Thursday, March 22, 2018

Special thanks to BW

Since I started blogging, I feel I have made some On-line friends, which is good and fun and something I enjoy very much.  Leaving comments on people's blogs, reading the replies, and receiving comments in return is especially gratifying.  And more to the point, one of the main reasons for doing this in the first place was to build something of a community around this fun hobby we share, and to interact with other fun people.  A quick Thank You to everyone who makes this possible.

"My Captain My Captain" 

 But on a special note: As I've said in previous posts, BrianW is my Age of Sail mentor and runs a blog about sailing ships.  I have received a very nice package from him the other day that brought a smile and a laugh to me and my family.


I was going to wait until I had somewhere nice to put it so I can post a picture, but I'm very distracted with other family stuff right now (nothing bad) and don't know when I'll be able to do so;  But I didn't want to go too long without acknowledging this fun (and touching) gift.

Thank you My Captain!

I'm enjoying our On-line friendship.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Set Sails V: a French 74


What?  another post and another ship so quick!  I know what you're thinking; that I had this ship already done when I posted the British ship and now I'm posting this one in a blatant attempt to increase my post count....  as if those things mattered...

NOOOooo.  Actually when it comes to ships;  I've found that I can assemble and paint two ships at once, but when it comes to rigging it's easier to focus on one ship at a time so you don't get lost / confused on what you were doing and miss a piece.  Rigging actually goes pretty fast once you have all the materials prepared, but it goes in stages; Standing rigging-ratlines-shrouds and backstays-running rigging (basically you work from the center of the ship to the edge).  And if you do miss a part of one step it's very hard to work backward as now rigging is in the way....

How was that for an extra fascinating peek into the process of model ships huh?  I mean, you pay for the whole seat but you only need the edge.

So I finished the British 74 and started working on the rigging of  this French 3rd rate 74 gun Ship of the Line, and maybe it's because I'm in a groove or something but somehow I managed to get it done very quickly.    Also, I foresee being a little busy in the near future, so was motivated to get this posted up.

A French 74, properly rigged?

Now ALL THIS TIME I'v been rigging my French Ships of the Line wrong.  I've been rigging them the same as the British ones, thinking they were all basically the same.  WRONG!

Turns out, as I've read on HERE, that the French actually rigged the Mizzen mast forward to the main mast,  and not backwards to the Spanker sail like I was doing.  I'm sure you all noticed but were too polite to say anything.  

-The link is to one of BrianW's excellent posts on rigging.  BrianW's blog is a must for anyone interested in Age of Sail.  Big bonus, he actually knows what he's doing while I fake it.  here's a link to his HOME PAGE and check it out for more pics of ships and history.

So here we are: a French 74 properly rigged with the braces going forward.  This one is also decorated with  a single race-say red stripe across the center. 

My big fingers included in the pic for scale purposes...

Vive la France! 

And true to my pattern, the French ships just come out looking sexier than the British ships.
I think it' the rounded bow..

Enough pictures already!

Going Forward

Now that the replacement ratlines are here and I'm on a rigging roll, I think that I'll start re-rigging the ships that were damaged in the shipping disaster  (which will be a chance to do the French rigging right) so that the whole fleet will be complete and I can properly call myself Commodore.  Don't worry, I won't post a pic of each ship as it gets done.  That WOULD be cheating.

Then, being out of ships, I can focus on something else.

Thanks for reading!  Comments appreciated.  

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Set sails IV: A British 74

There hasn't been much time for gaming and hobbying lately due to family life.  Something we all content with time to time; not that it's bad.  But it does produce moments where I briefly walk into the hobby room while doing some chore, or pause in the garage while taking out the trash (my miniatures are stored in the garage), and glance longingly about the miniatures and sigh.

Even More British 

Anyways...despite me complaining there has been a few hours spend here and there at the hobby desk, in the wee hours of the night while everyone else sleeps (I mean 9 PM) so I've managed to complete a ship of the line.

Fresh from the ship yard is a British 3rd rate 74 gun Ship of the Line.  Painted in dazzling 'Nelson Checker.' 

I think this ship came out really well, if I do say so myself.  This is my 5th ship, so practice effects are apparent as I get better at getting the details of the deck down right (which are hard to see in pictures but more visible to the naked eye, but trust me; they're splendid!).

I have found that the double jib sails are a pain, they never seem to fit right with the foremast and I always have to bend them up and around.  I much prefer the bowsprits with a single jib, but when you order the sails it seems to be random on which one you get.

This ship is at 'fighting sails' with the t'gallant sails (upper sails) and courses (lower sails) furled, with only the topsails (middle sails) deployed along with the spanker (sail hanging over the stern).  This is just to be different from the other British ships that are at 'easy sail.'   I was initially toying with the idea that all the British ships could be at one sail set and all the French ships at another for the purpose of easy recognition, but now I want variety.

TLDR version: "Lookit, I make ship, she purrty."

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Shipping disaster...

Alternative title:  I'm father of the year.

Set the Scene

4 year old Daughter #1 comes into hobbyroom wanting to know what I was doing.  I guess the Peppa Pig cartoon ended.
She puts her foot on the plastic tub that has the Napoleonic ships inside, which I stupidly left on the floor, like she's about to stand up on it to see onto the desk better.
I say, "Oh, don't stand on that, the stuff inside is fragile, just wait a sec.."  and then I look away for just a moment...


I look back:  She obviously didn't listen, stood on it but just on one side, and the thing went flying end over end and her down to her butt.  


In a calm voice,  "What did I just say..."

My wife says I'm father of the year for not loosing it.   

Daughter #1 did get a time out for not listening.  I picked up the tub and heard the tell tale sound of small pieces moving about loose from inside.

The Damage:

What a mess!

Wrecked rigging, bent bowsprits, mangled masts, ruined ratlines, and broken sails...(I couldn't think of a good alliteration for sails, maybe slandered? shamed?).    

I think the flags are salvageable, but the ratlines I feel are beyond repair

Repairs in process

Meh, maybe not as bad as it looked.  I think it helped that the ships hulls are glued on wide ocean bases, which are on magnets, and placed on some metal while in the storage tub, so maybe they didn't knock around as much as they could have.  I tore off all the rigging as much of it was ruined.  Bent the masts back in place, glued back on some broken masts and sails... All in all not too bad.

 Instead of trying to figure out which ratlines went where from that huge pile, I've decided that I'm going to bite the bullet and get new ratlines and then redo ALL the rigging for all these ships, plus the two I'm painting now...So the future will be ships for the time being.

The hardest part will be, when I make the order to WaterlooMini's for the ratlines, to resist the temptation to order even MORE stuff.  Like even more ships...

Such is the life of the Wargamer.  Trails and temptations abound.  : )
Morale of the story: pick up your things from off the floor.  : )

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Post Captain AAR; Action in the Ocean

I blame CS Forester and Lavery

I've been reading a lot of Hornblower lately as well as "Nelson and the Nile" by Brian Lavery, so I was really motivated to play an AoS (that's Age of Sail) game, and managed to squeeze in a game with Dai (HERE).  The rules were Post Captain.  I had just made some minor modifications / house rules (see my previous post) and thought this would be a great opportunity to try them out because surely Dai's ships would end up riddled with cannon ball holes as I sailed circles around him...

Action in the Ocean

Just the highlights of the game, because honestly blow by blow accounts can get long winded and AoS games have enough wind already (Oh my, that was a stretch).

Here we have the important key elements: the ships, the gauges, and the alcohol.
Dai opted for the British so I took the French.
We rolled for Captain and Crew skill which favored the British.  Here is the small OOB:

French Fleet: The 74 gun Scipion and the 110 gun Republican.  Both with Regular Captains and Crew.

British Fleet: the 74 gun Spencer with Elite Captain and Crew (this would prove to be a big advantage, as elite crews just shoot so much better) and the 100 gun Royal Sovereign, with Crack Captain and Crew.

Opening moves and initial broadsides

The French plan...

Same pic as above, different angle...
The Glorious French Navy in the foreground

and this is where I teach Dai a valuable lesson about having the proper spacing between your ships..

French Diaster

Somehow I managed to sail my first rate so close behind my 3rd rate that it was forced to crash into it, there not being enough room to maneuver out of the way.  Terrible!

The Ulm, after being hit by the larger ship Republican, has taken enough damage for a command check.  On a d12, an 8 or less will see her continue the fight, a 9 would see her open the range to 500 yds but stay in the fight.  a 10 will signify a withdraw.  She rolled an 11, which causes her to strike her colors on the spot.  : (    Obviously a sick hearted and weak willed captain...

The Republican, with the admiral on board realizing that it was complete victory or disgrace, continues to fight on after cutting free of the entangled rigging. However has no luck as her broadside causes little damage and in the returning fire from the Spencer, she lost her Fore T'gallant mast.  (the toothpick sticking out the side, I'll have to make markers...)

Turn about is fair play, so they say.  Dai moves his ships to gang up the lone French 1st rate.

I concede defeat...

What a fun game!  but ultimately a disaster for the French, but that will teach me about sailing too close together.

  I continue to like these rules.  The gusts and eddies aspect is a nice touch to make the speeds of the ships less uniform.  I now have the firm opinion that 2 ships per player is the sweet spot, enough going on to be constantly busy but not so much that one is overwhelmed in the details.  I can't wait to play this again! I'm really glad I got into this period.   My house rules about crew management worked well I thought, but since I was the only one whose ships took any real casualties, more experience is necessary.

The game set up and tear down was so easy too.  : )

I got so jazzed about AoS again that I paused my ACW work and assembled my next too ships.  As soon as the-never-ceasing-rain stops I'l get to priming and painting.

And because of my "rule of two" (where I only have two prjects going at once) this means I'll have to finish the ships or the ACW project before starting another one.

Thanks for reading!  Comments appreciated.  : )