In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Dive Bombers Get Targets

A happy package arrived on Friday to cheer me up after a frustrating work day. 

These Tamiya 1/700 scale waterline kits arrived from Hong Kong in a little over 2 weeks. 

With extra pandemic restrictions in place, and snow, a quiet weekend reacquainting myself with scale model building was perfect. 

Started small Friday night with the IJN destroyer, the Harusame 

Angled the guns to make it look more active 

Dauntless SBD checks it out

Came with a sprue of extra pieces; gun turrets, AA guns, torpedo launchers, FOUR different seaplanes and extra ship's boats. But no instructions on how to make use of them. Huh.

It went together ok. Although I snapped struts on both masts and had to bodge them together. 

Saturday morning I brewed a second cup of tea and started on the light cruiser, the Tama. 

Historically, I'm an impatient model builder. But I realized that the reddish-brown linoleum decking on the cruiser was a big part of its look, and that should be painted before all the superstructure, guns, seaplane etc were attached. 

This also made me pause a bit while glue set on pre-assembled parts, like the bridge and funnels. 

I also remembered these, which Mikey had given me years ago.  They were champion for dabbing glue into small spaces.

Bridge and funnels. So many pieces!

Top off the aft mast sprang away into another dimension when clipping it from the sprue. Then I remembered a box of pieces from an old HO building model and cut a new top from some window panes.

The bridge and fore mast were buggers to build. I had to really stop and think out the sequence. 

This kit came with TWO sprues of extras!

So I guess I'll be able to do a few repairs when bits break during games. I'm thinking that I might build a  float plane or two to add to the IJN aircraft inventory. Give the Wildcats something new to chase.

I kept the painting simple and relied on the plastic for the overall grey which is most of the colour scheme. 

The decals that came with the kits were a pain. The cruiser,  being an older kit had peel and stick. The destroyer had water slide, which made the flag easier actually. But the water slide hinomaru for the aircraft are very stiff and won't conform to the fuselage. 

When I was setting aside a decal sheet, I found the mast top, returned from wherever it had gone.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Shuttle From Toy to Terrain

My friend Pasha Dan found this piece in a sale bin and gave it to me a couple of years ago when I was heavy into my Firefly in the Expanse project. 

Its a playing piece from an MCU clicky collectible game. I wasn't sure what to do with it except for removing the clicky base.

It originally had big orange plastic flames erupting from the engine nozzles.  So I twisted those off.

Painted out the Deadpool markings and then dry brush some black reentry scorches to hide the rougher finish where I painted over the markings and painted the engine nozzles black.

Then it sat for a week while I pondered how to make it not just sitting on it's belly. Had a brain wave on the weekend to use pieces of sprue.

So done. Another item off the backlog and another piece of scatter terrain for a distant colony world. Also the first thing painted for my 15mm science fiction in a few years. 

"The repairs are how much!?"

Saturday, January 9, 2021

First Figures of 2021

Some productive mining of the leadpile as I finish this first batch of miniatures for the year.

These are also the last of my 15mm German vehicles, having sat in my "unpainted WW2" box for about 12 years! The box is now empty except for a platoon of early war French MMGs and some random pieces that should move to my Bits Box.

A pack of 3 Old Glory Command Decision Opel Blitz trucks painted in late war camouflage, since I've already got 4 in early war grey.

A platoon's worth of Old Glory Command Decision Sdkfz251 half tracks. Again in camouflage. I have 2 platoons in grey already and the Germans might want to mount a counter attack in Italy, Russia or Normandy.

Finally an addition to the recce force with a pair of Sdkfz234 armoured cars, one 234/1 and a Puma.

I have no idea what make these are. They were gifted to me about 12 years ago by someone for whom I was painting 28mm Canadians and Italians. But they are really lovely kits, well thought out, good detail but easy to assemble and minimal flash. A nice contrast to the Old Glory kits which even 12 years ago had a lot of flash, squashed details and heavy mold lines.

Decals are left over 1/600 aircraft decals.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

New Year, Old Frontiers

Well, here we are for the annual New Year's retrospective post.

All the pictures are a sequential selection of last year's painting and games

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a balls up, wasn't it? Mrs. Rabbitman and I had 7 tickets to the local theater festival bought, plans made for Romantic Weekend Getaways, maybe even some out of Province travel. Actually meet our beautiful granddaughter. It was going to be great.

Hot Lead 2020 was looking like it was going to be the biggest and best ever.

Like the rest of you, everything got tossed in the recycler and shredded. 

But with the sudden clearing of my schedule and staying home on weekends there were other opportunities. Mrs. Rabbitman observed that the garden was looking the best it's done in years thanks to nice weekends not being spent with the cadets. 

Also, like the many of us, I doubled down on hobby therapy for my mental health.  Since I stayed working money wasn't an issue either. 

Looking over the blog for the past year shows that I've been a busy gamer. Painting up a storm. Even though I bought quite a bit, I got it all painted and I painted up some good chunks of the leadpile. 

I haven't kept a tally of figures painted but some significant highlights are 

  • the big additions to the Elves, Mordor and an entirely new Rohan force for Middle Earth 
  • the 1/600 scale WW2 Bag the Hun project planned,  purchased and successfully executed within the space of   5 months 
  • the massive, and long desired, expansion and renovation of my 11th century Medieval host, which occurred simultaneously with the tiny airplanes 
  • except for my Firefly in the Expanse project, I think I painted something for every period that I currently game and have figures in the leadpile for 

I also played a lot. I mean a lot a lot!

A rough skim through the blog shows 20 or so games; 7 face to face, 6 remotely and at least 10 solo, which beats previous years all to bits.

Highlights were:
  • Contact Front breathed new life into my 20mm Afghanistan collection and gives a solid challenging game. 
  • Oathmark still interests me. I just need to get used to it. I think the Mad Padre and I will play it again when we're able.
  • Bag the Hun certainly delivered exactly what I wanted. A solo friendly game with big formations of aircraft all swirling about. Great stuff. My New Year's Day game made me feel like I was in the 1969 movie my dad took me to see.
  • Lion/Dragon Rampant remain my go to. Easy. Fast. Fun. Adaptable. 

So where next?

Well, excavating the leadpile produced big dividends last year, I'm going to continue with that. Especially early on before I succumb and buy something. There's some nice 15mm WW2 and SF pieces in the stash I should build. Also a platoon of German paratroopers started. And Goths, Prussians Swiss and Samurai to paint.

For terrain I still want to build some urban ruins and clear the collected crap out of the way. Same with my 15mm science fiction. Corridors and room modules for a colony are on the list. 

Game wise, more of last year plus I want to take a look at adapting Contact Front to my Firefly in the Expanse games. Adding a ship component with scratch built ships is in the back of my mind too.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Action Over Walmington-on-Sea, 25 Aug 1940 (Picture Heavy!)

Captain Mainwaring passed the binoculars to Sergeant Wilson. "This is it, Sergeant " he declared ominously. "Invasion!"

Sergeant Wilson took a long look at the formation of aircraft approaching Walmington-on-Sea over the Channel. "Oh dear." He handed the binoculars back. "It might just be an air raid, sir. But I'll mobilize the men. And I think we should lock up the bank."

"Hmph. Quite so. Look after it would you? I'd better go put my uniform on."

Squadron Leader Doug McKenzie, callsign Lumberjack, was approaching from the west. A calm feminine voice in his headset vectored 419 City of Stratford Squadron RCAF towards the threat. 

"Lumberjack, bandits at bearing one-seven-one, Angels 4 through 6. 20 plus."

"Roger Control I see them. Climbing to intercept."

"Lumberjack. Be advised callsign Gentry coming from the North East."

McKenzie called out to his squadron of Hurricanes, in formation to either side of him. "Hallo bus, keep up with me and go for the bombers first. But watch your backs." He pushed the throttle on his Merlin engine and pulled back on the column, his Hurricane clawing at the air to get to the German bombers. 

Callsign Gentry. 6 Spitfires 

419 Sqdn in formation 

German He111s. Me110s leading. Me109s on either flank. Blue dice mark altitude 

Fighter schwarms race ahead

419 Sqdn RCAF closes with the bombers 

"Bandits 10 o'clock!" Me109s turn to intercept them

"Break left!" Spitfires try to get behind 109s 

"A Flight follow me!" SL McKenzie turns to face the oncoming escorts. "B Flight get those bloody bombers!"

109s get caught between two sections of Spitfires. Tracer rounds stream through the sky. A Messerschmidt pilot is killed at his controls. 

McKenzie leads his vic tearing through the German fighters machine guns blazing! A novice German pilot loses control and will swerve out of formation 

The Me110s go after B Flight 

A good fall of cards for the RAF. A cheer goes up from the citizens of Walmington-on-Sea watching from their gardens. The Schwarmfurher's wingman is killed in his seat, his aircraft plunging into the ground. The Schwarmfurher himself has a wing blown off. He bails out to be rounded up by Cpl Pike and an angry farmer. A 3rd 109 takes engine damage and turns for France with his wingman. This action takes both German Aces out of the game. A heavy blow for the escorts. 

Blue section starts an attack run on the He111s but the Me110s get behind them. 20mm cannon shells tear into them. Blue Leader is now leaking fuel and Blue 3 has his instrument panel shot up. Blue section turns for home. 

"Tally ho!" Green section charges into the bombers. Green Leader gets caught in a murderous crossfire and explodes!

Yellow section hunts down the German sprog desperately trying to regain control of his damaged 109. Instrument panel destroyed he bails out over the English countryside. Sgt Wilson has borrowed the butchers van to send patrols out to collect German parachutes. 

The survivors of Green section get on the tails of some He111s seeking revenge!

SL McKenzie leads Red Section in a diving attack into the bombers MGs blazing. Heavily damaged one of the He111s has to turn for home. 

"Gentleman Johnny" Flasheart has his canopy shattered by a tail gunner. But he's so close he can't miss. The Heinkel explodes.

Dakka dakka dakka! Spitfires and Hurricanes weave among the lumbering bombers seeking a firing angle 

Escorting 109s trying to drive them off. A Messerschmidt crosses in front of SL McKenzie and he squeezes the button. KABOOM!

Blue section running under the dogfight. Red 1 SL McKenzie lines up a Heinkel 

The Sprogs are getting into the fight now. Green 3 is elated to see a Heinkel fall apart under his guns  but that is short lived as cannon shells from the Me110s sneaking up behind him damage a fuel line.

Spitfire Red2 got separated from Gentry when he failed a maneuver test. He tries to pounce on damaged He111s but is driven off by a pair of Me110s 

Green 3 is shot to bits before he can escape. His Hurricane crashes before he can bail out. 

Heinkels trailing oily smoke and flames as tailing Spitfires pour in more fire.

Two He111s explode in short sequence. SL McKenzie bags another kill!

Overview. Blue section bottom running for home. Yellow section in the middle dueling with the last 109. At the top the survivor of Green section breaks his tail on the wounded He111 to turn on the Me110s chasing him. Damaged He111s trailing black smoke turning back to France. 

Losing altitude over the Channel. Will he make it?

Reverend Timothy Farthing looks up as a Heinkel trailing oily smoke passes low over the rooftops. As he's watching a Hurricane piloted by SL McKenzie swoops in, the Messerschmidt spouts plumes of red flame. "Huzzah boys!" He shouts, spilling his tea. "Give them some wellie!"

"Where is he? Where is he?"
"Watch out Johnny, he's behind you!" 
Dakka dakka dakka! The last 109 bags a Hurricane. 

Another He111 explodes 

SL McKenzie empties his last rounds into the burning Me110. As he passes out of its smoke he sees it explode.  A Spitfire shoots down its wingman at the same time. 

The survivor of Yellow Flight gets onto the 109, heavily damaging the engine. 

The Me109 tries to run for home but rolls a 1, engine failure. He crashes outside of town. He is rounded up by Mrs. Bromridge armed with outrage, a trowel and a tea pot. Dazed he gladly trades his pistol for a cup of tea while Mrs Bromridge calls the Police. 

The youngsters of the town cheer as two bombers go down nearby. One splashes into the Channel. "Oi!" shouts the oldest lad. "Look! Ones on the beach. Let's go 'av a butchers." Trailed by an anxious Bobby they head off to collect souvenirs and German airmen. 

Last He111. Fuel line hit. Tail gunner dead. Cockpit shot to hell. +5 on next damage roll and tailed by a Spitfire with still half of his ammunition. It is not looking very good.

"Lumberjack to Control. Out of ammo, heading for home. Form up everyone but watch for strays!"

Gentry is also out of ammunition and they form up to go home too. 

Sergeant Wilson sees another group of bedraggled German airmen herded into the church hall. Privates Sponge and Godfrey are guarding them with a shot gun and a rifle with only 5 rounds. He turns to Captain Mainwaring. 

"Perhaps we should call Regional Headquarters and see if someone could come and collect these chaps."

"Hmmm... right you are. See to it would you? I wonder if the Women's Institute have made any tea and sandwiches?"

I started this game New Year's Day and played it to the bitter, bloody end until lunch on the 2nd. That's a plus to playing solo, you can take your time and fight a battle out instead of calling the last turn at midnight and then arguing about who was winning. 

Out of the German formation 2x Me110s, 2x Me109s (1 damaged) and 2x He111s both damaged, made it home. 16 aircraft shot down, pretty devastating losses. 

RCAF losses are 5x Hurricanes shot down. 4 pilots KIA.  3× return damaged. 1x Spitfire damaged.

Of the 8 Sprog pilots 3x got kills, 2x of them surviving to impress the girls at the pub about their exploits.
Sqdn Ldr McKenzie bagged 5 of the 8 kills his squadron claims for today's work.
Each Spitfire section got 4 kills.

Perhaps a bit ambitious of me. I was getting confused at points and forgetting to note damage etc. I'll have to formalize a colour code for pipe cleaner damage markers. 

Two take aways today. Aces really dominate. The Germans losing both of theirs early on I think really hurt their defense. Also, bombers are really hard to shoot down. They can soak up a lot of damage.