Sunday, 2 October 2022

Into the Blue


I decided to experiment with a different shade of blue for my pre-dreadnought base coat today, having almost run out of the Foundry Union Blue that I've used up to date. This has been problematic as it has got progressively darker over time for some reason, not matching my sea cloth as well as I'd like. Instead, I'm trying out Vallejo Prussian Blue as a basecoat, with the plan being to wash and drybrush over the top, once the models have been painted. It's not quite a match now but I'm hoping it will work out OK but, if not, I can always go back to my tried and tested method.

Corsairs and Cavaliers Air Strike


I tried out the mission cards again today, this time for a game of Corsairs and Cavaliers, with the card draw being narrowed down to a patrol and a ground attack sortie for both sides, picking two rather than three missions from the deck due to the small size of the table. The game was fast and exciting, with the two patrols dogfighting at Level 3 while the fighter bombers got on with their respective missions at low level, the Hondurans hitting a bridge and the Salvadorans a truck convoy. I was hoping to try out the ground attack strafing rules during the game, so selected two cards that might give me an opportunity to have a go,

In the end, the Hondurans managed to shoot down a Mustang, as well as scoring two hits on the bridge knocking it down. The Salvadorans had one Corsair shot down by AAA on the attack run and failed to hit their target at all, but one of the Honduran Corsairs was shot down by a Mustang. The Hondurans achieved one mission objective, but the Salvadorans failed to achieve either of theirs. The game ended when the Hondurans achieved their Victory Target of 4 points, which was boosted to 7 points by their 1D3+1 roll for mission accomplished, while the Salvadoran scored a measly 1 point. 

Good fun!

Saturday, 1 October 2022

New Month, New Project


Here's the 1/2400th scale Chilean pre-dreadnought squadron that I'll be using as a painting exercise over the next couple of weeks, hopefully finding the best approach to both the models and the sea bases, which I've textured with acrylic paste. I have been pondering the first step already, trying to decide between a black, white or primer grey undercoat, which will have an immediate impact on the way I'm going to tackle the subsequent blocking in, washing and highlighting. Ho hum.

MiG Alley USMC Search and Rescue

I played a game of MiG Alley first thing this morning, using the mission cards to set up a scenario involving three sections of USMC F4U Corsairs escorting an H-51 SAR helicopter to rescue a downed pilot on the banks of the Yalu, while two flights of NKAF MiG-15's tried to stop them. This was a random mission set up, using the mission card draw system but ended up being a valid tactical scenario, the escorting Corsairs having to patrol for three turns, while the MiG's had to patrol for six and three turns respectively, South and North of the river. In the usual Victory Target and Victory Points system the North Koreans would need to shoot down four F4U's, while the USMC would have found it difficult to do so, needing to shoot down three of the MiG-15's, a tough task for piston engine fighters. With the cards and the modified objectives, however, either side could come out on top.

The game started with the USMC Corsairs and the SAR helo flying on and heading straight for the downed aircrew marker. The MiG-15 section tasked with patrolling North of the Yalu, decided to just fly up and down at Level 4 for three turns to achieve their mission objective, so played no part in the interception, which was left to the other NKAF MiG unit, which headed South to cut off the Corsairs. Two of the three flights of Corsairs moved to head them off, while the other flight stuck with the helo in case the MiG's attacked. The helo reached the downed pilot's position, but then rolled a one and was shot down, so the first VP's went to the Communists by default. 

In the meantime, the Corsairs and MiG's clashed, with the NKAF pilots fluffing their attack rolls twice and ending up with low ammo. One of the USMC pilots got in a cheeky snapshot and took down a MiG, by which time their patrol had been completed and it was time to bug out. The MiG patrol to the North of the Yalu had also completed their mission so decided to just fly along, while the remaining three MiG's tackled the fleeing USMC Corsairs, two of which made a quick exit back to the carrier via the table edge. The other four Corsairs scrambled to get away but managed to bounce and shoot down a second MiG-15 on the way out.

In the end, the NKAF scored 1VP for shooting down the SAR helo with AAA, plus another 2 VP's for completing the patrol mission, rolling a 2+1 on the D3. The USMC shot down two MiG's for a total of 4 VP's, the MiG's counting as double points, plus 2 VP's for their patrol mission, having rolled 1+1 on the D3. This handed the game to the Marine Corps despite having lost the SAR helo, with an impressive victory over the jet fighters of the North Korean People's Air Force. Despite playing on a small 3' x 4' kitchen table and having reduced the card hand to three cards with two missions, I am happy that the mission card system seems to work well, making what would have been an unwinnable game into an enjoyable one with plenty of action.

(many apologies for the crappy photos from my even more crappy North Korean mobile phone)

Friday, 30 September 2022

MiG Alley Weekend Missions


This weekend I'm hoping to have some family free time to play a couple of games of MiG Alley, using the mission cards that I created earlier this week. The plan is to set up a couple of solo scenarios using a modified version of the card deck system, to see how it works and then make any tweaks required. If I get the time, I will also have a crack at the same exercise using the cards I have produced for Corsairs and Cavaliers, with the added bonus that I can check out the revised rules for ground attack and strafing. 

Thursday, 29 September 2022

US Pre-dreadnought Squadron 1890's

USS Charleston

Inspired by the real-life Baltimore Incident and by a couple of 'What If?' scenarios in the excellent Monroe's Legacy, the other half of my pre-dreadnought project is a small US cruiser squadron, initially consisting of the protected cruiser USS Baltimore and USS Charleston, accompanied by the gunboats USS Yorktown and USS Bennington. When these have been painted the squadron will be reinforced by the earlier protected cruisers USS Newark, USS Atlanta and USS Boston, with the battleship USS Maine possibly being added as a bit of additional firepower. There really is a lot of potential here for some exciting counterfactual games, based on the premise that the US and Chile come to blows, with the Royal Navy possibly stepping in as a big stick to sort out the kerfuffle!

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Chilean Pre-dreadnought Squadron 1890's


I'm making an early start to next month's naval project, the Chilean Civil War and 'What If?' naval arms race, with the small but powerful Chilean pre-dreadnought fleet. This consists of the armoured cruiser O'Higgins, the protected cruiser Ministro Zenteno and the protected cruiser Esmeralda, the latter strictly speaking a bit of a stretch, as she was sold to Japan to become the Izumo in 1894. The scouting force for the squadron consists of the two torpedo gunboats Almirante Lynch and Almirante Condell. The squadron will also be backed up by the pre-dreadnought battleship Capitan Prat, once the model is available from Tumbling Dice, with a collier and a couple of supply ships tagging along for logistical support. I'm aiming to base up and undercoat all of these by the end of the week, given a chance.

Muddying the Waters


I scratch built and converted these 1/2400th scale ACW river gunboats, rams and ironclads last year, but screwed up the colour of the bases. I, for some inexplicable reason, chose a shade of brown that looked more like the Mekong than the Mississippi, so they've been relegated to a storage box waiting for a repaint since then. On a whim today, I dug them out and quickly repainted the bases in Flames of War Flat Earth, followed by a GW Agrax Earthshade wash and a varnish. I think they much look better now and more like the appearance I was originally aiming for, so that was a couple of hours we'll spent. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Dawn of Iron War of the Pacific

I found the time to get all the cards, tokens and templates for Dawn of Iron cut out and organised this afternoon, so I'm ready to have a go at the War of the Pacific scenarios. It's a case of better late than never, so I'm hoping it will be worthwhile. The components do look good and are very well produced, even if I'm not a fan of games with lots of bits and bobs. I'll have a crack at the first solo scenario, the Battle of Chipana, which I've played before using a Dahlgren and Columbiad scenario I wrote myself, so it will be interesting to compare the results.

Hurricane Bagging over Tobruk

Due to various reasons the Wings at War FB project to devise a set of rules for North Africa, seems to have fallen flat, so I've been thinking of redirecting my own efforts towards a Bag the Hun scenario project. The plan would be to write another article and set of scenarios for the Lard Magazine, this time focussed on  Tobruk in mid to late 1941. 

It's a bit late to start this now, but it would be a good project for 2023, especially as my plan to do something similar for the Franco Thai War never really got off the ground due to a lack of research sources. It also had much less scope for scenario development than Tobruk, which has loads of potential. 

A bit of background reading for Tobruk is now on the cards, luckily for me as I have some excellent material already on the bookshelves. I also ordered a pack of RAF aircraft for Tobruk from Tumbling Dice, so at least they will get used for some playtesting once I've drafted some scenarios. Tally Ho! 


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