Sunday, 18 March 2018

Flashpoint Taiwan Plan B

I had a bit of a disjointed day at the workbench, with various diversions dragging me away, not the least being the freezing garage and my daughters cup cake competition entry, so I didn't get quite as much done as I hoped. However, I now have three Tu-16 heavy bombers and three more Il-16 light bombers to add to the Chinese PLAAF, four F-86D Sabre Dogs and two more F-5A Freedom Fighters to add to the Taiwanese ROCAF, together with a single Su-11 and two new MiG-25 interceptors for the Soviet PVO.

The last two were a bit of a late addition, as I managed to destroy a pair of F-5A's by over drilling them, leaving me with a couple of spare stands to use up. I thought the MiG-25's would be an ideal substitute and would push the Soviet PVO air defences into the mid 1970's, which would add a little bit of a cutting edge. Unfortunately, it's now too cold to whip out the grey spray undercoat, so I will have to do when the weather improves mid-week.

Flashpoint Taiwan Plan

I have a bit of time today, so I'm going to finish off preparing the final lot of aircraft for my Target Locked On! Flashpoint Taiwan project, with a few Soviet fighters thrown in for good measure. The main aim is to use up the bases that I salvaged from the Flashpoint Baltic project, which will now be magnet based, with some additional bombers for the PLAAF and some extra fighters for the ROCAF.  This should add up to about twenty planes in total, so a few extra bases will be needed to soak up the numbers.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Galactic Heroes

I've just backed the new Galactic Heroes Kickstarter as my reward for a week of hard graft, with a Bounty Hunter level pledge that includes the rules, a pdf copy and access to the Stretch Goals and extras that will be unlocked as the Kickstarter rolls out. I'm really looking forward to this sci-fi, space opera style version of the Fistful of Lead system, although what I'll use it for has yet to be decided. I quite fancy the idea of Strontium Dog, if I can find some suitable mutant bounty hunters in 28mm?

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Operation Baltic Eagle

Some cracking air to air video of Italian Eurofighter Typhoons and Danish F-16's over the Baltic States, intercepting various Russian Federation aircraft as part of the current Baltic Air Policing mission. I love the way the Italian pilot flips his shades down on take off...super cool!

I'm thinking of ways to replicate the terrain seen in the footage for the Flashpoint:Baltic 1/600th modern air project, particularly the snow covered landscape and cloud layers, so I think I'll ping an email off to Tiny Wargames to see how much a bespoke air wargaming cloth would set me back? It wouldn't have to be a full size mat and should be fairly easy to create using satellite images I would have thought?

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Zvezda 1/100 Ural Truck

My local model shop had some of these on the shelves at the weekend, so I had a closer look. It was a bit expensive for AK47, as I have used cheap Maisto die cast toys for my trucks in the past, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the detail in this little injection moulded kit. In fact, rather than using it for AK47, I will probably spend a bit more time and effort turning it into a truck for 15mm post-colonial skirmish games, where a single vehicle can be used to good effect. A really nice little model kit and worth grabbing for just this sort of thing, especially if you can find one for a reduced price.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Cold War Soviet Strike Package

I had some time this evening to get started on the Target Locked On! Flashpoint Xinjiang project, with a selection of classic mid to late 1960's Soviet aircraft including three Su-9 Fishpots, four Su-7 Fitters and a single, very large Tu-22 Blinder bomber. The latter ended up a bit of pain, as I inadvertently glued the wings on upside down (I think?) leaving the nacelles underneath rather than on top. It didn't help that I sliced open my finger in the process too.

The mistake was mainly due to the angle of  things looking a bit wrong when the wings were the right way up and to the absence of nacelle bulges on both surfaces, where they should be. I may add some nacelle bulges to the top wing later on or probably just ditch it and get another one. To cheer myself up, I have ordered some more Su-9/11's to make up the numbers but, in the meantime,  I have a load of MiG-21 Fishbeds and four Tu-16A Badgers to assemble and base, so plenty to keep me busy!

Flashpoint: Taiwan ROCAF Sabre Dogs

The success of the magnet basing storage experiment has pointed out the relative short fall in aircraft for the Taiwanese ROCAF, compared to the PLAAF line up, so I've decided to add some more 1/600th scale Tumbling Dice planes to beef things up a bit. I already have some F-100 Super Sabres and a couple of F-5A Freedom Fighters based and undercoated but these will now be supported by four more F-5A's and four F-86D Sabre Dogs, which were used by the ROCAF as all weather interceptors before the F-104 Starfighters arrived. I love this fighter having built at least two of the old 1/72nd scale Airfix kits when I was a kid. I may also add some ground attack F-84 Thunderjets and an A-26 Invader, using the leftover models from the MiG Alley project, but I think I'll have plenty to do with what I've already got.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Air Force Blue

I'm reading this now, having really enjoyed Patrick Bishop's earlier book Target Tirpitz and having an avid interest in World War Two aviation, as you may have worked out from my posts. In fact, I've been thinking more and more that I should specialise just in air and naval wargaming. They both tick all the right boxes being relatively low cost, requiring minimal terrain and no figure painting, at which I am less than amazing to say the least. It's also an excellent excuse to read loads of books like this one!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

MiG Alley 19th BG B-29's

I've started on the final aircraft for the MiG Alley / Bag the MiG project, at least for the moment, with eight B-29 medium bombers under coated, base coated in Foundry Spearpoint, washed, dry brushed and masked, ready for some white base layering tomorrow. These will be 19th Bomber Group aircraft for one of the Bag the MiG scenarios, so the tails will have horizontal bands rather then letters in circles or squares. This shouldn't be too tricky to do and gets round the problem of not having any suitable decals.

Magnetic Basing Bingo!


I tried out the magnetic sheet and iron impregnated adhesive box liner that I got from Tiny Tin Troops the other day and I'm dead impressed with the results. Not only was it quick and easy to cut, stick and trim the magnetic sheet to the hex bases but the 1/600th scale aircraft are also attached very firmly to the base layer, which prevents any sliding about or falling over. I wish I'd tried this approach before as it has solved all my basing headaches in one fell swoop. Brilliant! I'm now going to expand my hex based Cold War line-up with some Soviet aircraft, as well as finishing off the last of the Taiwanese Super Sabres and Freedom Fighters.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

MiG Alley Sea Furies and Firefies Finished

I finally wrapped up the 1/600th scale Tumbling Dice Hawker Sea Furies and Fairey Fireflies this afternoon, using a combination of Dom's Decal roundels and I-94 lettering. They are marked up as aircraft flying of 825 Squadron (Fireflies) and 802 Squadron (Hawker Sea Furies) flying from HMS Ocean c1952-53. I am quite pleased with the end result overall, especially as I thought I'd stuffed up the ID bands, so I may well add some more Fleet Air Arm planes to the mix at a later date including some of the short lived Supermarine Sea Fires. I've also got a plastic injection kit of HMS Ocean herself to assemble in 1/1600th scale.

Tiny Tank Busters

It was pay day yesterday, so I put in another order with Fighting 15's for some discounted Oddzial Ozmy 1/600th scale modern aircraft for the Target Locked On! Flashpoint: Baltic project. I was so impressed by the A-10 Warthog's that I bought last time that I decided to get some more, along with some other tank busting aircraft including some AH-64D Apache Longbow and Mi-24D Hind D helicopter gunships. I'm now planning to start on this project at some point soon, assuming nothing else gets in the way?

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Wings of Fame: Fleet Air Arm 1960-69

I was searching for some profiles of Sea Furies and Fireflies for the Korean War project, when I spotted a really good article on the Fleet Air Arm c1960-69 in an old Wings of Fame journal. I have several of these glossy paperback books, which I bought years ago in The Works when they were being sold off really cheap. They are still available on eBay although often at a highly inflated asking price.

Anyway, the article is really good, with loads of useful information, photos and even a chronology of Fleet Air Arm operations in the 1960's. I was thinking of painting up a selection of 1/600th scale Tumbling Dice Sea Vixens, Scimitars, Gannets and Buccaneers anyway, so this is yet more reason to do so, even if I have no real use for them other than a counter-factual 'what if?' East of Suez scenario of some sort.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

1/700 Cold War Fast Attack Craft Cont...

I was sorting out the second half of my 1/700th scale modern coastal forces project, when I located this little kit of a Knox class frigate. I can use it either as the flagship of the Franco-Israeli equipped fast attack flotilla or perhaps as a US warship sent to patrol contested imaginary waters and 'fly the flag'. It's a lovely model kit and not too big a warship to deploy, especially as it would make a tempting target for one side or the other? It's a shame it's not a Leander though!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

More Magnetic Storage Solutions

I have been frustrated by the way that my trusted blobs of blu tack fail to keep the homemade mdf bases on my 1/600th Cold War aircraft from sliding around in the bottom of their Really Useful storage box. They also tend to rip the fibres from the bottom of the bases when I do remove them from the box once they actually have stuck for a change. This has been a pain in the bum but I think I have a perfect solution to the problem:

I've decided to try a different approach, using a combination of self adhesive magnetic and flexible iron sheet from Tiny Tin Troops, which I can stick to the bottom of the Really Useful Box and to the bottom of the hex bases. It's not too expensive and for a tenner I have enough for two boxes and multiple stands, assuming I cut the magnetic sheet to fit the bases as economically as possible. I'm hoping that this will solve my slippery, slidy base problem once and for all!

Monday, 5 March 2018

MiG Alley RN Firefly and Sea Fury ID stripes

I had a go at the black lines on the 'invasion stripes' last night, using a 0.3mm drawing pen, which wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be, even if some of the lines went a bit wonky and will need to be cleaned up. I had to cheat on the Sea Fury fuselage bands, which are very narrow so could only fit a single black line, but I think they look okay. I also mucked up some of the fuselage bands on one side of the Fireflies, partly due to the difficult angle at which I had to use the pen and partly due to a blip in the casting which threw the line off course. I'll tidy everything up later and then start on the decals, which should be relatively simple to do, I hope?

Sunday, 4 March 2018

MiG Alley USN Corsairs Finished

I managed to finish the decals on the F4U-4 and F4U-5N Corsairs this afternoon, although it was all a bit of a rush and not as comprehensive as I had planned. I realised that adding tail insignia would be a step toward the edge of madness, so I limited the markings to wings only. I also didn't add any engine cowling bands as I originally intended due to a lack of time. This meant that they ended up an bit 'vanilla' but at least they're now ready to deploy.

The 'A' aircraft are F4U-4's of VF-884 (USS Boxer c1951), the 'B' aircraft are F4U-4's of VF-193 (USS Princeton c1951) and the 'H' aircraft are F4U-4's of VF-653 (USS Valley Forge c1951). The two F4U-5N night fighters, which should really be overall black and have red markings, are both from VMF(N)-513 (Wonsan AB c1950). I didn't have any red lettering and the black finish looked a bit boring, so they got an overall dark blue instead.

It's a shame that I had a few problems with white residue from the decals this time, which I haven't experienced before and which took some time to sort out, hence the rush to get these done and dusted. I also didn't mark up any aircraft from USMC units, which I had wanted to do, as these invariably had two squadron code letters, adding to fiddly alignment and cutting out. I guess I should do those Marine F3D Skynights to make up for it!

Re-Basing and Re-Cycling

I decided yesterday to de-base my 1/600th scale modern aircraft that I will be using for the Target Locked On! Flashpoint Baltic project. These were based on mdf hexes with wire stands but weren't ideal as they required the models to be drilled and glued to the wire, which proved to be difficult due to the very hard allow used for the Oddzial Ozmy models. This meant that drilling the holes was time consuming and some of the aircraft ended up coming unstuck.

I'm now going to switch to magnet basing for the modern aircraft which I think will be a better solution and will allow me to swap out the bases for hexes or squares, as required. The original bases won't be wasted, however, as I'll be recycling them for the 1/600th scale Tumbling Dice Cold War planes that I'm adding to my existing Target Locked On! Flashpoint Taiwan collection, which are based in the same way.

The Tumbling Dice models are cast in a much softer alloy, are easy to drill and stay stuck on the wire stands, so I might as well carry on using the method that I have used thus far and save myself some extra hassle in scratch building a load of new stands. The recycled ones will be used as bases for either some Soviet fighters and fighter bombers or for some Royal Navy carrier aircraft, although I've yet to make up my mind about which one I want to go for. Any suggestions?

Saturday, 3 March 2018

MiG Alley USMC / RN Continued...

I have started on the black and white 'invasion stripes' for the 1/600th Royal Navy Fireflies and Sea Furies, with masking tape on the outer wings as a guide for the white basecoat but freehand for the inner edges and fuselage bands. This seems to have worked but will need some black lining to be tidied up and also black banding, which is another level of complication altogether! I've also painted the prop bosses on the RN aircraft and on the USMC Corsairs, using a variety of blue, red and white highlights. It's slow work but I'm getting there...I think?

PT Dockyard Turya FAC(H)

I spent half the morning in a futile attempt to kit bash a 1/700th scale Skoryyi class destroyer from an old Tamiya Narvik, before giving up when I realised it wouldn't work.

Drat, Drat and Double Drat!

To save something from the wreckage I decided to assemble a PT Dockyard resin model of a Turya class FAC (H), which I had originally decided to leave well alone. It went together quite easily, much to my surprise, although I did replace some bits with plastic kit parts including a new forward deck twin cannon mounting, albeit an incorrect one.

This wraps up the Soviet-backed FAC flotilla but I can't start painting it yet as the temperature in the garage is still way to low for spray undercoating. Never mind, as I have the MiG Alley planes to finish in the meantime and also plan to base some more 1/600th aircraft, either for the Flashpoint Baltic project or for my projected Cold War Soviets.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Osas and Grishas

I assembled the remaining Skytrex Soviet FAC's today including a pair of Osa II FAC(M)'s and a single P6  FAC(T). These took ages to scrape, file, sand and glue, but eventually went together quite easily. I also assembled the Combrig resin Grisha corvette, which was yet more fiddly even though I left off some of the finer details for wargaming purposes. I had to replace some parts with plastic bits from a cheap, surplus to requirements Udaloy class destroyer model kit, as the resin components were far too fragile to survive very long. This completes the Soviet equipped flotilla for the moment, apart from a cunning plan that I will reveal later.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Komars, Shershens and Romeos

I started on the 1/700th scale Skytrex models this afternoon, with a couple of Komar FAC (M) and a single Shershen FAC (G). These are pretty basic models and need quite a lot of sanding, cutting and trimming before they look okay, so I didn't get more than these three assembled to start with. I did glue together a Hobby Boss Type 033 submarine, however, which was much less fiddly and easy to assemble, having only three parts. This will be a Romeo class submarine for my Soviet equipped flotilla, useful as a scenario prop or as a focus for a game of 'cat and mouse' ASW.  The models have been temporarily tacked down to laser cut mdf bases for undercoating and then painting, with some more boats on the workbench for tomorrow.

Flashpoint Baltic - Reinforcements

The Oddzial Ozmy packs of 1/600th modern aircraft, that I ordered for my Target Locked On!: Flashpoint Baltic project last week, arrived yesterday. I also found the box of planes that I lost down the back of the workbench, so I now have more than enough aircraft to equip several NATO flights and a decent range of Russian aircraft too, instead of the measly half dozen Su-27 Flankers that I based up to start with. I'm thinking of re-basing these with magnets but in the meantime...

...there's a very good deal on at Fighting 15's at the moment, with all the O8 packs reduced to £2.50 and many of them with more models per pack than usual. For example, the pack of Eurofighters and Su-30 Flanker C models had eight instead of the now regulation four or six models. I'm going to add a few more aircraft before the stock runs out including some more ground attack aircraft (A-10s!) and some helicopters, not to mention a pack of Reaper drones. Bargain!


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