Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Happy Xmas to Me

 






I've bought myself a 6' x 4' desert aerial wargaming cloth from Deep Cut Studios, as a gift from my wife who leaves it to me to sort out the Xmas presents. This is something I've wanted to get for ages, as it has loads of potential uses including Desert Spitfires and Wings over Suez, for example. I can also deploy it for WW2 Western Desert aerial games, either with Wings at War or Bag the Hun using the hex less system, or even for ground warfare in 10mm or 6mm. At a push it might even work for my 15mm post-colonial Sandbox Skirmish project, although I'll have to check it out first. Perhaps the most interesting option will be to play out the Merry Xmas Mr Sankara campaign using the Wings at War rules and Tumbling Dice aircraft, which would be an excellent solo wargaming project for next year. Brilliant!

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Lost and Found


I knew I had a few of these Smer ex-Eduard Albatros DV kits in the loft but, despite an energetic rummage at the weekend, I couldn't find them. So, thinking I'd lost them I ordered another kit via eBay, only to subsequently locate the original kits in the garage of all places. I now have four of them, so enough for a three in Jasta 12 schemes, plus another one in a more colourful one off finish. If the club game next week turns out well and there's interest in a follow on, I may well build these kits for a late 1917 or early 1918 scenario.

Monday, 28 November 2022

Argentinian Pre-dreadnought Proxy Models

 

I was asked to set out the Tumbling Dice models that I've used for the Argentinian pre-dreadnought squadrons, so here goes. For the Argentinian armoured cruisers. I've used the Spanish ABS 3 Cristobal Colon for those with single mounts fore and aft i.e.the Garibaldi, General Belgrano and Puyrredon. For the Moreno and San Martin, which had twin mounts in both positions, I used ABJ6a Nishin from the Japanese range, while the Rivadavia with a single forward and twin rear mount used the ABJ6 Kasuga from the Japanese range or the ABI12 Guiseppe GaribaldiIn a similar fashion, the ABJ28 model of the Japanese protected cruiser Yoshino is a reasonable match for the Argentinian cruiser Nueve de Julio, being an improved design based on the Argentinian cruiser Vienticinco de Mayo of 1891. The Argentinians also had four early Yarrow torpedo boat destroyers of the Corienetes class, which were based on HMS Havock, for which I can use the Spanish Terror class model as it's close enough to pass muster with a bit of filing and scraping.

I hope that makes sense? 

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Spad Update

 

The Revell Spad XIII's have made some more progress over the weekend, with the main assembly completed and the canvas base coat applied on the fuselage and wings. I've run out of time now but one of the models has also had the forward section and engine cowlings masked and painted, with the others to follow tomorrow, if I can get them done after work. The temperature in the garage means that the paintwork takes ages to dry, so I haven't achieved as much as I wanted to over the last twenty four hours. I'll have to make up the time somehow over the next few days.

Normandy Firefight 1/35th ScaleSkirmish

My eyesight is getting progressively worse these days, so I've been looking for ways to combine my modelling and wargaming interests with something less visually challenging. A few years ago I thought about a Normandy Firefight skirmish project, the rules being designed for 1/35th scale figures from Tamiya and similar model ranges. This appealed to me from a scale modelling angle but also from a cost point of view, the Tamiya kits being really cheap, especially as you need three figures for each character in the game - one prone, one kneeling and one standing. 

With between three and six figures a side and perhaps a single vehicle or AFV, this seemed to be very manageable. Not only that, the rules were devised by Warwick Kinrade, author of the  Battlegroup series, so a very solid and well designed system. I'm now giving the project another look and sorting out the kit pile to see what I've already got, so it may make the project list for 2023, who knows?

Saturday, 26 November 2022

28mm Pulp Transport Plane

 




This toy was £2.50 in the local charity shop this morning, so I snapped it up despite having no idea what to actually do with it. It's from the Planes animated film and obviously based on the Nord Noratlas or C119 Fairchild Flying Boxcar, so useful for some sort of pulp or post-colonial transport plane. It just needs the stickers to be stripped off, an undercoat and a repaint. It would be great for a 28mm skirmish game, either as a mission objective or just as table decoration.

Friday, 25 November 2022

Capitan Prat

 

I have ordered a new model from Tumbling Dice for my Chilean pre-dreadnought squadron, the well-armed if rather quirky battleship Capitan Prat, which for some reason is listed as the General Prat on the website. This will round off my Chilean force for the moment, although I'm always looking for suitable proxy models to use as reinforcements. In particular, there are a couple of protected cruisers and some torpedo boat destroyers that I'd be keen to track down. 

Thursday, 24 November 2022

Osprey Book Bargain

 

Just like red wine and ammunition, you can never have enough Osprey Publishing titles, especially when they are spotless second-hand ones at a hefty discount, thanks to a timely combination of Black Friday sales and an eBay 10% off code. This lot fills some gaps in my WW1 collection and will give me some ideas for the 15mm Bohica project next year. A great bargain indeed!

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Pre Dreadnought Cruiser Update

 

In between all the WW1 plastic plane kit building, I've been slowly chipping away at the Argentinian and Chilean pre-dreadnought cruisers, with the white blocking in now complete on the Chacabuco, Nueve de Julio, San Martin and General Belgrano. As soon as the Spad XIII's are finished, I'll be back on to these ships, with the aim being to finish them by the start of the Xmas holidays. I'm very much using these South American squadrons as a painting exercise, with different approaches being tried out as I go along. The plan is to then use some tried and tested methods to expand the scope of my pre-dreadnought wargaming next year, with the Russo-Japanese, Sino-Japanese and Spanish American wars as possible big projects, alongside some more 'what if?' Anglo-French-Italian nonsense, akin to my Victorian ironclad wargaming. 

Spad XIII Factory

 

The Revell Spad XIII production line is in full swing, with the four fuselage and lower wing assemblies done, with the interplane and cabane struts up next. These are pretty basic c1981 models, with lots of gaps to fill and injection pins or sinks to remove, but they are sturdy and less fiddly than more modern kits. When the struts and undercarriage are attached, I'll be able to get on with some painting, which should be lined up for the weekend, fingers crossed.

Monday, 21 November 2022

Spad Sprue Bashing

In between the usual diversions of a family weekend, I made a good start on the Revell Spad production line, with the first fuselage already built and three more to follow. I have added a fourth kit to the project, as I found one spare and have also got four pairs of upper wing roundels that I can use, assuming they don't fall be apart (the lower wings will just be left without insignia, as you can't see them anyway). It's flipping freezing in the garage tonight, however, so production is at a temporary hiatus while I stay in the house to warm up!

Sunday, 20 November 2022

French Spad XIII Decals

As the old Revell Spad XIII kit comes with US decals, I've had to rummage in the decal box for some suitable French ones. To my surprise, I found that I have an ancient sheet of 1/72nd ABT decals for later Spad XIII's, which I can use for the early ones without too much of a problem, especially as no one will know the difference. If they are still good, it will save me time painting the tail bands by hand and will also look much better.

This depends on how they hold up when I try to actually use them of course, with the likelihood that they just disintegrate as soon as I plonk then in some warm water. I've also had to find some roundels but fortunately have spare ones from two Sopwith 1/2 Strutter kits that are destined for the RFC at some point. If those don't work either I will have to use some Almark ones that I have ordered from eBay as a backup.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Fokker Triplanes Finished

 

The three Eduard Fokker Dr 1 triplanes are now finished, except for the pilot figures, which I'll be painting as soon as I get a spare hour or so. This means the decks are clear for the Revell Spad XIII's, which I have already spray undercoated with Citadel Wraith Bone while all the sprues are intact. I'll get started on those tomorrow morning before I have to take the boy off to a rugby match for the rest of the day.

Friday, 18 November 2022

Bag the Hun Polish


In an effort to re-boot my stalled 1/600th scale Finest Hour Battle of Britain Bag the Hun project, I've decided to do some early war Polish aircraft. This is an easy option as the Tumbling Dice discounted starter pack contains a good selection of fighters, light bombers and reconnaissance aircraft including the iconic PZL P.11. The idea is to use them against my existing Soviet stuff and also against the Luftwaffe models that are half finished. There are some good scenarios for the Polish campaign in the TFL Specials as well.

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Revell Spad XIII

 


I have a large stash of 1/72nd scale WW1 aircraft kits in the loft so raided it today and liberated three old Revell Spad XIII models to build as early French aircraft, as two more players have signed up for the club game and want to borrow some planes. I don't have many French aircraft so a trio of Spad XIII's will fill the gap nicely, especially as the Revell kit is pretty bomb proof and should be easy to build. The other advantage is that the early Spads had a simple two-tone paint scheme of buff and light tan, so no fiddly painting or hanging about, with the fuselage and lower wings being assembled including the struts and undercarriage, leaving the upper wing to attach at the end, made even easier by bar and slot interplane and cabane struts. I'll start on these three at the weekend and hope to knock them out in quick time!

Fokker Triplane Final Stretch

 

The three Fokker Dr1 triplanes have now had the cowlings and upper wings attached, which was a right pain in the backside due to the cabane struts being not quite long enough, so are ready for the final fiddly bits to be glued on before or after I add the decals. I'm keeping the final finish fairly simple, with a couple of variations to add some personalisation to the different aircraft but haven't yet decided exactly what they those will be. I also need to paint the three pilot figures, but I'm saving that to the very end, so that I can do a decent job without having to rush them. This project has reminded me how much I enjoy making plastic kits bit also how ham-fisted I can be when I'm sticking the buggers together. I've decided not to build the DH4's as a result of my frustrations with these Fokkers but may do a couple of straightforward French Spad XIII's instead, depending on how the triplanes turn out in a few days time.

Monday, 14 November 2022

Fokker Painting Progress

 

The trio of triplanes have had their black tails spray painted and rotary engines installed, so will soon be ready for the upper wings to be attached followed by all the fiddly bits including the skids, wheels and so on. I'll fit the twin Spandau machine guns in place before the wings go on, as they are tricky to attach with the wings in place. I'm tidying up as I go along but will do an overall clean up at the end.

Sunday, 13 November 2022

Airfix Airco DH 4 Bomber Building

 


I have three unbuilt Airfix DH4 bombers in the loft so, as I'm on course to finish the Smer Fokker Dr I's sooner than I thought (touch wood), I'm going to get them down to the workbench and get them built. This will give me the option of a bomber escort mission for the club game, assuming I finish them, with the bombers flown on autopilot. I'm hoping to get started on them next weekend, once the triplanes are a little further along.

Pulp!

I'm a sucker for a free figure special offer, so a 28mm Biggles bundled in with a pre-order copy of the new Pulp! rules from Osprey was a no brainer. I've played quite a lot of games in the Pulp interwar skirmish genre using a variety of rules including, for example, the excellent Fistful of Lead, so already have some suitable figures and terrain. I am thinking of using the new rules as a substitute for Saurian Safari, one of my favourite pulp style games, so I'm hoping it will include rules for big game hunting, specifically for dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasties!

Fire in the Streets

A new book to read for next year's Vietnam Bohica 15mm project, this one covering the Tet Offensive and the Battle for Hue. As my US platoon will be USMC, this is an ideal source of inspiration, with my ARVN platoon also having a role to play in the action. The VC or PAVN / NVA will probably be second to hit the painting table for this project after the marines,  but I'm still working out exactly what will be in the final mix, so it's very early days.

Saturday, 12 November 2022

Fokker Factory

 

The triplane production line has been in full swing this afternoon, with the under carriage and struts now in place, followed by the light blue under surfaces using Vallejo Pale Blue. It's a bit messy at the moment but should tidy up, later on, to look a bit less slapdash. Next will be the masking and spray painting of the tail sections with Halfords Matt black, before I start adding the smaller bits like guns, cowlings and engines. I'll also be doing some pin-washing and highlights.

Friday, 11 November 2022

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Fokker Focus

 

The pre-dreadnoughts have been moved to one side for a week or so, while I get cracking to complete the three 1/72nd scale Eduard / Smer Fokker Dr1 triplanes for the WW1 club game next month. The assembled fuselage and upper wings have been given a streaked layer of Coat D'Arms Olive Green as a starting point, with the undersides and tail sections being painted next. The aim is to have three similar aircraft with some individual details to differentiate each one, all belonging to a fictional squadron or the actual Jasta 12.

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Beyond the Empire

 

This is another set of rules that I'm planning to try out at some point next year for the Back of Beyond, as an alternative to Contemptible Little Armies, my go-to rules for this sort of thing. I was hoping to pick up a copy at Warfare at the weekend but, for various tedious reasons, I won't be going this year, so I got mine via eBay. It's supposed to be a pretty good set of 'skirmish' level rules, with card-based turn mechanisms and all the whistles and bells for interwar 'Back of Beyond' wargaming, so I have high hopes it will give me a boot up the bum to dust off my figures for some games. There's a supplement for solo play and campaigns available but I'll see if the system ticks my boxes first, before spending any more of my hard-earned pocket money.

1/72nd Fokker Dr1 Kit Build Blitz

 

The last time I set up a game of Knights of the Sky I had started to make three Eduard Fokker Dr1 kits but ran out of time before the evening arrived. I've dug the half-built models out of storage and will have a go at finishing them off, although it may only be one of them if I don't have the time. They are quite a way along though, with the fuselage and wings assembled, so it's really just a question of finishing the painting then gluing all the parts together. If I get to the markings, they will be for late 1917 / early 1918, so some colourful schemes are in order, although I'll keep it fairly simple to speed things up!

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

Knights of the Sky Club Multiplayer Game?

 

There are some new players at the local club who are interested in some WW1 air wargaming, so against my better judgement, I've set up a poll on the club forum to see if enough people are interested in joining a big multiplayer game of Knights of the Sky. This would be a November 1917 game, set during the latter stages of the Battle of Cambrai, so lots of nippy scouts and some tough two-seaters to take up for a spin. It will probably be an air reconnaissance sortie or a simple 'dawn patrol' type scenario, with no complicated objectives and plenty of opportunity to shoot things down. If it goes ahead, it will be at the end of the month. 

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Blocking In

 

Yet another busy weekend is almost over but I have found an hour this afternoon to start blocking in the Argentinian armoured cruisers and the single protected cruiser with Vallejo Matt White.  This is a laborious and fiddly job, especially as my brushes are knackered, so I've ordered some new ones from ABC Brushes to make the job easier. I hope to get the rest of them blocked in over the week including the decks, funnels and masts, so that I can ink wash them and move on to the highlights.

15mm Vietnam Bohica Project Vietcong

 


The NVA figures that I ordered from Peter Pig this week arrived yesterday and they are excellent, packed full of character and far better than the old ones that I've now assigned to the AK47 leadpile. I've now decided to add a couple of squads of VC to the project, as you only need a few for a decent ambush or search and destroy type scenario, so I'll have that option as well. It's just a shame the US range didn't get an overhaul at the same time. I'm also going to have a dry run at painting these figures by practicing on the Sandbox Skirmish British platoon, using a Citadel Deathguard Green spray basecoat, as I picked up a can a few weeks ago and it looks a really good match for a faded OD shade.

Friday, 4 November 2022

That was a **** week!

 

I've had a hell of a week, with the return to work screwed over by a bout of illness that knocked me for six for a couple of days, one of them being my day off, followed by some other angst that has ended the week on a bit of a low note. However, I have decided that the rest of the month will, on second thoughts, be spent painting my West Coast and Spanish American War US naval squadron, starting with the cruisers then following on with the pre-dreadnought battleships and monitors. 

They are such nice models I am reluctant to shelve them for another project, so I'm going to paint them sooner rather than later, with the added bonus that I can use them against my already painted Chilean squadron, not to mention the Argentinian cruisers that are currently on the workbench. This may take me all the way to the Xmas holidays at the rate I'm going, but that's not a problem as I'm not in a rush and it can be quite therapeutic!

Wednesday, 2 November 2022

House To House

 

I can't remember when or where I found this second hand hard back book but it's an excellent source of inspiration for my upcoming 15mm Vietnam project. The book covers an action by a mechanised company during the so-called Mini-Tet offensive in May 1968, so not exactly what I'm doing but close enough to be useful, especially when it comes to the little details that make a scenario or game realistic. Very well written and researched too.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Naval November


I haven't decided yet what this month's project will be, but it will naval again and will be focused on one of the things on the 'to do' list that I haven't tackled thus far. This gives me three options, not including more pre-dreadnoughts, including a Napoleonic French squadron in 1/2400th, the 1/600th WW1 East African lake stuff, or another 1/3000th early WW2 fleet following on from the Italian one I painted earlier. As you can see, the latter has my attention at the moment, with the early war Kriegsmarine for Norway being top of the list. This is a nice, self contained project that doesn't require many models and could be tackled in one go, especially as I already have the stuff I need to get cracking. As it is mainly a cruiser and destroyer force, there's also plenty of scope for sone fast paced, naval skirmish wargaming, which is exactly what I like to do.

Monday, 31 October 2022

15mm Vietnam Bohica Project: The NVA

 

In advance of my Vietnam 15mm Bohica platoon level project next year, I've ordered a shed load of the Peter Pig NVA figures to form one-half of my forces. I already have some of the older NVA figures but the newer range is much more varied and has a lot more options, so I decided to start from scratch rather than use my existing figures, which I will repurpose with some head swaps as additional Viet Cong or use for AK47. I'm really looking forward to building, basing and painting the PAVN / NVA platoon and its supporting elements including HMG teams, mortars, snipers and sappers. It's all slated for some point in 2023 but, in the meantime, I'm going to spend the next couple of months on more naval projects, including the pre-dreadnought era Argentinian cruisers that I'm now painting.

Sunday, 30 October 2022

Dawn of Iron Battle of Punta Pichalo Playtest

 








This was my second War of the Pacific game using Dawn of Iron, this time featuring the rebel crewed turret ironclad Huascar against no fewer than four government warships, which seemed like a non-starter for the Huascar from the get-go. The game was set to last ten turns, but I expected it to end far sooner, given the relative strength of the two factions and the fact that the government forces had a monitor and a broadside ironclad, not to mention a gunboat and a screw sloop. 

However, despite a wobbly start, the Huascar's crew pulled a blinder, outmaneuvering the Independencia, which steamed off the table by mistake, and La Union, which managed to ram herself into the eponymous Punta Pichalo after running out of sea room. This was largely down to my mishandling of the order tokens, which you need to use in a predictive way thinking one or two turns ahead, as well as some over-enthusiastic use of steam power to ramp up their speed. 

The Huascar also blew the gunboat Pilcomayo to matchwood with one blast from her guns, which just goes to show how deadly gunnery can be even with some negative dice roll modifiers imposed by the scenario. The Huascar did take a pounding, however, mainly from the anchored monitor Atahualpa, which had very heavy firepower and good armour to boot. The game ended on Turn Nine, when the Huascar steamed off the table nursing four critical damage cards, while the Atahualpa was out of range and La Union stuck firmly aground with two critical and one cumulative damage cards. 

The scenario victory conditions gave this to the government forces but I can't help but think that the rebel Huascar was the real winner, having dispatched the Pilcomayo and heavily damaged the now grounded La Union, not to mention seeing off the Independencia. I probably mucked up a few things along the way and I didn't understand how the Poor Shooting rule worked, so just fudged it with a -1 DRM, but otherwise it seemed to go quite smoothly. It's definitely a fast system and the movement rules mean that the ships whizz about the table covering quite a distance each turn, although that's enhanced by the use of 1/2400th scale models. 

Good fun!

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