This year every issue of Wargaming Illustrated contains free sprue supplied by Warlord Games and I finally get to build and paint models available in January, WI 375 where you can get one of the three sets of armed World War II boats in 1/300 scale for Cruel Seas. You can either get British Vosper motor boats, Kriegsmarine E-Boats, torpedo sprue or American PT boats from Pacific Theatre of Operation.
Build is pretty straightforward, however there are no instructions included in WI, and even boxed set by Warlord Games apparently doesn’t have them – just a part list. That being said, I followed painting guide available in WI, so everything looks correctly. As they’re gaming models, there are just dozen parts for each boat, so it’s hard not to build it right.
There are two boats on a single sprue and here they are, painted and assembled:
80′ Elco Boat (camo) and 78-foot Higgins (navy gray):
In 1/300 scale they’re quite tiny (about 7 x 2 cm), but there are some interesting details on them, like sailors – you can see ‘posts’ with blue coats and white caps.
Painting is pretty straightforward, and painting guide is included in the magazine, so I won’t delve into this much. It’s the first time I painted any naval though, and especially at this scale I’m satisfied with the results. Additionaly, I added white star air recognition decal from 15mm Flames of War UK decals set – as I’ve seen it on photos and in the Osprey dedicated to US Patrol Boats. This is even shorter book than typical Ospreys, but it’s pretty comprehensive and interesting read.
One interesting thing is that 80′ Elco was captained by John Kennedy. His boat was crushed by Japanese destroyer Amagiri that unknowingly rammed his vessel . Fortunately, future president was champion swimmer from his time at Harvard and survived. Along with surviving crew he was stranded for several days at barren little island and was later rescued by natives and another American patrol boat.
You can still get Wargames Illustrated with these free sprues in some online stores, so if you want to start your Cruel Seas fleet, pick it. Or just buy starter or boxed set from Warlord Games (it’s on sale now). Cruel Seas is 1/300 scale game where you command flotillas of small ships – 10 per side or so. I’ve yet to find an opponent who plays it, but I if do find some Japanese enemy I might jump into this game. Ahoy sailors and fire torpedoes!