Sunday, June 25, 2017

I hear it's somebody's birthday! I do COCAINE!

It has been a long time since I have posted an entry.  Here is what I have been working on for the last few weeks.  
My interest in the French IndoChina War (and the Vietnam conflict) has grown exponentially.  I discovered several boxed wargames by a designer named Kim Kanger.  He (yeah, he's a guy) designed "Tonkin", "Ici, c'est la France" and "Dien Bien Phu".  The middle game is an operational level of the French-Algerian War.  The other two involve the French's debacle in Indochina.  
Seeing those games reminded me how much I used to be interested in Vietnam.  As a kid I watched "China Beach".  In middle school I used to read veteran's war accounts.  I got so into it I actually started having Vietnam nightmares.  
High School was lame because the only thing we did for Vietnam was watch a few videos.  I think it was an edited version of the Ken Burns edition.  The teacher had to censor parts of it.  Although she didn't censor the soldier mooning the camera.  I have been on the fence about what is my favorite period to wargame for the modern era.  The modern era is anything after WW2.  With that being said, I got an osprey book about French IndoChina and started researching.  I decided to do 3mm operational scale combat using "Spearhead" or "Blitzkreig Commander 3rd Edition".  I am still unsure whether to base units on 40 x 30 mm bases or 60 x 40 mm bases.  The latter allow for more diorama but use more table space.  
One thing I was certain about is the French Air Force.  They certainly had their job cut out for them.  The FaF had several transitions where they replaced their fighter wings with different WW2 era planes.   

The first two pictures are the C47 cargo planes and the Spitfires.  From what I could discover the French kept whatever planes were given to them in their country of origin's colors.  The Spitfires have the two tone camo with beige underbelly and French insignias.  The C47s are in that shiny, aluminum color.  I refrained from painting the C47's underbelly with black paint.  That supposedly happened some time during Dien Bien Phu near the end of the war.

Next up are the A47 (48?) Aircobras.  There are another hand me down from the US.  These guys are really sharp.  I wish the photos were better quality. 

Finally we have the B26 Mitchell bombers and the F6F BearCat fighters.  The US started funding the French war effort and gave them around 130 BearCats.  These fighters were used until the end of the war and probably in Algeria too.  There is a what if scenario during Dien Bien Phu that assumes the Chinese sent forces to aid the Viet Minh.  If that had happened the French Air Force would have had to face Mig 15s.  They were the jet planes.  This makes for an interesting scenario if someone gamed it with "Check your 6".  I played those rules several times while living in Atlanta, Georgia.  I used to play Microsoft WW2 flight simulator.  I loved the game and had to learn about how limited prop planes are at climbing altitude.  It takes time!  You can't just point the plane up and start flying.  It has to be done gradually.  Dogfights always decreased in altitude for me until we were literally 300 feet up.  I bet I was doing something wrong.  That game was very challenging.  I never quite grasped the physics behind flying the old prop planes.  One day I decided to fly an experimental Luftwaffe jet plane.  Wow.  I took off, engaged the engines and climbed up to 5000 feet in a few seconds.  I tried to engage some poor Allied schmoes in prop planes.  The jet was to fast and I kept shooting past them.  After that the game became dull.  Why would I want to go back to flying a P47 (my favorite plane and the only one I shot something down with)?  The jets were awesome.  I hung up my pilot wings.  The only thing I was good at was dropping bombs and strafing ground targets.

This next bit was a fun side project for me.  I did this while I painted the Fishermen team for Guild Ball.  These guys are High Gravity Mercenaries or DWARVES IN SPACE. I dubbed my space dwarves as the "Droog".  It's shortened by Humans from "Drugaverin (Droo-Gah-Vare-En)".  I do not remember the name of the company that made these models.  They are 15mm scale.  I have no idea what game they are for although I did classify them for "Warfare in the Age of Madness".  There is an HQ stand (the one with two dwarves), a Rifle / XmG stand (the three guys), a CqB stand (see the Droog with the big, double barrel shotgun) and finally a heavy weapons team of some sort.  He is pretty obvious looking.  He reminds me of Jesse Ventura in "Predator". 

Here is my showcase of the blog.  I finally finished my Fishermen team for Guild Ball.  The first pic is the mascot Salt, the goal marker complete with crab, lobster trap and octopus and the Striker Angel.  I painted her with a purple bandana as requested by my friend Michelle.  She demanded I do it.  I tried to explain that purple and blue are hard to work with together.  Michelle gave me this dirty look and said through clenched teeth: "Paint it purple.  You're lucky your girls here.  Otherwise I'd have to mess up your pizza face".  I squeaked an "Ok". 

Next up is the Team Captain Shark and the second in command Greyscales.  I forget the title of the player that is right beneath the team captain.   I wish I had a better camera.  My phone is incapable of capturing the details.  I guess Michelle will have to play me on my super cool scratch built Guild Ball field.  Yeah, that will never happen.

Here is Siren and Jac.  Man, this guy and gal were really hard to paint.  Jac's pose is a little blah.  Siren has so many layers and buckles it would drive a BdSM person nuts.  
 Siren came out fine, but I feel like Jac is the weakest paint job of the season 1 team.

Ah, here is my favorite model.  I wish I had the resin edition of Kraken (and Shark).  They were only released as a bonus during the original Kickstarter.  I am watching eBay for anyone selling them.  Kraken was a joy to paint.  It could have been that he was almost the last model I painted and I knew all the techniques and paint schemes.  The list went: Salt, Angel, Siren, Jac, Greyscales, Kraken, Shark, Goal marker, team ball.

Here is the entire team in all their watery glory.  In hindsight I wish I had based the team like the Team Ball.  I decided not to because I saw tons of other people doing water effects.  I felt it was overdone.  I went for the well groomed, manicured pitch as a base.  I believe I will base the Morticians with a more sparse basing asthetic.
There you go Michelle.  One Fishermen team fully painted and ready to go.  I challenge you to an actual game.  

I used to play Epic Armageddon back in the day.  The game died after Gee Dubs killed the range and retired the Forge World molds.  Yes, I could proxy units with other ranges and models.  One of the mechanics in the game bugged me.  I was kind of glad to let the game go.  It was something that could not really be changed without a serious rewrite of the rules. 
Enter Dropzone Commander.  It has all the fun of Epic and no annoying morale / unit cohesion rules.  I love the background.  It reminds me of "Stargate" a little.  The Scourge are like the Go'uld.  All of the factions are cool sans the Post-Human Republic.  That is because bio organic robots always freaked me out.  Each faction has a very different play style.  They also seem to not follow the Gee Dubs formula for alien races.
The Scourge ambushed humanity and drove them off their worlds.  The humans, The United Colonies of Man, retreated to the outer rim and took 170+ years to build a massive invasion fleet.  
The Scourge are the defenders against this massive invasion force.  The PhR has mysterious aims that are still unclear.  And the Shaltari are a creepy, warping time and space alien race that used humanity as a buffer force to fight the Scourge.  They did not have enough forces to do it themselves. 
I started my adventure by painting the Scourge infantry in the 2 player starter box.  They painted quickly.  The detail is a little lacking in the plastic infantry.  I also picked up a resin starter of the Scourge for 25$ on eBay (dirt cheap by the way).  It came with the command deck so double bonus.  The metal infantry look much better and more life like.  The difference between the resin and plastic vehicles are slight.  I think this squad has a resin and plastic transport.  I cannot tell the difference.  There will be more of this to follow in the next few months.
It's a great game and I can't wait to play it.  The only bummer is that I don't like to play with unpainted terrain or models.  I am always behind the height of fashion.  My local games store is into Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and that skirmish shadow 40k game.  Bleh.

This is where things get really sleazy.  Here is my entry into modern naval wargaming using the rules "Shipwreck".  They are available on the Wargames Vault.  Out of all the rules I have looked at these offer the best playability vs. detail.  It is also very easy to make your own ship stats too. All of the ships pictured are from the Shapeways store "Objects may appear".  They are all 1/6000 scale.  The aircraft are all 1/600 PicoArmor. The EC-3 is another company that escapes me.  Googling "Ec3 1/600" should pull up the company. An astute reader (if I still have someone reading) will notice how big the aircraft are compared to the ships.  That is on purpose for game reasons.  The helis would be 1/10th the size if they were to scale.  What fun would that be.  So the aircraft are symbols of what is being flown.  Use your imagination.
 The first three pictures are of the French navy.  There are the three helicopter carriers of the Mistral class.  I wish I had more helicopters for them.  Unfortunately all I have are the NH-90s in the third picture.  Those copters are actually for the Dutch ships pictured further down.  The second pic is of a EC-3 Hawkeye plane.  I based this off of actual pictures of these planes.  This is supposed to be for the Charles de Gaul Carrier.  I didn't order it when I thought I did.  The anchor on the radar dome is really cool.
Next up are the Dutch Frigates of the "De Zeven Provincen" class.  There are four ships in the class.  The NH90s may actually be for the Dutch ships and not the French.  They would primarily be used for observation purposes.  The five tiny ships are the "Visby" class stealth ships of the Swedish navy.  
The name of these helicopters escape me.  They are the only French helicopters I currently have.  Plans for the other helicopters the Mistral ships carry are on the way.
Finally we have the Danish navy's entire surface combat fleet.  There are lots of smaller ships and a logistic ship.  The "Iver Huitfeldt" class and the "Absalon" class are 4 strong (eventually) and 2 strong.  The "Absalon" is a multipurpose support vessel.  It has one Lynx helicopter and a Merlin helicopter.  The Lynx is the smaller craft while the Merlin is the larger one.  You may have noticed that the bases for the aircraft are different heights.  This is because "Shipwreck!" has three altitudes for aircraft.  There are surface level, low and high altitude.  Notice that the surface level bases are painted to look like the rotors are blowing the wind around. 

One of the Merlins are painted up as a Danish search and rescue craft.  I couldn't find many source pics so I went with this.  Maybe the helicopter was attached to the ship? 
The Lynx craft are being phased out and the Absalon ships will have two of the British Merlins. 
This is if you believe Wikipedia.

My next big project is painting my Warzone Resurrection Bauhaus forces.  My mini breather project will be a squad of WW2 British infantry and a Luftwaffe field division squad.