Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Legend of Dead Man's Hand

It's been a long time since I dusted off my Legends of the Old West collection but I have enjoyed a couple of multiplayer club games of Dead Man's Hand since then, although these were quite a while ago. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the tactical card based turn sequence and the flavour of the game, so have decided to splash out on the new campaign supplement to extend the rules.
The real thing that really caught my eye was the inclusion of a Mexican Bandito gang in the line up, which is perfect for my existing but little used posse of sombrero clad miscreants. I'm hoping that the figures that I have already painted will cover all of the options but, if not, I have some extra figures that I can add to the posse to make up the numbers.

Victory at Sea French Fleet [2]

Here's the initial phase of the French fleet ready for painting, consisting of the battleships, heavy cruisers and the aircraft carrier. I have the Dunkerque as well but the Navwar model has a rather strange B turret, which has the 16'' guns pointing into the back of A turret (!), so I'm going to leave it out for the moment.
The heavy cruisers are all excellent models, although the fourth Suffren class ship had a miscast so has been ditched, but the battleships required quite a lot of sanding and filing to remove the casting lines. They are, however, much cheaper than the equivalent Davco ships, so I'm not bothered as now they're cleaned up and undercoated they look fine.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

What if?

I've sorted out the various elements of the French fleet ready for painting and have decided to fill in some gaps with 'what if' warships that were either proposed or still under construction in 1940. This is in line with the campaign rules which allow us to play around with counterfactual parameters in order to create fleets that are reasonably matched.
The first addition is the Jean Bart, incomplete sister ship to the Richelieu, which was virtually finished in 1940 and did actually see some action, if only as a floating battery in Dakar. In my fleet, it will be operating with the Free French having been completed in time for the war, with all of it's main armament operational.
The second addition is the proposed fleet carrier the Joffre, which was afloat in 1940 if only as an incomplete hull. This will add significant air cover and strike capacity to the fleet which, otherwise will have to rely on the obsolete and slow Bearn. It's a lot less likely to actually have seen action but will be helpful when I'm up trying to fend off air attacks and launch strikes against enemy shipping.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The French Fleet Arrives

It's back to work today where I located the package from Navwar containing my nascent French WW2 fleet for Victory at Sea. I'm now waiting for some mdf bases to arrive from ERM so that I can crack on with basing them up. I'm not sure if I'll paint the ships then bases them or vice versa but, for the moment at least, I'm sorting out which ships to do first. I have some 30mm x 80mm mdf bases for the heavy cruisers so can start on them straight away but the rest will have to wait a couple of days. I'm not going to hang about and hope to get a decent sized fleet completed by the end of the month.

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!