1:3,000 Russian Pre-Dreadnought Fleet

Time for a long overdue post, I think.  A very stressful time at the moment as I'm changing jobs and moving house, so I sat down to attack the huge pile of unpainted lead, plastic and resin on my table, and managed to turn out some War Times Journal ships.  You might remember that four years ago, I painted up a selection of other 1 : 3,000 ships for some Russo-Japanese War naval games.  I really enjoyed painting them, but if I'm honest I always wanted to have another go at them.  I've since learned a lot about the real paint schemes on these ships and thought I could make a better job of it now.

Recently, WTJ have stopped their line of pewter ships and replaced them with some lovely resin ones.  They have some of the disadvantages of resin - mainly fragility - but that's more than compensated for by the breathtaking detail on them.  So I ordered up a veritable fleet as a Christmas present and got to painting them up.

These will be used in a future alternate history battle, called Cherbourg 1904This imagines that the Dogger Bank incident unfolded differently, with a more truculent Tsar finding an ally in the Kaiser as the disagreement escalates into a naval confrontation.  The German Hochzeeflotte joins the Russian fleet (which, in reality, sailed off for Tsushima) in facing off against an Anglo-French intervention fleet off Cherbourg.  We recently playtested the excellent (and free) Quickfire rules we'll be using for this battle.

Izumrud, Zhemchug and Novik - three excellent light cruisers, which were the fastest in the world when they were first launched.

The armed merchant ship Ural, formerly an ocean liner, comes under fire with some homemade splash markers.
Protected cruisers Diana, Aurora and Pallada.  The Aurora went on to play a famous role in the Russian Revolution in 1917 and was preserved as a museum ship - it is still afloat today in St. Petersburg, the last surviving protected cruiser in the world.

Some of the older ships that made up the fleet, Nikolai I, Dimitri Donskoi and Vladimir Monomakh.  These elderly ships were a real liability at Tsushima - perhaps they will have more success at the fictional battle of Cherbourg?

A close up of some of the lovely detail on the Graf Apraxin.  These models are beautifully cast, and although they're fragile, the fact that they're quite small and on broad flat bases means there's little danger of snagging and breaking a funnel.

A veritable flock of destroyers and torpedo boats, including the fictional Lt. Krabb and Lt. Burakov.

Odds and ends - the fictional Burya (a large armoured cruiser, adapted from the real Gromoboi), former passenger liner Ural, and Retvizan-class battleship Osylyaba.  The latter achieved the dubious distinction of being the first all-steel battleship to be sunk by gunfire alone at Tsushima.

The ill-fated Borodino-class battleships, Alexander III, Knyaz Suvorov, Borodino and Oryel.  Most of these poorly-designed and overloaded ships would be sunk at Tsushima.

These are the coast-defence ships Adm. Ushakov, Seviyanin and Graf Apraxin.  Elderly ships intended to defend shallow coastal waters against Swedish cruisers, the Russian admiralty scraped them from the bottom of the barrel and added them to the Tsushima fleetThey suffered accordingly at the battle - but I really love the peacetime colour scheme with white upperworks and turrets.
I spent an unnecessary amount of time creating lovely laminated play cards.  These let players cross hits off and record damage without the need for scribblings in pencil.

Thanks for looking.  I really enjoyed painting these - it was a nice little side project to get back into painting after a very difficult few weeks.  I will have more to share next week, including a fantastic day's gaming at Mikes which included the conclusion to our First World War campaign.



  1. Replies
    1. Thank you very much El Grego - I have just taken a look at the Oleg and Bogatyr on your own blog, the attention to detail there puts mine to shame!

  2. They look great painted up. The name tags are a nice touch too. Do you read Russian?



    1. Thanks a lot Pete. Yes, I thought it would be a nice flair - plus a handy way to outfox my non-Russian speaking foes!

      I learned Russian at school and spent some time over there a few years back, but nowhere near fluent any more unfortunately. I remember enough to shout "action stations" at an annoyingly loud volume every time we play Quickfire...

  3. It's important to be able to shout something appropriate in a relevant language during a game. Most of the people I'd share a pint with would say 'Ka=plah !" to a Klingon and shout "Alarm ! Alarm ! Alarm !" like Jurgen Procenow when their U-boat is threatened. But those few words of Russian mean that you wear the hat of Kool for the occasion.

    1. To go along with my admiral's hat... dressed for any occasion!

  4. Oh yes indeed Sir, you have my attention! I have oft longed to do a fictional scenario lightly earlier for the anticipated Russian attacks upon the Australian colonies, their inshore defences, and the British Squadron stationed to defend it. 1870 or so.

    You have done a bang up job with those ships and the names and splash templates are fantastic. The black lining technique you've used is very effective at this scale. The laminated play cards really finish it all off and was not an unnecessary use of time at all - wonderfully thematic!

    Good luck with the house and job moves

    1. Thank you Paul, glad you liked them. Now THAT sounds like an idea for a supercampaign, it also seems like it would adapt well to distance games. The Conway's I used for the 1904 campaign also covers 1870 so I have a lot of the references... do you know of any manufacturers of ships to cover that era?

      And thanks for your kind words on the ships - they were a labour of love, I'm very pleased a fellow naval history buff appreciates them. I will be sure to keep you posted on any more updates.


  5. Bloody lovely stuff Ed.
    Your typical passion for accuracy is as always impressive.
    Excited to see these beauties in a game!

    1. Ha thank you Dai! Pleased you enjoyed reading about them.

  6. Great looking Russian fleet, the Cyrillic name tags are a nice touch.
    The laminated cards look good!
    Looking forward to seeing your 1904 games.

    1. Why thank you Darling! It was a nice little project, I really enjoyed doing them. Games will follow shortly!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts