Friday 31 January 2014

Chain of Command Japanese Army List

Thanks to a timely tip off (thanks MW!), I now have a ready made list for the CoC Japanese, pinched from the excellent Scrivsland blog:

This will make it a lot easier to work out a painting schedule for the project, which should fill up most of the time between now and Easter. I'm planning to kick off this weekend with the first infantry section and command.

Thursday 30 January 2014

Chain of Command Japanese Tankette

I've been trying to work out what I need to organise for the CoC Japanese force, given the absence of a list in the rules. I know that I'll be required to have various extras as reinforcements, so I've ordered some bits and bobs from Warlord to fill in the gaps. These include a Ha Go tankette, some tank crew, an anti-tank team, a flamethrower and a couple of snipers. The plan is to add these to the painting schedule one at a time, alongside a section of infantry. 

Knight of the Sky Game


Here are a few snaps of the WW1 dogfight multiplayer game that I set up on Tuesday at the club. It started off a bit slowly but picked up as the game progressed, with more than forty turns in total by the end of the show. I didn't do too badly, managing to stay in the air longer than the rest of my flight but, in the end, I spiralled out of control in a terminal nose dive.
I claimed one Sopwith Camel, which crashed after my exit, so I think I evened the score. The Pfalz DIII turned out to be pretty manoeuverable, very sturdy and even fireproof, having been set alight twice during the game. It will definately be flying again in the future, especially as it's the only late 1917 German plane in my otherwise extensive collection.

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Chain of Command Japanese Project

I was having a chat at the club yesterday with the chap who is interested in doing a Chindit force in 28mm for Burma. His order of Warlord Games figures arrived this week, so he's going to start basing and painting them up in a few days time. This means that I need to get a move on with the Warlord Games Japanese force that I've assembled, so that I don't get left behind. I have plenty of figures, so there's no time like the present to get cracking.
As a result, I'm going to postpone the Bag the Hun Mid War RAF project for the moment and switch over to the Chain of Command / Bolt Action project instead. I'm going to tackle this in small stages, one section and a heavy weapon or command base at a time, so that I don't get overwhelmed. I'm hoping to get started this weekend, with the assembly, basing and undercoating of a dozen or so of the plastic figures  together with some metal extras.
(I also need to finish off the AK47 army, as my other opponent is keen to have another game soon.)

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Knights of the Sky 1917

I've set up another Knights of the Sky WW1 dogfight game this evening, which is a follow on from the game we played before Xmas. This time it's going to be a late 1917 game, with half a dozen or so players signed up and plenty of aircraft to choose from, for the RFC at least. I'm hoping to fly my new Pfalz DIII that I put together a few weeks ago but I'll probably end up with a Brisfit or my trusty RE8. I'll take some photos and post an after game report tonight.

Sunday 26 January 2014

BTH Roadsteads and Rhubarbs [3]

I'm still not well so have been very unproductive today. I have found a pre-based Leading Edge Lockheed Hudson in the spares box, however, so it's be re-undercoated for the third time in Halfords grey primer, ready for a mid-war Coastal Command camouflage scheme. I'm also thinking off adding an ASR Boulton Paul Defiant, as some were based in the South West for patrols over the Western Approaches and the Channel.

Saturday 25 January 2014

BTH Roadsteads and Rhubarbs [2]

I've been knocked for six by the flu over the last week or so but am now starting to fight back. I've added another eight ex-Raiden Spitfire VB's to the BTH2 project, as these will be for top cover. I've also based up four Leading Edge Beaufighters to add another dimension to the anti-shipping theme. I was thinking of finishing off with four more Whirlwinds or perhaps four Hurribombers, but it's heading toward mission creep so I'll probably resist the temptation.

PS The laptop has now died, so posting things has to be done via the Kindle :0(

China's Wars

I found this on the Kindle book store so thought I'd get it for the Back of Beyond. It's packed full of photos and extensive explanation, so a goldmine of inspiration for my long standing, on going BoB project. It was also a bargain at less than four quid! It makes me think about my half finished Japanese army, which I could re-paint as a much more interesting Chinese Warlord force.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Blast-Tastic 2014

I've been hit by the dreaded lurgy in the form of a really nasty cold, complete with all the usual symptoms, so I'm not up to much at the moment to say the least. I will be better by the weekend I hope, so will pick up where I left off then. In the meantime, I thought I'd give another heads up for the Blastastic sci-fi show in October this year. I think it's a great idea and will try to make the trip to sunny Bristol if I can, although it's a bit of a cross country trek:

Monday 20 January 2014

263 Squadron Whirlwind Missions [3]

This is a step up from the last potential scenario but not too difficult to replicate on the tabletop. It involves a convoy attack by four Whirlibombers of 263 Squadron supported by eight anti-flak Spitfires of 616 Squadron, with top cover provided by eight more from 504 Squadron, on 15th June 1943:

An armed escorted shipping recco had been ordered for first light.
Rendezvous was made over Warmwell below 200 feet with 8 Spitfires antiflak of 616 Squadron and 8 Spits close escort of 504 Squadron.
Then for the first time on a daylight Shipping recco (as opposed to a Roadstead operation) an enemy convoy was found N.E. of Sark 616 Spitfires made excellent attacks upon the four leading Warships, two M. Class Minesweepers respectively abeam of two two-funnel Warships, presumably small destroyers or “Geleitbooten”

One of their Pilots was shot down by flak and is missing.
Then our two sections each bombed an M. Class Minesweeper from below mast-height coming in in the classical manner fully abeam to the ships which were steaming N.E. As they jumped over the minesweepers they inevitably presented an unpleasantly good target to the “Geleitbooten” which were abeam to the East.
F/O A. Lee-White DFC and Sgt G.A. Wood feel sure that their bombs didn't miss, but they saw no explosion because of the 11 second delay bombs which were used for the first time in this operation. P/O M.T. Cotton DFC bomb splashes were, seen, as usual, amidships.
His a/c then received a direct hit, probably from a 40mm shell from a Geleitboote, and there was an explosion in the cockpit. The a/c disintegrated when it hit the sea, and it is not thought possible that P/O M.T. Cotton DFC could have survived.
F/Sgt K. Ridley also does not think he missed. Our a/c then reformed with their escort and returned to base, having probably seriously damaged or even sunk, two minesweepers, but at severe cost to this Squadron. F/Sgt K. Ridley's a/c was rendered Cat “B” by a glancing hit by flak in the fin and rudder. This proved to be the only eventful operation of the month.
This looks like a really good basis for a scenario and is backed up by further information from this fascinating webpage, which locates one of the sunken minesweepers at it's wreck site, 10 miles east of Sark:
According to the background details on the website the convoy of five (?) ships was in line ahead with M483 in the lead. It was spotted at 6am four miles north east of Sark, so it should be easy to work out the position of the sun, the flak factors and the angle of attack.
Good stuff!

Sunday 19 January 2014

263 Squadron Whirlwind Missions [2]

Here's the initial wave of the latest Bag the Hun project, which I wasn't planning to start right now but which should be well worth the diversion. I've based up four Raiden Whirlwinds and eight Spitfire VB's, which will cover at least half of the scenarios that I have in mind. I could add more aircraft but this is a good number to start with.

The Spitfires will be used for anti-flak cover, while the Whirlibombers go in for the anti-shipping strike role. I've run out of good bases now so have ordered more from Magister Militum. In the meantime, I'll start painting up what I've scraped together so that I can run a game in the next couple of months.

Saturday 18 January 2014

Birthday Bag the Hun Books


I was given a £25 Amazon voucher as one of my birthday presents today, so I've bought a couple of good, old fashioned hardbacks for the latest Bag the Hun research project. I already have a few relevant books and magazine articles, together with the some excellent online resources, but you can' t beat a good book (or two). These look particularly useful and will be handy for the details that you need to track down when writing a scenario.

Happy Birthday to Me

It's my birthday today, so I'm hoping to have a bit of time to spend at the workbench this afternoon, rather than the usual. The plan is to base up a dozen or so Whirlwinds and Spitfires for the Bag the Hun project, which I've been researching a bit more over the last couple of days. I've got at least six potential scenarios lined up, so it will be well worth it if I can paint up a few planes in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday 16 January 2014

263 Squadron Whirlwind Missions [1]

I've been scouring the Operational Records Book (ORB) of No263 Squadron for 1942, in the hunt for potential historical scenarios for Bag the Hun games. It's a gold mine of interesting reports covering a whole range of ground attack and anti-shipping missions, complete with pilot rosters, aircraft codes and post mission analysis of the results.
The first one that I've picked out is from October 3rd 1942 during which 'A' flight launched a low level attack on a large merchant ship in Alderney harbour:

Following a P.R.U report and a further recco by 501 Squadron,  this Roadstead Operation was laid on to attack a 3000 ton M/V in Alderney Harbour. The Whirlwind bombers took off from Warmwell together with five Spitfires of 501 Squadron, antiflak, and rendezvoused over the base with 118 Squadron, rear support.
The antiflak aircraft did not catch up the Whirlibombers and only one of them crossed the target area. In order to attack out of sun, landfall was made at Casquets where the Whirlibombers turned East. When they were still more than two miles from Alderney there were engaged by flak from a hill top position and thereafter flak of all calibres was accurate and very intense; indeed it is reckoned that by reason of its concentration round the target area this was the most intense barrage through which Whirlwinds of the squadron have flown.
Three pilots attacked the large ship which was lying 40 yards off the mole. Results were not observed and the ship was only claimed Cat IV “Believed hit and Damaged”. No further information has been received by the squadron about the success or failure of the attack. The C.O.'s aircraft was hit by flak just as he bombed. He returned to base on one engine, very closely escorted by 118 Squadron. P/O King attacked a smaller ship alongside the mole. Results not seen. His aircraft was holed in the tailplane. A chunk was torn from F/Sgt Ridley's propeller. F/Lt Blackshaw led the other two Whirlwinds back to base. All had landed safely by 1900 hours.
As you can read for yourself, this would make a very straightforward anti-shipping scenario and would be a good basis for an introduction to both the flak and bombing rules, before any enemy aircraft are thrown into the equation. It also only requires four Whirlwinds and one Spitfire VB's, so very quick to set up and run.
...that's one scenario idea sorted!

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Bag The Hun Anti-Shipping Strike Scenarios

I enjoyed the anti-shipping strike game yesteday and now have a better handle on the rules for bombing and flak as a result. It makes a refreshing change from the usual fighter versus fighter games that I've focussed on up until now, so I'm thinking of writing some more historical scenarios along similar lines.
I'm planning to branch out in a new direction so will be leaving Malta for the moment and moving the action closer to home. I've thought about cross channel mid-war possibilties before, with a particular focus on the Westland Whirlwinds of No 263 Squadron over Brittany, so will be digging out the models and putting together some ideas for new games.

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Bag the Hun Convoy Game Playtest

The playtest of the convoy game went really well this evening and was very useful in ironing out a few wrinkles in the scenario, especially with the exact combination and number of cards. I managed to cover most of the angles in the scenario briefings but there were a couple of holes which I can now fill up.

In the end, it was a minor Italian victory with only the Priaruggia suffering damage, in the form of some engine room hits and flak suppression. However, no aircraft were shot down by the Italian flak, although a couple were forced to jettison their bombs and take evasive action. A bit like the historical outcome, which is a good sign.

I'll make a few changes to the scenario set up and a couple of helpful instructions to clarify some of the card deck make up but, otherwise, it's a pretty solid scenario as it is. As always, many thanks to Paul, Colin and Gary for their helpful suggestions and for their enthusiasm. I enjoyed the game too, so will definitely be writing some more anti-shipping scenarios in the future.

Monday 13 January 2014

Chain of Command Projects

It's my birthday at the weekend so I've been told to get myself something by the Ministry of the Interior, as she has no idea where to start but is prepared to let slip her iron grip over the cheque book for the occasion. Which is all very nice. Anyway, I've decided to invest my birthday money in a couple of projects specifically designed for Chain of Command.
The first is a Malaya project, using my boxed set of Warlord Japanese as the basis of one platoon sized force, together with  a box of Perry 8th Army plastic figures for the British platoon. I already have most of what I need for this but, as a birthday bonus, I've ordered a Copplestone Lanchester 6 x 4 armoured car. The Japanese will double up for Burma as well, which is handy as I have a potential opponent interested in some Chindits.
The other Chain of Command project is a new venture. This will be a mid-war Russian platoon with some armour support, using Crusader Miniatures infantry and 1st Corp T34/76 tanks. I could have used the plastic Warlord Russian figures for this but I prefer the heft and design of the Crusader figures, especially as the riflemen were on a half price special offer over the weekend.
I will decide which one of these projects to start first, once I've finished my AK47 army, although I'm tempted to kick off with the Russians as they'll be easy to paint using the basecoat and dip approach that I used on the late war US project. I'm looking forward to painting up some more 28mm WW2 things and using them to try out the Chain of Command rules in the not too distant future (I hope!).

Sunday 12 January 2014

Bag the Doodlebug [20]

The other playtest game that I'm hoping to try out on Tuesday will be the Bag the Doodlebug participation game that I've been tinkering with for a couple of years. I now have the 1/144th scale pre-painted models that I need for the playtest, having originally set the game up for 1/285th scale aircraft. 

The visual impact of the larger models is one of the reasons for the move up scale, with 1/100th as yet another possibility. We'll be using the club Hexon terrain tiles for the scenery which should make it relatively simple to set up and quite effective, both for game play and in terms of the look of the terrain, especially with some additional window dressing.

Saturday 11 January 2014

Bag the Hun Convoy Game [6]

I spent a few hours working out and typing up the player briefings for the convoy attack scenario that I'm playtesting next Tuesday. I think I've covered all the angles and have given the players enough information to make for a smooth game. We'll have to see if the planning pays off. If all goes to plan, we'll get at least an hour of play per scenario, with some opportunities to re-run the game at least once.

I've also banged together some turn cards and some ship counters, which will stand in for models for the playtest stage of the game. I was lucky to find a colour plan view of a Spica class corvette for the Partenope, but the tanker and steamer are less slick as I pinched them from an old copy of the TTG game U Boat. I've made two versions of the corvette, one small and one large, as I wasn't sure how big it should be?

Friday 10 January 2014

Bag The Hun Convoy Game [5]

I'm at a loose end next Tuesday so thought I'd set up a game of Bag the Hun 2 at the club. I have a scenario that I've been thinking about for a few months but haven't got round to finishing, so this is a good opportunity to playtest it before I write it up:
It will be interesting to try out the ground attack rules and the flak rules for a start, using both the 'official' version and the 'lazy' formula from the 2010 Summer Special, which looks a lot less complicated aend more cinematic. I have the aircraft for the game already painted up but will need to improvise some ship markers and, possibly, some splash and damage markers for visual effect.
If it doesn't work or ends too quickly, I'll set up a follow on dogfight game using the cards and planes that I already have. This will be either a late war scenario, making the most of my RAF and Luftwaffe fighters, or another Malta game, with 185 Squadron up against some Me109F's or the usual Italian MC202 opposition.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Bag the Hun Soviets [4]

I've been doing some googling in the search for a historical background for my BTH 2 project this year, which is going to be set somewhere on the Russian Front c1942-43. I quite like the idea of a winter scheme for both the VVS and the Luftwaffe, so have been investigating various potential settings for the game.

The frontrunner at the moment is a series of scenarios based on the air campaign over the Demyansk Pocket, during which the besieged German forces were supplied by air. There are plenty of potential scenarios and lots of interesting aircraft to be painted up, with some famous units and not so famous aces on both sides.

I think I'll pick up a copy of the relevant Osprey Campaign series and see what I can do with it. I've already topped up the metal with a handful of planes in the Museum Miniatures sale to add to the existing collection. I could do with some Ju52' s though, so will have a look at what Scotia has to offer. 

It reminds me of Iron Annie from Warlord...classic stuff!

Achtung Commando [3]

I'm reading this at the moment as background research and a source of ideas for the 28mm commando project. It's a very well written and readable overview of commando operations from 1940 through to the end of the war, including chapters on all the various raids including Vaagso, Dieppe, Bruneval and St Nazaire, for example. Good stuff!

Tuesday 7 January 2014

AK47 Winter Wobbler [13]

The laptop has packed up so I'm using the Kindle to post this, which is less than straightforward but seems to work. Here's the four stand militia mortar unit, ready for base texturing and painting. It's a 'not to be sniffed at' 80 points worth of fire support, so a useful addition to the army.

Monday 6 January 2014

Achtung Commando [2]

The Foundry commando figures arrived today and I've organised them into two sections plus command, a 2" mortar team, a sniper team and a forward observer. I have some figures left over, so will probably do a headswap to create a Vickers K gunner and number two together with a medic. This means that virtually all of the figures will be doing something useful. 

I've also splashed out on a resin LCA from Grand Manner, so that the commando raiding party has some means of transportation. It's a lovely model and not too expensive given it's impressive size. However, I've decided to leave the commando project until later in the year, so that I can concentrate on the AK47 army for the next few weeks.

Sunday 5 January 2014

I Ain't Been Shot Again Mum

This time a couple of  years ago, I started planning and putting together all the bits for an IABSM3 project in 15mm, based on the campaign in Burma. This didn't get beyond the first stages but I did assemble all the figures, terrain pieces and scenery using Peter Pig as the main source of supply. It's all sitting in a box on the shelves above the workbench, along with the rest of the stuff!

Anyway, this year I've promised a fellow club player that I'd do a Japanese army in 28mm, as he wanted to put together a Chindit force for Bolt Action or similar. It seems silly to duplicate the same project in 15mm and 28mm, at least in the same time frame, so I'm going to shift my focus away from Burma in 15mm and much closer to home.

A few years ago, I set out on Rapid Fire project in 20mm based on D-Day plus, with a specific focus on the 5th Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. This got quite a long way forward but, in the end, it fell by the wayside due to a lack of wider interest and other distractions. The figures and AFV's are now long gone but have found a new home via Ebay.

This now opens up the possibility of the same project but in 15mm at a company level, this time using I 'Aint Been Shot Mum for the rules. I already have all the late war British figures I need from my Peter Pig lead mountain and, as it is primarily an infantry game, I won't need more than a handful of tanks or vehicles. This time the focus will be on a single company of the 5th DCLI, together with some basic support elements.

When this will happen is another question but I'd like to get started at some point in the next few months, other projects notwithstanding. The plan will be to complete one platoon at a time, which equates to twenty six two figure bases plus a single command figure, so not too much to bite off in a week or so. I'm not sure when I'll get round to the opposition but perhaps someone at the club might be interested?

AK47 Winter Wobbler [12]

I finished the trucks this afternoon, although they were a bit rushed and need a bit of tidying up. It takes me ages to paint things, even when I'm cutting corners, and I frequently wonder how other people seem to able to churn things out as often as they do? Anyway, I've almost finished the vehicles for the AK47 army and now need to tackle the hordes of militia, regular and professional infantry bases. Aaaarrgh!

Saturday 4 January 2014

AK47 Winter Wobbler [11]

We were out for most of the day, so I didn't get much time at the workbench until late this afternoon. Here's a trio of very, very old Maisto diecast trucks, re-painted for what must be the third time in the camouflage of the new AK47 army and washed in gunge, ready for the finishing touches tomorrow. I've also started on the militia mortar unit, which should also be wrapped up by the end of play on Sunday, family excursions permitting.


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