Tuesday, 13 August 2019

A-1 Skyraiders - part 6

Finally finished. The brace of Skyraiders lies exhausted on my table and await the call to action.
The decals were something of an issue as most of the Revell markings broke up in water and several couldn’t be saved. More rummaging in the decal box produced some which more or less fitted my requirements. Both machines are finished in USAF colours - they’re destined to be used in a game about pilot rescue in Vietnam, where these ‘Spads’ (so called because of their propeller-driven antiquity) flew escort for rescue helicopters and suppressed nasties on the ground.
I’ll try to take some outdoor photos in the next few days. 

A-1 Skyraiders - part 5

Paint has now been inflicted on the unsuspecting Skyraiders. The decals which came with the kits - incomplete in the Revell and not entirely useable US Navy in the Airfix - will serve as my starting point but a good rummage in the decal box is required.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

A-1 Skyraiders - part 4

The build of both Revell (above) and Airfix Skyraiders is now largely complete. So now it’s off to the  decal sheets and the internet for some colour schemes.

A-1 Skyraiders - part 3

While the glue dried on my Airfix Skyraider I cracked open this rather newer (1991) Revell version. While the Airfix kit represents the single seat ‘J’, this is the twin-seat ‘E’.  It’s always interesting to compare new vs old kits and the Revell offering manages to be both more and less sophisticated than the Airfix veteran.
It was a simple and straightforward build and soon both kits were drying side by side.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Mitsubishi L3M1 Nippon Go - part 1

I actually completed this models and took the photos back in May so here at last it is! Bought at the same time as my G3M1 bomber, I picked up this version as it was both different  - but similarly cheap!
Both civil and military markings are provided on the enormous decal sheet.
The build was very similar to the bomber.

Monday, 5 August 2019

A-1 Skyraider - part 2

With the major sub-assemblies done it was time to glue the bits together - and try to get them more or less in alignment.
A few hours later I attached the engine cowling and canopy and then attended to the array of explody things provided with the kit.  I opted for a combination of bombs and rockets - the long drop tanks looked as if they'd drop off a little too easily.
I'll leave the glue to dry overnight now while I ponder paintwork.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

A-1 Skyraider - part 1

This A-1 J kit is something of an antique - having been launched in 1968 while the real thing was still active in the skies above Vietnam. The box style of mine dates from the mid-1970s. I have hazy memories of briefly owning a down-at-heel Airfix Skyraider 40+ years ago but I’d never actually built one. 
 Like most of its Airfix contemporaries it’s a fairly simple affair which, despite its age, went together well. The copious quantities of masking tape is there to secure the parts while the glue dries - not to hold shut massive panel gaps!

Saturday, 3 August 2019

M-113 bodging - part 4

During outdoor games there are few things more embarrassing than one's armoured vehicles being swept away by the breeze.  To give the models a bit of 'heft' I add some weight.  Cut a hole in the bottom of the foam, press in the weight and secure in place with a dollop of PVA. I have in the past used scrap metal figures but for this batch each model was treated to two 0.05 Euro coins.  We generally return from holiday with a fair few small coins or 'shrapnel', so this seems a good use for them.
Once the PVA dries, get on with painting.  These US M-113s have had two coats of olive green.  I generally add the 'detail' with paint pens - grilles, vision slits, headlights.  A couple of coats of  Ronseal clear satin completes the thing.
And er, that's it.  I hope this little series might inspire other prospective bodgers out there.  If so, do let me know and post some photos.
And of course the danger with completing models is that one is inspired to build something else!  Any thoughts?

Friday, 2 August 2019

Napoleon's Spanish Ulcer

On Wednesday I ran Bob Cordery's Peninsular War matrix game.  I last saw (and indeed played in) this game at COW 1992 so my memories of it were, to say the least, somewhat hazy!
I managed to assemble players to fill all seven of the roles.  The cast list was as follows:
Napoleon - Martin R; Junot - Graham; Murat - Richard; Wellesley - John; Moore - Pete (assisted by Jerry); Spanish Royalists - Tim C; El Incognito (Spanish irregulars) - Diego.
I assembled the forces from my 15mm toys, with a 54mm figure for The Emperor.  The map was hand-drawn on a sheet of flip chart paper and place names added with a label maker.  The game covered mid 1808 to early 1809.
The action was driven by the players making matrix arguments - see the WD website for more on this.
I'm sure that Pete, Richard and Martin will post their own reports in the fullness of time. What follows are some of my recollections.
El Incognito was soon active harassing the French and causing Junot some embarrassment.  Meanwhile the Royalists had a go at Madrid.  The Emperor sent reinforcements - though not as many as were requested - while Wellesley landed in a non-empty Lisbon.
The situation in and around Madrid.
Wellesley and chums in Lisbon.
In a shock development the Spanish Royalists seized Madrid from under the nose of El Incognito.
Soon more Frenchies arrived, though their supply columns were harassed by El Incognito's ruffians.

After a bloody struggle the French found themselves in possession of Madrid again.
Wellesley meanwhile had failed twice to get to Madrid but had succeeded in not being placed under Moore's command.

The players all seemed to enjoy the game!

The end.  Everyone did well, though history may harshly judge the obscure Gen. Wellesley.  Moore meanwhile has hopes of being made a duke in a couple of years.
My thanks to all the players - and credit in particular to matrix game first-timers Pete and Diego.

And finally...
Back in 1992 I played El Incognito.  Having established and maintained an uneasy truce with the Spanish Royalists (John Davis) during the game, I stitched him up on the last turn and entered Madrid alone.  And you thought the French were the real enemy?

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

M-113 bodging - part 3

While the PVA was drying earlier, cut out the various hatches and so on from balsa or mdf. It’s important to not get carried away with details but to add the significant bits. I add the trim vane on the front, the drivers and commanders round hatches, two engine grilles, the main compartment roof hatch and the rear door, the latter with its characteristic ‘cut corner’.

Again, leave the PVA to dry. The erratic quality control on my production line is evident from the varying angles of the front plates....

Sunday, 28 July 2019

M-113 bodging - part 2

The 2-inch thick insulation board is then cut into M-113-size blocks. 
Then it’s marked up for cutting to (more or less) shape. Don’t worry about the details - just go for the most obvious features.  So the slope of the front plate is cut first, then the ‘corner’ trimmed off below. At the rear, the main slope is cut in from the top to the track guards. The area between the track guards is then cut out. 
I solved the problem of the wheels and tracks by finding a side-on view of an M-113 on the internet, scaling it to 1/48 scale using MS Publisher (I expect it could be done in MS Word too) and then ‘mirrored’. I printed the results on to 100gsm white card and having trimmed them to shape, glued them to the body with PVA.
Leave to dry overnight. 

Friday, 26 July 2019

M-113 bodging - part 1

 The recent Return to Golan game reminded me that I needed to address my shortage of M-113 APCs.
I therefore built a batch of ten - six in generic olive green and four more for my Israelis. Here are a couple of the completed models. These are 1/48 scale (more or less) for Little Cold Wars games. I’ll cover the build process in the next couple of posts.

The starting point. A slab of 2-inch insulation board is cut into chunks each the length of 2 M-113. 

Monday, 22 July 2019

Return to Golan

I know it’s been a bit quite in terms of posts but I’ve not been completely idle. As well as more COW photos still to come there’s days two and three of the Golan Heights game, continuing from where we left off last year. 
Here are a couple of photos to be going on with.