Sunday, July 28, 2013

P-40B "Flying Tigers" and Mitsubishi G4M "Betty

I was not sure these would get done in July, but I had some rare free time and a spurt of energy to finish decals last night.

These are all Armaments in Miniature (AiM) 1/200 models.
Resin (Aim) models as they arrived with decals
Instead of hand painting these this time after washing and priming I decided to apply a base coat using spray enamel especially due to the size of the Betty.  I then painted the underside and camo pattern by hand.  I had read that decals tend to work better on a gloss surface, so before applying them I gave everything a gloss clear coat to seal the paint.  Overall I was happy with the results.  Once the decals were on I applied the normal dull coat to give them the military flat finish.

Finished Betty:

Flying Tigers:

Once again I was very pleased with the AiM models and decals.  The decals really make the difference on these models and the very of detail amazes me.  There were even more provided such as stripes for the Betty and tail numbers for the P-40s that were just to small for me to take the time on.  If you have the time to paint the cost just cannot be beat with $5.00/fighter including decals and $11.00/bomber with decals.  More importantly they have a wide selection of aircraft that are not yet available from other manufactures as I use my planes for games such as wings for Glory, CY6 and Axis and Allies Air Force.

Friday, July 19, 2013

BB-36 USS Nevada

After having some success with USS Arizona I decided to do a quick repaint/touch up of USS Nevada.  I did not do a full repaint on this one like I did with Arizona.

Along side original WotC version
Basically, I just painted the upper superstructure a lighter grey/white, added some deck details and painted the turrets the correct colors to reflect scheme at the time of Pearl Harbor.

USN BB Division one Turret colors
Then  I simply applied a black wash to the superstructure and a brown wash to the deck.  Finished it off with dry brushing white to hit the high spots.  Finally applied a clear coat to finish and protect it.
USS Nevada Repainted
Overall I am pleased with the final result and feel she is again game table ready.  As the original scheme was not bad this one went really quick with under 30 minutes of painting and then waiting for the clear coat to dry.
View from the Stern
As a collector I usually like to keep one of each model in original condition, but now that I have discovered the turret paint scheme I can see a USS Oklahoma in my future.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Send in the Cavalry -ACW 10mm (Part 3) Final

I completed these done last weekend.  I was hoping to get my terrain up and display the entire project.  Instead I will just provide a quick update and save that for another time when I can put together a scenario.

As I mentioned in the last update I talked myself into using more historically accurate mounted horse holder instead of the dismounted version that came in the bag.

Dismounted holder in the back

It was a simple process of just cutting off the dismounted figure and then finding some suitable mounted Cavalry figures.  I decided to go with GHQ since they were available locally and I like to support local shops when possible.  Additionally I was able to mount the GHQ troopers on the Perrin standing horses so it all fit together well.

Completed Horse Holders

I ended up with 16 total stands, 8 for each side.  At some point I will provide another update so you can see them all in action.

BB-39 USS Arizona

I have been meaning to do this one since the set first came out.  Finally made some time the last couple nights after using it in a recent game.

With the original model
This is a 1/1800 scale model made by Wizards of the Coast (WotC) for the collectible miniature game War at Sea

USS Arizona
Here is the site I used as a reference for the paint scheme:

Here is a link which explains why WotC went with the light blue paint scheme.

More importantly it explains why the top of the turrets were painted red.  Keep in mind this is a pre-war paint scheme.  I believe I have read that not long after war broke out that the colors on the turret tops were removed as enemy aircraft sighting became more of a concern.

While researching the turret colors I did stumble on these documents as well which specifically outline the battleship Division color schemes.
Fleet organization references turret colors:

Color Schemes:

While I did not go with the light blue hull I did use a grey with a blue hue added to it.  Some may debate the accuracy, but IMO a far cry better than the WotC paint scheme. Either way it makes for a nice gaming model.

You can pretty much expect to see some more prewar repaints from me in the future.

Monday, July 15, 2013

War At Sea Battle of the Big Guns 1941

I have not played War at Sea in a few months, so tonight my youngest son agreed to take me on.  I had already selected an American and German fleet to test out for an upcoming event.

We rolled the die to decide who would play what and my son ended up with the USN and I took on the role of Kriegsmarine.

USN Fleet 3 BBs with Air support

KM with Subs and Land Based Air

The first turn was spent moving for position.  The USN was unlucky with their speed rolls so they only Advanced 1 sector.  The Germans started with only the Gniesenau and Admiral Scheer deployed as the Bismark and Lutzow took advantage of secret breakout.

Air ended up being pointless to start the game as both fleets were constructed with air defense in mind so the fighters stayed home waiting for an opportunity to strike.

Deployment and opening moves

The USN quickly recovered making the speed rolls and soon were threatening the objectives.  USS Texas with USS Lexington and Houston were poised to move on the right side objective and USS Arizona and Nevada the center objective.
USN closes in to jump on the first objectives.

The KM had a trick up their sleeve though.  Just as the USN thought there was no surface gunnery Gneisenau fired a opening salvo with her guns at range six scoring a blow on USS Nevada.

Gneisenau fires the opening shots

Before the start of turn three Bismark and Lutzow break out of a fog bank and suddenly appear on the flank.

Bismark appears using secret breakout

The USN is undaunted though and USS Texas with the DD escort moves to the right objective while USS Nevada advances on the center.  USS Arizona does not have the speed to join Nevada and remains in support while USS Lexington along with the flagship USS Houston find cover behind a nearby island group.

Instead of advancing head on to directly challenge the objectives the Germans make a calculated move keeping range as their ally with Gniesenau and Admiral Scheer while Bismark and Lutzow seize the far left objective. The KM hope is to blow the the Americans off one of the two objectives they occupy with long range gunnery and wolf pack torpedoes.

Battle for the objectives commences

The plan was solid , but the execution was poor.  Despite the early gunnery successes the Germans are unable to score the hits they need.  USS Nevada drew blood on Bismark, but is able to lay smoke with her escort before the Germans can reply.   Despite being fired on by the big guns of four capital ships USS Nevada avoids the death blow and remains barely afloat as she and her escort are both crippled.

USS Texas was not so lucky though.  Torpedo protection was not enough to save her from two salvos from a pair U-66 subs with wolf pack that scored  3 separate hits.  She rolled concealment once, but did not make concealment or torpedo protection from the second sub lurking just below the surface.
U Boat fires a salvo at USS Texas
USS Texas slips below the waves
The USS Edsall remains untouched to secure the objective and the USN goes up 200 to 100 in points by securing two objectives.

The stage is now set for an epic duel as the USN only had to score another 100 pts for victory and the Germans were forced to claim at least 100 pts in ships and eliminate the entire USN surface fleet to get the required 300 points for victory.  A stand off gunnery duel was no longer an option.  The contest soon devolved into a slug fest of the giants for the next two turns.

USS Nevada despite being crippled scored a hit on Bismark again.  Had she not been crippled she would have sent Bismark to her grave as it was it only on 5s ad 6s counted and she scored 1 pt of damage.

Nevada comes through with a hit on Bismark

Air soon became a factor as the German fighters went after lone USN DDs and the Americans sought to damage the pocket Battleships.  While the Germans were successful inflicting damage, the USN claimed the real prize sinking the crippled Lutzow.
Lutzow succumbs to strafing attacks

The next turn the German heavies were able to consolidate for an all out assault on the remaining USN BBs as the Bismark and undamaged Gneisenau moved together and Admiral Scheer came up to support.

It would not be a good day for Admiral Scheer though as the now unchallenged American fighters swarmed to strafe her as they had done to her sister Lutzow.  Unfortunately for the KM they were just as successful as two fighters scored hits leaving Admiral Scheer crippled.
USN fighter strafe and crippled Admiral Scheer

It was now a duel of the BBs and this time German fire power would prove more than crippled USS Nevada damage control parties could keep up with.  One USS Nevada sailor was heard to exclaim, : you need buckets to catch all the lead!"  Finally USS Nevada succumbed to the German fire and slipped beneath the waves leaving the undamaged USS Arizona and USS Houston to deal with the pride of the German fleet.

Then with a thunderous roar Bismark let loose with her 15" guns at point blank range on USS Arizona.  The tremendous balst was more than the old WWI bulwark could withstand and her back broke under the weight as the German shells came crashing in.   USS Edsall and USS Houston both took hits from secondary and tertiary guns
Bismark scores a vital on USS Arizona
The American BBs were not up to the task of answering this kind of firepower.  They scored a third hit on Bismark and sent the crippled Admiral Scheer to the bottom, but could not get the required vital hit on Bismark to put them over the 100pt mark to secure a victory.  The German wolf pack quickly swarmed in and finished off the damaged USS Houston with a torpedo salvo.

The USS Lexington now stood alone against the pride of the Third Reich.
USS Lexington now stands alone

Bismark and Gneisenau quickly closed the distance toward USS Lexington.  The USN realizes their chance for victory against the Germans has slipped beneath the waves with USS Arizona.  The Germans do not even make it interesting as the Bismark quickly provides the vital blow on the first salvo.
USS Lexington has not chance to survive the combined German firepower
Overall I initially thought these two fleets were somewhat evenly matched, but I definitely would give the advantage to the Germans.  Air was not really a factor as both fleets were built around surface firepower and air was there as a defensive measure.

While I like the idea of playing the old USN Battle Wagons I think the Kriegsmarine's speed and built in finesse with SAs like "Secret Breakout" and "Long Shot 6" are hard to overcome.  Having four ships with battleship dice at range four vs the USN having only two extended range four was a decisive edge as well.  

I thought the victory would have been more decisive, but I also think I made a error in judgement trying to stay at range four and not challenging 1 of the other two objectives.  Had the Germans taken two of the objectives this game would have ended a few turns earlier.

Neither fleet is tournament ready and I need to brush up on the rules so I do not make any silly mistakes when playing competitively.

It was a "Blast" though (pun intended) as we had not played in awhile.  

Hope you enjoyed....until next time.

Cleaning up the hobby bench

This weekend I completed my ACW cavalry project.  I want to set up some of my terrain to get some good pics for the final (part 3) for this project.  I realized my space has become a bit of a mess with multiple back to back projects recently.  I needed to do some organization before I could get the terrain out as it was packed away under my work bench.

As I started moving stuff around to get to the boxes that house the terrain  I decided to go all out and get my hobby bench organized the way I always wanted with everything grouped together neatly.  I purchased organizer drawers several years ago, now I have properly labeled them so I can find what I need.

Looking in from the back room
Several hours later and a garbage bag full I finally finished and am pretty pleased with the results.  I have a clean work surface (for now).  More importantly I purged a lot of old stuff that was either no good or did not really belong in this area and needed to be moved back to the main work bench in the garage.  It is always good to find lost tools.

Additionally, I found several items I had forgotten about tucked away in drawers or on a shelf that will make for some nice upcoming projects without buying anything new.  I also found a few nice items that I no longer have a use for that will go in the sell pile to fund future projects.

Work Beck surface (Small 10mm ACW project on the left)
Just for clarification my work bench is not as big as it may appear.  It occupies an in between area between a back room in the basement (my game room/man cave) and the downstairs laundry/bathroom.  It really is just a walkway where the circuit box resides so I am not taking taking any other usable living space. The previous home owner had a lathe and traditional work bench here,  The only thing this space would really be good for is storage which I basically what I am doing for the majority of my gaming minis under the bench.

Storage under the work surface
When I first claimed this area and built the work surface it was for my N scale model railroad which originally occupied what is now the game room and ran through the wall into this area.  This allowed me to stage trains and do a turn around.  That was short lived though as the layout when through several transitions before being scraped altogether.  The bench was built chest high so it is perfect for standing and working or sitting on a high stool.

Some of my Mini collection in the bags ready to go under the bench
My laptop with a large monitor also resides here which works great to watch videos while I am working and most importantly to look up references for modeling/painting projects.

Now that it is cleaned and organized we will see how long it lasts.

Next the rest of the game room.......

Friday, July 12, 2013

Send in the Cavalry -ACW 10mm (Part 2)

Well, this project is coming along faster than I anticipated.  I have been taking a little time each night and have successfully finished all the Mounted and Dismounted troopers both Federal and Confederate.
Confederate Mounted

Confederate Dismounted 

Federal Mounted

Federal Dismounted

Now I just need to complete the 16 stands of horse holders and I will have operational cavalry to deploy on the gaming table.  I did make one change to my horse holder plans.  The ones I bought have a dismounted figure holding the horse.  Someone pointed out to me that the holders were usually mounted.  As a result I purchased some GHQ cavalry packs and will be placing a rider on 1 horse with two dismounted horses per stand.
Hope to have these finished this weekend as the rest of the month will be getting busy for hobby time with a business trip and a week long camping trip planned.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Send in the Cavalry -ACW 10mm (Part 1)

This project has been delayed long enough and time to get it back on the work bench. 

While I was deployed last year I discovered a neat company (Gordon & Hague) who were producing 10mm Pre-painted ACW troops.  Many were on clearance as they were transitioning to a new paint scheme so I bought up a small army to occupy my time in hope that they would augment my existing 10mm armies back home.

Well, most of the infantry were a bit on the tall side for my existing ACW armies , so with a few exceptions I decided not to keep those and sold the extras off recovering most of my investment.  The cavalry though are still a very viable option as I had no other mounted troops other than a few commanders.  They seem to blend in very well on the gaming table.

Union Cavalry ready for horse holders
The cavalry figures come three to a stand, so I re based them two figures to a stand to fit the bases I am using and stretch the limited number of figures I own.  Soon I had enough mounted and dismounted Union troopers for 4 regiments/brigades depending on what scale rules you are using.  We played a few games of OTR this way, but I was still missing horse holder stands.  After checking with my LGS and placing a special order the horse holders finally arrived.  Now it is time to get painting so my Union units will be complete as well as building an equal number of Rebs.

The horse holders are Perrin Miniatures and come 12 to a pack with a Horse and a dismounted figure holding the reigns.  I decided that a stand would look best with 1 dismounted figure and 3-4 horses.  Due to the base size I am working with 3 horses is all that is going to fit.  With a total of 8 units I will need 2 horse holder stands per unit making a total of 16 stands (8 Union and 8 Confederate).  This should give me plenty of options depending on what historical or fictional scenario we decide to play and the scale of the rules (Brigade vs. Regimental).
Confederate Cavalry forces based
As I have not used my Confederate troops yet they had to be based and painted.  The Gordon & Hague figures a nice right out of the package, but really need a bit of touch up work to bring them up to my gaming quality so they do not look so bland.  With the union troops this involved painting several of the horses to provide variety and then inking (Army Painter dip) and dry brushing.  The nice thing about Rebs is they do not need to be so uniform, so I will take a bit more liberty with the uniform colors on these. 

Dismounted Reb command stand fresh from a dip
At this point I have not touched the mounted troopers, but did start to provide some color to the dismounted figures.  This also included some union troopers which had to be converted into rebs as I was not able to get the number of confederates I needed from Gordon&Hague as they sold out.  Some blue pants here a butternut coat there a bit of yellow for color and they start to take shape.  I them use the Army Painter Dip method which I had never used before.  Once dry this seems to give them much more depth and detail.  Top it off with a quick dry brushing and they come out very nice.

In addition to the cavalry I am adding 3 more  more mounted commanders per side as I had to convert some of the G&H generals I had into the cavalry command stands.  The unpainted officers in the pictures are a combination of GHQ and Perrin.

I expect this project to take a few weeks as I will be traveling some this month, but I have set a goal for myself to have them done and ready for battle by the end of July.  My son saw what I was doing and mentioned he would like to play again while they are off for the summer, so provides a bit of extra motivation.....We will see.

Until next time.....