Sunday, November 17, 2013

Game day at Flying Heritage Collection

On Saturday, NHMGS held a game day at the Flying Heritage Collection at Paine Field in Everett, WA. The event was the brainchild of Justin Spielman, who is the education coordinator at the collection. He talked it up with John Kennedy at The Panzer Depot and Kevin Smyth, NHMGS president for life, and so it came to pass.

The FHC is quite amazing. It's a pet project of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and he has been able to collect and restore to full working condition an amazing assortment of aircraft and tanks, mostly from the WW2 era. (It's just one of those things you can do when you've got 15 billion dollars.) We were situated in the museum right next to the M4A1 Sherman. In honor of our event, Justin had the turret turned to face the area where we were gaming.

The perfect venue for WW2 gaming!
I volunteered to run a small game of Bolt Action pitting Marines vs. Japanese in the first session (10:00 to 1:00).

My Bolt Action game setup 
Doc Marshal and I were the Marines and Jerry Tyer and another player were the Japanese. We went a full six turns in less than our allotted time, which speaks volumes on the efficiency of small, multiplayer games.

There were several other games. Chris Ewick of The Game Matrix in Tacoma came up and ran an interactive Battle of Kursk game in both sessions using Flames of War rules and miniatures. Damond Crump and Lawrence Bateman ran a WW2 skirmish game using Damond's home-brewed rules Fire and Manouver.

I haven't played the rules, yet, but Damond was kind enough to give me a copy at our Fort Steilacoom event in September. They look very interesting and have a lot of good ideas that make them a bit less game-like than Bolt Action without wandering into the tedious dread of being a "simulation." I'm eager to give them a try as soon as I stock up on the D20s required for the game.

Fire and Movement game with a MiG 29 in the background
Other games included a Check your 6! game run by Paul Grandstaff and an Action Stations! game run by Dave Schueler and Kevin Smyth.

Air gaming with a Ki-43 "Oscar" in the background
Dave and Kevin's Action Stations! game
Also on hand were some people from the local IPMS chapter. It's good to know the plastic modeling community is still alive and kicking. Even before wargames caught my fancy, I was an avid plastic modeler. It's one of those hobbies that I fear is dying because of competition with video games, etc.

After my game in the morning, lunch was provided in the parking lot by Michelle Wheeler and Hugh Singh of Stonehouse Miniatures. Michelle prepared two excellent barbecue options with fixin's. After lunch, I took the opportunity to browse the collection. We were in Hangar B with the tanks 'n' stuff. Hangar A is devoted to planes and a few rockets.

The tanks were amazing. All in all, the collection has a German Jgpz 38(t) Hetzer, a RussianT-34/85, and American M4A1 Sherman, a German kettenkrad, and two German Flak 37 "88"s.

Nothing says "Welcome" like a Hetzer at the door

Despite being a guy who likes tanks 'n' stuff, apart from the collection at Ft. Lewis, I haven't seen any vintage tanks up close. Having the Hezter and T-34/85 right there was like seeing PanzerBlitz come alive.

T-34/85 in winter white
Hanger A had a few beauties like the world's only IL-2 Sturmovik in flying condition. It was acquired and restored in Russia. The original pilot of the plane, a retired Marshall, requested and got a fly-over at a celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian air force.

The flying tank
They also had a Me-163 Komet. It looked good and may fly—but probably only once.

The Me-163: dangerous to friend and foe alike
The museum also boasts the only surviving Fw-190 D-13 "Dora" in existence. The volunteer staff syas that it's flyable, but because it's the only one remaining, they never fly it. Otherwise, the planes in the collection get taken up once a year.

Long-nosed Focke-Wulf
There are a lot of other very nice items, including V-1 and V-2 rockets, a Mitchell B-25, Curtiss P-40 Warhawk in AVG colors, etc.

I left after I took my tour and didn't stay to play in the afternoon games.

I'll have to come again and bring my dad. The FHC is only a stone's throw from where I live. The planes in the collection take off from Paine field and I have often seen them flying over the skies of Lynnwood.


  1. Cool games, but wow! Dem tanks and aircraft! This venue looks as good as the MoF, if not cooler - a Comet and Hetzer! Come on! Thanks for posting the very nice photographic evidence. Dean

  2. Interesting report.
    Where can I get a copy of Damond's rules,are they for sale?

  3. Alan, I'll check with Damond to see what the availability is.