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 "" 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
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.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Small Boat Actions Using Kiss Me Hardy

I am getting on with this project again. I really want to get this on the table top. I have been doing a good bit of research on one ship in particular who seems to have had a captain that was either very active or just plain unlucky to have been involved in a number of incidents throughout the AWI.

William Grant took command of the schooner St John in 1774. His presence is felt from St Augustine, to the Bahamas, to the St Mary River and all the way up to Rhode Island through out the course of the war. He appears to be an energetic captain that stopped a number of ships and participated in a few actions and several that he almost participated in.

The St John, was a schooner of 90 tons. She mounted six three-pounder guns as her main armament and an additional twelve swivel guns as well.she was nearly fifty feet in length and a beam of nearly nineteen feet. She also boasted a crew of thirty men. This qualifies her as a small ship for the adaptions that I am working on.

The scenario that I am working on is a hypothetical scenario based on a real action. In the historical action, the Georgia Navy Schooner Liberty, seized a consignment of powder from the ship Philippa (and possibly a packet ship Little Carpenter) on July 10, 1775. 16,000 pounds of gunpowder were pulled off of these ships by the Liberty and some South Carolina troops operating out of barges. The St John was in the vicinity but didn't engage the Liberty. The Philippa (and possibly Little Carpenter,) surrendered without a fight.

The Liberty was a schooner that depending on the source mounted with ten six-pounders or ten three-pounders depending on the source. She was manned with a fifty man crew and contained twenty militia aboard to act as marines.

This gives us some variety of some small ships to use. Historically, the St John missed out on the fight. The merchant men were boarded, taken to Cockspur Island and unloaded of their cargoes. But, what if the St. John showed up? That is the scenario that I will model. But what ships will I use for it?

For the Philippa, I have a very nice Brigantine in 1:300 from Sea Dog Studios. For the two South Carolina Barges, I don't really have models for them. I may represent them with a Langton Miniatures jolly boat for the time being. The jolly boat is tiny even in 1:300 scale.

The two schooners are the ones I don't currently have anything suitable. So I started looking at the Warartisan website for possibilities. We have the weight of the schooner and the number of guns she sported. In addition we have her length at nearly forty-nine feet. In 1:300 scale, this gives us a schooner of 4.9CM in length. The closest that I found was 80-90 ton gunboat with a schooner rig. However, this is over a CM too big. The next size down is a 50 to 60 ton schooner. This is a bit smaller than the historical ship but closer to what I am looking for.

For the Liberty, I can use a larger schooner. Given that there is not much details other than the number of guns availible, I choose to go with the Warartisan 12-gun schooner for the Liberty.

I started work on the ships that I had in my inventory. Starting with the Langton Miniatures British Gunboat, I assembled it without too much trouble. Then I stared with despair at the brass sails and stays. It is a nicely built boat. It's hull is a good five and a half CM in length. It sports a single mast and came with three guns. There is a carronade on a rotating slide in the aft and a long gun on a slide up front. The third gun, I had no clue what to do with it. The vessel came with crew! There are seven of them but there is no way I am going to worry with them for the moment. The tiller became a casualty. I dropped it and it appears to have fallen into a black hole. One day I might find it but I am not holding my breath.

The brass sails are nice but a real pain in the neck to deal with. In my opinion, they look mighty fragile for use on the table. I am thinking of adding a base to it for the purpose of picking it up and moving it about the table least it end up a wreck due to handling. I looked at putting on rigging. I started to put some on but gave up on it with the first.

I also assembled the Sailed launch from Langton. This comes with a single mast and a bow spirit. It also has a small gun mounted on a slide in the bow. I managed to not lose the tiller on this vessel. It came with more brass sails. This time, you are supposed to fold the brass sail in half. That did NOT work for me. The brass bent in the wrong place even though I was trying to be so very careful. It comes with a main sail and two jib sails. The main sails are east to fake with paper. The jibs are another story. The jibs come with small holes in them. I think the intent is to weave a thread through them in order to hang them on the mast and bow spirit. That makes a daunting task with my fat fingers.

The third vessel I tried to tackle today was a sailed Yawl. This kit came with two masts, a bow spirit,a tiller and sails (two main and two jibs).The sails again are daunting brass sails that have to be folded in half and the jibs need to be threaded. This on a vessel that is just a bit over two and a half centimeters in length. I have not attempted the sails or rigging.

This is where I am so far. I am pleased with my progress. I am hoping that I can get them primed shortly.

Note that NONE of the ships mentioned in the beginning of this have been worked on. I did try. Warartisan's instructions for the sloop Enterprise mentioned using 1/8th inch balsa wood. Given that I didn't bother to read the instructions, I printed and cut out the first bits and mounted them to the balsa. That is when I noticed that it would be WAY too thick for such a small vessel. I tried to trim the pieces in half but it is still too thick. The instructions call for 4-ply Bristol board. I have no idea what that is but I think I can get it at Hobby Lobby at some point.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The odd career of HM Schooner St John

While working on my Raid on Nassau campaign, the only British Naval vessel present at Nassau was the schooner St John. Under its commander Lieutenant William Grant, it managed to take off over 100 barrels of gunpowder safely to St Augustine in British Florida. In trying to find out more information on this ship, I started to Google it and found out that I had already written a scenario featuring this ship off the coast of Georgia in 1775. July 10th, 1775, the St John was waiting for a consignment of gun powder (I sense a theme here) due to arrive to Georgia. Waiting off of Tybee Island, the St John was trying to find the merchant vessel Phillipa. Instead, the Phillipa was intercepted by the South Carolina Navy and Georgia continentals.

The next appearance I found for her was in Rhode Island where she was fired upon by rebels who had taken For George near Newport. In 1764, the St John was suspected of having stolen a local merchant's goods. The locals were incensed by the passage of the Sugar tax earlier that year. The guns on Fort George fired on the St John who was able to slip away.

Then I came across an electronic copy of Naval Documents of the American Revolution, Volume 5, Part 5. It has the St John anchored in the St Mary's river in June through July of 1776. The St Mary's is on the border of Georgia and Florida giving the border its odd shape in the northeastern corner of Florida. Before that, in May 21st, 1776 she took on a detachment of the 16th Regiment of Foot in St Augustine. Apparently it was a company under a Captain Graham. The

According to Wikipedia, the St John was condemned in 1777. Altogether it was an interesting career that I hope to shed more light on by reviewing other volumes of the Naval Documents of the American Revolution.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Converting Vacation into Scenarios

I was blessed to be able to go on a real vacation last week. My family went on a wonderful cruise. One stop was Nassau, Bahamas. A quick trip through my memory banks revealed that there was something that happened here during the American War of Independence. So I started to research it while in harbor.

At the time of the Raid, it was known as New Providence. In 1776, the town had a pair of forts guarding it. Fort Nassau within the town and Fort Montagu on east of the town. Period maps show Fort Nassau on a hill. Also the Governor's House was also on a hill of some note. Looking at the island from the cruise ship, the hills are more slight rises rather than the high hills of the map. Note the map is upside down with north at the bottom of the map.

From the ship, the area looks like this. This is the where Fort Nassau would have stood.

I managed to find a drawing of what Fort Nassau looked like. (Can't remember where I found it.)

This is the direction towards the Governor's House.

This is the direction towards Fort Montagu which still stands.

There are several sites that feature images of Fort Montagu. Here are a couple that I have gathered.

Across from the town of Nassau is Hog Island. It has been renamed to Paradise Island and is home to the Atlantis Resort now. Given the prices charged by the resort, Hog Island seems more appropriate.

The action took place on March 3rd and 4th. A force of Continental Marines and sailors landed on the eastern side of the island. Their force consisted of some 200 marines and fifty sailors. The town had a paper force of some two to three hundred militia. The regular troops had been taken off the island and were in service in America. Raising the militia was not a simple process and during the course of the action, only a hundred to a hundred and fifty men showed up to serve.

The action consisted of a small party of militia manning Fort Montagu and firing three shots at the marines then spiking the guns and leaving the fort. The next day, the town surrendered to the landing party. The town was under Continental control for two weeks before they left.

The action was underwhelming from a scenario point of view. There is a considerable amount of potential for action though. What I take away from the descriptions of the action is that the Governor seemed to have been doing his best to hinder the defense of the town rather than enhance it. Yet, the Governor was taken captive and hauled off in chains into captivity. Among his complaints were that the Continental Marines and Sailors had consumed his entire liquor supply while taking off the military stores of the town's forts.

There was only one King's ship at the town, the schooner St John. It and a merchant vessel (not sure what type or size) were able to pull out most of the powder stores before the capture of the forts. The governor had prevented the St John from opposing the landings or engaging the small American Fleet. When Fort Nassau did fire warnings to alert the town of the American Fleet presence, the fort was in such a poor state of repair that two of the guns broke free from their positions.

But, this does give a possibility to create a hypothetical campaign based on a defense that could have been. I am working on just such a thing.