Sunday, 13 April 2014

Winter of '79 on the Cheap

It's silly sale season.........and a good time to start your Winter of 79 / Cold War British.

Elhiem is having a 10% off Not Going to Salute Sale - this includes their BAOR and very nice COP5 set of  1970's British TV cops and vilains.

Meanwhle Hannants is clearing existing stocks of JB Models Cold War British kits for just £1.99, including the Saladin armoured car, Saracen APC and L118 105mm Field Gun.

And completely by chance, I found that HMV have bought much of Model Zone's old stock and selling it in store. I picked up this Corgi 1:72 Westland Wessex HU5 for just £14.99! These normally retail at around the £50 mark. Even Model Zone were selling it at £29.99 in the final days of their clearance before closing. Heather had tried to buy one of these for my birthday whilst Model Zone was still very much on the go and was just met with a wall of indifference. Result!

Best of luck finding your own bargains.


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Random Encounter - hex row 2379

Back in the day, I played a lot of D and D and much of it in the City State of the Invincible Overlord; as a DM I ran a few games in the surrounding Wilderlands of High Fantasy. I still have the Wilderland map and can trace the route the party took as you filled in the player map as you went along. One place they visited was Haghill - I ran it with undead berserkers attacking them in the Tavern and black clad riders stalking them along the road; its only reading the game background now that I appreciate what a nasty piece of work the Squire, Huberic, was. So.....with a new copy of Song of Blades and Heroes, some nicely painted Citadel Feudals, some skeletons and a pre painted vampire, it seemed like a good idea to try to do something vaguely related to CSIO and Wilderlands and so, without further ado, here is a tale of horror......

Ambush on the Rorystone Road!

Huberic's retinue are marching up the Rorystone Road looking for peasants to tax when a creaking noise from the undergrowth warns them that the undead are upon them. One skeleton lumbers forward and is chopped down by the soldier in the lead. Another tries the same trick and is cut down. Seizing the initiative, Huberic sends the retainer forward but he is killed messily by a skeleton. Seeing this, most of the retainers, including Ochall Cateye, the "trusted lackey" run for it. Huberic stands his ground - odd for a coward - but he has a crossbow of speed and uses it to kill or knock over three advancing skeletons. He then calls his remaining retainers forwards to take the attack to the undead but the Haghill troops are inveterate looters and being greedy, stop to search the skeletons for anything of value. The undead leader, Milady La Vampyra tries her bolt of dark fear and one retainer simply runs away instead of dropping dead with fright. Huberic is reluctant to get closer, she's running out of skeletons. Both decide to claim victory and retreat......

Huberics lads stroll up the road.....
It's all going wrong for everyone...... This was a fun game just made up on the spot and it probably shows. I'd thought up stats for Huberic in the week,in all honesty the crossbow of speed - which allowed him to shoot more than once per turn was a bit excessive. Then again that's a magic item for you. I may change it to a one or two use item. This has given me a taste for fantasy skirmish again though and I'll probably think up more games in the Wilderlands. I've found Searchers of the Unknown - a very basic stripped down set of D and D rules which may be useful too.... Cheers Maff

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sunday, Coffee and The Archers

It's Sunday morning, the sun has emerged after 6 months of winter darkness. Time to revel with a cup of coffee, the Archers Omnibus and a quick fight in the Winter of  '79 for a hamlet in Borcestershire.

 Somehwere near Ambridge. A Government section 
debussing from a Saxon APC (FV432 standing in).

The road is the 'ready to drive roadway' from the Early Learning Centre - picked it up on sale for under a tenner in September. You get forty-six 2mm thick laminated jigsaw carboard roadway pieces which include a roundabout, crossings, junctions, long and short straights and bends. Enough to full my kitchen table and more.

ELC 'ready to drive roadway'

Each straight piece is around 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. It also works for 28mm as a smaller B road. Cheap and effective. Worth looking out for on eBay, where you might even find it cheaper.


Monday, 10 March 2014

de Winter of 79 Commando

6th of June, the Shore of Western Europe


X Troop 79 Commando wade ashore - their Objective GBH Bunker. Confusion reigns and the HQ, Bren and rifle teams are intermingled. Capt de Winter leads the way....

 Across the wire, in the distance the bunker cover party appear and open fire

The Commandos are held up by the wire, bren fire, grenades, sten guns all have no effect on the machine gun team in the bunker - but one burst of fire does injure the loader and the rate of fire slackens. To the right a lone rifle armed commando takes on three schutzen until his mates clear the wire

At them with the bayonet! A volley of shots and X Commando go in to clear the cover party.

Too Late Chum! de Winter deals with the MG42 team....

This was an impromptu game with pretty - ok, very, basic terrain. The figures are Warlord Commandos painted by myself while the Germans are warlord FJ painted up in "full on late war camo madness" by Jim Brent. Mark and I have speculated over using IHMN for WW2 and this is the result. I gave de Winter marksman with pistol, inspirational and leader with the stat line of a Captain from IHMN, the lads were rated as Guards/Royal Marines with a couple of NCOs. The Germans were jager from the book; the MG42 was presumed to be brassing the beach up in general with one unlucky commando getting its attention each turn. This really meant that until they cleared the wire, one trooper was being lost most turns. That was until the turn the bren gunner was hit; then a sten gunner was fired at and survived, he managed to clip the MG42 No2 after which it didnt hit anything. 

Due to internet wobbles this took longer to blog than play and does raise a question in my mind - just what did X troop get up to before D-Day?



Thursday, 6 March 2014

It hurts being a bloke sometimes

Apparently I've been running around with two cracked and a dislocated rib! Had a minor accident in January, still sore, so went to see doctor. When I had the accident the Doctor was concerned quite rightly about concussion and we put the rest down to general bruising. Being a bloke I ignored the pain which after the first week was more of an inconvenience and on-off distraction rather than anything serious.

Anyway, picked up these 'pre-loved' painted Zulu War Brits on eBay. Heather liked the look of them and she thought they'd be good for our non-wargamer multi-player Rorkes Drift game. Done.


Monday, 3 March 2014


Thanks to encouragement from Jim Brent, I've started to get my painting mojo back! Still early days but I'm steadily working through Ultra-Modern Russians. Thought I'd finish these before turning my hand to 1979 Brits. Unfolding events in the Ukraine are a complete co-incidence. I simply wanted to get my hand in painting camo before taking on British DPM again.

Wartime Miniatures 20mm Ultra-Modern Russians

I've chosen to represent the slightly older Flora pattern camouflage. After a couple of tests, I deliberately decided to paint the pattern larger than scale and it works really well. A nice contrast can be gained by painting their kit green, and they have a lot of kit. But instead I've taken the slightly harder route and painted it in Flora too (for the most part).

 The Flora pattern comes in different shades and so with the first couple of minis I alternated the colour shades between the fatigues and the kit. And you know what? Couldn't tell more than six inches from my eyeball without painting the lighter shade almost khaki drill. Saving myself the extra effort I just used the same 'avocado' base colour for both the fatigues and kit throughout all 20 plus minis.

Glad the figures worked out to my liking as it has boosted my confidence no end. OK, I'm a bit slow and hesitant just now, plus have a lot to relearn but I'm painting and enjoying it.


Monday, 24 February 2014

Helicopter Magazine 29: Westland Scout

A nice treat came in Issue 29 of Helicopter Magazine, the Westland Scout. Every boy worth his salt in the 1970s had built one of more of these from Airfix, together with squadrons of Folland Gnats and de Havilland Chipmunks.

The model is very nice but exceedingly fragile. You need to exert a lot of care removing it from the packaging and again when trying to get the bloody rotor blades on. Lest you break the frail skids, aerials, blades of rotor shaft itself.

I eventually resorted to paring out the connections where the blades meet shaft and gluing the damn things in place. Still, a lot less hassle than the Airfix kit, and it comes pre-painted with very nice RAF roundels.

The Westland Scout was a very versatile little beast. Both the British Army Air Corps and Royal Marines deployed the Scout in various "light" roles including reconnaissance, aerial surveillance, light transport, special forces insertion, CASEVAC and ground attack. 

It could carry 4 passengers if they all breathed-in and When armed in the light attack configuration it carried either two skid-mounted forward-firing machine guns (L8A1 GPMG) packs or a single pintle-mounted machine gun in the rear cabin. The pintle mount was available in both port and starboard mountings. The gun-packs carried 200 rounds of ammunition each and were both aimed at a pre-set convergence angle. They were mounted on a tubular spar that was fixed between the front and rear undercarriage legs. A Browning M2 machine gun was also tested on a pintle mount in the rear cabin.

The Scout would see action in the Falklands in it's anti-tank helicopter role, carrying 4x SS11 anti-tank missiles. Three Scouts stationed 100m apart fired 10 SS11 missiles at an Argentinian gun battery dug-in west of Stanley Racecourse. Twelve aircraft operated in the Falkland Islands in 1982, six each with 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron and 656 Squadron Army Air Corps.

In Ulster, Scouts would take part in 2 or 3 aircraft Eagle Flights. Two Scouts would each carry 4 men and set down impromptu VCPs (Vehicle Check Points). The third aircraft when available carried an Observer with the Hele-Tele aerial surveillance system.

Another great addition to the Winter of '79 air arm.