Monday, 20 February 2017

Destroyers: An Illustrated History

I found this today in a second hand charity bookshop for only three quid. On first impressions, it didn't look like much and I just assumed it was one of those typical 1980's style re-hash books, all dodgy exploded diagrams and not much substance. 

After a closer look, however, it turned out to be not too bad. All in all, there's a pretty comprehensive coverage of destroyer development and usage from 1900 to the 1970's, with particular emphasis on the Second World War. A decent reference book for modelling and wargaming, if not for the specialist. 

It makes me think of what could be done with all those old 1/700 plastic waterline destroyer kits by Fujimi, Tamiya, Skywave, Matchbox and Hasegawa, perhaps with a naval 'skirmish' approach and some simple, fast play destroyer action rules of some sort. 

I quite like the idea of a Narvik style scenario or perhaps some night action off Guadalcanal, all in a scale where the destroyer models are big enough to look impressive but small enough to still have realistic engagement distances.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Bagging the Blenheims Research

It's a bit clunky as a working title but the latest Bag the Hun 2 scenario is now in the research and development stage. I've narrowed the set up down to the following, based half on the actual historical events and half on the models I have ready to deploy:

6 x Blenheim IV's (14 Squadron)

8 x Hurricane II's (229 Squadron)*

4 x Bf 109 F's (Stab III/JG27)

This would seem a little unbalanced but will be weighted in the Luftwaffe's favour by assigning high ratings for the very experienced pilots of III/JG27 including the junior ace Oblt Erhard Braune, who already had twelve confirmed kills to his name by this time. The Axis players will also get a fair amount of nasty light flak to throw at the bombers as they make their attack run..

The RAF by comparison will be relatively inexperienced, with 229 Squadron in particular, being re-formed as a full unit only in September 1941. I will have some regular and veteran flight commanders but there will also be a sprinkling of sprogs making up the two flights of Hurricanes, which were also far less than an equal match for the Bf109F. 

The only exception to this will be the 14 Squadron C/O, Wing Commander J K 'Buck' Buchanan DFC, who will definitely be getting his own character card and possibly a 'special' card of some kind to represent his skill, experience and leadership. This would give the Blenheim formation a bit of an edge, even if their top cover lets them down.

It's already shaping up to be a really interesting scenario and should be a challenge for both the RAF and the Luftwaffe for different reasons. I'm hoping to get the scenario briefing sketched out over the next couple of days. In the meantime it's back to the books to fill in some missing details.

*these really should be cannon armed IIC's but I will be using IIB's instead.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Scramble for Britain

My foray into 1/600th scale naval and aerial wargaming continues with a successful eBay bid on a couple of starter packs of Tumbling Dice aircraft and a (second) copy of the starter set for Scramble for Britain, the Battle of Britain rules in the Wings at War series. This lot put me back about a fiver less than the full asking price, so not a massive saving but still worth it, especially as I already have quite a few packs of German and British aircraft set aside to add to the respective air fleets. This means that I now have more than enough planes and rules to set up a respectable Battle of Britain Wings at War project at some point, as an adjunct to my existing efforts in 1/285th scale using Bag the Hun. Tally Ho!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Bagging the Blenheim

I've been thinking of a Plan B scenario for the club Bag the Hun multiplayer game in a few weeks time. This will  now probably be a North Africa scenario in December 1941, based on an article from the superb Crusader Project website:

The good thing about this historical scenario is that is almost tailor made for the 1/285th scale aircraft that I've already got including the Blenheim IV's of 14 Squadron, Hurricane II's of 229 Squadron and Bf 109F's of III/JG27. There's also some flak to make things interesting!

I'll run up a scenario outline as soon as I can find the time.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Kriegsmarine Coastal Forces

I've assembled and undercoated the last models for the moment including two Raumboote and an M35 class minesweeper. The R boats are the old Skytrex models which I think are supposed to represent the torpedo equipped R301-312 series boats. I decided to turn mine into less heavily armed early model R boats but without removing the torpedo tubes as this was a bit fiddly. I may well cut them off and sand them down before I paint them up.

The M35 class minesweeper was one I assembled a while back but I didn't do a great job of it so have tidied it up and re-undercoated it instead. I'm hoping to actually start painting some of the models I've prepared over the next few weeks but half term is approaching, so I won't be around for much of the rest of the month. I will also be having a crack at another game of Schnell Rules for Schnellboote! when I get the chance.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Combat Machines B-17G Flying Fortress

A fortuitous find in WH Smiths today in the form of a reference guide to the B-17G, with loads of operational information, photographs and colour profiles. Although I already have plenty of references for this sort of thing in the library, not to mention online, it's a very welcome addition and will prove very useful when I work out the group and squadron markings for my 1/300th scale Scotia Collectair models. The plan is to paint them up in late war overall aluminium in order to speed up the finish but I may well have a couple with some residual olive drab to add a bit of variety. It would be nice to have a splash of colour too!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Bagging the B17

It's been a toss up between the B-26 Marauders and the B-17 Flying Fortresses but I've decided that the focus of my next Bag the Hun 2 game will be a mass attack by late war Luftwaffe fighters on a combat box of B-17G's. The Scotia Collectair B-26 is a nice model but I only have five of them, the sixth having been badly miscast, which I didn't spot until I took a close up look at the wing leading edge. The B-17's are, however, a bit more robust and should clean up nicely, once I've removed all the lumps and bumps. It's a bit of a shame not to use the Marauders, as I've found what could be a really good historical scenario based around a mission to bomb the rail bridge at Mayen on 23rd December 1944. I guess I'll just have to save that one for another time, having just put in an order for some replacement Marauders to make up the numbers.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Bag the Hun Game Plan

I've promised to run a multiplayer game of Bag the Hun 2 at the club at some point next month as it's always good fun and I haven't played a game for nearly a year. I have half a dozen Scotia Collectair B-17G's and B-26's that I bought last year to add to my late war Defence of the Reich aircraft, so I may well dig some of them out, paint them up and write a mission based around daylight bombing over NW Europe in 1944-45. If I don't find the time to do that, I'll fall back on something that I already have ready to go, so either the Defence of Malta or the Battle of Britain. Tally Ho!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Knights of the Sky 1917 Game


The 1917 Knights of the Sky multiplayer club game this evening was a lot of fun, with plenty of action and some very funny moments. The RFC managed to complete two circuits of the target area for their artillery spotting mission but the Re8 was shot down as it began the third and final turn. The Germans lost one aircraft but so did the French, while the RFC lost both the Re8 and a DH2 to the guns of Jasta 2's Albatros scouts. I think we all had a really good game, despite lots of gun jams and a bit of a pile up in the middle of the table at times. I really should set up another game for later this year, especially as the centenary of Bloody April isn't that far away.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Knights of the Sky Flight Stands

I couldn't find my hex based flight stands for the Knights of the Sky club game tomorrow, so I had to very swiftly make some new ones so that there are enough to go round. I did locate the telescopic magnetic pick up tools for the stand part but not the mdf hexagon bases themselves. Luckily, I know a very nice bloke with an industrial laser cutter, so one bottle of wine later and I had four perfectly cut 100mm hex bases that just needed to be drilled for a bolt and washer. I counter sunk the bolt heads and glued the bolts and washers to the hex bases with superglue to make them a bit more robust. It's all a bit rushed but at least there will be four pilots with flight stands to fly their aircraft on.