Sunday 31 August 2014

The RAF response "Build more Hurricanes, and quickly"

I I decided to embark on the "parallel production principle" (see below):

On the basis that once you have done a successful prototype, mass production should follow. Wings and undercarriage fixed (see below):

Tail planes fixed and they are ready to rumble (see below):

The finished product means the RAF have two flights of Hurricanes. Next up on the assembly line are five Spitfire Mk II's.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Ship Building WIP (Large 1:1 Scale) Queen Elizabeth CV

While on holiday in Scotland recently I passed through Edinburgh crossing the road bridge going north. Admiring the scenery and rather lost in thoughts of Beatty's battle-cruisers the 5th Battle Squadron at Jutland I almost swerved when I saw a strange naval grey shape off to my left. I trailed the family down to Rosyth, they couldn't quite understand my excitement and errant sense of direction. There is something quite magical when "daddy" gets fixated on something, the family give each other curious looks trying to understand "what's got into him. I was determined to get a closer look, but to my disappointment I could not get a good view. Two helpful BAE Systems people told me that you got a much better view from across the river, so I set myself an expedition for the following day (see below):

Can you see what it is? Nothing more than the almost completed CV "HMS Queen Elizabeth". I sat there watching her with my oldest son, eating our McDonald's quite transfixed thinking I should continue my 1/3000 RN naval collection through to the modern post 1945 period.

A project for 2015 perhaps

Wednesday 27 August 2014

More Revell 1/144 Aircraft (Lufwaffe: Battle of Britain)

Battle of Britain era, Me 109's and a Stuka (see below):

I now have my Me 109 "swarms" (8 planes) and a Stuka flight (4 planes). Time to scramble some RAF fighter production now, some Hurricane Mk I's next up on the assembly line.

Tuesday 26 August 2014

More Revell 1/144 Aircraft (Pacific War/Battle of Britain)

While "in the zone" of putting together 1/144 aircraft, I finished off my single-engined (Pacific War) American planes and started on the backlog of Battle of Britain aircraft (see below):

I know they will come in useful one day! I am still lacking in Japanese opposition (I have two Zero's) but am waiting for the Revell kits to hit the shops in my area. I reckon six in total would be a nice force. Meanwhile I will try and build up the US force to flights of three.

The Battle of Britain forces stand at 8 x Me 109's, 3 x Me 110's, 6 x Mk I Hurricanes and 6 Mk II Spitfire's. It is just a case of making them up and painting them.

Monday 25 August 2014

Best Ever 1/76 British Infantry - Matchbox/Revell (re-release)

Small holiday purchase!

They may not look much from this picture but I am truly excited. I never had these as a kid and always wondered what they looked like compared to my Airfix figures. As a blog watcher I have been 'teased' by Paul and Al from ANZAC-land from their extensive use of them in their Command Decision OrBat basing. Now turning them over in my hand I immediately want to expand and cover the whole re-release range irrespective of nationality  (I already have the British Commando pack). They are that "good" (see below):  

Still to get, WWII: Japanese, ANZAC, American, 8th Army, Afrka Korp, German.  Modern: British Falklands Paratroopers.

How did Matchbox get it so right so long ago? The figures themselves have a great range of command figures (four different poses) and decent proportion of rifles, Stens, Brens and Vickers HMG. It even had a mortar fro Christ sake! The only qualm I had was the inclusion of a Bazooka instead of PIAT. The figures are small, but in true dimension to the Matchbox AFV range. You could get a wargaming formation (battalion or platoon depending on the rules you use) out of one box!

Sunday 24 August 2014

Books from the Holiday

Extended Holiday News: 

During my tour of Norfolk I managed to spy out a decent second hand bookshop and obtain a few 'bargains' at the princely price of £1 each (see below):

  • Rommel Battles and Campaigns (Kenneth Macksey)
  • Guderian Panzer General (Kenneth Macksey) 
  • The Philadelphia Experiment 
  • The Smokescreen of Jutland (John Irving, one that I had seen and tried to get hold of before)
  • Part 14 of an Aircraft Encylopedia (of specific interest to the Pacific War)
I could easily have picked up a few more but sadly I had pragmatic holiday-car space considerations (couldn't leave the wife and kids behind). The only downside to these purchases is that I am operating a "one in means one out" book policy. I negotiated the exit of some 'lighter weight' non-Wargaming books.

Saturday 23 August 2014

The Blue and the Grey

Rummaging about in the loft for me invariably involves moving boxes about and then this usually means opening them up out of curiosity to find out why they were so annoyingly heavy in the first place. Then yes, I get completely distracted by the contents until a querying voice from downstairs inquires what I am doing.

In the most recent foray I discovered my long lost ACW 20mm collection of Revell plastics purchased in about 1992. I acquired quite a lot of these as a model shop was selling off a lot of fire damaged stock (the unopened boxes were sooty). Approximately 20 boxes were purchased all told, 10 Union and 10 Confederate infantry, which roughly gave me 500 troops a piece.They seemed a bargain bumper at the time but alas for the majority of the soldiers the best I did was to get as far as basing them according to a rule set entitled "Stars and Bars". I still have these rules, but no I have not read or played them once in over 20 years of ownership. My ACW outings were always 15mm Fire and Fury (F&F) based and I could not summon up the stamina to consider re-basing the 20mm (and I seemed to be the only one who dared consider using this cake for ACW).

However in 2014 they (potentially) have 'come of age' and have hit the painting tray (see below, for my Conferates):

A relatively few stands (about here dozen), three figures on each, were painted to my "one-colour does it" mid 1990's uninspiring standard. (The three colour technique of  shade, base and highlight was unknown to me then). All told I have two dozen "base primed" Confederates stands (72 figures) and about a dozen Union stands (36 figures). In addition to the basic troops I also acquired Revell's "artillery" and "cavalry" but more of them in later posts. I think these Revell figures can be purchased from IMEX now.

I decided then and there in the loft that they deserved a better fate. Given a recent purchase of a "Vallejo brown dipping wash" I decided to use these troops to experiment on. As the figures were already based on long strips I could not do the full dunk, but more of a heavy uncaring large brush "wash". I decided to "wash them twice" for good measure and highlight, gloss varnish and then matte varnish. The six stands that were just at the undercoat black stage received a PVA gunking to strengthen them (I didn't fancy doing that on the painted ones).

To be continued ...

Friday 22 August 2014

The Alpha and the Omega of Phil Barker

Having quite recently finished "my first complete run through" of Phil Barker's DBMM new (2010) rule-set (I say first, as I know there will have to be many potentially painful passes before I really get to grips with it), I unexpectedly came across his original Airfix Guide to Ancient Wargaming (1975) book when I was rummaging around in my cluttered garage.

The 1975 book endorsed the WRG (4th Edition) rules. I took the slim,  purple aside over the next few nights and I found it quite informing, stimulating and refreshing, hankering back to an era of fruitful experimentation and "make-do with models and rules". The butchers knife coming out to assemble in a Frankenstein manner new troop types from various boxes of mixed Airfix figures. In reading his chapter on tactics I saw that I have the uncanny knack or is it ability ability to commit every wargame sin under the sun as per one of his diagrams "Ho hum!" (see below):

Reading through DBMM v2, the spirit of the original tome (promoting WRG 4th ed, and I must confess to have never actually played the WRG Ancients rule sets, although I seem to have picked up battered copies out of "collectors interest") still seemed in keeping with his latest. The same refreshingly (to me at least) anti-competition style gaming and more praise for the historical aka Society of he Ancients.

Good reads, both of them, I hope I can get a few more DBMM games this year.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

WW2 US 1/144 aircraft production line

While I was on holiday I settled down to an industrialized production line of US 1/144 aircraft (as well as the 28mm Sparabara). A collection of US Pacific aircraft (see below):

  • Hellcat
  • Aircobra
  • Corsair
  • Warhawk

Cheap and tantalizing enough these Revell mini-kits are perfect to build up into formations of flights of three. Revell also do the Japanese opposition but I have not seen hem in the shops yet.

I will have to did out my "Battle of Britain" Spitfires, Hurricanes, Stukas and Me109s from the sam erange, I remember a bit of a bulk buy I made last year still residing up in the loft

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Persian 28mm Spara Bara

Danger! Danger! Threat of "scale duplication" and a "shiny project" appearing from out of NOWHERE!

Literally "given to me as a present" as the leftover 'spares' from a small Impetus Army from "another wargamer" (with a cunning 'evil master plan' to get me hooked) these SparaBara are a tempting lure to get me disinterested in my 15mm metal Ancients collection and start 'scale spanning' into 25mm plastics.

Naturally I am treating it as a pure academic painting exercise. We will see how long before my resistance breaks and I start planning an "order of battle" (see below):

I took them on a recent family holiday to Norfolk, my night times were pleasantly passed comsuming a nice cold lager or brandy and lemonade, while assembling the Sparabara (see below):

Enough for two units of twelve figures each in Impetus or five double based and a single base in DBMM ;)

The good thing that I like about Impetus armies in 28mm is that it allows each unit to be a diorama exercise in its own right and if far less figure intensive than a DBM or DBMM equivalent army.

So there I have my dilemma, go the scenic Impetus route or the more standard and pragmatic DBMM 

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Renaissance Elizabethan Campaign Board Game: Tutorial Testing

Next up, wargaming , the Renaissance period, Elizabethan style courtesy of GMT games and The Virgin Queen (see below):

DBR is the designated rule-set, I sense many battles between the Turks, Spain and England. 

Monday 4 August 2014

Lest we forget ...


Holiday Haul

My holiday trip to Edinburgh came up trumps on the model front (see below):
  • 1/700 USS Fletcher from Revell
  • Micro Wings US Pacific Planes
  • Valiant British 6 pdr AT gun 

The Valiant kit is nice to go alongside my Valiant British Infantry, plus the option (via their web-site instructions) to make the airborne variant. The 1/144 planes are an easy assemble item and likewise with a bit of care the USS Fletcher comes up as a nice basic kit (see below):

The cream of the crop however was a late addition, the new Airfix Airborne Jeep, including pack 75mm howitzer (see below):

Even better, it has a few extra parts (not in the instructions) which allow the "Airborne Reece Jeep" with a dual Lewis gun mount to be assembled! I cannot for the life of me figure out why this did not make it to the instruction pages! Perhaps it may be missing a little ad-hoc armoured cowling but it is an brilliant addition begging an Arnhem scenario! The US 50 cal and 30 cal HMG/MMG mountings are also nice items that won't stay in the spares box forever ;)

So good in fact I think I will need another ;)

Saturday 2 August 2014

DBMM: The Die is cast

Following my recent DBMM AAR postings, with clear head and happy heart I can make the following announcement (to myself) ...

After countless sleepless nights lost in deep, deep thought (or should I say months/years stemming back to my first encounter with DBA in 1994) about the "DBx family of rules" I have come to a monumental, nay strategic decision. Well monumental for me at least and strategic because it means no rebasing but still allowing maximum enjoyment in the ancient period of the Wargaming hobby ;)

DBMM (version 2) is  now my official poison of choice. (With the caveat that the figures based for these rules can still be used "with the aid of sabots" for Impetus)

So DBM is dead for me but in all honesty has been for some time (the phrase cutting my losses seems apt here). It was only ever a competition orientated system (IMHO) and evolved slowly into a Byzantine geometry form of participation art rather than a vehicle for historical gaming.

DBA was and still is a seductive alternative (or rather was) but the pragmatics of both learning two 'similar but different' rule systems and remembering the rule differences when playing is just self-defeating. It also has the famous "rule of twelve" that artificially gives battles of "even sized" armies. The smaller DBMM 100, DBMM 200 allows an army to slowly grow in size :)

Please note the above is just a personal choice ;)