Tuesday 31 March 2020

Target Locked On! Sino-Soviet Interception Game

I played another game of Target Locked On! today against the sprog and...got thrashed again. She had two Soviet Su-7B fighter bombers and I had two Chinese J-7's, the mission objective being for her aircraft to exit from the far table edge. The scenario was set over a wintery stretch of Outer Mongolia at some point in the late 1960's, when tensions were running high between the two powers.

The Chinese fighters started at altitude level 4 and the Soviets at altitude level 5. At first, I won the initiative for both my pilots so zoomed up at full speed to level 5, locking on with one J-7 and firing a single PL-2 IR missile at close range against one of the Sukhois...which completely missed. The other J-7 attempted to fire his guns at the second Soviet fighter bomber but failed his skill check, being only a trained pilot and pretty hopeless.

In return the Soviet fighter bombers then made two successful, front aspect gun attacks at very close range, inflicting critical damage on one of the J-7's, injuring the pilot and leaving the airframe with only one point of damage left. I overcooked the gunnery dice at this point, but we kept the result the same just to be fair. The other gun run on the second J-7 also caused a critical hit (!) knocking out an engine. How does she always manage to roll 6's? 

Anyway, the Sukhois then zoomed back down to altitude level four, accelerating away toward the table edge and victory. The damaged J-7 with it's injured pilot passed a morale check but then had no options left, so exited the table with a slow turn, leaving the last Chinese pilot to pursue the rapidly retreating Sukhois. Once again, however, he screwed up his pilot skill test and put himself right in front of one of the Soviet fighter bombers. 

As he was only a trained pilot I guess it wasn't entirely his fault but I should have known better than to try it on. Luckily, the Soviet pilot then screwed up his gun attack and failed to hit, which left him free to accelerate away and exit the table alongside his wingman. This meant that the Soviets had easily escaped to win a 4 point to nil victory over the People's Liberation Army Air Force. Bugger.

I did muck up some of the mechanics (again) which played in favour of the sprog but, to be honest, she swept to a well deserved victory with her superior tactics and smart manoeuvring. It's a shame the photos didn't do her justice as the camera flash was playing up again. She does want a re-match, however, so it'll be a photo recon mission next time which I will probably also lose...!?

One thing I did notice was a discrepancy between the distance moved during acceleration / deceleration manoeuvres, so I've kept it to the QRS version which states that it's +/- the MAN rating. I think I need to produce my own QRS to make the play sequence and skill check procedures for manoeuvres and attacks more transparent?

Monday 30 March 2020

1/2400th US Screw and Paddle Frigates

I've decided to finish off the last of the US North Atlantic Squadron over the next couple of days, both to get them done but also to try out some techniques and colour combinations that I can use on the Napoleonic ships. There are five models to paint including the sidewheel paddle frigate USS Powhatan, the sidewheel paddle steamer USS Hetzel and the screw frigates USS Richmond, USS Worcester and USS Guerriere. I've started by giving them an overall basecoat of Vallejo Matt Black over the spray satin black undercoat, as this is what I'll be working up from on the Napoleonic ships. 

Sunday 29 March 2020

Target Locked On! Alto Cenepa Ground Attack Game

I played the strike mission scenario against my twelve year old daughter today and, as usual, got thrashed. She took the FAE Jaguars on a ground strike mission against a jungle airstrip while I took the FAP Mirage 2000 defenders. It started badly for me when the randomised entry point for the Jaguars ended up on the Peruvian's six, requiring some frantic manoeuvring to get out of missile arc in the first turn. Things went from bad to worse when one of the Jaguar pilots got a partial lock on to a Mirage, fired his R550 Matra Magic and scored three critical hits (!) despite an unsuccessful evasive manoeuvre by the Peruvian. 

This caused so much damage to the airframe and pilot that he had to fly in a straight line for the rest of the game, finally getting away by the skin of his teeth and with two partial locks on his tail. In the meantime, the other Jaguar successfully evaded a missile fired by the second Mirage, then pickled his four Mk80 bombs straight onto the airstrip, scoring two direct hits and sufficient D6 damage to knock it out of action. However, the FAP didn't go home empty handed, with a last minute missile shot from long range knocking out the engine of the Jaguar, which promptly stalled and crashed into the jungle, the pilot failing to eject in time. The Peruvian pilot only had one fuel point left too! 

A great game and the sprog wants to play it again tomorrow, so I'll set up another scenario perhaps  another rumble in the jungle or something in a slightly colder location?

WAT! Pop Up Panzerknackers

TQD Castings

AB Miniatures

I've been designing a What a Tanker! set of linked scenarios for Operation Blackcock over the last few months, with a view to running a series of games at Come and Have a Go if You Think You're Lard Enough next year. The idea is to have two or three scenarios based on the 7th Armoured Division assault on Sint Joost in January 1945. The village of Sint Joost was defended by the 2nd Battalion of Fallschirmjager Regiment Hubner, with a mixed force of anti-tank guns, assault guns and infantry. So, I've been looking for figures to use as pop-up anti-tank panzerfaust and panzerschreck teams to use in one of the scenarios. 

These need to be 1/72nd scale fallschirmjager, obviously, but also in late war winter kit. I've found two possible options so far, the first from AB Miniatures consists of a set of three figures which is perfect but also quite limited. On the plus side, AB also do sets of British infantry in smocks and leather jerkins, which I can also use in the games. The second option is from TQD Castings and includes two sets of late war fallschirmjager with panzerfausts and panzerschreks, giving a better variety of poses and two man teams. I prefer the AB figures but the TQD ones are also cheaper.

I have some ideas for pop up anti-tank teams too but would appreciate any other suggestions for how they might work.

Saturday 28 March 2020

Wings At War Winter War

To give me something to work on I'm going to have a go at a Winter War variant for Wings At War, based partly on my Football War re-write of the Desert Spitfires free rules. I was originally thinking of a similar thing for the Nononhan / Khalkin Gol war and did quite a lot of work on it, but that ended up a bit too large to work effectively. 

I have the Soviet aircraft from that so I have only needed to order a handful of the Finnish fighters including Fokker DXXI's, Gloster Gladiators, Gloster Gauntlets (as Bristol Bulldogs) Fokker CV's and MS406's, which keeps the cost very low. I'll get cracking on this as soon as possible but I'd appreciate any ideas you might have for things to include or that I can incorporate to make it a bit distinctive.

A cool title would be good too!

Friday 27 March 2020

ROCAF Magnetised

I've had a frustrating couple of days, getting tied up with school and family things but have finally finished my re-basing project for the 1/600th scale Cold War planes, with the ROCAF aircraft now fully magnetised. In the process, I mucked up a Starfighter and a B26 Invader, the latter standing in for a RB-69A Neptune night stalker, but the rest worked out okay. I can now use them against my PLAAF aircraft with Target Locked On!, for which I have a couple of scenarios already sketched out. I'm planning to actually play a game tomorrow, assuming that I can navigate my way through the mine field of being locked up with three teenagers and the other half?

Thursday 26 March 2020

Napoleonic Naval April

I've decided that my next naval painting project will be the 1/2400th scale Napoleonic French fleet that I assembled over the summer holidays last year. The thinking behind this is that it's not starting something new, which is one of the golden rules* that I've been trying to stick to in order to get existing stuff finished. It really does work (assuming that you actually stick to it, of course)

It also involves not jumping on any passing bandwagons, which is one of my other golden rules and which has been a very good way to avoid those dead end, half abandoned projects that haunt you from the garage shelves or from deep in the loft. It also ticks the 'straight and narrow' box, as it's on my list of things to get done this year and fits in with my Give Us The Ships prime directive. 

I also really enjoy painting the 1/2400th scale Tumbling Dice model ships, even if I will have to modify my approach with these ones and eventually tackle the dreaded rigging. Wish me luck! In the interim, I have a few days to tinker around with other things and actually play a few solo naval and air wargames, which will be my focus for the weekend.  

*I'm thinking of setting out my very own Dicta Jimbo, very much like Oswald Boelcke's rules for dogfighting but for sanity saving wargaming projects...what do you think?

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Target Locked On Alto Cenepa Scenario 2

I really enjoyed the TLO! Alto Cenepa War scenario I played yesterday, so have been thinking up some new ones, both historical and fictional so that I can roll out the green carpet again for another game. There are a couple of historical options but neither offer very much in the way of challenge. 

The first was a dogfight between two FAP A37B Dragonflies and two FAE A37B Dragonflies during the brief 1981 Paquisha War, which would be a very even match but without any missiles. 

The second was an equally brief interception of two FAP A37B's by two FAE Kfir 2's on the same day in February 1995 that the first scenario occurred. No prizes for how that one worked out!

So, I've decided to go for a 'What If?' scenario based on the Ground Strike mission in the rules but featuring two FAE Jaguar International ground attack aircraft intercepted by two FAP Mirage 2000's, which should be a far more exciting combination, given the low level performance of the Jaguars against the more advanced armament and avionics of the Mirage. In reality, the Jaguars were not deployed during the war, being held back for other potential missions, but there's no reason why I couldn't include them in a fictional scenario.

I'm hoping that I'll have time to play it through tomorrow.

MiG Alley Ground Targets

I've bodged together some ground target bases for MiG Alley over the last couple of days, using some Oddzial Ozmy softskin vehicles and artillery pieces, some Tumbling Dice tanks, a Brigade Games bridge and a couple of chopped up Tumbling Dice aircraft for SAR pilot rescue missions. They're a bit rushed but I really want to wrap up this project, which I've now done apart from cutting out some sea and river terrain pieces from an old fake leather plastic sheet, although this is an optional extra as I already have some winter river sections that I can use instead. This means that my very long winded MiG Alley project is finally complete. I really fancy doing something naval now, just for a change, but those planes for the Football War really need to be sorted first?


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