Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Mighty Armadas...

A selection of  Mighty Armada toys.
A recent posting on another's blog spot featured a very simple naval rules for 20th Century battleship action, together with some rather nice, simply constructed battleships.  Of course that put me in mind of some naval kit in my possession. Now, I posted something about these back in 2012, under the title: 'Mighty Armadas'.  These were Hong Kong made toys, battleships: Yamato, Bismarck and a third type, possibly American, I've never been able satisfactorily to identify; aircraft carriers (with jet aircraft), and submarines; several (large!) merchant vessels, one an ocean liner; and sea-port installations - wharfs, moles, cranes, storage facilities, and tugboats.  Just the sort of thing I would have loved to have had when I was about 9 or 10 years old!  Finding them in a bookshop in my mid to late 20s, I bought the lot - 4 or 5 sets.

Four Bismarck type vessels.  The nearest is softer plastic, and
clearly some kind of copy.  I added some needed superstructure
and the X-turret.
I had promised myself to do something with them, and indeed made a start, but it all fizzled out as I took up some other topic.  It was this posting in KEV's  MINIATURE HOBBY that recalled me to these toys.
The refurbished 'copy'.
Looking through the inventory reminded me of at least partial reasons for my not doing a whole lot with these toys. There size does indicate a fairly large surface area upon which to fight battles. And this without the aircraft carriers' involvement.  But several ships had bits missing.  Since that last posting, someone had given me a couple of vessels of the same type - what looked like inferior copies, with even more bits missing.  The above, similar to the Bismarck class of ships wanted one of its gun turrets and more convincing superstructure. These I built up from balsa, lollipop stick and cotton buds. Long since being rather taken by the Japanese penchant for 'pagoda style' bridge superstructures I tended to make mine a lot taller than their companion vessels'.

Yamato (nearer) and Mushashi.
When I got these, of course I recognised the Yamato class of ships at once. There being three of them, I thought it would be a neat idea to take the 6-inch gun turrets off one and whack them onto the flank midships of another, as the Mushashi, before the modification that removed them in favour of more anti-aircraft weaponry. It was a pretty stupid idea, really.  But the addition of the fourth vessel of the type demanded rather more remedial work.  So a whole new superstructure it got, and a new X-turret as well.  The added superstructure isn't based on anything: just an impression of 'battleship superstructurishness'. 'Impressionism' or 'expressionism' in war games modelling: take your pick!
This 'Yamato' was a cheaper version: softer plastic, and
simpler design, though clearly copied from the original.  I added
the superstructure, to give it a more 'battlewagonish' look.
For the Japanese type vessels, I'll probably keep the original names:
Yamato, Mushashi, Shinano (in this world never converted to an aircraft carrier) and the fourth, Kwazimodo.  The whole squadron is to be commanded by Admiral Hideki Mojo.
The Battleship Kwazimodo on a shakedown cruise...

Somewhat taken with 'Kev's' simple naval war games rules, I thought of using them 'as is' in battle with these fellows.  But then, looking at them and recalling their 'real life' prototypes - and as it is a habit of mine to tinker - a terrible tinkerer - I came up, after a whole deal of thought, with some 'chrome' that might be added.
I have not been able to place these.  I think they might be US
vessels, perhaps Washington class.  However, in their first engagement
they might 'stand in' for Scharnhorst and Gneisenau 

Kev's combat system goes:
Gunnery: 1 D6 per gun of the main armament.  Secondary armament is ignored.
Protection: It takes 10 hits to sink a vessel.
There you have it. Couldn't be simpler!

But what if you wanted to bring in differences in weight of gun, and armoured protection?  After a deal of thought, I came up with what follows.  In effect I used Kev's system as the benchmark for a 40,000 ton battleship armed with 15-inch guns, and used that as my point of departure.:

1 D6 per gun for 15-inch guns.  Add or subtract 10% for each inch difference from 15-inch, and round . 

So, the IJN Yamato 18.1-inch armament would be modified up by 30%: 9 guns, plus 2.7 = 12.
HMS Prince of Wales 14-inch armament would be modified down by 10%: 10 guns, minus 1 = 9.

I thought of combining overall weight of the vessel and belt armour for protection, but then decided that as the armour protection would probably contribute greatly to weight anyhow, I'd ignore the belt armour figure.  So, the number of hits required to put a vessel down would be calculated by the number of thousands of tons weight, divided by 4 (thousand), and rounded.

  • 42,000 tons divided by 4000 = 10.5 rounds to 11.
  • Main Armament: 8 x 15-inch = 8.
IJN Yamato
  • 65,000 tons divided by 4000 = 16.25 rounds to 16 - a formidable vessel!
  • Main Armament: 9 x 18.1-inch = 9 + 30% of 9 = 12.

Looking more like the Yamato than my other Yamatos!
Battlecruiser Scharnhorst
  • Protection: 32,000 tons, divided by 4000 = 8
  • Main Armament: 9x11" guns: 9, minus 40% of 9 = 9 - 3.6 = 5.4 = 5 (rounded)
HMS Prince of Wales:
  • 38,000 tons, divided by 4000 = 9.5 round up to 10.
  • Main Armament: 10x14" guns: 10 minus 10% of 10 = 9.
HMS Hood
  • 41,000 tons, divided by 4000 = 10.25, rounds to 10.
  • Main Armament: 8 x 15" guns: 8
Panzerschiff Admiral Graf Spee (in case you're interested): 
  • Protection: 12,000/4000 = 3.
  • Main Armament: 6 - 40% of 6 = 3.6 = 4.
The modification for gun size is applied however many guns are firing, which will require a certain amount of ad hoc calculation - if one is applying specific 'damage' to firepower and speed. It's not hard, even as mental arithmetic, but some might find it tedious. As it happens, KEV's rules don't concern themselves with specific damage, nor with reductions in speed and/or firepower as damage accumulates.  Just as an exercise, and supposing we did knock out guns with damage, I worked out Graf Spee's D6 firepower as, one by one, its main armament is knocked out:
  • 6 guns: 4D6 (3.6)
  • 5 guns: 3D6 (3.0)
  • 4 guns: 2D6 (2.4)
  • 3 guns: 2D6 (1.8)
  • 2 guns: 1D6 (1.2)
  • 1 gun: 1D6. (0.6)
Of course, with protection at 3 only, one gun turret of 3 guns might be knocked out only after having taken 2 hits.   All this is by way of thinking about how one might set about building in such game mechanics.

After some thought, I decided that the gunnery ranges of anything from 11-inch on up were (roughly) on a par, and decided to leave that alone. 

A much prettier vessel from that received! The one further from the camera
is one of the 'original' Mighty Armadas vessels that
I decided was one of the Bismarck class. The nearer was
a very poor 'copy', with bits missing, including X-turret.
I suspect that if you want to get down to cruisers and destroyers you will probably be looking at a whole different system - a whole different game. More than any other nation, the British went mainly in for 'light' cruisers, for choice, armed with 6-inch guns.  The rate of fire of the 6-inch was quite significantly higher than the 8-inch and heavier calibres, and were on account of that probably at least as cost effective.  This is getting rather beyond the original concept of a very simple, quick-to-play squadron action.

Next time: The Fox and the Hounds - Battle of the River Salver.


  1. I have something to show you on Saturday!

  2. Archduke Piccolo,

    The models mostly seem to be mixed scale copies of Triang Minic models from the 1960s, with the odd one that I cannot identify. The carriers were copied from models of the Albion-class carriers (Albion, Bulwark, and Centaur)) which were half-sisters of the Hermes of Falkland Wars fame. The liner looks like the France, which was at one time the longest liner in the world. The US battleships look like they are based on the Missouri-class of fats battleships.

    I hope that this info is of assistance.

    All the best,


    1. Cheers, Bob -
      I looked back at my posting of about 7 years ago (!), where someone suggested 'Iowa' class - the same as the Missouri that you suggest. Further investigations indicate that is in fact correct.
      By the system I propose above that would give the vessel Protection = 12 and Strike = 10: quite a powerful unit. Well, I knew it wasn't 'Scharnhorst', but it made a very fine 'Scharnhorst'...

  3. Very cool! Any thoughts on how to incorporate torpedoes?

    1. Hi Chris -
      No thoughts for torpedoes so far - not as carried by major units, at any rate. But I did start making some destroyers - didn't get far with it - just 3 hulls done. Might be another posting there.

      Nor have I considered secondary armament. As they are mostly 6-inch or smaller, they are somewhat 'below the grain' of Kev's game system, and my adaptation of it.

      To build these in, I think we might be looking at a whole different game system.

      Having said that, I am eyeing those aircraft carriers and toying with bringing aircraft into the game somehow. However, that might entail overlaying a kind of map 'campaign game' on top of the tactical system being worked on here.