Sunday, 9 February 2014

Heavy Risk, But The Prize...

One of my most common opponents in Dystopian Wars is a gentleman known as Winner Dave, an excellent painter, master of the airbrush and a major contributor to the Flames of War blog Breakthrough Assault. His gaming record is... slightly uneven... and over the past year it has been my ongoing mission to bully, bribe and coerce him into playing Dystopian Wars.

Winner runs a Russian fleet, with a varying colour scheme dependant on his current mood and a strong leaning toward big ships and heavy mortars, especially with his recent acquisition of the Russian Support Box. Last year, we played a series of games against one another that I attempted to link with some light narrative. After prizing his Dreadnought twice in two games, I declared if I managed to do it a third time, I would buy one for myself and model it in Prussian colours... and here we are. 

The Russian Dreadnought, converted and painted for the 7th Iron Fleet
Prussian Commodore Karl-Ehrhart Grunner declared his personal vendetta against Admiral Ivan Ushakov at the start of 1871, in a moment of audacity that would come to define his career. In the ensuing Spring, the two played a deadly game of cat and mouse throughout the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Baltic, their fleets clashing five times in three months. At a huge outlay in manpower and resources that almost cost him his position and his life, Grunner finally cornered his foe off Stavanger. 

In a fourteen hour engagement and with the aid of mercenary pirates, Grunner crippled and prized the great Dreadnought Dzerzhinsky, taking the Admiral as his prisoner and forever earning the enmity of the Russian Coalition.  The acquisition was taken to a hidden base north of Stavanger, where Prussian scientists would strip the ship of its technological secrets and salvage the hulk as a new warship.

The Dzerzhinsky would reappear almost a year later, refitted, repainted and rechristened as the Markgraf, a potent symbol of Prussian naval superiority and a top priority for the Russian retaliation. It would spend most of the War hidden; the Prussian Empire would not risk losing their grand prize. 

Dystopian Wars does have a system for allying in ships from other fleets, but the Prussians and Russians are part of opposing coalitions so there is no "legal" method of using this ship with my Prussian fleet. Nonetheless, in games against Winner Dave I might bring it out once in a while, especially for a special scenario. As long as he is aware and agrees to it, I see no issues doing this kind of thing and would actively encourage cool narrative elements in your games! Rules wise, I just run it as a Moskva-class Dreadnought, with the usual points value. Even though the turrets have been swapped for Prussian turrets, I see no reason to make things more complicated or potentially unbalanced.

The turrets give it a subtle Prussian reference without dominating the model
Painting the Dreadnought was a real joy, and was probably more fun than some of the Prussian ships in my collection! The scheme works really well with the open flat surfaces and segmented armour of the Russian fleet, while the smoke stack gives an easy indicator of its new allegiance. The ship is big enough to work some nice weathering techniques, such as the green wash along the bottom of the hull, while light rust and verdigris make the ship look rugged rather than ill-maintained. The camouflage was carried over from the Prussian fleet but I did not paint any triangles on the Ablative Armour sections, leaving them flat grey to signify their disposable nature.

The Markgraf with Escorts
Overall, this project was fun from start to finish, and though Winner may not appreciate it as a reminder of some rather... unpleasant gaming results, it was a cool distraction from the main Prussian fleet and has really got me interested in painting other Russian ships.

Now I just need to capture a Khatanga Ice Breaker!

Thanks for reading,


1 comment:

  1. Haha, brilliant idea ! ^^
    And nice realisation.

    The prussian (or... danish) turets fits remarkably well.