My friends who game with me regularly already know my opinion of air power in naval games. I think aircraft are sneaky, underhanded contraptions that are barely one step above submarines in terms of ruining a good naval fight. Zeppelins fall into the same category, so don't think the lighter-than-air people get away either. In short, if it moves under the sea or flies over it, I'm not a fan.
Now, airplanes fighting airplanes? That's cool, and even more if they're jet powered. That's probably why I've got a few sets of rules, and a box of airplanes to play with. The set of rules I use is the one that is most popular in my area. To wit:
So what types of air wars do I like to play? Well, there are a couple of periods with another in the planning stages. As an American, I can't ignore the big dog in the room, which is Vietnam. I've managed to mostly resist the obvious temptation to buy USAF and USN aircraft, restricting myself to USAF. It's an interesting period because most of the Vietnamese aircraft in scenarios are MiG-17's, with an occasional MiG-21 or 19. MiG-17's are fun to "fly." They are quick, and maneuverable enough to run rings around any US aircraft. Their biggest disadvantage is that they don't have any of these:
the robotic flying boomstick of DEATH, aka the Sidewinder missile. It seems that my destiny as a Red pilot is to get hammered by one of these 🤬every time we play. The funny thing is, they are actually pretty unreliable in game terms. Still, they get me more often than not. I didn't post any pictures of the Vietnam aircraft, because they were some of the first ones I ever painted. I'm no longer happy with how they look, since they're what taught me I'm no good at using washes.
Since missiles seem to be my nemesis, the best thing to do is step back to a period where there aren't any, or not very many. No, not Korea, as those planes aren't fast enough. For real fun, you gotta try these:
|"Oh, I recognize those. They're, . . . wait, whut?"
As a game, the air war has a lot going for it. It's short, only about three weeks. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is flying a grab bag of British, French, and Soviet equipment, but the PAF is flying American aircraft exclusively. The aircraft themselves range from outmatched WWII gear:
|deHavilland Vampire. First flight: 1943
Miniatures by MSD Games, flight stand by Fight's On! (https://www.fightsonstore.com/)
To evenly matched dogfighting rivals:
|F-86 Sabre and Hawker Hunter. Both minis by I-94 Enterprises
(main site: https://i-94enterprises.com/ store: https://raiden.25.ekm.shop/ )
To the limits of 1950's technology.
|F-104 Starfighter and MiG-21 F-13. Both by I-94 Enterprises.
|English Electric Canberra and Dassault Mystere IV
Canberra by ??? and Mystere by I-94.
I'm not saying which one I read first. 😎
Back in part 1 of this post, I promised you that I would tell you about a new project that somehow tied in a little closer to what I normally do. So how does all the above stuff about airplanes tie into that? Well, that will take a couple of more photos. Let's look at some stuff on the painting table, shall we?
|Now where could they be going?
Well, those are some good-looking ships, even if one isn't quite finished! Pretty much the epitome of the Cold War Royal Navy. Got to be a project set in the 1980's then. World War III at sea, maybe?
Geez, more 1:1200/1250 aircraft carriers. The one on the left has a ski jump and no angled deck, so clearly not US Navy. The right hand one doesn't quite look American, but not British either. With so many modern(ish) aircraft carriers around, there's got to be some airplanes. . .
Well I would guess that is a naval airplane, given the anchors painted on the wings. Maybe he can fly by again, so that we can get a better look at his markings. . .
Obviously, I'm going to start doing some of the air attacks during the Falklands War in 1982. It gives a chance to run a small campaign using both naval and air forces. Yes, the ships will be stationary targets, but they still need to look good! Besides, they can shoot back with their anti-aircraft defenses like guns and missiles. I really love Check Your 6 Jet Age, and so this project should be a lot of fun.
In closing, there is one company listed here that I would like to give a little more of a shout out to. That company is Fight's On!, and their website is: https://www.fightsonstore.com/ . They make terrain and accessories for air games. Their best-known product, other than missiles are the "Cadillac of the Sky" flight stands that you saw in the pictures above. The stands can track movement and altitude by using magnetic rods of differing lengths. It sounds complicated, but is really not. For some photos of them in action take a look at: https://www.fightsonstore.com/product-page/cadillac-of-the-sky-flight-stands . Full disclosure: The owners of the company are gaming buddies of mine. You can tell them I sent you, but I don't think it will get you a discount.😁