Monday, January 23, 2017

A Coat of Steel

On January 23, 2017, our monthly Craft Day was devoted to a Wars of the Roses wargame using the rules of The Perfect Captain: "A Coat of Steel". This is now the 3rd game we have played, the first 2 really being training sessions. I have been working to increase the size of both Yorkist and Lancastrian retinues using Perry 28mm figures and most recently, the excellent figures sold under the Crusader brand. The figures were painted by Leuthen Studios and Carl Robson with some by myself. The numerous flags are mostly by CitadelSix.

Jeff and I took the Yorkist cause and Will and Steve the Lancastrian. The photos are either by myself or, where noted by Steve. His own Blog can be found at:

This game was designed to maximise our experience of A Coat of Steel. I had fabricated some time ago all of the cards, counters and other parts and sleeved them where possible. 

Each side formed the maximum of four Wards each. The Companies within each Ward were composed according to the rules. The rules were studied in advance under the guidance of Jeff who sent out various links and study hints during the days leading up to the game. 

Although set-up is quite time consuming, once battle is joined the game moves quickly. In this game a bold Yorkist attack with the vaward and mainward on the opposing Lancastrian vaward and rearward looked promising. The first Lancastrian arrow-storm of light flight-arrows fell short in the centre. The Yorkist mainward under Warwick closed quickly on the forces of Northumberland and Somerset. Unfortunately the early death of Warwick caused Army morale ("the Cause") to decline and the Yorkists took higher losses in the melee.

The Set-Up
Drawing Chits to Determine Ward Activation
Battle Joined Between Warwick and Exeter (photo by Steve)
Henry Percy Holds the Right Center (photo by Steve)
Clifford (viewer right) Attacks a Weak Yorkist Vaward Under Fauconberg (viewer left)
(photo by Steve)
Lancastrian Vaward Under Pressure. Jeff's Archery Taking a Heavy Toll
(photo by Steve) 
Lancastrian Counter Attack (photo by Steve)
Lancastrian Archers (photo by Steve)
Percy Supported by French Mercenaries (photo by Steve)

Salisbury Brings up the Reserve Ward (photo by Steve)
The Yorkist Right Collapses (photo by Steve)
At close of play, a Lancastrian victory was declared. Henry VI looked on from a distance and mumbled his thanks for the good outcome.

Henry VI Looks on. Brocaded Coat of Royal Standard Bearer by Carl Robson
(photo by Steve)
A Coat of Steel is an unusual but excellent game system designed specifically for the Wars of the Roses and we recommend it highly.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Operation Market Garden

Please check out my new Blog: Operation Market Garden:

This charts the story of the game we are preparing for late 2017.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Re-Basing the 1/2400 Fleets

The WW1 fleet has been re based on clear acrylic bases by Old Dominion Game Works per "General Quarters" rules:

The WW1 pre -Dreadnoughts are also based on acrylic bases. 

The pre-WW1 fleet is based per "Fire When Ready" on shaped, magnetized, plastic bases.

There are many more models on the workbench!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Jutland in 1:2400 More Images

I used the opportunity presented by an upcoming game of AH Jutland to do a photoshoot of my 1/2400 fleet so far. The battle cloth is by Monday Knight Productions. We found the hex pattern useful when moving the cardboard Jutland counters. It made a useful backdrop for my miniatures fleet, though this is not from an actual game.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Jutland: continued

I have now completed 17 Capital Ships for my Jutland collection, all GHQ 1/2400. I have included my Nore Command which so far has HMS Dreadnought plus 2 of the King Edward VII pre-Dreadnoughts.

HMS Africa

Friday, August 5, 2016

Jutland 1916: GHQ 1/2400

Continuing the Jutland theme, I have recently been painting some of the excellent GHQ Micronauts Great War range, 1914-18. Although they are very small, at a scale of 1/2400, the detail on these models is amazing. For example, the teak decks are modeled, in great detail,  along with numerous deck fixtures, the superstructure and some masts. Not all of the masts can be cast at this scale. However, Harmon and I have found that very thin gauge music wire can be used to scratch build masts. I have only tried so far to build the very tall main mast for HMS Iron Duke, the flagship of the Grand Fleet in 1916. 

I'll take some photos of the individual ships soon. However, I just wanted to share what I have painted in the last 6 weeks. I highly recommend this range. GHQ has a great website and provides excellent service and support for all of its numerous ranges. Until now, I had not discovered GHQ. My loss! They are a treasure.

I must immediately give full credit to the excellent article written by the author of the "Black Powder Games" Blog on painting GHQ models. It provided the inspiration and all of the techniques, which I tried to incorporate in my own humble efforts, though you will see much better work at his site:

So here we go. The Grand Fleet 1916...part one.

The Grand Fleet so far 

I used Litko flexible metal base bottoms attached to the Litko wooden bases to allow me to store these delicate models in boxes with magnetic sheet inside. Please click to enlarge the pictures.

Work in Process!

After much experimentation, I have learned the following lessons:

1. The models have to be cleaned and filed very, very carefully. What looks to be "detail" is often metal residue. It tends to coil up, looking like a deck fitting!

2. The fit of the deck infrastructure sometimes needs some adjustment. For example, the gun turrets don't always clear deck structures, etc.

3. The gun barrels are very, very soft, easily bent and difficult to straighten. Likewise the tripod gunnery observation masts. Handle with great care.

4. The detail is so fine, you have few opportunities to touch up the paint. You need very thin coats of paint and overpainting is seldom satisfactory. Don't put anything on the hull/deck until it is painted and detailed.

5. The more detail I try to add, the more "gummed-up" the model looks.

6. Don't be tempted to add piano wire masts or rigging unless you are an experienced modeler. It is possible, but drilling out the soft metal is a very tricky. I caused a lot of damage trying to install some simple flag staffs.

These models are beautifully detailed. However, the soft lead alloy is easy to damage.

HMS Iron Duke with mast and rudimentary rigging

The ocean bases are simply thin Litkos with several layers of white glue, paint and lots of varnish. The labels were produced in Photoshop using Black Powder Games labels as the model to follow.

Noble Knight is a very good source for these models and also has excellent service.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

HMS Suberb (1909) in 1/1250 scale

Here is the original HMS Superb, a Bellerophon-class battleship sailing at speed (20 knot maximum), featured in a photograph dated 1917.

HMS Superb displaced 18,600 tons and was armed with 10x 12 inch (300mm) 45 cal Mark X guns.

I have just taken delivery of my first 1/1250 scale WW1 warship by NAVIS. The model was purchased from Alnavco, the US licensed stockist of these German-made models. I am very happy with the model and the excellent service of Alnavco. These models are hard to come by. You see them adverstised "used" on eBay but I wanted a mint condition model. NAVIS also remakes the models from time to time and I wanted to be sure to get the newest version.

As you can see the sculpting quality is very high. The ship is minimally painted but is fully assembled out-of-the-box.

The eBay after market generally does not have these special boxes. The masts can get easily broken if not stored correctly.

Although NAVIS does not currently offer WW1 seaplanes, I wanted to see what their 1/1250 scale model Sopwith Camel looks like. As with the ships, it is a beautiful but tiny model.

The basic order comes as a flight of 3 aircraft in a special shipping/stowage box.

I am looking forward to gradually adding more pieces to this new collection. Highly recommended.