Saturday, 24 February 2018

MiG Alley USMC F4U-5N Corsairs

F4U-4 fighter bomber and a pair of F4U-5N night fighters
Close Up showing the wing mounted radar pod

I have undercoated the Tumbling Dice Vought F4U-4 Corsair fighter bombers this morning, despite the garage being freezing cold and the paint taking extra long to dry. I've also added  wing mounted radar pods to two aircraft, using cut down model torpedoes sanded to shape, to make F4U-5N night fighters.

These will be either painted naval blue or left in a black night fighter scheme, with red insignia rather than the white markings used on the day fighters. Finally, I undercoated the Royal Navy Fairey Fireflies and Hawker Sea Furies of HMS Ocean, which I will paint up in parallel with the USMC planes. I'm hoping to get at least the USMC planes finished over the weekend.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Wills Cigarette First World War Royal Navy Cards

I found this framed collection of reproduction Wills Cigarette cards today in the local charity shop. Thee frame is bit rubbish but the cards have been well mounted and look splendid. Unfortunately, there isn't an Artificer Engineer in the selection, so my Great Grandfather isn't represented, which is a bit of a shame. However, the wife quite likes the whole thing and I've been allowed to hang it in the dining room, which is a rarity for my framed military picture collection!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

1960's Cold War Soviet 1/600th Jets

I have been thinking of quickly basing and painting a handful of Russian Cold War aircraft in 1/600th scale, just as something to do over a wet weekend. These would be based using the simple wire and mdf hex method that I have used on my Flashpoint:Taiwan and Flashpoint:Baltic models (which reminds me that I should paint the latter up too at some point), so no tiddly magnets to drive me nuts!

Anyway, I have a small selection of Tumbling Dice Su-9/11's and Su-7's left over from a Soviet starter pack, together with the ubiquitous MiG-21's, so I have no need to buy anything just for this and can get cracking as and when the opportunity arises. I really like the Sukhoi's with their bare metal finish, raised canopies and delta wings, which really capture that late '60's Cold War vibe.

I can use them against my PLAAF Chinese fighters and fighter bombers too for a Flashpoint: Xinjiang 1969 Sino-Soviet 'what if?' border cool is that?

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Sally 4th Terraformers Modular Terrain

I spotted an advert for this modular terrain making system on The Wargames Website and thought it looked really interesting. It's based on 1' square mdf frames into which you drop polystyrene blocks then texture and paint over the top, so nothing radical but very simple to do. The best bit is that you have magnets glued into the frames which keep them all together and the sides are a consistent profile to avoid mis-matches.

It's also not that expensive and perfect for skirmish games on a 2' x 2' board, where terrain really needs to look the part as there isn't much of it. I may well give this a try as  there's a starter set of four tiles that would do very nicely for a desert themed wadi and rocky scree slope somewhere in Aden or a jungle clearing in Malaya, French Indochina or other post-colonial corners of empire.

Monday, 19 February 2018

MiG Alley Royal Navy / USMC Aircraft

This is the last lot of 1/600th aircraft for the MiG Alley and Bag the MiG project, at least for the next few weeks leading up to Easter, as I need to do something else for a bit to take the strain off the eyes! Anyway, it's a nice combination of classic Royal Navy Sea Furies and Fireflies, alongside one of my favourite fighter bombers, the Vought F4U-4 Corsair of the USMC. I have twelve of these which I may well paint up as different squadrons, if I can work out how to go about it.

To continue the nautical theme the last three slots are filled by an OY-2, the USMC and USN version of the L-5 Sentinel, and a pair of US Marine night fighters. These will either be a couple of formidable F3D Skynights or a pair of tough, no nonsense F4U-5N Corsairs, to which I'll need to add wing mounted radar pods. I'm looking forward to painting these but not so much to painting the black and white ID stripes on the Sea Furies and Fireflies!

Sunday, 18 February 2018

MiG Alley North Koreans Finished

Il-10 Ground Attack light bombers

La-11 and Yak-9D fighters

Ilyushin Il-10

Ki-51 Sonia Night Raider

Lavochkin La-11

The whole banana

I managed to get the North Korean fighters and ground attack aircraft finished today, which is just as well as it's the last day of the half term holiday. I think they came out okay in the end and I particularly like the two night nuisance raiders, which were a bit of an afterthought but should be good fun to use in a game. I've also decided to make the last instalment of the MiG Alley meets Bag the MiG project another naval effort. with a selection of prop fighter bombers for the US Marines and Royal Navy.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

MiG Alley North Korean Aircraft

I've been working on the NKAF aircraft this afternoon and have completed the highlighting and washing, leaving only the canopies and detailing to do tomorrow. It doesn't look like I've done very much but they are getting there and should be finished by the end of the weekend, minus the decals unless I can squeeze them in as well. The Il-10's are actually Il-2's but I don't think that matters, as there were no Il-10's in the Tumbling Dice range when I started the project.

French Indochina 15mm Squad Level Skirmish

Yet more reading on the French Indochina skirmish  theme, this time at squad to platoon level for simple patrol actions using No End in Sight, Some Corner of a Foreign Field and the like. As mentioned in previous posts, this would use my second hand Eureka Miniatures figures and a handful of vehicles on a 2' x 2' terrain board. I have played around with this skirmish concept for a while, although with a focus on Malaya, Aden and other post-colonial settings.

The French Indochina variation would involve a couple of squads of infantry, which equates to a platoon strength force after the De Lattre reforms of the early 1950's. These shifted the focus of the basic tactical unit from a squad of twelve men armed with an automatic rifle, a few SMG's and mostly bolt action rifles to a platoon of two twelve man squads, one with an automatic rifle and one with a rifle grenadier. I've also read that these were designated as Shock or Fire squads but exactly which was which is unclear:

The French moved the lowest level of tactical employment from the squad up to the platoon level as each squad was either an automatic rifle or a rifle-grenadier squad, with one of each per platoon. The interesting point about this final reorganization is that it was done to mitigate French losses in cadres, as well as accommodate the incorporation of indigenous personnel directly into all infantry units. By moving tactics from the squad to the platoon level, the number of leaders required was reduced from about six per platoon to two per platoon, or of eighteen per company down to eight.

Interesting stuff and I think it would make for some cracking patrol and ambush firefights, especially if I threw in some AFV's or soft skins to provide a bit more firepower, which otherwise might be thin on the ground. There were single squads of a 60mm mortar, MMG and 57mm RCL in the company support platoon, so these might make an appearance but would otherwise be unlikely to feature in a typical patrol type scenario. The big plus is that I would only need a handful of extra figures to do this sort of thing, so it wouldn't be hard to set up.

Climbing the Lead Mountain

There really is a place called Lead Mountain!

I did a brief stock check of the various nearly completed and almost unfinished projects that I have accumulated over the last couple of years or so this morning. This is an endemic feature of my wargaming pursuits and something I really need to knock on the head. Anyway, the list of things that I've started and got within a percentage range of completion is as follows:

10mm USCM vs Aliens - 85%

15mm Sci Fi Mechanised Company - 75%

28mm US Infantry Platoon - 75%

28mm Japanese Platoon - 35%

28mm SAGA Normans - 80%

1/285th B17's - 70%

1/600th Coastal Warfare - 80%

1/600th Cold War Jets - 85%

1/600th Korean War - 75%

1/2400 1864 Steam and Sail - 30%

...and so on, not including anything that has been based but not seen a lick of paint (that's another story all together!). It's a lead weight hanging around my neck, especially as I would like to complete all of these in equal measure and do new things too.


Friday, 16 February 2018

Armoured Guardsmen

I'm finishing the half term holidays with a change of reading focus to NW Europe from D-Day to the Rhine and beyond. The campaign in NW Europe after the break out from Normandy has been an interest of mine for ages, with best laid plans for wargaming the progress of the 5th Battalion DCLI having been attempted in 20mm before, only to fall by the wayside for various reasons. I'd really like to pick this up again in 15mm at some point this year, probably using Chain of Command instead of Rapid Fire!, so this book is a good source of inspiration even if it isn't directly relevant. It is very well written and full of the sort of little details that make for a fascinating read, so I've really enjoyed it and have whizzed through almost to the end in a couple of evenings.