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"red sun blue sky hex map" Topic

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grenadier al cheval11 Dec 2019 5:34 a.m. PST

Who produces good hex maps for red sun blue sky something like mouse pad material. Also what size hexes are needed ?

Sundance11 Dec 2019 7:55 a.m. PST

Hex size depends on aircraft scale. I have 1-1/2 or 2" hexes, but a use 1/300 a/c. Fighters fit fine, light/medium bombers just fit, B-17/24/29s hang way over the sides! If you're using 1/600, that size hexes are fine for all a/c.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2019 9:27 a.m. PST

I use 1/300, like Sundance uses and have the same hex

I don't worry about the 'overhang' of the heavy bomber
aircraft. Typically, I use a triangular shaped stand
upon the apexes of which one bomber fits nicely and
the entire stand takes up an appropriate area on the
hex sheet.

These stands were at one time available from some
source, I forget which. They are easy enough to
reproduce using a small table saw.

For opposed raids, I'll use up to 65 B-17/B-24 deployed
on the hex sheet.

The bombers NEVER MOVE. The interceptors (usually 4
flights of 4) are deployed within 2 altitude levels of
the bombers and out of range (gun, usually, but if
rocket-armed, out of that as well).

If a 'max' game (4x4 flights of interceptors, 4x4
flights of escorts) the escorts place one flight,
the interceptors one flight and the placing continues
until all aircraft are down on the table. There are
NO restrictions on placing escorts, which can be
P-38's, -47's or -51's.

That many fighters (32, 16 per side) needs a pretty
large playfield, so all the numbers could be halved,
with each player (8 in this case) having 2 airplanes
rather than 4.

But the bombers ARE NOT MOVED. Instead, the heavies
are presumed to be heading for the Initial Point,
from where they'd start the bombing run.

Using a level speed for the heavies, each fighter is
moved back along the grid a number of hexes equal
to the hexes the bombers would have moved and the
position of the fighters (interceptors and escorts)
relative to the bombers is maintained.

An escort flight is moved first, then interceptor,
alternating 'til all have moved. Gunnery is done
after all movement.

At game's start, an over-all CO is determined among
the players for each side. That player decides
(for the Americans) whether the mission is escort
(protect the bombers) or Luftwaffe attrition (kill
the L'waffe fighters). The escorts may be split
such that some protect bombers, some kill L'waffe
fighters. It makes no difference how many or how
few fighters are 'protect' detailed.

At a point in the war, the heavies were 'bait' to
bring the L'waffe up to be destroyed in the air.
Look it up.

The German CO can similarly order fighters to
go after the heavies, go after the escorts or a
mix. They would normally go after the heavies if
the target is aircraft or aircraft parts production

If bombers suffer critical or other damage which
means they must leave the formation, score that as a
'kill' for the Germans and remove the aircraft from
play. Damage from Flak (if present, but it just adds
complication since ALL aircraft are targets) does
not count in this case.

If you want to run a series of these as a campaign,
start the Germans with good pilots, some aces and
the US with good pilots, no aces. Keep track of
kills and award ace status to the US for 5 kills,
to the Germans for 5 also, BUT counting each 'heavy'
killed as 2.

Interceptors may be -109's, -190's, -110's, -410's
etc. You can of course use -262's, but these have
a horrible turn radius.

Timmo uk11 Dec 2019 5:30 p.m. PST

Ed, may I ask which rules you use? Like the sound of your games!

For 1/285 I use 1" hexes for pure single engined fighter based games and go up to 2" hexes for games with twin engined planes.

I've thought about using 1/600 and 2" hexes for four engined heavies but have done nothing about this other than buy a few samples and doubt I ever will. I just like 1/285 scale too much.

Check out Deep Cut Studios mats. They do them on mousepad and are fabulous.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2019 5:37 p.m. PST

+1 Sundance:

Hex size depends on aircraft scale. I have 1-1/2 or 2" hexes, but a use 1/300 a/c. Fighters fit fine, light/medium bombers just fit, B-17/24/29s hang way over the sides! If you're using 1/600, that size hexes are fine for all a/c.
I would also add that hex size depends on the type of fight you want.

If most or all of your planes are going to be single-engine fighters, you can get away with hexes that are just big enough for the 80th percentile to fit in.

If you expect to have a lot of twin-engined aircraft (big fighters and medium bombers), you need bigger hexes, big enough to have only a bit of wingtip extending beyond the hex edge

If you expect to play with a lot of big aircraft (3-engine or 4-engine bombers, big twin-engines like the G4M Betty, etc.) you either need to use these in a smaller scale, or use much bigger hexes, or both.

I found 2" hexes to be a good compromise in 1/300 (and 1/285) scale for tactical gaming – mostly fighters, maybe a handful of medium bombers.

I've found 3" hexes to be the right size for the same assortment of 1/200 planes, but I collect big planes in 1/300 or 1/285 scale.

My CY6 group plays with 1/144 planes on a 3" hex grid, and uses 1/200 medium bombers and 1/300 heavy bombers. We settled on 3" hexes at least partly because the CY6 grid is 45x30, and only just barely overflows on a 6'x12' table with 3" hexes.

Conversely, a local gamer running 1/144 dogfights with his own rules uses 4" hexes, and all of his planes are 1/144 scale. The bombers tend to have some wing/tail interference, but we just deal with it as best as possible, and it works well enough.

I've never tried playing with 1/100 planes (15mm), and I personally consider them too big for gaming, but the consensus seems to be that 4" hexes are a bit tight, and 5" or 6" hexes are better.

Note that the larger your hexes, the fewer hexes you will have on the table. I don't know what the minimum hex grid for a Blue Sky game is, but I would guess 30x30 hexes is a functional minimum. The Blue Sky system tends to need a fair bit of maneuver room to be fun to play, especially if you're playing with fast, slow-turning freight trains like P-38s and Me-262s.

- Ix

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2019 5:49 p.m. PST

The only places I personally know to get mousepad mats are Deep Cut Studio in Lithuania and Tiny Wargames in the UK. Both work the same way: you pick one of their background images or upload your own, specify the material and hex grid, and they manufacture it for you. The maximum size of mousepad mats seems to be 4'x6', so you will probably need two. I've got two Deep Cut mats, I'm ordering more as I write this, and a lot of my local area gamers have Deep Cut mats as well. We seem to like Deep Cut Studio. grin

If you're willing to consider other materials:

Monday Knight Games makes some pretty cheap felt 4'x6' hex mats with 1.5" or 2" hexes. You should be able to play most 1/300 Blue Sky series games on a couple of those laid side-by-side.

You can also get really nice fleece mats printed with nice background images and a hex grid of your choice from Cigar Box Battle Mats.

Those are the only hex mats I have personal experience with. There are more manufacturers, but I'll have to let others chime in.

- Ix

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2019 10:29 p.m. PST

TimmoUK, I use the White Star Blue Sky set from the
Blue Sky series. It is the Strategic Bombing Campaign
Versus Germany although there are some peripheral

And I never worry about 'overhang' with 1/285 Forts,
Libs or Lancasters. Just set the 3-plane triangles
down on the hex grid, allowing space for the other
triangles, deploy the fighters and have at it.

Remember, the bombers DON'T MOVE – the fighters 'step
back' a number of hexes which the bombers would move
(usually 4 or 5) each turn before commencing their own
new turn.

You can indeed move the bombers if you choose, but
with the number I use (most of the time) it takes
way too much time. Much simpler to reposition the
fighters to where they'd be relative to the bombers'
new position after the heavies move and then let the
fighters move and attack.

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