The wargaming devil that sits upon my left shoulder always seems to speak louder than the angelic presence hovering over my right. It's as if when it comes to buying new metal for wargaming, sinful temptation is so much better than abstinence!
I was perusing the Tumbling Dice catalogue pages the other day for no better reason than the mini-devil told me to (!), and looked past the excellent 1/600th aircraft they are normally associated with, to the relatively new range of 1/4800th Napoleonic Naval/Age of Sail.
Now we are not that far from the anniversary of Trafalgar, so what better reason to have a look at some Napoleonic ships? It's not as if I don't have time for a whole new project, or I am in danger of slipping behind on my normal ones - is it?.....is it...(plaintive sigh).
So, whilst pretending to look in the other direction, I went ahead and ordered their 48N.MSP1 Squadron pack, which if it is not up to doing Trafalgar, at least will give you a good base, for say, the battle of the Nile.
Now why 1/4800th rather than the well-represented 1/1200th? - Well, with my usual 'self-justifcationing', I thought dipping the toes in the water here would be easier without the need for amateur attempts at rigging, and furthermore, why try 1/2400th, when you can go as small as half that size - you all know my preference for the small and perfectly formed! Yes, there are of course 1/6000th, but the ranges there are, perhaps quite rightly, mainly concerned with 20th Century shipping.
So, let's have a look at what my profligacy bought me! First up, the Three Deckers pack, 48N1, these are nice sculpts, rat-lines moulded on, and although tiny, the rows of open gun ports are visible:
Here's one on a UK two pence piece (around 26mm diameter) to give an idea of size; you'll notice they come with a cast-on base - I'm not yet sure as to how this will figure in attempts to base them - seems a bit small on it's own, and of course you would be tempted to pick the mini up by the sails....hmm...
Being rather tiny, Tumbling dice have helpfully inscribed the identity of the vessel on it's bottom, here 'III' represents the three decker, Frigates get an 'F', smaller vessels have 'BRIG' etc...
Next we have the 48N2 two-deckers, you receive two types in this pack, two tight-looking vessels that might make good British 'Commons' 168ft 74 gunners, and then a longer length ship which might be better for a French 174 foot-odd vessel, of course, if you have a particular ship in mind, you could chose the appropriate hull.
The gun ports on these are less well defined than on the three-deckers, perhaps, but are still visible:
The longer hull on a two pence:
then the smaller one, the sails are going to be quite close together for painting, might struggle a bit there, some expressionistic strokes called for here, I think!
Next we have the three vessels from the Frigate pack 48N3, which again goes with a two smaller, one longer combo; the longer vessel in particular is very nice; I suppose this might make a 50 gunner versus a smaller 40:
Tuppence mounted long:
and the smaller hull:
In addition to the main Squadron pack, I purchased an additional Wrecks pack, 48N8 - you receive three floundering hulls in this, which don't look so great in the flesh, but I think will paint up a treat, with falling sails and submerging hulls:
The larger vessel drowning into a tuppence:
Finally with the Squadron pack came the six-ship 48N4 Unrated vessels, pairs of Sloops, Brigs and Cutters - a good value pack here, with the mast numbers delineating the ships -three for the Sloop, two for the Brig, etc, nice sculpts here, again given their diminutive size:
The Sloop brings news of the victories of Nelson to the British mainland atop a tuppence:
Overall, I am very pleased with the minis as seen - the sculpts are nicely defined with masts, sails and ratlines all clearly visible, and they came relatively free of flash, just a slight mould line to the base and a few strings atop the masts/bowsprits - easily removable, as I roughly did before taking these pictures.
I guess getting in a chequer-board pattern and gun ports on these might turn out to be quite a challenge, but for an-all in one package, I think they should turn out quite well, without the investment in time or effort that 1/1200th might require. Besides, they are as cute as a button!
I'll hope to put brush to mini in the coming ten days or so, so stay tuned for some more photos of the finished article.....