Monday, 29 November 2021

AK47 Dictatorship Army


I've worked out my army for the game tomorrow at the club, with some tried and tested units for the Mbote Defence Force mixed in with a couple of new tweaks. I decided in the end not to deploy my transport helo with special forces, as it soaked up too many points for a minimal impact, so instead have included the usual highly mobile mix of crappy tanks, rusty technicals, zippy jeep equipped raiders and welly booted infantry, together with some nasty ground mounted AAA. I won't reveal the exact details here, in case the People's Popular Front for the Liberation of Mbote is tuning in, but I think it will be an effective offensive force and defensive force, if all goes according to plan (which it almost certainly won't). Victory to Mbote!

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Finest Hour Hurricane Camouflage

The other half hijacked the kitchen table today for her school work, so I had to postpone the MiG Alley game for a later date, hopefully sometime during the week. Instead, I braved the arctic conditions in the garage and cracked on with the Hurricanes for my Finest Hour solo campaign. This involved painting the dark green camouflage pattern using Foundry Phlegm Green shade, having had a rethink about which colour to use. I'll do the undersides next followed by the canopies, exhausts and propeller bosses. 

Saturday, 27 November 2021

MiG Alley Night Action

It's a bit too cold in the garage for painting, so I'm moving into the kitchen for some MiG Alley games instead, in which I'll be trying out some of the night fighters and attack aircraft for both the NKAF and USAF. The game I'll be setting up to play tomorrow will include a couple of USAF F-84 Twin Mustang night fighters and some B-26 Invader attack bombers up against NKAF Yak-9D's and La-11 fighters, together with some Ki-15 nuisance raiders. It will interesting to see how this works out and to have a game without any jets involved for a change.

Friday, 26 November 2021

Bag the Six Hundred

I've just noticed that I have somehow or other managed to get to six hundred posts about Bag the Hun games, scenarios, aircraft painting and other stuff, with the first one way back in December 2009. It's obviously a set of rules with some legs, at least as far as my aerial wargaming activities are concerned, although it seems to have lost its place in the top rank of Too Fat Lardies rules these days. If you haven't tried it out yet then why not make it a project for 2022. You might even get to enjoy it as much as I have over the last twelve years or more, who knows?

Thursday, 25 November 2021

AK47 Special Forces

I've decided to field my dictatorship army for the AK47 game next week, which has all the whistles and bells that I need and has seen plenty of action in the past, not always with much success. The force is made up of regular units of the Mbote Defence Force (MDF), often with attached militia units of the People's Volunteer Army (PVA). This time I may try out a heliborne professional unit of special forces, which I've decided to call the Para VTOL Commando or PVC for short. 

They will be transported into battle in a Nubee 1/100th scale Mi-4 Hound helicopter, of which I only have one remaining as the other one got broken when I dropped it a while back. I'll pinch the figures from my other army, as they have red berets and camo fatigues, so will really look the part. It will be a bit of a change from the usual and should be good fun to try out, although I don't expect they will last very long!

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Brothers in Arms

I have just finished reading Brothers in Arms by Chris Goss, which compares the experience of fighting in the Battle of Britain for the pilots of 609 (West Riding) Squadron RAF and their opposite numbers in the Luftwaffe staffel, I/JG53. It's an easy read but full of useful ideas for Bag the Hun scenarios and for my Finest Hour campaign. I'm now moving on to one of his other titles, Knights of the Battle of Britain, which profiles a number of famous Knights Cross of the Iron Cross ace pilots of the Luftwaffe in 1940. Good stuff!

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

AK47 Club Game

Haven't played this is a while...

This time next week I have an AK47 game lined up at the club, so will be working on an army list for either the dictatorship of the People's Democratic Republic of Mbote or the super power backed forces of the People's Democratic Republic of Zubuto, depending on which I decide to deploy. I was thinking of painting up some of the extra technicals that I have in the AK47 bits box but, as I'm short on time at the moment, I'll probably just use what I've already got. One thing I am going to sort out, however, is some proper flight stands for my aircraft and helicopters, assuming they get picked for the mission or that I have some professionals to call in air support? 

Monday, 22 November 2021

Finest Hour Hurricane Basecoat

 

I had to drive to Plymouth and back again today to drop the boy at university after a weekend at home, so an nine hour round trip, but I did get the basecoat done on the Hawker Hurricanes when I got back this evening. In a slight change of plan, I used Vallejo Pale Brown as the Dark Earth base layer, with an overall wash of GW Agrax Earthshade to pick out the panel lines afterwards. I will give them a very light highlight in Pale Brown next then move onto the Dark Green camouflage pattern using Foundry Storm Green Shade.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Finest Hour Hurricane Camouflage Colours

 

I have been working out a painting scheme for the Tumbling Dice Hawker Hurricanes, partly based on the 1/285th Raiden Miniatures ones I painted years ago for Bag the Hun and partly on combination of shades from Vallejo, Citadel, Foundry and Flames of War, which I've tested out on a strip of mounting card to find a good combination. I can't remember what I actually used on the original models so I've had to do a bit of working out, with alternative shades that look close enough to the real thing.

For the Dark Earth upper surfaces I'm going to use Flames of War Camo Pale Brown, with Foundry Phlegm Green Shade for the Dark Green upper surface camouflage, while the undersides will either be some very old Citadel Ghoul Grey or some Vallejo Pastel Green, depending on which looks more effective. At the time, there was a lot of variation in the shade of Sky used for the under surfaces of RAF aircraft, so either colour would not be out of place. 

As always, the SAM Publications Camouflage and Markings books are brilliant as a guide for camouflage and paint schemes, so I am pretty sure that what I've worked out will look accurate enough. Tally Ho!

Finest Hour RAF Bogeys


You may remember that I had some custom acrylic bogey markers made by Warbases for my Khalkhin Gol project in the summer, so I thought it would be neat to have some made for the Finest Hour project too. Although the Finest Hour supplement was written for the first edition of Bag the Hun, which uses blinds rather than bogey markers, I'll be using the second edition of the rules for my solo campaign. The use of bogeys really adds some depth to the game and they are required for the set up conditions in most of the encounters too.

To start with I've just had some markers made for the RAF, using clear blue acrylic as that seemed the most appropriate choice, given that I used clear green and red for my Japanese and Soviet ones. The Luftwaffe markers will either be yellow or opaque black but what I'll have engraved on them has yet to be decided, as LUFTWAFFE is a bit too long and LUFT a bit to short? I might go for BANDIT, which will cover all sorts of scenarios and would fit the theme of the campaign too, especially as I'm playing if from an RAF perspective.

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Finest Hour Luftwaffe Fighter Staffel

 

After what seems like ages, I finally got the time to prepare and magnet base the Bf109's for the Finest Hour project, along with a single Ju88 and Do17 for reconnaissance missions. I took the opportunity to bash together a new painting jig too, as my old bit of panel pinned mdf has seen better days. The planes have now been spray undercoated in Halfords matt white primer to key in the paint, so I'm all set up for some painting, starting with the Hurricanes for No27 Squadron. Tally Ho!

Ancient Naval Project 2022

As the last of my new projects for 2022 I've decided to have a go at ancient naval warfare, once again using the Tumbling Dice 1/2400th scale range for starters but with a view to moving up to 1/1200th scale and the new range from Ark Royal Miniatures alongside Langton Miniatures, depending on the price tag. I've wanted to have a crack at this for years and have been looking for a new project to add some fizz to my naval wargaming, as the projects that I have tried to get started this year just haven't been particularly inspiring. 

The rules will be Long Face Games Ad Mare Bellum, which have familiar mechanisms to other rules I've played and are scribed by David Manley, who is always reliable when  it comes to rules that actually work and are enjoyable to play. The initial thrust will be to start with two fleets, one Republican Roman and one Carthaginian, as these offer a bit more variety than the earlier Greek City States, although these might turn up later on. It also ties in nicely with my land wargaming project for next year, Strength and Honour, albeit in a different scale, so there will be a classical theme to my wargaming next year to balance the rest of the things I'm up to which are predominantly modern. 

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Finest Hour Luftwaffe Reconaissance

I've been very busy lately with work and decorating a bedroom at home at the weekend and evenings, so the Finest Hour painting has slowed to a trickle. The DIY is now done, however, so I'm planning to finish the Bf109 basing and start on some painting over the next week or so. To add to the options I will be able to table, I've included a single Do-17P and a single Ju-88 model to use for reconnaissance missions, if and when I roll one up as an interception sortie for No27 Squadron. They won't take long to paint alongside the fighters and will be good practise for the full bomber force when I have to paint that up for future scenarios. Tally Ho!

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Condor Legion Scenario Project 2022

 

I've just had a top up delivery of Tumbling Dice aircraft for next years Bag the Hun Spanish Civil War scenario writing project, mainly Italian, German and Russian medium bombers including some more Ju-52's and He111b's but also some lovely SM81's that will look great when painted up. The current concept is to write about half a dozen plus different scenarios focussed upon the Condor Legion, with a timeframe of 1937 to 1938 or so to keep it straightforward.


This would enable me to avoid having to paint a wide variety of Republican aircraft, so that there is a good re-use ratio between scenarios, but also make it possible to bring on some interesting aircraft for the Nationalists and their allies. I need to start researching this in a lot more depth but, for starters I've downloaded an Osprey on the Condor Legion which has had some very positive reviews and should be extremely relevant for the project.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Going Up In The World


After twenty years in our house we are having some extension work done, so that we have a better layout downstairs for the family and more room in the kid's bedrooms upstairs, as well as some proper insulation in the walls and loft. This means that the garage where my workbench is currently located, will be turned into a utility room and downstairs toilet, so I will be relocated up into a nice new panelled in loft space! It will take until this time next year to get it all done but I'm really looking forward to having a permanent space for my painting, modelling and even wargaming, if I can squeeze a table in somehow?

Monday, 15 November 2021

Finest Hour First Sortie Sorted

'About to bounce an enemy formation'...in action!

I decided to generate the first sortie for 27 Squadron in my Finest Hour solo campaign, in order to determine what I needed to paint in advance of the campaign kick off. This involved using the sortie table (section 6.3), which I had previously made a couple of tweaks to, so that the number of bombers required was slightly reduced and the chances of some decent sorties slightly increased. The resulting sortie, set for Saturday 13th July 1940, worked out with 'B' Flight 'about to bounce an enemy formation' of a full staffel of twelve Bf-109's, which was handy as that's what I'm painting first anyway!

The table with a few tweaks

While I was at it, I noticed that the table as written included reference to 'Three Schwarm' and a full 'Staffel', which are actually the same thing being twelve fighters in three schwarm of four. This seemed a bit daft, so I have amended the table again to fix it and give the chances of encountering one or two schwarm a slight uplift but still ensuring that in most scenarios the RAF will probably be outnumbered. I also took the opportunity to increase the chances of intercepting formations of twelve and nine bombers, as less than that seemed a bit unrealistic on reflection. Tally Ho!

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Corsairs and Cavaliers Latest

I had an email from Paul at Tumbling Dice today with a list of all the new modern and post war aircraft he's going to be releasing at some point soon, with several designed to complement the Corsairs and Cavaliers Football War rules that I've written (quantities and price may be subject to changes):

ISA 271 C54 Skymaster x2 £3.00
ISA 272 C45 Beechcraft x3 £2.00
ISA 803 Cavalier/Mustang (wing tanks) x6 £2.00
ISA 825 U17a Cessna/Stinson x4 £2.00
ISA 842 T28 Trojan x6 £2.00
ISA 842a T28 Trojan (rockets) x6 £2.00
ISA 848 Cessna 310 x4 £2.00
ISA 849 PA 28 Piper Cherokee x4 £2.00
ISA 850 T41 Cessna Mescalero x4 £2.00
ISA 857 T34 T34 Beechcraft Mentor x6 £2.00
ISA 858 O2 Cessna 331 x4 £2.00

He also suggested a small amendment to the set up for transport aircraft that I've now edited into the rules, with transport planes like the C-54 / DC-4 and C-47 / DC-3 now crossing the table from the enemy to friendly long edges, rather than flying a diagonal course across the table. I think this will work fine but I've also reduced the VP's for doing a successful transport run from 2 to 1 in order to reflect the shorter distance travelled and the lesser chance of an interception by enemy fighters.  

Shipwreck?

I've been frustrated with the continuing glitches and holes in Naval Command, which I like as a set of fast play modern naval rules but which still has lots of issues that make it a headache to actually use. As a result, I've decided to go back and try out my original option for a simple set of modern rules and have a go with Shipwreck from Vandering Publications, which is a tried and tested system that offers a similar level of complexity. It also has a wide selection of ship data sets that covers most if not all of the vessels that I have for both the Indonesian Confrontation and the 'What If?' South American campaign that I'd like to play out next year. I'll aim to get a game underway as soon as I can find the time. If that doesn't float my boat it's back to Naval Command, as there really isn't much alternative.

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Finest Hour Project Scramble!

 


I finally got started on the Finest Hour Bag the Hun project today, with twelve Tumbling Dice 1/600th scale Hawker Hurricane MkI's magnet based and ready for painting. They will be used for the semi-fictitious No27 Squadron in my Finest Hour campaign, although I'm not going to be adding any squadron codes so they can represent any Hurricane equipped unit (they are also way too tiddly to even contemplate adding any lettering!).The other half of the painting jig is going to be filled by a matching staffel of Bf109e's which I'll be tidying up and magnet basing tomorrow, given half a chance. Tally Ho! 

Planning the Parthians

I posted a query about Parthian army composition on the Strength and Honour FB group and had some really helpful responses, one of which was from Jim Webster, author of a superb guide to the Parthians for the Impetus rules. I have now downloaded a copy from Wargame Vault and am avidly reading through it to give me some ideas for the Strength and Honour army and for the Imperial Roman opposition, as the supplement covers both in detail. Thanks Jim!

Friday, 12 November 2021

Bag the Hun Spanish Civil War Scenario Project

I've been gathering together the aircraft for a Bag the Hun Spanish Civil War scenario writing project for next year, with the Tumbling Dice 1/600th scale range being pretty comprehensive for the task. I've opted for the latter part of the conflict, so the Condor Legion can deploy early model Bf-109's He-111's and Do-17's as well as He-51's and Ju-52's.  

The Republicans get to use the I-15's, I-16's and SB2's that I already have in the spares box, left over from the Khalkhin Gol project. The Italians also get some nice kit including Cr-32's, BR-20's and SM-81's, some of which I also already have hanging about in the lead pile. All I need now are some decals for the Condor Legion from Dan at Flight Deck Decals and I will be ready to kick off the project in 2022!

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Strength and Honour Core Armies

Parthians

Early Imperial Romans

The rest of my really neat Antonine Miniatures units arrived from Warbases today, including some more Imperial Roman bases and the Parthians. The Parthian core units for my planned army consist of one base of Cataphracts and three of horse archers, the latter being really nicely designed so you can have them circling round to loose their arrows at the enemy. How cool is that? I'll add some more of both of these later, possibly along with a few skirmishing infantry or even heavy camels when I get a chance to check out the army lists. 

The Imperial Romans by contrast are primarily on foot, with three legions in triple acies, two auxillary Cohors Quingenaria and one Cohors Milliaria with a skirmish line of auxilliary archers in front. There's also a singe unit of cavalry, representing a Cohors Equitata Quingenaria. I have some strips of skirmishing infantry too but I'm not sure what I'm going to use them for yet. To this lot I will eventually add some more auxilliary units and perhaps a unit of allied infantry of some sort, who knows?

I'll have a crack at painting a base up at some point soon...just don't hold your breath as the decorating isn't finished yet!

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Into the Lion's Den Scenario Planning

 

I've done a bit more work on the scenario for Broadside and Ram, based on a 'What If?' raid by United States Navy turret monitors on the Royal Navy anchorage at Spithead. I still have to work out the details but it's shaping up nicely, as you can see from the scenario layout that I've bodged together in my usual MS Paint format. It's a bit basic but you I'm hoping that you'll get the idea.


The monitors will be attacking just before dawn in the early morning fog, so the Royal Navy picket boats patrolling the Solent will have to detect them before they get within range of the anchored ironclads. The forts are under construction so will be unarmed but they do have sentries posted and are able to detect the enemy monitors at visual range. They can also fire illumination rockets.


I haven't worked out where or how the picket boats and a couple of harbour defence ironclads will deploy but they will be the key factor in preventing the monitors from penetrating the anchorage and blasting away at the (relatively) defenceless ironclad warships. The monitors will have to cause as much havoc as possible in the time limit, which I haven't yet worked out, before exiting from the way they entered.

Monday, 8 November 2021

Finest Hour Campaign Research

 

I have a couple of books by this author to read over the next couple of months, in the run up to the Finest Hour solo campaign for Bag the Hun next year. I haven't read anything by Chris Goss before but he has some interesting angles on the Battle of Britain including this one, which obviously focuses on the aces of the Luftwaffe rather than the whole battle, for which I already have more books that I could possibly need! I'm really looking forward to reading it along with his book Brothers in Arms, which compares the experience of a Luftwaffe staffel and RAF squadron. Tally Ho! 

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Finest Hour No27 Squadron Cards




I've now decided to shelve the Napoleonic naval project until next year, as I haven't got the time to do it now due to working full time, so instead I'm going to begin the Bag the Hun Finest Hour project as it can be broken down into several bits that I can tackle one  at a time. To move this along, having not started the Hurricanes again this weekend due to family stuff, I have word processed up some basic turn cards for No27 Squadron, based on the format I used for the Khalkhin Gol project. I think they'll do the job, even if they are a bit rudimentary!

MiG Alley - Fleet Air Arm vs Soviet MiG-15's


 




























I had another cracking game of MiG Alley this morning, this time with a Fleet Air Arm strike package consisting of four Sea Furies and two Fireflies, against three Soviet crewed MiG-15's. The pictures are in reverse order, so you'll need to start at the bottom and work up, but the game went a bit like this. 

The RN aircraft entered from the western edge of the table and made straight for the target, a column of North Korean T34's, with one section of Sea Furies heading to the northern flank in order to tackle the MiG's. The MiG's also went straight for the Fireflies but in the initial head on attack, one of the MiG's was shot down by a 'snap shot' from the fighter bomber after failing to score a hit. This gave one VP to the UN. 

In the following turn, one of the MiG's made a tight turn to get on the tail of a Sea Fury but fluffed it's D6 roll and ended up with low ammo. The Fireflies now began their bomb run, diving to level two then releasing their bombs on to the tanks, the first scoring a hit and the second a double hit, bringing the VP total to four, on more than needed for a victory. As usual, I decided to play on to see what happened next. 

In the next turn, one of the flanking Sea Furies made a side on, deflection shot on a MiG and shot it down, adding yet another VP to the UN side. After a failed head on shot from the other Sea Fury, the MiG's wingman now shot him down in a head on 'snap shot', adding one VP to the Soviets. In the following turn, the other MiG dived to level two and got a deflection shot on one of the Fireflies as it attempted to get away, blasting it out of the sky for another VP.

The last couple of turns ended up in a chase for the Yellow Sea coastline, with the MiG's piling on the power to catch up with the fleeing Royal Navy aircraft. This gave the MiG's the advantage and in the last turn they shot down another Firefly and a Sea Fury in tailing attacks, adding two more VP's to their score. Although the UN had already won, this brought the final VP score to four for the Soviets, one more than their target, and five for the UN, three more than their target, so a clear win for the Fleet Air Arm despite their losses.

I enjoyed this game immensely, even if it ended prematurely as often is the case with the Wings at War rules, given the Victory Target system. I will have a think about how this might be tweaked but will probably just continue to play through to the end of each game when it reaches a logical conclusion. I think in larger games where there would be several units on each side, the VP's would average out and make the targets harder to achieve, but that's just my best guess?

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