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, November 28, 2020


An envelope from Miscellaneous Miniatures arrived in Friday's post. Each sheet has rondels in different sizes and enough that you don't feel bad about messing one up.

So I started applying some that night. Practicing with the Japanese first before attempting to get the American stars pointed right way up. Gosh they are fiddly!

I am not bothering with the undersides of the wings. I also resisted the squadron specific sets with call letters. I figured those would be just too hard to keep straight!

But I really like how they make the models suddenly look so much more finished. 

My output after three 1 hour sessions; enough for a decent game. But I find after an hour I need a break. 

As you've noticed several models have come unstuck. But I may as well wait for the magnets to arrive. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Duck Egg Blues

The last two games have gotten me all excited to bash on with the RAF and Luftwaffe to do some Battle of Britain action. Except RAF aircraft instead of having a blue underside like I expected, are a weird creamy off-white called "duck egg blue."

Only the British would call that colour "blue."

Boom and Zoom Graphics is a useful start for WW2 camouflage, but not too detailed. I've noticed that all the camo squiggles are the same on every aircraft and learned that Hurricanes, Spitfires and Mosquitoes each had distinct patterns. An A and a mirror image B pattern for each airframe. 

While I wait for decals from Miscellaneous Miniatures and magnets from Greenstuff World I've painted the undersides of my RAF and Luftwaffe aircraft, deciding that a mocha shade was close enough to "duck egg blue."

I'm trying not to overthink things. If people can see the bottoms of your aircraft then something is wrong. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Bigger Blustery Bag the Hun

My first game being so much fun, rather than be sensible and just play the same scenario but maybe let the Japanese get the Top Ace, I decided to go bigger. As you do.

Lots of cards to make

The weather last Sunday turned as suddenly as a crazy ex-girlfriend, so it was a good time to hide inside from the winds and rain and roll some dice. 

Some advice from experienced BtH players on Twitter suggested giving defending fighters a 50% increase over escorting fighters with bombers. 

So I set up two flights of three Dauntless SBDs escorted by a flight of 4 Wildcats. Trying to stop the SBDs from bombing a transport ship (the Boatai Maru) were 2x three plane flights of Zeros. I used the table to roll for pilot quality this time. The Japanese got 5 out of 6 pilots as veterans and 1 regular.  The Americans got a couple of veterans leading the fighter sections and a lot of green pilots. 

For brevity I'm going to use an alphanumeric code to identify the flights and individual aircraft. UB is American Blue flight of 4x Wildcats. UG and UY are American Green and Yellow flights of 3x Dauntless SBDs each. JR and JB are Japanese Red and Blue flights of 3x Zeros each.

JR claims Altitude Advantage and races ahead. UB is divided into 2 sections flanking the SBDs. 

American deployment. Blue die show altitude 

White strip is the target. Yellow disc is position of the sun.

JR begins a swirling dogfight with the pair of Wildcats UB3 and UB4

JB turns to intercept the SBDs 

JB get on tail of UG. UG1 takes engine damage losing altitude 

IJN roll badly on hits and the SBDs roll not that bad for saves. Rear gunner on UG2 about to kill the pilot of JB3

It's a swirling knife fight! Trying get a target...JB3 is killed at his controls and JB1 takes some damage  

Dakka dakka dak.... miss!

JR2 banks around to ho head to head with UB4. UB4 shoots first, splashing his 2nd kill!

UG1 is swerving out of control. Rest of UG does their run, their bombs falling short. UY is making its approach. 

UG pulling away. UY gets a good bombing run, putting a hole in the engine room of the Boatai Maru. 

JR1 gets on the tail of UB4 

Combined rear MG fire from a couple of SBDs kills the pilot tormenting UG1 

BANZAI! Dakka dakka dakka! JR1 shoots a wing off UB4 who bails out4

BANZA! Dakka dak... JR1 charges ahead to get the wingman UB3 but guns jam!

JB1 tries to get the American rookie, who flubs his hard bank but flies out of danger

UB3 pulls an Immelman and gets on the tail of the damaged Zero pouring in the fire

UB1 gets a good hit on JB1, shooting away his instrument panel putting him at -2 maneuver 

JR1 damaged can't shake the tailing Wildcat. Fuel line hit! +3 on damage in next round of shooting. 

JB1 is shot out of the sky before he can escape 

Game end

With one bomber damaged (it will probably ditch beside the carrier if they get that far) and one fighter down, but the pilot is hopefully picked up, the Americans will get a few pats on the back in the briefing room from the Air Wing Commander for seriously crippling the Japanese transport. 

A junior officer on the Boatai Maru  witnesses the brave sacrifice of the pilots and pens a sombre haiku

Brave souls in the air

The rising sun knows defeat

In the sea you sleep

(Thanks to D. Montoya from Twitter for composing their epitaph.)

I played this out over three days with a combined time  of about 5 hours. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Pacific Patrol

The hard copy of Bag the Hun arrived earlier this week,  and having more than enough USN and IJN aircraft painted, I thought I'd try the introductory scenario at the back of the book and roll some dice!

Somewhere over the Pacific, September 1942:

Lt. Jack Robinson leads Blue flight from VF-9 at 10,000 feet on a sweep over the Pacific, searching for threats to the Carrier group supporting operations in the Solomon Islands. He was a veteran of Midway and Coral Sea and numerous other skirmishes, with an impresive number of Rising Sun flags painted below his canopy. His wingman to his right, Martins was solid. On his left, Chuck, a seasoned pilot with a kill to his credit lead the second section with their New Kid fresh from flight school and on his first Deployment.

Scanning the skies he sees the flash of sunlight on canopy high above and ahead of them. "Bandits 1 o'clock high!" He turns towards the threat and begins climbing to intercept.

Blue die indicates altitude

The bogeys were turning to get the sun behind them before they swooped down to engage. Robinson pushes the big Pratt & Whitney radial engine as he seeks to negate the enemy altitude advantage."Japs dead ahead!" Martins shouts, causing some excited chatter.
"Alright boys, keep calm" Robinson growls. Looking over his shoulder he notices Chuck and the New Kid straggling. "Close it up back there" and he throttles back to let them regain formation before they close.

Eager to get to grips the Japanese Zeros swarm in, not worrying about formations but trying to get out of the American guns and gain superior tailing positions.
"Holy shit!" yells Chuck as Zeros flash by so close he felt he could've reached out and touched them.
"Break! Break!" orders Robinson, and he pushes his Wildcat into an Immelman, the big engine screaming in protest.

He drops in behind the Japanese flight leader only a 100 yards away and gives his target a long burst. The Zero explodes, flaming wreckage falling into the blue water far below them.
Chuck also pulls an Immelman and takes a deflection shot at a Zero going after Jackie, but the agile fighter jinks out of the way.
Martins does a wide loop and squeezes off a burst but one of his .50 cals jams!
The New Guy doesn't keep up with Chuck and flies out of the fight.

As the ball of flame from his kill dissipates, Robinson sees another Zero, also a novice pilot on his first deployment, wander into his gunsights.
"Jeez, this is too easy" he mutters as he squeezes off a deflection burst. His second victim explodes into a fireball.
"Jackie! on your 4 o'clock!" Chuck shouts. Robinson whips his head around as bullets rip through a wing, breaking an aileron cable.
Chuck lines up again on his target, squeezing off a second burst and this time his bullets hit home, blowing the Zero into flaming pieces.
Martins also gets another shot, but with some of his guns jammed the results are weak. A few bullets hit the cockpit though, wounding the surviving Japanese pilot.
The lone Japanese pilot, wounded, dazed from seeing the rest of his flight suddenly explode, turns for home and spots the lone, inexperienced American far away from help.
The rest of Blue Flight begins looping around to get the Zero before it can escape.
The New Kid gulps as he finds himself heading towards the enemy all on his own.
The Japanese pilot angles in to get some small revenge.
Robinson spots the danger. "Watch out Kid!" He puts his Wildcat into a barrel roll, straining against the damaged aileron and loops down out of the sun, guns blazing. 
The remaining Zero explodes in another fireball!
Scanning the skies for any other threats he sees they are safe. "Ok boys, close up on me. Time to go home!"

Well, that was pretty exciting. A Top Ace, getting multiple opportunites to move and/or shoot can really dominate the action.

The American weight of firepower versus the low robustness of the Zero and the close range of the shooting was very telling as well. Plus Lt. Robinson having a habit of rolling 10 every time he fired didn't help the Japanese either. 

As I suspected, the card activation makes this game very solo friendly unlike other games such as Check Your 6!, which may be crunchier with technical detail but involve pre plotting.

Next I will set up something a little bigger involving trying to escort/intercept some dive bombers.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Gaming on a Blustery Day

Keith, one of my good gaming friends had his birthday this past weekend so we dared a small, masked and no contact game day in Brian's well appointed gaming room. Brian's lovely wife Pam made tea and snacks that involved bacon. 

The last time I played in Brian's game room it was still exposed wall studs, so it has been a while.  But they do live 2 hours away. After this Covid nonsense is over I think I might pack my toothbrush and make the journey to get a game in with those guys.

It was a stormy drive in both directions including the first snow squalls of  the year, but worth it. Brian always puts on a well thought out game.

Yesterday's offering was a 6mm ACW game during the Valley Campaign. A better quality Union force engages a larger Confederate sortie from Winchester. Brian used the computer moderated rules Carnage and Glory.  These were pretty interesting since you had very little idea of how the troops were until they stopped doing what you asked. 

Keith and I ran the Union and we ended up fighting two separate battles in different directions as Rico, David, Pete and Kevin used their superior numbers to try and envelope our flanks. 

Keith's cavalry brigade shot off all it's ammunition facing 2:1 odds and was withdrawing when the Confederate army morale failed. I was meanwhile fighting a hot battle in some woods against similar odds having to turn 90 degrees to face the 3 brigades of Rebels trying to get around us. 

Anyway, here are pictures. 

Coming onto the battlefield 

6:1 odds!? No problem!

Keith us hotly engaged on our left

My right flank cavalry regiment tying up 4x their numbers.  They got pushed over the bridge but earned their whiskey ration.

Making a new front 

I've had to curl my line back to avoid being outflanked but all those yellow markers show Reb morale is flagging 

Over view towards game end

Keith's cavalry brigade withdrawing after a lot of hard fighting against superior numbers 

Try as I might I couldn't get a picture of Brian's 3D printed corn fields which are super cool.

After that Keith ran a quick game of Check Your 6! to scratch my air game itch. I got an early kill but Fw190s shot both of my Spitfires down. 

Keith uses 1:300 scale aircraft, which are lovely and even have squadron markings. But I need a better camera to photograph them.