Sunday, December 9, 2012


 This week has been very productive here at the Lead gardens both because I am approaching the end of the teaching term and have a bit more time and because of the trip my wife and oldest son took to New York this past few days has given me the run of the house with my youngest daughter who is pretty easy to take care of. I managed to get some pre-dreadnoughts built and painted and had a few fun games to get me into the "holiday mood".  This afternoon I made good progress on painting up the Union figures for my Battle Cry game. Late today I was ruminating on the "Memoir of War at Sea" rules and had an, "oh wait, I have something that will work for this!" moment. So I went out to the garage (where my "gaming stuff" is stored) and I unearthed a box of 1/600 sailing ships that I had built more than 20 years ago when I was first living on my own after my first marriage went kaput. In those few months I spent in a sparse apartment without much in the way of furniture, and lots of time on my hands, I bought a bunch of Airfix 1/600 "Victory" and Heller 1/500 "Le Superb" plastic kits and set to building converting and scratchbuilding a small French and British fleet of sailing ships.
The original 1/600 Airfix kit
 I really got into it and the results were very satisfying even if I had no really good rules to use for solo gaming in the period.
This is the Heller 1/500 Le Superb unfortunately I think out of production, and I've got only four unbuilt kits left. The Victory is still available.
 I learned a lot about scratchbuilding back then and I still have a few kits left unbuilt. The scale is great for small actions.
 So I'm thinking a variant of the variant "Memoir of Battle at Sea: Age of Sail" is in order...and this afternoon I sat down with pencil and paper to do just that. As soon as I get a draft up I will post it and see what my readers think.
Some of the smaller ships were entirely scratchbuilt...and unfortunately are in need of some repair

 The scale of 1/600 is really beautiful for sailing ships and a good size if you want to do some basic rigging. The scale works also because ratlines can be simulated with a triangle of window screen cut to the proper size.
A big French three decker...the 120 gun "Orient"
 I tried to model each of these after a real ship and for this rule variant I thought a nice goal would be to make a simple game that still was able to account for different ship armaments. I've got some simple formulas cooked up based on the broadside weight to rate the ships for number of battle dice to roll and and the tonnage to give a damage value. Next I'm cooking up some sailing rules that will hopefully keep everything really simple  and in the spirit of Bob's variant on the M44 rules approach.
Some of the smaller ships are pretty damaged but I think in time I can bring them back to full glory! This is the British 44 gun frigate "Sprite"

The whole collection.
I'm pretty excited about this new direction, but of course, as always, the specter of being spread over too many projects looms on the horizon...but what the hell, I never let that stop me before!


Ross Mac said...

What lovely little ships! The only ships I have tackled were some 1:1200 Valiant Armada galleons but I can see the attraction of the larger ones for a modeler.

Not to mention that one could add them to 2mm or even 6mm figures for amphibious actions.

tradgardmastare said...

Beautiful ships.I have tried to make some 1/1200 ones in the past to little avail.I will be interested to read of your rules and look forward to the games ...
best wishes

Sean said...

Inspiring. Those really are some beautiful models. I'm interested to see your rules.

tidders said...

Nice model ships.

Airfix is now making these again - HMS Victory Starter Set (A55104)


James Fisher, FINS said...

That's a fine looking fleet. As you say, they do look great in that scale. Fantastic.

Steven Page said...

I am looking forward to your rule set. The ships are awesome! I need to develop an eye for building Age of Sail. My attempts have just not looked "right".

reston668 said...

I may be a few years late, but what a wonderful post to find! I was working on some scratchbuilt 1/1200 ships, and I found the scale unpleasant to work in, and by my own math, wound up at 1/600 being much more pleasant. But 1/1200 seemed like the default for Age of Sail. I'm glad to find 1/600 not completely unknown!

RCA said...

nice post!