Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Squalls ahead! ~ A modelling side project

A while back I came across a tutorial on making rain squalls for naval gaming. The idea struck me as a good one so I save the instructions and finally put them into practice. 

Begin with an off cut of expanded polystyrene packing material. Hack it into an irregular shape.

Tease out cotton wool and apply all over the top and sides using a hot glue gun. Yes, it melts the polystyrene a little, but it won't show.

The covered result.

Spray a basic grey...

Cut out long rectangles of clear plastic. I use packaging material. Use a chunk of foam rubber to apply streaks of grey craft paint mixed with Quick Shine/Future/Klear floor polish to one side, working from one edge and lifting the rubber near the other side to get a falling rain effect. Use hot glue to stick it to the underside of the cloud. I used two lengths of plastic to get an overlap to simulate a heavier burst of rainfall.

The finished result...

Royal Navy armoured cruisers Euryalus and Aboukir push on across the North Sea in the teeth of oncoming squalls.

These should work fine for most common naval gaming scales.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A Cluster of Calamity ~ 1/2400 shipwrecks

Covid really did a number on me. I find I get tired quickly and easily, which is no fun under any circumstances. Work and gardening claim most of what energy I have, but I did manage to add a few more items to my 1/2400 pre-Dreadnought collection in the shape of these wrecked ships and a fire marker. Apologies for the dim photo, I have to use my tablet camera for the time being.

I made a total capsize model, showing the red anti-barnacle paint on the hull used by most navies of this period. Turbulent water surrounds the capsize where air is being forced out of the vessel. Another is a standard bows-up posed wreck. The last is similar, but features a gush of soot and smoke issuing from the remaining funnel as the ship begins its final slide. This is something which appears on wartime footage of torpedoed ships.

I hope to play out the Battle of the Norwegian Sea as the next installment of the Moroccan Crisis campaign soon.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Being in All Respects Ready for Sea...

The new ships for the next scenario in the Moroccan Crisis campaign are finished and based. You'll have to take my word for it since camera failure means I can't take any photos for a while. 


At 20:00 on the same day as the Battle of the Humber, the German Particular Service squadron gets under way from its anchorage off Heligoland. Commanded by Kommodore Ernst Shaffer, it comprises three armoured cruisers, the sister ships SMS Prinz Adalbert (Flag) and Friedrich Karl, and light cruisers SMS Berlin and Hamburg. Shaffer's orders are to sail to the Denmark Straight and break out into the North Atlantic. After rendezvousing with a collier waiting off a deserted part of the Icelandic coast, his squadron will refuel then commence commerce raiding against British and French shipping.  

Accompanying them are the armoured cruiser SMS Prinz Heinrich and five torpedo boat destroyers. Their brief is to assist the squadron in breaking through any British naval force that may be encountered before returning to Heligoland and further assignment with the fleet.

The Operation.

Using the encounter table I rolled to see what shipping the squadron would come across during its traverse of the North Sea. 

The first rolls yielded a flotilla of Danish and German fishing boats then, in the early hours, a German merchant ship en-route at best speed for Bremen. The hours of daylight passed uneventfully, with no shipping sighted. Shortly after nightfall British fishing boats were sighted off the Norwegian coast in the South Utsire fishing grounds. The Kommodore decided to ignore them. They were of little value, wouldn't carry wireless with which to warn the Royal Navy, and besides, firing on them might alert any enemy warships in the area.

A Danish passenger ferry bound for Reykjavik was sighted before dawn, the squadron easily overhauling the slower civilian vessel. As daylight filled the sky a great deal of smoke was sighted to the west. Closing the distance it became apparent the source was a number of ships sailing in formation. 

Shaffer ascended to the fire control centre and scanned the scene through his binoculars. He was certain that patrolling warships of the Royal Navy lay ahead. Since his orders were securely transmitted by telegraph and courier vessel and not wireless, Shaffer was almost as certain the enemy were unaware of his crossing the North Sea. With the sun rising behind his squadron and dazzling the enemy gunners, he was in an ideal position to force the passage. Descending to the bridge Shaffer ordered increased speed. The hour was upon him, and he would do his duty to Kaiser and Fatherland...   

With luck and a following wind I'll play out the encounter sometime in the next few days.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Off the Slipway

Since I wasn't feeling well enough to do much else, I cracked on with the new ships for the Moroccan Crisis narrative campaign. These were made using the sandwich method. I gave them a matte black undercoat followed by a mid-grey base coat. For everything else paint-wise I used standard craft paints.

L-R HMS Charybdis, Highflyer, Hyacinth & Hermes.  SMS Berlin, Hamburg, Prinz Adalbert, Friedrich Karl

Next up for these will be a coat of matte varnish to reduce the shine before setting them on transparent bases.


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