Wings of Glory World War II Fighters and Dive Bombers are on the Prowl!
Passed Inspection: Beautifully sculpted and painted, new rules
Failed Basic: Nothing at all!
Wings of Glory is the successor to the extremely successful line of Wings of War World War I and World War II cards and miniatures game which has been available since 2004. While the game started as a card game where each card represented one airplane, anti-aircraft gun or balloon, it has evolved in to a non-collectable, non-randomly packaged, air war game where players could purchase a starter set and then purchase “booster” packs with individual airplanes or even large models of bombers.
Ares Games new Wings of Glory air plane packs integrated with their tactical airplane combat system makes for a wonderful gaming experience. Their new 1:200 scale World War II aircraft packs feature two late war fighters plus two dive bombers to add to your air fleet.
The new aircraft packs feature the deadly American fighter- the P47 Thunderbolt, the last of the Messerschmitt 109 models to see combat – the K-4, the Japanese Yokosuka D4Y Suisei dive bomber and the American Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber.
Each aircraft comes in three different paint jobs and each features new rules for each type of plane in the form of cards which can be used to modify either the aircraft (with drop tanks, dive bombing, damage control, etc.) or the airplane’s pilot or crew (skills such as sniper for making your gunfire more accurate or fire expert which allows the crew to fight aircraft fires more effectively) The new box designs show the aircraft but also give a brief history of the aircraft on the back of the box. The packaging holds the airplane snug and allows the box to take some abuse without the risk of broken propellers or wings.
Let’s start by looking at the dive bombers. It’s been many years since dive bombers were included in Wings of Glory packs, in fact, the last time we had dive bombers was when Wings of Glory was called Wings of War and had a different publisher. In 2009, we had beautiful Ju87 Stukas and Aichi D3A Vals. Now, we can add another Japanese diver bomber and an American dive bomber to our air fleet.
The Japanese Yokosuka D4Y Suisei (彗星 “Comet”)is represented in three versions – two of them are in-line liquid-cooled inverted V12 engine versions and one is an air cooled radial engine. The switch in engine types was a result of reliability problems with the in-line engine. While much faster and more maneuverable than the old reliable Val, the Suisei was still hampered by a lack of armor and self sealing fuel tanks. Amazingly enough, the Suisei’s high rate of speed made it faster than the American Wild Cat fighters! Late in the war, this class of plane was outfitted to be a Kamikaze attack plane and it was with this type of aircraft that Admiral Ugaki personally carried out the last Kamikaze attack of the war on August 15th, 1945.
The D4Y features front and rear arc machine guns but it is still as lightly armed as many other dive bombers (30 caliber machine guns). The rear firing arc is rather good and, even though the plane is armed with lighter machine guns, the rear gunner can still ruin a fighter pilot’s day with an accurate burst of machine gun fire. The radial engined version of the plane is very fast while the in-line engined is a little slower. The mini is beautifully sculptured and even features weathering on the paint of the airplane. The three available D4Ys are of the Yokosuka Kokutai, Kokutai 121 and Kokutai 601. With their fast speed and accurate dive bombing, the D4Y Suisei makes a deadly addition to your Pacific forces.
The American Douglas SBD Dauntless is a legendary dive bomber which, although not particularly fast, was heavily armed and armored. It was Dauntless dive bombers which contributed greatly to the sinking of the Japanese carriers Shoho, Akagi, Kaga and the Soryu during the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. While the American torpedo bombers did their part and suffered for their slow speed and low altitude attack profiles, the Dauntlesses flew high and with their very accurate dive bombing were very tough to shoot down. Over 6000 of these amazingly durable aircrafts were produced and fought in fronts as varied as the Pacific, the North Atlantic, France, New Zealand and the Mexican/Caribbean fronts. The Dauntless was armed with a combination of two forward firing 50 caliber machine guns and one or two 30 caliber rear firing guns. The three versions of this plane released by Ares include one painted for Caribbean operations, a Cross of Loraine painted A-24 Banshee version used in France during the Allied liberation of Europe and one painted in the colors of VB-16 which operated off of the Lexington in the Pacific.
While Bf109-E4 versions of the Messerschmitt fighter were released years ago under the Wings of War label, this new Bf109 is a work of art! The Bf 109-K4 models represent the most heavily armed and fastest version of the venerable workhorse of the Luftwaffe, the Messerschmitt fighter. The K4 features two 20mm cannons and one 30mm cannon while adding a variant weapons pod version in the game sacrifices some maneuverability for more 20mm cannons! This upgraded, all cannon version of the aircraft, makes the Bf 109 K4 one of the most powerfully armed fighters in the Wings of Glory inventory. During play, while flying the 109-K4 mini painted like Luftwaffe Ace Erich Hartmann’s plane, I shot down a B17 bomber in two passes! Without the additional weapons pods, the 109-K4 mixes incredibly fast speed with an amazing maneuverability rate which allows the plane to dance in the sky and making it more than a match for the P51 or the P47. By the way, Major Erich Hartmann, is the highest scoring ace of all time with 352 aerial victories!
The addition of the P47 makes the “Jug” an important part of any American pilots assets in Wings of Glory! The P47, while not aerodynamically as clean as many other World War II fighters, is certainly one of the fastest, most durable and most powerfully armed of any fighter in World War II. The P47 weighed in at approximately 15,000 lbs and mounted an 18 cylinder, 2000 hp Pratt and Whitney radial engine. The P47 was literally designed around the massive engine! It was armed with 8 50 caliber machine guns and could carry both bombs and rockets for ground attack missions. The 15,683 P47 built served in Europe and the Pacific. This mini is absolutely stunning and the three models in the game represent those flown in the Pacific and in Europe. The stunning silver model represents the plane flown by Lt. Elwood D. Raymond of the 56th Fighter Group.
Wings of Glory is supported on-line with content downloadable from Ares Games themselves but also by web groups such as the Wings of War Aerodrome at www.wingsofwar.org
Ares Games maintains its tradition of delivering top quality, beautifully molded and painted aircrafts with these great additions to their World War II air war game – Wings of Glory!
Armchair General Rating: 100 %
Solitaire Rating: 5 (with existing solitaire scenarios)
About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!