in China would want to read this blog?

The timing also ties in with the "comments" I rejected as obvious spam in the past few days or so. In my log I see various entries from China, one of which I show below:

Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Chinanet-zj Hangzhou Node Network (
(Don't go there folks just search on "qq820" in Google) 

Perhaps if I paint my 1/72 IMEX Chinese Liberation army kits I'll get a few more! Security wise anything has to be done on the Server as they host the pages.

Your thoughts and comments appreciated.

Ancient Campaign Update: Politics and Greek Opportunism

Rome survives. Offerings of thanksgiving plume their way up to the heavens, the endurance and fortitude of the citizens of Rome conquers (once again) the reckless move of a bold captain of antiquity.

What is there now left to fear?

Answer: A Greek bearing gifts!

Blatant Greek opportunism at its best or worst (delete as applicable). The ancient Greeks were never a united nation as we know it. Factional disputes and petty City State one-upmanship was always their downfall. So with the eastern borders aflame and crumbling to Seleucid expansion, for want of an effective army to counterbalance the Seleucid pike and shield, an adventurous general with such a force leads a fleet west, beaches itself in the lee of a friendly Italiot City State and marches unannounced and unopposed to the very Gates of Rome.

The citizens of Rome stare in disbelief at the advancing column. How can "The Fates" curse us so?

The walls of Rome as yet not repaired, the surviving citizen legions outnumbered 4:1 were but capable of a mere token resistance as the great city fell ingloriously to "Son of Phyrus" in a tame and feeble fashion. (Not even making it to a token tabletop game.)

As the wet clay hardens for this Greek scribe there has little of worth or note to add to affair. Rome is now under the protection of the Greeks while those Romans still bearing arms are now confined to a region in the north of the country. The Greek success can only be seen as a desperate gamble to grab the short-term wealth/plunder of Rome to fund the large mercenary army needed to successfully confront the Seleucid Empire.

Carthage too prospers as its influence and empire consolidates, its army intent to stay on in northern Italy and hunt down the last defiant Romans that remain. The western Mediterranean is now her lake and even the fierce Gallic/Germanic tribes pay her tribute.

Diplomats usher forth on secret missions as the powers of the east (Seleucid) and west (Carthage) exert great pressure on the diminished powers of the middle (Greece and Rome). One senses now is the time for careful or artful diplomacy.

Sunday 18 April 2010

Japanese WWII Dreadnought Battleships 1/3000

Seen below some "heavy metal" of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in a sheltered anchorage somewhere in the Pacific.

In the fore are the super-dreadnoughts Yamato and Musashi (both wielding 9 x18" guns), behind them Mutsu and Natagto (8 x 16" main armament, the Japanese version of the RN Queen Elizabeth class) and lingering in the distance the Fuso and Yamishiri (12 x 14" broadside).

Again from a different angle. This mass of armoured metal was outmoded by the time of WWII in the Pacific Theatre, where air power was the dominant deciding factor. Still very nice to paint up :)

The rest of the IJN awaits for1941 and the Pacific War scenarios (all the above are Navwar 1/3000 figures).

Footnote: This page amongst all my postings is the most popular by far and away. Is it just being picked up by the search engines for people interested in the Pacific War?

Saturday 17 April 2010

Ancient Campaign: The Fate of Rome

Carthage has been victorious on the field of battle. The casualties are determined and step-losses removed. Minimal loss to Carthage, Rome takes damage on her walls (careful not too much as to still retain her city status) and her legions. The Carthaginian army still sits atop of the eternal city menacingly.

Hannibal now faces the prospect of an even odds attack on the hated city which was what all the battlefield heroics were about. Tension mounts, was it all to nothing or is the prise his? Hannibal rolls a (2) resignation as this means a high probability of inglorious defeat, a high dice from Rome would seal his fate and deal murderous casualties. Rome rolls a (1), Hannibal breathes a sigh of relief. Paltry stuff though as this only means a step loss a side, but still it gives Carthage one last chance. It pays not to be kind with these sort of chances!

Sacrifices to the gods duly made, Hannibal throws a (1) resignation again and this time Rome rallies with a (6) which translates cruelly to a 50% Carthaginian Army loss. Obviously some form of disease has wiped the besiegers out. Hannibal retires defeated from the gates of Rome as Phyrus before him, to the coast to defend his fleet sending urgent requests for more reinforcements back to Carthage.

Rome lives to fight another day. Meanwhile the Greeks watch on impassively as the Seleucid Empire gobbles up Asia Minor complete and sends cultural feelers to Corinth in mainland Greece proper!

Note: Blue being the preferred colour of Greek choice, yellow representing Alexander's Seleucid descendants. What to do, Thrace (right hand side green/blue) looks quite imperilled as the next domino to fall? 

Friday 16 April 2010

Sighting Alert! Bismark Sighted in Norwegian Waters

Spotted in Norwegian waters by an RAF reconnaissance plane on a routine mission. Two sinister, dark ships in convoy (1/3000 - Navwar Bismark and Prince Eugen).

Concentrating on the larger ship, the question is who is she? Positive identification needed (still at 1/3000).

Spiralling down, cleverly using what cloud cover there is to its maximum advantage and making a pass over her in the opposite direction, in so doing so revealing her as the (1/1200) Bismark:

The Bismarck!!!! (again in 1/1200) The other smaller ship ahead of her being one of the German Hipper class cruisers.

No doubt about it now, she is a murderous looking beast (Revell 1/1200).

You could even start counting the flak guns. Save that for the RNAS Swordfish later on. Time to inform the Admiralty at once and get back to Scotland for a smoked kipper.

And so the deadly chase begins.

The smaller 1/3000 ships are Navwar, the larger Bismark the 1/1200 Revell offering. Painting Note: I have gone for an all over Atlantic grey without the dark black/white markings (which I think were greyed over on her fateful maiden voyage).

Quite a satisfying little modelling project to do. Now I think I should get back into more active naval wargaming mode.

Rejected my first spammer comment today


Somebody going by the userid "evision" tried to post several comments on my blog. From what I could see it was merely a blatant link to an online "make bucks" scheme. Seeing as these things are invariably scams of one sort or another and of no interest to the wargaming community the comments were rejected.

Is this the start of a trend?

Your thoughts, experiences and comments appreciated.

Thursday 15 April 2010

Ancient Campaign Update: More Roman Horror Photos

For those gamers who cannot get enough of dead and fleeing Romans (or rather Romans who are soon about to so) here are some more "closer to the action" photos of the current Roman study of battlefield hubris.

The horror now behind the Roman left flank, the rampant and seemingly unstoppable angry Nellie.

(Below) The elephant attack is not looking too good for Rome from this angle either. Even the fabled Roman ballista on the right of the picture missed its chance to save the day.

Meanwhile desperate times. The Roman C-in-C has his hands full commanding a vastly outnumbered battleline consisting of a less-than-keen-to-be-here Gallic warband and some a light. Remember there us nothing friendly to a Roman on the left, i.e.outside the pan of the photo.

Meanwhile in "the angle" there is no longer any such thing as a contiguous line and the Roman cavalry seem to have bitten off more than they can chew.

The Romans cannot but help leaving flanks uncovered and opportunities abound for Carthaginian "closing the door" moves.

One last legion (or rather knot of legionnaires) looks solid amidst the swirling chaos, maybe they can retire in a semblance of good order and bear the bad news back to Rome (to send them into a state of panic).

In my (Greek players) defence I can only but say the boot has been often (all too often) on the other foot. The recuperative powers of Rome in this board game are well known, however these are certainly testing times. Can those strong walls of Rome save them  yet again?

Hannibal is set to roll for the Fate of Rome ...

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Example of: Wargaming with Friends at a Distance via PBEM

The concept of Play-By-Mail (PBM) wargaming progressing to Play-By-Electronic-Mail (PBEM) is a natural one, but still fraught with many challenges. Hence I was quite excited to see a hosted website letting gamers play (steering by a Game Master (GM)) and communicate via situational photographs.

There was a quite excellent Battle of the Bulge scenario found on The Miniatures Page:

The GM had gone to a lot of time and effort to be atmospheric and introduce a certain Fog of War to the game.

The pictures and links to the hosted website speak for themselves.
I am envious (and in simply admiration of the US infantry commander who managed to get run over [bumped but not completely off] by a [not so] friendly Sherman tank)

If you like the flavour her is a After Action Report (AAR) for a 1940 scenario

It has certainly got me thinking what is possible over the net via EPBM

Note to self: Bigger (1/1200) ships

Just found a useful link for 1/1200(ish) scale ships
[Still too big to wargame with]

Painting Guide for "Bismarck/Tirpitz" ships

On the same site some fantastic examples of Model Ships (1:700 HMS Royal Oak)

List of all models
Added to "Links of Interest" section too

Sunday 11 April 2010

Ancient Campaign Update: Rome Battered on the Battlefield (again)

Rome once again is under the heel, this time it is the legendary Hannibal of Carthage. Roman legions shatter on the battlefield as Hannibal pulls a tight battle out of the bag with style. As a Greek bystander one has to admire the stoic pluck of the Roman player(s) as they are tossed and turned by the stormy waters. They are never short of an opponent and seemingly always defending their capitol against a brilliant general of history taking a chance.

The battle in summary snapped by General Hannibal himself while on horseback. How did he find the time one can only ask?

The Roman right triumphant: but who is it fighting? Rome fights going left to right.

After mopping up an auxillia and a few lights Romes valuable and formidable legionnaires stumble through the brush looking vainly for something to kill. The whole lower half of the picture is comprised of Roman troops (not where they are needed). The Carthaginian player in fact is pulling back here to reinforce his centre. Remember the troops you see are Roman up until half-way. The central right hand side Carthaginian block is a Phalanx shielded by lights about to about face and retire in good order. "I don't have to fight here, I gain nothing and potentially can lose the game" says a knowledgeable Hannibal. 

The confused Middle (from behind Carthaginian lines):

The rampaging lone Carthaginian elephant has been dispatched and Carthaginian light cavalry has been used to plug the whole it left. The manoeuvring Phalanx is clearly seen lower left and the start of contested angle in the middle is shown top right. Hannibal himself is aside a charger leading a column of light horse (lower right) looking to attack an exposed flank in that horrible angle. The Carthaginian fast blade is seem ready to descend into the turmoil of the angle next turn. Here it all hangs in the balance depending on the PiP and Combat dice. But you should sense the bulk of the Carthaginian army is elsewhere.

The Winning Carthaginian right (as seen from behind Carthaginian lines):

The Carthaginian fast blades are attaching something unidentified but Roman bottom left, Carthaginian warbands are still dying in the central mass and the legionnaires that are left are flanked fighting for their lives just below the hill. What you may ask is the Roman cavalry doing in the middle of the battlefield? The triumphant Romans (with greater killing potential) on their far right are far too slow to get back into the battle where they are needed.

However even more sinister for the Romans, in the background the Carthaginian cavalry wing is hitting the last Roman resistance before their baggage which "cannot be good". In fact the other Carthaginian elephant (they did have two) has stamped on the last elite Roman triarii and is heading for the Roman fast (but not fast enough) baggage. Game set and match to Hannibal as Roman losses exceed over half their army.

Back to the campaign game for the subsequent die rolls to decide the fate of Rome ... Hannibal has earned his right to roll for the Fate of Rome (to be fair the Romans are used to this procedure by now)

Saturday 10 April 2010

Changing the way I read "other" peoples blogs (a cleverer SEARCH)

Note to self: 

I took time out to take a look at the Blogger SEARCH gadget (see top right hand side of web page) and try to access its capability/ease of use. So I've ticked a few extra boxes in the gadget and have now turned it into a generic search utility powered via the same ubiquitous Google search engine we all know and love.

(Note: This search is not to be confused with the "this Blog only" search on the top left hand side. We are looking to the RHS ==>)

This means for my own on-line time spent "searching for interesting things" I am no longer limited to a just a "recently posted", dive-and-dig"chronological" or if I am lucky "TAG" driven search of mine and other peoples blogs. Even better my reading habbits are changing. I find I am reading other peoples blogs focused more on content rather than just what they have been doing last, although that is still cool :)

Hence I am paying attention to much older articles. Primitive (but fun) data mining as they say in the trade, which is good as I know by going on the quality of blogs I read there are tons of articles I will want to read, but just don't know they exist yet.

Early days, but it has been fun so far :)
[Footnote: Although some matches are not quite as what I have expected, partly as I think as I link to/follow a lot of other blogs. So when a new more recent post overwrites an older posting and is shown on my page what they were last talking about lingers in teh search engines mind. E.g. I searched for "Tiger" and amongst the many sensible links one which led to an "ancient campaign battle" on my blog because it referenced a "1/35 Tiger" being made by another blogger. As it happens I clearly remember the article it was on about (and the Zimmerit applicator) so what I got was my post for that day instead. At least that's my theory.]

Flicking through the tabs ("This Blog", "Linked From Here",  "Blogs I Read", "Links of Interest", "The Web") is key to the experience.

Comments welcomed on how other people search blogs for interesting topics
Interesting searches so far:
Tiger (see comments above)

Friday 9 April 2010

Note to Self: 1/3000 and 1/1200 WW2 Painting Schemes used for IJN and French

Before I forget the WW2 IJN paint scheme (1/3000 and 1/1200) was:

Games Workshop Chaos Black
Mixed with increasing amounts of Humbrol Acrylic Matt 5064 Grey (an old now re-released paint range)

Anita's Acrylic 11007 Chocolate Brown
Mixed with Games Workshop Bubonic Brown

The 1/1200 IJN Musashi got a highlight of light grey to angles and edges that would catch the light :) 
I fussed about it in all honesty here as I was enjoying myself!

The WW2 Med French (1/3000) paint scheme was:

Games Workshop Chaos Black
Humbrol Acrylic Matt 5064 Grey
Lightened up considerably with Games Workshop Skull White or Anita's Acrylic White

Various browns that vere lying around but I seem to have favoured Anita's Acrylic 11007 Chocolate Brown
Mixed with Games Workshop Bubonic Brown

Hull and Deck Blackwashing:
After the first layer of grey and brown decking I watered down Anita's Acrylic black to the consistency of a weak watery ink and covered each model liberally in it, letting the creaks accumulate puddles.
Let dry overnight
Then continue the painting process over the powdery 
Result was a dirtier looking finish with lots of shade
Why? Well I was experimenting ;)

Note: Inspiration for the above paint scheme seemed to be primarily using up the Humbrol and Games Workshop paints I had before they dried up

Thursday 8 April 2010

The Italian Threat in the Med: Roma

Lets not forget the threat posed by the triple turreted 15" guns of the Vittorio Vento and her sisters. Here is my 1/1200 scale Roma.

A nasty combination of good speed, armament and protection for the Royal Navy fleet of modernised WWI battleship veterans to contend with. As seen from a low flying RNAS Swordfish.

The paint scheme is a mishmash of light and dark grey, from references I gleaned later maybe I should have a more "dazzled" camouflage scheme imposed. As I have a Revell 1/1200 version of the Vittorio Vento still to paint I can be a bit more experimental with the next one.

Well my naval phase/infatuation seems to be on a bit of a roll just now apologies to the AFV fans.

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Good Internet Resource for Modelling - Blue Prints

A heck of a modelling resource.
It has helped greatly with the ship stuff I have been doing of late.

Monday 5 April 2010

KM Scharnhorst 1/1200

Sitting opposite the KGV's of Scapa Flow biding its time lies the convoy hunter KM Scharnhorst.

Fast (she almost got away from HMS Duke of York, cruisers and destroyers at North Cape), well armoured but her 11" armament is too light to tangle with a true battleship, she is after all still a battlecruiser.

A beautiful ship nevertheless.

Again, painted a while ago now so the paint scheme is lighter than I would have liked it and the Ardo float plane needs some crooses, however no complaints about the model. Revell also produced a 1/1200 her sister the KM Gneisenau, nicely fitted with a second float plane as per her historical difference not just a different box cover.

Footnote: I have a nearly completed 1/700 waterline KM Scharnhorst from Tamiya tucked away in some loft space still calling to me :)

Sunday 4 April 2010

Now I think I understand the Financial Crisis and Economics

OK wargaming it is not, but this You Tube video blew me away.
I normally would say I am not a rapper but I enjoyed this!

A seven minute Rap video explaining the Financial Meltdown

It did it for me :)

Saturday 3 April 2010

German recon over Scapa Flow: 1/1200 KGV

Following on from the urge to paint something meatier than 1/3000 naval I came across some of my earlier 1/200 Revell efforts. Sitting at anchor in Scapa Flow is HMS King George V (KGV) guarding the convoy routes from attack by heavy units of the KM.

Some daring Luftwaffe recon pilot(s) I am sure was tasked to skim low dodging flak and Spitfires with a good camera to make sure what they saw was not a clever dummy (cf HMS Centurion pretending to be HMS Anson in the Med)

A simple model to make but one dislike I have is the (IMHO) poor job they did with the 14" guns in the turrets (too chunky) compared to the good job they did with the other models in the series.

In retrospect the paint job is also a bit too light grey for my liking and lacking Atlantic weathering and that Walrus needs an attempt at some British roundels!

However the KGV class were the mainstay of the Home Fleet and in the thick of it, being in at the kill for both the KM Bismarck and KM Scharnhost (and continually hunting the KM Tirpitz). In this series I also have, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Duke of York, both assembled and under coated ready for a paint job. Although externally different boxes, internally the kits are the same.

Footnote: I also have the Airfix 1/600 KGV, assembled (though not fully glued together as it has to be painted in sections) ready for a good under coat, but that is far too large/daunting  project for me to tackle at present!

Thursday 1 April 2010

Post of excellent Midway Game convention game spotted

Spotted on "The Lazy Blogger" an excellent game and an inspirational marker for my WWII Pacific ambitions

Excellent "Midway" Convention Game Link
And additional:
Play Test Photo's
(Note: Naval stuff starts happening from end of page two onwards)

It's those cute Axis and Allies ships again!