Friday, October 30, 2009

British Frigates in process

Here are the first two british frigates HMS Aeolus and HMS Shannon with the main colors blocked out on the hull and sails.

A good beginning but a long ways to go.

While I was working on the HMS Aeolus I noticed the gun details (see the last picture). So what colors were the gun carriages and were the wheels a different color? Hmm.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Terrain

Over the last couple of months I have been upgrading some of my full size terrain.

Here is the previous piece setup as near flood stage.

And here is the new one setup as a fall dry creek bed.

Actually this is a bridge that crosses a creek/ditch in my backyard.  As all good home improvement projects this started as a "replace a couple of boards and level it" to a complete redesign including adding new concrete pilings and all new approaches and decking.
Working on this has been limiting my time to work on miniatures, but now it is done!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Langton Ships

This is the Langton NA5 USS Congress 38 gun frigate fresh from the package.

This is the Langton NA1 USS Constitution 44 gun frigate. 


Here is one of the Langton NB15 British 32 gun frigates with the SF-M-ES1A cast metal sails.  We will be using it for the HMS Aeolus.

These are three of the ships for the event that my Dad and I are planning to run next spring.

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Pro or Con convention

Saturday (Oct 24, 2009) I went to Pro or Con in Dearborn Michigan (  Pro or Con is a 1 1/2 day convention (Friday night and Saturday).  I went for Saturday afternoon to play in the DBA tournament that John Lawitzke was running.  I have played in 3 of John's tournaments and he was the person to teach me the "new" 2.2 rules.  As usual I took my Norman army (III/51) which I choose to play as West Frankish, because they are the same army with a lower aggression (2 vs. 3).  I hoped that this might help me get to defend for once.  So far I have been the attacker every time except 1.  In DBA the defender gets to set up the terrain on the board, which can be a significant advantage.  This was a three round tournament and I did get to defend once (yah!).  Which did NOT help.  I lost 2 and won 1, placing fifth out of six.  A bright spot is the single victory, because it was against John.  I do have to say that it was as much dice as it was tactics, but not all luck.  The 2 losses were to Numidians (II/40) and to Anglo Normans (IV/3). 
Lessons learned: The first one is a repeat, but I hope to get it through my thick skull:
1. Knights do not work against Elephants - EVER (there is no reason to engage an elephant if it can be avoided). 
2. Unsupported knights do not do well against supported knights. 
3.  Knights vs. supported spear is a dice off that ends spectacularly, one way or the other.

I continue to enjoy playing DBA and look forward to getting more armies painted for it.

The convention was well organized, in a great location, and from what I saw well attended with many games and several vendors (5-6?).  I even got some bargains on dice and books. 
I will definitely be going to the next one in March or April.  I may even run something there. 
I would recommend the convention to anyone local looking for a really nice small convention.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pictures of dice cup and ships

Here is the dice cup I made. I plan to dye it blue. We will see how that turns out.

Here is a comparison of 1/1200 ships. The foreground is a 44 gun American frigate by GHQ, behind it in the middle is the same ship by Langton, and in back is a 64 gun ship of the line by Langton. The big American frigates were a little longer than a typical British 74 gun SOL, so the relative sizing is good.

This last picture is the 44 gun frigates nose to nose. The one on the right is the Langton. I am surprised how much higher out of the water the Langton stands. The bow high silhouette (which cannot be seen in this picture) is comparable to pictures of the Constitution under sail (here is a picture I got from Google:  I am surprised by the differences between the Langton and the GHQ (on the left).  And, as expected the Langton ships have much better details.  This is going to be an interesting and challenging project.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Large Project

Over the last few months my Dad and I have been discussing running a Napoleonic era ship battle at one of the conventions in 2010. With the launch of the Trafalgar rules from GW earlier this year this really rekindled my interest in the period.
We have decided to do a small squadron vs. squadron battle, 5 ships to each side set about 1812.
After much discussion about miniatures it was decided to use 1/1200 Langton minis for most, if not all of the ships. (
Over the years we have used have used GHQ, Navwar and Valiant minis for different games.
After acquiring the first of the Langton minis I am amazed at the level of detail and quality of the castings. The parts had very little flash and the few that did, some of them had been deflashed by hand before being shipped. Langton offers both cast sails and sails in etched brass. after looking at both and discussing durability in a convention setting, we decided to go with the cast sails.
The picture is of the first of the British frigates, the 32 gun HMS Aeolus, after initial assembly and priming.
Planning for this event has also driven a review of the rules available.
Trafalgar is the newest, but having read it repeatedly and played it a few times, I have decided not to use them. They are difficult to teach new players and do not convey the feeling I expect in a sailing ship game.
Wooden Ships and Iron Men, the classic from Avalon Hill, but this is hex based and is targeted more for large ship engagements.
This left us with Don't Give Up the Ship (DGUTS). The classic from TSR. This is an excellent rule set that gives a good feel for the period, but is very complicated (I always needed a calculator to play).
This leaves the problem of a rule set. I have decided to to see what can be done to simplify DGUTS and add some of the features from some of the other rules. We will see how this goes.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pictures of recent work

So here are the Norman Knights, seven stands including command in column, marching from the paint desk to the garage to be clear coated.
I am glad to see these done.

Here are some game aids I made for DBA. The tower is a Zone of Control marker
(Barker Marker). The Sticks are movement rulers marked in 1" increments. One in each size needed in DBA.

And here are some 28mm Celts I picked up from Wargames Factory at Cold Wars. At this point I have just finished assembly and will be priming them soon.
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Norman Knights

Today marks a turning point on my work bench.  The 15 mm mounted Norman knights that have hoarded the work bench for too long are done with painting.  I based the last of them this morning.  A little green paint, some flocking and clear coat and these will be finished.

I started working on the 15mm Norman DBA army back in May.  Right after "Drums along the Maumee" convention. On June 16th I posted a list of projects for this year.  These are the last of the core troops for the Late Norman army.  This "finishes" the army for now.  (There are still 24 dismounted knights to paint but they will have to wait for a while.)  At this point I have run out of enthusiasm for 15 mm miniatures, so time for something completely different.
More info next post, maybe even pictures.