Coastal Forces/Cruel Seas 1:300

I’ve recently got into my coastal forces after rebooting my old Ender 3. I simply never bothered to finish my coastal project as it was unaffordable. 


These 3D printed freighters would ‘only’ cost me $56 in Australia. $200+ for basically glorified objective markers. That’s a lot for a niche ruleset. (With not very good rules!)

But when I say “only” – it’s because they seem cheap compared to Warlord’s other offerings.  I’m curious how Warlord’s business model works. How much for this model, do you think? (IG Vostroyan for scale)?:

If your guess was $62USD a pair ($31USD ea), then well done. In Australian dollarbucks, that’s $46 each. Not including P&P (+$25 USD/$37AUD). If I just wanted a box, that’s $129 for a pair.

It’s just resin, with a few metal guns. Can anyone say “3D Printing” with me?

Hmmm. What about four, similar sized Kriegfishcutters? $112 USD a box (on sale! usually $125) or $169+AUD. That’s not counting postage to Australia – another $20 on top with the discount rate. $~200 for four glorified fishing boats. Games Workshop Space Marines – the poster child for overpriced – sell at $76 for 10. 

Who is buying these? Is it like those videogaming companies where they target ‘whales’ – guys who think nothing on dropping $500 on a bunch of toy ships? It’s not even like there is a big resale market. I.e. you can at least expect to move your 40K minis on, secondhand. And can you expect someone else will have a fleet locally – or do you need to buy two sides?

Another 18 minis painted makes 195 this last fortnight. On holidays, I am energetically excising my pile of shame.

I do like the 1/300 Cruel Seas scale as it makes the toys a decent size. I had some 1/600 and 1/1200 coastal forces but they were just to tiny. It seems weird to downsize a warship to something you can sneeze off the table. The visible crew are also pretty cool. 

Less impressed with Warlord going 1/200 for their Blood Red Skies planes – it does not match the coastal forces scale and seems to have everything to do with avoiding competing the the vastly cheaper 1/300 from other companies (I’m talking $2ea metal vs $10-$30ea plastic). That’s another baffling game. I suspect they want to make it more about selling cardboard cards (like X Wing) than minis.

My personal theory is that the golden age of wargaming has already passed. It’s like how streaming services have fragmented content so much (then increased their prices) it’s barely worth subscribing to any. 

10-15 years back, “B tier” wargames like X-Wing, Warmachine, Infinity, Malifaux all seemed to be common, and GW’s monopoly seemed to be over. The first two were, for a few years, even more popular than 40K. Heck I even remember Dystopian Wars in my tiny Aussie country town. You could get playing one of these B-tier games for radically cheaper than 40K – testing out new games was viable AND you could find opponents. GW actually had to make some changes.

Now, these B-tier companies have all jacked up their prices. Mantic (classic budget GW) pricing is even comparable to GW in some offerings for much nastier sculpts. To compound this, are so many more new games – choices that compete for your cash. The player base will fragment even further.  The “B tier” games seem to be getting rarer.  If you have to supply both sides to try/get interest in a rare game, pricing matters even more. It’s a Catch-22.

Now it seems like it is either (a) 40K/AoS if you want to play someone else or (b) just do your own thing with mates.

Why pay top dollar for some boutique wargame when you can buy a $50 box of Wargames Atlantic sci fi and download free OnePage Rules and off you go? Why lock yourself into someone else’s system?

Warlord’s pricing meant my Cruel Seas lay incomplete for years. Until 3D printing offered a solution….

The players who aren’t bothered with needing a local club are I suspect are fragmenting into increasingly niche games. This drains players/$$$ – primarily B-tier games, pushing these semi-popular games into the niche spot as well. I don’t even hear about Warmachine or X-Wing any more. 

I don’t think 3D printing will ever threaten GW but I DO think it may kill off some smaller companies. Why would I pay $55+ for a resin model from Warlord when I can get one of better quality for $10-$15 from a 3D print company. I don’t even need to own a printer. Many good ship STL’s are free or at most $4ea.

Eh, a bit of a rant but I’ve been thinking about pricing etc a bit lately as some friends have recently got interested in wargaming/miniatures and looking at it through a newcomers eyes –  the pricing can be insane. How can you recommend miniature gaming in good faith when a drug habit would be cheaper…

Yet the variation is huge too – you’ve still got companies like Victrix selling excellent 28mm plastics for $1.50ea…


Events Past and Present


Yes, I saw the Napoleon movie last weekend. We’ll come back to that in a bit…

We lost ouir Zoe fairly suddenly earlier this year, a victim of the Hemangiosarcoma that is the plague of Golden Retrievers.  Zoe was the last of many Golden Retrievers from our long time breeder and freind, Bob. The Empress has puppy tested Bob’s litters for decades, and in September, after testing a litter, she came back saying how wonderful this one particular boy was. “But he’s spoken for, so it doesn’t matter.” A few days later, Bob called us to say that the prospective  owner had backed out, so if we wanted the boy, we could have him. We all went to check him out a few days later. I knew that once we went, we would be getting him. My younger daughter lost her beloved Golden, Rory, a few years back, and has wanted another boy for a while. In fact, we got Rory in much the same way – an unplanned puppy. 

So, no surprise, a week later, the new boy, whom my daughter named “Rowan”, came home with us. The big girls weren’t quite sure what to make of him at first, hence “making friends with treats”!

Well. it wasn’t long before Rowan “Conquered everything”. he is seen here seated upon this throne, LOL!

Everybody love Rowan!

“I am master of all I survey!”
    Back to the Napoleon Movie; I saw it with my wife and our two close, history buff friends (neither of whom is really very familiar with Napoleon and his times). The theater was actually full, which surprised me somewhat. As history, well, not too great. The movie is more told through the lens of  Napoleon’s relationship with Josephine, which isn’t unreasonable for the general public. The earlier part of the movie concerning the siege of Toulon, the “whiff of grapeshot”, Napoleon’s encountering Josephine, some brief cameos in Egypt and then the Coup d’ Etat of Brumaire, the consulate and coronation was reasonably well done; I’d be really interested in what is in the 4+ hour director’s cut. The battle scenes are impressive but pretty grossly fantasy. Overall, I enjoyed it for what it was. The subject of Napoleon, his life and his times is so complex that it would really take a muti-part series to cover it in any depth at all.  I think the director would have been far better off with at least 2 or 3 movies; the first woukld cover his early life, and end with his successful 1st Italian campaign. The second might have covered Egypt through Austerlitz or Tilsit, and the last from there until his death. Certainly more development of the many other characters surrounding him, demonstration of his charisma and incredible work ethic, and some coverage of  the Concordat and the Code Napoleon would have given a more nuanced and engaging portrait of the man.  Today is the 119th anniversary of Napoleon’s coronation as Emperor of the French, and the 118th anniversary of Austerlitz.  Vive l’Empereur!

Finally, this week saw the death of Dr. Henry Kissinger at age 100. His legacy is complex, but he was certainly a major force, for both good and bad, in the evolution of the world order in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and beyond. . He retired to Kent, CT, one town Northeast of where I have practiced for almost 40 years. Soon after we moved to the area, my wife and I were out to dinner. She whispered to me “Peter, someone is doing a really BAD impression of Henry Kissinger!”. I glanced over, and, knowing that he lived in the area, replied “Oh no, that IS Henry Kissinger!”  For the most part celebrities bore me to tears, but I must confess that speaking with Kissinger would have been another matter altogether. We of course ignored he and his party the rest of the evening. 

Blunders On The Danube

Gaslands Project Done… Moving On to Cruel Seas…

 In the past fortnight I have ‘finalised’ a few projects:

French Indian Wars (~50 minis painted) Carnevale (15), Pirates for Legends of the High Seas (~20), Blood Red Skies (6); remaining Warmachine & Empire of the Dead (~15) and Weird West (~10) – a decent chunk of models, but more importantly, finalizing half a dozen projects so they go into the ‘outbox.’

Add to the done pile: Gaslands. I had a pile of ~20 Hot Wheels drilled apart for a year (you drill out the rivet so you can lift the roof off). They are now neatly completed and boxed up, along with templates and some very dodgy home made dice, ready for a game…

 My wee lad is sad to see this phase end – he loved debating weapon loadouts and industriously supervised the 3D printer which ran continuously for a few days, providing dozens of weapons and attachments (he insists on blood spattered rams…  …8 year olds are vicious). He collected the leftover weapon spares and has outfitted another bunch of cars himself…

We will probably do terrain (12×12 squares with tracks that connect and can be rearranged) but that’s an outside thing. And at 36d and 90% humidity it ain’t happening…

We’ve ‘driven’ the cars around a bit using the Gaslands rules and templates and it was cinematic and fun (slides, skids, and flips) but kinda slow (even with one car each). There are ‘kids rules’ downloads which we may try but it seems a bit too stripped back and random.

I finished my final weird west minis – arcanists/aka EotD gentleman, as well as some random minis which lay loose in a box… That’s 177 in the ’tableready’ pile in a week…

Next up is probably Cruel Seas. My printed ships are pretty meh but I’ll take free vs $58 any day of the week. I’m trying merchants first as they are relatively low detail, but may try some Siebel ferries, F-lighters, etc. I am dubious the detailed weapon mounts will work well on more complex models like minesweepers and corvettes…. I bought some 1:300 model railway men as I doubt the ability of the printer to do anything close to that size.

The Cruel Seas rules themselves are pretty dodgy and have a real ‘untested beta’ feel to them. I’ll probably use my old Schnell Rules for Schnelleboot as I’m not paying $18+ for a pdf for newer coastal forces rules.  I just resent paying the same for a digital file as I would for a proper book. I’ve got a few rules from back in the day.

However I doubt I’ll be able to resist adding my own twist to vanilla WW2 coastal forces… Perhaps it is dark, demon-haunted seas, patrolled by megaladons, kraken and vicious pteradons. And definitely pirates.

Also sitting on my table is the vikings vs zombies ice world project I am starting…  ..when you have minis leftover from an aborted project – what do you do? Create a new project!


Review: Flesh-eater Courts Army Set

Introducing the latest addition to the Era of the Beast – the Flesh-eater Courts army set. Packed with a formidable Abhorrant Gorewarden, a revered Varghulf Courtier, a loyal unit of 20 Cryptguard, and three gallant Morbheg Knights, this collection finally brings the delusions of the courts to life. Stay tuned as we explore the contents of this set, including the exclusive launch edition Battletome.

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Tale of Painters

Leshnov 1941 – A Battle Report for OHW 6 Hit

Chris and Adam played my version of Leshnov 1941 Scenario for Martin Rapier’s One Hour WW2 (6 hit) (a variant of One Hour Wargames). This was our first outing with these rules. Summary: Good game. Rules were simple but played well. The scenario needs tweaking as favours the defenders too much. And that contributed to … Read more

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Steve Balagan