Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy

I finished up my PT Dockyard vessels this morning.  These are pictures of the vessels.  I have several more that I've already painted and I'm tempted to redo them to match the color and detailing.  I must say I like these much better.  The smallest vessels, the Boghammers are new castings and much superior to the old ones.
Thondar missile boats are among the nastiest of the Iranian vessels. Chinese built with Chinese missiles

Comparison shot with my original model.  It's getting a face lift.

Four "China Cats", another Chinese missile boat with a catamaran hull.

The last picture is the LCS-1 Freedom by PT. Dockyards.  As you can see, it is a much larger miniature than the Iranian vessels.  It will feature prominently in our Straits of Hormuz game.  Hope to have it finished Sunday. However in doing research for the detailing, which will have to be painted in, I've discovered I need to re-paint the hull that same USN brownish gray I primed the model with.  I've included a couple of pictures of a finished model that inspired my thinking, as well as as photos from the U.S. navy that show the contrasting grays.  Not a big deal.  Will probably lose about a half hour in painting and touch up.
Boghammers.  The first three are the new models.  The outside two are the old miniatures. 

Tir torpedo boats
US Navy photos of LCS-1 Freedom clearly show the upper works a lighter gray than the Gull Gray hull. 

USS Freedom (LCS-1) is a work in progress.  There is a Thondar below and a Boghammer above as a size comparison.

That same USN gray is clearly visible in this photo of LCS-2 Independence.  My miniature of this vessel is a styrene model kit by Dragon.  I'll be spray painting this vessel because I smell disaster when I think of using brush acrylics on a mini this big made of styrene.  A big bunch of bad.
LCS-2 Independence with its distinct trimaran shape and gull gray coloring.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PT Dockyards and the Straits of Hormuz

Side view of Iranian Thondar class missile boat. 

I have a lot of resin coastal vessels from PT Dockyards.  David Gregory runs a fine niche business.  Though PT Dockyards vessels take some work (and I don't work hard enough on them) I like them better than the metals from Skytrex.  Though they have the virtue of being metal, and the detail is sometimes a bit finer, the Skytrex WWII coastals and moderns seem just a little too large and solid.  And when they have flaws they really stick out.  I generally feel PT's flaws can be massaged a bit and hidden.  I do kind of wish David would go with photo-etched guns and fiddly bits which would raise the price considerably, but they would be a bit tidier than digging them out of the resin "wafer."

Daveshoe and I are working on our piles of Iranian vessels for our Straits of Hormuz game at Enfilade.  The game allows the Iranian player to select from a large number of vessel types.  Small vessels to be sure, from the speedy Boghammers armed with multiple rocket launchers, RPG's and automatic weapons, to the nasty Thondar missile boats with Chinese anti ship missiles and automatic cannon.
Nearly completed Thondar class.  My little kits didn't have complete auto-cannon, so comparison with picture may be weird. Mounted on 2 1/2 inch bases.
Boghammer fast patrol boats with China Cat missile boats in background.  Mounted on one inch square bases.
Tir stealthy torpedo boats on 1 1/2 inch bases.  Minis are done, but bases aren't finished.
I'm always at a loss when it comes to painting these little ships.  Though there are lots of photographs and even some nice color line drawings of the Iranian Navy and Revolutionary Guard Navy (the most likely early combatants in the Strait,) getting a workable paint scheme going can be a challenge.  I started with a simple spray coat of Testor's USN light gray-available at Michaels.  Then I dug deep into my paint drawers and managed to pull out some Floquil Polly S paints that still had legs.  This was great stuff, and that it is no longer available is a crime against hobbyists every where.  (Hear that Testors-fascist paint monopolists!!) I grabbed a Dark Ghost Gray and IJN Light gray.  Combined with Vallejo Neutral Gray for the decks, I had colors for my Iranian fleet. 

As you can see the vessels are all assembled and most are in various stages of painting.  I'm hoping to have them finished by the weekend and will update this post.  As I said, this is for Enfilade, and when they are done, I'll have only two large American vessels to complete for the convention.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Chickasaw Bluffs playtest

The Chickasaw Bluffs playtest finally happened. Sort of. No it really did.  I say sort of because on Friday I had an epiphany.  The original plan for the scenario was basically a game on a 10' X 8' table or two 5' X 8' separated by walking space between the two halves.  On one half an American amphibious assault landing aimed at capturing a Spanish battery overlooking the Mississippi.  On the other half a punitive expedition against Spain's Chickasaw allies.  On Friday I determined running both actions simultaneously would be at least a monumental headache, if not a disaster, so I decided to split them into separate scenarios and separate game periods. 

Yesterday Al Rivers, Steve Ghan, Dale Mickel, Gary Griess, David Sullivan and Lawrence Bateman got together at Game Matrix and played  the "Just a Big Indian Fight" scenario.  The Americans, tasked with capturing or destroying the Chickasaw village had one company of militia composed of four ten figure squads. The Americans also had two six pounders.   They also had two companies of regular infantry composed of three twelve man squads.  They were opposed by three warbands of Chickasaws, each composed of three ten man squads.
American troops advancing to the creek.  Militia is in the foreground and about to be roughly handled by the Indians

All seems quiet in the Chickasaw village

Lawrence Bateman's command advancing across the river.

Lawrence has already taken fire and dispatched one band of Chickasaw to his front.  More to his right front.

The Indians set up in cover, and with the exception of one unit of Indians, the Americans contented themselves with crossing the little creek flowing across the board.  The militia stumbled into an Indian ambush and quickly found itself outmatched when the Chickasaw took to the tomahawk and war club.  Two squads were annihilated and the rest were driven back across the creek. 

Dale's regulars did a slow dance with the one advanced Indian unit visible on the left, but the American regulars showed themselves to be formidable, advancing methodically on the left and in the center, using their superior command ability to their advantage.  Eventually they advanced toward the cornfield where David's Indians dosed them with fire and charged.  Formed troops with bayonets proved not nearly so brittle as the militia, and they gave at least as good as they got in melee. One of the regular squads was eliminated in the advance, but eventually David's Indians were cleared. 

On the right, Al's Indians continued to be difficult as Gary regrouped his Indians.  Steve's remaining bands retired from the cornfield to the safety of the fort, while Lawrence and Dale advanced with their regulars and began burning the cornfield.  It's a slow process, and required a bit of good luck to make rapid progress, but eventually the victory points began piling in.  When Lawrence worked a squad into the village and burned one of the houses, we called it a game. 

No playtest is ever perfect, but it seemed to go well.  We discussed some simple tweaks and an option for the Indians, but nothing major.  We played just over three hours and seemed to reach a conclusion. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chickasaw Bluffs: River assault boats

Boat 1 with 6 pound boat gun.  Strictly gunfire support material
Yes, it's been a while since my last post.  I'm truly sorry.  I seem to have hit some sort of blogger wall.  It's not that I'm doing nothing, I'm painting almost every night.  I haven't been playing many games and that does lighten the number of posts I can make, unless I devote myself to boring navel gazing.

A look further astern.  That's a Lewis and Clark figure on the stern.  Makes a good squad leader.
I'm still working on units for Chickasaw Bluffs and I'm nearly done with them. I sixty Perry militia figures and I'm down to the last twenty to wrap up.  I'd hoped to have them done over Spring Break last week, but no such luck.  Soon.  Unfortunately, tomorrow I leave for the National Student Journalism convention.  This year it's just up the road in Seattle, so I don't lose a day to travel.

A nice shot down the stem of the boat.
While I was doing some tedious blacklining on my figures I decided to take a break and paint up a couple of the small boats needed for my river landing at Chickasaw Bluffs.  I'm using four of the Merrimac shipyards boats.  These come two to a box.  I bought them about four years ago as a member of the Old Glory Army.  They were very inexpensive, I wanna say ten dollars for two with the discount.  The boats come with a ton of goodies-oars and oarlocks, boat howitzers and swivel guns.  A great value for the price.

A shot at boat two with the three swivels

I chose to make the swivel guns of iron rather than brass.  Thought that might be more the norm on the frontier.
 For the game, these are simply assault vessels, landing craft.  They'll join the keelboat and my two Lewis and Clark as landing craft, dropping troops on to the shore.  I decided to army these two vessels differently, going for a 6 lb. boat gun on one with a bunch of blunderbuss armed swivels on the other. I just added some masts out of plastruct and away we go.
A quick comparison shot of the two boats.