Wednesday, July 29, 2020

"It's a do or die situation - we will be INVINCIBLE!"

It's time to start writing about ships and song lyrics again!  I know that COVID-19 is still running rampant, especially in my part of the world.  So yes, this could clearly be called "Love in the Time of Coronavirus Part 3" or whatever.  But ya see, I want things to go back to normal.  I want to visit my friends that I haven't seen in months, and I don't care whether it's to play games or just chat.  I've come to appreciate virtual gaming applications like Roll20 and Discord; they have allowed me to get SOME gaming in.  It's still not the same as pushing real minis around a tabletop though.

Now, I can already hear what you're saying to your computer: "Yeah, well, that's the same thing we ALL want! Stop whining, you big baby."  πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”  OK, fair enough.  My point though, (such as it is) was simply that here things can be normal, more or less.  That means less mentioning the Coronavirus, and more talking about ships and finding a song lyric that fits the subject of my posts.

In this case though, finding an appropriate song lyric was almost ridiculously easy.  As mentioned in the "Love in the Time of Coronavirus" posts, my newest air/naval project is the Falklands War.  After painting British warships for the Cod Wars, it was a natural progression.  I mean, why not get more than one use out of your minis when you can, right?  Also, I have to admit that I love the Royal Navy ship designs from the 1960's to the 1980's.  They just look good.  Finally, the Falklands War has one of the best "what-if" scenarios of all time, and it requires almost no jiggering of real life events.  Let me explain. . .

On May 2, 1982 most of the Argentine Navy was at sea, including their aircraft carrier, the 25 de Mayo.  Their objective was to find and strike either of the Royal Navy's two aircraft carriers: HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible.  With the British at the end of a 6,000 mile supply line, the Argentinians thought that any serious damage to either carrier would force it to leave for repairs.  If the Royal Navy lost one of its carriers, that might well tip the balance of the war to Argentina.  The Invincible group  was found late on May 1, and at 0600 the next morning, the Skyhawks were ready to be launched.  Then, fate (or nature) intervened.

The Skyhawks needed 40 knots of wind over the deck to launch with a significant ordnance load.  The carrier could make 20 knots, but the South Atlantic winds refused to cooperate and stayed at 10 knots (some sources say a dead calm), making impossible to launch the strike.  So, the first carrier versus carrier combat since WWII did not happen.  Like I said, it's the perfect "what-if" scenario, and all you really need to do is make the wind a few knots faster.  The normal winds for that time of year in the South Atlantic are 15-25 knots, so it's not even an unrealistic adjustment.

For a scenario like this, you have to have a target.  I found mine thanks to  Martin, the proprietor, had an assembled and painted Triton/Skytrex Invincible and I quickly snapped it up.  As usual, I decided I didn't like the old paint job and decided to repaint it.  Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the old version.  The original idea was to just repaint the flight deck, but as always, I wound up redoing the whole thing.

The problem is, I wound up repainting the flight deck more than once.  For those who don't remember, the flight deck of the Invincible looked like this:

Illustrious (front) relieves Invincible, August 1982.

Well, I thought I could paint those stripes by hand and keep them straight.  THAT necessitated a second repaint of the flight deck. So, after a lot of paint, a bit of cursing, and some payments to decal makers, my Invincible now looks like this:

The white stripes are from a company called Microscale who mostly make decals for model railroads.  The numbers are from Miscellaneous Miniatures (  As with any of my projects, the mistakes appear pretty obvious to me.  Some of the lines that run the length of the deck are a little bit wavy.  They don't look that bad in person, but it's pretty blatant looking here.  I think the problem is that I put those down in 1" segments, so there was more chance for them to not be straight.  Also, the lines on the sides of the main runway are too wide.  Every stinking picture I had of Invincible, I sear those stripes looked wider than the rest.  Not until I was finished and the deck was sealed did I find a close-up of the ramp that showed all the lines the same width.  Finally, the engraving on the deck was very light, and in the multiple times repainting, I lost the deck elevators under the paint!  I'm thinking about cutting some .001 plastic sheet to size and putting them in place, but just haven't done it yet.

As a closing thought, I know that big open deck looks awfully bare.  The next step will be to find some 1/1250 deck gear and aircraft to spot here and there.  Even like this, though, she'll make a good looking target for the Argentine Skyhawks I'm painting up.  Those will be in a future post, of course.

OH, one last thing now that I think about it. (Don't πŸ™„at me; I can practically hear it through the monitor.)  I thought that with the Coronavirus, I'd be making a lot more blog posts.  Obviously, that hasn't quite worked as planned.  The reason for that is our family has rediscovered game nights.  After dinner we play cards, or dominoes or Yahtzee.  For some reason, that's a lot more fun easier than writing blog posts!  I promise to do better in the future.