Saturday, 31 March 2018

Testing Target Locked On!


I'm in France on holiday for a few days so I thought I'd use the time away from the workbench to give Target Locked On! a thorough play testing, having not managed to get round to it yet despite having a copy of the rules for months. I printed off the latest edition of the rules before I left and also laminted and cut out the counters, templates and cheat sheets, so that side of things is sorted. As I'm not at home, I've also printed and card backed a set of Modern Soviet and USAF aircraft counters from Paperforge, which will do the job in place of 1/600th scale models for the moment.


Speaking of which, I have ordered some more Oddzial Ozmy 1/600th scale planes from Fighting 15's for the Flashpoint: Baltic project including some ground attack USMC AV8-B's and VVS Su-25's, as I didn't have any dedicated tank busting aircraft and wanted some Harriers anyway. I also bundled in some Tornado ADV's, Su-22's and some more Saab JAS-39 Gripens, which I can use for Czech and Hungarian aircraft in addition to the Swedish ones I already have. They're really nice models, so I couldn't resist getting far more than I could realistically need. I'll just have to re-equip the Baltic States with them!

https://saab.com/air/gripen-fighter-system/gripen/gripen/users-gripen/

Friday, 30 March 2018

Galactic Heroes..in 15mm!


The Fistful of Lead: Galactic Heroes Kickstarter is now fully funded with only a couple of the Stretch Goals yet to be reached, which is great news. Well done Jaye Wiley! I'm really happy as this means that my set of rules, cards and other bits will be arriving sometime later in the year, by which time I should be ready to play some scenarios. I've decided to go for the 15mm option rather than 28mm, primarily as I already have lots of unpainted lead, resin and lasercut mdf to use for this project (which doesn't mean I won't add some more, of course!)


The figures will be from the old Laserburn (Imperial Commander) 15mm range for space opera style games and from GZG for more hard sci-fi purposes. The Laserburn figures are still very good even after thirty years and really capture the look of 1980's sci-fi in a 2000AD style. The GZG figures are more conventional but also great for more hard nosed, gritty sci-fi settings. I also have plenty of cool terrain and structures to use including a stonking resin fortified 'habitation base' outpost thing from Alternative Armies, which has been sitting in a dusty box for far too long.

So, all this will be kicking off over the summer holidays, ready for the rules publication date in September.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

The New Zealand Wars


I'm off on holiday next week so thought I'd do some reading, taking a break from the workbench for a bit. This is what I'll be starting with, an Osprey on the New Zealand Wars which were at their high point in the 1840's and 1860's. This is with a tentative view to using the Empress Miniatures New Zealand Wars range with Fistful of Lead: Horse and Musket, as a variation on the French Indian Wars option. I think this has a lot of potential, especially as you only need a handful of figures and a very small table area of 2' x 2' or so. A lot of the FIW scenarios are also easily transferable to the conflict. I'm off doing naval wargaming things in the immediate future but may well come back to this idea later in the year.

Monday, 26 March 2018

MiG Alley B-29 Brushwork



I added the tail stripes and canopies to the 1/600th scale Tumbling Dice B-29's this evening, although they look a little messy at the moment, with some tidying up and black lining needed to make them presentable. These are 19th Bomb Group aircraft, albeit with a simplified paint scheme to cut down on the fiddly bits. I'm thinking of washing them again or, at the very least, adding some ink washes to the green tail stripes, gun turrets and engine nacelles, in order to give them some more definition. The decals will also make a difference once the painting is out of the way. It's been a long day, so I'm now off to have something to eat and to warm up after sitting in a cold garage for an hour or so.

Bag the MiG Hex Bases


I spent a quiet, de-stressing afternoon yesterday assembling and undercoating a set of bases for the Bag the MiG project, using the tried and tested combination of 40mm panel pins, 30mm x 3mm laser cut mdf hexagons and 7mm dice frames. The fun bit is cutting off the tips of the panel pins with a Dremel, which is very satisfying in a slightly pyrotechnical direction, although the resulting smell of burning metal is less appealing.

The bases got an undercoat of Halfords grey primer but, being quite fibrous, this needed sanding down and re-spraying before I could think about a top coat. I was thinking of finding a nice sky blue car aerosol shade to spray paint the bases over the grey basecoat, but I think I'll use the usual approach and brush on a couple of layers of Vallejo 70844 Deep Sky Blue, which I've used on my other scratch built hex bases.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Give Us the Ships!


I've really enjoyed the air wargaming stuff that I've been working on this winter and think that I've made some really good progress, especially with the MiG Alley / Bag the MiG and the Target Locked On! Flashpoint: Taiwan projects, both of which are almost ready to go, give or take some bases now being constructed on the workbench. I'm working on the Bag the MiG bases today, hoping to get them built and undercoated by the end of the weekend.

The secret of my unspectacular success, dare I say it, has been a switch in scales to 1/600th, which has enabled me to paint up whole squadrons of aircraft in a fraction of the time taken for 1/285th. I also have cracked the hex or square, sky blue or ground textured basing conundrum, using the panel pin, mdf and mini-magnet approach, combined with self adhesive magnetic sheet for storage.

I'll be carrying on with air wargaming things in the side lines, especially for the Target Locked On! Flashpoint: Baltic project, but think it's now time for a bit of a break from tiddly aircraft. As a result, I'm going to focus on naval wargaming for the Spring - Summer, including the three projects that have been sitting around waiting to be tackled for a long while.

These include:

1. Modern Fast Attack (1/700th)

 Using Bulldogs Away! and Naval Command (when the supplement for this gets published) 

2. Danish and Prussian Ironclads c1864 (1/2400th)

Using Broadside and Ram with the Schleswig Holstein War campaign rules.

3. Anglo-Japanese Pre-Dreadnoughts c1900 (1/2400th)

Using Rise of the Battleships and Broadside and Salvo / White Bear - Red Sun

4. Something Else (ooh shiny!)

Possibly another 1/3000th scale WW2 fleet (Italians? Soviets? British?) or ACW ironclads in 1/600th or Napoleonic fleets in 1/2400th, who knows?

Most of these projects are in a half way or almost there stage already and just need a push to be launched. I will also be making some naval wargaming terrain pieces to match my new Dark Sea cloth from Tiny Wargames and may even get another terrain cloth for more tropical regions, as they are really nice and a decent price too.

I'm already looking forward to this and may even get started on something over the Easter holidays, while I'm away in Brittany?

Saturday, 24 March 2018

What a Tanker!


At last, a Too Fat Lardies game I can play without having to paint up loads of figures or take out a bank loan to buy shedloads of new kit. This looks like a 'light' tank skirmish set of rules using some of the TFL innovative approach to mechanisms, underpinned no doubt by some solid historical research - playing the period, not the game, as the strapline goes. I'm really hoping it's not too lightweight, like the Tanks! 'beer and pretzels' game, but something with a bit more depth to it.


Either way, I have some 1/50th scale Corgi US Sherman tanks all ready to go for this, together with a couple of Panthers and a Tiger for them to tackle, needing only a bit of a wash and some weathering to hit the front lines. I also have some 1/48th scale resin T34/76's and an SU-85 that I can assemble and paint too, to take the action off to the Russian Front. All very tempting as there's even a pre-publication special deal on offer, making it more than affordable.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Crisis in Kashmir!


Here's the pay day splurge for this week, a copy of the CY6 Jet Age scenario book for the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. I know very little about this conflict but since when has that stopped me from adding more weight to the lead pile? I'm thinking of this as a 1/600th scale project using Target Locked On! or even a modified version of the Wings at War rules, probably the Suez Crisis one as it is the closest to the Indo-Pakistan conflict in terms of technology. Any excuse for some more tiddly planes from Tumbling Dice!

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Red Hatchets and Black Powder


This new scenario supplement has been published for the Fistful of Lead: Horse and Musket skirmish rules, which I have yet to try out having been undecided about what to do with them. I actually have a few French Indian War figures in 28mm that I bought ages ago for Muskets and Tomahawks but never actually used (no surprise there!), so I could start out with them as a way in. I remember reading an inspirational wargaming magazine article by Stuart Asquith in the early 1980's, which set out a raiding scenario by Rogers Rangers against a French garrison, so I have long had an interest in the subject. I have no time now to try this out but I will download the new rules supplement, if only to do a bit of gratuitous wishful thinking over the weekend!

Monday, 19 March 2018

Fast Attack Project "FRAM can" Destroyer



I have been looking for a Cold War era 1/700th scale destroyer model, as a target for the Soviet equipped fast attack flotilla that I glued together a couple of week ago, but without much luck. At the weekend I did some googling and found out, to my surprise, that some of the old Fletcher Class DD's underwent FRAM upgrades in the early 1960's, so I thought I'd have a go at doing some upgrading myself using the Tamiya kit as a basis for a rearmament. I already have a Skywave weapons set that I can use to do this and, hopefully, a bit of kit bashing and plastic card will do the rest. I'm not going to try to make an accurate model but just something that looks the part, so there will be some artistic licence involved.

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?

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