Wednesday 27 February 2013

Barcelona Universal Models Far West Town

 While I was in Pennsylvania, I purchased a number of wargaming and modelling items. Part of the haul was these sets produced by Barcelona Universal Models, or BUM, as they are better known - which is a rather unfortunate acronym for a variety of reasons.

The haul of of BUM sets.
BUM produces or markets a variety of sets, and a number of them are essentially copies of Airfix figures with accessories thrown in, some of which I believe to be originally produced by Giant.

Close up of some of the Far West boxes.

The box art is bold and colourful
The Far West town range is one that I have been interested in for some time, as I believe that they could be used on templates for BUAs for games set in 19th and possibly 18th century North America.

The three most usable buildings. L. to R. Saloon, Railway Station, and Hotel.
The attraction of using these building are that they are largely only the 'storefront' and lack any real depth - generally only being 20-30mm deep (3/4" to 1 1/4" deep in wargaming measure) which allows plenty of room on a V&B BUA template.

Two small wagons with an Imex AWI British soldier for scale.
 The problem is that the best buildings are definitely not suitable for 18th century use. Fortunately they are fine for !9th Century use! The wagons that come with the ranches (each ranch got a wagon in a similar colour) can be converted to use as 18th century wagons, and some of the figures could also be adapted, so the 18th Century does get a look in!

One of the two Ranches.

The two ranches, with soldier for scale.
 The ranches themselves will require much work to be usable, but could be used for parts, particularly fencing.

A small engine and a smaller church, possibly a chapel.
The locomotive will require some further work, and the church will need have a larger doorway cut and the bell tower tweaked. So both of these will also be of use.

The Church and the Hotel with soldier for scale.

Locomotive and Station with soldier for scale.

The figures from the combined sets. All the figures are copies from various Airfix sets. The horses I believe are copies of horses from Giant.
 The figures are all reduced size copies of Airfix figures and are nearly perfect HO scale. Some of these figures are quite usable, but most will probably prove to be too small when put near 1/72 scale figures.

Sprue number one: copies of Airfix Cowboys and Airfix Indians.

Sprue number two: Copies of figures from the Airfix Wagon Train set, and the Airfix Civilians set.

Sprues of horses - that look very much like horses by Giant.
By and large I am quite happy with these sets, and if worse comes to worse I could always use them for playing games of Boothill.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Mark III Bantha.

It's been a while since I made a Bantha, so I thought I would have another crack at it. This time, rather than using a toy hippo or rhino as the basis of my model, I used a toy elephant.

The toy elephant pictured next to the rhino used in the construction of the MK II Bantha.

I also decided to add a rider to this one, as I had acquired a loose Micro Machines Action Fleet Tusken Raider figure. As the figure came without the Bantha he was originally paired with, it seemed only proper that I put him on one.

And then add on the Green Stuff!
I also decided on using the elephant as I had been worried that I was making my Banthas too small. I also remembered that Mr Lucas made his Bantha by putting an elephant in a Bantha suit. So I figured that I would give it a go!

Front 3/4 view.
 Of course I had to chop off the trunk and tusks of mine, glue on the rider, and then smother on the Green Stuff!
Rear 3/4 view.
 I went for a more cartoony look with this Bantha, as I wanted something to bridge the gap between my two previous efforts.
A view without my workbench clutter.

Marks I thru III gathered together.
 However I am going to redo the 'Princess Leia' style horns of the MK I, as I am not happy with them. Still, the MK I did prove proof of concept.

Sepia! Classy!
 Painting the Bantha was straight forward, undercoat, then block in colours, and finally wash with brown.

Painted and washed, but not in focus!

Another view of same.
Right, now back to painting up some more stuff!

Monday 11 February 2013

Modern Air Transport WIP

While away I had the opportunity to acquire more vital wargaming stuff. Stuff like transport planes. I also took the opportunity to change the scale I use for fixed wing aircraft in moderns games to 1/144, and to take the opportunity to acquire aircraft in (or around) that scale for use in CD moderns games.

First up, a Revell 1/144 scale C-17 that I muled back in my luggage.

Interior detail that will soon be hidden forever!

1/130 scale C-130 kits  by Testors. Fully assembled but soon to get a more generic paint scheme.

C-17 cockpit. One piece, no fiddly bits,  but this kit does hold a few traps!
In CD, each model aircraft represents a flight of four aircraft. This means that I can drop a great deal of paratroopers on the table at once, should I feel the need to do so, or conduct other useful air missions.

Cutting the wheels off was quite easy with the Dremel!

I also decided to raid my old diecasts to see if I could find some old Matchbox Skybusters planes suitable for refurbishing. I did find some, including this rather beaten up old Lear Jet, which required a bit of work to get up and flying again. The first step was to cut off the wheels.

That will need replacing!
 The next step was to replace the missing tailwing. I did this by tracing the existing one on to plastic card and cutting it out. I actually did this twice, because the first one was too thick.

A new one is ready to be cut out.

Cockpit windscreen is a little damaged too...

This Learjet  had a hard life, but a fun one!
  The windscreen, and the hole on the underside of the plane, where the wheels used to attach, were then filled up with Green Stuff.  The model is probably that of a Model 25 Learjet, but I plan to use this as the larger, and more useful Model 35 Learjet.

Repairs complete. Now for a  new paint job

Wheel and rivet holes filled. Ready for undercoating.

And undercoated.... along with some 1/144 scale SU-22s.
Right, back to building and painting planes. I've got a couple of air forces to build.

War at Sea

Waitangi Day saw Steve and I play another short naval engagement. This time we decided to play Axis and Allies: War at Sea, just to see how it went. A&A WaS is designed to be a quick and dirty system, but it does have a points system. We decided to go with 100 points each, with Steve playing the Japanese, and me playing the US Navy again.

IJN Battleship Yamato, Heavy Cruiser Haguro, and two flights of  G4M Betty  medium bombers.  A powerful  surface action group under Steve's command.

I first purchased my WaS ships back in 2008, during a trip to the United States. I had discovered their existence whilst searching for naval miniatures suitable for use in CD3 games, and found that they were modeled at 1:1800 - the scale ground scale used in CD. The idea was that I could use them to represent naval forces in amphibious games a mile or two off shore (36 to 72 inches), and have a target that was the right size to be caught in artillery templates.

USS Wasp, USS New Jersey, and a flight of  TBF Avenger torpedo bombers. 
By mutual agreement, the seas were flat and clam, although I don't believe WaS has rules for bad weather! The first turn started with both fleets closing for action, and both sides launching air attacks on each other.

Stat cards for the US fleet. 100pts well spent!

Opening moves. The IJN attempt a torpedo strike on the USS New Jersey.
Steve opted to have one of his bombers attack the mighty USS New Jersey, which resulted in it being destroyed by the New Jersey's AA fire. I had my Avengers attack the Yamato, causing minor damage to the huge battleship.

The second turn saw the fleets move even closer, Steve used his remaining bomber to attack the USS Wasp, which also used its AA to destroy the attacking bomber. My Avengers return to attack the Yamato, only to be driven off by the big ship's AA fire.

Meanwhile the USS New Jersey, and the Yamato exchange gun fire causing minor damage to both ships.

The Avengers sink the Haguro
The third turn saw me change targets for my next airstrike. I decided to attack the Haguro, and that decision paid off, with the Haguro being sunk by the Avengers torpedo attack.  The two battleships continued to exchange fire, with both ships firing broadsides at each other. New Jersey rolls well, causing more damage to the Yamoto, and being only one hit away from causing a critical hit and sinking her outright. The Yamato is more fortunate with its dice and gets the hits needed to cause a critical - sinking the New Jersey!

The  Yamato sinks the USS New Jersey

Turn four sees me attempt to sink the Yamato with another airstrike, before it can get the Wasp in range of its guns. I make a horrible mistake and use bombs rather than torpedoes, causing no damage to the Yamato.

Turn five sees the Wasp in the range of the Yamato's guns. My only chance is a successful torpedo strike with my Avengers...

The Avengers finally sink the Yamato.
and yet again my Avengers sink a IJN ship! So Waitangi Day 2013 had me chalk up two victories, in two very pleasant games using beer and pretzel rules. Not a bad way to start the years gaming, nor a bad way to spend a public holiday.

Friday 8 February 2013

Victory at Sea

Having come back to NZ with a few new 1:1800 scale Axis and Allies War at Sea ships, and discovering that Mongoose Publishing are producing a range of 1:1800 scale ships for their Victory at Sea game, Steve and I decided to have a game on Waitangi Day. Waitangi can be translated from Maori as noisy or weeping waters, so a naval engagement seemed quite appropriate.

Two USN Cleveland class cruisers.
Victory at Sea is designed to be a quick fast play game, and it delivered! Unfortunately photos of naval games tend not to capture the nail biting tension that these games can generate. Victory at Sea lacks the detail of Harpoon, but it played fast and was fun.

CL- 55 Cleveland and CL - 57  Montpelier
The scenario generator gives ships a priority rating so my two Cleveland class light cruisers were rated at one point each for the engagement, with the IJN heavy cruiser Haguro being rated at two points.

Myoko class heavy cruiser Haguro.

The game started at 06:00hrs with calm waters and good visibility. My US cruisers started with the initiative and were able to detect the Haguro on their radars.

The game began with both sides maneuvering towards each other in order to bring their guns into range. The second turn had the Haguro take the initiative and fire first, only to receive minor damage from the USS Montpelier in return.

Haguro continued to close in order to bring its Lance Lance torpedoes into range. Haguro again misses the USS Montpelier, which also misses with its return fire. USS Cleveland is more successful with its broadside and inflicts more damage on the Haguro.

The Haguro continues to close to torpedo range while taking gunfire hits from both USN cruisers. Once Haguro is in range she fires her torpedoes into the USS Montpelier, crippling her. The USS Montpelier is also hit by the close range broadside of the Haguro's guns. USS Monpelier losses all her main armaments and starts to limp away.

Meanwhile USS Cleveland continues to engage the Haguro with gunfire, causing more damage to it as it begins to swing around to engage the USS Cleveland with the deadly Long Lance torpedoes.

Haguro sinks USS Montpelier.
Haguro then sinks the USS Monpelier with gunfire. The USS Cleveland is alone. Haguro's next broadside misses the USS Cleveland, but a torpedo strikes home causing minor damage. USS Cleveland's return fire causes more damage to the Haguro, finally crippling it, putting its Q and X turrets, and starboard torpedoes out of operation.

The USS Cleveland continues to engage the Haguro with gunfire, as the Haguro attempts to bring its port torpedo tubes to bear whilst returning gunfire. Both ships are taking a pounding from this fire, and it is now a race to see if the USS Cleveland can land the final blow before the Haguro can.

USS Cleveland sinks the IJN Haguro.
The USS Cleveland takes a risk and manuevers back around to the Haguro, in order to deliver a broadside. The broadside hits and the Haguro is destroyed! While that final move was successful, had the Haguro not been finally sunk, it would have surely sunk the USS Cleveland with its port Long Lances and remaining guns.

Chalk up a victory at sea for me!

Back in NZ

I am now back in sunny Christchurch after spending January in Pennsylvania. Despite the best attempts of winter to stop my sight seeing, I was lucky enough to see a few places of historic and gaming interest in between my shopping trips.

 So I am placing a few snaps here as they may be of interest to others. Some of these sites are best viewed in seasons other than Winter....

First up, Fort Necessity, a bad day for Washington.

Ft Necessity: A hasty fortification build by Washington to hold off French colonial forces.
A swivel gun, as part of the reconstructed fort.
Glove for scale.
 Next up, and just now the road is the site of General Braddock's grave. The Braddock campaign was another ill fated move against the French.

The story of Braddock's burial.
A section of Braddock's road - a pathway on the original lay of the road.

The marker at the original grave site.
The present monument.
The Braddock campaign is one that has fascinated me for a number of years, so I was very pleased to be able to visit his grave.

I also managed a trip to Valley Forge - winter being a suitable time to visit, but unfortunately not the right time of year to visit the Brandywine battlefield museum.

 And of course, another site with a link to George Washington!

I can relate to this - I am currently making an AWI force.
Bayonets - a useful weapon in the AWI. Not having one was a major disadvantage.
A reconstruction of one of the Valley Forge cabins.
And of course, I went to Gettysburg again, and took lots of photos, and bought lots of plastic soldiers .....

How could this plan possibly fail?
So I had fun, and will have to visit again during warmer weather. Next post I have some AARs and some WIPs of things actually being made!