Thursday 30 September 2021

A bit like No6 buses... that you wait for ages then two turn up at the same time. This is the latest publication from Wessex Games, a World War Two version of their air wargaming rules, Air War 1940. Unlike the World War One set, these are brand new and not a second edition, so no surprises that my end of the week pocket money purchase this week will be a shiny new digital copy of the rules. Here's the blurb from Wargame Vault which I think you'll agree, sounds pretty enticing:

AirWar 1940 is the latest in our series of fun, fast play air warfare rules that cover the spirit of air combat whilst being a set that would be good for a newcomer to aerial wargaming, or for a more experienced “old hand” who wants a simple yet enjoyable set of rules to introduce new players.

After a couple of games reference to the rule book will become occasional with players concentrating on shooting down their opponents rather than ploughing through the sub-minutiae of clauses and appendices. The requirement for our rules is to provide a game that met the “5 minute rule” for explanation and the “45 minute rule” for game play. 

The 41 page rulebook includes rules for aircraft characteristics, movement, special manoeuvres, dog fighting, ground attack, AA fire and even “auto-pilot” bomber formations so you can concentrate on the more fun aspect of shooting them down! There are also ratings for 254 aircraft era aircraft from thirteen nations, from the last bi-planes of the 1930’s though to the first jets of the late 1940's and early ’50's.

...that's good enough for me, especially as it's co-written by a certain Mr Manley. Tally Ho!

The Franco Thai War with Bag the Hun

After some reading around the various options I have narrowed down the next Bag the Hun scenario project to the Norwegian Campaign and the Franco Thai War. The Norwegian option looked good on paper but had less going for it once I dug a little deeper, with the Norwegian Gladiators wiped out in a single day of fighting and the RAF really only engaged in the air defence of Narvik and some attacks on shipping, with a distinct lack of much dogfighting. 

It's still worth a look, perhaps as a basis for two or three scenarios on the 'Last Stand of the Gladiators', so I'll save that one for later and push on to research the Franco Thai option instead, at least for the moment. I haven't abandoned the other ideas either but need to find a lot more background material for Syria, for example, before making any scenario outline sketches. Thanks to everyone who has offered their ideas, as it's always useful to have a second opinion.

Wednesday 29 September 2021

Wargames Illustrated 1999

I have just picked up a year's worth of old Wargames Illustrated magazines that were destined for recycling. These were offered to the club for free but no one was interested, so I was asked to collect them and pass them on. I will let the club know they're up for grabs but, as the initial offer fell on deaf ears, I will probably end up adding them to my loft insulation. 

They are actually stuffed full of brilliant stuff including amongst other things Darkest Africa articles by Chris Peters, naval rules by David Manley and lots of plans for scratchbuilding pirate ships, adobe houses and paddle steamers by Gary Chalk. I will have a good read through and I'm sure I'll find plenty to enjoy and perhaps some inspiration for projects old and new? 

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Football War Flight Stands Finished

EL Salvador (FAS)

Honduras (FAH)

I finished off the extra tropical themed flight stands for the Wings at War project today, so now have an additional six sets of normal fighter stands and two sets of larger ones for the bombers. To try them out, I thought I'd do a mass Football War fly-by of the Honduran and Salvadoran air forces to see how they looked with some actual model aircraft. If you look closely, you'll also spot a few later jets flown by both sides in the 1970's.

New Moves in 1/1200th

I don't have any naval stuff in 1/1200th, apart from some Langton Napoleonic ships that I haven't done anything with for years, so thought it was about time I explored this long established wargaming scale. I am a big fan of 1/2400th scale and 1/600th scale but, for various reasons have never splashed out on the scale in between, one of which being all the scary rigging and the other the cost factor.

However, the new range of 1/1200th scale Anglo Dutch warships from Ark Royal Miniatures caught my eye, as they are ideal for the small scale privateering games that I'm interested in, rather than the fleet actions that I'd use 1/2400th scale Tumbling Dice models for (I have some of these but the small ones are very, very small). 

I am back at work now and can afford to splash out a little bit, so have ordered a pack of three generic frigates plus etched ratlines to deck them out with, as this seemed the most obvious place to start. There are also packs of smaller ships and boats but I wanted to try out some rigging on larger vessels, as it might be a bit easier than on a tiddly brig or pinnace. 

The rules I have in mind for this are Mad for War Essentials, which look perfect for small ship to ship duels around the Isles of Scilly. Incidentally, the spur for moving up to 1/1200th scale is the latest release from Brigade Games in their Small Scale Scenery range of Star Castle, which sits above Hugh Town on St Marys, so I'm hoping they might make a model of Cromwell's Castle on St Martins too?

Monday 27 September 2021

Tumbling Dice Mitsubishi Ki-30

I had an email from Paul at Tumbling Dice today with the news that he will be producing a Mitsubishi Ki-30 Ann light bomber model later this year, or as he put it 'a tubby Kate', which made me laugh. It's good news for the Khakhin Gol project as it opens up a couple of scenarios that I didn't include in the article, mainly due to the lack of a suitable model. It also fits in nicely with the Franco Thai Bag the Hun project, as the Japanese equipped the Royal Thai Air Force with the Ki-30 as its principal light bomber. It'll save me the hassle of converting some Kates too!

Sunday 26 September 2021

Bag the Hun Scenario Projects 2022

I've been looking ahead to next year and have some ideas in mind for another Bag the Hun scenario writing project, to be combined with some 1/600th scale model painting so that I can run some more, very enjoyable solo games and club multiplayer sessions. So far, I've come up with four potential themes, some of which cross over with Wings at War as an added bonus.

First up is the Franco Thai War in 1941, which is limited in scope but features some really unusual and interesting aircraft, with the added bonus that you don't need very many of them! I've mentioned this before on the blog and have at least four or five scenarios already sketched out in rough, with all the models in the lead pile ready to go.

The second option is the Norwegian campaign in 1940, with the Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm and Norwegian Air Force taking on the might of the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine. This would have loads of potential, with lots of 'derring do' and some classic early war aircraft types to paint up. I'm keen on this idea in particular, as I don't know much about it and I think it would be a popular choice.

The third option is the campaign in Syria in 1941, again with the RAF and FAA but this time fighting the Vichy French, who put up a stiff fight by all accounts. This has the advantage that any aircraft I paint up can also be deployed in North Africa, where they can take on the Regia Aeronautica as well as the Luftwaffe.

The last theme that I've been considering is the 1948 War of Independence or 'Al Nakbah' depending on your point of view. I started on a Wings at War Desert Spitfires project before so have all the aircraft with some even painted, albeit in a half finished state, so this would be an easy option with lots of dogfighting thrown in for good measure.

What do you think?

Saturday 25 September 2021

Wings at War Flight Stand Sitrep

I've been working on the flight stands for the Wings at War project this weekend. These have been assembled, undercoated and basecoated today, so I'm now on to the laborious and rather sticky bit, adding Woodland Scenics clump foliage using cheapo supermarket superglue, as it's the best thing if you want the stuff to stay stuck down. I'm hoping to get them near enough finished tomorrow, although it's the other half's birthday, so that may have to come first? 

Battle of Chipana Ship Sheets


I did a quick bit of editing in Paint using the templates from the Dahlgren and Columbiad rules to makes some simple ship record sheets for the Battle of Chipana, which I'm hoping to play out tomorrow if I can find the time. I haven't played a game with my War of the Pacific ships for quite a while, so I'm really looking forward to it, especially as it should be a fast moving and fun scenario rather than an ironclad slog to the finish (I'm not sure what the 'single' box is for on the gun arcs, so I may well replace it with the gun size and type e.g. Light SB or Heavy R)

Thursday 23 September 2021

Wings at War Khalkhin Gol

A few years ago now, I put some thought into a Wings at War adaptation for the Khalkhin Gol conflict, although it didn't get much further than a bit of tinkering with relative aircraft performance ratings before I wandered off in a different direction (as usual). 

Jim's Wargames Workbench: Air War Over Khalkin Gol - Altitude Ratings (

After putting quite a lot of work into the Bag the Hun project, I'm now thinking of using the information I've gathered together from my reading and scenario writing to re-boot the Wings at War project. It would also make use of the models I've painted up, which would be a bonus. It's just an idea at the moment but might well turn into something more tangible if the Corsairs and Cavaliers rules are a success when they eventually get released?

Wednesday 22 September 2021

AirWar:1918 2nd Edition

I spotted the second edition of AirWar:1918 this evening as I was browsing through Wargame Vault, as you do, so my pocket money this week will be blown on yet another set of air wargaming rules. I actually have a copy of the original first edition that I've never got round to playing, so it will be interesting to see what changes have been made to the rules, although I suspect the core of it will be pretty much the same. The new edition does have a campaign system though, which is a big plus for me.

I like the fact that it doesn't require a hex mat for starters and is a fast play system, with logical mechanisms for movement and combat that would work for solo gaming with a bit of a wiggle. As a change from 1/72nd or 1/144th scale aircraft, I'm thinking of using it for 1/600th scale on something like a 3' x 3' area, which means I could pack a lot into a relatively small space and still have a good dogfight, artillery spotting or balloon busting game that would be very portable too! 

Knights of the Sky Club Game

I've organised a multiplayer game of Knights of the Sky at the club next week, as it's always good fun and we haven't been able to have a game for ages, 2019 in fact according to my blog posts. It's going to be a late 1917 game, set in the skies over Polygon Wood in the Ypres Salient, although it will probably just be a dogfight rather than a scenario driven game. I'm looking forward to it and will probably fly my trusty 'Harry Tate' or possibly a 'Brisfit' for the RFC. Tally Ho!

Tuesday 21 September 2021

Wings at War Flight Stand Factory


I've now started to make a whole load of additional jungle themed bases for the Wings at War rules, which I can use for both Corsairs and Cavaliers and Thud Ridge. These are divided into 40mm x 40mm bases for the larger aircraft like the C-47's and 30mm x 30mm bases for the fighters and light aircraft. I've drilled the bases to accept panel pin flight stands, with the new 50mm ones for Level 4, 40mm for Level 3 and so on down to 20mm for Level 1. This is a much better system than my original panel pin heights and makes it more obvious which altitude is which, so I'm cracking ahead and have converted some of my old stands to the new system as well.

Monday 20 September 2021

Pre-Dreadnought Project

I've done some planning for the Steamer Wars project and have realised that it involves quite a bit more than I originally thought, assuming I was going to run it as a solo campaign, so I've decided to save it for 2020. Instead, I'm going to start the 1/2400th scale French and Italian pre-dreadnought project up again, for which I already have both fleets assembled, based and undercoated, starting next month so that I can clear the decks beforehand. This is one of the projects on my list for 2021 and I think I can wrap it up in the next couple of months if I don't get distracted and even get a few games of Broadside and Salvo underway with a bit of luck?

Stalin's Hollow Victory

I pre-ordered this new Osprey a while back as it looked interesting and is something I've considered building a  project around before, although for the air campaign as opposed to the war on the ground. I like the campaign series as they are a bit more in depth compared to other Osprey books. Great artwork too!

Sunday 19 September 2021

The Battle of Chipana, 12th April 1879

I've had a very busy weekend, driving down to Plymouth to drop off number one son at university, but I'm back at the workbench this week to make up some time.

I've been thinking a bit more about scenario for my War of the Pacific 1/2400th scale ironclads, as I paint up the extra ships for the Battle of Arica. One naval skirmish that would make a good little game is the Battle of Chipana on 12th April 1879.

This involved the Chilean gunboat Magallanes trying to escape from an ambush by the Peruvian corvette Union and gunboat Pilcomayo. Despite being outnumbered, outgunned and outpaced, the Magallanes managed to get away and inflicted a serious hit on the Union. The only downside was that the commander of the Chilean gunboat lost his cool and burned the secret orders he was supposed to be delivering to Iquique!

I already have all three ships and enough coastal terrain to run this scenario with Dahlgren and Columbiad, so I am going to try to find the time this week to try it out. The objectives are simple for the Chileans, to get from one end of the table to the other, while the Peruvians just have to stop them. 

What could possibly go wrong? 

Thursday 16 September 2021

Tarting Up The Tiddly Trees


The lad pointed out that my jungle bases for Wings at War and Target Locked On! looked okay but would be better if I added a bit of colour to them. He's not right very often, being a chip off the old block, but this time he had a good point, so I've given them a wet and drybrush with an old pot of Humbrol Lime Green, which seems to have done the trick. I need to make some more of these to play some decent sized games of Corsairs and Cavaliers but this is a good start. 

Corsairs and Cavaliers Continued

I had a message from Paul Sulley at Tumbling Dice earlier this week, with an update on the models for the Wings at War Corsairs and Cavaliers rules. He's working on about half a dozen various aircraft and plans to get them finished over the next month or so. This means that I need to get some more games organised to make sure the system is solid and to spot anything that needs a tweak, although I'm pretty sure it's all water tight having already run a couple of games with no problems at all. I'm going to set up some games over the next couple of weeks, when I have the time, so there will be some more reports and photos to whet your appetite for the rules.

Wednesday 15 September 2021

Khalkhin Gol Project Bagged

I finished the article and scenario write ups yesterday, so the Bag the Hun Khalkhin Gol project is now in the bag, or at least in the sweaty palms of Mr Nick Skinner Esq. , who will decide what to do with it. I'm hoping that it will make it into the Lard Mag this year, although there's no guarantee that it will, but at least I've had some fun putting it together and have played lots of games in the process. It also means I am now free to do other things. Tally Ho!

Tuesday 14 September 2021

Twilight Dogfight Club Game

The Bag the Hun game went down well this evening although the Japanese were roughed up by the Russians, losing three aircraft to catastrophic structural failure and a fourth being forced off with instrument damage. They did blow up a Soviet veteran pilot on the last turn, however, bringing the victory points to a less than terrible 5 to 2. Good fun! 

(Note to self..get a nice new hex cloth, this one is over twenty years old!)

Monday 13 September 2021

Khalkhin Gol Reading List

I finished the main text of the Bag the Hun article for the Lard Mag today, so just need to add the scenarios before sending it off to Lard HQ. I thought that the bibliography I put together might be of interest, so here it is for your bedtime reading:

References and Further Reading


‘In the Skies of Nonomhan’ by Dmitar Nedialkov

‘Air War over Khalkhin Gol’ by Vladimir R.Kotelnikov

‘Nonomhan 1939’ by Stuart D.Goldman

‘Japanese Army Air Force Aces’ by Henry Sakaida

‘Polikarpov I-15, I-16 and I-153 Aces’ by Mikhail Maslov

‘Japanese Army Air Force Aces and their Units 1931-1945’ by  Ikuhiko Hata, Yasuho Izawa and Christopher Shores

‘Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War’ by Yefim Gordon and Dmitri Khazanov

‘Emblems of the Rising Sun’ by Peter Scott


Sunday 12 September 2021

Opening Shots


I didn't achieve much today, being diverted by various weekend family things, but I did type up another of the scenarios for the Bag the Hun Khalkhin Gol project, this one being the second scenario in the chronological sequence. I'm not sure about the rather vanilla title but the scenario itself is pretty solid having been play tested, albeit with fewer Japanese aircraft as I forgot to count a couple of Ki-27's that made an appearance in the actual dogfight. I also drafted some more of the extra rules that will be included in the package, with some lifted from the existing rules and others adapted or tweaked to fit.

Saturday 11 September 2021

Lake Tanganyika Steamer Wars

I've been a bit uninspired by the 1/3000th scale Italian naval project of late, so have decided to switch to another of my nautical projects on the 'to do' list for 2021, the 1/600th scale WW1 East African Steamer Wars project. The various Tumbling Dice boats need to be assembled, based and undercoated, so that I can get on and paint them, but there aren't that many to start with. I'll kick off with the German ship and boats first, then move onto the British and Belgian ones afterwards, including a converted Skytrex trawler for the Baron Dhanis. If it all goes smoothly, I'm thinking of possibly having a crack at some bespoke scratch built terrain as well, to use with my existing coastal scenery.

Friday 10 September 2021

Load and Return Facebook Group


This is a brilliant concept and I for one am really looking forward to the rules when they are finished. Here's a direct link to the new Facebook group, where you can find out a lot more about this exciting and very different project:

Sandbox Skirmish

I've been wondering about booting up the Sandbox Skirmish project again, as it's been gathering dust for a few months despite my best intentions to get it going. I'd like a break from painting little ships and planes, although there are lots of Italian warships already on my workbench that need my attention, so a few 15mm figures would be a refreshing change. 

There's only about forty of them to do as well, so in theory it's only a long weekend job if I sit down and get on with it. The vehicles are three quarters done too and I have quite a bit of terrain that I can finish without having to spend hours at it, so there's not a lot of excuses for me to fall back on?

Thursday 9 September 2021

Twilight Dogfight

I've offered to run the 'Twilight Dogfight' Khalkhin Gol scenario at the club next week, so hope to get enough players to sign up over the next few days to make it a runner. It's big enough for about five or six players, but probably best with four or five, so I'm going to have to sell it to more than the usual Bag the Hun punters if it's going to be workable, although I could always take part myself if necessary. Finger crossed it will go ahead?

Red Star Rampant Write Up

I've made some good progress on the write up of the Khalkhin Gol article for the Lard Mag and have almost finished the first bit, which covers the key stages of the war and the aircraft involved on both sides. I've also started on the main section of the article which is all about how to run a series of games with a specific focus on special rules variations or scenario features that are needed to make it historically resonant. 

I've come up with a list of about half a dozen specific aspects including pilot skill ratings, combat fatigue, fuel contamination, 'Banzai!' solo attacks, landing to rescue crashed pilots, lack of radios and so on, all of which are quite straightforward to add in but will make a difference to the feel of a game. I'm hoping to get all this written up by the end of the week, so that I can move onto the six scenarios.


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