Friday, 18 April 2014

1/3000 French Aircraft from Shapeways

As I would like to have model planes rather than counters for my French Aeronavale carrier wing, I've been searching for some suitable 1/3000 or 1/2400 scale models with little success. I finally decided to compromise and use the generic Davco models, as they're tiny anyway so wouldn't look out of place, even when inspected at close range.

However, a tip off from a fellow gamer at the club has led me in the direction of Shapeways, which has a lot of 1/3000 scale stuff if you're prepared to do a bit of sifting. The end result of my search is a very comprehensive set of French, British and US aircraft covering pretty much everything I could possibly need for both my Royal Navy and French fleets:

I've only used Shapeways once before and with limited success, as the models I ordered failed to print correctly. This time I'm hoping for a better result, especially as I've forked out just over £20, some of which I can probably recoup by selling on the spare USN planes to the relevant players in the VaS campaign.

With plenty of aircraft to deploy, I might now invest in a projected Joffre class carrier to augment my rather feeble carrier component, which consists of the less than up to date Bearn. The campaign umpire is happy for us to use anything that may have been afloat before 1945, so a modern-ish aircraft carrier wouldn't be too far to stretch, although only 25% complete in 1940!

Bank Holiday Books

I really enjoyed reading the Battle of Matapan so polished off Warspite by Iain Ballantyne on the ferry journey back to Plymouth yesterday. Neither book was particularly heavy weight but that's a good thing sometimes, especially when you're looking for some period flavour rather than masses of technical or historical detail. I'm itching to get cracking on the Navwar models when I get home, so at least the reading fills a gap for the moment.

I'm now reading the Rising Sun, Falling Skies, which is also a lightweight but we'll written account of the Java Sea Campaign, so of direct relevance to the Victory at Sea project. A trawl of the Osprey catalogue has also turned some titles of interest, especially the New Vanguard series on British battleships and cruisers, which include some very handy colour profiles for painting reference purposes. It's a shame there's nothing as yet on French warships but that would be a long shot even for Osprey I suspect?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Going home

We're heading home via a brief stop off in Cornwall, so I'll be off the radar for a couple of days. Normal service will be resumed on Saturday.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Aerojournal 40

This is always worth getting hold of if you're on holiday in France. This issue has a really thorough article on the Iraq Insurrection in 1941, including colour profiles for the RIAF, RAF and Luftwaffe Fliegerfuhrer Irak. On paper, it doesn't look like there's much potential for a Bag the Hun game but there were at least three decent air engagements, with RAF Gladiators facing off against BF110' s and CR42' s.

It would make a really interesting 'what if' mini-campaign as well, allowing the air force's of Iraq, Vichy France, Britain, Italy and Germany to take on each other for control of the skies over Iraq. The obvious scale for this is 1/600, as most if not all of the aircraft involved can be found in the Tumbling Dice range. There's a good basis for a campaign system in the TFL East Africa supplement for IABSM as well. Worth a thought?

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Victory at Sea British Fleet

I finally decided on the simplest option for my second fleet and have ordered a bargain pack from Skytrex for a Royal Navy force based in the Eastern Mediterranean. I've added a handful of additional ships including both Rodney and Nelson, the Renown and a couple of extra heavy cruisers, so it should be a well rounded fleet. It will be ideal as opposition for my Vichy French if they make a sortie or for the club's Italians, Japanese or Germans. It's the French fleet first though as soon as I get back from holiday.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Ragnarok 60

The latest edition of the splendid SSFFW journal, Ragnarok, has just been published and, as I mentioned awhile back, I have an article in it too. It's a write up of the campaign system that I used for the club Scramble for Africa campaign which we played a few years ago, so you may find it of interest if Aeronef is your thing. The rest of the contents look really good, so I'm looking forward to reading my copy when I get back home. Nice job on the cover as well!

Victory at Sea Soviet Black Sea Fleet?

It's great being on holiday but it's also frustrating, as I really want to be starting on my French fleet for the Victory at Sea Campaign which, I expect, is now sitting in a parcel on my doormat at home. In the meantime, I'm keeping busy reading the rules and devising additional forces that I can use as opposition for my principal 1/3000 scale French fleet.

One of these is the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, which is quite powerful and has some really interesting elements. There's only one battleship but three heavy and two light cruisers to make up for it, with numerous modern and not so up to date destroyers, some of which are quite effective especially the larger destroyer leaders. There are plenty of subs and lots of fast torpedo boats as well.

With one or two minor gaps, everything is available in the Navwar range and you can also get a pack of Soviet aircraft in 1/2400 scale from GHQ, which would provide some much needed land based air cover. I'm not sure what the Soviets would be doing fighting the French Mediterranean fleet but it would be an interesting 'what if', with the Russians sending a task force through into the Eastern Med for some reason or other.

I'll probably just stick with the French but it's interesting to work out some alternatives, even if they're all a bit theoretical!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

VaS and the NWS

I've been thinking of a second, much smaller fleet or task force for Victory at Sea, so that I can set up some games for the boys at home and also run some pre-campaign practice games for my own experience. This would be a relatively small selection of ships, perhaps a dozen or so, with an emphasis on lighter units rather than capital ships. I've been narrowing down the options from early war British to Black Sea Fleet Soviet, but it's up for grabs.

One possibility at the moment is a Dutch led taskforce for the Netherlands East Indies, which would also include some British, US and Australian ships. This could be used against the Vichy French and obviously against the Japanese. Although there are no lists for the Dutch in the rules or supplement, there is a list to download from the Naval Wargames Society website, so there's no obstacle to putting together a small cruiser based task force.

I joined the NWS a couple of years ago and have enjoyed the regular issues of All Guns Blazing, which usually has something of interest to read and is well worth the annual membership. This year I'm hoping to get to the NWS show in Gosport in June and will try to persuade the chaps at the club to run a game on one of the days, if the current enthusiasm for naval gaming hasn' t fizzled out my then?

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Spring Cleaning

It's time for the annual spring cleaning of the project backlog, ready for the summer when I usually get at least one big project completed, although it often drags over into the autumn. I have far too many unfinished 28mm skirmish level projects on the go so, in an effort to concentrate on one key effort, I've decided to stuff them back into storage to concentrate on Chain of Command. They will return but only after I've completed the Japanese platoon that I've promised to field.

As I've committed to assembling the Japanese platoon for a club opponent, this will have to be the only 28mm project on the workbench for the next three months or so. I will also be completing my 1/3000 scale fleet for the Victory at Sea Campaign as my immediate project once I get back from my holidays. I doubt I'll have time for much else before the summer holidays but, if I can squeeze something in, it'll probably be my 1/600 coastal warfare project, as I find painting 'things' a lot easier than figures.

One possible new project in 15mm is an ancient army for Impetus but I think this will have to be my summer holiday basing project, as I doubt I'll be able to tackle it before then. The current favourite is a hoplite era army for the Pelloponesian Wars using the excellent Xyston range of figures. I'm not decided on a city state yet but the Spartans are an obvious choice, followed by the Athenians or one of the smaller Allied city states such as Corinth or Argos, all of which feature in the Extra Impetus IV supplement.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A Few Acres of Snow

A trip to Quimper this afternoon and the local games shop. This jumped off the shelf at me, thanks to both the subject matter and the Peter Dennis artwork, so I now have yet another diversion to contend with. I read a review of the first edition a while back and it sounded like a really well thought out game, so I'll be looking for an opponent to test it out when I get back in a few days time.