Thursday, 29 April 2021
Wednesday, 28 April 2021
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
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
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
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!
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
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?
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
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:
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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!
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
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!
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.
Friday, 16 April 2021
Here's the last lot of aircraft for MiG Alley for the moment, four Meteors of No77 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force. I had to trim the wings to make these Mk8 Meteors but otherwise it's a quick overall bare metal finish with some Type A roundels so nothing complicated, especially as I don't bother to do any black lining as life is far too short for that sort of thing in 1/600th scale. I do have some F-51's to paint for the South Koreans and some Tu-2's for the North Koreans, amongst other optional things, but I'm in danger of mission creep so will get cracking on the Football War planes instead.
I finished these today, adding the decals then giving them a couple of coats of matt varnish to seal it all in. They're not too bad, if not as neat as I'd like, but will do a useful job of low level night interdiction over North Korea. My eyesight isn't what it used to be but I think they will pass the arms length test? I now have four RAAF Meteors to add decals to and I'm done with the MiG Alley painting, so will switch over to the Corsairs and Cavaliers models, now that I've had a bit of a brush up on 1/600th scale aircraft painting. I'm also going to try to get in a game or two of al fresco MiG Alley tomorrow, if the weather holds up.
While I've been diverted off onto Wings at War for the moment, I'm still putting together my second modern naval project for the year, a counterfactual 'What If?' conflict between Chile and Peru, ostensibly over a long standing maritime dispute. This was resolved in 2014 at the Hague but as my flashpoint will be in the early 2000's, it would still be an active and emotive issue for both sides, so more than enough to kick off a small scale conflict between the two nations.
I've now obtained most of the surface vessels and submarines for both sides, so have moved on to the air assets. I will be using Tumbling Dice 1/600th scale models for these, as I already have a handful of suitable aircraft, so have ordered a pack of MiG-29's and Su-25's, together with some Sea Sprites and Bell 209's for the Peruvians. I have also ordered a pack of F-16's and a pack of Pumas for the Chileans, which should cover most of the bases.
Thursday, 15 April 2021
I made a set of 40mm x 40mm flight stands for the B-29 bombers in MiG Alley ages ago, only to find that the models were so big that they just kept falling off. To sort this out, I pulled out all of the offending spindly panel pins and replaced them with hefty round wire nails, which have a larger surface area on the head that prevents the 'falling off' problem. Rather than waste the old panel pins, I made some new 30mm x 30mm bases and added the pins, to create some more 20mm and 30mm high flight stands, as these are the ones most often used in the game. I now have to decide if I'm going to repaint, detail or just leave the rather boring B-29's as they are, while I finish off the painted B-26 bombers with some decals.
|Soon to be available at Wargame Vault|
Nick 'Bozkashi' Jones has very kindly sent me a copy of his Merry Christmas Mr Sankara campaign rules for the Agacher War, which use the Wings at War Thud Ridge rules for aerial combat. I'm really impressed with the thought that has gone into the campaign system and with the quality of the text, tables and photos, all of which make this an excellent adjunct to the Wings at War system.
In fact, it allows you to break away from the parameters of the rules and use them for a narrative campaign, which is a great way to have the best of both worlds. I'm thinking of bending the campaign mechanisms into an Alto Cenepa War framework and I know Nick is working on something similar for the Football War, which is obviously something I'd be keen to take for a spin. Thanks Nick!
Wednesday, 14 April 2021
Here's the next lot of tarted up planes for MiG Alley, this time some F-80 Shooting Stars with added fin flashes and wing tip stripes. I left four in the original scheme with blue noses but gave them a touch of brighter blue to sharpen them up a bit. I've made some good progress on the B-26 Invaders too, and hope to get them finished by the end of play tomorrow, decals and all. Finally, I've decided to quickly paint up four RAAF Meteors that I had already magnet based. I did have several more of these but the magnet basing went wonky, so they've gone back in the box to be de-magnetised and rebased at some point. I now need to decide if I'm going to re-paint my rubbish B-29's or move onto the Football War planes instead?
For my planned People's Popular Front army I needed a couple of extra tanks, just in case they popped up in the political phase as a bonus reinforcement. I have a couple of Peter Pig T-55's for the army already, so I was looking for a cheap pair of ex-Soviet tanks of some description. I was lucky enough to find a pack of three Command Decision T34/85's on eBay for a really good price, saving myself about five quid plus postage if I had bought them new.
I then found another pair for even less, which I also bid on and won, so I now have five brand new, un-used T34/85's with the cool late and post war 'full spider' pattern wheels, similar to the ones you find in photos from Mozambique and Angola. The whole lot cost be slightly over twenty quid, so I now have more than enough for the AK47 PPF project and spares for the Sandbox Skirmish project too. Excellent!
Tuesday, 13 April 2021
I've now tarted up the F-84 Thunderjets with some strictly ahistorical but very much more colourful tip tank colours, in an attempt to make them less boring. I'm happy with the result, so will do something similar with the F-80 Shooting Stars, although they don't have tip tanks so it will have to be a nose job, perhaps with some tail stripes if I can manage to paint them. In other news, the B-26 Invaders have been base coated in night bomber black and are just waiting for some white blocking in before I can paint the red bits and the canopies.
I'm thinking of saving up my pocket money for one of these 6'x4' Deep Cut Studios 6mm aerial desert terrain cloths, having seen one used to great effect on Nick's Bloody Betancourt blog. It's not cheap but I could use it for Desert Spitfires and Wings over Suez, as well as any other desert themed Wings at War projects. The obvious ones are the Six Day War and North Africa, the latter being a simple variation on the basic system in Desert Spitfires, with a few tweaks to give it some historical details. It could also be used for Target Locked On! and Airwar:C21 amongst other things, so there's a lot of mileage in it if I can stump up the funds. I better get saving up!
Monday, 12 April 2021
Well, the Yalu River terrain idea for MiG Alley didn't really work, as the material had been rolled around a tube for so long it just wouldn't lie flat. I've not given up on it just yet and have set the cut out river sections aside until I can figure out a way to make them behave, possibly by using duct tape as a stiffener on the reverse. If I can't make it work I'll just go back to using the existing river terrain sections and make them stretch, while I come up with a Plan B, possibly involving laser cut mdf river terrain templates from Warbases.
|I think I need a lot more of these?|
In the meantime, I realised that there was no reason why I couldn't give my Corsairs and Cavaliers Wings at War rules a proper playtest, having already spotted a couple of gremlins after giving them a fresh look over (F-51 Mustangs not being able to tight turn at Level 4, being one of them). The models are all magnet based and part painted, so it's easy to work out which side is which, and I also have all the flight stands I need (?) and target markers completed as a spin off from my Alto Cenepa project.
I should get some time over the next few days to try out the rules and also to have another crack at MiG Alley!
|It looks good but it's not enough!|
I've been using my winterised river sections for the Yalu River in my MiG Alley games but I don't have enough for a six foot length across the table and, more importantly, I don't have anything to use for the 40cm wide strip of sea that runs down the western table edge when your deploy naval aircraft. I've got a roll of dark blue leatherette upholstery material in the shed that I bought ages ago in the local charity shop, so I'm going to have a go at cutting it up to make some flexible river strips and sea, so that I can run a proper game with all the options. I'll give it a try this afternoon and see if it works?
Sunday, 11 April 2021
I really enjoyed the MiG Alley games at the weekend but realised that I have a few gaps in my pretty extensive collection of 1/600th scale aircraft for the Korean War. One of these was light bombers for the UN, so I had a look in the project box and found that I had magnet based six Tumbling Dice B-26 Invaders but never painted them. These will be in all-over black with red markings, so pretty quick to do and perfect for some night time interdiction missions. I also thought my F-84's and F-80's looked a bit bland, so I will add some more colour to both with tip tank and tail stripes, to give them a bit more visual interest and squadron identity.