A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Friday, March 1, 2013

Modern Chinese Navy Sails Forth!

Howdie.  This will be a fairly long post, as I have plenty to talk about :)

I decided recently to indulge in a new / old interest:  modern naval wargaming.  Decades ago I played Harpoon.  While I no longer am interested in such a detailed system, modern ship to ship combat is something I wanted to revisit.  After conference with another interested party in our club, we decided to utilize 1:3000 for our ship scale and selected Shipwreck! from Vandering as a more approachable system than Harpoon, producing games that could be completed in a couple of hours.  We have not as of yet played a game, but we have only had the miniatures and rules for a couple of weeks.

We ordered from Navwar.  I am happy with the purchase, the price (even with heavy shipping) was quite reasonable, though, I can't resist saying that the ordering system will not be for everyone.

We agreed that we would be gaming in the waters of the Far East... he opted for the USN, I chose the PLAN.  What was I thinking !?!?  I have a lot to learn about the Chinese navy, but something I know already is that their ships are outclassed by their American counterparts.  I hope these will do more than serve as targets for American missiles....  the completed fleet thus far....

Many thanks for the images and advice I found on Of Dice and Tiny Men.  I did not use the commercial water effects paint... I used plain old water soluble caulk, carefully smeared thin on the bases, and "waved" up mostly with my fingers.  It seems to work fine... though I like the colors on the Of Dice and Tiny Men ships better than my own (I think that mine will work fine too).

My order was centered on the grab bag style "Fleet Pack".  Wasn't sure what I would get, but I was not disappointed when it arrived.  Here is a tally of what that included (fleet packs are12 GBP plus shipping of 40%, or about $27 USD total);

Han subs (1x3)
Ming subs (1x3)
Luhu DDG (2x1)
Luda DDG (2x2)
Jinan DDH (1x2)
Jiangwei Ty I FFG (1x2)
Jiangwei Ty II FFG (1x2)
Jianghu Ty I FFG (1x2)
Jianghu Ty II FFG (2x2) .. but see below about these
Jianghu Ty III FFG (1x2)
Fuqing Oiler (1x1)
Nanking Replenishment (1x1)

Now, those last two supply ships are something that I can use, but probably would not have ordered.  Since they came with the grab bag, its basically like I got them for free (price wise, it's like I got a bunch of free packs). 

I added some additional support to the fleet pack, in the form of an Admiral Kutnesov CV to represent the ex-Varyag now sailing for the PLAN as the Liaoning (can't hurt to have a carrier).  The opposing USN force is centered around a Theodore Roosevelt CVN... so I added some aircraft, a pack of MiG-23 which will work visually as J-10, a pack of Tu-16 for my Chinese H-6 copies, and a pack of Ka-27 Hormones.  Well, the helos will fill in for every helo I need.  I may look into getting a pack of F-18s, and use them as J-15s (at 1:3000 that might work, as the J-15s or Su-33s are not available).

I have not painted these yet, nor the subs, or the Jianghu Ty 3 and Jiangwei Ty 1.

Speaking of painting, these are very different than anything I have painted before.  I suffered some momentary panic, before realizing I had to adjust my methods.  These are not going to win any prizes, but they look good enough for me.  Most of the pictures I have seen of PLAN vessels show them as very light grey or near white... so I went with a light grey coat, darker grey for the deck, then white paint for the hull and superstructures.  They should be "lighter" than the USN ships.

The backbone of my surface fleet are the Luhu destroyers, and the blood of my fleet is the supply ships... here they are, sailing with Jiangwei Ty Is in support....

 The Luda class destroyers will serve as important ships also.  I have 4 of them, plus 2 more converted with a helo deck.  Only 1 of these (the Jinan) was actually built, but the pack came with two.  I painted one miniature as the Jinan, and "promoted" the Changsha to the same status, thinking it might be better used as a "what if" option than broken up as a wreck marker.

Now, where I had trouble, was with the Jianghu Ty II frigates.  I was really confused by them as they have helo hangars and decks on the aft section, instead of a gun turret.  I am not an expert on the PLAN, but my understanding is that 1 (one) ship (the Siping) was converted to a Jianghu helicopter frigate, and is usually known as a Jianghu Ty IV.  Except, in the grab bag, I have 4 of them.  Based on some conversations, and what references I can find, it seems that sometimes the helo conversion is referred to as a Ty II... if you saw that in one source, and saw in another source that there were 12 or 15 active Ty IIs in service, maybe some confusion would occur.  I could be wrong about the whole thing... but it looks like I have 3 of these too many, and no actual Ty IIs at all.  I based and painted them all, one is labeled as a Ty IV (Siping), the rest are labeled as Ty IIs.  I may field them as Ty IIs, I may try to convert them at some point, or I may turn a couple of them into wreck markers... not sure yet.  But here are some photos of the Jianghu Ty Is and "IIs" side by side....

Once I have the Liaoning, subs, and the rest painted up, I will post pictures.  For now, I am trying to learn the new system, trying to learn my new fleet, and looking for a miracle to defeat the USN.  Hey, just kidding... its all about scenarios baby... I think the Chinese need to look at scenarios, not ship to ship comparisons, to find victory... plus rely on land based airpower to lend some help.  Or get someone to build an Indian fleet I can go tangle with.

Anyway, thanks for enduring this extra long post.  I happily look forward to the future of modern naval wargaming at our local club.  And the sinking of those running dog capitalist warmongers.

Zai jian!


  1. Cool stuff! Indian fleet would be cool for an opfor.


    1. Thanks. The Indians have an interesting fleet mix (including carrier), and are also a realistic foe for the Chinese. But we have to get some games in first and see how it goes.

  2. Great stuff! Good to see someone else keen on the PLAN in 1/3000th.

    The Navwar stuff is great, unfortunately they are all dated vessels. If you want to go with a more modern PLAN than the 1990s then you'll want to look into the stuff available on shapeways from 'Objects May Appear'. He has all the recent vessels in 1/3000th.

    If you are taking on the USN you might well soon consider the need to update your forces!

    1. Thanks. I had looked at the Shapeways stuff, but the Navwar is really cost effective. Despite being outdated, a lot of these are still floating so are still usable. However, I think you are right.... at some point, it will be nice to have some newer detection and weapon system at my disposal. I want to get some games in first, then look at adding more.

      We may look at expansion into the Cold War era, in which case the Navwar ranges will be quite useful (I'd likely end up with Soviets, I'm ok with that).

  3. Great work! The bases and ships look brilliant. I like the brighter sea it looks more like the pacific than mine would, Not much sun in the North Sea or north Atlantic. I always wondered what you got in those fleet packs, I'm tempted to branch out and pick up the Japanese one now..... if I hadn't already just ordered some more NATO and soviet ships.
    If your worried about fire power and don't want to go to shapeways yet you can always add a Sovermenny class destroyer or two, I think PLA(N) operates 4 at the moment. Having used them in a game of shipwrecked last weekend they are defiantly big hitters, not so strong on the defence though.
    I'm curious, what are the 1:3000 aircraft like? I currently use 1:1200 and there a wee bit expansive for what you get in my opinion.
    Looking forward to some battle reports :)

    1. Howdie. You can see some of the aircraft in the packs... they are small squares, with even smaller aircraft in the center of them (the helos are very very small). As someone commented, they are only good as sea skimmers :) They look accurate, and I like the price. How I read the rules for aircraft in Shipwreck! it doesn't seem to matter if you have small aircraft miniatures or not (our club uses Check your 6! for jet to jet combat... there, they use much larger miniatures), as its pretty abstract in Shipwreck... you roll for your dogfight, you don't maneuver the miniatures. 15 fighters or 9 bombers for 1.20 GBP ain't bad :)

      I received a modern fleet pack list with my order... they do state these are not always exactly the same, but the modern Japanese fleet pack is supposed to be 6x Yushio, 2x Murasamee, 2x Kongo (exYukikaze), 2x Asagiri, 2x Hatakaze, 2x Haruna, 2x Yubari, 1x Ishakiri, 1x Oosumi... not sure how many total packs that is, those are the numbers of miniatures. The Soviet fleet pack looks really nice for Cold Wars (and mostly still in use with the Russians)... 3x Typhoons, 3x Sierras, 1x Kutnesov, 1x Gorchkov, 2x Slava, 2x Udaloy, 1x Kara, 2x Sovremny, 3x Pauk, 3x Tarantul, 1x Berezina.. that's 14 packs, including two large vessels. I'd probably add a Moskva, a landing ship (not sure which), maybe Victors or Akulas, maybe Kirov (and a whole bunch of aircraft). That would make a pretty powerful fleet for the late 80's.

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  5. Very nice looking ships!