Help support TMP

"Where (or with how much) to start in WW1 Naval?" Topic

24 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Naval Gaming 1898-1929 Message Board

Areas of Interest

World War One

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Ruleset

Little Wars

Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star 

Featured Showcase Article

Lockheed Electra at Big Lots

Need a classic airliner for your Pulp scenarios?

Featured Profile Article

Featured Book Review

3,060 hits since 29 Apr 2009
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

IsThereASix30 Apr 2009 1:36 p.m. PST

I'd like to start WW1 naval gaming. I'm partial to 1/2400th (Panzerschiffe – less expensive) but won't rule out 1/3000th (Navwar…any others?). You could easily go broke building a pair of WW1 fleets. How much of a force and/or what theater might be good for starters?


Scale Creep Miniatures30 Apr 2009 1:52 p.m. PST

Hi Mike:

I went through thi and finally settled on buying the two Jutland fleets from Figurehead (which I now sell as well).

I was able to paint the two fleets in two weekends, have several times fielded games of close to 200 ships and generally like the relative look of ship size to ground (sea) scale.

1/2400 are very, very nice models, but even small battles look like they're fighting in a kiddie pool.

So go 1:6000 and you've got years of gaming ahead of you!

Ilodic30 Apr 2009 2:06 p.m. PST

I am currently collecting 1/2400 scale ships from C-in-C, which are really nice, far less expensive alternatives to GHQ. I use Panzerschiffe for light cruisers and some destroyers. Here is the catch, though…The Royal Navy, at least in terms of capital ships at the time, was MUCH larger then their main rival, the Germans. If you are not picky about sides, then I would go with the Germans, as a lot of your money, despite scale, will go to capital ships.


The Jim Jones Cocktail Hour30 Apr 2009 2:47 p.m. PST

My recommendation would be to buy up a cruiser force, maybe supplemented by a battle cruiser or two just to start out. You can test your rules, your painting/assembly skills and your commitment with a relatively small outlay and still do somethig within the bounds of history. If you focussed on the Coronel and Falklands battles you get nice mixed forces useable elsewhere and there are a number of good board games that will allow you to do some campaigning.

I used to know a bloke who had compiled the entire Grand and High Seas Fleets in 1/2400 using mostly CnC models. looked gorgeous in the glass cabinet but alas very little of it ever appeared outside said cabinet. On the other hand we knocked over Coronel and the Falklands a few times using General Quarters ion the space of a couple of hours.

If bigger seems better in terms of ship size rather than fleets, you could consider the german battlecruiser raids on the English coast circa 1914/15 or more interstingly the Germans vs the Russian baltic fleet around Osel and Moon Sound. Neither would require huge forces.

quidveritas30 Apr 2009 3:14 p.m. PST

I would agree looking at something less than ambitious to start. There were German commerce raiders in the Indian Ocean. Or there is the Goeben.

You can take a look at various rules and go from there.


Jeff of SaxeBearstein30 Apr 2009 3:51 p.m. PST

Take a good look at your game table. How big is it?

Then consider the rules you plan to use . . . what is the movement rate?

Use these to help decide on ship scale. My eyes are not what they once were (and I have a big game table) so I would definitely choose 1/2400 over 1/3000 and I wouldn't even consider 1/6000 because they would be too small for me to see. . . . But your situation might be very different.

Besides Panzerschiffe, Viking Forge and Molniya also make 1/2400 scale ships (although both are more expensive).

War Times Journal (WTJ) makes 1/3000 too (mainly pre-Dreads, but lots of those survived into WWI).

I'd suggest starting with a smallish scenario . . . you can always buy more ships . . . but un-buying them is rather difficult.

-- Jeff

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian30 Apr 2009 4:22 p.m. PST

I'd go for the battlecruisers. Light cruisers don't blow up as much.

Mathion30 Apr 2009 4:57 p.m. PST

Pick a battle, build the forces…

Dogger Bank is a great example. For both sides you need 8 battle cruisers and 1 armored cruiser. Then later add in destroyers and light cruisers. It doesn't matter what scale, 9 ships won't break the bank and you can start playing at once.

dmclellan30 Apr 2009 5:36 p.m. PST

Look at Graf Spee's East Asia squadron. Build the British for Falklands and Coronel. Add the alternative ships for those battles and the British China Station ships. I've played out five or six different battles – historical and what if's – around one German force. And then give the Germans the Blucher instead of or in addition to one of the Armored cruisers.

Castles of Steel was the starting point for my ideas on these scenarios. It's also a great read for WWI naval campaigns. Try to find a copy if at all possible.


coopman30 Apr 2009 6:31 p.m. PST

I have all of the Jutland capital ships in 1/2400 from Panzerschiffes. Painted them up about 25 years ago & they've never seen any action since. WW1 naval has just never been a popular subject in my area. They are nice gaming models and much more durable than any of the metal glue together models, but do have less detail.

Jeff of SaxeBearstein30 Apr 2009 6:51 p.m. PST

Note . . . "less detail" means less finicky painting . . . which (to me) is a positive.

-- Jeff

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2009 7:56 p.m. PST

I second dmc. Relatively small start with many possibilities.
We have played cruiser, battle cruiser and light force battles for WW I with much good fun. Still want Jutland though! I'm using CiC and Viking forge with the odd GHQ and Panzerschiffe. Onward through the Fog!

Ascent01 May 2009 12:40 a.m. PST

I'm in a similar position to yourself. What I did was get the Navwar starter packs and then start figuring out what I was going to do with them. Skytrex also do 1/3000 but not sure of any others.

Mikasa01 May 2009 5:04 a.m. PST

Navwar sell starter packs for £10.00 GBP each. I think you get 6 BBs, 4 Cruisers and 8 destroyers. So for £20.00 GBP you have two small fleets.

TheDreadnought01 May 2009 7:13 a.m. PST

I'd definitely say go with the NavWar or Skytrex 1/3000 scale.

1/6000 is really too small for anything but huge fleet actions. . . and IMO, even then they just become tiny blobs of metal at "gaming distance" on the tabletop. . . . and I'm 32 years old w/ 20/20 vision.

1/2400 are nice, but the expense goes up considerably. . . and by orders of magnitude when you start getting into top of the line stuff like GHQ. It also requires a larger play area to keep things looking ok from a perspective standpoint.

The 1/3000s offer the best compromise between price, space needed, and attractiveness. They're also cheap enough that you can later switch to another scale w/o the loss of too much investment if you so choose.

If you want someone to paint them for you, I'd suggest here:

As you can see in the gallery, she does good work.

As far as what to get, I'd suggest starting with the order of battle from Jutland and buying it a piece at a time. Start with the battlecruisers. CoronelThe Falklands is also a good OOB to pick up for a smaller game.

There is a wealth of information on battles and ships from WWI here:

Arrigo01 May 2009 11:45 a.m. PST

I am a 1/6000 believer I have not 20/20 sight I am 34… but the ship look gorgeous and engagement ranges make sense. And the detail is the same of 1/3000.

Personal logo Inari7 Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2009 12:14 p.m. PST

I have 1/6000 scale WWII, its a great scale if you have a small playing area. It's also a great scale when playing a fleet action.

If don't want to spend a butt load of money then 1/6000 scale is a great way to go.


Personal logo Inari7 Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2009 12:16 p.m. PST

Scale Creep Miniatures what game system did you use when playing with 200 figures on the table.


Scale Creep Miniatures01 May 2009 1:13 p.m. PST

My old gaming club always wanted to do Jutland. We tried a few rule sets and settle on Dreadnought by Ben King:


We made a computer program to do the dice rolling and damage tracking. It was awesome. No more "I'm two hull boxes away from dropping another speed level" gamesmanship. No screwing up charts. No dealing with the guy who picks up his dice right after a great roll.

Best of all you can teach the game in 5 minutes flat to a complete n00b.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2009 2:41 a.m. PST

I always thought it would be interesting to do the old SPI "Flight of the Goeben" board game in miniatures. The game covered the first couple of weeks of WWI in the Mediterranean.

I currently prefer 1:6000 Figurehead. Here's a picture, but it takes some modelmaking skill to make them look like this (DDs removed from bases, etc.):


Martin Rapier02 May 2009 11:21 a.m. PST

As mentioned above, the cruiser-battlecruiser acions around the various German raiding squadrons are a good start. Interesting range of ships and manageable engagements, you can work up to Jutland later.

I went for 1/3000th, but in retrospect I'd have gone for 1/6000th like my WW2 stuff.

Personal logo brass1 Supporting Member of TMP04 May 2009 6:20 a.m. PST

A couple of words of caution regarding scales:

1. unless you're planning on playing solo, make sure your potential opponents are willing to play with 1/6000. I have fleets in that scale for both world wars and they have never sailed; the guys I game with, many of whom are half my age and don't need glasses, all claim they're too hard to see.

2. 1/3000 scale ships can be hard to come by in the US, since I believe all the manufacturers but War Times Journal are in the UK. US vendors tend not to keep them in stock, so if you want to get them in a timely fashion you'll need to order on-line from England. The current strength of the dollar versus the pound makes this competitive but this isn't always the case.

3. in 1/2400 scale, GHQ models are beautifully detailed but very fragile, CinC are less fragile but often have the same hair-thin gun barrels that afflict their tank models, and Panzerschiffes are indestructible but just detailed enough to pass the 'three foot test'. Unless you enjoy spending time gluing turrets back on and straightening gun barrels, base your GHQ and CinC ships and threaten condign punishment for those who don't pick them up by the bases.

My own WWI and WWII fleets are made almost entirely of Panzerschiffes, both because of price and because my gaming buddies are ham-handed beyond belief. Having built pre-dreadnought forces of WTJ and Skytrex ships in 1/3000 scales, I would probably go with that scale for WWI if I were starting from scratch.


IsThereASix04 May 2009 8:12 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the information! I guess the 1/3000th is how I'm going to go with WW1. I'll start small – WW1 in the Med and see how it goes and then I'll decide form there.

I did spring for a set of Span-Am war fleets from Panzerschiffe so I'll see how the 1/2400th scale goes/looks too. I intend to mount all these (Span-Am and WW1) on bases with point at one end and a perpendicular-to-the-ship flat at the other end.

Thanks again,


IsThereASix13 May 2009 7:29 a.m. PST

dmclellan – you wrote:
Look at Graf Spee's East Asia squadron. Build the British for Falklands and Coronel. Add the alternative ships for those battles and the British China Station ships. I've played out five or six different battles historical and what if's around one German force. And then give the Germans the Blucher instead of or in addition to one of the Armored cruisers.

Would you please post the ship lists for the paragraph above?


Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.