Completion of the first (and most complex) board for my Medway Campaign fired me up to attack the second. I managed to get it from plain MDF to finished product sans the varnish in less than a week.
|Unadorned Board 1 with unpainted board 2 - just sizing it up and getting motivated to begin the paint job.|
This section, downriver from the Royal Dockyard stretches from Upnor Castle, an Elizebethan era Guard fort to just above Gillingham Reach - scene of the dramatic chain breaking attack led by Jan van Braekel.
|The big bend known as Upnor Reach. The Castle guarding the approach to the dockyard is at the join of the the boards.|
I learned a lot from building the first board and did not repeat any of those errors here. The process, including sourcing of materials was much easier. I knw what type of balsa thicknesses to buy, how it would all fit together, to avoid over dramatic surface finishes which in this scale is unnecessary.
|Looking east and downriver. Off the edge of this board will be Gillingham Reach and a major battle location.|
Embedding place on terrain features by building and contouring a balsa lip was far easier than I anticipated. Effectively this eliminates any unsightly edges for place on terrain pieces such as the small Saxon era village at Chattenden and of course once of the central features - Upnor Castle.
|Chattenden village, embedded in the board but removable. Clump foliage creates wonderfully effective woodland areas.|
As I intended large areas of this board to be wooded, my new best friend became Woodland Scenics clump foliage. Buying the clump as opposed to the loose is essential to get something I needed for low angle photography - height and density.
|Made of bits n' pieces my interpretation of Upnor Castle. It turned out better than I thought it might.|
I began mocking up the scenarios by putting on the actual models I had painted for the various scenarios as opposed to the nearest ship in the cabinet. The river would have been extremely busy at this time and with the navy trafficking all of its precious decommisioned ships of the line upriver and away from the dangerous Dutch, the area from Upnor to Rochester bridge was rammed with large ships of the line.
|This shot gives a real sense of what my vision for the river is. So far, soo good. Looking from Chattenden south to Chatham.|
Many of these ships had their guns removed, masts and rigging taken down and crews disbanded. Others had unrepaired battle damage from the big fights of 1666. Others were old and in disrepair. Lack of money had forced the King and the Navy to more or less abandon their enormously expensive assets to rot in the Medway.
|English warships at anchor in Upnor Reach and further upriver in Chatham Reach.|
When you get to the stage of shooting the kind of mock-up test shots included here, you spot little flaws that need fixing or touching up. After these pictures were taken I put in about another 90 minutes work on the board and then... played the first scenario for real on the actual terrain.
Although there is a lot of land, the river area is pretty substantial. Navigating that big bend between Gilliangham Reach and Upnor, even on the flood tide takes upwards of ten game turns during which the English defenders frantically get themselves organized.
|Here come the Dutch! Sailing upriver past the flats at Cockham Wood. Many place on terrain items missing.|
I am getting very excited now that it is coming together and the next two boards should be even simpler to create than the Upnor board.
|Bombarding Upnor Castle. Burners, covered by frigates, attack the resting giants of the Royal Navy.|
Playing over such a wide area in one to one ie ship for ship, creates a very realistic and enjoyable experience. Things are far less abstract than representational terrain and one ship for three or four.
All photos here are what I would class as quick n'dirty. The set up shots are far more elegant and I have been gathering them slowly but surely as I go.
More than eight feet of river to fight on already. More soon.