GRUNTZ

GRUNTZ
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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Spy or Die Trying


I decided that, with the Easter holidays on the immediate horizon, it was time to invest in a couple of new boardgames for the inevitable rainy days indoors. I'm not planning to take any figures to paint or base up this time round, so it will be a boardgame only break in Brittany, with plenty of opportunity to get learn some new games.

The first will be Spy or Die Trying, which won the vote over Hour of Glory after I foolishly asked the kids which one they would like to play the most. It may or may not arrive in time for the holiday trip but, if it does, we'll be giving it a playtest or two once I've wound down from a very hectic and incredibly stressful school term.

Bolt Action Yanks [35]


I spent most of today at the rugby club in the driving rain and howling wind, supporting the boys in the final tournament of the season against half a dozen Under 9 clubs from across the South. It was a great day and WRFC Under 9's won the competition, so a really good result and well deserved by the team. The sprog did some stonking tackles and the team work was excellent, with the opposition finding it really hard work to make ground.

Anyway, the end result is that painting time has been squeezed out of the weekend, with the exception of some basing and undercoating for the Bolt Action into Chain of Command late war US extra bits. These are now ready for the next stage of basecoating, washing and highlighting when and if I get the time. This looks like after Easter at the earliest but I may get a spare evening between now and the end of the week to make a start.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Typhoon Modern Air Combat Rules


I found these on the hard-drive today, so thought I'd track them down on the net, having forgotten where I originally located them. Although designed for 1/144th scale models, which seems a bit counter-intuitutive given the range factor in modern air warfare, they look like they would be ideal for the Baltic Air Policing 1/600th scale project.

They are written in a very clear and straightforward style, with simple mechanics for non-hex based movement and firing, so they definately tick the one-brain cell box. Even so, they include rules for ECM, AAA, SAM's and ground attack, meaning that they would be adaptable to a range of potential scenarios. There are stats for several modern and next generation Russian, US and European aircraft too, with one or two omissions.


All good stuff and free as well. I really like the look of these rules as an alternative to Air War C21 or CY6:Jet Age, which are the current rules that I would plan to use for the Flashpoint Baltic! project. If you want to have a closer look, they're available to download from the excellent WFHGS website:

Perry Indian Pattern Sun Helmets


The latest news from Perry Miniatures included the addition of a conversion head set for the plastic Desert Rats, featuring twenty four India Pattern Sun helmets, as worn by my grandad on the NWF c1937.


Although my Chain of Command Japanese project is on-hold at the moment, in the long run I want to build a matching early war British platoon for Malaya which could easily do a double-up for the NWF, so this is really good news. I'll be sending off for a pack to store away for the future as it  includes some very handy machetes for jungle slashing that I could use also for the Japanese!

Incidentally, check out this really interesting site: http://www.militarysunhelmets.com/

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Air War C21 Flashpoint Baltic [5]



The latest report from The Aviationist website on the Baltic Air Policing mission has the Russians deploying their formidable supersonic Tu22M Backfire nuclear attack bombers in mock attack runs on Denmark. What have the peace loving and very charming Danes done to deserve such attention?

The sub-text underlying all this ersatz Cold War posturing is the commitment of Danish forces to NATO defence of the Baltic States. All mouth and no trousers from Mr Putin but good material for a potential escalation to a full-on Flashpoint Baltic!

http://theaviationist.com/2015/03/24/tu-22-supersonic-over-baltic/

In other news, I've sent off to Dom's Decals for a selection of 1/600th scale modern decals with which to decorate the NATO contingent of the BAP.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

No Go Zone


There's a very nice chap at the club called Gary (hello Gary!) who is a big fan of the Warm Acre series of games including Hour of Glory and Spy or Die Trying, both of which he has enthused about at length. I haven't had the chance to try them out but I am confident that they are everything that he's cracked them up to be, so I thought I'd take a closer look.

A copy of No Go Zone popped up on Ebay for 99p the other day, so I put in a bid and now have the rulebook to flick through. It's not a subject that immediately grabbed my interest but, on closer inspection, it's a really simple but very clever game, using some innovative diceless mechanics with some unusual but very imaginative gameplay elements. 

The basic idea is situation management, with the forces of law and order contesting control of the streets at closing time with the forces of lager fuelled, kebab toting chaos. The clever bit is the way in which the players can counter each others' actions using a series of suggestive, if not rather offensive hand gestures, playing one another off using a combination of tactics and brute force.

I see considerable classroom management potential in the POKE and SUPER-FLIP, by way of example, although I'm sure Senior Management would be less enthusiatic.


Anyway up, as it turns out the rules and thirty 28mm miniatures are currently available as a bundle offer for £20 from the Warm Acre website, which has to be a pretty good deal, even if you only use the figures for the imminent Zombie Apocalypse (which my Year 7 class inexplicably confused with the Solar Eclipse, for some unexplained reason that I have absolutely nothing to do with....really)

Anyway, the rules contain cardboard cut out road sections and vehicles as well, although these can also be downloaded from Wargames Vault along with 3D print and assemble-yourself  urban buildings. It's an unusual subject for a game but I think that No Go Zone is really interesting, even if it is just as a stimulus for diceless game mechanics and interesting gameplay ideas. 

I've read some other reviews which have been positive and suggest that it's a good 'beer and pretzels' style game, although limited in scope. I'm impressed with the game concept, so may well send off for the full-on bundle, adding some diecast police vehicles to patrol the mean streets of Winchester / Winnal (?). I'm also keen to have a look at Spy or Die Trying, which is on the shopping list for Salute in a few weeks time.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Under 9's Rugby National Finals



The WFRC Under 9 team won four out of five matches today but came a very close second in the National Finals, with only one game seperating them from overall victory. Very well done to all the players and a big thank you to the coaches and team supporters, who really worked hard to get the boys ready for the big event. I'm sure that next year will be the victory that they all deserve.

Air War C21 Alto Cenepa [4]



I've had a crack at the camouflage for the FAP aircraft over the last couple of days, using a combination of Foundry paint shades and Citadel washes. The A37's were a sticking point but I decided to go for a moss and sand scheme, rather than the bog standard sand and brown pattern on the fighters and medium bombers. Next up will be the under surfaces, stores and canopies.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Bag The MiG [9]


I won another Ebay bid on some Oddzial Osmy 1/600th scale Soviet trucks and AAA artillery a while back and they arrived a couple of days ago. The truck models are superb, full of detail despite the tiny size and clearly recognisable as Studebakers. I particularly like the AAA castings which feature both towed and deployed versions of the M1939 37mm guns. I really think that the quality of the O8 sculpting rivals anything you'd find in 6mm or even 10mm. Amazing!

These will be great as North Korean or Chinese ground targets for my UN forces. I've been playing around with some basing options and have decided to go for 30mm mdf hexes from Minibits, which will work very well for Bag The MiG but also be perfectly suitable for MiG Alley or even CY6: Jet Age. I'm also going to use 30mm hexes for the AirWar:C21 basing, using 40mm panel pins as flight stands and mini-magnets to attach the aircraft, so I'll probably have to order some more?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Air War C21 Flashpoint Baltic [4]


A really interesting report from Israeli TV on the Italian and Polish Baltic Air Policing mission in Lithuania, which is currently pretty busy dealing with yet more Russian overflights of Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian air space. This military posturing by the Russians has been increasing lately, with the Italians, Polish and Spanish having to intercept a range of fighter and transport aircraft on a regular basis:

NATO Baltic Air Policing QRA ITA, ESP Typhoon jets on 17 March scrambled to intercept RU AF 4x Su-27, 2x An-26, 1x An-12 over the Baltic Sea," (Latvian armed forces)

You may also not have been aware of the NATO TV Youtube channel (I kid you not!), which has a whole load of interesting reports on the latest incarnation of the Russian bear. I'm sure the Russians have a Youtube channel too but I'm not sure it will be as impartial in its interpretation of recent events, at least compared to the BBC?

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Air War C21 Alto-Cenepa [3]


I'm bogged down in marking this week but have based up a Tumbling Dice C130 Hercules for the FAE in 1/600th scale. This is a pretty impressive model, although I need to add some filler to blend in the wing with the fuselage before it can be painted up. I don't know what I'll use it for but I have some ideas. 


I think it will look really good in a Vietnam-style three tone camouflage scheme and will add a little weight to the FAE line up, even if it gets shot down in short order by the FAP. I've finished basing and undercoating all the aircraft for the project now, so will move onto the basecoating as soon as I've completed another class set of exercise books!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Where has all the gaming gone?


You may have been wondering why I haven't posted any game reports for a while, although I doubt it's been discussed by the Security Council of the UN. Anyway, here's the answer to the absence of any wargaming activity up at the club, at least on my part, in the shape of my one in the middle, who is seen here sporting a soon to be technicolour black eye.

He's just been selected for the Lexus National Under 9 Rugby Finals, which will kick off next weekend in sunny Northampton. This has been in part due to the regular Tuesday night training sessions that I've been transporting him to, along with the regular Sunday matches and tournaments which I share with the other half.

As Tuesday night is club night, you can see how I have been tied down for the last few months, but I'm really pleased he has won through to represent Winchester at such a high level. The season winds up in a few weeks, so I'll be back at the club after Easter and hope to make up for lost time when I get there. In the meantime, I'm sure that the WRFC team will win and hope that there are no more black eyes or broken noses on the day!

Galleys and Galleons [1]


I found out about this forthcoming set of pirate ship rules via a very roundabout route and they look perfect for the 1/450th scale Peter Pig pirate ships that I bought a while back now. I've been searching for a suitable set of simple, fast play ship to ship 'skirmish' rules with little success, so I'm looking forward to these when they are fully playtested and available to download. They're based on the Song of Blades system and will be published by Ganesha Games, so they should be great for some piratical naval action. There's some more information on the author's blog and it's well worth a look:

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Air War C21 Alto Cenepa [2]


I now have the FAE aircraft based and undercoated, which means that I should be able to get started on the basecoating tomorrow. The Ecuadorian Air Force featured some really varied and interesting types in the 1995 war including SEPECAT Jaguars, BAE Strikemasters, Dassault Breguet Mirage V's and IAI Kfirs. I've also assembled and undercoated a Lockheed C130 Hercules, although what I'll actually do with it is another question? This is a bit of a 'what if' project anyway, so I'm sure I'll think of something!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Lords of the Sky


This is the latest reading material, with my current aviation wargaming focus firmly in mind. I'd never heard of the author before but he seems to have a loyal and appreciative following, so I'm looking forward to a good read. I've read similar things before, including the classic Full Circle, so it will be interesting to see how this one shapes up in comparison. The cover art is inspirational at the very least!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Air War C21 Alto Cenepa [1]


This is a sizeable chunk of the frontline aviation complement for the Peruvian Air Force (FAP) in the 1995 Alto Cenepa conflict, also known as the Condor War. I could add some more Su-22's and Cessna A-37 Dragonflies, together with one or two Mirage 2000's and Mirage V's but I think this would be a bit too much. I haven't included any helicopters (yet) but may well do so later on. 


I've undercoated everything in Humbrol matt white as most of the FAP aircraft were painted in a slightly inconvenient desert camouflage scheme, very similar to the RAF North Africa pattern that I replicated on my 1/285th scale Hurricanes and Blenheims. I think that a wash and highlight approach will work well over a white basecoat, rather than a heavy duty basecoat of a darker shade. 

I have some time at the weekend to try this out. In the meantime, the I'll have a go at basing up the opposition, in the form of an interesting selection of aircraft for the Ecaudorian Air Force or FAE. This includes Sepecat Jaguar Internationals, Mirage F1's, IAI Kfir's, BAE Strikemasters (cool!) and the ubiquitous Cessna A-37's. I may even slip in a Hercules?

Monday, 9 March 2015

Check Your Six Jet Age


I sent off for these last month and they arrived today, which is a bit of a long wait but well worth it. I've had a quick flick through and the rules look very slick and pretty comprehensive, with a very good selection of scenarios included, from the Six Day War to the Falklands and several other post-war conflicts too. I already have the Korean War and Arab-Israeli scenario books, both of which I bought for a bargain price in a closing down sale, so I've got plenty of reading to do. 

In the meantime, the Peruvian air force is underway for the Air War C21 Alto Cenepa project...more about that later.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Air War C21 Flashpoint Baltic [3]



The Oddzial Osmy 1/600 scale modern aircraft were picked up from the parcels office yesterday and I found some time to unpack and sort them out. They are fantastic sculpts, cast in high quality metal and with some very fine surface detail. They are noticebly smaller and lighter than the equivalent Tumbling Dice models but no less robust when it comes to wargaming. 

They're also excellent value for money.

I now have the following elements of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission:

8 x Eurofighter Typhoon - UK, Italy, Spain, Germany.

8 x Jas 39C Gripen - Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Hungary

8 x F16AM - Poland, Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark

8 x Mirage 2000 - France

8 x MiG29 - Poland

8 x CF18 Hornet - Canada

8 x F15C - United States

The Russians are looking a little less well equipped at the moment but I have some plans for that:

8 x Su27 Flanker - Russian Federation

The overall idea will be to paint up a range of aircraft for some linked ultra-modern scenarios. There's plenty of opportunity to try out different types of aircraft, with a variety of loadouts and capabilities, so it should have lots of re-playability. I'll get started as soon as I have tackled the Air War C21 Alto Cenepa project, which is in the undercoating stage at the moment.


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.