Sunday, 17 April 2016

Somewhere in Palestine, 1916 ... If the Lord Spares Us

A bloke needs a shed. I have one, but it has been perpetually full of junk for years now (good junk, but full nonetheless). But, after a number of merciless 'chucking sessions' in recent weeks, I have finally come to the point where the shed becomes a plausible gaming venue – even if it is somewhat lacking in creature comforts (e.g. leaking roof (not over the tables), hot in summer and cold in winter).
A New Hope! Wargaming in the shed!
I've been keen to get some serious gameplay under my belt using the Too Fat Lardies classic, If the Lord Spares Us (WW1 in the Middle east). Previously, trying to war-game in a busy household had led to rushed set-ups, late at night when all was quiet, only to have to pack up after a few turns to clear the decks for morning. No longer shall the domestic needs of the many curtail the wargaming needs of the few (well, me).

So, my first decent attempt at ITLSU with my Eureka Miniatures 15mm troops, was a 'somewhere in Palestine' encounter where a brigade of British infantry supported by a troop of armoured cars, assault and Ottoman stronghold surrounding an Oasis town of El-Gouna. The British have occupied a small Oasis from where they will launch their attack.  but not enough to maintain their current position. Their only hope is to capture the wells held by Johnny Turk, a few miles to the 

The task of capturing El-Gouna and its wells, intact, fell to Brigadier-General A.W. Tufnel (classified as an Eaton commander) and the 126th East Lancashire Brigade:
  • 1st Battalion, 4 companies of 4 bases, infantry + 1 x MG (Jolly Good Fellows, spunk rating 0)
  • 2nd Battalion, 4 companies of 4 bases, infantry + 1 x MG (Saturday Boys, spunk rating 1)
  • 3rd Battalion, 4 companies of 4 bases, infantry + 1 x MG  (Saturday Boys, spunk rating 1)
  • 2 Armoured cars (1 base, Jolly Good Fellows, spunk rating 0)
Initial deployment with the Ottoman forces deployed in two redoubts overlooking the oasis. I randomly allocate troops to each blind once they are spotted or choose to come out of cover. The Empire troops have limited water at this oasis (bottom of picture) but must push on to secure the more reliable water supply at El-Gouna.
The Empire troops advance cautiously across the open ground before El Gouna. On the British left cover is taken behind a rocky hill.

The Empire forces are spotted from the air by a lone Taube (due to the Biggles card turning up this turn). 
I've never found time to finish this post so will upload the pictures I have to hand. Ultimately, the British force managed to push the Turks off the hill on their left (by sweeping around the wire). However, the Turks managed to hold the hill on the British right flank.

The 3rd battalion of the East Lancs in the British centre manages to push along the wadi with support from a pair of armoured cars on their left. This was the beginning of the end for the Turkish defence.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Scratch built Barbaros Hayreddin, Turgut Reis and Georgios Averof (update)

The learning experience from my first attempt at 1:2400 naval scratch building has been that with moderate effort I can produce something equal to or better than the ships I have been used to purchasing.

While I aspire to greater detail and refinement, there is also something to be said for building wargame quality ships that make it to the table in reasonable time!

Here is the current state of the Ottoman pre-dred battleship the Barbaros Hayreddin.

I think if I bothered to do a cost-benefit analysis of scratch building this fleet, I'd probably find it'd be better to purchase them. But for me it's often more about the journey than the destination!

This weekend I've virtually completed the sister ship to the Barbaros Hayreddin - Togut Reis. They are Brandenburg Class (pre-drednaught) battleships laid down in 1890 and the Togut Reis was completed in 1894 starting her life as the SMS Weissenburg and later sold to the Ottoman Empire in 1910.
Waterline hull and superstructure formed from PVC sheet
Drilling the holes for the fore and aft masts.
Gun barrels (brass rod) fixed and steel masts (old comb teeth) cut to length.
Masts fixed in place with 'spotting tops' made from small sections of PVC tube glued in place with spars of brass rose.
 The Turgut Reis is now ready for texturing of the base (I use acrylic caulking compound) and a paint job!

Next, I'm going to start on the arch nemesis of the Ottoman fleet - the Greek Cruiser Georgios Averof
(Θ/Κ Γεώργιος Αβέρωφ). This Pisa-class armored cruiser was built in Italy and commissioned in 1911. She saw action in the two main actions of the First Balkan War and nearly single-handedly defeated the Ottoman fleet at the battles at Elli (3 December 1912)!
The hull of the Georgios Averof ready for its superstructure. It is formed from a layer of 2mm and 1mm PVC sheet. 
The superstructure is formed and glued in place. Holes are drilled for the fore and aft masts.

The Armoured Cruiser Georgios Averof has been launched and is undergoing her final fit-out and paint job, before being commissioned into the Πολεμικό Ναυτικό (Hellenic Navy)!

Monday, 11 April 2016

1:2400 scratchbuild: Barbaros Hayreddin

My latest project has been inspired by two excellent posts on TMP:
  1. An alternate history of the Ottoman and Greek naval build up in the years leading up to WW1 by Leadhead PhD: The War thet Never Was - The Greek-Ottoman War of 1914
  2. The inspiring (to the point of being intimidating!) scratchbuilding of some 1:2400 pre-drednoughts by Austerlitz06 on TMP.
I wanted to try my hand at a little 1:2400 scratch building and have become increasingly interested in the naval actions of the Balkan Wars leading up to WW1.

As well as the 'what if' scenario around a wider Ottoman-Greek naval conflict, the plan is to build the necessary ships for some naval actions from the First Balkan War. Such as the Battle of Elli (16 December 1912) - an Ottoman defeat in the mouth of the Dardanelles - and the Battle of Lemnos (18 January 1913 - the Ottoman Empire's last ditch effort to regain supremacy in the Aegean by breaking the Greek blockade of the Dardanelles.
OOB for the Battle of Elli (with thanks to the Age of Steam and Coal)

OOB for the Battle of Lemnos (with thanks to the Age of Steel and Coal and Steel)
A quick trip to the model train store for a selection of PVC sheet, and I was in business. My first attempt was the Ottoman pre-dead, the Barbaros Hayreddin - a Brandenberg Class battleship of the Impreial German Navy (1890) sold to the Ottoman Empire in 1910.

My first attempt at 1:2400 scratchbuilding is not in the league off Austerlitz06's work, but I'm pleased with how it's shaping up.
Now, there is nothing like a photo of a miniature to show up its short comings!

The tube used for the funnels is too big and the wire for the main gun barrels is similarly a little too thick. This comes from wanting to finish the first one with available materials rather than holding out for the right stock. That said, I'm quite happy of the look of the masts - made from the 'teeth' of a fine hair comb.

The yards for each mast are next, then lifeboats and the secondary guns in the casements.

Perhaps I'm quietly declaring my bias by building the Ottoman Barbaros Hayreddin first! The Torgut Reis next!