Saturday, 31 December 2016

Well, that was ****


I usually do a review of the year on the last day but it has been such a crap 365 days that I can't really think of anything that would be worth posting or reading about. So instead, I'll save my time and effort for a more positive, forward looking post tomorrow, when I'll be able to set out my plans for 2017 from a less gloomy perspective. Goodbye 2016!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Poundland Geomorphic Terrain Boards


I slunk (slinked?) into the local Poundland today, looking for some replacement magnetic pick up tools for flight stands. This was a dead end but I did find some 30cm x 30cm x 4mm mdf squares that are perfect for geomorphic terrain boards, despite having a couple of holes drilled in them for the string. For some inexplicable reason they are marketed by Poundland as 'Xmas Home Plaques' and have some cheesy festive motto on the back.

Not sure what I'm going to use my sixteen squares for but since when has that stopped me, especially as they only set me back eight quid due to being knocked down to half price in the sale! I have enough for a square or rectangular set up, covering a decent area for 15mm skirmish games or perhaps even an aerial warfare set up for Flashpoint Baltic, as 4' x 4' is the suggested area to use with Target Locked-On.

I think I may get some more because... 'good wargaming terrain thingys are like stars, you don't always see them but they are always there' ...or something?

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Target Locked-On Aircraft Building Guide


This is really handy. You can download an Aircraft Building Guide for Target Locked-On from Rory Crabb's webpage, enabling you to convert pretty much any post-war aircraft into a set of game statistics. This will make it easy for me, for example, to produce a set of statistics for SU22's, IAI Kfirs and BAC Strikemasters for the Alto Cenepa War. I haven't touched this mini-project for ages. as I wasn't convinced by Air War:C21, but may now dig it out and finish off the planes that I started to paint, although I'd have to stick with the use of mini-magnets for basing that I'm now not so keen on.


Back Home


I've been on the road for the last couple of days so it's nice to be back to something like normality. I have also had a good rummage in the loft and have extracted some 1/72nd scale WW1 aircraft kits for the Knights of the Sky game in a little less than a months time. To keep things manageable, I've decided to only build a single Airfix Sopwith Pup and an Eastern Express Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, together with a slightly less straightforward limited release Pegasus Airco DH5 kit. The latter is needed for another game, which I'm hoping to run later in the year, based on ground attack missions in November 1917. I'll get started on these tomorrow and also pick up the Flashpoint Baltic aircraft that I had to drop when we went to Brittany.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Blueprint for Victory


I've set up a multiplayer game of Knights of the Sky, the club house rules for WW1 dogfighting, for late January, with about ten players already signed up. This will be set in January 1917, so I'm going to make a couple of Airfix kits for the game to fill some gaps and add to the aircraft I already have. These will include at least one Airfix Sopwith Pup, a Toko Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter and possibly a second Revell Nieuport 17.

My early to mid 1917 allied aircraft

I also have some research to do on the evolution of aerial tactics and methods during the First World War, so have been reading a couple of recently published books on the subject. These include Marked for Death by James Hamilton Paterson and Blueprint for Victory by Greg Baughen, both of which have an interesting angle on the changing nature of air warfare and the development of technology over the course of conflict.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Friday, 23 December 2016

Le Pilote a L'Edelweiss


I've been meaning to acquire this series of graphic novels or BD as they are called here, for ages but put off doing so as I wanted to get the compendium version. I haven't been able to find one of these, so thought I'd just get the individual books instead. The mother in law was kind enough to give me the first volume as a stocking filler and the Mrs has bought me the rest of the books as an extra Xmas present, which was very nice of her.


I really like this artist, Romain Hugault, and have already got a copy of his previous WW2 three volume graphic novel, Le Grand Duc, which is fantastic. This series is set in the First World War and follows the story of a French pilot and his enigmatic German opponent, who flies an Albatros with a white edelweiss on the fuselage.


The artwork is amazing and the storyline is pretty good too. It's inspirational stuff and very apt, as I'm setting up a multiplayer game of Knights of the Sky for the end of January at the club. I'm also planning to revive my Wings of War gaming and have signed up on the Wings of Glory aerodrome forum to find out what I've been missing out on over the last couple of years.

(There will be more about my WoW/G revival over on my other blog, which is where I now post my board and card war gaming stuff)

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Magasin de Presse


I've done the usual sweep of the newsagents while in Brittany. I haven't got hold of Vae Victis yet but have found a couple of good magazine issues, including the usual Aerojournal and Trucks and Tanks. Both have some really interesting articles including a detailed explanation of the air operation side of the Dieppe raid, with some excellent aircraft profiles. Very handy for my long overdue mid-war cross channel Bag the Hun project!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Viper Pilot


I'm reading this now as I thought it was a good fit with the Flashpoint Baltic modern air warfare project that I'm currently working on. A while back I read Lords of the Sky by the same author, which I really enjoyed, so this autobiographical account should be equally just as easy to read and difficult to put down.

Monday, 19 December 2016

F16.net


I was looking for some information on weapons loadouts for NATO F16's, specifically those of the Norwegian, Belgian, Danish and Dutch air force operating in the Baltic Air Policing role, when I came across this excellent website:

http://www.f-16.net

There's a massive amount of detailed reference material here including  service histories plus operational, technical and logistical information for worldwide F16 users. What a great resource for Target Locked On, Air War:C21 and CY6:Jet Age just for starters.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Knights of the Sky


This is the fast play WW1 aerial dogfighting multiplayer game that we have enjoyed many times at the club but which has slipped into obscurity in recent years for no particular or explicable reason. It's a simple hex based system written by an ingenious club "old hand", using 1/72nd scale model aircraft on magnetic extending pick up tool flight stands. These make it easy to replicate altitude and allow for some nifty dogfighting.

It is great fun and perfect for multiplayer games, which is one reason why it is currently in the running for the club participation game in 2017. It's very early days yet but, as my contribution to the game, I'll probably be building some more Airfix and Revell kits to add to the extensive collection of WW1 models that I already have. These include British, French, German and American planes for 1916, 1917 and 1918.

The idea is to run a game set in 1917, perhaps to represent the events of "Bloody April", as this would be a good way to commemorate the centenary of the conflict. It is also ideal as there are plenty of interesting scenarios and aircraft to draw upon. I'm looking forward to getting involved, having been unable to do so this year, so perhaps a club game in January would be a good place to start, the last time we played being way back in January 2014!

Tally Ho!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Brigade Models Xmas Sale


I forgot to get my annual Xmas Sale order in to Brigade Models until the very last minute this year but made it in the end. I decided to get three Wildebeest APC's, from the South African 15mm range, to use alongside the Rhino wheeled tanks I acquired the same time last year. 

These have remained untouched since then but can now be used as the core of another 15mm force for Gruntz, perhaps alongside the GZG Tomorrows War U.S. figures I picked up at Warfare in November? I now have the gubbins for about four different sci-fi armies so really should get a couple painted in 2017!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Last Day



It's my last day in the job I've been doing in the same school for almost twenty three years, so I'm looking forward to the holidays and not having to go back to work in January. I will have a couple of weeks off then before I start a new job as a supply teacher, at least in the interim, although I may well go back into full time teaching at some point later on. What this does mean is a lot less money but a bit more time, so the lead pile will finally get the attention it deserves, although I suspect that a list of DIY jobs to be done is being scribbled already.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Baltic Air Policing Eurofighter Typhoons


I have to admit, I'm not a fan of the Eurofighter, although I was mightily impressed by the roar of it's afterburners at Farnborough a few years ago. It just looks like a doodle of a futuristic concept fighter by a bored aeronautical student, with too many pointy bits sticking out from a dumpy fuselage for my liking. Anyway, this short but informative video shows the Luftwaffe doing it's thing for the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission, although my German isn't good enough to work out much of the detail. The graphics are very interesting, however, and there are some great shots of the Typhoons as well. Nice but someone really should give that pilot a razor for Xmas?

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Baltic Air Policing Mirage 2000


A very cool little video of French Air Force Mirage 2000's of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission. This really is a sweet little aircraft and much, much smaller than you actually think it is, especially when you put a 1/600th scale model next to a stonking great Su27 or F15. There's a really nice shot of a vertical climb about two thirds of the way through, which shows off the lines of this beautiful little aircraft really well. It's just a shame they had to attach those enormous fuel pods under each wing and that awkward looking refuelling probe! Anyway, I have a pair of these and may just add a couple more to create a full-on flight for the Flashpoint Baltic: Target Locked On project. Zut Alors!

Monday, 12 December 2016

Flashpoint Baltic Fighter Flights



I had a stupidly busy weekend so only managed to get about half of the Oddzial Ozmy 1/600th scale aircraft based for my Flashpoint Baltic Target Locked On project. These included a couple more massive Su27's for the Russians, a second F16 for the Norwegians, a couple of French Mirage 2000's and a pair of mean looking Polish MiG29's. I also did all the drilling for the wire stands on the other aircraft which include more F16's, a couple of Jas 39 Gripens and a pair of F/A18 Hornets, together with four Eurofighter Typhoons.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Flashpoint Baltic Paperforge Planes


It's the holidays in a week or so and I'll be off to France to visit the in-laws for the duration. I thought I'd take some games along for the odd rainy day, so will be packing my copy of Target Locked On together with some easily transportable card aircraft counters from Paper Forge. I'm a big fan of the Paper Forge Table Air Combat game, so when I spotted these 2D modern aircraft and missile counters I thought they'd be brilliant as a way to test out the Target Locked On rules while I get the proper miniatures based up and painted.

The neat thing about these card print and play counters is that they include Soviet VVS, Soviet naval and USAF modern fighters, bombers and ground attack types in full colour, together with a full selection of missiles and ordnance, for only about a quid a set. They're also really well designed and scaleable to a range of sizes. It's just a shame there isn't a modern NATO set with Eurofighters, Mirage 2000's, Gripen's and the like. As it is, I can now try Polish MiG29's vs Russian Su27's, along with NATO F16's, USAF F15's, A10's and Russian Tu22M's and Tu95's, just for starters.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Naval Thunder: Bitter Rivals


I've been thinking about naval wargaming a lot recently, as it was one of the things I set out to do more of this year but with limited success, apart from some print and play games in the summer holidays. I have plans to develop my on-going WW2 naval projects, both in 1/3000th and 1/600th scale, so have printed off some alternatives to Victory at Sea which didn't really float my boat.

The one I'm most impressed by is Naval Thunder, especially as it has a supplement, Bitter Rivals, that includes the French Mediterranean fleet along with the Italians, British and Germans. I'm also looking forward to Rory Crabb's next set of fast play naval rules, Age of the Battleships, which I'm hoping will be very much along the lines of his neat pre-dreadnought system.

All very much on the 'to do' list for 2017!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Flashpoint Baltic F16's


Some really cool video of Norwegian Air Force F16 and Italian Typhoons of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission. I have eight F16's to use for the Flashpoint Baltic project so can paint them up as various nations aircraft, including the Danish, Belgians, Spanish and Dutch. Very handy!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Stormbird

 


As a break from the tedium of marking yesterday afternoon, the other half suggested we visited a local National Trust stately home for a cup of tea and a walk in the fresh air. There's a half decent second hand bookshop there now, so I thought I'd pop in as it might have something of interest. Lo and behold, I walked out with three good as new Ospreys and a paperback copy of Stormbird, the autobiographical account of Hermann Buchner's wartime career as a Luftwaffe fighter pilot. I just happen to have a couple of really nice GHQ Me262's painted up and ready to use with Bag the Hun 2, so suitably inspired, I may well give them a spin this weekend against some P51's!

Pauke Pauke!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Flashpoint Baltic Flight Stands






I've been umm-ing and arr-ing over the best way to base the 1/600th scale aircraft for this project for a long time, which is one of the reasons it hasn't got very far off the ground. Today I bit the proverbial bullet and adopted an approach that I'd previously devised for use with 1/285th scale planes for Bag the Hun 2, although I had yet to give it a proper go. 

This was intended to replace Raiden Miniatures resin and metal stands that are now really expensive and not easy to get hold of. I planned to use a combination of  3mm laser cut hexes, 40mm panel pins and 6mm dice frames. The aircraft would be drilled and the panel pins glued in place as an alternative to using mini-magnets and to match the basing method that I've used for the rest of my Bag the Hun models.

For the Target Locked On! rules you can use any shape of base but I've decided to go with the 3mm laser cut hexes, as I already had them, along with the 6mm dice frames which I'm using to indicate altitude, just like you do with Bag the Hun 2. I ditched the mini-magnet option, as it's a bit too fiddly. The panel pins were also too crude to use and so I swapped them for some 40mm wire spears with the tips cut off using a pair of pliers.

These were attached to the bases with superglue after drilling a hole in the centre of the hex to fit the wire into. A corresponding hole was drilled into the underside of the model and it was then superglued to the top of the wire. This was tricky as the alloy used by Oddzial Osmy is very hard and can be a bit brittle, making it difficult to drill by hand. I may well try using my Dremel instead if I can avoid drilling all the way through the casting?

Anyway, the experimental base that I assembled seems to work fine, once the superglue had time to cure in the cold temperature of my garage workbench. I've now based two Russian Federation Su27 Flankers and a single F16 for the Royal Norwegian Air Force, which will be followed by a second shortly. The F16 was easy to attach to the stand as the wing section is separate, so can be pre-drilled.

I think these bases will work well for the Flashpoint Baltic project and will make the models far more resilient to some handling, whilst easing the job of painting by providing a convenient handle with which to hold them. I'll texture and paint the bases too, using some modelling paste to replicate the terrain and a paint scheme to match the 4' x 4' geomorphic scenery that I'm planning to build for the project.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Flashpoint Baltic: Target Locked On!


The days are getting shorter and the winter has definitely arrived, so I've been looking to salvage something from the wargaming wreckage of 2016 before the end of the year. I have achieved very little indeed this year so have been re-thinking my whole approach to wargaming projects of late, with a view to getting at least something done next year. I still plan to do some of the projects I set out to tackle this year, including the 15mm Gruntz sci-fi project and Congo for example, but these are going to have to be bumped over into 2017.


One thing I've started to re-think and plan for is the Flashpoint Baltic idea, which originally involved using the Airwar:C21 rules for a fictitious near future conflict between the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission and Russian forces posturing over the Baltic States. This has been in the news again recently and would be a really neat project based around the 1/600th scale modern planes from Oddzial Ozmy. I love these models, which you have to see to believe when it comes to detail, and already have all that I need for the various NATO contingents, the Scandinavians and the Russians.


Now, I'm planning to use Rory Crabb's new set of modern air warfare rules Target Locked On!, perhaps also incorporating some naval engagements as well using his modern naval rules Naval Command. I have been reading both sets of rules and they look like they would be ideal for just this sort of fast play, low complexity wargaming. The initial phase would be just the air warfare aspect, so I've dug out my box of 1/600 scale aircraft and have been playing around with basing ideas.

I doubt this will start this side of Xmas but it would be good to give it a go!


Shield Generator


I bought a laser cut mdf kit of a shield generator type thing from Blotz at Warfare a couple of weeks ago, so thought I'd have a go at putting it together over the weekend. I have a nice Deepcut Studios red planet terrain mat that I was planning to use for ground attack games in X Wing so, rather than having a Hoth themed shield generator, this one may well be finished off for a desert wasteland. I can also use it for 15mm sci-fi games, which is a bonus. It looks like a pretty simple kit to build so it shouldn't take too long. I'll see if I can finish it, give or take some tarting up, by the end of Sunday?