Thursday 31 August 2017

Bagging the Sprog

I have set up a follow on game from the Bag the Hun scenario that I played against number one son on Tuesday. This time we'll be playing the Bandits beginner scenario from the Bag the Hun 2 rule book, with a schwarm of four Fw190A8's of II/JG4 against a section of four P-51 Mustangs of the 336th Fighter Squadron, Eighth Air Force. This is a simple starter scenario, limited to ten turns and with only eight aircraft involved, so very suitable for the eleven year old to build his experience. I've played it several times before as well, so I'll also have some idea of what I'm doing!

I decided to re-use a set of cards that I created for a series of late war games a few years ago, as it made a lot of sense to recycle some of the pack to cover the requirements of the scenario set up, rather than to make a whole load of new ones. I have made a couple of changes, leaving bogeys out again to keep it simple and swapping the Allied Top Ace for a Junior Ace, as that's what I had in the pack already. Hopefully this time the sprog will get his well deserved comeuppance!

Wednesday 30 August 2017

III/JG2 'Richthofen' Luftwaffe Fighters (3)

A slight change of focus* for the Bag the Hun III/JG2 project today, following some further reading round the subject. I've decided to add four Bf-109F4's to the mix, using some Museum Miniatures Trop models with the air filters cut down to size. I also had to do quite a lot of filling and sanding to smooth out the pitting on the wings and fuselage, the castings being from moulds that have seen better days.

I got a bit stuck for flight stands at this point, then remembered that I had some pre-assembled ones stuck onto some Cant Z1007 bombers that I no longer needed, so I removed them minus the metal lug that fits into a hole underneath the centre line of the fuselage. This in turn meant that I had to drill and pin the top of each stand with brass rod before I could use them on the Bf-109's. Phew! Anyway, I now have a schwarm assembled and undercoated in Halfords primer.

Why? Well, it appears that III/JG2 operated both the FW190A4 and Bf-109F at the same time for a while in early 1942, so I thought it would be a good idea for scenarios to have both types available. It also means I can push some scenarios back into 1941, before the FW190's were operational, which opens up lots of possibilities. I also had the models hanging about, so why not? They will certainly make things a bit more interesting for the RAF!

(* hence the change of post titles)

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Bag the Hun Three Hundred and One

This is where it all started - 1st Edition!

I've just noticed that I have posted my three hundred and first Bag the Hun post on the blog, the first all the way back in 2010. I could have posted more if I'd started the blog a year or two earlier, as my Battle of Britain stuff hardly even features. The posts do include after action reports, scenario writing ideas, articles for the TFL Specials and 1/285th scale model aircraft painting. Anyway, I have plenty more to waffle on about, as far as Bag the Hun projects go and all the other things I get up to, so hope to add at least another hundred posts by the time the blog finally nose dives out of control. Tally Ho!

Bag the Hun Game: Deadly Pairs

The sprog wanted to have a go at Bag the Hun today, so I set up a basic game based on the Deadly Pairs scenario from the Christmas 2011 TFL Special. I substituted a pair of Spitfire XIV's instead of P47D's and left out using bogeys to keep it simple. The scenario was a basic dogfight to the finish, with the objective of shooting down the enemy, so nothing too complicated.

The game kicked off with both the RAF and Luftwaffe approaching head on.  At this point, the Luftwaffe leader opened fire at extreme range but to no effect. This was followed by a couple of turns of trying to get on the tail, with both sides twisting and turning in tight circles. It looked like this would carry on for a while, as neither side could pull off the decisive move.

In about turn four the RAF wingman failed a 'staying in formation' test after a successful Immelmann by the RAF section leader, leaving him isolated and in the sights of the Luftwaffe fighters. They then skilfully manoeuvred into a rear deflection position at point blank range, rolling an impressive number of 5's and 6' to hit plus an adjusted 10 on the critical damage dice.

In response, the RAF pilot only managed a couple of saving rolls before blowing up in a flash. Kaboom! It was a lucky day for the Luftwaffe,as they then managed to avoid the flying debris from the exploded Spitfire. Unfortunately, however, the RAF pilot failed to be blown clear of his destroyed aircraft, leaving the section leader to fight on alone.

The end of the game involved yet more twisting and turning by both sides to get a decent shot. After some close shaves, the RAF section leader found himself in a sticky position and in a similar situation to that faced by his ex-wingman. Luck was with the RAF this time, however, as the Luftwaffe fudged the dice rolling and only managed an M* result on the damage table.

At this point, the RAF section leader decided to make a bolt for home and managed to break away to escape at low level across the Allied front line. The Luftwaffe had won the scenario in style, destroying one RAF fighter and chasing off the second for no loss. A re-match is definitely on the cards, however, as the sprog clearly needs to be taken down a peg or two!

Drat and Double Drat!

Monday 28 August 2017

III/JG2 'Richthofen' Luftwaffe Fighters (2)

I have gathered together all the bits for the Fw190 A4 project including the four original Museum Miniatures models that I prepared last year, the eight unmodified ones that I didn't start on, a single Museum Miniatures Ju88 A4 bomber to convert into a Ju88 D reconnaissance aircraft and the last of my Raiden Miniatures resin flight bases and metal stands. This lot doesn't look like much but it will take me some time to convert the Fw190 A8 models into A4's, by removing the cannon blisters without damaging the detail around the cockpit and engine cowling, as you can see from the photos. I meant to start on this today but got diverted by other things, so will get up early tomorrow and get cracking.

Sunday 27 August 2017

III/JG2 'Richthofen' Luftwaffe Fighters (1)

I looked at my three quarters completed 15mm Sci-Fi army today and thought it didn't float my boat. As a result, I've shoved it to one side to do something more inspiring in the last week of the holidays and beyond. After a bit of a rummage and some deep thought, I decided to have a crack at a project that I started on a couple of years ago but didn't get beyond the first stages. This is another of my Bag the Hun projects, possibly my favourite and most long lasting wargaming interest, which is focussed on mid war, cross channel operations by RAF No234 Squadron Westland Whirlwinds.

I needed some opposition for the RAF to be shot down by and started to convert some lovely Museum Miniatures FW190A8's into the earlier A3 / A4 variant, which primarily involved cutting off and sanding down the cannon blisters on the cowling. I did four of these and then used the undercoated models for some scenario testing, subsequently published in the 2016  TFL Summer Special, before putting them back in the box. I found these aircraft and the other eight that I didn't do, in the relevant storage box today, so I am going to convert the rest and then paint them up.

The unit they will be painted as will be III/JG2 'Richthofen', which flew the FW190A4 from airfields in NW France between late 1942 and late 1943. This means they will not only have a cool eagle motif on the fuselage, if I can pull it off, but will also be useable for B17 bomber interception scenarios as well as fighter sweeps over the Channel. The paint scheme is relatively simple as it mainly consists of various shades of grey and a bit of mottling, so I don't think they will be too complicated to paint, apart from the aforementioned motif.

I'll get cracking on them this afternoon, along with a single Museum Miniatures Ju88D for long range recce missions over the Western Approaches. This will be useful as Spitfire and Beaufighter bait and as something for the Fw190's to protect, not that it couldn't do a good job of protecting itself, or running away for that matter. I haven't painted any 1/285th scale aircraft for quite a while, so it will be interesting to see if I can get my painting mojo back again after so long. I am looking forward to having a go, nonetheless, although I doubt I'll get them finished by this time next week?

Saturday 26 August 2017

They Gave Me a Seafire

I had a nine hour ferry crossing to kill yesterday, so started reading this on the Kindle. It is very well written and so an easy read, with the typical autobiographical account of training through to action in the Mediterranean and Pacific. I'm really enjoying it and it has inspired thoughts of aerial wargaming once again, which is a favourite, if rarely occurring pursuit these days!

Wednesday 23 August 2017

15mm Sci Fi Summer Project

I've got about  a week before I have to go back to work and during which I'll be back home. The plan is to finish off the 15mm Sci Fi project that I started a couple of months ago, ready to kick off with something else for the autumn. All I need to do is to paint the stowage and little details on the tanks and APC's, add some decals and then weather them, before I texture and paint the bases. I also need to paint the bases on the infantry figures, which are otherwise finished. The terrain and other extra bits will have to wait. I think I can fit this into the time I have left unless real life gets in the way?

Monday 21 August 2017

Dodge Touring Car 1916

I have some of the excellent Shellhole Scenics vehicles for the American Punitive Expedition including a couple of trucks and a Jeffrey Quad armoured car, but as yet there are no models available to use as 1916 Dodge Touring Cars. These were the standard light vehicles used by the American army in pursuit of Pancho Villa, rather than the Model T Ford as you would have expected. They were so useful that several hundred were eventually supplied over the course of the operations in Mexico and Pancho Villa was so impressed that he even had acquired one for himself.

I thought it would be a good idea to try and locate a suitable 20mm or 1/72nd scale model to use in skirmish scenarios, including the Patton's First Fight scenario from the Fistful of Lead:Viva La Revolucion! supplement. They aren't really needed for the scenario itself but would be great as terrain cover features and would be handy for other games too. However, this was less straightforward than I thought, with no wargaming manufacturer apparently making what I am looking for, so I decided to check out diecast toys instead.

After a fairly extensive search on eBay, the best I could come up with was a Corgi Model T Ford van, which is roughly 20mm and could be the basis of a conversion, cut and shut job. If I sawed off the van bit and rebuilt the open back seat part of the body in plastic card, I might have something not too far off the Dodge Touring Car. I could even cover up the back end with a canvas hood adapted from the plastic roof if it looked too rough and ready, although it would be nice to have some interior detail or at least some seating. I'm not sure it would be worth all the effort to be honest?

Magasin de Presse

We're off home in a few days so I thought I'd trawl the newsagents again before we leave. I usually pick up a copy of Aerojournal as it rarely has nothing of interest, so here's the latest edition. Sure enough, there's a fascinating article on the Dutch East Indies air force, with some stunning art work and profiles to whet your appetite. I had some plans a long time ago to do a few Bag the Hun games based on the defence of Java and Sumatra but they came to nothing. It's still a very interesting topic, however, so I'm pleased to have another resource to tap into. There's also a lengthy article on Luftwaffe night fighters, with a focus on the 'free hunting' Wilde Sau single engine fighter operations, which is well worth reading even with my dodgy French, and an article on Regia Aeronautica ground attack aircraft which is also full of wargaming potential. Excellent!

Sunday 20 August 2017

National Maritime Museum Brest

I've always wanted to visit this museum which is located in the Chateau de Brest above the original naval harbour. It is an impressive location but the museum itself was a bit of a let down, apart from the section on the eighteenth century dockyard, which was very interesting. There were some good exhibits too, the highlight being an original Kriegsmarine Seehund mini-submarine which was operated by the French navy after the war into the 1950's, a fact that I wasn't aware of at all. Not bad if you have a rainy day in Brest to kill but not as good as some other museums that I've visited on similar themes.


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