Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Up Diddley Up Up...

It's now a little under two weeks till I tie the knot, and things are full steam ahead in wedding planning. Both of us being students, we're doing as much as we can on our own in order to keep the budget down. This was pushed to the extreme when we had a problem with the bridesmaids dresses we'd ordered, and Laur (with yours truly assisting) ended up making the three dresses!

I also had my bucks night in Sydney, and am happy to report that I was not left chained to a lamppost, that both eyebrows are intact, and that I have no new tattoos. That said, a large amount of beer (only good ales!) was consumed, and I was politely asked to leave a pub after - and this is allegedly, as I have hazy memories of the event - dancing on a table.  

So, in-between the hangovers and manic wedding preparations, i've finally managed to put some dullcote on the first few 1/300 scale aircraft for my 2013 Bag the Hun 2 project. As I mentioned in the last post, I was given a whole load of tiny white metal airplanes, a 'full sized' Hotz mat, and a copy of Bag the Hun 2, and Squadron Forward, along with Check Your Six! and the Battle of France and Battle of Britain scenario supplements. I've perused both rulesets, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Lardies ruleset is the one which has 'grabbed' me.

Shiny new Hotz Mat!
My plan is to paint up bits and pieces as I go in order to get progressively bigger and more complex games. I'm coming to this air war thing as a complete novice, and so I've been taking advantage of university holidays by getting a fair amount of background reading in. Alongside James Holland's excellent 'Battle of Britain', i've been reading ospreys and other assorted information on the 1939-40 period RAF, Luftwaffe and Armee de l'Air. The Osprey Aircraft of the Aces series seems rather good, if the quality of the writing does vary from author to author. The Hurricane Aces is in particular an excellent read. I've also ordered the huge 'After The Battle' book on the Battle of Britain, and am looking forward to getting my hands on that weighty tome. I'm also going to get a couple of biographies by British and German pilots. 'Fighter Pilot' and 'Spitfire on my Tail' look to be rather good, though if anyone has any suggestions i'm all ears. 

So, as a result of my reading, it seems that most early clashes during the Phoney War (or Drole de Guerre / Sitzkrieg) comprised a sections or flights of fighters clashing with reconnaissance aircraft or other patrols.  In order to game these actions, I've painted up a few sections and bomber aircraft which can double as recce kites. So, without further ado, on to the pictures. All plane models are from Scotia Grendel, apart from the Potez which is from Heroics and Ros. 

For the Royal Air Force, i've started out with a section of Hawker Hurricane Mk.Is. These will be marked up as No.87 Squadron aircraft, and the red nose denotes a flight leader. I chose No.87 Squadron because they fought with the BEF air component throughout the Phoney War and Blitzkrieg, and then fought through the Battle of Britain with No.10 Group. I also liked the Squadron motto, 'Maximus Me Metuit' (The Most Powerful Fear Me). I've also got a squadron's worth of Spitfires, which will be painted as No.609 (West Riding) Squadron. I've also begun making some cards for characters and to keep track of individual aircraft. I'm using Squadron Forward for No.87, and have generated a squadron's worth of pilots. I've mixed in fictional characters with some actual personalities. No.87 Squadrons (fictional) commander is the dastardly Squadron Leader Hercules Grytpype-Thynne (Goon Show reference anyone?). Decals are from Dom's Decals
Red Section, No.87 Squadron
My BTH2 Cards, I stole the layout from Per at http://persprojects.blogspot.com
I've got unpainted Bristol Blenheim Mk.Is, Fairey Battles, and Vickers Wellingtons, but first i've painted up three Handley-Page Hampdens, marked up for No.44 (Rhodesia) Squadron. I know that they weren't part of the Advanced Air Striking Force (AASF) which was based in France, but as I chose to paint them up as they were involved in Bomber Commands early campaigns. I am planning on trying to adapt the rules to cater for the actions the Nachtjagd, German night fighters, against Bomber command, so the Hampden will enable me to play test some ideas.
For the French Armee de l'Air component, i've started with a section of American made Curtiss Hawk H75As. I've also got Morane Saulnier 406s, Bloch 152s and Dewoitine D520s in the bare metal. These are painted up as SPA76 'Les Cigognes' (The Storks), part of Groupe de Chasse I/5, which flew out of Suippes. French aces Jean Accart and Edward Marin de Meslee were a part of this unit. Accompanying the Hawks is a Potez 63.11 from Groupe de Reconnaissance II/33.
1er Patrouille, SPA76 'Les Cigognes'

A solitary Potez 63.11 of II./GR33
BTH2 cards for SPA 76 'Les Cigognes', GCI/5 of l'Armee de l'Air
In the next update, which will be a brief one and will be along before the end of the week, i'll be outlining the Luftwaffe's finest.