RN

RN

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Narrow Seas [2]


I've been rummaging in the Coastal Forces box to pick out the various MTB's, MGB's and other craft that I'll be tackling over the weekend, this being the project of the month. I've decided to paint up the following for 1942/43 in action in the English Channel and North Sea:
  • 2 x Fairmile B ML's
  • 6 x Vosper 72' 6'' MTB's (Skytrex)
  • 3 x BPB 72' MGB's (PT Dockyard)
  • 1 x Fairmile A ML (Skytrex) - for special forces use.
  • 1 x Denny SGB (Skytrex)
  • 1 x Fairmile B ASR ML (Skytrex) and/or 1 x RAF ASR Launch (Tumbling Dice)
  • 1 x Round Table Class Trawler (Skytrex)
  • 1 x Admiralty Drifter (Tumbling Dice)
This seems like a bit of a mixed bag but will give me lots of options for different types of scenarios including convoy escort, minelaying, convoy attack, E Boat ambushes, SOE or commando insertions, air sea rescue and a few more that don't immediately spring to mind.

I'm planning to start on the preparation stages for this lot over the weekend, if and when I have the time. I'm also thinking of ordering some more BPB MGB's and a few other things from PT Dockyard but this really depends on the cost, as last time I got stung by customs and excise.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Last Stand on Mykonos





The Italians got well and truly pasted by the perfidious British this evening with the island of Mykonos falling to the enemy by the end of the game. This wasn't unexpected, so the Italian engineers blew up the docks and the airfield with pre-laid demolition charges before finally pulling out.

In the last stand for the island, the brave Italians were overwhelmed by vastly superior numbers and by the use of smoke barrages, air strikes, artillery stonks and armoured assaults. It was an enjoyable game, nonetheless, and I'm definately getting a better grip on the rules mechanisms.

I'll post a full after action report from General Gorgonzola's point of view tomorrow. I am sure that he will demand the highest standards of impartiality and accuracy on the part of Tenente Berlusconi, whose reportage is always entirely above board. In the meantime, here's some low level recce photos of the battle. 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Bag the Doodlebug [18]



Those nice people at Brigade Models announced a 25% off sale at the weekend, which was very handy as I wanted to get some re-inforcements for the Neo Soviet Full Thrust fleet. I have now got a couple of additional heavy crusiers and some merchant ships to use as transports, which should make it possible to run some convoy escort type games. They're so quick to do up, that I can probably have them based and painted over a weekend.

I've also sent off for some of the new Land Ironclads 2mm scale village and agricultural buildings including a pack of parish churches. These are designed for the War of the Worlds type games but I think will look splendid as terrain features for Bag the Doodlebug, assuming I can base them in such as way that they can be placed on the lanscape without interfering with the flight stands. The agricultural buildings in particular look spot on for Sussex or Kent, especially the oast house and windmills.

Anyway, if they don't work out, I'll just use them for Aeronef.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Narrow Seas [1]



I've decided that March will be WW2 coastal forces month, with the aim of painting up a selection of 1/600th scale ships and boats for mid-war action in the narrow seas. This is something that I've always wanted to do and there's no time like the present to actually get on with it! I have a massive box full of models and no shortage of choice, so why not?

To start with, I'm going to focus on the British with a mixed force of Vosper 72' 6'' MTB's, Fairmile 'B' MGB's, a couple of trawlers and an RAF sea resue launch, mostly from the Skytrex and Tumbling Dice ranges. I have some PT Dockyard resin BPB MGB's and MTB's as well but I'm going to leave them until I have reduced the lead pile a bit.

The plan is to complete a similar sized force for the Kriegsmarine and to paint up some coasters and tankers for the merchant convoys off the east coast. I'm still not sure about the best way to base up the coastal forces models but I can leave that problem to be sorted after I've assembled and painted them up. If you have any advice about painting and basing these things, then I'd be very pleased to hear from you!

PS The Spitfires for Finest Hour will have to wait until April but I have plenty of time to get them sorted before the campaign kicks off in May-June.


Saturday, 23 February 2013

Mix Up on Mykonos

Italians on the left...British on the right.

The apparent climb down by the British in the battle for Mykonos was nothing but a duplicitous ruse by Perfidious Albion! In fact, the British commander has decided, after a chin wag with HQ, to carry on with his overwhelming assault on the lightly held but indomitable Italian end of the island. As a result, we'll be running a third game for control of the  island this Tuesday. I have called in some re-inforcements and a few nasty surprises for the enemy, which I won't detail in case he's listening in. I don't expect to win this contest but, at the very least, I will achieve some strategic goals that will pay dividends in the long run...I hope!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Bag The Doodlebug [17]



I had an hour or so to spend this afternoon, which is a bit of a change, so thought I'd add a second V1 to the 1/1285th scale Bag The Doodlebug collection. I did have two to start with but one fell on the floor when I was varnishing it and ended up coated in cement dust, so I now have just the one to add to my existing lone buzz bomb. Not a great output for the half term holidays but at least I'll be able to run more then one of the things in the try out game next month.

Whispering Death



I've been reading this on the Kindle HD over the last couple of days. It covers the author's time as a navigator with No39 Squadron, my Grandfather's erstwhile unit, at first on Beauforts in Malta but later on Beaufighters in North Africa. It's a bit pedestrian in places but the accounts of maritime strikes on Italian and German shipping are very stirring and definately useful as material for scenarios.

I have some Museum Miniatures Beaufighters in the box and wouldn't mind painting up eight of them, four as torpedo armed and four as anti-flak aircraft. It might be fun to try out the anti-shipping rules in Bag The Hun as a change from the usual dogfights. I have other things to do in the meantime but this is a potential project for later in the year, especially as the Beaufighter is such a cool aircraft.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Full Thrust February Finished!






I finished off the Neu Swabian fleet this afternoon by over-painting the red strips on the models with the same blue-white shades as the engines. I didn't like the original red version so thought this would look better. It's not great but it doesn't clash half as much as the first time round. I was intending to add some decals but this was too fiddly, so I didn't bother in the end. They're a bit 'ho hum' but there you go.

I have some larger dreadnoughts, battleships and carriers that I could build but I think I'm Full Thrusted out for the moment. I also have more Brigade Models spaceships that I'd like to paint up but these will be a future quick painting project, as I have plenty of other things to tackle for the moment. If I get the time tomorrow, I'll try to get started on the Spitfires MkI's for the Finest Hour campaign.

Bag The Doodlebug [16]




The F-Toys Mustang III and Revell Tempest V arrived in the post today. They're both neat little models and perfect for the project, although I'll need to assemble them and paint the Tempest before I can try them out with the rules. I'll try to match the Tempest paint shades to those on the P51, although I may just overpaint the Mustang so that the finish matches.

I've been flicking through Diver! Diver! Diver! and was interested to find that Spitfire IX's were successful at the start of the anti V1 campaign, particularly those belonging to No165 Squadron. As a result, I've ordered an Eduard kit containing two models that I can paint up as a section leader and wingman. I've also sent off for a decal sheet that includes squadron codes and markings for Tempests, Spitfires, Meteors and Mosquitos.


The flight stand problem is also being tackled on the workbench and I think I've worked out the basic design. This uses some freebie telescopic pointer things that the other half picked up at a conference a few months ago. They extend to six times the length of the pen section, so will provide plenty of altitude but the last bit is a bit flimsy and topped by a metal cap that I'll have to remove somehow.

I'm not sure how to mount the planes on the top of the telescopic stands but I have worked out a way to tackle the other end, using metal washers and the base of a plastic champagne flute, believe it or not. I may just use the washers to bolt and glue together the base but the plastic stand is quite effective although circular rather than hexagonal, which would be the ideal shape for the ground hexes.

...more protoype development is definatelty needed!


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Special Delivery



I've been looking after the kids this morning while the wife has her hair done and the workmen attempt to re-connect us with the gas main. I think they're doing a special 'two trenches for the price of one' offer this week, as they've now dug a slit trench along the front of the house beneath both of the doors. They've now disappeared down the road, leaving us besieged so who knows when it'll all get sorted.

Anyway, I've used some of the time to write up the scenario for the Bag The Hun game on the 12th March, which is hopefully going to give us some experience with bombers. I couldn't find an exact historical set up that matched what I wanted to do, so I've done a bit of a 'what if' based on the No185 Squadron diary for December 1941:

Sunday 14th
'A' Flight at readiness at 13.00. 4 A/C went out as a cover patrol for some Blenheims coming ex-Gib. 4 more A/C were scrambled to intercept the first four (the interceptors were apparently shot down!!)

A bit of a cock up by ground control or just the fog of war?

Anyway, in my version of events, the initial cover patrol runs into some stiffer opposition in the form of six Macchi Mc202's of 73a Squadriglia that have intercepted the incoming Blenheims and are attempting to shoot them down before they can reach the comparative safety of Malta. This will allow me to re-use the cards that I already have for the Italians and the RAF from a couple of the previous Malta scenarios, with only a handful of new ones required for the bombers and air gunners.

This will be the last of the Malta games for the moment but I have plenty of material for future scenarios, so I'm sure to write up some more once I've run the Finest Hour campaign to it's conclusion. I'll also be running a warm up game of Bag the Doodlebug on the 12th, so it should be a fairly busy evening. I'll be painting up some extra V1's for this once I've finished the Full Thrust ships this week.

Superbook!



I discovered this bookshop in Wells yesterday and bought a whole stack of new hardbacks all for less than half price. It really is an excellent shop and, for some reason, had several books that were directly related to my current projects. The lady in the shop said they usually have 'obscure' books that no one wants to buy...except for me that is?


Anyway, first up are two hefty books for the Bag The Doodlebug project, the first of which lists every single V1 interception in chronological order by aircraft type, together with details from the pilot log books, combat reports and eyewitness accounts. Very useful indeed!




Second, we have three books for IABSM, the first two focussing on the 15mm 5th DCLI late war project and the last for the Burma 1944 project, both of which are waiting in the boxes for a suitable excuse to start. I've read books by both authors and know that they're very well researched, well written and packed with useful information.



Thirdly, a couple of books for BTH2 which are about different aspects but of equal interest. I was waiting for The Decisive Duel to come out in paperback but now have a hardback copy for a lower price, which is great. The USAAF book has some particularly fine colour profiles and ties in well with my, yet to be based up, late war fighter collection that I'll be putting together to use against the Luftwaffe.


Finally, there's a copy of Angus Konstam's The Spanish Armada, which is the usual glossy offering from Osprey. I like Mr Konstam's books as they are well researched and very colourful, with plenty of line drawings, maps, photos and artist's illustrations, all of which make them very inspirational for wargaming projects. 

...not a bad collection and well worth the trip to Wells, although there's also a branch of Superbook just down the road from me in Romsey. I think I'll be making a trip before long for some more very affordable and extremely useful military history reference material! 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Gas! Gas! Gas!


We got home late this afternoon to find a trench half way across the drive and a sheepish looking workman down a hole in the adjacent bit of the pavement. The gas company had been digging up the road to lay a new gas main but this wasn't supposed to have affected us as we're on the opposite side of the street. However, it now transpires that they cut off the supply to our house and, following various subterranean probings, they were unable to re-connect us without major surgery to the garage.

This entailed the removal of one entire wall worth of shelving above the eponymous workbench, which has now been accomplished in time for the installation of new gas pipes and other gubbins first thing tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, I've had to postpone the X Wing game until next week as a result, depending on the availability of my long suffering opponent. In the meantime, I've been shifting stuff and clearing the space for the workmen to do their arcane thing in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

It's not all bad news as the journey back involved a stop off at an excellent bookshop in Wells, that was closed last time we visited but has now supplied some excellent books for the collection. I'll post some more about that later. I'm hoping that, once the gas thing is sorted out, I may get some time to finish off the Full Thrust stuff tomorrow. I'm also hoping to re-schedule the X Wing game for next week, if it can be squeezed into the time I have available.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Fortress Malta

We went to Wells today, which was very interesting but also rather quiet as virtually everything was shut, apart from the ubiquitous coffee shops, chain outlets and cookery utensil emporia. I did visit Waterstones, however, where I bought a copy of Fortress Malta by James Holland. It's an overview of the battle for the island but looks useful, at least as a general read. We're off to do some castles tomorrow, so it might be a little more rewarding from a wargaming and military history point of view.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Holiday Plans

I'm off for the weekend to Somerset but, when I get back, I have lots of things to get done during the half term holidays. To start with, I have a game of X Wing on Tuesday at the club, so I'll be reading up on the rules while we're away to make sure I know what I'm doing.

I'm also running a BTH2 Malta game on the 12th March, which I need to write a scenario for using my Blenheims, so that we can have a go with the bomber rules. As a warm up, I'll be running a game of Bag the Doodlebug, so I may paint up a couple more V1's so that more than one player can take part at a time.

This will take up a fair bit of time but, if I manage to get an afternoon or two free, I'm going to finish off the Full Thrust Neu Swabian fleet then tackle something else. The late war Luftwaffe are ready to paint so may get my attention but I also need to base up the Spitfires for the Finest Hour campaign that I'm planning to kick off after Easter.

These are essential for the campaign but there are also some optional extras that I could tackle, including re-basing and tarting up twelve of the Raiden Miniatures Junkers 88A4's that I painted for the club participation game a couple of years ago. These will make it much easier to vary the set up when rolling up the scenarios.

If I get even close to finishing that lot, then I'm planning to start a new project for completion after Easter, with WW2 coastal warfare in 1/600th scale as the likely option. I've wanted to do this for years, having played numerous games of the old TTG micro game MTB back in the 80's. This time round it'll be Action Stations!

...lots to do but not a lot of time to do it in!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Shapeways?


In a rare moment of inspiration today, I thought I'd look on Shapeways to see if there were any 1/144th scale V1 flying bomb models that I could use for the Bag the Doodlebug project. In the end, I've resorted to good, old fashioned Luddite metal in the form of a couple of packs of Pendraken buzzbombs..

I admit that I have yet to appreciate the wonders of 3D printing and have been more than put off by what seems to be an extortionate product to price ratio. I have been quite impressed by the various things that have been pushed out from the Shapeways catalogue but I have yet to dip a tentative 'toe in the water'.

Anyway, there were no doodlebugs to be found in the Shapeways store but I did bump into plenty of tempting 1/144 scale interwar aircraft, 1/1250 modern FAC, 1/100 scale AK47 choppers and even some 1/285 scale Luft' 46 jet fighters.

I still have a problem with the cost but this is probably down to my inability to navigate the various material convolutions that you need to navigate. I'd really like to get some mileage out 3D printing but I have yet to find the right combination of product, price and project to make it worthwhile. 

Any suggestions would be very welcome!


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Bag The Doodlebug [15]




I had a chat at the club on Tuesday about the Bag the Doodlebug project and, as a result, I've decided to opt for 1/144th scale as the focus for the game. To provide the RAF fighter element I've ordered a cross section of pre-painted models and plastic kits including an F-Toys Gloster Meteor and P51B Mustang III, together with a Revell Hawker Tempest V, which should arrive over the next few days.

I've also got the Corgi diecast DH Mosquito IV's, at least one of which could be converted into a thimble nosed nightfighter variant. I'm still hunting for a decent but inexpensive V1, however, as the F-Toys version is extortionate to say the least. I'll probably go for the cheapest option in the form of some Pendraken  buzz bombs, although I suspect I'll have to do some surgery to make them look a little more accurate.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Victory on Mykonos!



Friends, Romans, Countrymen

...and the various Greek people that are on our side?

The invincible Italian forces under my command (yes, me!) , have liberated the beautiful island of Mykonos from the clutches of the perfidious (no, duplicitous) British  in a decisive battle of occupation for this cornerstone of the Cyclades. The masterful strategy that I have devised (that's me, Gorgonzola) to tie down the British in futile amphibious landings and incompetent aerial assaults, has reaped it's ultimate harvest!

Mamma Mia!

Although outnumbered three (no, make that six) to one, the resolute Italian defenders of the people of the Free (thanks to me) Mykonos, swiftly sent the Tommies packing all the way back to Timbuktu. Whilst the courageous pilots of the Regia Aeronautica sacrificed their manhood for the glory of Italy (and the Free Greek peeps), there was a grave but inevitable loss of life amongst the valiant aerial gladiators, as they blunted the enemy spearhead in repeated low level attacks on enemy armour concentrations. 


Undeterred by the fall of their aerial comrades, the Italian infantry swiftly advanced on the weak  left flank of the enemy, throwing them into total confusion and inflicting severe casualties on the impetuous but poorly co-ordinated forces of the Anglo-Greek axis of traitorous incompetence. Although harried from the air by the botched efforts of the RAF, the Italian troops (my ones, of course) pushed on to secure high ground above the port of Mykonos and the vital airfield that they had sworn to hold to the last man.


Meanwhile, the British foolishly landed further re-inforcements via land and sea, even though the ultimate triumph of the Italian forces (under my command) was obviously assured. It was a simple matter to blunt this ill-advised assault with a combination of superior Italian military training, some determined anti-tank action by our esteemed Greek patriot allies, and the pre-scheduled amphibious arrival of some superior Italian armoured support (plus my tactical.....no, make that strategic.....military genius!)

Bravissimo!

Ciao Baby.

General Robusto Gorgonzola (that's me, that is)

PS Bunga Bunga Party, Andross HQ, RSVP (strictly no Nazis) Bring a medal.




Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Taking the Mykonos!












It was the second installment of the Battle of Mykonos this evening, a follow up to the last turn of the club BKC Aegean campaign. In the end, a small but perfectly formed Italian force, under the command of General Robusto Gorgonzola, re-buffed an overwhelming British Expeditonary Force to snatch an unexpected victory from the jaws of almost inevitable defeat.

I'm still not sure how it happened but, by the end of the game, the British opted to disengage and will probably withdraw under the cover of darkness, leaving the island firmly under Axis control. Needless to say, General Gorgonzola is feeling very martial, has awarded himself another medal or two and is planning a splendid slap-up bunga bunga party back at HQ on Andross.

Bravissimo!

(I'll do a suitably bombastic propaganda dispatch tomorrow, once I've had the lowdown from the umpire and once the British have decided if they're going to pull out or not...??)

Monday, 11 February 2013

Back to Bag The Doodlebug


This is a bit of a blast from the past but it's something I've been meaning to get round to for a long time. You may remember my attempt to get myself sorted for this Bag The Hun 2 'game within a game' a while back. I did complete eventually everything I needed for Bag the Doodlebug including a variety of 1/285th scale RAF fighters, a V1 rocket and the turn cards for the game:


However, for various reasons, it never actually happened although I did manage a quick try out with some stand in aircraft at the club, which seemed to suggest that there was a game worth playing but with a few tweaks to make it more 'funky'.

As a result, I'm planning to revive the project as a participation game, intiallly for club use but later on perhaps as a game to tour the local shows. This time, I'm going to make life easier for myself by using pre-painted 1/144th scale F-Toys Meteor I's and P51B Mustangs, together with some cheap but effective plastic kits of the Tempest V from the re-released Revell Mini-kits range.

I've also got some Corgi diecast DH Mosquito IV's that I bought for the projected 633 Squadron game, which is way off the radar for logistical reasons. They're roughly 1/144th scale and pre-painted, so only need a bit of a wash and brush up to be deployed. The plan is to use the club Hexon terrain suitably tarted up with trees, roads and villages, to represent a long corridor of  airspace. The V1's will buzz toward their target on a fairly steady course, rapidly pursued by the fighters which will attempt to wing-tip or blast them out of the sky. 

It's early days yet but I've already sourced several of the planes and had some thoughts about adjustible flight stands to make the game more dynamic. There's some interest at the club too, so I know I'll have some support when it comes to adapting and playtesting the rules. At the moment, it';s all a bit in the planning stage but I'm sure it will come together fairly smoothly, especially once I've run a demo version of the existing 'official' rules using my 1/285th scale stuff.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Full Thrust February [5]




A very busy day (again) but I have painted the windows, engines and other details on the Full Thrust Neu Swabian ships. I gave them a drybrush of GW Space Wolves Grey first, which went some way to resolve the wash issue from yesterday. I also, as an after thought, added some red to the engine strakes or exhausts, or whatever they are. I'm not sure I like the end result so may repaint them in light blue tomorrow, when I'll also be adding some simple decals before I spray varnish the lot.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Full Thrust February [4]




I finally got round to some painting today, having been really busy all week with several evenings spent at work or going out. The Full Thrust ships have been wetbrushed in GW Fenris Grey, followed by a drybrush in GW Shadow Grey and GW Fenrisian Grey. I'm not sure it was worth the drybrushing, as the subsequent wash in Future has blended it out. I'll probably give them a further light drybrush in GW Space Wolves Grey tomorrow, once the Future wash has dried properly. I'll then tackle the details including the bridge windows, engines and antenna.