Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Black Powder Napoleonic Club Game


The lad couldn't get time off work this evening so the Bolt Action game was scrubbed and instead I joined in with a Black Powder game run by Gary and Laurent. I'm not a fan or IGOUGO rules but it clipped along at a fair pace and looked really good, mainly due to the figures painted by the eponymous umpires. I played the British right flank, which was eventually routed under extreme pressure by the French Old Guard but performed very well despite being almost wiped out, along with most of the British centre. In the end the French won the day but, if it was a campaign it would have been a strategic draw at the very least, with the British buying valuable time for the allies. Not really my cup of tea but an enjoyable game and it did look the mutts nuts.

Monday, 30 August 2021

1/2400th Ships for the Battle of Arica

Huascar (Peruvian and Chilean)

Alianza and Republica

Manco Capac and Alianza

I'm looking into some historical scenarios for the War of the Pacific aside from the battles of Iquique and Angamos which I have already covered, at least in the planning side of things for Iquique. The obvious one that stands out is the naval battle of Arica, which featured the refitted Huascar under the Chilean flag and the Peruvian monitor Manco Capac. There was an ongoing duel between the Chilean corvette Magallanes, the Huascar and the batteries surrounding Arica, interrupted on the 27th February 1880 by a sortie from the Manco Capac accompanied by the torpedo boat Alianza, with the aim of preventing the Huascar from shelling a railway train on the coastal mainline to Arica. 

It all ended badly for the Chileans when the Manco Capac smashed the conning tower of the already damaged Huascar, killing Commander Thomson and felling the foremast, which then jammed the turret from traversing. It would make a pretty good scenario for Dahlgren and Columbiad, including the fort and shore batteries, the Alianza and the corvette Magallanes, which all played an active role or were at least present. Anyway, I've bodged together a couple of Herreshoff torpedo boats, using the 'David' model from Tumbling Dice for the Alainza and Republica, and have assembled and slightly modified the Tumbling Dice Huascar model as refitted by the Chileans. 

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Chilean Torpedo Boats


I finished the two Chilean torpedo boats today, the Janequeo and Guacolda, using a proxy model from the Tumbling Dice range that was close enough but not quite spot on. They should really have spar torpedoes and I may well add them using brass wire but, for the moment, they are good enough to do. They are pretty tiny and a fiddle to paint but I think they look fine from arms length? At least they were quick to paint!

Goodnight Natascha

I've written up the first scenario from the Khalkhin Gol project, giving it the working title of Goodnight Natascha in reference to the Polikarpov R-Z 'Natascha' that is the focus for the game. I've tweaked  a couple of elements including, for example, rating the rear gunner of the R-Z as a 'Dead Eye Dick', which gives him an additional +1D6 when firing. Other than that, I've left it pretty much as play tested, as I'm confident it works well as a game and gives both the Japanese and Soviet players a good chance of success.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

War of the Pacific Plan B

The naval wargaming plan for the latter part of the year was to run a series of linked games using my modern Chilean and Chinese forces, akin to the Indonesian Confrontation solo campaign that I played earlier this year. However, when the 2021 edition of Naval Command had to be taken in for a pretty comprehensive re-write, the naval wargaming Plan A was scuppered. I have now decided on a Plan B, which is to run a series of War of the Pacific games using Dahlgren and Columbiad with my existing Chilean and Peruvian forces, while I paint up my 1/3000th scale Italian WW2 fleet in the margins.

I played a couple of games last year with these models but haven't touched them since, so they have been seriously under utilised despite the games being really enjoyable. To kick start this off I'm adding a few extras, the first being the Chilean torpedo boats Janequeo and Guacolda, using the ASV93 Torpilleurs Defence Mobile model as the nearest thing. I'm really looking forward to playing some more games of Dahlgren and Columbiad, and may even have a go at running the campaign, if I can stretch my small collection of ships to cover all the angles?


I've read most of the books on this aircraft but, somehow or other, this one slipped through the net. I spotted it in The Works for three quid yesterday, but as I'm not a fan of paperbacks I downloaded a digital copy for just a little bit more. It's actually really quite good, despite the ridiculous strap line on the cover, and I'm enjoying reading through the first couple of chapters now. It is one of the most common aircraft in my Bag the Hun games over Malta, North Africa or in the Battle of Britain, so I'm hoping to find some good scenario material that I may not have come across before and in some new locations like Burma, Russia or the North Atlantic.

Friday, 27 August 2021

Traffic Lights


For the Bag the Hun game the other day I had to come up with a way to help keep track of which aircraft were which in the formations, which I normally do by identifying insignia or specific markings on the models. However, as I was running the game for other players, this seemed a little ad hoc and I needed to make it work in a more coherent way. Instead, I improvised a traffic light system using some cheap coloured sticky labels from WH Smiths, with red for the shotai or zveno leader, yellow for the number two pilot and green for the number three. This worked really well and made it a lot easier to keep tabs on the specific aircraft and pilots, especially once the formations broke up and the bullets started flying. It was also very inexpensive, which is in keeping with my DIY flight stand philosophy!

Bolt Action 'Hold Until Relieved' Club Game

I was going to run a naval or air wargame of some description at the club next week but it turns out the lad isn't working that night, so we're going to have a go at Bolt Action second edition, with his late war Germans against my Americans. I've played Bolt Action before and found it a bit 'gamey' but I'm prepared to try it again, if only because I don't have enough figures for Chain of Command yet and it's relatively simple to pick up and play. We're going to use Scenario 10: Hold Until Relieved, as I have a nice model bridge that will work well as the objective, together with my snow terrain cloth and trees. It should be fun!

Thursday, 26 August 2021

French Naval Aircraft for Find, Fix and Strike

Vought V-156F-3 Vindicator (in service July 1939)

Dewoitine D373 (in service March 1936)

As well as the Ki-21 bombers for the Khalkhin Gol project, I'm going to be painting some Italian and French aircraft for my 1940 Find, Fix and Strike Autumn project. I've had a painted model of the French carrier Bearn for ages but somehow never got round to equipping her with any aircraft, which is something I need to rectify. To do this I will be magnet basing and painting four Vought V-156F-3 Vindicator dive bombers and four Dewoitine D373 fighters, all from Tumbling Dice in 1/600th scale.

Khalkhin Gol 1/600th Ki-21 Sally


I didn't paint these Tumbling Dice Ki-21 Sally medium bombers when I did the Japanese fighters, so I'm adding them to my workbench project queue this week, so that I can do some bomber interception and escort games at some point. I don't think they'll take very long to do, once I've cleaned them up and magnet based them, as they were just painted in overall light grey with simple insignia. I'm also sketching out another bomber game using the Tupolev SB-2's that I've already painted, set in August 1939 right at the end of the conflict, but more about that later on.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Bag the Hun Khalkhin Gol Club Game Two

After the Soviet drubbing yesterday I thought they'd like a chance for a revenge grudge match, so have written up the Scenario D game for the club in a couple of weeks time. This is a big old dogfight over Lake Buir Nuur in June 1939, with the Soviets having some advantage in terms of numbers but a potential slight disadvantage, depending on some random dice rolls, when it comes to pilot ability. It also features the use of bogeys for both sides, which is always an added dimension for a Bag the Hun game, and a time limit of ten turns, by which time night will have fallen and the surviving pilots will have to disengage. I'm hoping that there will enough people interested to be able to run the game relatively soon, but I may try to give it a go solo tomorrow if I can find the time.

Bag the Hun Khalkhin Gol Club Game Report


The club game last night went down well with the players, although it was a bit of a walkover for the Japanese, mainly due to some terrible luck with both the dice and the cards for the Soviets, but also due to some good tactical moves by the Japanese players. As expected, the multi-section formations had split up by Turn Two and it ended up as a close fought dogfight, with the Soviet Top Ace, Major Gritsavets, being forced off with instrument damage in Turn Three. He made it off the table but it was good start for the Japanese, who gained one point for forcing him off, while also eliminating the threat of a Top Ace before he could do anything serious. 

In Turn Five a second Soviet pilot, Zveno Three, Number Two, was downed after he literally blew up in mid-air but one of the Japanese pilots, Shotai One, Number Two, also received fuel line damage, which made him vulnerable to a follow on attack later in the game. In the final turn the Soviet Junior Ace, Major Smirnov, had expended all of his ammunition and had a gun jam, but due to bad dice hadn't managed to get any hits on his target. Instead, he was tailed by Sgt Major Saito, who blew him out of the sky, the only compensation for the Soviets being the subsequent shooting down of the fuel line damaged Ki-27 by Smirnov's wingman.  

The game ended at this point, as the Japanese had shot down or forced off three enemy aircraft, having lost only one themselves. The Soviets gained two points for shooting down a Soviet veteran pilot, but the Japanese wiped the floor with them, gaining one point for Major Gritsavets being forced off, two for a Veteran being blown up and three for blasting Major Smirnov to smithereens, as he was a Junior Ace. This was a reverse result compared to my solo game, which is a good thing as it means that either side could win in a replay, so I'm happy with the result. The Soviet players will get a chance for revenge, however, as they had really, really bad luck on the day!

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

1/3000th Italian Fleet Underway

Now that most of the play testing has been done for the Bag the Hun Khalkhin Gol project, I'm back on to the 1/3000th scale Italian fleet for Find, Fix and Strike. These are all Davco models, which I bought ages ago as a battle pack and have since added some extra bits to, rather than my usual Navwar. They're a bit cleaner and better cast than some of the Navwar models but are also more expensive, so it's swings and roundabouts, especially as they are a little bit larger than the equivalent so don't always mix well. I have some destroyers, light cruisers and a second battleship to prepare now, which I'm planning to get sorted today.


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