Wednesday 31 January 2018

Air War Korea

I've been flicking through this Check Your Six! supplement again, looking for scenarios that I can adapt for Bag the MiG, as I'm not a fan of CY6! and prefer the historical emphasis on tactical formations that Bag the Hun has at its core. It's not that I don't like CY6! as it's a fine set of detailed rules but I just prefer the card based turns and skill emphasis taken in the Bag the Hun rules, which I am far more familiar with and really enjoy. Anyway, there's a gold mine of potential scenarios spanning the entire Korean War in the air, so it should be very easy to port them over to Bag the MiG making it possible to set up a few games at the club with minimal hassle.  

Tuesday 30 January 2018

MiG Alley NKAF MiG 15's

I started on the NKAF MiG 15's today, together with half a dozen La5-FN's, an L5 Sentinel and T5 Texan FAC and an H-19 Chickasaw Rescue chopper. I decided to leave the RAAF Meteors to a later slot, focussing instead on the North Korean fighters so that I can actually set up a game at some point in the not too distant future. I have base coated, washed and dry brushed or highlighted in the usual combination of shades, leaving the final finishing touches including the primary colours for the next stage. I'm quite pleased with the result so far, especially the L5 Sentinel which I thought might end up too dull but has turned out quite nicely, at least thus far?

French Indochina in Colour

I came across these pictures of re-reactors shot in Time magazine cover style, which makes the photos almost indistinguishable from the real thing. I'm no uniform expert but they look pretty realistic to me and have clearly gone to considerable lengths to get the 'look' right. Pretty cool and a handy reference for painting my 15mm French figures.

Monday 29 January 2018

15mm Forwards

One of the big plans for 2018, in fact the only big plan at the moment, is to switch from 28mm to 15mm for company and platoon level wargaming. This is now closer to actually happening after my birthday delivered a 15mm Plastic Soldier Company US Tank Company box set, together with some of the Battlefront Flames of War US Winter infantry, half tracks and AFV's. The plan is to 'blitz' these over one of the holidays, probably at Easter when I'll be home for a change due to the sprogs GCSE exams, with a late war company sized task force assembled and (eventually) painted for I Ain't Been Shot Mum.

This means that my existing collection of Peter Pig British and German figures, which I originally gathered together for IABSM, are now free to use for Chain of Command and similar single figure based 'skirmish' rules. I think this is a much better way to deploy them and also much less time consuming than the 28mm alternative that I struggled to get together before (although my Artizan US infantry platoon is nearly all there). I'm sure I can put together more than enough figures for a late war British platoon of the 5th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, as well as a matching late war Heer platoon complete with AFV's and support.

All this is a long way off yet, so in the meantime I will be starting my 15mm French Indochina skirmish project using the handful of figures and vehicles that I already have in the lead pile. I've found a few more useful bits and bobs for this including a nice Peter Pig Panhard 178 armoured car and a couple of Renault trucks, which will be handy for patrols and will add a nice Gallic whiff to the French contingent. I will also pinch an M5A1 light tank and a couple of M3 half tracks from the PSC set, which I can easily spare and which will add some armour for the Vietminh to ambush.

I'm really looking forward to this little French Indochina project!

Sunday 28 January 2018

MiG Alley USMC AD-4 Skyraiders

These are now finished with tail and wing codes improvised from some spare lettering, although not representing any actual squadron or unit. I wanted to use a double letter code as this was fairly common on AD-4's, so it had to be one I could adapt from the MARINES lettering that I have, rather than a combination of two separate decals, otherwise it would have been far too much of a pain to do. I'm now moving on to the MiG 15's and Meteors but also to the assembly of some bases for both Bag the MiG and MiG Alley.

MiG Alley / Bag the MiG Storage

I've found a nifty solution to the storage of the magnet based 1/600th scale planes for my MiG Alley / Bag the MiG project. These are maths set tins from Sainsburys which are only three quid each, with the pencils, rulers, set squares and protractors distributed to the sprogs. Each tin holds four squadrons of aircraft stuck on the base and on the underside of the lid. I can easily organise them into USAF, USN, NKAF and so on, with a couple of tins for some of the larger contingents. Also, because they are full of tiny magnets they actually stick together in a stack, so easy to transport without sliding around inside the plastic storage box I'm using for the project. They also have hinged lids so the planes don't drop off, as happens when I used pencil tins with lift off lids. Very handy!

Saturday 27 January 2018

MiG Alley F9-F Panthers

These are now finished although I chickened out of the tail codes as they were just too fiddly. I sealed the decals with Future rather than gloss spray varnish, having tried that on the other USN / USMC planes with dodgy results. I managed to salvage them but the Tigercats are now a little less smooth and shiny that before. I'm now on to the NKAF MiG 15's and the RAAF Meteors, the latter having finally been magnet based, although I'm only going to do eight rather than a full squadron of twelve due to limited space.

Terry the £2.50 T Rex

I popped into the local charity shop yesterday after work to look for some books and DVD's but ended up with a plastic dinosaur instead, as you do. This is a Schleich Tyrannosaurus Rex with moveable jaws and a very decent paint job, scaling well with 28mm figures as you can see. It goes for nearly twenty quid new, so for £2.50 it's a bit of a bargain to say the least. I haven't played a game of Saurian Safari for years (2012?) but this new beastie will make an excellent 'big boss' for the dinosaur hunters to bag. I've also been thinking about writing my own set of dinosaur hunting rules using Hexon and card based turns...but that's another story.

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Korean War Air Combat Footage

A great news reel documentary featuring a wide range of USAF, USN and USMC aircraft in action including ground strafing, interdiction and tactical bombing footage. There's some good propaganda stuff here as well as some really inspirational air to air shots, gun camera film snips and all sorts of other imagery to give you some inspiration. It's a bit blurry and in black and white but I think that just adds to the overall effect. Good stuff!

Monday 22 January 2018

Last War of the Superfortresses

I have eight Tumbling Dice B-29 Superfortresses waiting to be painted for the Bag the MiG and MiG Alley projects, so have been digging around for operational details that I can use for scenarios. There are a couple of B-29 scenarios in the Too Fat Lardies 2007 Summer Special but I want to write some more for Bag the MiG to make maximum use of the models, which are really impressive even in 1/600th scale. As a result, I'm moving onto this book to find what I need, The Last War of the Superfortresses, along with some more general reading around the subject. I'm even thinking about assembling half a dozen more to replicate some of the large formations that operated over North Korea for both day and night time bombing missions.

Sunday 21 January 2018

PSC 15mm US Tank Company

My proper birthday present this week is a Plastic Soldier Company US Tank Company boxed set, which I'm told is on the way to me in the post from Amazon. This was a bit of an afterthought by the other half, who asked me what I wanted and who I subsequently pointed in the direction of my Amazon Wishlist. I plan to use the set as the basis of a late war US army for I Ain't Been Shot Mum, alongside some 15mm US Winter Infantry from Battlefront, so that I can 'do' the Battle of the Bulge, Reichswald, Siegfried Line and so on at company level.

This will make good use of the multi scale Cigar Box Battle tundra terrain cloth that I haven't used enough of and it also fits nicely with my existing WW2 interests, namely the 28mm late war US platoon that I have used for skirmish gaming. I will now be re-deploying my existing 15mm WW2 lead pile of Peter Pig British and German figures for platoon level games using Chain of Command or even Disposable Heroes 2, so there will be no clash of interests or unnecessary waste. This means I can have the best of both worlds, with a decent multiple based company level army and a couple of single figure based platoon strength forces as well.

Happy Birthday to me!

MiG Alley Banshees and Tigercats

I spent a few frustrating hours with tiddly decals and Tumbling Dice aircraft this morning, the end result being a lot of unrepeatable language and a selection of finished Banshees and Tigercats. The Tigercats took ages, as I had to splice different decals together to make the tail and wing codes, but the Banshees were a lot easier, once I had got into the swing of things. I'll have a go at the Skyraiders and Panthers tomorrow although I may well run out of lettering if I'm not careful. I also need to do a bit of very fine black lining around the canopies before I seal everything with satin varnish, but that can wait until right at the end!

Saturday 20 January 2018

MiG Alley Update

I've been re-reading this excellent short overview of the air war over North Korea over the last couple of days, ready to start working on some game plans for both Bag the MiG and MiG Alley. I'm about half way through the painting production line now, with the USN and USMC aircraft hopefully finished over the weekend and the North Koreans and some USAF bombers ready to get started shortly there afterwards. I'm really enjoying the whole process even if it is proceeding at a snails pace due to work during the week and busy weekends. The overall objective is to have the project ready to play a game at half term in four weeks time...fingers crossed!

Thursday 18 January 2018

Disposable Heroes 2

It's my birthday today, so I bought an extra present for myself in the Northstar sale, a copy of Iron Ivan's Disposable Heroes 2 for twenty quid instead of the usual thirty five. I have the original first edition of the rules and a selection of the supplements, which are compatible with the new edition, so I can use them to build my units for platoon level scenarios. I always meant to try these rules out, as I liked the sound of the system from the accounts I had read, so I thought this would be a good excuse to give them another go for WW2 skirmish games especially as I don't like Bolt Action.

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Chargeblog: Adventures in Wargaming

I absentmindedly forgot to separate out a link to Michael's outstanding blog in my post the other day, just tagging one on the end of the blurb, so here it is again in full focus:

If you have any doubts about ultra modern 'Imaginations' skirmish wargaming, this blog will cure you of your misgivings and probably end in a phone call from your bank manager, assuming you are like me and can't quite resist the temptation to splash out on some figures. Luckily I have stacks of lead in 15mm for AK47 and the like, just for starters, and a high level of self control! I think?

Tuesday 16 January 2018

The Quiet American

A great clip from a really good film, which includes a very brief appearance by an old work colleague of mine who can be seen running across the bridge. He was living in Vietnam at the time and got to play the role of a French neat is that!  Anyway, it's an excellent film and has some good action sequences including a Viet Minh attack on a fortified tower in the De Lattre line, as well as the scene in the village that is partly covered by the video clip. I am really getting the French Indochina War thing....and have an urge to go 28mm squad level skirmish. I must resist!

Monday 15 January 2018

Danger Close

I was enjoying the excellent modern rules guide over on the equally excellent Charge Blog today, when I noticed that Empress Miniatures have published their version of Some Corner of a Foreign Field, aptly retitled for ultra modern skirmish games as Danger Close

These are pretty much exactly the same as the original but have been given a spiffy facelift. I was thinking of using the rules as one option  for my Britain's Small Wars projects but may now also try them with the French Indochina project, even though they are designed for smaller squad level modern skirmish games. 

Incidentally, the Charge Blog is a fantastic resource for things to do with ultra modern 'imaginations' skirmish wargaming, so definitely well worth a look:

Sunday 14 January 2018

MiG Alley USN/ USMC Painting

I finally got round to painting the canopies, wing leading edges, fin and nose flashes on the MiG Alley / Bag the MiG naval aircraft today, after over a week of delay. The canopies were easy but the anti-corrosion leading edge on the F9F Panthers was a bit of a pain and needs some tidying up to look neater. The aircraft are now almost ready for the decals, apart from some black lining with a 0.05 drawing pen,  which tends to make them look a lot better than the basic paintwork would otherwise suggest. I'll try to get time to do at least some of the decals over the week, as I have now got some tiddly white lettering to add to the wings and tail fins, albeit in a much simplified format.

Saturday 13 January 2018

15mm Cold War British Bundle Bonus

I had a really nice surprise when I opened the Team Yankee Iron Maiden bundle today. The rules supplement was as expected, perhaps better than I thought it would be, full of some really good information, scenario ideas and painting guidelines for Cold War British armour and infantry. I'm not into Team Yankee but thought that it was a really useful resource regardless of the rules of scale of gaming that you might decide to use.

The Mechanised Company pack of British infantry figures were also pretty good, although not as well sculpted as Peter Pig in my opinion, being the usual Flames of War style castings which I find a bit soulless. However, there's just enough for a full platoon at 1:1 if I wanted to use them for Fireteam: Modern or No End in Sight.

The surprise was to find several sheets of 1/100 scale BAOR decals, both for AFV's and helicopters, which I can only assume were leftovers from an abandoned project but which are perfect for my Britain's Small Wars vehicles including the QRF Saladins, Saracens and Ferrets that I have assembled.

It's always nice to get an unexpected extra and this one will be really handy!

QRF Crabes

These arrived in the post yesterday, so I had a closer look this morning to size one up against a Eureka French Foreign Legionnaire and one of the Battlefront LVT 'Alligators'. These are some of the more recent QRF models, so a lot less crude than the older AFV's that they used to produce, the difference in quality being pretty obvious. I bought four in the sale, so got an additional 15% off which made them even cheaper than the already very competitive price tag of £2.50 each. I think they scale out very well against both the figures and the much larger LVT, so all I need to do is get some crew, add a bit of stowage and finish them off with a Peter Pig .30cal machine gun on a pedestal mount. Bof!

Wednesday 10 January 2018

MiG Alley Whirlibirds

I have a couple of USN / USMC helicopters in the painting stage, ready for MiG Alley rescue missions over war torn Korea, but have been struggling to devise a way to represent the spinning rotor blades. I thought of cutting out discs of thin plastic or bubble packaging then drawing on the blurred outline of the blades but this seemed a bit too crude and would probably look pants. However, I have now found a source of laser cut thin plastic rotor blades for 1/600th scale aircraft, including both tail rotors and main rotor blade discs. I'll go ahead and order a couple in different sizes, if I can work out the ones I need, to see what they're actually like, although they look pretty effective in the photo above.

Tuesday 9 January 2018

No I'm not....

....about to start gaming anything related to Flames of War and it's Cold War Gone Hot offshoot, Team Yankee. Why not? To be frank, I just can't get my head around a 1/100th scale Chieftain with a maximum effective range of What?


No tank to tank car parks for me! Lovely models though and spot on for 15mm 'What if?' Cold War skirmish wargaming, with my eye firmly fixed on recce kit like Scorpions and Scimitars or even French AFV's, if and when they get added to the release schedule?

Anyway, there was a copy of the BAOR supplement, Iron Maiden, on eBay as a 'Make An Offer' auction, so I duly took a punt and, much to my surprise, actually won it.  This was a bonus as I was really after the Mechanised Company pack of squaddies that it was bundled with. I'm guessing it's an unwanted present or one of those spur of the moment impulse buys, not that I know anything about those (oh no!).

In the end, I paid about half the normal ticket price for the lot. The book will be good for organisational information if I ever get into micro-armour again, while the infantry will do for another 15mm platoon level force to use with No End in Sight or similar. It's a good deal whichever way you look at it even if I've now blown my pocket money for the week on a Monday rather than the usual Friday!

Monday 8 January 2018

The Life of Gordon

I had a really nice and unexpected late present from a friend of the family on New Years Day, a first edition hardback copy of The Life of Gordon, published in 1896 and written by a gentleman by the name of Demetrius C. Boulger, no less. It's in pretty good condition and has some very nice plates with photographs and sketches of Chinese Gordon himself. I'm particularly interested in the latter chapters of the book, dealing as they do with his time in Africa and especially the Sudan. What a nice present and completely out of the blue!

Sunday 7 January 2018

15mm Eureka French Indochina War Figures

French Foreign Legion 


LVT-4 'Alligator'

It's been far too cold to do any painting in the garage today but I did find the second hand stash of 15mm Eureka Miniatures French Indochina war figures that I have been looking for. There's enough Vietminh and French figures for a small platoon plus support, give or take a few extras that I will need to order including some LMG teams for the French and some additional riflemen for the Vietminh.

The Battlefront LVT-4's also arrived in the post, so I matched them up with the figures to see how well they compared for scale. The Eureka figures are smaller than the Flames of War ones but I'm not planning to mix them together so that doesn't matter. I think they scale out quite well against the LVT's, so I may get a few more Battlefront vehicles for this project including an M20 scout car, a jeep or two and possibly an M24 Chaffee light tank.


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