30 November 2011

Battle of Sunchon

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Sunchon, an air battle fought in 1951 near the city of Sunchon, North Korea.  The Royal Australian Air Force's 77 Squadron (recently converted from P-51 Mustangs) was conducting a bomber escort mission with 12 Gloster Meteors when they were attacked by an estimated 40–50 Chinese MiG-15 jet fighters.


This was to be the RAAF's largest aerial engagement during the Korean War and Australian pilots performed admirably, despite their Meteors having inferior manoeuvrability to the Soviet-built MiGs. They managed to score the RAAF's first victories of the Korean War, losing three Meteors in the action with two pilots captured and one missing presumed killed. Accounts naturally vary, with the Australians claiming at least 10 MiGs splashed, but Chinese and North Korean sources stated it was only one.  Two MiG kills were later confirmed.  As a result of this action, 77 Squadron's Meteors were considered inadequate for aerial defence and re-roled to a ground attack role for the remainder of the war.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Sunchon_(air)



29 November 2011

Kätzchen APC - Part 2

I've been agitating for awhile for somebody to step up and make this vehicle in 28mm.  After yesterday's entry here I made a glib post at the Lead Adventure Forum about anybody taking it up - to my delight Company B has just posted that:


Masters already done.  Casting to begin in Dec.

Here it is next to a JTFM Halftrack.  Joint JTFM and CompanyB model.



Excellent!
http://www.companyb.biz/

28 November 2011

Kätzchen APC

Gepanzerter Mannschaftstransportwagen Kätzchen (early designation) or Vollkettenaufklarer 38(t) Kätzchen
...a WW2 fully tracked APC for the Germans.

In late 1943 Heereswaffenamt WA Pruf 6 asked Auto Union to develop a light fully tracked reconnaissance vehicle capable of carrying 6-8 men in an open-topped superstructure. The vehicle was to be capable of speeds in excess of 50 km/hour, and was to be moderately armored. The prototypes were tested in the summer of 1944 and were well liked for both their layout and mobility. Problems were encountered with the gearbox and for this reason, and also because of the decision in Sept./ 1944 to limit all new constructions to 2 chassis types only. Namely the Auto-Union with Parts from the Panther or the CKD (Hetzer 38T).

It was eventually decided to just order a prototype from CKD in Prague, maker of the Hetzer 38(T) Panzerjager. The CKD prototype was actually built in 1944. It was wider than the Auto Union model and heavier, being much better armored. Its front plate was 50mm, sides 30mm and rear 20mm. It retained the general layout with the open top and the engine in the rear, but disposed with the kugelblende for the front MG, wich was instead mounted behind an armored shield as carried by the SdKfz.250 and 251 halftracks. A rear mount for another MG was also provided.
1/76 scale model, by Fine Cast Models


There are few models available in 15mm and 20mm, but none in 28mm yet (darn it...)

Kugelblitz: Experimental AA Panzer

Another of the 'proposed panzers' this was planned to rectify the deficiencies in other armoured AA defences, such as the Wirbelwind.

Instead of a quad 20mm configuration (which was found to be inadequate) this was the same PzIV chassis with an enclosed twin 30mm turret, each firing 450 rounds per minute.  Some prototypes were completed and may have seen combat in the latter days of the war, but records are incomplete.




I think the rounded turret gives it a kind of early Warsaw Pact styled appearance


I'd like to find a turret in 28mm to slot onto an existing PzIV when needed, but that might be a big ask.
Found it in micro armour (1/300) scale though: http://www.navigatorminiatures.com/product.asp?P_ID=4992&strPageHistory=search&strKeywords=pz&numPageStartPosition=1&strSearchCriteria=any&PT_ID=752


and also in 15mm: http://www.peterpig.co.uk/german.htm


More on this vehicle here:
http://www.achtungpanzer.com/kugel.htm#kugel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kugelblitz

27 November 2011

An adventure into Strange Aeons

We had a game day and BBQ in the Man Cave yesterday - the last before the Lad and I move interstate next month, which is a little sad after all the fun we have had here with old friends.  Anyway, Pete has been wanting to try out his new Strange Aeons rules for ages so he brought over his stuff for a game.

The old Robinson house burned down 10 years ago.  A few months ago, on the 10th anniversary of the fire, in which the Master of the house died, strange things started happening in the nearby cemetery and some locals had disappeared.  We were dispatched to investigate...
This wonderful bit of terrain is the "Crypt of Cthulhu" from the Strange Aeons line
The Lad, Ken and I each ran a team of investigators-  I took a Leader and 2 agents: Captain Archibald Haddock (twin .45 pistols), TinTin (Double Barreled shotgun) and Mrs Castafiori (with a Tommy gun!).  The ever faithful dog Snowy accompanied them.  The others had similar teams.

The teams creep forward toward the unknown...

when a creepy character rose up and summoned a horde of Zombies to attack us!  We fought our way clear with vigor and gusto, chased by the Baron and some shambling hordes.  Snowy leapt forward and with a ferocious le growl ripped out the horror's throat!

With the coast clear, we moved up to support the Lad's investigators who were under pressure from another zombie horde near the crypt.  We ended up in close combat against these shamblers, but emerged without loss in the end.


As we reached the crypt Willy the Wight lept forth - unfortunately for him we were stout non-girly types who all passed our resilience tests and gunned him down without mercy...
...and then looted his crypt of the strange idols and scrolls, which we will take back to the Library for the researchers (including Professor Calculus) to decypher.
The well detailed interior of the crypt - complete with chained coffin!
Overall a fun set of rules with easy to pick up mechanics.  The real strength seems to lie in the versatility of the rules and their use in running an ongoing campaign of investigators.  That would be great fun!

24 November 2011

Most liveable alien worlds ranked

I think this is pretty cool:

Scientists have outlined which moons and planets are most likely to harbour extra-terrestrial life.
Among the most habitable alien worlds were Saturn's moon Titan and the exoplanet Gliese 581g - thought to reside some 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra.
The international team devised two rating systems to assess the probability of hosting alien life.  They have published their results in the journal Astrobiology.
In their paper, the authors propose two different indices: an Earth Similarity Index (ESI) and a Planetary Habitability Index (PHI).
"The first question is whether Earth-like conditions can be found on other worlds, since we know empirically that those conditions could harbour life," said co-author Dr Dirk Schulze-Makuch from Washington State University, US.
"The second question is whether conditions exist on exoplanets that suggest the possibility of other forms of life, whether known to us or not."
As the name suggests, the ESI rates planets and moons on how Earth-like they are, taking into account such factors as size, density and distance from the parent star.
The PHI looks at a different set of factors, such as whether the world has a rocky or frozen surface, whether it has an atmosphere or a magnetic field.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15863549


A Journey 20,000 leagues under the Sea

During our recent visit to Disneyland Paris I took a stack of pictures of the Nautilus attraction.  If you would like to see what it would be like (in Disney's eyes) to live in a VSF submarine, then come to my other blog where I have posted the pics and descriptions.  I thought it was pretty cool!
http://pauljamesog.blogspot.com/2011/11/les-mysteres-du-nautilus.html

22 November 2011

Charge of the Ice Brigade

These WW2 Aerosans are just fantastic!   A specialised unit to be sure, but I can see some sort of Indiana Jones style action chase game on these across a Weird WW2 tabletop!
http://spodding.tabletopwargaming.com/?p=938

21 November 2011

20 November 2011

Northbowl '11- Game 3

Time for another quick round of highlights of the Group North Northbowl Bloodbowl Resurretion Tournament. This week a special shout-out to Kaz's Mum, who is a regular follower of The Mancave ,especially as this week I played Kaz and her Vampire team :) As the two teams prepared to go onto the pitch (we were lucky enough to be playing in the Suut-Kase Stadium owned by the League Commissioner himself) the Dark ELves were drawn to a delicious smell from the Vampires dugout..and there, between the two teams was a Halfling chef, cooking up a storm! Unable to resist the temptation, my team gorged themselves foolishly on the delights the Halfling served up, and promptly lost a team reroll to the snickering Vampires (who had hired the Halfling for 300,000 gold for this express purpose...) After that little feast, we join the action shortly after kick off, as a round of Dark Elf blocking managed to punch a hole in the Vampire lines and free up my Blitzers and Star Player Hubris Rakarth to gang up on the luckless (and Thrall-less) Vampire in my half... Despite some rather judicious use of Hypnotic Gaze, my Blitzer was able to knock down the Vampire Ball carrier and run it in for the first TD...1-0 Dark Elves... But then the seductive power of the Vampires kicked in, as Kaz used her Vampires Hypnotic Gaze to paralysing effect, effectively neutralising all my defenders between the half way line and the Endzone...Touch Down Vampires.....1-1...... At Half-time, some of my more greedy players snuck over to the Halfling Chef's stall again and had themselves second helpings of his fare...once again sacrificing a Team Reroll to the Vampires. This time Kaz kicked off to me and I was set to put this one 2-1 ahead...after a clean pick up my Runner headed for the small gap the two blitzers had created in the Vampires line... The Runner made it all the way to 2 squares from the endzone when she was blitzed by a particularly aggressive and non-Twilight like Vampire, knocking the ball to within a square of the endzone..but fear not, Hubris Rakarth had followed the Runner down the pitch and was poised to blitz and recover the ball for an inevitable Touchdown.... ...except I hadn't counted on Hubris 'Little Thing' for girl Vampires...a Hypnotic Gaze was all it took to reduce the Dark Elf star blitzer to a drooling idiot and he totally ignored the ball for crucial seconds to allow the Vampires to scoop it up...luck was against Kaz however as the less agile Vampire tripped over as he tried to dodge out of another Dark Elves tackle Zone, spilling the ball behind a wall of thralls and Dark Elves.. Hubris regained his senses temporarily, only to be hynotised again by the same Vampire, as her Vampire lord boyfriend cam barreling across the field to blitz Hubris into the crowd..a jealous Vampire is a dangerous thing..... What folowed then was 6 turns of Hypno gazing ball carriers and potential tacklers,and Vampires who couldn't dodge to save themselves...the clock ran out and the final score was....1 all... Great game which kept going back and forth in the second half, amazing defence by Kaz and her Vampires, who held the ball within 1-2 squares of the Endzone for 6 turns straight despite many desperate attempts by the dark Elves to pick it up and score...and even poor heartless Hubris left the game a little heartbroken...... Slann next week....tune in then for a hopping good time! :)

16 November 2011

Voyage à Paris

10,000 kms was a bit of a hike for just five days.  I really wanted to go for a bit longer and slip over to the UK for a bit, but it was a case of take it or leave it - so we took it and no regrets.  Essentially, my wife had 2 of those days working, so me and the Lad went exploring this lovely city.  Highlights included:

The Paris catacombs and its "Empire de la Morte" (http://www.ghostvillage.com/legends/2003/legends28_10042003.shtml)


The Pantheon, housing many famous Frenchies, including Voltaire, Jean of Arc and Madam Curee

The Rodin Museum with its famous works "The Thinker", "The Kiss" and the "Gates of Hell"
(http://www.musee-rodin.fr/)
The boys deep in thought...
At the Gates of Hell: SWMBO told us to knock louder...
The d'Orsay Museum with its fantastic impressionist artwork, and next door the Musee Legion d'honneur (http://www.musee-legiondhonneur.fr/00_koama/visu_lh/index.asp?sid=320&lid=2)

No trip to Paris is complete without visiting the Louvre:

and of course there was the other usual touristy stuff to do in Paris:
Meeting L'Emperor!
The Obelisk at Concorde
Observing Paris from the Eiffel Tower
He tried the frog's legs, but left the snails for me
Midnight snacks to beat the jet-lag!

Atop Arc de Triomphe
We also frequented the Army and Maritime Museums, but they were so good (and I took so many photos) that those will get their own posts in due course.

On a hobby front we did manage to find a GW store in Paris, but sadly they didn't carry any Blood Bowl stuff (the Lad was most disappointed).  We had a good wander around though and bought some paint just to not leave empty handed!

Hard to read, but it sounds so much cooler in French!
And for our last day out we had fun at Paris Disneyland!

Overall, a great week away filled with great sights, good fun with the Lad and a ton (a metric tonne of course, being in France) of fatty, artery hardening cuisine! Yum!

15 November 2011

British Prototype Tanks of WW2

Funky tanks and big ideas weren't just restricted to the Germans (but who could turn down a Tiger III, really?)  Anyway, the Brits had their own and creative tank designers too, some of which would look great on a Weird WW2 table.
Alecto Self Propelled Gun with a 95mm gun

The A4E10 Light Tank 
TOG II Heavy Tank
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_armoured_fighting_vehicles_of_World_War_II#Prototypes

14 November 2011

Musée de la Marine

While in France I chanced a visit to the French National Maritime Museum, which was well worth the trip.

For those who may be interested I've posted some pics of the museum's highlights, including some great warship models, at my VSF blog here:

http://pauljamesog.blogspot.com/2011/10/tsarist-aquanefs.html
The French ironclad Trident 

12 November 2011

Northbowl '11 - Game 2 Highlights

Game 2, and my Coromandel Nightmares were totally outclassed and outplayed by the Chaos Warriors, suffering a 4-2 defeat.... After winning the toss, I elected to kick off, figuring I had a better chance against the 4 St4 Ag3 warriors ,St5 Minotaur and the claw and horned Beastmen...sadly...I was wrong :) An opening in the Chaos defence.... EVENTUALLY leads to a TD for the Dark Elves.Chaos scored 2 in reply.... Highlights of the game included the attrocious casualty rate suffered by my team: at one stage, 4 players were Badly hurt and another 4 Knocked out, leaving only 4 players on the pitch. "Highlight??!!" you say...well yes, because it was at this stage that Hubris Rakarth managed to double dodge into 2 tackle zones, pick up the ball, and then dodge twice again out of a press of Beastmen, avoid a potentially devastating tackle by the Minotaur rolling Double Skulls on a blitz, and running it in for a 2-all equaliser... Hubris starts his run for the ball.... ...grabs it, dodges through 2 tacklezones and starts racing for the endzone.... ..the Minotaur tries to stop him.... ...and rolls double skulls...TD Hubris! Thats when it all went horribly wrong....half of my Knocked Out Dark Elves found that condition inifintely preferable to going back out to face the Minotaur again, and so I played the rest of the second half with only 7 players each drive...thats BloodBowl though, and I was glad to come away with only a 4-2 loss! Full kudos to John for his masterful player positioning and use of skills as he shut down every attempt to make a scoring drive, and avoided what was left of my defence each time... Now, if only I can beat those Vampires next game I'll crawl off the bottom of the league ladder!!
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