15 June 2012

Perfect Camouflage

I was impressed by the match between the paint scheme on my Uusual Opponent's CoA ships and the Dreadfleet play sheet we like to use as the table surface for our Dystopian Wars naval games.  This was not intentional, but the perfect camouflage was evident when my Opponent, during turn 2, actually lost track of where he had positioned his frigates.

Anyway, I've been thinking about camouflage paint schemes on DW model ships, especially since a player in our group just finished his Prussian ships with a great camo scheme but then pointed out that their red emblazoned stacks probably call attention to themselves as targets from distant ranges.

Most of the ships on the tables at our last tournament event featured some sort of dazzle camo patterns on ships, and it strikes me that, although the technology of the Dystopian Wars alternate universe is quite advanced when compared to our historical world 1870 equivalent, all this technology is still quite new--the concept of having a dreadnought on station outside a harbor, in a Victorian naval commander's perspective, should be about making its presence and power known to the world rather than hidden from view.

As the Covenant of Antarctica is concerned, they might need to keep their ships veiled from view as much as possible, but for factions like Prussia, Britannia, and the Empire, paint schemes which call attention to the majesty and strength of their warships would be a part of the ongoing battleship arms race between the great nations of the world.  At the turn of the 20th century, in our own historical world, dummy smokestacks were added to ships to make their profiles stand out, suggesting they had more engines and greater speed than they actually could muster.  It really wasn't until the proliferation of U-Boats during the First World War that painting ships, especially cargo ships, to confuse enemy periscopes became an advantage which required camouflage.