Monday 30 September 2013

Bag the Hun 336th FS Game [6]

It's been a bit of a rush job but I've worked up the main scenario for the BTH2 game tomorrow, sorted out the turn cards and cut them out, then filled in all the record sheets for both the Luftwaffe and the USAAF. I didn't quite finish off the pair of FW190A8's that I need for the starter game but they are useable as they are, even if the decals are missing. I've built in some rules twists for the main game, which may or may not actually work, but it will be a bit of a challenge for the players either way.

Ragnarok 60

That nice Mr Blease has published an article of mine in the next edition of the SFSFW journal Ragnarok! This is a campaign system based around a semi-historical 'Scramble for Africa' but designed for use with the excellent Aeronef rules from Wessex Games. The campaign system is partly based on the one used by Chris Peers in his Back of Beyond supplement but with specific stuff for Aeronef built in. It works too, as I used it a few years ago for a club multiplayer campaign, in which the dastardly Belgians emerged victorious!

Sunday 29 September 2013

Bag The Hun 336th FS Game [5]

I spent most of today at an under 8's rugby tournament in Cobham, so didn't get back until after four this afternoon. However, I have managed to re-paint and decal four P51D Mustangs that I need for the game on Tuesday. The fuselage codes are now correct, even if some of the other markings are missing, but I have to draw a line somewhere and boxing Donald Duck cartoons, invasion stripes and tiddly writing seemed like a good place to call it a day.

Saturday 28 September 2013

Bag the Hun 336th FS Game [4]

I managed to bang out the starter scenario for the BTH2 game this morning, although I was constantly interrupted in the process, as usual. I had to take a punt on the Luftwaffe unit involved but it's not way off the mark and might even be accurate. The FW190's have been upgraded to A9's, as these were the type operating at the time with II/JG4, as far as I can work out. Anyway, we'll see how it plays out, once I've sorted the turn cards and finished off the two required FW190's at some point over the next couple of days.

Friday 27 September 2013

Bag the Hun 336th FS Game [3]

The warm up on Tuesday will be another historical scenario, which I bumped into while researching the details for the main multi-player game. It involves an incredible six on one dogfight by Capt. Donald Emerson of the 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, on Christmas Day 1944 to the SW of Koblenz.

After destroying two of the six enemy FW190's at low level, Emerson was shot down by friendly ground fire and killed. A tragic end but a testament to his skill and bravery nonetheless. This should make for a really challenging scenario for the USAAF player but will, hopefully, turn out to be a good opener, if I get the balance right?

Thursday 26 September 2013

Bag The Hun 336th FS Game [2]

Capt Franklin 'Frank' Young
I'm planning to pull the scenarios together for the Bag The Hun game over the weekend. I've really enjoyed doing the research for the game but it's going to be a bit of a rush if I'm going to get it worked up for Tuesday. In the interim, I've focused my time working out the squadron codes for the 336th P51D's that I need to apply to the unfinished models in the box.

Capt Carl R. Alfred
 The larger of the two scenarios revolves around an engagement on the 1st January 1945 near the town of Ulzen, with four 336th P51's against four Me109G's of JG300 and JG301, followed by two Me262's of III/JG7. I have all of the German fighters but need to finish three P51's with the correct fuselage codes for three out of the four Mustangs.

Capt Donald Pierini
The four pilots involved were Capt. Frank Young (VF-A) and his wingman, Capt. Carl R. Alfred* (VF-Z), with a second pair of Capt. Donald Pierini (VF-H) and 1st Lt. Van Chandler (VF-U), the latter the youngest ace of the war. I have VF-H all marked up and ready to go but the other aircraft in the flight will need to have new decals applied before they're ready for action.

1st Lt. Van Chandler
The second scenario is a primer for the main game but, in itself, should provide a fast moving and challenging engagement. The scenario is a very one sided action between Capt. Donald Emerson in his lone P51D (VF-D) and no less than six FW190A's, which took place on Christmas Day 1944. I'll post more about this extraordinary scenario later on. 

 *this is a bit speculative but I'm pretty sure it's accurate.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Bag the Hun 336th FS Game [1]

I have a another multiplayer game of Bag The Hun set up for next Tuesday, once again featuring my late war collection of USAAF and Luftwaffe fighters. This time, it's going to be a historical scenario based around some research I've been doing on the 336th Fighter Squadron of the 4th Fighter Group, the eponymous 'Rocketeers'.
In actual fact, I'll have two scenarios to play out on Tuesday, assuming I get the time to write them up and finish off a couple of FW190's and P51D's over the weekend. I'll post more details later on but, in the meantime, I need to work up the scenario briefings and produce some new card sets for the pilots involved.

Monday 23 September 2013

Foundry Bushi Bargain

I won these classic Wargames Foundry Samurai on ebay yesterday for £7.65, which is a stonking bargain as they cost £14 plus postage on the Foundry site. I don't have any of the figures in the set but I do have three or four spare samurai figures from my collection, so more than enough to put together a heavily armed Bushi buntai, assuming I go for the Level 3 and above option. I'm really pleased with this addition to the Ronin project, which now allows me to put together three buntai using Foundry figures, as well as the Sohei from Northstar.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Bolt Action Yanks [14]

It's been absolutely ages since I last had time to tackle the Bolt Action US infantry but, here's a long overdue update. I've now blocked in the weapons, the gloves, the scarves and the helmet straps using basic Foundry colours, so have only got the boots, ammo boxes and belts to finish off before I can wash the figures in Army Painter Strong Tone. This will be followed by some tidying up and detailing, before the base texturing and painting can begin. The aim is to get the whole lot done by the end of the month....and this was supposed to be a quick project!

Sarissa Precision

I tried to find these at Colours last weekend but to no avail. Instead, I've ordered two houses and a bridge to provide some terrain features and a focus for Ronin scenarios. I've seen the Sarissa Precision old west buildings and very nice they are too, so I have high expectations for these Japanese houses, especially as laser cut .mdf would seem to be a perfect material for their construction.

Friday 20 September 2013

Foundry Buntai



Ninja, Warrior Monk, Shugyosha or Ronin
The thing that initially sparked my interest in the Osprey Ronin rules in the first place, was my collection of vintage Foundry Samurai figures, some of the most atmospheric sculpts that I've yet to see and a blast from the past that I haven't been able to put aside even after thirty years or so.

They may not be the most accurate or even the most anatomically correct figures but, for me, they capture the essence of the period and have that inspirational quality that just makes you want to pick up a brush and get cracking. So, in a rare quiet moment this evening, I unpacked the box of figures that I've been hoarding for years and began organising them into factions. 

First up are the scruffy looking Bandits, led by a flamboyant leader with yumi and katana. He's backed up by a motley collection of katana and naginata toting thugs, together with a gashira armed with a very useful yumi. A wandering ronin may also be added to the buntai, to give a bit of backbone to an otherwise relatively flimsy force, as I have a couple of figures that would fit in well.

Second, we have a formidable but smaller Koryu buntai, built around the katana as it's principal weapon. This is a small force of six figures, so I may need to look for some additional 'Swords for Hire' in order to bulk it out. It is, however, quite a powerful force, as I'll boost it with attributes and make most of the figures rank three or higher, including a powerful twin katana wielding sensei.

To use up the remaining classic figures, I have a trio of 'Swords for Hire' including a naginata armed shugyoshi or ronin, a rather portly warrior monk with tetsubo and a lethal ninja with katana. These aren't all available to the Bandit and Koryu buntai but are lovely figures, so cry out to be painted up, even if they'll stay in the reserves box.

..I really can't wait to paint these up but it will have to be after I've finished the Bolt Action project, amongst other impending things on the workbench.

Ronin Buntai on a Budget

I spotted some of the Zvezda 1/72nd scale plastic Age of Battles samurai figures at Colours the other day but only after I'd bought my 28mm Northstar Sohei buntai.

However, it got me thinking about a less expensive alternative to 28mm metal for Ronin, which would be quicker to do and which would still features some decent figures. The Zvezda figures come in packs of four or five for about three quid and are made of hard plastic that can be cut, glued and painted, so look like a definite budget alternative.

I've decided to get a few packs to see what the figures are like and to work out if I can put together a couple of bushi buntai. The range features samurai, ashigaru and ninjas but there are sohei listed as a future release on the Zvezda catalogue. A lot of the snap together figures have seperate arms, so I could probably do a bit of fiddling around to create different poses from the same figures, or just do some weapon swaps to create variations.

As a way to try out the rules, these might be a good starting point, although the 28mm metal route is by far my prefered option. In the meantime, I can quickly and cheaply assemble enough figures to create a couple of opposing factions, then use them to learn the game mechanics before I graduate onto the 28mm metal figures. If they aren't great or I don't like them, I can always re-use them for my old favourite, Samurai Blades!

Thursday 19 September 2013

Old West Lawmen

I decided to use the Army Painter dip on the remainder of my Old West figures this evening, so that they can be used side by side without looking different. The lawmen posse that was my long standing, long arm of the law in Legends of the Old West is now ready for use with Dead Man's Hand, although I could do with a few additional figures. In fact, I have mounted figures for five out six of the lawmen but they need to be finished off having been boxed away for at least a decade. In the meantime, the hombre on the left with the shotgun can stand in as a hired gun for the Mexican desperadoes.

Shotgun Mexicans

The Dead Man's Hand game the other day featured several figures armed with shotguns, which proved to be a real game changer when used at point blank range. I don't have a shotgun armed figure in my existing Mexican posse, so thought I'd hunt around for a suitably armed bandito to add to the Desperado gang.
This turned out to be harder than I thought but I eventually located a pre-painted sawn off wielding, ammo clad individual from the EM4 Heroes of the Old West range. I could have bought an unpainted figure from the EM4 stand at Colours the other day, if I'd thought of it. Instead, I've had to get the whole painted set of five figures, although that's not so bad as I can use the other ones too.

 When the figures arrive, I'll re-base the Mexican dude and match the paintwork to the other figures in the existing gang, before splashing on the Army Painter shade. This shouldn't take too long and will give the Chimichanga brothers some serious close-in firepower. I'm hoping we'll get another game of Dead Man's Hand in next month, so I've got plenty of time to tool up the posse ready for a whuppin'.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Mexican Dips and Chips

Here's the result of the dipping experiment, although slightly out of focus and a little fuzzy. The shading effect isn't half bad and works well on the darker brown and russet colours, if not on the whites and greys. If I could be bothered, I'd add some highlights and cover over the various chips in the paintwork but, they're not bad as they are. I'm tempted to give a matching wash to my lawman posse and to finish off the extra half a dozen, half painted Mexican figures that lie gathering dust in the extras box....?

Mexican Dips

I located the Mexican posse after work this afternoon and have dusted off the tin of Army Painter strong shade dip, ready for my first experiment with the dipping technique. The figures have always lacked a certain something and are a bit on the bland side, so I'm hoping the dip will work it's magic and give them some much needed definition. The test model will be the first for a dunking but I'll try brushing it on, before I bite the full immersion baptism bullet.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Dead Man's Hand Game

I had a very enjoyable game of Dead Man's Hand this evening at the club, hosted by the ever enthusiastic Gary, who supplied the figures and the rules. I bought a copy of the rules when they were published to use with my old Legends of the Old West figures but haven't had a chance to try them out, until now that is. 

The games were fast and furious, with a lot of tactical card play and a pretty impressive body count by the end of each scenario. It's clearly a gun-fighting game but, with the option of linked scenarios and the inclusion of a  mini-campaign, it looks like a great alternative to the rather clunky Legends system. 

I'll have to find my old Mexicans and give them an Army Painter wash, ready for a rematch at some point in the not too distant future. They were painted up a few years ago and were used in a number of Old West games but have since been relegated to the storage box, so it would be great to dig them out and dust them off!

Monday 16 September 2013

Bag the Hun Late War Extras

I'm putting together a late war USAAF v. Luftwaffe Bag the Hun game early next month, so thought I'd check the collection of aircraft before I laid any concrete plans. I was less than encouraged when I realised that I have only six fully painted P51's Mustangs, although the Luftwaffe are more than adequately equipped with FW190A8's, D9's and Me262's. 

After a quick rummage, I located a couple of almost finished Raiden P51D Mustangs to add to the collection, alongside some additional Leading Edge Fw190's, so I should be able to balance things out with the addition of some decals and a bit of judicious black outlining? I'm hoping to finish these stragglers during the week, leaving the weekend for the long suffering Bolt Action project.


Bag The Hun Soviets [3]

The Bring and Buy at Colours yesterday turned up a fantastic deal on a selection of Scotia Collectair, H&R and Leading Edge aircraft. I splashed out forty quid in the process but got a great deal, so I'm very happy with the new additions to the leadpile. I don't usually bother with the Bring and Buy but this time, I'm glad I did for a change.

I ended up with ten Scotia Tu-2 light bombers, six Scotia DB3 medium bombers, three Scotia Il4 medium bombers and three massive Scotia Pe-8 heavy bombers for the Soviet VVS. I also bundled in nine Leading Edge Me109G6, eight Scotia He162 Volksjagers and four Heroics and Ros CR42's, which will be added to the late war Luftwaffe and Malta Italians respectively. 

I could easily have added more to the haul, as there were numerous packs of Leading Edge German aircraft and some really nice Scotia Soviet planes on offer, but I decided to call a halt in the name of decency. This lot would put me back at least sixty quid, not including postage, so a bit of a result to say the least. Anyway, they'll help to add some serious punch to my mid/late war Soviet air forces.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Colours 2013

We went to Colours this afternoon, which turned out to be a very good time to go, as it was far less busy than usual and far less smelly. 

There were some impressive games on show including a 15mm Eastern Front set up, which looked superb, and a 54mm Napoleonic game with hundreds of beautifully painted figures. I also had a chat with the SELWG guys who were running a Viking skirmish game on a very neat bit of purpose made terrain. The rules are Valhalla and are currently being play-tested, I suspect for publication by Osprey or somesuch.

The wallet took a bit of a hit today as well but I did get a gobsmacking WW2 air warfare bargain on the bring and buy, which I'll post about later on. I didn't find any Sarissa Precision samurai building kits but I did get a Northstar 28mm Sohei bundai from Dave Thomas, backed up with an EM4 ninja and unarmoured samurai as hired swords (although not for the monks). I also found the I-94 decals that I was after for the Soviet planes.

A jolly good day out!

Saturday 14 September 2013

Bag the Hun Soviets [2]

I dug out the stuff I have for late war Soviets this morning, most of which I picked up for a song when Mark sold Raiden off last year. I have six La5FN's and six Il-2 Sturmoviks, which isn't enough for a multiplayer game but is a good starting point nonetheless. I've ordered six more La5's from Magister Militum and another two Sturmoviks, together with a single very expensive GHQ Pe-2, which I'll deploy as a recce aircraft. I'm hoping to get some additional I-94 decals and some extra stands at Colours tomorrow afternoon. 

Friday 13 September 2013

Bag The Hun Soviets [1]

As something to look forward to over the next couple of weeks, I've decided to run another late war Bag the Hun game at the club at the start of next month. The details are a bit sketchy at the moment but I'll probably adapt a scenario from one of the Specials, using the planes that I painted up for Operation Bodenplatte. A little voice in my head keeps whispering about La5N's and Il-2 Sturmoviks, rather than P51's and Tempests, but I will try to resist....

Thursday 12 September 2013

Mission Creep

This is me...Gove off stage right

You may have noticed how things have been a bit quiet around here over the last few days...

...this is due to an unfortunate but temporary influx of work-related *&^% that has been absorbing what little time I have for wargame related pursuits.

However, there is a twinkling of light at the end of the tunnel, with a resumption of something approaching normality in a week or so. A big step in the right direction will be a trip to Colours at the weekend, during which I'm planning to get some stuff for the nascent Ronin project, with a particular focus on terrain and buildings.

If I can find a good deal, I may pick up some of the Sarissa Precision Japanese buildings, which look very impressive even in their unpainted format. I'm also sorely tempted by the Perry 28mm range, which would provide all of the figures I could possibly need for the project, at the expense of my lovely old school Foundry collection.

...oh dear.

Monday 9 September 2013

Ronin Rulebook

I got my copy of the Ronin rulebook through the post today, having given up waiting for the Kindle version to be released. I must say that, aside from the poor CGI cover art, the book is very impressive in layout and illustrations, with loads of inspirational artwork from the Osprey back catalogue and some stunning miniatures in full display.

The rules themselves look pretty straightforward and the various factions remind me a lot of the Legends of the Old West approach to skirmish gaming, with a core of high quality characters backed up by lots of hangers on and a few swords for hire. There are some noticeable differences, however, as the author is quite clearly well grounded in his knowledge of he period, giving the rules a more historical feel.

I haven't had a chance to read through the rule mechansims yet, so won't comment on them at the moment, bit I'm feeling pretty confident that they'll produce a good skirmish / roleplay level of game using no more than a handful of figures. I have just such a handful, in fact enough to create two small factions once I get my act together and dig them out of the leadpile.

A lot of potential here with a minimal outlay in time and effort...good stuff!   


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