Saturday 30 November 2019

Lard Day Update

The Come and Have a go if you think you're Lard Enough! player allocations are now in, thanks to the ever splendid Mr Backhouse and his organisational wizardry, with a full complement of gamers for both the afternoon and morning sessions of the Bag the Hun game. As a bonus, the sprog has also been gifted a couple of slots in some fantastic games, one an Arnhem Chain of Command game run by no less than Mr Richard Clarke himself and the other a Chain of Command North West Frontier game that looks absolutely brilliant. Tally Ho!

Friday 29 November 2019

French Pre-Dreadnought Battleships

I've decided to make an early start on my 1/2400th scale pre-dreadnought project, which I was planning to kick off next year. As a 'proof of concept' exercise I'm going to assemble, base and paint a small selection of Tumbling Dice French battleships of the 1890's to create a squadron for a 'What If?' Anglo-French clash prior to the Entente Cordiale.

This was a really interesting period which saw the decline of the Jeune Ecole doctrine and the development of new, if outdated battleships to keep up with the Royal Navy's building programme. Not only that but the ships themselves were extraordinary to say the least!

It will be fun to paint something without masts and sails for a change but I will have to base them first, as they don't have the usual metal sea bases. The plan for the weekend is to glue them together, stick them on laser cut mdf bases that I'll texture with acrylic paste, then get them undercoated in Halfords white primer. 

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Flaming the Furniture Van

Or not, as it turned out. The WW1 Knights of the Sky game was good fun yesterday, even if only one aircraft was actually shot down by the end of the scenario, in which the Germans won a decisive victory. The Junkers J.1 lived up to it's reputation as a flying tank, taking multiple hits but still flying on regardless, while the escorting Fokker Dr1 and Albatros DV's took a battering. The RFC also ended up in tatters, with one Camel shot down and a couple of the Se5a's being virtually written off. It was a laugh, as always, even though I didn't take a playing role and just umpired the game, so I'll probably run another one sometime next year, either a late 1916 or mid-1918 scenario for a bit of change. I might even have those triplanes painted up by then, who knows?

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Finishing Off

I've got stuck in a bit of a rut with the Sandbox Skirmish project once again, although the vehicles are coming along fine, so I've decided to squeeze something different into the last month of the year to give me some direction. I only have about three weeks to go before we're off the France again, so it will have to be a mini-project to say the least. The fall back option is to finish off the last of the 1/2400th scale Royal Navy ironclads, which would be a good thing to wrap up, but I do like the idea of something else of a nautical persuasion. I'll have a think but it will have to be quick!

Monday 25 November 2019

Take These Men

Somehow I have never read this book, which is an oversight on my part and inexplicable, so I'm now reading through it at a pace, as it is excellent. It has given me all sorts of ideas about tank warfare in the Western Desert which will no doubt divert me off in yet another What a Tanker! direction, who knows? I'll have to work out how sponson mounted guns work at the same time as turret ones, however, as found on the M3 Grant and M3 Lee...he said scratching his head. A cracking book!

Sandbox Skirmish Softskins

A bit of progress over the weekend, albeit limited to the Bedford 3 tonners, the SWB land rover and a second Ferret armoured car. These have all been base coated in Army Painter Skeleton Bone, which I've now almost run out of as it's a really useful shade, with a light drybrush of 50:50 Skeleton Bone and Vallejo Pale Sand over the top. I'm debating if I should add the pale green camouflage pattern over this, as I have on the other vehicles, but I may just leave them in overall sand to keep it simple. After that I'll give them an ink wash and they'll be up to speed with the Saracens and Humber Pig already on the workbench.

Sunday 24 November 2019

Knights of the Sky over Cambrai

I've just finished writing up the scenario briefing for the Knights of the Sky WW1 aerial game at the club this coming Tuesday. It's a re-hash of a scenario that we played a few years ago but switching roles, with the RFC intercepting a German artillery spotting mission, rather than the other way round. I've set it in November 1917 over the Cambrai Sector, where the Junkers J.1 was in active service, so it has a definite historical ring to it which is something that I like to do. The mission will be tough for the 'Furniture Van' to pull off but the RFC almost managed it in their clanky Re8 last time, so the Junkers J.1 should stand an even better chance, being up armoured and having a close escort of Fokker Dr.1's and Albatros DV's.

Saturday 23 November 2019

QRF SWB Landrover

Here's the latest addition to the Sandbox Skirmish vehicles, a QRF short wheelbase landrover which I found in the leftovers box today and thought would be a neat little extra for the British platoon out on patrol. I have a Peter Pig long wheel base landrover already but the shorter version was more common in Aden, so it's a good addition. The QRF kit is a bit basic but looks good when assembled and based alongside the two Bedford 3 ton lorries from the same range, which I'll also be painting up as soft skin transport. In fact, I'm planning to get some painting in tomorrow if I can find the time?

1/2400th Russian Pre Dreadnoughts

I've splashed out on a handful of Tumbling Dice Russian battleships and cruiser for the Russo-Japanese War, after reading the latest Osprey on the Imperial Russian Navy. I was planning to get some at Warfare last weekend but was unable to make it, so decided to order them instead. The plan is to do a pre-dreadnought project next year, although what that will involve is still up for grabs, possibly a 'What if?' Anglo-French or Anglo-Russian conflict but most likely involving the Royal Navy's China Station fleet either way.

Thursday 21 November 2019

Lard Day Aircraft Record Sheets

I've adapted my standard blank aircraft record sheets for Bag the Hun to create templates for the RAF and Luftwaffe fighters that will be taking part in the Sinker Saves the Day! scenario, with a sheet each for the Supermarine Spitfire Vb, the Focke Wulf FW-190A2 and the Messerschmidt Bf-109F4. These will be edited with the relevant formation and pilot details, then formatted to fit four on an A4 sheet, so that an entire section or schwarm can easily be controlled by the players, with no need for loads of shuffling about. I'm hoping to get the DTP work sorted this weekend, along with the turn cards for 5./JG2, assuming I can locate some suitable graphics. 

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Sandbox Skirmish

I've had a rummage for odds and ends to finish off the year, so have dug out the QRF British APC's and a couple of Bedford lorries to paint over the next week or so for the 15mm Sandbox Skirmish post-colonial project. They are half way there already and don't need much work to be completed, which means that I may well get on to the Peter Pig infantry figures as well before the end of the month. I have neglected this little project for too long, so it will be great to give it a bit of a kick further along the road to a game at some point in the not too distant future?

Tuesday 19 November 2019

The Battle of Portland Bill 1875

I had a free afternoon today, with no work to do and no one else in the house apart from the dog, so decided to do something I haven't done for ages and actually play a solo wargame. I opted for the Anglo-French ironclads as it is quick to set up and play, so picked out some of the Royal Navy turret ships that I haven't used before for a coastal defence scenario. This was likely to be tough for the French, so I gave them a numerical advantage, even if their comparative firepower was a bit weak.

The French have dispatched a squadron of ironclads to harass merchant shipping convoys in Lyme Bay, so the British have sortied out with their coastal defence ships to send them packing. The Royal Navy squadron consisted of HMS Royal Sovereign (flag), HMS Prince Albert and HMS Devastation, while the French squadron included the barbette ironclad Ocean (flag), together with the broadside ironclads Revanche, Provence and Flandre. 

I won't go into all the details but it ended up with a British victory, having sunk the Ocean, damaged the Flandre and silenced the Provence, leaving only the Revanche unscathed. The French decided that they had had enough by the end of Turn 6, so steamed off back to Cherbourg, while it was nearly tea time for the Royal Navy, so the action was called off. The Royal Navy didn't get off scot free, however, with Royal Sovereign silenced and Devastation damaged at the end of the game.

I still really enjoy Broadside and Ram for solo games but, as always, there were a few things that didn't add up or were less than clear, which is no surprise as they are a very stripped down set of rules. I am thinking of trying out a more detailed alternative for small squadron actions, probably David Manley's other fast play ironclad rules, Dahlgren and Columbiad. I'm also considering adapting a old set of 'back of a postcards' rules that a fellow club gamer produced for the Battle of Lissa, with an Anglo-French 'What If?' theme rather than the purely historical focus.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures?

Freezing the Fokkers

I have a week to go until the club multiplayer game of WW1 air warfare, using the club Knights of the Sky house rules but have realised that I'm not going to get the three Fokker Dr.1's finished in time. I've been really busy over the last couple of weekends so haven't been able to move them much further forward, although they are now in the painting stage, as you can see from the really bad photo. Incidentally, the really streaky Olive Drab paintwork is deliberate, as that's how they were doped in the factory, although I'll be tarting it up a bit with some washes and dry brushing too.

So, I've decided that rather than rush them to meet the deadline, I'll save them until the next game, as there are enough players with their own aircraft to use anyway and I do have all the other aircraft I need, including the all important Junkers J.1. In the meantime, with only a few weeks until the end of the year, I'm not going to start anything new but will tinker around with odds and ends from existing projects including the  last of the 1/2400th scale Royal Navy ironclads, the WAT Operation Blackcock tanks, the Sandbox Skirmish 15mm squaddies or whatever else I find when I'm rummaging around. 

Monday 18 November 2019

Bag the Hun RAF Cards

I've now completed all of the No.129 Squadron RAF cards for the Bag the Hun scenario, so that I can set up a playtesting game at the club, hopefully some time before the end of the year. I still need to DTP the Luftwaffe cards and write up the scenario briefings for the German and the British players, but that shouldn't take too long to do. The big job will be to create customised record sheets for all of the six sections involved, not to mention actually painting all twenty five of the 1/285th scale aircraft! At least the game now has a proper title - 'Sinker Saves the Day!'

Sunday 17 November 2019

5./JGII Ready to Paint

I was supposed to be at Warfare this weekend but real life intervened and I couldn't make it. Instead, I've finished converting, basing and undercoating the last of the Museum Miniatures Bf-109's for the Bag the Hun Lard Day game, turning Gustavs back into Friedrichs. This involved trimming away the underwing gun pods and the cannon bulges on the cowlings, so they are now ready for painting. I have also worked up most of the scenario cards for the RAF, although they need a little fine tuning and spot checking before I print them off. In the meantime, I really need to get moving with the 1/72nd scale Fokker Dr1 triplanes for the WW1 game in a few days time.

Saturday 16 November 2019

Pre Dreadnought Russo-Japanese Reading

I've just finished reading the latest Osprey book on the Imperial Russian navy warships of the Russo-Japanese War, which didn't take long being a typical Osprey but was pretty good nonetheless, especially the technical details and the artwork. The pre-dreadnought project has been on the shelf for a couple of years but it's one I'm definitely thinking of kickstarting next year. This is built around a 'what if?' Anglo-Japanese conflict c1900 but has expanded a bit to include some French and German warships as well. I'm now even thinking of getting some 1/2400th scale Russian models from Tumbling Dice to do the conventional Russo-Japanese thing, as I have all of the Japanese ships already. Here we go again!

Friday 15 November 2019

Scenario Character Cards

I've been working on the character cards for the Bag the Hun scenario and have now decided on the main roles for squadron and section leaders. In the process I discovered some key details for one of the RAF section leaders, which I've allocated to P/O H.T. Armstrong RAAF, who played a pivotal role in the dogfight by attacking a Bf-109 that was on the tail of one of the other pilots, P/O Bush. It is probably much to his credit that no aircraft were lost in the engagement by No.129 Squadron.

I thought Armstrong deserved some recognition for this, so have made him Blue Section Leader for the game, as I already knew he was a Blue Section pilot from earlier reports. A bit of further digging and I found out that he ended up as Squadron Leader of No.611 Squadron with a DFC and bar, achieving twelve kills before being shot down and killed in February 1943. I think this is more than enough to justify a role in the scenario and possibly a special characteristic to reflect his aggression in combat.


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