Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Finally completed a unit.

 So the last "unit" I did was back on the 12th of June, since then I've only done a few odd figures, brigadiers, and Vietnam stuff, not any proper units. 


I started this back in February 2020, when I did the men at arms part of the unit.


Since then I've very slowly added the archer and gendarme part of the Ordinance Lance. 


I was inspired by Stuart at https://stuartsworkbench.blogspot.com/, I feel he is THE guy when it comes to details on this period in miniature. 

But he is doing Smaller scale actions with the rules he uses, I can't go into as much details as I hope to do full-sized battles, So my Company of Lance is a bit more abstracted. I also decided to have my archers as light lancers and not actual archers, it might be a bit wrong for 1510 battles, but seems that sometime between 1510 and 1525 the archers had become lancers. So I went for that. 



This represents a company of Lances, so 100 actual gendarmes, but with the added men at arms and archers, somewhere between 300 and 400 actual combatants.

The Gendarmes are in the center, 4 of them.

Flanked by 4 Men at arms, One of them a standard-bearer, that I did quite a lot of greenstuff work on.

The men at arms are again flanked by the archers, one of which is carrying a standard.

I have 4 other men at arms ready, so I need 4 more archers and 4 more Gendarme to finish another company of lances.  I need like 100+ in the end, and at this rate, I'll be done sometime after the sun expands into a red giant. 

The Gendarmes are Steel fist and so are the archers, while the men at arms are perry plastics that I've Italian wared up.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

5 Marines walk into a bar.

 And the bartender says; we don't serve your kind here, and I say, hey, if I want to drink watered-down whisky and play with my miniatures you have no right to stop me. 


So I started playing around with the Huey in DCS, it's an evil machine that wants to murder you any time it has the chance. But it's a fun ship that really requires that you fly it all times.

Here I fly a Huey as we take out a Russian base.


And here I do my first landing on a firgate. 



Ah, but don't worry I'm not here to bore you with just video games videos. 


Since I flew the Huey a lot, I got into the Nam mood, even if the game doesn't really have any Vietnam assets. (you have some Vietnam era aircraft like Huey and MiG21) but you don't have Vietnam-era infantry, ground vehicles. So you can't do a hot LZ landing under fire from NVA etc. 


But a Huey is a Huey, so I pulled out some Nam stuff.


I painted 5 marines

This means my Marine force is 20 strong.

I only have 5 grunts left to paint, and maybe an M60, as well as a 60mm mortar team.


If I manage to paint the last 5 marines, I'm out and I need to order more to finish the platoon. So hopefully I'll feel like doing the last 9 man NVA Squad and its two HQ figures. I also have the figures to do 3 support options, a separate RPG team, a.30cal MMG and a nice big 12.7mm HMG.





Saturday, August 28, 2021

Computer game Review DCS


 



So I know its been quiet of late on the blog. Bur I am working on this, a couple of Napoleonic units, but it's slow going as I've been completely hooked on DCS.

When I wrote a review of IL2 flying circus, I said DCS was too complex for me, and it still kinda is. But I hunkered down and really studied the stuff, I also jumped through a million hoops to get the game to run ok, I fresh install of Windows, and various other tricks did the stuff, and I finally got it playable. 

I've been completely absorbed by the game, since I wrote the IL2 review I've played DCS for over 100 hours.


So what is DCS?

DCS(Digital Combat simulator) is a "free to play" game, not really free as I'll explane.

The base game is free, you get 2 maps, Caucasus, a big map of Georiga, and the black sea,  the oldest map, now almost a decade old, it had gotten plenty of updates since then, but graphically the simplest map. You also get the Marianas map, which just came out a few weeks ago, mostly water designed for carrier operations, it included the islands of Guam, Rota, Tinian, Saipan, It will get a WW2 version. 

Also with the free game comes to planes, but before we get to that, a short explanation of the planes in the game. 

The game comes with 2 types of planes, the "low-fidelity" or Flaming cliffs 3(FC3) planes, these are actually from an older game, that has been ported over to DCS and given a physics and graphical grade, they use the same flight model as the newer planes, but the cockpit is static and the graphics are a little lower in quality. You can still fly and shoot and bomb etc, but everything must be done with button presses on the keyboard to joystick, etc. 

The other is the "high-fidelity" planes, these are all the newer stuff made for DCS, the graphics are better, they are far more complex and every button, knob, and switch in the game is clickable, not everything works, but in most planes, 95% of the systems are there. Here you can dive deep into all systems and subsystems of the plane.


So the free game comes with two planes, one is the Su-25T one of the FC3 planes, so it's simpler in operation, but all weapons, etc work, I believe you also have a campaign and various missions to play, this is the best taste of the game you get for free, and you can use this playing online.

The other plane is a TF-51 Mustang a none combat P51, but this one is high-fidelity, and so will give you a taste of how the proper planes are, you can click and manipulate all the stuff in the cockpit, you can start it up from cold, turning on the engine like in the real mustang, etc. You need to control the power of the engine during flight to avoid breaking it. But it has no weapons or gun sight. 

You also have full access to the mission editor. 

That's what you get for free, everything else cost money, sometimes quite a lot of money. 

Other maps avalable for purches is

Nevada test and training map, a map of parts of Nevada, Utah,  Arizona and California.
Persian Gulf, a map of well Persian gulf, centered on  Strait of Hormuz., with UAE, Iran and Oman, with cities like Dubai etc. 

Syria, one of the newer maps, I'll quite directly from the store page what this map has.

This 900x500 km map covers most of the eastern Mediterranean, and it includes the island of Cyprus, Lebanon, a large part of Syria up to the border with Iraq, parts of Israel, Turkey, and Jordan. The cities of Damascus, Nicosia, Tripoli, Latakia, Tartus, Homs, Aleppo, Hama, Palmyra, Haifa, Acre, Beirut and Adana are simulated, as well as unique constructions of world famous landmarks and historical monuments.

You also have two WW2 maps.

Normandy, as you'd except covers Normandy, Cherbourg peninsula, and the land behind the beaches. 
With airfields in England and France. 

The Channel, also deals with Southern England and Northern France but further east with Dover and Calais, this is a fantastic map with the town of Dover looking fantastic. 
Each map cost around $50


Then you have all the planes, too many to mention them all but Mig21, Viggen, F16, F18, F14, F5, Mirage 2000 to name but a few, you also have helicopters like the Huey, Hind, Ka-50 "Black Shark, and soon Apatche. 

WW2 is covered with P51 Mustang(the one that got weapons) P47 Thunderbolt, Spitfire IX LW, Messerschmitt 109K4 Kurfyrst, Fw190A-8 Anton and Fw190D-9 Dora, and in about half a month the Mosquito FB VI. 

The planes cost between 40 and 80 dollars, depending on how new they are, each plane is made with input from the makers of the plane, technicians, pilots, etc. There is a lot of work going into each plane. so don't think of it like spending $80 on parts of a game, if you spend $80 on the F16, you got a full-blown super-accurate F16 simulator, each plane is a simulator in on itself. 

Besides the planes and maps, you also have "asset packs" like the WW2 asset pack, which adds WW2, infantry, tanks, planes, guns, and ships. And these packs continue to be updated with new assets. 
You also have Supercarrier, a fully working American supercarrier with a working deck crew. And you also have combined arms pack that lets you control ground and sea units. 

And finally the campaigns, these are more in the $10-15 range and worth it if you like well-made missions. 

It's hard to explain just how fantastic this game is when you get the hang of it. A so-called "study sim" where you spend a lot of time just learning the systems. 

I keep jumping between modern and WW2. 



I spent quite a lot of time on the F18 but found its systems confusing, I then spent a lot of time on the F16, making my own super simple missions to learn one and one system, while watching videos on youtube showing how to do it. 

I play exclusively in VR but you don't need it to play, it just enhances it soo much.


I'll let videos do some of the talking, here I am on the deck of a supercarrier in my F18, sitting there in VR seeing those F18 taking off right in front of me is probably one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had. 




After getting too confused by the F18, I went back to the F16, as a Norwegian it holds a special place for me. 

I made a series of "training missions" A trilogy, where I pretended to save my Friend Sven who lives on Cyprus from evil Russians. 

In the first missions, the evil Russians have stopped right outside of Limassol, they have plenty of trucks full of chemical agents. I need to take them all out, And this shows the effect of dropping 12 250lb bombs in ripple mode. 



In the second part of the "Save Sven" trilogy, the Russians have snuck in armor and infantry, since they are within his neighboorhood, I must use "smart bombs" 





And finally, the Russians have gone full out, a full platoon of infantry, and armor are about to attack his house, and this time they have a SAM site ready to try and stop me from saving Sven. 
Let's just say, this time I made absolutely sure they would not come back by going totally overkill with 6 CBU-97 bombs. 






I played with the F16 a lot and got decent at it. Starting to understand the systems, But playing in VR I have a hard time using the keyboard, I needed more buttons. So I've invested in the full Winwing system, It comes with a 1:1 F18 stick and throttle, as well as man buttons on the throttle part, I also got the Take off-panel and combat panel, giving me easy buttons and levers for landing gear, laser etc. Even though the panel is modeled on the F18 it works fine on the F16 or whatever else you want to use. 


I also spent 8 bucks on Voice attack, letting me control stuff with my voice, in theory, you can use your voice to activate any system in the planes, but I only use it for communicating with ground and wingmen, and for controlling menus and views and map. This means I can no completely forget about the keyboard when I play. 

I have now gone back to WW2, I wanted to wait until I got my spitfire flight controls, but I couldn't wait. So I jumped back. 

Making some fun missions.

Like attacking a German airfield, The editor is incredibly powerful letting you do so much. 

This video shows how I've managed to program 12 B17s to fly and carpetbomb. 





And of late I've been practicing dogfighting in WW2. 

After trying and trying to get the hang of the P51, I just can't fly it the way I want, its style of flight doesn't match what I want to do. 

So I went back to the good old Spitfire. not as fast as the P51, but the Spit lets me do what I want it to do(most of the time)


Here I am in the most classic of all of history's aerial duels, the Spitfire vs the Bf109, the Bf109K-4 is very very late warplane and actually superior to the IX spitfire in most ways, only the ludicrous turning rate is better in the spit. You can also download missions, skins, and even planes for free made by modders. I've naturally used Norwegian skins on my F16 and on the Spitfire. 



Another dogfight this time 3 vs 3. I end up cutting the 109 in half, I still stuck at Aerial gunnery, it just takes a lot of practice. 






I recommend this game to anyone interested in WW2 or modern(or cold war) air combat. It's not an action game, this is as hardcore as a simulator you are gonna get outside of actual airforces. 

A few warings-

1: you need a HOTAS, (stick and throttle) playing this with a mouse and keyboard or a gamepad is technically possible but just no, even a $100 one will improve the experience enormously. 
2: Even without VR the game demands a lot of the computer, a 5-year-old family computer won't do it, And in VR we are talking $2500 level computer.
3. STEEP learning curve, if you are a bit more technical in the head than me, it will go easier for you, but I'm "easily confused" by complex systems. So while I can keep an aircraft in the air without much difficulty, actually controlling the systems is harder, if you keep to WW2, a lot of this goes away, the most complex part there is the start-up(which you can skip) and a little when it comes to managing the engines, but the warbirds are much harder to fly, I mean you can't do what you want with them, A spit will blow its engine if you fly straight up for 10 seconds, a Fw190 or P47 will stall its wings if you do even a half hard turn. But they are a joy to fly. And if you like systems upon systems, you have the F18 or F16s, Or maybe you want to jump into the 50s nostalgia with the Mig 15 or Mig 17. 
4. This is a hobby by itself, As of now, this is the only game I have installed on my computer. 

I haven't been this hooked on a game since my early teens(which is now over 20!!! years ago) this is really the flight sim one dreamed of when you played games like Microsoft combat flight simulator or F16 fighting falcon. 

If you are interested I recommend you get the free game from https://www.digitalcombatsimulator.com/en/ 
You have a lot of good deals there, like the ability to try any plane or helicopter for free for 2 weeks, after two weeks you can try any other plane for 2 weeks, that way you can try them all before buying. 
They also have a loyalty thing, where each purchase gives you credit, that you can use later, so if you buy 3 plans, the 4th one will be at a decent discount. 


Buy Buy!!! 

I'll try and get back to the scheduled programing soon.







Saturday, August 7, 2021

Chef de battalion

 I got an order from Mazzer's miniatures of Avanpost french.
I'm working my way through the order, with 1 base left to finish the battalion, I also have an 8pdr gun and crew to do. But I finished the Chef de battalion who will lead a 3 battalion brigade in Spain.


Avanpost are stunning figures.

I tried something different with the horse, unsure how well it worked.

I also did the trousers in a more off-white, keeping the pure white for the jacket, Also used a generally darker tone of blue, some detail might be lost, but it's more realistic. and makes the white and facings pop more. This new style will be more obvious on the infantry. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

NVA has more than doubled.

 So last time I did Nam, I did 7 NVA  soldiers. I was missing the machine gunners. So I stopped. I got them a long while ago. But I was busy with other stuff. But now I've taken them out again. 
I did the machine gunner and loader for the 1st squad and 4 from the next squad. Then I finished the last 5 for the second squad. While also building and doing a Sarissa house and making some bamboo terrain pieces. 

So now I have two full NVA squads. I'm gonna do some marines. and then do the platoon command for the NVA and hopefully by that time I have the last NVA figures in the post to finish the last squad and so the platoon. 



I didn't bother with any photoshop background on these, I learned it's a pain in the ass to try and edit the bamboo.
The Sarissa house got some MIG earth tone wash/effects from my Tank painting stuff. I didn't want to lose the details eched into the MDF.

NVA mostly painted with AK US ww2 infantry set and AK US Vietnam set. with some Andrea colours for flesh etc.

The bamboo is the standard type you find on Ebay, painted and washed. the base is styrofoam on a board, painted, inked, and flocked. 


The roof is a dead teddy bear and the fur has been treated with watered-down glue and various inks and colours, roof is the main part I'm not happy with.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Anglo-Hanoverian Brigade.

 So the first brigade is "done" for my SYW project.
A sort of but not quite correct brigade for Minden.

The brigader Major-General Hon. John Waldgrave lead a brigade of 12th, 23rd and 27th foot, as well as two battalions of the Hanoverian Guard, and 9 6pdr guns. It was a big powerful force, Around 4000 men and 9 guns. 

I have the correct number of battalions, even the correct 3:2 British to Hanoverians. But except for the 6pdr and 12th foot, the units are wrong. My M.J. Hon. John Waldgrave leads the 12th foot, a British grenadier battalion, the 87th foot, and the Hanoverian Oberg and Estorff battalions. And a 6pdr gun.

I do plan on doing the historic brigade, but as I do random regiments, it will take some time. And given brigades and forces changed from battle to battle, this is a perfectly ok, what if brigade for none historic battles. I do plan on doing 3 6pdrs to represent the 9 guns, this battery did a lot of damage to both the French cavalry and infantry. 


From right to left, 6pdr gun, 12th foot, grenadier battalion, 87th foot, 

Second line, right to left, Oberg and Estorff





My next target is finishing my Minden allied cavalry brigade, I got part of the 3rd dragoon guards primed. Like the french cavalry brigade, it will be 36 strong. 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

British grenaders.

 So IL2 took up most of my life the last two weeks, first about 12 hours of WW1 flying, and then another 18+ of WW2 flying, Fighting over Holland during Market Garden.



Here I'm taking down a Ju 88, it's like trying to down a Mamukil, I fired all 500 .50cal and 280 20mm. But it did go down at least, I almost got caught napping on the way back.

But the main point of this post is that I'm done with a unit, I did the first 4 months and months ago, And then I started on the remaining 20, but IL2 got in the way, so took a month and a half to finish them. 


The unit consisted of the companies from the 6 regiments at Minden.
12th, 23rd, 37th, 51st, 25th and 20th. 

This brings my Brtish up to 3 battalions and will be brigaded with my two Hanoverian battalions. 
This brings my SYW collection up to 14 battalions. I'm not tantalizingly close to 500, less than 12 away from it. I will probably do the 3rd dragoon guards to complete the 500 goal. 
But it's slow going because of WW2 flight sim and wife will so have 3 weeks of vacation. So I doubt I'll finish the 500th before sometime in late July at the earliest.