Tag Archives: Naval Warfare

BDB: Introducing the Tiny People Flotilla

In the islands of Middlesea, the “Big Folk” have charted the course for the lives of of the wee for thousands of years. In a world of Elves, Humans, Dwarves, Orcs and other larger framed entities, the smaller folk of Middlesea have tried to make their own way, largely ignored and under-appreciated by the Big Folk, who considered them by turns amusing or annoying. The current generation isn’t accepting their second place status any longer! The Gnomes of Kanthus, The Fauns of the Black Oak Wood, The Wee Folk, and (occassionally) the Gulley Dwarves have created a new Federation, the League of Tiny People. They have recently banded together to create their own Naval forces out of a sense of desperation. The Tiny People Flotilla was the result of this effort. The Flotilla is a motley collection of vessels which suit their smaller stature & unique natures.

The Kanthus Tug (R), Aquatic Mines (Bottom), the Fire Ship, the Sacred Grove, and Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Kanthus gnomes & gnogr in ships for contrast. Click to embiggen

The Gnomes of Kanthus are not like their close relatives in Battenburg. Unlike their urban cousins, they are taller and stouter, and generally better at Melee fighting. Kanthus Gnomes are less mechanically inclined than Battenburg Gnomes, and favor a mixture of steam technology, Stahlheim cannon, and their own biological weaponry. The Kanthus Tug tows a sacred grove into a warzone, with at least one Mushroom grove on it. Eating a sacred grove mushroom will cause the Gnome to turn into a Gnogr for ten turns before he either recovers or dies. The Kanthus gnomes also use pollen flingers which can cause groups of infantry to be overcome with sneezing (one stick range, incapacitates target for following turn). The Sacred Grove is a small island of turf that is planted on a large towed raft. As an offensive tactic, a Gnome will leap to the Sacred Grove and consume a mushroom, then turn into a Gnogr the next turn. Gnogrs fight with an extra dice in combat, and can take 2 hits instead of 1, which makes them almost as doughty as the Spartans, but with more staying power.

Two new additions to BDB arrive with the TPF: Fire Ships and Nautical Infernal Devices

Although lacking in the industrial facilities of Stahlheim, the Iron Forge Dwarves or even the Battenburg gnomes,  The Tiny People Flotilla is still a very clever group of mechanics and improvisers that makes the best they can from all of their contributions.      The Fauns are credited with first coming up with the idea of Fire Rafts.  This will be pushed in front of the Kanthus Tug until it is within drift range, then released, drifting down among clusters of larger ships, catching a wooden rival with FIRE and eventual explosion.   The Wee Ones (Leprachauns) invented the notion of hidden aquatic firepots.  These are infernal devices that can either be dropped from the back of a vessel, placed with hidden placement (using the Ipad method), or as a depth charge for submarines.

The Sacred Grove raft, demonstrating two pollen flingers and two trays of Sacred Mushrooms. A recently turned Gnogr is on the raft. 1 mushroom converts one Gnogr.

Fleet Tactics: the TPF will operate as an independent flotilla, much like the Dwarves and Undead do. So all ships will move and conduct operations on the same initiative round. The TPF will prefer standoff tactics, as they aren’t as good at melee fighting as the Big People. They will have one Medium gun each in the Kanthus tug and Thing 1 and 2 ships, thought the Gully Dwarf Longship (not pictured above) is more like a Ragnar brothers longship, without any cannon.

The TPF makes its debut at the Game Camp for kids, next week! I look forward to chronicling their exploits.


Big Danged Boats for HISTORICON, 2013 Game Camp

Big Danged Boats for HISTORICON, 2013 Game Camp

The Dwarven Stealth Ships are taking shape on the table now. Plunger (in the foreground) and Von Ripper (background). These are based on Old Glory/Merrimac 15mm Civil War ships “David” and “Hunley“. The Von Ripper has had a saw blade added forward, and artillery platforms for a light gun (forward facing, fixed) and heavy gun (can rotate, stern). the only other mod for the Von Ripper will be to build up the decking so the crossbowmen can fire over the gunnels. The Von Ripper has a Ram Factor of 3, a light and heavy gun that require at least three figures to man them, initial powder of 3 barrels. Crew : undecided, but likely 5 crossbowmen and 5 melee, plus 1 leader. The Plunger is designed from a famous Confederate submarine hull from the Civil War, and the model has a spar torpedo, which is a technology application I’m carrying over into BDB. The Plunger is designed to attack with spar torpedoes (3 at start), Ram factor 0, crew of 3 and possibly 6 melee troops for boarding. Little or no conversion here– I love this model. I will add two stealth tokens (an idea I got from Uncharted Seas) to represent where the sub *might* be when submerged. This is a stealth boat and operates with a crew hand cranking it. It can’t stay down forever because the air grows foul in the hull over time (just like the historical Hunley), so that’s part of the mechanics.

Taking the Plunge on 1:600 Ironclads

My recent experiences with BEER AND PRETZELS IRONCLADS (by Buck Surdu) at HISTORICON 2012 made me hanker to paint up a few ironclads of my own.  I’ve wanted to do this before, but usual roadblocks of affordability and my inept painting skills applied. The best ironclad producer out there, bar none, is my friend Toby Barrett at Thoroughbred Miniatures. Toby’s ships look like little pewter jewels and have tons of detailing. They come at a price, though. My next favorite (and a very close second in detail and quality) is Bay Area Yards out in California. This appears to be a one or two man band, making a wide variety of super-detailed craft at a very decent price. I recently discovered a distant third in terms of quality, but at a very attractive price– the 1:600 scale resin cast Ironclads produced by Peter Pig  aka “Range 7” or Hammerin’ Iron. I bought several of them while I was at HISTORICON, and it did not make a serious dent in the wallet. I also had a few Thoroughbred and Bay Area ironclads laying around, so I decided, what the heck, let’s take the plunge this weekend.

Selma and Forest Rose

CSS SELMA (foreground) and USS FOREST ROSE, a tinclad (background)

Ironclads are attractive as a historical period for miniatures for many reasons. They are not wildly difficult to assemble and paint. The unit density is pretty small, usually one to one. Ironclads rarely fought ironclads in the Civil War so you can pretty much make up whatever scenario suits you, as long as it involves a river or a coastline, and a handful of ships from either side.  Thus, my initial investment wasn’t as huge as I thought it might be.

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Ships built so far:

Ship Type Manufacturer
USS New Ironsides Broadside Ironclad Peter Pig
USS Onandaga Double Turret Monitor Peter Pig
USS Cairo Casemate River  Ironclad Peter Pig
USS Choctaw Casemate River Ironclad (large) Peter Pig
CSS Tuscaloosa Casemate Ironclad Peter Pig
USS Passaic Turret Monitor Thoroughbred
CSS Albemarle Casemate Ironclad Peter Pig
CSS Neuse Casemate Ironclad Thoroughbred
Armed Tug 1 (either side) Unarmored Steam Boat Bay Area Yards
Armed Tug 2 (either side) Unarmored Steam Boat Bay Area Yards
USS Forest Rose Armored Paddlewheel Steamer Bay Area Yards
CSS Selma Armed Paddlewheel Ram Peter Pig
CSS General Sumpter Armed Paddlewheel Steamer Peter Pig
CSS Planter Paddlewheel Gunboat Peter Pig
Torpedo Boats (either side) Unarmored Launch w/. Torpedo Peter Pig

I plan on getting more of them.  The war was won on the rivers with the humble converted civilian riverboat, not purpose built Casemate or Monitor, and I want more representation of converted civilian stock in my fleet– tinclads, cottonclads, and wooden boats.  I’d also like to get a small fleet of Ellet rams, too.

There are a plethora of miniatures rules for this period. I am partial to HAMMERIN’ IRON (Peter Pig) and BEER AND PRETZELS IRONCLADS (Jodie Press/LMW). If I want to be more detailed, I’ll use Hammerin’ Iron, if I want to run a game at a convention, I’ll go with BAPI.  I’ll post more pictures once I get the masts, flagstaffs, and yes, even some rigging on these models.