Thursday 30 November 2023

Pre-dreadnought December

United States Cruiser Squadron 
Chilean and Argentinian coastal flotillas 

I've decided that the last effort of the year will be to complete my South American pre-dreadnought project, with the Chilean and Argentinian coastal warships, together with the cruiser Chacabuco. I might also  include a United States cruiser squadron to give me some interesting scenarios to play around with, something I intended to do all along but didn't get round to. I have a couple of weeks to get these painted up, so I'm hoping to get them done, at least to a point where I can easily wrap them up at the end of the month.

Arctic Eagles Soviet Sourcebooks


A couple of second hand Osprey Publishing titles for the Arctic Eagles project via eBay, which will be very useful both for scenario research and painting. I've been after the Soviet Hurricane Aces book for ages, as it's out of print and often expensive, but this one was only seven quid, which is a bargain. Excellent!

River Plate Update


I've been feeling pretty wonky the last few days so haven't spent much time at the workbench. The only thing on the go at the moment are the three cruisers for the Battle of the River Plate, which are now ready for highlighting and detailing, prior to getting varnished. After that I need to sort out the bases. When I've finished them, I'm in a bit of a quandary as what to do next, although the Red Actions! AFSR are long overdue and I do need to finish off some Chilean and Argentinian pre-dreadnoughts, not to mention the Royal Navy fleet. I've only got a couple of weeks so it might be better to tie up some loose ends, rather than start something new. Blimey!

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Arctic Eagles Soviet Fighters



I have a bit of time on my hands, so I may make a start in the aircraft for next year's Arctic Eagles project, rather than trying to paint all of the 1/2400th scale Napoleonic ships and rushing the job. I'll save the Royal Navy fleet to a time when I can concentrate on completing the models in one go, rather than in dribs and drabs, so they will definitely get done at some point sooner rather than later.

The starting point will be the Soviet fighter aircraft including the most common types in the theatre, the MiG-3,  P-40 Tomahawk, P-39 Airacobra and the Yak-1. The obvious omission is the Hawker Hurricane but I already have twelve of these painted in RAF pattern camouflage, so just need to add Russian decals for them to be usable. I will probably add some more winterised ones later anyway. 

I'm planning to paint this lot fifty-fifty in summer or winter camouflage, which will make it easier to manage and give me some options when it comes to scenarios. The winter camouflage is particularly straightforward and has the advantage of having some really colourful insignia, with lots of bright red markings and details in many cases.

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Wings at War 2024

Something new, or...

..time to dust this one off?

..or perhaps do this?

I'm off work at the moment with severe hearing loss, which pretty is unpleasant but also quite tedious, as I'm suffering from fatigue due to lack of sleep. It's given me some time to think about next year's projects, one of which will be a Wings at War thing, to add to the unfinished ones I already have, no doubt. At the moment, this is a toss up between Wings over Suez or Thud Ridge, with a possible third option being a 'do it yourself' Wings Above Angola adaptation of Flames Above the Falklands. The recent addition of the F101 Voodoo to the Tumbling Dice range is pushing me towards Vietnam, however, for which I've already done some preliminary sketching and the obligatory purchasing of lead. Whichever I choose it will be good to have a new project on the schedule.

Monday 27 November 2023

Bag the Hun New Hex Mat

Still rolled up...can't use it until Xmas!

The Xmas present arrived early over the weekend, a new mouse mat material hex mat from Deep Cut Studios for Bag the Hun. This is designed for Battletech but the hex pattern is 1.25" so ideal for 1/600th scale air wargaming with 30mm hex stands. The finish is fairly generic rough grassland which makes it ideal for both Khalkhin Gol and Northern Russia or Finland in the summer, as well as many other settings. It wasn't cheap but for a high quality, versatile mat it's well worth it.

Sunday 26 November 2023

New Tumbling Dice Cold War US Aircraft

As promised, Paul at Tumbling Dice has filled some gaps in the Cold War US range with some really useful new models. The Voodoo has been a missing link for Vietnam games, especially Thud Ridge, so is a very welcome addition, as well as being a really cool aircraft. For me, the Neptune is also an excellent new model, as it can be used for the Black Bat RoCAF CIA backed intruder flights, while the Orion can be used in the maritime patrol role for numerous nations, most obviously my Chileans. Nice!

Saturday 25 November 2023

Knights of the Sky 1918

That didn't go so well....


There's a late 1918 game of Knights of the Sky at the club next week, which I'm planning to attend if I'm not feeling unwell. The last one of these I ran was a walkover for the newly minted RAF, but this game isn't being umpired by yours truly, so anything could and probably will happen. I'll bring along my DH9a or a Brisfit for the RAF, together with a Fokker DVII for the Germans and a Spad XIII for the French, just to give me some options. Tally Ho!

HMS Furious

I have a nice Navwar model of HMS Furious and the deck decal to go with it from Flightdeckdecals, so thought I'd add it to the workbench. The only problem was working out the paint scheme for the Norwegian Campaign, but Dan Write and Mal Wright kindly stepped in to help and I now have the information I need, including Mal's fantastic profile and plan. Time to get cracking!

Thursday 23 November 2023

Davco Royal Navy Battlepack


I'm on a bit of an unexpected roll with the 1/3000th scale WWII naval thing, which has resulted in one of those 'I really need that' moments, namely a Davco early war Royal Navy battle pack. This one ticks quite a lot of boxes and includes HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales for the Denmark Straits, which is a good enough excuse for me. It's all in a good cause and will no doubt lead to a full-on painting project in 2024, time being a little short to start on anything this side of Xmas. 

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Exeter, Ajax and Achilles

Now that I have the Graf Spee painted and ready for action it seemed like a good idea to continue with the three warships required for a Battle of the River Plate game. Here we have the three cruisers in question - HMS Exeter, HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles - all the old Davco castings but still not too bad despite their vintage. It won't take long to get these painted and based I think.

Early War Kriegsmarine Flightdeckdecals

I finished the Prinz Eugen and Graf Spee this morning with air recognition ensigns from Flightdeckdecals , so thought I might as well do the same on my other capital ships and heavy cruisers. These are very high quality decals and, with a little trimming, work very well as deck markings in 1/3000th scale. Highly recommended.

Gallic Battlewagons


The three extra modernised Courbet class dreadnoughts for La Royale are now finished, so I can add them to the pair I already have, ready to take on the Italians, Germans or British as and when. I'm quite pleased with these as I think I managed the paint match with the previous models fairly well. I now really need to add some extras to the Italian fleet or even paint up the early war Royal Navy stuff I have prepared.

Monday 20 November 2023

Sinker Saves the Day Again?


I was tidying up some Bag the Hun files today when I found the Sinker Saves the Day scenario that I wrote for Come and Have a Go if you think your Lard Enough a couple of years ago. It struck me that, with few subtle tweaks and some edits to the card deck, it would work well as an extra scenario for the Lard Mag. A few nips and tucks later and I've sent it off to Nick Skinner to see if it might be useful. There's no guarantee that he'll use it but at least it's there if he needs a gap filler.

Sunday 19 November 2023

Thumping Onwards

I've had a thumping head all day, thanks to the tinnitus, so haven't done very much on the 1/3000th scale ships, although they are getting a bit closer to the slipway. The detailing has been done and they now need a bit of tidying up before I can varnish them. I also need to sort out the bases, which might be a bit tricky as I can't remember how I did them for the French fleet, my painting notes letting me down this time round.

Saturday 18 November 2023

Chugging Along

It's been slow progress with the 1/3000th scale ships today, as I'm not feeling great and time is short. The decks have been blocked in over a base coat but that's about it, but better than nothing at all. A bit of a problem has popped up, however, as I can't remember the paint recipe for the bases on the French models, which is different from the approach I now take, as you can see. I'll have to do some mixing to see if I can match it up.

Friday 17 November 2023

1/3000th Scale Loose Ends

Prinz Eugen and Graf Spee
Bretagne, Provence, Courbet and Paris

I'm suffering from a really nasty bout of tinnitus at the moment, which is like having an industrial tumble dryer on at full blast inside your head, so painting things has been on hold for the last week or two. However, to take my mind off the constant humming noise, I thought I'd try to finish some odds and sods in the 1/3000th Second World War naval bits box, so here we have three modernised dreadnoughts for the French, Paris, Courbet and Provence, together with the Graf Spee and Prinz Eugen for the early war Kriegsmarine. Nothing too complicated or fiddly but all useful extras for my French and German fleets.

Thursday 16 November 2023

Hex Bases 1/600th


The new hex mat I'm getting for Xmas has 1.25" hexes so I'm going to need some bespoke hex bases to use with my 1/600th scale aircraft. These 30mm laser cut hex based are ideal in terms of size but the sides are too small to fit my usual Warbases double dice frames. Instead, I'm going to use dice frames from Pendraken, which are thinner and fit without any overhang. As an experiment I ordered some smaller 5mm dice frames to see what they looked like and, to be honest, I think I prefer them to the 7mm option, which has been my dice size of choice for years. I think 5mm dice look better with 1/600th scale models for starters. What do you reckon?



The Navwar range is currently in a bit of a hiatus due to the owner having a serious back problem and not being able to do any casting. While I hope he gets better it may well be a warning sign that the Navwar 1/3000th scale models might not be available at some point in the not too distant future. As it is, you have to provide substitute suggestions with any order in case the casting you want is out of production. 

Just in case, I've put in an order for two interwar South American fleets, one Brazilian and one Argentinian, as no one else makes the models for this, together with some top up odds and ends for my early war French and German forces. I really hope these won't be the last Navwar orders that I get to make and that the owner gets better soon. 

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Bag the Bogeys!

The custom bogey counters I ordered from Warbases arrived today and I'm very pleased with them, both the South African and Italian versions. These are transparent acrylic and are available in a variety of colours as well as in opaque format, so perfect for Bag the Hun. I'll try them out as soon as I can find the time and when I'm not feeling so rubbish. I'm now thinking of ordering some for the  Arctic Eagles project, specifically for the Luftwaffe, with JG5 engraved on a black background.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Arctic Eagles


I've been off work for a few days lately and have been struggling with chronic hearing loss due to a long term medical problem. This means I get very fatigued and also suffer from bouts of vertigo, which aren't much fun. It has given me some time to think about next year's projects though, one of which will be Arctic Eagles for Bag the Hun and possibly for Wings at War. There's potential here for a lot of really interesting scenarios and I'm going to use 1/600th scale Tumbling Dice aircraft. It's looking like a really exciting project and possibly a campaign based on the Finest Day system, modified to fit and with both Soviet and Luftwaffe options.

Monday 13 November 2023

Bag the Blenheims Club Taster Game


After the play test game at the club the other week I thought it would be good to offer a Bag the Hun taster game for some of the recent club members who haven't played it before. To keep this simple, I'm going to re-run the Malta scenario that I devised for the first Come and Have a Go If You Think You're Lard Enough event, which is itself adapted from an earlier scenario published as Special Delivery in one of the Lard Mags. This is ready to go but I thought I'd work up some new squadron record sheets to keep everything in one place, instead of having loads of individual aircraft record cards. These were quickly adapted from some I already designed for the Battle of Britain but tailored specifically for the units in the Malta scenario. I may even laminate them so they can be re-used. Tally Ho!

Sunday 12 November 2023

Nimitz French Data Cards


I spent an hour or so this morning printing, cutting out and laminating the data cards for my 1/3000th scale French early war fleet. These data cards are downloads from the Nimitz page on the Honour rules website and very nice they are too, especially as they are not generic but specifically designed for each ship, often in more than one phase of service. The plan is to use a white board marker with these or possible some plastic square tokens to track damage. I just need to work out 100 points worth of ships for the game on Tuesday and read through the rules so I have some idea what's going on!

MiG Alley Coastal Terrain


I was thinking of running a game or two of MiG Alley at the club when I realised that I don't really have everything I need. I have plenty of aircraft, ground targets, rules booklets and so on, but I never got round to finishing to the terrain. This requires a four foot length of sea down one side of the table and about four and a half feet of river across the length. I have 48" of river, so just about enough if I use a slightly shorter table area, but nothing for the sea. 

To fix this, I've found some A3 sheets of 3mm MDF that I can place side to side to form the Yellow Sea coastline and which will fit with my river sections. The A3 sheets are slightly less than 40cm long and about 30cm wide but otherwise ideal for the task. I just need to model the coastline using some PVA and basing sand, then spray paint and varnish them to avoid any warping. 

Saturday 11 November 2023

Napoleonic Naval Reboot


Big Ships

Little Ships

I've not been very well lately but I have sorted out the painting plan for the Napoleonic naval project today. I'm going to tackle the small stuff first - frigates, sloops, brigs and cutters - leaving the ships of the line until later on. The plan is to get them painted first so that I can have a go at some frigate actions using Nick's rules. I'll get started tomorrow.

Hex Mat Upgrade


My twenty year old Hotz Mats blue felt hex cloth is getting a bit long in the tooth and I've been looking for a new one to replace it. The ideal solution would be one that I can use for both Khalkhin Gol and Arctic Eagles Bag the Hun scenarios, as well as other similar things in 1/600th scale, so this one from Deep Cut Studios looks promising. It's designed for Battletech so has a 1.25" hex pattern printed over a grassland image that's scaled for 6mm miniatures. I can scratch build 30mm hex bases that will work with this size hex pattern, so this looks like an ideal option. I'll just have to save up my pocket money or put it on my Xmas list!



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