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Posted on Nov 22, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

A Glorious Return of Four Classic Aircrafts!  Wings of Glory Booster Packs Review

A Glorious Return of Four Classic Aircrafts! Wings of Glory Booster Packs Review

Rick Martin

Wings of Glory World War 1 Aircraft Booster Packs  Game Review.  Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia Price:  Booster: $11.00 to $15.00

Passed Inspection:  Reissues of out of print (very expensive on EBay) planes, stunning pre-painted miniatures, added value through additional content

Failed Basic:  Nothing at all.

Ares Games has hit the bull’s eye again with the re-issue of four more styles of out of print aircrafts – the French Breguet 14 two-seater, the Entente S.E.5a (and one S.E.5) and the German Rumpler C.IV two-seater and the Pfalz D.III.  Each plane comes in three different paint schemes representing different historical pilots’ planes.  The S.E.5a also includes one S.E.5 representing a plane flown by Billy Bishop.

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Each plane comes complete with a fully painted miniature aircraft, altitude pegs, plastic aircraft base, maneuver cards and special cards for ace pilots and special ace skills.  You must have the base Wings of Glory game to get full use out of these aircrafts.

Let’s start with the two-seaters which have been reprinted.

The French Breguet 14 was an extremely successful two-seater used for both reconnaissance and bombing.  It was one of the first French tractor model two-seaters (as opposed to the more traditional pusher models which had the engine and propeller behind the cockpits) and was one of the first aircrafts to use more metal than wood in its construction; it was constructed largely of duraluminum and welded steel tubing. This actually made the plane both lighter and sturdier than the all wooden designs common in that time period and gave the plane a nice speed advantage over even the fighters of its time.  The Breguet 14 was so popular that it was produced long after World War I with the production finally being shut down in 1928!  Over 8000 of this venerable war plane were ultimately produced  and included many variants including a single seat version, floatplane variant and an air ambulance version. In Japan, Bréguet 14s were license-built by Nakajima and were used in various wars in China during the 1920s and 1930s.

As detailed on Ares Games’ website, the Wings of Glory Breguet 14 is represented by three different minis:

Breguet BR.14 B2 (Escadrille Br 111)
Breguet 14s were assigned to Escadrille 111 in October 1917. During the war, the unit scored 15 victories. This model includes cards for optional armament and crew skills.

Breguet BR.14 B2 (Audinot/Hellouin De Cénival)
Audinot and Hellouin de Cénival flew several bombing missions of Escadrille BR 127 from November 1917. They were shot down by enemy fighters during a daring mission, on March 28, 1918.

Breguet BR.14 A2 (Stanley/Folger)
Gilbert Stanley and H.T. Folger belonged to the 96th Squadron, that operated from June 12, 1918 to the end of the war engaging in daring bombing missions across the front.

The Breguet 14 B2 which I was sent represents the Escadrille Br111 version.  It has B firing guns on the front and observer arcs with the option of giving the observer twin guns doing A damage.  The gun arcs are pretty decent and are rougly comparable to the D.H.4 (which in my opinion is the best Entente and American two-seater of the war).  It has 17 hull points (two more than the D.H.4) and uses the K maneuver deck. While a little slower than the D.H.4, it is a little more maneuverable and is capable of somewhat tighter turns.  It has an impressive climb rate of 3 making it equal to or better than many of the German fighters aside for the Fokker Dr1s and DVIIs.

An interesting note about the Breguet is that it had windows on either side of the fuselage for the observer to look out of and these windows are featured on the minis.

The Rumpler C. IV was a German two-seat reconnaissance and bombing aircraft.  It was noted for being fast for a two-seater (owing to its 260 horse power Mercedes D IV engine) which allowed it be as fast or faster than many single seat fighters such as the Pfalz as well as having excellent high altitude performance.  In addition, a camera lens mount was fixed through a hole on the underside of the fuselage near the observer’s position.  Instead of having to manhandle a camera around the side of the aircraft as was common at that time, the observer was freed up to take a picture through the mount which resulted in more useful photographs.  It could also carry 220 pounds of bombs.  Reports from Entente pilots said the plane was very difficult to shoot down owing both to its speed, maneuverability and fast climb rate as well as a high maximum cruising altitude of 21,000 feet. The C.IV remained in use throughout the war, with over 2000 built in one of the largest production runs of a two-seater type in the entire German air force.  After the war, the C. IV was used as a passenger aircraft for many years.

From the Wings of Glory website, the Rumpler C. IV is represented by:

Rumpler C.IV (Luftstreitkräfte 8231)
This Rumpler C.IV model includes special cards that make this aircraft a better bomber and give it more chances to succeed in reconnaissance missions as well as a “good at escaping” skill.

Rumpler C.IV (Luftstreitkräfte 8256)
This Rumpler C.IV model includes special cards so the players can include “rookie” crew members in their scenarios to expand the game options.

Rumpler C.IV (Ziegert)
This Rumpler C.IV model includes special cards that the players can select to make it a real challenge to oppose, with reduced gun jams and better bombing.

In the Wings of Glory game, the Rumpler C.IV shares the same maneuverability cards as the Breguet 14, the K deck – making it both fast and maneuverable.  It is not as maneuverable as the Hannover CL IIIA though.   It has 15 hull points and uses the B firing cards for both its front and rear guns.  Its firing arcs are also the same as the Breguet.  This plane is equal in speed to or a little faster than many early and mid-war fighters.  The C. IV has an impressive climb rate of 3 which makes it a much faster climber than either the Hannover, UFAG or Albatros C.III two seaters.  If your gaming group uses the optional altitude rules, this plane will have a climbing edge on the two-seaters I previously mentioned.

Now on to examine the two scouts which Ares has reprinted.

The Pfalz D III and D IIIa make a welcome return to the Wings of Glory airfield.  While the Pfalz never attained the reputation of being an extraordinary high performance fighter, it was an important plane if only because it was a front line fighter with over 1000 aircrafts produced.

The Pfalz was produced by Pfalz Aircraft Works in Bavaria from 1917 to 1918 and equipped many Bavarian fighter squadrons as a showing of regional pride.  It was constructed using a special a plywood monocoque fuselage which made the airframe extremely durable and its wing design made it less likely to suffer from a lower wing failure as was a risk in the Albatros fighters.  The Pfalz D III was also streamlined for additional speed by mounting the twin Spandau machine guns under the cowling instead of sticking up in front of the pilot.  Unfortunately, this made the machine guns impossible to clear when the all to frequent gun jams occurred – in other words, in the Pfalz D III if your machine guns jammed, you had to fly for home.  The pilots also found the Pfalz to be too stable in fight and not able to maneuver as well as the Albatros DIII – this put Pflaz pilots at a distinct disadvantage during a dog fight.  The pilots did find that the Pfalz was a sturdy aircraft which was extremely good in dives.  This made the Pflaz an aircraft of choice for balloon busting or zoom, fire and fly away style attacks.

The Pflaz DIII a   did away with the cowling machine gun mounts and put the guns back in front of the pilots.  This allowed the pilots to have a chance to clear gun jams and stay in the fight.

Ares Games’ website describes two D IIIa minis and one D III:

Pfalz D.IIIa (Berthold)
Rudolf Berthold (44 victories) flew missions from the very beginning of the war until nearly the end, even after having suffered serious injuries in addition to having lost the use of his right arm.

Pfalz D.IIIa (Holtzem)
Max Holtzem was a German test pilot, flight instructor and member of a Bavarian pursuit squadron. He received the Iron Cross 2nd Class and the Bavarian Military Merit Order with Swords.

Pfalz D.III (Voss)
Werner Voss was a very remarkable pilot that deserved many awards for his numerous enemies shot down in combat (48 victories. In addition he a good friend of Manfred Von Richtofen.

In the Wings of Glory game, the Pfalz D IIIa  has 16 hull points, uses a J maneuver deck and its twin machine guns do A damage.  The J maneuver deck is the same speed and maneuverability compared to a Albatros DIII and a little slower than an Albatros D V a.  The Pfalz DIII a is a little faster than a Nieuport 17 but not as maneuverable.  Conversely, the Pfalz DIII a is not as fast or maneuverable as a Sopwith Camel or a S.E.5a.

Ares did not send me a Pfalz DIII  and the one I ordered through the mail hasn’t come in yet so I am unable to compare the characteristics of a Pfalz DIII a   to a standard D III.  When I acquire a D III, I hope to update this review.

 And now for a look at the S.E.5 and the S.E.5a –  The S.E.5a is a plane that many consider one of the top fighters of the First World War and it certainly fosters that opinion amongst most Wings of Glory players.  First released by Fantasy Flight under the Wings of War title around 8 years ago, the Se 5a has been selling at on-line auction sites for over $100.  Now that Ares Games has the Wings of Glory line going full force, they turned their attention to bringing back this beautiful aircraft back to the Wings of Glory hanger.

Developed by the Royal Aircraft Factory as the Scout Experimental 5, this V8 powered aircraft was test flown in late 1916.  It was found to be both fast and maneuverable as well as very structurally sound.  The S.E.5 was shipped to combat units in March of 1917 but the pilots thought that the plane was somewhat underpowered.

Per Wikipedia – “The initial models of the S.E.5a differed from late production examples of the S.E.5 only in the type of engine installed – a geared 200 hp Hispano-Suiza 8b, often turning a large clockwise-rotation four-bladed propeller, replacing the 150 hp H.S. 8A model” with a two-bladed propeller.

The up-engined S.E.5a could reach level flight speeds of 138 miles per hour (222 km/h) which made it equal to the Spad XIII as the fastest fighter of World War 1.  The square wing design made the plane much more stable while still allowing the plane to be extremely maneuverable.

Over 5200 S.E.5 and S.E.5a aircrafts were produced and the plane was used long after the end of World War 1.  Over 1000 S.E.5 aircrafts were produced in the United States.

Again per Wikipedia – “By the end of the war, the S.E.5a was employed by a total of 21 British Empire squadrons as well as two U.S. units. Many of the top Allied aces of the Great War flew this fighter, including Billy Bishop, Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor, Edward Mannock and James McCudden. Legendary British ace Albert Ball was initially disparaging of the S.E.5, but in the end claimed 11 of his 44 victories flying it. McCudden wrote of the S.E.5: ‘It was very fine to be in a machine that was faster than the Huns, and to know that one could run away just as things got too hot.’ “

Per Ares Games’ website, the three different S.E.5 aircrafts Ares has released are:

Raf SE.5 (Bishop)
The Canadian ace “Billy” Bishop was one of the top scoring pilots of the World War I (72 victories), including 25 in one 10-day period. He was awarded the Victoria Cross and several other decorations.

Raf SE.5a (Dallas)
Roderic Dallas was one of the top–scoring pilots from Australia shooting down 32 enemies, nine victories flying on SE.5a, before being shot down by members of Jasta 14 on 1 June 1918 above Liévin, in France.

Raf SE.5a (McCudden)
James McCudden began the war as an observer and became the most highly decorated Allied airman, a precise and patient pilot that achieved 57 victories, most of which came flying in the glorious SE.5a.

In Wings of Glory, the S.E.5 and 5a both have 16 hull points and fire using A damage cards.  The S.E.5 uses the FR maneuver deck while the S.E.5a uses the N maneuver deck.  The S.E.5a equals the Spad XIII and the Fokker D VII as the fastest planes in the game.  The S.E.5 is fast but not as fast as the 5a. (See pictures included for comparison.)

In the last game I played, I scored 1 ½ kills with my S.E.5a.  I was flying in a formation of three S.E.5s and we dominated the sky.  This is one of my favorite planes to fly in Wings of Glory.

So there you have it folks, four planes available in 16 different models!  These aircraft minis are beautiful and add tons of value to the Wings of Glory game system.  Fans all over the world are thanking Ares for putting out this set!

For a full review of the Wings of Glory base game: http://armchairgeneral.com/wings-of-glory-world-war-i-rules-and-accessories-pack-miniatures-game-review.htm

Armchair General Rating:  100 %

Solitaire Rating: 5 (for some missions or with the solitaire app for Android)

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)!

SE5
Breguet 14 minis
Pfalz
Rumpler C IV
two Se5 planes
two Se5 planes Close Up
SE5 escorts a Br14
Rumpler in flight
Rumpler C IV close up
Pfalz in flight
Pfalz and components
Pfalz and Berthold
Br14 components
Br14 close up
Br14 detail
A SE5 and an SE5a
Br14 near the front lines
Br14 shoots at a burning Fokker DVII
a crazy dogfight

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