Friday, 17 November 2017

Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich

I am working up the Rocketeers over the Reich scenario this weekend, ready for the Bag the Hun game on Tuesday next week. I have plenty of information on the 336th Fighter Squadron part in this, with a second pilot, 1st Lt Douglas Groshong,  now added as a Veteran character card in the scenario in the role of Charlie Flight leader. I also have some ideas for the initial scenario set up and the way that bogeys will work, with specific reference to the overcast and low visibility. This is a challenge to get right, as I don't want it to complicate things but I do want to make it a feature of the action, just like the real thing.

1st Lt Douglas Groshong, 336th FS, 4th FG

What I needed was more detail on the Luftwaffe units involved, as all I knew was that they were equipped with Bf-109's, either Gustavs or Karls. This book has helped to fill in some gaps and has given me some direction in terms of the unit that may have been on the receiving end, possibly III/JG4. There are some really interesting eyewitness accounts for November 21st too, although they are both from FW-190 pilots, which confirm that many of the pilots were straight out of fighter school, so will be rated as Green. I'll have to factor that into the scenario without making things too easy for the 336th! I'd also like to identify at least one pilot as a more experienced Veteran or Ace Schwarm Leader.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

MiG Alley Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier

In MiG Alley there's a long table edge representing the coastline of North Korea from which you can launch naval aircraft over the mainland on fighter sweeps and ground attack missions. To make this a bit more 'visual' I've been thinking of using a 1/2400th or 1/3000th scale model of an RN light fleet carrier or US carrier to represent the warships involved. It would be completely unrealistic to be so close inshore but it's all about visual effect rather than the accurate realism.

However, I stumbled across this 1/1600th Heller model of HMS Colossus / Arromanches today and thought it would be just the job, although at 131mm in length it's a bit big compared to the 1/600th Tumbling Dice aircraft models, even when scale effect is taken into account. I'll see if I can find a cheap one in France at Xmas, so that I can cut it down to the waterline and base it up to represent HMS Theseus or HMS Triumph. I think it will look really cool and a lot more interesting than a tiddly micro scale model.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Flashpoint Fleet Air Arm

I have decided that the Royal Navy needs to be involved in my Target Locked On! and Air War:C21 'Flashpoint' projects somehow. The tenuous excuse for this is that the Chinese are sabre rattling in the South China Sea and, in particular, are involved in aggressive overflights of Hong Kong and the New Territories in the late 1960's. A bit far fetched?

According to recently declassified reports, Chinese leaders were so opposed to the prospect of a democratic Hong Kong that they threatened to invade should London attempt to change the status quo. “We shall not hesitate to take positive action to have Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories liberated,” Liao Chengzhi, a senior Chinese official was reported to have said in 1960.

The Royal Navy has dispatched a carrier task force to the region as a demonstration of force, leading to an incident in which Fleet Air Arm aircraft could clash with the PLAAF and PLANAF. This means that I have an excuse, if one is needed, to add some of those iconic 1960's British naval aircraft including Sea Vixens, Buccaneers, Scimitars and Gannets.

I have already unpacked my latest order from Tumbling Dice and, as a result, have a big smile all over my face in anticipation of painting them up. Paul even added an extra couple of packs of Scimitars as he packed them together with another order so saving me postage. What a nice chap he is and the models are absolutely cracking too!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Merseberg Mash Up

Captain Fred Glover, CO 336th FS, 4th FG

I realised that I may have left it a bit too late to finish off the B17G's for the Bag the Hun multiplayer game at the club next week. I was hoping to have finished then by now but they still need the canopy highlights, black lining and decals applied before they are ready for action. I could use them as they are but, given the time left, I would rather finish them properly later and run the scenario as a future club game in January.

Having said that, I am still running the game at the club on Tuesday, so will replace the bomber escort scenario with something more down to earth. At the moment, the plan is to write a scenario based on the 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, so that I can re-use the cards that I created for this unit with one or two additions. So, I've been doing some background reading and have found a possible scenario for 21st November 1944.

Glover's P51D Mustang

This involved a dogfight at medium to low level in heavy over cast conditions, with the 336th engaging a formation of Bf109's to the West of Merseberg in Saxony-Anhalt. I have only got four Bf109's but that can be fudged for the club game if I use FW190A8's instead, rewriting the scenario to fit. The action featured three kills for the 336th 'Rocketeers' CO Captain Fred Glover, who I will make a Junior Ace with a corresponding card.

The weather conditions were pretty bad with 'thick cloud' and 'overcast' which I will try to build into the scenario using the cloud cover special rules in the Bag the Hun 2 rulebook. This may be a bit too complicated but I will have it as an option to make the game a little less predictable and to allow the use of bogeys, which definitely add an element of challenge to the game.

If this ends up being too much, I can always dig out an old scenario instead, perhaps for Malta?

Tally Ho!

Monday, 13 November 2017

Flashpoint Taiwan ROCAF F-86F Sabres

I've been practising my blocking in on four Tumbling Dice 1/600th scale F-86F Sabres this evening, using a small selection of bright colours over a matt white basecoat. The scheme is very similar to that used on USAF Korean War aircraft, which is no surprise as Taiwan was supplied with second hand jets after they had been used in Korea.

I now need to do some black lining and some highlights to the canopies, before I add the fiddly diamond pattern black and yellow decals to the fuselage band and possibly to the wings, cheating a bit to keep the scheme as simple as possible. It's all good practice for the MiG Alley / Bag the MiG project, for which I have to paint loads of the blighters!

Flashpoint Taiwan ROCAF / PLAAF Planes

I had a day release from work today, which is very unusual but also very welcome, so I thought I'd get the extra bits based and undercoated for the Flashpoint Taiwan project. I was also planning to do some more painting of the B17's for Bag the Hun but the garage is freezing, so that will have to wait. AS you can see, I now have four F-100 Super Sabres, two F5A Freedom Fighters, an S-2 Tracker and an RB-57D reconnaissance aircraft.

I also added four F-86F Sabres that I had magnet based and base coated for MiG Alley, only to realise that the fuselage stripe was vertical not diagonal, unlike all of the other Tumbling Dice Sabres that I'd based up. I'm not sure what happened here but I guess they were a sculpting mistake and I ended up with some of the wonky ones. Other than the incorrect stripe they're absolutely fine.

I thought I'd make use of them anyway as they will be fine for the ROCAF and it will actually be easier to add the checkerboard decals to the fuselage stripe in the vertical. Job's a good 'un. To wrap things up and provide some opposition for the Sabres, I based up four MiG17's for the PLAAF. I'm going to have a crack at painting the re-cycled F-86F Sabres this evening, if I can find the time.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Naval Aviation in the Korean War

In the run up to my MiG Alley / Bag the MiG project for 2018, I've been collating together my reference material that I've already got and adding some new books as well. This is my latest acquisition and very interesting it is too, especially as I have recently added more 1/600th scale USN and USMC aircraft to the painting production line. 

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Flashpoint Taiwan ROCAF Starfighters

I decided to do a bit of small scale painting today, in advance of the Wings at War MiG Alley project, so unpacked the Tumbling Dice 1/600th scale F-104 Starfighters that I based and undercoated a few months ago. These have been languishing in a box for months, so it was good to get them sorted for use in my fictitious Flashpoint Taiwan solo campaign, for which I'll be using Target Locked On! or Air War: C21.

All I needed to do was block in the light grey fuselage with Vallejo Pale Grey Blue, then paint the engine, canopies and nose cone details. This was followed by the excellent Doms Decals insignia before I spray sealed everything in Humbrol Satin Varnish. I decided to paint the bases in Vallejo Deep Sky Blue, which looks better than the bases on the Chinese Communist aircraft that I've already completed, so I'll go back and paint them to match.

I'm quite pleased with the way these came out, so I will probably assemble some Tumbling Dice F-100 Super Sabres, F-5A Freedom Fighters and a single RB-57D Canberra reconnaissance aircraft to expand the Taiwanese arsenal. I would also like to get some F-86 Sabres but they were phased out of front line use well before the mid 1960's, when the solo campaign is supposed to be set. I could always go back a bit to the 1958 Taiwan Straits Crisis though?

Korean War Inspiration

A fantastic online article which, if you've seen the film, will make you want to download it and watch it again, although I'd probably read the novel as the more interesting option. The article itself has some great scenario material that could easily be worked up into a series of linked games, using CY6: Jet Age or the Bag the MiG variant for Korean War air combat, although any decent set to rules would do if they feature decent mechanisms for AAA and ground attack. It would make a superb show participation game too, which I don't think has been done before? Anyway, here's the link:

Friday, 10 November 2017

Bag the MiG / MiG Alley Meteors

I have a long weekend with a Monday off, so I'm planning to get some more 1/600th scale aircraft ready for MiG Alley and Bag the MiG, as well as finishing off the 1/300th scale Scotia B17's for the Bag the Hun club game. I've been meaning to add some Australian Meteors to the UN forces and, now that I have some tiny 1mm x 1mm magnets, this is a feasible job. The Tumbling Dice models are little works of art, so I will go for the whole dozen to make up the operational strength of No77 Squadron. Tally Ho!