Home Forums Air and Sea Naval All at Sea – British Builds, Part One

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  • #132788
    carojon
    Participant

    The work on the British collection has continued with the addition of a very famous ship.

    Along with looking at the model and the history of the ship, my post took a bit of a detour looking at some Nelsonian memorabilia and some local connections.

    If you would like to know more then follow the link to JJ’s

    https://jjwargames.blogspot.com/2020/03/all-at-sea-on-stocks-in-jjs-dockyard_7.html

    JJ

    http://jjwargames.blogspot.co.uk

    #132789

    Thank you for another truly enjoyable post. I greatly appreciate the post-Trafalgar history of HMS Victory. The decline and eventual destruction of naval vessels is so often glossed over that most people are completely unaware of how long-lived these vessels actually were. On this side of the pond we have a pretty spotty history preserving our historic vessels.

    Just after WWII, Congress passed legislation to allow the preservation of four historic ships. USS Constitution was funded for preservation by the Navy and remains in Charlestown, Massachusetts, as a gem of our maritime past. The Constellation, Hartford and Olympia were to be handed over to private foundations for preservation. Hartford, Farragut’s flag during the Civil War, sadly sank at the wharf before it could be transferred and was dismantled shortly after. The Constellation still exists in Baltimore, Maryland. It was preserved as a relic of the beginnings of our Navy being one of the original six frigates funded by Congress in the 1790s. Wrong. The vessel is actually a rebuild of the same name dating to 1854. There is little, if any, of the original Constellation‘s material incorporated in the later ship. But the tradition that this was the oldest commissioned US Navy ship far outlived its usefulness–though I wonder if the ship would have been preserved at all if the truth had been widely known.

    Finally, the USS Olympia, Dewey’s flag at the Battle of Manila Bay, is still afloat in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A few years ago it was in deep financial trouble. The dire warning that the Navy would tow it out and sink it as an artificial reef if it could not be properly preserved has not come to pass. But I’ve not kept up with the drama so I don’t know the current status. A few years ago my wife and I travelled to Philly just to see the Olympia. That was what I wanted to celebrate my birthday. However, it was off-season and the ship was open to the public only a few days a week and we had chosen poorly. I’ve yet to step foot on perhaps my favorite ship of all time.

    Well, now I’m rambling…. Thanks again for taking us along on your fleet builds. Great stuff.

    P.S. Anybody familiar with the age-of-sail novels of Chris Durbin? I’m currently reading the second of six in the series. Highly recommended.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #132842
    carojon
    Participant

    Hi Jeff,

    I think the preservation of historical naval vessels is a problem throughout the developed world, where a public are interested in preserving for the nation, but governments and management bodies struggle to juggle the finances, contending with other equally or more pressing demands of the limited pot. It looks like its becoming an equally large problem protecting and preserving historical wrecks around the world from unscrupulous scrap metal reclaimers desecrating war-graves.

    I sadly missed visiting the USS Constitution when I was in Boston, but I guess being on honeymoon might have influenced that decision, and I did get to show my wife around Gettysburg! What can I say, she knew she was marrying a wargamer from day one.

    I hadn’t realised that Dewy’s Olympia was still around, which is interesting for me as I have visited Cartagena in Spain many times and the naval museum there together with the city monuments record the Spanish-American War which sparked an interest in that naval conflict that gets little coverage in the UK.

    I am planning to partly redress my missing out on the Constitution with a visit, later this year, to Pearl Harbour, which I am sure will be an interesting and moving experience and at some stage in the next few years a return to the mainland US is on the cards to visit these places I still have to do, with a few AWI battlefields and wargaming conventions I would like to take in. Needless to say, your ramblings have been very useful and noted.

    I’m not familiar with Chris Durbin, but I will certainly check him out, thank you.

     

    All the best

    JJ

    http://jjwargames.blogspot.co.uk

    #132847
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Yes, the USS Olympia is in Philadelphia.  It’s a superb ship, one of the last predreadnought armored cruisers left.  She’s 100% worth the visit.  There was a time when her future was in doubt but I believe they finally found private funds to make repairs to the hull, and may or may not be drydocking her in the near future to repair the keel.  Would have been a huge shame to have to sink her, or scrap such a beautiful ship.

    And yes, it’s always a challenge to preserve old ships, even just logistically since the techniques used to build them often get lost along the way.  In ref to the OP, that is one superb model.  Amazing!  HMS Victory is definitely one of the great classic ships still afloat.

    #132923
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Lovely job on her!  She looks really intimidating.

    Man, those anchors are HUGE.  I wonder if they blocked any canons?

    Your posts always send me down the rabbit hole, this time looking up what Martello towers were, how many were converted and residences (and how…).  I am fortunate in that I was able to visit the Victory in 1986 when we hopped across the pond to visit Royal Navy friends that lived outside Portsmouth.  It was an incredible experience.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #132989
    carojon
    Participant

    Thanks for the comments chaps.

    There is nothing quite like seeing these ships up close and the inspiration seeing them creates when you sit down to model them. I think of it similarly to walking battlefields, to get a sense of scale when designing an historical scenario. Reading and seeing pictures is never enough or better than experiencing the actual thing or place itself.

    The anchors are indeed massive and immediately draw the eye when you see them stowed on the sides. They would most likely have been carried more horizontally in reality, but the model is a compromise between fixing them so that they are secure to be handled for wargaming whilst still capturing the look.

    As well as writing the blog as a personal journal of my hobby activities, it is also intended to encourage others to get involved and have a go, as I think the more of us that do, the better the hobby becomes for everyone. So I hope these posts will inspire that kind of response and I have put together videos and tutorials to try and better explain my own techniques to share any knowledge I have gleaned, often from others. In addition I have a contact form on the blog and will attempt to answer questions speedily.

     

     

    http://jjwargames.blogspot.co.uk

    #133426

    Oh, I took the bait. In a big way. I’m now the proud owner of British and French fleet sets from Warlord. Then I purchased ‘War by Sail’ as well as ‘It’s Warm Work’ from WargameVault, not to mention hours perusing other rule sets. Butterfly mode engaged.

    The models are well designed and a joy to build. I think Warlord did these right. I don’t have much interest in their rules, though. A bit of a history lesson: Some of the very earliest plastic commercial models in the 1950s were sailing ships. They came with clear plastic printed ratlines–just like the Warlord models. I didn’t like them then. I don’t like them now. They almost put me off making the purchase. These models deserve an upgrade so I’m searching for 1/600 scale photo-etch ratlines. I know there’s a Brit manufacturer but I haven’t found a US one. I may try scratch building ’em. We’ll see. The labor involved will probably dissuade me. Not overly fond of the paper sails, but they’ll probably do. I haven’t decided on basing either. So I’ve been assembling the hulls and priming but the progress will wait until a basing decision is made.

    I’m thinking about outfitting the fleets to represent vessels of the Seven Years’ War to American War for Independence. Am I correct in thinking that black hulls would not be quite so predominant in this earlier period? That seems like a more Napoleonic/War of 1812 fashion. I’m even thinking of outfitting some of the ships with fancier sterns and mizzen lateen sails that were being phased out at that time.

    ‘War by Sail’ has also impressed me, though I’ve not yet played them–only several quick read-throughs. Not fond of the title but–meh–I didn’t write them. Having written a set of ironclad rules where each gun fired is rolled for separately, I do appreciate the gunfire by weight in WbS. Most of the other sets I’ve looked at generalized the gunfire too much for my tastes. The ship lists for the various conflicts, including how to stat up unlisted ships, are worth the price alone. I like the two phased movement: one for fleet movement; one for individual variances to line up shots. I like the simplicity of the turning/speed template. There are quite a few maneuvring options such as box hauling and warping that are often left out of other sets. I have to admit that no age-of-sail rules I’ve seen hit my perception of the three-dimensionality of naval warfare of the period. But, Mr. Jensen has put a lot of work into this set and that is reflected in player options, game mechanics as well as the graphic presentation. Anyone using m-dashes, n-dashes and hyphens correctly earns my typographic respect! And, a printer friendly version included with the *.pdf–Well done, Mr. J!

    My only concern right now (and remember this is just a first impression) is the number of markers used on the game table. That’s solvable. I’ll probably create new ship rosters that show damage state. Call me weird but I enjoy designing forms.

     

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #133466
    carojon
    Participant

    Hi Jeff,

    Welcome to wargaming Age of Sail in the Grand Manner, it sounds like you are hooked!

    If you don’t want to use the plastic ratlines, there are the etched brass offerings from Meridian and I have seen a device for stretching lines of thread over to create the pattern, on one of the 3D printed ship sites.

    The work Tom Jensen did pulling together the ship stats for WbS is truly impressive and as you say worth the cost of the rules for that alone, that said we have had a lot of fun messing about with them and Tom has been very generous in observing and commenting on a bunch of inveterate rule adaptors as we have played about with his core system, but I think that argues in some way to their strength in that you can tailor the rules to what you want without losing the essence of what attracted you in the first place.

    Like you, we have had conversations about the cluster of markers that can blossom around models as the game proceeds, but there is the option to use record sheets instead and one of the chaps in our group thought about using different coloured mini-dice for crew, hull and rigging hits to carry on the bases as perhaps less obstrusive.

    I haven’t settled on any particular way yet and am focused on the playing and rule adaptions we are creating before getting into thar particular process, but I’d be  interested to see what you come up with.

    It sounds like you have plenty to get on with and I look forward. To seeing some pictures and a write up on the blog.

    Cheers

    JJ

    http://jjwargames.blogspot.co.uk

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