Sunday, 28 February 2010
A Lancaster is escorted home by little friends - from my 1/144 World War II aircraft collection. The Mosquitos were arguably the best heavy fighter/ light bomber/ night fighter/ strike intruder of WWII.
A Zero escorts a G4 Betty bomber. This bomber was called a Type One Lighter by Japanese pilots as the self sealing fuel tanks have been ripped out to save weight.
A Fiat BR20 encounters a Royal Navy Martlet (Wildcat). BR20 bombers launched a daylight raid on Harwich in the Battle of Britain, escorted only by CR42 biplane Fighters. The incredulous Hurricane pilots of Fighter Command handled them extremely roughly.
Saturday, 27 February 2010
Friday, 26 February 2010
Thursday, 25 February 2010
I popped into my local GW recently and picked up a copy of Imperial Apocalypse II. It follows the familiar pattern of new troops and equipment and new formations, but also updates some old favourites to fit them into the new Guard Codex etc. It also rounds up some of the odds and sods and incorporates them into a single volume, which is useful.
An example of the old and the new.
Orky vehicles are considerably updated.
Two old favourites are updated.
The physical production of the book is excellent with the usual first class graphics.
At twenty pounds, I think this product is great value for money.
I rate it four (out of five).
You can find Hopeless' pics here:
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Just to remind fellow bloggers in Kent that the Cavalier Show is on Sunday at The Angel Centre, Tonbridge.
The games include:
Southbourne Tabletop and Boardgamers (STaB)
Space Vixens from Mars
Who could resist?
Anyone else going?
Traders to include:
1066 and all that
A & A Game Engineering
Ancient and Modern / Donnington Miniatures
Black Hat / Fighting 15s
Black Pyramid Gaming
The Colonial Steamboat Company
Dave Lanchester Books
Harfields Military Figures
Lesleys Bits Box
Monarch Books and Miniatures
Oshiro Model Terrain
Peter Pig (oink!)
QRF Models Ltd
Realistic Modelling Services
Stafford Games / Vendel Miniatures
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
In April 1917, the French and British launched the latest Big Push, aka lunatic attack. The RFC were ordered to fly army support operations into German territory. The British had about 25 quadrons, a little more than 350 planes. Two thirds were two seaters who carrried out the reconnaissance and artillery spotting missions, leaving about 120 scouts to escort them. The Germans concentrated 8 fighter Jasta, say 80 scouts, in the area.
This looks OK on paper but the RFC scouts were largely obsolete. The twin-gun Albatross scouts outclassed them in all regards. Nevertheless, the RFC was obliged to go on the offensive.
This scenario takes place in Bloody April. The British two seaters have been slaughtered so the RFC sends two single-gunned Airco DH2 pusher scouts on a deep reconnaissance. They have added a Royal Naval Sopwith Triplane as an escort. The Triplane has only a single gun but can at least match the Albatross in performance, which is just as well as the formation runs straight into an Albatross trap.
The formations close.
The Albatross break.
After an initial exchange of fire, in which one of the DH2's gun jams on the first burst, the British planes loop around on the tail of the purple Albatross. It's partner makes an attack run on the Triplane.
There is a swirling dogfight in which the scouts fire when they can while twisting to evade being attacked themselves. The powerful spandeaux of an Albatross punch through a DH2's fuel tank causing it to explode in a ball of fire. The second pusher is set on fire and the Triplane's engine is hit. It nevertheless tears straight at the purple Albatross riddling it at close range. The wings collapse and the German falls. The DH2 does not survive to celebrate. The onboard fire spreads to a petrol line and the DH2 explodes.
The Triplane escapes while it can, the pilot nursing the stuttering engine.
In the real world the Britsh lost 245 aircraft. The Germans lost 66. So this scenario was quite accurate. Two guns are a big advantage.
Thanks to Shaun who piloted the Albatross scouts.
Monday, 22 February 2010
Thursday, 18 February 2010
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
I love the Smart Max Figures. If only they weren't such an odd size. They do make wonderful dioaramas.
This one is by Minos.
Anyway you can find a fascinating series of photos showing how it was made here:
Minos has a site here:
With an English translator, which is useful if, like me, your French language skills are limited to 'official French'.
The site has more of his work such as this great Malifaux model
Well worth a visit. The Guy is a genius. Are the French modellors overtaking us Anglo-Saxons - Discuss?
Sunday, 14 February 2010
In my various meanderings among steampunk model sites I came across an artist who makes beautiful steampunk insect sculptures.
You can find his work here:
It struck me that maybe we should be a little more imaginative about scratchbuilt Chaos daemon-machines to supplement those released by GW and Forge World. Must think on this
Saturday, 13 February 2010
I have painted up one of the DH2 scouts. This is plane registration 5964 of No.24 Squadron, Bertangles, November 1916, flown by Major Lanoe G Hawker VC. I have simplified the paint job slightly to suit the small scale. The Airco DH2 was Britain's first purpose-designed air superiority fighter. It was the plane that ended the Fokker Scourge. The pusher layout was one way of solving the problem of how to mount a forward firing machine gun. Not using interruptor gear allowed a higher rate of fire.
The problem with pushers was that the mass of wires and struts caused drag. Initially this was not an issue but became one as fighters got faster. By November, 1916, the DH2 was obsolete. Bloody April was coming.
I made a mistake in the colour scheme. The horizontal booms were aluminium and should be silver grey. An easily fixable error.
It is dusk here even at midday, so the pics are taken with a flasgun.
Major Hawker was the "English Boelcke", He led the first air superiority squadron, No. 24 Squadron, and devised training and tactics. Often this was achieved against opposition of the aristocratic muppets at the top of the army. He was shot down and killed by the Red Baron, Richothofen, on the 23rd November 1916. Hawker was alone, outnumbered, flying an obsolete aircraft that was slower both on the flat and climbing, miles behind enemy lines, with a wind pushing him deeper to the east. It was not really Richthofen who killed Hawker but the horse-riding half wits in command who devised this master strategy.
(Picture copyright Guttman, 2009, Osprey, Pusher Aces of World War 1 - a very good book, by the way.)
More essential sustenance while painting struts on a 1:144 model biplane.
Friday, 12 February 2010
OK, I have assembled the Skytrex Triplanes and Pushers more or less as intentended. I used brass rods on the DH2s as recommended by Stephen Blease. I strongly recommend that you read Stephen's build suggesions (see Stephen's comments at the bottom of my Skytrex posts. I half used them and wished I had followed his advice unreservedly. You will need blue tack, epoxy resin & fine brass rod. The planes are mounted on Wings of War bases. I have put a WoW Camel in the pic for comparison.
I mounted the model by cutting the lug of a short Battle Fleet Gothic flyer stand, reversing it and cementing it to the bottom of the model in the centre of gravity. It then fits straight on top of a WoW stand.
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
I have started assembling the Skytrex planes. Superglue is of limited value because (i) you need to repostion all those struts and superglue drys too quickly, and (ii) it does not provide enough support for the small contact points. I have therefore tried Araldite quick drying epoxy resin with better results. It is slow and messy but it does the job.
Essential tool when assembling white metal 1:144 triplanes and pushers.
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
I bought some Red Eagle WWI planes from the Skytrex site (see sidebar), a couple of DH2s and a couple of Sopwith Triplanes. cards for both these aircraft are available from Wings of War, but not the models.
Red Eagle planes are supposed to be a living nightmare to assemble: I will let you know in a couple of days. One trick, apparently is to use thin copper tube, rather than the provided white metal struts.
The models are a bit rough and ready and will need cleaning up but are only £4 a time. Skytrex have a wide range, including heavy bombers.
When assembled, they should look like the pics below.
Saturday, 6 February 2010
I recently discovered that it is still possible to get new copies of HOTT v2 (2004) from The Keep (off eBay UK), WRG's retailer. My copy of version 1 fell apart many years ago.
HOTT is a wonderful fantasy game. the best set of rules ever produced by WRG. I guess the very name WRG is only remembered by veteran wargamers these days (aka sily old, ah, expulsions of wind) but in it's heyday WRG was the rules provider. They suffered from two problems that combined to bring them down. The first was the English fetish for amateurism. They had an obsession with cheapness, selling rules with poor production quality both in physical appearance and writing. WRGs sentence structure was famous. The second problem was a style that focussed on weapon interaction as the near only important factor in warfare plus an increasing trend towards abstraction and 'realism' at the expense of an enjoyable game. A small example is that they insisted on calling a legion a legio, as it was more 'accurate'.
However, they produced a fun rule set for a competition short game called DBA, and it was a major hit. They complexified it into DBM and many others, which were very dull. The last variant was Hordes of the Things, which is a hoot and undoubtedly the best rule set WRG ever produced.
Like DBA (and many games since including my own Slammers rules), HOTT uses a die roll to generate commenad points to move regiments (one stand = a regiment) and groups.
The great strength of DBA is its versatility. Stands are divided into types, some of which are military such as 'shooters' (could be bowmen, muskateers, Martians with death rays....). Others represent heroes (Achillies, John Carter of Mars, Tarzan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer....), magicians (Dr Who, Medea, Rupert Giles.....), and so on. The game is named after the weakest class, the hordes (militia, goblins, peasants with pitchforks and flaming torches....).
Magic is used to nullify a character stand removing them from the battlefield until they escape (six command points) and rejoin the game.
You have a couple of dozen types of stands into which to shoehorn your army. So any mythological, fantasy, or SF army can be incorporated and used against any other army. An army is 24 points (12 of which must be ordinary bods).
The only thing that matters is that all stands must have the same frontage - 60mm in the case of 28-30mm
For example, here is an army:
1 X Buffy - hero - 4pts
1 X Spike - hero - 4pts
1 X Giles & Scooby gang - magician/general - 4 pts
2 X Police cars - Riders - 2 pts
2 X Soldiers - Shooters - 2 pts
4 X High school students - hordes - 1pt
and below is my Lizardman Army;
Lord Izzypop, magician (4pts) and five stands of Lizardman warbands (10 pts),
Four hordes of skinks (4pts),
A steggy, behometh (4 pts) and a stand of Lizardmen cavalry, knights (2 pts)
And that should make 24 pts, 8 of which are specials.
One of the nice things is that you do not have to have very many models for a good game. Here are some additional Lizardmen spare stands so I can vary my forces. A stand of snakes, lurkers that hide in rough terrain, and a Lizardman hero.
You can convert any army into a temprary HOTT army by blue-tacking your figures onto cardboard 60mm frontage stands (depth is irrelevent - use what looks right) so you do not have to buy in or rebase a new army.
Thursday, 4 February 2010
- The Bells of Hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling
- For you but not for me:
- For me the angels sing-a-ling-a-ling,
- They've got the goods for me.
- Oh! Death, where is thy sting-a-ling-a-ling
- Oh! Grave, thy victory?
- And the little devils all sing-aling-aling
- For you but not for me.
Das Mädchen unter der Laterne
Underneath the lantern,
By the barrack gate
Darling I remember
The way you used to wait
T'was there that you whispered tenderly,
That you loved me,
You'd always be,
My Lilli of the Lamplight,
My own Lilli Marlene
German WWI soldiers song, later popular with the Africa Korps and the Desert Rats (Britain's 8th Army) - Tommie Connor version, 1944.
I have had a flypast of my entire Wings of War airfleet. As you can see, I managed to track down one of the coveted red Tripehounds.
A quick head count reveals about £100 worth. That has to be enough for anyone. So no more WWI airplanes, except maybe a Nieuport, or a Snipe, or a couple of Albatross DIIs - or maybe some Skytrex Sopwith Triplanes, or an Eindecker or a flight of DHII pusher fighters.
No, no, get thee from me Satan.......
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
While surfing, I came across this Defiler kitbashed into a steampunk spider-tank.
The original pics are here:
Including some other steampunk stuff.