Wednesday, 31 August 2011

TQD Castings 20mm Falklands British

Back in 2009 TQD Castings created a small range of 1/72nd scale 1980's British infantry figures suitable for the Falklands War. But they proved to be as elusive as 'Ginge' Tavish McTavish in a ghillie suit. Well, cover is finally blown and they have been released by C-P Models.

(seperate heads - and bergans) 

(seperate heads and bergans) 

I like the fact that the bergans are separate and you can choose the head options when you order. However, I personally find the style of the figures more suitable for a static diorama than wargame table. Having said that, the Special Forces types in the first pack (TQD-MF1) would make a nice set of characters for Winter of 79 especially if you want a small colourful force - they wear waterproof leggings which could be painted dark red or blue rather than khaki to give that 'irregular', private army or rebel forces look.
At £6.80, for a pack of six miniatures, you pays your money and makes your choice.


Thursday, 11 August 2011

More Facts Than He Bargained For

A visiting 'Minister' has insisted on undertaking a fact finding tour on the ' front-lines' of rural Borsetshire. Colonel Streatham decided that a small unarmoured Land Rover convoy would not draw any undue attention and give the Minister the photo opportunity he was inevitably seeking.

A wrong turn and the Minister gets more 'facts' than he bargained for as the small convoy enters a country area being looted by armed men.

The photo above shows the crisis point of the game. The Minister, his PR Assistant and a local council dignitary all shelter between the two Land Rovers as an Army driver and armed Special Branch close protection officers return fire.

Above, an overview of the table as the action kicks off. The rear Land Rover has got itself entangled with the tractor trailer, whist trying to reverse out of danger. The driver is just mashing gears but can't free. A petrol bomb suddenly sets the Land Rover aflame - luckily preventing the looters from the house on the right from overwhelming the Ministers party.

The driver from the rear Land Rover and Special Branch officers manage to take down three of the armed looters in a quick but bloody firefight. One officer bites the dust another is injured. Under covering fire everyone who can is loaded into the first Land Rover and in a moment of desperation it crashes past the car blocking the road. The two remaining Special Branch officer run/limp behind the Rover and in the final exchange of gunfire the local councillor is shot in the back of the Rover.

Overhead, the bee-like whine of Westland Scouts can be heard as they bring in two bricks from the on-call rapid reaction force.... but that's next week's game.

The action took 30 minutes to play out and was conducted in as near real time as possible with Maff taking on the mantle of the Minister's party. In true game master fashion I bombarded him with events and fast fire decisions which needed to be made on the spot to replicate the urgency of the situation.

Rules were once again Cold War:1983 with factors being assigned to groups rather than individuals for speed of play.

Turned out to be a cracking little game that we both really enjoyed. Played on an extended 2'x3' card table, it proved that you don't need a lot to play a fun and fulfilling wargame.

And Maff's take on the game?

"I knew it was going to be messy when I saw the terrain; oddly I'd been reading Major Richard Winters memoirs and was thinking about ambushes in hedgerow country. It looked nasty, boxed in at both ends and for moment I thought of the way the DEA got hammered in Clear & Present Danger! Still, my limited anti ambush knowledge is too fire back and keep at it; with a few trots being dropped things looked a bit better. Then a Special Branch went down and landy two went up. And the QRF was 10 mins away (I wasn't really sure there was one). Time to collapse my perimeter, throw the suits onto landy one, put boot to accelerator and ram past the car block. The surviving Special Branch did a running jump into the back of the moving vehicle (one of the very few exciting things I've done myself) and we were off.

Borset: as hot as the Radfan but with more turnips! I fully expect the next game to feature the maroon machine bringing law and order to rural borset..."


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Winter of 1839

A positive sign that my brain is starting to work again is how Empress Miniatures new Maori Wars range caused my remaining two braincells to spark and go "Ah Ha! These figures are perfect for a Very Victorian Civil War". Yes civil war set in early Victorian Britain - well, you can get bored of DPM!

 "Pass the ammunition Mr Pickwick. There's a good chap!"

Could it have happened? A Victorian Civil War? Yes! There were a number of potential flashpoints, including the Chartist uprising in Newport in 1839.

I must confess. The Chartist movement slipped conveniently from my memory after I completed my A levels, way back in the Sixth form (around 1979). Where, it was lost along with all those taught by rote list of dates of when various acts, repeals, laws and prime ministers all came and went. And good riddence too.

There was something Dickensian in these miniatures that appeals to me. And no, not BBC Dickens, think instead of David Lean's Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948) where in black and white you could smell the putrid streets of Victorian London. On top of that I get to utilise Foundry's Opium Wars range, early Victorian low-lifes by Brigade Games and HLBS/Northstar. Plus and here is the BIG bonus - Perry's British Legion from their Isabellino Carlist Wars range. Rules will be a suitably modified Sharp Practice from Too Fat Lardies - DONE!

I had previously been looking at utilising what I have in Winter of 79 terrain for 20mm 1930's style VBCW. It seemed a sensible use of resources but a disaster with some 20mm Britannia WW1 was a reminder that Im not really into Tommy Guns and Cream Teas, and saw me lose any motivation.

If you are a dyed in the wool 'Moderns' C20th gamer and gave up before reading this far - shame on you! It might be that you are also thinking 'where does that leave Winter of 1979?' Well, I've been working quietly behind the scenes and put some wheels in motion.....

Meanwhile, A Very Victorian Civil War whilst appearing to be completely divergent from Winter of '79, and of course it is figurewise,  but it actually reinvigorates me with a fresh perspective and fresh motivation to get back into working on terrain.


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Saracens Cheap at Hobbycraft

Popped into Hobbycraft on the way back from hospital today. They are having a sale which includes the Airfix hardtop Landrover, the Landrover 1tonne Ambulance, the Bedford Refueller and best of all......

for only £3.99, the Saracen APC! Get yours quick before your local police force snap them up!



Just a quick update to say that my MRI was expedited and I've now had both MRI and EEG scans completed.

Overall, right now Im feeling good after what I can only describe as the lowest of ebbs over the last couple of weeks. Just getting to the stage of having the scans (still awaiting results) has been a welcome relief. As suddenly a damn has burst and hospital appointments with specialists are flooding in thick and fast. To paraphrase Churchill, It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Please save any well wishes you may have for me and send them instead to my sister - a single mum and a Metropolitan Police officer in London. Commended for her role in the 7 July bombings in 2005, she is in the centre of the current madness and will be part of the thin blue line on the streets again tonight.