Saturday 29 June 2019

Coastal Terrain WIP

It's been a stupidly hot and busy day but the coastal terrain is nearly there, with the headland painted and awaiting a wash and brush up to be finished. I think I've managed to match it to the other terrain pieces fairly well but I'll have to wait and see. The fort and batteries are also nearly finished and are just waiting for the guns to be installed. I haven't got enough of the guns and mortars to fit every embrasure so will have to compromise, with the smaller batteries reduced to two mortars a piece. I'm now thinking about some terrain templates to drop on to the top of the tiles, so that the shoreline isn't as barren and to cover up the joints between the tiles. 

Thursday 27 June 2019

More Coastal Terrain WIP

I started painting the shore batteries and the coastal fort yesterday but didn't get very far due to various unwanted distractions. I decided to upgrade the Tumbling Dice batteries to a more substantial brick built construction rather than just improvised earth and timber, which is what they are supposed to represent. They're neat little models and I may well get a couple more. 

The scratch built fort is also coming along and will get some cement surfacing on the parapets and stonework details on the walls when I get the time. In addition, I've also started to scratchbuild a headland module to slot into the existing coastline, using the same 9'' x 6'' artboard tile rotated ninety degrees. This should break up the profile a bit and add some visual interest.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

DIY Coastal Terrain WIP

I made some good progress on the experimental modular coastal terrain today, which is now drying off after a final ink wash. The terrain sections were coated in filler and sealed with PVA yesterday, so today I was able to crack on with the painting using a selection of cheapo acrylic paints from the Works that I had stashed away. These were only 99p but are super gloopy and have excellent opaque coverage (note to self: get some more!)

I started with a Fawn base coat with a Fawn and Sand wet brush, followed by a drybrush in a Fawn and White mix. The grass areas were painted in a Pale Olive Green and Sap Green mix, followed by a drybrush in Pale Olive Green and Fawn (useful stuff this Fawn!). I then washed the cliff areas with heavily diluted Seraphim Sepia and the grass areas in diluted Athonian Camoshade ink, which is now drying out.

While that was going on and in-between the drying bits, I based up some Tumbling Dice coastal gun batteries on textured plastic bases from Brigade Models, which came with a Land Ironclads starter set, sometime in the distant past. I also scratch built a coastal defence fort from the aforementioned plastic bases, a couple of Mantic games figure bases and some spare Tumbling Dice heavy guns. I'm sure Mr Vauban will be spinning in his grave but I quite like it.

Monday 24 June 2019

DIY Coastal Terrain

I decided on the spur of the moment this morning to make a start on some homemade coastal terrain for my 1/2400th scale naval wargaming. I have had a stash of high density polystyrene foam off cuts for years in the garden shed, so I dug them out and sliced them up to glue on to some 9'' x 6'' art board panels, so that they have a protective base and so that I could make a modular set of cliff and headland pieces. 

The 9'' x 6'' format just happened to be the size of the art board that I had lying around but it's not a bad size, being easy to store but also suitable for 6' long shoreline or a slightly less than 4' one, give or take a 3'' filler section that I can easily make to extend the length. I doubt I'll need a whole 6' length of shoreline anyway, although I may need to make some corner pieces so that I can form projecting headlands.

I've only made a few pieces but can add some more, as I have plenty of foam left over and some spare cardboard too. The next stage will be to wrap the edges in masking tape to protect them, then add a texturing coat of filler and a sprinkle of grit and sand for the base of the cliffs and the beaches.  I'll leave the cliff tops flat so that I can plonk on some scale specific terrain pieces like shore batteries, which I can mount on templates and use as required

Ramming the Boom

HMS Polythemus ramming a boom 1885

I've been thinking about another game of Broadside and Ram, set in my counterfactual 1870's Anglo-French conflict, and thought I'd try something a bit different. The idea would be to have a small raiding force attacking an isolated British or French anchorage protected by a log and chain boom, which would have to be rammed and broken by the raiders, who would be equipped with a suitable vessel for the job. The exact details are a bit sketchy but I'm sure I can work something out. I'd have to come up with some simple rules for the ramming of the boom but there's a compatible system in Dahlgren and Columbiad that I could adapt. I'd also need to model the boom and some coastline for it to be attached to, along with a shore battery or two for the defending player. I already have some French ironclad rams too. This is all not too difficult to sort out, so I think it's eminently do-able!

Sunday 23 June 2019

Armourfast Panzer Progress

I didn't get as much time as I hoped this weekend, so have only assembled two more Armourfast tanks instead of the three or four I had hoped to build. In the end, the Panzer III kit turned out to be a bit of a pain to construct, so I only managed one in addition to a second Panzer IV. I'm planning to start painting them on my day off tomorrow but doubt I'll get anything finished in time for the game on Tuesday. I have a couple more of both tanks in the kit pile, so will be able to double up the numbers in the longer term.

Saturday 22 June 2019

What a Tanker Panzer Mark III's

I have started on a weekend tank building project, which I may or may not get round to finishing, with three Armourfast Panzer III J's, a Panzer IVF and the already assembled Panzer IVF that I built ages ago. The plan is to glue these together today and then start painting them in winter camouflage tomorrow, although how far I get with that remains to be seen? I've re-sprayed the completed Mark IV in Halfords Khaki, as I wasn't happy with the first paint finish, and have also sprayed all of the sprues for the other tanks to match, which will mean that I can run a production line to save time.

Thursday 20 June 2019

Armourfast Panzer IV F/G

I had a look at the tank park of assembled models for What a Tanker! this evening and decided that the Armourfast Panzer IV F that I had already started painting would be the focus for the weekend. The plan is to do a simple one to one tank duel to help the sprog learn the rules, before progressing to a larger number of tanks. He really wants to take the KV-1 for a spin, so I need a suitable early to mid-war tank as opposition.

It shouldn't take too long to get the Mark IV up to scratch, as I've already done the basic winter camo and added an overall wash. I  may even have a go at 'reverse painting' the sand basecoat on this one, just to see how it turns out. I'm looking forward to a bit of larger scale painting too, after all of the tiddly naval things I've been doing over the last few weeks (I'll be finishing off some of those too, if I can squeeze them in?) 

Wednesday 19 June 2019

What a Tanker Game On

Next week, the lad and I will be up at the club for a head to head game of What a Tanker! I'm hoping to get some of the late war American or British tanks that I've built painted over the weekend but, if I don't find the time, I'll wheel out the Soviets to take on the big cats. He hasn't played before so it should be a good introduction to the rules, assuming I read them again first!

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Local Lard Day 2020

I had an email from Mark 'Peaches' Backhouse yesterday, in which he was kind enough to invite me along to the second 'Come and Have a Go, If you think you're Lard Enough' wargaming day, which he's organising for the 7th March next year at the Sarisbury Green wargaming club. This was great fun last time, so I have asked Mark to save me a table, so that I can run another game of something suitably lard flavoured.

I've already been thinking about this and have come up with some potential ideas. The first is to run a  mid-war Channel Front Bag the Hun game, featuring my as yet unpainted RAF Spitfires, Whirlwinds and Focke Wulf 190's, along the lines of the plan I originally had for this years game. The second option is to do something on the Russian Front or for the Winter War, again in 1/285th scale for Bag the Hun, which would be an excuse for a nice new winter themed hex cloth. 

The third option is to do a What a Tanker! historical scenario or set of linked games for the Russian Front, Battle of the Bulge or Roer Triangle. This would make use of all the snow terrain I've assembled and the 1/72nd scale tanks that I've painted up or built earlier this year. I quite like the idea of an Operation Blackcock set of linked scenarios, with British armour facing off against dug in fallschirmjager with SPG's, AT guns and panzerfausts.

It's all a long way off as yet but it's always a good idea to get organised sooner rather than later!

Monday 17 June 2019

Battle of Britain Bag the Hun Scenarios

I've been doing some research for a potential Bag the Hun scenario, set in the Kanalkampf phase of the Battle of Britain, early July 1940. I have a basic selection of 1/285th aircraft for this, so I'm limited to six Hurricanes, eight Bf109's, four Bf110's and eight Do17's, which means that any historical scenario has to be constrained to these limits. In retrospect, it would be so much easier if I'd originally  started out in 1/600th scale, but that is something I may well do in the near future. I also wanted to feature No238 Squadron, which was based at Middle Wallop, which is only fifteen minutes from where I live and on my route home every day.

I have managed to narrow down the potential scenarios to three engagements, all fought in early to mid July 1940, right at the start of the Battle of Britain. These are all feasible with the models I have and also manageable in terms of preparation. In order to simplify things and keep it all to a sensible scale, I have decided not to have any bombing or anti-shipping attacks, but to focus on bomber interception and dogfighting instead. I've also narrowed the scope of the action to an element of the overall engagement to keep the numbers involved down to a practicable limit, given my relatively small number of models.

Scenario 1

12th July 1940 (pm)

This is an interception by a flight of six Hurricanes of No145 Squadron, in which they were vectored to intercept a Ju-88 reconnaissance aircraft of 3/KG 51 escorted by a number of Bf110's, south of St Catherine's Point on the Isle of Wight. I haven't looked into this one as far as the other scenarios but it is a fall back option, so I may well do some more research to establish if it is a runner. I do have a Ju88 and the Bf110's, so it is a feasible back-up option if the others don't work out.

Scenario 2

21st July 1940 (pm)

This one caught my eye, as it featured both No238 Squadron and No43 Squadron, the latter commanded by Squadron Leader 'Tubby' Badger, In the first half of the scenario, No43 Squadron would be split into two sections of three, with one attacking a formation of eight Do17's while the other tackles the escorting Bf109's of 7/JG 27. The bombers were 'stacked up' at high altitude like 'the Piccadilly Escalator' and were dive bombing a coastal convoy off Portland in 'waves of 8 to 10'.

The RAF tactical approach was chosen in order to disrupt the bombers, whilst trying to keep the fighters at bay, although both the Bf109's and Do17's reacted by forming defensive circles. I may well make this a key feature of the initial set up for the scenario, with a circle of bombers going round and round in the middle of the table. As well as shooting up the Do17 formation, No43 Squadron claimed two Bf109's shot down. There was also flak fire from the convoy to give the Luftwaffe something to worry about.

I still need to fill in the other half of the scenario for No238 Squadron but I have a copy of the ORB, so should be able to find out what happened from their perspective. I may just keep it down to No43 Squadron, however, and leave out No238 Squadron entirely. From an initial scan of the ORB, it looks like five Hurricanes in two sections, Red and Yellow, making up 'A' Flight were involved, but the timings are difficult to match up with No43 Squadron's reports, so I may have to dig a bit deeper to finalise the exact sequence of events.

One idea would be to have the bombers flying across the table from long edge to long edge, with No43 Squadron engaging the first wave, then the second being intercepted by No238 Squadron. There would therefore be two halves to the game, with the bombers being re-cycled and the RAF squadrons handing over half way through. The fighter escort would also be re-cycled unless I carry over damage from one half of the game to the other, so that the same Luftwaffe formation is attacked twice.

Scenario 3

21st July 1940 (late pm)

This is a much smaller scenario involving just Blue Section of No238 Squadron, intercepting a formation of  fifteen Bf110's of 14(Z)/LG1 and 2/EprGr210, which were lining up to divebomb another convoy off Portland. This would be a good 'bounce' scenario, with the Bf110's being swooped on by the three Hurricanes from higher altitude. It would make use of bogeys and I can also throw in some interesting character cards, including the RAF flight leader, Australian F/Lt Walch, who shot down one of the Bf110's, a second being claimed by the section with engine damaged and probably destroyed. I'd have to keep the number of Bf110's down to my limit of four but, otherwise, it would be ideal as a 'sprog' level introductory game.

Friday 14 June 2019

Breton Interlude

We have a couple of the numerous Breton cousins visiting over the weekend, so the workbench will be shut down for a couple of days while we are doing the usual day trips, pub crawls and other cultural activities. In the meantime, I'm thinking about the Bag the Hun 1940 scenario and will try to push the ironclads a little further down the slipway, although this may just involve finishing off HMS Pallas as a one off paint job?

Thursday 13 June 2019

Bag the Hun Game Plan

I've been inspired by the new Bag the Hun Facebook group to set up a club multiplayer game in a couple of weeks time, assuming I can drum up enough interest, which isn't usually a problem. For a change I thought I'd dig out my very first collection of 1/285th scale aircraft, which I painted up way back in the mists of time for the Battle of Britain. 

The scenario will be set in June 1940 and will involve a flight of six Hurricanes intercepting a gaggle of Bf110's with top cover provide by four Bf109E's, somewhere over coast of Northern France.  I've never actually used my Bf110 Zerstorer in a game despite having painted them over ten years ago, so it will be good to dust them off for some aerial action. 

It's all a bit sketchy at the moment but I'll get working on the scenario and card deck over the next few days. Tally Ho!

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Boot Topping

I've been tied up with number one son's UCAS form this evening, so painting has been very much an afterthought. I have added a bit more blocking in on the Royal Navy ironclads, however, including the boot topping and white basecoat. It's all a bit slapdash at the moment but you can see what I have done to the Independencia far more in order to convert her into HMS Pallas, with the central box battery now clearly demarcated by a slightly messy white line. This will all be given a good wash and a highlight to make it look ship shape, before I tidy it up with some fine black lining out.

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Royal Navy Ironclads Update

I've moved the Royal Navy ironclads a little closer to the finish line today, with all of the sails base coated in Army Painter Skeleton Bone. The flotilla has now increased to a total of fourteen ships, so I'll be breaking it down into more manageable contingents, the first being the turret ships and the new box battery ironclad ram, HMS Pallas. These have now had the decks blocked in with Vallejo US Field Drab and have had a touch up with Vallejo Matt Black, ready for the white blocking in. It all looks a bit basic at the moment but it will be much better later on, honest?!

Bag the Hun Facebook Group

There's a new group on Facebook for Bag the Hun which I found out about yesterday, via the TFL forum. I don't do Facebook as most of it is drivel, but this looks pretty good, so I've hijacked the wife's account again and signed up:

Monday 10 June 2019

The Hurricats

I'm really enjoying reading Force Benedict but it won't be long before I've finished it, so I was happy to find this digital book on the CAM ships and their Hurricane pilots for 98p. I've read some of the authors books before and the evocative paperback cover art just makes you want to dive in, especially as I have a soft spot for the Hurricane. I'll be looking for some scenario material for Bag the Hun and I'm sure I won't be disappointed. Good stuff!

Ironclad Conversion - HMS Pallas (1865)

I had a 1/2400th scale Tumbling Dice model of the Peruvian ironclad Independencia, so I thought I'd have a crack at converting it into something useful. The dimensions and hull shape were pretty much spot on for HMS Pallas, a 'one off' wooden hulled but armoured box battery ironclad ram, apart from the central battery itself which I added using plastic card strip and filler. I'm quite pleased with the end result, even if it isn't exactly like the real thing. I don't think anyone will notice? I may try doing some more conversions like this one in order to create some more central battery ironclads for the Channel Squadron.

In Broadside and Ram, HMS Pallas has the following values:

HMS Pallas

CS = 3 / MS = 4 / AF = 2 / DF = 5 / Ram Bow / Points Value = 10

She had a relatively weak armament of 6 7'' MLR's and was not fast enough at 13 knots to be effective in her role as an armoured ram ship. However, she did have a fairly decent armoured belt and battery armour, so wouldn't be entirely hopeless!

Sunday 9 June 2019

Royal Navy Ironclad Extras

I've been tied up with family stuff today, so once again the workbench has been an afterthought. To make up for this I assembled the Tumbling Dice model of HMS Shah, which I failed to glue together a few weeks go when the super glue didn't want to co-operate due to the damp and cold temperature in the garage. This time I took no prisoners and left the hull to cook off in the sun before adding the sails with extra strong liquid glue. I'll use the model as HMS Inconstant which was very similar but was launched earlier in 1868. I also glued together HMS Prince Consort to make up the fourth ironclad in the class, so I have a full complement of broadside ironclads to paint up over the next week or so. Job done!


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