Sunday, March 19, 2017

Assembling the Manassas, part 2

Completing the assembly of the Manassas. Cutting the stacks off the sprue and filing the ends flat was straightforward.

The mount for the stacks was a little more complex. The mount has a hole for each stack to sit in. It's a good design and it's spoiled by one thing. Either each hole contains a mounting post for the stack, or there was a bit of flash in each hole. Either way, the metal had to go. A Goldilocks trial and error process of sorting through the drill bits found one that fit without being too big or too small (a #44 for those wanting to know). Slowly and carefully I used the drill to bore out the offending metal.

With that resolved, a good thick, heavy duty CA adhesive was applied to the end of the stack and inserted into each hole. It was a little tricky as the hole was not a tight fit, but the stacks did stand up.

With that - assembly is completed.*

And here's the assembled model.

With the stacks installed! 

View from the forward port quarter.

Port broadside view.

Hmmm...what's the tiny guide hole? Uh oh - I've misaligned the stacks! 

Here the BAY model (on the right) next two the Thoroughbred Figures model on the left.  Two interpretations of the same model. 

From the images you should be able to see that the Thoroughbred model sits higher above the water than the BAY model. Both show many of the same types of details, though they vary slightly in terms of position. 

* I may come back and add the jackstaff for the flag later.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Assembling the CSS Manassas - 1/600 model from Bay Area Yards

In February of 2017 I acquired a model of the Confederate ironclad CSS Manassas. Oft remembered as the Confederacy's first ironclad, she was slow and poorly armed. If it was not for the fact her opposition was entirely wooden ships, Manassas would have been found seriously wanting as a warship.

Manassas had a short, but busy career engaging Union ships at the Head of Passes, making the journey north to briefly join the River Defense Fleet near Memphis before returning to New Orleans and participating in her final battle against the Union navy at Fort Jackson as Farragut ran the guns.

This project is a 1/600 scale model of Manassas from Bay Area Yards. (Kit # HCS-024). As 1/600 models go, this one is straightforward with a minimal number of of parts. One (1) hull casting and one (1) sprue of stacks and fittings.

Manassas straight out of the bag. 

The historical record concerning Mansassas is conflicted with some sources indicating that the ship had one or two smokestacks. Some theories hold it was two stacks, then one following a refit after the engagement at the Head of Passes. The model offers the option to build either of the stack variants. As I already have a Manassas with one stack, I elected to model this kit as the early two-stack version suitable for the Head of Passes battle.

The hull casting needed a little clean up around the edges. Most of the work is for the sprue casting at the aft end of the model with required a bit of cutting. After that it was very minor filing to smooth the edges and make the bottom of the casting flush.

A little scraping along the starboard waterline is causing the hull to look odd. 

Sprue with flash.

Sprue with flash removed from the short midships steam pipe. 

Basic assembly is easy. I based the hull of the model on a thin piece of styrene. As usual, I used Woodland Scenics Flexpaste as the adhesive to attach the model.

The hull with the base for the two smokestacks installed.

And an overhead view.

With the hull attached to the base with the Flexpaste. The midships steam pipe is installed. 
Starboard quarter view of the model.

Next steps are to install the stacks and get a coat of primer on the model!

Assembly continues on part 2.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Ram Fever!

I'm telling you, I got the ram fever!

I pulled out an Ellet ram from a box and thought, hmmm...glad I picked this up. Can't ever have enough Ellet rams. For example...

A pair of Ellet Ram models from Thoroughbred Models that were acquired at Fall In 2016.

So I started rounding up the various models from various boxes and quickly found this.

Ummm...yeah. That might be enough.  From left - FOUR Thoroughbred Ellet Rams, USS Switzerland (Peter Pig), Lioness and Queen of the West (Bay Area Yards).

I've got a sneaky feeling that there is at least one more sitting in a box awaiting assembly.  

Back to Civil War Naval...

...but did I ever really leave?

Even more 1/600 models added to the backlog of ship models to be assembled, painted and brought to the gaming table.  This time, it's a batch of models from Bay Area Yards with a smattering of Thoroughbred tossed in.

First up, I've had a recurring itch to game the naval action(s) of the 1867 Haitian Civil War. It's an easy stretch goal for the ACW naval gamer as many of the ships models are all surplus US Navy vessels. The most impressive ship in the war would have been the ironclad ex-CSS Atlanta, which was purchased and on the way to intervene in the civil war when the vessel sank off the East Coast of the United States.

A challenge though is modeling two stalwart ships of the former US Navy - the Mount Vernon and the Quaker City. These side wheel steam ships were former blockaders in the American Civil War. In Salnave's War, these ships were practically battleships and key vessels in the handful of naval actions waged in the war. Unfortunately, neither ship is currently modeled in 1/600 scale. I'm hopeful that I can use these Bay Area Yards models as the basis for creating conversion that will capture the look and feel of the actual ships.

Hull of the Confederate gunboat Varuna. No upper works or fittings. But a great hull! 
Model of the French Gassendi class sloop. Another conversion candidate.

Fore and aft of the Gassendi models

Hull of  the Star of the West. Another prime conversion candidate.

The Star of the West will assorted parts mocked up for sizing.

Add caption

Hull of USS Mississippi

USS Powhatan model. On the large end of a a conversion candidate. 

Second item - a model of the USS Harvest Moon. A nice little sidewheeler that I've never added to the fleet. Helps to round out the collection.

The model is in roughly three parts. I'll need to model the stack. 

The parts stacked together.

and lastly - two nice additions: Forts Jackson and St. Phillip from the New Orleans campaign.

St. Phillip

Fort Jackson. That's a LOT of fort! 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Check Your 6 - Great War edition...

Saturday afternoon at Day Con provided an opportunity to play in a game of Colorful SKies - which is a Great War flavor of the Check Your 6 game engine.  The afternoon's game saw a complex clash as each side attempted to lure the opponent into attacking weak planes with their fighters. Set during the Fokker Scourge, the game features Roland IIC, FE2B, DH.2 and Fokker Eindeckers.

This was an absolutely fun game. It captures the feel and spirit of the Great War while still delivering a game that is definitely a Check Your 6 experience. We had seven players - all CY6 veterans - and the game ran very quickly. Though offered as 'bait' and with no skill pilots, my Roland IIC were clearly superior to the FE2B in almost every respect that mattered - speed, crew capability and robustness. They quickly earned the nickname "Sturmovik of the Western Front" as they were so much more robust than every other plane on the table. 

I'm really enjoying that you can use the same planes from Wings of War / Wings of Glory on hex bases and your ready to game. This is what I think of as 'old school gaming' at it's finest. 

If you like World War One aerial gaming, you just definitely look for these rules.  I think it's marketed as the Colourful Skies product, but verify that with I-94 before ordering.

My trusty steeds - the Roland IIC 

The first pass - the FE2B engage the Fokkers and Rolands. One of my Rolands's shot up his own tail! (I rolled snake eyes back to back!)  I sent several turns attempting to unjam the rudder.

Having passed the FE2B, I passed under the DH.2 coming in from above. Still trying to unjam that rudder! 

C'mon dude!  We're heading into Allied territory soon.

A shot from the other side of the table. The Rolands  continue to lure the British deeper into the trap. 

Meanwhile the DH.2 and Fokkers are mixing it up.

The Rolands turn the table on their pursuer...

Fokkers engage the DH.2

Great War - Air Action, North Sea

2/18/2017 was the date of Day Con, the first issue of what we hope will become an annual staple of the Dayton, Ohio gaming calendar. As part of the days events, I provided a Wings of Glory game titled "Clash over the North Sea". The game features two opposing combat patrols - one from the British Royal Air Force (formerly the Royal Naval Air Service) and the other from the German Imperial Navy's Marine-Fliegerabteilung.  The two forces - while on different missions - encounter each other over the North Sea and engage in combat. 

RAF naval Anti-Zeppelin patrol

  • Felixstowe F.2A - "BN"
  • 4 x DH-4

    • Cotton/Betts
    • Atkey
    • RNAS "BI" x 2

Marine-Fliegerabteilung coastal approach patrol

  •  Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 two seater float plane
  •  Hansa-Brandenburg W.12  two seater float plane
  •  Hansa-Brandenburg W.12 two seater float plane
  •  Hansa-Brandenburg KDW float plane fighter
  •  Hansa-Brandenburg KDW float plane fighter
  • Friedrichshafen FF.49t wo seater float plane

Our Intrepid British players

The German players

Many of the models are products from Shapeways - for example, the entire German force in this game is represented with 1/144 models from Shapeways. You can see details on my experience getting the Felixstowe ready for action here  and on other posts throughout the blog. Bases for these planes came from The Aerodrome.  

The DH.4 are all stock Wings of War / Wings of Glory kits.

DH.4 engage the W.12 and KDW...

Scott's DH.4 take the left while Sean pilots the Felixstowe up the center.

Scott and Keith engage head to head.

The Felixstowe reaches the center of the battle

All the planes occupying a nice small space. The DH.4 in lower right have been mauled taking heavy fire and collision damage. 

Collisions! The KDW collides with the Felixstowe. The W.12 collide with each other! 

Keith did a good job keeping his planes together and fighting them effectively.
Even more collisions! That poor Felixstowe was a plane magnet in this game.

The Felixstowe is on fire! Remarkably, no planes have yet been destroyed...but it would not last.

Down goes the W>29, the FF.49, a W.12 and a DH.4...

...AND the Felixstowe.  The game falls apart. The F2A has burned up. A pair of DH.4 was destroyed. The FF.49, W.12 and W.29 fell into the sea.

At game end the Imperial Navy had scored a solid victory, still having three - relatively intact - planes on the table. The damage cards were unkind to the British. The Felixstowe drew three fire cards in succession sealing it's fate. A DH.4 drew the combination of a Fire card, followed by no left turn, no right turn and engine damage. Fortunately, it took enough damage we didn't have to worry about how to resolve the fire/illegal maneuvers that would have resulted from that mess.

A fun game - with the number of planes, I used double damage decks for both the A, B and C decks.