Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Floating Defence of Vladivostok

In 1904 the main armoured cruiser squadron was based at Vladivostok. Consisting of 4 of the most modern heavy cruisers in the world from here they sallied forth hunting down Japanese shipping whenever they could.

Large, modern and heavily armed & armoured these ships were an impressive element and once Port Arthur fell in early 1905 it became Rozhestvensky's fleet objective to link up with this squadron in order to seek a showdown with the Japanese Combined Fleet under Admiral Heihachiro Togo.

In the pre-dreadnought era it was the armoured cruisers that were the real killers of the battle fleets. Battleships had not yet been able to carry fire control systems that were developed enough to carry the weight of battles on their long range shoulders and it was instead the secondary medium range batteries that were able to strip an enemy ships superstructure to the ribbing and eliminate the enemy vessel as an opponent. The Armoured Cruisers of protagonists fleets didn't mount the heavy guns of the Battleships but more than made up for it with an abundance of these medium batteries.

Vladivostok also had a few tricks up its sleeves during this period though, including a small Submarine Flotilla and a small array of Torpedo Boats and Gunboats for close in defence.

Vladivostok Squadron
(OCR Gromoboi, OCR Rossiya, OCR Ryurik & OCR Bogatyr)

OCR Gromoboi

OCR Ryurik

OCR Bogatyr

1st Torpedo Boat Division
(No 201 - 206)

2nd Torpedo Boat Division
(No 208 - 211)

Submarine Delfin

The Vladivostok Squadron was reported to have been painted in browns and in line with that I've painted the Armoured Cruiser squadron in browns with a hint of reds.

The smaller vessels of the Floating Defence were painted as all of the other ships were. A mixture of blacks, greys and browns depending on my inclination.

The sea bases are what I feel give my fleets the character I was looking for. The bases themselves are standard MDF hardboard. 50mmx25mm for the main line ships and 30mmx10mm for the smaller vessels.

These bases, in groups of 3 or 4 had a layer of Wall Tile Grout put onto them and allowed to dry until the surface became tacky to the touch. A soft toothbrush was then used to dapple the surface and in some case pull it in the direction of the waves and/or wake. A small section at the back of the base had the grout stripped from it to provide for a name plate to be painted on.

Once this was done the vessel to be mounted was pushed down and slightly forwards into the grout to build up a bow wave and get the lower edge of the vessel down into the grout.

These were then left to dry.

The bases were given a complete covering of black and left to dry

Once dry again a covering of Deep Sea Blue was given to the water surface with oil spot patterns of Prussian Blue over the top of this.

The next layer was a moderate dry brushing of US Blue Grey Pale.

This was added to with a light surface dry brush of brilliant white with which the bow wake and wave peaks were also picked out with.

The whole base (but not the ships) were then given a heavy coat of gloss varnish.

Once this was totally dry the base edges and name plate were given another black coat and the name picked out in white on the name plate.

Done! Finished! Ready to rock and roll...

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