Saturday, July 28, 2012

Six-Bitters and the Prohibition

     No, I am not talking about a type of beer. During the Prohibition the US Coast Guard needed to patrols the coastal waters around the US to try to stop the Rum-Runners from bring in illegal booze. They found themselves to be painfully short of vessels that could fulfill this requirement. To meet the need they placed bids for over 200 patrol vessels from a number of different boatyards on both coasts. The requirements were to be seventy-five feet overall length carry a crew of eight men for several days at sea, to have very good sea-keeping ability and be able to maintain a good head of speed in rough weather. The ships they had built served through the Prohibition and then through the Second World War. Some served into the 50's and a few are still sailing as private vessels.

one of the originals

Monday, July 16, 2012

28mm Torpedo Gunboat Completed

     It seems that either I am getting better at this stuff or the smaller models go a lot faster (probably a combination of both). Here is the completed Torpedo Gunboat. She is a sleek little boat compared to her larger, more powerful brethren, but make no mistake, she packs a lethal punch.  With one fixed bow tube and three more on flexible mounts this vessel has a deadly sting.

     The build was straightforward except for the turtleback deck forward. In retrospect I should have built a frame out of wood like a balsa airplane model, as it was I went through a lot of card trying to cut some to fit a conical section onto the front of the model. I made smaller guns to represent the 4" QF guns commonly found on such vessels, and I built the Vickers style torpedo tubes out of a used .22cal pistol cartridge and a paper tube and a wood turning. The smokestacks are rolls of card and the companionway is a block of balsa wrapped in card.

the family photo, it seems each new boat has less yellow in it

3/4 front view, the fixed above-water launch tube can be seen in the bow

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Book Review, Amber Books Great War Series

     Being an avowed maven of the Great War I must admit that these books from Amber Books UK took me by surprise. I have spent the last twenty years collecting First War books, maps, and weapons but I had not encountered these items in the flesh until this past spring,. I do admit that I very much tend to shy away from "coffee table" books as they are usually collections of the same couple of hundred photos that have all been seen before, I found these while shopping at Half-Price Books in metro San Antonio (we have no such marvels here in Michigan) and only picked them up on account of their being on sale. Once I had looked inside I spent the next ten minutes looking for more.

28mm Torpedo gunboat nearly done

     I had a little free time this weekend and knocked together this Torpedo Gunboat. While it is not yet done I couldn't resist posting a picture or two.

with three 4" guns and four torpedo tubes this small vessel packs a punch

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Schedule Change!!!!

The game for Saturday 14JUL12 has been cancelled due to changes in my work schedule.

You are free to play elsewhere of course, but don't show up at my place; I won't be there!

Perry's Mercenaries

     I had been contemplating picking up some more metal Middle Ages minis until I heard that the Perry Brothers were going into plastic. When this set was announced I knew I needed to get them. Cast in the same gray plastic as their other products, and with the same attention to quality as well, these are flash-free and nearly devoid of mold-lines. They provide a good mix of troop-types and weapons and have the easy, natural posing that one has come to expect from a Perry sculpt. A superb bit of work in all.
front box art

Victrix Athenians 28mm Hoplites

     I had promised myself that I would not buy any more 28mm plastic figures until I had gotten a box or two painted and on the gaming table. It seems that I am not so good at keeping promises, at least not the ones I make to myself! I knew I needed to buy these the moment I laid eyes on them, even though I already had the Hoplite figures from Immortal as well as their version of Spartans and a box or two of Wargames Factory Heavy Hoplites  on top of the couple of hundred metals one (thankfully those are painted). I employed the same logic that my wife uses; "They are so cheap that they are a bargain even if I don't need them" at less than a dollar a figure they certainly are a good value for the money.

box art is good, decent artwork plus photos of the actual figures

Fleet Review

     OK, Ok you can probably call it some sort of disorder. I like to scratch-build large models of warships, not those fiddly scale model ones, wargaming models that evoke the spirit if the time without getting in a sweat as to how many rivets there are on a companionway hatch. I confess that I have been doing this off-and-on for years. Below you will find photographic evidence.

           Above you see the products of my disorder. I will start in chronological order; lower right is the steamer that I built way back when we were just beginning to play colonials (I had just watched Khartoum - steamers were a big thing in that movie), next is the turret ship (clearly influenced by the H.M.S. Devastation) followed by the fleet of little ships, two light torpedo baots, two heavy ones, an "old-fashioned" torpedo-launching boat (dead-center in the picture) and a "stealth" fast torpedo boat (all black, just nearer than the old-fashioned one), in the lower left we find the steam-powered submarine in it's sufaced and submerged modes and, last but not least, we find the Molly McGuire on the far left she is Mad Mike O'Hara's personal rivercraft. You are probably familiar with the two charaters in the very back, the as yet unamed Armored and Protected Cruisers.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Protected Cruiser Almost Finished

     I finished the boat in one push, there was not as much railing as I first thought. I took the advice from commenters here and at TMP and weathered the hull; they were right, it looks much better (now I have to go back and re-paint the hull of the Armored Cruiser, drat!). I still have to weather the upper structures, I am thinking that a wash of a red-brown with a touch of gray-black grunge would do the trick.

3/4 forward view, I now wish that I had made the con smaller so that the
smokestack could be further forward; ahhh, live and learn

3/4 rear view, I finally got the boats done, they weren't much work actually,
 just a bit of balsa and some index card

Friday, July 6, 2012

Protected Cruiser scratchbuilt

     I haven't posted on this build as I was doing it, I didn't want to bore everybody with another, very similar, series of step-by-step articles. In this post I will point out the things that I did different and my reasons for doing so. I started out with another blue-board hull and added a lower section that has a distinct "tumblehome" ( the inward leaning of the lower hull, I have no idea why it is called tumblehome) to get a more exotic look. From there it was a pretty standard build except that I kept this one in sub-assemblies until the very end. This made things much easier as I could work on one bit while another was drying and it made handling the model far less fiddly.

     I hope you enjoy this as much as I did, I think a colonial gunboat is in the offing.

the major components build and test-fitted together

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Quick, but dull, hills

     Having made dramatic hills for the GorkaMorka campaign I have been bombarded with complaints about the lack of gentle slopes for the Orky things to drive over (apparently they are not satisfied with driving over my Grotz all of the time). To solve this crisis I grabbed my hot-wire cutter and a pile of blue-board and set to   making some dunes and gently sloping hills.

as so often happens I got distracted, 
a pile of off-cuts looked (to me) like a pile of boulders, 
so I stopped and made them look more like a pile of boulders

Toy Store find

     One of the most interesting things about this hobby is that you can find useful items nearly anywhere. Toy stores and garage sales are two very productive venues. Most of the stuff is dross, but if you dig a little, you can find some very interesting things. Recently I was wandering around in the toy section of a local store when I stumbled across this:

six guns for five bucks, plus a dozen spoked wheels for other projects, not bad!