Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Trafalgar Project - French 74 Gun Ship - Héros

Just a quick update today as the ship painting continues ...

I've completed my next ship, the Héros.  The Héros is a French 3rd rate ship of the line with 74 guns.

Painted By:  Jay White

This one painted up much faster than my first one as I had expected.  However, I had to repaint the sides as I wasn't happy with the first colour I used for the French "wine" (red-brown) colour.  Very happy with the results of this ship.  Next up will be the French flagship, which I will be adding a string of signal flags (I'll do this for all the flagships).

Scale is 1/300 - hull is from Old Glory.  Sails and gun ports are 3D printed.

Pictures below ... enjoy!

(3rd Rate, 74 Guns)

The Héros pulls along side of the Spanish 1st rate ship Rayo.

Another angle.



Thursday, July 12, 2018

Beat To Quarters! - 1/300 Scale Napoleonic Naval Rules

Ahoy there!  I've got more for you today.  I've struggled with various sets of of naval rules over the years.  Unfortunately, the style of gaming I like --- a good mix of fun, fast but still somewhat accurate (but abstracted) just doesn't really exist IMO for Napoleonic naval.  At this point, having done a lot with Empires at War and This Hallowed Ground (which needs an update to align with Empires at War), I feel really good about the core mechanics being used in the rules I use.  So, I went ahead and wrote my own for naval now ... and here they are --- version 1.2.

Note:  Version 1.2 --- I'm still play testing through all this.  Happy to take any feedback anyone has if they try out the rules.

Rules can be downloaded here.

Pictures below of the sheets ...

I've included a page that has "right sized" templates for use in the game ... along with a table for random events (below).

I've also done up a quick "ship card" that would be used to track damage for the ships.  The excellent Adam Clark will be laser cutting these out for me ... so the D6's will fit into the board ... super cool!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Trafalgar Project - The Spanish Fleet Sails!

Ahoy matey!  I've made a ton of progress on my Trafalgar project.  The first ship was an experiment in many different approaches to assembling and painting.  Since I have a lot of ships to do I needed an approach that didn't result in my taking hours upon hours to paint my ships.

Alas, the first ship I plucked out of the pile is the Spanish 1st rate ship Rayo (100 guns).  This is among the largest ships for the battle.  However, while most of the ships are 3rd rate (74 gun), the length isn't that much shorter than the Rayo ... they just generally have fewer decks.

All ships are 1/300 scale (6mm) from Old Glory Miniatures.

So, what approach was used for this ship that will make all that come after it easier?  Read on ...

The Spanish 1st Rate - Rayo
(Painted by Jay White)

The first is that the masts and sails are 3D printed (see STL file picture below).  If I didn't have these, I'd be spending hours assembling masts and doing sails.  Now, I just print them off and paint them up separately (takes about 15-20 minutes per mast - that includes the sails) - then, glue them into the holes and presto ... hours upon hours saved just right there!  Also, the plastic (PLA) used to print the sails is extremely durable when it comes to accidental touches ... very forgiving where the metal is very much not.

But wait ... there's more!

3D printed sails.

A closer look at the rigging.

The rat lines are easy, I used the metal ones that come with the ship.  The most excellent Adam Clark has laser cut them out of a black rubber ... which once again leverages the miracles of technology to make something that is more durable and doesn't even need to be painted!  While he has shipped me some, they have not arrived ... so for now I'm using the metal ones ... which honestly are not bad at all (just spray black, cut them down and bam!).

Sailing away.

For the base I used 1mm plasticard.  The back of the base is square so that the ship can use the turning template and straight line measurement can be carried out.  The rest of the base is just irregularly formed around the hull of the ship.  I used Woodland Scenics water effects for the water texture.  I also used the water effects to hold the name plate in place for the back of the base.  Once dry it holds it just like glue.

Look out - it's coming right for us!

Painting the sails is easy.  I base spray the 3D printed masts with Zandri Dust from GW.  After painting the masts (GW Zemesi Desert and Black), I use a flattened out medium tank brush (I cut the tip off to give the end of the brush a square shape) and streak the white across the sail horizontally ... following the shape of the sail.  I just keep building up the streaks until I get a nice texture, with some of the Zandri Dust base coat showing through.

But the Old Glory ships don't come with gun ports --- only the cannon barrels?  Yes, that is true.  I 3D printed gun ports!  You can see them in the picture above lining the sides of the ship.  The plastic ends up holding the metal barrels really well ... very solid.

3D printed gun ports.  At 6mm, they are tiny ... I wasn't able
to get the gun barrel included.  But, no worries, the metal
ones actually work really well on them.

Ship with gun ports installed ... I put the barrels on later.

I did up a sheet of my own flags and streaming pennants for the Spanish and French (will do the British shortly).  Gotta have flags!

The Spanish pennant steams in the wind.

The deck was easy.  Base coat of Zemesi Desert, Sepia wash, then a drybrush of 50/50 Zemesi Desert and Screaming Skull.

Closer view of the name plate.

A tip my buddy Roy picked up on the rigging.  Don't use cotton thread, instead buy viskose thread as it lasts much longer and is more durable.  I didn't go crazy with the rigging ... really just did a very basic set of it but it adds to the overall effect.

Side view showing the rigging lines.

So there you have it - the first of the Spanish fleet.  My next ship is a French 3rd rate (74 gun).  I expect this ship to go much faster now that I've figured everything out.  I also have finished the first revision of the rules and will post those up for those that are curious in a separate post.  I've called the rules "Beat to Quarters!"

Stay tuned!

Friday, June 22, 2018

1/300 Scale Napoleonic Naval?

Why would anyone do 1/300 scale Napoleonic naval?  Why, because it is big and awesome looking!  Frankly, I've tried to do the 1/1200 ships ... I really have ... to small and dinky for my liking!

PICTURE CREDIT:  Adam Clark (http://adam-clark.com)

Adam Clark made his way out to join me and the group at KublaCon.  There he planted an idea - to do the Battle of Trafalgar --- in 1/300 scale!  That idea has festered into a full blown project.

Roy and myself essentially have ordered all the ships at this point (they arrive Monday).  We are using the hulls from Old Glory and 3D printed sail sets (so we don't have to use the metal sets that come with the ships - makes things far easier and actually much more durable).  We are using deck guns for the top decks from Langton Miniatures.

Roy has all the British ships and I have all the French/Spanish ships.  In total we'll be fielding about 70 ships all together (every ship present > frigates and larger).

I've also developed my own fast-play set of naval rules that are promising.  Need to play test them a bit at the moment but mostly solid I think.  I'm using my 1/1200 ships from Sails of Glory at the moment to test those rules.

I'll be using the Volleyfire LED lights from Warlord Games --- turning them sideways, spraying white ... they are just the perfect length to use for LED broadsides!  I think the LED flickering tea lights will do well for fires onboard ships as well ... this looks promising!

Adam of course already has some ships with him over in Sweden.  He shared the pictures below with me ... all 1/300th scale ... using the 3D printed mast/sail sets.

More to come on this front.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

KublaCon 2018 Report

I've returned from another KublaCon.  This is the bay area's largest gaming convention by far - and it was nice to see a marked expansion in attendance - up by several hundred people I'm told.  While still not massive, the convention is now pulling in 4,000 people and consumes two hotels.

"Sauced" during Waterloo :-)

Combined picture of the three main
miniatures games we hosted/played

Personally I had an absolute blast - staying longer than I normally do.  Generally I arrive early Friday AM and leave late Sunday - but I staying through Monday AM this time - and even considered going on Thursday night, although I couldn't get away that early this year (the convention runs from Thursday afternoon to Monday afternoon).

We hosted/played Bunker Hill (AWI), Waterloo (Napoleonic's), and Kursk (WW2) - as well as many boardgames.  More on these in a sec ...

The new and excellent surprise hit for me for the weekend was a new game called Giant Killer Robots.  My buddy Dan Kerrick funded this through the Kickstarter and so we dove right into this game first thing upon arrival on Friday.

While not technically miniatures, it is a boardgame that uses miniatures :-)  If you haven't tried this game out you are really missing out.  This is potentially the best boardgame I've played in current memory.  The rules are well done and the game plays easily but with good tactical options.  Miniatures are pre-painted and the game components are top notch!

Just the right mix for my style.

Essentially, in the future cities need to be destroyed to make way for new construction.  Corporations are hired to do this using massive mechs and drones ... but why not make a sport out of it?  So, while wrecking the cities, paint sponsor logos on things and fight against the other corporations to win.  So, robot fighting arena with marketing.

Ok ... enough ... on to the pictures!

While I took many pictures - a special thanks to John Lantz and Alan Sissenwein for sharing pictures with me to include in this post.

Bunker Hill - June 17, 1775

Matt Hilzendrager from our group put together a game for the battle of Bunker Hill that was inspired by Pat over at Wargaming with Silver Whistle.  Matt has some plans to expand the troops and scenario for PacifiCon in September - but this was an outstanding first run of the game.

We used a modified set of rules based on Brother Against Brother.  While the British has a steady advanced, and the patriots took heavy casualties, the British got the worst of it and while they did make it to the hill they couldn't hold on to it.

28mm - mix of models from Foundry and Perry Miniatures.

Waterloo - June 18, 1815

The Waterloo Group

Waterloo.  It ran *exceptionally* well this time and I credit that to the players.  We had 20 players who all started with us at 11:30AM and ended with us at 9:30PM.  That includes a 1 hour food break and a couple of shorter snack breaks.  We played to completion - call it 7.5-8 hours of actual gameplay.

I would have started earlier, but the tables didn't get configured correctly and some administrative measures had to be taken to rearrange some things.  That delayed me by about 1 hour - and the game is a 2 hour setup so I missed my 10AM start time as a result.  Nonetheless, the players all stayed engaged throughout and we had a great time.

Rules: Empires At War ... this is a free download from my blog here ... see downloads on the right-hand side of the page (in the full web version, mobile site doesn't show the side bar).

Roy (left), John (center), and myself (right)

The most excellent John Lantz surprised Roy and I with Napoleonic hats - a British Shako for Roy and a bicorn for myself.  This is was amazing and a total surprise that made my day!  THANKS JOHN LANTZ!

At the end of the game we took the group picture above and I took everyone to the bar and bought a round of drinks - what better way to end than that?!

Whoops, port rations taking effect ...
Napoleon ... or a pirate? ;-)  Arrrgghhh!

But where's all the port?!

Finding common ground with the enemy ... lol

Not that I needed more booze - cause I had a steady intake of port rations during the battle - as can be witnessed above :-)

28mm miniatures - mix of Front Rank, Perry Miniatures, and some Warlord Games.  Buildings are from Hovels.


John Lantz ran this game for Kursk using Bolt Action with group activation.  I ran the Panzer 4 unit ... poorly!  I bought new dice and it still didn't help!  The German advanced was slow, until Russian artillery started dropping every turn ... then the pace of engagement quickened ;-)

A lone German Tiger made it into the town - which was the objective - only to be promptly blown up by Russian anti-tank dogs!  LOL!!!

Last action and roll of the game ... Russian mine dogs attack the one Tiger tank that made it into town and rolled a 6!  Kaboom!!!  And the crowd went wild ...

Other Games

Here is a mix of other gaming that I encountered throughout the weekend.

Demo games for Blood and Plunder

I played the new version of Epic Spell Wars - in which I took on the roll of "Rear Admiral Pat Mehiny" - and during which I got a card called "President Asshole" ... which is clearly Trump spewing poop all over lady liberty.  I'd laugh if it wasn't so ... ummm ... current.

Below is an impressive setup and game for Mordhiem.

I played in a chariot racing game.  I've concluded I'm a terrible charioteer.

This was an epic weekend and overdue for many reasons.  I saw some long time friends, some friends I've not seen for some time - and it was awesome!  I'm already looking forward to next year.  But, before that is PacifiCon --- and more gaming in the man cave!