Sunday 14 April 2024

Wings of War and Glory

Using pre-painted 1/144th scale models and a card driven system for moving and adjudicating damage, Wings of Glory (originally Wings of War) is a hugely popular system for gaming WW1 aerial battles

I have always enjoyed WW1 aerial games going back to playing Avalon Hill’s Richthofen’s War in the late 70s/early 80s at Newham Wargames Club. This then evolved into Wings - the S Craig Taylor designed  game published by Yaquinto - along with Aces High/Blue Max. At the time I never considered using models although I do remember building some 1/72nd aircraft ‘back in the day’. 

Fast forward to the around 2004 when a game called Wings of War was launched that used 1/144th scale models that were ready painted to use straight out of the box on the tabletop (or one of the official gaming mats). The game really took off (pardon the pun like comment!) and numerous expansions and extra aircraft were made available. I bought into the system but for reasons lost in the mists of time I passed the collection on to Mr Fox some years ago who regularly takes the game to the club on Wednesday evenings. 

The game itself is quite simple to play and makes use of manoeuvre cards graded by type - the more manoeuvrable the aircraft the more cards it has - and a deck of damage cards for use when firing. It is easy to pick up and a popular choice for club nights.

I wanted to get back into the game (and WW1 aerial as a whole) but at present the range of aircraft that is available is quite modest and as a result tends to be eye-wateringly expensive. A new version is currently in pre-production which should ease the supply situation somewhat. However, by virtue of some selective acquisitions I now have the makings of a pretty good set up for use with the original game and for the several other rules sets I have for the period. I have around amassed around 40 or so models along with four of the ‘official’ gaming mats and assorted other bits and pieces which is probably about as much as I will need for the foreseeable. Most of the ‘official’ scenarios use a modest number of aircraft so the need for a massive collection is not so imperative - half a dozen or so models a side would be a fair sized action.

The collection covers a variety of the main types in action but at present there are few notable exceptions to the set up - which is based on the 1917/18 period - but the usual suspects are there - SE5a, Sopwith Camel and Snipe, DH4, RE8, Albatross DVa, Fokker DR1 and D7, Roland, Rumpler, Halberstadt, Hannover and SPAD 13, along with a balloon - so the scope for a variety of actions is certainly broad enough. I would have loved to have gotten a couple of Bristol Fighters but that would be for another day methinks. As mentioned there will be a certain number of paint conversions but nothing too drastic - one can only have a single all red Fokker DR1 after all!

The Reason Why

As my recent flurry of ‘retirement front loading wheeling and dealing’ draws to a close - there are a couple of  pieces of the puzzle outstanding which be addressed shortly - I have to say that I am overall very pleased with how it has played out. I have  acquired a good selection of quality material which will give me an endless variety of games to enjoy both cheaply and efficiently and more importantly will range across my myriad historical periods of interest. Although the emphasis has been more towards board games, I shall still use model ships and aircraft and even dabble occasionally in the odd skirmish style set up. For now though, and for the foreseeable future, using pre-painted models represents a massive time saver for me which is particularly handy given my current domestic circumstances.

Time is (as ever) my greatest adversary….


Martin Rapier said...

I always really liked the Wow models, I just regret not buying loads when they first came out and were still very cheap! I have amassed quite a collection of WW1 pre pai ts over the years, and have never knowingly actually painted a WW1 aircraft, apart from Airfix kits in the 1970s.

David Crook said...

Hi Martin,

They are lovely models for sure! Funnily enough I did buy into the system early on but for one reason or another sold it all off - and yes, I certainly regret that decision! I have acquired around forty models and aside from a couple of holes reckon that will be it. I have a sufficient variety to make for some good games - with a few that may be available for trading.

The two WW1 kits I recall making were a Sopwith Camel and Morane of some kind - great fun at the time and lashing of glue was involved!

All the best,


 Ashley said...

Loved the models, but never got on with the cards. I much prefer the X-Wing game, which is a port of WoW, but using dials.

David Crook said...

Hi Ashley,

I have played the X Wing game but never really took it further - have you tried Star Trek Attack Wing?

All the best,


Steve J. said...

A game that I always wanted to have a go at, but storage issues, space to lay out a game etc alongside plenty of other distraction meant it never took off😉.

A new release might tempt be, but time will tell. As an aside, my Dad worked on the 'Wings' tv series back in the day, as the close up were filmed with the plane hanging from a mobile crane that jusr rotated around to give the impression of flying!

David Crook said...

Hi Steve J,

I have been rather fortunate in that the bulk of the collection I have acquired was previously stored in custom cut foam trays from a company that still produces them. The whole fits nicely in a box around the size of two typical shoe boxes. The four gaming mats have there original boxes so that merely leaves the rules, counters and other game bits and pieces that all fit quite handily in one of the original starter set boxes. It is possible to game on a single gaming mat (roughly 3ft by 2ft) so again, the amount of space required can be quite modest. A combined set up featuring the East and West sector mats would occupy around 4ft by 3ft which is the size i typically fight my ironclad actions at.

Gosh I remember Wings from ‘back in the day’! Were you ever able to see any of the kit in person? In a similar vein my late grandfather used to work as a chippy at the film studios at Boreham Wood (or Boreham Stiff as he used to call them) and was a foreman of the team that built the moving escalator in the film ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ starring David Niven.

Small world eh?

All the best,


Steve J. said...

Hi David,
sadly I didn't get to see anything of the kit, nor the set etc. He might have had a photo or two and I believe there was a piece about it on the local news, showing him in the crane turning to 'plane' around. So long ago I can't be sure!