Dread Nought!

Well, depending on what the new WordPress editor turns out like on June 1st, this is probably either my last post with the old editor, or my last post, full stop!

I’ve slowed down quite a bit with painting, but at least managed to get a couple of things finished that fit in with Ann’s painting challenge for May/June.  The challenge is titled “Miniatures of Magnitude” so I thought a couple of dreadnoughts would fit right in.  Not your man-inside-a-big-armoured-suit type of dreadnought though – I’ve gone for a proper dreadnoughts, as in big battleships!  Well, OK, not quite ships either!


Way back in the noughties (maybe even the end of the ’90s) I started aeronef wargaming with the range of 1/1200th scale range of vessels from Brigade Models.  For those not familiar with the term, aeronefs are basically ships that fly using some form of gravity-resisting technology to stay airborne.  Anyway, I gamed with these for a few years, built up small Russian, Japanese and Chinese squadrons set against an alternative 1890s timeline and then put everything away for safekeeping!

So, I thought it was about time that I re-visited these neglected fleets and got some more aeronefs painted.  Brigade Models have constantly expanded their range of models and moved over to making many of the larger vessels in resin and they really are very nice models.  At the time I bought my Japanese and Russian ‘nefs the largest available models were of battleships, but there are now quite a few larger dreadnoughts available, so I thought I’d get a couple.


For the Japanese I bought a Shinano class dreadnought (shown above with bits just dry fitted – the fit of parts is excellent), the model being all of about 100mm long (it’s just a small scale model of a large vessel, so it counts as a miniature of magnitude).  I’d added extra details to the Yashima class battleship I bought years ago, so I decided to do the same with the Shinano (the basic models are very nice though and don’t need any tweaking).


I wanted a taller bridge structure similar in style to the historical Japanese battleships of the Kongo and Ise classes.  I added some extra bridge levels and decks from plasticard, carefully drilling out holes on either side to locate two bridge support legs made from plastic rod.  I added two small circular platforms onto the supports and added light guns and searchlights from plasticard and plastic rod, topping off the taller bridge with a prominent rangefinder.


Close to the rear funnel I added a plastic support for a metal crane (Brigade supply these separately in packs) and used plasticard to make an aircraft catapult over the rear turret (the aircraft are also sold separately).


Since I reckoned it was going to be a nightmare to paint with the turrets in place, I tacked them onto plastic bottle caps.  The vessel was painted overall in Humbrol 27 grey and the decks painted khaki drill and washed with dark grey to pick out the planking.


As with the 1/600th Italian coastal forces vessels I recently finished I opted to just add highlights in light grey and windows in blue.


Turrets were all stuck in place after painting – you can see from the view above how “busy” this model is!


The picture above shows the dreadnought next to my older (closer, out of focus, much less cluttered) Yashima class battleship.  The basic grey in both cases is meant to be the same, which shows how Humbrol have changed the shade over the years, but they go well together.  Brigade have since re-issued the Yashima class battleship as a nice new resin model, but I still like the style of my older metal one.


As for the Russians, I bought a Poltava class dreadnought (shown above).  Much less cluttered that the Japanese Shinano but with a very pugnacious attitude I think!


Although fewer in number, the main turreted guns are pretty big and are backed up by loads of smaller casemate-mounted weapons.  Painted the same way as the Shinano, but with light grey upperworks instead.


For comparison, here’s the Poltava class dreadnought behind my older Borodino class battleship (above).  Once again, the older model is all metal, whereas the Poltava has a resin hull and metal turrets, funnels and mast.  I quite like the new resin Borodinos though since they have twin-gun turrets now.  Brigade Models sell a lot of the new turrets in separate packs and I’d thought about refitting the turrets on my Borodinos but I didn’t think I’ll be able to get the old turrets off!

I’ve enjoyed painting these and still have some lighter aeronefs to finish for these two fleets.  I’ve also got about two thirds of a Chinese fleet done and a complete French fleet waiting patiently to be started!  I did have my own rules for aeronef combat but I’ve also got a copy of the Imperial Skies rulebook somewhere, so maybe time to dig them out!


  1. Excellent looking models. I probably would need a visual reference, but I’m guessing these are super tiny and I can’t imagine how you even paint them!

    I also hope this isn’t your last post! I found the new editor to be fine…except pictures seem to get screwed up. Which yea, on a miniatures blog, is a big problem!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Faust! 🙂 The Japanese dreadnought is about 100mm/4 inches long, but I’ve adjusted my painting style to suit the small size. I only apply highlights along hard edges and don’t bother with any shading except where it’s obviously needed – shading on such small, cluttered models tends to make them look dark and you don’t really need it!

      I’ll just have to see how I get on with the new editor!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Dave! 🙂 I just liked the idea of flying battleships so took it from there! I like 19th century ironclads and Brigade Models have done a good job of capturing the feel of them with the aeronefs. I don’t like the styles of all of the models (only a few I’m not keen on) but they are nice models, even more so now with the gradual transition to the newer, resin ones.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Chris! 🙂 Actually, in my own rules, you have to make a stability check when you fire guns – the bigger the guns on the smaller the vessel, the more chance you become unstable! If that happens you have to plot a straight move next turn and can’t fire! My Russian aeronefs are most prone to this!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Haha, yeah, I could see that! I hope they have some sort of inertial stabilizing field or some such. Then again, I could see them pull off some crazy rolling/turning maneuver using the recoil from a full broadside that ends up surprising the bad guys in a Hopeless Situation.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I love it. Reminds me of that old show, _Star Blazers_ with the battleship in space. Your mighty, flying dreadnought certainly fits into the challenge quite nicely. Whatever the scale the miniature is, I think a flying battleship is certainly a war machine of magnitude.

    I have never been on a flying battleship in real life, though I did get to tour the U.S.S. Massachusetts in Fall River, Mass when I was a child. (I still have an acrylic paperweight that has been in my life from that trip for almost 50 years now.) I got to tour it again with my husband a few years ago, when we were living relatively nearby in Maine, and although it looked a little smaller to my middle-aged versus grade school eyes, it was still pretty darned big.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Ann! 🙂 I thought this would fit the challenge nicely, which is just as well because I’ve not got much else that would!

      Visiting a battleship must be great whatever age child you are, but great to hear you still have that paperweight! I think you have the USS Texas preserved as well, although she’s an older vessel (I have a traditional view on ships and still refer to them as feminine and consider it a measure of respect). And of course there’s also USS Olympia, older again! I visited the light cruiser HMS Belfast when I was a teenager and the Napoleonic-era sailing frigate HMS Trincomalee a couple of years ago and enjoyed seeing both of them!

      Liked by 3 people

      • I was pretty young the first time and only remember it as a vaguely fun event that made enough of an impression that I still remember it somewhat. I also remember during that trip we went to see Plymouth Rock, which was in a cage because people over the years had reduced the size of the rock greatly by chipping pieces of it off for souvenirs, Plimouth Plantation, and also going aboard a replica version of the Mayflower. (Remember telling the tour guide that I liked the Massachusetts a lot better, lol.)

        Some years later got to tour the USS Constitution in Boston.

        I think my father particularly enjoyed the Massachusetts. He had been in the Navy (destroyers) and although I didn’t notice it at the time, I noticed as I got older that he would always get quiet and contemplative when he got around warships. I’m glad I have that paperweight too, thank you. I’m a little surprised I still do because I’ve dragged it everywhere I’ve gone and unlike some things it never got lost in many moves.

        I’m not sure about the USS Texas, but as it turns out (after a little digging) you are right!


        That is neat you got to tour some ships as well. Would definitely like to see those vessels myself if I ever had the opportunity.

        “She” for ships works fine for me; that is certainly what my father called them, though he referred to boats as “it.” I tend to call vessels of most types “it” when I’m writing and “she” in person when I’m talking about them, probably because I don’t really think about it much. If I were talking to someone, say, who had served on a vessel in question I probably would think about it during the conversation and follow their lead.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sounds like you’ve got some happy memories involving ships! 🙂 I forgot about the USS Constitution (sorry)! The immediate impression I got from seeing HMS Trincomalee, the sailing frigate, was that there was an awful lot of rope around! Hope things are OK with you – the world in general seems to be getting quite mad at the moment!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, indeed, I do! 🙂

            It is lost to the mists of time now, but after we visited the Constitution, my father bought a rather complicated model of the ship and we built it “together.” It was 95% him and 5% me, but at the time I thought I did a lot more than I did. I remember, when we were doing the rigging, he showed me a bunch of knots that he had learned in the Navy.

            Yes, I got the same impression from both the Mayflower and the Constitution. No general shortage of rope, you are right!

            I was fiddling around trying to take some poxwalker pictures when I thought it might be nice to slip in a picture of my old paperweight:

            All is well with me even though, as you say, things are in quite an uproar at present. I can’t help be reminded of the ironic statement, “May you live in interesting times.” I hope all is well with you too, John.

            Liked by 1 person

      • I saw they were doing overnights, which I would have loved as a child. I don’t think they were doing those back in the ’70’s though. I might not be correct, but I believe they do (or did) on the USS Hornet in Alameda, CA.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Hi John. Yes, it is quite a good time visiting the Hornet. I’ve been all over that ship a couple of times and it was a lot of fun walking around on the flight deck. They had a Phantom there the last time I visited, which brought back some memories because I saw a lot of F-4’s not far outside my window in the admin offices where I worked when I was in the Air National Guard many years ago.

            Anyway, here’s a link to the Hornet.


            Liked by 1 person

  3. These look really great and you did a nice job picking out the fine details on the boats like the windows and floor decks. I found the new WordPress editor a bit intimidating initially but once I got the hang of it, I didn’t find myself missing the old one too much. We’ll see how I feel after using it a couple more times though 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Very nice indeed John and well worthy of Ann’s challenge. You’re the second person, I think Pete was the other, to mention about the new WordPress editor. This is all news to me. Something not for the first time which has passed me by. I don’t generally mind change unless it is technology based so already I am fearing the worst. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Dave! 🙂 It’s just as well they fitted this challenge since I’ve only recently bought them and they couldn’t have been entered in the previous month’s “Paint The Crap You Own” challenge! I’ve been aware that a new editor was available for months, but in the last few weeks a banner has appeared when I’m using WordPress that says everyone’s getting it on 1st June. I’m led to believe there will be a period where you can go to the plug-ins and add the Classic WordPress Editor, but that’s maybe just delaying the inevitable!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Funny how some alt-history premises seem to have more staying power than others? Aeronef and Flintloque, as opposed to England Invaded or Space 1889.

    In any case, your painting is stupendously neat, with the panelling being most impressive. I imagine it was a bugger to do?

    With regards to the differing greys, I seem to recall there having been a scandal at Humbrol a decade or so ago. Something along the lines of their paint mixer admitting to just matching the colours batch by batch, without bothering to consult or record the original formula?

    I have a few entrenchment pieces to do and look forward to giving all things tan-coloured a grey wash ⁠— not an idea I would have come up with on my own!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Veroo! 🙂 Since I only highlighted the raised edges it wasn’t really too bad to do! And the reason for the grey wash is because it was the same colour grey as the aeronefs’ hulls, so it didn’t matter if it went into any crevices and I couldn’t clean it out – normally I’d use a brown wash with a wood type colour.
      I had’t heard that about Humbrol! Hope you are safe and well!


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