Sunday, August 05, 2007

Scratchbuilt Mediterranean Fleet

I'd honestly like to have something land based to write about; but lately it has all been my new obsession with Axis and Allies - War at Sea.

I the week myself and Chris took the game to the Leeds club and managed three games; it attracted a lot of curiosity, as most of the members had heard of or seen the game, but few had seen the models before. Obviously opinions were divided, some thought there was a fundamental problem with a random supply of models; others understood the logic behind that one (it's cynical logic, but excellent as a business model). Many liked the look of the models though and I was pleased with how the game went.

But two of the games came down to a battleship led turkey shoot.

So I'm intending doing a coastal convoy scenario, largely because I want to expand my options in the Med, and fancied introducing some smaller vessels (it shouldn't ALL be about capital ships, now should it?) I figured building my own ships wouldn't be too hard! I started by doing three vessels:
  • The F-Lighter Armoured Transport/landing ship (Germany)

  • The AFP armoured gunboat variant (Germany)

  • The Gabbiano Class Corvette (Italy)
The Internet provided plenty of evidence for the dimensions and looks of these ships; details that were obviously essential to working out the stats too.

Here are the unpainted models:

And here they are painted up:

Models were painted with Vallejo acrylics, and given a dark grey glaze (coloured varnish) to wash into the recesses and show the detail.

The observant may notice that the AFB has had the hull and one gun swapped round between building and painting. Photo's I found after building them showed a different layout to the regular F-lighters.

The models are from 27-40mm long, and made from modellers styrene sheet and rods (with the exception of the torpedo tubes, made of plastic brush bristle!).

So, Then they needed some stats. These are my proposed cards (no fancy graphics mind):


Class: Auxiliary 1941 Points: 4
Speed: 1
Main weapons: 2/2/-
Air defence: 3
Armour: 2 Vital Armour: 4 Hull: 1

Vital Cargo 4 (Historically they carried 4 Tiger tanks as transporters)
Shallow Draft

Historically the F-lighter carried a 75mm or 88mm gun and several AA guns, armour was only 20mm or so thick. Some 800+ were built.


Class: Auxiliary 1941 Points: 5
Speed: 1
Main weapons: 3/3/2/-
Air defence: 5
Armour: 2 Vital Armour: 5 Hull: 2

Shallow Draft

AFP's carried two 105mm guns, a 37mm AA and eight 20mm guns. Armour was 20mm of steel plus 100mm of Concrete. About 160 were built.


Class: Destroyer (Corvette) 1942 Points: 6
Speed: 2
Main weapons: 3/2/-
Air Defence: 4
Depth Charges: 4
Torpedoes: 1/1/-
Armour: 1 Vital Armour: 4 Hull: 2


Close escort (as Z20 - allows an extra vessel in the sector)
Sub Hunter - may move into adjacent sector containing sub at end of turn

Gabbiano class corvettes carried a single 105mm gun, 7 AA guns, 8 depth charge racks and two launchers; plus sometimes two torpedoes. around thirty were built.

A mighty 37 points of fleet!

The scenario will allow a decent use for PT boats and other little vessels, a destroyer will look like the Bismark amongst this lot! Building boats is fun, I've already started on a fleet of merchantmen, and may try to add some other Italian and British assets to my Med fleets.


  1. Those are very very nice... well done... are they completely scratch built, even the guns???!

  2. Yep, every last (tiny) little bit. The guns are simply plastic rodding glued to carved blocks, or on top of other bits of rodding.

    I used to make masters for 15mm & 20mm tanks, so these were fairly straightforward! Here the parts are only a milimetre or two in size, but represent entire weapons; on the vehicles I used to do, those parts would just have been precise details on larger pieces...