17 December 2012

How can you be expected to compete with that?

Normally you might think that HMAS Success, the Australian Navy's oiler looks quite large .....

..... until a cruise liner comes along and pulls up beside her.

Also a photo of the Lady Nelson, a replica brig  

11 November 2012

But will it fly?

Recently I've been learning how to use the open source 3D software Blender and while I've been very busy with the serious stuff I took some time out to have some fun and get some more practice making this very short, cartoonish MiG-15.

I finished it in about 30 minutes and while I could add a lot more detail, for instance make the canopy more in line with it's real life counterpart I don't want to go too much further as this would detract from the look I was aiming for.

Perhaps I should make a F-86 Sabre to keep it company. 

09 September 2012

All I need now is a Anorak

Two navy ships have turned up in Hobart recently. The first was HMAS Sirius, the Royal Australian Navy's Replenishment Oiler. The second belonged to the French Navy, a small patrol vessel called the Moqueuse.

HMAS Sirius
P688 Moqueuse

15 July 2012

Good enough for government work

After getting the majority of  Dad's old 15mm scale Napoleonic British based, a series of busy days and resultant early nights kept me painting and flocking the bases before Carl arrived with his French army. But what the hell, what I had was good enough for government work so we got on with the game.

The game was based on scenario one, positional defence from 'Scenarios for Wargames' by Charles Stewart Grant with Carl taking the role of defender. We of course use Carl's favoured rule set 'Napoleon's Battles' (1st edition) and kept to the basic rules since it has been at least fifteen years I played using these rules. After some some really basic errors in my set up I finally got my brigades moving and got to grips with the rules.

My lacklustre beginning to the game meant that by game's end Carl was still holding his position and victory was his. But next time I will have my troops bases properly painted and flocked and no doubt they will perform better next time ......

29 June 2012

On The Workbench - Scum. Nothing but beggars and scoundrels.

So time ago I purchased my Dad's 15mm Napoleonic British miniatures and spent some time agonising over how to base them and of course I was distracted and moved on to other projects. But opportunity? The need? Or honestly, the desire to have them based and play some Napoleonic period games has finally won out. So now I'm in the midst of a basing frenzy, I have decided to base them according to basing scheme suggested in Napoleon's Battles as my prospective opponent, Carl really likes those rules and already has his armies based.   

12 June 2012

Yesterday I had the unenviable task of taking my dog the vet one final time. After fourteen and half years of stealing food from the cats, sneaking on to our beds when she thought we weren't looking and greeting anybody who approached our gate, she's having a rest.

30 April 2012

In Port Recently

Some images of naval vessels that recently pulled into port at Hobart over the last few months. First two Royal New Zealand Navy ships visited during February. The first is one of their two Anzac class frigates, HMNZS Te Kaha and the other the fleet replenishment ship HMNZS Endeavour

Next are two Royal Australian Navy ships that were in port around ANZAC Day, HMAS Choules and HMAS Darwin. HMAS Choules is a amphibious warfare ship and recent addition to the RAN while HMAS Darwin is one the four remaining Adelaide class frigates.  

Don't Go Tell The Spartans

Carl visited once again last Friday evening with his Athenian and Spartan armies for a game. The game was played between Beth and Carl across a green plain bordered by hills and a river using Carl's preferred rules 'Field Of Glory'. Beth, playing the Spartans ignored my goading that she should rush her army forward to impale the Athenians on their spears, telling me that I should not base my suggested tactics on the '300' graphic novel and resultant movie. Instead Beth anchored her line between the hills and let the Athenians do all the rushing, eventually the Athenians unable to blunt the Spartan's spears with their innards melted away. Pausing only to salute Carl as they made their way back to their storage boxes. 

01 April 2012

HMB Endeavour - A nice way to pass the time.

The HMB Endeavour, a replica of the Cook's original is currently on a circumnavigation of Australia and has been open to the public during to stop over in Hobart. So never one to waste an opportunity I paid the price of admission and spent a few hours crawling (and at one point literally) over this excellent example of maritime history. 

The Endeavour was armed a number of swivel guns (anti personal weapons on posts around the edge of the ship) and ten 4 pounder cannon. 6 cannon were mounted on the deck and the remainder stored in the hold. But when the Endeavour ran aground off the coast of Queensland all but four were thrown over board to lighten the load.

The Endeavour is a accurate reproduction, even done to the caulking used to seal the deck.

During Cook's voyage the crew was fed sauerkraut in an effort to combat scurvy.

The Midshipmen/Mates mess has no head room what so ever. Endeavour started life as a collier and the mess deck was added during it's refit for Cook's voyage, the over riding need to be able to carry enough stores for a long voyage meant that the midshipman, mates, marines, servants and boys spent their time below decks crouched over.

And finally this brass ring surrounds the last trunnel (wooden nail) hammered into place. This trunnel was carried into space onboard the shuttle, Endeavour in 1992.

28 March 2012

A Gentle Nudge

Sometime ago I posted a photo of my Dad's 2mm napoleonic miniatures and terrain and now with a little help (a gentle shove) he's posted some more, although scaled up to 6mm this time.

Click here or on the image above to go see.

23 February 2012

Ships That Pass By In The Night - A Space Fleet Combat Play Test

For quite a while now I have been having fun developing my own set of space combat wargame rules descriptively titled 'Space Fleet Combat', needless to say Beth and I do actually manage to occasionally play a game and recently I came across these photos I took of a play test game between Beth and myself played last year (2011). I thought I might post them here with some explanatory notes about the game and what you see in the photos.

Space Fleet Combat (SFC) is an attempt to allow players to field moderately large fleets of miniature spaceships on the table top, the game is based on the Piquet family of wargaming rules and more specifically inspired by a unpublished, player developed supplement written for the age of sail titled 'Tough Men With Iron Balls' by James Roach.

Anyone familiar with Piquet will know about the sequence deck, basically it's a turn sequence which is broken up into a deck of cards. The one card might allow units to reload, while another allows them to move. A deck can be customised to reflect the forces on the table top, for instance a poorly organised force will have more cards titled 'dress the line', 'milling around' or in the case of SFC 'SNAFU' when compared to a better trained, more efficient force. Scenario specific cards can also be added to a sequence deck. When will the Prussians arrive? When the card that says they can is turned of course.

And when will that card turn up? Well that really depends, the sequence deck is shuffled at the start of every turn and players turn the cards by spending initiative points. Initiative points are determined by an opposed dice roll between players, the winner has the initiative and the number of initiative points available is the difference between the dice. Once the initiative points are spent another roll is made.

A turn finishes once a players exhausts his sequence deck or if the initiative roll is a tie. So by now you should see the challenge to the players, the random order of the deck, the opposed initiative rolls and the possibility the turn could be cut short provides a degree of uncertainty and friction which is often absent from a wargame.   

When I decided to develop SFC I thought long and hard about how to organise the miniatures on the table top. We have often played large games of Full Thrust, with 20 to 30 ships a side. As you can imagine we spent quite a lot of time carefully moving our fleets around the table and things got very interesting once the ships, fighters and missiles started to mingle and then try to share the same space. Ships were set aside to make room, lifted to see what counters might hiding underneath or accidentally knocked over and in some cases damaged. 

To avoid this in SFC I decided to group ships in a fleet into one or more subgroups. Each subgroup or task force is grouped around a large task force counter. All measurements are made to and from the task force counter not to individual ships within the task force. Instead of measuring movement for every ship, you measure once for the task force marker. If two groups interpenetrate you can adjust the miniatures positions around their respective counters.

In the first photo you can see ships of Neu Swabian League (NSL) ready for battle clustered around their task force marker.

Next we have Beth's Federal Stats Europa (FSE), The group's speed and course, it's vector, is indicated by the end point marker out in front of the group (it's the counter with the blue arrow).  The group's vector is changed by moving the end point marker in any direction, how far the endpoint marker can moved is limited by the movement allowance of the slowest ship in the group.

Below we see the set up at the start of the game, there is a second, smaller NSL task force to the left of the main task force. All the miniatures are grouped around their respective task force counters and the corresponding end point markers are placed indicating the vectors of each group.

The game is underway now and Beth has been busy firing beams at my NSL ships. Although I had made some nice task force counters some of the other counters you see in the photo are pressed into service from Full Thrust. The coloured markers by Beth ship's indicate that ship has fired and are in process of cycling their weapons (reloading).

As well as firing beams Beth launched a salvo of self guided missiles. Anything launched whether it's fighter or a missile inherits the vector of the launching ship, which is why three arrows representing the end point markers for the missile salvo are on the task force counter's end point marker. A single arrow and missile counter would have been sufficient but Beth pointed out that since she was launching a lot of missiles, approximately 50 so she wanted to see a lot on the table.

My NSL ships are returning fire as indicated the red counters beside them in the photo below and the DDG group has launched missiles, but Beth has concentrated all her ships' beam fire on my battleship knocking out it's network capability.

In SFC ships can be have the capability to network with one another sharing things like fire control or point defence systems. The larger NSL group started the game with three sub or network groups. The battleship and it's attendant light cruiser, a heavy cruiser and escort cruiser and finally another light cruiser riding herd on two destroyers. To show these groupings on the table top the networked ships are placed beside each other, which is why in this game the Battleship and the cruiser which are no longer networked has been separated. No doubt the battleship captain is encouraging the damage control parties to hurry up and get the network back up.

Seen above are some Ship Status Display forms we are using, the influence of Full Thrust can easily be seen in these. Below, finally the NSL DDG group is seen close up.

The next three photos show the climax of the game. Beth has lost her Battleship to NSL beam fire (it exploded in a flashy and spectacular fashion) and she was forced to break her group up as two of her ships after taking damage to their sub light drives were unable to keep up with the rest.

While the rest of the FSE ships powered away from the NSL, rotating to keep their forward batteries pointed toward the enemy. One of the damaged ships, a cruiser found itself in particularly dire straits, unable to manoeuvre, it coasted right by the NSL fleet.

Fortunately for the cruiser the NSL ships were focused on the incoming FSE missiles which Beth had added to by launching another salvo before manoeuvring away, the missile count was now close to 100. The missiles were allocated to their targets and the point defence fire was resolved. Although none of the NSL ships exploded like the FSE battleship had, there was a lot of damage and only the two destroyers escaped unscathed. This was simply because they hadn't been targeted by any of the missiles. 

At this point the current turn came to an end, with the majority of the FSE missiles expended and the distance between the two fleets increasing Beth and I decided that now was a good as time as any to finish the game.

26 January 2012

New Guardian Archive of the Martian Campaign - New Dispatches

Further instalments of Beth's New Guardian Archive of the Martian Campaign, set in the GZGverse during the siege of Sol. 

Stepping Up - Jock gets a transfer
A Bloody Nose - The elite 3/7 fight to secure a Krak held port
Operation Leopard Seal - Mopping up the coastline and a history of the 3/7
Raid on the Wheat Field - Troops from the OU join with NAC and NSL forces to flush Krak out of the southern agricultural zone.