Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Quiet American


A great clip from a really good film, which includes a very brief appearance by an old work colleague of mine who can be seen running across the bridge. He was living in Vietnam at the time and got to play the role of a French soldier...how neat is that!  Anyway, it's an excellent film and has some good action sequences including a Viet Minh attack on a fortified tower in the De Lattre line, as well as the scene in the village that is partly covered by the video clip. I am really getting the French Indochina War thing....and have an urge to go 28mm squad level skirmish. I must resist!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Danger Close


I was enjoying the excellent modern rules guide over on the equally excellent Charge Blog today, when I noticed that Empress Miniatures have published their version of Some Corner of a Foreign Field, aptly retitled for ultra modern skirmish games as Danger Close

These are pretty much exactly the same as the original but have been given a spiffy facelift. I was thinking of using the rules as one option  for my Britain's Small Wars projects but may now also try them with the French Indochina project, even though they are designed for smaller squad level modern skirmish games. 

Incidentally, the Charge Blog is a fantastic resource for things to do with ultra modern 'imaginations' skirmish wargaming, so definitely well worth a look:

http://hntdaab.co.uk/blog/

Sunday, 14 January 2018

MiG Alley USN/ USMC Painting




I finally got round to painting the canopies, wing leading edges, fin and nose flashes on the MiG Alley / Bag the MiG naval aircraft today, after over a week of delay. The canopies were easy but the anti-corrosion leading edge on the F9F Panthers was a bit of a pain and needs some tidying up to look neater. The aircraft are now almost ready for the decals, apart from some black lining with a 0.05 drawing pen,  which tends to make them look a lot better than the basic paintwork would otherwise suggest. I'll try to get time to do at least some of the decals over the week, as I have now got some tiddly white lettering to add to the wings and tail fins, albeit in a much simplified format.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

15mm Cold War British Bundle Bonus


I had a really nice surprise when I opened the Team Yankee Iron Maiden bundle today. The rules supplement was as expected, perhaps better than I thought it would be, full of some really good information, scenario ideas and painting guidelines for Cold War British armour and infantry. I'm not into Team Yankee but thought that it was a really useful resource regardless of the rules of scale of gaming that you might decide to use.


The Mechanised Company pack of British infantry figures were also pretty good, although not as well sculpted as Peter Pig in my opinion, being the usual Flames of War style castings which I find a bit soulless. However, there's just enough for a full platoon at 1:1 if I wanted to use them for Fireteam: Modern or No End in Sight.

The surprise was to find several sheets of 1/100 scale BAOR decals, both for AFV's and helicopters, which I can only assume were leftovers from an abandoned project but which are perfect for my Britain's Small Wars vehicles including the QRF Saladins, Saracens and Ferrets that I have assembled.

It's always nice to get an unexpected extra and this one will be really handy!

QRF Crabes





These arrived in the post yesterday, so I had a closer look this morning to size one up against a Eureka French Foreign Legionnaire and one of the Battlefront LVT 'Alligators'. These are some of the more recent QRF models, so a lot less crude than the older AFV's that they used to produce, the difference in quality being pretty obvious. I bought four in the sale, so got an additional 15% off which made them even cheaper than the already very competitive price tag of £2.50 each. I think they scale out very well against both the figures and the much larger LVT, so all I need to do is get some crew, add a bit of stowage and finish them off with a Peter Pig .30cal machine gun on a pedestal mount. Bof!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

MiG Alley Whirlibirds


I have a couple of USN / USMC helicopters in the painting stage, ready for MiG Alley rescue missions over war torn Korea, but have been struggling to devise a way to represent the spinning rotor blades. I thought of cutting out discs of thin plastic or bubble packaging then drawing on the blurred outline of the blades but this seemed a bit too crude and would probably look pants. However, I have now found a source of laser cut thin plastic rotor blades for 1/600th scale aircraft, including both tail rotors and main rotor blade discs. I'll go ahead and order a couple in different sizes, if I can work out the ones I need, to see what they're actually like, although they look pretty effective in the photo above.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

No I'm not....


....about to start gaming anything related to Flames of War and it's Cold War Gone Hot offshoot, Team Yankee. Why not? To be frank, I just can't get my head around a 1/100th scale Chieftain with a maximum effective range of 100cm...eh? What?

Bonkers.

No tank to tank car parks for me! Lovely models though and spot on for 15mm 'What if?' Cold War skirmish wargaming, with my eye firmly fixed on recce kit like Scorpions and Scimitars or even French AFV's, if and when they get added to the release schedule?

Anyway, there was a copy of the BAOR supplement, Iron Maiden, on eBay as a 'Make An Offer' auction, so I duly took a punt and, much to my surprise, actually won it.  This was a bonus as I was really after the Mechanised Company pack of squaddies that it was bundled with. I'm guessing it's an unwanted present or one of those spur of the moment impulse buys, not that I know anything about those (oh no!).

In the end, I paid about half the normal ticket price for the lot. The book will be good for organisational information if I ever get into micro-armour again, while the infantry will do for another 15mm platoon level force to use with No End in Sight or similar. It's a good deal whichever way you look at it even if I've now blown my pocket money for the week on a Monday rather than the usual Friday!

Monday, 8 January 2018

The Life of Gordon


I had a really nice and unexpected late present from a friend of the family on New Years Day, a first edition hardback copy of The Life of Gordon, published in 1896 and written by a gentleman by the name of Demetrius C. Boulger, no less. It's in pretty good condition and has some very nice plates with photographs and sketches of Chinese Gordon himself. I'm particularly interested in the latter chapters of the book, dealing as they do with his time in Africa and especially the Sudan. What a nice present and completely out of the blue!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

15mm Eureka French Indochina War Figures

French Foreign Legion 

Vietminh

LVT-4 'Alligator'

It's been far too cold to do any painting in the garage today but I did find the second hand stash of 15mm Eureka Miniatures French Indochina war figures that I have been looking for. There's enough Vietminh and French figures for a small platoon plus support, give or take a few extras that I will need to order including some LMG teams for the French and some additional riflemen for the Vietminh.

The Battlefront LVT-4's also arrived in the post, so I matched them up with the figures to see how well they compared for scale. The Eureka figures are smaller than the Flames of War ones but I'm not planning to mix them together so that doesn't matter. I think they scale out quite well against the LVT's, so I may get a few more Battlefront vehicles for this project including an M20 scout car, a jeep or two and possibly an M24 Chaffee light tank.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

NEWSFLASH: Today is...


...so a second edition, original AK47 Republic game is definitely on the cards for later in the month, assuming I can remember how the rules actually work? I'll be dusting off the Mbote Defence Force (MDF) and People's Volunteer Army (PVA) so they can clash with the Zubuto Army of the People (ZAP) and the Zubuto Internal Police (ZIP). Unless the Combined Regional African Peacekeeping force (CRAP) get there first and stop things kicking off. It really is about time I painted that new army I've been promising myself, just so I can think up some more silly names!

French Indochina Film Clips


Some good stuff hidden away in these clips from newsreels and documentaries made at the time of the French Indochina War. Look out for the Bearcats doing insanely low strafing passes and the various amphibious landing scenes with LVT's and Crabes doing their thing. I have to get some M24 Chaffees now too, as they are whizzing about all over the place, no doubt for propaganda effect!

Thursday, 4 January 2018

AK47 Cavalry


I won these on eBay before the holidays and have now unpacked them for a proper look over. I have never used cavalry in AK47 so thought it would be an interesting addition to my third, as yet unpainted army. This uses Peter Pig professional bush hat figures as Regulars, with the Professionals using bareheaded figures and the Militia forage caps, although I have re-invented the background story for this army several times (the 'hat trick' makes it easy to distinguish between the units).

http://jimswargamesworkbench.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/a-rough-guide-to-kingdom-of-bagombo.html

It is originally designed as a Superpower Backed army equipped by the British, so uses a lot of 1960's kit including Saracens, Saladins, Ferrets, Landrovers and even a couple of Vickers MBT's, although some of the AFV's and trucks have been siphoned off for my Britain's Small Wars project. I now have some cavalry to add to what will have to be a Colonial Settler army. I will have to think hard about how they will change the balance of the force and if they will operate mounted or dismounted when they go into action.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

MiG Alley USN/USMC Basecoat

Basecoat and Black Ink / Future Wash

Citadel Night World Blue Basecoat

I painted the blue basecoat on the Tumbling Dice 1/600th USN/USMC aircraft today, initially using Vallejo Dark Prussia Blue but switching to a very, very old pot of Citadel Night World Blue, as the first option ended up way too purple. I then gave the whole lot a wash in a 25:75 mix of Black India Ink and Future, both to seal the basecoat and to add some definition to the panel lines. They now need to dry off completely before I can start on the canopies and colourful white, red and yellow details.

15mm French Indochina War Landing Craft


I've been flicking through this excellent book on coastal and riverine operations in the French Indochina war today, having had a copy on the bookshelf gathering dust for ages. It reminded me that I have some resin 15mm LCVP's and LCA's from The Scene, which I originally bought for use with AK47 as the waterborne equivalent of trucks. These were put back in the box when I realised they weren't actually much use in AK47 terms.


I think it would be quite straightforward to convert some of them into armoured patrol craft for the French, which could then be used for riverine patrol scenarios. The French made widespread use of the LCVP in particular for Dinassaut riverine operations, adding an armoured superstructure, overall roof and additional weapon mounts. I'll see if I can dig the models out when I get round to starting the French Indochina project, as they could be a really neat scenario element.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

French Indochina War Skirmish Starters


I got a £25 Amazon voucher for Xmas and I blew it on a pair of 15mm LVT-4 Amtracs from the Flames of War range for use in the French Indochina war. This may seem a bizarre divergence from my current wargaming pursuits but, in actual fact, is something I've been interested in for years. I already have loads of the Pendraken 10mm range for this but that's waiting for a suitable set of company level rules to appear, so the 15mm stuff is destined for platoon level skirmishing. I have a number of rules that would be ideal for this, with Nordic Weasel's No End in Sight as the front runner.


The plan is to use the Eureka range of 15mm figures for the French and Vietminh, a stash of which I found on eBay years ago. These will be based individually so that I can use them alongside the amphibious vehicles for skirmish scenarios on a small, custom made 2' x 2' terrain board, with a focus on the operations of the Groupement Amphibie. This has always appeared to offer a lot more than the ubiquitous Diem Ben Phu set up which seems to dominate any wargaming approach to the French Indochina War. It's a different take on my Britain's Small Wars idea but I will be re-using the terrain for all sorts of things, so it won't be a one off or dead end.



I have also taken advantage of the QRF sale to grab some M29 Crabes, so that I have enough transport for a decent platoon sized patrol or raiding force. This is what finally persuaded me to get this project to a point where I can kick it off as, until fairly recently, no one made a Weasel in 15mm. These were pretty ubiquitous in the conflict and almost essential as transportation and fire support for amphibious operations. I may have to do a bit of conversion work and find some crew for both the Alligators and the Crabes but it's a pretty good starting point for the project.

Bof!

MiG Alley USAF Fighters Finished



I got stuck into the decals for the 1/600th scale Sabres, Shooting Stars and Thunderjets this afternoon, managing to finish them after a few hiccups. I have only used fuselage stars on the Sabres as I won't have enough to go round if I applied them across the board, especially as I wasted twelve by using them as wing markings on the F-80's. I put this right but only after quite a bit of hassle and a few terse words. Arrgh!



I think they look OK without the insignia but I may add some if and when I can get some more from Dom's Decals. I also discovered two new bits of essential kit for tiddly transfer application, one being a very useful coffee tin lid as a squadron sized hold all, the other being the humble cotton bud as a dabber to soak up the excess water or decal set instead of the usual bit of tissue. Both very basic but also extremely handy!

MiG Alley USN / USMC



I've knocked together a new painting rig for the 1/600th scale projects, using an old block of mdf and some 40mm panel pins, so it should be a lot easier to get the production line working smoothly. I've also decided to do the USN / USMC aircraft instead of the MiG's as the Panthers and Banshees are so cool. I couldn't fit the Corsairs onto the painting block, so they'll have to wait, but there are Skyraiders, Tigercats and a single helicopter in addition to the fighter bombers. When the undercoat is dry, they'll all get a heavy basecoat of Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue, which is the closest shade I could find for the USN dark blue used in Korea. I also have to bite the bullet and get on with the decals for the Sabres, Shooting Stars and Thunderjets, although I'm not looking forward to that!

Monday, 1 January 2018

Plans? What Plans?


I have no radically new plans up my sleeve for 2018 but will be following up on some of the things I either started or didn't get round to over the last couple of years, due in the main to a nasty outbreak of real life. So, in no particular order but with at least a small degree of logical thinking, here are my plans for the next twelve months:

Air 

A break from 1/285th WW2 and a switch to 1/600th scale, with MiG Alley / Bag the MiG for the Korean War and at least one other project, perhaps WW1 or moderns, although I have yet to decide and will just go with the flow. I like the idea of more Wings at War games including the Falklands and I really want to give Target Locked On! a proper run through, which means some more Cold War aircraft will need to be scrambled at some point.

Naval

A definite priority is to actually paint the 1/2400th scale steam and sail ships for the 1864 Second Schleswig War, although I've been saying that for at least two years already. After that I would like to do at least one more naval project, perhaps the 1/2400th scale pre-dreadnoughts or even some Napoleonics, just for  a change but in the same scale. I really should finish off the 1/600th scale coastal convoy and some more escorts as well, so that I can run some games at the club rather than just doing air warfare things.

Land

I am now shelving any pretence at trying to paint anything in 28mm and now will be focussed pretty much on 15mm instead, a decision I actually made last year when I realised I'd never finish more than half a dozen 28mm figures every six months. I'm planning to pick up my long standing ideas for 15mm modern / post-colonial skirmish games, with a focus on Britain's Small Wars plus an element of imaginations to keep the narrative interesting. I may also squeeze in something else like 15mm Chain of Command but doubt I'll get that Lion Rampant project started, much as I'd really like to do so.

Terrain

I have enough desert terrain now, give or take a few 15mm buildings, so I am going to focus on winter scenery to go with my rarely used tundra cloth. I also want to make a 2'x2' jungle terrain board to use for 15mm skirmish games and some coastline pieces for 1/2400th scale naval gaming.

That's it...nothing to expansive (or expensive) but enough to keep me interested and gainfully employed at the workbench, assuming I get the time and don't end up drifting off on some 'ooh shiny' tangent.

Tally Ho!

Hello 2018!