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.