Monday, 31 January 2022

Seven Days to the River Rhine

I persuaded myself to buy a copy of these popular, fast play Cold War rules last week, having joined the FB group and enjoyed reading some AAR's, despite my best intentions to scale back on my wargaming. The rules are very well presented and clear, with lots of illustrations and examples to help explain the mechanisms. I think they look pretty good and, as I used to dabble in 1/300th scale moderns back in the day with the WRG rules, I will probably go ahead and get some 6mm AFV's from Scotia or Heroics and Ros. 

I'd like to go 10mm but the cost is way more than the 6mm option, so it will have to be the smaller scale for this if I do bite the bullet and go ahead with it. I also thought about 3mm, as that would be really cheap and I could afford two decent sized battlegroups for the price of one, but that's probably a bit too small for what's essentially a company level set of rules. Whatever, I'm trying to stick to my plans for the year, so something else would have to be shoved aside if I did blow it all and start a Seven Days the River Rhine project. 

Spring Cleaning

We're having some building work done in the summer so I will have to clear out twenty plus years of accumulated lead mountain, plastic kits, magazines and rules fairly soon. I've decided that it's time to get rid of about three quarters of my piled up project stuff, so will probably get in contact with some second hand dealers and just offload it all. It will be tough but I really need to bite the bullet and be ruthless. I've been thinking of scaling back my wargaming anyway, switching over more to board wargaming rather than miniatures, so perhaps now is a good time to get it sorted. 

Sunday, 30 January 2022

Finest Hour Painting Progress

It's been a while but I have finally moved on to painting the He111's and assorted extra aircraft for the Finest Hour Project. It is not a lot to write home about but they have now had the undersides blocked in with Vallejo Pale Blue, ready for a second coat to cover all the gaps. After that I can get the basecoat on he upper surfaces and add the camouflage pattern, which is the tedious fiddly bit. I'm hoping to have some time off work soon(ish) so will be able to pick up the pace a bit.

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Four Eyes

I've been down to Plymouth to drop of the boy at university and on the way, pop in to my Dad's to exchange Xmas presents, having been away in France over the holidays. For my present, I have now got one of those optical visor things with LED lights and interchangeable lenses, so my painting and modelling will hopefully be a little easier in the stygian gloom of the garage. I'm going to try it out as soon as I have the time, especially as my RAF squadron codes have arrived from Flight Deck Decals for the 1/600th scale Hurricanes and they are very, very small!

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Bag the Hun Continuation War

I've ordered some top up aircraft for my 1/600th scale Soviets and Finnish for the Winter War but have also added some packs of fighters for the early part of the Continuation War including some Brewster Buffaloes, MS406 and Curtiss Hawks. I am now thinking of developing the project for the early stages of the Continuation War, as it has lots of really interesting possibilities and would be a logical direction in which to travel. It also means that I wouldn't need to make any ski undercarriage legs for the aircraft, as it would be a Summer to Autumn 1941 timeframe with no snow or ice involved. It does involve making a load of new bases for Wings or War, however, so I may well just stick with Bag the Hun for this one?

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

The Winter War Once More

I've been thinking a bit more about a Wings at War project for the Winter War, which can also double up for Bag the Hun and the Blue Swastika Rampant supplement, using my existing 1/600th scale Soviet aircraft as a starting point. The bases and terrain can be re-purposed from my MiG Alley set up, which mean that the only thing I'd need to sort out would be the Finnish aircraft and some new templates for forest areas and lakes. I'm not sure these would affect gameplay but they would make my snow cloth look more Finnish!

I'm looking to add a few more Soviet aircraft in Winter War camouflage and markings, with some DB-3's being one missing element for example, then add the Finnish aircraft for the opposition. These would include a selection of fighter types including Fokker DXXI's, Brewster Buffaloes, Fiat G50's, MS-406 and possibly Gloster Gladiators, with a handful of light bomber aircraft including Blenheim Mk I's. I also need to work out how to model skis, although I may well ask Paul at Tumbling Dice if he can come up with something.

When I looked at this before it was clear that the options for the Finns looked really varied but in reality, most of the air fighting during the Winter War involved a small handful of fighter types depending on the exact location and date. I'll have to dig out my notes to double check and do some more background reading to get a grip on what flew where and when, so that I can develop the rules and also write some additional new scenarios for Bag the Hun to expand on the two in Blue Swastika Rampant.

Monday, 24 January 2022

Finest Hour He-115

 



As an extra model for the next stage of painting, I've added a single Tumbling Dice He-115 floatplane to use in the reconnaissance role and for minelaying missions, as these were both undertaken during the Battle of Britain by this aircraft. I did fancy building an He-59 for air sea rescue duties but the model has lots of struts that put me off, at least for the moment, so the He-115 will be a good stand in until I can steel myself to tackle the He-59. It's a really nice model too and captures the look of the actual aircraft very well.

Sunday, 23 January 2022

Bob's your Heinkel

I scrounged some time today to finally get the twelve He-111 bombers cleaned up, magnet based and undercoated, with the superglue working this time round due to a slightly warmer workbench, although it's still pretty parky. I also added a single Bf-110 as an extra reconnaissance aircraft and as painting practise for when I have to do a whole staffel of the things. I am hoping to get started on the basecoating with all of these over the coming week. 

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Whirlwinds!


I've had this book for several years and have dipped into it for scenario writing purposes but have never actually read it from cover to cover, until now that is. I'm about a third of the way through and it's fascinating stuff. specifically the decisions made to limit production before it had even entered service and the way this condemned the Whirlwind to a short but very active service life with no chance of a reprieve. It really is worth a look, if like me you love this aircraft and have taken it for a spin in Bag the Hun or other air wargaming rules.

Friday, 21 January 2022

Fistful of Lead Club Game

The eldest is going back to university next Friday so before he goes we thought it would be good to have a game or two of Fistful of Lead up at the club. He really likes the rules, as do I, so it's a no brainer for an evening of old West skirmish gaming featuring the usual suspects, the Fajitas brothers and Sheriff Ullysses T. Boggs and his posse. We're hoping to get a couple of games in, perhaps linking them together with a back story which I'll need to work out in advance over the weekend. 

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Finest Hour Decal Delivery

 

I was despairing of ever getting my hands on the Miscellaneous Miniatures decals I ordered for the Finest Hour project, when I decided to have a rummage through the bank statements stacked up on the hall table. Lo and behold, the envelope containing the RAF and Luftwaffe decals had been shoved between some similarly innocuous envelopes by the hand of fate, or by the other half who had mistaken it for a bill of some sort. In the interim I have also ordered some sheets of insignia from Dan at Flight Deck Decals, so I will now have all that I need to finish off the aircraft I've painted and most of the ones in the painting schedule. Huzzah!

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Wings at War Winter War Woods

I've had this project on back burner for a couple of years but feel like it might be time to warm it back up again, and why not? One thing I need to do is work out the initial layout for the game, akin to the system in MiG Alley, where one side or other gets to deploy ground targets and terrain in the shape of hills, over which aircraft at Level 1 cannot fly. This seemed a bit superfluous for Finland which is largely flat as a pancake but is a really good feature of the game, as it makes it harder for some aircraft when on low level ground attack missions. Instead of hills I am thinking of making the terrain templates areas of forest, with the same limitations for low flying planes. As a lot of combat in the Winter War and Continuation War was at very low or even tree top level, I think this would be a neat way to make the games more exciting and add some scenic variation to the table top?

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Target for Tonight 1940-41

I got my order of assorted RAF medium and heavy bombers from Tumbling Dice today for my Target for Tonight solo campaign project later this year. I included some early war aircraft in the mix including some Wellingtons, Hampdens and Whitleys, some of which I already had from my old 1/600th scale coastal warfare project, and I must say they are the best of the bunch compared to the slightly portly Lancaster and Halifax models. In fact, they're so good I'm thinking of setting my games in 1940-41, before the Lancaster was introduced and started to dominate the strategic bombing campaign. I'll have to do some more work to develop the aircraft sheets and the technological framework for the games, but apart from that it should be a fairly straightforward switch. Worth a thought anyway?

Monday, 17 January 2022

Finest Hour Freeze Up



It's literally freezing in the garage where my workbench is located, so progress on the Luftwaffe has been a bit slower than I'd like over the weekend. I've magnet based and matt white spray undercoated the four Bf-109e fighters for the stabschwarm, so they are now ready for painting. However, only one rather lonely looking Heinkel 111 has made it to the magnet basing stage, the rest piling up on the cutting mat while I wait for the temperature to get back to something less Arctic and the superglue to behave itself. I suppose I could decamp to the kitchen table but that's not much warmer either, so I'll just have to wrap up warm and crack on regardless. On a positive note, it has got me thinking again about a Russian Front or Winter War variant of the Wings at War rules, using my bases from MiG Alley...now there's an idea!

Jim's Wargames Workbench: Wings at War Winter War Aircraft Ratings (jimswargamesworkbench.blogspot.com)

Sunday, 16 January 2022

Wolfpack!

The latest Corvette Command after action report is now up on the other blog. That was a nasty one but I did get to make another depth charge attack, which was futile but fun.

https://teaandawad.blogspot.com/2022/01/corvette-command-campaign-february-1942.html

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Mourir Pour l'Indochine Kickstarter

The Kickstarter campaign for Mourir Pour l'Indochine will be going live this evening, so why not have a look at the different options available on the MPI page. The figures and terrain pieces look really great, with a good choice of scales, so if you like 15mm, 20mm or 28mm skirmish level wargaming in hot places, this one is definitely worth a look. I'll be backing one or other of the pledges for sure, if only for 'La Gloire, La Baggare!'

Mourir Pour l'Indochine by Shawn Taylor — Kickstarter

Strike Wing



I fancied a change of focus for my next book, so decided to read this account of the Banff Strike Wing c1944-45. This would be great for Bag the Hun, for which there's a scenario in one of the specials, but also for Wings at War with some tweaks to incorporate anti-shipping torpedo attacks and ship movement, which might not be too tricky to work out. I've also been thinking about using the Wings at War system as the basis of a 633 Squadron game, which is another one of my old project ideas that originally revolved around Bag the Hun

Friday, 14 January 2022

MiG Alley Winter 1951


I'm going to try to find the time for another game of MiG Alley this weekend, using some of the aircraft that I haven't deployed before including the USN F4U-4 Corsairs. This game will be set in the winter of early 1951 during the UN retreat from the Yalu, as this will allow me to use some of the ex-Soviet NKAF prop aircraft that were briefly around before the jets began to dominate the war in the air. The Corsairs will be on a ground attack mission in support of the retreating UN forces, while the NKAF Yak-9's and La-11's will be aiming to intercept them before they can hit their tactical targets. 

Thursday, 13 January 2022

New Khalkhin Gol Book

 

This has just been published by Helion and is on offer for the reduced price of £14.45 post free until Sunday. It's obviously directly relevant for my Khalkhin Gol Bag the Hun project and will be really useful for anyone wanting to understand more about the role of air power in the land battle. I'm going to order one and perhaps even find some more ideas for some scenarios. It's also got some of the usual high quality colour aircraft and AFV profiles together with plenty of photos, maps and tables. Here's a link:

Red Star versus Rising Sun Volume 2 | Asia@War | Helion & Company

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

For he's a jolly good fellow!

Fellow naval wargaming enthusiast, master of the scratch built ironclad and all round jolly good chap, David Crook, very kindly sent me a hefty parcel the other day, jam packed full of 1/3000th scale goodies including a wide selection of US and Japanese warships and some very useful terrain bits and bobs. I've been really busy with work this week, so haven't had time to give them proper rummage through to see exactly what's in the box, but there is a whole load of stuff that will really push my WW2 naval wargaming in the right direction this year. Thank you David! 

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Finest Hour Gruppe StaBschwarm

I've just finished cleaning up and magnet basing four Bf-109e Emil fighters for my Finest Hour Gruppe command flight, so I thought it would be fun to roll up the pilots for the staff schwarm using the pilot generation system in the supplement. I rolled a D10 and have allocated the pilot skill ratings as follows:

Gruppe Kommandeur (CO) - Top Ace

Gruppe Adjutant (2nd i/c) - Junior Ace

Gruppe Technischer Offizier (Technical Officer) - Veteran

Gruppe Beim StaB (Chief of Staff) - Veteran

This lot will give the RAF a nasty surprise if they turn up, although as I have it organised at the moment they would only appear occasionally and with a full staffel to back them up. I won't be adding any character background to the Luftwaffe side of the equation but it's easy to see how this would be quite a historically accurate make up for a staff flight, with some Spanish Civil War Condor Legion 'experten' making up the core, supported by two battle tested veterans of the Blitzkrieg campaigns.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Finest Hour Refocus


I had a closer look at the Tumbling Dice Stukas this evening and realised that I will need to attach twelve pairs of tiny individual undercarriage legs and the magnets before I can start painting. This will take me quite a long time, not to mention a lot of potential frustration, so I've opted for the iconic Heinkell 111's instead, as they are just as likely to pop up in the scenario generation tables as the Ju-87"s and are larger aircraft, thus making painting the things less of a pain in the bum. Tally Ho! 

Sunday, 9 January 2022

Finest Hour Ju-87 Stukas



The next phase of the Finest Hour project will be to assemble and paint twelve 1/600th scale Ju-87 Stukas, once again from Tumbling Dice. These are really nice models that really capture the look of the actual aircraft but are a bit of a fiddle to assemble due to the undercarriage, which glues onto two pads under each wing rather than fixing into a slot like other models in the Tumbling Dice range. It's going to take me a little longer to get them glued together and magnet based, but I'm planning to have them ready to paint by mid-week. These will be painted as dive bombers of 3/StG 1 using the decal sheet from Miscellaneous Miniatures that should be arriving in the post fairly soon.

Finest Hour Gruppe Stabschwarm



I am moving on to some Ju-87 Stukas next for the Finest Hour project but I'll also be adding three or four more Bf-109's to the painting table, to represent the stabschwarm for the gruppe that my staffel of Bf-109's is attached to. All that teutonic alphabetty spaghetti just means that I will be able to attach a command schwarm to my squadron of twelve fighters, piloted by some highly experienced veterans and aces. To fit this in with the scenario set up, I've added a Staffel and Stabschwarm bit to the Luftwaffe Fighters column on the random roll up table, which I've already tweaked to reduce the number of bombers I have to paint to sensible figures.

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Finest Hour Luftwaffe Fighters Painted






I finished the paintwork on the Bf109's today, along with the reconnaissance Do-17 and Ju-88, so now have to wait for the 1/600th scale decals to arrive before they can be completed and matt varnished, although I do have some basic ones I could apply now. In the meantime, it's on to the Stukas! 

Pauke! Pauke!

I'm moving on to some background reading in advance of my Target for Tonight project, which I'll be starting next month if it all goes according to the plan. I have both of the books in this series, as digital copies, so it will be useful to track the developments in night fighter tactics and technology over the course of the bomber campaign, as well as the electronic counter measures used by the RAF. This is one of the more convoluted aspects of the game which I really need to get a grip on if I'm to run realistic, historically accurate scenarios.

Friday, 7 January 2022

Tumbling Dice Target for Tonight

I've been back at work this week so, as it's now Friday, I thought I'd spend a little pocket money on a small selection of 1/2400th scale Tumbling Dice models for Target for Tonight, opting for the less expansive option of one of each type of bomber rather than a full set of multiple aircraft. I'll being playing solo, at least to start with, so this approach made more sense and also gave me the opportunity to have a Lancaster, a Stirling, a Halifax MkII and MkIII, a Wellington and a Whitley, rather than just six of the bog standard Lancasters. I've also gathered together some enemy night fighters from the spares box on top of which I have ordered a pack of Dornier 217's, so that the only thing I won't have is an Uhu. Not bad!

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Target For Tonight Rules


My old school paper copy of Target for Tonight arrived in the post today, so I now have a copy that I can actually study and annotate without having to peer through a digital letterbox, which is great. It's actually a proper A4 sized black and white softback booklet, which makes it a lot easier to navigate the various tables and charts that you need to get your head around for the different stages of each mission. In other news, the post festive squeeze to the finances means that it will be quite a while before I can send off for some lead to equip my bomber stream, so I'll have to make do with a lone Lancaster or two for the meantime, while coming up with a bargain basement, el cheapo approach to the terrain tiles, night fighter and bomb run boards.

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Finest Hour Luftwaffe Fighters Detailing

I've future and ink washed the Bf109's and recon aircraft, then tidied up the camouflage patterns and under surfaces, so I'm now moving on to the detailing, starting with blocking in the canopies. These will get a highlight, before I do the prop bosses, tails, exhausts and any of the other tiddly bits, so there is still some way to go before they're finished. The good news is that my decals are now in the post from the USA, so by the time I finish the paintwork they should be here?

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Ginger Nuts for Tea?

The latest instalment of the Corvette Command campaign is up on the other blog, with a much more successful convoy escort job done by HMCS Windflower, albeit mainly due to the flipping awful weather:

Tea and a Wad Wargaming: Corvette Command Campaign January 1942 (3)

The Few

 

I'm re-reading this at the moment, as a break from all that Bomber Command stuff that I've been reading over the holidays, and it hasn't disappointed, although I have read it already a long time ago. It's a real 'seat of your pants' account of the experiences of some famous and not so famous pilots, both RAF and Luftwaffe throughout the battle from the early days in June and July, through to September and October when it came to an end. Excellent!

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