Monday, November 12, 2012

British 8th Army Field Batttery

Activate hobby mode...It's good to be back.  It has been a while between blog posts due to my studying for another work related quality certification. The good news is I passed.

I recently found time to finish basing an 8th Army field battery with two gun troops:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A visit to the USS Iowa Battleship

My wife and I drove to see the USS Iowa  (BB-61) museum in San Pedro, California during our summer vacation this year.  Known as the 'The Big Stick', the Iowa has had a very impressive history.  I was particularly interested in seeing the Iowa since it was commissioned in 1943 during WWII.  This was to be our first battleship visit and we were looking forward to it since we really enjoyed seeing the USS Midway in San Diego a couple of summers ago.

The Iowa at sea:

The ship was quite impressive, especially the 16" guns as expected:

I was somewhat disappointed to find there was no access to the gun turrets.  I asked about this and was informed access would be available in the future as tours are added.   The museum at the time of our visit had only been open for a few weeks and in fact, quite a bit of the ship was not accessible.

The ship had been updated with modern weapon systems:

The awesome Phalanx CWIS (Nicknamed 'R2D2' in US Navy and 'Dalek' in the Royal Navy.  That's right, new season of Doctor Who starting...YES!) :

Back in the day I used to pass General Dynamics in Pomona, California on my way to school at Cal Poly in the nineties. One afternoon, on my way home to my amazement,  a truck with a Phalanx on it ready for transport was in the parking lot.  My friend was in the Navy at the time and got to watch them test fire it.  I would have like to have experienced that event.  According to my friend, they sometimes tested the tracking system by tracking the helicopter as it came in to land on the ship.   I wonder how the pilot felt about that.

Tomahawk Armored Box Launchers (ABL):

Harpoon Tubes:

Captains quarters where President Roosevelt stayed:

 Door of bridge control center used during battle armor thickness (I think it was 17"):

Overall, well worth the visit with the main drawback being the lack of access to much of the ship made the tour of the ship seem short.  Basically the deck, bridge, Captain's quarters and galley.  Looks like that will be changed soon, though.  Also, other than the Iowa, there isn't really anything else to do there.  My wife and I both felt the USS Midway experience was much better but we enjoyed the trip, nonetheless.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Eighth Army Recce Complete - First Decals

I was able to finish the Eighth Army recce and the 25pdr support vehicles this week:

I finally got around to adding some decals for the first time, having some approach avoidance in the past but thinking I could use the decals to help differentiate platoons in order to avoid confusion during the fog of battle.  I was hoping to avoid using a high gloss coat for the decals and after some research, I found some videos on YouTube for using Microscale  Industries, Inc.  Micro Set and Micro Sol.  I didn't have to give the model a gloss coat and considering this was my first time, I was very happy with the results.  The two step process seemed quick and easy.

A good tip is to label the Micro Set and Micro Sol lids to remember the order of use.  After accidentally switching the lids, a better tip is to label the bottle as well:

I'm a somewhat quick and dirty painter, settling on table top, playing quality due to limited time and, well, I'm not that great of a painter.  I mostly use dry brushing techniques:

Using a tip Dirty Jon posted on the WWPD forum, I starting adding radio antennas using brush bristles. Finding the right brush was harder than I anticipated since the  bristles tended to be bigger than I liked, bent in a wavy pattern, or some color other than black.  I'm pretty sure I would like to go with a thinner antenna but I seem to be having trouble finding something.  I'll keep looking.

Overall, I'm very happy with the results.  I'm especially motivated since I found out the next WWPD campaign will be in North Africa.  I was unable to participate in Operation Sea Lion since I didn't have any European troops completed.

Next, I'll finish basing the additional four 25pdrs to give me a full battery of eight.  Then I'll start working on the Heavy Armoured Squadron of Grants I had glued before realizing I have to adjust the tracks slightly.    After that, the much anticipated Bersaglieri followed by an Eighth Army Light Armoured Squadron of Crusaders.  Can't wait!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fleshing out my British Eighth Army - Recce

It's back to basics this week, fleshing out my North Africa British Eighth Army.  There are a few transports I'm missing for my 25 pdrs, a Jeep and two 15 cwt trucks.  I also picked up two blisters of Marmon Herrington IIIs armored cars for some much wanted Recce.  There are three in a unit and two to a blister, so the fourth one I assembled with a captured anti-tank gun.

I've never really had a thing for the looks of this vehicle but after assembling them and taking a good look, I have to admit they are really growing on me.  Can't wait to get them on the table.  I've developed a romantic connection to the desert over the years, and if I was ever to get into reenactment, it would be the LRDG for me.  Especially after seeing them in person at the local Air Show (pictures here).

I set up on the dining room table with the vehicles I glued this weekend to beat the heat out in the garage.  Surprisingly, though, it's relatively cool tonight, but I have a few TV shows to catch up on.  Mostly dry brushing, anyway.

My painting setup with my old and faithful MDF paint tray from Games Workshop:

A brew would probably have been more appropriate, but after a long day at work, a cappuccino did the job:

This last weekend there was an interesting lecture at the local air museum about the P51 Mustang long range bomber escorts.  Listening to the veterans talk about their experiences flying these planes was quite an experience.

The gentleman on the left is the son of the pilot who flew the Mustang named Dolly and the museum unveiled the plane with Dolly newly painted on the nose.  The other two gentleman are Veterans that flew the P51s during WWII.  True heroes in my mind:

That's is one beautiful plane!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

North Africa Practice Game

I was able to get in a quick practice game in this Saturday morning.  I spent most of the week studying the rules and taking notes.  I starting to think I'm getting the hang of it for the most part.  I've invited over some friends and regular players to play Friday night.  Work has been very busy and I'm hoping I won't have to cancel.  We'll see.

We played 1000 point lists, with the British infantry list having two infantry platoons instead of the required three.  Since it was a practice game, I figured it didn't matter.  The game went well;  a little slow, but the emphasis was on learning the rules.  It started to get pretty hot in the garage so we called it draw; it is getting to be that time of year.  I snapped a few pictures below.

The bocage I ordered from Luke at WWPD showed up this week.  Looks great.  See below.

On a side note the England vs Italy game was terrible  We lost on penalties again.

Notes and play aids:

Lucage looks great! (Luke's Bocage):

Saturday, June 16, 2012

FOW Rookie Game Report

My anticipation had been building up all week for the game I had planned with my son, Curtis (graduated with a bachelor degree last week--very proud).  I spent a few evenings during the week getting ready and setting up the table.  My wife made pulled pork tacos again -delicious.  The North Africa, mid-war game started off well, but our second game was cursed with a sophomore jinx; we made some glaring rules errors and spent too much time looking up rules.  Too long since our last and first game.  I had placed more terrain on the table this time, bogging the game down somewhat as well as our vehicles.  We were a little shaky on the terrain rules.  The fog of war was thick and so were our heads.  We resigned ourselves to using the game as a much needed training session, therefore no battle report.  We had some good laughs as rules were remembered on my son's turn since I thought more on his turn due to not having to concentrate on moving and shooting.  This was an obvious disadvantage for him.  Plus, my die rolling was on fire.

The great news is we learned a lot and will now be playing on a more regular basis.

Lessons learned:
  • Know the rules.  We need to study more.  The obvious good thing about playing is knowing where your rule knowledge is weakest.  I took notes of the questions we had.
  • Practice with smaller armies.  Starting off at 1500 points is probably not a good idea.
  • This game is fun.  Even with our issues, we still had a good time.  I want a game that's not too complicated and not too simple: this game is right in there.
  • Use the turn sequence steps at the beginning of the rule book chapters.  I think I'll type them up and print them out.
  • Have the terrain summary handy:  Page 30.  I emailed Battlefront a few months ago requesting this page as a PDF game aid. Hopefully, it will happen.
  • Have the 'Concealment Status Summary' on page 89 readily available.  Also understand what 'dig in' and 'go to ground' does.
  • Continue to use this great tool: assault phase flowchart.  Great tool for the new player.

The proud family from left to right: my mom, me with my Luke from WWPD mask on. Curtis, my beautiful wife and taco maker, and our favorite professor:

Monday, June 11, 2012

More Reenactment Pictures

I passed the exam of another certification for work so I'm back in FOW mode again.  So happy.  It has been a while.  I spent some time gluing my Russians this last week, mostly 'god of war' artillery.  I'm so far away from being ready for the Eastern Front but I'll keep plugging away.  My son and I plan on playing this Friday, so hopefully a North Africa battle report soon.  I'll generate the lists and then setup the table on Thursday so we can get right to it after dinner, Friday evening.  Can't wait.

In the mean time, here are some more WWII re-enactment pictures (soviet stuff, too!) from the Planes of Fame Airshow, in no particular order: