Sunday, March 26, 2017

Getting My Hands Dirty?

My normal gaming group knows what my naval prejudices are.  I'll play a WWII game, but don't particularly care for them.  Airplanes foul up an otherwise perfectly good sea battle.  I do like WWI, but zeppelins get almost as much side-eye as airplanes do.  And don't EVEN get me started on submarines.  Torpedo boats and destroyers I can respect, but in gaming terms submarines are more like hooligans waiting to mug someone than they are a fighting ship.  Ironclads get a small amount of side-eye too.  Skulking behind armor and polluting the sky with clouds of coal smoke don't seem like a gentlemanly way to fight a battle.  My gaming friends just laugh at me, and say I'm a reactionary where naval games with technology are concerned.  My retort is that I'm a traditionalist.

Now, given the above rant I'm at a bit of a loss to explain why these turned up in the mail on Monday:

Actually, I'm not at a loss.  We played Yaquinto's Ironclads for a couple of months, and I became convinced that they could be fun after all.  So, I picked up a set of rules, and these three little beauties from Thoroughbred Miniatures.  Although they are best known for 1/600 scale models, they also do a line of 1/1200 scale ironclads as well.  As you can see, they are beautiful sculpts, with no flash and very dainty detailing.  The two monitors are Passaic class ships, which were the first ones built after the original Monitor.  The Confederate ironclad is the CSS Atlanta, so my test scenario for rules is going to be Atlanta versus Weehawken and Nahant.  I don't know if it is a "fair" scenario, but it will be more interesting than the usual Monitor/Virginia scenario and allow 2 other players to sit in on the first playtest instead of just one.

Full disclosure: I had some ironclad minis in the past, but got rid of them.  One of the things I had forgotten was just how small the ironclads are in comparison to my ships of the line.  The picture below shows these ships with the usual quarter.  As you can see, they barely come past the slotta-base holding the coin:

The 74 gunner is on a base, but I think you get the idea.

Because of their small size and low profile, I'm not sure about how to handle these.  I'm thinking about doing away with a base altogether and just putting magnetic material on the bottoms of the hulls.  Then again, putting them on a base would give the players some way to handle them other than the smokestacks.  I suspect that a base will win out in the end.

Right now, I'm in Virginia enjoying what can only be called a Civil Wargasm, and so will take more pictures of sailing ships when we get back home.  Oh, and of course the rant in the first paragraph is all in good fun.


  1. You are right, super detail! I keep thinking about this period. I just have so many Nappies and 1812ers waiting in the stocks. I'm liking your blog.

    1. I thought about doing some Great Lakes stuff, but decided not to (yet, anyway). I want to design and do a Black Sea 1806-12 campaign, because my French ships can be re-purposed as Ottoman ones with just a simple reflagging. I think the best way of doing a campaign is with the old Empires in Arms maps. Right now though, I haven't gotten past a few basic ideas.