Sunday, 30 September 2018

Flashpoint Alto Cenepa: FAE Finished

 

Mirage F1-J

IAI Kfir C2

Sepecat Jaguar International

BAE Strikemaster

Cessna T-37B Dragonfly

Bell 212, Aerospatiale Gazelle and Pumas

Aerospatiale Gazelle

Bell 212

I've finally finished the FAE aircraft and helicopters for the Alto Cenepa project, with only some rotor discs to add to the latter to complete the line up. I am now ready to try out the Wings at War rules and also set up a Target Locked On! historical scenario with Peruvian SU-22 Fitters against Ecuadorian Mirage F1's. I still need to work out the mechanics for the Alto Cenepa Wings at War variant and produce some ground targets, but otherwise I'm ready to go.

1/600th Model Codes for the Football War


I'm starting the Soccer War project today, with an initial clean up and magnet basing of the Tumbling Dice models that I already have, to be followed later on by the ones that are in the post. I've organised the various 1/600th scale models for both the El Salvador and Honduran air forces, with some simple visual clues and a paint job to distinguish between the different marques of fighter aircraft.

Honduras (FAH)

F4U-4 Corsair

I'll be using the F4U4 Corsair with Rockets (ISA 261b) for these as they were mainly used for ground attack.


F4U-5N Corsair Night Fighter

These will be the unloaded F4U-4 Corsair (ISA 261) to which I plan to add tiny cannon barrels, if I can find a way to do this without them looking overscale.


T-6 Texan

This will be the standard Texan / Harvard model (ISA 180)

T-28 Trojan

This will be the standard T-28A model (ISA 842) but with a couple of machine gun pods attached.


C-47 Skytrain

Again, the standard C-47 Dakota model (ISA 270)

El Salvador

FG1-D Corsair 

They only had a few of these with home made bomb racks attached to the rocket rails, so I'll use the Corsair with rockets model (ISA 261b)


F-51D

I'll use the standard P-51D Mustang model for these fighter bombers (ISA 283b)


F-51 Mk II Cavalier Mustang

The tip tanks were removed from the FAS Cavaliers, so I will use the P-51D with rockets (ISA 283c)for these fighter bomber COIN aircraft, to distinguish them from the other Mustangs.

C-47 Skytrain

As above (ISA 270)

SNJ-5

These were the navalised version of the T-6 Texan, so I'll use the same model (ISA 180)


Both sides also used a variety of light aircraft as ad hoc bombers including Cessna U-17A, T41A, 180, 185 and 170, for example. There's no equivalent model in the Tumbling Dice range, so I may have to use the Stinson L-5 Sentinel as a stand in and cover all for these civilian planes (ISA 825). I've looked on Shapeways for a suitable model for these aircraft in 1/600 but there's nothing available, so I'll have to make do with what I've got. 

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Flashpoint Alto Cenepa: FAE Painting

Apologies for the blurry photo but the camera is on the blink again.

I finished painting the FAE aircraft for the Alto Cenepa project today, so they now only need the decals to be applied and the canopies gloss varnished to be ready to use. I'm not as happy with these as I am with the FAP aircraft but they will do. I don't have any rotor discs for the helos yet but will order some as soon as possible so that they are complete.

I am going to leave the extra FAP aircraft for the moment as I want to do the planes for the Soccer War and also go back to the French ironclads to add another stage of painting. I also have another project that may hit the workbench at some point, which has nothing to do with tiddly planes or ships for a change but which I was fiddling about with earlier in the year. 

1/600 Egyptian Decals



I sent a request for some 1948 Egyptian decals to Dan Arute of Flight Deck Decals last week and he's now going to have a go at producing a sheet for me in 1/600th scale. It might be a bit tricky to replicate the tiny white stars and crescent in the centre but he's going to give a go, which is great!. I have some of his 1/600th scale RAF and Indonesian decals which are excellent and arrived in no time at all from across the pond, so I know that they are a top quality product. I'm looking forward to re-igniting my Wings at War: Desert Spitfires project once the new decals are on their way. Thanks Dan!

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Eindecker!



I've been trying to get hold of a back copy of Miniature Wargames with Battlegames Issue 396 for ages, as it has an early WW1 variant of the Wings of War:Duel of Aces game, which I couldn't get at the time due to being on holiday in France. I tracked a copy down yesterday and sent off for it, so can now extend my Wings at War coverage back to the Fokker Scourge of 1915-1916. There are some really nice Tumbling Dice models for this period too and, as it's pay day tomorrow, I thought I might splash out on yet more tiddly lead and get an early war starter pack. Tally Ho!

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The 100 Hour War


My copy of this paperback book on the Soccer War arrived in the post today, so I've had a quick flick through and will read it properly at the weekend. It is quite short but packed full of detailed information, cracking photos and some lovely colour profiles of the aircraft involved in the conflict between El Salvador and Honduras in July 1969. 

It's a gold mine of stuff for air wargaming and very much worth grabbing if you are interested, especially as it's an absolute bargain if you shop around a bit. I am absolutely chuffed with this book as you can probably work out by my enthusiastic review. There are several other interesting titles in Helion Publishing's Latin America@War series and somewhere over the horizon there will be a volume on the Alto Cenapa War too. Excellente!

https://www.helion.co.uk/browse-title-series-more/latinamericaatwar-series.html

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Flashpoint Alto Cenepa: FAE Camouflage




I've just spent a very happy hour or so painting the camouflage base layers on the Ecuadorian aircraft for the Alto Cenepa Wings at War project. I mixed the light green camouflage for the Mirage F1's, Kfirs, A37's and helicopters using a combination of Vallejo Olive Green and Camo Olive Green, applied directly over the sprayed on Halfords Camouflage Green undercoat. I went a bit freestyle on the choppers because I liked the grey / green / light green camo combination on the Super Tweets, so thought I'd do the same.

I painted the camo stripes on  the Jaguars and Strikemasters using Army Painter Uniform Grey, but fluffed up the camo pattern on the Jaguars, so overpainted the green areas with Vallejo US Dark Green. The C-130 Hercules ended up going completey pear shaped, however, so it's gone to the boneyard in the sky until I can get a replacement model. I will crack on with the under fuselage areas next then give them all an ink wash before tackling the canopies.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Flashpoint Alto Cenepa: Table Terrain

Imagine this scaled for 1/600 as far as the eye can see...or just 6'x4'?

I've been thinking about the 6'x4' table terrain for the Wings at War Alto Cenepa project and have come up with three different options. The table layout is a standard 6' x 4' rectangle divided down the middle lengthways by a gently winding river, representing the frontline. The rest of the surface is jungle without any distinguishing features, as hills and ground targets will be plonked on the top. I have found a couple of aerial photos that give an impression of what I'm thinking of, if not the exact design.

The river is a bit too wide but this is what the layout would be like.

The options I have are to home dye a suitable sheet, paint a couple of interlocking boards or go full throttle and commission a bespoke terrain cloth from Tiny Wargames. The latter would be expensive but I could re-use the cloth for the Soccer War, Thud Ridge or even a Wings at War variation for the Indonesian Confrontation, assuming I don't have a hex pattern printed over the top, not to mention Target Locked On! in a similar setting. If I did add a hex grid, which are free to print, then it could also be deployed for Bag the Hun games set in the CBI or Pacific Theatre, for example. 

I'm tempted to go for it but it won't be cheap!

Slow Sailing


I finished blocking in the sails on the 1/2400th scale French ironclads this morning, which was something I'd rather not have to do again as it was pretty fiddly and not a little tedious. They are a bit rough and ready but will be tidied up once I've completed the rest of the blocking in on the decks, masts and spars. I am now wondering if it wouldn't be better to tackle them one or two at a time? I'm putting them to one side for the moment, however, as I really want to focus on the Ecuadorean aircraft for the Alto Cenepa project, along with half a dozen extra planes and helicopters for the Peruvians. I'll be straight back to the ironclads once they are out of the way.

The Football War 1/600th Scale Aircraft


I had a sort through of my Tumbling Dice leftovers from the MiG Alley and Desert Spitfires projects last night, the result being almost the entire air forces of Honduras (FAH) and El Salvador (FAS) for the Soccer War of 1969. I will make a few changes later on including swapping some unarmed Corsairs for rocket armed ones and adding some tiny cannon barrels, so that the different marques can be easily identified. I will also add some T-28 Trojans to the Honduran side, which are the only things that I don't already have, together with a couple more C-47's which are still in the Arab Israeli spares box.

Here's the Honduran Air Force (FAH):


And here's the El Salvador Air Force (FAS):


I've also made really good progress adapting Desert Spitfires to the Soccer War and working out some special rules to cover things like Honduran cannon jams and low level versus high level performance for the Corsairs and Mustangs. The working title is Corsairs and Cavaliers, which I think has a nice ring about it and sums up the nature of the dogfighting between the two sides. I'll get working on typing it up over the next week or so, alongside some long overdue painting. 

Sunday, 23 September 2018

The Soccer War 1969

How cool is that!

I've been thinking of ways to squeeze extra mileage out of the jungle flight stands I've made, without starting anything too long winded, time consuming or expensive. I thought of Thud Ridge but that would be too much to do. I also thought of doing an imaginations 'Air War AK-47' based on the fictitious nations in my AK47 Republic games, but that was too random. I then remembered a Bag the Hun article on the so-called Soccer War (or as I prefer to call it The Football War) between El Salvador and Honduras in an old Too Fat Lardies Special, so I dug it out and took a closer look. 


The article written by Tom Ballou is in the 2007 Xmas Special and includes a brief overview of the two air forces involved, an explanation of the key events of the 100 hour long conflict, statistics for the different aircraft and three scenarios. This looked to be just what I was after; a handful of interesting aircraft with funky camo schemes, some dogfighting and ground attack missions and some ready made scenarios, all set over the steamy jungles of Central America. I then located another article online by an American mercenary F-51 Cavalier pilot, which confirmed my initial impressions:

 https://www.flightjournal.com/the-soccer-war/

I've just ordered this from Amazon

There's even a book that I can get hold of called 'The 100 Hour War' so that, in theory, I could develop my own scenarios, either factual or based on other possibilities. As far as aircraft are concerned, with the exception of some T-28 Trojans and the need for some conversion work to produce a few Cavalier Mustangs, I have all the 1/600th models I need already left over from other projects including Corsairs, Mustangs, Texans and Dakotas. I could even do this in 1/285th scale as I have a few Raiden Miniatures P-51D's and Scotia Collectair F4U4 Corsairs too, although that would really defeat the object of the exercise!

See what I mean about 'funky' camouflage!

I've sorted out the relevant models and set them aside for a rainy weekend at some point, with a view to either using Bag the Hun first edition for this or a simple Wings at War conversion. In a way, the conflict is very similar to the set up in Desert Spitfires, just switching Egyptians for Hondurans and Israelis for Salvadoreans, give or take a few tweaks to reflect the specifics of the Soccer War. I think it would be an easy task to translocate one for the other, certainly less work than that required for the Alto Cenepa Wings at War variant. It's got me interested to say the least but I have other things to do for the moment, so it will have to wait a bit longer?

British Ironclads 1860-75


I've just finished reading this new Osprey title and thought I'd give it a quick review. It's not bad but I was disappointed by the artwork, which features some small side profiles, a couple of cut away diagrams and some nondescript colour plates, although the latter are quite atmospheric. For some reason the profiles have a strange light grey sheen effect on the hulls, which doesn't really look right, even if it is designed to accentuate the details. 

The text isn't bad either, with a very brief overview of the different classes of broadside ironclad, but all of this information is available in much greater detail elsewhere. There are, however, some useful chapters on armament, armour, propulsion and conditions on board ship for the crew, which together make this a good introduction to the subject. For the asking price, this makes the book worth buying,

Overall, I'd give this a score of 3/5 but it does provide a useful overview for anyone who is new to the subject or would be interested in wargaming during the period. It's just a shame the artwork isn't more inspirational. I hope that a companion volume on the French navy follows sooner rather than later, as that would cover a subject that is far less documented yet just as interesting.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

15mm Sci Fi Armoured APC Truck



I was in town this afternoon and popped into the local toy shop to see if I could find any Humbrol Grass Green spray paint. I was unlucky but did spot some Matchbox Jurassic World diecast toy vehicles including this very hard sci-fi looking Armoured Action Truck. I bought a couple as wheeled transports for use with my overloaded lead pile of GZG figures, as they are considerably cheaper than the resin or metal alternative. Here's one with a badly painted 15mm GZG Tomorrow's War Brazilian armoured trooper alongside for a scale comparison. That's yet another project that I really should crack on and finish, although I'm tempted just to start a new army rather than slog through the one that I've almost completed!

Flashpoint Alto Cenepa: Wings at War Energy Ratings


I've number crunched some Energy Ratings for the Alto Cenepa aircraft, using Thrust / Weight Ratios and Loaded Take Off Weights as a basic guideline. I've made a few adjustments here and there including dropping the Loaded Energy of the Su-22 to reflect it's fighter / bomber design and bumping up the Loaded Energy rating of the Tucano. I couldn't decide if the Hercules should have a Loaded Energy rating but I included one, even though it may not even appear in the game anyway!

I've also split transport and attack helicopters into two separate ratings. I'm intending to make this an either/or role for helicopters in the mission objectives, with dedicated attack helicopters e.g. Mi-24 and Gazelle, distinct from dedicated transports e.g. Puma or Mi-8/17, although the Mi8/17 Hip can perform both roles so would have to be designated as one or the other in the game. I also thought about having a Loaded Energy rating for the transport choppers but that would make them too clumsy and slow, which would be a bit of a bummer for the re-supply mission role?

Friday, 21 September 2018

Flashpoint Alto Cenepa: Wings at War Altitude Bands


I've had a go at bashing together a comparative chart of maximum service ceilings (m) for the various aircraft deployed in the Alto Cenepa conflict.

I've divided this up into bands based on the four altitude levels used in the Wings at War rules system. This seems to work although it does mean all helicopters are restricted to a maximum height of Level 1. This matches with the maximum height for helos in Flames Above the Falklands, MiG Alley and so on, so that seems fine. It does mean that they will have to fly around any hills which should make resupply and ground attack missions that extra bit more interesting.

These results seem to give a good balance between the two sides as well, so I'm proposing that I take them forward into the first draft of the modified rules. 

Thursday, 20 September 2018

The Particular Service Squadron 1885


I was looking for something else a few days ago when I came across this fascinating late Victorian naval exercise, which was focussed on a potential war with Russia in the Baltic. I've included a couple of extracts from The Late Victorian Navy by Roger Parkinson, as it gives a better explanation and overview than I could. A really interesting story and there's some excellent contemporary illustrations from The Graphic for inspiration. It would make a great naval wargaming 'What If?' and almost all of the various ships including HMS Polyphemus are available from Tumbling Dice in 1/2400th scale too.







Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Flashpoint Alto Cenepa: Wings at War Aircraft Ratings


I've been reading through Flames Above The Falklands again, in an attempt to strip out what I think I need for the Alto Cenepa mash up. I think the key to making this work is getting the ratings right for the various aircraft involved and to then make sure that there is enough for them to do in each game turn, so that there is sufficient interaction and the potential for combat. This includes air to air but also air to ground strikes, as well as transport and re-supply flights by the helos.

The other thing I need to decide upon is whether to use three of four levels of altitude, with three being the approach for Flames Above The Falklands but four in all of the other Wings at War booklets. I'm tempted to go for three, as there were few if any high altitude engagements and most of the action was at very low level, making four height bands a bit superfluous. It also means that I have to make fewer flight stands, which is a small but still useful bonus.

The Energy Ratings and Max Height levels for the different aircraft are a bit more complicated to work out, although I can benchmark the Mirage III/V, the Canberra and the helicopters easily using the table in the rules. I've been trying to find out if there is a formula or system for calculating these statistics, perhaps based on thrust to weight ratios and related performance figures, as it would avoid quite a bit of number crunching and 'best fit' guesswork on my part.

I now also quite fancy doing Flames Above The Falklands too!

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