Monday, July 9, 2018

Khalkhin Gol: Japanese vs. Soviets

I've been playing a lot of Bolt Action as of late, and my buddy Art and I thought it would be fun to pit his Soviets against my IJA force using one of the the Khalkhin Gol scenarios from the Ostfront book.  For this game, the object is to control the hills on the table (3 points per hill) and eliminate opposing units (1 point per destroyed unit).

Round 1:

The Japanese mortar team opens with a smoke barrage to cover the two Manchukuoan cavalry squads advancing to the middle hill, while the Soviet flamethrower tank moves into position to launch a counter attack.

At the southern hill, a veteran IJA infantry squad and their lieutenant move to seize the high ground.  The Chi-Ha tank attempts to engage the Soviet tank, but fails to hit its target.

Disaster strikes the Japanese at the northern hill when the Soviet BA-6 destroys their transport, and the quad Maxims starts mowing down the surviving infantry.

The Soviets begin a counter push on both the northern and southern hills.

Round 2:

The wind has dissipated the smoke screen and before the Japanese mortar team can launch more, Soviet artillery inflicts heavy damage to one of the cavalry units.

The Chi-Ha again misses the Soviet tank, allowing it to attempt to flame the other cavalry unit. Luckily the Soviets suffer from poor aim as well. The cavalry dismount and set up light machine guns on the middle hill, firing on the advancing Soviet infantry.

Soviet infantry seizes the northern hill and pick off more of the IJA infantry. The Japanese attempt to assault the BA-6, but fail and are eliminated.

The Japanese have better luck on the southern hill, taking it unopposed and inflicting casualties on the Soviet infantry.

Round 3:

Japanese air support arrives in the form of a Ki-10. The Soviet anti-aircraft guns are too far away to be effective, allowing the plane to bomb a house full of infantry and pin other Soviets units in the area.

The Soviets call in an artillery barrage against the Japanese tank and infantry on the southern hill, but it fails to do any damage.

The Chi-Ha again tries to destroy the Soviet tank without luck, allowing the flamethrower tank to launch a successful attack on the Manchukuos.

The Soviets continue to pound the middle hill, but fail to dislodge the surviving cavalry troops.

The Japanese mortar team renews its smoke barrage in an attempt to conceal the Manchukuos from the Soviets.

On the southern hill, the lieutenant's orders go FUBAR, and the infantry unit mistakenly abandons the hilltop. 

Round 4:

Things are going from bad to worse for the Japanese this round. Soviet infantry finally manage to eliminate the cavalry from the middle hill, and rush to claim it for their own.

The Japanese artillery and a Type 94 tankette counter attack, but cannot slow the Soviet advance on the hill.

Preoccupied with the Soviet infantry, the Japanese artillery fail to notice the BA-6 moving in on their flank and pay for it with their lives.

On the southern hill, the Japanese lieutenant holds it alone and screams at his disorganized troops to return to the hilltop.

Round 5:

The Chi-Ha crew fails in their final attempt to destroy the flamethrower tank and are burned to a crisp.

The BA-6 stalks the mortar team, but is unsuccessful in getting a kill.

Soviet infantry attempt to assault the tankette, but are repelled and retreat up the hill, joining their comrades advancing from the other side. 

The Japanese retake the southern hill and begin exchanging gunfire with the Soviet troops.

Round 6:

The IJA mortar launches its last round at the Soviets on the middle hill, before the armored car finishes them off.

The tankette also launches a last attack on the Soviet infantry, dislodging one of two squads from the hill.

The flamethrower tank approaches the last Japanese infantry squad and sends them to a hellish end.

Despite the brutal loss, it was quite a fun game. The Japanese did fairly well for the first half, controlling 2 of the 3 hills, but I think the inability of the Chi-Ha crew to score a hit and eliminate the flamethrower tank spelled the death knell for the IJA.  Hopefully I'll have some better dice rolls next game.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Kawasaki Ki-10-II over China

My Nationalist Curtis Hawk II has been paroling the skies of China unmolested for a while now, so I figured it was time to get a Japanese aircraft and make things a little more dangerous.  While other Japanese WWII planes tend to get all the attention, I have to admit I'm a sucker for biplanes. As such, I've chosen a Kawasaki Ki-10-II (Allied code name "Perry").

This particular kit is a 1:48 Fine Molds model obtained from Hobby Link Japan.  Fine Molds makes three variants of this plane, and I've gone with Capt. Tateo Kato's fighter seen over China in 1938.

Overall this is a very nice kit that I was able to assemble over a weekend. There was some warping in the fuselage halves, and I had to shave one of the support beams to get it to fit into its slot, but nothing atypical for plastic biplane models. The wire support cables and spreader bars were not included with the kit, but I had plenty of items in the bits box to take care of that.

The most difficult part of the build was applying the orange decals to the landing gear.  The kits gives you the option of two Ki-10 variants, one with covered wheels and one with open wheels.  I opted for covered and found that the decals were rather thick and the edges did not want to lay flat on the curved cover, even with a generous treatment of Micro Sol. I could tell the edges were going to crack and flake off over time, so decided to cover then with a film of superglue and run some orange paint over the seams.  The leading edge of the wheel cover looks a little bumpy as a result, but better than the alternative.  

As with my other planes, I wanted to be able to display this on the ground or mounted to a flight stand. To accommodate this, I drilled a hole under the wings and built a sleeve of small washers to hold the brass rod.  This will keep the plane from tipping on the stand and prevent additional wear and cracking around the opening.

The kit included three figures: a seated pilot, a standing pilot, and a ground crew member working on a machine gun.  As a nice bonus, there were also some barrels, supplies, and a table with a few bottles of sake. I haven't assembled these yet, but think they will end up as some sort of objective marker in the future.

I'm quite happy with the final product and can't wait for it to make an appearance on the the battlefield.