Monday, 24 February 2014

North Sea Puzzle


Since this blog began, I have had quite a few requests for a guide on how to do the camouflage on my Prussian Empire fleet. There is no great secret to painting this particular pattern - no stencils, no masking tape or intricate designs. It is entirely patience and a steady hand... and a few easy tricks.

Saxony-class Corvettes
In this first article, I will discuss the inspiration behind the scheme and how it was developed.

The initial inspiration for the scheme came from the lovely work the Spartan team did on their Kingdom of Britannia fleet. The strong contrasting lines look brilliant on the high hulls, and after trying and failing with some rather dull green schemes, I decided stark grey and black camouflage like this was in order.

The Kingdom of Britannia, by Spartan Games
Doing some research into naval camouflage, I discovered this scheme was inspired by a very real camouflage pattern - Dazzle, invented by artist Norman Wilkinson and used by the British and American navies in World War I and to a lesser extent World War II.

HMS Argus
"Intended more to mislead the enemy as to the correct position to take up than to actually miss his shot when firing," Dazzle camouflage was adopted with little real combat experience and evaluation.

HMS Kildangan
"Evidence for their success was at best mixed. So many factors were involved it was impossible to determine which were important,, and whether any of the colour schemes were effective." Effective or not, it looks fantastic on a gaming board!

USS Leviathan
I decided not to copy the Dazzle scheme exactly - I would save that for the eventual Kingdom of Britannia fleet I would collect in the future. Instead, I took inspiration from some of the ships such as the HMAS Yarra shown below and focused on using lots of small triangles, with the occasional lines and larger shapes to break it up. All the ships would be individual - some with triangles that ran all in the same direction, others far more random. I also made the decision to stick with black and grey like the Spartan team had with their Kingdom of Britannia scheme. In reality, Dazzle camouflage could be many different colours.

HMAS Yarra - this Dazzle pattern is far closer to my own designs
I decided to call it North Sea Puzzle camouflage. Below are some of my favourite examples, with lots of extra armour and high hulls to show it off.

Stolz-class Destroyers
Reiver-class Cruisers
Blucher-class Dreadnought
Part Two will show a step-by-step guide to painting North Sea Puzzle camouflage, and the rest of the ship around it.

Thanks for reading,


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