Saturday, 27 January 2018
Axis and Allies Part 1....The British
I have finally had a chance to crack open the recently acquired copy of Axis and Allies (2004 revised edition) and so I thought it would be a good idea to share some pictures of the pieces and my thoughts as to how I shall be using them going forwards. The most pleasant surprise though, was the fact that the models are hard plastic and not polythene. They are basic in respect of detail but that will work fine for me. There are some curious choices in the mix for the British (as with the others nations as well) although later editions do address this after a fashion. There are also the additional pieces available from Historical Boardgaming and Stratak which can serve to fill in the gaps where needed.
From left to right you have HMS Illustrious, HMS Royal Oak, a US Fletcher class destroyer, a US submarine and a Liberty ship. The ruler gives you a guide as to the size of the models.
You can see the variable scaling of the pieces in that the destroyer and submarine are virtually the same size asthe capital ships - which is sure to put off many gamers. I, on the other hand, am not in the least bit bothered by this! I will explain my thinking around this a little later but for now just assume that all is well with my thought processes. I am more concerned by the choice of models in this edition but mercifully this can be addressed by the acquisition of a later version of the base game or buying some additional pieces from the suppliers mentioned. The next set I have my eye on is the Spring 1942 set which not only includes cruisers (a County class for the RN - HMS Kent) for each nationality but the British get their own destroyer in the shape of HMS Saumerez. I would have preferred a J to N type or possibly a Tribal but will make do with what is to hand. From the suppliers mentioned earlier you can get HMS Warspite, HMS Hood and a KGV class in the same notional scale. There is also an Ark Royal.
The variable scales are not a problem in my opinion. In my mind’s eye I see battleships as shooting from far away so naturally they should look smaller. Destroyers operate at shorter ranges so will appear larger. I realise this will offend the purist but it works for me....
A cannon armed Spitfire (let’s assume it is a Mark 9 for arguments sake) and a Halifax bomber
I reckon these are scaled at around 1/600th or thereabouts so I am planning on making use of the decals available from Tumbling Dice in due course. There are a few other types available from the suppliers named - namely a Hurricane, a Mosquito, a Lancaster, an Albacore and a Swordfish. These will go on flying stands in due course for use with standalone aerial games as well as for air support for ground troops or even carrier strikes.
A Sherman Tank and a US 105mm Howitzer
The last pieces for the British in the edition I have are a Sherman tank and a 105mm Howitzer. There are other British pieces available - the Spring 1942 edition has a Valentine tank and a 25pdr - which will also be acquired in due course. From a scale perspective these are roughly 1/300th or 1/285th.
For sure these are gaming pieces and not models but they look like what they are supposed to represent. The major types of air, land and naval assets can be acquired from other sets or from the suppliers mentioned. There are significant gaps in the ranges overall but crucially there is enough of a variety to make use of. The edition I acquired has given me sufficient material to make a start on all five nations should I wish. There will be spares - how many R class battleships do you need (especially as the Russians get one as well - HMS Royal Sovereign)? - but these can be used for conversions or imagi-nation type set ups. From a cost perspective the set I acquired was very good value (£30 all in) and you would not be able to buy the material included for less than double that I should think - the aircraft alone would cost around £30 from Tumbling Dice and the hundred odd vehicles/artillery at roughly 50p a go comes out at £50. Then of course there are the ships.
This approach will not suit everyone but it absolutely ticks a lot of boxes for me!