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World of Warships Praha POSTER

EDIT, 12.07.18: I won first prize! Yay! :D

Also, I did a few clean-ups to the artwork before I sent it to them, so here is a slightly updated picture.

A little poster for a contest over at World of Warships with the occasion of their moving their European Office from Paris to Prague.

I tried to go with an Art Nouveau piece in the style of famed painter Alphonse Mucha, but somehow I ended up with far more influence from other Czech poster artists of the period, such as Kamil Muttich or Arnost Hofbauer.

In keeping with the Art Nouveau theme, I decided to set the scene around 1912, and to use several protected cruisers present in the game from the same period, mainly because battleships would have been comicality oversized when placed on the Vltava river...  The ships are, from the left, the German SMS Emden (1906), the British HMS Weymouth (1910), the French Jurien de la Gravière (1899), the Russian Varyag (1899), the American USS St. Louis (1905) and the Japanese Chikuma (1911).

The town itself is not an accurate representation of Prague in the 1910s - I simply omitted the obviously modern buildings from the modern day reference photo I used and restored the medieval Karlův most (Charles bridge, in the centre of the drawing) to it's early XXth century appearance, including tram tracks and the trams themselves.
Interestingly, because of the age and conformation of the bridge they couldn't install overhead wires for the trams, so instead they took their current from studs set between the tracks at regular intervals - an unreliable and dangerous system, which accounts to their rather short service life of only three years on the line, from 1905 (before this date the trams were horse drawn) to 1908, when the new Svatopluk Čech bridge was opened and the trams were diverted there.
But then again I thought I could take some artistic licence in a drawing which also shows six protected cruisers floating on the Vltava in water that would be far too shallow to accommodate them (the depth at that point is 2.5m, whereas these ships have a draught of around 5-6m)... The tram closest to the viewer is number 180, made famous from a very popular postcard showing it passing the bridge.

The ships are painted to their in-game likenesses which also makes them quite a bit ahistorical.

The worst offender is the Varyag, which, in 1912, was in Japanese service as the Soya, having been captured by them at the Battle of Chemulpo Bay, in  February 1904. She would be repurchased by the Russians in 1916 and used in WW1, before being seized by the British in 1917 following the October Revolution, running aground off the coast of Ireland while under tow only to be refloated and used as barracks until 1919, at which time she would be sold for scrap only to run aground while under tow again, this time off the coast of Scotland, where she was finally scrapped in place in 1925. I depicted her in her in the colour she is in-game and would have been when built in the US, which is a mid-green, as opposed to her service life in either the Russian (white-and-buff) and Japanese (mid-grey) navies.

Also, in game the SMS Emden has the dummy funnel (and, for some reason, they kept her peacetime white-and-buff paint, whereas she should definitely have been plain grey) which she wore in her raid on Penang which was supposed to make her look from a distance like a British Town class cruiser (same as the HMS Weymouth beside her and, ironically, the same class as the HMAS Sydney, which ultimately sunk her in the Battle of the Cocos Islands in November 1914).

Speaking of the Town class cruisers, I added the white identification rings on the smokestacks as a purely aesthetic choice, which would actually make this ship the HMS Falmouth rather than Weymouth, the class leader, which had plain smokestacks - but then again, "regular" ships in-game are design to represent ship classes rather than individual ships anyway, whereas premium ships always represent specific ships of historical significance.

The Jurien is probably a bluer shade of grey than her real life counterpart, but I wanted her to look a bit different from the other mid-grey ships in the drawing. It's artistic licence again, y'all!

Finally,  in 1912 USS St. Louis would definitely still be sporting her peacetime white-and-buff paint scheme (same as the Emden), while the Chikuma... well, the Chikuma is also correctly depicted as grey, even though, during her commissioning at the Sasebo Naval Arsenal in May 1912, she would probably have been a lighter shade than that depicted in-game, which is the grey used during WW2.

The title is based on actual period typography from a poster by Kamil Muttich.

NOTE: The original size of the poster is A2 at 300 dpi, or 7000X5000 pixels, but I reduced it for web display to about 1500 pixels.

Also, even though I originally wanted to incorporate the WOWS logo, it was a bit too angular for the style of the drawing (and attempts to "art-nouveau-ify" it failed miserably) so I left it out in the end.

Also,  the Petřín Tower (on the horizon at left) was originally missing, because I forgot it was built in 1892 and should definitely have been included. Oops. Fixed now.

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1898Krag's avatar
TairaNoritsune's avatar
I so hoped to see cruiser Naniwa here... alas.

Also, Soya was not captured, but salvaged after being blown up by it's crew, not re-purchased but returned as sign of good will signifying Russo-Japan alliance treaty of year 1916.
wingsofwrath's avatar
Unfortunately, not only is the Naniwa from a totally different generation, being built in 1883, over 16 years earlier than the oldest ship in the drawing, but she was actually wrecked off the coast of Urup in the Kurile Islands in 1912.  Besides, Naniwa isn't in the game, and the whole point was to use ships that are actually present in World of Warships.

Yes, you are right, the raising of the Varyag was technically salvage, because it occurred after the war was over, and, in any case, legally speaking, the wreck of a ship sunk in war becomes the property of the country that sank it.
As for the ceding of the ship back to Russia, all of the Japanese sources say she was given, while all of the Russian sources say she was bought back, so at this point, I'm not going to guess which of those is the right one.
TairaNoritsune's avatar
Ah, the picture is regarding some game... did not get that at first, my apologies. Speaking of ships age though, 16 years is not that much of a difference. They do not age/develop as fast as aircraft or tanks for example. If we compare, Naniwa class and Varyag/Soya, we will see, that they were approximately comparable by tech specs.
wingsofwrath's avatar
I'm sorry, but I'll have to contradict you there.

It's wrong to think of technological evolution as a smooth process, because it's entirely dependant on a multitude of outside factors such as new discoveries, or periods of peace and war which might spur weapon development, etc.
This is why, sometimes, you might find that twenty or more years pass without any fundamental change of a ship design and other times, you will find that a ship is obsolete a few years after it is finished, because shipbuilding has advanced in leaps and bounds.
In this case especially, the end of the 19th century was characterised by rapid evolution in all areas, from shipbuilding techniques and designs, to new engines, to advances in gunnery (smokeless powder and high-explosives supplanting black powder) meaning there was an enormous difference between the ships of 1880s and those of 1900.

Coming back to the ships at hand, Naniwa and Varyag/Soya are two fundamentally different designs, so it would be like comparing apples to oranges, but let's attempt to do it nonetheless - they are both protected cruisers, but that's about where the similarities end.

First of all, Varyag, at 126 m long and 6,500 tons is one third longer and almost twice as heavy as Naniwa, at 91 m and 3,600 tons.
Despite this, Varyag is also faster, at 23 kts vs 18.5 kts, because Varyag has 30 water tube high-pressure boilers providing steam to two vertical triple-expansion engines producing 30,000 hp while Naniwa has only 6 boilers low pressure boilers for two horizontal double-expansion ones producing merely 7,600 hp.

In terms of weaponry, Naniwa has theoretically larger calibre guns, with her main armament being two 260 mm Krupp L/35 guns and her secondary battery being made out of  six 150 mm Krupp L/35 as well as a tertiary battery of six QF 6-pounder Hotchkiss "boat guns", ten 1-inch four barrelled Nordenfelt guns and four ten barrelled 11 mm Nordenfelds.
Unfortunately, the guns of her main battery were a "slow firing" design (separate shell and bagged charge) using brown ("cocoa" also known as "prismatic") powder for propellant and the shells were cast iron filled with between 2-3 kg of black powder (depending on shell type, AP or "common" explosive shell), meaning they were both slow to fire (about 2 rounds per minute) and had rather anaemic bursting charges. The maximum range was 13 km. 
Her secondary guns are a similar design and, being smaller, they can fire somewhat faster (4-5 rounds per minute) but only out to a range of 10 km.
The 6-pounder Hotchkiss are a quick-firing design using fixed ammunition, but their calibre is only 57 mm, meaning they lack stopping power and their maximum range is only about 4 km. By the same standard, the Nordenfelt guns are completely useless.

By comparison, Varyag has an uniform main battery of twelve 152mm 45 caliber Pattern 1892 QF guns (originally a design by the French firm "Canet") which fire about ten rounds per minute of fixed (and later only seven rounds of semi-fixed) ammunition up to a range of 15 km. They use modern smokeless propellant and their shells had a bursting charge of 1.23 (AP) to 3.6 kg (HE) of picric acid (about three times more energetic than black powder, releasing 810 kcal/kg on explosion).
She also has a secondary battery of twelve 75mm 50 caliber Pattern 1892, also quick-fire guns, being able to fire ten rounds per minute up to a range of 7.5km as well as a tertiary battery of eight 47 mm and two 37 mm
QF Hotchkiss guns, which , although much better than the Nordenfelds, are also completely pointless at anything other than point-blank range and are meant as a last-ditch defence against torpedo boats.

So, TL:DR - Varyag/Soya was larger, faster, and better armed than Naniwa, and could have easily have sunk the latter without being seriously threatened, because she both outguns and outranges her.
Those 16 years difference really count - there's a reason why, by 1912, when the drawing is set, the only surviving Naniwa class ship, Takachiho, was not even a cruiser any more and had been transformed into a minelayer. 
As furtherer proof of her obsolescence, she was sunk in 1914 by a 382 ton German torpedo boat, with the loss of of all but three of her complement of 274.
TairaNoritsune's avatar
Well, maybe thou'rt right.
Vigvig's avatar
Fantastic work !!!!
Willsormiston's avatar
I missed your fantastic early 20th Century and diesel-punk drawings. Absolutely beautiful.
menapia's avatar
Good luck with the contest - beautiful work as usual 
wingsofwrath's avatar
Thanks! And I think they liked it as well... I won! :D
Expect-Delays's avatar
It all works quite well.
wingsofwrath's avatar
Thanks, glad you think so!
AriochIV's avatar
Good luck in the contest!
wingsofwrath's avatar
Thank you! And it must have worked... :D
sexyspringy's avatar
Seš čech? Jinak krasný :)
wingsofwrath's avatar
Heh. I'm not actually Czech, but I have plenty of friends there and I've visited a few times.
wingsofwrath's avatar
Thanks! glad you like it!

AsrielDreemurr1013's avatar
nov1design's avatar
Arianod's avatar
wingsofwrath's avatar
Thank you, thank you!
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