Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Games Workshop - WH40K - Tau Army

My divergence into WH40K was a result of the release of the Tau Battlesuit model.  I have dallied with all sorts of variants.  Following a burglary when my WH40K army went missing the nice Warhamsters gaming group provided me with a replacement force.  The plastic mountain was nearly all battle suits and vehicles.

This is just an rough overview of one stage of my army.  It is currently being repainted for a more Urban theme.

Ion Storm Commander

Airbursting Frag and MP

Units in action during an Apocalypse game

Not sure how much isn't shown in this overview shot

Friday, 16 September 2011

MOCB - Addition Errata (unofficial)

These are some additional errata or clarifications I have harvested over the last few years.

Para 5 Making the scenery needed for the game. 
  • Page 9 delete last sentence.
Para 6.2 Villages. 
  • Add "They may be placed upon a hill if desired."
Para 6.2 Jungle. 
  • Delete last sentence and replace with "They may be placed on a hill if desired."
Para 7.3 Order of Battle of US Forces. 
  • Add to first paragraph "Company Commanders are always foot units.  They may be carried in vehicles, but a vehicle cannot fill the role of a commander."
Para 8.2 Deployment of Both Sides Forces at the Game Start
  • Change second sentence to read "These Zone markers must be......."
  • Add to end of second sentence "and board edge"
Para 9.3 Hot/Activated Zones
  • Fifth line, Change to read "..the VC player can self activate a zone if he rolls a 5,6.  He can only attempt to self activate one zone per turn."
  • Seventh line, Change to read "....activated the VC player then deploys the entire contents of that zone."
  • First line, Page 17, add to last sentence "counting as ambushing."
Para 9.4 Ambushing
  • Add to last sentence.  "If the VC self activated the zone, the US player cannot prevent the ambush."
Para 11 VC Cards
  • Second paragraph, first sentence change to  ".....US player has called for support but before..."
Para 12.2, Roads, Page 22. 
  • add to end of last sentence " and rolled the appropriated D6."
Page Para 13.2 Weapons and their capabilities.  Page 24.
  • RPG/LAW/Bazooka.  Add after last sentence "They may fire at helicopters."
  • add a new entry for Helicopter gunships.
    • Gunships fire twice as a HMG but at Tank ranges.
  • Arcs of fire.  Add after second bullet "except that"
Para 14.2 Page 29.
  • Add the following to the end of the sentence describing the die roll effects. "If all of one type of stand is killed, all additonal KIA results are applied, at random, to the remaining types in the zone."
Para 18. Interrogation
  • Add to the +1 modifier "or Australian."
  • Change the 2= result to "No result, peasant group removed."

MOCB - Terrain Density

As with a lot of games it is important to ensure that the battlefield provides a challenge for the players as well as the enemy.  In MOCB it is important to get the correct "feel" of the areas likely to be fought over.  I drew these two schematics back in 2002 when my interest in MOCB was rekindled to help explain the concept.  Now I have dusted off MOCB from the shelf, they may be of use to other MOCB players in getting a feel for the terrain density.  My own terrain consists of simple felt outlines onto which trees etc are placed.  We are going to play on Sunday afternoon (once Sunday dinner is over) so some in game shots will follow later.

Lowlands representation (Mekong Delta)

 Farmland found in multiple regions of Southern Vietnam

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

1/600th Aircraft - CVW16 Project

CVW-16 Project. After doing the F-4s I looked back at the A-4s that I painted up when I first got into this scale. I think they needed a refresh so have decided (after conversation with others) to have a look at CVW-16 specifically on the USS Oriskany with AH tailcodes.

SquadronAir WingAircraftDates
VA-163CVW-16A-4E Apr - Dec 65
May - Nov 66
Jun 67 - Jan 68
VA-164CVW-16A-4E Apr - Dec 65
May - Nov 66
Jun 67 - Jan 68

Quick bit of digging shows the following sqns on the Oriskany during Vietnam. I am going to concentrate on VA-163 and VA-164. So starting off with 2 A-4Es one with, one without the "hump" I would need the following decals

  • AH as the airwing designator
  • Identical devices on the tail one blue the other red.
  • 300 series Modex numbers for VA-163
  • 400 series Modex numbers for VA-164
  • National Insignia at the rear of the aircraft (Dom's Decals)
  • NAVY (Small) at the base of the fin for both squadrons
  • Bu Nos (for at least VA-164) below the device
  • Possible aircraft names for VA-164 in red
  • USS ORISKANY as small as I can do it for the sides of VA-163
  • RESCUE for the nose on both.

I knocked out a test run of decals this morning (3 July 09) to test fit for 3 of VA-164's aircraft. The Tail devices look okay, I have scaled the next set down slightly. NAVY for the rear goes on fine but you need to trim as close as possible. Dom's national insignia go on as usual at the rear. Modex on the nose for 405, 406 and 407 (want to test out Lady Jessie).

Couple of Work in Progress Shots

As usual this led to more and more work and I have now done a test set for VF-111, VF-162, VA-163, VA-164 and VFP-63. I haven't done any of the support aircraft. The image below shows just the fighter element ready to go. I have matched BuNo and Modex to "real" aircraft where I have a reference. The decals are one large decal so you need to cut out carefully.


The couple of shots will be the work bringing my CVW-16 airwing into being (well at least the crusaders to start with). These are an early run and has the F-4 engine warnings on instead of the F-8 ones. As I said before these have been made up into aircraft sets and I am in progress of updating all the master sheets in the same way. (I now have a page of F-4s from VF-21, VF-92 and VF-96). I have no intention of doing these commercially though.


Couple of shots of first proper print run of VF-162 and VF-111 aircraft. The crusader on the left (VF-162) has a Dom's Decals NAVY while the VF-111 has one of mine on it looks closer to scale and isn't as black. The National Insignia are all Dom's Decals, I use the Middle sized one for the wing and the small one either side of the cockpit. You can see that I have taken off the TD moulded detail for the mounting racks to get the decal on.

You can see from these shots that the Tail Art isn't quite right so another run will be needed. For those of you who have a test run of these:

  • Before placing the VF-162 decal you need to paint the surface white (to let the yellow stars show up) then paint a black line down the control surface where it meets the rest of the fin as the decal is too small and the letters too large and there will be a white gap if you rely on the decal covering the whole surface.
  • The decal needs to be pushed as far to the rear as possible. (I will fix this over the weekend).
  • I need to reduce the AH and increase the size of the art on this one.
  • The VF-111 needs a good white background to show up (one of the problems using a clear decal.
  • The decal itself is too small and needs to be englarged slightly which I will try and do this weekend.
  • The AH is also too bold and needs thinning. I have a solution sorted out just need the time to get around to it.

The VF-111 bird is ready for the shark's mouth decal which I am working on at the moment. The Modex is pushed back enough so I can get the eye in. What I haven't decided yet is if this should be a single piece decal (bearing in mind that the decal will be about 2mm in size), or if I will just do the mouth as a decal and the eye freehand.

All said and done these are wargame models and look reasonable from a distance!!!

Fixed the problem with the decals and also had enough decal paper left over to do the Shark's mouth (VF-111) as a single decal with the eye (which you can only just make out) and jet intake warnings for the F-8s on another pair of aircraft. Useful that the A-7 can use the same decal so saved me a bit of time. Need to let these cure overnight and get them varnished tomorrow after doing the final touch ups (which will be adding a grey strip across the top of the fin and then adding the horizontal colour bars (red for VF-111 and Yellow on VF-162).

The shots below have the new bar, printed on white decal paper with a thick black surround. I cut as close to the yellow to keep the black border which is what was needed (I experimented with a thinner line before and the decal is a bit flimsy to take any handling)



I have just put the new decals on the old A-4s and I don't intend to do much more with this. It has been a useful exercise. I have one more fighter crusader to add (probably do a VF-162 bird) and then move onto the Tanker/ECM aircraft. I have a vigilante but they were only on the larger carriers so might have a look at one for the constellation (to go with the F-4s that I have done) I also have some USAF stuff that still needs work on.

1/600th Aircraft - Home Made Decals

1/600th is a good scale to get into in terms of model availability and period. I started off with Korean war aircraft (I was brought up on Sabres and MiGs) but silver wasn't quite my thing and I didn't wan't to do any of the Commonwealth forces which left me with the USN and its Semi Gloss Blue paint.

I grabbed some of Dom's Decals (National Insignia) to start me off. Once you start adding decals it is hard to stop. I had stars n bars but wanted NAVY in white as well as single letter for Carrier Ids. Mark Tutton at Starfighter decals kindly sent me some of these (NAVY) and I steadily grew the interest in what I wanted. i-94 Enterprises did single letters (in the USAF style and not USN) which would proxy.

When I stepped across into Vietnam era naval aircraft I wanted to carry on as these are some of the most attractive paint jobs ever applied. No one did 1/600 decals for what I wanted to do so home made decals were the only way ahead.

Do a google search and you will find a range of sites detailing the exact hows to do but in essence:

You will find two types of paper. Clear or White. Some are for inkjet and some for laser printers. Why are there two types you ask ?

There are only a couple of printers in the world that print white. ALPS is one and outside of that you are in the realm of screen printers etc and out of the realm of the hobbyist. As you can't print white you have a problem in that traditional printers rely on the white of the paper to give you the colour depth needed. Clear decal paper is just that so to get a good colour image your background colour (on the model) has to be light to create the colour otherwise you are limited to dark colours. White decal paper lets you do proper colour but isnt transparent so you have to match a background with your model. This isn't a problem on simple schemes but is a problem with complex camo.

My decals are done using an inkjet printing out at 600 dpi treating the decal paper as if it was photo paper.

USN Navy aircraft have a lot of white surfaces which is good and most of the Vietnam markings was black anyway. For colour bands I use the white paper but put a thick black edge around the colour. This means you can cut close to the colour and leave just a thin black line like on the Crusaders on the CVW-16 Project

You can download both the USN Font and USAF font for a variety of platforms on the net. I am a PC user and purchased both from TLai Enterprises. From here I used visio to give me a 1/600 scaled page so I could see the scale sizes. I have the USAF marking guide in PDF which was useful in gauging the size of USN markings from photos. Apart from that size was directed by the detail on the model (on some the detail is so overscale it isn't possible to put the correct size on).

Armed with the Long beach USN Font I found that I could knock up the Bureau Nos and Modex Numbers quite easily and once I had it for one aircraft I could create a new squadron very quickly. There are a number of reference sites which detail the airwing composition, Identifier, Modex, BuNos, Combat and Op losses etc so you can build "real" aircraft very quickly.

Once I had those done and added I was drawn to the tail art. I have most of the Vietnam era USN reference books from Osprey

  • MiG Killers I and II
  • A-4 Skyhawks
  • A-7 Corsair
  • F-8 Crusaders

It was easy enough to convert the tail art into geometric shapes and manipulate on visio. Being able to work on layers and have objects active and inactive also helped. I didn't have a decent graphics package to start with. (I don't have a proprietary one now and use the GIMP application). The reason for GIMP was that it allowed me to shear text (Reverse Italic is a simple analogy) for the slanting letters on Nose and Tail.

Trial and error was the order of the day. I had decals which fitted the "correct" shape which then needed to be adjusted to fit the model limitations (for example on this RA-5C) trying to remain with the look and feel. I freely mixed JPEG, GIF, PNG, WMF and EMF type graphics in getting what I wanted and the inability of print white actually helped as it meant that I could use white shapes to mask off errors or bits I could fix in another way.

Placement on the printed page was also important as you end up with essentially one huge decal and need to cut as close as possible to each individual element you want. By laying out what I wanted across the width of a page I could make one A4 sheet last ages (in fact I have only just finished using my last original sheet from the pack of 4 that I bought (in the UK I could buy individual sheets or packs as I needed. I have just added a pack of 10 clear, I haven't used one white sheet yet.

Because I use a high gloss varnish to seal the decal (it being inkjet and therefore water soluble) I varnish before adding the decal. Add the decal then varnish again and finally use dullcote to bring it all back down to matt. Microsol is a bit too vigorous in my opinion for the paper I am using.

I will add more if people want otherwise enjoy.