Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Four Siegfried class coastal defence ships

After a longer than expected spell on the slips, the four Siegfried class ships are launched, fitted out and under way. 

From l-r, Heimdall, Beowulf, Frithjof, Siegfried.

Built between 1888 and 1894, these were an earlier type than the two Odin class that superseded them, but they shared the same unconventional configuration of two paired turrets forward and one aft. Their top speed was a leisurely 15 knots, but from all accounts they were very stable gun platforms - something I'll take into consideration in the rules.

Next project will be a kinda/sorta Heligoland Island...

Monday, July 12, 2021

Royal Sovereigns, ready for sea.

The four Royal Sovereigns are complete and ready in all respects for action. 

I followed the usual form, basing them on clear plastic then adding spray and wake effects using a concoction of filler, PVA and white paint, finishing with a coat of gloss varnish with a tiny drop of blue ink. 

These were not good sea boats. During a storm in 1893, Resolution had to turn to windward in order to ride out the foul weather, whilst a destroyer sailed on regardless. It gave the class their unfortunate nickname of the Rolling Ressies. They did have 13.5 inch guns, so they should be pretty potent in a game.

So far I've decided to play out some linked scenarios rather than going for a full-on naval campaign. I've planned the following.

Guerre de course. A German attempt to slip one or two armoured cruisers or a few light cruisers past the Shetland and Orkney Islands to act as commerce raiders in the North Atlantic. The Royal Navy has to stop them.

Raid on the East Coast. In the previous scenario a number of German cruisers succeeded in slipping away to destroy merchant shipping along Britain's East Coast between the Humber and Great Yarmouth. Needless to say this upset the British, and the German government is keen to repeat the measure.

The Raid on Heligoland. A bombardment and occupation of the island to deny its use to the German fleet and set it up to support Royal Naval operations in the Jade Bay. This might be where the Royal Sovereigns come into play.

Attack on the Kiel Canal. An attempt to shut down the vital link between the North and Baltic Seas by sinking blockships in the entrance. 

Strike on the Jade Bay. A full-on attempt to locate and destroy the German navy in its home waters.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Four Royal Sovereigns...

...almost ready for a spree. 

A nice black undercoat

Main battleship grey paint job

Deck, masts and funnels painted

I began making these four Royal Sovereign class battleships at the same time as the four German Odin class coastal defence ships, but lacked any clear images of the latter to work with for a while. I finally managed to track down some photos, which show the distinctive sponsons on which the two forward 9.4 inch gun turrets are mounted. My first experiment with this feature is visible on the model immediately behind the strip of battleships. I've yet to work out how to make the turrets...

The Royal Sovereigns are ready for a dark wash then basing. As far as I know the class was the last major British warship type to mount their main armament in barbettes. The sole exception was the last built, HMS Hood, which had turrets. The class got the nickname 'Rolling Ressies' after HMS Resolution rolled excessively during a storm in 1893. They had good watertight compartmentalisation, but proved to be unstable firing platforms in anything above a moderate sea.

Monday, June 28, 2021

A little progress...

A start has been made on the pre-Dreadnought ships. I intended to build four German coastal defence ships, then decided to add four British Royal Sovereign class battleships - as you do. I'll post some photos when I've made more progress. In the meantime, I think we all know this phenomenon...

Tuesday, June 22, 2021


...Coastal armoured ship in English. In other words, a coastal defence battleship.

These vessels were Imperial Germany's primary naval coastal defence force, and comprised S.M.S. Siegfried, Hildebrand, Beowulf, Hagen, Frithjof, Heimdall, ├ägir, and Odin. Displacing 4,150 tons and capable of 15 1/2 knots, they had three 24cm/9.4 inch guns mounted in three turrets, the two forward turrets being side by side. Ten 8.8cm secondary guns completed the armament. 

They are such a delightful oddity I'm going to scratch-build a couple for my pre-Dreadnaught naval forces in my on again/off again series of linked games.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Lion Rampant ~ Bloodbath

And so battle is joined between the forces of the French Pretender Prince Louis, and King John's Loyalists. 

The Franco-Scottish Knight Sir Jeckyl A' Pliance and the English Knight Sir Kit Breaker have been at odds all year. With Autumn coming on, they decide to meet and settle matters once and for all. The showdown is at the ford crossing a stream in the unremarkable village of Little Snogging. For the game, Sir Kit is 'insipid,' and Sir Jeckyl is 'blessed.'

The French approach from the west

The English approach from the east

The field of battle

A hesitant French advance. Mounted serjeants swing north towards the open ground

A more robust English advance

Mounted English men at arms head for the gap 'twixt hill and river

The French converge on the village

English foot serjeants hesitate whilst Sir Kit heads confidently right for the ford

To the north French mounted serjeants clash with English men at arms...

...and are thrown back, battered

Sir Kit squares off against Sir Jeckyl. French crossbowmen skirt the village heading for the river

Crossbowmen and archers exchange fire to the left. French men at arms recoil in centre. French serjeants and men at arms clash again on the right

Crossbowmen close up to the river, men at arms clash again in the village, but the foot men at arms have cut off Sir Kit's escape. On the right the English men at arms take a beating

A devastating volley of quarrels almost annihilates the longbowmen. The foot serjeants are repulsed from the ford. The English men at arms are taking a beating, too...

The End. A last ditch attempt to break through the ford is repulsed once again with loss. In the village, alone and surrounded, Sir Kit goes down fighting.

So endeth the first game. 

What do I think of the Lion Rampant rules? On the whole, they're pretty good. They're easy to grasp and give a quick game. One rule I did change almost immediately was the Activation roll. Under the rules if one unit fails to activate, all subsequent units (if any) on that side automatically fail and the initiative passes to the other side. After FIVE failed activation rolls where nobody moved, I decided it was too much 'friction of war.' I'm here to game, not look at a static display...

Straight away I decided to limit the fail to the unit rolling. All subsequent units got their chance to move. This sped things up nicely, and I'll keep this house rule in future.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Where the River Bends...

Four new river sections are ready for use, and I upgraded the existing straight sections. I've yet to upgrade the pond, but I'll do this and some marshy pieces later.

Awaiting paint...
...and done.

With luck and a following wind I'll get these on the tabletop tomorrow in a first ever game of Lion Rampant. It's almost Midsummer and I haven't played a game of any kind this year. Time to break that duck...

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Onwards and upwards.

I'm still around, just busy with work and gardening. In between times I'm noodling away at some new curved river sections for the table.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

New ground cloth

I dropped by a local ReStore charity shop a couple of weeks ago and picked up a nice offcut of green baize-like material. Experimenting on a small corner showed it takes acrylic paints well, which is good to know. I laid it out to see what it looks like with some terrain on it so I could get an idea of how to colour it, but before I put any trees out I saw there's an issue with the river.

Too much of the base green shows through. Although rivers usually tend not to be blue but an indeterminate muddy brown in reality, I don't want this to look like a road. Since I have some offcuts of blue poster card handy, I slid a length under the river (shown at the bottom of the photo) to see what that did for the look. I think daubing the card with a little brown and green paint in places then sticking it to the underside of the river sections will give a more realistic look. What do you all think? Ideas and suggestions welcome.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

A Note of Caution

For some reason I got two emails from Blogger in the past 24 hours, that read thus:-


     As you may know, our Community Guidelines (link deleted)
describe the boundaries for what we  allow-- and don't allow-- on Blogger. Your post titled "Second batch of  crossbowmen" was flagged to us for review. We have determined that it 
violates our guidelines and deleted the post, previously at  (link deleted)

     Why was your blog post deleted?
     Your content has violated our Malware and Viruses policy. Please visit 
our Community Guidelines page linked in this email to learn more.

     We encourage you to review the full content of your blog posts to make 
sure they are in line with our standards as additional violations could 
result in termination of your blog.

     For more information, please review the following resources:

     Terms of Service: (link deleted)
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     The Blogger Team

These were followed by two more emails telling me the posts had been reinstated. Alan (Tradgardmaster) and others report the same thing. 

I've no idea why Blogger has its corporate panties in a bunch-it could be automated stuff that went haywire-but just in case there is trouble afoot please ensure your malware/virus protection is up to date.

On a lighter note I hope to get some figures on the table tomorrow to engage in the first Lion Rampant game.


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