Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Battleship Row: 1:1200 Scale WWII Naval

'Evening. This is Sylvain, using the blogging privileges Curt granted me a few months ago. Hope you enjoy my post.

Last year, I bought a bunch of ships on Kijiji, a kind of web based flea market. Until today, I haven't had a chance to do much with my little collection of unpainted metal. In the lot, there were a few 1/1200 ships made by superior model. Apparently, these castings date back to WW2 and were used by pilots to develop their ship recognition skills. I can believe it: some models had their name engraved on their side. I owe my tube of putty some thanks. Details are OK, if you want these ships to be no more than wargaming pieces, but if there is a modeler in you, you might be tempted by the beautiful masterpieces made by Neptun from Germany. Alas, at over $100 per masterpiece, I will have to be content with the cheaper option of Superior Models ($7 for a destroyer up to about $30 for a battleship) for a little while.

I usually don't base my tanks, because I like them to blend with the different table scenery I create, like winter, desert, etc. But I sure do like to base my ships. Strange enough, when I googled images of miniatures ships, I found that if many players do add a base to their 1/2400 or smaller ships, they neglect to do so for their 1/1200 models. I find that the waves at the bow and the propeller trail give the models a dynamic attitude. I added some stucco texture gel to raise the waves and covered the whole base with gloss gel to simulate water. It's nothing fancy and I'm quite happy with the final result, although I might tone down the amount of white in the future.

Now the charm and the problem of these ships is their size. Let's compare a 1/1200 British conjectural WW2 battleship with a 1/1200 French 74 guns (GHQ) and a base of 28mm Russian grenadiers (Victrix). The base of the battleship is 9.5" long.

With ships this big, gaming on a tabletop requires too much suspension of disbelief. Even my basement floor seems too cramped a space. I mean these ships could fire their guns over 30km away (over 90 feet at 1/1200 scale), although the furthest hit recorded was at 26 000 yards (65 feet at 1/1200 scale).

My plan is to take these ships outside and play with "real" scaled down distances. Since even my backyard will be too small, I will have to set a game in a public park (could be a nice way to make new friends :-)). I built some wooden bases to keep the boats above the grass. Lately, I came across a rules set by Fletcher Pratt, an adamant adept of "distance evaluation". I think that the ships, the rules and the great outdoors could be perfect ingredients for some fun. Hopefully, these big battleships can have a cruise before it gets too cold outside.


  1. Sylvain

    Enjoy your posting powers - use them wisely.

    They are beautiful ships - but the size and the cost rule them out for me.



  2. Those are beautiful ships, Sylvain - well done! I'm looking forward to our first engagement on the soccer pitch.

  3. What would be cool, is wait till you guys get your first covering of that will even out 'the board' then get some water based eco-friendly paint or maybe food colouring, and and then spray the snow blue with it!
    Now that would look cool!
    Just mind you don't drop your dice in the snow with numb fingers!

    1. You're mad, but you're right, that would be totally cool. Or we could just leave it as white snow and so it would be like an engagement in the Arctic Sea...

    2. Mad? Quite possibly! Luckily I have access to lots of little pills that keep me falling over the brink! ;-)

      "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better, and better!" ;-)

  4. Game in the park? That's bonkers. AND genius! Looking forward to seeing more on this....

    As for basing tanks, I have come around to the view that they are better based...they seem to fit better with the infantry in their companion force, and the models get a bit of extra protection

  5. Very interesting this project. I like a lot your painted models, the waves are very good.

  6. They're monsters, and they look very cool indeed!

  7. Great looking models! I am going to have to add some waves to the bases of my pre-dreadnought era ships.

    What a neat idea for a back yard wargame.

    BTW, I also have Fletcher Pratt's rules. I look forward to reading a batrep.


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