Monday, September 26, 2016

The Northern Front Episode 8

Prior to leaving for vacation Brian, Phil and I recorded the latest episode of the Northern Front Podcast which published while I was gone.

In this Episode we cover down on a number of items including:

What we have been doing in the gaming hobby
Naval Thunder rules overview
Spanish American War
Initial thoughts on Bolt Action V2
Upcoming events

You can check it out here:

The Northern Front EP 8


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Recent Travels-why we play the games, the history

I just returned from a long vacation.  In addition to some much enjoyed relaxation on the beaches of South Carolina I was able to visit a number of National Park battlefields and other historic sites.  In the course of a few days I covered the American Revolution, Civil War and WWII.

We were staying with a group of friends at Mrytle beach.  Due to tropical storm Julia off the coast there was a day of no swimming, so we headed to Charleston to check a couple items off the Bucket list.

First off was Fort Sumter where the U.S Civil war officially began.  One of the launch points for the ferry to Sumter is Patriots Point which is also home to the WWII Essex class carrier USS Yorktown as well as the famed Destroyer USS Laffey that survived kamakazie attacks in WWII.

We drove, so one we checked out of the condo last Sunday we took our time coming home.  First stop was Wilimington NC where we visited the Battleship USS North Carloina.  I have been close before, bit this was my first time actaully on a battleship.  It was awesome.

The next day we went back two centuries and visited the NPS American Revolution battlefields of Kings Mountain and Cowpens.  Both of which were pivital American/rebel victories in the southern campaign.

We then drove the historic Blue Ridge parkway.  The views were stunning.  It is hard to imagine that our ancestors were able to traverse these moutains and make their way westward.

Finally, we stopped by the NPS site of Abraham Lincoln's birthplace in Kentucky before making the final stretch for home.

My wife is a saint for indulging me in visiting all these sites.  I think she seceretly enjoyed it.  We have decided that when I retire I need to explore becoming a NPS ranger.  She smiled several times when I would give her the abridged history of what we were about to see and then during our visit the ranger would parrot what I had just told her.

My retirement job, still in uniform.
Finally, thanks to a reminder from Phil I was able to make it to the WWII living history event in my own back yard down in Rockford,IL.  Tons of vehicles and equipment to view along with the large number of re-enactors in uniform.  I wasable to retrain myself when visiting the vendor area.

I certainly enjoy playing the games based on history, but there is nothing that compares to visiting the sites and experiencing the history we love.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Spanish American War -Future Plans

Now that my Pre-Dread fleets are coming off the slips at a furious pace I am making plans to put them into action using Naval Thunder Rise of the Battleship II supplement.
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Almost three years ago I completed the OoB for the SPAN-AM fleets, but soon found that gaming the actual battles were extremely one-sided.  As a result I started to build the additional units for historical hypothetical scenarios for the same time period using Americans, Spanish and even Germans.
American SPAN-AM OoB
I have had several ideas for scenarios, but this past weekend I stumbled on the Avalanche Press game 1898, which focuses on the SPAN-AM war naval actions.  The beautiful thing is it comes with a scenario book which includes the two historical battles along with several hypothetical engagements.  Some of the hypothetical scenarios are exactly what I was thinking with proposed OoB.
Expanded Spanish Fleet
The scenario book even goes a step further to include some Post RJW American vs. Japan engagements.  Basically the IJN to include re purposed captured Russian ships vs. Great White Fleet.

Basically my gaming concepts have been validated and I now have some OoBs to work with to put together some engagements with all these models I have built.
1898 Map

If you are not familiar with Avalanche Press they offer a great line of both WWII (SWWAS) and WWI(GWAS) line of naval games that all include beautiful counter, maps and scenario books.  At one time I owned just about all the titles with aspirations of using them to play out campaigns.  I realized my dreams were probably a bit to big and I sold off my collection.  Now many of the titles are out of print, but every so often you can still find OoP editions in excellent condition as I did with 1898.

Current German forces
I am traveling for vacation the next couple weeks, but when I return I look forward to trying some of these out as well as finishing my remaining Americans.  I am also putting in a small order for a handful of other models to complete some of the scenarios so they will be here when I return.

In the meantime I will also be looking for an affordable copy of AP Great White Fleet which contains many more hypothetical scenarios for this time period.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Pre-Dread Project Germans (Part 2) Complete

Now that I have started again the ships are coming off the slips at a very quick rate.  Depending on the complexity of the masts I am able to complete 4 or more in a 2-3 hour session at night.

In two nights I was able to complete the remaining twelve Germans using a bit of an assembly line process so while one set was drying I was working on others.

SMS Braunschweig Class Pre-Dreads Battleships

Armored Cruisers
Gazelle class cruisers
Bremen Class cruisers
With 16 ships including 6 Battleships 2 Armored cruisers and 8 cruisers the Germans should be able to mount a serious threat.  My initial thoughts are a hypothetical campaign to reinforce the German Asiatic squadron to contest the Americans in the Philippines.

Complete German Fleet
Next up is to complete the Americans.  Good news on that front.  After soaking the American ships in "Simple Green" for several days I was ready to give up as try another method.  When I pulled out a ship I was able to scrap/peel off the primer in large chunks with my finger nail.

Good news for the Americans the bad primer will come off
Once I clean up all the ships I can start work on them as well.

Then on to either completing the full Great White Fleet or starting work on the Jutland project.