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Wings Over Flanders Fields Ultimate Edition Review  WOFF background Wings Over Flanders Field started off as a WWI modificat...

Wings Over Flanders Fields UE Review Wings Over Flanders Fields UE Review

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Plane

Wings Over Flanders Fields Ultimate Edition Review 





WOFF background

Wings Over Flanders Field started off as a WWI modification called Over Flanders Field for Microsoft CFS3. Over the years, work hasn't stopped and at several stages a new, improved version was sold, which, until recently, took us to WOFF Version 3. Version 3 also had some expansions - DLC yet again adding new planes and features to an already superb sim. Now, what is to be considered  the ultimate version of WOFF has been released. WOFF 3 and its expansions have been brought all into one package, as well as the addition of  a host of new features and improvements. Wings Over Flanders Field Ultimate Edition is the climax of over ten years of development, and boy does it shine because of it. Come, take to the skies above the Western Front during the Great War. WOFF UE, not just the ultimate version of WOFF, but the ultimate single player flight sim, period!


WOFF UE



Please, stick with me

Those who know me, or if you've been a regular reader of the blog (I thank you) will know I'm a WWI obsessive. Though, for reasons I can't put my finger on, the Eastern Front in WWI doesn't appeal, yet in regards to WWII it's my main area of interest. However, as WOFF UE is only concerned with the Western Front then it's of no consequence. The War has really grabbed me to the point where I devour book after book, mainly memoirs, of those who experienced it from all sides, both on land as well as in the air. WW2 seems more real, tangible, a time that is more easy to relate too. A War that was horrific and actually killed more than WWI yet for some reason WWI is the go to war when you think about the horrors, misery and futility of warfare. Yet,  WWI only ended two decades before WWII started and it seems like a different world. Maybe it's the staccato black and white footage which makes it seem more unreal. Then add the horror of new and more deadly ways of killing, coupled with old tactics, then years of living a primitive, underground existence with death a constant companion. Even the wounds you were liable to get caused more brutal, horrific damage to your flesh and bone. A reason for this being the shells in WWI  broke up into large, jagged pieces of shrapnel which could cause horrific injuries, whereas in WWII, they fragmented into much smaller pieces, just as lethal, but they wouldn't cause the awful visual damage the larger shrapnel did. Even the ground itself became deadly, with even minor wounds killing the poor chap, with gas gangrene, another horrific way to die, and a cruel one.  You think you have what the British called a "Blighty", a minor wound that would get you home for awhile, yet ten or so days later you're dying a horrific, painful death, as gas gangrene takes its course.





Honestly, from here on in it's all relevant


 Then we have the aircraft flown during the War. The ones from WWII are not that dissimilar to prop powered planes of today. With WWI, however, the technical marvel of flying, and the flimsy, lethal looking wood, canvas and wire contraptions used to take man into the skies were all very new. So, at the start of WWI the aeroplanes looked frighteningly primitive, just like all the other aspects of the War, primitive. Yet again, this all adds to the War's otherworldliness.




 Over the War's four plus years, aircraft technology moved forward rapidly, unlike the actual fighting on the ground. Also, at different periods during the War, one side or the other would have the upper hand, either through technological advance like during the so-called Fokker scourge, when in 1915 the Central Powers invented a mechanism that synchronised the firing of the MG and the propeller. The pilots flying the Fokker aircraft equipped with this new bit of kit soon reaped a deadly harvest and the first Aces of the War were born. Or it was just a case of one side managing to bring faster and more manoeuvrable aircraft out before the other.  So, until the other side caught up or even overtook them in this tech race, the side not in the  ascendency would find their machines getting knocked out the sky at an alarming rate, obviously adding to the ever growing casualty lists. Over the Western front the British decided to always be on the offensive in the air, crossing over into enemy lines to take on the enemy. Since the War, many have questioned this, as it meant British casualties were a lot higher than the Germans'. The RFC policy of no parachutes (as it was deemed the pilot may jump when he could have got the plane home) also meant the RFC casualty rate was higher than need be. It condemned many pilots to a horrific death, being burnt alive as their plane fell out the sky, adding another barbaric and primitive aspect to the War. The Germans had taken on a defensive policy, waiting to swoop on the enemy as they crossed over into their air space. Flying in their brightly coloured planes, the Germans flew in large numbers called Jastas. If you were an Entente pilot during '17 up until April '18 and you spotted a bright red plane leading the enemy Jasta [signalling the presence of the Red Baron, Manfred Von Richthofen], fear would overwhelm you, praying you wont become the next victim of who would be the Wars overall leading ace. The Germans did carry out bombing campaigns through out the War, using aircraft like the huge Gotha bombers or Zeppelins, even regularly bombing the UK.









 By the War's end both sides had some very good, reliable, fast and deadly planes. The Germans with the Fokker DVIIF and the Allies the SE5a or Airco DH5. For a good part of the War though, you were more likely to die in training, from either an error you made or from mechanical failure or a combination of both, than you were in actual combat.




I expect your wondering why you've just read the above, when this is supposed to be a review for WOFF UE? 

Well it's because pretty much everything I mentioned above you'll experience in WOFF UE. From the first planes of the War scrapping it out in the Skies of '15 until the end of the War; it's all here. Choose to enlist for either the British (87 squadrons), German (205 squadrons), French (139 squadrons) or American (23 squadrons). Fly in a Recon or Bomber squadron, each flight praying you aren't about to be prey whilst doggedly sticking to your task. Or join a fighter squadron, to take the enemy on in a duel in the sky. Over 80, yes that's right 80 aircraft you can take to the skies in.

The AI is also another excellent feat the OBD team have managed to pull off. With each iteration it has got better and better, until we have what is easily the best flight sim AI out there. No fight to the death AI here, each pilot has his own skill level, plus moral and fatigue are monitored, which all effects how he flies and can result in him breaking for home when risk outweighs reward. The AI also sticks within the limits of his plane's flight model, and, talking about the flight models, each plane has been researched and tested and I haven't seen any complaints about any of WOFF UE's many flight models in the forums. This has to be a very good sign. WOFF UE, in my opinion, is by far the greatest single-player, combat flight sim that has been released on the PC, finally taking over that top spot for WWI flight sims from The Red Baron, and personally, it takes the top spot for any combat flight sim covering any era. 




Nothing can come close to the dramatic scenes this sim produces, as you fly across the tortured landscape of No Man's Land. It manages to convey the immensity of the sky, and creates clouds like no other sim. I can't find the words to explain it, but I honestly haven't played a flight sim that manages to make you and your plane feel so small and fragile, so insignificant, as you fly among such huge, dark, foreboding clouds. The atmosphere the sim creates is second to none. I've ready many pilot memoirs and when they wax lyrical about flying and the sorts of vista they see up in the heavens when playing WOFF UE you can understand what they mean.  Each season has its own high definition terrain set. No Man's Land will move in-line with how it did historically. Now, with the free skin pack, all Squadrons and Jastas have historically accurate paint jobs, as well as the planes of every Ace on all sides having their own, unique, historically accurate paint work. We are talking thousands of skins here.

This is another visual treat WOFF UE has to offer.  It also enhances the sort of realism OBD is trying to achieve, with great success in my opinion. Another massive improvement that WOFF has recently acquired is that the high definition planes' skins will now show bullet hole damage etc. which they didn't do. Previously, you had a choice between hi def skins or bullet holes, now you can have both.

As I'm talking about damage, the damage model and the visual effects have yet again been improved for the many aircraft, creating more varied looking and realistic plane damage. For the first time now pilots and observers will slump in their seats if killed. I always breathe a sigh of relief, if I shoot a plane down in flames and notice the pilot is already dead.  That's the kind of effect the game has on you, drawing you in to the point of worrying about an AI pilot's death! Previously, before the "slump", you never knew if the pilot was dead or not as he and his plane fell to earth like some sort of grisly comet.

Weather is also modelled.  So, as you take off, you could be flying through a snow storm, yet once above the cloud layer, bingo you're bathed in sunshine,  with blue sky all around. So as you can tell by now visually it's one hell of a treat. Day and night is modelled is also modelled. Fly as a pilot in a Gotha desperately trying to stay out of the search lights, as they sweep the night sky above London. Or, as the sun has just gone down towards the end of your patrol, you come into land at your airfield in France being guided by the flames lit along either side of the run way.




I can imagine some being worried about it using the old CFS 3 engine. Honestly, you really would never know they had
anything at all in common. It really is something you only have to consider when installing, or, if you don't own it, when tracking it down.




Now onto the dynamic campaign.  For a single player sim, this is the meat on the bones. This means WOFF UE has the body of a Greek God! So much work has gone into creating an experience that draws you in, and soon you find yourself fully immersed as a pilot during WWI flying high above the Western front.  You can, if you want to, choose exactly which squadron and what date you enlist and start your campaign. Or you can choose a date, and start in training, learning how to fly well behind the lines. Once you successfully complete your training then you could be assigned anywhere in any type of plane! Just like it was for those trainee pilots, but without the high possibility of death before your training was completed, saying that your in-game pilot can still die at this point, if you have a terrible crash.

OBD have done a tremendous amount of research on each squadron, including its aces and at which airfield they were at through out the war.  As you can imagine, with the number of squadrons I mentioned earlier, how much work that must have entailed! The squadrons are also rated as either on defence or offence aswell as how good it is, which can change during the War depending on the squadrons circumstances at that particular time. Also, the morale of the squadron as a whole is considered. You can if you wish request a transfer, as well as request leave.

Historically accurate Medals are awarded both to yourself and to your squadron members. Also, just like the War, you have to fill in a claim form when you think you've shot down one of the enemy. On the harder difficulty levels this can be denied, just like it was for the pilots back then. As for options regarding both difficulty and visually the game has plenty to choose from, so you can customise the experience to suit both how you want to play and what sort of rig you have. So the dynamic campaign is fantastic and surpasses all previous WWI flight sims. Play dead is dead difficulty and see how many hours you can do over the Western Front!




One final thing I want to mention about the game is that you can check on what aces are around at the particular time of the current campaign. You'll find that many even have their biography written, and when you see how many have a written biography it dawns on you just how much work has gone into this Sim. Along side any biography you'll find the Aces kills upto the particular date of your campaign, and as you continue forward the kills will be updated keeping inline with the pilots historical tally. The kill can even state who the unfortunate pilot and in a two seater observer were! The amount of research here, at your finger tips , could easily be published as a book in its own right. My hat goes of to you OBD. Stunning work!


Oh little tip when you get the game. Click "Credits". A little treat is waiting for you there.

Go check out the excellent WOFF forum at Sim HQ. Also like to thank the forum members if I've used one of their screenshots. 

WOFF webpage.


What you get with UE and New Feature List

 WOFF UE incorporates

Wings Over Flanders Fields 1
Wings Over Flanders Fields Expansion 2
Wings Over Flanders Fields Expansion 3
Add On Fokker Scourge
Add On Balance of Power
Add On Motley Crew

Plus all the updates, in an easy to install package.

Some of the new Features for UE

Two new two seater planes Bregeut 14 A.2 and the Caudon G.4
Enhanced Direct X Shaders
Huge performance increase
Revised Damage Models for all planes
Revised and improved lighting systems
Fully revised French Squadrons
New Winter Trees
Revised Flak

and many more features and improvements

Note: Also the Skin pack add on is now free for everybody:)

Nearly forgot to mention a major highlight!!

Last but not least is Matt Milne's outstanding musical score! What would WOFF be without it? Missing one of its vital elements for sure. The music could easily sell in the classical music section of a music store. In fact, I'm pretty certain it could get into the classical charts. Honestly, it's absolutely first class and adds so much to the atmosphere. So you can see, from its music to its campaigns and on to its visuals WOFF UE won't let you down. It's my favourite ever flight sim and all flight simmers should own it!

Thomas Gunn Newsletter     Dear All  Welcome to October's release of our superb 1/30 scale WW2 wooden aircraft, all of ...

Thomas Gunn Newsletter Thomas Gunn Newsletter

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Plane





  Dear All

 Welcome to October's release of our superb 1/30 scale WW2 wooden aircraft, all of which take over 60 hours to complete. This month we have news of 3 aircraft which are available now and 2 aircraft which are coming soon, all our aircraft are produced in limited quantities and can be paid for upfront or over several months on a payment plan if this is your preferred option. 







 WOW 093 The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang  was a single seat fighter/fighter bomber utilised by the USAAF and RAF during WW2.  Initially the Mustang was designed as a response for a requirement by the RAF for additional fighter aircraft and first flew on 26th October 1940, 102 days after the contract was first signed by the British purchasing commission. The Mustang was initially powered by the Allinson V-1710 engine but this
lacked the necessary high altitude  performance required by the RAF and the engine was substituted for the Rolls Royce Merlin. This modification transformed the Mustang into a first class aircraft capable of taking on any of the Luftwaffe's fighters. From 1943 the USAAF used Mustangs to escort the 8th Air Force in their bombing raids over Germany whilst the 9th Air Force used Mustangs as Fighter Bombers, in a combination that helped achieve air superiority in the European campaign by 1944. Mustangs were also used with great effect in North Africa, Italy the Mediterranean and the Pacific to help turn the tide of war in the Allies favour. Our version of the Mustang is one flown by  Captain Charles Weaver an American ace with several awards to his name including the Distinguished Flying Cross, The Air Medal and the French Croix de Guerre. Limited to 12 pieces worldwide, the US army sentry figure pictured in the attachments comes free with this model.






 The FW190 is known as one of the iconic aircraft of WW2, designed by Kurt Wolff in the 1930's it along with the Messerschmitt Bf 109 became the backbone of the Luftwaffe's fighter force during WW2.  Powered by a BMW 801twin row radial engine the FW 190 was capable of lifting heavier loads than the BF 109 allowing it to be utilised in several different roles including, fighter, fighter bomber and ground attack aircraft. The FW 190 made its first appearance over France in 1941 and proved superior to the RAF's MK V Spitfire in all aspects except turn radius. The FW 190 maintained this superiority until the introduction of the Spitfire MK 1X in November 1942. By 1944 Long Nosed variants of the F version of the FW 190 were entering service and this aircraft finally gave the Luftwaffe the parity it needed to address Allied superiority, unfortunately for the Luftwaffe it arrived too late in the war to have any real effect. WOW 099 'Black 3' was built in 1942 at the AGO factory in Ocherlesben and allocated to the fighter bomber wing of JG 5 Eismeer. Based at Herdla outside Bergen before being moved to Petsamo in Finland. It was then flown by Sgt Hans Gunther Kleemann on several missions. However in October '43 Kleemann bailed out of Black 3, after running out of fuel in a snowstorm west of Kongsfjord. Kleemann survived his landing and eventually made his way back to his base 2 days later, Black 3 was left for over 40 years where it had crashed In 1986 the wreck was recovered by the Norwegians and restored over a lengthy period in Norway and the USA, being the subject of 2 rebuilds! She now stands in the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum in Norway and is one of only 2 surviving FW 190 A 3's in the world.
                   






 Our second FW 190 WOW 100 is a Desert version 'Yellow 3' and was flown by Oblt. Erich Rudorffer whilst stationed with 6.JG 2. Rudorffer was the 7th most successful Luftwaffe ace of the war with 222 victories claimed in over 1000 missions, he was a gifted pilot who served on all combat fronts, he was lucky to survive the war despite being shot down 16 times and having to take to his parachute 9 times! He is credited with 10 heavy Allied bombers, 58
Sturmovik's and 60 Allied fighters on the Western Front during a career which netted him the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords plus a German Cross in Gold. After the war Rudorffer flew DC-3's in Australia before going to work for Pan Am and the German Civil Aviation Service, he died this year in April aged 98 years old. Both FW 190's come with LUFT 008 Footballer ground crew figure Fritz Walter as a freebie.
 





 All the above aircraft are priced at $650 which includes free shipping worldwide and are limited to 12 pieces each, they can be purchased via our website
www.tomgunn.co.uk or by dropping me an email. For those of you wishing to purchase more than one aircraft a discount on shipping will apply.










 I have pleasure in attaching pictures of our all new B 17 'My Devotion' and a Horsa glider from D-Day which will be making an appearance soon. If you are interested in reserving either of these pieces please send me an email as we only have 5 of each on offer at this moment in time. The guide price for the B17 will be $1500 and the Horsa (which is also an extremely large model) will be $1200 approx plus postage and packing as of yet to be determined.






 

Cobi : Three military sets reviewed. Before I start writing about the kits, I first must apologise to Cobi for the delayed re...

Cobi: Three military sets get reviewed. Cobi: Three military sets get reviewed.

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Plane

Cobi: Three military sets reviewed.
Before I start writing about the kits, I first must apologise to Cobi for the delayed review. This was due to illness.


Cobi are a Polish company who make LEGO compatible kits. Two major differences to your actual custom LEGO sets is that the MiniFigs look different (when Cobi started out their Minifigs looked the same as Lego's, but I believe they had to change them) and the other is a substantial difference in the price, with Cobi being much better for your wallet. Their range is very varied ranging from popular cartoons through to military sets, including a license to make Tank kits based on the very popular multi player game World of Tanks.

 
 
The first kit I actually gave to my 15 year old daughter to build, as she expressed an interest in having a go. The kit was the Small Army Willys MB Jeep . The front of the box tells you how many bricks are in the set and how many MiniFigs. This set has 90 bricks and 1 Minifig. Also, on the back of the box, you'll find info\stats on the particular vehicle, as well as the Jeeps Browning M2 gun and the Minifigs' side-arm, his Browning M1918A2- BAR. Inside the box were several clear bags, each one containing the kit's bricks. A full colour manual and a sheet of decals complete the contents.

Freja told me she really enjoyed building the Jeep and found the manual very easy to follow. Apart from one or two slightly awkward bits, trying to make sure the bricks didn't pop off when doing another bit, she had no real problems in finishing the build in around 45 minutes. The Decals she left for me to do. I found a very good selection and they brought the Jeep to life. I did find, though, that one or two might have been better if they'd been put on the brick before building; for instance the dashboard was more tricky than it needed to have been, if added pre-build. Freja gave the build instructions and fun factor top marks!

The finished Jeep looks very good indeed and I'd happily recommend it to someone who normally just sticks to Lego military sets. Taking the price into account compared to a Lego custom Jeep you really can't go wrong. I have heard dissent on the Net about the actual Minifig designs but you can easily swap them out for a Lego Minifig and you wouldn't be able to tell they weren't made for each other. The Cobi Minifigs have actually grown on me, though maybe I'd like to see less smiley and more serious facial expressions.


 
 

The next set which I took on was the Supermarine Spitfire MK.VB. This is part of Cobi's Small Army WW2 range. The kit consists of 290 bricks and 1 Minifig.  The back of the box gives you the technical information on the Spitfire and also states the Minifig is an RAF pilot from No303 Squadron which was a squadron made up of Polish pilots who had managed to escape Poland during the German invasion. As Cobi is a Polish company it makes sense they chose this particular squadron. Inside you'll find several bags of bricks, a decal sheet and a full colour 25 page instruction booklet.
The Spitfire must be the first plane people think of when you mention aircraft from WWII, closely followed, I expect, by the P51 and the BF109. Not only did it look great and sound great with those merlin engines, it also helped win the Battle of Britain as it was a superb dogfighting plane. Taking on the German bomber escort of 109s whilst the Spitfire's fighting partner, the ever reliable Hurricane, took on the bombers. Who knows, things may have been very different if the marvellous Spitfire had never existed.  In fact, things might even be very different today, if that engineering marvel had never taken to the skies..

BF109 Cobi kit

The instructions were very easy to follow and I had no major issues with the build. I actually found it quite therapeutic. A benefit of the Cobi kits over custom Lego is that Cobi obviously can create what ever colour brick they need for a particular set, whereas the custom Lego builders are restricted to the colours Lego have produced over the years.  This means the Spitfire is resplendent in its camouflage colours. The Spitfire also has an undercarriage that can be raised and lowered and adjustable flaps. When finished, it sits upon a stand with name plate. Once the decals went on, like the Jeep, the plane gained its personality.



The finished Spitfire really does look good.  My only slight criticism is the frame below the propeller looks too box-like compared to the curve a Spitfire has on the underside of the front fuselage. Still, I'm very happy with the finished build and, like the Jeep, can easy recommend it to anyone into military Lego or military brick sets. Also, being Cobi, it comes with a very pleasing price tag, considering a custom Lego plane could set you back a couple of hundred pounds.




 


WW2 version
 

The final kit is from Cobi's World of Tanks tie-in range. The British Cromwell MK VII tank, which fought in WW2 and on through to 1955 when it was retired from British service.  This kit is the biggest of the three, consisting of 505 bricks and 1 Minifig. The back of the box as usual gives info on the tank as well as the Tank Commander's side arm, which is a Sten Gun. The tank is in its desert livery. As this is from the World of Tanks range it's not supposed to be a historical WWII tank. The decals that come with it aren't WWII themed. Which for myself was abit of a let down. However I understand why it doesn't have WW2II decals. Inside the box are several clear bags of bricks, a decal sheet and a 31 page, large format, full colour instruction booklet. On the back of the booklet you get two codes for the PC game World of Tanks; one gives you three days of a premium account and a couple of other WoT in-game goodies, the other code gives seven days of a Premium account and again in-game goodies.

I found the instruction booklet very easy to follow and like the Spitfire build an enjoyable experience with little to no frustrations. The tank looks great in its desert livery. The wheels and tracks move, the main gun will traverse up and down and the turret rotates. The two machine guns also move. The tank commander stands in his commander's hatch, all set to direct his tank through the battles ahead. Once the build was finished and the decals went on I was very happy with the end result. Though as mentioned I do wish there had been a couple of WWII specific decals to use.

I have to say the completed tank does look impressive. Also, for those who aren't keen on Cobi's Minifigs, I placed my Lego British Tank Commander in the hatch and he looked superb. So don't let that put you off. Cobi actually do a WWII specific Cromwell tank so if it's WW2 your after your best buying the WWII version, though this comes in green and not the desert colour scheme. The WoT version currently retails on Amazon for £27.90 and the WWII version £26.87. So what can't you love at that price! I will say, considering how much cheaper they are to actual Lego kits, you don't find a similar drop in quality. Far from it. They stand on their own against the custom Lego kits - yes the Lego kits will have that extra detail - but you honestly can't go wrong with Cobi either. So like the other two kits I have no qualms recommending this set. Get the WWII version if that's what your looking for:)

So that's it for Cobi for now. I hope I get to review more kits in the future. Cobi kits have a massive thumbs up from me! They have everything going for them, easy to follow instructions, great design and fantastic price plus compatible with Lego you really can't go wrong with their kits.









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