Wednesday 29 April 2020

Corona Virus Project 2d Completed: The Missing USN Midway Cruisers (CA, LC, LC-AA)

Ahead of the planned painting order the CA, CL and CL-AAs of the USN were dispatched across the painting tray. A whim of the painter, no more, no less, In the "murky" late night hours, well past midnight, they [the outstanding USN cruisers of TF 8, TF 16 and TF 17] were finished - huzzah (see below, admittedly not all sailing in the same direction which s rather worrying given the tight formation they are in):

In the better light of day they can be seen sailing (all in the same direction this time) on the Pacific Ocean (see below, I do like the slightly shiny look and feel to the Satin Gloss that "suits" the water and has a slight retro feel to it):

I know they are begging for some close-ups .. watch this space! Next: Back to the schedule and Corona Virus Project 2c and the Midway/Coral Sea USN Destroyers is up on eh painting blocks.

Sunday 26 April 2020

Roman Thoughts ...

Similar to Bob Cordery I am involved in an Epic WhatsApp Early Imperial Army Roman campaign based circa AD 15 against the Barbarian hoards. This caused me to seek inspiration to "fall into character" as Rufus the Roman. Into the bookshelves and model projects along with wargaming associated paraphernalia (see below, a Roman Army recruiting freebie and vital wargaming supplies of digestive biscuits): 

An old school project from my youngest child was quite an impressive find too (see below, they may look big but their actual size is about 5" by 2"):

An "old" friend (circa DBA version 2 but still can field a variation of DBA version 3) of 15mm toys (see below, the tortoise in the background looks quite epic - I still have to paint an opposition army of Gauls to fight them with):

Like the rest of the wargaming community I am the proud owner of an army of unfinished Warlord Games a 28mm plastic Early Imperial Romans (a Starter Pack plus various sprues that were "on sale" at various times from their online shop and metal specialists [cavalry and later supplemented with some later plastic from Victrix] - although I still need to add a Scorpion bolt thrower) and this time a meagre bunch of Britons and Gauls as enemies (see below, plenty of Corona Virus painting potential there):

The latter 28mm big boys I were intended to be used with the acquired Impetus II rules - although I mat sabot the troops into DBA/DBM/DBMM bases for purposes of utility. 

Saturday 25 April 2020

Corona Virus: Things you find in the back of cupboards - Long lost chess pieces

It is amazing what turns up when you have time on your hands to go rooting through the back of cupboards (Corona Virus post again). I am convinced these have been missing for a decade or more (see below, not the Isle of Lewis chess pieces but still a welcome find nevertheless):

Thankfully I also know where the board is!

Friday 24 April 2020

Corona Virus - Loose yourself in some books

There are always "books" ...

In the professional wargame category I have plenty of books to skim, read and re-read (see below, Sabin's [Lost Battles and Simulating War], GLB [Successful Professional Wargames], Dunnigan, Perla [The Art of Wargaming] are old classics long read, but I have plenty of other stuff with interesting idea in abundance, mainly it seems from the History of Wargaming Project):

Then there are the books from the historical category and there are plenty of them on the bookshelves (see below, the Pacific War is my current theme which ties in with the 1/3000 Navwar models, so this is a small section of my dusty books):

Or a general scientific interest (see below, Blink if a good lite-read):

Slightly heavier but packed full of thought provoking ideas (see below, I particularly like Newton's "apple" on the front cover):

And let's not forget the rules which I have bought and should have really read by now. This is a large category. Carrier and Tokyo Express are specifically solitaire games so ideal for the current circumstances(see blow, XTR Victory at Midway is a personal favourite of mine that I am playing via email to an independent umpire against an unseen third party):

Hopefully chances are by the time you read "one or more" book and played "one or more" games then the Corona Virus thing will have all blown over! Famous last words. Anything not done by the end of the lock-down needs seriously to be put on the "never happening" project shelf!

Thursday 23 April 2020

Games to play with the family and friends .. Codenames

A simple grid of words (see below, some you must get your partner [not necessarily in th ebiblical sense] to guess - others that must be avoided, how to switch onto their "mental wavelength"): 

Blood, sweat and coffee or alcohol! And an oft used slap to the head (see below, teh night is drawing late and the players are still playing):

Note: A great game for reunions to find out if your old friends have really changed that much!

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Goodbye Old Faithful Friend (Well it is actually a Brush)

This little chap served me well. It was always described as a 'fine detail brush' (an Italeri 000 to be exact) that served me well (I keep saying that) painting small kit, 10mm British and Italian Pendrakon infantry, as well as many a Fantasy figure before its crowning glory of the recent USN Pacific War flight decks in 1/3000. It had the ability to shed hairs with dignity so that in the end its brush designation was something like (00000) as it had but a "few delicate hairs" left - a bit like my head too (see below, the triangular grip was a good steady grab point too, nice - and it had a relatively long life consistently keeping its point, a big bonus for a brush methinks):

So, as we are in lock-down nipping out and getting a replacement is not so easy, so it is a case of pulling what I can from the hobby box in the mean time! It's last act my be a few "eyes" and fine markings on my Dungeon and Dragons figures ;)

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Corona Virus Project 2c and 2d (WIP): USN Destroyers and Midway Cruisers

Project 2c: Thirty "early war" US Destroyers (see below, I could not match "named destroyers" in teh battle [yet - that will have to wait for another order to Navwar], so I picked thirty "early war" destroyers to just "sub-in"):

Project 2d: The USN Midway Cruisers of Task Force 16 and Task Force 8 (see below, those already made in Task Force 17 and 16 are omitted) from the photograph:

Task Force 17: 

  • USS Astoria .. already done
  • USS Portland .. already done

Task Force 16:

  • USS New Orleans (CA) .. already done
  • USS  Minneapolis (CA) .. already done
  • USS Vincennes (CA)
  • USS Northampton (CA)
  • USS Pensacola (CA)
  • USS Atlanta (LC-AA)

Task Force 8:

  • USS Indianapolis (CA)
  • USS Louisville (CA)
  • USS Nashville (LC)
  • USS St Louis (LC)
  • USS Honolulu (LC)

Once Projects 2c and 2d are complete it will be time to look at the IJN. The Coral Sea will be a relatively small affair but .. the IJN Task Forces are pretty large. Especially if you include the Aleutian force!

Monday 20 April 2020

Corona Virus Project 2b: Coral Sea USN Cruisers

Coming next on the maritime theme, after the US CVs (as in the new capital ship of the Pacific Theatre) it is the ships charged with their "close" protection - AA and ship-to-ship gunnery. The first wave of which is the USN 8" CA (Heavy Cruisers). Thankfully they do not have the intricate deck markings associated with the CVs (see below, these had been lurking around in the deck for a good decade and their time has finally come): 

With the varnish still drying on their decks and the satin sea effect hopefully coning to fruition the Coral Sea Task Force 17 and Task Force 44 (US) cruisers are on show below:

  • USS Minneapolis 
  • USS New Orleans
  • USS Astoria
  • USS Chester
  • USS Portland

Task Force 44:

  • USS Chicago
  • RAN Australia (not shown)
  • RAN Hobart (not shown)

(see below, I am sure these CAs are secretly hoping they do not meet any IJN BB/BA opposition, as most of their's (US) is still resting at the bottle of Pearl Harbour):

Next up the DD escorts that provide the second ring of steel around the CVs.

Sunday 19 April 2020

Undaunted WWII France 1944 Normandy Combat System - Boardgame

This one definitely needs "time in the sun", or rather on the game table (see below, from the vaunted Osprey publisher no less):

I am especially interested in this as it seems very comparative scale in scale to Chain of Command platoon sized action. It also places emphasis on scouting and reconnaissance.

Coming next a North African variant:

Saturday 18 April 2020

Corona Virus Project #2: Completed - USS Wasp [CV7]

To my surprise the USS wasp [CV 7] was much less challenging as there was no extended flight deck lines or identification numeral (see below, she also has the look of an escort class carrier - I put it down to the treaty limitations and the USN being inventive with the tonnage allowance):

The mighty eight (or really seven CVs and a Seaplane Carrier) ready to face the might of the IJN (see below, only two would survive the war, USS Saratoga [CV3] and USS Enterprise [CV6] - note I also went back and made the numeral three slightly bigger to fit in with the rest of the fleet, all done with hand to eye approximation):

Bring on their cruiser and destroyer supports next (Corona Project #2a).

Friday 17 April 2020

Corona Virus Project #2: Battle Sisters - USS Yorktown [CV5], USS Enterprise [CV6] and USS Hornet [CV8]

Next comes the Midway carriers, that magic combination of capabilities that made them the perfect modern carriers for the USN to fight the Pacific War against Japan, just at the right time (see below, primed in their basic colours):

CV5 the USS Enterprise is first up on the painting stocks. By the time of painting the USS Enterprise I decided that the flight deck deserved some more "effects" such as arrester-wires and elevator markings (see below, seen here after taking a coat of Humbrol 'satin varnish' for the sea and wet sheen effect):

I liked the look so much I decided to go back and work through CV2 to CV4 (Lexington, Saratoga and Ranger) and fill in the details and change solid lines to dashes (see below, the revised USN CV fleet to date with my hand scribed deck-markings):

Another fly-by (see below, Enterprise [CV6], Wasp [CV7, a smaller type of Yorktown - due to treaty tonnage restrictions] and Hornet [CV8] at the end of the line, still in their base colours):

A furious night of painting ensued and USS Yorktown [CV5] is joined by the USS Enterprise [CV6] in a battle ready state (see below, I am starting to enjoy this crazy adventure):

USS Hornet [CV8] was next up for the deck marking treatment (see below, I think the "number 8" marking is particularly funky):

USS Hornet again (see below, I am so liking this!):

Now the sisters are ready for battle (see below, bring on Midway):

That just leaves the USS Wasp [CV7] to do for the complete US early war carrier fleet.

Thursday 16 April 2020

Pendrakon Miniatures and Warbases - Corona Virus response starting to make PPE for Care Homes, GPs Surgeries and Hospices

Utterly Brilliant and Beautiful: 

You have my Respect and Admiration:

And awe at what can be done:

And then don't forget that amazing 99 Year Old - Captain Tom Moore:

Ares .. you are still are such a .. "B@$£@&d!" .. of a figure

My love hate relationship with this figure continues ... as per many of my other WIP figures I decided to give "Ares" a subtle "Brown Wash" .. after all he had survived the rougher process of being Airfix Acrylic Primed ... what could go possibly wrong (see below, and the fickle "gods of modelling" answered my insolent question - this is not a wargaming tabletop figure!):

Foolish modelling mortal. "Ha. ha, haaar!" ... insane laughter drifts off into the distance! To be continued!

Wednesday 15 April 2020

The Vallejo 'Game Colour' - "Have you already got this one yet?"

There seem to hold a maximum of 48 (3 x16) different kinds of Vallejo Game Colour on offer (although I suspect white has been doubled up) in this local shop, note not a specialist Hobby Store, but I am glad that this chain (Boyes, UK) chose to carry this stuff at all, it is a noble service to gamers to find anything of use on the high Street. It looks like your standard display rack and I am pretty sure it is not the "full range" (a quick scan at the Game Colour catalogue reveals 155 colours). Great but my dilemma comes from the fact that I know (or rather think I know) that I don't have them all (yet). But which one am I missing (see below, the treasure chest of "Game Colour"): 

So I always came away thinking - "what did I miss, urgh". So (quite cleverly he says in "cunning plan" mode) I took a photo of the stand and thought I would cross-check when get home! Note to self: I was amazed at "the doubling/tripling up" I had managed to achieve with the "Model Colour" and was keen not to repeat with the "Game Colour"! 

Results to follow and obviously the Vallejo "Model Colour" expansion to this game will obviously come later!

Tuesday 14 April 2020

GW Ghouls .. Possibly useful to terrify adventurers with

I was actually pleased to pick these GW figures up (especially since they were a "last chance to buy before they get sent back to central store" - am I just a sucker for marketing or what?). Twenty ghouls for £25 is not bad for GW prices, as in cost per figure - their strange special "leader types" can literally go for that in a single figure [PS: And I don't buy those!]. To me these are just generic fantasy monsters (see below, assembled [and there were quite a few parts to each monster] and based waiting for some painting tray action, then a dungeon to inhabit):

As a D&D gamer I always hated facing ghouls; multiple attack creatures with a paralysis saving throw required after each hit. Fail one and you were ghoul-meat. I think I lost too many adventurers to these un-dead and don't get me on the subject of "level draining" un-dead monsters!

Monday 13 April 2020

Corona Virus Project #2: USS Ranger and USS Langley (CV4 and CV1)

USS Ranger was the first "designed" as an aircraft carrier ship for the USN - still experiment in many concepts - the funnel arrangement for one thing looks a frightening nightmare for any friendly aviator approaching her, but she did have a modern island bridge. She was deemed unsuitable for operations n the Pacific so spent her wartime career supporting European Theatre operations (see below, a rather large number "four" shows proud, a bit thicker than the one I put on the Saratoga, but that should not matter as they wouldn't be present in the same fleet operation):

Stepping back, I redid the USS Langley to be in keeping with the other ships (see below, but teh time WWII came around she had been converted to a sea-plane tender, so technically not a CV at all, but I am not going to quibble here):

The early war carriers together (to date I have done four out of the eight needed so I am halfway there). Originally I thought I would do these in an evening .. what a "foolish child" I was! The flight deck (surprise surprise causes all the grief .. I don't mind the "sea bases" now). Still I am pleased to get to this point (see below, an armada of US naval air power, this also means I an going to have to go back and look at the RN flight decks at some point .. I also want to upgrade my sea basing technique across the board): 

Note to Self: Still thinking about that big looking number "four" compared to the skinny number "three". Watch this space I might have to fiddle ;)

Sunday 12 April 2020

Corona Virus Project #2: Lex's Sister "Saratoga" - CV3

Following on from "Lady Lex", her sister "Saratoga" CV3, another 1922 converted battle-cruiser
design (see below, my hand painted flight-lines and "number three" will have to do for the moment):

Again using the Flight Deck Decals site for inspiration I took up a very fine paintbrush and tried my hand (please see link below for merchandise I hope to come back to [perhaps] in a post Corona Virus world as their shipping is disrupted to the UK/Europe at the moment):

To see if I had an acceptable match with the "sea basing" I put the USS Saratoga alongside her sister, the USS Lexington, plus two protective 'eligible bachelors' the modern battleships USS Washington and USS South Dakota (see below, a 'powerful package' or 'high value target of opportunity', depending on your point of view) :

Coming into land on the Saratoga (see below, a nice clear flight deck - something I might well change later as I found some 1/3000 Navwar US aircraft I can artistically add):

With the majority of the US Battleship stock resting at the bottom of Pearl Harbour it fell upon teh USN 8" cruiser fleet to protect the carriers (see below, these are the Task Force 17 cruisers that fault at the Coral Sea):

Task Force 17: This looks to be a nice little offshoot Corona Virus project in itself. I have "Lady Lex" and the USS Yorktown is coming after CV4 USS Ranger.

Footnote: Renko raised a verry interesting point in the comments .. Blue or Brown that is the question. A slight OMG have I done it wrong moment (I went Grey/Blue instead of Brown) but then it seems in 1941 the USN carriers went to a Deck Blue wash/stain by default on their carriers prior to seeing combat. So given the 'paint I had to hand (Vallejo 868 Dark Green Grey instead of 867 Deck Blue Grey) I may have to do a subtle "blue wash"on the carriers deck [Or touch up the flight deck with 867 when I 'eventually' get a pot of it] ;)

I go by the this excellent reference resource as the final word:

Saturday 11 April 2020

Corona Virus Project #2: Making out with "Lady Lex" - CV2

Mea culpa, after reading through the links from a previous post I found out that my hunch (of brown flight decks) was completely wrong (maybe I was thinking 18th and 19th century navies, rather than 20th century navies) and for the USN the Blue and Green Gray are beautiful. Out of the fifty shades of grey out the one I was looking for was :

Deck Blue Grey Vallejo Model Colour 867

Extremely useful was this Vallejo Colour Chart link:

Well guess what, despite what I thought was an extensive selection of Vallejo paints - this was one I was missing, but I had the next door cousin 868 Dark Sea Grey- so in these Corona Virus times of make do I used that instead. I was going to mix in a lighter shade anyhow so what the heck! (see below, my revised carrier flight decks, no more "wooden walls"):

I decided to take one example through to the end. I opted for CV2, the USS Lexington "The Lady Lex" and tried my hand at a little bit of shading to the deck and give her some "flight landing lines" (see below, my hand drawn lines will do for now, although there are some excellent decals from: - another casualty of the lock-down, just now as no air-mail)

A hypothetical shot of "Lady Lex" being escorted to the ball (see below, two previous 1/3000 scale warships are used to eyeball my sea base painting for wargaming compatibility between them all - in fact I think that is it is unlikely an historical reconstruction as I think "Lady Lex" was "down and out" [sunk 8/5/42 at the Battle of the Coral Sea] before these two [USS Washington - although 15/5/41 commissioned she started her Pacific duties much later from 23/8/42, and the USS South Dakota - entered the war much later, it was 26/7/42 before she was ready for active service] got into the fight in 1942):

Close up of "Lady Lex" (aka "The Grey Lady). She was a big ship an would have been a heck of a battle-cruiser if finished to her original design (see below, she still carried 8x8" guns so potentially packed a hell of a surface punch too):

The painted "Lady Lex" alongside the other early war USN CVs (see below, the sea base was an additional wet-brush layer of Anita's Acrylics Navy Blue mixed 50:50 with Ocean Blue, followed by a highlight of Ocean Blue, Green Vallejo "wash" was added, then with wave-tops and churn being achieved by mixing in Antique White and White for a feather-lite highlight - in an artistic fashion):

A final Humbrol "satin varnish" was applied (see below, not "an in your face" gloss but a subtle reflective shimmer is achieved [as per the battleships]): 

OK, end-to-end test was a success, production mode is on ;)

Friday 10 April 2020

My Collection of "Games in a Box"

There seems to be a definite trend of companies producing "games in a box" that can be expanded on, as adverse to producing a line of figures you have to then "go get" a set of rules for. Warlord Games are very adept at this. To be fair it means you do "get a basic game" that at least can be played if you bother learn the rules .. with expansion sets galore that tempt you to burn the cheque book (and that phrase certainly dates me). I recently reviewed my collection of "untouched" and "partially touched" box sets and I had more than I thought (see below, my lit of crimes of passion .. a sucker for classy "box art" and the concept of a "period covered" tick-in-the-box - well at least I have not fallen [yet] for the kick-starter trip, but it is  only a matter of time!):

Black Seas "Master and Commander": again a curious scale choice not fitting in with other manufacturers figure ranges but I thought for "small squadron" actions of frigates and the like, it therefore had a place of its own in the market - although I am not a big "Squadron Man" for these rules, set seeing the price of the squadron and also the temptation I have to detail sailing ships [not that you have to - but I know what I am like] put me off. Better still, the rumour is that the rules "hold their own" which is "double plus good" in 1984 speak" something that does not seem to be true sadly for another Warlord naval offering .. Cruel Seas which comes later (see below, anyone for a bit of Hornblower? I am waiting for a small but beautiful ship painting phase in my life to germinate this set):

Judge Dredd "I Am The Law": This was a must for me - just for painting the figures themselves, and yes I was one of the many happy suckers who had more money than sense and could not resist the Judge Dredd expansion box, despite its price [£15] (see below, memories come flooding back from that classic 2000AD Comic look of my childhood, bring on "Block War" and "Judge Death"):

Test of Honour: I was so determined to get this and so I did; no matter how long it stays under the bed gathering dust I am still happy. I know at a point in time in the future I will have a - "Samurai Phase" all wargamers do! I think it is triggered in the genes or by the environment - perhaps a change of diet will "trigger it" and I get a katakana urge (see below, the original box set, and I have several packs of the basic plastic troop types by Warlord too, though none of the expensive metal sets):

Cruel Seas: A beautiful model range, a great areans [The English Channel] with apparently brilliant extension capability through the likes of 3D printing and large scale plastic merchant ships and 1/350 Destroyers [Tamiya etc] - sadly I fear the rules are letting it down as it craves for a simple, elegant but effective "hidden movement" or "spotting" system, maybe a 'solo' gaming extension of house rules might come to the rescue? (see below, and I am sure somebody [as mad wargaming friend] is actually thinking of getting a cruiser on table):

SPQR: Which I must confess I bought because of the start-up bundle being so full of figures on that cost alone made it worth while. The game system has seemingly fallen by the wayside but I cannot make a personal comment as although I have broken the seal I have as yet not played it (see below, a Warlord Games special, full of Gauls and 28mm Caesarian Romans - note small, war band sized!):

Mortal Gods: I pretend to be a committed 15mm large battles ancients man [large DBM sized Greeks and Persians army in the loft, with the intention of going up to Alexander the Great and his Macedonians in DBM (note size - I don't play those rules anymore); then to Roman in DBA through its many Republican to Imperial Phases]. Other people have tempted me to move to 28mm wholesale for Greeks/Persians for Imperus I/II [but apart from a small (ahem) Imperial Roman Army of Warlord in 28mm that was a bargain and the various Warlord Roman sprue sale packs I invest in] but I am totally resisting the "army switch in focus" [who am I kidding here, I am collecting Britons and Gauls?] but I do like the idea of painting 28mm figures. Therefore I could happily raise a warband or two of various miscellaneous Ancients. So this is my "sound reasoning (?) in getting Mortal Gods" .. an excuse to buy a sub-army size 28mm selection of figures of various historical themes that I will simply enjoy painting (see below, it may even have the scope for a bit of RPG work too - if your head hurts after reading that paragraph don't worry and just move on):

Terminator: Science Fiction fun based on "The Terminator" series of films - say no more. Generic killer robots and resistance fighters of the future - what is not to like (see below, I think I will get the kids to paint these up one day!):

40K Aeronautic Imperialis: I see it as "Korea War" jets with a "Space Theme" and forget about teh link to 40K. I have no plans to but anything other than the basic box, enjoy painting stuff u in a wacky fashion. Play the rules and see if there is any borrow-able mechanisms for historical air combat rules and "let-it-be" at that (see below, a classic GW throwaway game in a box - hit and miss but generally worth it with teh amount of kit if bought separately, especially when you get it discounted from your local hobby shop):

And I am sure is there will be more temptation yet to come in 2020 .. so far I have resisted the Blood Red Skies(BRS)  - partly as the figure range was 1/200 instead of 1/144 but that might be a serious "miss" on my part (although I do have a copy of the FREE Warlord Games rules and have played several good games with my wargaming friends collections) and "The Gangs of Rome" (interior city politics in ancient times which ends up in brutality and stabbings) - which did not (yet) appeal to me?