Monday, April 28, 2014

A Visit to the National Museum of the United States Air Force

I have been fortunate in many aspects of my life, with one of those fortunate aspects being my proximity to the National Museum of the United States Air Force (still known to me simply as the Air Force Museum).  The NMUSAF has been so within reach all these years that I have not appreciated the museum as I probably should, at least not until more recent times.  The museum has an amazing and ever expanding collection of aircraft as well as numerous displays.  I recently made a trip to see the Korean War gallery and take a few pictures to share with those readers of the blog who might not have had the chance to visit the museum.  Of course this trip was also for perusing their book store, which in its own right is an amazing place for air combat aficionados.  I did pick up two Osprey titles to expand my Korean air war library (F4U Corsair Units of the Korean War and F-86 Aces of the 51st Fighter Wing), and there were some other related items that looked good, but since I have been buying so many books and hobby "stuff" lately I held my eagerness in check a bit.

Here are the pictures from my quick trip:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Darkest Star Games Kickstarter

Picture from Darkest Star Games
I've supported one Kickstarter campaign in the past, 15mm sci-fi/neo British from Armies Army, and the experience was a positive one.  A week or two ago I came across another 15mm sci-fi Kickstarter campaign from Darkest Star Games for some vehicles (tanks, light armor, and APCs), and while really liking the look of the Scorpion light armored vehicle, decided that I didn't have a use for such a vehicle with the current projects, so did not commit to be a backer at that time.  This evening, on The Miniatures Page, tsofian had posted about this campaign, and with the appropriate arm twisting (really, none at all) I decided to back the campaign at a level that would yield me a vehicle of my choice.  Kickstarter seems to be a decent way to add to existing product lines or create a unique line, without too much commitment from the various backers.  In this case Darkest Star wanted to move into 15mm after doing a line of 6mm sci-fi.

If you have any interest in backing this campaign, they have already achieved the basic goal, and are moving towards hitting their stretch goals.  Jump onboard today!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pictures of New Toys

First, here are some pics of the Raiden MiG-15s I recently purchased from Zippy.  Nicely painted, yes?  (as in all my blog posts, clicking on an image will give you a larger version)

And here are the Eureka Miniatures North Koreans!  I do not believe they are on the Eureka websites yet, but if you email Rob at Eureka Minis USA he should be able to take care of you.  As for size, I would venture they are on the smaller side of 15mm, being closer to 15mm than 18mm.  Would mix well I believe with Quality Castings and other smaller 15mm ranges.


Officers and heavy machinegun

Mortar and crew

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Air War Korea - Part I

I am now the proud owner of three 1/285th scale F-86 Sabres and three Mig-15s (all Raiden Miniatures), courtesy of Zippy from The Miniatures Page.  He had a pretty darn good deal on Bartertown that I stumbled across (not having been on that site for months I would say that finding his listing to be borderline karma).  The deal also included two sheets of Dom's Decals, and four books, three dealing with the Sabre and one with the MiG-15 (they are part of the list on the right).  I was also able to grab a copy of Clash of Sabres from him as part of the deal.  I had a copy of Clash of Sabres in a previous life, but a recent search in my boxes of gaming rules proved to be futile.

After picking up these new gems from Zippy, I hustled to Dayton to join in a Check Your 6! game at The Hobby Shop.  I had reservations about playing CY6 as the first and only time I had tried CY6 I had some real issues with how the rules worked, but that was because I had a green pilot in a fighter being outfought by an ace in a dive bomber, which didn't make a lot of sense to me at the time.  Therefore I had some trepidation about using those rules again.  However, after a few turns running a flight of F-84s, launching some successful rocket attacks against a North Korean airfield, being blasted by anti-aircraft guns, and seeing how the MiG-15s seem to rule the skies from a firepower perspective, I did find myself enjoying the rules much more than my first experience.  I still have a lot to turn about planning my moves, especially when it comes to climbing and diving, but it was a good second exposure to CY6 and I do look forward to participating in more CY6 games.

That said, I am also going to give a thorough look at Clash of Sabres.  Movement is simpler as CoS uses turn gauges, the current speed of the aircraft determining the gauge to be used (slower speeds use a tighter turning gauge).  I'll have to see have altitude and combat resolution works, but wouldn't mind getting the CY6 gang together to see what they think about Clash of Sabres.

I have placed an order with I-94 Enterprises for the Check Your Six! Korean War supplement along with one each of the Raiden F-86, MiG-15, and F-84.  I plan on grabbing a few other planes from the war, most likely the F-80 Shooting Star and perhaps a few U.S. Navy planes as well (the Grumman F9F Panther is one sweet looking bird).  Of course there are the prop planes, holdovers from World War Two, but they were mostly used in the ground attack role, and my initial plan is to start with air-to-air combat.  Looks like I will need a few Soviet-made prop planes for the early portion of the war (La-9s and -11s, and Yak-9s).  MSD Games make the La-9 (as does Scotia Collectair), GHQ makes the Yak-9 but finding the La-11 seems to be more of an exercise in futility.  However, having the La-9 and Yak-9 should be a decent start for the early war period.

I've also ordered some GHQ and MSD MiG-15s and GHQ F-86s to see how they compare to the Raiden ones I have.  Comparison pictures will be part of an upcoming blog post!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Chosin - A Bit of a Movie Review

In 2010 Veterans Inc. Expeditionary Media released Chosin, a documentary about the Chosin Reservoir campaign.  The movie is mostly a collection of interviews with survivors of that campaign who recall for us their memories of the fighting in which they participated.  If you are familiar with the HBO Band of Brothers series, specifically the extra disc of veteran commentary, then you will understand the style of Chosin.  Directed by Iraq War veteran Brian Iglesias, Chosin at times is a bit difficult to watch as we see veterans, in many cases visibly scarred by their experiences of over sixty years ago, talk about the situations they found themselves dealing with.  

The quality of the film is a bit lacking from a production point of view.  The men being interviewed looked washed out, almost as if the film was made during the 1970s with muted colors.  I would have also preferred to see more detailed maps and map animations of the Chosin area so that the viewer could have some context of the places the veterans were discussing.  This would have been very helpful to those who know little about the campaign  And perhaps the film could have included additional details regarding the units that fought at Chosin.  

What the film does succeed in doing is conveying to the viewer the emotional scars these men still carry, of how proud they were to have been a part of not only the campaign but also of their service to their country, and, perhaps most importantly, how we should never forget their sacrifices that many Americans simply know nothing about.

While the Chosin Reservoir is probably the most known of all the Korean War battles, the numerical facts do support our over-infatuation with Chosin.  15,000 Allied troops battled ten divisions of Chinese.  The Allies suffered 12,000 casualties while inflicting 43,000 casualties on the Chinese.  There were seventeen Medals of Honor and seventy Navy Crosses awarded, and nearly 100,000 Korean refugees were evacuated.  

The movie is available for $24.99 via the Frozen Chosin website, and a portion of each DVD sold goes to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.  The movie is 86 minutes long, and includes an additional fifteen minutes of bonus footage.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


This is your chance to be very interactive with the blog, as being a new Korean War student, I am asking for your suggestions for the various resources that you find useful.  These resources can be websites, books, movies...whatever you find to be good material on the Korean War.  Leave your suggestions in the comments and I will add them accordingly.


Overall Studies

Formidable Enemies - Kevin Mahoney
Korean War Almanac - Harry Summers
The Korean War (Korea Insitute of Military History)
The War for Korea - The House Burning (1945-1950) - Allan Millet
The War for Korea - They Came From the North (1950-1951) - Allan Millet
United States Army Official Histories

Battle Studies

Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950 - Martin Russ
Colder Than Hell - Joseph R. Owen
Fire Brigade: U.S. Marines in the Pusan Perimeter - John C. Chapin
Into the Breach at Pusan - Kenneth Estes
Marine Tank Battles in Korea - Oscar Gilbert
The Last Stand of Fox Company - Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

Air War

Combat Over Korea - Philip Chinnery
F-86 Sabre Aces of the 4th Fighter Wing - Warren Thompson
F-86 Sabre Aces of the 51st Fighter Wing - Warren Thompson
F-86 Sabre vs. MiG-15 - Dildy & Thompson
F4U Corsair Units of the Korean War - Warren Thompson
F9F Panther/Cougar in Action - Jim Sullivan
Famous Aircraft: The F-86 Sabre - R.J. Childerhose
Korean War Aces - Dorr, Lake, & Thompson
North American F-86A-L Sabre in USAF and Foreign Service - McDowell & Ward
Soviet MiG-15 Aces of the Korean War - Krylov & Tepsurkaev
USN/USMC Over Korea - Thomas E. Doll
The United States Air Force in Korea - Robert F. Futrell


Commentary on Infantry Operations and Weapons Usage in Korea - Winter of 1950-51
Korean War Gallery - National Museum of the United States Air Force
Korean War Project

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


The first post on this new adventure, the Korean War!  I will be posting blog entries on an occasional basis that will deal with gaming the war in miniature, along with other tidbits I find interesting.  On the miniatures side, the land war will be in 15mm, small unit level, while the air war will be gamed in 1/285th (1/300th) scale.  As this is a brand new gaming project, there are a lot of decisions to be made about miniatures and rules, but I do have some ideas in hand.

My Korean War knowledge is slim so I grabbed a few titles from my local Half Price Books and am working my way through them.  My father missed Korea, having served in the U.S. Army in the mid-1950s where he was stationed in Germany as part of an armored cavalry regiment.  So I do not have any direct connection or reason to have a strong interest in the war, other than it isn't gamed often, the air war saw the first widespread use of jets, and of those jets I really am a fan of the F-80 Shooting Star and F-86 Sabre.  I also think that the M26 Pershing is one sweet looking tank.  Are those valid or enough reasons for gaming the Korean War?  Damn right they are!

For the land war, there are various companies making Korean War figures, and of course many World War Two ranges can be used.  I would almost go with 10mm for this project, but to my knowledge there is only one company (Pithead Miniatures) making 10mm Chinese and none making North Koreans or Allied forces in winter gear, while there are some ranges existing in 15mm.  The larger scale of these battles (compared to some of my more modern projects) would lend itself more readily to 10mm, and there are rumors that Pendraken will be making a Korean War range, and that Pithead will be expanding their range, but until those figures are forthcoming 15mm will be the direction I most likely will head.  As I am going to work on the air portion of the war first, I do have some time to wait to see if these additional rumored 10mm miniatures are indeed placed into production.

In 15mm there are enough existing figures to put together small unit actions.  Quality Castings (part of Old Glory 15s) make Chinese in winter gear, North Koreans in summer uniform, and other forces can be put together from their World War Two range.  I have always had a soft spot for the Quality Castings figures as they were some of their first World War Two 15mm figures I ever painted.  While some of the poses and details might be a tad dated compared to more recent lines, they still hold up fairly well.  I do have an order placed with Eureka (the USA shop) for the North Koreans to see how they look, and will probably order some of the other ranges to see if they blend well together.

For the air war, I am purchasing some 1/285th MiG-15s and F-86 Sabres from a local gamer, along with four air war books and some Dom's Decals.  I am not sure who the manufacturer of the planes might be, but I did order some of the Raiden Miniatures via I-94 Enterprises today so I hope I will be able to compare them and determine what manufacturer the local gamer's planes are.

Rules - For the land war these are yet to be determined, but I do have a copy of the Korean War Data Book coming from Olde Dominion GameWorks (ODGW) for their Mein Panzer rules.  For air combat some of my gaming friends use Check Your 6! rules from SkirmishCampaigns so I ordered the Korean War supplement today as well.  I have only gamed CY6! one time before, years ago, and did not come away with fond memories, but am willing to give it another go before making a final decision on rules.

There will be more to come over the next several days (pictures of minis, etc.) so be certain to check out the blog regularly and leave comments from time to time!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Random Updates

Some random thoughts concerning the state of the various projects I am working on....

The Africa Project

FireForce15 Argentine Infantry
(picture from Old Glory UK website)
I am currently looking to expand this project a bit.  Right now I have factions for the West Germans (QRF), Somalis (Rebel Minis), and another force using Peter Pig's Australian Vietnam figures (mercenaries, South Africans, etc.).  I am considering a UN contingent (ahem, for target practice) as their blue helmets/berets and white vehicles will really stick out on the tabletop.  I am considering a few options for the UN troops, as I have a specific look in mind (either berets or western style helmets for headgear, battle rifles for weapons, and fairly light kit).  Peter Pig's French are interesting, even with the figures having the FAMAS, simply because they are French (take that however you would like).  I also like the FireForce15 Argentinian figures from their Falklands War line.  Nicely sculpted, carrying battle rifles and wearing steel pot helmets, and I do not see too much kit.  They offer several packs of which I would use infantry, command, and weapons.  However, I do not know how they compare in height and heft to other figures ranges I have.  Anyone who might have some and can take a couple of comparison pictures alongside Peter Pig, QRF, and/or Rebel please send them to me.

Peter Pig Hardened Militia
(picture from Peter Pig website)
I am also considering a Cuban contingent, using Peter Pig's hardened militia.  Carrying AKs and wearing a cap, they are spot on for Cubans in Africa.  Of course getting the West Germans and Somalis completed are the first priority so buying more figures for this project is probably not the wisest of moves.  Right now I have plenty of infantry for both sides, but I still wrestle with what to use for West German vehicles.  I have a couple of QRF Marders, but they do not give me the right "feel" so to speak.  I really like the idea of using smaller (and older) vehicles such as the Schutzenpanzer series (kurz version for support, lang version for transport).  To that end I did pick up a few of the Roskopf kurz models on eBay.  They are mentioned to be anywhere from 1/87 to 1/100 in scale, but I believe they are closer to the 1/100 end of things.  

The Falklands Project

Top Malo!  This scenario from Force on Force is small enough to knock out quickly.  I have a plenty of MJ Figures to cover the forces, just need the house and the few outlying structures to make it come together.  I may try to scratch build the house as the Time Cast version doesn't allow for figures to be placed inside, which to me is a must.  The paper version could be used, backed with foamcore, and perhaps a second floor added in.  Or I can just go with a true scratch build, much like what is going on over at Dougie's Wargaming Blog.

I have also considered selling off the MJ Figures I have and going with FireForce15.  Those sculpts look so nice!  However, I would want to see more packs to fill some wholes before making that decision.  British with berets, more vehicles, etc.

The X-COM Project

I've primed the Rebel/Khurasan Martians and Eureka Germans, built and primed a few of the RAFM Imps, and have built and primed the Martian support (Rebel walker and Khurasan saucer).  I also have picked up some of the paints I needed to push ahead.  Still working on a uniform color for the Germans, might be a panzer gray/feldgrau combo.  The Martians are easy.  The Khurasan will be the Sectoids, and hence will be gray.  The Rebel Minis will be the Mutoids as they are taller, and will be painted in the Muton green with a bit of gray shading (the Mutoids are new race creation, an interbreeding of Sectoids and Mutons).

Other Projects

My Iraq and Fifth Frontier War projects are always ongoing, but as I have not worked on these for quite some time hence have nothing new to report.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

The African Project - Books

"Research" for my African Project (see The African Project page) includes a few book titles that either cover the raid on Lufthansa Flight LH181 and/or Cold War West German related titles.  The two most obvious are Storming Flight 181 - GSG-9 and the Mogadishu Hijack 1977 and Assault at Mogadishu.  The latter is one of the first works to deal with Operation Magic Fire and was published shortly after the raid.  It details not only the hijacking and subsequent raid, but the political maneuverings that took place before the hijacking and covers the kidnapping of Hanns-Martin Schleyer by the Red Army Faction, a German terrorist group better known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang.  Schleyer was a German business executive and an ex-Nazi, and hence represented to the terrorists the ideal target.  The kidnapping of Schleyer was an attempt of the RAF to free imprisoned members of their organization. 

The Osprey title covers the same material as the book, but gives the raid on the plane far more emphasis, including the roles of not only the GSG-9 but also of the two SAS members that were involved.  There is a book written by one of these two members (Assault on LH181 by Barry Davies) but I have yet to purchase that account (but am doing so today).

Lufthansa Flight LH181 departed Malorca on October 13th, 1977, heading to Frankfort.  The Boeing 737, named Landshut, was hijacked by four terrorists of the Commando Martyr Halime in support of the RAF's attempts to free their comrades, and also in an effort to have released from Turkish prisons members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. If you would like to know more about this action, start with the Osprey title (currently 50% off on the Osprey website).

Other inspiration comes from a couple of Cold Wars vehicle books.  The first is Cold War Armored Fighting Vehicles.  This is simply a book of technical drawings ranging in scale from 1:35 to 1:72.  The book had drawings for well over one hundred vehicles, including those used by the West German Army and some that were used in the Falklands, so the book serves double duty for me.

The second book is a Tankograd publication, and is titled The Modern German Army in the Cold War 1967-1990.  This baby is filled with color photos of every vehicle the Bundeswehr used during the Cold War period and there is text describing each photo in both German and English.  If you wanted just one title on the West German Army of the period, this would be it.  Tankograd publishes numerous titles on the modern German Army and has many other titles, including World War II.  I am in the process of picking up their book on the Hotchkiss armored personnel carriers the Germans used in the 1950s through 1980s.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

ClearHorizon Miniatures Hell Divers - NOT a Review

Alpha on left, Bravo on right
Recently mentioned on The Miniatures Page was a sale being held by ClearHorizon Miniatures, a new player in the 15mm sci-fi arms race.  I have been to the ClearHorizon website a few times, looking over their Hell Diver infantry, drop pods, and VTOL aircraft, but had not purchased anything simply because I did not need yet more miniatures to paint!  However, the mention of 15% caught my eye so after a few questions of MrHarold I decided to place a very small order which consisted of one Alpha Squad (twelve figures) and one Bravo Squad (six figures).  Alpha contains the command, SAW, and riflemen components, while Bravo has a sniper team and two AT teams.  By buying one pack of each I would have enough to field a small force for Tomorrow's War.  The pictures of the sculpts on the ClearHorizon website indicate that these are beautiful sculpts, so I ordered, sale code in hand, without further hesitation.

I placed my order Monday morning.  Shortly after placing my order I received notification that the order had shipped priority mail.  Sure enough, after arriving home yesterday, I had a package from ClearHorizon in my mailbox.  So, the ordering and shipping process had already left me impressed.  Let's see what the minis look like.

I opened my box to find some nicely done packaging, as well as an extra surprise.  The packaging is small, clean, professional, and probably looks great in a brick and mortar store.  I will admit, I have yet to open the packs themselves, but can tell that from a height and girth perspective that these figures match up very well with the Eureka sci-fi Germans I own, which means they will work well with most other 15mm ranges out there (see this post for some comparison shots of other figure ranges).  

The figures come with detached packs, meaning that one can add all, some, or none of the packs to the figures.  This allows even more variety is available to figures that are already individually unique.  Nice touch!

Unit card
ClearHorizon is making their minis and packaging them with the Gruntz rules system in mind, including unit data cards in the box.  I am not familiar with Gruntz as I believe it is on a larger scale than Tomorrow's War, and I really like the skirmish level that TW brings.  The Gruntz website mentions that the rules are skirmish level, but in looking at the unit cards with the ClearHorizon packages, I think the level must be more like fireteam/squad/section.  Mr. Harold is also working on his own set of skirmish rules as mentioned on his blog.

All in all, from a customer service point of view, ClearHorizon has started a great trend.  Hopefully they will be adding to their figure line and continue to provide a quality customer service experience.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Building the MJ Figures Scorpion/Sabre/Scimitar

Showing the tracks, undercarriage, and hull
Well crud!  I was going to take pictures for a step by step account of building the MJ Figures Scorpion/Sabre/Scimitar, but when I sat down to build the vehicle, I completely forgot about taking step by step pictures.  In reality one does not need step by step pictures as the model is very easy to assemble.  There are six parts to work with, two tracks, one undercarriage, one upper hull, one turret, and one gun.  There are three gun choices, depending on what model you want to make (but read on), but the guns included really did not match well with the drawings and pictures I have seen.  The thicker barreled gun, which I would have taken to be the 76mm cannon of the Scorpion, was far too long in length to be the 76mm.  The 30mm RARDEN cannon that the Scimitar carries was a bit too long in the MJ Figures world.

Showing gun options
 And the last gun, well, I have no idea what it is supposed to be, because realistically the Sabre carries the same 30mm RARDEN cannon that the Scimitar has, only with a lower profile turret from the Fox ARV.

The model has a bit of flash to cut and file off, but that really was the only issue to deal with, other than deciding what gun to use.

MJ Figures Code FALK12 - $8.29 USD

In game terms, the Scorpion would be rated as a light tracked vehicle, armor would be 3D8 (front), 2D8 (side), 2D6 (rear), and 1D6 (deck).  The 76mm cannon rates as (AP:3/AT:2(M)) and there is a 3D machinegun.  The Scimitar is rated the same, substituting 30mm  auto cannon which is rated as follows: (AP:4/AT:3(L)).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...