Friday, 29 May 2015

Mad Max Fury Road

I went to see this last night and was suitably impressed. It's a bit more fantasy than Mad Max 2, which is a better film I think, but the action is amazing and Tom Hardy isn't bad in the lead role. The various post-apoc cars and vehicles are brilliant, especially the spikey ones and the cars with the truck spearing harpoons. I'm tempted to bash together some cars and a war rig truck using my garage full of Hot Wheels now. I must resist the temptation though as I have plenty of other things to do!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Normandy Firefight Project [1]

I've decided to give next month a Normandy Firefight focus in 1/35th scale. This will initially involve the assembly and painting of six British infantry figures for NW Europe in three poses each including an NCO, a Bren gunner, three riflemen and a PIAT operator. If I can squeeze a seventh figure out of the various kits that I've gathered together, I'll probably add either a fourth rifleman, a sniper or a medic. I have some insignia for the 43rd Wessex Division so they will all be 5th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, One and All.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Galleys and Galleons [20]

I've spent the day painting the kids bedrooms as the boys are both away for the week, one on a scout camp in Dorset and the other on a sail training week somewhere in the Channel Islands. The bloke in the local Co-Op told me I looked like a smurf, being covered in a fine mist of azure blue emulsion paint, but at least that bit is done and I can now move onto the woodwork.

As a result, I only had an hour or so this evening for wargaming stuff, so I've assembled the last (?) of the Peter Pig pirate ships for Galleys and Galleons. This is the biggest model in the range and is a resin casting with metal masts and sails. It went together really easily and I've added some heavy guns and crew to the maindeck to turn it into a large man o'war.

I'll start on painting the fleet tomorrow, although I'm only going to start with the schooners sloops, as theses can be painted up together being relatively small.  I want to put on another playtest game for Gary and Mike in a couple of weeks time, so it would be only decent to get at least half a dozen of the ships painted up beforehand if I can.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

263 Squadron Whirlwind Missions [7]

The BTH2 scenario playtest was a bit 'hit and miss' this evening, with one of the scenarios working out fine and the other falling a bit flat. The first one, 'Itching to Mix It', only needs a slight ammendment, with the addition of an increasing die roll to the No Fuel to Duel special rule. If the Luftwaffe players had been a little more aggresive it would have been a really good game.

The second scenario, 'Moral - Don't Straggle' needs a more fundamental re-think as it was too difficult for the Luftwaffe and too pedestrian for the RAF. I may even ditch it and work on the convoy and coastal shipping attack scenarios that were origianlly my focus. I have two of these on the 'to do' list, so will get around to then at some point next month.

In the meantime, it's back to painting up the Galleys and Galleons pirate ships!

Normandy Firefight Revisited

We ended up in Hobbycraft at one point yesterday and I tried in vain to find some 1/32 Airfix multipose figures, having been inspired by Steve Blease and his Kohima project for Normandy Firefight. However, I didn't have any luck so picked up a box of 1/35 Tamiya US infantry instead, which work out cheaper than 28mm!

I have enough figures to assemble half a dozen US infantry figures using the box sets I already have in the plastic kit pile. These will include an NCO or junior officer, a couple of riflemen, a BAR gunner and a bazooka team or sniper. I'll also put together a vehicle of some sort as a focus for scenarios, probably a scout car or light tank.

I'm not sure when I'll get round to doing this but I really like the scale and focus of the rules, so it may be a another project for the summer holidays or the autumn. The terrain is a bit of a challenge but I'm sure I can come up with something that will not be too daunting. I was even thinking of Tunisia or the Italian Front to keep things simple.

Monday, 25 May 2015

263 Squadron Whirlwind Missions [6]

Despite a *&^%! laptop that keeps crashing and a very busy day, I've managed to type up the draft briefings for two of the scenarios that I'm playtesting tomorrow night. I don't think I'll get time to type up the third one as I still need to DTP the cards for the first two, but I may be able to squeeze it in after I've painted one of the kids bedrooms. If I don't, I'll run the ones I've got and then do another scenario for the last game, probably using my late war Soviet fighters against the Luftwaffe somewhere on the Russian Front.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

263 Squadron Whirlwind Missions [5]

You may not remember the first four installments of this thread, as they were posted about a year ago, but here's number four in the search for Westland Whirlwind themed scenarios for Bag the Hun.

I've now done  a rough draft of three of the potential playtest scenarios for the club game on Tuesday, with the working titles of 'Itching to Mix It', 'Moral - Don't Straggle' and the slightly less prosaic '109's - Beat It! There's a final scenario involving a more complex Roadstead mission to scribble up, then all four need to be turned into neat, word processed scenario briefings tomorrow, together with some basic turn cards for each one.

Fw190 A4 (left) Fw190A8 (right)

I've also been busy reverse engineering four Leading Edge Fw190 A8's into Fw190 A4's, which involves shaving off and sanding away the cannon blisters on the top of the fuselage and the ventral bomb rack on the underside. This sounds easy but is a bit tricky, as you need to avoid cutting away too much of the surface detail or sanding it off by mistake. I only need two of these for the pilots of III/JG2 to be shot down in, but I thought I'd do a full schwarm while I was about it. Why not?

Fighting Sail First Impressions

This arrived in the post a couple of days ago but I haven't had time to give it more than a quick flick through until now. It's a solid looking set of fleet level rules, designed for 1/1200 scale but easily adapted to 1/2400 by halving the measurements. This makes it ideal for larger battles where numerous ships have to be managed.

It includes all the usual aspects that you'd expect alongside a set of fleet lists for most of the naval powers, although there's no list for the Danes or Swedes. There are also six generic scenarios from a basic encounter on the high seas, through convoy escort and blockade to evasion amongst others, all of which look like they would give a good game. 

There is also a mini-game for one on one frigate actions, which I think I will use as a first port of call, especially as it only requires a couple of models. The rules are beautifully illustrated with colour photographs, diagrams and markers, together with some fantastic Peter Dennis color plates from various Osprey titles. 

These are so good that I've also downloaded the Osprey Duel British Frigate vs French Frigate book, from which many of the pictures are sourced. A bit of an indulgence but we'll worth it. I'm thinking of 1/2400 scale for this set of rules using Tumbling Dice ships, so I'll have a go at painting a couple of frigates along with my 1864 ships.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Jacques 'Jaco' Andrieux

I've got three definate scenarios sketched out for the Bag the Hun No263 Squadron 'Whirlibomber' project, so all I now need to do is write them up, then mock up some cards for the different units involved. This shouldn't take too long as two of the scenarios are very simple, leaving only the last one involving anything complicated. I'm planning to write up the first two scenarios tomorrow.

As a bonus, I also have a fourth 'sprog' level scenario that I could turn into an additional game, although it doesn't really feature the Whirlwinds. This is a 'bounce' by F/O Jacques 'Jaco' Andrieux of No130 Squadron on two unsuspecting Fw190's of JG2 on 28th February 1943. The Fw190's were in turn attempting to intercept a pair of straggling Whirlwinds of No263 Squadron which had just attacked Maupertus airfield.

Acting alone, Andrieux succeeded in shooting down one of the Fw190's in his Spitfire VB (PJ-Z) and succesfully scared off the other, this being his first aerial victory and eventually leading to his status as a Free French ace by the end of the war. It would make an excellent starter scenario and would be ideal as an introduction to the use of bogeys, so I may well write it up too.

Tasmanian Whirlwind

I found this in digital format this morning. It's a mine of useful information for the scenarios I'm developing, especially as the pilot concerned flew on two of them including the first Whirlwind v. FW190 clash. I also found another potential sprog scenario in the book involving a single Spitfire VB flown by a Free French pilot in an escort role taking on two FW190's, one of which he shot down. Good stuff!