Souvenirs from my recent cruise

The more cruises I go on, the fewer souvenirs I seem to buy. This time I brought back an MDF Dice Tower (which I have now glued together), …

… an Andalusian regional flag to add to my collection, …

… and three 1:87th-scale model Lisbon trams.

I am not sure if the trams will have any possible wargaming uses … but they look quite interesting and could well end up being used as barricades in an urban battle.

Other people’s Portable Wargame battle reports: Romans vs. Gauls and a mid twentieth century battle

Ross Macfarlane and his long-time wargaming friend Ron recently fought an Ancients battles using the rules from DEVELOPING THE PORTABLE WARGAME … and his battle report can be read here.

It would appear to have been a very enjoyable battle for them to fight, and I was interested to read both the House Rules they devised and the discussion in the Comments section.

Subsequently Ross fought a solo skirmish battle using some of his 54mm figures and models. The battle was set during the mid twentieth century and saw the forces of two imagi-nations battling it out for control of a village.

His battle report includes some interesting observations and house rules, and is very well worth reading.

Please note that the photograph featured above is © Ross Macfarlane.

Baltic warships: Part 6: Tallinn

When we visited Tallinn in Estonia, our ship moored in the main ferry/cargo port, which was across the bay from the Estonian Navy’s base. We could clearly see two of the Navy’s warships …

… the EML Admiral Cowan (M313) (the ex-Royal Navy Sandown-class minehunter HMS Sandown), …

… and her sister-ship the EML Ugandi (M315), formerly HMS Bridport.

Towards the horizon, and on her way to the open sea, was the third ship of the class operated by the Estonians, EML Sakala (M314), formerly HMS Inverness.

The vessels were transferred from the Royal Navy to the Estonian Navy between 2006 and 2009, and form the backbone of the country’s fleet.

New Chinese training ship in Lisbon

During our recent visit to Lisbon, I noticed a warship had been moored some distance away from Azura, but it was very difficult to make out whether or not it was a Portuguese Navy ship or a visiting foreign one.

During her departure from Lisbon, Azura sailed past the warship … and it soon became apparent from the flag flying from her masthead that she was Chinese.

At the time I could not identify what ship it was, but since returning to the UK I have been able to. She is the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s Qi Jiguang (83), a newly commissioned Type 927 training ship.

The Qi Jiguang was commissioned on 21st February, 2017, and is attached to the Dallin Naval Academy.

Her characteristics are:

  • Displacement: 9,000+ tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 163.0m
    • Beam: 22.0m
    • Draft: ?
  • Propulsion: Diesel engine
  • Speed: 22.0 knots
  • Complement: 50 instructors + 400 cadets
  • Armament: 1 × 76mm H/PJ-26 gun; 2 x 30mm H/PJ-17 CIWS guns
  • Aviation facilities: She is equipped to handle a helicopter, but does not have a hanger

Sittangbad revisited: Another of Archduke Piccolo’s Portable Wargame battle reports

Since the end of the first week of October, Archduke Piccolo has been blogging about his recent re-fight of the famous Sittangbad scenario from ‘CHARGE!’. Whereas I transposed it to the imaginary Rusland Civil War, he has set his re-fight in North Africa during World War II.

You can read the various parts of Archduke Piccolo‘s battle report by clicking on the following links:

  • Sittangbad Revisited (3): Part two of the battle report … including a very interesting suggestion for improving the card-driven activation system for solo players

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this battle report, and I thought that the final result was reasonably historically plausible … and that is the sort of outcome that I always hoped my rules would achieve.

Please note that all the photographs featured above are © Archduke Piccolo.

Nugget 303

The editor of THE NUGGET sent the latest issue of the magazine to me on Thursday evening, and I hope take it to the printer by midday today or on Monday morning. This should mean that it will be printed and posted out to members of Wargame Developments by the end of next week.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the third issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2017-2018 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can do so by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website.

Baltic warships: Part 5: Kronstadt

When we sailed from St Petersburg, we passed the main Russian naval base at Kronstadt.

The first ship we saw was a very tired, rusty, and partially disarmed Project 956 Sarych (English: Buzzard) or Sovremenny-class (English: Modern) guided missile destroyer, Rastoropny (English: Prompt) (420), which was decommissioned in 2012.

Moored just behind her was an unidentifiable ship, probably a research vessel of some sort.

Moored nearby was the degaussing vessel СР-120

… the firefighting/rescue vessel ПЖК-900, …

… and the fire-boat ПЖС-282.

The next vessel of note that we saw was the Project 2038.0 or Steregushchy-class (English: Vigilant) corvette Soobrazitelnyy (English: Astute/Smart) (531).

She was laid down in 2003, launched in 2010, and commissioned in 2011.

Leaving the harbour via a narrow lock was the Project 12411 Molniya-1 (English: Lightning-1) or Tarantul-III-class (English: Tarantula-III) corvette R-47 (819).

The Evgeniy Kocheshkov (770), a Project 1232.2 Zubr-class (English: Bison) air-cushioned landing craft, was also present in the harbour …

… as were two Project 877 Paltus (English: Halibut) or Kilo-class diesel-electric attack submarines.

Amongst the smaller ships in the harbour were the Project 1265 Yakhont (English: Ruby) or Sonya-class minesweeper 515 and the unidentified vessel 308.

The harbour also contained an number of smaller vessels …

… and naval auxiliaries.

Britannia’s Gamble: The Dawlish Chronicles: March 1884 – February 1885

I’ve just purchased the sixth and latest addition to Antoine Vanner’s excellent DAWLISH CHRONICLES – BRITANNIA’S GAMBLE – and hope to read it over the next couple of weeks.

As the cover illustrations and the dates make obvious, this book is mostly set in Egypt and the Sudan during the attempt to reach Khartoum, raise the Mahdist siege, and save General Charles ‘Chinese’ Gordon from certain death.

This looks like it will be yet another excellent addition to what has turned out to be a very enjoyable series of books to read … and from what one can gather, there are still plenty more books to come!

BRITANNIA’S GAMBLE was written by Antoine Vanner and published by Old Salt Press in 2017 (ISBN 978 1 943404 18 6).

Baltic warships: Part 4: The cruiser Aurora in St Petersburg

Although I have featured the Russian cruiser Aurora on several earlier blog entries, I never cease to be impressed by her. On the day that we visited her she was closed, with the result that it was was possible to photograph her without tourists wandering about her decks.

Miniature Wargames Issue 415

For reasons that will become apparent, I am rather pleased that I decided to renew my subscription to MINIATURE WARGAMES for a further three months.

The latest issue arrived whilst I was on our latest cruise, and I have only just had the time to read it.

The articles included in this issue are:

  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer
  • Send three and fourpence: Rolica: The Peninsular War: A scenario for Command & Colors: Napoleonics by Conrad Kinch
  • Reinventing an old friend: Part Three by Jon Sutherland
  • Less is More: A show report about Colours 2017 by John Treadaway
  • A bad case of the Asteroids: How to build economical scenery for a space-based gaming table by John Treadaway
  • The “Silent City”: The Armies of Rei Bouba: A unique army list for Death in the Dark Continent by Chris Peers
  • Darker Horizons
    • Fantasy Facts
    • Portable Hammer: Adapting the Portable Wargame for fantasy battles by Arthur Harman
  • Show report: Hereward 2017 by John Treadaway
  • Nostalgia ain’t what is used to be: Tips on bringing a Retro Project to the tabletop by Andy Copestake
  • Recce
  • Foaming Water: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Why bother with figures?: A rebuttal by Noel Williams
  • Club Directory

So what did I enjoy in this issue?

It will be of no surprise to anyone that Arthur Harman’s Portable Hammer article was far and away my favourite item in this issue. I’d already seen the text, which Arthur had kindly shared with me … but when I saw it with all the photographs that John Treadaway had used to illustrate it, and that he had made it the lead item on the magazine’s cover, I was bowled over! The article covered eleven pages … which represents over an eighth of the magazines entire page length!

(Back on Planet Reality, it is nice to note that Arthur’s article has resulted in increased interest in my rules … but not – as yet – any additional book sales.)

There were also quite a few other articles that I enjoyed reading, including Conrad Kinch’s Send three and fourpence (I’m a sucker for any Command & Colors scenarios, which I copy and file away for future use), Chris Peers’ The “Silent City” army lists (another article to be copied and stored for future reference), and Andy Copestake’s Nostalgia ain’t what is used to be (which reminded me that I still have an unfinished Napoleonic project to complete).

I note that the dreaded Club Directory is still there … and I must admit to not having read Noel Williams’ Why bother with figures? because it sounded too much like the debates that used to take up pages in the early issues of THE NUGGET.