Several years ago I invested in a fair number of Tumbling Dice 1:2400 ships with the aim of moving into some ACW naval gaming. They are nice little ships that come at a great price - but lacked the detail I wanted. In the end, they found a new home via Ebay.
Now, I find myself on the brink of a new era of ACW naval gaming thanks to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough! 'What the ...?', I hear you say. Thanks for asking, let me explain! :)
My first grand venture into 6mm was with a pair of the excellent War of Spanish Succession starter armies from Baccus. They were great little guys and I really enjoyed painting up my Anglo-Dutch and Franco-Bavarian armies. However, as so often happens with me, I have all the energy in the world with a new project right up to the point of gaming with the freshly painted armies. They sat for a couple of years and I recently decided to sell them to finance new projects.
Well, there was great interest on Ebay, but none more determined than a gentlemanly request from the east coast of the US asking if I would consider shipping these guys half way around the world (I'd said no international shipping in my listing). The short version of events is that I quickly warmed to this buyer in the US and happily offered to ship them if he won. He did, and I'm glad. The tale is eloquently told elsewhere, but let me just say that I can thank the Duke of Marlborough - or at least my new mate Rob's interest in the fine gent - for linking me up with a great new wargaming pal across the pond (the very big one to the east).
I quickly discovered that Rob was a decent and very generous guy, and hearing I was pining for some riverine ironclad biffo, he took pity on this penniless Antipodean and very kindly sent a care package from the most wonderful Langton 1:1200 ACW range (available from Waterloo Minis in the US).
In the weeks since, I've been agonising over painting techniques for these estuarine monsters and the various other gunboats included in my package from Rob. I make no claims of being any good at this style of painting as yet - for instance, sails somehow defeat me, despite many attempts. But, on the weekend I finished painting the ships to my initial level of satisfaction and based them in preparation for a trial run of David Manley's Iron and Fire rules for the Ironclad period (1850-1880).
I don't have any dedicated terrain for this scale of naval/riverine gaming, so I pulled together what I could with my usual naval gaming cloth (yes, the blue tablecloth from my buddy Elaine!) and some pieces of a cut up terrain mat. A few pictures follow.
|Confederate ironclads sortie out from a river to intercept some of the Union blockading fleet that ventured too close.
|The CSS Merrimack (ACW1) and CSS Richmond (ACW9) steam out to intercept the Federals.
|Elements of the the Federal blockading fleet - (L to R) a captured Confederate Commerce Raider (ACW25), USS Gen. Bragg (ACW53) and USS Cumberland (ACW2).
|Langton 'Commercial Steamer (ACW25) rigged as a Confederate Commerce Raider
|Langton USS Cumberland (ACW2) - needing some rigging, a challenge for another day!
|Langton USS/CSS Gen. Bragg (ACW53).
|Langton CSS Merrimack (ACW1)
|Langton CSS Richmond Class ironclad (ACW9)
Who says Ebay is a bad thing?