A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Shipwreck! The Liaoning Unleashed!


As part of my summer resolution, I listed three gaming mileposts... the first of which was to finish my current PLAN forces (though I am not quite done, as you shall see).  Everything in the following images is 1:3000 from NavWar.

The Liaoning.... I finished this centerpiece of my fleet, and I think it came out well.  I saw several different deck marking configurations, from one photo to the next, so I went with what I thought looked ok.
This Kuznetsov miniature from NavWar is a fine looking piece... the Liaoning may be years away from full time duty, and I doubt that she will run as well or be as capable as say the Theodore Roosevelt CVN, but I think this is a very handsome ship... and dangerous enough....  hen hao!
I also finished the remainder of my surface elements, a pair of Jiangwei II and a pair of Jianghu III, shown here as escorts for the Liaoning...

I had previously finished my undersea elements, even using one in a game, but never announced their completion.  Here they are, 3 Han SSN and 3 Ming SSK... and boy oh boy are the USN quaking in their boots about those Mings :)  On the other hand, I don't think they were too concerned about the Han either... at least until our last game...
The NavWar aircraft are very, very affordable.  They do sit flat on their own bases, so no nice looking "flying on posts" miniatures... and I have to admit, the lead strips they arrive in required some labor to cut apart (it is very thick lead).  Still, like I said, they are very affordable, and for the scale, have a decent amount of detail.  They were super easy to paint, too.

The problem is, there are not many aircraft for the Chinese available from most sources, and none from NavWar (except for the Soviet clones of course).  I didn't want just a bunch of MiG-15s and 21s, so I had to get a little creative...

I bought a pack of 15x MiG-23s, using 9 of them as JH-7s (they have a similar look, at this scale anyway), and 6 of them as J-10s... they don't really look like J-10s, but I painted on some pectoral fins, painted on a slightly longer nose, and "blue skied" over the anterior parts, and with a squint (and at 1:3000 scale!) they will pass as J-10s.  I just wanted a little variety.
A little easier, I bought a pack of 9x Tu-16 Badgers, which obviously work perfectly for the Chinese clone, Xian H-7s.  I marked 7 of them for H-7s... then marked the last 2 as Shannxi Y-8s.  They don't look anything like Y-8s, but I need the aircraft, and I think my USN opponent will understand.

Same problem with helicopters.  I bought a pack of 15x Ka-25 Hormones... but the PLAN helicopters are several different things.  I painted 6 of them for duty with the PLAN, simply marking them "KA" with the intention of using them for every helicopter I need... honestly, at this scale, I probably should have bought a pack of US Seahawks or something (which might look closer to some of the PLAN helos), but I plan on using the remaining 9 as their true selves (Ka-25s) for my Cold War Era Soviets. 
Effectively my PLAN fleet is DONE!  Plenty of people have pointed out that I can purchase newer Chinese craft (with better electronics, detection, weapons, etc) from sources such as Shapeways, and I probably will do this in the future, but for now, I have more than enough to work with, even if it is not the "best"... my complete Chinese fleet under way towards... Japan?  Taiwan?  Guadalajara?

I still want to buy specific aircraft for the Liaoning.  I'd like to get some Su-33 for the J-15 (or Su-27 or Su-30), and another helicopter type that would work better for at least some of the Chinese helos I should be using.  I also would like to get 1 or 2 Il-76s.  Since I likely will be working on that Soviet Cold War era fleet sometime, I might decide to look at the 1:2400 offerings, which are more expensive, and won't match up perfectly with my 1:3000 aircraft... but I realize I can't fake the J-14.  In 1:2400 I do have more options... and maybe the 1:3000 sea skimmers will look ok next to flying 1:2400 (the perspective would work in my favor).

So I'm not QUITE done just yet with the PLAN...

Tremble you running dog imperialists! The Chinese fleet on the prowl...
and in port....

Thanks for all of the helpful comments as I worked towards completion, I will be sure to share future game reports!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shipwreck! Submarine Action


We recently had a chance to try out the sub rules.... overall this proved to be easy, but at the same time, a few issues came up that we questioned.  For the first encounter, I fielded a Han SSN, my USN opponent fielded an OH Perry (which was nice of him, he certainly had some better options).

Here is our hated capitalist running dog enemy...  OH Perry deploying Seahawks.

And our righteous defender of our glorious revolution... Han SSN skulking 'n stalking.
I started my Han at VLong range, and slowly worked my way closer to my target, mostly staying under the thermocline (this hurt my detection attempts, but, since I was mostly out of range, I was more concerned about not being detected!).  Finally, after about 7-8 turns, I closed to within Short range, detected the OH Perry... and fired a torpedo (following my card, it appeared I could only fire 1 torpedo at a time) which would not arrive on target until the next turn.

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

We maneuvered, with the OH Perry attempting to localize.  I fired another torpedo as the first one arrived, and hit...
Dead in the water, and unable to fight, the second torpedo slammed into the OH Perry and finished it off...
Score one victory for the PLAN!

OK, on this, we used the attack score of the torpedo as listed on the individual card (in the case of my Han SSN, this was a 6) instead of the "9" listed on the rules chart.  We did not apply the guided / unguided / wire-guided modifiers as we decided this would (should) have already been calculated in.

At about this time it occurred to us that there does not seem to be any modifier for the subs own ability to detect enemy surface vessels... all subs seem to be treated the same in this regard.  We may be overlooking a rule, but if not, this seems strange.

OK, since the first battle was so short, we set up round two, pitting my Luhu DDG vs a USN Improved Los Angeles (I think the model pictured is a Virginia, but we didn't have a card for it).

Sailing to glory.... or death.... we will find out shortly...
(unfortunately some of the following pictures are blurry for some reason)

We went through a few turns, as the Los Angeles closed a wee bit on my Luhu, before stopping above the thermocline.  I wonder what he has in mind?
Oh, once he has a detection (actually, impressive at that range... being stationary and above the thermocline seems to help), he appears to be launching something... a brace of Harpoons methinks...
As unlikely as it seems, my chaff was able to distract one, and the second missed, leaving my Luhu shaken but not stirred (yet).  I got lucky on this one, as my AAM were out of arc except for the ineffectual guns.
We live!

Now that the Los Angeles was detected, we worked for a localization, and tried VERY hard to close on the enemy sub.  The USN failed to keep a detection, allowing me to close, slightly.
Man, what a nice place to have had helos with ASW options.... I think in the future, we will use the alternate player rules that allow the helos to make attacks.

Inevitably, the Los Angeles regained contact, with predictable results... a flight of 4 Harpoons (he realized large volleys are the way to go)...

OK, so nothing to shoot them down with, chaff does nothing, what could go wrong?????
One Harpoon missed, and, believe it or not, with a 10 rolled, one harpoon did no damage... but the other two hits resulted in a Light and a Heavy...
On the following turn, I passed my repair roll, and got back under way,... at 1/4 speed.  But my primary ASW system had been destroyed, leaving me with only a particularly ineffective ASW option.  There seemed no point in going on, I was at the mercy of my USN opponent, who would have sunk me the next turn that he could claim a detection.

In all, it did go well... but there seem to be some things not quite right.  I think we may decide on plotting "vectors" or "zones" for the sub approach.  I had a real hard time swallowing how hard it would be for a surface ship to close on a missile equipped sub... then realized, that was perfectly realistic.  Stand off attacks would be hard to deal with.  Also, with multiple assets, spread in a defensive pattern, it would be much harder for a sub to find a "safe" position to attack from (unless of course the sub decided that attacking an outlying escort would be a more survivable option).

Actually, the thing I was really happy about was my Han sinking the Perry!  The Perry had some bad detection rolls, my Han did pretty well with closing and detection... and once that first torpedo hit, it was pretty much all over.  Don't worry, I will take that victory, thank you very much.

We shall sail again!