Thursday, October 29, 2009

SE5a Models for Canvas Eagles: Part I

On the hobby table, October, 2009: "C" Flight, 56 Squadron RFC, March 1918.

So, my current project is a flight of five 1/72 scale SE5a scouts for an upcoming Canvas Eagles game. The genesis of this project occurred about 10 years ago when I was collecting a lot of WWI material. I had been building one-off WWI aircraft models for gaming, but was interested in doing a cohesive unit; a jasta or flight. At the time I was reading Alex Revell's "High in the Empty Blue". This was the unit history of 56 squadron, RFC/RAF. Famous British aces like Ball and McCudden flew for 56 squadron, but I was more interested in some of the lesser known pilots from the unit. In our Canvas Eagles campaigns, I can often get pilots to 5 or 6 kills, then they get shot down. This seems to have been the plight of many WWI pilots who never rose out of obscurity to reach the celebrity of the well known WWI aces.

Anyway, I was attracted to the members of "C" flight, who in March 1918 were able to combine their efforts to achieve victory over 19 enemy aircraft with the loss of just one of their own members (the most accomplished, as it turned out). Four of the pilots were ranked as modest aces, with 6 to 14 victories each. Note, that for the British of this era, a victory was counted as an enemy aircraft either destroyed or driven down "out of control", and "shared" victories counted as full credit for each pilot involved. A pretty liberal policy which would have never passed muster with the tougher victory criteria of the Germans and (especially) French. Nevertheless...

Here is a photo of "C" Flight pilots from March 1918.

From left to right...

M.E. Mealing. 14 victories. SE5a "W". KIA March 24th, 1918.
W.S. Fielding Johnson (Flight Leader). 6 victories. SE5a "U". Died 1953.
H.J. Walkerdine. 7 victories. SE5a "Y". WIA April 11th, 1918.
L.W. Jarvis. 7 victories. SE5a "V". To Home Establishment May 24th, 1918.
L.N. Franklin. 1 victory. SE5a "X". KIA July 14th, 1918.
A.L. Garrett. 0 victories. POW June 28th, 1918.

For this project, I'm using the Roden 1/72 scale kit, since it has options for the correct engine, radiator, exhaust stacks, landing gear, cockpit cutouts and propeller types for "C" Flight's aircraft.

After a couple of hours wrestling with this kit, I was able to get the ridiculous 6-part fuselage structures closed up. None of the radiators fit correctly, but never this point I was just happy to get everything glued together and puttied. This photo shows the five assemblies, wings painted, along with stacks of assembled landing gear, propellers and Foster Lewis gun mounts. Oh, and the small pile of 20 main wing struts.

Here I've attached the lower wings to the fuselage sections. All fuselage filler has been sanded down at this point.

Now, I've built a number of WWI biplanes and as you may know as well, the biggest pain is getting a good alignment for the attachment of the upper wing. What I like to do is get the cabane struts set correctly...then attach the upper wing and pop the interplane struts in as the last step. Of course, it's always tricky to get the cabane struts set up correctly. As you can see in the next photo, I've made a little jig out of card with holes drilled in the correct alignment for upper wing attachment.

Using the jig, setting the cabanes to the correct angle went pretty smoothly.

In the next installment, I hope to show the fuselages painted and the upper wings attached. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In The Beginning...

Hello Cyberspace.

Never thought I'd do a blog, but several guys associated with my game club have started up blogs, so I thought I'd jump in.

I'm pretty passionate about my miniatures gaming hobby, and I'm always looking for info on what other miniatures enthusiasts are up to. Hopefully, you are like-minded and will find interesting material here.

Starting a blog after being involved in miniatures gaming for 20 years feels a little weird. I could just go straight to what's on my workbench today, but I think it would be better to do a light survey of stuff I've worked on over the past few years (or decades...I suppose).

I've been a game designer since 1985, and fell into miniatures gaming as a result of that career choice. I designed my first set of miniature game rules back in 1990 with Silent Death, which was a set of space fighter rules inspired by Star Wars and set in my Spacemaster game universe.

I have plenty of painted miniatures for SD, but no pics of my own here is a pic of someone else's figs.

Back then I was playing a lot of Advanced Squad Leader as well. I got into DASL, which was a micro armor version of the game. 6mm is a pretty small scale, but that just means you can collect a lot more of it! Here are some of my micro armor pieces, painted between 1989 and 2006.

Sherman V and Priest.


Ram Kangaroo with Infantry.

25 Pounder Battery.

Around 1999, I was contacted by my old friend from FASA, Jordan Weisman (who was responsible for games like BattleTech, Mech Warrior, Earth Dawn, Crimson Skies, etc.). He had an idea for a new miniatures-based game that would do away with the monster rule books which pervaded the industry at that point. Together, we came up with Mage Knight, the first collectible miniatures game. Our company was called WizKids, and it went on to produce lots of different miniatures games based on cool properties like DC and Marvel superheroes, Mech Warrior and Major League Baseball.

Here is a pic of some of the figures from that game system.

I moved to Edmonton in 2005 and hooked up with Bob Barnetson's excellent Edmonton Wargame Group. Miniatures gaming really took off for me at that point and I started collecting lots of armies, gaming models and terrain sets.

Here is a sample of some of the figs I've collected and painted for our games over the past few years.

15mm German PaK and Infantry for Disposable Heroes.

15mm German Motorcycle Troops & Panzers.

25mm British Paratroopers.

15mm Ancient Greek Hoplites.

1/72 scale Pfalz D.XII for Canvas Eagles.

25mm Troll Chieftain for War of the Ring.

25mm Wild West Gunfighters.

1/144 scale diecasts for Warbirds in Miniature.

30mm Warmachine miniatures.

25mm Romano-British Calvary

Well, there's a sampling of what has occured in miniatures gaming for me over the past while. Next, I'll move on to current projects. Thanks for taking the time to look through this blog...hope you liked it. I'll try to update regularly.