Showing posts with label naval. Show all posts
Showing posts with label naval. Show all posts

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Ghost Ships

Having got my Galleys & Galleons head back on I played another game this afternoon. One thing I've not tried yet are the magic rules, so I decided to see how they work out. I put together a force consisting of a galleon escorting three merchant ships. The galleon carried a priest (theurgist) because in these waters lurked ...


Ghost-ships! A ghostly galleon and two boatloads of spectral warriors.

All three of these vessels were Spectral, and I also gave them all the Unorthodox trait, which makes their movement unpredictable, but unaffected by the wind. I thought it would nicely reflect some kind of magical propulsion.


The convoy deftly negotiated some shallows.


Unfortunately it then failed to turn to avoid the shallows around an island, and one of the ships scraped its bottom.


It all got a bit messy. The final ship in the convoy was obviously not going to safely clear the island by following the others, so broke off to go around the other way.

Meanwhile the ghost ships were blundering around trying to move into position. The Unorthodox trait makes life very difficult indeed; more than I thought.


The two galleons approached. The priest tried his exorcism ritual against the spectral foe, but to no effect.


A boat full of intimidating spectral warriors slipped past the galleon and menaced one of the merchant ships ...


... who slipped away after firing an ineffective broadside.


The galleons passed each other. Both fired broadsides and the escort was damaged, but the priest's ritual also bore fruit, damaging the ghost-ship.


The spectral ships continued to blunder about, unable to turn fast enough to catch the convoy.


The lone merchantman that had gone the other way found a ghostly boat in its path, but was able to evade it.


The escort turned up into the wind and fired more broadsides. The priest blessed the cannon as they fired, and the now holy weapons caused severe damage to the ghostly galleon.


The lone merchantman escaped, although not via the designated exit point.


Still, the other two did.


Then, finally, the escort.


The escort galleon took one hit from firing, and one merchant vessel had damage from the shallows. Otherwise the convoy escaped unscathed.

Basically a group of ships with Unorthodox propulsion are very difficult to control or coordinate, relying as they do on activations for even the most basic moves and even then having no idea how far that move will be. It's very much a trait for a one-off ship in a force I suspect. I might retry this scenario with more points loaded onto the Ghostly Galleon (and a higher Q value) and maybe drop the boats.

Here are the ship stats:

Escort Galleon - Q3 C3 - Galleon Rig, Drilled Soldiers, Chasers, Magic User: Theurgist, Razee, Trained Gun Crews

Merchantmen x 3 - Q4 C2 - Galleon Rigged, Merchantman, Veteran NCOs

Boats of Spectral Warriors - Q2 C2 - Intimidating, Iron Grapples, Spectral, Unorthodox, Unarmed

Ghostly Galleon - Q3 C4 - Spectral, Unorthodox


Saturday, 20 January 2018

Return to the Azores

I've been meaning to get Galleys & Galleons out for a while, but with finishing off my Six by Six Challenge last year, and getting delightfully caught up in the Portable Wargame after Christmas I hadn't got around to it. This afternoon, though, I managed a quick game, replaying the Ambush in the Azores game I played almost exactly one year ago today. In this game, a Portuguese treasure-ship heading home from the Indies is ambushed by two English galleons.

The treasure-ship Nossa Senhora da Guia, accompanied by two escort brigs, Flor de la Mar and Cinco Chagas.


In the distance are the two English galleons, Auk of Onan and Popinjay. They are faster than the Portuguese galleon, but much lighter. Whilst the Nossa Senhora da Guia worked downwind to avoid the sandbank in the middle of the board, the two brigs moved across the wind in order to attack the English from the rear.


First fire! the Portuguese galleon fired a mighty broadside at the lead English ship, the Auk of Onan, damaging it.


The English returned fire, but failed to make an impression on the Portuguese leviathan.


Faster and more agile, the English raked the Nossa Senhora da Guia, but still couldn't damage it.


There followed several turns of terrible activation rolls for both sides. All three ships basically spent their efforts in turning to avoid islands and each other; despite being at close range, no-one was able to use their activation rolls to fire.


Popinjay collided with Nossa Senhora da Guia, but neither ship was damaged.


The Nossa Senhora da Guia was heading for the exit point, whilst the escort brigs were finally coming up in support. Fire from one brig damaged the Auk of Onan, and a shot from the Portuguese galleon's chasers crippled it.


The Cinco Chagas collided with the Auk of Onan, and both ships were so badly damaged that they sunk.


This left the Nossa Senhora da Guia free to escape, giving the Portuguese a decisive win.


It took me a few turns to get back into the swing of the rules, but they soon came back to me. As ever tracking the ship's relative positioning with regard to the wind was the biggest drain on my frazzled brain, and I may need to make myself a gadget to assist with that.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Two Holiday Museums

One thing I'm getting very bad at is going to museums that would make the subject of a good blog post, and then only realising that fact after I've been and not taken any decent photos.

And that's precisely what I did whilst we were on holiday. Twice.

So in this post you get some half-arsed photos of two museums which are worth the effort of visiting if you're  travelling along the NSW/Victoria border.

The first is the Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum, which is near Swan Hill and was the site of Australia's secret flying-boat repair base during WWII. Like a lot of museums of this nature, it's volunteer-run, on a shoestring budget, so the quality of the displays can be a bit iffy at times. There's a lot of random items in display cases, and a feel that the place could do with a little more organisation or curation, but it does the job of showing the work of this installation during the war, and what life was like for the hundreds of men and women stationed there.

They have a model of a Catalina flying-boat, of course ...


... as well as the real thing.


Lake Boga was selected as a base because it is large enough to land flying boats, whilst also being almost circular (thus allowing take-off and landing regardless of wind-direction). Being well inland it was basically safe from Japanese attack. Over 400 planes, Australian, US and Dutch, were repaired or serviced there during the war.


You can even climb up a rickety step-ladder and get a view along the interior of the fuselage.


Next to the main museum is the command bunker, which has some great wartime radio kit on display.


In a series of display cabinets in the foyer is a collection of 1/48th aircraft models bequeathed to the museum. These cover WWI and WWII, and include a complete set of all Spitfire marks. However the highlight for me was the collection of WWI aircraft. I took a few photos for painting reference purposes.

A Morane N


Morane L


Albatros DIII (I think)


Fokker DVIII


Fokker DVIII


A week later we found ourselves further west, in the town of Wentworth, which is where the Murray and Darling rivers meet. The Murray/Darling river system is extensive - the fourth largest in the world, and one of the most navigable - and was key to the opening up of the interior of Australia during the late 19th century. And where you get river you get riverboats. We'd seen the real things in Echuca earlier, but in Wentworth is a small museum run by a man named Rodney Hobbs who builds scale models of Australian riverboats.


There's about 30 in the collection at present, all completely scratchbuilt in roughly 1/32nd scale.


He admits that the accuracy of some of them is suspect; in many cases all he had to work from is a single photograph, newspaper illustration or written description, so some elements of the models are based on conjecture. In other cases, however, he has full plans, or even the actual boat itself.



This is a model of the Pevensey.


The actual boat has been restored and operates out of Echuca, taking tourists up and down the river. We went on it, and it's well worth the trip. The Pevensey starred as the Philadephia in the 1980s TV mini-series 'All The Rivers Run'.




As you can see, along with the models the museum has pictures, newspaper cuttings and all kinds of other ephemera.


I spent a good hour chatting with Rod about riverboats, both Australian (his passion) and those from the US Civil War (my passion). He showed me his workshop, and the model he currently has under construction, although I didn't take any photos there. He uses thin MDF strips for the hull planking, whilst the interiors and superstructure and largely built of balsa. Like any good modeller, he salvages all kinds of crap for future use.



This collection of models is truly worth a visit if you're passing through Wentworth.


A final bonus photo. Wentworth also has a Pioneer Museum, which not only houses artifacts and ephemera from the town's history, but also has a collection of fibre-glass models of some of Australia's extinct megafauna. Particularly impressive is this model of the giant monitor lizard, Megalania. It's a constant source of amazement that these things possibly overlapped with the presence of humans in Australia. It's not something you'd want to encounter, ever.


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Galleries and Galliots

Today Catherine and I went up to Sydney in order to see and exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Entitle 'Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age : Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum', it's a collection of paintings from the main museum on Amsterdam, and illustrates the style of art influenced by the unique Dutch society of the 17th century. The centrepiece is a room devoted to Rembrandt, but this post is about the second room we encountered. This was the view as I came into it.


It covered the influence of Dutch overseas trade, specifically the Dutch East India Company, and it's naval power.

Needless to say I was like a kid in a sweetshop. Behind me is a picture of a Dutch warship in a storm; possibly a wreck off Gibraltar, although that is unclear.


There were about ten paintings in all, plus this - a model of a 1640s 44-gun warship, probably made for a guild or merchant company.


It's exquisite.



Did warships of the period really have all this carving and decoration? Repairs would have been fifty-percent art restoration.


Anyway, I know that some readers of this blog like ships, so I took a few pictures of bits of the paintings for both them and my own personal collection. This first set are from a couple of paintings of Dutch ships off Batavia. In the background you can see the port and castle of Batavia itself.




On the other side of the gallery was this; a painting of the Four Days Battle of 1666 by Willem van de Velde. Pure naval battle painting porn. Just look at the glorious detail!





A couple of ladies were looking at the picture and trying to puzzle out the flags. I couldn't help myself, and they ended up learning more about naval ensigns that I suspect they needed to know.


Anyway, if you want to see more, the exhibition runs until February 18th next year. The rest of it is almost as good as the pictures of ships, so it's well worth the trip.

(The title mentioned 'Galliots' I have no idea if there are any in the pictures.)
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