Thursday, March 01, 2018

"Mississippi River Gunboatsof the American Civil War" - a review...

Second gunboat book in a row..  there may be a trend..

As per the last book on the Sudanese gunboats, regular readers will know that I also have an interest in this theatre of war albeit, unlike the Sudan I have not only land forces but also a small naval contingent..

Written by Angus Konstam I thought this was an altogether better book than the Sudan one, not because the subject wasn't any more or less interesting, but purely down to the fact that Angus clearly had more to write about...

Like the Sudan book, there is a succession of sections on organisation of both sides (Union clearly ahead here), the design of the ships (torpedo, ram, cotton clad, tin clad, iron clad etc.) and how the nature of the war influenced the design, the ships (ditto the Union), operations, armament (bewildering range), and lists of the major/minor ships and potted history  of where and when they fought, and what the outcomes were...  a surprising number of the ships changed sides at one point in time or the other (even after sinking's) but the majority ended up beached, burned and destroyed...

Illustrations in this one were similar in coverage to the Sudan book, but I didn't think they popped off the page quite as much as the ones in the Sudan book..

What's not to like??!

Steve the Wargamer however rates this one 9 out of 10, purely for the depth and better details...

Thursday, February 22, 2018

"Nile River Gunboats 1882 - 1918".. a review..

One of the few New Year aims (I don't have resolutions they're far too contractual ) I made this year, was to remedy the pitiful situation of the last few years where through sheer laziness my non-fiction reading has been sometimes less than a dozen books in a year, and often a lot less...  a decision was made to read at least one non-fiction book a month, and the somewhat handy confluence of that decision, and an email from Osprey announcing a sale, sparked a mini buying spree - I bought the subject of this review, and also "Mississippi River Gunboats of the American Civil War 1861–65" (which I'll review separately)

My regular reader will know that I have more than a passing interest in the Sudan Colonial period, and indeed collect forces for both sides in 15mm (more here [clicky]) but they are for the land based campaigns, and with the exception of the lone dhow [clicky] I have not really transitioned into naval war-gaming in the period/theatre..I do however, have an interest in gunboats, and was interested to read more about operations on the water in the various campaigns against the Dervish...

This book (and indeed the other) is by well known wargamer Angus Konstam, and is a very handy checklist of armaments, weights, speeds, and operations of the gunboats that operated on the Nile for the duration of the war(s), and indeed right up to WWII (despite the title - though to be fair there is no detail post 1918 - it's just that some of the gunboats continued to serve in one form or another right up until then). It reads well, and easily, and some of the insights are fascinating - I hadn't realised how many of the senior naval commanders at Jutland had started their careers with the gunboats serving on the Nile, for example, I also hadn't realised that the Dervish operated a number of steam powered gunboats themselves... It has also by the by, triggered a decision to re-visit and re-read "The River War" by Churchill...

It's not a long book, but for the little more than a fiver it cost me, pure gold, and what makes it doubly worthwhile are the illustrations (by Peter Dennis) which are simply superb, and the following is an example of...

I note on the Osprey site the paperback is now marked out of stock.. not surprised.. well worth a fiver of anyone's money! I not you can get the Kindle version for not much more though..

Steve the Wargamer rates it  8 out of 10...

Monday, February 12, 2018

Anti tank guns..!

...the paint brushes were a veritable whirr the weekend before last, clearly..   these were the last items to leave the paint table...  all of these are destined to bolster my 15mm skirmish forces for France 1940.

...firstly, British 2 pdrs - these are from "Forged in Battle", and bought at Warfare last November...

...bit fiddly if I'm honest but nice when painted up..  the crew member firing is cast as part of the gun... - from the same maker. German 37mm Pak's...

...nice models but again quite fiddly to put together as the barrel is separate..

...and then finally some French 25mm anti tank guns, this time from Peter Pig..

..."ouvrir le feu!" 

Friday, February 09, 2018

Officers.. "Not without cause"

...apologies for the delay - finished these last last weekend but didn't have time to take the photo's!

Striking while the painting mojo is hot, some officers for the nascent English Civil War project..  these are mostly/all Les Higgins figures..

Group as a whole..

Next - mounted figure with banner image that I shamelessly nicked from the Dux Homunculorum blog [clicky] - the guidon or flag is attributed to that carried by a Parliamentarian Cornet belonging to Captain Dobbins of Worcestershire motto means "While I breathe, I hope". For my games he will serve on either side...

Love this one which again was shamelessly appropriated, but this time from this chap [clicky] - he represents a Parliamentarian cavalry cornet, the motto in this case "Not without cause".. those colours...  the flag is way too big of course but I am a founder member of the "big flag school" so to me it's perfect..

So, six figures in all, and despite being 'classics' not my favourite figures really - not the nicest anatomically - almost half round some of them...

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Brown water navy .. reinforcements...

....on a roll and first points on the painting 2018 table... of the highlights of last year were the games DG and I had with my ACW ships refighting the Monitor and Merrimac/Virginia battles using rules provided by Bill Gilchrist..  so much so I decided to expand on the forces available in order to provide a little variety..

All the following are from Peter Pig's "Hammerin' Iron" range of 1/600th scale (3mm) ships.. I love them as they are just the right size to see what they are, while not being so big that you can't get a few on my six by four table..

First off then.. from the catalogue these are the USS Miami [clicky - and well worth clicking - very interesting history] in the foreground, and the CSS Drewry [clicky] behind (small gunboat) - names of the ships are fairly immaterial as I will use them on either side (hence the lack of flags)

...and the other way round... a couple of side wheelers - how could you not?? On the left is the CSS Planter [clicky], on the right is the CSS General Sumter [clicky] - again - names immaterial as I'll use them on either side as representative of the myriad ships both sides cobbled together and threw at each other... and in fact in the case of these two, both actually did change hands in reality..

....and all four at full steam ahead - except the small gunboat!    I can see me getting a few more of these perhaps as there are some lovely options in the catalogue [clicky]

Part numbers..
07003-CSS Planter(side wheeled paddle steamer) (CSA/USA)
07007-USS Miami (side wheeled)
07046-CSS Drewry (small gunboat)
07015-CSS General Sumter ram/paddler