Monday, March 12, 2012

Dressing Up My LCS-2

Last March I got one of the last LCS-2 models that PT Dockyard made. This year I'm finally putting it together and I'm hoping to use it in an Enfilade game.

I really like the way the hull looks, but it seemed a bit plain. I wanted to "dress up' the hull some and I really wanted to improve how the helicopter deck looked. I didn't think just painting some lines on the model would look that great. So, a couple months ago I started looking at the different brass photo-etch detail kits on the market. I found a set made specifically for the Dragon plastic LCS-2 kit from a company named Flyhawk, but I wanted to look around a little more to see if there were some other detail kits that would work. I looked around some more, but I was really interested in a kit for detailing the helicopter deck and nothing else looked like it would work. So, I decided to get the Flyhawk detail kit. I figured that it was the right scale (1/700) and even if things were a little off, they wouldn't be too far off.
The clean LCS-2 hull, ready for some detailing
I knew the Flyhawk helicopter deck brass piece was going to be a little off, since the plastic model had open hanger doors and the brass deck extended into those. But I thought I would easily be able to trim those off to fit my kit.
The photo-etch kit from Flyhawk
When the photo-etch detail kit arrived, I was happy and sad. The helicopter deck was longer and wider than expected. The length wasn't too much of an issue, since I could cut that back, but it was also about 2mm wider than the PT Dockyard deck. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if I should just put the deck piece on as is or try to trim it to fit. After a lot of debating with myself, I decided to trim 1mm off each side (to keep the deck centered). It took a lot of patience, but I think it turned out okay.

Here are a few photos of the assembled LCS-2 model with the photo-etch parts attached. I wanted to post the photos before I painted it so that you could see where the photo-etch parts were added.
Port side view with photo-etch in place
Here is the troublesome helicopter deck. I haven't added the netting around the deck yet, I'll do that after I paint the hull.
The helicopter deck (with a little glare)
And the starboard side, which has the part that got stuck before I could straighten it out.
Hopefully the final paint job will hide the crooked ventilation panel
I'm thinking about adding some railing after I paint the hull too. But it just depends on how the ship looks when painted. Right now I think things are looking pretty good.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March already!!!

As I flipped over the calendar page to March earlier this week, all I could think was 'Yikes! What happened to February?'

I usually take a break from gaming in mid/late-January, but this year work kept me from doing much in February and I've really been neglecting this blog. So, I wanted to post a quick update on what I've been up to and what I'm planning.

To begin with I thought I'd post this Naval Wargamer 'What I Do" image that I thought was pretty funny (there were a bunch these going around for different wargaming types).
Plans for Enfilade - first off, I'll talk about what I'm thinking about doing for the Enfilade gaming convention. I know Enfilade is still months away, but the way February zipped by, I figure I better get working. Right now I'm looking at running (or helping to run) two games.

For the first game, Kevin and I have talked about what naval game to do for Enfilade and we decided we would run a Strait of Hormuz game with the Bulldogs Away! rules. The basic idea for the game is that Iran has shut down the strait by laying a few minefields and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy (IRGN) has been deployed to stop any attempt to sweep the mines. The U.S. Navy is other side and will deploy some littoral combat ships to sweep the mines and defend themselves from the Iranians. I actually would like to have more options for minesweepers, but I haven't been able to find any good ones in 1/700 scale. But, I have the LCS-2 from PT Dockyard (which is no longer available) and Kevin has an LCS-1 and he recently purchased a plastic version of the LCS-2. So, we have some interesting ships for the U.S. side. The IRGN will have the options of taking the lightly armed, but more numerous, Boghammers, the small C-14 'China Cat' missile boats, and the larger Thondar class missile boats.
C-14 'China Cat' test firing a missile
Iranian Thondor Class

There might be some other options for the IRGN too. I'm hoping we can make an interesting scenario of it. However, if our tests of the scenario don't look good or things in the Middle East change to the point that we don't want to do the scenario, we have decided that we will replace this with a WWII coastal forces scenario.

The second game I'm looking at is a Vietnam War search and rescue scenario. It is a scenario idea I've had on the shelf for several years, but never got around to running. The basic idea for the scenario is that a U.S. Air Force CSAR (Combat Search And Rescue) force of A-1 Skyraiders and a rescue helicopter are looking for a downed aircrew.
A-1 Skyraider "Sandy" used to support search and rescue operations

There will be some F-4 Phantoms in the area too, but they won't have a full weapon load and they will have a limited loiter time. The North Vietnamese will have some anti-aircraft guns, some ground troops, and several flights of MiGs (17s, 19s, and 21s). I'm planning on using the AirWarC21 rules, since I think they have air-to-air and air-to-ground rules, and are easy enough for anyone at the convention to get into.

Other stuff - In addition to making Enfilade plans, I've been slowly (emphasis on SLOWLY) painting up 15mm sailors (American/English and Barbary types) for my Age of Sail stuff. I'm not sure why I have such trouble painting figures, but I always have. So I do a little painting on the figures, wonder why they don't turn out exactly how I pictured in my mind, then I let them sit until I get over that and try again. But, here are a couple "in progress" photos. The Barbary Pirates are from Thoroughbred and the other sailors are from Minifigs (I also have a some sailors from Thoroughbred, but they aren't pictured here).
Thoroughbred Barbary Pirates in progress
Minifigs sailors in progress

I'm also following up on a long standing project to do models of American submarines. It has been pretty hard to find them in the same scale, especially for the early Cold War classes. But a company called OKB Grigorov is making 1/700 scale (my preferred scale) models of lots of Cold War subs. So, it looks like this project might be back on track.
Nautilus model from OKB Grigorov

Now I just need to make sure I get back to posting regular updates to the blog.