Preparing To Get Back To The Game Table With Tiny Ships

It’s June and Pierce County, where I live, has entered Phase 2 of the state’s Covid management strategy.  I know many are unhappy with our governor’s plans, but I am somehow comforted by it. I think our state has done reasonably well as a result. Washington went from first in deaths in March to 19th in June, with Arizona and North Carolina poised to pass us.

That said, I couldn’t be happier to get my hair cut.  I ate a meal at my local Bob’s Burgers.  I’ve got a couple of games lined up this week with a possibility of one more. All of them will be small with those I know who have sheltered carefully.  I think everyone will be cautious as they breathe the air of freedom through their masks while working from home (if they can.)

While I worked like the devil to madly paint my 100 figures in May, it all caught up with me in June. I finally finished my first figures last night (June 9th,) my last unit of Philippine riflemen.  I have nine more command figures half finished that I hope to polish off in the next day or so.

I’ve managed to distract myself with the arrival of the Litko bases for my tiny ships project. While I did swear this would not be a new painting project, well . . . I lied, sort of.  I began by thinking the ships should not be based.  Then I picked up one of my tiny American gunboats and mangled the guns on the port side.  I just wasn’t being careful enough.  My thoughts immediately went to-if I the owner of these lovely miniatures can be thoughtless enough to injure them, what about a gamer at Enfilade recovering from Saturday’s hangover?  It was then and there I decided it was bases for me.

Basing is really all a matter of personal taste.  Balsa, bass wood, Litko plywood, sheet styrene-all great options and a matter of style. David Sullivan wrote an article about his basing  methods creating a 3D base on sheet styrene. It’s a super how-to if you’re interested.

I opted for a different route.  I used Litko’s base maker technology to order some acrylic bases.  I did this for my 1/600 coastal stuff, the merchants I was building for convoy duty.  More here.

This time I actually opted for the 1/8 inch thickness in two different sizes.  120 mm X 30mm for battleships and armored cruisers and 85mm X 25mm for protected cruisers and smaller vessels. Litko was closed during the pandemic, but they recently reopened and had my order to me very quickly.  They’ve become the go-to place for my basing needs.

Basing on clear plastic should be pretty easy, but nothing is ever very easy for me.  The challenge was to be sure there was good contact to the base and then carefully glue away while trying to sort of center the miniature.


Navis ships don’t have filled in hulls, so it’s important to get a spot of glue on the bow, stern and each beam and try to carefully align on the base.  Saratoga Model Shipyard miniatures have slight more filled in hulls, so they were easiest to work with.  Hai hulls are filled in, but are often a little wavy so gluing them down properly can be a challenge.  The Charleston seemed almost glue repellent so getting it to stick was yikes!!.

Once glued down, I determined to paint a wake of some sort on the bases. I wanted to do it properly, and I’ve always just tried to wing it before. Because the internet has everything, I was able to find useful information on a variety of ship modeling sites and settled on something roughly like this:

Ship's wake

These patterns represent ships moving much faster than my 16 knot battleships, but I did decide on on a pattern that represents the spread of bow waves down the hull line.  I did my best using just a craft white paint, thinned out between the limit lines. Later I went over it with Liquitex Gel Gloss Medium, but I’m not sure it was worth that last step. It may not be perfect but it works for me. It looks good against my ocean mat.

Great White Cruisers

These are armored cruisers New York by Saratoga Model Shipyards  and Brooklyn by Navis

Great White Fleet 1

My quintet of American battleships beginning Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Iowa and Oregon.  All models by Navis.

Not so great white fleet

Finally my collection of early cruisers and gunboats. Top row is Charelston by Hai, Boston by HL Ships and gunboat Wheeling by Hai.  The bottom row of ships are all by Hai.

This has been a really fun project so far.  I’m just looking forward to actually dragging the minis out and playing with them.  Will get a shot at that on Saturday.

One comment on “Preparing To Get Back To The Game Table With Tiny Ships

  1. Pete S/ SP says:

    Very nice ships.



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