Welcome to my blog. I have upwards of 100 projects in various stages of incompletion or total abandonment, so you may well find something of interest if you rummage about a bit. I concentrate on solo air and naval wargaming but other 'skirmishy' things quite often pop up out of nowhere, only to disappear again after something else grabs my attention. I even finish the occasional project now and again!
Sunday, 31 October 2021
Bag the MiG
I've been thinking about Bag the MiG again, after my MiG Alley game yesterday, and have dusted off the rules for another look. I had always intended to use my 1/600th scale models for both Wings at War and Bag the MiG but just never got round to it for some reason. The idea is to use the first edition of Bag the Hun with the additional rules and scenarios from the Bag the MiG supplement, rather than use the slightly more complicated second edition, in an experiment to see if the old version gives a faster, more streamlined game. I used to play with the first edition rules way back when, so I have a well-thumbed copy that I can re-use for Korea rather than the Battle of Britain, which was my initial Bag the Hun focus about twelve years ago. I'm a bit short on spare time at the moment so who knows when I will be able to give it a spin but I'm sure it will be fun when I do!
Saturday, 30 October 2021
PVC Terrain Mat from Tinywargames
I have a couple of nice but expensive cloth wargaming mats from Tinywargames, both for naval gaming, so I was interested to see that they now do PVC mats at a much lower price, roughly half of what you'd pay for a cloth or mouse mat equivalent. Before I splashed out on some new aerial wargaming hex mats, I thought I'd order a 4' x 4' mat of a basic design to see if they are any good. I chose a twenty quid (plus six quid postage) WW1 trench mat for aerial gaming, as it looked rather effective and would fit well on my kitchen table, to use for Wings at War Duel of Aces and Air War:1918 both of which don't require any hexes. If it's any good I may well order a proper 6' x 4' mat with hexes for the Khalkhin Gol Bag the Hun project or for the Battle of Britain Finest Hour solo campaign, assuming I can find a decent one in the range?
MiG Alley F9F Panthers vs MiG-15's
I played a very enjoyable game of MiG Alley this evening, with two flights of two F9F Panthers with regular pilots against one flight of four North Korean MiG-15's with green pilots, once again fitting everything on to the kitchen table. This meant rotating the table layout by 90 degrees and leaving off the sea area but this didn't seem to make much difference to the game itself. The North Koreans deployed three mountain upland templates but I didn't bother with ground targets for the United Nations side, as there were no bombers or attack aircraft involved.
In the game, the four Panthers entered from the south west corner at level three and turned northwards, running up a valley toward the Yalu River. The MiG's entered at level four and crossed over the Yalu in a shallow dive, heading directly for the oncoming USN fighters. In Turn Two, one of the Panther section leaders attempted to pull a tight turn to get on the tail of the MiG's but overcooked it and ended up in a spin, only recovering at level one. The other Panther pilots decided to play it safe and just turned normally, ending up without a shot on the MiG's, which also turned back toward the Yalu to pursue their enemy.
It wasn't looking good for the US Navy but they were still in the fight and determined to make up for their mistakes and engage the MiG's head on. In Turn Three, one of the F9F Panthers managed to get into position for a head on attack but this ended in disaster when the USN pilot missed his shot, while the targeted MiG made a 'snap shot' attack of its own and shot down the Panther! This was a bad start for the USN but it would soon be time to more than even the score.
In Turn Four the Panther flight leader began his long climb back to altitude in a series of power moves, while his wingman circled above at level three to protect him from the MiG menace. The other lone Panther moved in on the MiG's and managed to pull two consecutive tight turns, putting him right behind one of the MiG-15's. This made all the difference to his chances of a kill and he proceeded to blow the North Korean fighter out of the sky with a D6 roll of 6!
This was followed up with a second attack on the MiG-15 in front, which also disintegrated in a fireball with another roll of 6! In turn five, the Panther pilot now calmly turned onto the tail of a third MiG and pulled off a hat trick, with his victim blasted out of the sky in a hail of cannon shells. The game was now over, as the USN had matched it's Victory Target points total, with three MiG's shot down for the loss of one F9F.
I really enjoyed this game and will be running another one tomorrow if I can squeeze it in. I think this is a great little system with lots of depth and playability, despite being only a very concise set of rules. It is also ideal for solo play, as it has an IGOUGO structure which allows for one side to complete all of its moves an attacks before the other side, with the exception of snap shots. I don't usually like this way of doing things but it works very well here and makes it very easy to manage for one player. I also like the way each set of rules is neatly adjusted to the specific conflict involved, which gives it a lot of historical flavour. Great fun!
Friday, 29 October 2021
The Battle of Arica Game Report
Finest Hour No27 Squadron Reserve Pilots
|Sgt Fraser, P/O Ramsay, Sgt Jarvis, F/O Hamilton|
Sergeant Pilot J. ‘Jock’ Fraser
Age 25. From Halifax, Nova Scotia. A drifter. Spent time as fisherman, lumberjack, construction worker and merchant sailor. Enlisted after jumping ship in October 1939. No27 Squadron is his first posting. Sprog.
Sergeant Pilot P.F. Jarvis
Age 23. From Lincoln, Lincolnshire. Former gamekeeper. Enlisted in September 1939. Selected for pilot training due to his marksmanship. No27 Squadron is his first posting. Sprog.
Pilot Officer H.K. Ramsay
Age 22. From Newcastle, Northumberland. Former laboratory technician. Enlisted in October 1939 alongside his brother, a navigator on Whitley bombers. No27 Squadron is his first posting. Sprog.
Flying Officer D.E. Hamilton
Age 30. From Bristol, Somerset. A pre-war regular RAF pilot. Enlisted in June 1932. A confident and able pilot. Did not take part in Battle of France due to pilot training duties in Scotland, from which he has just been transferred to No27 Squadron. No combat experience. Regular.
Painting and Decorating
I'm tied down with DIY at the moment, with the only painting being done on the bedroom walls rather my 1/2400 Napoleonic warships. I'm hoping to get most of the decorating finished by the weekend, however, at which point I can crack on with the sails and masts, working my way from top to bottom to get the French fleet underway.
Thursday, 28 October 2021
Finest Hour No27 Squadron Pilot Roster
‘A’ Flight Red Section
Squadron Leader J.F. ‘Prof’ Thompson
Age 38. From Shaftesbury, Dorset. Modern History Don at Oxford University. Former Royal Auxiliary Air Force pilot. Studied in Berlin until 1938 where he witnessed the Nazi regime at first hand. Promoted to CO of 27 Squadron in May 1939. Claimed six E/A during Battle of France with 27 Squadron. Junior Ace
Pilot Officer T.B. ‘Tubby’ Goodall
Age 22. From Preston, Lancashire. Postgraduate English student at Durham University. Enlisted in September 1939 when war declared. A competent pilot. Flew in Battle of France with 27 Squadron but spent most of the time in reserve. Regular.
Sergeant Pilot P. ‘Micky’ Flynn.
Age 25. From Belfast, North Ireland. Former shipyard electrician. Forced out of his job at Harland and Wolff in 1938 and blames anti-Catholic prejudice for his situation. Enlisted in RAF in October 1939. Selected for pilot training due to his natural aptitude and attention to detail. 27 Squadron is his first posting. Sprog.
‘A’ Flight Yellow Section
Flight Lieutenant H.M Baker
Age 27. From Greater Manchester. Former bank clerk. Enlisted in RAF in May 1936 as bored with his job. Keeps himself to himself. Not popular in the mess due to his sullen attitude but an experienced and able pilot. Flew in Battle of France where he shot down one E/A. Veteran.
Pilot Officer E.D. ‘Ginger’ Fox.
Age 21. From Alnwick, Northumberland. Undergraduate medical student at Edinburgh University. Very bright. Just finished pilot training. Sprog.
Flight Sergeant H. ‘Spanner’ Higgins.
Age 24. From Coventry, West Midlands. Former mechanic. Just married. Enlisted in June 1938. A solid pilot. Enjoys spending time with the riggers and fitters. Assigned training duties during Battle of France. Regular.
‘B’ Flight Blue Section
Flight Lieutenant R.H. ‘Taffy’ Stainton
Age 33. From Caernarvon, North Wales. Pre-war regular RAF pilot. Joined as ‘Trenchard Brat’ in January 1927. Commissioned in May 1933. An experienced, able pilot and flight leader. Flew in France with 27 Squadron and claimed two E/A destroyed, before being shot down himself. Veteran.
Flying Officer D.M. Hobbs
Age 34. From Dundee, Scotland. A pre-war regular RAF pilot. Enlisted in June 1925 after studying engineering at Glasgow University. An experienced pilot but not popular in the mess due to his habit of never repaying his debts. Passed over for promotion to flight leader. Did not take part in Battle of France due to hospital operation after flying accident. Veteran.
Pilot Officer J.F. ‘Johnny’ Parks
Age 21. From Norwich, Norfolk. An undergraduate modern art student at St Martin’s School of Art, London. A talented artist and popular in the mess but an average pilot, having scraped through training. Sprog.
‘B’ Flight Green Section
Pilot Officer J.M. Hart Wells Esq.
Age 26. From Kensington, London. An Old Etonian. Pre-war racing driver, playboy and private pilot. Commissioned in April 1938 in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. A recent transfer to 27 Squadron and promotion to flight leader over more qualified pilots, due to his extensive flying experience and ‘old school tie’ connections in the Air Ministry. Limited combat experience over Dunkirk with his former squadron. Regular.
Flight Sergeant D. ‘Mutton’ Murray
Age 23. From Auckland, New Zealand. A former sheep farmer. Enlisted in November 1939 after his twin brother was killed when his merchant ship was torpedoed by a U-Boat. Hates the Nazis and not too keen on upper class 'poms' either. Flew in the Battle of France where he claimed three E/A destroyed, one by deliberate ramming after his ammunition feed jammed. Veteran.
Sergeant Pilot R.T. ‘Dicky’ Saunders
Age 24. From Wimbledon, London. A former actor on the West End stage. Enlisted in October 1939 on the spur of the moment after a particularly bad review. 27 Squadron is his first posting after advanced training. A competent but anxious pilot. Sprog.
Finest Hour Squadron Identities
I've tweaked the characters and skill ratings for No27 Squadron, after I realised that I had forgotten the dice roll modifiers for the first phase of the battle and had rolled unusually high, leading to too many high calibre pilots and aces. The re-rolled skill levels are now much more realistic, so I've gone a bit further and have assigned names for the pilots in each flight. There's a few characters to develop here including a charismatic and intelligent CO, a disgruntled Irishman, a laid back but dedicated Flight Lieutenant, an upper class old Etonian and a Kiwi sheep farmer with an axe to grind, amongst others. I'll get on to the backgrounds for each pilot later on but this is a very good start.
Wednesday, 27 October 2021
Finest Hour Squadron Personalities
I allowed myself a little bit of wiggle room so that the characteristics I rolled up on a D100 matched the skill levels of the pilots that I created using the Finest Hour tables, but this was kept to an absolute minimum and wasn't really needed apart from the initial background roll. Anyway, here's the end result for the pilots currently assigned to flying duties, with more work to do to devise names and some detail to their respective stories.