Friday 30 November 2012

A Tale of Two Spitties

It was the best of kits.  It was the worst of kits.  Not strictly true but how was I to resist?
The FROG kit above arrived earlier this year partly built and minus the V-1.  It then languished in one of several boxes of kits until I returned from the IPMS Model Show in November with the NOVO copy of the same kit.  For those who missed the 1970s, NOVO (in Russia or rather the USSR) began producing some FROG kits towards the end of that decade and made them available in the UK at ridiculously low prices.  Theye weren't problem free though - I still remember the decals for such a kit disintegrating as soon as they hit the water!
Anyway, back to the plot.  The 'new' NOVO kit had also been started and was missing the Spitfire's elevators (the hotizontal tail parts) but - joy of joys - the V-1 was present and correct!  Incidentally, if anyone out there has a pair of spare elevators I can offer them a good home.  Actually three would be nice - but that's a whole different story.
I therefore set to work cobbling together a decent Spitfire from parts of both kits.  The Mk XIV was a very different beastie from the earlier Merlin-engined versions, not least because of the Rolls-Royce Griffon engine.  This produced 2050 horsepower, as against the 1030hp of the Battle of Britain Mk I, giving it the speed to tackle among other things, the 1944 flying bomb menace.
Spit construction under way - note the rather racy five-bladed propellor.

Tigranocerta again.

Having played this Command & Colours game twice solo it was clearly time to inflict it on some 'real' players.  Martin agreed to lead the Romans while Jerry took the role of Tigranes the Adequate.  Above can be seen the Armenian 'panzers' trundling forward.
Above - the initial setup seen from the Roman lines.  Lucullus decided on a strategy of letting the enemy come to him.
The initial cataphract charge was repelled with losses, while the Romans surged down off their hill.
Roman cavalry soon followed up, while the Armenian light cavalry advanced to hold their right flank.
Despite needing two wagons I had only remembered to pack one - so Martin knocked up another from a sheet of paper.  Here it is about to be torched by Roman light cavalry.
More Armenian cavalry soon gathered to repel the Romans...
...but the second wagon was soon cheerily ablaze!
Hampered by some duff cards, Tigranes took ages to get his infantry moving - but here they are getting stuck in to some very tough legionaries.
After some heavy fighting the Armenian infantry attack was soon repulsed - clinching a (reasonably) comfortable Roman victory.

Thursday 29 November 2012

Gaza 1917

This was a WW1 game run by Martin using his 6mm toys and Richard Brooks's Op14 rules.  John led the vast array of Allied forces while Von Gow Pasha commanded the Turks (and provided the aircraft).
A small (brigade-sized) garrison held Gaza, comfortably dug in with artillery while a couple of divisions and some cavalry were due to arrive mid-morning.  The beastly Brits fielded two (big!) infantry divisions with heavy artillery support, three (small) cavalry divisions and a motor column.
Enemy infantry soon closed on Gaza and were brought under Turkish artillery fire.  A futile (but quite heroic) assault was repelled by the defenders.
By the time the rather understrength Turkish 53rd Division appeared the ANZAC cavalry were approaching in considerable strength!
There was a fair bit of air activity - above can be seen German pilots dropping humanitarian supplies to Allied cavalry lost in the desert...
 ...while RFC 'planes were committing war crimes by strafing Turkish infantry.
 Von Gow Pasha maintains a degree of Eastern indolence.  And wins the prize for best hat.
Endgame.  It was a close run thing (and all the closer because of my appalling dice) but several British assaults were repelled and just as my chaps were about to crumble the Brits buggered off.  Phew!

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Fresco painting

I picked up this Hasegawa MIG-17 (NATO codename 'Fresco') in a batch of kits last year.  For reasons I can't fully explain I recently decided to knock it together.  It was the usual story - rummaging in a box looking for something else and there it was...
I can't say how old this kit is but the parts were very crisply moulded and it certainly went together well. 
After a bit of research I decided to finish the MIG in an overall silver ('bare metal') scheme, applied over a base coat of matt black.  More news when it's finished.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Batteries not included

When I was planning the Gibraltar Strait game the need for some coastal gun batteries became apparent.  Not having anything suitable in 1/1200 scale a spot of scratch building was clearly called for. 
I used florists wire for the gun barrels and the shields were cut from balsa.  To make the ensemble suitable robust I mounted the guns in pairs on card.  The size or the (rather over scale) emplacements can be gauged from the 1cm grid on my cutting mat in the photos.
 I decided that eight guns needed a command bunker so built one from more balsa.

For the Harbour Raid game I needed two single guns, so I simply cut down a pair I'd already made and mounted them on coins small enough to fit neatly on my Triang Minic breakwater ends.  They're not terribly accurate models but in this case function definitely beats form!

Monday 26 November 2012

Sheffield Wargames Society AGM

The annual general meeting of Sheffield Wargames Society was held on Wednesday 21st November 2012.  At this meeting there were significant changes to the committee, prompted by the (expected) resignation of both the Chairman and Secretary.
NOT the AGM in session.
Steve Roberts has been the driving force behind the committee for over 3 decades and during that time has chaired a committee which has taken SWS from strength to strength.  It was agreed that Steve would be sorely missed and after a vote of thanks it was unanimously agreed by those present that he should be made a life member of the society.  Steve was thanked by the membership for all his hard work. I am sure that Steve will continue to show the same support for his club and hobby that he has for so many years.

Tony Lineker resigned as secretary after more than a decade in the post.  Again, Tony has been an intrinsic part of arguably the most effective committee that SWS has had to the present time.  Once again a unanimous vote of thanks was given to Tony for his sterling efforts, and I reiterate those sentiments here. 

And so in way a golden age ended, although both Steve and Tony have kindly offered to assist in whatever way they can in the future.  However, SWS now has a new committee, comprising veteran members and gamers who will it is hoped not only continue to steer the society with the same dedication but also build on the successes of the previous 4 decades and carry it well into the 21st century.

Tim Gow has accepted the position of Chairman. In accepting the role the new Chairman thanked Steve for his efforts and pointed out that he would have served less time for murder!

Paul Bishop was elected to the post of Secretary. Another long-time member and arguably one of the 'faces' of SWS over the years, representing the club in competitions throughout the U.K.

Dave Ranson was re-elected unopposed to the position of Treasurer, and it is certain that Dave will continue with the sterling work he has done for so many years on behalf of the club.

Lloyd Powell was re-elected to the post of Show Secretary once again. This year Lloyd has re-negotiated with the venue management for the Triples at some length and has secured the best possible terms on behalf of the club.  Lloyd had intended to step down from this role but agreed after much brow beating to stand for re-election.

Mark Hides, another veteran of the club and the brains behind the SWS website was elected to the position of Fifth Committee Member.

I would like to close, by thanking those members who were in attendance for their input and support of the society.
NOT the club Chairman addressing the AGM
More SWS news as it breaks - both here and on the SWS website.
My thanks to Mark Hides for allowing me to lift the basic wording of this report from the SWS Website.

Japanese artillery

More 6mm stuff is rolling off the conveyor belt, including these WW2 Japanese gunners and their toys.  The 75mm guns above are GHQ models, as indeed are the Isuzu Type 94 trucks.  For what it's worth, I have just calculated that the calibre of a 75mm gun in 1/285 scale is 0.263mm.  I don't think I'll bother measuring the models.  Or drilling out the gun barrels...
The larger gun below is a Scotia model - I'm not entirely sure what it began life as, but it looks suitable enough to stand in for a heavier Jap gun.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Liebster Blog Award

Another blog award is doing the rounds and I have received two nominations!  From Ben's Soldiers and Friendly Fire .  The 'rules' of this award (which, for the benefit of non-German readers among us, translates as 'Favourite Blog') are to post the above picture and nominate five favourite blogs.

It seems to make sense to avoid nominating those who I know have already received this award, including both of the above, Plastic Warriors, Geordies Big Battles and miniafv.  Narrowing the list down to five was something of a challenge (dice were involved).  For a fuller list of good blogs have a look at 'My Blog List'.  Anyway, I'd best get on with it.

In no particular order:
Joy and Forgetfulness - Conrad Kinch's excellent blog provides a safe haven from reality.  Game reports and figure painting posts are interspersed with travelogue and silliness.
The Dancing Cake Tin - A relatively new blog whose author approaches wargaming with the same degree of seriousness as I try to.  Cakes also feature prominently - which is no bad thing.
The Single Handed Admiral - Peter Douglas manages to mix wargaming with other nonsense and even an occasional glimpse of real life.  He seems a good chap.  For an actuary.
Battle Game of the Month - Actually it feels more like battle game of the day, such is Ross's productivity.  I struggle to read all of his posts such is their number!
Not Quite Mechanised - Despite the fact that Chris's toys are in the wrong scale (15mm - it'll never catch on) I greatly respect his complete shamelessness when it comes to fielding dodgy conversions and substitute models.  Actually I have most of his old 20mm toys so I suppose I can forgive the 15mm heresy.

Saturday 24 November 2012

The Wrong brothers

 Steve T has sent me some photos of his 1/32 scale infernal flying machine in 'flight'.  The fact that the flyer is still in one piece lends credence to Steve's claim that he 'doctored' the photos using electronic wizardry - rather then flinging it across the garden and taking some quick snaps!  Regular readers will recall that on the flyers debut (and so far only) appearance in a game it fell victim to a direct hit from it's own side's artillery (link).  Better luck next time Steve.

Friday 23 November 2012

6mm Sovs

The batch of 6mm toys on the table includes these WW2 Russians.  I'll take some better photos when they're done. The large numbers of infantry should alleviate the manpower shortages in my 6mm Red Army.  Despite not really needing them I was unable to resist painting a few (more) KVs.

Monday 19 November 2012

Crisis? What crisis?

Sunday 18th November saw 14 players gathered in London, and a further 7 in South Yorkshire for John Bassett's game about the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.  The two-centre arrangement came about after I casually mentioned to John that I'd like to play the game but wouldn't be able to make it to London.  One thing led to another and I soon found myself hosting the 'Politburo' in my very own 'Kremlin'.  Meanwhile 'Washington' and 'Cuba' were in Alex's office in London.
Preparations consisted of a lot of tidying in the Toy Room and the hanging of a number of suitable flags (including a Soviet flag bought specially for the game) and the original signed photo of Castro above.  I'm sure it's genuine.
 Above: The Emergency Committee of the Politburo in full session.  From left: Gromyko (Foreign Minister), Marshal Zakharov (Chief of Staff), Marshal Malinovsky (Minister of Defence), Khruschev (Premier), General Semichastny (KGB) and Brezhnez (Head of Nuclear Industry).  The shadowy General Serov of the GRU (Military Intelligence) is behind the camera.  I assured Len, Steve, Lloyd, Jim, Rob and Jerry that I wouldn't reveal their real names...
Each player had a personal briefing which included some conflicting objectives.  Communications with Soviet forces on Cuba, Castro (and in some cases the CIA!) were by Skype (which didn't work at the London end), text message, 'phone and email.  Certain difficulties experienced with communications made the game a rather effective simulation of the real thing!  Maybe what's needed is some sort of 'hotline' between Washington and Moscow?
 Above: some of the tasteful decor.
 The Soviet DEFCON indicator.  We never went higher than '3', while the jittery capitalists quickly went to '1'  With a scale of 10 minutes to the day things moved very quickly and tensions soon rose.  Interesting developments included Raol Castro's 'car accident' (my money's on the KGB for that one), Cuban troops massing near Guantanamo Bay and a US 'training flight' crashing in the same area.  My personal favourite was when we (the Soviets) flew in a whole regiment of SA-2 AA missiles without US interference.  In fact the US had declined an invitation to inspect the transport aircraft... 
Eventually and happily sanity prevailed and a nuclear exchange was avoided.
 The Comrades were well catered for by er, 'Mrs Serov'.  The real power in this particular Kremlin.
 Gromyko neglects the tedium of averting a world crisis in favour of grabbing another bun.
 The authenticity of the game is clear from this comparison between a photos taken on my toy room (above) and an original 1962 photo (below) taken inside the actual Kremlin.  Really.

Well done to all involved, especially John for setting the whole thing up and Alex for facilitating the London end of things.