Thursday, July 29, 2021

Problem with reading list?

Is anyone else having an issue with seeing the Blogger reading list? I've tried several times yesterday and today but it's not showing up.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Island project ~ Beginning

I've noodled with the idea of creating a scaled version of Heligoland Island for a while, for use in my 1906 Moroccan Crisis-turned-hot naval campaign. The recent happy find of a couple of bit of polystyrene foam in almost the right shape spurred me to make a start on the project.

I sandwiched the foam between two pieces of pizza box cut to shape. Next step will be to lay down the groundwork, probably using paper and spackle/filler. 

The island itself has changed shape dramatically since the immediate aftermath of WW2. First the British Army stuffed all the surplus explosives left from the war into the extensive cave system the Germans built throughout the island - and touched it all off at once. 

There goes the neighbourhood...

The eastern side of the island slumped down several dozen feet. It remains the biggest non-nuclear explosion to date.

Since then the German government has greatly expanded the harbour, and extended the island northeastwards with the aim of eventually connecting it to the smaller island of D√ľne.

I'm aiming more for how the island appeared just before WW1...

I'm not sure if I want to make the town a permanent part of the model, as it would limit the usefulness. It might be possible to make the buildings removable, perhaps by constructing them on separate sections. We'll see.

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Built between 1888 and 1894, these were an earlier type than the two Odin class that superseded them, but they shared the same unconventional configuration of two paired turrets forward and one aft.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.


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