Tuesday 30 July 2019

Lard Day Plan B - Bag the Hun Winter War

The Plan B option for Come and Have a Go if you Think You're Hard Enough 2 or just Lard Day 2 as I prefer to call it, is to run a couple of games of Bag the Hun, in a similar style to this year's event. I have a number of options here, both 'off the shelf' using my existing painted aircraft or requiring a bit more preparation. I thought about the scenario I was originally going to run this year, a mid-war RAF versus Luftwaffe affair over the Channel Islands, but that doesn't really appeal. So I've decided to go for a 'starting from scratch' option, which is the Winter War or 'Blue Swastika Rampant'*

This would require a new hex terrain cloth or board to start with, which I may have a go at producing myself, and also 1/285th scale aircraft for both the Finnish and Soviet forces. Luckily, I have these already stashed away, having gathered them together over several years from various sources. These are a combination of Raiden Miniatures, Scotia Collectair and Museum Miniatures planes, which together are sufficient to equip a sizeable fighter, bomber and reconnaissance force for the Soviets and a decent fighter force for the Finns.

The games I plan to run would be primarily bomber interception missions for the Finns, as this typified the conflict, but with some fighter vs fighter dogfighting also featuring to make the scenarios more exciting. Toward the end of the war, there were several dogfight engagements between Soviet I-16's and I-153's, clashing with Finnish Fokker DXXI's, Gloster Gladiators and Fiat G50's. A number of good examples of this sort of thing occurred in February 1940:

(On the 13th February)...'whilst six Gladiators tangled with I-153's north of Lake Ladoga, nine SB's of 39.SBAP arrived in the midst of the dogfight just as WO Lautamaki and his wingman SSgt Tuominen joined the battle. With the escorts busy fighting the bulk of LLv26, the two Finns attacked the bombers without interference and shot down five of them in quick succession.'

'(On 25th February) 'LLv 26 was in the thick of the action sending three Gladiators to drive off R-5 artillery fire-control aircraft, escorted by six I-153's from 13.OIAE. After downing four 'spotting' aircraft, two Gladiators were in turn lost and a third damaged in a forced landing following combat with the I-153's.'

'On 26th February 1st Lt Puhakka, leading a formation of three G.50's sent to intercept fighters and bombers south of Kouvola, shot down an I-16 flying FA-4, whilst his wingman, 2nd Lt Linnamaa, destroyed a DB-3.' 

(from Osprey Publishing's Finnish Aces of World War 2)

There's definitely some scope for decent scenarios in these three engagements, with quite a lot of flexibility to juggle the numbers, the scenario set up and the objectives, and I'm sure I can find more examples to work on too. There's even greater potential in the first phase of the subsequent Continuation War but for me this isn't as appealing as the Winter War, which in many ways resembled a Finnish equivalent of the Battle of Britain. 

I'm really enthusiastic about working on a series of two or three games as a result and I'll give this some more thought over the Summer before I make up my mind.  

* from the Toofatlardies Xmas Special 2005

Monday 29 July 2019

Black Ops Choppers

I was up in the loft this afternoon looking for the 1/76th scale Airfix Churchill Crocodile kit, with no luck at all, when I uncovered three of these 'Snap Together' 1/100th scale Blackhawk 'Black Ops' helicopter kits. I can't remember where or when I got them, although The Entertainer is on the price sticker, but I only paid three quid for each kit, which isn't half bad. 

They are very basic but moulded in durable plastic and have some perfectly decent detailing. I particularly like the fact that the canopy and windows are solid plastic and moulded into the airframe itself. The rotor blades are also pretty chunky and will not snap off like a normal scale model would do, so they are ideal for wargaming. 

I will add them to my stockpile of Peter Pig modern US infantry and APC's, which I will using as an adjunct to the Sandbox Skirmish project, as and when I get around to it. In the meantime, I need to complete the 1960's era British vehicles and infantry, not to mention the rebels and their cadre of military advisors, which are still a way off yet. I will get there eventually!

Wash and Go

I was very busy yesterday with various DIY and garden activities, so the workbench was neglected, apart from adding the camouflage and gunge washing to the 15mm APC's for the Sandbox Skirmish project. I left one of the Saracens in overall sand to add a bit of visual variety and to speed up the painting, but the rest of the vehicles have the green camouflage pattern as well. I now need to paint the tyres and stowage after I've first highlighting the sand and green areas, which may or may not get done today.

Sunday 28 July 2019

Broadside and Board?

While there are plenty of Napoleonic naval rules out there and I have quite a few of them to start with, I do like the simplicity and fast play aspects of Broadside and Ram, so I thought I'd work out a basic conversion of the rules to Age of Sail warfare. This shouldn't be too difficult, as there are rules for sail movement already and I just need to adapt the gunnery and damage tables, along with adding rules for boarding actions. A lot of this can be pinched from David's other rules in the series or just worked out based on common sense. I will make this a little side project for the holidays, aptly if not very originally titled 'Broadside and Board'

Saturday 27 July 2019

Crocodile Conversion


For the What a Tanker! scenarios that I'm working on for the Lard Day next year I'm going to be featuring at least one 79th Armoured Division Churchill Crocodile, as the big finale to the linked scenarios and to make the game more visually interesting, assuming I can pull off some model pyrotechnics?

These were attached to 7th Armoured Division for Operation Blackcock and appear in contemporary photographs of the attack on St Joost, so it would be great to include them in the game, although I'd need to write the rules to use them and fit them into the scenario objectives. 

I have an Airfix 1/76th scale kit for the Churchill Crocodile but it's obviously the wrong scale, so I've ordered a 1/72nd scale PSC kit and will use the armoured trailer and flame gun attachment from the Airfix kit to convert one of the tanks. Job's a good 'un!

Thursday 25 July 2019

Mucking About With Maskol

I've been tinkering off on a tangent again this evening, with some experimental masking using liquid Maskol to create camouflage patterns, in this case on one of my mothballed Brigade Models 15mm Sci Fi hover tanks. The tank in question was originally destined for warmer climes but, as I'm capitalising on my nice winter terrain cloth, I thought I might send the entire force packing to some ice bound battlefield of the not so distant future. 

I wasn't happy with the stage that I'd reached with the armour, which was an old fashioned three stage drybrush in green, so some arctic camo seemed like a good idea. The end result isn't too bad and I quite like the flaked paint effect, which reminds me of NATO exercises in Norway. I think I'll do the same with the rest of the AFV's and power armour figures, but I will now need to paint some dedicated arctic warfare infantry to replace the ones that were originally going to equip the force. 

Not so Schnellboote

It's stupidly hot at the moment and to make matters worse, the other half decided it was a perfect day to re-model the inside of the garage, removing loads of accumulated crap, dismantling the shelving and shifting it all to the tip. As a result, I'm dripping with sweat and completely wacked, so I doubt I'll be doing much painting today. I have already blocked in the basic hull colour on the Cruel Seas S-100's and S-38b's using Vallejo Sky Grey, following the scheme suggested on the Warlord website. The decks, however, will be painted in a different shade than Vallejo London Grey, as my reference show a more blue-grey colour being used for late war S-Boats. It's all going a bit slowly but I'll get there in the end!

Wednesday 24 July 2019

The Frigates

I read this excellent book many years ago but, as I'm about to start assembling two Napoleonic fleets in 1/2400th scale including several frigates both light and heavy, I thought I'd read it again. It really is stirring stuff and absolutely spot on for potential scenarios featuring no more than a handful of ships and often only two. Brilliant!

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Come and Have a Go, if you think you're Lard Enough 2

I've now officially signed up to run a game at the local Lard Day next March, so will now have to sketch out some slightly more detailed plans, if I'm to get my act together in plenty of time. As I mentioned previously, the options are either What a Tanker! or Bag the Hun 2, although from initial impressions there already seems to be a couple of the former on offer. Mark says he doesn't mind which way I go, so I'll be working through both options over the holidays.

If I do a What a Tanker! set of linked scenarios, I think I'll need a USP to make them stand out. I've already decided to have an Operation Blackcock theme, making use of my existing winter terrain with some additional features to give it a Dutch flavour. To make the games different, however, I'm going to introduce AT guns, AT Panzerfaust / Panzerschreck teams, minefields and some 'Funnies'. I think this, along with the snowy terrain, should do the job.

The 7th Armoured Division had it's own Valentine bridging tanks which were deployed to span the numerous waterways in the Roer triangle and also had support from Sherman Flails, which were used to beat a path through the equally numerous minefields. Luckily, S and S Models provide conversion kits for both, which I have ordered and will glue together after the holidays. I just need to work out some rules and then fit them into the scenarios.

If I go down the Bag the Hun route, I plan to use my unpainted mid-war RAF and Luftwaffe aircraft, which will obviously need painting up. I may use the scenario that I was working on for this year's game, a low level shipping strike against a crippled S-Boat, or I may well work out another historical or semi-historical scenario instead. Alternatively, I might go Eastern Front or Winter War and finally get round to painting up my large lead pile of Soviet and Finnish aircraft. 

Who knows?

Sunday 21 July 2019

5th S-Boote Flotilla Underway

I woke up this morning and decided on the spur of the moment to tackle the Cruel Seas plastic S Boats that I had intended to build and paint a few months ago but never got round to. The first job was to do another cut and shut conversion to make a second S-38b class boat with an armoured cupola. I had made one of these before so it was a relatively quick and painless task, cutting two hulls in half and then gluing them together. There were two in the 5th Flotilla, so it just had to be done.

After that it was down to the fiddly business of building the various weapons mountings, which are not very accurate and are not really in the right combination to equip either the S-100 or the S-38, let alone my ad-hoc S-38b's. The big omission is a 40mm Bofors mounting, so I just used the 38mm Flak cannon as a substitute on the S-38b's. I may go back and replace these with a proper Bofors, if I can.

I also had to use one more quad Flakvierling mount on the S-100's than I would have liked as they were really quite unusual. It seems bonkers to have a quad flak gun on each sprue when they weren't a conventional armament, at the expense of a far more common 40mm Bofors gun. The 20mm cannon for the bow gun tub is also a ridiculously over scale thing and makes the other weapons look a bit like proverbial peashooters.

Anyway, I'll get some paint on these tomorrow if I have the time.

Saturday 20 July 2019

Sandbox Skirmish Saracens

I'm painting these 15mm QRF Saracens and a single Humber Pig over the weekend, using the same camouflage scheme as the previous APC's. These will be used as the platoon battle taxis when the troops are not being carted around in the Bedford 3 tonners and Landrovers, or simply patrolling on foot. Which reminds me that I need to order some Landrovers from Peter Pig?

Friday 19 July 2019

Top Gun Maverick

I was never a big fan of the original but this looks awesome...about time I had another crack at Target Locked On! perhaps, especially as I am now officially on holiday! 

Thursday 18 July 2019

Kiss Me Hardy Turn Templates


I was ordering some bases for my 1/2400th scale Napoleonic ships the other day, when I spotted these nifty acrylic turn templates for Kiss Me Hardy on the Warbases website. As KMH is one of the possible sets of rules I plan to use for the Napoleonic project and as the templates match my existing Arc of Fire ones from the same place, I thought I'd buy the set. Here they are with a small 1/2400th scale ironclad, which is mounted on similar sized base to the ones I'll use for the Age of Sail frigate models. Very nice! 

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Goodbye VBCW

It's not often I'm sad to see the back of some fascists (!) but the BUF and their Red Worker opposition have now been sold and are on their way to a new home in South Wales. I hope that their new owner enjoys them and gets them into action as soon as possible, as they've been sitting in a KR storage box for at least a decade with nothing much to do. To give him some encouragement, I've bunged in some extra unpainted figures to boost the ranks of the proletariat, so that he can field another unit of infantry to put the boot into Mosely's malevolent mob! 

Monday 15 July 2019

Sandbox Skirmish Patrol AFV's Painted

I finished off the two vehicles that I was using to trial a painting approach today, with some decals from the spares box and a coat of Army Painter matt varnish to seal it all in. The bases were textured and painted to be a near enough match to my terrain board, although it's not quite spot on.

After the summer holidays, I will add the rest of the patrol vehicles to the painting workbench, which consist of a second Humber Pig, another Ferret Scout Car and a couple of Bedford 3 tonners, leaving the heavy armoured cars and APC's to follow on once I've worked out how to paint the all important infantry.

Over the Hills

Desert hills now destined for the dustbin!

I've decided to replace the resin hills that I repainted for my Sandbox Skirmish terrain with some home made high density foam ones instead. The reason for this is that the resin ones have warped even more than they had before, so now don't sit flat on the terrain board. They've also developed cracks and one has had to go in the bin already as it was beyond repair. It's a shame to bin them but if they aren't useable and are literally falling apart, there isn't much alternative. 

My DIY efforts won't look so good but I don't think the paint job was up to much anyway, so some homemade hills and escarpments are probably a better option. After my recent success with the coastal terrain, I'm feeling fairly confident that I can make something that will be both durable and useful, designed specifically to match the terrain board that is at the core of the project. I'll start on the scratch building next week, using what's left of my dwindling supply of scavenged high density foam sheeting.

Sunday 14 July 2019

Sandbox Skirmish Go Slow

I've been heavily bogged down with DIY today, so only managed to squeeze in about half an hour at the workbench, during which I painted the tyres on the British AFV's and then dis a little bit of highlighting over the ink wash. I have discovered what will now be my 'go to' shade for tyres, however, which is Vallejo 70995 German Grey. It's spot on for that faded rubber look and will be even better after a drybrush to weather it in. The QRF models have fairly ropey tyres to start with, which makes it difficult to paint them accurately but I think they look okay. If I can find the time, I'll do a bit more on these vehicles tomorrow including the stowage, headlights and so on.

Saturday 13 July 2019

Sandbox Skirmish Paint Shop

I had one of those weirdly disjointed days today and so decided to go off on a tangent and paint up a couple of the 15mm QRF British vehicles for the Sandbox Skirmish project, as a dry run for the rest of the platoon. I started from a white undercoat, adding a base coat of Army Painter Skeleton Bone, a light drybrush of Skeleton Bone and Vallejo Pale Sand, then a camouflage pattern in Army Painter Army Green ( I really like this shade but haven't used it before). The whole lot will now get a wash in my Future based gunge mix that I have used on my What a Tanker! models, before I add some highlights and do all the details. It's coming along fine and, if I don't bugger it up, I think they'll look quite good.

More Holiday Reading

I have two days of work left before I'm officially on holiday, but we're not off to France straight away for a change, as the rest of the family are all away for a week camping or on school activities. This means that, in between a bit of DIY around the house and walking the dog, I will have a few days all on my own to play around with. One thing I will be doing is some serious background reading for my various current projects, including the Sandbox Skirmish 15mm post colonial thing.

As I mentioned earlier, I've just expanded my modern US forces for this to build a full platoon with support options, so I thought that this book would be excellent inspiration. I'm not planning to wargame Mogadishu itself but it's very much along the asymmetrical lines of my 'imaginations' contextual setting of the project, for the British, the US and also the French forces that I'm planning to assemble in the longer term.

Friday 12 July 2019

Tumbling Dice ships for Jasmund / Rugen 1864

I was asked about the Tumbling Dice models that I have used as proxies for the Prussian and Danish flotillas at Jasmund / Rugen in March 1864. While most of these are close enough in terms of size and appearance, there are one or two that I've had to include that are some way off, particularly the paddler Loreley. 


Nymphe (Screw Corvette) - ASV 11 Screw Sloop
Arcona (Screw Corvette) - ASV 8 Small Frigate HMS Arrogant
Loreley (Paddle Aviso) - ASV 16 Paddle Corvette
Comet (1st Class Gunboat) - ASV 15 Screw Corvette
Scorpion, Wespe, Pfeil, Hyane and Hay (2nd Class Gunboats) - ASV 13 Screw Gunboat


Skjold (Screw Ship of the Line) - ASV 3 2nd Rate 90 gun HMS Hero

Sjaelland (Screw Frigate) - ASV 5 Frigate HMS Phoebe
Tordenskjold (Screw Frigate) - ASV 8 Small Frigate HMS Arrogant
Thor (Screw Corvette) - ASV 11 Screw Sloop
Heimdal (Screw Corvette) - as above

A few compromises here and there but they do look the part and are more than adequate as stand ins for the real thing. I'm hoping to get started on the painting this weekend.

Thursday 11 July 2019

Sandbox Skirmish

You probably think I'd abandoned this 15mm post-colonial / modern skirmish project, judging by the lack of posts about it for a while, but it's still very much ticking over in the background. In fact, I re-sprayed my British APC's and transport vehicles the other day in Halfords matt white undercoat, having had a re-think about the best way to paint them. 

I've also just expanded my small lead pile of 15mm Peter Pig US infantry, with some packs of squad leaders, medics, LMG gunners, AT4 launchers and a couple of Humvee's, to add to the handful of figures and M113 APC's that I already have. The latter are actually Israeli but they look the part and are lovely models, laden down with stowage and very much 'on campaign'. 

The idea is to set up a platoon sized force for No End in Sight and also Rory Crabb's Firefight:Modern rules, squeezing a bit more mileage out of the terrain I've been collecting together. There's no specific 'real world' conflict in mind, although Mogadishu is the mood music, so it would be more 'imagi-nation' than contemporary in scope and setting. 

It's all going to be piled up above the workbench for the immediate future but it will happen...one day!

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Jasmund 1864

Prussians (left) Danes (right)

I have about three weeks left before we head off for France, so thought I'd aim to get the Prussian and Danish ships painted for the Battle of Jasmund / Rugen in March 1864. 

I have already based and base coated the relevant proxy Tumbling Dice models for this, along with a whole load more, but haven't actually painted them, so I thought it would be a great idea to finally get them tucked away. I've been meaning to wargame this little naval skirmish from the Second Schleswig War for many years and have now got some experience painting 1/2400th scale models, so why not give it a go, especially as there are only a handful of ships and many of them are just tiddly gunboats!

Tuesday 9 July 2019

Royal Navy Ironclad Rams and Turret Ships Finished

I finished off the flotilla of ironclad rams, turret ships and box battery vessels today, giving them a layer of Army Painter matt coat at the end to kill the shine from the brush-on artist's varnish. I'm quite happy with the way they turned out, even if they were a bit troublesome along the way, but I can still improve my painting technique to get the most out of the models. I may try a different method on the Napoleonic ships that I'll be assembling over the holidays, as I've seen some good results using a white rather than a black undercoat, followed by washes of watered down paint to bring out the detail. 

Monday 8 July 2019

VBCW and BoB For Sale on eBay

My VBCW BUF and Socialist Worker armies are now listed on eBay as a Buy it Now bundle including a KR Multicase storage box, rules and supplements:


I'm also flogging off some painted Back of Beyond Bolsheviks in greatcoats that are surplus to the Red Army's requirements:



Sunday 7 July 2019

Royal Navy Ironclads Update

I finally got round to some more painting today, with the blocking in and ink washing of the 1/2400th scale Royal Navy ironclad turret ships and rams. I've given them an overall ink wash and will finish them off with some highlights and detailing tomorrow, before painting the bases and adding the name labels. They look a bit sloppy now but I think they will turn out fine, once I've tidied them up. I'll be glad to get them finished off, not because I haven't enjoyed painting them but so I can actually use them for a game of Broadside and Ram.

Peter Pig Pirate Plunder

A while back fellow club member and gamer, Colin, was very generous and donated to me his unfinished collection of Peter Pig 1/450th scale pirate ships from the Pieces of Eight range. I had already assembled, based and started to paint my own fleet of ships, having run some games of Galleys and Galleons at the club with the unpainted models, so he knew I was up to no good. I didn't get beyond some basic blocking in on a handful of my ships but there's no reason now why I can't have another go.

I am very grateful to Colin for the gift, as it has encouraged me to pick up where I left off with the pirate ship project, which I originally started back in 2015 but which subsequently ran out of puff. I've now got more than enough ships for a variety of fleets, Pirates, English, Dutch, French and even Chinese (!), so plan to re-ignite the project at some point later in the year. As soon as I have enough ships painted up I'll give Colin a shout and we can get in some games.

Thanks Colin :O)


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