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US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/4/2020 8:50:50 PM   
Kull


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From: El Paso, TX
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Originally this was going to be a tiny art mod, intended solely to put the DD Sampson-type bmps in-game. However, once I started looking a little closer at the other 4-stackers (Wickes & Clemson), it was obvious that the whole group would benefit from implementation of foldered artwork. That increased the complexity of this little project enormously, since there's a plethora of Clemson and Wickes classes, all with deviously linked upgrades, conversions, and bmp options.

"Why bother?", some might ask. Well, even though there's only 81 ships in total across all three types, they comprise 12 different classes and especially in the early war (as any Allied player will attest) they are a crucially valuable work-horse. Convoy escorts, front-line seaplane support, fast transport suppliers, amphib invaders, and even "when all else fails" SCTF escorts. They are a necessary component of your early war strategies, so let's give them some well-deserved attention!

Edit: I was totally remiss in failing to give proper kudos to the Destroyer History Foundation and their fabulous "Flush deckers" web page. There's a wealth of information there!

As with the PT-Boat art mod, it all starts with a large batch of Big B shipsides - in this case 24 of them (see attachment). Other than the usual problem of "more art than AE database bmp slots", this batch is light on camo (only one shipside has early war Measure 12) and the vast majority use either Measure 11 or Measure 21 "all-blue" for all or most of the war, and that makes them hard to distinguish from one class to the next - especially because these are relatively small shipsides. The Clemson classes (the largest of the group) are only 96 pixels from stem to stern and max out at 6 pixels from deck to waterline.

Fortunately we can do more with colors, but maintaining accuracy (or at least plausibility) means that we need a better understanding of an extremely important subject: The US Navy and it's many different color and camouflage schemes, or "measures". That is a huge topic in and of itself, and those interested in the matter are strongly encouraged to read up on it in more detail (there's a pretty good summary here).

Rather than drag this thread even further down into the weeds, I'll just note that painting was a top-down system controlled by the Bureau of Ships (BuShips), but the implementation of the different measures varied by ship type, class, period of the war, theatre of operations, availability of paint, and even the initiative and personal preferences of individual ship captains and admirals. Which is a long way of saying that we have a LOT of leeway here, even within the relatively narrow category of 4-stackers and their various types and classes.

As just one example, even though Measures 1 through 8 (variations involving Dark Gray #5) were abolished in September 1941 and a new set issued soon thereafter (similar, but "bluer"), field implementation was a different story: "At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941 most of the Pacific Fleet was still wearing dark gray Measure 1".

Note: With regard to the terminology used when discussing AE ship groupings (first described in the Japanese ship camo project):
- Group: Usually reserved for the top level ship category (f/e "DD") but in this case it's "4-stackers"
- Type: The top level group name (f/e "Clemson")
- Class: The named sub-groups within a type (f/e "Clemson APD")

So without further ado, let's start with the already previewed Sampson-class, now moved to Post #2.



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< Message edited by Kull -- 7/10/2020 6:14:34 PM >


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RE: DD Sampson-class mod - 7/8/2020 5:07:06 PM   
Kull


Posts: 2178
Joined: 7/3/2007
From: El Paso, TX
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Note: For "thread coherence" reasons (given the increase in project scope), this post has been moved down a notch.

**************************************************

Sampson-class DD:

One of the more obscure ships in the US Navy at the start of WW2 was the USS Allen, a Sampson-class DD which was actually present at Pearl Harbor and claimed three air kills that day. Originally there were six of these WW1-era destroyers (DD 63-68), but by 1941 all except DD Allen had been scrapped. Her war record after December 7th was notably undistinguished (largely confined to serving as an escort for ships traveling in the Hawaiian islands), but she did serve for the full duration of the war.

Intriguingly, Big B has developed quite a few shipsides for this oddest of ducks, so let's see what it takes to put them in-game:

- 4 unique shipsides and 1 bmp file
- A single ship (DD Allen)
- Arrival date: 12/6/41
- Upgrade dates: 4/42, 11/42

The key issue is this: 0264.bmp is shared with the DD Clemson (24 ships) and DD Wickes (9) classes, so normally that would be a real problem (see #1 for profiles of each class). However, both of these soon convert to more capable models (Clemson starting 4/42 and Wickes in 5/42), each of which uses a DIFFERENT shipside file (0086.bmp). Accordingly, by the end of May 1942 all (or most) of the Clemson/Wickes DDs will no longer be using 264.bmp, and it can be reserved for the DD Sampson class from that point forward. Let's look at the deployment plan:

1) 12/7/41: The Sampson-class begins with the 1941 MS11 all-blue DD Wickes shipside, simply because there aren't going to be many opportunities to see the Wickes profile. That issue will be explored to a greater extent in the upcoming posts.

2) 06-1942: As noted earlier, by June 1942, all or most of Clemson/Wickes will have been upgraded (or converted) to one of several different bmp files, so we'll just assume that from this point forward, 0264.bmp is used exclusively by DD Allen. Accordingly, we'll put the 1942 MS-12 camo shipside in the 42-06 folder.

3) 12-1942: The Sampson class gets a radar upgrade in November 1942, and a photo taken one month later shows an SC-type radar atop the forward mast (#2). We'll modify the camo shipside accordingly, placing it in the 42-12 and AlliedShip_Back43 folders.

4) 04-1943: The 1943 & 1944 models are identical (MS21 all-blue), so we'll add a "radar modified" version to the 43-04 and the AlliedShip_Back44 folders. Unfortunately there isn't a Dazzle shipside - not too surprising given her actual wartime role.

5) 01-1945: A radar modified version of the 1945 model (MS22 Gray upper/blue hull) will be deployed in the AlliedShip_Back45 and the AlliedShip_Back46 folders.

Here are the new shipsides, in sequence of appearance (Items 3-7):

Note: As an interesting aside (particularly apropos for today (Edit: This was originally posted on 7/4/2020), the Sampson class was named after Rear Admiral William Thomas Sampson, who destroyed the Spanish fleet near Santiago, Cuba on July 3rd 1898, leading to this famous quote: “The Fleet under my command offers the nation as a Fourth of July present, the whole of Cervera's Fleet!”



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< Message edited by Kull -- 7/8/2020 5:08:29 PM >


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RE: DD Sampson-class mod - 7/8/2020 5:23:44 PM   
Anachro


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Thanks for this! I don't know why, but the 4-stackers tend to be some of my favorite destroyers, perhaps because I so enjoy it when one of the little tykes manages to do well and punch above its weight in an engagement.

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RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/10/2020 12:37:02 AM   
Kull


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From: El Paso, TX
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Clemson Classes (#1):

Fair warning - the Clemson's come with a bewildering variety of classes, upgrades, conversions, and bmps. Just be aware that this can be rather confusing, so I'll try to keep it clinical and won't address issues like which conversions or upgrades might be better, or even the in-game functions of each class. The idea is to look at them all and see if we can obtain greater visual differentiation using Big B's new shipsides plus others I just created in order to make greater use of the variety offered by the official BuShips "measures":

1) Clemson DD (0264.bmp):
- 5 unique shipsides and 3 bmp files
- 24 ships
- Arrival dates: All are present on 12/7/41
- Upgrade dates: 2/42 (AA); 4/42 (DDLR, Endurance, AA & Radar, 0086.bmp); 4/43 (AA & 0087.bmp)
- Conversion options: Multiple

Right from the start, this DD class can convert to the APD, AVD, DM, and DMS Clemson variants (all of which are one-way conversions), and this is still true even after the 2/42 upgrade. However, while the 4/42 upgrade to the DDLR version is pretty significant (improved endurance, AA and radar), it also prevents all 4 of those conversions in the future. In addition, an alternative to the DDLR upgrade is an immediate one-way conversion to the DELR class.

After the 4/42 upgrade, DDLR Clemsons can eventually upgrade to an improved DDLR in 4/43, at which time there's also one final opportunity to convert over to the DELR class. Whew!

2) Clemson DELR (0088.bmp):
- 2 unique shipsides and 2 bmp files
- 0 ships (all must be created via conversion from the Clemson DD class)
- Arrival dates: N/A
- Upgrade dates: 4/43 (AA & 0089.bmp)
- Conversion options: None

As for the Auxiliary classes, there are four varieties:

3) Clemson DM (0310.bmp):
- 1 unique shipside and 1 bmp file
- 8 ships (others may be created via conversion from Clemson DD class)
- Arrival dates: 12/7/41
- Upgrade dates: 6/42 (AA & Radar); 4/43 (AA)
- Conversion options: None

4) Clemson DMS (0312.bmp):
- 1 unique shipside and 1 bmp file
- 17 ships (others may be created via conversion from Clemson DD class)
- Arrival dates: 13 on 12/7/41; 4 more between 2/43 & 10/44
- Upgrade dates: 4/42 (AA & Radar); 8/43 (ASW)
- Conversion options: None

5) Clemson AVD (0262.bmp):
- 1 unique shipside and 1 bmp file
- 7 ships (others may be created via conversion from Clemson DD class)
- Arrival dates: 12/7/41
- Upgrade dates: 4/42 (AA & Radar); 3/43 (AA & ASW)
- Conversion options: None

6) Clemson APD (0307.bmp):
- 1 unique shipside and 1 bmp file
- 8 ships (others may be created via conversion from Clemson DD class)
- Arrival dates: 5/43 to 4/44
- Upgrade dates: 10/42 (AA & Radar)
- Conversion options: None

That is a LOT of ship classes, and it really turns into a rat's nest when you look at the interactions with the Wickes types! The Wickes review will cover those in more detail, but suffice it to say that every single Clemson bmp file is shared with a Wickes equivalent. The three exceptions are the AVD, DM, and DMS auxiliaries, but only because there are no Wickes versions of those classes. Sharing of bmps isn't necessarily a huge problem (as we saw with the Sampson-class), but in this case all the Clemson and Wickes upgrades are just one month apart, so it really limits the ability to have both Clemson & Wickes shipsides in-game at the same time. That said, the foldered system gives us an opportunity to improve visual differentiation between the various classes, so let's see what can be done:


1) Clemson-class DD and DDLR:

* 12/7/41 (0264.bmp): Having spent a lot more time looking into the US Navy measures system, we'll make a change to the shipside originally shown in the Sampson-class review. There's an interesting line drawing of Clemson-class DD Reuben James (see attachment #1) decked out in MS-2 (one of the "canceled-but-not-yet-eliminated" pre-war all-gray color schemes - see #2), and I've tried to replicate that on the Wickes-class DD that will be shared by all 4-stacker DDs during the first 2 months of the war.

* 02-1942 (0264.bmp): This is a visible AA upgrade, but the timing is also right for a shift to the 1942 MS11 all-blue DD Wickes shipside. The new Big B shipside is a bit darker than the color groupings in MS-11 (#3), so we'll lighten the blue a bit.

* 04-1942 (0086.bmp): For this upgrade (basically a complete rebuild) we'll use the 1942 Clemson DDLR shipside, but will add a few radar pixels to the mast. The color is still MS11 all-blue, so again we'll lighten the tone. For those wondering if there's a correlation between increased endurance and the funnel count dropping from 4 to 3, there is: "On 15 November 1941 CinCLant suggested replacing No.1 boiler with fuel. This would extend the range of Wickes class ships by 1,100nm and the Clemson class ships, which already carried some fuel alongside the boilers, by 650nm. The General Board approved the plan, but with No.4 Boiler to go. The flushdeckers would lose 5kts of speed, but as they were expected to serve as escort ships range was seen as more important."

* 04-1943 (0087.bmp): The final upgrade adds more AA, and once again we're going to make some adjustments to the profile & colors. The 1943 BigB shipside deploys the late-war MS22 scheme (gray upper/blue hull) but also shortens the funnels. In a foldered system we can delay the appearance of MS-22, so instead we'll take the 1942 Clemson DDLR BigB shipside (which has the darker MS-21 colors - see #4), shorten the funnels, add a few radar pixels to the mast, and place 40mm AA at the stern.

* 01-1945 (0087.bmp): This is when the late-war MS22 scheme (gray upper/blue hull) makes its appearance, albeit retaining the previous tweaks for radar and AA.


2) Clemson-class DELR:

Unfortunately, even though the Clemson DELR class has two unique bmps, they are almost identical to the DDLR class in both color and profile (the only difference involves a few pixels on the after weather deck). To one extent that's not surprising since the database differences primarily involve substituting torpedoes (DDLR) for ASW (DELR). Even, so we should be able to do more with colors and a few pixel tweaks here and there.

* 04-1942 (0088.bmp): For this conversion we'll use the 1942 Clemson DELR profile, but will apply the MS-12 (Modified) camo pattern involving irregular splotches, mostly on the hull (here we see Clemson-class DD Howard sporting an MS-12 pattern in late 1942 - #5). The DELR has slightly smaller deck guns (3" vs. 4") so we'll alter them a bit.

* 04-1943 (0089.bmp): Continued color differentiation between the DELR/DDLR classes would be nice, but there's no doubt that the MS-21 "all-blue" was widely deployed in this theatre. To be absolutely clear, Big B was NOT WRONG in using it so liberally across all the 4-stacker types and classes: "This measure was used extensively in the western and southern Pacific from September 1942 through 1945 to minimize detection and identification by enemy aircraft." Accordingly we'll make essentially all the changes that were done to the 4/43 Clemson DDLR shipside, but retaining the DELR profile.

* 02-1944 (0089.bmp): To restore the color differentiation, we'll create a new shipside for this class, utilizing a Dazzle scheme which is roughly similar to the BuShips MS-32 camouflage design for the Wickes/Clemson types (#6). It wasn't just notional, either as there are quite a few photos showing Clemson-types decked out in Dazzle, such as DM Sicard in 1944 (#7). Since this doesn't tie into any AE database upgrades, we'll use the 4/43 profile (and shorten the funnels).

* 06-1945 (0089.bmp): Once again the DELR will mirror the DDLR colors (although we'll delay implementation so as to retain the Dazzle look a bit longer), here utilizing the late-war MS22 scheme (gray upper/blue hull) along with the previous profile tweaks.

The length of this review has reached epic proportions, so we'll stop now and review the color plans for the 4 Auxiliary classes in the next post. Accordingly, here are the NINE(!) new shipsides, in sequence of appearance (Items 8-16):




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Kull -- 7/13/2020 7:44:52 PM >


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RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/10/2020 6:07:36 PM   
Kull


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Before we continue, a word of advice. Try not to run an entire 14-ship DesRon full speed into a rocky shoreline, as was done to these Clemson-class DDs at Honda Point CA in 1923.




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RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/11/2020 2:56:09 AM   
Nami Koshino


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kull

Before we continue, a word of advice. Try not to run an entire 14-ship DesRon full speed into a rocky shoreline, as was done to these Clemson-class DDs at Honda Point CA in 1923.



Ouch. Given the rather parsimonious nature of the peacetime US Navy, I wonder how many promising naval careers came to a sudden end that day.

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RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/11/2020 3:15:24 AM   
NigelKentarus


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I think I may have had that TF CO at one point, almost as disastrous.

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RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/13/2020 7:44:14 PM   
Kull


Posts: 2178
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From: El Paso, TX
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Clemson Classes (#2):

In this post we're primarily concerned with implementing new shipsides for two of the four Auxiliary classes. For the sake of clarity however, I will briefly reprise the basic AE facts for each one and will also discuss the specifics of each conversion, starting with the DM class.

3) Clemson DM (0310.bmp):
- 1 unique shipside and 1 bmp file
- 8 ships (others may be created via conversion from Clemson DD class)
- Arrival dates: 12/7/41
- Upgrade dates: 6/42 (AA & Radar); 4/43 (AA)
- Conversion options: None

As Clemson/Wickes conversions go, the DM-class required the least amount of physical alteration since only "their torpedo tubes were replaced with tracks that could carry approximately 80 mines". As with all the Auxiliary classes, there is only a single bmp file so all shipside differentiation relies entirely upon the foldered system.

* 12/7/41: The profile and armament are mostly OK (need to improve the rear gun platform), and for colors we'll use the legacy MS-2 paint scheme (dark gray hull and light gray uppers). There aren't many Clemson DM-class ships (and few Allied players will add new ones), so we'll keep this measure in place until the first upgrade. There's an undated photo of DM Breese (see #1), possibly decked out in MS-2 colors.

* 07-1942: The first upgrade includes visible AA and Radar, both of which need to be added. Since it will take most of June to complete, the new shipside will appear one month later. For colors, we'll use the previously described MS-11 "all-blue".

* 05-1943: The 1943 upgrade replaces the 4" main armament with 3" guns (shifting one to the center), all of which is reflected in the new profile. Once again we have a long upgrade process, so the new shipside is implemented in the following month. The color will shift to the slightly darker MS-21 "all-blue", and stay that way for the duration of the war.


4) Clemson DMS (0312.bmp):
- 1 unique shipside and 1 bmp file
- 17 ships (others may be created via conversion from Clemson DD class)
- Arrival dates: 13 on 12/7/41; 4 more between 2/43 & 10/44
- Upgrade dates: 4/42 (AA & Radar); 8/43 (ASW)
- Conversion options: None

The DMS-class conversion "involved removing the number 4 boiler and stack plus all torpedo tubes, and modifying the stern to support sweeping davits, winch, paravanes, and kites. Depth charge racks were repositioned forward and angled outboard to allow clearance for the depth charges to drop free of the hull. Later two 60kw turbo-generators replaced the ships' three 25kw units to provide a capability for sweeping magnetic and acoustic mines."

* 12/7/41: We've already used one version of the "canceled-but-not-yet-eliminated" pre-war all-gray color schemes (MS-2), and now we'll get our first look at MS-1, described as "Dark Gray (5-D) overall except for Light Gray (5-L) structures above the stack tops". Armament and profile are good, but we'll enhance the rear gun platform. For reference, there's a June 1942 photo of DMS Southard (#2), possibly still wearing her MS-1 paint.

* 05-1942: This first upgrade is quite extensive, replacing the 4" main armament with 3" guns while also adding visible AA and Radar. Since it will take most of April to complete, we'll add the new shipside one month later. For colors, we'll use MS-14, described as "Ocean Gray overall. Used on many small craft, including minesweepers....throughout 1942, 1943, and 1944." If you refer back to the color swatches shown in the "Clemson-classes #1" attachment (Post #3), you'll see that 1942 Ocean Gray is more of a faded blue - noticeably lighter than the Sea Blue (MS-11) and Navy Blue (MS-21) we looked at earlier.

* 08-1943: The final upgrade adds a Mousetrap ASW launcher to the forward weather deck, so we'll adjust the profile accordingly (but will retain the MS-14 colors).

* 03-1944: There are no further upgrades (and thus no change to the profile), but this is a good time to implement MS-32 Dazzle. Although I could not find photo back-up, at least one source notes that three of the Clemson DMS-class wore Measure 32-7D (Dorsey, Hovey, & Hamilton).

* 05-1945: Once again there are no profile changes, but this is the proper period for the late-war MS22 scheme (gray upper/blue hull). There's plenty of evidence that Clemson DMS-class ships were painted this way, such as this June 1945 photo of DMS Boggs (#3).

Altogether, these eight new shipsides will help differentiate the two Mine-laying and Mine-sweeping Clemson classes. Here they are in sequence of appearance (Items 4-11):




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Kull -- 7/13/2020 7:53:53 PM >


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RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/14/2020 6:34:07 PM   
Kull


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Clemson Classes (#3):

We'll continue our review, this time focusing on the final two classes of Auxiliary. Once again there will be an examination of the basic AE facts, and a short discussion on the specifics of each conversion, starting with the AVD class.

5) Clemson AVD (0262.bmp):
- 1 unique shipside and 1 bmp file
- 7 ships (others may be created via conversion from Clemson DD class)
- Arrival dates: 12/7/41
- Upgrade dates: 4/42 (AA & Radar); 3/43 (AA & ASW)
- Conversion options: None

The Clemson AVD conversions were pretty extensive: "In 1938, the Navy perceived a need for fast tenders that could be deployed as mobile bases for squadrons of PBY patrol bombers. On 1 July, it reclassified two Clemson-class flush deckers, Childs and Williamson, and took them in hand for conversion, removing their two forward stacks and replacing their two forward boilers with fuel tanks which, together with voids, gave them a capacity approximately 50,000 gallons of fuel. Their torpedo tubes, waist guns and 3-inch anti-aircraft gun were also removed and the bridge superstructure was extended aft to where the forward stacks had been to provide quarters for the squadron. A light crane was stepped amidships and aircraft servicing boats were carried in davits."

* 12/7/41: There's a good profile shot of AVD Williamson in 1942 (see #1), and it clearly shows that we need to make a number of changes to the profile, including the aforementioned large service boats on davits, AA turrets atop the extended superstructure, a large deck gun aft, ASW racks at the stern, and a smaller crane. They'll also get the MS-1 Dark Grey scheme.

* 05-1942: Typical of the Clemson classes, the April 1942 upgrade requires extended shipyard renovations to include adding radar and replacing the 4" main armament with 3" guns. And as with the others, we'll delay the new shipside by one month. For colors, we'll use a less splotchy MS-12 "Modified" camo pattern (more on that when we get to the Wickes APD review).

* 04-1943: In March 1943 the AVDs get an AA & ASW upgrade (the latter is effectively invisible), which we'll represent by adding a second turret atop the extended superstructure while delaying implementation of the new shipside for one month. The colors change to MS-21 "all-blue".

* 01-1945: Although there's no alteration in profile or armament, this is typically when the late-war MS22 color scheme (gray upper/blue hull) would take effect.

Note: For some reason, the 3/43 upgrade includes an endurance reduction from 4625 to 3200 (which is even lower than the starting level of Wickes-class DDs), but nothing in that update should have any effect on endurance. If this was somehow related to the initial AVD conversions from DD (specifically the reduction in boiler count from 4 to 2), you'd expect to see something similar with the Clemson and Wickes APDs (who lost the same number of boilers), but we don't. A mystery.


6) Clemson APD (0307.bmp):
- 1 unique shipside and 1 bmp file
- 8 ships (others may be created via conversion from Clemson DD class)
- Arrival dates: 5/43 to 4/44
- Upgrade dates: 10/42 (AA & Radar)
- Conversion options: None

I'll talk about the rationale later, but since the Clemson and Wickes APDs always share the same shipsides, we'll look at the colors, profiles, and deployment plan during the upcoming Wickes classes review.

Accordingly, here are the four new Clemson-class AVD shipsides in sequence of appearance (Items 2-5):




Attachment (1)

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RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/15/2020 2:20:36 PM   
Kull


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Wickes Classes:

When comparing Wickes ships with Clemsons, it's clear that they were VERY similar. The armament and overall dimensions were identical (see #1), and about the only difference was the Clemsons had greater displacement due to additional fuel tanks. That's an important point because while there are few opportunities to use the Wickes shipsides, they are nearly identical anyway. That said, we'll still do a full review in order to see the details:

1) Wickes-class DD, DDLR, & DDLRH (0264.bmp):
- 5 unique shipsides and 3 bmp files
- 9 ships
- Arrival dates: All are present on 12/7/41
- Upgrade dates: 2/42 (AA); 5/42 (DDLR, Endurance, AA & Radar, 0086.bmp); 5/43 (DDLRH, AA & ASW, 0087.bmp)
- Conversion options: APD and DE

Unlike the Clemsons, the 12/41 Wickes have no conversion capability, as the 2/42 upgrade is required first. Even then, the only conversion is one-way to the Wickes APD. The 5/42 time frame allows Wickes DDs to upgrade to the DDLR class or convert to DE. Following the 5/42 upgrade no conversions are possible, although curiously the DDLR can upgrade on 5/43 to yet another class, the DDLR-H. All of which is moot since the Wickes-class bmp files are shared concurrently with the Clemson DD classes (thus no "deployment plan").

2) Wickes DE (0088.bmp):
- 0 unique shipsides and 2 bmp files
- 0 ships (all must be created via conversion from the Wickes DD class)
- Arrival dates: N/A
- Upgrade dates: 5/42 (DE, Endurance, AA, ASW & Radar); 4/43 (AA & 0089.bmp)
- Conversion options: None

After the conversion, there's a single upgrade concurrent with the Clemson DELR (using the same bmp file), so once again there isn't a "Wickes-only" shipside deployment plan.

3) Wickes APD (0307.bmp):
- 0 unique shipsides and 1 bmp file
- 7 ships (others may be created via conversion from Wickes DD class)
- Arrival dates: One is present on 12/7/41 while the other 6 arrive on 2/15/42
- Upgrade dates: 10/42 (AA, ASW, & Radar)
- Conversion options: None

Although the Wickes APDs appear on-map before their Clemson sisters, there's no point having "Wickes vs. Clemson" APD shipsides since there's little visible difference, as you can see in this photo comparison between Clemson-class APD Brooks and Wickes-class APD Stringham (#2). Each class has but one upgrade and they both occur on 10/42. However, we'll grant precedence to Wickes and review the color and profile plans here.

But first I invite you to look at this lovely overhead view of APD McKean (#3) - noting in particular how the forward-most Higgins landing boats sit athwart both funnels. In contrast, the original AE 0307.bmp shipside (and the new one from BigB) shifted all boats further to the rear. I tried to rectify that and the result was an unrecognizable mess in which the funnels and boats glommed together. Given that "knowing what you are looking at" is more important than a 5-pixel shift in position, we'll stick with AE convention!

Secondly we'll look at the historical APD conversions, which were quite significant: "To support these special operations (amphibious landings), the Marines needed a fast seaborne transport from the Navy. On 28 November 1938, the Navy’s oldest flush-deck destroyer, USS Manley, underwent the first of several exercises and modifications in quick succession until, by 7 February 1939, her forward two boilers and two stacks were replaced by a berthing compartment for 120 Marines and her four triple torpedo tube mounts were replaced by davits to handle the new Higgins boats. One waist gun was deleted, the other moved to her centerline."

Next we'll go through the deployment plan, because this time there definitely is one!

* 12/7/41: The profile and armament are mostly OK (we'll move the boat crane and improve the rear gun platform), and for colors we'll use the legacy MS-2 paint scheme (dark gray hull and light gray uppers).

* 03-1942: Unlike every other Clemson/Wickes class, the APDs do NOT have an early 1942 upgrade, so the profile does not change at this time. However, there are several photos showing Wickes-class APDs with MS-12 "Modified" camo. Usually this appears as "irregular patches or splotches added to break up the ship's profile", but those applied to the APDs look more like an early form of Dazzle, as can be seen in this photo of APD Gregory (see #4, a pattern I've recreated for the shipside). It's interesting to learn that while most measures were closely controlled (at least in terms of shade and tone), Measure 12 "Modified" was something quite different: "There were no specific instructions on the positioning or shape of the splotches, which were left up to individual captains, yards or maintenance facilities, and the recommended size was frequently disregarded, so that no two ships looked alike."

* 10-1942: This is the first and last APD upgrade, and it adds radar, AA, and ASW. Those additions will alter the profile, but for colors we'll retain the MS-12 camo.

* 05-1943: Every single 1943-and-later APD photo shows them wearing unusual camo patterns featuring large splotches (that of APD McKean (#3) is but one of many examples). It is not Dazzle and it's too late for MS-12 "Modified", so what is it? Well, at least initially, it was this: "Through 1942 the Camouflage Section had issued no instructions for landing craft, PT boats, Tank Landing Ships (LSTs) and other vessels expected to operate close inshore in Pacific jungle conditions, so individual commands resorted to overall green, or ad-hoc camouflage patterns in whatever green or brown paints could be obtained."

Eventually this new system was standardized: "In early 1943 BuShips began the development of a green series parallel to the blue-gray series, but the process was slow and therefore the South Pacific Command as an expedient ordered its amphibious vessels to be repainted in Dark Tropic Green with "tiger stripes" in Light Tropic Green." The official APD-class design was MS-31, sub-type 20-L, which is appended below (#5). Collectively, these ships were fondly known as the "Green Dragons", and the MS-31 plan is the basis for a new 1943 APD shipside.

Here are the new shipsides, in sequence of appearance (Items 6-9):

This concludes the "4-stacker" project. Much larger than originally anticipated, but as usual I learned a LOT during the process, and hopefully you did too. Along the way I also realized that some of the earlier shipsides have issues which need to be addressed (such as the need to place the rear-most deck guns atop the stern platform), so some of the already-previewed art will change. That said, we now have 29 new or modified shipsides, which together will add a great deal of visual variety to this under-appreciated set of ships.

As always, kudos to Big B - without his new art this project would never have started. Next up is to insert the backgrounds, create the shils, and then populate a series of date-based folders. After which I'll set up a DropBox download and post the link (same as was done with the Allied PT Boat Art mod).




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Kull -- 7/15/2020 2:28:02 PM >


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(in reply to Kull)
Post #: 10
RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/15/2020 8:47:42 PM   
Kull


Posts: 2178
Joined: 7/3/2007
From: El Paso, TX
Status: offline
Here we go:

1) Download: For those who are not familiar with Dropbox, the link below will take you to a folder named "ART (4-stackers)", and you want to download THAT folder, not all the individual folders which appear on the screen. Accordingly, please click the "Download" button in the top right of the screen (see the red arrow on the attachment). It doesn't really matter where you save this, so long as you remember the location.

Dropbox link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/2irxn2fj406zv7k/AACET19YBHiSR3CUsF4aPJVXa?dl=0

2) Back-ups: The next step - highly recommended - is to create a copy of the following two folders in your existing game folder, as they will be partially overwritten by the new art files:
- War in the Pacific Admiral's Edition\ART\AlliedShip_Back
- War in the Pacific Admiral's Edition\ART\AlliedShip_Transp

3) Installation: There are two steps to this process:

a) Rename the folder from "ART (4-stackers)" to "ART" (There's already a DropBox folder called "ART" for the Japanese ships, so future downloads like this will have a description in the name, and that will need to be edited).

b) Copy (or move) the renamed "ART" folder directly into your WitP-AE game directory. In a default game installation, that would be the folder called "War in the Pacific Admiral's Edition". Do NOT drop the folder into your game's "ART" folder, or it will just create a non-working subdirectory. You have done it correctly if you get a message or warning about overwriting files. When you do, choose "yes for all".

4) Applicability: The new files will work seamlessly with all of the Andy Mac scenarios (as-delivered along with all those which are new or modified) and all DaBabes scenarios too. I haven't looked at compatibility with any player-created scenarios, but so long as they haven't altered any of the existing ship classes and associated bmp files, it should work. Best to check with the scenario authors, however.

5) That's it! Start a new scenario or open an existing campaign, and all the new shipsides will automatically appear, although WHEN they show up is entirely date-based (so obviously you won't see all of them at the same time).

I gave this limited testing, but everything seems to be working fine. If you experience any difficulties, then please post about it in this thread. Also, if you have any comments - good or bad - or any neat screenshots, please post them here. Enjoy!

Note: I wasn't happy with the modded prow of the Huckins PT (from the "Allied PT Boat Art mod") and restored it back to the Big B configuration. It's included with this download, and can be found in the AlliedShip_Back43\03 and AlliedShip_Transp43\03 folders should you want to do anything with it.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Kull -- 7/15/2020 8:49:30 PM >


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Post #: 11
RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/17/2020 6:04:44 PM   
Voltreffer


Posts: 20
Joined: 2/13/2020
From: Los Angeles
Status: offline
Kull!
Your artwork is fantastic! It really adds a little extra 'polish' to the game's already great artwork.


Here is APD Gregory in all her (1943) glory:




Thanks for all your hard work researching, producing, and offering this to the community!

(in reply to Kull)
Post #: 12
RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/17/2020 9:06:31 PM   
Kull


Posts: 2178
Joined: 7/3/2007
From: El Paso, TX
Status: offline
Glad you are enjoying it! I have to say, not a small amount of the motivation is getting to see them in my own game. Loving the colorful variety!

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Post #: 13
RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/19/2020 6:16:14 PM   
JamesHunt

 

Posts: 180
Joined: 5/7/2016
Status: online
thanks for this beatuiful mod

(in reply to Kull)
Post #: 14
RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/20/2020 10:04:14 PM   
CrackSabbath


Posts: 106
Joined: 6/7/2004
From: Aridzona
Status: offline
I'm generally just a forum lurker, but I decided to surface from the muck & thank you for these amazing mods! This one is especially dear to me as, like Anachro, I have a soft spot for the 4-stackers.

Thanks again for your hard work!

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The Dude abides

(in reply to JamesHunt)
Post #: 15
RE: US "4-stacker" art mod - 7/21/2020 8:44:43 PM   
Cavalry Corp

 

Posts: 2666
Joined: 9/2/2003
From: Sampford Spiney Devon UK
Status: offline
very nice - does anyone know if the file names are correct for the RA MODS?

(in reply to CrackSabbath)
Post #: 16
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