I've been rather quiet on the production front of late. I'm in one of my occasional painting slumps (of which I'm sure most of you are familiar) but I haven't been completely idle. I have, as always, continued gaming and you can see a few pics of a recent game below. I've also been spending some time with planning, reading and research. Of particular interest to me of late has been the Mediterranean naval campaigns of WWII, specifically the Battle of Matapan in 1941 (you can see a short synopsis here). I have gamed in the WWII naval genre before using Victory at Sea but was unimpressed. In those games, we were using US and Japanese fleets and the action devolved into air power games. The naval aspect was definitely subsumed into the more uninteresting (at least to me) management of air assets. The Mediterranean campaigns between the Royal Navy and the Regia Marina seem to offer scope for capital ship engagements with limited air power resources (the Royal Navy had only one small carrier at Matapan and the Italians used only land-based bombers). The relatively small and self-contained scope of the operating theatre also appeals for campaign gaming.
So, having (perhaps) chosen a new project, what scale? GHQ offers a comprehensive WWII range that has incredible detail and would seem to be the first choice. But I have happened upon the Hallmark range of 1:6000 ships (yes, that's three zeroes!) and I'm currently contemplating these little beauties (that you can see here to the left). While they have less detail than their larger GHQ 1:2400 cousins (duh!), they make up for that in their relative price point. The Hallmark ships are five or six times cheaper per ship than GHQ. The smaller scale has other advantages: 1) less storage space is needed; 2) a smaller playing surface is needed; 3) alternatively, the same space as needed for larger scales could be used...this would make for a more visually realistic (sic) playing surface, especially if aircraft carriers are involved.
What else is happening? The in-laws are preparing for their annual six-month Florida sojourn, leaving the basement en-suite apartment empty for the winter. I will again be transforming it into a temporary gaming room and workshop. There will be, of course, a gaming table but this time round I plan to also use the space for some larger terrain projects. Daniel plans to start on his WWI trench boards during his Christmas break and I would like to get a start on my new WWII buildings. Should make a lovely mess!
We played a 1940 scenario with Disposable Heroes on Sunday at MIGS. I hosted the game for two new and interested parties: Mark and Steve #2. Thanks guys for attending! I decided on a simple attack-defend scenario to introduce the new guys to the rules. You can see the central terrain feature in the picture above. Some of you may recognize this bridge from many WWII games in the past. Many a British paratrooper has given his all to defend (or capture) this bridge.
The German attack quickly received a serious blow. A French S-35 took its first shot of the game and destroyed Steve #1's brand-spanking-new Neubaufahrzeug, a three-turreted German tank of extremely limted production-run, deployed during the Norway campaign (note: Before anyone mentions that this tank never appeared in the 1940 France campaign, it should be obvious from what I just wrote that I'm fully aware and don't really care!).
The last moves of the game saw German panzer grenadiers assaulting the bridge under the cover of a smoke screen. The Germans eventually took the bridge in the waning moments, earning a marginal victory (there were still substantial French forces intact and nearby).