Wednesday 30 September 2009

Ironclad Ramming

A fascinating article from "War and Game" - dont forget that HMS Thunderchild in War of the Worlds was an ironclad ram!

"Ram Anything Painted Gray” – Wilhelm von Tegetthoff before the Battle of Lissa(1866)

The Austro-Prussian War (1866) was fought between the Austrian Empire on one side, and Prussia and the Kingdom of Italy on the other side. Prussia sought to gain greater control over Germany, while Italy wanted to take Venetia from the Austrians.. The largest naval engagement occurred near the island of Lissa in the Adriatic Sea. There an Austrian fleet of ironclads and steam powered wooden ships fought a larger Italian fleet. The Austrians caught the Italians unprepared and succeeded in “crossing the T” of the Italian fleet. The heavy side belt armor of the ironclads was invulnerable to gunnery, and the most effect offensive tactic was ramming. The Austrian fleet emerged victorious. In the war, however, Austria was defeated and ceded territory to both Prussian and Italy.

In more modern examples, many 19th Century ironclad battleships were so equipped. The first modern ram ship built was the French-built Taureau, in 1863. In fact, many ironclad ships were designed specifically to ram opponents. In ships of this type, the armour belt was prolonged to brace both sides of the ram to increase structural integrity.

The theory behind the revival of the weapon derived from the fact that, in the period around 1860, armour held superiority over the ship-mounted cannon. That is to say, it was believed that an armoured warship could not be seriously damaged by the naval artillery in existence at the time. In order to achieve a decisive result in a naval engagement, therefore, alternative methods of action were believed to be necessary. As it followed, from the same belief, that a ship armed with a ram could not be seriously damaged by the gunfire of its intended victim, the ram became, for a brief period, the main armament of Royal Navy and contemporary foreign battleships.

The frequent use of ramming as a tactic in the Battle of Lissa (1866) also led to many late nineteenth century naval designers equipping their warships with ram bows. This only really aggravated a number of incidents of ships being sunk by their squadron-mates in accidental collisions as ramming never featured as a viable battle tactic again. The fixation on ramming may also have inhibited the development of gunnery.

When it became clear, towards the end of the nineteenth century, that breech-loading cannon could hit, and hit effectively, enemy ships at several thousand yards range, the ineffectiveness of the ram became clear and ships ceased to be fitted with them.

No other ironclad was ever sunk by an enemy ship in time of war by the use of the ram, although the ram was regarded by all major navies for some thirty years as primary battleship armament. A number of ships were, however, rammed in peacetime by ships of their own navy. The most serious in terms of loss of life was the collision between HMS Victoria and HMS Camperdown,[Tas's note - a young John Jellicoe, the RN Fleet Commander at the Battle of Jutland, narrowly escaped death in this incident] which took place in the Mediterranean in 1893. The only battleship over submarine victory in history occurred during World War I, when the battleship HMS Dreadnought rammed and sank a German U-Boat, but this was incidental, and Dreadnought’s bow was not intended for ramming enemy vessels.

Tuesday 29 September 2009

General Staff expands

Yours in a White Wine Sauce to proud to welcome our newest contributor, Steelonsand, who is renowned for his recent work on the Turkish Aquanef Osman Pasha and who has earlier this year been involved in chronicling Weird WW1 (whatever that means!).

The General Staff has tipped him as one to watch, especially for his trademark and novel use of the eye drop pipette in modelling. A link to his blog now appears on the left hand frame under "Member Blogs".

So Huzzah and welcome to the mess Steelonsand.
The first round of drinks is on us!

And while we are at it, a bumper round of port and cigars for all in celebration of Mssr Ogrefencer's birthday! Many happy returns old Boy!!!

Monday 28 September 2009

Confederate sympathies in the colonies

In 1864, the Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah (a 1160-ton screw steam cruiser) was enroute to the Pacific to raid the US whaling fleet. After a few other adventures, she took refuge in the colony port of Melbourne in early 1865, where she was refitted, took on supplies and surreptitiously recruited "stow-aways" as crew.

After an effective anti-commerce patrol, Shenandoah became the only Confederate warship to circumnavigate the globe during the conflict and was the last Confederate military unit to surrender at the war's end.

A court later found that the British Government had breached the laws of neutrality in rendering assistance in Melbourne and ordered reparations to be paid.

Now what if this incident was based on a raiding Confederate dirigible instead...

[EDIT] Interesting news article posted here for the 150th Anniversary of this event

Sunday 27 September 2009

Seascape Sea Mats

These are a bit more expensive than Hotz (which are excellent, I have one) but these are
I also like the options for seperate throw down islands and coastline.

Now I know what I need for Christmas....

Saturday 26 September 2009

Turkish Aquanef 'Osman Pasha' at Sea!

Exclusive report from our Correspondent; Istanbul, 24th of September:

Persistent rumours of a new secret weapon in the struggle for supremacy over the Eastern Nations have been borne out by the appearance of a steel monster in the waters off the Golden Horn.

This Correspondent has seen with his own eyes the strange grey shape appearing from the depths, a modern Kraaken designed by the greatest technological minds as the latest plaything of the Sublime Porte. Were it not for its modern armament of torpedos and Nordenfeldt repeating guns, this could easily be mistaken for a fantasy from the Arabian Nights, this strange leviathan that at a stroke has made obsolete the Ironclads and Dreadnoughts of the Tsar, and of the Kingdoms of Italy and Greece, and no doubt will cause concern even in the bulwarked bosom of the mighty Empress Victoria herself.

Named the Osman Pasha, this terror of the deep is now undergoing sea trials, but will soon be ready to challenge for dominion of the oceans, whether above or below the waves......

Photographic evidence follows.

This correspondance is credited to special envoy SteelonSand.
Well done that Man!

You can find more of his great work with the Osman Pasha at his blog here:

Thursday 24 September 2009

Turkish Aquanef 'Osman Pasha' launched

Steelonsand has gone to town in a rash of creativity, recreating the Turkish Aquanef I posted here the other day. The result, mostly using eye drop pipettes, is fantastic - I can't wait to see this lovely all painted up and ready for battle!

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Sydney on the Red Planet

Eastern Australia today suffered a massive and extremely rare dust storm. Originating from central Australia, the dust was the typical ochre colour. The result - spectacular! (these are unmodified photos, the colour is real)

Or has some Vanwellian experiment gone awry and transported Sydney to the Red Planet?

Monday 21 September 2009

WWS reaches 100,000 Hits!

Huzzah and Hurrah - White Wine Sauce has reached 100,000 Hits (since Aug 07), with half of those since Sep 08!

My sincere thanks to all who visit and enjoy the posts material here, and especially those who have left comments and encouraged us to keep posting.

I would like to thank my fellow WWS partners for their wonderful input and motivating encouragement, particularly Mssrs Ogrefencer, Vanvlak and Zophiel.

And of course a Mention in Dispatches goes to Mssr Blease and Wessex Games for inspiring me with VSF madness in the first place.

Yours in Splicing the Mainbrace!

Sunday 20 September 2009

Cerberus in 1/1200

Inspired by my research into the real ship, I broke out my long neglected 1/1200 scale Cerberus by Brigade Models, and a lovely casting it is too.

The model comes in 5 separate parts: hull, 2 main turrets, breastwork superstructure and mast. All part were very crisply cast with no flash at all. All fit together nicely with no filler required. One particularly good feature is that the breastwork structure fits over the turrets, which in tun have a peg and hole fitting. This means that they the turrets can be painted and fitted without gluing, so they can rotate freely.

I painted the model prior to assembly, undercoating in white. I went for a traditional RN paint scheme, and as accurate to the real ship as possible. The hull was therefore black, the armour, superstructrue and deck fittings white, gun muzzles dark grey, mast and funnel ocre and the deck a faded wood colour. Finally, I added a RN White Ensign to the masthead (again by Brigade) and fitted her to a base in the style of Mssr Ogrefencer (name and flag yet to be fitted). A smallish wake befits a vessel of 10kts max speed - no big bow waves for Cerberus! Then again, nobody should ever rush a lady...

This model represents Cerberus as she appeared in the late 1880s, after her mast reconfiguration (in 1878) and the addition of the torpedo spars and nets (in 1887). I must admit that as a result of my research this became more of a modelling project than a wargaming one, but the overall effect is quite realistic I think and I'm looking forward to her first tabletop battle.

Ironic then that my first Aquanef fleet unit is a surface unit! There are also 4 Russian units about half done and I just found some Navwar 1/1200 ACW ships (again courtesy of Mssr Ogrefencer, thank you Sir!) which will be joining us soon...

Saturday 19 September 2009


I just picked up a lovely monograph on this wonderful piece of colonial naval history:
'HMVS Cerberus: Battleship to Breakwater.'

Built at the cost of 125,000 pounds (of which the British Government donated 100,000 pounds). She was laid down in 1867, completed in 1870 and delivered (after a perilous journey) the following year. She was ordered to protect Melbourne, one of the Empire's richest colonies at the time due to the gold rush, from the Russian threat. Not an inconsequential threat it turns out, as Russia was allied to the United States during the civil war and the Russian Pacific Fleet commander had sealed orders to bombard Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart should hostilities break out between the US and Great Britain.

The monitor was the first British armoured ship to fully dispense with sail and be powered purely by steam. She was also first vessel with a central superstructure with gun turrets at the ends, and the first design to have breastwork protection and low freeboard. She had two sister ships, Abyssinia and Magdala, built for service in India though they were completed later.

Gunnery drills on the uppder-deck: 2 quad barrelled Nordenfeldts and a QF 4pdr

HMS Devastation (1871), built 3 years after Cerberus, incorporated many lessons learnt from Cerberus can rightly claim credit as being the first ocean going modern battleship. (Whereas Cerberus was specifically designed for Harbour defence)

"Indeed Devastation itself was an enlarged version of the coast defence Breastwork Monitor Cerberus, whose construction marked the beginning of practical turret ship design" Birth of the Battleship, John Beeler, US Naval Institute Press, 2001

"Between the harbour defence ship and the sea-going battleship was a matter of degree - the Devastation was to develop out of Cerberus in due course." British Battleships, Oscar Parkes, Seeley Service & Co., London, 1957

She was a powerful warship equipped with two twin 10 inch gun turrets (muzzle loading, rifled Armstrong guns), 4 quad barreled Nordenfeldt machine guns and 2 six pounder guns (added in 1892/93). Armour plate ranged from 6 inches on the sides to 10 inches on the turrets. She was not initially provided with any protection against torpedoes, but outriggers and nets were later fitted for this purpose.

The local press commented upon her arrival that "Victorians can sleep peacefully upon their pillows, with the consciousness that Cerberus is in every way fit to fight their battles and to fight them in modern style".

Cerberus enjoyed a period of 53 years service in which she never fired a shot in anger. Ironic then that her guns caused such general collateral damage to windows that public protest effectively negated the conduct of firing practices close to shore!

A free 1/250 scale card model of Cerberus as she appeared in the 1890s (with mast modification and torpedo booms fitted) is available here:

In the meantime, I'm working on my lovely 1/1200 scale Cerberus from Brigade Models: pics soon!

Friday 18 September 2009

Ahoy and pass the Rum ye Scallywags!

Dont pretend you dont know what day it is!

Think I'll go walk the Quarterdeck with Capt'n Peaches...

Thursday 17 September 2009

Scientific Adventure Violence for Young Men and Literate Women

The year's foremost journal of progressive armaments and weaponry! Behold the latest line of defense captured in action!

The second book to emerge from the printshop at Grordbort Industries, Victory follows in the footsteps of the trans-galactically successful Dr Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory that was released last year.

Filled to the brim with first hand tales of exploration and progress from the great heroes of our time, picture strips of unimaginable escapades on the frontier, never-seen-before portraits of dazzling damsels and monstrous villains, and laudable accounts of man and robot pitted against our greatest enemy (the uncivilized world), Victory is an onslaught of action-packed scientific adventure in full-spectrum color - containing facts that every boy and literate girl should know.

Written and illustrated by Weta Workshop Conceptual Designer Greg Broadmore, this book sumptuously details a science-fiction history that never was. Hearkening back to the classic sci-fi serials of yesteryear, it reveals the backstories and mythos of Weta Limited's highly limited ray gun collectible line.

This gorgeous 64 page full-color hardcover will be available mid-November.

You can pre-order now (I already have!) directly from Weta here:

Wednesday 16 September 2009

British Leviathans

More Monsters in the Sky design development, this time its the British, who are looking great.
Check out the sketches and leave some feedback!

Tuesday 15 September 2009

The Mystery of the Russalka

I found this interesting article online, detailing some of the lack of seaworthiness of early ironclads. Or what it those mysterious Atlanteans....

Tsar's Battleship lost at sea in 1893.
by Christopher Eger

The Russalka (Mermaid), a 204foot long ironclad monitor built just months after the loss of the famous USS Monitor, eventually followed her American cousin to the same fate. Built in 1867 she suffered -like the Monitor- from a very low freeboard and poor sea keeping abilities. This led to insufficient flood ability and damage stability. After a quiet 25 years service on the Baltic the poorly designed warship left harbor on her final patrol. She had become largely obsolete and had since past from her place as a first-line battleship to that of a training ship assigned to the Gunnery Training Squadron.

Last Voyage of the Russalka
Never firing a shot in war, the HIH Tsar Alexander’s Imperial Russian Naval Battleship Russalka, sailed from the port of Tallinn (now in Estonia) to Helsingfors (currently Helsinki, Finland) on September 7, 1893. Today this is a regular 80km two hour express ferry service between the capitols of two Baltic countries. In 1893 this was an all day crossing from one Russian naval port to another. That morning the Russalka was to sail with another ship in her squadron, the gunboat Cloud ("Tutysa") at 0730. However Captain 1st Class Victor Hristianovich Ienish arrived aboard the Russalka an hour late from hospital due to a headache caused by concussion received just a few days earlier and the battleship cast off to sea at 0830, trailing her companion.

The morning started with a calm gentle breeze and 2 foot seas but with a gale forecasted. Some 17 miles north of Tallinn the pair of ships had closed to within a half mile of each other but the seas had grown considerably. By lunchtime the Clouds ship's log was noting sea state 5 conditions (16-20 kt winds, 6ft seas with long waves). Having to close her deck air intakes to prevent water from swamping the engines, the Russalka's speed dropped considerably and the distance between the two ships increased. The seas and wind increased to a strong gale and the two ships became further and further separated. Eventually they were over the horizon from each other, separated by the then 40 kt winds and 20 foot rolling waves of a fierce Baltic storm. The Cloud arrived in Helsingfors at 1500 and waited for her companion. She was to have a very long wait.

The Search for the Russalka
The next morning when the Russalka did not appear either in Helsingfors or back in Tallinn, Rear Admiral Buracheka ordered a search by all available ships. For 37 days dozens of ships crossed the Gulf of Finland looking for the overdue battleship but only found remnants. The Russalka's lifeboats were found un-used as if washed off deck and cast about the sea as were empty lifebelts and life rings. On September 15 the body of seaman 2nd class Ivan Prunskogo, a lookout from the Russalka washed ashore near the fortress of Sveaborg (now Suomenlinna). He was the only soul of the 12 officers and 165 crewmen to ever be found. A court of inquiry led by Rear Admiral Syridov found that Rear Admiral Buracheka, commander of the Gunnery Training Squadron had been negligent in ordering the ships to sea with bad weather on the horizon. Captain 2nd Rate Nikolay Mikhailovich Luzhkov, commander of the Cloud was dismissed from the service for leaving the Russalka alone during the storm. He would later die in the naval hospital at Kronstadt a broken man after his only son would die a hero a decade later aboard the Russian battleship Petropavlosk during the Russo-Japanese war.

The Russalka Remembered
The name Russalka was retired from the rolls of the Russian Navy and in 1902 a monument of an angel with outstretched arms named after the ship was placed on Kadriorg beach in Tallinn. Pointed at 23 degrees, the course the Russalka took towards Helsingfors, it was made of Finnish granite and carved by Estonian sculptor Amandus Adamason. To this day flowers and wreaths are laid at the feet of the angel for the lost souls.

In July 2003 the Russalka was found at the depth 74 meters some 25 miles south of Helsinki by the Estonian State Maritime Museum (Meremuuseum) research vessel Mare. The wreck is standing vertically almost upright, with her bow deep in the mud and the stern rising some 100 feet from the bottom. Now that she has been located after 110 years an investigation is under way to finally determine how the Russalka was lost.

Read more:

Monday 14 September 2009

A real Land that Time Forgot!

and right on my doorstep too!

Time to load up the Nef with my trusty dino-hunting gear and see if there is any "big game" there...

Sunday 13 September 2009

Strategic targets

I just found these while rummaging around in my bits cupboard and thought I'd share an idea I had.
Last year I visited London (and enjoyed a few ales eh DC?) and grabbed a few of these resin buildings from a cheezy souvenir vendor for about 1 pound each. Lovely detail and pre-painted.

So, Buckingham Palace or French chateau? Tower of London or enemy fortified building? St Paul's Cathedral or enemy parliament house? A lick of paint round the edging, neglected so far I must admit, and some nice buildings are had very cheap for minimal effort!

Now if only I could find those Revell Hindenburgs (which DC put me onto) that I was looking for in the first place....

Saturday 12 September 2009

Maquis Fleet

Lertia has posted pic of her French Maquis fleet to the Brigade Models forums.
She has used some unique colours in a crisps style for a uniue 'parade style' appearance - good stuff!

There are more pics of this fleet at the Facebook Aeronef group

Friday 11 September 2009

Sedales Serpent

Vehicle design for the Iron Grip game series from Isotx.

A bit more on the pulp Nef side than the VSF genre in my opinion, but very kewl!

Thursday 10 September 2009

Ragnarok 55 out and about

The latest SFSFW magazine has been released and the mail packet delivered some to the colonies yesterday. Two particular VSF treats in this edition:

Firstly, an Aeronef scenario set in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871 which pits a combined Franco-Swiss force against some aggressive Germanic types. Nice!

And secondly, the back cover sports a pic of Wessex's (infamous) Battle of the Pyramids which was taken by me at Salute back in 2001 (when I met Mssr Blease). OK, its not a major drawcard but I was chuffed to see it there!

You can get Rag 55 from SFSFW:

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Nordenfelt class Turkish Submarine

Thorsten Nordenfelt built the Nordenfelt II (Abdülhamid) in 1886 and Nordenfelt III (Abdülmecid) in 1887, a pair of 30 metre long submarines with twin torpedo tubes, for the Ottoman Empire navy. Abdülhamid became the first submarine in history to fire a torpedo while submerged under water. Nordenfelt's efforts culminated in 1887 with the Nordenfelt IV which had twin motors and twin torpedoes. It was sold to the Russians, but proved unstable and ran aground off Jutland; when the Russians refused to pay for it, it was scrapped.

Abdülhamid and Abdülmecid were found by Germany in Istanbul in 1914. The submarines were briefly considered for use in harbour defence but it was found that their hulls were too badly corroded.

Monday 7 September 2009

More Brits

Here are some closeups of Nuno's British Nefs, which I showcased here last week.

He informs me that his painting technique was:
- white undercoat which was left showing in the sides of the superstructures and the masts as well as the tail of the nefs
- GW chaos black hull side
- GW Sepia wash on the decking
- GW foundation astronomican grey in the turrets
- GW foundation adeptus battlegrey in the cannons and the center of the large turrets
- GW foundation tausept ochre on the chimneys

I've updated the entry on his Greman nefs to detail the paint scheme too.

Thanks for sharing mate, I thin they've come out beautifully. Well done old Boy!

Index Reorganised

I'm currently going through the labels assigned to almost four years of posts and adding, where appropriate, an extra designation for the relevant Empire to which a specific unit or model might belong.
This means that one can, with a click, see all the Aeronef, Astronef or Land Ironclads belonging to that nation which have been posted here. Thats should help trawling about or looking for inspiration. Enjoy!

Saturday 5 September 2009

Shiny Italians!

Ruarigh has posted pics of his Italian Aerofleet, bolstered by some newly purchased and British built Stingray class torpedo nefs. You can see them on his "Ooh, Shiny Complex' blog here:

Nice one Ruarigh, looking forward to seeing more!

Friday 4 September 2009

Aeronef meets Full Thrust

Another good find by those fine chaps over at 15mm VSF - Nefs battling it out over a Sun using FT rules!

Thursday 3 September 2009

Monsters in the Sky artwork

In case you missed it (like I did in my hiatus), there is some very kewl airship artwork up from the Monsters in the Sky project at the Catalyst games website:

Wednesday 2 September 2009

1871: The Battle of Dorking

It was on Tuesday, the 10th of August, that the fleet sailed from the Downs. It took with it a submarine cable to lay down as it advanced, so that continuous communication was kept up, and the papers were publishing special editions every few minutes with the latest news…. This went on till the Thursday morning. I had just come up to town by train as usual, and was walking to my office, when the newsboys began to cry, “New edition – enemy’s fleet in sight!”.… It was about ten o'clock that the first telegram came; an hour later the wire announced that the admiral had signalled to form line of battle, and shortly afterwards that the order was given to bear down on the enemy and engage. At twelve came the announcement, “Fleet opened fire about three miles to leeward of us” – that is, the ship with the cable. So far all had been expectancy, then came the first token of calamity. “An ironclad has been blown up” – “the enemy's torpedoes are doing great damage” – “the flag-ship is laid aboard the enemy” – “the flag-ship appears to be sinking” – “the vice-admiral has signalled to” – there the cable became silent, and, as you know, we heard no more till, two days afterwards, the solitary ironclad which escaped the disaster steamed into Portsmouth.
- The Battle of Dorking

A cracking read if you havent come across it by now, and now a wargame by Draken Games! Available for download through wargame vault:

"1871: The Battle of Dorking" allows two players to find out what might have happened at the key battle of this fictional campaign. Along with the rules and all the cut-outs needed, full background notes are given regarding Chesney's original book, the context of the campaign and the weaponry, organisation and tactics of both armies. A game should last two hours on a first play, reducing to 90 minutes once familiar with the rules.

Rules and Background
2 Piece 8.5"x11" map
57 double-sided counters
28 single-sided counters

Thee you go, I'd be interested to hear form anyone who has played it - cheers!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!