Saturday, 27 May 2017

Rise of the Battleships v2

I finally got round to printing out the revised and reformatted second edition of Rory Crabb's pre-dreadnought rules, Rise of the Battleships, today. This updated edition of the rules was automatically added to my Wargame Vault library so I didn't have to shell out for a new copy, which I thought was a nice touch. Anyway, I hadn't really taken a close look at the rules, assuming they had just been reformatted to match the house style that has now been adopted across his different rulesets.

However, on closer inspection, the page count has almost doubled, from 31 pages to 54 pages, with extended fleet lists, the addition of a series of generic scenarios and a general tidy up across the text to make them easier to navigate. I did notice one thing missing, however, in the shape of a quick reference sheet but I'm assuming the old one will be perfectly useable. The overall look of the rules is also much more professional than the first edition.

The more I read these rules the more I like them, so I think they'll be my first port of call for the 1/2400th scale China Seas pre-dreadnought naval project.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Naval Thunder: Rise of the Battleship

It's Friday. It's the holidays. I had a pay rise. It's time to download some new rules! I splashed out on an extravagant but well-priced bundle of the pre-dreadnought Naval Thunder rules, to add to the rules that I already have for my planned China Seas solo campaign 1/2400th scale project. I have the Second World War variant of the Naval Thunder rules and really like them, although I've yet to give them a proper test run. The pre-dreadnought version is very similar in focus, layout and content, so it is a good addition to the digital book shelf. I particularly like the inclusion of ship record cards for just about every ship you could mention, with all of the major powers and a couple of minor ones thrown in for good measure!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Cheap Precision Drill Bits

I was in Homebase the other day and saw this drum pack of precision drill bits discounted to only six quid. The drill bits vary in size from 1mm all the way up to 3mm, so perfect for use in  a pin vice or with a hand held electric power drill or similar. There are upwards of a dozen drills in each of the smaller sizes, so more than enough for your wargaming and modelling needs, with the larger drill bits left over for your DIY jobs around the house. Bargain!

East Riding Miniatures River Wedges Review

The river template pie wedges arrived from Tony at East Riding Miniatures today and I've been playing around with them on the workbench just to see how many wiggly shapes I can make. It's great fun! (I clearly don't get out very much). The wedges are the wavy edged variant in 30, 45 and 60 degree segments, so you can make tight or gentle bends very easily and also S shaped meanders.

The lasercut mdf sheet is slightly thinner than the main template sections but this will be sorted out when I texture them, so it's not a big problem. I'm very happy with this product and also with Tony's customer service which is second to none. I now just need to find another free weekend to turn them into an actual river for my desert themed terrain collection. I'm off on holiday soon so this will probably not be for a couple of weeks at least.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Mad Mitch's Tribal Law

I've just started reading this book on the role of Lt Col 'Mad' Mike Mitchell and the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders in the withdrawal from Aden. It's had mixed reviews but it is very interesting and obviously well-researched. It's all good background for my on-going Britain's Small Wars post-colonial skirmish project, even if I veer off in an imagi-nations direction rather than stick to the purely historical. He was certainly a character and very much a modern equivalent of that great Victorian military maverick Col Fred Burnaby. Stirring stuff indeed!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Who ate all the pies?

A bit boring but you get the idea?

I never thought I'd be typing that as a post header? Anyway, Tony at East Riding Miniatures has now manufactured a range of laser cut 30, 45 and 60 degree pie wedge shaped terrain templates to use with his existing mdf river templates. These are available with both a smooth outer curve or an irregular wavy edge, so that you can use them for rivers and also road lengths. The latter is an obvious addition to my desert terrain that I hadn't considered but now I'm thinking, why not? After all, it would be good to have a desert track for my Old West stagecoach to be ambushed on and it would be a lot less work than the river that I'm now going to finish scratch building! You can order your pies here:

Monday, 22 May 2017

Singin' the Blues

I asked my wife what she thought of the river sections that I made over the weekend. She said they were too green and, on reflection, she was probably right. As a result, I had a go at re-painting them in shades of blue, which looked alright to begin with but soon ended up as a right mess of streaky brush marks over the still visible green basecoat. Needless to say, I should have seen this coming but I am now back to square one with the offending bits in the bin. This is not a big deal, as they were only test pieces anyway, so now I will start again with all of the river terrain sections on a production line in order to get a good 4' completed all in one go. I just have to work out a good  combination of blue shades, taking my time to blend them into something less smurf and slightly more aquatic in tone.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Tumbling Dice 1/2400th British Pre-Dreadnoughts: Battleships and Armoured Cruisers

ABB1a Centurion Class BB (rebuilt)

ABB5 Canopus Class BB

ABB14 Cressy Class AC

ABB15 Drake Class AC

I promised to post some photos of the Tumbling Dice 1/2400th scale British Pre-Dreadnought models a while back but just didn't have time to get it sorted. So, to make up for my wayward time keeping, here are some pictures of a couple of the battleships and a couple of the armoured cruisers, warts and all. The armoured cruisers and very imposing models, especially the Drake Class which is half the length of HMS Centurion again. I like the exaggerated detail on these models, although others might find it a big over the top, as I think they will paint up very nicely indeed with a simple wash and dry brush technique. I'll add some photos of the protected cruisers, destroyers and gunboats tomorrow.

Prototype River Sections Finished

Before the wash and gloss varnish

After the wash and gloss varnish

I decided to paint the water in shades of green, with a blend from dark to light toward the edges of the river bank. This looked good when I first applied the various green shades but has been lost in the wash and varnish stages, which is a shame but not a complete disaster. I added a couple of coats of gloss acrylic varnish and some Gamers Grass Moss tufts to break up the banks and cover a few dodgy bits. I think the end result is OK, so will crack on and make a few more river sections over the next week or so, of I can find the time.

Modular River Terrain Test Continued

It's been a busy morning but I've now started painting the two prototype sections of modular river tiles, following the tried and tested method that I've used on the desert terrain. I'm now waiting for the GW Agrax Earthshade wash to dry completely, before I can add a light dry brush to the river banks. I'm hoping to get at least a basecoat on the river itself by the end of the day, although I'm unsure if I will paint it in shades of reflective blue or a muddy brown?

I've also ordered a rather cool plank and post bridge to go over the river from Supreme Littleness Designs. This has a nice western look to it, despite being designed for Napoleonics, Seven years War, Malburians et al, so I think it will fit in very well. I'm sure there's a scenario or two that I can devise featuring a bridge, no doubt involving some blowing up with dynamite! When it arrives, I'll work out the best way to base it and paint it, so that it fits in with the rest of the river sections.