Monday, October 1, 2012

Welcome aboard! As the header states, this site is dedicated to the history and wargaming of the world's navies during the Victorian Era through the First World War. My early naval board gaming experience was with Avalon hill's "Jutland" and SPI's "Dreadnoughts", and I collected and played Avalanche Press' fine series "Great War at Sea" and ""Second World War at Sea". Yaquinto's "The Ironclads" was another board game that filled many hours happily. I was always drawn to miniature gaming, but could not find a working compromise of space, affordable models and rules. This summer, things came together.  

While searching the internet for information on Joseph Morschauser's book "How to Play War Games in Miniature", I happened upon Bob Cordery's "Wargaming Miscellany" site. In between all the variants on Morschauser I found some posts on building small "caricature" ship models. Needing a small gunboat for colonial Games, I built one per his instructions, then a casemate ironclad, then a pre-dreadnought.

 Taking a break from my "shipyard", I dug further into Bob's blog, finding a set of rules: Memoir at Sea 1860-70. They printed out on two pages. A quick read indicated elegant simplicity. I broke out a few American Civil War ship miniatures and played a couple of solo games with very nice results. A few days later my wife and our friend Ben sat down with me and fought a three player Naval Battle of Memphis with Eads Ironclads and a lot of wooden ram ships. We had a great time, and the rules allowed a fifteen ship game to be completed in less than an hour. Going back a few weeks in the blog, I found Bob's rules for Memoir at Sea, covering the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. That night my wife, (known to all as Spike)took a squadron of German pre-Dreadnoughts. and earned the Kaiser Cup for pummeling my French Squadron of pre-Dreadnoughts and coastal battleships. We have thus far hosted games with up to four players and twenty-eight ships.

 The need to scratch-build my ships led me to purchase over $100us in balsa and basswood, and go on Amazon to acquire copies of "Jane's Fighting Ships 1898" and "1906" for deck plans and pictures. Several books by Paul Halpern and other naval authors have found their way onto my shelves recently and it is my plan to post reviews here on a regular basis.

 Here is a picture Spike took of my High Seas Fleet on my four inch gridded hex map.


  1. Hi Steven,

    Love the models! Scratch builds methinks - any chance of some more pictures of this lot?

    All the best,


    1. Hi David,
      They are indeed all scratch built, based on the methods Bob shows on Wargame Miscellany. There will be many more pictures coming, starting with next weeks feature. i am going to put up a short video on building a British armored cruiser.
      I hope you visit and comment often.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Jeff, I love you work with 54mm figures. I used to do a great deal of American Revolution Wargaming with the BMC figures. We cast our own headgear in resin and did a lot of conversions.

  3. Ah, I just found your blog. I also like your scratch-builts; they look great (and I like the wide beams for the "big boys").

    Also I hope that you realize how fortunate you are to have a wife who will game with you. A salute to Spike!

    Finally, you are probably already doing it, but if you haven't yet thought of it, I do suggest that you paint your different forces so that they are easily distinguishable. Even a different shade of deck color can do it but changing greys works too.

    Now on to read your other posts.

    -- Jeff

    1. Spike helped greatly in distinguishing the ships by producing sheets with several hundred flags for the navies I'm building. She is also the Artistic Director, doing all the photography for the site.

      Trying to find the right shades of grey is agonizing. I spend a lot of time on naval scale model sites trying to get ideas, but often leave more confused than when I started. I've seen the Bouvet in everything fram black, to dark grey, light grey and rusty brown. I went for the dark grey.