Saturday, October 21, 2017

An Saturday afternoon playing toy soldiers

  I as extremely lucky to be a part of a true miniature wargame experience.  Ed, from Ed M's Wargaming Means a blog put on a amazing game.   It was a massive Napoleonic game, French vs Prussians.  It was fought over a main table of 20'  with two similar size tables for the match on area.  So troops could be deployed and moved off table before marching into the main table.  Very ingenious.  To assist commanders looking across the room at the enemy armies Ed provided miniature telescopes!
Great fun trying to ID what those troops entering the table could be.

Both Ed
and AJ

blogs provided outstanding reviews of the great battle. Since I was a lowly brigade commander i was lost in the middle of the table and honesty cannot tell you what was happening around me.  Fog of war indeed.

Again many thanks to Ed for the great amount of work he put into this game and the incredible experience he provided to us all.  Thank you Ed!

Friday, October 20, 2017


I was leaving work at Worcester Airport  (ORH) when I noticed another aircraft from The Collins Foundation parked by The hangers.  The story about The plane is fascinating.

The text is from The Collins Foundation website

The P-40 was the third-most numerous US fighter of World War II.  An early prototype version of the P-40 was the first American fighter capable of speeds greater than 300 mph.
Thanks to a very generous sponsor, the world’s only  P-40B and only surviving airworthy American fighter from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor joined the Collings Foundation.
One of the 131 P-40Bs built at the Curtiss facility in Buffalo, New York during 1940-1941 and allocated the Bu No. 41-13297, this fighter was delivered to the US Army Air Corp in March 1941. It was quickly sent to Wheeler Field, Hawaii in April of that year, becoming part of the 19th Pursuit Squadron of the 18th Pursuit Group. In October 1941, seven months after delivery, this P-40 was involved in a wheels-up landing, requiring her to be placed in a maintenance hangar for repair.
This aircraft was still in the hanger undergoing repairs when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. That seemingly minor twist of fate most likely saved P-40B 41-13297 from being destroyed. Following repairs it was returned to flight worthy status. Then, on January 24, 1942, in another ironic twist of fate, with only nine months of service and 56 hours of flight time, while on a routine training flight the plane spun out of control. The pilot, Lt. Kenneth Wayne Sprankle, was unable to recover from the spin, crashing into the side of a mountain, killing him. The crash occurred in a rather inaccessible area of the island. So, after recovery of the body the aircraft was left in place.
In 1985 the Tomahawk’s remains were ‘rediscovered.’ After some preliminary investigation, it was determined the air frame was not severely damaged and if it could be removed was restorable. Some parts were recovered during 1985. A second recovery mission in 1989 salvaged the rest of the air frame.
In 1989, the Curtiss Wright Historical Association in Torrance, California was formed and serious restoration of the recovered P-40 began. The restoration was named “Project Tomahawk.” Whenever possible parts indigenous to the plane were used. Two other P-40B’s, the 39-285 that also crashed in Hawaii in 1941 and 39-287, that went down in a severe storm over the Sierra Nevadas October 24, 1941 were utilized for parts. When completed, the Tomahawk eventually joined “The Fighter Collection” at Duxford (UK) in 2003. P-40B Tomahawk 41-13297 flies wearing the scheme she wore during her time in
Hawaii with the 18th Pursuit Group.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

American fleet

Iowa and Oregon

Olympia, Baltimore and Boston

Baltimore and Boston

USS Brooklyn

Olympia, Baltimore and Boston

  A nice collection of ships.  But not enough to recreate the historical battles.  This is not a problem as the battles were so one sided a more interesting table top action would be "what if" battles.

  Historical note;  I painted them in their peace time colors rather then the gray battle colors.  Not correct, but they look so much nicer this way.  I have the Gloucester done but not based for pictures.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Spanish fleet

  Poor Spain, so far from God and so close to the United States....

  The Spanish navy at the time of the Spanish American war was a mixture of the old and the new.  Masts and wooden walls mixed with modern guns and steam.  But maintenance was at a low point, and too many ships could not sail or had working guns.  A shame as they were beautiful.  when going into battle woodwork was not removed so splinters were a terrible problem.

  My Spanish ships are a mixture from both naval battles of the war; Saintiago and Manila bay.  Unfortunately I do not have all the ships to refight those battles, just most. But "what if" actions are more interesting food this period.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Only one tiny little ship....

The USS Maine

Sometimes we start projects because they are important to us.  But too often we start projects because ..... Here is a rediscovery of a project from right years ago.

This was one of my weaker moments.  As readers of this blog know I have a long held interest in the ill fated U.S.S. Maine.  So years ago when I found the 1:1000 scale models of the Spanish American war period ships by Richard Houston I was besides myself.  I just need one ship, that's all just one ship.  With similar words we start down the path of madness.....

 Well I went and ordered the Maine. It was a great model and fun to assemble and paint.  But it looked so alone all by itself. Then I found out Richard Houston had retired and was no longer selling the ships.

 So when I found on eBay someone who was selling a big bunch of them I jumped at the chance.  I spent like a drunken sailor and bought bunches of Spanish and American ships.  Soon I had painted fleets which to do battle with.  But then, I found out about naval rules.  Very complicated, lots of numbers and calculations. Many die rolls for each gun to see if you ranged in, hit the target and then if you caused any damage.  What was worse, the battles between my fleets were so lopsided.  The Spanish ships were, how should I say less then second class compared to the new state of the art American ships.  So off they went into a box to disappear for the next eight years.

Since that time I had forgotten about the ships.  Recently, in cleaning up I found them (along with a number of other forgotten projects).  They do look nice, and perhaps there is a simple fun set of rules out there.....

To be continued......

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Frying Pan and Blanket miniatures

 Here is a blast from my past.  I was a great fan of the 20mm figures from Frying Pan and Blanket Amalgamated.  These are a small scale miniature company which has great variety and were very inexpensive.  They have a outstanding line American Revolution miniatures as well as War of 1812, Wayne's Legion and evan a smallish Seven Years War.  I found these to be a great way to start your miniature collection.  Sad to say I lost my collection in the great house flood of 2004 (As I did most of my hobby items).

But I still have great memories of them.  If you are interested in buying any they are still avalible.  The owners do not have a website, and so all their sales through old fashion IS Mail.  They can be reached this this site:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Battle of Kowpenski 1854

Russians enter the table.  It's a very long way to The Allies lines!

 The Battle of Kowpenski was a recent table top wargame set in the Crimean war period 1854-55.  It saw a Russian attack on a Allied outpost which guarded the flank of the siege lines around Sebastopol.

 Defending on parallel ridges the battlefield is mostly open rolling terrain with woods protecting both flanks.  The Russian forces (Vladimirski infantry Regiment of 4 battalions, 16th  light artillery battery and the  Kievski and Ingermanlandski Hussar Regiments) enter the table.  The Allies are deployed in three lines.  A skirmish line of 1/1st Zouaves  face the Russians.  Behind them are a battalion of 7th Ligne French line infantry.   In the distance, hidden behind a ridge line are British 7th Royal Fusiliers and 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers.  The British Heavy cavalry brigades deployed in The woods.    The Russian forces must advance across the field quickly (limited number of moves) and capture the far ridge line while destroying the Allied force.  The Allies must stop the Russians.  Rules used are "Charge of the Light Brigade." All figures are 25mm.

   The game started with the Russian infantry and artillery advancing onto the table.  The cavalry hung back protecting the flanks as British cavalry were rumored to be in the area. The Russians used a command point each per battalion and artillery to try and contact the French, but bad die rolls left them short.  The pesky French pounded them with long range rifle fire while they fell back to join their brother battalion on the ridge.

Russians suffer casualties from the Zouaves skirmish fire.

  Although suffering long range casualties the Russian advance pushed the French back into the first ridge line.  Here their cavalry deployed into double lines to advance and take the French line in a double envelopment.

  But, out of the wood line where they were hidden came the British Heavy cavalry  brigade which crashed into the Russian cavalry.  Caught in flank the Russian cavalry not only lost the melee and retreated but their commander was killed!  (for every three 6's rolled you check for a leader being wounded or killed).

Heavy Brigade destroyed Russian Cavalry Regiment

    The Russians infantry  continued their advance but the right hand battalion formed line facing the British cavalry and their artillery deployed into firing line.  Their work done the French double moved back towards their British allies while the Heavy brigade covered their retreat.

    Having cleared the first ridge, the Russian commander sorted his line out and brought up his battery for the final push. But his left flank cavalry commander, seeing the retreating Zouaves in the open could not contain himself and charged headlong towards them.  This brought him into rifle range of not only the Zouaves, but the British on the hill.  The rifle fire decimated the cavalry, which lost over half its strength and retired.

Russian cavalry charging the French

Taking aim at all those horse!

Both sides reformed in their ridge lines.  Although the Russian commander finally unlimbered his battery he did not have the time to batter the Allies.  He knew could get one or two fires into them before he had to advance.  He managed to remove s stand of the Zouaves with his artillery fire.

Advancing across the open fields, the Russian columns were again brought under heavy rifle fire.  The reformed Russian cavalry advanced to support the infantry.

 But this time the allies had double the battalions they had earlier.  Each battalion picked out a advancing column.  Two of the Russian columns were shot up and had to retire.  At this point the Heavy brigade attacked and drove off the remaining Russian cavalry.

 The French charged off the ridge to attack the Russians while the British advanced against the remaining Russian battalion.

French chasing routing Russian line.

Fusiliers brigade move against a isolated Russian battalion.

At this point, with the Russians in disarray and routing the Allied commanders met to congratulate themselves in the victory.

Quite the Affair old boy!

   This was a small, but enjoyable game. It was great fun to get my Crimean collection out again, and great fun to play "Charge of the Light Brigade" rules again.

  For the sharp minded reader you will have noted this was actually a refight of the Rev War battle Cowpens!  One of my favorite battles of the Rev War I thought I would transport it into the future. A problem with re fighting any historical battle is you know what happened.  So here, the players thought they were fighting the battle of  Little Inkerman  (26 October 1854) but we're really fighting the Cowpens battle.   As a game it worked well and surprisingly mimicked the historical battle very well.