Thursday, April 26, 2018

Pre-dreadnought Project, p.1 - Start, ship order

Every Gamer's Secret Fantasy...a Fleet in Being!

Wow, pushing an entire year of not posting anything here. Where did the time go?? Lots of other gaming and plenty of real life. Still, no excuse not to do something on at least a monthly basis. Must work on that!

Recently got a promo email from The Wartimes Journal, a site, sculptor and gamer I respect and enjoy. All the remaining 1/3000 pewter pre-dread ships are on sale for half off! I decided to check it out and see what I thought. 

Altho the new plastic ones are just the best, there is place in my life for little, durable fleets of simple metal ships, especially since much of my wargaming is now fast-play and on smaller tables. This also dovetails with my interest in the Great War at Sea series whose quick-play ship battle rules, maps and campaign system are all a tempting product for that which I adore - fleet actions and campaigns!

STILL, one has to seriously consider any purchase to see if there's any point to it at all. I have kicked around semi-fictitious naval actions in various locales and periods, and I decided on Mediterranean Squadron actions, pre-1900, as a good project. Reasons?

- British v. French rivalry, with Italians, Austrians, Turks and Spanish floating around, too.
- possible gaming of Russians forcing their fleet in Med via Black Sea, Gibraltar, or in the Suez Canal Zone as a by-product of Turkish or Japanese conflicts.
- one gamer pal has full Russian and Japanese fleets to fight with.
- multiple ship styles, national characteristics, etc.
- cool looking ships [well, odd-looking ships] with lots of different paint schemes and characteristics.
- fast-play rules design opportunity.
- Fiction = FUN!  No one can tell you it ain't so.
- already have GWaS maps and rules, plus a couple of alternatives.
- squadron approach means painting up 4-8 ships at a time, easy-peasy!

So overall, this just ended up being too good to pass up. I figure I can always sell them, even at a profit, in the future.

Qty  Name                                  SKU            Each Sub Total
2    Etna                                  WTJ-0088214    $1.37     $2.74
1    Dogali                                WTJ-0088213    $1.63     $1.63
1    Calabria                              WTJ-0088210    $1.63     $1.63
2    Lepanto                               WTJ-0088106    $2.13     $4.26
2    Italia                                WTJ-0088105    $2.13     $4.26

[Italians = 4 BB, 4 cruisers]

1    Bouvet                                WTJ-0066103    $2.13     $2.13
1    Carnot                                WTJ-0066105    $2.13     $2.13
1    Brennus                               WTJ-0066106    $2.13     $2.13
2    Jemmapes                              WTJ-0066122    $1.63     $3.26
1    Foudre                                WTJ-0066701    $1.37     $1.37
2    Dupleix                               WTJ-0066204    $1.87     $3.74
1    Dentrecasteaux                        WTJ-0066210    $1.87     $1.87
[French = 5 BB, 3 cruisers, 1 support vessel]

1    Monarch                               WTJ-0078102    $1.63     $1.63
[Austrians = 1 BB]

1    Pelayo                                WTJ-0033101    $1.87     $1.87
3    Cristobal Colon                       WTJ-0033204    $1.63     $4.89

[Spanish = 1 BB, 3 cruisers [can also be Italian]]

1    Benbow                                WTJ-0055106    $2.13     $2.13
1    Sans Pareil                           WTJ-0055110    $2.13     $2.13
1    Renown                                WTJ-0055112    $2.13     $2.13
1    Inflexible                            WTJ-0055117    $2.13     $2.13
1    Dreadnought                           WTJ-0055118    $2.13     $2.13
1    Polyphemus                            WTJ-0055702    $1.63     $1.63
1    Vulcan                                WTJ-0055701    $2.13     $2.13
4    Drake                                 WTJ-0055202    $2.13     $8.52

[British = 5 BB, 4 cruisers, 2 support]

4    Destroyer #11                         WTJ-0100411-30    $1.25     $5.00
     1/3000 Scale 1.25
4    Destroyer #13                         WTJ-0100413-30    $1.25     $5.00
     1/3000 Scale 1.25
4    Destroyer #5                          WTJ-0100405-30    $1.25     $5.00
     1/3000 Scale 1.25

[Anyone = 12 torpedo boat / destroyers]
Sub Total           $ 77.47
Shipping:          $ 6.00
Grand Total      $ 83.47

TOTAL = 45 SHIPS for $83 or $1.85 a ship average. This is half price for even Resin Panzerschiffe ships [which are 1/2400 so a bit larger - still, a great price].

This comes to 11 squadrons of 4 ships, plenty of maneuver elements for several players.

Cool colors, cool ships! The pre-dread has it all for someone who wants "different".


  1. I am looking forward on how you do with this - I am awaiting an order of pre-dreadnoughts from WTJ myself.


  2. did you go for the last of the metal like me, or are you going with the plastics? And in what scale?

    I grabbed these in part b/c I've a pal who has large Russian and Japanese fleets in metal 1/3000, so I figured I could use them, too.

    But basically, I just couldn't resist the odd and interesting ships - it's so "un-orderly", and it makes me interested in the ironclad era, also.

    I'll have to draw the line somewhere!

    What rules are you going to use? I pondering the WTJ rules, the DeWitt rules, adapting Avalanche Press rules, and "Ironclads and Ether Flyers" by Frank Chadwick.

  3. I went with the plastic ships in 1/1800 scale. I had a few of the 1/3000 metal ships but they were, well, lost...

    The unconventional designs are a major plus for me as well.

    I am not certain on rules yet - part of the reason I am watching you blaze a trail :) I do have some of Mr. Manley's (Long Face Games) rules. Chadwick's rules are interesting; I had not thought about them and I should have a copy somewhere.

  4. I have to admit - greedy for the larger ships, and 1/1800 or 1/1500 both are appealing for the size and details. Really need to see them up close and personal.

    What do you think of Long Face Games, and David Manley?

    My take - thus far - on Avalanche Press and Ironclads & Ether Flyers is that they both take a strategic view of naval operations, which is very correct. I've played the AP rules [see previous posts] and find them a bit clunky at times but serviceable. I&EF I haven't played but plan to do so with my AP counters. Of course, I already have some thoughts on changes for both rules!

    I firmly believe in the operational / strategic use of fleets, and that's why my next planned post is on "Cactus Air Force", which looks good for my favorite WWII area of interest, the Solomon Islands campaign.

  5. Actually, re-read these, and am thinking they are a good basis for bigger actions where gunnery is less important than squadron maneuvering and command decisions for ships:
    under downloads, there's a pre-dread naval game.

  6. I have yet to use any of David's rules, but he seems to have a knack for simplifying complicated systems and making it gameable.

    I believe that there is another version of the Portable Wargame rules being worked on - I am watching with interest but I am not too sure about grids.

  7. The pre-dread rules are hexes - just did a playtest today, will be posting ASAP. But to summarize, I thought they are 80% there as a set of basic rules [i.e. no weather, morale, etc].

    They are free, 1-page rules [OK, 2 pages but the second is the hex diagram of the shooting arcs!] so it's not a painful or time-consuming effort, and there are at least TWO distinct, interesting mechanics:
    1) Gun range, type, hitting, are all ONE dice roll,
    2) shooting precedes movement.
    More on this soon...