May 10, 2021

Bringing the Balance

Here are the next eight ships in my growing 1/2000 scale fleet. The front row is made up of the Brazilian Minas Geraes-class, which would serve with the Quisobian Royal Navy, and the Dante Alighieri-class, if they can be called that, belonging to the navy of Cartelucia. The rear row consists of the four Courbet-class battleships, which might alternatively be used by Dorrosean or Crontaineville. This greatly enhances the power of the anti-Friegland alliance, but not nearly well enough. 

The construction of these ships was made available by finding a bit of stained 3mm balsa that I repurposed, and some dense corkboard. The ships in the front row were made from this material, and besides some warping when the PVA was applied, and having to coat the hulls in a layer of 80g paper, there was not much difficulty in building them. 

I'm still experimenting with the camera, so please bear with me while I figure it all out.

May 9, 2021

More Skeletons in the Closet

This time real ones, a bunch of used GW(?) skeletons I've got from ebay a long time ago. They are sort of my first and only figure painting project this year.

The photo was made to test my new cell phone camera - it looks OK, but I got blinded by the sunlight, so the focus is kinda off. Nevertheless, a lot better than the previous one.

May 7, 2021

Skeletons in the Closet, or How to Make Campaigns More Effective

I've started a pair of solo campaigns a few months ago. One of them was taking place on the Continent of Rot in my Schultze-Böhnstadt imaginary setting, and the other was a Chinese warlords type game called Rennui Unification Wars. Due to the necessity of keeping tabs on the movement and logistics of multiple factions all by myself, I quickly got tired of both, and they were left for dead on my Roll20 account. 

I thought about starting a new one in a fantasy setting, just to occupy myself when I've got the time, so here are a few approaches on how to prevent it from failing again.

Apr 29, 2021

...And Justice for All

The title is not extremely correct, as these are the six Republique/Liberté-class French pre-dreadnought battleships, accidentally including one that is named Justice, but suits the theme well.

I've used up my last bit of 2mm balsa, so the hull of the ships is made from corrugated cardboard, and covered in paper. The upper half where the superstructure sits is a piece of 1mm balsa. Cardboard is a rather difficult material to sand, so the ships are a bit over-sized, especially at their beam, but this is actually somewhat beneficial: they look like stocky little things, just like they supposed to.

Construction was otherwise problem-free: lately I prefer to show my ships in a state of battle readiness, deck clutter, including boats removed, which eases the building process. 

Once I finished the German battlecruisers, I felt that although in true WW1 terms the Kaiserliche Marine does not really overwhelm the Entente fleets, in my imaginary world there is a huge advantage to the Jackewlinese - Frieglander axis. This is mainly because I made Jackewline proprietor of both the Royal and US Navy ships. It is only reasonable that without proper allies on the continent, Jackewline attempts to out-build her enemies, the Island Kingdoms (IJN) and Veuden (Imperial Russian Navy). 

The tables are turning on the Frieglander side of things though, as they have 'built' all four large battleship classes sans the Bayerns now, which means 17 ships at full fighting capacity, plus the very capable armoured cruiser Blücher and seven battlecruisers. Facing them, the Cartelucian fleet (Italy) counts five dreadnoughts, the Quisobians (Spain and South American countries) another six, four of which are the Espana-class ships of dubious quality, and the Crontaineville fleet (France) can only put five Danton-class pre-dreadnoughts to sea, sixteen ships in total. This should be somewhat remedied by the pre-dreadnought spam which these six ships here are only a forebear of.

Looking for suitable materials to replace balsa, I came across a piece of dense corkboard, and now I'm using it to build the Minas Geraes-class and a pair of Dante Alighieris (I know, there has been only one, but this is why playing with imagi-nations is sometimes better than the real world), to have at least a semblance of fair play between Friegland and her enemies. They should either be followed by the Edgar Quinets or the Italian armored cruisers (Pisa and San Giorgo-classes).

Apr 25, 2021

Battlecruisers Operational


This is the last few pieces of my balsa, the first four Imperial German battlecruisers, from top to bottom: Von der Tann, Moltke, Goeben and Seydlitz. VdT and Seydlitz have composite hulls of 1mm and 2mm balsa layers. They are fierce looking ships and assembling them was a great experience, grinding away some quarantine time. I'd like to do an 1/500 scale swimming model of the Seydlitz in the near future, so this was good practice as well.

Apr 21, 2021

The Good News, and the Bad.

I've spent some time updating the sprites for my virtual 'Arborleone's Little Wars' gaming surface. This included creating some Russian and Spanish unit tokens, and making every item's background transparent, so I can see what sort of terrain they are traversing. 

I decided that the scenario trove on the Commands & Colours: Napoleonics website should provide source material for the next playtest, and I selected the engagement at Schöngrabern / Hollabrunn as an interesting, seemingly one-sided scenario. On the picture above, Bagration had already taken over the lead, beaten off a strong French attack on the Russian right, and is about to counter-attack with his reserve cavalry. What cannot be seen is that Murat is already bringing up his reserve foot to deliver a final blow...

This was the good part, I could get some gaming time in my schedule. Whenever the circumstances permitted, I played a few turns of Schöngrabern, then I was off to do other more imporant business. Or at least until my PCR test turned out positive. Yes, I caught The Disease, so I'm on sick leave until who knows when. It's not bad, like a mild cold combined with the loss of my smelling ability, but not too good either. So stay safe if you can.

Mar 17, 2021

HMS Worcester, 80-gun Ship of the Line

HMS Worcester is one of the so-called 'W'-class of Albionic third rate ships of the line. The 'W'-class are the work horses of the Union, carrying the flag all over the globe, and fighting in the thickest of conflicts. They are old but sturdy vessels, and their captains take great pains to preserve them in a fighting condition.

Worcester has a sturdy build, and although somewhat slow and sluggish, she fits well in a line of battle. The model is entirely scratch-built, the only commercial attachments are the towed boat and anchors, which at one time belonged to the Revell 1/450 HMS Victory. The anchors have been shortened, and a hole was drilled where the cable should be attached.

The hull is a hollow piece of balsa, made of 6mm layers I believe, with some strengthening pieces to hold the deck. The deck itself is 1mm thick, scored with a pen not to look so flat. The bow piece is made from thin strips of card. The masts and yards are from bamboo, the sails from a piece of faux-satin polyester cloth, painted to a tan colour. The rigging is made from three different types of thread, and the cable connecting the boat to the ship is a fourth one, larger in diameter.

All in all an OK build, I especially like the way the colours turned out, but the hull is quite big and blocky compared to, for example, the Heller Le Superbe. Sanding that concave tumblehome is a very difficult job. I think my next few large ships will be modifications of the Revell Spanish galeon again, but right now every non-essential store is closed, so that's for the future.


Mar 16, 2021

Arca d'Imperatrice Schiavona


This is the flagship of the private war fleet belonging to the House of Schiavona. It's a 1/600 scale model of the galeon La Couronne, which I believe is no longer in production - I found it in a modeling thrift store-like business.

The ship herself is quite old, but the name is new - all of her hull has been repaired and modified, resulting in a fighting ship of 74 cannon. The name signifies the imperial ambitions of the leader of Quattro Formaggi, Beatrice Schiavona. The Formaggians do not customarily name kings and queens - emperors and empresses, however, are a different business. With rebellion raging in the North and the Kingdom of Glambria already claiming much of Western Formaggia, something needs to happen that changes the game. Refurbishing an old galeon and naming it in such a way might just be that thing.

I've built this same model before, turning it into a modest Protestant warship. Now I went over the top with the decorations - the dark green and golden yellow are a matching pair, I think. All the plastic masts and sails had been replaced, and a semblance of rigging was introduced.

Mar 15, 2021

SRKS Tajni Möjem


This is the Sjelle Regal Krigskjeppet Tajni Möjem. Sjelle is an independent territory of the Kingdom of Gluteborg-Varangia in my Schultze-Böhnstadt imaginary universe. She sports both the Royal Varangian and the Independent Sjelle ensigns. 

Tajni Möjem is a 26-gun single-deck warship, which might be called a corvette or a ship-rigged sloop of war. She has a shallow draft to traverse the many rocky channels and inlets of the Sjelle Islands. 

The ship's hull is way back from this post; compared to the other ships I have been building, it would simply have been too small for a full-sized frigate of war. But navies need smaller vessels, too, so I made her with an open gundeck. The hull is slim but rather simplistic: it lacks the usual ornamentation of 18th century warships. The sails are made from table cloth, I think, while the ensigns are satin. Every bit is scratchbuilt, including the cannon and the wheel.