Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Sikh Wars - reloaded!

As the ACW naval project nears completion, it's time to start the prep work for the next task - rebooting the Anglo-Sikh war gaming project. I've enough figures to game the battles of Mookdee and Ferozeshah, but not enough to do the big decisive battle of Sobraon.

Fortunately, I have a big backlog of figures to work with as a result of having backed Studio Miniatures Sikh Wars Kickstarter campaign back in 2013. The figures arrived at the end of 2013 and have been patiently awaiting paint.

The current task is rounding up all the figures. In addition to the Studio Miniatures figures there are additional figures from Foundry and Old Glory hidden in boxes. The quest begins by assembling and sorting the figures.

This box of odds and ends is mostly Old Glory and Foundry figures. Rocket launchers and camel guns - nothing unusual here. Five stands of painted and based HEIC infantry - a good start!

I've sorted the British back into their respective units, fished out the artillery and a camel gun. More British regulars than I can fathom every needing.

I'd forgotten how much progress I'd made with the Sikhs two years ago.

Assorted British mounted officers. I plan on updating the division command stands with these models from the Old Glory and Studio Miniatures line.
Stay tuned and watch the progress - with luck this project will be completed before the end of spring!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

ACW Naval week 13 update

13 weeks! 

When I started the ACW Naval blog updates 13 weeks ago, the objective was to hold my feet to the fire and get the 1/600 models assembled and painted. After a quarter of a year, I can see that great progress has been made and that a fair bit of work remains. Time to take stock of the achievements and lessons learned and outline what remains to be done.

One achievement is that all the ship models have been assembled. Items that have languished in boxes since 2007 are assembled and based! Given that it was a 9 year backlog, this alone is cause for celebration. 

New models have joined the tabletop fleet and are ready for play. This includes a salvaged Sassacus model, two Patrick Henry models, USS Varuna, USS Calhoun, USS Pawnee, USS Eastport, CSS Florida, CSS Selma, the Confederate Yazoo Monster, Battery Buchanan and assorted gun batteries. Not bad work for a quarter of a year! 

Lessons learned

You don't have to do a lot of work all at once. A little work, when you can do it adds up over time. Don't feel like you can't tackle the project because you can't set aside enough time to do it all at once. Break the task into small parts and take each as time allows. It's surprising how quickly the results build up! 

Sharing the results along the way has helped improve the finished work. Knowing that someone else will view these models pushes the quality bar higher and results in a better product than just a 'table ready' model. 

Sweat the details. You'll be happier knowing you've giving the model the best effort you can muster. But don't drown in sweat - at the end of the day these are tabletop gaming models. Remember the 3 foot rule!

On to week 13 results! 

What's done...
Two models join the fleet this week - USS Pawnee and USS Calhoun. Pawnee served on the Potomac River flotilla in 1861 and remained in service for the rest of the war. 

Ready for action!

Seriously? Two wires are missing from the foremast? 

This quarter view showcases the amount of standing rigging present on the model.

USS Calhoun from Bay Area Yards.

 Calhoun has the distinction of starting service with the Confederacy before falling into Union hands. For such a small vessel, Calhoun was in the thick of the action through the war.  

What's coming along...

Work on the squadron of Union sloops continues Kearsarge moving through the paint queue while the two Lackawanna class sloops have received their armament and await touch up painting and rigging. 

USS Kearsarge from Throughbred Models.

USS Lackawanna from Bay Area Yards.

"Are we not the baddest sloops in the fleet, Lackawanna?"

"Yes we are Other Lackawanna. Yes we are."


USS Susquehanna is coming along with painting almost finished on the masts and the hull touched up after the recent red lead incident. 

The model in the rear is an old TCS casting of a blockade runner in "not-1/600" scale. a fellow gamer cut off the deck fittings using industrial equipment. The conversion was done way back in the day before Bay Area Yards existed and was far beyond the current range of Thoroughbred models available. Given the limitations of the model and the modlellers skill the result continues to serve in Ray's fleet filling in for whatever large sidewheeler  is required.

With the TCS model in the foreground. The masts are very simple posts. The mizzen mast was scrounged from a Throughbred Sassacus kit that as sacrificed for parts (but which was recently resurrected and refit - see earlier post)

USS Susquehanna and USS Miami.

Both models are from Bay Area Yards.


USS Miami is about ready to receive armament and rigging as well. 

Apparently Miami only has the single mast forward. This might be unique as I cannot point to another double ender with the same configuration.

What's in the queue...
 Finishing up the above project really leaves one big project in the queue with a couple of minor tasks to finish off the project. The big project is indeed big - Bay Area Yards USS Minnesota model. There's a bit of painting to do, then mount the formidable spar deck armament...and then the rigging.


USS Minnesota in broadside, the masts tower over the hull.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Don't try this at home ( I wish I hadn't)

In a moment of whimsy, I thought I'd try painting the red anti-fouling paint around the base of Sussquehanna. I'm not happy with the look. It seems both too bright and too large. I could try again using a carmine red and clean up the paint on the hull and the base. But I may just go back to black.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

ACW Naval status update - week 12

A quick post for this week. Good progress was made this week. Several models moved through the painting queue fairly rapidly. Rigging continues for USS Pawnee and a new unit joins the fleet!

What's completed
 One new model joined the squadron ready for action - USS Eastport. This model, from Brown Water Navy Miniatures, is a 3D printed model available via
Overhead view of the Eastport, base is styrene covered in Woodland Scenics Flexpaste and painted.

In this image you can see the deck planks that are printed into the model. A bit large for 1/600, but a nice effect.

More of a broadside shot. There are two gunports in the starboard broadside under the pilot house. The paint scheme used on this model is an effort to capture the Western Gunboat Flottila regulations for all upper works to be painted white. The muddy brown river is an attempt to model the Mississippi and the Red River waters - the typical environment in which Eastport operated.

What's in Progress
 Lot's of items in progress. Nothing left to assemble, so the work is either  painting or modelling rigging (which could count as assembly, but it feels more like finishing details.)

Painting of the Bay Area Yards model of USS Calhoun is underway.

Overview of CSS Calhoun. In hindsight, the cabin walls should have been painted before assembly. Thinking that the hogging beam needs to be repainted in a darker color.

USS Kearsarge is getting a little bit of paint. The interior walls need a second coat of white.

The twins are getting painted. Both are Bay Area Yards models of Lackawanna and her sister should be done in a week or two.

Another model from Bay Area Yards. CSS McRae is moving along. A little touch up work, then it's mount the guns and rig the masts. McRae sees service with the Mississippi River Defense Fleet at New Orleans and Head of Passes.

USS Pawnee is sucking in the wire. When done, there will be close to three feet of wire in the rigging.
This really shows off the wire rigging.

USS Pawnee is one of the many models of Union warships available from Bay Area Yards.

After languishing for years (yeah, that's right - years) USS Susquehanna is advancing toward completion.

The mizzen mast needs to be mounted in place.

USS Miami (Go Miami!) Getting her paint on. the paddle wheels may get a coat of red to celebrate the colors of her namesake university.

The model shows off the space reserved for the bow and stern semi-pivots. Most images of the Miami only depict the single mast forward. It looks a little odd, but steamboats in combat mostly relied on the steam engine for propulsion.

What's New? 
Not much - what's new with you? At this pace, the naval project may be finished by the end of April. The good news is there are two more big projects in the backlog - 25-28mm Anglo-Sikh War and the 15mm Sci-Fi / Traveller. It's a toss up as to which is next in priority. Leaning toward Sikh War if only to support a game for the fall convention season.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

ACW Naval - status update week 11

Another somewhat slow week in the yards. The week started off with a bronchial-sinus cold that sucked away the will to do much work. But towards the end of the week, the weather cleaned up enough and my energy levels bounced back enough to accomplish a few things.

What's Completed
Good news everyone! Three models can be marked as finished - CSS Patrick Henry, CSS Jamestown and USS Sassacus all have the rigging installed and are ready for the game table. Huzzah!

CSS Patrick Henry

CSS Jamestown

USS Sassacus

What's in Progress?

A fair amount of activity this week. Basically a lot of small tasks that are not yet gelling into tangible results.

CSS McRae is slowly getting painted.

USS Susquehanna had the masts assembled and mounting holes drilled out this week.

A big side wheel frigate. A nice model from Bay Area Yards.

The post from the aft mast is smaller than the other two. I drilled to hole too large and the mast rattles around a bit.

USS Miami also slowly getting painted.

USS Calhoun getting a little pigment laid on. I'm thinking a mostly gray palette for this one.

Bit of a mess right now. Painting the superstructure is a pain with the hogging beams in place.

USS Eastport getting the base coat applied. Thinking white upper works and tan/gray decks.

USS Kearsarge with a dark gray hull color applied.

Slow work on USS Pawnee. Doing a good job on the rigging adds a lot of time to the modeling process.

A Milestone! 

The two Lackawanna class sloops. The one in back is the last unassembled model in the queue. At this point every model is assembled and at least primed! Huzzah! Huzzah! 

While I was laid up this week, I spent some time reading Donald L. Caney's book Lincoln's Navy. I wish I'd read this years ago. This book is loaded with great tidbits on ship's ordnance, ship handling and rigging that all influence how a model would appear in action. Knowing what I know now, I'd go back and change details on almost every model.  Grab a copy if you find it!