Saturday, May 23, 2020

No Enfilade - But a New Naval Project

Normally in April and May my blog would have had posts about preparations and playtests of the games I would be running at the annual Enfilade convention. And this weekend I would have been going around the convention space taking photos of all the games. But Enfilade 2020 was cancelled in April, which stopped the scenario work and the various stay at home orders stopped any in-person gaming.

With the game-playing part of the hobby on hold, I should have focused on painting up the many unpainted figures I have. But that didn't really happen. Then my friend Kevin announced that he was using some of the money he would have spent on Enfilade to buy 1/1250 scale pre-Dreadnought era ships. Our little group started talking about ships, rules, and scenarios. Then all the sudden it seemed like this had kicked off a naval arms race. I decided to join in the fun (it really isn't a race unless there are a bunch of people involved) and focus my efforts on the French.

Instead of going with the pre-painted metal ships most others were buying, I decided to go with some 3D printed ships from the War Times Journal store. After looking through what was available in 1/1250 scale and checking my copy of Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905, I came up with a list of ships to buy and sent in my order. I chose to go with the DLP plastic ships based on the comparisons shown on the WTJ site. The DLP ships have mechanical supports at various places that have to be cut away, but I thought the ships looked better than the print model. 

My order included the battleships Charlemagne, Jena, Suffren, and the armored cruiser Dupleix. A few weeks after my order, the ships arrived in my mailbox. Here are some out of the box photos.
The armored cruiser (front) and battleships
Most of the ships we pretty clean, with few mechanical supports, but Jena really had a lot and needed some extra work to smooth out.
Jena (front) showing the supports and Charlemagne behind
The supports were fairly easy to remove with a sharp hobby knife. But there were a few (usually near gun barrels) that took a little more finesse to clean away. Once the clean-up was done, I added some masts and yards to complete the modelling work. I think the masts add a lot to the models (especially for Dupleix), but you could leave them off and still have good ship models. Then it was off to the shipyard for final painting. 
The fleet assembled for review
Battleship Charlemagne
Battleship Jena
Battleship Suffren
Armored cruiser Dupleix
As the naval arms race discussion continued, it turned out that most people were looking at smaller ships (protected cruisers, gunboats, etc.) as their main focus. Which makes my force is a little over-powered. So, I was back to the WTJ store to order some French cruisers. This time I picked up a Dupuy de Lome, 2 Amiral Charner cruisers, and 2 Friant cruisers. They are probably still a couple weeks away from arriving in my mailbox, but the first batch gives me confidence that this new batch will go together pretty quickly.

Hopefully this project will get me back to more miniatures work and lead to more posts on the blog.