Saturday, August 6, 2016

More Tinkering with 6mm Air Combat Rules

I've continued moving along with my idea for modern air combat rules.  Both before and during the time that I've been working on this, several sets of rules have been suggested to me. Unfortunately, they have either been out of print, or were not as detailed as what I am hoping for.  I am keeping a couple as back-ups in case my effort proves to be futile.

So, I've been re-learning a bit of physics, and doing a fair bit of research, when I can find time.  I have roughed out most of the stats for the aircraft involved in my African imagi-nation campaign. 

Basic characteristics of the game are (any of this could change):
Turn: Represents 5 (probably going to change to 6) seconds, and consists of three impulses.  Movement, shooting, and damage is resolved each impulse.  Sighting and speed changes are made at the start of each turn.
Movement Point: Equals 1/2 inch, with the speeds ranging  2-21 movement points per turn so far, with the Mig21F being the fastest jet currently included.

Thus far, the characteristics for each aircraft include the following:

Minimum - Under which, you fall out of the sky
Maximum -level flight
Terminal - Max dive

Roll Rate- applied per movement point
Turn Rate- applied once per impulse
Dive and Climb speed gain/loss-
Gun Table- Number of guns x appropriate gun type, number of hits are a function of pounds per second of ammo thrown at the target.
Max Hits- Each aircraft will take a number of hits (ranges from about 30-75) with critical hits being scored on every eighth hit and on each hit beyond maximum (criticals range from losing range, speed, or controls, to pilot dead or plane exploding).
Sighting table-

Radars will have to detect targets, missiles will have to lock on, successfully fire and then track or be guided to the target.  There will be a period of time required for lock-on, which for some early missiles can span more than a turn.

I'm trying to find mechanics and compromises that minimize calculations for energy loss or gain during the turns.  I  think that I've found a way minimize the number of turn gauges needed for aircraft relative to speed, but will have to experiment with it in 3-D maneuvers.

 I've also roughed out a couple of prototype flight stands for working out the mechanics.

The stand is two feet tall, with a weighted two inch square base
The clip uses a miniature clothespin with brass wire inserted into a jet nozzle. 
The clip allows roll and pitch to be depicted.

In early July, I ordered a number of 1/285 and 1/300 airplane models from I-94 Enterprises and Scotia.  Both offered great service, and I am quite happy with the models.  Haven't had a chance to do anything with them, so here they are straight out of the box.

From I-94 Enterprises, I picked up the following from the Raiden line:

They are Mig 21, Mig 17, Magister, and F5A.

Dave Winfree was fantastic to deal with in getting these, with exceedingly fast service, and great communications.

Scotia provided the following, and despite being across the Atlantic, got the models to me inside of two weeks, with notification of each step in the ordering and shipping process.

Vautour and buccaneer.

Initially, I was extremely surprised and happy to find that everything jet needed for my games was available, but then found that Skyraider was out of business  They had a G91, and I was going to use an MB339 as a proxy for the Strikemaster.  But now it looks like I will may be getting into the 1/285 model aircraft industry, as I will be scratch building these. 

Some years ago (like maybe 12), I tried making some models for the Arab-Israeli wars, as there wasn't much available then, and ended up with these unfinished masters:

They are Magister (with damaged tail), Super Mystere and Ouragon

Though I never completely detailed them (my adversary for the mid-east wars moved away), the process went very quickly, so I expect that mastering these two won't be a big delay.

The goal is to allow three dimensional dogfighting with jets and short range missiles on a tabletop, where individual aircraft maneuver to take advantage of performance advantages.  Additionally, I hope to also manage beyond visual range engagements if needed (they will be rare in my games). 

Hoping to try the first run-through in the next few days. Sorry some of the pix are so crappy, working with yet another camera.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Preperations for War...Almost

It wasn't supposed to be this challenging, just the next battle in my modern imagi-nation campaign.   A 15mm rescue mission that requires a hospital be built, and the next confrontation along the edge of disputed territory needing a few more tanks, I thought. Not too bad.

Some dice were rolled, and the "fate tables" dictated the path, that of total war.  Total what??  This started out as a skirmish campaign.  Oh well.  Plans were made, some more die rolls, and everything solidified.  I  need to build some more buildings, like 20 of them,  a few businesses and a bunch of houses; some fortifications, bunkers, and lots of barbed wire; still needed the hospital, but that wouldn't be the first battle, as I had expected.  Nothing is as I expected.

The ground war now starts with an air war, but I didn't plan for an air war.  So I had to order some airplanes, decided to go 6mm and found most of what I needed.  But now I have to scratch out a couple of masters, and cast a few planes, G91Rs and Strikemasters anyone?  And my air combat rules really didn't do the game justice, so I looked for a more detailed set, only to find that no such set was currently available, so now I'm creating a set of air combat rules to interface into my imagi-nation campaign.  Did you know that GHs23 spews out like 36 pounds of bullets per second?? Holy crap!!

The current state of my air combat rules,
30 pages of notes and a partial airplane stand.
On the ground, the required forces quickly became larger than I had ever intended or expected.  So I need to add more tanks, some tank destroyers, more air defense, and at least another company of Mugabian infantry, and a few more 1/100 airplanes for ground support. Battles are getting big, probably should do some in 6mm, which would require new terrain, buildings, emplacements, infantry...  6mm?? Dude, don't even go there!

And I need trucks, a bunch of trucks, like 30 trucks, should probably master those and cast them, but I have no time.  Work got stupid busy, and instead of running sprints at my painting table, I'm taking baby steps.  I have packages that came in three weeks ago, that I haven't even looked at, and somewhere in the midst of my African imagi-nation craziness should be a batch of 28mm grey aliens...  Do what?

My painting table, after cleaning it off.  Vickers MkIII  front left with a couple of T34s, some 1/300 Vautours and buccaneers in front of that, Mugabian infantry based on the tray to right, packages behind, clutter everywhere.

Time to take a deep breath and try to get a grip.  Along comes the weekend, I think I'm gonna make some progress, take a day to make molds and cast a little, then take a day to build, paint, maybe even test some rules.  Then a tire breaks off one car, that car hates me, and the starter dies on the other, those cars have always hated me.  They broke on purpose!   It just never ends.  Maybe next weekend?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Uwanda/Mugabia War: Quiet Before the Storm (Modern Third World Imagi-Nations)

Back in January, I made preparations for the next phase of the Uwanad/Mugabia War, which included planning, ordering more miniatures and making new terrain.  Unfortunately life interfered as it sometimes does, and set me back six months.  But I'm finally getting around to the next chapter in the story, so here is the current situation...

The president of Uwanda peered out the window, taking in the bright sunshine glistening off of the tree tops.  "A shame that such a magnificent day had to be scarred with preparations for war", he thought.  He turned to face his staff, "Gentlemen, this is how we're going to go about solving our Mugabian problem once and for all..."

Since the ULF had increased its attacks, Uwanda had greatly increased the frequency of troop movements, using methods that had countered the attacks, allowing the ULF little success.  Though expensive, these movements also helped to hide the build up of troops and equipment nearer to the border. 

The plan involved a two pronged attack, with one force advancing roughly at the center of the border, just north of the Mugabian occupation, and the other force attacking from a point farther north, where no action had yet been taken.  This northern attack was actually the primary force, with most of the central force being something of a feint, intending mostly to hold Mugabian forces in place. 

Eventually, it was hoped that some of the central force would mate up with the northern force in a run for the Mugabian capitol.  The belief among Uwandan leadership was that the Mugabians would not expect the scope of the attack, nor the northern attacking force at all.  And that due to the nature of the Mugabian command structure, that the Mugabian forces could not respond quickly enough, and would be outrun in a race to the capitol.


The Mugabian president was as concerned with policing his own leadership, as he was the Uwandan border.  He believed that Uwanda would avoid all out war at almost any cost.  Their effort in the south had failed terribly, despite Uwandans remaining on Mugabian soil, and the President was convinced that his forces were quite capable of keeping the situation under control.

The Cubans had helped prepare the Mugabians to be a better fighting force, and the Soviets, while hesitant to put troops in Mugabia, offered equipment and intelligence, though sometimes neither was used properly.

The president stood, viewing the satellite photos of Uwandan forces with the Soviet advisers, yet he did not see the what the Soviets saw.  "Mr. President, Uwanda will, here, and especially here...everywhere!  You are making a terrible mistake; it is in both our interests that this not happen."

"My dear comrade, please forgive me, if I do not seem so convinced as you.  This is not NATO, this is Uwanda, and we have already seen what they can, and cannot do.  I have spent a lifetime learning about my neighbors, you have barely spent two years.  Despite your resources, I think that I might still know them better than you." 


In the skies along the border, jets took part in a delicate dance, alternately lunging forward, and dodging the occasional shot.  After earlier exchanges and losses, each side was hesitant to be the next to roar.  But when the time came, even if only a cub, the Mugabian lion did roar, and the Uwandan fox ran, whimpering from its wounds.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Centurion III: Uwanda's Armored Fist

My sole gaming accomplishment in the last two months has been to paint some Centurion Mk IIIs for Uwanda's Army. 


These are the 20pdr armed Centurion Mk III models from QRF and are quite nice.  The model comes in six pieces including the side skirts, which I opted not to use, as I expect to eventually have later 105mm armed Mk V, and want to readily distinguish between the two versions.


Though not the most modern tank in Uwanda Army service, these Centurions make up the heart of the Uwanda's armored formations, and have proved to be more than a match for Mugabia's T34/85s.  They will play an important part in upcoming battles between the two imagi-nations.

Above the Centurion is pictured with the other tanks in Uwandan service.  The Sherman Firefly (left) from Gaming Models, and the Vickers Mk III (right) from QRF.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Tinkering With Air Combat Rules

For many years, I've wanted to play a detailed modern (jet age with some missiles) air combat dogfighting game, and have tried a few air combat games with jets at conventions, some quite enjoyable, but none providing the same level of enjoyment for me as Mustangs & Messerschmitts WWII dogfight rules.

I had played the Korean era game once at a convention, but never managed to get the Korean supplement for M&M before Rocky Russo passed.  Guess I realized that as I aged, my knees just weren't up to the up-and-down action required by playing the game on the floor.  Rocky of coarse, never added a missile era supplement for M&M, Vietnam and the Cold War gone hot were never an option with that system.

Some years ago, I created a very simple air combat resolution system (simple in presentation, probably over detailed in content), to support tabletop land battles.  But the system dispassionately dispenses with any real playing of the dogfights or engagements.  Once the interaction is generated through a 2-D map, the dogfight can be resolved in 2-3 consecutive die-rolls. Mostly a statistical way to generate air superiority for close air support on the table top.

Anyway, during my downtime over the last few weeks (been sidelined with a series of ailments), I've started hammering out numbers, mechanics, and bits for a modern air combat game that will allow players to actually maneuver their aircraft.  As I've gotten into this, I've realized that it may simply be too complex to present accurately as a table top miniatures game, but computer simulation just doesn't do it for me, and reducing air combat to three four or five values on the table top doesn't do it for me either. 

At this point, I've worked out scale, some mechanics for flight and maneuver, and basic stats (about 20 numbers for a given jet) for about 10 aircraft, consisting of post Korean era 1950s and 1960s designs used in my imagi-nation Mugabia-Uwanda war.

This is for the tabletop, requiring a 5'x6' or larger (6'x10-12' would be more ideal), using 1/285 and 1/300 scale models on small flight stands.  The stands currently feature a two inch base with an 18" tall post, and the plane is mounted on the post with a clip that permits depiction of angle and orientation of flight.  It is similar, but much smaller than the clips from M&M or Fighter Pilot. 

The system will allow for AAMs, but is intended to focus on dogfighting and short range missiles.  Longer range missile engagements can be resolved, but such battles will probably take the shape of WWII carrier duels at sea, with volleys of missiles resolved with one side's aircraft "fleet", and then the opposite, potentially with both sides aircraft never being on the same table or "battlefield" at the same time.

In this first iteration, turns and movement will be controlled via small templates.  I expect that this will work fine for 1 on 1 and even 2 on 2 battles, though I wonder if larger battles with maybe 6-12 aircraft will be too cramped for space to accommodate the templates.  I have an alternative base design that will involve a single movement point roller and turn mode markings to eliminate the templates, but hope to find that the more complex bases are not needed.  The base size is targeted at a 2" square.  

I've already accepted that there will be some loss of detail and accuracy with respect to specific aircraft advantages in specific altitude bands, and that there will be some ignoring of speed/energy issues impacting performance, I just haven't hammered out how much inaccuracy is required to result in a playable game.  In the end, it will be a compromise to make a playable game that still captures the flavor of the dogfight.

Once I get the basics worked out, and if they are workable, I will expand the stats for Korea through at least the early 1970s and hope to make the rules available as a free PDF.

Hopefully, it will work out.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What Is This Ogre Looking Thing?

Recently, when rummaging through my old fantasy figs, I stumbled across this:


A friend gave it to me some years ago, and after setting for a bit, I painted it. Unfortunately, I had stopped playing fantasy games by that point.  It is a resin casting, very nicely done, I don't remember any blemishes in it, nor how many pieces it was in, if more than one.  It stands about 4-5 inches tall. Does anyone know what it is, or who made it?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

28mm Scavengers of the Post Apocacalypse

I squeezed out a little time last Sunday and tonight and finished a couple of Reaper figs for my post-apoc scavengers.

Really nicely sculpted figs by Julie Guthrie, Evie and Hans of the Chronoscope line.

Here's the rest of the crew, mostly Copplestone figs that I painted sometime back.


They subsist, located in the old ruins, reluctant to relocate in any of the new or revived communities in the region.  They do trade with the nearest townspeople, and thus far, have fended off various gangs, and ruffians.  They are known for finding and trading highly sought after and rare items from before the cataclysm.

I still have about a another dozen figs to add to their numbers, that will give them scouts, a couple heavier weapons, and make them a little more diverse.