Thursday, 5 March 2015

Darkest Africa Rules Revival

There seems to be a bit of a Darkest Africa / Colonial Skirmish vibe in the pipeline of late, with the French Studio Tomahawk developing an In the Heart of Africa meets M+T mash-up (at a guess?), although I'm sure it's far less clunky than it sounds. The rules have the working title of Congo and look very promising, at least from the splendid photos of figures and terrain that are floating around on the web.

Not only that but Dan Mersey is working on a set of colonial skirmish rules for Osprey, with the slightly less mundane title of The Men who would be Kings, in a nod to the classic film and Kipling in particular. I am suitably enthused and unusually well-placed to make the most of this genre, with an entire African tribal army based up ready for painting and plenty of fantastic Copplestone colonial figures in the leadpile...

...not that I could produce anything like the photo above!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Bag the MiG [8]

Despite the snail-like pace of my Bag the MiG / MiG Alley project I have just acquired some North Korean ground targets for the UN forces to strafe, with a successful bid on some Oddzial Ozmy 1/600th scale WW2 Soviet packs via Ebay. 

This will give me more than sufficient knock-off Studebaker trucks, T34/85's, artillery bases and light vehicles for the USAF and USN to plaster from on high, with interdiction being a significant feature of the Korean War air campaign. 

I'll organise them up as convoys elements using modelling paste to texture the mdf bases, very much in the same style as the 1/300th scale AAA units that I completed for Bag the Hun.  It's all very slow progress at the moment but things will pick up in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Bolt Action Yanks [34]

This post should really be Chain of Command Yanks [1] but, as I started the project for Bolt Action, I might as well stick to the original title. These are the handful of extras that I need to complete for a Chain of Command version of my established late war US infantry platoon. I had a lot of fun painting and gaming with this lot, so it is high time I upgraded it for Chain of Command.

The AT gun and crew are the most significant addition, requiring an additional three figures over and above the Bolt Action equivalent. I also need some extra riflemen to bulk out a third squad, together with a couple of extra crew for the 30.cal MMG team. The emphasis on crew figures in CoC is probaly more realistic but it doesn't half push up the cost of crew-served weapons.

To finish off there's a FOO and a bazooka team as support list options, ready for basing and undercoating tomorrow. The bazooka team are a luxury but, from previous encounters with the enemy they're well worth it, both in terms of cost effectiveness and AT firepower. The Artizan figures are really nice too, even if they're a little under-dressed for the winter of 1944!

Air War C21 Flashpoint Baltic [2]

I've been thinking about potential triggers for an 'incident' in the Baltic for the Air War C21 ultramodern project. The obvious one that springs to mind is an accidental shooting down of a Russian Tu-95 Bear reconnaissance aircraft by NATO fighters, although I'll leave the accidental bit for Mr Putin to decide, given the recent assasination of Mr Nemtsov in Moscow.

The problem is that Tumbling Dice and O8 don't make a Tu-95 or anything similar in 1/600th scale. So, I decided to have a look on Shapeways to see what was available and, lo and behold, there is a 1/600th scale Bear available from the Objects May Appear shop: http://www.shapeways.com/shops/objects

There's also an Il-76 transport aircraft that might be worked into the scenario, although I'm not sure exactly how? I'm a bit strapped for cash at the moment, due to emergency boiler repairs and other one-off expenses, soI'll have to wait to order the Tu-95 double pack for a couple of weeks, but it looks like my search for a suitable 'flashpoint' is sorted.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Air War C21 Projects for March

Well, this month has turned out to be a bit of a crash landing, in terms of the MiG Alley project and my plans to complete it by now. :O(

The workload issue and my week away in Cornwall wiped that one out, although the USAF planes are still on the workbench. In the meantime, I've been thinking ahead and have decided that I'm going to scale things back in March, in an attempt to finish at least one smaller project in the limited time I have available, now that we're in the run up to the final GCSE exams.

So, while I'll be chipping away at MiG Alley, the Chain of Command 5th DCLI project will be bumped along to the Easter holidays, during which I'll base up and undercoat the figures. The project for March will, therefore, be Air War C21 but from two different directions. To start with, I'm going to paint up a small handful of aircraft for the Alto Cenepa War, which is something I've been planning to do for a long time.

This was a short lived conflict between Peru and Ecuador in 1995, over a remote stretch of the Amazonian jungle on the border between the two countries. This involved some intensive air activity but only a couple of actual engagements, although there's plenty of potential for 'what if's? There's also a really interesting mix of aircraft, which I've already got from Tumbling Dice in 1/600th scale. I might even have a look at trying out Hind Commander for this as well.

The second half of the project will be the ultramodern Baltic Air Policing mission, which I've decided to call Air War C21 Flashpoint Baltic. This will kick off once the O8 1/600th aircraft from Fighting 15's arrive in the post, although this looks like it might be a while yet. This might even be turned into a series of linked scenarios or at least a club game, although I'll need to get more experience with the rules before I go that far.  It may also be an opportunity to try out the CY6 Jet Age rules.

Whether or not I actually get round to this before the end of term will have to be seen???

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Air War C21 Flashpoint Baltic [1]

This has been spooling up over the last week or so, with the media reporting on the Norwegians restructuring their air defence deployments and the Baltic Air Policing mission being on high alert for yet more Russian overflights. 

There are some absolutely outstanding photos of recent NATO Italian and Polish joint operations in the Baltic States over at superb The Aviationist weblog, which are well worth a closer look.I don't know how this chap gets hold of such stunning material but I am a very impressed:

In the meantime, I have some 1/600th scale Oddzial Ozmy aircraft in the post from the ever reliable Fighting 15's, which will be more than sufficient to equip the Russians, half a dozen NATO policing flights and the various Scandinavian air force contingents.

...watch this air space.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Tank Tracks to Rangoon

I was surpised but very pleased to find this title available in digital format yesterday. I read this many, many years ago when I was doing some seasonal work in the Isle of Wight, in between university and a proper job. This book has been a complete inspiration over the years and is the basis of my continued  interest in the late war campaign in Burma.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Sherman Tank Support

I have a couple of the old Corgi 1/48th scale diecast Churchill tanks to use as armour support for the 28mm British but they're MkIV's, with the square side doors, so not quite right for NW Europe. I'm not too fussy but the 5th DCLI only had occasional back up with Churchill's of the RTR, so it limits their deployment a bit, assuming I'm going for the historical option.

Here's my previous 20mm effort using Armourfast kits
The other alternative is to model the Sherman III's of the 8th Armoured Brigade, either the 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, 13/18th Lancers or the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, all of which had a close connection with the 5th DCLI at various stages right up to the end of the war. The only problem is that, assuming I stick with my usual 28mm plus 1/48th scale formula, no manufacturer has yet produced one for wargaming purposes.

Nice kit..it even has a cast metal lower hull!

Luckily, I have a couple of Tamiya 1/48th scale M4A2's that will do the job nicely, although they'll need to be assembled from kit form. I bought them for half price when Modelzone closed down last year and intended to use them with my 28mm US platoon. They got the Corgi M4A3's instead, so the Tamiya kits went back to the loft for a rainy day.

This is the 1/35th scaledecal set

 I'll need some insignia decals for the 8th Armoured Brigade, which Dom's Decals do in 15mm but not in 1/56th scale, which is a bit of a pain. I may well send Dom an email to ask if he'd scale the relevant sheet up to 28mm. There was a Bronco Decals set available a few years ago, which would have been perfect but it's long out of print and impossible to track down. 

I'm sure I can work something out though, with a bit of ingenuity an a steady paintbrush, or even a sheet of decal transfer paper and a printer?

Monday, 23 February 2015

Anti Tank Support

It was back to work today, so wargaming has been relegated to the waiting list as I struggle to catch up with marking, controlled assessments and all the other paperwork that needs to be tackled at this time of the academic year. I doubt that I'll be getting much done in the next few weeks as a result.


Nonetheless, I've decided to add some anti-tank support to the CoC late war British platoon, with a resin 6pdr AT gun and crew from the Crusader Minatures range. I have the old version of this in white metal but it's pretty flimsy, so the new resin version will be a much better alternative, especially as I can now fill out the five crew figures required by the rules.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

FoG Venta Belgarum

I just thought I'd give you a heads up for this Fields of Glory competition that the FoG enthusiasts at my local club have organised for next weekend. It's on both Saturday and Sunday, with a £15 entry fee, so worth a punt if FoG floats your boat. If not, there will be some club demo and/or participation games to have a look at and maybe even join in.

The Badger Farm Community Centre is easy to find, being located next to the Sainsburys store, which is just up the road from Junction 11 of the M3 which has a very handy Park and Ride bus station next to the turn off for Winchester.

There should be plenty of parking in the Sainsbury's car park either way, so if you are local or on the way past then why not drop in to say hello. For more information bung an email to Alan at the address above and I'm sure he'll be able to answer any questions that you might have about the competition and how to get involved.