Friday, November 14, 2014

Air Support for Tarawa - In-Air EZBuild Model and Corsec Engineering Flight Stand Review

Air support in Bolt Action is not as ubiquitous as games like 40k or even Flames of War, where you use spotter planes and things. You may take an air observer who can call in an air strike once per game (twice if you're America). Air strikes can be extremely power but can also never come in or backfire on you if you roll poorly.

You don't necessarily need a model for it. There are optional rules that are more in-depth regarding planes, where you'd probably want a model, but you could just use a base or a coin or something to say where the plane is. But that is not as cool!

Corsairs land on Tarawa
The Navy did extensive airstrikes on Tarawa before the actual landing took place. We're going to represent this by a 'Preliminary Bombardment' which is in the regular rules. Most of the accounts say it did little actual damage, although many Marines figured it'd be just a walk on the beach after all the ordnance that had been thrown at the island.

You see the videos of the Navy ships in WW2 just shooting those HUGE guns... hard to imagine between being the boats and the island for that. The first salvo from the 16in guns on the Maryland actually pretty well destroyed all the radios used in the assault.

Anyway, the ships were too close with the huge guns and many rounds just bounced off the island, according to many reports. The planes did manage to get their assaults in and later on were used to soften up Japanese positions when called for. In terms of damage done, the Japanese defenders didn't take many casualties, but it does seem like they were 'pinned down' or 'disoriented' which would be representative in the game of pin markers.

An eagle eyed Marine actually called in a bombardment on a position near the Japanese HQ at one point as he saw a group of Japanese officers standing there. They had moved out from the HQ building so it could serve as a field hospital. The bombardment killed the main commander of the island and may have turned the tide of the battle as the Japanese forces didn't counter attack the Marines at all that night - time that was used to shore up defenses. If the Japanese had counter attacked they may have pushed the Marines right into the ocean.

I had purchased and put together a kit I bought at a local store for $9.99 and thought it was pretty sweet (a Corsair model) so I bought a P-40 Warhawk kit as well to do this review. They're made by this company, WowToyz, and they have "In Air E-Z Build" on the front.

They're fully painted and decaled. All you have to do is put them together. That is pretty sweet when you're trying to finish 100 Marines and enough terrain for an entire island. I am also not too well versed in airplanes - their decals, markings, camo, etc. so it is nice to just get a ready to go kit at this point. They have a BF109 but it seems to be in Spanish Civil War colors, so I am going to repaint that one. The Zero looks good and the allies can use the Corsair, Mustang, Spitfire, or Warhawk. I think the only faction not really well represented would be the Soviets.

Putting together the model is actually a really straightforward and basic operation. There are a few screws and the shell of the aircraft goes together in two parts. It comes with the screwdriver you need so you don't even have to get up to get that.

Screws etc. You probably don't need any glue, but I used some just to make sure the shell of the plane was flush together.
Underneath the wings

Inside the shell you can see some pins go in to hold the two pieces together. They're not hard to put in at all.
The actual putting-together part doesn't take too long at all, maybe a half hour. It comes with a flight stand as well that is pretty nice but I chose to go a different route.

The wheels go in then a cover is screwed on top of them. They can be swiveled down in place or stowed.

The prop actually turns, which is pretty cool. The pilot inside is just a brown color but I really didn't feel like painting him. I suppose you could if you wanted to get a higher quality.
So for $9.99 you get a 1/48 scale warplane that looks pretty good. I did a watered-down wash on the model to give it a little more definition. The biggest issue is that the BF109 isn't the right paint job for WW2, but that gives you a little fun in re-doing it. My 2 1/2 year old son really likes these planes so I'll probably get an extra one for him next time I go to that shop.

Corsec Engineering sells their "Omni-Stand" system that makes it really easy to put these dudes on the field. For around $5-10 you can get a bracket thingy to put inside the plane (these kits come with a small stand hole anyway, and these just superglue right in there), a telescoping rod with a screw end on top and on bottom, and a hex base to screw it into.

It is super convenient and super easy. There aren't any magnets to fidget with. Everything just works. I love it.


The rod can telescope out to 25" (that's what she said!) but I wouldn't recommend going that far as the plane is somewhat heavy and it'll droop. I heartily recommend both the airplane kits and the Omni-Stand system for Bolt Action players who are looking for a quick, easy way to get some airplanes on the tabletop for visual appeal.

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