Sunday, November 29, 2015

DANG 2015 - Planning

As I mentioned in my previous post, this year’s game for DANG is The Shores of Tripoli: US Navy vs. Barbary Pirates. The game will cover the attacks by the U.S. Navy on Tripoli harbor in early August 1804, which was after the capture and subsequent burning of the frigate USS Philadelphia. To get things rolling I started figuring out the order of battle for each side in the game.

Order of Battle Thoughts

During the time in question, the Americans had a squadron that included one frigate (USS Constitution), two brigs (USS Argus and USS Syren), and three schooners (USS Enterprise, USS Nautilus, and USS Vixen) along with six borrowed gunboats, two borrowed mortar boats, and a captured ship (which had been renamed Intrepid). During August, the gunboats and mortar boats bore the brunt of the action, while the other ships provided long range gunnery and crews for the smaller ships.

It was little harder to come up an accurate list of forces for Tripoli for this battle. But most places I looked said that Tripoli Harbor had a brig, two schooners, two galleys, and nineteen gunboats providing defense. There were also a number of forts and shore batteries protecting the city.

So my plan for the American forces was to go with the six gunboats, two mortar boats, and one schooner. For the Barbary forces I decided on one brig (actually a felucca substituting for the brig), a schooner, ten to fifteen gunboats (depending on what ships I could find), and a fort.

Overall, this seemed like a good amount of ships for the game, especially since I don't expect all the ships to be on the table at one time. I also thought I was in pretty good shape for having or easily getting most of these ships. My friend George offered to work on the American gunboats and mortar boats (more on that later), so I started working on the Barbary ships.

Barbary Ships
For the brig, it was an easy decision to use the Felucca I had already purchased from Thoroughbred Figures Sea Eagles line. The schooner is the Bermuda Sloop model from Sea Dog Studios, although I might give it a temporary lateen rig for the game. The gunboats are going to be a mix of scratchbuilt and purchased boats. I built eight of my own gunboats, have five on order, and will use the Old Glory Gunboat #5 models I purchased this summer for the others. Below is a photo of the mostly painted Felucca, Bermuda sloop, and a couple of my scratchbuilt gunboats.
The felucca (back), Bermuda sloop (left) and scratchuilt gunboats
All these ships still need a little detail paintwork along with their guns and masts, but they are shaping up quite nicely. The felucca is really nice kit that is easy to work on. The sloop is a little rough, but still a nice ship.
A closer view of the sloop and felucca
A view of the sloop's stern
I think the Barbary ships are coming along nicely and even if I don't get the five gunboats that are on order, I should have a nice force.

American Ships
As I mentioned above, my friend George offered to build the gunboats and mortar boats for the Americans. Originally he was going to make one model of each and then get someone he knew to cast the boats in resin. That part fell through, but he was still up for building the boats. Here are a couple photos of the work so far.
Work in progress, the mortar boat (back), a gunboat (center), and one of my gunboats (for size comparison) in the foreground
A bow view of the work in progress
For the American schooner I was planning on using the Old Glory Vixon model I purchased earlier this summer. However, when I pulled out the Old Glory kits and started comparing them to the other stuff I had, I realized that they did not seem to fit with my other kits. My other kits might be a little big, but after measuring the Old Glory ships again I'm convinced they maybe really 10mm or 12mm, but not true 15mm. The gunboats kits will still be usable (they will just be really small gunboats), but I don't think the schooner kit will work. It is just too small for the 15mm figures. Just to give you an idea of size, I've included a photo of the gunboat with one of the guns from another kit.
Gunboat 5 vs the gun
The gun on the bow of the gunboat is supposed to be a 24 pound long gun, while the gun on the left would be an 18 pound long gun. As you can see, there is a little size discrepancy.

I decided to go ahead and spend the money on a Thoroughbred schooner, which should arrive this week. But that sort of shot a hole in my budget for the project.

Next up I'll be talking about the 15mm figures for the game.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Back to some blogging

I’ve been neglecting my blog somewhat lately (only two posts in the past few months). I have been busy with work and other stuff, but I’m planning on getting back to posting again. I actually have things to post, but just haven’t finished writing them all down. I have a couple partially finished book reviews, a review of the Hell Hath No Fury rules, and a few other odds and ends.

But instead of trying to finish some older post, I will start off with something that is currently in the works. Those of you that follow my blog know that this is the time I’m usually busy preparing for DANG (Dave's Annual Naval Game) and that is the case this year too.

Earlier this year the DANG group voted on the game and, after a close vote, this year’s game is The Shores of Tripoli: US Navy vs. Barbary Pirates. The game will cover the attacks by the U.S. Navy on Tripoli in early August 1804. The primary combatants will be gunboats, but there will be some larger ships and shore guns too. I’m expecting the mini-campaign to have two or three gunboat battles and possibly a shore action.

Decatur Boarding the Tripolitan Gunboat, by Dennis M. Carter (from Wikipedia)
The game will use 15mm scale figures and ships, which is a major difference from other DANG games. I think the 15mm scale will make the gunboat battles more interesting and allow for some boarding actions (like the above picture). Over the past several years I have been collecting ships for this and similar actions. So, while I’m happy to finally plan on getting these models into action, it does mean I have to actually put them together.

I’ll be posting more about the mini-campaign and my work on ships and figures shortly.

This is DANG’s fourteenth year. Here are links to recaps of games from before 2010, the 2010 Lepanto game, and the American Civil War river game from 2011, the 1812 Lake Ontario game from 2012, the Operation Landcrab game from 2013, and last year's Cogs of War game.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

2015 NHMGS Game Day at the Museum of Flight

NHMGS held our annual game day at the Museum of Flight on November 8. We were originally schedule for the previous week, but an unexpected scheduling conflict forced us to move to the 8th. Unfortunately, the schedule change lowered gamer turn-out for the event.

We were back in the museum’s main gallery under the Blackbird (not a standard SR-71, but the last surviving M-21 version). We set up our information table and four gaming tables around the Blackbird. I spent the most of the day at the information table, but took time to grab some photos of the games.
This year's information table (we forgot the banner)
The morning session had a Wings of Glory World War 1 game, a Check Your 6 World War 2 raid over Rabaul game, a Golden Age Air Racing game, and an All Quiet on the Martian Front game.
The busy Wing of Glory game
The object of the fighters attention
The Check Your 6 game getting underway
Corsairs and Zeros square off
The running (flying) start for the air race
The field was pretty spread out at this point, but I understand the finish was pretty close
All Quiet on the Martian Front starting off

The Martians advance, but were taking heavy damage
In the afternoon we only had two games going, a Thunderboats hydroplane racing game and a Star Wars Armada game.
Hydroplanes on display(the checkboard pattern in the front left was hand-painted)

The new "pickle-fork" boat takes the lead
A busy Star Wars Amada game with a few museum visitors participating
As with last year’s event, there were fewer people at the museum on Sunday than we have seen at Saturday game days. A lot of the people I talked with had never heard of miniature wargaming before, so it was fun to try to explain it from the ground up. This year I remembered to add some websites with free rules to the information handout, so I was able to direct to those when they asked about getting started. We did get a few people to join in the Wings of Glory and Armada games. So maybe we will get a few membership inquires.

The game day is always a good opportunity to show off the hobby to the general public and the museum is a really great forum for it.