Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Bag the Hun Berlin 1945

I've been busily scribbling down ideas for the Bag the Hun 2 multiplayer game scenario this evening, dipping into the rules to extract the various things I need to make it work. The idea is to split the players into two 'teams', one for the Allies and one for the Axis, but then to allocate aircraft, pilots, starting positions and altitude using a randomised system. This will probably use the cards that I will prepare for the game, to be in keeping with the flavour of the rules and to keep it simple.

The various pairs of fighters will then all enter the table as bogeys, with no one knowing who or what they will be up against until a successful spotting roll 'de-cloaks' each pair for all to see. I'm getting round this by assuming that the radio net is open and both sides are tuning in, so when a pair spots an enemy pair, everyone will be looking in that direction and will automatically spot the target too (a bit unrealistic but it's much easier to handle in the middle of a game that way).

I'm still working on the numerous cards I'll need to churn out and on the various record sheets I'll need to fill in but good progress has already been made and I'm feeling pretty much on top of the whole ball game at the moment, although who knows what snags will crop up over the week? I'm also aiming to get some paint on those P47D's but I've had enough for this evening and need to mull over what I've worked out for the game thus far, leaving the painting to tomorrow evening and a fresh pair of eyes!


Monday, 18 September 2017

P47D 'Bubbletop' Thunderbolts

I'm going to try to get these four Raiden Miniatures P47D 'Jugs' painted up between now and the end of the weekend, ready for the Bag the Hun game at the cub on the 26th. This might be a bit of a tall order as I'm stupidly busy over the week and especially in the evenings, when I normally get the time to sit down and do something for myself. Anyway, I'll do my best and hope to have them completed in time for the game. It will be an overall bare metal finish with the dazzle panel along the top of the fuselage and a splash of colour for the cowling and tail planes, so nothing too arduous until it gets to the decals which will probably be a bit of a fiddle.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

FW-190A8 'Butcher Birds'

I had four of these 1/285th scale Museum Miniatures FW-190A8's in the 'to do' box, so decided to finish them off this afternoon, adding some black lining and decals to match them to the four that I already have. They are lovely models, very crisp and well sculpted, so a joy to paint even of they are a bit tiddly. I now have eight FW-190A8's, four FW-190D9's, four Bf-109K's and two Me262's, so more than enough for a late war Luftwaffe show of force. Horrido!

Full Thrust Fleet Pack

I 'unmed' and 'arred' about this yesterday at the show, not being able to make up my mind, but after some deep thought I've decided to get a new GZG fleet pack for Full Thrust. I have an NSL fleet painted up somewhere, which I gave to the sprog, and a Brigade Games Soviet fleet that I have sold on eBay, so I have a good excuse for another addition to the lead pile. The fleet pack I've chosen is the Japanese one, as I really like the low slung design of the models, although I also really like the Crusties ship design as well.

This Japanese fleet will be used against my other one that as yet remains unpainted, a Federal Stats Europa fleet pack that I bought at Warfare ages ago. I think this project will have to wait until next year before I start on the painting but, if I get some time over the next couple of months, I may well get cracking early. I still have to finish my 15mm sci-fi army first, however, not to mention some other bits and bobs that need my undivided attention. No rush. In the meantime, I'll be flicking through the new edition of Full Thrust Light that I picked up free at the show.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Imperial Skies vs. Full Thrust

I had a quick flick through of the Imperial Skies rulebook at the Brigade Models stand today and thought it looked really flash. At £22 a shot, however, I was reluctant to splash the cash, especially as I have a perfectly good set of rules for VSF aerial wargaming in Aeronef. I have played a lot of Aeronef in the past, although not recently or for quite awhile, and have fully operational fleets for the Portuguese, Japanese and Bolsheviks, with an entire French fleet waiting to be assembled and painted one day.

I'd love to dig them out for some games but have yet to find the impetus to pick up where I left off, after a Scramble for Africa club campaign I organised came to an end. Perhaps this new variation on an old theme might be the stimulus I'm looking for? On the other hand, I also picked up a free copy of the new edition of Full Thrust Light from the nice people at GZG, which is something I could get into again without any further persuasion. Now, I wonder where I stashed that Federal Stats Europa fleet in the lead pile?

Colours Swag

I had a nice afternoon at Colours today, bumping into some old gaming friends and browsing the trade stands in search of things on the shopping list. I completely skipped the demo and participation games for some reason but, according to the sprogs, I didn't miss much although I'm sure there were some good games on show. I also forgot my camera so it wouldn't have made much of difference if I had climbed up to the top floor for a look see.

On the other hand, I did stick pretty much to the list of items I was looking for which mainly revolved around the Old West and Mexican Revolution. These included a couple of 20mm Blotz  lasercut adobe buildings for the Mexican Revolution, which will eventually be assembled when I start the Viva La Revolucion! project at some point. I wanted to get some 20mm Federales from Shellhole Scenics too but they weren't at the show this time round, so that will have to wait until Warfare in November.

The other bundle of stuff I bought is all destined for the 28mm Fistful of Lead: Reloaded terrain collection including half a dozen more Warbases Longhorn cattle, a couple of Warbases draft horses for a stagecoach, some vultures and snakes from the Dead Man's Hand range, a really nice blacksmiths forge from Red Vectors, a very simple but useful pig sty from Warbases and a lovely little adobe style Hispanic chapel or hermitage from Charlie Foxtrot.

This is my favourite of the lot and will be perfect alongside my other Mexican adobe village buildings. It has a resin pantile roof that slots into the top of the mdf lasercut sub-structure, which can be detailed with glue on resin pieces to represent exposed mud bricks underneath the plaster. A very neat and clever idea indeed, so I hope I can do it justice. I also had a nice chat with the designer, who just happens to live down the road from my home town in Cornwall. All in all a good day and not too heavy on the wallet.

No616 Squadron Meteors

I finished the 1/285th Raiden Miniatures Gloster Meteors for Bag the Hun this morning, using I-94 decals and setting solution to bed them down, after painting the cockpit glazing and lining out in black. I'm quite pleased with the end result, considering it only took a few hours from bare metal to finished models, although my eyesight is going and I find it increasingly difficult to see what I'm doing! I must be getting old.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Colours 2017

I'm off to Colours in Newbury tomorrow if all goes according to plan, so I may well bump into you if you're planning to go along too. I like Colours as a wargames show and so do the sprogs, at least one of whom will be along for the ride, so I'm really looking forward to it. I have a small but well focussed shopping list but expect to come away with all sorts of random things, even if the budget is a bit tight at the moment. See you there!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Gloster Meteor Momentum

I've washed the Gloster Meteors in a Future / Black Indian Ink wash, then dry brushed them with Foundry White, followed by the canopies in two stages of Foundry Sky Blue and some highlights. I'm not too chuffed with the canopies but my brushes are in a shocking state, so I tried my best. The stands have also been base coated in the usual ancient Citadel Horizon Blue. The whole thing looks alright but will benefit from some touching up and a bit of fine black lining to accentuate the cockpit glazing and control surfaces. I can then add the decals and Robert is very much your mother's brother, as they say. I should get this done over the weekend, if I can get a new OOO brush for the lining out first!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Skirmish Afrika

I'd read a review of this African imagi-nations supplement for Skirmish Sangin a while back in one of the wargaming magazines and thought it looked really good, although I'm not into modern gaming as such. I am very much into AK47 and 15mm post-colonial gaming, however, so may well download a copy of this supplement for inspiration, if nothing else. I really like what they've done with this fictional 'Afrika' geo-political setting and can see all sorts of potential directions in which I could take my existing 15mm AK47 forces, just for starters. There's even a country called N'bote which is virtually the same as my fictional AK47 nation of Mbote!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Gloster Meteor Gloss Over

I assembled a couple* of 1/285th scale Raiden Miniatures Gloster Meteors last night, then gave them a quick spray undercoat of Halfords Primer before bedtime. I was going to basecoat and layer them in a couple of shades of light grey and white but, having found a half empty can of Humbrol Gloss Acrylic White, I saw a quick shortcut to all that brushwork. A quick dusting or two with the rattle can and 'Bingo!', they are now ready for a Future based wash using my usual formula for this sort of thing. I am quite pleased with the amount of time saved which I can now invest in some fine brush work and detailing instead, before I overspray them with Army Painter matt varnish.

* I was originally going to do four but thought it was a bit silly, as they hardly saw action in 1945 and I can use the flight stands elsewhere for other more useful things!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Moo Part Two

I have finished preparing the Warbases longhorn cattle, with the bases textured and the horns glued on, although I'm not sure that the horns are the correct ones for the North American version. They do look like the pictures of longhorns that I've seen and are less silly than the enormous alternative horns that come with the models. I'm pretty sure only the cow enthusiasts out there will notice the difference if they are wrong. I'll give them a quick overall three stage dry brush using off white shades next, followed by some tan brown splodges and maybe a bit of a wash. I really need some more of these for a decent herd as this lot are a bit thin on the ground for a full on stampede.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Bag the Hun Club Multiplayer Game Plan

I have about half a dozen players signed up for a Bag the Hun 2 multiplayer game at the club, with a date in a couple of weeks looking good, although I have yet to book it in to the club website database thingy. I have been thinking about how to run this game and have come up with a cunning plan. This  involves recycling a successful game I ran a few years ago with a few additional twists to make it a bit different.

This will be a late war game set in 1945, with each player being allocated at random a pair of fighter aircraft and pilots, the objective being to shoot down as many of the enemy as possible. Half the players will be flying for the Luftwaffe, while the other half will be either RAF, USAAF or VVS. All will fly on as bogeys in Turn 1 from different directions and at random altitudes, much akin to the reinforcement entry mechanism in AK47.

There will be a general 'free for all' dogfight with a set time limit of turns, after which a 'Bingo' / 'No Fuel to Duel' card will be slipped into the pack, on which all of the players will have to roll to stay on or to head back via their entry point. If a player is shot down early in the game, I will have some spare aircraft and cards that can be used after a decent interval to allow them to fly back into action, possibly on the opposing side if required.

The aircraft involved will include the P51D, Spitfire XIV, Tempest V and La-5/7 for the good guys, with the Fw190A8, Fw190D9, Me262 and Bf-109K for the baddies. I'm also going to paint four 616 Squadron Gloster Meteor F MkIII's for the game, using the old Raiden Miniatures model, even though they never engaged in air to air combat. If you remember the old Airfix model of the Gloster Meteor, you will have some idea of what they looked like in 1945.

After some close shaves they were painted overall white to prevent trigger happy AA gunners and USAAF pilots from assuming they were Me262's, so the paint work will be very straightforward. On the other hand, it does mean that I will have to divert my last remaining flight stands from the III/JG2 Fw190A3 project for the moment, leaving them high and dry until I can order some more or get some from Magister Militum at Colours on Saturday.

Tally Ho!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Riding the Herd, Falling off a Shed

I've been stupidly busy today, re-felting the garden shed in the middle of a thunderstorm and various other dangerous pursuits, so have only managed to base up the Warbases herd of Longhorn cattle. I was hoping to have added the all essential horns and textured the bases as well but this will have to be squeezed into the schedule tomorrow, the shed having only been partially covered as I slipped and face planted off the sodden roof. Not that I got much sympathy from my kids who proceeded to laugh like a pack of demented monkeys. Anyway, more bovine related progress to follow, together with a few more cows if I can round them up at Colours at the weekend.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Spitfre II/V vs Bf-109F

I have read several of the Osprey Duel series, some really good and some a bit iffy, so I thought I'd hedge my bets and download this one, especially as it is directly relevant to my latest Bag the Hun project. I have to say that this is definitely one of the better books in the series, with some excellent detail on the design and relative performance of the two iconic aircraft, together with very interesting accounts of their use over the Channel Front c1940-42. I was particularly surprised to find quite a bit of coverage of the obscure wing tank LR Spitfire II's, which I've featured in a published scenario before. In fact, there's loads here for you if you want idea for games or just an accurate guide to camouflage and unit markings. Very good!

Sunday, 3 September 2017


I found these today - a stash of 28mm Texas Longhorn cattle from Warbases - which I bought at Warfare last year then forgot about. They're hefty lumps of lead with attachable horns so that you can make them long or short, so to speak. Not being a cow enthusiast I'm uncertain of the merits of the shorter or longer variety of bovine but they will be excellent for Fistful of Lead: Reloaded cattle rustling games, one of which features as a scenario in the rulebook. I'm thinking of doing a quick paint job on these, basing and texturing the bases first, then blasting them with a white basecoat followed by some light brown patches and a wash. I'm back at work tomorrow but may well tackle them next weekend as a quick dip back into the Old West.

Bagged by the Sprog

The sprog and I finished off the game of Bag the Hun that we started a couple of days ago this afternoon. This was based on the Bandits scenario from the rules which features a dogfight between two evenly matched sections of fighters, with the sprog taking four FW190-A8's for the Germans and myself four P-51D Mustangs for the Americans. The Americans had a Junior Ace but the Germans had an altitude and up sun advantage to start with.

The game began with some frenetic twisting and turning, followed by some close range firing by both sides to little effect, although one of the FW-190's did take some minor damage by the end of Turn One from a Critical Hit. In Turn Two, the dogfight continued with both sides getting on the tail of the other at various points and making ineffective attacks. This looked like a repeat of the last game but it was all about to change.

And so it did. In Turn Three the American flight leader once again made the same mistake and attempted an ill-advised Immelmann, leaving his sprog wingman to fail his manoeuvre test and fly off the table. I can't believe I tried doing this twice. What an idiot! Anyway, this left the Americans down to three aircraft, one of which had by now received some nasty wing and aileron damage and was looking a little bit like a flying sieve.

The Yanks decided they were up a waterway without propulsion, so headed back across the front line in Turn Five, hotly pursued by the Luftwaffe. They managed to box in the flight leader but he wiggled out of the trap and put his foot down in Turn Six to zoom away, ready to fight another day and to answer some awkward questions from his CO. I think the Luftwaffe won the game (again) although it was strictly speaking a draw.

It is the sprog's birthday today too so, to celebrate the occasion, he was declared the winner and awarded the Iron Cross first class. I'm sure there will be a few victory rolls over the Luftwaffe fighter base and a slap up sauerkraut and schnitzel dinner for the victorious Schwarm Leader of II/JG4. We meanwhile are off down the local pub for a burgers and chips birthday tea!

Happy Birthday Thomas!

Spitfires over Berlin

I've flicked through this a few times in WHSmiths but it's now available as a digital book for £3.99, so worth getting hold of. There's lots of useful stuff here too for Bag the Hun and the like, covering the air war in the last five months of the war, not just last few days as the title suggests. The creation of the excellent cover art by Mark Postlethwaite is also explained on his website, which I think is really relevant to painting miniatures too:


Saturday, 2 September 2017

Bag the Hun Operation Bodenplatte Revisited

A few years ago I finished off my late war NW Europe Bag the Hun project with a club multiplayer game set during Operation Bodenplatte, the massed Luftwaffe assault on Allied airfields on 1st January 1945:

This was a lot of fun, so I've been thinking of setting up another one, this time with a limit of three or four players a side, each with a pair of RAF, USAAF or Luftwaffe fighters. This would keep the number of cards down to a manageable size and also speed up game play, with less time wasted by those players not involved each turn.

I was also thinking of a random system to determine who flies what and which side they are on, along with pilot experience, altitude and position. This might include a specific mission objective for each player, rather than just a generic 'shoot down the enemy' points tally. There will probably also be some low level cloud cover and a bit of indiscriminate light flak to make the scenario more challenging!

It's all a bit sketchy at the moment but I think it might be good for a club night at some point.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Searching for Sagebrush Sam

I thought the latest 99c scenario for Fistful of Lead: Reloaded sounded like a lot of fun, so I downloaded a copy for the princely sum of seventy six of Her Majesty's new pence. The scenario set up is a 4' x 4' table covered in scrub, rocks, cactus and other rough terrain, through which two to four gangs have to search for the eponymous Sagebrush Sam, who supposedly knows the location of hidden Conquistador gold. 

Not quite sagebrush but it's what I've already got!
So far, so good but the best bit is a brilliant random encounter table that throws the whole thing up in the air and, I suspect, causes all sorts of amusing mayhem for the players involved in the actual searching. I really fancy setting this up as a club game one evening, all that I need being some templates for the eight search areas and a figure for Sagebrush Sam himself. It's all well worth the 99c asking price!

III/JG2 'Richthofen' Luftwaffe Fighters (4)

I got side lined yesterday by the Bag the Hun game and by other less interesting things to do, so only managed one addition to the III/JG2 project, which isn't even directly relevant. This is a Ju88-D1 reconnaissance aircraft, converted from a Museum Miniatures Ju88-A4 medium bomber.

I had to do the actual conversion after I had finished basing and mounting the model, as a bit of last minute research revealed that the bomb racks and dive brakes should have been removed, requiring some careful cutting, filing and sanding of the wing under surfaces to remove the offending bits.

I could add some long range drop tanks instead but I don't think I need to. This model will be used in scenarios as a target for Westland Whirlwind interception, the so-called Pigstick operations of 1941-42, or as something for III/JG2 to escort and protect. It will also get a +2 to the front Fire Factor thanks to an extra MGFF 20mm cannon!

That should give the RAF a nasty surprise!

Total Germany

Another 99p book for the Kindle which looked interesting and an easy read now that I'll be back at work. I have a 1/3000 Royal Navy fleet for the Med in a box that might yet see a splash of paint, although it's been there long enough already that I don't think it will happen any time soon! I think my 1/600 coastal forces are more likely to see some additions before that happens, especially as I have a destroyer and minesweeper already prepared for painting. 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Bagging the Sprog

I have set up a follow on game from the Bag the Hun scenario that I played against number one son on Tuesday. This time we'll be playing the Bandits beginner scenario from the Bag the Hun 2 rule book, with a schwarm of four Fw190A8's of II/JG4 against a section of four P-51 Mustangs of the 336th Fighter Squadron, Eighth Air Force. This is a simple starter scenario, limited to ten turns and with only eight aircraft involved, so very suitable for the eleven year old to build his experience. I've played it several times before as well, so I'll also have some idea of what I'm doing!

I decided to re-use a set of cards that I created for a series of late war games a few years ago, as it made a lot of sense to recycle some of the pack to cover the requirements of the scenario set up, rather than to make a whole load of new ones. I have made a couple of changes, leaving bogeys out again to keep it simple and swapping the Allied Top Ace for a Junior Ace, as that's what I had in the pack already. Hopefully this time the sprog will get his well deserved comeuppance!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

III/JG2 'Richthofen' Luftwaffe Fighters (3)

A slight change of focus* for the Bag the Hun III/JG2 project today, following some further reading round the subject. I've decided to add four Bf-109F4's to the mix, using some Museum Miniatures Trop models with the air filters cut down to size. I also had to do quite a lot of filling and sanding to smooth out the pitting on the wings and fuselage, the castings being from moulds that have seen better days.

I got a bit stuck for flight stands at this point, then remembered that I had some pre-assembled ones stuck onto some Cant Z1007 bombers that I no longer needed, so I removed them minus the metal lug that fits into a hole underneath the centre line of the fuselage. This in turn meant that I had to drill and pin the top of each stand with brass rod before I could use them on the Bf-109's. Phew! Anyway, I now have a schwarm assembled and undercoated in Halfords primer.

Why? Well, it appears that III/JG2 operated both the FW190A4 and Bf-109F at the same time for a while in early 1942, so I thought it would be a good idea for scenarios to have both types available. It also means I can push some scenarios back into 1941, before the FW190's were operational, which opens up lots of possibilities. I also had the models hanging about, so why not? They will certainly make things a bit more interesting for the RAF!

(* hence the change of post titles)

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Bag the Hun Three Hundred and One

This is where it all started - 1st Edition!

I've just noticed that I have posted my three hundred and first Bag the Hun post on the blog, the first all the way back in 2010. I could have posted more if I'd started the blog a year or two earlier, as my Battle of Britain stuff hardly even features. The posts do include after action reports, scenario writing ideas, articles for the TFL Specials and 1/285th scale model aircraft painting. Anyway, I have plenty more to waffle on about, as far as Bag the Hun projects go and all the other things I get up to, so hope to add at least another hundred posts by the time the blog finally nose dives out of control. Tally Ho!

Bag the Hun Game: Deadly Pairs

The sprog wanted to have a go at Bag the Hun today, so I set up a basic game based on the Deadly Pairs scenario from the Christmas 2011 TFL Special. I substituted a pair of Spitfire XIV's instead of P47D's and left out using bogeys to keep it simple. The scenario was a basic dogfight to the finish, with the objective of shooting down the enemy, so nothing too complicated.

The game kicked off with both the RAF and Luftwaffe approaching head on.  At this point, the Luftwaffe leader opened fire at extreme range but to no effect. This was followed by a couple of turns of trying to get on the tail, with both sides twisting and turning in tight circles. It looked like this would carry on for a while, as neither side could pull off the decisive move.

In about turn four the RAF wingman failed a 'staying in formation' test after a successful Immelmann by the RAF section leader, leaving him isolated and in the sights of the Luftwaffe fighters. They then skilfully manoeuvred into a rear deflection position at point blank range, rolling an impressive number of 5's and 6' to hit plus an adjusted 10 on the critical damage dice.

In response, the RAF pilot only managed a couple of saving rolls before blowing up in a flash. Kaboom! It was a lucky day for the Luftwaffe,as they then managed to avoid the flying debris from the exploded Spitfire. Unfortunately, however, the RAF pilot failed to be blown clear of his destroyed aircraft, leaving the section leader to fight on alone.

The end of the game involved yet more twisting and turning by both sides to get a decent shot. After some close shaves, the RAF section leader found himself in a sticky position and in a similar situation to that faced by his ex-wingman. Luck was with the RAF this time, however, as the Luftwaffe fudged the dice rolling and only managed an M* result on the damage table.

At this point, the RAF section leader decided to make a bolt for home and managed to break away to escape at low level across the Allied front line. The Luftwaffe had won the scenario in style, destroying one RAF fighter and chasing off the second for no loss. A re-match is definitely on the cards, however, as the sprog clearly needs to be taken down a peg or two!

Drat and Double Drat!