By Rob Morgan
I was just writing a comment on early submersibles, looking for a suitable photo to go with it, and came upon a pack of Triang Minic 1/1200th scale waterline models that I acquired a little before the present crisis erupted. I thought it might make a short review note for the SWA, so I opened them. Here they are, complementary models, but very different.
They are sold two in a blister pack, and I paid £4.20 for them. One is USS Ohio, lead sub of the eighteen Ohio class SSGNs and SSBNs. What a model! The actual submarine is 560 feet overall, and in this scale it looks it, at 14cm long. The detail is splendid, etched neatly, and the small sail looks perfect. Overall paint job is a fine silky black, and apart from perhaps a touch of gunmetal or a streak of rusty brown, nothing needs to be added.
The second submarine is almost dwarfed by Ohio, and it’s USS Los Angeles. Literally, a film star of the sub world, having appeared in ‘Hunt for Red October,’ ‘Red Storm Rising,’ ‘SSN,’ and recently, in a few pc games, such as ‘Cold Waters.’ Lead boat of the astonishingly large class of, I think 62 in all, the model is similarly painted to the first and detailed just as perfectly. The model overall is 9 centimetres, but has one small, potentially problematic feature which needs to be dealt with, the Los Angeles sail — that’s the conning tower if you’ve only ever wargamed with U-Boats — is a separate piece of metal, small, and needs to be super-glued in place, before you drop it, like I did!
Now, if there is any contemporary weapon of war more suited to solo warfare, and by default solo wargaming, it has to be the nuclear submarine, surely? I have a number of 1/1200th subs, including quite few Cold War Soviet craft, some dating back to the old Fleetline days, but have never really, seriously wargamed with them. When I have used subs it’s tended to be U-Boats, and Battle of Atlantic convoys, and the odd daring surface attack in mid-convoy aside, only the seriously damaged boats tend to appear on the table top.
I have no doubt that someone among the thoughtful membership of our wide ranging and intrepid Association will have used modern subs, like these, in a wargame, and will be better placed (far better placed!) than I am to suggest exactly how best to approach it, and what rules and scenarios are of potential interest. I can’t wait.