Saturday, August 30, 2014

Smoke on the Water at Advance the Colors September 19th, 2014

I'll be providing an ACW naval game at HMGS-Great Lakes 'flagship' convention Advance the Colors. The game is 7:00pm on September 19th. Given the short slot available for the game, I'm forced to keep it relatively small. For simplicity, I'm going to use mostly tinclads and gunboats, maybe an ironclad or two per side. Possibly a battery of guns and the ubiquitous torpedoes and obstacles like "snags".

I'm going to loosely model this on the Red River campaign with some of the 'what if' elements that the Anaconda campaign game allowed to happen. What I'm thinking is...

Union Squadron with;

USS Chiilicothe
USS Lafayette
USS Choctaw
USS Argosy
USS Forest Rose

Confederate Squadron with;

CSS Missouri............casemate ironclad
CSS William H.Webb.......paddlewheel ram
CSS Indianola (Captured earlier in the war)
CSS General Sumter....gunboat ram

Battery Van Foose
2 Medium Smoothbore guns

 The problem with convention games is that you never know how many players you will get or what their skill and experience levels will be.

So...this is a relatively low end game. Mostly light and medium guns with some heavies opposing heavily armored counterparts.

The alternative is to do Hampton Roads with Congress, Cumberland and Minnesota against Virginia. This has the benefit of being a short game with lots of opportunity to fire guns. 

Too much? Too little? Too weird?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Even more ACW naval models!

I keep sorting through stuff, so here's a few more pictures.

One day, I ought to build and index of all the models. But not today!

 First up some tinclads and timberclads.

Assorted tinclads and timberclads from  Peter Pig, Bay Area Yards and Thoroughbred.

USS Blackhawk was a large, lightly armed tinclad that has the distinction of serving as flagship of the Union Mississippi River Squadron. The model is from Peter Pig. As far as I know, it's only available from Peter Pig.
I added the forward mast, midships masts and stern mast. The paint scheme is based of an image from Silverstone's Warships of the Civil War. The vessel is large enough that she had a stable for Admiral Porter's horse.

USS Blackhawk

Next up USS Lexington (I think). This is a Thoroughbred model of a Timberclad. They saw heavy service early in the war especially at Forts Henry and Donnellson and the Battle of Shiloh.


Bay Area Yards does a nice set of Confederated River Defense Fleet rams, one of which is Earl Van Dorn. This is a small model - the photo does not do it justice. Even though it's small, there is great detail present.

Earl Van Dorn - a work in progress

Van Dorn on the quarter showing off her casemate.

Another small model - Bay Area Yards did the CSS Fanny. This is a small, steam powered fishing vessel that was converted into a light gunboat for the defense of coastal North Carolina. She mounts two light guns. Fanny fought in a handful of coastal actions before being scuttled to prevent capture (and to deny the Union use of the Dismal Swamp canal),

CSS Fanny from Bay Area Yards

Yet another Confederate  from Bay Area Yards, this one is a little larger - the commerce raider CSS Florida. Florida is a cruiser with moderated armament and decent endurance.

CSS Florida from Bay Area Yards. The model sports a set of Bay Area Yards masts.

Close up of CSS Florida. This will look good when I finally finish the model.

Switching back to the Union for a bit, I started pulling out tinclads. I found a set of four that share a common parentage. All four were sculpted by Patrick Hreachmack. Two are resin that Patrick cast himself, 2 are models he did for Bay Area Yards - Argosy and Forest Rose.

Attack of the tinclads

Needs more tinclad. Forest Rose and Argosy on the right side.

Forest Rose from Bay Area Yards

Mortar Schooners. Thoroughbred's on the left/front. Peter Pig in the right/rear.

USS George Page. Another is a series of small warships from Bay Area Yards.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rekindling the fire for 1/600 ACW Naval games

Ten years ago I was obsessed with naval actions of the American Civil War. I'd written rules for campaign games (Anaconda) and tabletop games (Iron Thunder) and collected a ridorkulously large collection of 1/600 scale ship models. But for the past eight years, ACW naval got pushed to the back burner while other interests took priority.

But in the past few weeks, I've rediscovered my interest in ACW naval. I've had some great conversations with people like Stephen Taylor at Bay Area Yards and the boys in my local gaming group. So, I pulled out some boxes and started dusting off the ships. I mean literally dusting off the ships. They had like 8 years of dust accumulated on them.

One of the big changes since I'd put there away is the ease of sharing stuff on the through this blog!  So as I'm pulling them out, I thought it would be fun to post pictures of some of the models so you get a feel for my skill level (or lack thereof) in modeling and painting 1/600 scales ships. And without further delay...on to some of the ships!

USS Galena. This was the first or second attempt I made at scratchbuilding a ship model.

USS Galena  was a steamship converted into an ironclad. Not a stunning success, but the ship appears in a handful of important naval engagements and at the time, you could not find a model anywhere in 1/600. Forunately, this is a relatively easy ship to model. Which is good as I managed to produce a decent gaming piece that no one will mistake for a contest quality model. I captured the important features that identify the ship. In hindsight, I wish I'd worked on the stern a bit more.

The ship has a balsa wood core which is covered is sheets of Evergreen styrene. The bowsprit is styrene as are the railings, stack, mast and the flying bridge. The standing rigging is fine steel wire. The base is my standard - styrene with Woodland Scenics flexpaste applied and painted in layers of brown tan and light green. 

Pulled back to show the whole model
And a view of the port side.
USS Rhode Island. This is a Bay Area Yards model.
Another shot of Rhode Island. She was the towing ship when USS Monitor sank.
Another Bay Area Yards model - USS Ossipee. This uses one of thet mast kits from BAY.

USS Ossipee is a great kit of one of the smaller blue water steamers in the Union Navy. 
I rigged the kit using thin steel wire. This actually serves as functional standing rigging and provides additional strength and rigidity to all the masts.The masts don't have a stiff core and need the rigging to keep them straight.

Another BAY kit. USS Minnesota. An early effort of mine. I recycled the masts from a very old TCS blockade runner kit and added a minimal amount of rigging. She's srtipped down for combat with the upper masts and sails struck below.
Here's a Peter Pig USS Monitor next to the Minnesota for comparison.
What's the Monitor without USS Congress?
USS Congress again. I scratchbuilt all the masts on this and USS Cumberland out of styrene. Even the standing rigging is styrene. The ratlines are from a window screen material.  They are not perfect, but for a gaming model they get the point across.
Monitor, Minnesota, Congress (on the left) and Cumberland (rear)
A side by side shot. The Peter Pig monitor is a nice easy kit and true to its prototype.
Another Peter Pig model - the mortar schooner. 

Again, the ratlines are from window screen material. If I remember correctly I scratch built the masts and the shaft of the bowsprit. The base is styrene with Flexpaste applied and painted in suitable 'riverine' colors. 
A Thoroughbred armed ferryboat steams past a mortar schooner.
I'll print the name on paper that matches the table top and tape the name to the ship. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Blog Consolidation Time

I've come to the conclusion that hosting these multiple niche gaming blogs may be a great way to segregate the contect, but it's a real pain to manage these sites. To that end, I'm consolidating my gaming blogs under a single banner. I'll be retaining the Skill Level Zero blog as the master, but going forward it will feature not just Traveller / sci-fi related topics, but my other gaming interests as well. In the future you'll see posts related - but not limited  - to the following;

  • American Civil War naval gaming
  • Sikh Wars (mostly using Volley and Bayonet)
  • WWI aerial gaming (mostly using Wings of War / Wings of Glory
  • WWII aerial gaming (mostly using Check your 6)
  • The occasional board game
  • Assorted other gaming related topics
So stay tuned and thanks in advance for rolling with the changes!