Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Cold War - Soviet 2S1 Battery

Without getting overly carried away I have now finished putting together a 2S1 battery for some cold war games.  The idea being that a battery of these 122mm SP beauties could realistically appear in a company sized game where the Forward Security Element is being represented.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Modern - QRF ACRV Series Part 2

I have cleaned up the kit as far as my modelling skills, and time, allow.

I have replaced the running gear with that from the Zvezda kit.  I ended up using green stuff to attach it to the hull to allow me to position and keep the tracks reasonably vertically.

I haven't made a new stowage box to replace the one chopped off.  Too much hassle and I was impatient to get these to the painting table

I have trimmed down the swim vanes at the rear and while they fit on the LHS reasonably ok, the ones on the RHS stick out.  This is because of the positioning of the container on the rear hull.  I am not removing it and replacing it with a piece of styrene but if you wanted to that would be an option

I drilled out the antenna housings at the front and rear and put a 10mm long piece of piano wire in as antenna.  I have left the NSV MG in place as I couldn't source one

I migh get chance on friday to get this under the airbrush

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Modern - Review of QRF ACRV-1 and 2

 The move to build up, at 1:1, Cold War forces in 15mm continues.  I have now put together 6 2-S-1 Gvozdika 122mm SPG which will be the Artillery allocated to my Forward Security Element (GPZ) of the Advanced Guard Motor Rifle Battalion.  To go with the Battery I needed the Battery Command Post (COP) and the Fire Direction Centre (FDC).  These two vehicles are known in NATO terms as the ACRV-2 and ACRV-1 respectively.  There are other variants but they are out of scope for a game at company level.

The only manufacturer in 15mm is QRF and I ordered MSCV02 and MSCV04 from their webstore.  A small package was waiting for me when I came home from work.

This is what you get in each pack.

  • Hull
    • They should be identical.
  • Turret
    • The ACRV-2 pack contains a turret with the Laser Range Finder on the RHS.

    • The ACRV-1 pack has a plain turret

  • Left and Right Tracks
  • Dshk or NSV HMG
  •  Comparing it with the Zvezda 2-S-1, in the same scale, shows that the hull shape and dimensions is consistent between both vehicles. 

However the running gear on the QRF kits appears too small. It has the right shape it, but isnt long enough and is about 2mm shorter than the Zvezda one.

  • The ACRV-2 for some reason has the RHS stowage box crudely removed.  This would be correct for the ACRV-3 but not for a ACRV-2 variant so I will need to clean the metal up and build a new piece.

  • The hull overhang at the LH rear on both models has a large build up of excess metal which will need to be removed.

  • The rear hull has a solid block of metal representing the track guards and amphibious vanes are modeled in the down position.  They should be slatted and for road movement be in the up position like those on the Zvezda kit or seen stowed on the hull.

  • The front  track guards are not provided which means the top front drive sprocket is left exposed.  There isn't any water channel detail on the hull where the track guards fit either but I have seen some ACRV photos which don't have these fitted as well as not having the channels.
  • There are some minor mould lines running around the hull which need to be cleaned up (not a niggle as I expect to find a mould line on a white metal kit).
  • Most western photos and drawings show the ACRV-2 with a PKM MG and not the Dshk/NSV
Ideas for improving the model
  • ACRV-2
    • Clean up the bottom of the hull removing the lump of excess metal.
    • Replace the rear track guard and make a new thin one from plastic and add the slatted vanes from the Zvezda kit
    • Clean up the rest of the hull and make up at least two radio antennae.
      • Replace the running gear with that from a spare Zvezda kit. This might involve some work carving the hull to fit or I might just fit the track kits.
    • Make up track guards
    • Look for a pintle mount PKM
  • ACRV-1
    • Clean up the cut marks and build a new external box.
    • Rest as the ACRV-2 (leaving it with the Dshk)

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Cold War - 15mm

I have been tempted into 15mm Cold War.  I have had the odd bit here and there and some of the kit is useful for both OIF 2003 and my Lebanon 82 projects.

First up are some of the Eureka Russian Infantry

And some of the Zvezda Hot War plastic 2-S-1 and ZSU-23-4 Kits

Thursday, 2 July 2015

WOTR - More Nobles

Not a great deal to show for my WOTR efforts recently.  Adding nobles which may or may not appear on a battlefield and then might die in that year isn't overly productive.  It is fun though :)

Next couple of bases have been prepared and will have the detail added over the weekend. This will add
  • Scrope
  • Ruthvyn
  • Hungerford
  • Fitzalan 
Which are reasonably simple schemes if I use the base information I orginally posted up here
  • Scrope's contingent would have white livery.  The base I have made has three figures all in plate armour so it will be a case of just using the flags to denote him.
  • Ruthvyn's contingent would be in red.  This means that I have a solid block of figures in red for Warwick, Ruthvyn, Butler and Courtenay.  One standard bearer has a livery coat, the other in plate as is Ruthvyn himself.
  • Hungerford's contingent would in red and green along with John Clifford and Henry Grey.  Same as for Ruthvyn, one standard bearer has a livery coat, the other in plate.
  • Finally, Fitzalan.  His contingent would be in red and white which is a striking combination. Again a now common set up with the Lord and one standard bearer in plate the other with a livery coat.
The Perfect Captain have recently added 40 or so nobles to the later years to finish off the period.....120 or so figures potentially, I am not sure how much further I can go adding nobles.  Hopefully I will be able to match the liverys to that of nobles who died earlier in the period to allow me some reuse.  I am already thinking of adding a note on the bottom of the base to indicate who else the stand "could" be used for.  Alternatively it means I can just leave the major commanders who are nearly all done and then proxy in the lesser nobles.  Both ways work for both TPC rule sets as well as Bloody Barons.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Downtown - USAF Rolling Thunder options

This is a shot of the USAF forces needed for most of the Rolling Thunder missions by the time camouflage becomes standard.

Lots of jammer support with their escorts, EB-66s and either F-4 or F-104
Upto 4 flights of Weasels
2 flights of MiGCAP either F-4 or F-104
Upto 5 flights of strike aircraft
Upto 2 flights of Strike Ecort F-4
Recon either RF-101C or RF-4C

So with the options as well

Need another pack of starfighters as I am missing one for the MIGCAP option.

A lot of these need a refresh and I need to decide on tail codes as well. Some of these current ones aren't correct.  This is the standard I am aiming for to bring them upto the USN models

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Downtown - USAF Aircraft update

The USAF have been the poor cousin in painting terms.

Managed to paint these three F-104s this morning however.  They will be used for some early games. Need to do some research about squadron and wing codes and serials.

Also decaled up 3 EB-66s and a couple of Phantoms (national insignia only still need to do tail codes and serial numbers)

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

USAF Callsigns over Vietnam

Following on from the piece of work locating some of the USN/USMC callsigns for historical missions over NVN using the Downtown rules I had a look at what I could find for the USAF for Rolling Thunder.  The USAF callsigns seem to have been used by a number of different types of aircraft and don't appear to be fixed in the same way that the USN were.  They were also allocated per flight which appears different to the USN practise.  There is a line in the Operation Bolo narrative which indicates that certain callsigns were dedicated to MiGCAP but I am not convinced in light of other narratives.....but who am I to know...

ACADEMIC   (F-105F Wild Weasel)
ADVENT     (F-105D)
BALLOT     (F-4C)
BASCO      (F-4D 13TFS/1972)
BASS       (F-4 MiGCAP)
BEAR       (F-105D)
BISON      (F-105D)
BOXER      (F-4)
BRASS      (F-105D)
BUCKSHOT   (RF-101C)/(F-4)
BUICK      (F-4 LGB Equipped)/(F-105D)/(F-4D)
CACTUS     (F-4C)
CANYON     (RF-101C)
CARBINE    (F-105D)/(F-105F)
CHOPPER    (F-105 Flak Suppressor)
CRAB       (F-105D)/(F-4C 555TFS)
COBALT     (F-105D 388 TFS)
COBRA      (F-4)
DAGGER     (F-105D)
DETROIT    (F-105D)
DEVIL      (F-105D)
DINGUS     (F-4D 433TFS/1972)
DOGWOOD    (F-105D)  
DOLPHIN    (F-105D)    
DRILL      (F-4D)
ELGIN      (F-4C)
FLAMINGO   (F-105D)/(F-4C)
FLAPPER    (F-105D)
FORD       (F-105F)/(F-4D) - Dedicated MiGCAP Callsign ?
GAINFUL    (F-105D)
GAMBIT     (F-4D)
GASKET     (EB-66)
GIGOLO     (F-105)
HAMMER     (F-4)
HECTIC     (F-105D)
HOT DOG    (F-105D)
JUPITER    (F-4C)  
KILLER     (F-4D) 
KINGPIN    (F-105)
KNIFE      (F-105D)
LAREDO     (F-4 Fast FAC)
LINCOLN    (F-105 Wild Weasel) - Dedicated MiGCAP Callsign ?
LOCUST     (F-105D)
MACHETE    (F-105 Wild Weasel)
MARLIN     (F-105D)
MERCO      (EB-66)
MINK       (F-4C)
NASH       (F-4D)
NELSON     (F-4)
NEWARK     (F-105D)
OLDS       (F-4C) - Dedicated MiGCAP Callsign ?
OPAL       (F-4C)
OTTER      (F-105F Wild Weasel)/(F-4D)
OYSTER     (F-4)
OZARK      (F-105D)
PANDA      (F-105D)
PHANTOM    (F-4)
PISTOL     (F-105D)
PLYMOUTH   (F-4C) - Dedicated MiGCAP Callsign ?
PREVIEW    (EB-66)
RAINBOW    (F-105)/(F-4 CAP)
RANDOM     (F-105D)
RAMBLER    (F-4C) - Dedicated MiGCAP Callsign ?
RENAULT    (F-105D)
SAGE       (RF-4C)
SAMBA      (F-105D)
SHARK      (F-105D)
SHOTGUN    (F-105D)
SPEEDO     (F-4C)
SPITFIRE   (mixed F-105D/F-105F Weasel flight)
STROBE     (RF-4C)
TAMPA      (F-4C)
TEAK       (EB-66)
TEMPEST    (F-4C) - Dedicated MiGCAP Callsign ?
TEXAS      (F-105D)
TICO       (F-105F)
VALENT     (EB-66)
VEGAS      (F-105D)
VENOM      (F-105D)
VESPA      (F-4C) - Dedicated MiGCAP Callsign ?
WABASH     (F-105D)
WACO       (F-105F)
WANDER     (EB-66)/(F-4C)
WANDES     (EB-66) - Possibly a typo
WARHAWK    (F-4) (F-105F)
WOLF       (F-105D)
WILD       (EB-66)
ZEBRA      (F-105D)

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Downtown - D4 - USAF Planning Pt 2

This is my rough flight plan that might refined over the next 24 hours.  Very simple idea, turn down behind Thud Ridge on the deck at speed 4.  Drop bombs, go to 'burner and run for home.  EB-66 flights will fly an eliptical orbit north of the Ridge protected by two flights of CAP, which can also provide protection to the strike force.  MiGCAP to be established over the ridge screening Hoa Lac, Phuc Yen and Gia Lam.  Nothing is going to come down from Kep as it is the solo rules (not to self that I want to look at a mechanism about how to handle visual IDs on airfields as that affects how aircraft get generated.

As to aircraft, they are all painted up.  Two F-105F WW are getting a paint refresh tonight to lighten an old paint job, but if I don't get around to it they are painted anyway.  Might paint a couple of F-4Cs as I will need them for some future scenarios.  I also want to get some terrain painted as well especially as I will be using the rough terrain to hide in.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Downtown - D4 - "wheel of hurt" USAF Planning Pt 1

With a target map generated already, the USAF have 5 possible targets, however that equates to only 3 unique locations, with Phuc Yen POL storage very popular:

1-2 =   Ha Gia POL storage 1227
3-6 =   Phuc Yen POL Storage 1529
7-8 =   Phuc Yen POL Storage & Phuc Yen rail yard 1529
9-10 = Yen Vien rail yard 1826

The Target roll was a 10, so Yen Vien rail yard it is which makes this a USAF Major Raid

22 Possible SAM sites with 6 located.  This time I spent a little bit of time deciding on the SAM locations and came up with a scheme which placed a located battery in the following concentrations.

Airfields are plotted and probably means that Kep wont get used.  However the remainder can all generate some challenging defensive forces.
Phuc Yen, 1529 (MiG-17, MiG-21)
Kep, 1120 (MiG-21)
Gia Lam, 2027 (MiG-17, MiG-21)
Hoa Lac, 2035 (MiG-17, MiG-21)

Onto the USAF.  The raid forces available are as follows:

Jamming Mission
1x {1} EB-66C, Jamming
1x {1} EB-66B, Jamming
2x {2} F-4C, CAP

Iron Hand Mission
2x {2} F-105F WW, SEAD (Insufficient Weasels SSR)

MiGCAP Mission
1x {4} F-4C, CAP

Strike Mission
3x {4} F-105D, Bombing
1x {4} F-105D, Strike/CAP
(as this is prior to 1967 you delete one flight, but then add one back as this is a major raid taking it back to 3 bombing flights. In addition the SSR change one flight to Strike/CAP)

Recon Mission
1x {2} RF-4C, Recon

Downtown - D3 - USS RANGER - AAR Part 2

This is the view of the raid from the North West. Hanoi is centre right and the target is almost dead in the middle of the picture.  The ring of waiting SAMs is quite clear.

After successfully navigating past Haiphong the raid swings down behind Phantom Ridge.  It would be easy to drop to deck level at this point and use the ridge to break any lock from any SAMs remaining around Haiphong. But the Iron Hand have done a good job albeit at the cost of one aircraft.  The MiGCAP is forward providing cover for the SEAD flight which still has a full bomb load.

I don't seem to be having a lot of luck with my CSAR rolls.  Double 1 and the RIO goes into captivity.  I played it out that as the mission was tasked they wouldn't know until they arrived and had to make pass over the target hex.

Clearing the ridge, the raid is subjected to SAM Fire

The Armed Escorts and the SEAD head out to deal with the closest threats to the bomber package.  The shrike shortage really is a nightmare in these early scenarios.

Winchester calls from the DAKOTA 201/202 and as one aircraft is already damaged it heads for home.  DAKOTA 203 is in the same boat and with no ordnance or a gun to protect DAKOTA 204 Bravo has to head home as well.  GARFISH 403/404 is also heading back to the carrier.

Meanwhile things are hotting up for the strike package.  GARFISH 401/402 is on the deck heading for the SAMs while the Armed Escorts DAKOTA 205/206 and DAKOTA 207/208 attract their attention.  That's the thing about being the bait.GARFISH 409/410/411/412 have to dump their bomb load in order to evade a well aimed missile shot which heads for their formation.  A soft kill effectively as without bombs the four skyhawks in the flight will abort home to the carrier. BUSY BEE 603/604/605/606 don't have any RWR so doesn't know that a SAM site has a good return.

Every SAM that had a target gets a shot off this turn,

Having RWR and Deceptive Jamming GARFISH 403/404 get eyes on the launch sites, which is going to make suppressing them easier.

Despite the attention of the incoming US aircraft the SAM sites hold their nerve and sufficiently disrupt the pilots aim.  GARFISH 403/404 bombs go wide and the site remains active.  SAMs continue to chase the bombers.  A FIRE CAN at the POL site is taken out by a division of skyhawks GARFISH 405/406/407/408.  The remaining eight bombers roll in on the target but only report moderate success (BDA is only completed once the Recon flight brings back the photos so at the moment success is based on pilots claims and not hard evidence)

HOOTER 903 is on table and hauling ass.  More Winchester aircraft are heading back to the carrier.

A solitary SAM chases the raid off target.  The package is now spread over several hundred miles of airspace which contrasts with the situation as they went feet dry earlier.

Nothing is ever safe over North Vietnam.  BUSY BEE 601/602/603/604 are acquired by a SAM site and have to keep their wits about them as they turn for the penultimate waypoint.

South of Haiphong DAKOTA 205/206 are heady for the coast but find themselves too close for comfort to a pair of SAM sites which weren't taken out on ingress.

Another pair of missiles chase the flight as it goes feet wet.  At the top, CANASTA 510/511 are over the reported location of the downed RIO from DAKOTA 204 but are met with a hail of small arms fire. With the pilots reporting locals holding up a flight helmet as the flight passes over head the rescue is called off.

Coming in behind the strike package there will always be upset locals. HOOTER 903 is at full speed and on the the deck coming over the POL site.  A couple of minor fires but no major damage.

I called the game here.

Poor bombing accuracy on the target means that the US can only claim:
2 VPs for the BDA and 6 VPs for damaged SAM sites for a total of 8 Points.
The DRV score 2 VPs for the F-4B and 1 VPs for the crewman who didn't eject and 2 VPs for the capture.

Overall this gives +3 to the US which is still a defeat, the POL site will need to be re-struck.  Things went better and having a plan which I read every turn to make sure I didn't get carrier away helped.  Still a very close game, the rescue on the RIO would have only made it +4 so still a defeat. Bombing accuracy rolls weren't great and a flight dumping its bombs to evade a missile didn't help.

Next mission will be early 1967, and both the USN and USAF have a lot more RWR and ECM gear fitted.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Downtown - D3 - USS RANGER AAR

Despite it being mid morning the Soviet trawler shadowing TG77.7 was no where to be seen.  As a result the Alpha strike formed up to hit the Bac Giang POL site had a head start on the defenders. It wouldn't be until the air wing was insight of the coast would the defenders begin to react.  That is my reasoning for the poor DRV early warning roll of a 4 on 2d10 with a -2 modifier for it being a USN raid.

(Summary of turns until the main raid force enters)
Jamming and Iron Hand enter and move to counter the closest threats to the bombers

Jamming support from ROBBIE 705 & 708 is directed towards Haiphong. No FAN SONG or FIRE CAN emissions have been detected, but that can't last.

The Iron Hand flights (GARFISH 401 & 402 with DAKOTA 203 & 204 as one pair, with GARFISH 403 & 404 with DAKOTA 201 & 202 as the other) had just reached the coastline when AAA from Hon Gai caused the first hiccup. AAA brackets DAKOTA 201 causing minor damage. The crew elect to carry on escorting the A-4Es.

(hopefully I will remember to take photos at the correct time for the remainder of the game as the main raid forces enter)

The Skyhawks (remainder of GARFISH and BUSY BEE) enter with their attendant DAKOTA escorts.

MIGCAP provided by TAP ROOM come on station as two MiG flights are reported by RED CROWN lifting from Kien An, according to Intelligence they only type on that airfield are MiG-17Fs.

Finally, the defences come active.  FIRE CAN at Hon Gai and four FAN SONG come up around Haiphong.  The Iron Hand are inside the range of the FIRE CAN as a result of keeping out the way of the SAMs and will have to take their lumps. Jamming support will help though as it will be directed against Hon Gai before the Iron Hand have to move.

As the SAMs have illuminated it automatically means that the MiGs should disappear. I am going to keep them running otherwise the CAP doesn't have to commit itself it means that they have to behave themselves.

The with the jamming aligned GARFISH 401/402 gets away from the tracking guns. AAA continues To darken the sky over Hon Gai.  GARFISH 403/404 launches one shrike into Haiphong. Both SAMs in range continue to track for targets and luckily while the shrike comes close it doesn't do any damage.

PRF rapidly increases and a number of US aircraft are now illuminated but the value of jamming shows and only one SAM site has a full return.

GARFISH 403/404 hold their nerve as a SAM arcs towards themand puts a shrike down the throat of the launch site. RADAR emissions abruptly cease and a plume of dark smoke indicates a hit.

DAKOTA 203/204 conduct anti radar tactics diving to the deck. One SAM losses acquisition. The other launches a missile and the fuzzy image on their screen which doesn't track and goes ballistic.

ROBBIE is far enough out for the site not to waste a launch, it isn't a bomber or an iron hand flight. In which case I think the Acquisition table needs a drop and re acquire option.

DAKOTA 201/202 reach their IP and release their CBU onto the fire control radar knocking it out.

Launch plumes lead the eyes of the Iron Hand flights onto the SAM Sites

The SAM sites that the solo system generate around Haiphong are now all on the air.  Anything that gets generated from now on will be around the target area.

More launches occur but miss the US flights.  DAKOTA 203/204 come around and line up on the detected sites while GARFISH 403/404 duck under the plume and head back out over the bay and will line up next turn

The sky is pretty crowded at this point.

DAKOTA 203/204 reach their IP and dive onto the located SAM site.  DAKOTA 204 calls an emergency. Unfortunately only one 'chute is seen.  DAKOTA 203 calls that a number of secondary explosions are seen and the site is off the air.

GARFISH 401/402 expend their last shot.  One SAM site is taken down and one other shuts down its RADAR.  The main raid continue to move on.  BUSY BEE 602/602 at the rear of the strike will split off as RESCAP for the pick up.  As this is solo I can make the call whether the USN CSAR is tasked or not.  Here I think it is a valid mission and will send it in.

 Just Off Map, a ring a SAM sites close the target have just come on air.  I don't have any shrikes left (remember I only get 4 due to the missile shortage).