Sunday, May 30, 2021

Fortified Places Fort Watagua

 satellite view of Fort Watagua from Google earth
I (rather inexpertly) erased the modern amphitheater from the picture

       A recent trip took me into eastern Tennessee, always on the lookout for places of historic interest (there are more than a few in that area) I took the opportunity to visit Fort Watagua, a reconstruction located in the Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. The park alone is well worth a visit but the interpretive center and reconstructed fort are top-notch. The rich history is explored through the visitor's center displays and multi-media presentations and is most evocative. This link to Wikipedia provides a good background to the development of the area in Pre-Revolution times.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Death Or Glory brings Warhammer 40K tournament this Saturday at Bastion Gaming


       Death or Glory will be bringing their tournament play of 8th Edition Warhammer 40K to Bastion Gaming this weekend. All the competitive slots are filled but please stop by and take a look at the cool minis and terrain. This stuff is inspirational. Take a look at the pictures below for a glimpse of the event they ran earlier this year.

Tom, the intrepid leader and brains behind Bastion Gaming

Goodies from halfway around the world


a couple of additions to the "spats" collection, a couple more for the "Polish" collection 
and a big "What were they thinking" with a Caudron CR 714

        I find it odd that when I am digging through Ebay  that I can often find cheaper kits and MUCH lower shipping when I look at sources overseas. I located these brand new models coming out of Poland from a source called Sukceno with an average price of $5.50US and shipping in the same amount they were cheaper than old kits for sale here in the 'States. Service was excellent, each kit was bubble wrapped then put back in the box which was wrapped and sealed in plastic-wrap the whole groups was then packed in another larger box and well padded with styrofoam and bubble wrap. Shipping took less than the three weeks that were suggested at the time of the order and he combined the shipping costs saving me even more! I highly recommend this service.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Not Even Half-way Finnished

        Having built a slew of Russian aircraft last week I pushed ahead to try to complete a portion of the opposing Finnish force. The air force that served Finland in the Winter War and in the Continuation War was a polyglot accumulation of aircraft that were secured from a wide variety of  sources. A good many planes continued to served well past their "best if used by " date simply because there was no alternative.  I have but a few of the types that flew with the Finns but will continue to add to the collection as opportunity allows. As it stands now I have a pair of Fokker D XXIs and a single Curtiss Model 75 (known here in the States as a P-36).

I reviewed and built the Revell P-36 here,
 it is a nice little model that goes together very well

A way to conduct hex-based movement without hexagons

        My recent efforts into building air forces for pre/early WW2 air combat has me looking at rules sets. Almost all of these operate with hexes as the unit for controlling movement and weapon ranges. They are also unified in the idea that the game will be played with 1/300 scale models. Being as my collection is 1/72 scale models adjustments will have to be made. To begin with nobody makes playing mats with 5" hexes, thus I would have to have them custom-made. Secondly there would be no other use for said mats and third I would have to find some place to store said items. On top of all that I would have to pay for them! This simply would not do. Another method would have to be found.

       At first I though of some sort of appliance, such as is used with Star Wars X-Wing or the cards from Wings of Glory. These free the game from the constraints of hexes with it's odd 60 degree turns but pose logistical complications in fabricating the many different maneuver markers (as well as the issue of handling and storing these large items). One of the things I liked about Check Your Six was the chart with the possible moves that a plane could make clearly laid out in the corner of the player's sheet. These show the path and orientation of the aircraft making the maneuver. How to reproduce that movement on a table without hexes was the trick.

       At first I thought of using hexes cut from MDF (I'm sure that there are a couple dozen places that would be happy to do that for me). The problem being the expense combined with the bulk and weight, additionally I'm not a patient fellow so I didn't care to wait for them to arrive. Casting my eye about the workshop I spied a pile on card discs that were left over from a arts& crafts project with one of my granddaughters. Circles stack into hexagon patterns naturally (see a honeycomb as an example) so there had to be a way to make them function as hexes.....

       Then it came to me............

Friday, May 7, 2021

Gaming Update, 8MAY2021, 7pm

 We will be gaming this Saturday 8MAY21 at 7pm at my place

More Finns to halt the Communist Imperialist agression

        Having built more Soviet fighters I decided it was time to switch sides and add some weight to the Finnish Air Force. I have one Fokker D XXI ready to go but that isn't enough for a game. To remedy this I am adding another Fokker D XXI and a Curtiss 75 (known in the 'States as a P-36). Both are old kits (from the 70s) but were a breeze to build. I'm just starting getting paint on these birds but they will soon be ready to defend their tiny homeland from the Soviet invaders.

these old kits are not going to be any IPMS prize-winners 
but they are simple and fun to build plus they are perfect for my uses

at times I think that I'm spending too much time on the crew figures

they are both set up for magnetic flight stands,
 now I just have to finish the paint jobs

        I am currently battling my inner demons of messing with rules. I like the speed of play that card-movement systems like Wings of War provide but cannot abide with aircraft moving in only two dimensions, I also like the granularity  of  Check Your Six damage assessment. Then there is the question of finding a playing surface marked in 5" hexes to accommodate my flight bases......

Monday, May 3, 2021

Three Polikarpovs Fly Into a Bar........


this weekend's efforts....three Polikarpovs (one in Chinese colors) and a Corsair

       In my efforts to get a sufficient force together for a game of Check Your Six (or something to that effect) I decided to stop pussy-footing around and get into production mode. I broke out two of my old Revell I-16 kits, a Heller I-153 and an old Testors Corsair kit. The Revell I-16 has been reviewed previously as has the Heller I-153  and both are pretty straightforward builds. Dating back to 1953 the Testors Corsair kit is a weird combination of engraved panels lines and poor casting. As a static model it would be much better because little effort was made by the designers to make the parts fit in a "wheels up" mode. It is a primitive kit but will do the job as air-support. 

        The Revell I-16 kit benefits from having a complete set of "wheels up" landing gear doors while the Heller I-153 has all the parts but leaves you to figure out the assembly in the retracted position on your own. One of the I-16s and the I-153 were painted for the Russian Front in the period of 1939 through 1942, medium green and bold red stars. The remaining I-16 was painted in nationalist Chinese markings of dark green upper surfaces, a striped tail and roundels on the light blue underside. The Corsair got the all navy-blue colors for the Korean conflict (it is destined to my friend Rich's collection).

       Now I just need to get some opponents finished........

How much is too much?

        I will happily admit that I have a fascination with aircraft that have spatted landing gear, I also like ungainly and unusual looking aircraft. So far I have constrained myself to single engine aircraft but the field of the ugly and ungainly gets ever larger when you add extra engines.The worst part is that there are kits in 1/72 scale of some of these flying abominations. Witness this; the Handley-Page Heyford, a multi-engined bomber that was the mainstay of the British bombing force in the mid-late 1930's. The last of these were only retired from front line service in 1939!

yes Timmy, that is a REAL airplane