Friday, October 27, 2023

Last Plane Out

        In my continuing effort to clear at least a small portion of my backlog of unfinished projects I got this little bird done and off the workbench. Rich Uncle Pat had dropped it off ages ago along with some other models to use as eye-candy in his continuing series of African Cold War games. I got the other two done pretty quickly but this model is a terrible eastern-European kit and it was so horrid that I almost trashed it. My inherent cheapness and stubbornness made me push through and see what I could make of it. It still reeks as a model but it will do as a prop in a wargaming setting. Bonus points to anyone that can recognize where the decals came from.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

28mm Wargames Atlantic Partisans, Painted At Last!

        It has been simply AGES since I put these models together. I had started painting them and then.......well you know the story; too many new "bright shiny" toys kept appearing. In an effort to get at least a couple of projects FINISHED this year I sat myself down and got these lads sorted out. Really, painting a few dozen figures should not take a year! So here they are, painted at last. We will start with an archeologist famous for his disdain for Nazis. You can trace his genesis here.

not an exact match with the famous Doctor Jones,
Illinois Smith, perhaps?

Monday, October 23, 2023

Wargames Atlantic 28mm Great War British Infantry

        Well, at long last we get to see these in the flesh. I am perhaps the world's worst person when it comes to patience, I absolutely hate waiting. But, in this case, I will have to say it was worth the wait. These figures are very very good. This set will provide you with thirty of the ubiquitous P.B.I. that carried the "Burden of Empire" across the globe. As with all other W.A. products these are cleanly cast in a firm (but not fragile) gray plastic with no flash and very few mold-lines. Common with other W.A. kits almost every permutation of headgear is covered; soft-hat, steel helmets, steel helmet and gasmask, tropical pith helmets and steel helmets with cloth cover (I am going to have to find some use for the hundreds of spare heads that are beginning to fill my "bits bin").

front of the box, the combination of excellent artwork and nicely painted miniatures is very effective

Saturday, October 21, 2023

When Empires Collide, A Comedy In Five Acts


       Neo Babylonians and Marian Romans, not two empires that ever ran into each other and not two armies that get used very much in Ancient Gaming but I and Anton selected them for our most recent game to amusing Results.   Here are the initial deployments and terrain.  Anton's Marian Romans are proximal, and my Neo Babylonians are distal.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Playing with geometry, or it has come time to sink the sunk costs and rethink things


       I admit it, I am a stubborn person. I tend to stick with things even after it has become obvious that they just aren't working out (as is evidenced by my continuing pursuit of perfecting the the hotdogerito, a hot dog with cheese rolled in a soft taco shell and deep-fried- I swear it will work out eventually!). But in this case I am willing to finally admit defeat. My Red Stars and Rising Suns rules suffer from a fatal flaw that I adopted at inception and was too blind to see. 

       That flaw is the adoption of the concept of hexagonal movement even though I had developed a way to chart movement without the ridiculous constraint of sixty-degree turns. The problem hovered at the edge of my consciousness as I struggled to build movement charts to reflect the different capabilities of the various 1930's era aircraft that I was designing the rules to depict. The realization finally dawned on me that there was no need to ape the six-point movement system that I had inherited from other air war games meant to be played on a hex-map. The circles that I had made could have as many different angles as I wished to paint on them. Simply using octagons would add a good bit more subtly to the turns without much extra complication (aside from me having to re-work all of my existing maneuver books). Octagons are impossible on a printed map as they do not link up without dead spaces. Moving diagonally on this surface would be the same as moving using squares.

       However, without the need to link in a rigid pattern this allows us to move at a forty-five degree angle and maintain a proper center-to-center movement distance. 

       I am not yet totally sold on the idea. A ten-point system would also make sense, or even a twelve-point model. Sailors use sixteen points on the wind don't they? Of course there is the unintended outcome of the maneuvers using up more table-space the more points of turn that we add to the circles. A minimum-sized one hundred-eighty degree turn is two and a third hexes, three octagons and God only knows how many sixteen point spaces (my guess is eight, but I'm unwilling to work that out).
       It seems that I'm in for a LOT of chin-scratching, bourbon-sipping experimentation before I get this worked out. I am open to reader suggestions and ideas.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Airfix 1/72 Henschel HS-123 in Nationaist Chinese colors


       I swear this is the last 1930's bird for a while! After the last two kits I needed to fall back on something that I knew would be a simple and pleasant build; as I was out of Revell Polikarpov I-16s I rummaged around in the Heap of Embarassment until I found this oldie but goodie. I have built this kit twice in the last couple of years; once as a Luftwaffe dive-bomber and again as a fighter from the Spanish Civil War.  I knew this would be, as we used to say, a "shake and bake" much unlike the last couple of models I had worked on. Assemble was a breeze, no putty needed at all and just some light sanding on the seams and a mold-line or two to clean up. I had decided to build this one as a Nationalist Chinese aircraft because the paint scheme was simple and my Chinese Air Force needs to buff it's bombing capabilities.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Gaming Update My Place 14OCT23 1900hrs

        I will be running a game at my place this Saturday, October 14th at 7pm.

        Most likely WW2 tanks, but I'm still deciding

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Redeemed by the decals, Part II, the MisterCraft PZL 11 in 1/72

       I have been on a roll building 1930's aircraft and decided to add another plane to my tiny Polish Air Force. A couple of years back I had purchased a few of these kits from an Ebay source in Poland at very reasonable prices. Up until now they have been tucked away in The Vault. I figured that I ought to add another PZL P-11 to the force since it was three years since I built the first one (a Heller kit which was very nice). Despite being rather newer (and having much better art-work and decals) this kit was a bit of a trudge. Flash on the delicate parts, vague and inaccurate instructions, fit issues and poor design all contributed to a less-than-happy build. What kept me at it was the bold and attractive decal schemes that the kit came with. It seems that in the 1930's every Air Force was more concerned with a flashy appearance than they were with the practicalities of camouflage.

flashy box-art, yes, I am a sucker for it

Redeemed by the decals, building the Airfix 1/72 DeHavilland DH-88

       The original aircraft was purpose-built for the MacRobertson Air Race in 1934. It was designed for extreme long-distance flight (the race was from England to Australia!). To me it epitomises the spirit of the age, style, elegance and performance all combined into one dead-sexy airplane. Wikipedia has a good article on the aircraft and the race here.

       I was going to do a complete write-up on the build of this kit but have since thought better of it. It is a very simple kit and if any care had been taken by the manufacturer it would have been a breeze. First off this is one of the "first generation" plastic models that appeared just after WW2. There is no effort  (and I mean ABSOLUTELY no effort) at cockpit, engine or wheel well detail. It is beyond rudimentary, it should come with a warning that says, "This is a model from your grandfather's time. Buy this only if you wish to experience the frustration, vexation and anger that modelers endured in the 1950's". Parts fit was horrid, flash was ever present and mold risers abounded.  The quality was on a par with the Blohm und Voss BV 141 kit from this same manufacturer. Much muttering of curses and a lot of putty went into the assembly. On the other hand, the decals were superb.


viewing the box-art one would be fooled into thinking that this is a nice, modern kit 
I was

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

1/72 scale Polish PZL P-7

       Having finished the Messerschmitt BF-110 I was looking for something to do, the weather wasn't right for priming minis (well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it) I decided to venture into The Vault and once again confront the Heap of Embarrassment (the collection of unbuilt plastic models, not to be confused with the Mountain of Shame - my pile of unpainted minis). As I stood there soaking in the self-reproach that I always feel when contemplating the sheer size of the task that those models represent I let my eye wander into the darkest corner and there I saw my next project. I had purchased this kit as a "filler" in an order on Ebay, it bumped my purchase over the "free shipping" amount and at five dollars was far cheaper than what shipping would have cost. It is from a company that I had never heard of and the battered box gave little hope of an easy build. To my delight this was a great kit, parts fit was excellent, almost devoid of flash, no warpage and superb decals.

the box art was the reason I bought this kit 

when almost everyone else was flying biplanes this really caught the eye

1/72 Monogram Messerschmitt BF-110

       This model is one of the very first models that I built after I started to take modeling seriously (as opposed to building targets for my BB gun). I managed to fond an original production one from the early '70s so the experience was very close to that first build. It was a straightforward build, I am constantly amazed by the quality of these old kits; no putty needed, little sanding, near-perfect parts fit. The decals were another matter, half a century bouncing around from one basement to another before being built left them in pretty rough shape. It was a fight but I stuck to my guns and used them. I ended up with some silvering around a couple of the decals, much to my dismay. I console myself with the thought that these are wargaming toys, not IPMS competition pieces.

a sleek-looking plane even if it wasn't much of a dogfighter

most countries experimented with the "heavy fighter"concept
only the P-38 could be considered truly successful 
hand-painting the framing on that greenhouse was a pain

don't look too close at those markings,
 I stuck the worst decals on the bottom where they wouldn't often be seen 
ah, the semi-sweet taste of nostalgia, 
it even came in the same box as the kit I built all those decades ago