Friday, September 21, 2018

1940 French for Chain of Command

I had a chance to make a break for it and check out my troops. Honestly, I was in much better shape than I thought I was in. I have an entire infantry platoon painted including the VB launcher team. The downside is nothing is based. That is not too bad as I can do the whole force at once to ensure they look the same.

Next up I needed to know what types of supports that I had. Going through the support list for the regular platoon I founr that I had quite a few items already painted. In terms of troops, I had six, Renault R35s, one FT-17 w/ 37mm gun, two 25mm AT Guns and crews, a 60mm Mortar and crew, a 75mm infantry gun, a pair of Hotchkiss MMGs, a forward observer team, and two 47mm anti-tank guns. I was pretty impressed with what I had availible.

None of the tanks that I have area actually painted. I have been intimidated by camouflage schemes. I will have to press on and get those done. I also have some Char B1 Bis tanks (3) and a few others.

But I am short a few items. I need 4 more riflemen to field an additional squad. That is solved by Peter Pig. I don't have a motorcycle squad but Flames of War sells that. The items that are problematic are a sniper, an AA MG, and engineers. I think I found a solution for the engineers. Irregular miniatures offers open handed french troops and troops carrying ammo cans. These should be able to tart up to fill in engineer functions. For the AA MG, I can probably get another mmg and modify it. But I may just do without that.

Plenty to do but in better shape than I thought.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Chain of Command Blitzkreig Supplement

Well Rich has done it again. Another fantastic supplement that has captured my imagination and is dragging me from one of five unfinished projects. I haven't had the opportunity to rummage through my figures drawers yet and see what I have in figures for this supplement but I am sure I have quite a few.

I really want to round out my French force. I have most of a platoon but just lacked the VB launchers. I had bought some from Peter Pig but I can't remember if I painted them. I had a huge French force in 6mm that I sold off. I have a few bits of armor in 15mm that I need to review. I am pretty sure that there are some FT-17s. For some reason I really like that tank. I just have no idea what is painted.

The supplement offers plenty of options for some really interesting troop types. I may end up buying some more lead to field some North African troops.

For the BEF, I have plenty of figures. I am sure I have close to two platoons worth of Infantry with much of it painted. I have a good bit of armor as well but that is only partially painted. I doubt I will need to do much to field them. What I am lacking is engineering options which is my complaint across the board for 15mm. I can probably modify some late war troops for it if I feel up to it.

My Germans are ready to go. What I would like are some infantry with older weapons. There were reserve and security units that fielded older LMGs up into 1942 for the second battle of Kharkov. It would be neat to have some. Just not sure how different those weapons would look in 15mm.

I do have a sizable Italian force that is ready for the table. I am just lacking in good accounts of any actions fought by them in France. Most are high level and dismissive of that particular side show.

Sadly, I don't think I will look into getting Dutch or Belgian troops. While they are very interesting and in 6mm I used to have some Belgians, I just can't justify the cost of adding in those forces nor spending the time to paint them. I need to get troops on the table from armies I already have.

Hopefully, we will have a Summer Special out soon that will have more support for this wonderful supplement.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Fleet Expands

I just picked up some new ships.

First up is a schooner modeled on the HMS Pickle. The schooner has 12 gun ports but did not come with twelve guns. It did come with a jolly boat on the deck. I will probably pick up another couple of guns to finish out the ship. The masts were in pretty good shape. I think it is in pretty good shape. It lacks the lower booms for the main and foresail. But that could get in the way of putting miniatures on the deck. I'll get pictures at some point. The ones I took were pretty bad.

Next is a 6mm twelve-gun cutter. I only bought the hull. It is a 3d printed hull and looks sharp. I need to create the masts and spars for it. It will need significant work to get it on the table.

Lastly, I picked up two 6mm ships boats. These things are tiny but needed for a couple of scenarios I am planning. I am still deciding on how I will paint them.

In addition to that, I have started work on the War Artisan galley. I will be working on this as a Xebec type of vessel. I have managed to rough out the hull shape and that's about it.

I hope to get more done soon.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Kiss Me Hardy for Below the Rate

I have been working on a title for this as I wrap up the text. I have completed the supplement and have moved on to the editing phase. So far the supplement is 91 pages, has fifteen scenarios, a campaign guide and the rule modifications for ships below the rate.

It is designed for small vessels below the rate. But it can be used for frigate actions. That will involve significantly more dice to roll though. You could take this and recreate the action of HMS Speedy (a brig) against the El Gamo (Spanish Xebec Frigate). It can also be used for sailed ships boats with a single light gun mounted in its bows. Once scenario features pilot boats armed with only swivel guns engaging.

What I lacked was a working title. As I posted before, my working title of Small Warriors, stinks. I think I found a title that I like. Using the original rules as a guide, I started surfing the web for Nelson quotes. once I filtered out the quotes from the Simpson's character, I think I stumbled on a winner. My current title contender is To Covet Glory.

This is from the quote by Nelson where he said, "My greatest happiness is to serve my gracious King and Country and I am envious only of glory; for if it be a sin to covet glory I am the most offending soul alive." I found this on: Brainy Quote.

Running out to Deposit Photos, I purchased the rights to a nice image that I am using for my cover. This is what I have come up with.

i am still willing to throw this away for something better, but for the moment, I am happy with it.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Kiss Me Hardy for Below the Rate

I am now at the 90% point with it and am struggling with the title. At the moment, the working title is "Small Warriors: Modifications to Kiss Me Hardy for Ships under the Rate." I don't like it. My next runner up is "Sloops of War: Modifications to Kiss Me Hardy for Ships under the Rate." The subtitle is really not that important to me and can be changed around as needed. But the title is weak right now.

I have a nice image of a schooner sailing for the cover. The same artist that I grabbed for my newest cover for a fiction book I should release early next month. It is not a battle scene but still a nice image. The full image also has another vessel at anchor but I am just using part of it. The license only allows me to sell a limited number of hard copies but that is far more books than all of my scenario sales combined so it should be fine.

I need to select a title before posting an image of the cover.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Kiss Me Hardy for Small Ships

Progress is going on the text so far. I have 14 historical scenarios fleshed out. The one I added at the end seemed like an interesting find. It was an action on March 14th, 1808 between the Danish Brig Lougen and the HM Brig Childers. The Childers was operating in Norwegian waters and had taken the galliot Christina as prize in a harbor. On exiting the harbor, it met up with the Lougen. In a three hour chase, the Lougen ran down the Childers and captured her. The Childers was slightly short of its normal compliment of 80 men having put men into the Christina as a prize crew. The Danish brig, however, had a huge compliment on board at the time with around 160 men instead of her normal compliment of 85.

This was a fun find as it was not the usual British v French or British v American actions that I had been finding. I think it will be a fun action. Edit: In looking back over this for the scenario, the Childers was not captured but was nearly sunk. She had five feet of water in her hold. It is unclear how badly damaged the Danish brig was damaged in the fight.

Monday, July 30, 2018

First Paper Ship - A 12 gun schooner

I managed to complete my first paper ship from Warartisan. It was his lovely 12 gun Schooner. It actually was a bit easier than I anticipated. The sails were trickier than I anticipated and I had to do the jib sails twice before I had it right. What it lacks is rigging. His rigging system is actually simple - or so it seems right now. I have not applied them yet as the only thread I had to make them out of was white and after handing and gluing it, I thought better of it. I really don't want to have to paint it.

Basically, you hang the thread with a weight at the end, then run PVA glue along it and let it dry. Then cut the thread into useful lengths and store until you need it. It is a brilliant idea. I just need to find time to get some black cotton thread.

Anyway, here is my first effort so far. It is good enough to put on the table as is but I think I will add some rigging. Warartisan notes that the rigging adds a significant amount of strength to the model.

Note that the ship has no guns on the deck. He provides cannon that can be put together. However, that seemed too daunting a task for me to attempt and I skipped that step. I would have ended up with every finger glued together. I may try it at some point, just not now.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Better Pictures

Well the last pictures of my Langton fleet were... poor to say the least. I did a bit better this time. I broke out my blue felt and some rocks I have painted up.

For perspective, I also photographed them with some of my Sea Dog Miniatures ships. First up is the six gun Bermuda Sloop.

then I pictured them with the assembled but unpainted 10 gun brigantine.

After taking the picture, I got disappointed in having not finished the Brigantine. So I started work on it today. And managed to finish it even though I was supposed to be working on one of the Warartisan paper ships.

The ships are just about right in scale with one another. The Sea Dog ones have thicker spars than the tiny Langton ones and Don't really have a sail plan for them. But this is due to how Sea Dog expects them to be used. Their philosophy is that whatever sails you place on your model, 90% of the time, they will be wrong for what your ship is actually doing. Also, to represent damage in their game, you simply remove the masts that have been damaged. Having rigging prevents this from happening. Thereby the ships are more representational. But you can still see that the jolly boat would have no issue being placed on davits aboard the brigantine or on the sloop. The launch is for a slightly larger vessel such as their 18 gun brig of war. That is another ship I have that I need to get to work on at some point. Of the remaining 6mm line that Sea Dog has, I have a second Bermuda Sloop (6 guns) and their buccaneer sloop (8 guns). I do not have one of their 8 gun flush deck sloops nor the small boats. I may end up ordering some of the small boats sometime soon.

Speaking of Sea Dog, I am trying to purchase some more 15mm ships from them. Thus far, I have his Buccaneer Sloop and the Tripoli gun boat. I am talking with them about some of their older offerings and may have something in a week or two. More on that later.

But for now, I have enough small ships to get in a couple games of KMH with my adaptions to see how things go.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Painted ships

I managed to get my Langton ships painted up. Well, almost. The yawl is frustrating me. I should have fixed the sails to the masts before gluing the masts to the hull. The largest is the British gunboat. Next is the Launch armed with a bow gun. Next is the yawl with the jolly boat being the smallest.

I am not happy with my deck color. But I will keep it for now. I started to work on a small schooner from Warartisan today as well. Not made it very far. I'll try to get a group shot of my 1/300th age of sail navy tomorrow.

Small KMH Continued

I managed to open up the sailed Jolly Boat that I bought from Langton miniatures. It is really tiny. Just a little over a centimeter in length with a small mast and a single square sail. I think I know how to get past the issues I am having with the twin masted yawl that I have now. I am having great difficulty gluing the sails in place. For the jolly boat, I will glue the sail to the mast before gluing the mast to the hull. That should allow it to work better. I will also prime everything first instead of assembling then priming. Who knows, I might learn something after all.

The jib sails for the Yawl are daunting at the moment. I have managed to thread them and they are ready to be attached to the foremast and bow spirit. But they are so very small. The sails have to be attached first and I have had no luck in doing so to this point.

I have a fully assembled Sea Dog 10 gun Brigantine that just needs paint. I have no idea what to paint it yet.

I have details for the SC Navy Sloop Defense. It was a two masted ship that was schooner rigged. Pierced for 16 guns yet typically mounted 10 guns of varying calibers. Trying to figure out what to use for her. The ship was 60' in length. In 1:300 scale, it should be just a hair over 6 cm in length. There is a Warartisan 12-gun schooner that could do. Painting it will be tricky as it will be a paper miniature but it should work.

I have purchased some drawing board that I hope is about as thick as 4-ply Bristol board. I will try it out this week. The 1/8th balsa was far to thick for the small schooners.

In working out how to handle the rules, I have ventured down a rabbit hole of making a campaign system out of it. I am trying to research out what typical crews would be for the various vessels. Given the enormous varieties of vessels and how they were manned by various nations, this will largely be made up, I fear.

Here is my starting points. I have information on the HMS Indefatigable. It was a 46-gun frigate of 344 men. 190 were landlubbers and seamen. 54 were marines, 29 were ships boys, 10 were midshipmen, 4 were lieutenants and of course the captain. This leaves us with 56 men that were petty officers of all types. The second ship I am using is the HMS Pickle, the small schooner that delivered the news of the victory at Trafalgar. This was a 10-gun ship of 127 tons. I found the price of the ship at £2,500. While equipped for 10 guns, she was armed with six carronades. From the details offered in the article "http://www.ageofnelson.org/pdf/Lapenotiere.pdf" the small ship had a lieutenant that was replaced later with a master's mate. The whole crew was a mere 35 men. The captain lamented that he was not given his authorized marine compliment. It was an unhappy ship as the article relates as he had senior hands that deserted.

For the purpose of the campaign, I am tracking on each ship: landlubbers, seamen (ordinary and able), marines, officers and value. The seamen are figured at 1/3rd of the number of men (landlubbers plus seamen) that are needed to sail the ship. The marines are the men serving as marines. This could be soldiers aboard as such or actual marines. The officers are not just the commissioned officers but those able to serve as masters for a prize. This would be masters mates, lieutenants and some midshipmen. Figuring out just how the crew breaks down, I am going with the following percentages based off of the Indefatigable's crew breakdown. This is just a first stab at things and will doubtlessly change.

HMS Pickle

Men 55.23%Marines 15.69%Ships Boys 8.43%Midshipmen 2.90%Lieutenants 1.16%Petty Officers 16.28%
19 (6 seamen)6 3106
Totaling these gets us our ships compliment of 35. But it was noted that the Pickle didn't have any marines. Those 6 men would get rolled into the total number of men. So there would be 8 seamen and 16 landlubbers. To figure out the number of officers that can be placed into a prize we have to get creative. Add the number of midshipmen and the number of petty officers and take 1.3rd of that number. Then add the number of lieutenants. That gives us 2 officers to use for prize crews. The ship's boys are basically extras that are needed for various tasks but unnecessary for the purpose of the campaign. So our ship would look like this:

Ship TypeGunsTotal CrewMarinesLandsmenSeamenOfficersValue
Schooner103501682£2500
So for the campaign, the captain of the Pickle is ordered to patrol an area of the Mediterranean coastline near the French Riviera. (I am currently reading Dewey Lambdin's Kings Commander and that is where it takes place.) His ship is shallow drafted enough to work closely inshore but he wants to increase his likelihood of snatching up a prize. He can do several things. Take a small ship to act as a tender. Buy a small ship to act as a tender. Recruit from a friendly or neutral port to increase his crew in the event of taking a prize.

These are just ideas I am batting around. Hopefully it will start to coalesce into something that makes sense.