Thursday, December 15, 2016

Battle of Riachuelo

At the last club meeting I ran my Battle of Riachuelo scenario.  It went very well.  I started the scenario after the historic initial pass of the Paraguayan fleet by the Brazilian fleet.  In this historic scenario the Brazilians were setup moving down stream towards the anchored Paraguayans.

  • Iron and Fire by David Manley
  • 1:1200 ships by Pithead Miniatures/Spithead Miniatures
  • 2mm guns by Irregular Miniatures
  • Beige Vynl fabric for river
  • Green fleece
  • Woodland Scenics Bushes Clump-Foliage, Medium Green, 32oz
I thought I would run the game with four players, but it ended up running with six players with no issues.  I kept the terrain simple because I have no room to store a custom Riachuelo board and I just don't rerun the same scenario more than a couple times.  I used an orange kids washable marker to outline on the river the areas of shallows.  Below are photos from the game.

Photo 1: Initial deployment.  Paraguayans anchored at bottom.  Brazilian ships in line moving towards Paraguayans.  Two more Brazilians ships to enter.

Photo 2: Brazilian ships in line.  Note line showing extent of shallows on starboard of ships.

Photo 3: Paraguayan field battery provides support from shore.

Photo 4: Paraguayans decide to raise anchor and move towards Brazilians.

Photo 5: Ships from both sides are now getting in close.

Photo 6:  River is filled with smoke from the battle.  The Paraguayan flagship has rammed a Brazilian ship and captured the ship as their own ship sinks.

Photo 7: Last photo showing the second last turn in the game.  Not much changed in the last turn.

I called the game after four hours of game play.  Unfortunately the Paraguayans could not change the historical outcome.  The results were identical to history.  All Chatas (towed boats) and four ships on the Paraguayan side were sunk.  One Brazilian ship was sunk, but the Paraguayan Admiral was captured.  I did not tell either side what the victory conditions were.  The Paraguayans would have won if they did better than historically (lose less ships and/or sink more ships).
I recommend this scenario.  It is a good unknown or barely known battle.  The models are great and the rules went very smoothly, although I did forget about the possible effect of rolling a one on gunfire.  If I run the game again, I will start the battle further up river where the two sides first met.  Maybe we could see how the Paraguayans would do by not heading downstream and anchoring.
Rules wise, the rule about being easier to hit if stationary, maybe this rule could be dropped because the Paraguayans are at a disadvantage anchored.
A future post, I will share resources for you to use for building this scenario or just for reading.
Other posts on Battle of Riachuelo:

Monday, October 31, 2016

Battle of Riachuelo Preview

A photo of some playtesting of the Battle of Riachuelo naval battle.  Kind of a mess, but want to share where I am at with the scenario.  I'll be using the Iron and Fire rules by David Manley.

Shore guns will be different.  Maybe some other improvements.  Also, you probably can't see it, but I have drawn in the shallows boundary using washable marker.

Previous posts related to the battle:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Not the Hobby Norm

All of us in the Historical Miniature Wargaming hobby do things collectively that fits in the norm of our hobby.  Opposite of this we do some things that are outside the norm.  I can easily spot these in me.  I figure I would share some of these.

What is a norm?  I look at social norms.  An example of a social norm that I belong to is I shake a persons hand when I first meet them.   Alternatively, another social norm is everyone owns a cell phone in North America.  Well, I do not belong to that norm; I do not own a cell phone.  Our hobby has some key norms, like we paint our miniatures before running a game at a convention.  I can't imagine unpainted miniatures at a convention (i.e. Salute).  Maybe there are gamers out there that never paint their miniatures.

How did I determine what some of the hobby norms are?  I have been seriously in the hobby for 20 years now and I have read a lot of the polls on the TMP web site.

Here are some of my outside the hobby norm traits (more maybe added later):

  1. Paint miniatures with enamels
    • Norm: paint miniatures with acrylics
    • Virtually the whole hobby from books, magazines, online discussions, video tutorials, and hobby stores focus on acrylics.  I started with enamel (Humbrol) paints when I was a kid painting model kits.  I know how to work with them and have stuck with them.  Maybe someday I'll go to acrylics, but I'm happy with the paint.
  2. Bases not all the same.
    • Norm: All bases for a unit or army look the same
    • In the case of stands in base to base contact for certain periods/rules (i.e. regiment in ACW) then I can see the stands all being the same.  But, for the whole army to have the same grit/ground and grass tufts...not my thing.  For example my WWII bases I try to make them all different because the stands are all over the battlefield going through different terrain (corn field, swamp, forest, road, etc).  At least make different groups/units of bases different.
  3. Not painting basing material
    • Norm: paint the basing material with multiple colours.
    • The standard method of basing miniatures is to glue down your material on the base, then layer various paint colours to make the ground look like ground.  I glue down my basing material and that's it.  My grey rock glued down is happy not to be painted over with various shades of grey.  Who knows, maybe I'll change my technique in the future and I'm not hearing any complaints about my bases.  Even if I did, I don't know if I'd change.
  4. Historic battles
    • Norm: fictitious battles
    • Most games are presented as fictitious battles set in a historic war or part of a historic battle.  I am the opposite, I focus more on actual historic battles.  I enjoy the research and laying out the actual battlefield.  Nothing against the fictitious approach, just my preference.
  5. Obscure battles and wars
    • Norm: game common battles and wars
    • Why would I want to paint up and put on a battle that someone has already done and/or I've played in?  I get more interested in a battle I have not seen someone done or is rare.  I guess one example is Korean War.
I'm not saying being in the hobby norm is a bad thing, I just thought it would be interesting to see how some things we do are actually outside the norm.  Maybe I should write a post about my hobby norms, but maybe that would be too boring.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Battle of Riachuelo OOB

Due to requests for Battle of Riachuelo Order of Battle, I am posting the listing of ships below.  This list and spelling is from Warships at the Battle of Riachuelo, by William Eugene Warner.  The list is in no particular order.  Letter or Number in brackets refers to matching ship models from Pithead Miniatures.  An example of the Pithead letters/numbers is Brazilian Belmonte and Parnahyba are the same ship model.

  • Tacuari (A)
  • Paraguarí (B)
  • Igurey (C)
  • Ypora (D)
  • Marquez de Olinda (E)
  • Jejui (F)
  • Pirabebe (G)
  • Salto Oriental (H)
  • Chata, 68pdr (J)
  • Chata, 68pdr (J)
  • Chata, 68pdr (J)
  • Chata, 68pdr (J)
  • Chata, 80pdr (J)
  • Chata, 80pdr (J)
  • Ibera (I)
  • 22 field guns on the cliffs of Santa Caterina
  • Army sharpshooters on the cliffs of Rincon de Lagraña
  • Amazonas (1)
  • Belmonte (2)
  • Parnahyba (2)
  • Jequitinhonha (3)
  • Beberibe (3)
  • Araguari (4)
  • Iguatemi (4)
  • Mearim (5)
  • Ypiranga (6)

Battle of Riachuelo: Brazilian Ships

I have finished the Brazilian ships now for the Battle of Riachuelo.  These are 1:1200 scale ships from Pithead Miniatures.  They were fun to assemble, paint and base.  The only problem with them was all the bowsprits were broken.  I had to use whatever tools I had a around to remove them and then replace them with brass wire.  Not a problem, I had everything I needed to fix that.

Now I have to work on the river layout and try out rules.  The plan is to use Iron and Fire by Dave Manley.  I have used the rules before for ACW naval.


Blog post on Paraguay Ships: Link

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Admiral: Roaring Currents Movie

I just finished watching The Admiral: Roaring Currents movie.  I'm sure I heard about this movie through the wargaming community somewhere and added it to my Netflix queue.  I recommend this movie.  The naval battle is great.  The movie leads up to the naval Battle of Myeongryang, 1597, between Korea and Japan, and then the rest of movie is the battle.  The lead up to the battle in the movie is not that exciting, but the battle part of the movie is action packed and looks real.  Lots of overacting and the director focuses too much on the faces of the actors, but as I said the movie is worth watching for the naval battle.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Battle of Riachuelo: Paraguay Ships

I finished painting and basing the 1:1200 Pithead Miniatures, Battle of Riachuelo Paraguay ships.  I decided to go with a muddy colour base as the Paraná River is a muddy colour.  Something different from the usual naval wargaming blue we naval gamers use.

Note the small ships are small boats/barges called Chatas.  These were built to only carry a 68pdr or 80pdr gun.  The Chatas had no propulsion, so had to be towed.

I chose to not do full ship lines or ratlines.  I figure at this scale just a representation is sufficient.  The areas on the ships where there are ship boats on the sides, I did not want to struggle fitting in the ratlines.  Who knows, maybe later I will.

Flash and non-flash photos below.  Shows how they look in different lighting.


Blog post on Brazilian ships: Link

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Military Museums of Calgary

Another interesting site I visited in Calgary last month was "The Military Museums."  It is an odd name for a military museum, but looked like a single museum to me and probably needs a different name in the future.  The museum has all the Canadian forces represented and was a great museum to visit.

Initially trying to get to the museum was a bit challenging since the nearest highway exit to the museum was under construction.  I spent two hours visiting in the morning and unfortunately I did not have enough time to really take it all in.  I recommend more time.  Maybe 3-4 hours.

The best parts of the museum are the regimental history sections and the naval section.  The weakest areas in my opinion are the gallery and air force.  Maybe I just had less interest in the current art on display and the aviation history (lots of model airplanes though).

There is an additional building that houses three airplanes: a F-86 Sabre, CF-18 and a CF-104.  Also, there is a tank park with a few WWII tanks.  It looks like the T-34 tank is a new one, which needs a new fresh paint job.

A disappointment for me was the gift shop, it was really lacking in all departments.  The best surprise was the naval section.  It was so much bigger than I was expecting, plus has had lots to look at.  Also, tucked away in a room was display cabinets of all the Canadian Army regimental uniforms of WWI (I think).  That was impressive.

I really enjoyed this museum and hope to visit it again in the future.  I recommend visiting this museum if you are in Calgary.  Don't be rushed like I was.  Give yourself enough time.

A lot of my photos show uniforms and model ships, I guess for reference at some point, but I tried to get a good variety of pictures.

Here are all the 46 pictures I took: Photos Link

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Historical Reenactment in Alberta, Canada

On my trip to Alberta last month, I discovered a small reenactment was happening close to where I was staying.  Here are pictures from the event in Didsbury, Alberta.




Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Sentry Box Store in Canada

On my trip to Alberta last month, I visited the gaming store The Sentry Box in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  I had heard it was the store to visit in Calgary and that it was big.  Well I can confirm both.  I spent 2.5 hours looking around the store.

I went in the front door and you look down on the main floor of the store.  It turns out that the main floor basically has the non-historical specific stock. This includes paint, dice, terrain, boardgames, non-historic miniatures, card games, novels, etc.  I skimmed through this area fairly fast.  Then I discovered the stairs leading up to the historical room.  Wow...impressive.  I have not been in many gaming stores around the world, but the historical section is big.

The prices on everything was weird.  All the prices are listed in US dollars, but they have sheets up around the store showing the daily conversion rate to Canadian dollars.  Everything was retail price, except maybe for old stock they were looking to dispose of.

In the historical room there was a fair amount of old stock of miniatures (i.e. lots of Minifigs US 10mm or 15mm).  As you can see from the photo, Flames of War is well represented.  A good amount of box chit wargames.  They have a good selection of the old JR Miniatures terrain, but I did not need anything they had, except for one 10mm building.  The used book section was good.  I was impressed with their naval wargame section.

This is a must visit store!  I wish Denver (twice the size of Calgary) had a store like this.  Is there a store larger than this and has a better military gaming section?

To see more photos of the store, check out their web site:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Why Leave the Historical Miniature Wargaming Hobby?

First I am not leaving the hobby.

I have been pondering the reason why someone would leave the historical miniature wargaming hobby.  I know many people that I game with that really enjoy the hobby and from what I have seen online around the world, lots of people are enjoying the hobby.  Some have been in the hobby for quite some time.  So when we see someone completely get out of the hobby, it makes me think why would someone drop the hobby?

I do not think there is a single answer, but here are some of my theories
  • Bankrupt.  Like many gaming hobbies, it costs money.  If your personal finances are a shambles, then usually the non-essential things get the ax.  Hobbies are in this category.  I would hope this would be temporary, but it may not be of interest or financially viable in the future.
  • Maybe rather than going bankrupt, they find the hobby is too expensive.  This is not a good enough reason as I encounter gamers at conventions that do not own miniatures or do not belong to a club.
  • Some unhappy experiences.  Usually this will involve gaming with people who you end up not enjoying their company.  This would be at a club or convention.  Home gaming you just do not invite them again.  It could also involve theft of miniatures.  I find this a weak argument, because there are all types of gamers out there.
  • Switch to a different hobby.  This I find plausible.  I used to game a bunch of hex games back in the day.  I gradually migrated over to miniature gaming.  I guess I get more enjoyment out of miniature gaming.  So if you have to focus on a single hobby, then maybe historical miniature wargaming is not it.
  • Family circumstances.  Some sort of family pressure results in leaving the hobby.  I'm not sure how this can happen as family should be supportive of your interests.  I'm sure someone out there can explain this one for me.
  • You die.
  • All of the above.

Friday, April 8, 2016

War of 1812: 11th US Regiment (wet)

Here are some of my latest War of 1812 figures.  I painted up the 11th US Regiment c.1812-13.

I decided to make them look like they are in the rain.  What...who does that?  I know, it is a bit crazy, but I like to make my bases look different for every unit.  For some reason, I chose to make the figures and base look wet.  Not sure if you will be able to tell in the photos below.

  • Gloss gel medium on base then stuck in static grass.
  • Painted the rocks gloss.
  • Painted the miniatures gloss.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

The end of February, my wife and I took a one week vacation to Victoria, BC and surrounding area.  we lucked out with great weather, almost sunny every day.  We had a great time and I recommend visiting Victoria.

Here are some history related sites we saw:

Sydney, BC
Military book store.  Recommended for naval books.
Memorials across the street from book store.

Fort Rod Hill

Disguised WWII searchlight emplacement

Searchlight inside
BC Aviation Museum
Bristol Bolingbroke Mk IV
Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt
Frigate HMCS Regina
Royal BC Museum
Fort Victoria c. 1840s (HBC = Hudson's Bay Company)

Miniature World

In a park near CFB Esquimalt