Tuesday, 11 May 2021

And now for something completely different...


I've been watching The Mandalorian on Disney+, as my son decided to get a subscription, so thought I'd have a go at painting some Imperial Scout Troopers for Star Wars Legion. I'd given all my Star Wars Legion stuff to the lad, so had a clean slate to go out and pick some new figures, settling on the Scout Trooper expansion pack. I did have a couple of speeder bikes in my original stash, so I may well pinch them back to round off the squad, with the aim of eventually playing some games with the offspring. He's been busy painting up his Star Wars Legion Clone Wars and 40K Tau figures, so I'm going to have to encourage him to paint some rebel scum instead!

Monday, 10 May 2021

FAS Painting Progress

B-26 'Broom Handle' Invaders

Fouga Magiters

It looks a mess but it will tidy up?

With the dodgy weather over the weekend, the gardening jobs got postponed, so I had some time to get on with the Salvadoran aircraft for the Corsairs and Cavaliers Football War project. The B-26 Invaders had been left behind, so I painted the camouflage, undersides and engine nacelles, finishing off with a Future ink wash, so they are now ready for the canopies to be painted. I also decided to leave the Fouga Magisters in their basic trainer brown, rather than add camouflage patterns, as it was easier and less time consuming. 

I then painted all of the rocket rails under the Mustangs and Corsairs olive green, so that they looked a bit more like loaded bomb racks rather then rockets or missiles. I'm now ready to paint the canopies then finish off the detailing, before adding some decals to finish them all off. I am very busy with work at the moment, however, so don't know when I can get round to the last few stages of the painting process. When I do, I still have five C-47's and three light aircraft to paint before I can finally tick off the project on the 'to do' list!

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Vietnam Air War Film

A link to the trailer for this short Vietnamese film was posted on TMP the other day, so I had a closer look at the film itself. It's all CGI but not bad, with some good scenes of F105's, F100's and MiG-17's in action. It's great inspiration for the Thud Ridge project and the dogfight scenes look pretty awesome!

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Thud Ridge Boeing KC-135 Tanker



The Schabak 1/600th scale Boeing 707 diecast model arrived in the post yesterday, so I wasted no time cutting away the landing gear and sanding off the cast on labels underneath the fuselage, to turn it into something like a KC-135 tanker aircraft. This was only partially successful as the underwing supports for the wheels will have to be cut off fully using my Dremell in order to be flush with the wings. I'll need to add a refuelling boom to the rear end, repaint the windows and add some decals, but it's already looking like a viable conversion job that will be a nice feature in the game.

Friday, 7 May 2021

Thud Ridge Project Planning: The USAF (2)

It's been a long week but I am now, hopefully, going to have some time at the weekend to finish off the aircraft for the Football War project, leaving only the C-47's to paint up for the project to be complete. I've also been planning ahead for the Thud Ridge project and, despite my better judgement, have had a pay day splash out on three B-52 Stratofortress heavy bombers for the USAF, as just one didn't seem like enough. I've also ordered a pack of Sea King helicopters to use as SAR HH-3C Jolly Green Giants, alongside the Skyraiders and HH-53's that I already have in the bits box.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

The Hunter Killers

My background reading for the Thud Ridge project is barrelling along and I'm just about to start The Hunter Killers, which covers the development of the Ironhand Wild Weasel missions during the Vietnam War. I've enjoyed Dan Hampton's other books, so I'm looking forward to this one, as it will fill in some gaps in my knowledge of the air war over Vietnam. 

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

May the Fourth Be With You!







I haven't played any games recently due to work and family commitments, but my eldest son has been actively working away at his 40K and Star Wars Legion projects, so was able to set up a socially distanced game of the latter with a mate last weekend. This wasn't 'proper' Star Wars but the Clone Wars version, with the clones supplied by his friend but the droids painted by him, using a speed painting approach to get them on to the table. He actually prefers the original Star Wars and has a good array of models to paint up in the near future, which is great as I'd really like to have a go too. I think he did a pretty good painting job on the droids to start with, so hopefully he'll do some stormtroopers and rebels next time?

Monday, 3 May 2021

Thud Ridge Project Planning - The USAF (1)

I've been doing some more number crunching for the Thud Ridge project and have finalised the fighter and fighter bomber component, as follows. There will 8 x F-105 Thunderchief fighter bombers as the strike element, with 2 x F-105 Wild Weasels for SAM suppression. I will also have 8 x F-4 Phantoms for top cover and, as an alternative, 8 x F-100 Super Sabers, with a couple of the Phantoms also doubling up as additional Wild Weasels. It's quite a lot to paint up but with a production line approach it's still manageable, giving me all whistles and bells I could wish for in one go.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Merry Xmas Mr Sankara Out Now

The excellent campaign system for the Agacher Strip War by Nick Jones is now available on Wargame Vault for the exorbitant sum of $4....bit of a bargain if you ask me! 

Merry Christmas, Mr Sankara - Bozkashi Games | Wargame Vault

It's a very clever and well thought out system for use with the Thud Ridge mechanics but it can easily be adapted to other rules. The production values are also top notch. I think it's great but why not find out for yourself? To help you dust off your wallets, here's the blurb:

On Christmas Day, 1985, Mali invaded Burkina Faso over a dispute in the contested Agacher Strip. In what became known as the Agacher Strip War, two of the poorest nations on earth fought over a strip of the southern Sahara. Air operations featured prominently, but there were no air-to-air combats. By the time of the Agacher Strip War, Burkina Faso had just one MiG-17, but until a few months before the Force Aérienne de Burkina Faso (FABF) had a force of eight Libyan supplied and manned MiG-21s. Merry Christmas, Mr Sankara imagines if these had still be available during the conflict.

Merry Christmas, Mr Sankara has a background of the war and the forces involved, a full campaign system, maps and a painting guide. Players have to balance offensive and defensive operations, keep an eye on public and world opinion and avoid attrition that they can ill afford.

In a short war players will use Soviet Cold War era jets – MiG-17s and MiG-21s – for air strikes, ground attack, escort and fighter missions and Mi-4 helicopters to transport troops. In the vastness of the Sahara players will need to form a strategy to seize key road junctions. For the Burkinabe player it will be a tough proposition; the Malian forces are more numerous but the Libyan pilots are more experienced.

The campaign should provide between 5 and 8 tactical games. Though designed with Wings at War: Thud Ridge in mind, it can be used with your favourite jet-age rules.

Thud Ridge Tankers


In Thud Ridge the USAF player can deploy tanker aircraft for re-fueling, with the suggested model being the B-47 Stratojet. This wasn't used as a tanker in the Vietnam war, so I decided to try to find something more appropriate. It was a happy coincidence that Remi posted about the Schabak diecast airliner range on his excellent blog 1/600th Aircrafts available on the market – Load And Return (wordpress.com) which gave me the idea to look for a Boeing 707 model to use as a KC-135 Stratotanker. 

The Schabak models are collectible so can be quite expensive, but I found one for a tenner plus postage, which isn't too much of a hit to the wallet as I only need one of them. It shouldn't be difficult to modify it into a tanker, with the undercarriage cut off and a re-fueling probe added to the back, although it really should have a shorter length fuselage. I think it will look pretty cool. A big 'merci' to Remi for the idea!

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Thud Ridge Project Planning - The VPAF

It's been a hectic day, so I've had no time to sit down and do any painting. Instead, I've been working out what I need to do for the Thud Ridge project, starting with the North Vietnamese People's Air Force. In Thud Ridge you can deploy a maximum of four flights of any aircraft type, which makes it easy to set out what I need to paint for the VPAF. This gives me 8 x MiG-21, 8 x MiG-19 and 8 x MiG-17, organised in four flights of two. I will also need a maximum of 6 x SA-2 Guideline SAM bases, as that's the limit you are allowed, together with half a dozen or so of the strategic and tactical target bases you need for the game. This is all a relatively easy modelling and painting job, especially as most of the aircraft are in a bare metal finish, so I will probably start with the VPAF first, then move onto the USAF afterwards.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

100 Missions North

 

This book was recommended to me the other day (thank you Rattlesnake!), and it really is very good. I'm about half way through already and I'm finding it difficult to put down. It's given me some extra impetus to get the Thud Ridge project underway sooner rather than later this year, perhaps as a new summer holiday project, assuming I wrap up some more of my naval projects first. In the meantime, I'm getting some useful camouflage painting practise with the aircraft for the Football War, which I'm hoping to finish this weekend.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

HMS Caesar 1872



I was playing around with some ideas for a rebuilt version of HMS Captain today, assuming she didn't sink and was subsequently modified to improve her stability and sea keeping. I have a surplus 1/2400th scale model that I was given, so cut off the top of the masts and added cut down military tops from the Brigade Models Aeronef range. I'm thinking of renaming her HMS Caesar, to avoid Captain Cowper Coles any more embarrassment, taking a leaf out of the French book by giving her a new role as an armoured turret ram, possibly for the defence of Malta. 

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Jet Wash

I have been back at work over the last couple of days, so progress has slowed on the 1/600th scale aircraft for the Corsairs and Cavaliers Football War project, including the extra jet fighters that I've added to the set up for some 1970's 'What If?' scenarios. These have now had the under surfaces painted in light grey, light blue or blue green, then been given a Future ink wash all over followed by a tidy up. I'm really pleased with the Israeli camouflage scheme on the FAH Dassault Super Mysteres and by the locally applied Vietnam style scheme on the FAS Dassault Ouragans. The FAS Fouga Magisters were originally going to be in all over brown but I've decided to replicate the scheme used on the Ouragans to make them more interesting. I've also got to tackle the FAS B-26 Invaders but I'm still working out how to go about it.

Monday, 26 April 2021

Alto Cenepa Ecuadoran AT-33A


I have been reading the newly published Helion book on the Alto Cenepa War, which is excellent as expected, and realised that I had missed out the AT-33A ground attack aircraft used by the FAE from my earlier painting project. I have some Tumbling Dice Starfire / T33 models for MiG Alley, so I pinched three of them to paint up as FAE planes. It's a good opportunity to play around with the SEA Vietnam scheme to find the right shades in advance of my Thud Ridge project. I haven't quite got it right yet, with a combination of Citadel Castellan Green (Forest Green), Foundry Chestnut Light (Tan Brown) and Vallejo US Dark Green (Dark Green), but I'm getting closer to the combination I'm looking for. 

Sunday, 25 April 2021

FAS Camouflage Patterns

I've had a frustrating day trying and repeatedly failing to get the camouflage patterns looking right on the Salvadoran fighters. This has been a combination of using the wrong shades and then mucking up the patterns but I've got them to a point where I can live with the results, so they've now been Future ink washed to seal in the paintwork. I haven't tackled the B-26 Invaders, the Super Mysteres, the Magisters or the Cessnas, but should get round to those over the next couple of days. It's all good practise anyway!

Vietnam Air War Reading

 

I've read quite a few books on the air war over Vietnam before but not for quite a while, so this is a good refresher and should point me in the right directions. I'm also re-reading some of the relevant Osprey titles to get a better grip on the different stages of the conflict and how the air campaign fitted in to the wider war. I'm hoping to make a start on Thud Ridge later in the year, so some background reading is an enjoyable lead in to the start of the project.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

FAS Camouflage Basecoat Blocking In

I made a start on the 1/600th scale Salvadoran aircraft for the Football War today, with an overall blocking in of Vallejo Tan Yellow, followed by a wash in GW Agrax Earthshade and a drybrush of 50:50 Vallejo Tan Yellow and Iraqi Sand. It looks a bit rubbish at the moment but the two shade green camouflage will hopefully pull it together. The Honduran Sabres and the Salvadoran Ouragans were given a basecoat of Vallejo Tan Earth, as they had a camouflage scheme based on the US South East Asia pattern. I used Tan Earth as I'd read it was a good match for USAF brown, but I'm not so sure? 

Football War El Salvador




I've realised that I'm missing a handful of ships for my modern Chilean fleet, so while I wait for them to arrive from Navwar, I'm going to crack on with the Salvadoran aircraft for the Wings at War Corsairs and Cavaliers Football War project. These include P-51 Mustangs, Cavalier Mustang II's, Goodyear FG1-D Corsairs and a couple of B-26 Invaders, as well as some more Cessna light aircraft. I've also included a couple of Dassault Ouragon and Fouga Magisters, so that I can extend the timeframe of the project into the 1970's. To match these, the Ecuadorans will get a couple of Canadair Sabres and Dassault Super Mysteres, so that I can run a few 'What If?' games as well as the Football War. 

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Load and Return

This is a really interesting and unusual idea. I'm surprised that no one has thought of this before but it's pure genius, combining air wargaming with aerial firefighting, all in 1/600th scale. What a great concept and one I'm really looking forward to hearing more about. You can find out more via Remi's new blog:

https://loadandreturn.wordpress.com/?fbclid=IwAR26feIDd9g4uBmWZqXN-qcNCPQv855S3hOmZTLKX47-l55qXvrnwuo7xqQ

1/3000th Modern Chilean Navy

Here's the 1/3000th scale Chilean fleet ready for painting, as half of my second modern naval project this year. I could add a third Type 23 but other than that it's pretty much all there. The aircraft include seven AS532 Cougar helicopters and four F-16's fighters, the former for ASW and to equip the LPD, with the latter for anti-shipping strikes and top cover. The Chileans can fit their Cougars with AM-39 Exocets as well, so they can also be tasked with stand off, anti-shipping missions, making them doubly useful. I'm planning to get started on these at the weekend.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

1/600th SA-2 Guideline SAM

In Thud Ridge you need some SAM units for air defence and ground targets, so I ordered a couple of packs of the Oddzial Osmy 1/600th scale SA-2 Guideline missiles. There are six missile launchers in each pack plus a Spoon Rest radar, so plenty for a game. They're super little models and should be fun to base and paint, when I eventually get round to the Thud Ridge project. 

Bag the Hun Whirlwind Scenario


A couple of years ago I worked up the framework for a semi-historical Bag the Hun scenario, designed for the 2019 Lard Day, which in the end I didn't use. It's all written down in sketch form and I've been thinking of going back to it and finishing it off, now that I have the Cruel Seas E-Boats to use as a target. In the original scenario, designed for upwards of six players, I had a lot of aircraft including six No129 Squadron Spitfires, three No263 Squadron Whirlwinds and eight Fw-190's of 9/JG2. 

http://jimswargamesworkbench.blogspot.com/2018/12/bag-hun-schnellboote-strike.html

This is probably too much for a simple scenario, so the plan would be to slim it down to just the three Whirlwinds and four Fw-190's, together with a single E-Boat as the target. I think this would make for a faster game, as there would be fewer cards to deal and it would be easier to run as an umpire. I would need to paint the Whirlwinds but, apart from that, it just requires the turn cards and perhaps a specific damage table for the E-Boats. 

It's not on my high priority list of things to do but it would be a shame to waste all the effort I put into it back in 2018!

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Revised Flight Stands for Wings at War


The 50mm panel pins arrived yesterday so I used one to make a prototype Level 4 flight stand for Wings at War, in this case to match my existing 40mm, 30mm and 20mm jungle ones. The panel pin is a bit thicker than the others but it's not a massive difference and hardly noticeable once you plonk a plane on the top. I am probably going to replace my Level 1 stands with these, so that I can use the existing Level 2, 3 and 4 stands as Level 1, 2 and 3, with the new ones as Level 4.

Chilean Warships

I'm taking a short break from painting 1/600th scale aircraft, so that I can crack on with what I should have been doing, the 1/3000th scale Chilean ships for my 'What If?' modern naval project. These shouldn't take very long to do, then I'll get back to the Salvadoran planes for the Football War.

Monday, 19 April 2021

Terrain down the Tip


I went to the local recycling centre, today to drop off a load of old junk, only to find a whole load of high density insulation foam offcuts in one of the bins. I grabbed as much as I could get to, so now have plenty for another set of coastal terrain for naval wargaming. I just have to find somewhere to hide it from the wife, who will probably tell me to take it all back again if she finds out. 

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Football War FAH Finished

I've just finished the Honduran aircraft for the Corsairs and Cavaliers Wings at War project, with a coat of gloss varnish on the canopies just drying off now. They came out alright despite some headaches with the wing tip stripes and tail stripes, which weren't as difficult to do as I first thought. I still have the DC-3's to paint but they are identical to the FAS ones, so I'll do all four or five of them at the same time. I'm now going to move on to the Salvadoran aircraft, which should be a lot more interesting to paint due to their funky camouflage!

Wings at War Flight Stand Fix


I've managed to locate a supply of 50mm long panel pins to use as Level 4 flight stands, replacing my existing 40mm high ones which will now be used for Level 3. This means that my lowest stands, which are a tree hugging 13.5mm high, will now be replaced by my Level 2 flight stands at 20mm. I won't change my existing stands for MiG Alley but will probably switch over to this new system for the jungle stands that I will be using for Corsairs and Cavaliers and Thud Ridge. This all assumes that the 50mm panel pins are any good but I should be getting them in the post next week, so I should be able to try them out on a prototype stand soon.

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Football War FAH Painting

I've moved the Honduran aircraft along a bit today, adding the anti-dazzle black strips to the engine cowlings of the Corsairs, Trojan and Texans, as well as doing a bit of general tidying up afterwards. This was quite a fiddly job, as it's not easy to get a straight line or an equal spacing, but the next bit is even more fiddly as I have to add the blue insignia stripes to the tail planes and wing tips. I'm not looking forward to that but at least there are no decals!

Thud Ridge

I've decided that the best way to be able to develop a Wings at War rule set for the Alto Cenepa War, is to have a go at either Thud Ridge or Flames Above the Falklands, both of which feature the mechanics for fast jet combat and missiles. I'd originally thought of doing a Falklands War project but that requires a lot more effort in terms of terrain and ground targets than Vietnam, so Thud Ridge is the obvious choice, especially as I already have a set of jungle flight stands and most of the aircraft models for both sides. I'm going to stick with USAF operations, as I don't fancy trying to replicate the USN paint schemes and I can also just use a basic grass terrain cloth, together with my existing ground targets. This project won't happen for a while yet, as I have lots of other things to do first, but I think it's a good idea and will enable me to learn the rules required for the Alto Cenepa game.

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