While I wait for my top-up order of 1/600th scale Soviet and German aircraft to arrive in the post from Tumbling Dice and finish off the basing of the last elements of the Red Actions! AFSR army, I thought I'd crack on with preparation of the Royal Naval forces for the Battles of Narvik. I've kept the focus of this project fairly tight to avoid a smorgasbord of shipping, which is easy to be tempted into given the subject matter, so it's just the destroyers and the battleship HMS Warspite that I need to paint up. However, I have also bundled in the opposing warships for the Battle of the River Plate, which I've always wanted to recreate but somehow never got round to doing. I'll get started on this lot tomorrow after I've recharged my batteries a bit!
Sunday, 30 April 2023
Saturday, 29 April 2023
Friday, 28 April 2023
I have located a good second hand copy of this book in hardback for a very decent price, so have now got another angle on the Bag the Hun scenario project, this time focussing on the Luftwaffe. The blurb for the book sounds very promising, with a lot more potential detail to flesh out some historical background and fill in the details:
Created from elements of I./JG 77 and IV./JG 1 in January 1942, Jagdgeschwader 5 Eismeer is one of the lesser-known German fighter units of the Second World War. It nevertheless had an impressive operational history, as this book shows. The unit's successes were equally great. The Geschwader's ranks included a number of outstanding fighter pilots who marked JG 5 and accounted for a large percentage of its victories: names like Bartels, Brunner, Carganico, Dobrich, Dorr, Ehrler, Linz, Mors, Muller, Norz, Schuck and Weissenberger will always be associated with JG 5. Produced on the initiative of the Eismeerjager Veterans Association, this account of operations by JG 5 is intended to further round out the history of the German fighter arm and provide the reader with a picture of the fighting in the far north.
In addition, I have been skim-reading the Osprey book on Arctic Bf-109 and Bf-100 Aces, which has some equally inspiring content for some interesting scenarios. One event that caught my eye was an escort mission for Heinrich Himmler's Ju-52 transport, which he was using on an inspection tour of Jagdgeschwader 5 in 1942. Nothing actually happened but it would make a brilliant 'What If?' game should the local VVS Hurricanes have been stooging about at the same time?
Thursday, 27 April 2023
It's been a bit busy over the last couple of days, so progress on the sea bases for my Kriegsmarine force has been a bit sluggish. I've textured, undercoated, basecoated and started to dry brush the numerous bases, with half a dozen also varnished, ready for the models to be attached. I've also run up some base labels to cut out and stick on, so it's happening but in stops and starts. I'll get it all wrapped up at the start of the weekend, fingers crossed!
Wednesday, 26 April 2023
I had organised a Bag the Hun game for next week at the club but it's looking like a double booking might scupper my best laid plans. I may well have to shuffle the game along to a later date but, in the meantime, I've decided to re-run it as the Sinker Saves the Day scenario from the last Lard Day event. This wasn't a great game due to some fairly rigid tactics by the RAF players, but I've fixed that issue with a few well placed tweaks to the card deck, so it will be a good opportunity to try them out. It's just a case of when not if!
Tuesday, 25 April 2023
The planning for my Bag the Hun summer scenario project is on the go, with some books ordered and initial ideas roughly sketched out, albeit very roughly. The focus will be on about half a dozen scenarios set in the Winter to Spring of 1941 - 42, with the Baltic and Siege of Leningrad as the probable theatre of operations. I'm also considering a focus on the initial year of the Continuation War, which is geographically the same area and has the advantage of being comparatively well-documented, but we shall see. I'm going to start out in 1/600th for some playtesting, as it's a quicker option and less expensive, but the aim will be to scale up to 1/300th / 1/285th in the longer term, especially as I already have a lot of models in the lead pile for this. It's all very early days as yet but I think this is going to be a lot of fun.
Monday, 24 April 2023
I'm now painting the bases for the Operation Weserubung ships, which I should be able to complete over the next few days, give or take a bit of free time mid-week. This means that the 'Fleet in a Week' project will have been completed in a little more than ten days or so, which isn't exactly on target but is still not too bad. The plan now is to keep going but, this time around, with the Royal Navy units for the first and second Battles of Narvik. I don't think it's realistic to knock out the entire Home Fleet in a couple of weeks but the forces required for the aforementioned engagements are clearly on the cards, with a few extras thrown in for good measure, specifically the three cruisers for the Battle of the River Plate action. I'll make a start as soon as I get those bases finished!
Sunday, 23 April 2023
I spent most of my hobby time today texturing and undercoating the bases for the Kriegsmarine warships, but to wrap up I have glued together a 15mm Old Glory Nieuport 17 for the Volunteer Army. This was a pretty basic resin and white metal kit but went together without too many issues, although I did replace the pilot with a cut down Peter Pig freebie figure, not that you can actually see him in the cockpit that well. I have another one of these kits stashed away for my Bolsheviks, which is just as well as they are currently out of production. Tally Ho!
Saturday, 22 April 2023
I'm not a fan of this sort of thing but a copy in the local charity shop caught my eye today, so I thought I'd give it a try. I suspect it won't be a very useful exercise as far as wargaming is concerned but it will be interesting nonetheless. There are a series of historical scenarios to navigate, each with different decision points to punctuate the narrative and determine the eventual outcome, so it will be engaging at the very least, I hope. It only cost a couple of quid so there's nothing to lose either way!
I've finished painting the models for the Operation Weserubung project, so now just need to texture and paint the bases, which I'm planning to make a start on tomorrow. I'm quite pleased with how these have turned out, considering the fact that they are the old Davco castings from the 1970's, which I remember painting when I was at school! I'm quite tempted to add the Graf Spee and Prinz Eugen but I will resist, as I really need to get the Red Actions! basing done by the end of the month.
Friday, 21 April 2023
This weekend I'm hoping to finish painting and possibly even basing the German fleet for the Norwegian Campaign. This will mean adding some deck swastika flag air recognition panels to the heavy cruisers, which I'm going to have to improvise using aircraft or military decals and paint. I'm not sure it's going to work but, for historical accuracy, they really do need to be done. I was surprised that Dan at Flight Deck Decals didn't have them, as I'm sure they would be very popular, unless I missed them when browsing the website?
Thursday, 20 April 2023
A bit of a fundamental rethink for my Bag the Hun scenario writing project. After some deep thought, I've decided not to focus on Guadalcanal, as it's been done to death, but to revert to a previous idea with the early war Russian Front as the theme. The working title for this is Bag the Fascist, although that may well change, but the theme remains the late 1941 - mid 1942 air battles over the Baltic, Leningrad and North Western Front.
The problem will be finding enough historical details but in some ways that allows me more freedom to interpret and extrapolate from what can be found in the relevant Osprey titles, at least to start with. This will be a 1/300th project too, as a change from 1/600, which I might still use for the playtesting. I have a fair bit of metal stockpiled already, so the cost will be minimal, with time the critical factor if I'm going to get it all done?
The next Knights of the Sky WW1 game is a late 1918 scenario, so I thought I'd build at least one new kit for the event. I have two Roden 1/72nd scale Junkers D1 model kits in the loft that would be relatively simple to construct and perfect for the timeframe, albeit a very late 1918 as they only arrived at the front in early October. I'll dig them out and see what I can do with them.
Wednesday, 19 April 2023
A rather crude old QRF Whippet tank for the Volunteer Army today, which will do for the moment but may well be replaced by a more detailed and more accurate resin version at some point. In the end I removed all but the forward machine gun, as the other three were likely to break off when handled and the illustration in the relevant Osprey book showed a similar armament. I'm only allowed one tank so this one will have to do but I may tweak it up a bit, perhaps adding a typical stowage platform at the back.
Tuesday, 18 April 2023
A fun but rather short game of Knights of the Sky tonight, with my Albatros DIII shot to bits and losing the fight with gravity, somewhere over Ypres in April 1917. There's another game in a few weeks time, set in late 1918 for a change, so I'm hoping to stay in the air a bit longer for that one!
Monday, 17 April 2023
The Kriegsmarine warships have now had a pin wash in Citadel Nuln Oil, to be followed up by a dilute wash of Citadel Agrax Earthshade on the wooden decks, once they have had time to dry. The next think to do will be some highlights on the superstructure and decks, with some details picked out including the boats, funnel tops and camouflage patterns.
Sunday, 16 April 2023
I thought I'd make up for some lost time today and base some cavalry for the Red Actions! project, this company being a unit of lancers, why not? I've gone for two figures per base to keep the cost down and to make them easier to paint, with six platoon bases per company, the maximum allowable in Red Actions!. This also matches my infantry organisation and is workable with It Rolls For Ivan, sort of. I hate cleaning up horses and painting them too, so there will only be one more cavalry unit in this army, which will be a bog standard rifle armed one rather than anything flashy.
Mr David Manley Esq. has very kindly sent me a flotilla of 1/2400th floating battery models, 3D printed from his own STL design and now available via Wargame Vault.
These are lovely little models, very crisp and finely detailed, with individual gunports clearly marked and integral masts. I was surprised how sturdy the masts are in fact. These will paint up a treat but I will base them on MDF first, so that I can blend them in to match my existing Tumbling Dice ships.
The French had five of these Devastation class batteries for use in the Crimean War, with another four built later for service in Indochina but not utilised. The Royal Navy also copied the design as the Aetna class for use in the Baltic, although again these did not see action as intended.
I'll use mine for my French ironclad coastal defence squadron, although they were all decommissioned by 1870, so in my alternative 'What If?' campaign they will be given a new lease of life as rearmed floating batteries for harbour protection duties.
A big thumbs up for these and an equally big thank you to David for his design work and generosity! You can find the free STL files here:
Saturday, 15 April 2023
Got bugger all done on the Kriegsmarine fleet today, apart from some tidying up of the paintwork, primarily due to the usual weekend prime directive, to boldy go and do the shopping. As a result, this is now going to be a Fleet in a Week, which scans better anyway, the deadline being the end of next weekend. Best laid plans and all that! At least it means I can finish them properly, textured bases and labels included.
Friday, 14 April 2023
The Kriegsmarine fleet has now been blocked in, the hulls and superstructure in Vallejo Medium Sea Grey, the decks in French Mirage Blue and Tan Yellow, as required. I'll tidy this up then add a bit of highlighting before I do a pin wash with Citadel Nuln Oil tomorrow.