Sunday, 8 December 2019

Cruel Seas 23rd Flotilla MTB's

I've had (yet) another change of course over the last week or so, realising that the French pre-dreadnought project is probably a bit too much to bite off in one go just yet, so it's back to Cruel Seas but with a different focus. I have three sprues of Vosper MTB's from the starter set which I am going to build and paint up but just the three early Vosper models for the moment. I've ordered a boxed set of Vosper MTB's to add to these first three, so will have these as the basis of a flotilla once I've factored them in.

As I like a historical angle to my projects, the idea is to model the MTB's of the 23rd Free French flotilla which was based at Dartmouth between January 1943 and August 1944. These were of the Vosper 72 1/2' 1940-41 design and looked identical to the models on the Cruel Seas sprue, with only a  few minor variations in armament. There were eight boats in the flotilla, MTB 90, 91, 92, 94, 96, 98, 227 and 239, so I will have almost enough to replicate them all.

This project will inevitably spill over into 2020, but that's fine with me as I have been meaning to tackle it at some point and really should have done it sooner. In the longer term, I'll also get the 5th Flotilla S-Boats painted and assembled, which I started on way back in the July but ended up shelving, but they're already well underway so shouldn't take too long to complete. I'm going to base everything on transparent acrylic too, as I can't stand the idea of sticky fingers all over my paintwork!

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Football War Follow Up

I had a note from Paul Sulley of Tumbling Dice to say that he's going to be publishing my Football War variant of the Wings at War game, Corsairs and Cavaliers, which I put together a couple of  years ago and sent off to him as a proposal. He had mentioned this to be before but I assumed it had dropped off his radar, so I'm really pleased that it should be available sometime early in 2020, if all goes according to plan. I'll have to finish painting my 1/600th scale planes for the Honduran and Salvadoran Air Forces now so that I can actually have a game when it arrives!

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Cruel Seas Royal Navy Vosper MTB's

One of the ways in which I have cut back on the 'ooh shiny' impulse buying thing has been to wait at least six months before I jump on any passing bandwagons. This has worked really well over the last couple of years, as not only has the bandwagon usually disappeared over the horizon but, if it hasn't, everyone else has lost interest and has bunged it on eBay for a fraction of the original, often over inflated price tag.

It hasn't always worked, however, and I have acquired some 'shiny things' that have ended up gathering dust on the workbench shelves. One such embarrassment has been Cruel Seas, which I had every intention of tackling this year but didn't really get off the ground. To make up for this, I've shoved it back into the schedule for next year, with a renewed focus on some Royal Navy Vosper MTB's, of which I have a few from the starter set and the front cover of Wargames Illustrated. 

These will be quick to construct and hopefully fairly swift to paint, as I have no shortage of suitable colours to dip into and have painted up loads of the 1/600th scale equivalent in the past. I also now have some additional painting reference material, so will be able to represent some specific MTB's from particular flotilla, with the correct camouflage schemes and all the relevant accurate details. I may even get some more Royal Navy craft for Xmas?!

What was I saying about bandwagons...?

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Lard Day Luftwaffe Turn Cards

It's been a struggle finding the graphics for these but they're now done, at least in prototype format for the moment. I may add a couple more special cards for scenario flexibility but I think I have now sorted the cards I need for a playtest game. I'll have to get them printed and laminated first though, which is a bit of a pain to say the least. 

Monday, 2 December 2019

Mid Air Mishaps in Knights of the Sky

In the WW1 aerial game at the club the other week, one of the chaps had a very interesting idea. At one point there was a real pile up over the target area and it looked as though all of the aircraft involved were getting just a little bit too intimate with each other. This raised the inevitable question from one of the new players about mid-air collisions, to which the aforementioned veteran responded with a cunning plan, a potential mechanism for just such a thing.

I bounced this idea off the rules designer, Richard, via email and he was kind enough to send me this very enlightening reply:

I have always taken the view that mid air collisions were very rare because the aircraft were slow, manouvreable and there were relatively few of them flying around.  The horizontal scale is about 1:3000 and the vertical scale is about 1:12000, so in KoTS 'the same hexagon and at the same height' represents over 100 million cubic metres of air!  That said, feel free to add a house rule if you wish.  

How about all the players with aircraft in the same hexagon and at the same height roll 2xD6 if 2 or more of the players score a double 1, they make contact.  If that happens give them 1 each of all 4 coloured dice to roll for damage.  That gives a very small chance of a lot of damage which feels about right.  

I thought this sounded very sensible, so I will try it out in the next game that we play. I'm sure Oswald Boelcke would agree?

Coastal Warfare Windfall

I had a very busy weekend for various reasons, from making a full scale cardboard Christmas tree for scouts to taking the sprog on another university open day, so didn't get much done apart from the Christmas shopping. However, I sneaked in a trip to the local Oxfam bookshop where I found a shrink wrapped, brand new four volume set of coastal warfare books covering the principal MTB, MGB and ML's used by the Royal Navy, with full coloured profiles of each type and for multiple individual craft. 

It's a fantastic resource for painting and I can use it for both my well established 1/600th scale project and the 1/300 Cruel Seas stuff, which the guys at the club keep telling me just has to be done. The whole lot cost me twenty quid, which is an absolute bargain given that they go for nearly eighteen quid each! They have now gone in my stocking for Christmas Day, giving plenty of time to work out what I can do with all those lovely colour profiles and plan views. 

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Lard Day Update

The Come and Have a go if you think you're Lard Enough! player allocations are now in, thanks to the ever splendid Mr Backhouse and his organisational wizardry, with a full complement of gamers for both the afternoon and morning sessions of the Bag the Hun game. As a bonus, the sprog has also been gifted a couple of slots in some fantastic games, one an Arnhem Chain of Command game run by no less than Mr Richard Clarke himself and the other a Chain of Command North West Frontier game that looks absolutely brilliant. Tally Ho!

Friday, 29 November 2019

French Pre-Dreadnought Battleships

I've decided to make an early start on my 1/2400th scale pre-dreadnought project, which I was planning to kick off next year. As a 'proof of concept' exercise I'm going to assemble, base and paint a small selection of Tumbling Dice French battleships of the 1890's to create a squadron for a 'What If?' Anglo-French clash prior to the Entente Cordiale.

This was a really interesting period which saw the decline of the Jeune Ecole doctrine and the development of new, if outdated battleships to keep up with the Royal Navy's building programme. Not only that but the ships themselves were extraordinary to say the least!

It will be fun to paint something without masts and sails for a change but I will have to base them first, as they don't have the usual metal sea bases. The plan for the weekend is to glue them together, stick them on laser cut mdf bases that I'll texture with acrylic paste, then get them undercoated in Halfords white primer. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Flaming the Furniture Van

Or not, as it turned out. The WW1 Knights of the Sky game was good fun yesterday, even if only one aircraft was actually shot down by the end of the scenario, in which the Germans won a decisive victory. The Junkers J.1 lived up to it's reputation as a flying tank, taking multiple hits but still flying on regardless, while the escorting Fokker Dr1 and Albatros DV's took a battering. The RFC also ended up in tatters, with one Camel shot down and a couple of the Se5a's being virtually written off. It was a laugh, as always, even though I didn't take a playing role and just umpired the game, so I'll probably run another one sometime next year, either a late 1916 or mid-1918 scenario for a bit of change. I might even have those triplanes painted up by then, who knows?

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Finishing Off

I've got stuck in a bit of a rut with the Sandbox Skirmish project once again, although the vehicles are coming along fine, so I've decided to squeeze something different into the last month of the year to give me some direction. I only have about three weeks to go before we're off the France again, so it will have to be a mini-project to say the least. The fall back option is to finish off the last of the 1/2400th scale Royal Navy ironclads, which would be a good thing to wrap up, but I do like the idea of something else of a nautical persuasion. I'll have a think but it will have to be quick!


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