Tuesday 26 February 2013

F14 Tomcat

Came across this nice little video of the F14 Tomcat, one of my favourite aircraft of all time.


Monday 25 February 2013

Picture Of The Week - No 13 - I've Got My Eye On You !

A picture of my friend Andy Baxter's 15mm Alien figures, made by Irregular Miniatures.

Saturday 23 February 2013

Hiding the Lockheed Plant during World War II

Hidden in Plain View

During World War II the Army Corps of Engineers needed to hide the Lockheed Burbank Aircraft Plant to protect it from a possible Japanese air attack.
They covered it with camouflage netting to make it look like a rural subdivision from the air.



The person that provided these pictures said she got an interesting story about someone's mother who worked at Lockheed, and she as a younger child, remembers all this. She says that to this day, these are the first pictures of it she's seen.

Another person who lived in the area talked about as being a boy, watching it all be set up like a movie studio production. They had fake houses, trees, etc. and moved parked cars around so it looked like a residential area from the skies overhead.

I lived in North Long Beach during World War II, I was 13 years old. (1940) The Long Beach airport was near Lakewood, CA. There was a large Boeing Plant there. If you would drive down Carson St.going south you could drive under the camouflage netting.  (Ed Pollard)

I am 85 and had much of my pilot training in Calif. I have been under this net and have seen it from the air. During preflight training I rode a bus under the net and was very surprised as I didn't know it was there. It was strong enough to walk on and they hired people to ride bicycles and move around as if they lived there to make it look authentic. (Warren Holmgreen Jr)



Friday 22 February 2013

Friday Humour - Royal Navy News

Royal Navy News

The Royal Navy is proud of its new fleet of Type 45 destroyers. Having initially named the first two ships HMS Daring and HMS Dauntless, the Naming Committee has, after intensive pressure from Brussels , renamed them HMS Cautious and HMS Prudence. The next five ships are to be named HMS Empathy, HMS Circumspect, HMS Nervous, HMS Timorous and HMS Apologist.

Costing £850 million each, they meet the needs of the 21st century and comply with the very latest employment, equality, health & safety and human rights laws.

The new user-friendly crow's nest comes equipped with wheelchair access. Live ammunition has been replaced with paintballs to reduce the risk of anyone getting hurt and to cut down on the number of compensation claims. Stress counsellors and lawyers will be on duty 24hrs a day and each ship will have its on-board industrial tribunal.

The crew will be 50/50 men and women, and balanced in accordance with the latest Home Office directives on race, gender, sexuality and disability. Sailors will only have to work a maximum of 37hrs per week in line with Brussels Health & Safety rules, even in wartime! All the vessels will come equipped with a maternity ward and nursery, situated on the same deck as the Gay Disco.

Tobacco will be banned throughout the ship, but cannabis will be allowed in the wardroom and messes. The Royal Navy is eager to shed its traditional reputation for; "Rum, sodomy and the lash"; so out has gone the occasional rum ration which is to be replaced by sparkling water. Although sodomy remains, it has now been extended to include all ratings under 18. The lash will still be available but only on request. Condoms can be obtained from the Bosun in a variety of flavours, except Capstan Full Strength.

Saluting officers has been abolished because it is deemed elitist and is to be replaced by the more informal, "Hello Sailor". All information on notices boards will be printed in 37 different languages and Braille. Crew members will now no longer be required to ask permission to grow beards or moustaches and this applies equally to women crew members.

The MoD is working on a new "non-specific" flag because the White Ensign is considered to be offensive to minorities. The Union Flag had already been discarded.

The newly re-named HMS Cautious is due to be commissioned soon in a ceremony conducted by Captain Hook from the Finsbury Park Mosque who will break a petrol bomb over the hull. She will gently slide into the water as the Royal Marines Band plays "In the Navy" by the Village People. Her first deployment will be to escort boat loads of illegal immigrants across the channel to ports on England 's south coast.

The Prime Minister said, "While these ships reflect the very latest in modern thinking, they are also capable of being up-graded to comply with any new legislation coming out of Brussels ."

His final words were, "Britannia waives the rules."

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Yorkshire Air Museum

We had a fine day yesterday here in Yorkshire on Saturday, so I took the opportunity to go the the Yorkshire Air Museum at the old Elvington Airbase. I have been before but it is so many years ago I didn't have any clear recollection of what the place was like at all. I was pleasantly surprised at how much there was to see, with quite range of aircraft and general exhibits. They also have a small range of vehicles including a Chieftain tank, although due to a shortage of hangarage they were stored outside, and beginning to be slightly worse for wear. The twin prides of the collection I would say are a Nimrod and a Victor aircraft, both of which are in truly fabulous condition with virtually all systems functioning. On select days of the year they do fast runs up and down the runway.  Here are a few pictures.

Victor Tanker


Control Tower.
Grand Slam Bomb.
 Chieftain (1000) Tank.
 GR3 Harrier.

The Croods - Film Trailer

Comment:  This looks good fun :)

Saturday 16 February 2013

FUBAR - Support Weapons Table + Leclerc Tank Sci-Fi Variant

A couple of people have asked that I post the Support Weapons table from the expanded Sci-Fi FUBAR variant I've recent wrote about.  Here is a screen shot:

 Here's a couple more (staged) photos of the Leclerc tank.



Oblivion - Film Trailer

Comment:  This looks excellent for sci-fi fans :)

Search for 'buried Spitfires' in Burma called off

Archaeologists have called off a hunt for World War II Spitfires in Burma. Originally it was thought as many as 124 Spitfires were buried by the RAF at the end of the war but they have now concluded it was a myth.  Link to BBC.

Comment:  This must be so disappointing for all those involved.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Haunting pictures U-boat washed beach WWI

The day a U-boat ran aground off Hastings:
Haunting pictures show German warship washed onto beach after WWI as it sailed to France.
The U-boat was surrendered by German forces in February 23, 1919.  It was being transferred to France but she went aground off Sussex.  Thousands of people flocked to the seafront to catch a glimpse of the vessel.  Read more: Link


The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen

Watching a well scripted series on TV is for me one of life's little pleasures. Some of the best TV I have seen in the last 12 months has been that produced by Denmark. I’m talking here about, The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen. All of the series in Danish with English sub-titled, but such are the strengths of the scripts and the quality of the acting this does not detract. If you haven’t yet seen them, you are missing out.

Sunday 10 February 2013

Vapnartak Haul

A couple of photos here (at Don Ms request) of the bits and pieces Alex and I picked up the Vapnartak show last weekend (Link to earlier post).  I'm part way through getting some paint on the snow troopers.  I'll post again when they are finished off.




15mm Sc-Fi Tank (Ex Leclerc)

A couple of weeks back we visited a local Toy Fair at York Racecourse.  As every on the look out for a bargain, I picked up a Leclerc French MBT in 20mm scale for £ 3.50.

I decided to 'convert' it to a more modern Sci-Fi tank and did a few modifications:

  • 120mm main gun replaced with a Rail Gun.
  • Removed the fuel drums at the back.
  • Removed the commander swivel sight.
  • Addition of two automated  gun systems (trophy like) on either side of the turret.
  • Addition of a light auto-cannon in its own remote turret.
  • Addition of a millimetric radar / ECM dish.  
  • Addition of a spare GZG commander.

I then repainted it in the White/Grey/Black aggressor paint scheme I've used on 8 other vehicles I have. 



Different Blog Template

After much consideration I have decided to change the template of the Blog.  The main reason is to all allow posting of bigger pictures.  This will also assist when back-tracking through the Blog to re-establish links after the debacle with Webshots/Smile.  I'm not totally happy with some aspects of the layout and font colours, but will tweak these over the coming days.

Friday 8 February 2013

Operation Loyton

Followed a link to this fascinating  story today.  Worth a read.
Operation Loyton was the codename given to an ill-fated Special Air Service (SAS) mission in the Vosges department of France during the Second World War.
The mission, between 12 August and 9 October 1944, had the misfortune to be parachuted into the Vosges Mountains, at a time when the German Army was reinforcing the area, against General George Patton's Third Army. As a result the Germans quickly became aware of their presence and conducted operations to destroy the SAS team. With their supplies running out and under pressure from the German Army, the SAS were ordered to form smaller groups to return to Allied lines. During the fighting and breakout operations 31 men were captured and later executed by the Germans. Link

Thursday 7 February 2013

Vapnartak - Show Report

Last Sunday I attended my local Wargames Show 'Vapnartak' with young son Alex and my old friend John Elwen.  This was my first time attending the show at its current venue at the York Racecourse. Must confess I was pleasantly surprised at the range of traders and games on display.  There was something for everyone, and my wallet took a right bashing.  Alex and  I came away with some Critical Mass factory buildings, a Wings of War aircraft, a second-hand 40k Dreadnought, 40 x 20mm Hoth Snow troopers (great casting) and some 15mm sci-fi infantry.  Time permitting I'll upload some photos of the figs etc as I get them based up.
     Whilst there we joined in a excellent Star Wars participation game run by members of the York Club.  Here's a couple of photos as our X-Wings successfully dodged (most of) the bad guys shooting to deliver a torpedo down the exhaust port !  


A good day out, and we'll definitely be back next year.

Sunday 3 February 2013

Inside the 1980s time-capsule that is the Falklands War frigate HMS Plymouth

It seems a disgrace that this ship can't be saved :(   Link


Saturday 2 February 2013

15mm Sci-Fi FUBAR Rules

Well back at my old club (Harrogate Wargames Club) after our move north, in some ways it seems like I've never been away these last 18 years.  After we finished off a 20mm Bolt Action game a couple of weeks back I offered to run a 15mm sci-fi game for my normal gaming crowd.  I'd do the scenario and provide the figures and rules, all they needed to do was turn up.  I opted to use the FUBAR rules as:
a)  they are very easy to pick up,
b)  they work extremely well, and
c)  I'd been thinking about some improvements and wanted to try them out.
For those unfamiliar with the (free) FUBAR rules, it's all about getting a workable set of rules onto one side of A4.  I'm not hung up about the one-side of A4 aspect, so I increased the font size, expanded all the points out so they are easier to isolate and read, merged the modern and sci-fi sets, and added (in my opinion) an improved vehicle damage system.  I opted to run two linked games over a 3 week period.  The first one was an ambush, and the survivors from both sides were then reinforced for the second which was an attack and defend.
Here's a couple of photos:



My hope was that the guys would enjoy the game sufficiently to feel inspired to go and buy some 15mm Sci-Fi figures themselves (or at least get some more).  In this I think I have been successful.  Both games went really well, and the rules worked great.  Hopefully at the Vapnartak convention here in York tomorrow, some 15mm sci-fi will be purchased :)  Ideas are currently afoot for a small campaign.  If anyone wants the current version of the rules we used (word doc), and the some vehicle record cards (excel), leave a message and I'll send them onto you.

For your interest I've repeated below part the rules concerning activating units.


Table 1 - Unit Training/Experience

4.1   FUBAR is played in ‘Turns’.
4.2   In a turn all players get to attempt to activate & use every Unit under their command.
5.  Initiative                                                                                                                                                                            
5.1   At the beginning of a turn each player rolls 1D6 & adds any scenario modifiers. Reroll any ties.
5.2   The player that scores the highest can attempt to Activate a Unit first.  If this succeeds then that unit can choose one action and carry it out.
5.3   He can continue to activate units until he fails an activation, then the initiative passes to his opponent.
5.4   If there are more than two players the initiative passes to the next highest score.
5.5   The initiative passes to & fro as players pass and fail Activation rolls, until they have all had a chance to try and activate each Unit in their command. 
6.   Activation 
6.1   To Activate a Unit a player must roll equal to, or more than, the activation number given in the Unit Training/Experience table.
6.2   A unit with a leader attached uses the Leaders Activation Level instead of its own.  
6.3   Add one to the roll if there are no visible enemy.
6.4   Once activated a Unit can do one of the following:

  Table 2 – Activation
The unit can also fire a small arms weapon, or throw a grenade, at one point at any time during their move.
Cannot fire weapons or throw grenades.
Duck & Weave
Cannot fire weapons or throw grenades.
Figures count as being in Soft Cover.
On Guard
Can react once per turn by: returning fire on an enemy that fires at them, or firing at enemy movement across their field of fire.
Gone to Ground
Drop into nearest cover. Increase the level of that cover by one.
Cannot fire weapons or throw grenades.
Aimed Fire
All figures in Unit get +1 to firing.
Move into close combat with enemy.

6.5   Units that fail to activate are ‘On Guard’, unless it is an Infantry unit that has taken have taken more than 50% casualties.  In this instance withdraw using a ‘Walk’ action at a speed of 6” away from the nearest visible enemy, or towards their deployment point if there are none visible.  (Note: a unit of 8 with 4 men remaining has not fallen below 50%)
6.6   No modifiers can make a Units Activation roll worse than 6.
6.7   Troops wearing jump packs increase their basic movement from 6” to 12” and can ignore intervening terrain.
6.8   When a unit is on ‘Guard’, it is its discretion if it reacts to being fired on, or enemy movement, BUT, it must decide at the time when the opportunity presents.  It can fire at any point during the enemy movement.

Friday 1 February 2013

Friday Humour - The Real Laws Of Nature

Forget Newton and Galileo.  Here are the real laws of nature:

1. Law of Mechanical Repair - After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.

2. Law of Gravity - Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

3. Law of Probability - The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

4. Law of Random Numbers - If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.

5. Supermarket Law - As soon as you get in the smallest line, the cashier will have to call for help.

6. Variation Law - If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now.

7. Law of the Bath - When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

8. Law of Close Encounters - The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

9. Law of the Result - When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

10. Law of Biomechanics - The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to your reach.

11.. Law of the Thearter & Hockey Arena - At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle, always arrive last. They are the ones who will leave their seats several times to go for food, beer, or the toilet and who leave early before the end of the performance or the game is over. The folks in the aisle seats come early, never move once, have long gangly legs or big bellies and stay to the end of the performance. The aisle people also are often rather surly folk.

12. The Coffee & Tea Law - As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee or tea, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee or tea is cold.

13. Murphy's Law of Lockers - If there are only 2 people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.

14. Law of Physical Surfaces - The chances of an open-faced jam sandwich landing face down on a floor, are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet or rug.

15. Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

16. Brown's Law of Physical Appearance - If the clothes fit, they're ugly.

17. Oliver's Law of Public Speaking - A closed mouth gathers no feet.

18. Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy - As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.

19. Doctors' Law - If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor; by the time you get there you'll feel better. But don't make an appointment, and you'll stay sick.