Monday, December 19, 2016

More Imagining, Planning and Experimenting.

The ships were what was bothering me most. A "serious" approach might include off table ships for 40mm amphibious operations with fleets of 1:1200 ships for sea battles but the toy soldier approach really calls for fleets of bathtubbed toy ships that can sail on table and carry 40mm landing parties. I had temporarily  forgotten that I had a start on just such a fleet.
A quick mock-up of a small Acadian village with a rather grandiose clock tower, and a cutter and an armed brigantine.
You say 'toy pirate ship', I say 'Brig'. Of course, I need to get a few more and then complete some renovations, make or find some naval guns etc., but it looks promising. The pirate ship is a recast of the old MPC one. I found an affordable deal on a pack with three of the small ones like the one above and one of the big ones. Hopefully it'll still be available when the war funds get renewed. If only the Barzso naval cannon weren't OOP but I should be able to build naval carriages and use PA barrels as 8 lbers and eventually 12pdrs. These are mostly privateers anyway, not ships of the line.

Along the same lines, I've been contemplating the size of the armies and games and decided to stick with the sort of looks right and works approach urged by Lawford & Young and by Duffy. For me this will mean a vaguely 1:5 ratio with company sized units of 8 with most games having less than 100 figures per side but with perhaps 3 companies per bathtubbed battalion at 1:15 for the biggest envisaged  battles with up to 200 figures on the largest side. I've had to scrap the 8 figure bases though since I will have to split my units to provide outposts, sentries, landing barge complements, wagon escorts etc.  Since I want to keep the footprint per figure small, too small for stability, I won't go back to single figures on washers but instead will go with 2 figures on a 30mm*30mm base as the smallest individual detachment. These can then be grouped into larger formations as required, possibly on movement trays.

It also occured to me today when I did a trial layout of a town that I'm going to have to plot out my opposing towns, including surrounding terrain, so that I can lay them out the same each time. The grid should help with that.

However, all this won't be table ready for a while and this time I don't want to play with mock-ups and stand ins.  I'm ready to play a game of something soon though so more on this campaign when there is something to show


  1. I would probably call those vessels a schooner (or just possibly a lugger) and a cutter - the sort of small craft you want for inshore work and protection of coastal shipping and seaports. Oh, and for quick off-shore raids on enemy shipping that stray too close to one's own shores.

    1. Yes I meant to call the single masted boat a cutter, schooners have 2 masts, its just a bad habit picked up when I first did a 5 minute improv conversion of two souvenir Dories for a game.

      The larger ship will actually be a brigantine when finished with square foresail and lateen mainsail though it seems that in the 1740's the terminology was less strict and Brigantines were sometimes referred to as Brigs esp by landsmen. These were apparently the most common multipurpose vessels in New England.

      None of these would be strictly coastal vessels though, not enough coastal settlements to pay. Their main uses were either trade to the Indies or Europe for the larger vessels, fishing for the smaller ones and privateering for both whenever hostilities erupted.

      They are both heavily bath tubbed and definitely toys not models.

  2. This just looks delightful. 2017 is going to be fun.

  3. I am filled with anticipation as to where the game will go...

  4. Wow, splendid ships and coast!