Monday 31 May 2021

Fistful of Lead - Shootout at the Ace in the Hole Saloon

I played an excellent 'al fresco' game of Fistful of Lead with my son today, with two rival outlaw gangs shooting it out for control of a dusty frontier town. We played a series of games during the first lockdown but I haven't run any more since then, so it seemed like a great idea to dust off the rules and figures for another go. The eldest also missed out on lots of the games last year as he was working, so it was good to give him an introduction to the system, which is one of my top ten favourite sets of rules.

The two gangs, one of Mexican banditos and the other of outlaws, set up within six inches of each short edge of the table and the action kicked off straight away. The banditos advanced down the street, covered by their rifle armed compadre, while the outlaws moved to meet them led by their gunslinger boss. The gangs were both fifteen points with three of the five in each faction having positive traits including Gunslinger, Nerves of Steel and Stone Killer, to name but a few. 

In  a cunning move, the banditos also sneaked a shotgun armed figure down an alleyway in a flanking attempt but he was blasted down by his opposite number in the outlaw gang. One of the Mexicans also tried to shoot through the rear window of the Ace in the Hole saloon but the back door was booted in by an outlaw and in the ensuing close combat the bandito was forced to escape through the swing doors at the front, although the outlaw was shot down as he tried to follow.

In the end, the banditos were dispatched to a man, with the last one holed up in the livery stable at the end of the street, only to be peppered with pistol shots by the surrounding outlaws. The banditos were wiped out for the cost of one dead outlaw and two with wounds, so the town was back in the hands of the outlaws, at least until the next game. The lad has now got some 28mm figures from my lead pile to paint up for his own posse, so this won't be the last game we play for sure!

Nonomhan / Khalkin Gol Scenario Research

I'm about to start some research for a selection of Bag the Hun scenarios, based on the Khalkin Gol / Nonomhan clash between the IJAAF and VVS in the Summer of 1939. I have at least two scenarios in my sights, an initial dogfight between three Ki-27's and a pair of I-16's that were escorting an R-5 reconnaissance two seater, right at the start of the battle on May 20th 1939. The R-5 was shot down as the first loss by the Soviets in the campaign, according to the Japanese if not the Russians.

This was followed two days later by a dogfight between three I-16's, two I-153's and five Ki-27's, which resulted in one of the I-16's being shot down. These are both really good beginner scenarios and would be ideal as a starting point, although some larger scale actions would also be a key thing to cover. It's an interesting battle and a bit different from the usual, so I think it will make for some exciting games.

Sunday 30 May 2021

Modern Chilean Fleet Finished

I've now completed most of the warships for the Chilean Navy for my Naval Command project, with only a couple more to add if I want to bring it right up to date, as well as a handful of helicopters and aircraft.  I've decided to postpone the Peruvian warships for the moment and am now moving on to some civilian fishing vessels and a small selection of Chinese destroyers and frigates for a 'What If?' tuna war of the coast of South America.

Saturday 29 May 2021

Modern Chilean Navy Sea Bases

I'm on the final stretch of the modern Chilean naval project, after a frustrating week of having little time to get things wrapped up due to work. I have now almost finished the sea bases and have glued the models down so that I can add base labels and some bow waves with white paint and a fine brush, all of which should be sorted by the end of tomorrow. I'm pleased with how these have turned out and I'm now looking forward to getting the Peruvian and Chinese models prepared for painting over the half term holiday. I'm also hoping to get some games organised during the holiday, at least one of which will be something suitably nautical!

Fivecore French Indochina Revisited

Just over a year ago I set out some plans to do a 10mm French Indochina company level wargaming project using Pendraken figures and the Fivecore Company Command rules from Nordic Weasel:

This didn't get going then, as I went off on another tangent when the first lockdown kicked in and ended up painting a Beja army for The Men Who Would Be Kings instead. I'd forgotten all about the French Indochina project until now, when I stumbled across the relevant post and the box of figures that I'd already collected together, originally for Cold War Commander

I've been looking for a small figure based WW2 or Post War project as a break from air and naval wargaming, so this fits the bill nicely. I was intending to do the 15mm SCW project at some point but that's a big one, whereas the 10mm French Indochina option is far less work to undertake. I'll give this some more thought but it's a potential front runner for the next workbench skirmish project.

Chinese Pirate Fishing Fleet

I've decided to extend my modern naval project to include some Chinese warships that could be used in a 'flashpoint' conflict against both the Chilean and Peruvian forces that I'm working on at the moment, as well as for other scenarios in the South China Sea, for example. The thinking behind this is based on the fleets of trawlers and factory ships that operate illegally off the coast of Chile, Peru and Ecuador, which I can use as a hook for a limited scale conflict between the combined navies of those countries and the Chinese PLAN. 

It's a bit sketchy at the moment, but I do have some nice Navwar deep sea trawlers and a factory ship, together with a Luhu class destroyer and a couple of Jaingwei II frigates to get the thing going. This won't be a big extension to the project but I think it will add some fun to the Naval Command games that I'm planning, once again in the format of a small scale campaign of linked scenarios. I'm going to add these models to the Peruvian warships that I'll be painting over the next week or so.

Thursday 27 May 2021

Bag the Hun Khalkin Gol

I was thinking the other day about writing some new scenarios for Bag the Hun, which is something I haven't done for ages and that I quite enjoy. These would be either for the next Lard Magazine, which has replaced the old Summer and Xmas Specials, or possibly for Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. 

I wanted to do something a bit different so have been running through some potential themes, with the current front runner being a series of scenarios for the Nomonhan / Khalkin Gol aerial battle of 1939 between the Japanese Army Air Force and the Soviet Air Force. I have several books on the subject which I can mine for scenario ideas, although I'm going to have to dig deep to avoid having too many aircraft to handle, as the aerial dogfights often involved lots of fighters and bombers. 

I really need to do some more research but I think it might be an interesting and unusual hook to hang some scenario action upon?

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Modern Peruvian Naval Taskforce

I was supposed to have a day off work today, during which I was going to paint the bases for the Chilean warships and prepare the Peruvian ones for undercoating, but I was called in at the last minute instead. I've now started painting the bases and have unpacked the Peruvian warships ready for a clean up. These consist of eight Lupo class frigates, six Type 209 submarines and possibly, as an optional bonus, the ex-Dutch cruiser BAP Almirante Grau. 

The latter was operational up to 2017, despite being very long in the tooth having been originally laid down in 1939, although not actually commissioned until 1953! It's a small and relatively weak force compared to the Chilean units that I've painted already, which is why I'm thinking to developing the project in a different direction. This will involve some of the Navwar deep sea trawlers and a factory ship, along with a third naval power that a combined Chilean - Peruvian taskforce might have to tackle?

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Modern Chilean Navy Aviation

At some point soon, I'll be painting the aircraft and helicopters to use with my Chilean naval forces, using Tumbling Dice 1/600th scale models as usual. The Chileans operate AS332 Super Pumas from their frigates, destroyers and landing ship, so I have prepared eight of these for the project, half of which I will arm with Exocet missiles for anti-shipping strikes and the rest as ASW variants. The models are basic Pumas but I think they'll pass at a distance for the more modern Super Puma variant. 

I'll also paint up four land based F-16's which can be used for anti-shipping missions, possibly equipped with AGM-84 Harpoon missiles, but also as top cover for the fleet when it is operating offshore. I'm not sure when I'll get round to all this, as I have the Peruvian Navy warships to paint first, but I'm hoping to get the aircraft sorted in the next couple of weeks, if I get the time. In  the meantime, here's a rather good video of a Super Puma landing on the flight deck of the Foudre Class LPD, Sargento Aldea: 

Monday 24 May 2021

Modern Chilean Navy Upgrades

Alimirante Williams (Type 22 Batch 2)

I have a few tweaks to make to the composition of the 1/3000th scale Chilean fleet at some point, in order to make it fully up to date. The initial focus of the project is the early 2000's, specifically pre-2008, with the models selected to represent the make up of the fleet at this date. However, to add some flexibility I will incorporate some recent warships that have been added since then or subsequently modified. For example, I already have two Adelaide class anti-aircraft frigates, which replaced the two Jacob Van Heemskerck frigates in that role in 2020.

Almirante Latorre (Adelaide Class)

I also need to replace the existing model of the flagship, the Type 22 Batch 2 Almirante Williams, with a new model, as she was rearmed and modernised in 2008 with an OTO Melara 76mm gun and Harpoon missiles. The easiest way to do this is to use a Type 22 Batch 3 model. Finally, I need to replace the two Scorpene class submarines, for which I've used a too long JMSDF Yushio class model, with something more appropriate, although I may just get another pack and do a cut and shut. That should give me a modern Chilean fleet that's almost complete and up to date.

(at some point I'll also get some proper US pattern helo deck decals to replace the French ones I used)

Modern Chilean Navy Basing

I've now removed the ship models from the lolly sticks, so that I can use them as a guide for the basing stage of the project, which uses the usual 20mm wide laser cut mdf bases covered in acrylic paste. The model is pressed down and slid forward into the textured surface, then pulled away and cleaned of any excess paste, leaving a hull shaped impression. I'll leave the bases to dry out completely, then undercoat them with black aerosol spray paint, before painting them up using my tried and tested shades. The models can then be glued down before adding a bow wave and wake. I'll then add some base labels and the job's as good as done!

Sunday 23 May 2021

Modern Chilean Navy Details and Decals

I have almost finished painting the modern warships for the Chilean Navy, having changed my painting method from a block in, wash and detail approach to a block in, detail, pin wash and highlight system, which I think has worked much better. You can't really tell from the photos due to the shiny reflection of the light, but they are a lot neater than my Indonesian Confrontation ships.

I have now gloss varnished the ships and added the excellent decals from Flight Deck Decals, using French ones as they are similar enough to the Chilean markings to be useable. I now have to seal them all with an overall coat of Army Painter anti-shine matt varnish, before I can start on the basing. In between this, I'm going to clean up and prepare the Peruvian Navy warships, so that I can start painting them sooner rather than later. 

Saturday 22 May 2021

Naval Command New Edition

A new edition of Naval Command is soon to be published, which is great news as I'm hoping some of the vague bits in the existing rules will have been cleared up to make it a really solid set of fast play rules for modern naval warfare. It's going to make a dent in my printer cartridge stockpile but I'm looking forward to trying the rules out as soon as they are available on Wargame Vault. 


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