Wednesday, 31 August 2022

WW1 mid-1917 Fokker Dr1 Triplanes

 



Here are the latest models for the Algernon Pulls It Off and Duel of Aces project, seven Fokker Dr1 Triplanes, a single Albatros DIII and an AEG CIV converted from a Halberstadt CII. This involved reshaping the tail planes and rudder to make the thing look a bit more like the original. The seventh Dr1 and the DIII will be painted up as single aircraft for Ace pilots. Tally Ho! 

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Algernon Stands It Up

 


I've made some new flight stands for Algy using my tried and tested method, which involves MDF hex bases and dice frames from Warbases, together with good quality Challenger 40mm panel pins. The hex bases are also 40mm, which is larger than usual but still fits my hex cloth from Hotz Mats, in order to fit on the double dice frame for twelve altitude levels. I ran out of car spray so used a can of Artfx Blue from Halfords, which is a bit bright but matches the little blue dice quite well. Tally Ho! 

Monday, 29 August 2022

Duel of Aces Game Plan

         

Now that I have a small selection of  (almost) completed 1/600th aircraft for Algernon Pulls It Off and Duel of Aces, I can actually set up a game of the Wings at War rules, in order to see how they work in action. I'm going to keep it simple, with three or four Albatros DIII scouts in a dawn patrol dogfight against a trio of No8 Squadron RNAS Sopwith Triplanes. I can cut a corner by using my snow themed MiG Alley flight stands and terrain cloth, so this game will be set in the winter of February 1917. Tally Ho! 

Just Add Decals

 




The first wave of 1/600th WW1 aircraft have now been painted and just need decals added plus another toot of varnish to be ready to use. I'm quite pleased with how these ended up so I'm off to assemble and paint some more, as well as scratch build some more hex stands with double dice frames. Tally Ho! 

Marked For Death

 

A bit of topical reading and actually not as grim as it sounds, based on an unusual thematic study of the experience of airmen in the First World War. I've read an awful lot of books on the air war and the vast majority either take a chronological approach or focus on specific aircraft, squadrons or pilots, so this is a refreshing change from the norm. 

Sunday, 28 August 2022

WW1 Mid-1917 1/600th Aircraft for Algy

The painting work on the early to mid-1917 aircraft has taken less time than I thought, although they're not finished yet, so I'm going to crack on with some mid-1917 planes, with six or so Se5a's, six to eight Fokker Dr1's and three Fe2B Bristol Fighters. These will hopefully also be quite a quick job to get assembled and painted but, as the Bank Holiday weekend is nearly over, they may not get to see a paintbrush until later in the week. Tally Ho!

WW1 1917 Aircraft Painting Progress

 





I spent a pleasant day blocking in the WW1 aircraft which have now been wasted in a future ink wash, ready for the highlights and details. This may take a little longer as they have lots of details that need to be picked out. I've also had an email from Dan at Flight Deck letting me know that he has kin resized the RFC Type A roundels I ordered to 1/600th and that they are in the post. That's customer service for you! 

Saturday, 27 August 2022

TMWWBK for the Mexican Revolution?

Shellhole Scenics Villistas..I have some of these!

I had an idea out of the blue today. Could I revive my 20mm Mexican Revolution project by using The Men Who Would Be Kings as a skirmish level set of rules? I think it would cover all of the angles, with Regular and Irregular infantry and cavalry as the common types, together with some Tribal Infantry for Yaqui Indians. The artillery and machine guns are there too, with the only think missing being vehicles, although they were very rare. A few extra add-on rules for things like grenades and aircraft wouldn't be too difficult to fudge either, as people already use the rules for WW1 colonial wargaming. I might be on to something so will have a think about unit types and characteristics, as well as a look for rules tweaks that other people have made for WW1.

Friday, 26 August 2022

1/600th German Aircraft for Algy

 


The aircraft for the Luftstreitkrafte or German Air Service have now been assembled and undercoated in a rather vibrant shade of Humbrol Grass Green, as I couldn't decide what to use instead of my usual grey or white primer. There are six Albatros DIII's, the standard scout or fighter of the first half of 1917, together with a rather out of place Roland CII for want of a more appropriate two-seater observation machine. I've ordered some Albatros CI two-seaters from Tumbling Dice that can be used for later variants like the CVII without any problem, so I'll add a couple of them to the line up when they arrive in the post. This lot and the RFC/ RNAS aircraft should keep me busy for a while!

Dawn of Iron Print and Play...eventually.

 

I spent an irritating morning yesterday getting my crappy printer to churn out what seemed like a never-ending stream of rules, cards, tokens and ship sheets for Dawn of Iron. I wasn't printing everything but enough to run some play test games of the War of the Pacific supplement, which I have promised to do as soon as I can find the time, but it still took a while to sort everything out. I now have the fun job of cutting it all out, sticking it together and laminating it, so that will take some doing too. I'm sure it will all be worth it but next time I might just go to a local print shop and pay a bit more to have it done by someone else!

Thursday, 25 August 2022

1/600th RNAS / RFC Early 1917 for Algy

RFC Nieuport 17's

RNAS Sopwith Pups

RNAS Sopwith Triplanes

RFC Re8 and BE2e


This lot illustrates the pros and cons of 1/600th scale for WW1 quite well. 

On the one hand,  I assembled them in a couple of hours all told, including converting a BE2c into a BE2e using a spare upper wing from a Brisfit, as well as turning four Triplanes into Pups by just leaving off the middle wing. 

On the other hand,  they show how basic the detail is distinguishing different types and how over scale the undercarriage and wing thickness can look, unless you aren't too bothered. Which lucklly I am not. 

It's still pretty incredible that these tiny aircraft are more detailed and accurate than the old Heroics and Ros 1/300th scale WW1 planes that were my alternative. 

I'm on to the Germans tomorrow,  which will consist of lots of Albatros DIII's and not a lot else, at least until I can work out how to do a two seater of some sort for them to escort. 

Wings at War Khalkhin Gol Pilot and Plane Parameters


Some more ramblings...

I've been thinking of the parameters for section organisation and pilot ratings in the Khalkhin Gol rules.
I'm going to have all aircraft grouped in sections of three, as this was the norm for both the IJAAF and VVS at the time, with the exception of reconnaissance and artillery spotting aircraft which operate individually. In Duel of Aces there is an option for Aces to fly individually and for sections of fighters to have an extra 1 or 2 aircraft if Green up to a maximum of four, but I may just keep it simple.

I may allow the sections to be grouped together into a larger formation of up to nine aircraft using the formation rules. The rules for formation flying will be included anyway to make it easier to handle larger numbers of planes.
Not sure about the TB-3 which were used as night bombers, playing only a limited role on the tactical side. It would be a shame not to include them. I'll have t think of a way to bring them in.
Pilot skill ratings will vary between the early and late half of the conflict.
In the early half, the Japanese get up to two sections as Aces and one as Green, the rest Regular. The Soviets get no Ace sections and at least two must be Green.
In the middle, both sides have the same setup. One group of Aces, the rest Regular and one must be Green.
In the second half, the Japanese have only one Ace section and at least two must be Green. The Soviets get up to one Ace sections and no Green ones
This reflects the changing experience of the two sides over the war, with the Soviets bringing in expert pilots to stiffen their ranks and gain combat experience, while the Japanese suffer from increasing losses and fatigue.

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Algernon Pulls It Off Again

1/600th Camel or 1/300th Camel?

I found my copy of Algernon Pulls It Off,  hereafter reduced to a mere Algy, together with the old 1/300th scale Skytrex (now Heroics and Ros) aircraft. I have a good selection for both the British and Germans in the latter half of 1917, but not for the Russian Civil War as planned.

This leaves me in two minds about scale, with 1/300th or 1/600th as the options,  both of which have pros and cons. 

1/300th

+ good size and not bad detail. 

+ look good on the hex bases I will use. 

+ easier to paint than 1/600th.

+  I have a good starting set up for 1917.

- the models are showing their age a bit. 

- I'd have to add fiddly struts. 

- I'd need more for the RCW. 

- take longer to paint. 

1/600th

+ cheap and I have loads already. 

+ easier to get away with  **** paint job. 

+ quicker to paint up. 

+ I don't need any more for the RCW. 

+ can double up for Duel of Aces. 

- most look tiddly on the hex bases. 

- difficult to identify in games.

- a pain to assemble and magnet base. 

- more of the same scale projects. 


1/600th RE8 test model

It's a tricky choice but I'm veering toward 1/600th if only to avoid the very fiddly struts,  which I'd need to make out of brass wire. I'm already going off on a tangent from my plans,  so it would be a good idea to choose the one that takes the least amount of time and effort?

New Tumbling Dice Vapour Trails 1/600th Aircraft

Paul Sulley very kindly sent me the first castings of the latest Vapour Trails 1/600th scale models, the majority of which are light civil aircraft, militarised versions of civil aircraft or COIN aircraft designed for the counter insurgency or close air support role. 

As you can see these are up to the usual high standards of accuracy and detail, which makes them a joy to assemble and paint,  as well as really useful for Wings at War or similar rules systems. The O2 is perfect for Vietnam or Rhodesia for example. 

There are several in the current lot that Paul has designed to use with Corsairs and Cavaliers, which is fantastic as they fill some really obvious gaps, with particular reference to the Mustang Cavalier, T28 Trojan with rocket / gun pods,  the Cessnas and the fabulous C54 / DC4,  which is my favourite of the lot. These should be available relatively soon. A definite ***** 









Tuesday, 23 August 2022

Algernon Pulls it Off

 


I'm really not a massive fan of YouTube wargaming videos,  or any of those self indulgent tutorial type wargaming vloggers, as I can't stand watching someone blather on about something and would much rather read about it. However, the Storm of Steel site isn't bad and has some interesting content for the TFL WW1 aerial rules, Algernon Pulls it Off, with the added bonus of a free download of the rules (although I do have them as a pdf already). 


I quite fancy a little side project based on these Bag the Hun derived rules,  using some old Heroics and Ros 1/300th scale WW1 aircraft that I have stashed somewhere. I'm going to dig them out and re-read the rules, with a view to playing some Russian Civil War scenarios from the TFL Specials. Tally Ho! 

Monday, 22 August 2022

Autumn Age of Sail

Tumbling Dice Napoleonic French Fleet

I have a handful of things to finish off by end of the month but after that I'm thinking of tackling one of the remaining big naval projects on my 'to do' list. I have a choice of 1/600th scale Steamer Wars on the African Lakes in WW1, 1/4800th or 1/2400th or even 1/1200th scale Anglo Dutch ships or the 1/2400th scale Napoleonic French fleet that I  started painting last year. I think I may tackle those first,  as I've made a good start on them, but I am easily swayed so might well do something completely different! 

Sunday, 21 August 2022

Wings at War Khalkhin Gol Aircraft Table

 

Despite a distinct lack of interest from the Wings at War Facebook group, I've decided to crack ahead with my rules writing project for this year, albeit a little late, to develop a set of Wings or War rules for the Khalkhin Gol / Nonomhan conflict. This builds on all the research and development work that I did last year for the Bag the Hun scenario project, which resulted in the publication of Red Star Rampant. 

The task over the last couple of days has been to work out the energy ratings for the Japanese and Soviet aircraft, factoring in the altitude ratings that I worked out ages ago. I've come up with this table which covers pretty much all of the main types and includes one that I missed out before, the Kharkiv R-10 single-engine, two-seat reconnaissance aircraft, which saw some use during the war but didn't play a major role. 

Neman R-10 | Weapons and Warfare

There are a few question marks over some of these Energy / Energy Loaded numbers but I think it's not too far off. There will be some other things to factor into the performance of the various aircraft, tight turning and reverses being one of them, which will give some a positive edge in air-to-air fighting and others a negative constraint, a good example being the -1 for biplanes like the Ki-10 and I-153 when tight turning due to their light wing loading. 

The next thing to do is to work out the armament and bombing capabilities for the aircraft, then move on to the initial game setup including the formations and pilot skill ratings, which I'm thinking will be different depending on the stage of the conflict. This is all a bit sketchy and I'll need to have a look at other rules to get some ideas, specifically the Duel of Aces WW1 set and A Mighty Fortress, the WWII strategic bombing rules when I get back home. I'm in no rush!

Aero Journal 89: Royal Thai Air Force 1940-1945


There's a cracking article on the Royal Thai Air Force in the Franco Thai War in the current issue of Aerojournal. It also covers RTAF operations in 1940 and from 1941 to 1945, with lots of photos, colour profiles, maps and detailed descriptions of missions flown by RTAF pilots,  so a goldmine of useful stuff for my planned Bag the Hun scenario project. Excellent! 

Italian Aircraft for Find, Fix and Strike

It's been a  bit hectic the last couple of days, so no time for any more naval games unfortunately. Here's what I have managed to get done, the Italian torpedo bombers, bombers, fighter escort and reconnaissance planes for FindFix and Strike, although  Naval Thunderis also very much on my radar. No magnets yet but that's a quick job when I get back home. I've also ordered a discount starter pack of Italian maritime aircraft to bump up the numbers a bit,  so that I can use the aircraft for Bag the Hun as well, or perhaps even for a Wings at War Malta mash up. 

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Harpoon Third Edition

I have a dog eared second hand copy of this somewhere but saw an unpunched version, bundled with most of the supplements and forms on eBay, so put in a low bid and got the lot for twenty quid. I doubt anyone plays it anymore but you can't argue with the price tag and the Falklands and Third World War scenarios have some replay value. 

I'm sorry to say that my modern and post war naval gaming has been minimal this year, having been frustrated by all the glitches in Naval Command and by the lack of a decent, fast play alternative, but I may pick it up again if I can find a better set of rules. I may even give prehistoric Harpoon a go, who knows? 

Friday, 19 August 2022

Dawn of Iron Pacific War Playtesting

 

I've been given the opportunity to run some play test games of the forthcoming War of the Pacific supplement for the Dawn of Iron rules system (Thanks Rolf, much appreciated!) I have the rules and some of the ACW scenario supplements already but haven't as yet tried them out, partly due to having no larger scale ACW models to use but also due to a lack of time to sit down and work it all out. A further stumbling block for me is the need to do quite a lot of printing, cutting out and laminating of all the cards, data sheets, tokens and counters. 


I'm not a massive fan of rules with data cards, upgrade cards and so on but these rules have had a very good reception and the War of the Pacific supplement looks excellent, being well researched and pretty comprehensive. I'm going to print it all out when I get back from my holidays and get it all sorted, so that I can use my 1/2400th scale models to run some of the scenarios. I'll need some transport ships for both sides for some of the games, so some scratch building is called for, as they would also enable me to run the campaign in the Dahlgren and Columbiad War of the Pacific supplement.

The Battle of Pantelleria, July 1938 - A Find, Fix and Strike Scenario

The French air force has been bombing Italian convoys supporting the Italian invasion of the French Protectorate of Tunisia, by land forces based in Italian-occupied Libya. The Italian army high command has requested support from the Regia Marina to bombard the airfields along the coast, in order to stop the French bombers from cutting off supplies of fuel, ammunition and equipment that are essential for the invasion to make progress. 

A powerful bombardment force consisting of the modernised battleships Guilio Cesare and Conte de Cavour (F), with an escort of light cruisers, has sortied from Taranto to conduct a night-time bombardment of the airfields. The French naval intelligence division has de-coded Italian signals traffic and a French cruiser squadron, led by the heavy cruiser Algerie, has been dispatched from Bizerte to intercept the Italian bombardment task force.

This is a night action, with visibility at 12'' (full moon), a moderate sea state and a fresh wind blowing from the NW. The French and Italian command and crews are all rated as Average. The French must cripple both of the Italian battleships to win the action, while the Italians must inflict at least heavy damage on all of the French cruisers to claim victory. The scenario will end after ten turns, when both sides will be forced to break off due to the threat of a daylight air attack.

I'll have a crack at playing this scenario, which is based on a Naval Thunder scenario for the first battle of Guadalcanal, at some point in the next couple of days

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