Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Give Us The Ships

Back in March I set out some ideas for naval wargaming projects that I hoped to tackle and possibly even complete in 2018. I was then unexpectedly side tracked into What a Tanker! before returning to the naval wargaming theme over the Summer. In the end I managed to make some really good progress with my 1/2400th scale ironclads, with which I even played some games (!), and also my 1/700th scale modern fast attack craft, although these only got to the basic assembly stage. 

I didn't start my 1/2400th scale pre-dreadnoughts or finish off any more of my 1/600th scale WW2 coastal forces models, but that's fine as they were not the main focus. I really enjoyed the Broadside and Ram games that I played in the Summer holidays, so I'm going to make the French and British ironclads a painting priority in 2019, perhaps also getting the Prussian and Danish ships painted as well, which was the original aim of the project. 

I also want to complete at least one more naval wargaming project next year, whether that's the modern coastal forces or the WW2 convoy and escorts. Who knows, I might even get the pre-dreadnoughts underway, assuming I have the time and don't get side tracked yet again? The priority, however, will be the 1/2400th scale mid-Victorian ironclads, so that I can set up a solo 'what if?' campaign of my own, using Broadside and Ram or Dahlgren and Columbiad for smaller actions.

Monday, 10 December 2018

French Indochina Armour

This is out in February and I think I might pre-order a copy. Whatever you think of the vagaries of the Osprey Publishing series, the Vanguard titles are some of the better ones, hopefully including this book. It's not going to be a comprehensive study at only 48 pages but if the colour plates are up to scratch, it will be a useful painting guide for my 15mm and 10mm French AFV's. This is what the blurb says:

French experience with armour in Indo-China dated back to 1919, when it sent FT-17s to the colony, followed by a variety of armoured cars. After World War II, French troops were equipped with a motley collection of American and cast-off British equipment until the outbreak of war in Korea saw an increase in military aid. This included large numbers of the M24 Chaffee light tank, along with amphibious vehicles such as the M29C Weasel and LVT4 Buffalo, to conduct operations in coastal and inland areas that the Viet Minh had previously thought immune to attack. France's armour was a key part of the battle against the Viet Minh right up until the last stand at Dien Bien Phu.

I like the emphasis on the amphibious AFV's but I'm also interested in the earlier cast off and obsolete vehicles as well. It's really good to see at least one more Osprey covering the French Indochina conflict, otherwise I have to go back to my French language references and the internet for ideas.

British Platoon Vehicles

I haven't done much for the Sandbox Skirmish project lately, as the festive season has started to take a toll on my weekends and at work, but I did get all of the British vehicles undercoated yesterday in Humbrol Dark Green. This seems a bit counterintuitive, given that they are deploying to the desert, but the plan is to paint the green camouflage first, followed by the desert sand camouflage second, using a three layer approach to bring out the detail. The undercoat does cover up a multitude of sins as well, which means that my prior filling, sanding and filing really paid off.

I didn't have any desert sand spray anyway, so the single can of Matt Dark Green seemed like a good option. The end result should look good either way, as I'm aiming for something like the Saladin in the artwork above, using a toned down palette rather than a bright desert yellow. I've left the QRF  Saladin out of the selection of models, however, as it's a bit too powerful and this is an infantry based project, so it might dominate the game a bit too much. The Humber Pigs and Saracens will be more than enough to provide a bit of armoured protection and fire support.

I've now decided to give myself a rest and pick up the Sandbox Skirmish project in the New Year, as I really don't have the time at the moment to do it justice. It will be back in January! The good news is that I am ready to start painting the figures and vehicles now, rather than being bogged down in endless terrain building. I can take my time over this and, hopefully, do a good job, which means that I will then be able to crack on with the rebel forces afterwards.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Air War Over Khalkin Gol - Altitude Ratings

I've started to play around with the numbers for the Wings at War Khalkin Gol / Nonomhan rules re-writing project, starting with the relative altitude performance of the aircraft for both the Japanese and Soviets. This is a simple matter of taking the maximum service ceiling for each type and then comparing it to a series of four height bands, up to a limit of 12000 metres, above which none of the aircraft could fly.

The overall result is a table that looks like this (give or take a few adjustments and with some of the transport aircraft omitted, as they would play no part in the game):

This seems like a fair representation of the relative altitude performance of the different aircraft for both sides but I now have to do the far less straightforward calculations for the Energy Ratings, both loaded and unloaded, which will be a little bit more involved and likely to result in some head scratching, especially as I can't use thrust to weight ratios as a starting point this time round. I'll just have to work out a different mechanism based on wing loading, take off weight and speed.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Desert Ruined Fort Finished

I'll write up a proper review and an assembly report for the finished model at some point over the weekend. I'm really happy with the end result, even if the tufts ended up a little too over brushed and the base isn't an exact match for my desert terrain. It's a really nice model and will have many uses from ancient to medieval, colonial to modern, as you can see from the Peter Pig AK47 mortar team in the photos. :P

Laserburn Blast from the Past

I was up the loft last night in search of the Xmas tree decorations, which is always a good excuse to have a rummage in the piles of wargames magazines, rules and models that I've banished to a higher plane. In one of the box files of rules I found my old copy of Imperial Commander, which is a platoon level skirmish set of sci-fi rules based on the Laserburn system and written way back in the early '80's by Bryan Ansell and Richard Halliwell no less. 

I haven't played it for years and it's probably very, very clunky but, in a moment of nostalgia, I decided to bring it down from the loft for a read through. I was thinking that it could be another possible use for my desert terrain board and scenery, especially as I have lots of the old TTG 15mm figures and quite like the idea of some retro sci-fi gaming, even if I ditch the rules and use something else like Gruntz or Galactic Heroes, for example...

...and you've got to love the 1980's pen and ink cover art!

Friday, 7 December 2018

15mm Nissen Hut

I put an order in with The Scene a while back and it arrived today, which was a nice surprise as I had forgotten about it. I ordered a selection of 15mm oil drums, ammo boxes and other bits to use for the Sandbox Skirmish project, either for scatter terrain or for adding to the patrol base that I constructed for the British infantry platoon. I also ordered a resin Nissen hut that looked suitable as an additional building for the British base.

This is a really lovely crisp and sturdy model, well cast with no air bubbles or deformations. I'm seriously impressed and may well take up the offer of three for twenty quid, as it is a bit of a bargain for such a versatile and ubiquitous structure. It would give me a proper army camp for the rebels to assault and I could use them for AK47 too. A definite *****  rating for price, quality and usefulness.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Santa's Sea Cloth

I've been allowed to buy myself a 6' x 4' Blue Sea cloth from Tiny Wargames as a stocking filler, so that it arrives before the holidays and can be wrapped up to go under the tree well in advance of our habitual trip to the French in laws. I've been after one of these for ages as a companion to the Dark Sea cloth that I bought for my nocturnal coastal forces games. This one will be used for my 1/2400th scale pre-dreadnought project and for other naval things that don't need a dark sea surface like my projected Cold War project in 1/3000th scale, but I will probably keep the original 'stormy waters' cloth for my Baltic and North Sea ironclads, as it just seems more appropriate somehow?

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Desert Fort Ruin Painting Progress

I've base coated and dry brushed the Supreme Littleness Designs desert fort ruin, ready for it to be washed, highlighted and detailed tomorrow. It's now a bit easier to see how the design really captures the look of a ancient and desolate Near or Middle Eastern fortress. I'll finish it off tomorrow after I've given it an overall wash in diluted GW Agrax Earthshade, with a drybrush and some arid desert tufts, so that it's ready to use for the Sandbox Skirmish project amongst other interesting things.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Pig's Breakfast

I got round to assembling the QRF Humber Pigs this afternoon, once I'd cleared the decks of work and had time to sit down and sort them out. They are typical QRF, a bit rough round the edges but the only deal in town as far as mid 1960's British Army Cold War kit is concerned, so I had to bite the bullet and just get on with it. The castings are pretty rough with one having a miscast wheel arch to make matters even more enjoyable but underneath all the seams and flash there's definitely a Humber Pig or two in there, oinking to come out.

I replaced the white metal axles with steel rod and pre-drilled the wheels so that they stayed attached. I also left off the riot bars, as these are battle taxis not internal security vehicles, although having said that they really should have the flashy blue lights removed and a pintle mounted Bren gun added instead. The end result isn't too bad but, after my recent experiences with less than fantastic QRF quality control, I'll be sticking to Peter Pig and Command Decision from now on.

A case in point is the Ferret scout car that I ordered along with the Humber Pigs, which I realised had a miscast engine deck after I had cleaned up all the other components. I was about to bin it, when I remembered seeing photos of more than one mined Ferret armoured car in the Radfan, which not infrequently had their front wheels blown off by IED's or Soviet anti-tank mines. This was a pretty common hazard and would be a good hook for a scenario, perhaps involving an ambush, a medevac or a vehicle recovery under fire?

To save the model and make use of it, I chopped the back axle into bits and glued it back in place so that it looked a bit like the photo, only in reverse if that makes sense. I added a floor to the crew compartment and glued the whole thing onto a circular base. This will be modelled with a blast crater and possibly some more scattered vehicle bits, so that it looks the part of a wounded, if not deceased Ferret. I'm quite pleased with the end result but not with QRF for supplying a wonky model in the first place.


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