Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Retro Gaming - WRG Modern ideas Part 1

What have I started, I am now back to looking in old books for individual platoon organisations. Oh well, nothing really changed I have been so focussed on higher level that I can't remember anything about the lower level org of my soviet forces.

My first game will be something simple as just running one or two Combat Recce Patrols (CRP) down a road towards a village.

The CRP will be followed at a distance of between 5 and 10 Km by the remainder of the Forward Security Element (FSE).  If I assume that the forces are going to be moving at the tracked Medium movement rate this means that even flat out they are going to be separated by something like 10 turns and probably more.  The ideas is that the CRP, and FSE, are there to provide security warning for the main body, which is at least another 10 turns behind the FSE so I can probably fight some lower level engagements before having to worry about the bigger stuff.  So remind me why I am using 6mm for this, surely 15mm or larger would have been appropriate?

If I assume, as this is just a try out, that I am concerned about the small scale actions of the CRP and FSE then the sector of advance is small and in fact would probably have only been on one axis of advance so I can just put a small strip of terrain down and then "just" randomise what the CRP encounters and how the FSE deals with it and sets the conditions for the main body to either bypass or attack.

Going back to my roots - WRG Rules

When I first started playing wargames, WRG was the staple rule set for a good proportion of the gamers I knew.  Then we moved on as more rules came out with new ideas and concepts and my WRG sets fell into the unused pile.  We now have a glut of rules for possibly any conceivable engagement at any game scale at multiple levels of command and control.

I wondered what would happen if I went back to one of the first rule sets I ever used and played a couple of games with them and what would be my experience; would it be a renaissance?

For this I am going to go back to the WRG Modern rule set published in 1979 for the period 1950 - 1985.  These rules were for 1:1 engagements at the Company combat team up to Battalion Battlegroup level.  This fits in with my fleeting interest in Cold War 1985 engagements where NATO forces are likely to be at the Battalion level and the WP forces will enter from the line of march.  It means I can play out small engagements without having to go the Operational level for some things.

What it does mean is that I will probably buy more vehicles and Infantry as I am unlikely to strip off my MSH units from their bases.  But it does mean that all my terrain has more of a meaning than the slightly abstract representation it did before.

Biting off too much in one go is a sure way to lose enthusiasm so I am going to try out some simple Battle Drills with about a company to see how it goes.

1/600th Aircraft - A Couple nearly finished

As gaming pieces go these three are nearly finished.  They were used as test pieces to try out decal configurations and ideas that I needed for the main project so future aircraft might not quite be the same as these....:)

VF-161 in the later scheme using a decal printed onto white decal paper and then touched up around the edges with black paint

VF-114 using a clear decal relying on the Deck Tan to provide the base for the orange.  Decal in two pieces so might try and single one next time

VF-96 Falcons in the early scheme

1/600th Aircraft - MiG Killer Progress

Managed to get going on this project, but with most things I am suffering from word blindness and contradictory photo references.

The block of USN and USMC aircraft have all been: undercoated, VJ Deck Tan base coat applied, Canopies painted, radome colours applied and exhausts painted in;  They have also all had the Stars n' Bars applied using Doms Decals.

I have then applied all the vertical lettering and numbers such as NAVY and the BuNo and Modex, that are black, as opposed to anything with a shear and or white.

I have added any coloured bands to the fin and wing tips where I can find a photo.  Problem as always is the scribed detail being overscale so lines aren't quite where they should be which causes me a few problems with exact matches for Tail code and art work.

The VF-114 aircraft kept a vertical NH tail code which has been applied to both the early and later squadron schemes.

Anywhere I found a reference for Air Wing codes on the Starboard wing I also made up the lettering and Modex again if I found a reference.

VF-21, VF-111 and VF-96 aircraft have the tail art added as I had that left over from an earlier project, which now show where I didn't finish an aircraft from the earlier refresh such as the VF-21 aircraft below.

Current sat working up the decals for a couple of aircraft at a time to finish them off, working in Squadron order, rather than the order they appear in the book.  This is to save time as it is always easier to work in a production fashion.

The problem, if you can call it that, is that photo references can send you down the wrong road.  For example in the Osprey 1965 - 70 book the VF-114 aircraft on page 59, shows air wing identifier and Modex on the Starboard wing but doesn't have a black radome so no idea of the date of the photo.  So right or wrong I have now put these markings on my VF-114 early aircraft only to find an earlier photo with no Modex....These are gaming models not display pieces so TLAR applies.

VF-96 early scheme on one aircraft finished.  30+ to go......;(

Thursday, 21 August 2014

USN Aircraft - VF-114 1972

Part of the MiG killers allotment of aircraft are a couple of VF-114 "Aardvarks".  As this is an interesting scheme to do (bright orange stripes) I used my lunch hour to see what it might look like using a quick mock up (and if it went well it would become the production version).

TD later F-4 model used a a base for the J Model.  The lettering decals are from my standard set.  The orange stripe however I scaled from some artwork.  The problem is that it doesn't match the TD moulding as a result is about 2mm too short and also the black line isn't definitive. As it is too short it also comes together in a point rather than the square end that the real VF-114 aircraft had.  Therefore I need to overscale the black lines to make it stand out more as well as look at the length and fitting. 

As I have used a clear decal the walkway decals which I normally fit will have to be cut before fitting and then butt up against the stripe otherwise it will show through.

Other things that need to be done is the Kitty Hawk lettering needs to be resized as it is too large.  The remainder of the decals went on okay and I gave everything a coat of Microsol to make sure it sank onto the moulding as well as it could.

I have also found that making the decals into PDF and then printing isn't a problem so I might put some up as a share later for those who fancy a go.

Anyway, back to work and I will strip this one back down (NAVY, Stripe and Kitty Hawk can all come off leaving the remaining decals in place) and see if I can get a better set made up tonight.

Modern - M2A2 ODS Next Stages

The remaining two M2A2 ODS that I bought, have now been given a basecoat of the Tamiya XF-59.  I have added the rear Id Panels (sorry bored you enough with those now) as well as the covers for the gunner's sight.

Early shot showing the the styrene panels.  They are way overscale but good enough for me to game with

Base coat added and on this one (which will be callsign 112) I have taken the last panel off as well.

 Compared to the first one from the rear

And from the front with the revised sight which is only 3 pieces of styrene

Need to decide on how the antenna's will be added yet (but I can do that at a later stage) and as I have two M1A1 to do as well the next highlight coats will be added when I do all the models together.  Then on to markings and stowage and basing

Already lost interest in these ;) and thinking of going back to the MiG Killer project

Friday, 15 August 2014

Modern - M2A2 ODS

The Zvezda Bradley is in 15mm is a cracking kit, with lots of detail as opposed to its poorer M1A1 cousin.  I have put the first one of three together as a tester and I am quite happy with it.  It like all my other models needs some baggage items, Combat ID panels and radio antennas and of course basing

Modern - OIF Combat ID panels

Combat ID panels were pretty common during OIF and they appear in most of the photos on the hull and turret sides.  As I had used a vietnam era kit they obviously didn't come of the sprue so I tried building them from 1.5mm styrene strip.  I made two at a time and cut the frame once I had trimmed and fitted each of the slats and then a simple job of glueing them in place.  Now I know they don't look too out of place I will make up the ones for the USMC M1A1s as well as some more for the 4 other US Army Vehicles I need for the Force on Force scenarios

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Modern - M113A3 Base Coat

Still haven't found the "Desert Sand" that I like.  This is painted using Tamiya XF-59 which gives a tan brown sort of finish which will do until I find something better.  Dry brushing with VJ Iraqi Sand to lighten and dusty it up to be done and I will do that when I get around to adding the baggae and extra pieces to this

Modern - M113A3

Following on from the M1064A3 proxy I used some of the lessons identified to work on the first of the M113A3s I was going to need.

I cleaned up the back of the BF M113 by carving off the light clusters and jerry cans and then carefully trimmed the track guard to make a vertical surface.  I also cut and sanded the track guard out to make it look as it it was part of the fuel tank on the inside face as will.

I then made up a template for the sides of the fuel tank and then cut out sufficient pieces for two vehicles, the idea being that if this worked out okay I could crack on and duplicate the pieces for the third model using the second template.  I still worked on fitting the pieces together on the model rather than building the tanks and then fitting.  I am not skillful enough to get that bit right yet but might try it out on the last two models to see if speeds up the process.

The idea of the vertical surface was that it would give me a reference point for the bottom of the fuel tank and would then allow me to sand the shape to give a better representation.

The tank filler caps were added as was a second antenna mount and blanking plates on the top.  I am still thinking about the rear light fittings that are needed. but as these are gaming models I might do that as a last thought.  Smoke dischargers also need to be considered as well as spare track pads and other little details.

Again the Road to Baghdad book identifies that the ACAV kits are fitted to all the M113A3s needed which again is useful.  What it does mean however is that I have now run out of BF M113 kits as one was used a while ago for my Israeli 1982 project so will need to order another pack in the future to finish off the BandAid (probably).

The PSC Sdkfz 251 kit provided the jerry cans again as I can't find the box with all my white metal jerry cans. 

Will still need to find or make some stowage and Combat ID panels for these and then look at decals.  As I can make my own and they will be in black it should be straight forward but need to do some research first to find out what is actually needed.

Model has been given a black undercoat and I might get chance this afternoon to give it a coat of Tamiya XF-59 which is the colour I have decided to go with for the US Army vehicles

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Modern - M1064A3

Now that I have completed the USMC forces for Road to Baghdad, I began looking at the US Army forces needed.  A couple of bradley's, slack handful of M113s including a Bandaid and a M1064A3 Mortar carrier.

As I only need one I tried out some ideas using the BF M113 kits that I purchased.  The book says that it has the ACAV kit for the commander which was in the kit already, so I made up the external fuel tanks using plasticard, trimmed down the covers over the road wheels by 1mm or so and made a couple of bits of baggage out of green stuff and finally pinched some jerrycans from the PSC Sdkfz 251 kit (I think thats where they came from).

Good enough to game with and I have some better ideas about what to do for the M113s which will all need to be the same.  Aftermarket potential on these kits is great but needs someone with the skills.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Modern - USMC CAAT Team Completed

90% there as usual on these.  NATO 3 Colour scheme used in the same way as the AAV and M1A1s

I used Vallejo Air for the first time on these and managed to fit the wrong nozzle to the airbrush when spraying so the pattern is bigger than I wanted.  Ran out of wire for the SINCGARS antennas so needed a trip to the model shop over the weekend.  Happy with these so that is all the USMC forces completed for Road to Baghdad.