Friday 31 December 2021

2021 in Review


The Plan, 2021

With the end of 2021 comes the traditional review of “The Plan”. So how did I do this year?


UN Dutch APCs for AK47. Not on the plan!

Phoenecian galleys in 1/2400 to fill out my "Mare Nostrum" fleets for Salamis

Japanese warships in 1/2400 for "Those Who Seek Death"

MT Miniatures' lovely 1/1200 Imjin War models for "At The Height of Battle"


My 15mm Burma collection got a load of new vehicles as did my Winter Skirmish collection (including a whole new Finnish “army”, but I didn’t even start on the figures. Tweaking the Vietnam rules worked a lot better than I expected though.

I also completely failed to get Mike’s old AK47 armies sorted. BUT I did paint up my entire backlog of AK47 and 15mm Vietnam figures (mainly the ARVN) as well as add quite a few new vehicles to my AK47 collection thanks to the 3D printer.

10mm Vietnam – also a complete non-started

Sci Fi subs – again, I got nothin’

My modelling time did get side-tracked a LOT though, and those side tracks became my mainstream. The biggest add was an absolute horde of 1/1200 and 1/2400 Korean, Japanese and Chinese medieval and Imjin War ships that supported my Asian naval rules sets, “At The Height of Battle” and “Those Who Seek Death”. More on these later. In the last month of the year I also started work on a series of 1/300(Ish) ancient galleys which are going to be aimed at more “fun” style games than serious.

I also worked on a  load of 3D models of my own design, most prominently a series of 1/600 and 1/1200 ACW ironclads and gunboats. And before that some more hypothetical 1/1200 Victorian ers battleships and gunboats. The ACW sets I am particularly pleased with and I’m very happy to see them appearing on playing tables around the world 😊



“Far Distant Ships” hit the shelves early in the year, I didn’t get to work on the Crimean aspects though. Maybe in 2022.

“Project X” was the big thing though. This was the release of MT Miniatures novel line of 1/1200 Korean and Japanese ships for the Imjin War, a first in this scale, and my accompanying rules At The Height of Battle”, again another first. These have done well and Matt at MT is soon to release the next fleets for the game covering Chinese ships of the 12th-14th centuries, as well as additional Japanese and Korean ships based on some of my 3D models. I also completed “Those Who Seek Death”, a fleet action set using 1/2400 models.  

The Narrow Seas campaign system stalled again, although I have a generic system just about sorted. I need to work up the first one or two theatre-specific sets of tables and other material, then the rest should flow. I also didn’t manage to get far with the Triple Alliance campaign but that’s coming  on now. Sci Fi subs is on hold for the moment but may accelerate as a subject game for the 2022 Naval Wargames Weekend.

Something i've been working on since lockdown started getting on for 2 years ago is a solo board game covering ASW escorts on the North Atlantic convoys in WW2. Somethong aking to "B17 Queen of the Skies" but in a Flower Class corvette. This must have sparked soem ideas since, having announced the plan and sending out some early drafts I've found there is another "Print and Play" game on a similar theme thats just come out and a major board gme company publishing ANOTHER game on the same theme in 2023. So a boat that I've missed, but I'm still working on my game as its a fun project. Watch out for more on this in '22


Not a great performance against “The Plan”, but a successful year nonetheless, and I was really pleased to get the Asian naval rules and models out there. I guess I had too many things planned in, and not enough time as a job change affected many things from April onwards. Nex year I think I’ll focus on just a few targets – but will look forward all the same to having the pkan diverted by things that fly in from left field 😊 Look out for “The Plan for 2022” soon. Oh, and a very Happy New Year to all my readers.

Monday 27 December 2021

End of Year Modelling

 The last few weeks at home and at Uni have been quite hectic so I've not had time to update the blog, but I have been busy on the modelling front. Here's a summary of some of the things I've been working on.....

An old edition of Airfix Magazine featured the various converted "erzatz M10" Panthers and StugIIIs used in the Battle of the Bulge. I'd always fancied a few if these, and so when suitable 3d models appeared on Thingiverse I was naturally going to print off a set for my 15mm Winter Skirmish collection.

The prolific Mike Bergmann upissued his 1/100 WW2 collection and added a Valentine bridgelayer. This one will join my 15mm Burma/Pacific collection. I printed a second which is in Russian markings and now sits in the Winter Skirmish collection.

Another new model from Mike is the venerable Austin K2 ambulance. This one is heading for Burma as well. I should probably have made the red crosses and circles a bit bigger.

Finally in 15mm, Mike also added a lovely model of an "X Craft" mini submarine. I printed out a few examples in waterline configuration in 1/300 and 1/600.

For my own paert I've been working on a load of ACW ironclads in my various 3D modelling packages. This is the twin turreted river monitor USS Winnebago. I have a coiple of these printed that are in the final stages of painting just now.

A diversion from my regular modelling - Rob Heath (Twylite Games on Wargame Vault) posted a nice set of alarge ancient galley models - Greek, Phoenecian, Roman and Carthaginian. I've printed some squadrons for each of these with the Greeks and Phoenecians the first to be finished. These models are around 3" long and I'm planning to use them with a fast and fun set of rules that I'm working on. 

Some terrain for my 1/1200 (or if I'm feeling epic, my 1/2400) ancient galleys, this is the lighthouse at Alexandria. 

Finally for now, I've caught up on "The Mandalorian" (I discovered that we have a Disney+ subscription - surprise!)  so I printed off a 1/270 model of the Razor Crest (or is it the Laser Quest? :) to use with X Wing. I need to work on the paint scheme for this, its a bit "flat" so I'll be painting in panels in various shades and other details as I work out what needs doing.

This isn't everything that I've been working on over the last couple of months - watch out for another update soon, maybe combined with my assessment against "The Plan" for 2021 (which I don't think will make pleasant reading!)  

Saturday 27 November 2021

US Navy PC-461 Class

Another couple of evenings playing with 3D Builder have left me with this, a US Navy PC-461 class sub chaser which will work out at a shade under 90mm long in 1/600. 3D Builder is a pretty simple tool to use but with some thought it can turn out perfectly acceptable models. I still need to work on getting up to speed with a more capable package, but for now this seems fine. Alas I can't print this until Monday to see if it actually works :)

Friday 26 November 2021

Matilda Hedgehog

 A couple of weekends ago I was chatting with Mark Chandler and Bob Blanchett in Australia and for some reason the Matilda Hedgehog came up in conversation. For those that haven't heard of it, this was an Australian adaptation of the Hedgehog ASW spigot mortar with the Matilda tank, the idea being that the Hedgehog rounds would be ideal for taking out Japanese bunkers. I'd mentioned that I have an Airfix one in a box (unmade) but how it would be cool to have one for my 15mm collection.

A few hours later after a frantic burst of 3D modelling I'd created a Hedgehog launcher which I scaled to fit on one of Mike Bergman's lovely 1:100 scale models. Three hours after that I had my forst prints completed. 

Its taken me a couple of weeks to get them painted but I'm pleased with the outcome. The launcher box was quite tricky to make (at least it was for me). It won't win prizes for accuracy but it captures the feel of the real thing quite nicely I think.

Anyone wanting to make their own can download the files from Thingiverse:

Matilda Hedgehog, 1/100 by AlpacaDad - Thingiverse

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.....

Tuesday 1 June 2021

A Binding Resolution*

 I've not posted much recently but I've been busy. apart from a load of new ships for "Those Who Seek Death" I've printed off some badly-needed APC support for the UN troops in my AK47 collection. The first are a trio of Dutch YP-408s, a vehicle I've always liked - it would look fine in a science fiction film (and I might indeed print a few more for my 15mm sci fi collection).  The model is from the prolific Mike Bergman on Thingiverse.

The others are a trio of Swedish "White Elephant" M42 by RobC1956, again on Thingiverse. These are used in the Congo during the civil war so they'll go nicely with the Katangan M8s I worked on recently. I have another three printed which will end up in the ONU camouflage scheme used on combat operations (more M8s needed, this time for the UN, and some M3 Scout Cars too)


*Whenever I hear about the UN I am reminded of Tom Cruise's best role as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder. Go on Youtube to see what I mean.....


Saturday 15 May 2021

INWarD V - 6th August - Warning Order

D'you hear there? This is advance warning that the 5th International Naval Wargaming Day, INWarD V, takes place on August 6th 2021, and with a weekend following on just behind that means its an International Naval Wargaming Weekend :)
INWarD is the day when naval wargamers all around the world celebrate the birth of Fred T Jane, father of naval wargaming, with games around the world - hopefully F2F where the present crisis allows. So get your thinking caps on, look to run a game or two on the day or over the weekend, recruit and convert a few of your land-based wargaming chums and post your BATREPs here, on your blog, your favourite wargaming website and elsewhere.

Monday 3 May 2021

Those Who Seek Death (2)

 I'm a bit behind with my blogging just now for various reasons, so here is the first "catchup". I've finished my first fleets for "Those Who Seek Death" so I can at last get rid of the cardboard counters that I've used for the last year or so and play with some decent models :)

These are all 3D printed models in 1/2400 and are enough to give me 2 or three squadrons of "regular" ships with Ataka Bune for the Japanese and Panokseon for the Korean fleets plus four "great ships" - the rules treat large warships such as the O Atake Bune and special ships such as the Geobukseon in distinct ways. 

I also made up three stands of Junks to represent transports or civilian shipping, these might also form the kernel of some Chinese fleets in the future.

Now that I have these sorted I'm looking at another "print run" in a week or two that will just about double the number of Panokseon stands that I have, and will also introduce an earlier variety of Ataka Bune and the smaller Seki Bune.