Sunday, January 26, 2020

War of the Pacific Ironclads

Peruvians in front, Chileans in the background.  It turned out that only one shot of the Peruvian squadron  on its own came out, but my group shots have the Peruvians in the fore.

To follow on from an earlier post I have 4 of the major warships from the War of the Pacific fought between Chile and Peru from 1879-1884.  Back in the earlier 80s the Yaquinto board game "Ironclads" described it as a "Chilean-Peruvian Banana War", which is surely a misnomer as it was fought over the Atacama Desert where very little grows and certainly not bananas.  The key resource at stake was actually nitrate deposits from guano deposits at the large sea bird nesting sites, was a war fought over bird sh*t.  Actually this war is also known as the Saltpetre War but 10 years earlier peru and Chile had allied  against Spain was in the Guano War.
Independencia leads Union

In addition to the Huáscar from my earlier post, back from the Peruvian fleet included these two vessels the Ironclad frigate Independencia and the unarmored corvette Union plus other oddities on the work bench.  

Independencia was armed with big rifles on pivots bow (8") and stern (7") plus 6" rifles on the broadside.  She was the Peruvian navies second most important ship after the Huascar but was written off after running aground in the war's first action.   Union was an unarmoured corvette packing a useful armament.  
Spot the doofus moment.  Note how the Blanco Encalada has more smoke and a flag.  I decided that I needed to fix this!

On the Chilean side of things we have the two central battery ironclad sisters Almirante Cochrane and Blanco Encalada built in the UK and completed just three years before the war began. They were named for naval heroes from the Chilean War of Independence, Cochrane of course being the Scot who was the inspiration for Horatio Hornblower.  They packed a punch of 9" rifles and feature the angled gun ports to give wider arcs of fire.  Cochrane survived until 1934 but her sister ship was torpedoed by the torpedo gunboat Almirante Lynch in the Chilean civil war of 1891 and was one of the first casualties of Mr Whitehead's invention.
Coinage added to give idea of scale.  Canadian quarter at the bow, loonie at the stern.

These are all Tumbling Dice 1/2400 model, and again I'm very pleased with these casting.  The Cochrane class come packaged in a pair, as do Huáscar  and Independencia.  Tumbling dice don't make specific models for the unarmored ships so I've used more generic models for these, including Union and HMS Amethyst
Look carefully, I've fixed the smoke on Blanco Encalada and took her flag off int he process.  Easily fixed however.

I seem to be following trends this Challenge as 19th century South American wars are on an upswing.  The Perry's released figures for a slightly earlier war across the Andes and there's a recently published set of rules for the land operations of the War of the Pacific.

These TD models have been scored at 3pts a pop, so that's a whopping 12 points for me.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

More 18th Century Civilians

Another quick and small post from me, two 28mm foot figures.  There are another pair of 18th Century gentry from Front Rank.  As with my previous post these were great to paint and I had a lot of fun on these two.

I've christened the fellow with the stein JP which can represent Jean Pierre or Jan-Paul depending on which side of the Rhine we're fighting over.  The name comes from a JP that my Dad and I met in the bar of Dad's sailing club (although I think that similar characters inhabit bars of course clubs, cricket fields, dart clubs and rock hound club houses).
Nothing much to add, I dressed these two less ornately than the lady and gentleman in my prior post.  The figures were cleanly cast, had the right level of detail for me and were easy to pose together.
Anyway that 2 28mm figures for another 10 points as I crawl towards my 500 point goal.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

18th Century Vignette for Curtgeld

Over at Challenge Island, one can hop between locations using Sarah's Balloon service for the ticket price of a female miniature.  Here's my entry to hop from Cook's Crevasse on the west side of the island to Sanders Sandunes on the east coat.  It also serves as my "curtgeld"  or entry fee for the challenge and as such will be the prize for some unfortunate who completes the Snowlords Challenge.

I have two 28mm figures from Front Rank to serve as both my balloon ticket and my entry fee.  I don't have a whole bunch to say about these.  I really like Front Rank's figures, they paint up really nicely, and I had fun doing picture searches of Reynolds and Gainsborough portraits doing research on them. 

I'm not sure that Mademoiselle is having any of Monsieur's nonsense.

I intended these to be any generic Europeans.  However my better half (who has costume knowledge) informed me that the gold was more likely to be found on the French.

Funny perspective here.  It looks like M. is down on one knee from this angle.

Another stop on my island tour.

And another merit badge for my sash

I offer the above proof that my wife and I had a glass of prosecco last night in honour of the balloon ride, and because it was dang cold.  Unlike others in the Challenge I know where the champagne flutes are kept.

Points wise I believe this scores as
  • 2 28mm foot figures = 10 points
  • Curtgeld bonus =25 points
  • Sarah's Balloon Service =30 points
  • Bonus for prosecco =5 points
  • Total 70 points
Two other notes.  I will leave it to Curt to choose the short straw to see who gets these figures.  Also I would like balloon transport to Sanders' Sanddunes please.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Cruel Seas Freighter

I've completed an outstanding debt to the Snowlord by painting up this freighter for his Cruel Seas fleets.  Last Challenge Curt traded me two buildings by challenger Byron's Nothern Lights company in exchange for me painting up some Cruel Seas ships, this one and a freighter to be named later.  I finished one of the buildings last year, with the other about 75% done at the end of the last challenge and still 75% done.

On to my debt...I could have counted this as either a Curtgeld or a submission under O'Grady's Gulch but decided this would be too weaselly even for me, given that it was a pre-existing condition debt. 

The details of the model are sketchy but what I have is listed below.

  • Manufacturer - extruded by Curt using a 3D printer in a vibrant oobleck green (I wish I'd taken a photo)
  • Designer - Feck knows, it came from some dark recesses of the interweb, or equally dark recesses of Curt's brain
  • Scale -Feck knows, Cruel Seas is nominally 1/300 but I'm not sure how Curt scaled it.
  • Points value - Feck knows,  I throw myself on the mercy of the Great and All-Powerful Minion du Jour.  It's about 6" long, could count as scenery or a vehicle and is most likely 1/300 scale.

Anyway it's a nice little ship and painted up easily.   I kept is very simple because historical a coastal freighter in wartime would be very dull and grey and because the standouts on table should be the S-boots and MGBs etc.  I gave it a utilitarian grey overall, adding white for the lifeboats for a bit of contrast.  I added weathering with washes of various colours.

In the Saint Margaret's Bay area of Nova Scotia (where I'm from) it's traditional to name one's fishing boat after one's two youngest children. As far as I know Curt is an evolutionary dead end without offspring, so I've named this after his furry children MV Felix & Oscar, a name that works either side of the channel and substituting a "k" in Oscar works in the Low Countries and coastal Germany as well.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Painting Challenge Italian Wars Terrain

Another post from the Painting Challenge as I stop off at Cook's Crevasse where posts have to have a geological theme to them.

I'm a little nervous about this as I've taken a geology course before and I know that Dr. Cook is pretty hard-a**ed (From DaveD - yes but weirdly he seems to allergic to sand - some geologist!- don’t ask ). I have two pieces of terrain made from stone for my Italian Wars project.  These are 28mm and made by TTCombat.

First up is a house.  Wikipedia tells me that period buildings in Tuscany use a mix of sandstone and limestone, which in this case have been covered over with some stucco work.  I like the details that TTC puts into its products, the curved porch, louvered windows and the tiled roofing.  One of the louvers fell out of one window set during construction.  I could have ruled it back but left the window blank to give the impression of a Medici, Borgia or Sforza plotting in the shadows out of sight.  

Next we have a stepped bridge.  I like that the steps have been left wide enough to hold stands of figures and once again the detailing is nice.  I tried to give the compass rose in the middle span the impression of inlaid marbles in white, black and blue/grey.  On table we'll have to figure out how vehicles and gun crews navigate the steps.  

As with my first TTC house, I used a basic wash technique mostly using raw sienna, raw umber and burnt umber, all of which are based on the earth pigments used in Renaissance Italy for a further geological link.

There's also an economics lesson in this post.  I picked all three of the TTC pieces in Meeplemart in Toronto along with some stuff for Curt.  My three buildings came to less than the two sets of GW dice that Curt asked me to pick up.  I like to tease Curt that I don't require that my dice pass though the intestines of a civet cat.

These two pieces pretty much fill a 6" cubic unit so that's 20 points for the models and 30 for Cook's Crevasse, assuming Dr Cook gives me passing grade.  My progress across Challenge Island is plotted on the map below.  Next up I'll likely be taking a balloon ride across to the western coast.

Also when Curt first posted about the Island, I commented that the stops looks like merit badges from my boy scout days.  I've decided that I'll note my progress in terms of badges earned too.

Me circa 1976.  My gaming activities included first edition D&D, Avalon Hill board games and badly painted Airfix Nappys in Humbrol enamels. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Battle of Pacocha 1877

The original action 1877
Recreated in 2020
I continue to tick along at a snail's pace on my challenge, and have here the three participants from the Battle of Pacocha in 1877.  These are 1/2400 scale ships from Tumbling Dice from their Victorian Era range.

First up is the instigator the Peruvian turret ship Huascar.  The Huascar was seized by rebels in the wrong side in a failed coup by the former finance minister (and future Peruvian President) Pierola.  With the coup defeated on land Huascar took to piracy and boarded some British flagged ships, triggering a Royal Navy response.

Note that the model shows Huascar cleared for action with bulwarks lowered to allow the turret to fire and thus showing the white interior. 
The Huascar was built by Laird's in the UK in 1866, she has armour of up to 7.5" and carried two 10" rifles in her turret plus a couple of smaller guns.   I used the present tense intentionally as she is still afloat as a museum ship in Valparaiso Chile, one of a few ships afloat from the Victorian era.  Her full history is impressive.  Built to fight the Spanish in the Island War she got to Peru during the war but didn't see action.  After fighting the Royal Navy she surrendered to the Peruvian government and served in the War of the Pacific against Chile.  Captured by the Chileans after a heroic action, they refitted her and used her against the Peruvians.  Finally she was involved in the Chilean Civil War of 1891. 

A famous ship with a proud history under two navies flags.
Britain's Imperial might c 1877
The predictable RN response came from the Pacific Station based in Esquimaux, British Columbia.  Rear Admiral de Horsey's flagship was the iron frigate HMS Shah.  Shah was big, fast and well armed but unarmoured.  She carried 9" rifled swivel guns fore and aft and a broadside of 7" rifles.  She also carried early Whitehead torpedoes and fired one at the Huascar, which outran it!  She proved expensive to run and this was her sole commission, although her iron masts can be seen on HMS Victory, having replaced the more fragile wooden originals.

I rigged the Amethyst as a barque.  It turns out that she was ship rigged in 1877 but changed to a barque rig on her return. 
HMS Shah was accompanied by the wooden corvette HMS Amethyst, name ship of the last class of wooden cruisers built by the RN. Typical of the small cruisers the RN used to patrol imperial waterways, she was armed with 64 pounder rifles on broadside with swivels fore and aft.  She served from 1873-1887.   

The battle of Pacocha was a tactical draw but a RN strategic win.  The RN hit the Huascar multiple times but didn't have armour piercing shot so did no damage.  In return, the Huascar was undermanned and fired slowly and badly causing only splinter damage to Shah's rigging.  The Huascar did avoid the Shah's torpedo, hampered the RN attack by staying in the shallows where the Shah couldn't go and avoided an attack by torpedo launches the next day.  However, the crew gave up the piracy gig and surrendered to the government 2 days later.

I added black funnel smoke from cotton batting soaked in black paint.  This took me back to my University days of carving 1/1200 scale pre-dreadnoughts out of balsa.
If you're are keeping score this is my second project using 1/2400 scale ships from Tumbling Dice and I have been very pleased with their models.  They are clean cast, relatively easy to put together and paint up well.   I had intended to work on my Anglo-Dutch fleets first but their rigs proved fussier to get right so plowed ahead on the ironclads.  I don't have the skill set or patience for fiddly sail rigs in general and have suffered great heartbreaks with past efforts at modelling sailing ships in 1/1200.  So far these TD ships are much easier to rig and appear much less fragile although we'll see how they stand the test of table top battle.  I should also point out that in action, these ships would furl their sails or even strike top masts altogether to reduce clutter.  However, I couldn't resist doing them fully rigged.

I added Canadian quarters (about the same size as a 5p piece) for comparison.  I also included the correctly named Windhond!
I've got a variety of odd naval projects underway and am beginning to regret not setting up a Sandi Cheek aquatic squirrel side duel for the most naval projects!
Points wise, I think it's typically 3 points for a 1/2400 scale ship, plus what ever points the 4 flags net me.  At about 9 points a post,  my challenge will definitely be the slow boat to China.

Friday, January 3, 2020

AHPCX Anglo-Dutch Wars Yachts

I have a variety of naval projects on the go, and this is the first post from a new 1/2400 Anglo-Dutch Wars project.  I have 4 yachts which I am entering in my own Challenge Location Douglas' Shallows under the theme "Messing About in Boats".

These are 4 yachts from the Tumbling Dice 1/2400 Anglo-Dutch Wars range.  I have a couple of squadrons of these ships which I am aiming to complete over the challenge.  So far I have been very happy with the quality of these castings.

Leading the race we have two English Royal Yachts the Katherine and Henrietta skippered by two gentlemen who knew a lot about boars, and a lot about messing about too!.  Charles II and his brother James (Duke of York and Lord High Admiral at this point) were keen and skilled yachtsmen and Charles commissioned a series of yachts.  Charles yachts were used for pleasure and actively sailed and raced by the Stuart bros.  They were also armed and used as scouts and dispatch vessels in wartime and took Admiralty officials to inspect the port of Tangier.

I’ve selected two that served in the Second Dutch War as that’s my chosen niche in time.
By the third war Charles had two yachts some named for his mistresses (Cleveland and Portsmouth) one named for his mistress's anatomy (Fubbs being Restoration English for pleasantly plump) and one named Kitchen to provide victuals while cruising.

A Van de Velde painting of Charles arriving by yacht to inspect the fleet in 1672.

His Majesty’s yacht Katherine launched 1660, captured by the Dutch 1673.  Returned to the English but not  as part of the Royal Navy.  Armed with 8 guns.  49 feet long on the keel.

His majesty’s yacht Henrietta launched 1663 and sunk at the Battle of the Texel  in 1673.  52 feet long on the keel and armed with 8 guns.

On the Dutch side we the Windhund and Schiedam, both of which were attached to De Ruyter’s fleet for the Four Days Battle of 1666.  No royal connections here, but another good story.  The maritime artist Willem Van de Velde (sr) was given a galjoot and accompanied De Ruyter in battle.  He sketched from the decks of his small craft in the heat of battle, like an earlier Robert Capa  on  Omaha Beach.  His sketches are used to reconstruct battles given the inconsistencies in memories.  

The two dutch galjoots.  Not being royal yachts there is not a lot available on these vessels.

Two of Charles first yachts were gifts from the Dutch and design of these influenced later royal yachts.  The basic design had a single mast with square topsail and fore and aft sails elsewhere.  There would be leeboards instead of a keel.  I have seen similar craft used as pleasure boats sailing with my dad in the UK and French waters.
A Van de Velde sketch from the first day of the Four Days Battle.  I was tempted to use an umber wash over cream bases on my ships to replicate the two tone effect  in these wonderful works.

Detail of another sketch from the same action showing Van de Velde  on his galjoot.

As these were the first models for a new project I did some experimenting.  I wanted to replicate the greenish hue that Dutch maritime artists give the water in almost every oil painting.  It took several layers, but I am reasonably happy with my results.  I also wanted to use mdf bases ( these ones are 30mm square from Sarissa), but wanted to use the moulded bases supplied b6 Tumbling Dice on top of these.  This means using acrylic gel to bulk up my paint to smooth over the rough base edges, and it looks ok on these ships but I think that I’ve left myself room for improvement 

Canadian loonie and UK pound to show the size of these ships.
Points wise there’s 30 points for Douglas’ Shallows but I’ll leave the ships to the Snowlord to tot up.  1/2400 ships are typically scored 3 points a pop but these are very small. I’ll also point out that each of the four yachts has a flag added which I whipped up in photoshop.