Wednesday, December 10, 2014

And Now, Back to the Air

As I get closer to running Check Your 6! events, I realize I need to add a few gaming items in order to do several of the scenarios in the Air War Korea scenario book.  As it stands, once I receive my latest batch of planes from Chris G. at I-94, I will be able to recreate sixteen of the thirty-two scenarios published in Air War Korea.  Realistically I could opt to do more, but as I am sticking with Raiden for all my miniatures (with a few CinC exceptions) some scenarios are still out of reach as Raiden does not yet produced the needed aircraft, plus I really refuse to buy nine B-29s!  In looking in greater detail at some of the scenarios I can host forced me to rush over to the Fight's On! website and place an order for some goodies that I am still missing.  I have ordered from Fight's On! one time previously, picking up some damage markers and a parachute marker, thinking that would be enough, but some of the scenarios that I have the full complement of aircraft for call for things like anti-aircraft positions and target markers.  This evening I ordered the required items, along with some game markers that weren't needed but perhaps will be handy to use.  Once the order comes in I will need to paint up the AA positions and target markers, but those will get knocked out quickly enough.

In the mail today I received a copy of Squadron/Signal's USN/USMC Over Korea.  This is a classic work by Squadron/Signal, filled with black and white photographs along with color aircraft profiles.  I can't believe I never bought this excellent work prior to now.  As the F9F is my favorite Korean War aircraft, and the F4U one of my favorite World War II planes, this title, which of course brings these two and other fine aircraft into one publication, will always be a handy reference.  And it was interesting to see the appearance in the Korean War of the TBF Avenger, used to evacuate Marines during the breakout at Chosin.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Picture from MiniFigs stars?!
Realizing that the Fox Hill scenario will need little (make that ZERO) in the way of vehicles, I still cannot help collecting a few tanks for the Korean War.  I already have a Panzer Depot Pershing and Chaffee along with a Pithead Chaffee and T34/85, yet today I placed an order with Miniature Figurines for their Pershing and T34/85 models.  I would also order vehicles from Pendraken, but they do not make a Pershing nor a Chaffee and not even a T34/85.  I guess that is a good thing as I certainly do not need additional T34s (not used by the Chinese anyway) or Chaffees (not used by the Marines).  I do plan to throw into the Fox Hill scenario the extremely random chance that a Marine M26 might make an appearance on the table, as the 1st Marine Division had the M26 in their organizational table.

What I DO plan to do with all these (mostly useless) vehicles is to write up a comparison review with pictures.  While there is already a bit of a review comparing the Panzer Depot and Pithead offerings, adding another company into the mix, providing pics, and giving more detail should help those of you who might be considering a 10/12mm project decide on what vehicles you would select.  

Hmmm, come to think of it, I do not own the seminal work Marine Corps Tank Battles in the Korean War.  Off to Amazon to rectify that little oversight!

Update - Phil at Pithead just informed me that he will be releasing his version of the M26 Pershing after Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Scoring Books at Half Price

I am fortunate to live within an hour of several Half Price Books locations.  Yesterday I headed to the second closest store and found some great buys, two books being directly related to the air war in Korea.

The first title is Combat Over Korea by Philip Chinnery.  My copy still had the shrink wrap intact, and had no description on the back cover, so I took a bit of a gamble on buying it, but am glad I took the risk.  Normally retailing in the States for $39.95, I picked up this new copy for under a ten spot.  Published in 2011 by Pen and Sword, it is an overall history of the war, with a war in the air focus.  There are many first hand accounts, not of the typical U.S. fighter jock, but also from those who served in air rescues, bombers, and helicopters.  And it is not just an American-centric book as other nations receive their due.  This is a great addition to anyone's library who is interested in the overall air campaign.

The second title I snagged is The United States Air Force in Korea 1950-1953 by Robert Futrell.  This edition is an updated version of the original, being published in 1983 by the Office of Air Force History.  Being an official publication, it is filled with facts and figures, and also has plenty of black and white photographs and maps.  Nearly 800 pages in length, it is also goes through the phases of the war, but from the U.S. Air Force's perspective.  The copy I was able to buy is in mint condition, as if I had ordered it directly from the Air Force.  Should be an educational experience once I delve into it.

My Half Price stores always seem to have a few Korean War books, but rarely anything so focused as the aforementioned titles.  I think it's time for another trip to my closest location to see what I can find!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Synopsis/Review of MSD Games - Frontlines: Korea 1950-53

Photo from MSD Games' website
I received my copy of Frontlines: Korea 1950-53 just a few days after placing my order via the MSD Games' website.  Excellent service from MSD!

Published in 2004, the book is in standard 8.5" by 11" format with a glossy cover and retails for $25.00.  It consists of ninety pages, of which only twenty are rules (including advanced and optional rules), the remaining being vehicle, aircraft, and boat data, unit organizations, notes and four scenarios (color maps for the scenarios are included at the end of the book).  The text is easy to read with a larger font than most publications.  There are two sheets of clear acetate templates, and three sheets of cardstock charts.  Production value is average - my copy was copied/printed with slightly slanted pages throughout.  

There are ratings for over twenty-five vehicles, thirty-plus aircraft, and four boats.  There are also many types of artillery pieces rated, from mortars to recoilless rifles to naval guns.

The various scales I find to be not consistent.  An infantry stand (called a counter) represents a fireteam or squad (perfect for what I want to use with the Fox Hill scenario), but one inch equals fifty meters, and infantry can only move one inch in open terrain.  Based on this, Fox Hill would have the Marine infantry bases standing shoulder to shoulder in a defensive position of six inches by three inches!  Let's see, using the squad organization from ODGW's Mein Panzer, that would be a minimum of twenty stands crowded into that area.  That simply is not going to work.  

Infantry bases are assigned a range and firepower factor, based on the national organization data.  For example a U.S. Marine fireteam has a firepower factor of 3 and a range of 5", while a Chinese infantry squad has a firepower factor of 5 and a range of 4".  Weapons such as machineguns have of course different firepower factors and ranges as well.  One takes the target's situation into account, adds all the firepower factors targeting a unit, cross references this on a small arms chart, and rolls a twenty-sided die for the result.  Results can range from forcing the target to slow movement and lose firepower, to causing no movement or fire, to destroying the target.  Obviously units in the open targeted by a high number of firepower factors can be destroyed more easily than troops in hard cover.  This ability to rate each nationality by differing ranges and firepower does appeal to me.

What I can use from Frontlines is the firepower factors and ranges, along with the unit organizations, cross referencing them with Mein Panzer.  What I cannot use are the rules as written as the ground scale simply does not match troop scale.  The search for the "perfect" set of rules continues, but I can find a lot of useful ideas and information from Frontlines: Korea 1950-53.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Off They Go!

Not too many moons ago I was able to snag some Raiden aircraft that were being sold on The Miniatures Page by Dom from Dom's Decals for a ridiculously low price (thanks, Dom!).  In that mix was four Panthers, two MiGs, and six P-51s, along with several other aircraft for World War II (which I have sent to Kevin Hammond at Miscellaneous Miniatures to have painted).  Today I put the Korean War planes into a box and mailed them off to Chris Geisert, who works at I-94 and painted a slew of other Korean War aircraft for me a few months ago (see THIS post for pictures if his excellent work).  Chris does some excellent work as you can see on the pictures on that post, so I am eager to have him finish up my Korean War air project for me.  Other than perhaps buying some Yak-9s and Meteors, I will have plenty of planes to cover most of the scenarios in the Check Your 6! Korean War scenario book.  This will allow me to host a variety of events with a decent mix of prop and/or jet aircraft.  I recently picked up a sky blue gaming mat with 1.5" hexes, so hosting Korean War air games for the upcoming 2015 convention schedule should be easy to do.
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