Thursday 30 May 2024

Painter's Block...

Despite the half term holiday week of extra time, I've hit square bang, front and centre that perennial wargamers afliction, the dreaded painters block. I've tried to sit down at the workbench to get stuff shifted but just can't seem to focus and end up wandering off to walk the dog or cook a curry, anything rather than pick up a brush and get painting. I need to shift myself past this obstacle, so will be taking a few days off to recharge my painting mojo.


One of the (few) advantages of living in a fairly affluent, middle class town, with a lot of well educated professionals and quite a large elderly population, is that the local charity shops are full of very good second hand but immaculate hardback books. I often pop into the one at my local shops and yesterday found a copy of this for £2.99. It's had very good reviews but I have been disappointed by some of the author's earlier books, so I'll reserve judgment until I've read it. Either way, it's a fascinating subject and he does write well, so another one for the summer holidays.

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Fire in the Sky First USAAF Squadron

I'm kicking off my summer project next month with an initial squadron of P47B 'Razorback' Thunderbolts, from the excellent Tumbling Dice 1/600th scale Vapour Trails range. The idea is to use these as a template for the rest of the USAAF squadrons for paint shades. I've also knocked together a new painting jig for the purpose while I was sorting out the models. In the meantime, I'll be getting on with the Napoleonic naval painting, which I've had to neglect for a few days due to the dreaded DIY jobs I've been lumped with over the half term holiday. 

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Knights of the Sky Bomb Run Game

An enjoyable but very crowded game of Knights of the Sky at the club this evening, with a massive pile on by the Germans to shoot down an HP 100 RAF bomber before it could drop its payload on a rail yard. I was flying my Bristol Fighter as escort and managed to score a few hits on a couple of enemy machines, although not to any decisive effect. All a bit too messy but good fun nonetheless.

Knights of the Sky 1918 Club Game

There's a Knights of the Sky WW1 multiplayer air game at the club tonight, so I've packed a good mix of late war types to give me some options, depending on which side I end up flying on. It's late 1918 so lots of very nippy and manoeuvrabke aircraft, most packing at least two machine guns. Tally Ho!

Monday 27 May 2024

Fire in the Sky Summer Project

I did a stock check of the 1/600th lead pile of aeronautical shame today, with Fire in the Sky in mind. The balance sheet rev.ealed that I have a very good starting point for a new Summer holiday project, so I've decided to bite the bullet and go for it. The downside is that I've had to wipe out any terrestrial wargaming projects for this year in order to make way for a second air wargaming one, with the remaining stuff being very much all at sea. 

Refurb Bag the Hun Bases

I lost my painting mojo a bit this weekend so, rather than get nothing done I've started on recycling some old DIY hex bases for Bag the Hun. These were a nice shade of sky blue but I'm refurbishing them to use with the green hex mat I got for my birthday. They're not ideal as they only have one dice frame but better than having to make a whole new lot of them and more environmentally friendly! The plan will be to use some of them for a quick solo game over Khlakin Gol at some point later in the week.

Sunday 26 May 2024

Fire in the Sky First Impressions

I downloaded a copy of Fire in the Sky yesterday, having watched the YouTube videos and some excellent games played on the Storm of Steel FB group pages:

I've been looking for something like this for years, a set of rules that uses formations rather than individual aircraft, very much like Bag the Hun but without the detail or buckets of dice, so I was encouraged by the things I've seen so far online.

On first impressions, this system looks really good for a number of reasons, specifically the use of formations, the swift resolution of movement and combat, and the clear focus on historical tactics. I like the multiple basing and use of a grid, as well as the way that aircraft types are given performance ratings that reflect their particular quirks. I also like the way that altitude is represented and reckon my tried and tested panel pin, MDF and magnet method of cheapo basing would work well and keep costs to a minimum.

On the downside, the number of models required is pretty hefty, with most of the scenarios and the campaign using upwards of three or four squadrons a side, as well as bomber formations of three squadrons. As each squadron can consist of up to three flights of four aircraft, each one would need two packs of Tumbling Dice models for starters. So even my crap maths makes a typical game total upwards of fifty to sixty models for the USAAF and perhaps forty or so for the Luftwaffe. That's an awful lot of painting even if I already have quite a lot of the models in the 'I'll do that one day' box.

I need to give this some more thought but I do like the system and think it could be a new direction in which to take my air wargaming. I think it would also go down well as a club game, especially for those players for whom Bag the Hun is too restrictive and Wings at War too crunchy or confusing. It's also got potential for other theatres like the Pacific and the Battle of Britain, which I believe are planned by the author for later editions?

Mbote Defence Force Photo Op

I didn't have time to organise a game for INAK47WARD this year so instead here's the full Mbote Defence Force laid out for inspection. The Zbuto Army of the People will get a similar photo op at another time, once I get the chance to dig it out of its storage box. Long Live Mbote!

Arena of Blood Cards

I've printed, cut out and laminated the cards and tokens for Arena of Blood, ready to try out the rules when I get some time this weekend. It's an unusual system that records a gladiators attacks and defence using a card for each figure and tokens that are placed on top. I'm still not sure how this will play out in practice but it will be fun to give it a go.

Saturday 25 May 2024

AK47 Day Goodies

That first class chap Dex McHenry, organiser of the Sheffield International AK47 Wargaming Day event, knew that I couldn't attend so very kindly sent me a party pack of goodies from the day. What an absolute gentleman! Thanks Dex.

NEWSFLASH - MDF Coup ousts Mpongo (Reuters)

From our political correspondent in Mpongoville 

In a swift and well coordinated move, units of the Mbote Defence Force have occupied the capital, Mpongoville, and have deposed the incumbent President for Life of the Democratic People's Republic of Mbote, General Papi Mpongo. In the early hours, columns of MDF tanks and mobile infantry entered the city and quickly seized control of strategic objectives including the radio and TV station, the presidential palace, the people's assembly and the police headquarters. Latest reports indicate that General Mpongo has fled the capital under escort by a bodyguard of hired mercenary troops and may be heading in a convoy to the border crossing at Mpangwe. 

InAK47WarD 24

It's International AK47 Wargaming Day today and over the weekend of the bank holiday. I'm not able to play a game today, unfortunately, but I'm hoping to find some time to over the next few days to get something organised, if only as a solo game at home with a reduced table and forces. If you're running a game today, have a brilliant time!

Friday 24 May 2024

Burma Hardback Book Bargain

I went to town after work today, the first time for weeks as I've been really busy with all things tedious and just haven't had the time to spare. I popped into the local Oxfam bookshop and found this hardback, which looks really good and ideal as inspiration for Chain of Command in Burma, if I ever get round to it. I have been enjoying the after action reports of games between Alex Southeran and Dex McHenry, which are played out in 15mm, so have some food for thought to be chewing through over the holidays.

NEWSFLASH - Military Coup in Mbote (Reuters)

Colonel Ijek Taseet 

From our correspondent in Bjuba

Elements of the Mbote Defence Forces have declared a military take over of the government in the interest of security and political stability. The leader of the coup, Colonel Ijek Taseet, commander of the Mbote Air Force, has issued a press statement condemning the election announced by President Mpongo earlier this week as a plot by foreign powers to destabilise the country. It is unclear as yet if the coup has the full support of the  Mbote Defence Forces.

Thursday 23 May 2024

Air War Angola Reading

This is the latest addition to my reading list for the Air War Angola project, adding to the other books in the Helion Publishing Africa at War series. I'm going to dig into these over the half term holidays which should give me some ideas for a potential Wings Above Angola set of rules. 

NEWSFLASH - Mpongo announces snap election (MBC)

From our political correspondent in Mpongoville 

In a surprise announcement today, President for Life of the Peoples Democratic Republic of Mbote, Colonel Papi Mpongo, declared a general election will be held to form a new government, ending a long period of military rule in the country. 

His popularity boosted by a recent economic upturn, due to a bumper crop of mangos, the prime export commodity underpinning the Mbote economy, President Mpongo declared the time was right to return the nation to democratic rule by an elected government. 

President Mpongo's decision to call for elections will have raised concerns of a potential backlash by the Mbote Defence Force high command, which has dominated internal affairs and enforced control of the nation through martial law for many years.

Wednesday 22 May 2024

It's that time again...

It's International AK47 Wargaming Day this Saturday, with lots of games organised including a fantastic day of games organised by Dex McHenry up in sunny Sheffield. I wish I could be there but I'll be having a solo bash down here in the soggy South. Have a great day!

All Plain Sailing

A bit of an uphill slog but the sails have now all been painted in Vallejo Pale Sand, so I can now move on to the stern galleries, with a spot of highlighting and glazing. This is a bit fiddly but less arduous than the sails, so I'm hoping to bang on through it a bit faster. After that I'll almost be ready to do some final touching up and washing before painting the bases.

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Wings Above Angola

Now that Corsairs and Cavaliers is off to the printers and if (big if!) it turns out to be well received by the players, I'm considering an adaptation of Flames Above the Falklands for the Border War. This is very sketchy at the moment but I have some initial ideas, which can be worked up into something once I've done some research, as I'm not exactly clued up on the Angolan conflict. I set out some thoughts this time last year for this but, as usual, haven't done anything since:

Monday 20 May 2024

Spares and Repairs

After a sort out I have three of the Tumbling Dice ASN7 50 gun ships of the line that are surplus to requirements, having been bundled in with a couple of discount packs. Looking at the options, these could be used as obsolete Portland class warships, one of which I have already included in my current fleet line up, or as troopships for convoy duty. A third option would be to use them as floating batteries with top masts removed and anchor chains added, as deployed in various historical actions including the Battle of Copenhagen, for example?

Sunday 19 May 2024

Spanish Napoleonic Fleet

I spent a very enjoyable half an hour this afternoon sorting out the models to be painted for a Spanish Napoleonic fleet as part of the ongoing naval project. These are the next thing to do, having decided to leave the American squadron to one side for the moment, as you can't really do an Age of Sail project without the Spanish turning up at some point. I can add more to this as required for specific scenarios but this is a good start for the Spanish c1800, with quite a few of the usual suspects included in the mix.

Sails Ahoy!

Some fair progress today with the remaining 2nd, 3rd and 4th rate ships of the line having their sails painted in Vallejo Pale Sand, with a couple of unrated ships tagging along for good measure. I now only have the frigates and a sloop to do before I can start on the stern gallery windows. It's getting there slowly but surely!

Saturday 18 May 2024

Corsairs and Cavaliers Print Run

Paul and the ever patient Glenys of Tumbling Dice are in the process of getting the Wings at War booklets printed, including the finalised version of Corsairs and Cavaliers. It's been a while since I started working on the rules adaptation and development but it's now off to the printers and should be available soon from the Tumbling Dice webshop thingy. I just hope it plays well, gives an enjoyable game and the that I don't get any of those 'rules lawyer' type niggles to sort out!

Friday 17 May 2024

Friday Far Eastern Excuursion

I have had a very long week at work but the good news is I've been re-employed for next term and I'm going back to part time as well, not to mention being allowed to finish a week early in July, so all good stuff!I  have celebrated by splashing out on the new CoC supplement for the Far East, which seems to have been very well received by the CoC community. 

I have to admit to never having played a game, despite my long winded efforts to get a platoon or two organised, so this is a bit of a stab in the dark. I've got a Japanese platoon assembled, based and part painted in 28mm, but that project ran out of oomph a few years ago. I may revive it or perhaps flog it on eBay while the Far East feeding frenzy is in full swing, switching instead to 15mm, for which I have a box full of Peter Pig and QRF models. 

I've been enjoying Alex and Dex's game reports over on the Storm of Steel Facebook page, which feature lots of 15mm figures, vehicles and terrain, so it might be an alternative to 28mm which takes me ages to paint. I'd can also use my Hexon terrain bits for 15mm games, so another bonus. Anyway, this will have to be a project for next year, when I'm hoping to have more time and energy for wargaming.

Wednesday 15 May 2024

USS Constellation

I've been reading up on the obscure but fascinating Quasi War of 1798 - 1801 and, in particular, the action fought between the heavy  frigate USS Constellation and the French 38 gun frigate L'Insurgente. This led me to dive in and assemble one of the Tumbling Dice ASN23 American heavy frigate models this afternoon after work. It's a lovely model but really enormous compared to the ASN10 38/40 gun frigate model that I'll use for the French Sémillante class frigate. Nonetheless, it'll look great painted up and will no doubt be a formidable opponent.


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