Friday 31 January 2020

NEWSFLASH - Dudu issues election manifesto (ZBC)

Your friendly local ZIP Militia says 'Vote Dudu'! 

From our correspondent in Mpangi

In a packed press conference today, President for Life of Zubuto, Dr Depe Dudu, unveiled his election manifesto for the forthcoming presidential elections. As the only candidate for re-election in the role of President for Life, Dr Dudu took the opportunity to explain his ambitious and visionary plans for the nation. 

President Dudu 

Drain the Swamp 

Mpangi is built on a swamp and there are too many crocodiles in the shopping centre. I will drain the swamp before they eat more tourists!

Build the Wall 

Zubuto must defend the disputed border zone with Mbote against foreign aggression. I will build a beautiful big mud brick wall along the frontier and get Banga B'oum to pay for it!

Take Back Control  

Of the disputed border zone with Mbote! I will expand and re-equip the Zubuto Army of the People (ZAP) and Zubuto Interior Police (ZIP) militia!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Everyone, who votes Dudu!, will get a cash injection of 350 million Zubuto Dollars (ZD), enough for a slap up chicken dinner (or very tasty boiled egg due to currency fluctuations)

Minister for Propaganda, Mr Bojo Faraj

In a press release issued by the Ministry of Information, the Minister for People's Propaganda, Mr Bojo Faraj, announced a widespread campaign of pre-election advertising to spread the wonderful news.  A special battle bus had been hired to tour the nation but has broken down, so armoured units of the ZIP will be patrolling with loudspeakers, riot gear and water cannon to distribute the election manifesto to the enthusiastic populace.

Long Live Dudu!

Victory to Zubuto!

Thursday 30 January 2020

NEWSFLASH - Dudu calls snap Presidential Election

From our ZBC correspondent in Mpangi

The President of Zubuto, his excellency Dr Depe Dudu, has announced that a snap re-election for the role of President for Life will be held next week. In a packed rally at the national football stadium in downtown Mpangi, President Dudu called for a mass demonstration of support for his outstanding leadership and visionary guidance of the Zubuto nation, to re-affirm his popular mandate and fully confirm his position as President for Life.

President Dudu has recently faced some unjustified and totally false criticism from a tiny minority of traitorous factions, no doubt instigated by foreign agents working to undermine his status as undisputed supreme leader of the Zubuto people. In an inspired and totally spontaneous speech to the massed crowds of cheering supporters, President Dudu pointed the finger of blame for these false accusations firmly toward the regime of Colonel Banga B'oum of Mbote, who he claimed was rightly jealous of his universal popularity and international prestige.

Cruel Seas Club Game

I had a very enjoyable game of Cruel Seas at the club the other night, in which the Royal Navy intercepted and destroyed a German coastal patrol somewhere in the English Channel, albeit for the loss of all but one for their own ships. I managed to sink two E-Boats with my MTB and Flower Class corvette, with some help from the other half of the Royal Navy flotilla, but ended up ramming my two craft together as I attempted to dodge a torpedo salvo. In the end, both of my models ended up sinking, leaving only a trawler to pick up the survivors. It was jolly good fun and I'll definitely be painting up my own models for another game, when I can find the time.

Wednesday 29 January 2020


The sprog wants to have a go at AK47 so I've set up a game at the club for next week.  Looking back through the blog I realised that I haven't played a game of AK47 since 2016, which is ridiculous as it's one of my all time favourites. How did that happen?

I'll be providing the armies with my Mbote dictatorship forces, the MDF and PVA, attacking or possibly defending against the Superpower Backed army of Zubuto, with its ZAP regular and ZIP militia units. I may even have some hastily painted new technicals to add to the battle.

As always there will be a Newsflash build up to the conflict, once I've worked out the unit rosters and thought up a suitably bonkers back story, no doubt featuring Colonel Banga Boum, President Depe Dudu, Major D'sasta, Dr Phat Whalet and all the usual suspects?

Tuesday 28 January 2020

HMS Wivern

I managed to squeeze a final Tumbling Dice ironclad onto and off the workbench over the weekend, as it's not too big and has a simple paint scheme with a minimum of fiddly bits. I painted the tripod masts and spars white, although they should probably be black, as a bit of a change from the usual. I've also painted the funnel to match my other Royal Navy ironclads and to add a splash of colour, instead of the actual black and white of the original ship. I should have two of these, HMS Scorpion being the sister ship, but I mucked up the other model when I was adding the tripod masts. I also need to add an ensign and some rigging but that will have to wait until another day. It's not a brilliant paint job but it will definitely do!

1/2400th War of the Pacific

I've been bumping into the naval side of the War of the Pacific recently, in various ways, and have decided to give it a go in 1/2400th scale using the excellent Tumbling Dice models. I was particularly taken by the ones that Peter has recently painted up on his excellent blog: 

..and also by Trebian's War of the Pacific project from a while back:

So, I thought to myself, why not have a go at some Peruvian and Chilean warships for the conflict, with the Huascar being the obvious place to start. I already had the ASV61 Tumbling Dice model, although the accompanying Independencia has been converted into HMS Pallas, so I have ordered a second pack to have both the Chilean and Peruvian versions. 

I've also ordered some assorted screw sloops, gunboats and corvettes, as well as already having the Almirante Cochrane and Blanco Encalada in the spares box. It's yet another 1/2400th scale Victorian ironclad project to tackle, who knows when or how, but I really enjoy painting and wargaming in this scale, so why not?

Monday 27 January 2020

Guns, Camera, Action!

I found this the other day, which is worth a look and incidentally includes three gun camera films taken by 129 Squadron pilots only a few days before the date of my Bag the Hun scenario in March 1942. The three pilots concerned were all participants in the dogfight over Le Havre on the 26th March 1942, namely Squadron Leader Thomas, Pilot Officer Bush and Flight Lieutenant Ingham, all of whom are seen engaging Bf-109's on the 14th March. If you fast forward to 8.35 using the frames tab, you will catch them in action, although the clips are very short giving full meaning to the Bag the Hun fire categories of short burst or squeeze!

Spitfire Paintshop

It's almost the end of the month and my plan to paint the Royal Navy ironclads hasn't happened for a number of reasons. I've run out of time with them for the moment, as I really need to make a start on the aircraft for the Lard Day event. The first half of these consists of the Spitfire Vb's, which are the very nice Raiden Miniatures models, with twelve aircraft for No129 Squadron and a thirteenth extra one for the Wing Commander. I'm planning to get these finished by mid-January, so that I can then tackle the slightly less fiddly Luftwaffe. Tally Ho!

Sunday 26 January 2020

1/2400th Ocean Going Monitors

I ummed and ahhed about this for a while but have decided to put together a small squadron of US ocean going monitors c1870 as opposition for my Royal Navy ironclads. The Tumbling Dice range has a number of useful models for this but, as I previously mentioned, they are less than accurate in terms of shape and size. So, my plan is to use the models as they are if they turn out to be okay but to re-purpose the bases for scratch built hulls if they turn out to be a bit dodgy.

I've ordered the USS Roanoke, (ASV50) two USS Dictator and two USS Kalamazoo packs (ASV54), so that I can put together a decent sized squadron of ocean going, rather than coastal monitors. I could also have used the USS Monadnock pack (ASV52), as there were four of them in service c1870, but I know that the models are a bit wonky, so decided to leave them out. This means I will have a squadron of the following monitors, some of which were in commission at the time and some of which might have been if they hadn't already been mothballed or scrapped:

USS Roanoke 

USS Puritan 

USS Dictator 

USS Oregon (ex-USS Hercules / USS Quinsigamond)

USS Nebraska (ex-Hecla / USS Shackamaxon)

I will probably also add a couple of conventional steam screw warships to this mix too, if I end up going ahead with it, as well as two more of the Kalamazoo class monitors if I can use the castings as they are and don't have to scratch build anything. The idea will be to use them for a 'What If?' war between the United States and Great Britain at some point in the 1870's but they might also be opposition for the French, I'll just have to think of a credible reason why?

Saturday 25 January 2020

HMS Hercules

Here's my latest attempt at converting Tumbling Dice 1/2400th scale ironclads into other things, in this case the central battery ironclad HMS Hercules c1868. The basis for this job was ASV127 HMS Shah, a much later iron hulled frigate, which just happens to have similar dimensions, hull form and mast layout to HMS Hercules. I had to carve the fore and aft gun ports into the hull sides, cut away the boats abaft the funnels, round off the stern and fill in the forecastle, but that's about it so not too much work. The recessed gun ports are a bit crude but from arms length seem to be okay, so I can live with them rather than try to tidy them up any more. I'm quite pleased with the end result even if it's not perfect.

The Glorious First of June

This is my reading material for the weekend, having downloaded a digital copy as part of my on going plan to wargame some fleet actions in 1/2400th scale. I like Mark Lardas' books in the Osprey Publishing series as he has an informative writing style and really knows his stuff when it comes to naval warfare. It won't take me long to read either which is a bonus!

Thursday 23 January 2020

Birthday Swag

I had a very nice birthday at the weekend but the presents have only just arrived in the post. It's a miniatures free windfall this year but pretty good nonetheless, with a copy of PSC's Battle of Britain, Osprey Publishing's Undaunted: Normandy and GMT's Iron and Oak to add to my board wargaming stack. Brilliant!

The advantage of having an Amazon Wishlist is that you actually get what you wish for but I'm always a bit uncomfortable with the thought that some little wargaming shop is missing out on my custom or that the Amazon warehouse and delivery zero hours contract workers are getting ripped off, even if they are making a living of sorts out of my hobby.

Food for thought.

And my teenage son got me some he trying to tell me something?

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Sinker Saves The Day Play Test

The playtest of the scenario for the Lard Day Bag the Hun game, 'Sinker Saves the Day', went really well yesterday, with some very positive feedback from the players and some proper dogfighting action all the way. In the end the RAF won, with four German fighters downed for the loss of only two RAF Spitfires, although the main character in the game, P/O 'Sinker' Armstrong was forced off with engine damage in the second turn! I didn't get to use the special cards either, which was a bit of a shame but just shows that the scenario is nicely balanced as it is.

There are only a couple of tweaks needed including double checking the card deck, as I mixed around two of the Luftwaffe units by mistake, and limiting the time that players have to decide on their manoeuvres to no more than a couple of minutes, perhaps by using an egg timer or stopwatch. It's now a green light for the scenario and so I can crack on with painting up the aircraft. I've got a month to hammer this including a few days of holiday, so I should be able to get it done in time.

Tally Ho!

Tuesday 21 January 2020

MiG Alley Mountains


All the frosty weather of late has inspired me to dig out my MiG Alley project, which ran out of steam a couple of years ago but is almost ready to go. It's one of the projects that I want to finish this year, although the naval projects are the priority, so I have done a quick stock check of what I need to get it sorted. 

Along with a dozen or so ground targets, I need to make half a dozen mountain terrain templates that the Korean / Chinese player gets to scatter over the table at the start of the game. These need to be 5-10cm x 10-20cm in size and flat, so that the aircraft flight stands can sit on top when they cross over the templates. 

I was struggling to think of how best to make these but remembered that I had some spare skirmish bases that I could turn upside down, texture and spray paint, which are the right dimensions and a decent thickness to do the job. I'm really pleased with this idea and reckon it will be a quick way to tick another thing off the 'to do' list with minimal effort. 

I also need to texture and paint the scratch built, DIY flight stands that I made in a batch ages ago, so that they match my 6' x 4' winter cloth that I've decided to use as the theme for the MiG Alley project. When all this will happen is up for grabs, as I have more than enough to do at the moment, but it's definitely on the cards for a rainy weekend!

Monday 20 January 2020

Clash of Galleys

I've been thinking a bit more about my own set of rules for ancient naval warfare and have come up with a few basic ideas. It will be a hex based system, with turn cards for the movement sequence and with galleys organised into squadron formations. The ships will be 1/2400th scale and based on 35mm  hexes. The emphasis will be on fast play and minimal book keeping. 

I've had a look for existing rules with all of these elements but have yet to find a set with all of them present. I did find this set of rules, however, which is similar in many respects - having hex based movement with ships organised into squadrons - so I think I will download a copy for a closer look? It definitely ticks quite a lot of the boxes, even if it's aimed at 1/1200th scale.

Lard Day Card Deck

I have now gathered everything together for the playtest game tomorrow at the club including the card deck, filled in record sheets and scenario briefing, so we're good to go. The card deck consists of twenty eight individual cards which I printed out, trimmed, stuck onto calling cards and then trimmed again, so that they are all the same size and format. I may well laminate them for the actual game but, for the moment, they are perfectly useable. I've also added colour coded labels to all the aircraft model bases but I have been thinking about making some proper name labels to stick on once they are painted, a bit like the ones I've done for my 1/2400th scale ironclads.

Sunday 19 January 2020

Clear the Decks!

Now that I have finished the ACW painting job I can finally get back to my real project for January, painting the last of the 1/2400th Tumbling Dice Royal Navy ironclads! I simply don't have time to get all of these done, so I've decided to just tackle four of them, with HMS Black Prince, HMS Defence, HMS Wivern and HMS Monarch being the chosen few. I've made a start on them already but there's a way to go before they're finished, with the Bag the Hun aircraft follwing swiftly in their wake if I'm going to have them ready for the Lard Day game in time.


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