Saturday, 21 October 2017

Bag the MiG / MiG Alley

As you may have noticed, I've been bitten by the air wargaming bug again, with another Bag the Hun game scheduled for next month and a follow on game of Knights of the Sky in the run up to Xmas. I have plenty to do to get things ready for both of these club multiplayer games but, in the meantime, I've been digging out some of my old air warfare projects that didn't quite get off the ground.

A couple of years ago I finally got round to a Wings at War MiG Alley project, which doubled up as a Bag the Mig project using the Bag the Hun variant for the Korean War. I magnet based a shedload of 1/600th scale Tumbling Dice aircraft for this and even painted then washed the basecoat on the USAF fighters, before being side tracked onto other things.

I also devised a basing system using 13.5mm, 20mm, 30mm and 40mm panel pins glued into mdf bases, allowing me to swap the planes for different altitudes in MiG Alley and, at the same time, to use them with hex based stands for Bag the MiG. I've subsequently used a variant of this system for my 1/600th Cold War and ultra modern Target Locked On! projects, although without the magnets.

I have now decided to give the Bag the MiG / MiG Alley project, for want of a better title, a second go but this time using thicker 3mm laser cut mdf squares and hex bases, which weren't available when I started the project first time round. These will allow the panel pins to have a better grip and avoid the 'wobbly' base problem, when the tip of the pin sticks out a fraction and scratches the table.

As soon as I've finished the B17G's and P38J's for the next Bag the Hun game, I'll get cracking on the 1/600th scale USAF, USN, NKAF and PLAAF planes, so that I can get some games of both Bag the MiG and MiG Alley up and running in 2018. I've also ordered a second copy of the MiG Alley rules so that I can find an opponent to playtest the system at the club, without having to photocopy the booklet.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Blue Swastika Rampant Russian Reconaissance

I have been reading about the various aerial actions of the Winter War and Continuation War lately, trawling through relevant Osprey Aircraft titles for inspiration. As I was reading, I found several potential scenarios involving Soviet reconnaissance aircraft including the famous Polikarpov PO2, the slightly less well known Polikarpov R-5 and even the MBR-2 flying boat, which was the Soviet equivalent of the Supermarine Walrus.

I didn't think any of these existed in 1/300th scale but found all three in the Heroics and Ros range, which used to be manufactured by Navwar. I don't know what the quality of these models is like but they weren't expensive and I only need one of each for a decent game, so I decided to give them a go. I'll do a review when they arrive but I'm off on holiday next week so it may be a while before I get round to it.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Bag the Hun B17 Combat Box Game

I've booked in a Bag the Hun multiplayer game for the 21st November at the club, which will be built around an early 1945 bomber mission over Germany by B17G's, escorted by P51D Mustangs and/or P47D Thunderbolts, with a couple of P38J Lightning twin engine fighters as an added extra.

The Luftwaffe will be attempting to break up the combat box using waves of FW190A8's and FW190D9's, Bf109K's and Me262's, although some Me163 Komet rocket powered interceptors may also make an appearance if I get them painted. I have most of the other aircraft ready to go, so will only need to finish a handful of planes this time around.

Thus far, take up has been a bit slow but I'm sure it will pick up once the players get the message and start to sign up. I'm looking forward to working up both the scenario and the cards for this one, as there are a few rules that I have yet to try out involved, so it will be an interesting little project for the half term break.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Bag the Hun P38 Lightnings

I found two of these 1/300th scale P38L's in a box this evening and thought I'd base them for the next Bag the Hun game using  a couple of recycled resin stands. I think they are either Skytrex or Heroics and Ros models but, to be honest, I can't remember how or where I originally found them. They look well proportioned and fairly accurate but they are definitely on the basic side when it comes to detail. I think they will paint up quite nicely alongside the B17G's that I'm working on at the moment. I'll mark them up as 429th Fighter Squadron 474th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force P38J's, so that I can use them right up to the end of the war.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Knights of the Sky 1918 Game Photos

We had a very enjoyable game of Knights of the Sky at the club this evening, with the RAF winning by a long way despite the efforts of the German Imperial Air Service to disrupt their ground attack mission. The game ended up with more players than I expected and, as a result, the British / Belgian team had a distinct numerical advantage which swung things their way. The ground attack rules worked well but I have decided to use the special Yellow (frontal hit) dice for the impact of damage, as the General dice didn't result in as much shooting down as I had hoped. All in all, however, it was a solid scenario and a good overall game. Tally Ho!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Sturmovik Commander

I've been thinking about the potential of 1/144th scale model kits for WW2 air gaming again, with an eye on something suitable for a simple multiplayer, participation style club or show game. I had some initial thoughts about this 'upscaling' idea before and had picked up a few Zvezda and Revell aircraft model kits with this is mind. These kits are quite cheap and there are sufficient aircraft available to re-enact some early to mid-war low level actions on the Russian Front:

However, I got stuck on a set of hex based rules to fit with the Hexon terrain that I decided to make use of, as the most convenient way to organise movement and firing. I was thinking of a simplified version of the original Bag the Hun but thought it might be too fiddly. I didn't even consider a non-hex based option until I found a download of Sturmovik Commander on the laptop hard drive. Now, this would be a potential set of rules to use, being hex less and relatively user friendly, not to mention being completely free. I will have to give them a closer look, especially as I have a very nice 6' x 4' winter terrain cloth that would be perfect!

Scrimgeour's Small Scribbling Diary

I found a decent, hardback copy of this famous first hand account of life in the Royal Navy during the First World War in the Oxfam bookshop on Saturday. It's of particular interest to me as my great grandfather was a Royal Navy artificer, at the same time and pretty much the same places as the author, although not on the same ships. They were also both at Jutland but luckily for me my great grandfather was miles away from the  main action. I'm looking forward to reading it over the half term holiday, which can not arrive too soon!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

B17G Masking Up

I've spent most of today at my daughter's rugby tournament in Alton but got back at about four this afternoon, giving me some time to mask up the B17G's for the next stage of painting. This involves both the olive drab anti-glare panels on the engines and nose, together with a 3mm wide diagonal unit stripe in black on the starboard wing. I could use decal strip for this but it's probably easier just to paint it then tidy up the edges afterwards. I'll try to get some paint on these tomorrow, if I get back home at a sensible time.

Trench Strafing Dice

I have bodged together the trench strafing dice for the club WW1 game on Tuesday, using a couple of GW scatter dice, some white sticky labels and good old fashioned Letraset rub down lettering.  In the end I decided to have only one hit face, two aircraft damaged faces, a gun jam face and two target missed faces, making it a little harder to knock out the target.

This was after I did some test rolling and found that two hit faces on a D6 made it too easy. The two aircraft damaged faces also make it more likely that at least some risk is involved in low level ground attacks, although the follow on damage dice roll won't always result in any actual holes in your plane. If this system works I will keep it like this but I can easily modify the dice on the day if it all goes wonky!

In other news, I've managed to dismember one of my four 1/72nd scale Fokker DVII's, so only have three left for the game, plus an Albatros DVa that one of the players is going to bring along. This will mean the Germans will be outnumbered 4:6 but I don't think it matters as they have the advantage of anti-aircraft fire to shoot down the RAF and the Fokker DVII is a better aircraft than the Se5a's and Camels of the enemy.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

More Blue Swastika Rampant Russians

I've been reading up on the Continuation War and realise that I will need some more Soviet aircraft to extend any scenarios up to 1941-42. This includes more modern fighters including the MiG-3 and some reconnaissance aircraft like the Pe-2, which both seem to appear more and more as the conflict moved into the early forties. In fact, there is a lot more potential in 1941-42 than in the earlier Winter War conflict of 1939.

As Scotia have both of these aircraft in the their 1/300th scale range, I was able to order a single Pe-2 and nine MiG-3's to supplement the I-16's, I-153's and so on that I already have. The Pe-2 is a lovely model, very clean and crisp and with some beautiful lines, while the MiG-3 is more workmanlike but equally good looking. I am now a definite convert to the Collectair range, having dismissed it for years as being a bit crude!

I also bought three Su-2 reconnaissance / ground attack light bombers, as they just looked really funky with their rear gunner turrets. I'm not sure if they operated against the Finns but I wouldn't be surprised if they did, as the Russians had loads of them and they were a fairly new design. It will be interesting to see if they live up (down?) to their reputation as being virtually useless and an easy target for enemy fighters?