By Rob Morgan
The other day, I had the chance to examine the ‘Sails of Glory’ game ship models of two nearby wargamers, Steve and Jay Button. It was the first time I’ve seen the 1/1000th scale models outside the four in the Starter Pack packaging in a games store, and in a demo tabletop. The game looks fine, though it really does seem to be ship-to-ship combat rather than fleet combat in the Bonaparte era, and a little before. Inclined towards the regular board-gamer rather than the traditional ‘old style’ wargamer (like me!) obviously, and I don’t think I could easily come to terms with the rather high bases — see the photographs — they don’t look right somehow.
It works well overall, and makes for a fairly speedy game, an hour or less, but is better suited to the ‘Hornblower’ small squadron action or, better still, single-ship encounters, plenty of frigates in the set. This is, I feel, due to the high cost of the ship models. HMS Victory comes at around £25, and a ‘74’ at £17, sloops and frigates just a little cheaper. So, to game ‘Trafalgar’ might cost!
There are around 40 models available, mainly Royal Navy and French, with a few American big frigates and some Spanish vessels, coming on line. They are neatly made, and in 1/1000th, solid enough, metal and a little plastic. Indeed, the hulls are delightful (the attachment to the sea-base is by a single peg) and are nicely painted. There’s some potential for conversion to other nations of course, Dutch and Neapolitan come to mind immediately –and even pirate vessels. I liked them, but wouldn’t go overboard for this game.
The box art for the starter set (at around £50-60 approximately) and a few of the models are shown here, the French ’Unite with red/yellow side strakes; a group consisting of HMS Bellona alongside the French Commerce de Bordeaux and Embuscade and a closer view of HMS Defence. This close-up shows the drawbacks of the moulding, which needs no comment for the keen Napoleonic gamer.
Interesting, but I’d only buy it if the ship models were a lot cheaper. A lot!