Monday, 18 October 2021

The Battle of Fukuda Bay

Its the 456th anniversary of the battle of Fukuda Bay, the first engagement between European and Japanese warships fought this day in 1565, so I decided to celebrate with a free scenario download on Wargame Vault for my "At The Height of Battle" rules. Its a fun battle - two Portuguese round ships versus a horde of small Seki Bune and Kobana, fought on a small table over a limited number of turns. 

You can find it here is you are interested :)

Battle of Fukuda Bay, October 1565 - At The Height of Battle - Long Face Games | Wargame Vault

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Doncaster 2021

I've just been told off for not posting anything for a while, so here's a brief report on the 2021 "Wings of Glory" weekend that took place at the South Yorkshire Air Museum in Doncaster a couple of weekends ago. I was suitably put in the mood by attending DSEI at the Excel Centre where I got to see lots of really big toys, and on completion I headed North.

The event takes place over a weekend at the air museum, with three games run on Saturday and the "Ace of Aces" super-melee on Sunday. This is how it played out

Game 1 - Wings and Waves of War 

I ran this game, in which a pair of British CMBs are seeking to sink a stranded German U boat. Support is provided by an 80' Motor Launch (its really just a distraction), and both sides have a variety of seaplane fighters to try and destroy (Central Powers) or protect (Entente) the CMBs. I've run this before and its quite popular since the aircraft are unusual and Rod Langton's 1/200 surface craft are quite attractive. Points scored for each enemy plane downed, if the Entente sink the U Boat (get within 1 firing ruler's range) each player scores an additional point, Central Powers players score apoint if the sub survives. 

This was a REALLY close fought game. The CP were distracted by the ML which ultimately cost them the game, since they wasted a few attacks damaging it whilst the CMBs closed. A W-29 shot up one of the boats and a W-12 caused havoc on the other but in the end the last CMB closed to launching range with only 3 damage points remaining. There were quite a few "Bang" cards drawn, with Tim (aka "Flying Helmut") exploding twice, much to his frustration (players whose aircraft were shot down could come on in a new crate after sitting out for a turn. Tim very kindly sent me some photos from the game, I was too busy running the game to take any of my own

Game 2 - Sails

In this game I'm driving a French frigate. My orders are to recce a Spanish port on the coast of Africa and a coastal silver mine further along the coast. I have another frigate in company with the same orders driven by another player. There's a British frigate, a couple of Spaniards, some locals (who turn out to be rebels), a(suitably black painted) pirate and a British frigate about. My French frigate oppo recces the port then goes "off piste", shooting at the British frigate (we aren't at war), then runs aground and it then boarded, captured and burnt by the locals. The British frigate has a run in with a local frigate and the pirate and is sunk. I sail across the board, recce the silver mine, turn about and exist. Not a shot fired, mission competed 100% (I would have given the pirate a few broadsides on the way out but the game was called before I had a chance).

Lovely terrain :)

Game 3 - Whirlwind Attack

My first proper game of Wings of Glory WW2. I'm flying two Westland Whirlwinds, aiming to bomb and sink a German fuel tanker escorted by two S Boats. There are four Fw190s flying top cover, I have 4 Spitfires covering me. I run in, drop bombs, get shot down by the superfantastic AA on the S boats (!) but discover I've put four bombs into the tanker and it sinks. Game over. We we-run the game, I get to drive the tanker and S Boats as the air wargamers want to see how a naval wargamer conducts a defence of a high value unit.  So I deploy and manoeuvre the S Boats such that they stand between the Whilwinds and the tanker so I get to shoot at them before they reach their bomb release point. I shoot one down, draw rubbish damage chits against the second so it gets to the release point but its bombs only cause minor damage, then my AA shoots it down anyway - plus two Spitfires that got too close. Those S Boats are MEAN (and of course ahistorically powerful, but c'est la vie)

I love Whirlwinds :)

So ends day 1

On the Sunday we play the Ace of Aces game, 12 players a side along a long, thin table. SE5s for the Allies, Fokker D.VIIS for the Central Powers. 4 points for a kill, lose 2 points if you are shot down. I end up facing a player who may or may not have been keeping an accurate record of their  damage (its all hidden), get a stupid number of jams, shoot down the same player (he's been shot down by someone else in the meantime). Not the greatest of games for me this time but plenty of banter.

Ended up 5th overall, won a mint condition Sails of Glory HMS Victory special pack (I didn't realise at the time that I hadn't got one before, and so it was the only missing item in my SOG collection), then depart for the long drive home.

Assuming the date doesn't change to the end of the month I'll be there again next year. I've already started 3D printing the special models for the game I'm planning to run....

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Merchants for "Sails of Glory"

Some more models that I printed a while back but only just got around to finishing. These are a couple of examples of Henry Turner's HMS Bounty model rescaled to 1/1000 and then shrunk a bit more so as to print a medium and a small merchant.

Bases are made from laser cut MDF and Perspex, sourced by Chris Haigh (aka "Capn Duff") on the Sails of Glory Anchorage, and the ship cards drawn from the anchorage files area.

Well done to Scotty for getting in the way of the third photo :)

There is something unusual about these prints - which is that they are one piece prints. I assesmbled the hull, bowsprit, masts and sails in Microsoft 3D Builder and then printed as a single entity, just to see if it was possible. Setting and removing the supports was "fun" but ultimately successful. I may give it another go with a larger ship to see if having more space to work with helps. Painting is also "fun", but overall I'm happy. Both need to have their paint jobs completed but I wanted to get these up sooner rather than later to show to someone who was interetsed.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Field defences at Lansdown, 1643

A while back I walked the battlefield site at Lansdown just to the north of Bath (Laura has gone to uni at Bath so I stopped off there after one of my trips to deliver forgotten clothes to her halls of residence).  Its not a particularly large site so it makes a good walk for an hour or so. Naturally I got to thinking about sprucing up my 15mm ECW collection that I'd started for one of Peter Colbeck's campaigns and expanded slowly over the years. I decided I needed some additions to my ECW scenery and "Waller's Wall" was a natural thing to start with, so I knocked up various dry stone wall sections using budgie grit, PVA glue and lolly sticks, with molds made from Lego. 

There were also some field defences built along the ridge line at Lansdown and I decided to collect some suitable twigs which would make decent tree trunks in 15mm. I finally got around to working on these this weekend, and they've just finished drying out. They were very simple to make - 40mm or 80mm lengths of thick card smeared with flexible fill Polyfilla (the same stuff I use for making sculpted sea bases), then the twigs broken to suitable lengths and pressed into the filler. Scatter over with budgie grit, then leave overnight to dry. Next day, paint over the polyfilla and grit with a mix of PVA, water and earthy brown paint, again leave overnight and the next day they are all done. And very nice I think they are too. Shown below with some of my 15mm Peter Pig ECW collection.

Now all I need to do is find some time to refight the battle :)

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Mekura Bune

Last week I knocked up a new 1/1200 model for my Imjin War "At The Height of Battle" collection. This one was a Mekura Bune, a Japanese "fast attack craft", oar propelled with broadside mounted light cannon and large bamboo poles providing protection t the sides and overhead. I modelled this as a basic craft, then with banners added to see how that worked out. They came out OK and the banners worked, although they are quite fragile and several broke off. The shape isn't quite right (the roof should probably rise towards the stern) but for wargaming purposes they are quite acceptable

Finally I set the printer scale to 50%  and printed out a load in 1/2400 which I stuck on group bases. These are for use with my "Those Who Seek Death" fleet action rules which will be released this weekend. 

Again I tried these with and without banners. And again they are quite fragile and prone to damage but the 40mm square bases actually give them a bit more protection.  But as with their larger sisters they are quite OK for wargaming purposes.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Pumas at 50

Today there was a flypast around the southern half of the country to celebrate 50 years of the Puma helicopter being in service with the RAF. The formation was passing fairly close by so I popped out this afternoon to watch the flypast fly past. And a very nice sight it was. It was also quite sobering to think some of these aircraft are nearly as old as I am!

It was nice to see that there was a decent turnout just at the spot where I was near the Severn Bridge, nearly all with some connection to the Puma over the years whether on the RAF side or civilian side in supporting them. 

Sunday, 13 June 2021

A Nice Weekend

 On the whole this has been a pretty good weekend. We moved all of Laura's stuff out of her flat at Bath Uni so she's home for the summer now. We introduced Domino to his new friend Herbert today and the two boys really hit it off - full on gallops around the field for ages :) It was lovely seeing them so happy together.

A good chat with Bob Blanchett in Australia on future plans for the NWS and other stuff, followed by painting up around 120 Chinese 13th century warships in 1/2400 - more on these later.

In the afternoon (once I'd enjoyed three rounds of BTCC from Snetterton) I ran a game of "Those Who Seek Death", my new Asian naval warfare fleet action rules. These are pretty much done now and the game was about testing some final tweaks on ship stats and checking exactly what info I needed on the QRS. Another game courtesy of 3D printing, all the models on table were designs I'd created and printed. The game was delayed a while by the presence of a sleepy Giant Military Cat (aka Scotty), but once he had wandered off to find some supper the game commenced, the Koreans doing a good job of holding off a Japanese fleet whilst their own supply convoy made it to reinforce their shore defences near Okpo.

The weekend topped off with some quality pony and alpaca time, then ciders on the patio, a lovely sunset and watching the bats fly round the house for a while. Now to bed and maybe some big news coming later next week.....