sci fi

sci fi

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Night of the Ninjas

After much protestation by the sprog, I gave in and set up a couple of games of Samurai Blades for him after school today. The first game used the Night of the Ninjas scenario from the scenario book. I played the ninjas but was beaten by the defending samurai bodyguards, although I did allow a few dodgy dice rolls to go the way of the opposition.

Next, we played an ambush game using the Sohei warrior monk counters against one of the generic sets of ronin and ashigaru. As you can see, my warrior monks had to escape through the forest whilst being attacked from all sides by the bandits. It was a made up scenario but, on balance, I reckon it was a bit of a draw, with two dead monks and six escapees, for one wounded bandit.

I was outnumbered two to one though!

I'm going to print off the Cry Havoc rules and scenario booklet tomorrow, as my original set seem to have gone missing. I still have all the counters and the maps though, so I can easily set up a few medieval skirmish games for the kids using what I've got in the box. As it's something they seem to be enjoying and better than the DS or TV, I think it's a good way to get them won over to the attractions of wargaming!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Pirate Press Gang

I won this lot on Ebay last week and was very pleased to get them through the post today. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn't already have any of the figures in the packs and that they were also really good poses with plenty of character and few, if any, wierd bits. The four painted figures were also really superb and far better than my feeble efforts.

When I'll get round to painting this lot up I don't know but at the very least I'll have plenty of figures to add to my crew when I do. I'd like to expand the pirate project to a full on skirmish level set up and build a new, larger pirate ship as well, but this will have to wait until next year.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Bag The Doodlebug [12]

 
Despite the sub-arctic permafrost in the garage this evening, I managed to paint the canopies on the planes using the usual Foundry Sky Blue approach with a little white mixed in for a highlight. They look OK but I need to add some fine-lining in black to finish them off. I'm not used to painting bubble canopie and they're harder to get right than the good old fashioned birdcage variety.

I also painted up the V1's which, due to some dodgy finishing, are now down to one lone example. The other one looked so ropey that I had to consign it to the bin. I may replace it at some point but I only need one buzz bomb to shoot down, so it's not going to be missed. I used Foundry Phlegm Green for the camouflage, mottled on with a brush in various incoherent layers. It's not as good as I would've liked but it'll do.

It's all a bit 'ho hum' at the moment but I'm hoping things will begin to look a bit better once I crack on with the fine detailing including the exhausts, theatre bands, cockpit lining out, leading edge strips and other twiddly bits. I'm planning to get them finished for this time next week but I'll have to see how things go...

Samurai Blades

My five year old was pestering me to play a game this afternoon so I disappeared up the loft and found my old copies of Samurai Blades and Cry Havoc, which I'd stored away for a rainy day. He decided that Samurai and Ninjas sounded the more exciting of the two options and, as a result, we played out Scenario 1: Ambush from the scenario booklet. He won too!

I have to say it was great fun and the game has lost none of it's appeal in the twenty five years or so since I last tried it out. I used to play both Cry Havoc and Samurai Blades a lot when I was at school and, while they're very simple systems, they are very enjoyable. If you see a copy of Cry Havoc on Ebay then I'd thoroughly recommend that you put in a bid, although you can now download and print out all the maps, rules and counters for free!

This is the place to download the whole series of Cry Havoc games:

http://www.cryhavocfan.org/indexeng.htm

Good fun!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Knights of the Sky

I've set up a WW1 Knights of the Sky game in a couple of weeks time, as an incentive for me to slog through a steaming great pile of work that's landed on my desk over the last few days.

I've still got to think up a scenario of some sort set in December 1917, following the usual approach of recreating an actual aerial engagement that occured in the month corresponding to the current date. This will require a bit of research over the weekend but I'm hoping to have something sorted out in plenty of time for the game a week on Tuesday.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Bag The Doodlebug [11]


Far, far, far too cold in the garage tonight (and I thought it was chilly a couple of days ago!), so no painting this evening. I really need to sort myself out with some sort of heating in the dungeon where my workbench is located, otherwise the winter months make it a little less than toasty. I don't mind the cold that much to be honest, but it makes any fine paintwork a bit tricky, especially when your fingers start to freeze up.

On the plus side, I found the Doms Decals delivery on the doorstep when I got home this evening, including the rather excellent Polish insignia in 1/600th scale that I'm planning to use as nose art on the 315 Squadron Mustang III's. The smallest of the insignia is still a little on the large side but should fit in well under the exhausts on either side of the forward  fuselage. At least they'll be clearly marked as Polish!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Bag The Doodlebug [10]

I finished off a big pile of work today so, to reward myself for slogging through it, I came home a bit earlier than usual and painted the under fuselage and wings of the aircraft for Bag The Doodlebug. It's a bit of a tricky job but I think they're not too bad, considering I did it all freehand.

I'm not sure if I'm going to give them a wash afterwards as I quite like the contrast with the upper surface camouflage. I'll tidy up the overpainted bits and wobbly lines later on in the final painting stages. Next up will be the canopies.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Allied Fighter Aces

I've just finished reading this paperback which I picked up for £3 in the local Oxfam bookshop. It was in pristine condition so a bit of a bargain. It turned out to be a very good read too, although it didn't last that long and was a bit on the light side.

However, as a general overview of the development of fighter tactics from the Allied perspective, it was a jolly good read. It reminded me of the book written by Johnnie Johnson 'The Story of Air Fighting' which I read years ago.

There's another book in the series which deals with Luftwaffe Fighter Aces, so I'll have to keep a look out on ebay for that one too. If you're looking for a good place to start when it comes to WW2 air warfare, then you can't go far wrong with this one.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Bag The Doodlebug [9]


It's far too cold in the garage this evening and I'm far too tired to get any serious painting done, so I've settled for a simple overall wash on the aircraft to see if it brings out the panel detail. I used the good old gunge wash to overlayer the green and grey upper surface camouflage.

I think it looks promising and will allow me to add some panel highlights in the original shades at a later stage. I was going to paint the under surfaces as well, using Vallejo Pale Grey Blue (907) but that'll have to wait until tomorrow, along with the canopies.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Bag The Doodlebug [8]

After a very busy weekend, I managed to find a couple of hours this evening to finally get started on the aircraft for Bag The Doodlebug.

I haven't got time to hang about so, after a rummage in the spare paint box, I managed to find an old pot of Citadel Codex Grey to use as as stand-in for RAF Barley Grey. It's not the same as the GW version, being a bit lighter and with a slight green tinge, but it's close enough to the actual shade to be good enough for me.

This was followed up by a camouflage pattern in Vallejo Reflective Green, which is a little bit too bright but looks good against the grey. I struggled a bit with the Mustangs as I didn't have a plan view to work from but they seem to have come out OK. The next step will be to paint the under fuselage and wings in light grey, before taking the plunge and (possibly) trying out an overall wash.

Rapid Fire! Reading List

I was fortunate enough to spot a second hand copy of this autobiographical account of the campaign in NWE, from the perspective of a junior officer in 18 platoon / 4th Somerset Light Infantry/ 129th Infantry Brigade, on a car boot sale table this morning. It was only £3 so I picked it up as background reading for the Rapid Fire! 5th DCLI project.

I'd heard about it before in various other general accounts of the 43rd Wessex Division in Normandy, Holland and Northern Germany, so I recognised it immediately. Although it only refers to the the 5th DCLI in passing it does cover all of the engagements that the three brigades of the 43rd Wessex Division were involved in, including Mont Pincon, Arnhem and Hoven, so it's all interesting stuff.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Warfare 2010

I was hoping to make it to Warfare this weekend but things at work are so full on I just won't be able to spare the time. It's a shame as I look forward to Warfare as the best show of the year. The club participation game is going to be there, however, so if you fancy a bit of dogfighting over the Isle of Wight, I'm sure you'd be very welcome to join in.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Bag The Doodlebug [7]

I'm still searching for a Vallejo shade to match the RAF late war uppersurface camouflage grey but think I may have found a decent alternative. I may have to fall back on Humbrol Acrylic 167 RAF Barley Grey which, as the label suggests, is the exact shade I'm after.

I haven't used the Humbrol Acrylic range before but will give it a  try, as soon as I can get my hands on a pot of the stuff. In the meantime, I'm going to try to mix up something that's similar using the Vallejo shades that I do have. It shouldn't be too difficult to get close to the Barley Grey tone and at least it will save me some time and extra expense.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Bag The Doodlebug [6]

I finished off the last of the basing for the Bag the Doodlebug aircraft tonight and then undercoated the whole lot with Humbrol Light Grey spray. It's more of a light dusting than a full coating, as I didn't want to fill any of the detailed panel lines with paint.

I've also had a bit of a paint test using Vallejo shades in order to work out the principal colours that I'm going to use on the upper and lower surfaces. So far it's looking like Reflective Green (70890) and Pale Grey Blue (907) for the green camouflage pattern and the under fuselage, both colours being a pretty good match for the real thing.

The upper surfaces are a bit more of a problem as I've yet to find a good match for the medium grey camouflage shade used on late war RAF aircraft. I may have to fall back on something from Foundry or GW, unless I can find a suitable shade in the Vallejo range that I don't already have. I don't fancy mixing anything as it only makes things more complicated.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Rapid Fire Armour Support

I've been building up the reinforcements ready for the end of the month, when I'm planning to start on the Rapid Fire! 20mm WW2 project. The infantry are sorted, along with their transport and heavy weapons, so I've been focussing on the armour support.

I've already got some Armourfast Shermans to put together a regiment from the 8th Armoured Brigade, the most likely unit being the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry (Sherwood Foresters), who supported the 5th DCLI throughout the Normandy Campaign.

The decals for this unit will be supplied by the excellent Dom's Decal range. Although they're designed for 15mm they are apparently fine for 1/72nd scale too:


I've also just picked up three resin Raventhorpe Churchill tanks which I could use for the 7th Royal Tank Regiment earlier in the Normandy campaign and, in particular, for Hill 112. They've got a few minor bits missing but are otherwise fine and with a decent paint up will look pretty good.

Incidentally, there's some rather good  Rapid Fire! stuff for the opposition over at Jon's blog, which is well worth a look:

 http://jonswargamesminis.blogspot.com/2010/11/valiant-germans-and-diecast-panthers.html

Monday, 15 November 2010

The African Wars

I saw this advertised on TMP the other day and thought it would be a jolly good read, especially as it's the work of Chris Peers, one of my favourite rules writers. The offer at North Star looked too good to miss, so for a fiver less than the asking price I now have a hardback copy in my hands.

As with all Pen and Sword books it's very well presented and illustrated, with lots of interesting bits for me to work my way through.I'm hoping it'll kick start the Darkest Africa project again, as it's long overdue and I really should relieve the strain on the shelves above the workbench.

I'm pretty sure the accumulated leadpile is heading for a bit of a terminal avalanche fairly soon, if something fairly hefty isn't removed from the upper layers, so Darkest Africa is a prime candidate for clearance. That's another one for the 2011 list of things to do...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Bag The Hun Hurricane Decals

A while back, actually way back in February, I posted some pictures of my 1/285th scale Raiden Hurricanes that I'd painted up for the original Bag The Hun rules. I also explained that, having checked the squadron codes I discovered that they were wrong.

I'd used the otherwise excellent Beacon Decals Battle of Britain Hurricane set in good faith, choosing what were labelled as 56 Squadron codes but which were actually 152 Squadron codes. Now, this wouldn't matter much to me except for the fact that 152 (Hyderabad) Squadron flew Spitfires.


Bugger.

Anyway, I've finally resolved to sort this one out. I'm going to paint over the U of the UM then carefully add a T to form a TM code. This would turn my misfits into 504 (City of Nottingham) Squadron. If all goes according to plan (?) this should be an elegant solution to the problem. I hope?

50 Today

No. I'm not quite 50 yet, although I quite fancy being that little bit closer to retirement.

However, there are now fifty followers signed up to the blog, which is a bit of a result to say the least, given my snail like progress through various random and incomplete projects this year.

Anyway, if you're one of the aforementioned followers, many thanks for sticking with it and I hope you've found at least something of interest this year in return.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Bag The Doodlebug [5]





I finally cleared the decks and started on the aircraft for Bag The Doodlebug this evening. I have a shedload of work to get shifted at the moment, which means painting has taken a bit of a hit in the last week or so. As a result, I've decided to put off the larger Rapid Fire! project until the end of the month, leaving what time I have for the more manageable 1.285th scale planes.

As you can see, the intial line up consists of a V1, a Spitfire XIV, a Tempest V, a PR Mosquito and four Mustang III's. There are a couple more aircraft to clean up and base, in the shape of another Spit and Tempest, together with a few more V1's. I decided to splash out on the four No315 squadron Mustangs as I have plans to use them for other late war operations, whilst the lone Scotia Mosquito is a one off, just for fun.

I'll try to get the leftovers finished off tomorrow and the whole lot undercoated before end of the weekend.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Bag The Doodlebug [4]


I've been doing some background research into the aircraft used in Operation Diver, the V1 interception campaign in 1944, and have come up with some quite surprising findings. I knew about the Meteors I's, Tempest V's and Spitfire XIV's that were used as interceptors during the V1 attacks but had no idea that Mosquitoes and Mustangs were also used by the RAF for the same purpose.

I'm not surprised about the Mossies as their speed and armament would have been ideal, especially in the night interceptor role, but the Mustangs were not what I would have expected given their relatively lower performance. However, it appears that they were very successful, particularly in the hands of the Polish No315 Squadron, who flew Mustang III's both in the malcolm hood and birdcage versions.

The trick was to gain a higher altitude, around 1000 feet or so,  then swoop on the V1 in a shallow high speed dive. After that it was down to concentrated fire from the two Mustangs in a flight in order to blow the thing out of the sky. They also tried supercharging the engines above their specified level but this wasn't too popular with the pilots as it made the engines virtually fall apart with vibration.

There's an excellent first hand account of just such a V1 interception here:


So, I think I'll be adding a couple of Raiden Mustang III's with bubble canopies to the Tempests and Spitfires for this little mini-project.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Bag The Doodlebug [3]

I received the Raiden planes for the V1 wingtipping game through the post today. I have to say that the 3D CAD generated models for the Spitfire XIV has to be the most detailed 1/285th scale model that I have ever seen.

If you flip it over and have a look at the panel lines on the underwing surfaces you will be knocked sideways by the detail. I'll take some close up pictures tomorrow so that you can see what I mean.

Anyway, I'm sorely tempted to squeeze the Tempests and Spitfires into the painting equation this month, although the Rapid Fire!  5th DCLI also need to be cleaned up, based and painted at the same time.

I've decided to leave the Meteors to one side for the moment as they're not quite right for 1944, but the V1's will need to be included in the schedule if I'm going to get a game in before Xmas.

The amazing artwork is from here: http://www.luijken.com/





Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Pirate Ship Skirmish

I launched the pirate ship onto the ocean waves this evening in a game against Jon's rather splendid scratchbuilt galleon. We played the Sail on the Horizon scenario from the Legends of the High Seas book, learning the rules as we went along with one or two inevitable mistakes along the way.

There were a few highpoints including a ramming attempt by Jon which damaged his own ship and a broadside fired by my guncrew in which the cannon shot rolled out of the barrel and fell into the sea. The end result of these nautical shenanigans was a narrow win by Jon, after a well aimed raking shot at point blank range reduced my hull points to the required 33% for victory.

The rules for ship to ship games are a little bizarre and had some outcomes that required a bit of collective head scratching to work out. However, that was partly due to the fact that we hadn't played them before, although I get the impression that the rules as a whole could be better laid out and self explanatory.

Anyway, we followed up the first game with a Steal that Ship! scenario which ended up in the usual close quarters hack and slash. I came off much the worse and ended up with half my crew wiped out, whilst the remainder ran for the hills. It was a quick game but very bloody, so I think we'll try one of the cloak and dagger type games next time in an attempt to limit the carnage.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Pirate Gun Crew [7]

 
I finished off the bases on the extra crew figures this evening. It took longer than expected as the PVA glue decided not to dry very quickly due to the cold temperature in the garage. Nevertheless, they're now ready to join the rest of Black Jack Trelawney's shipmates and to play their part in the Legends of the High Seas game at the club tomorrow night.

As you can see I now have nineteen figures and a treausure chest, so plenty for the moment. I've just won a couple of Foundry pirate characters on ebay, including one with a rather fetching parrot, so they'll be painted up as and when. Now, however, it's on to the Valiant Tommies for Rapid Fire! I'm planning to get them cleaned up and based by the end of the week.

Warmaster Ancients Age of Arthur

After a bit of discussion with a couple of the guys at the club, we've decided to go for a Romano-British theme for Warmaster Ancients, using the army lists from the Ancient Armies supplement and the additional lists from Rick Priestley's Warmaster site. To a large extent, we'll be using the Warhammer Ancients Age of Arthur supplement as a rough guide.

The other two are keen on producing an the Arthurian army of some sort whilst, for the sake of balance, I've opted for an Early Saxon force. We are in the process of working out a regional campaign setting which, at this stage, may be in the West Country or up North. As a result, my army might be early West Saxon or Deiran / Bernician.

I have little choice in the composition of the army either way as it basically consists of four units of Thegns, eight of Ceorls and two units of skirmishers to make up the numbers to a round 500 points. The Early Saxon army list can be found on the Warmaster site: http://www.rickpriestley.com/

We've decided that 500 points plus a General is the most affordable and manageable way to get an army on the table. If we end up with a good set of games we can easily expand the armies up to the full 1000 points or alternatively build additional forces at the 500 points level for a bit of variety or to use as allies.

I now have to hunt around for suitable figures in the Pendraken catalogue, using the early Saxons from the late Roman range together with the late Saxons and Norse from the Dark Ages range. They're not quite right but will have to do. I may even try a little conversion work to make them a little less late Saxon, if I can manage to do so in such a tiddly scale.

Anyway, this is scheduled for next month at the earliest so there's plenty of time to work things out.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Pirate Gun Crew [6]

I got some serious painting time in this afternoon, as the sprogs were transfixed by the wonders of the telebox and the wife was having a constitutional snooze. As a consequence, I was able to sneak in some sureptitious painting without the need for:

a) child related info-taintment, or

b) tedious spouse related DIY odd jobs.

Not that the spouse is tedious, I hasten to add.

The walls have ears, you know.

Anyway, the result is an almost complete piratical gun crew, bar a little basing for the extras. I'll get the sand scatter on the bases of the extra crew figures done tonight, so that I can paint them up tomorrow and add some static grass ready for the game on Tuesday.


Saturday, 6 November 2010

Pirate Gun Crew [5]

As you can see I've been working away on the pirates tonight and gradually moving them towards the finishing stages. I should get the bulk of the work done by the end of the weekend, with the metal bits plus the hair, belts and bandoliers being the main areas for completion. After that, it's the final detailing and the bases to be tackled.

Axles and Alloys Law Enforcement

I did the usual weekend shopping trip to Sainsburys today and spotted this diecast Transformers police car in the toy section for a quid. It doesn't transform (?) so no doubt didn't appeal to the sprogs and ended up in the bargain bin as a result. I'm going to give it a quick wash and paint up the windscreen but, other than that, it's perfect as a law enforcement interceptor.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Bag the Doodlebug [2]

I had a rummage in the box of 1/285th planes and found that I already have two Gloster Meteor F3's and a couple of V1 Flying Bombs that came with a 1946 Battle Pack that I bought from Raiden ages ago. I'd completely forgotten about them, so will add them to the new Raiden planes that I've ordered when they arrive.

Although the F3 is a bit late for the V1 interception role it's close enough to an F1 for me, the only real difference being in the shape of the canopy. If I can be bothered, I'll have a crack at re-shaping the bubble canopy into a side door type one but I think I'll probably just keep it as it is.

I'm hoping the other planes will arrive soon so that i can squeeze them in alongside the Rapid Fire! project which should be kicking off next week, once the pirates are finished. I'm planning to get them done over the weekend so that I can use them in the game against Jon's new pirate galleon on Tuesday.