Thursday 19 November 2020

Terrain & Tokens

 A small parcel of OO scatter terrain purchased on eBay arrived this morning from Pete at Model Railway Scenes. The casting/printing is impressive. very detailed, clean & crisp. There is actually a gap between the bin handle and the bin lid. Remarkable in this scale!

Inspired, I set about trying out different combinations of dice tracking holders, hotspots and improvised cover markers on some old MDF bases I had to hand. Works well, as you can see in the photos below. 

I recommend heading over to Model Railway Scenes and checking out their range of OO street furniture and scenic accessories as they have a great Autumn offer on just now too:

Spend £10, Save 20% with code AUTUMN20 at checkout

Spend £40, Save 25% with code AUTUMN25 at checkout

Their items are good value anyway but needless to say, with at least 20% off, I'll be going back to top up my urban scenery for W'79.

Their products are good value anyway but with at least 20% off, I'll be going back to top up my urban scenery for W'79 to replace ageing Peco scenery.



Wednesday 18 November 2020

Five Games

Played our excellent short games set in W'79 back to back , one of which was with a house amended version of One Hour Wargames. It was really good to get my older W'79 figures on the tabletop again - mostly OOP Hotspur, with the odd RH Models here and there. 

A couple of nights later I played out a fifth game in a W'79 setting again using the Caen mat, which has taken up semi-permanent residency on my table, for a modern horror encounter using mechanisms from my own W'79 rules, replacing IEDs with the agents of Cthulu.   

The Caen mat worked surprisingly well and a few pieces of street furniture simply brought the scene to life, encouraging me to play game after game, one after the other. I couldn't lay my hands on the box with rubbish bags, bins and discarded sofas, so I'm pulling together some more for future games. Excuse the lack of photos, the lamp blew so I was lighting these scenes with a torch held overhead as I tried to take wobbly photos with my phone. A timely reminder to improve the lighting in my study in any case. 

Thursday 12 November 2020

"Contact, wait out!"

Writing about the TANKS 'Caen' mat earlier I thought "F* It! Let's play a game". So here's a couple of shots to wet your appetite as East Whittington once again turns into a hotbed of frustration and malcontent with the establishment.

Urban Planning

 I've been looking for an urban terrain mat suitable for Winter of '79. None of the urban mats I've discovered so far come up to scratch. Either being too American, too modern or whatever. I contacted Deep-Cut regarding a bespoke Winter of '79 mat and not unsurprisingly, they quoted something just over £400. My pockets aren't that deep!

Recently though.... I came across the out of print 3'x3' game mats designed for TANKS - The WW2 Skirmish Game, which are available at a reduced price from many retailers.

The 'Caen' mat, notionally for 15mm works really well with 20mm figures and vehicles. "Caen? Normandy?" I hear you say, well in 1979 the streets of many older, historic or poorer districts in towns and cities across the UK were still cobbled. "But 15mm?" In the photo below you can see a selection of  1/76th British Army vehicles for scale purposes. The 2D building footprint is actually about the same as a normal 3D OO model railway terrace property.

These are relatively thin PVC mats with a silky matt finish. The quality of the artwork & printing is far superior to the photos used to advertise them. Whilst not ideal, these TANKS mats do represent great value for playing urban games when you consider that you can't buy a single mid-terrace brick house from Hornby now for the £17.99 I paid for this mat.  No ham-fisted fiddling with constructing Metcalfe card buildings either!

My intention is to pimp the mat for games with 3D  street furniture and scatter terrain - rubbish piles, abandoned cars, skips etc. Maybe even a couple of gardens for extra cover. There's nothing stopping you or me for that matter, using the roads and replacing the 2d buildings with 3D ones.

The Caen mat doesn't just offer value for money. It's easier than ever now for me to play a throw-down game set in Winter of '79. The design offers tactical challenges and the large grass area can be converted into a churchyard, playing field with and without changing huts or pavilions, etc. Two mats can even be joined up back to back for a larger combat arena.

For more of a 'trouble at mill' game this 'Minsk' factory mat again from TANKS might be what you are looking for. This was around the same price as the Caen mat, perhaps a couple of quid more but I wanted to use it for throw-down 15mm Stalingrad games with homebrew rules replicating the old PC game Close Combat. The overall scale of the mat is again notionally 15mm and I found that both 200mm and 28mm work, if you assume these are smaller workshops as found in a typical edge of town industrial estate of the time. Again street furniture and scatter terrain will really make a difference to the tactical value of the playing surface and ring the changes.

If I've piqued your interest, you must shop around for the best deal. I found myself buying from different sellers as the different mats on offer at some sellers were being sold at different prices. Since the relaunch of the TANKS WW2 Skirmish Game in October the prices have gone up - extortionately so in some instances but there's still bargains to be had. 

For instance I bought this OOP 'Berlin Autobahn' mat again from TANKS for more Modern & Post-Apocalypse gaming. Bear in mind that the first McDonalds opened in the UK in 1974 and that could be a Little Chef beside it. This cost £20 from the very helpful team at Goblin Gaming where other sellers were asking for £35.

To sum up, I can recommend the Caen mat produced for the TANKS - WW2 Skirmish Game, for your Winter of '79 inspired urban games if you can find it at a good price. The one I have will also be used as urban areas of Arnhem, Hue and Bosnia, the latter inspired by Ghost Recon, amongst other settings.

Monday 2 November 2020

We’re back!

Yes, we’re back! Maff and I are kicking in the Winter of ‘79 door once again!  So grab yer kit and join us in the back of the armoured Lannie!

If Lockdown is cramping your gaming, let me recommend the Mini-Series of gamettes by Decision Games. They have a low learning threshold and can be fun to play in under an hour. They generally follow the same format so do check out user reviews on BoardGameGeek before purchasing any you might be tempted by.

Here you see a quick and dirty Winter of ‘79 conversion of Congo Merc by Decision Games set somewhere in the Welsh Borders. Congo Merc is fun and heartily recommended by me. In the standard game you ‘conduct breakneck advances into the heart of enemy territory to seize critical objectives’. The game uses a small deck of cards for generating both events and OPFOR. It wasn’t hard to create a table to replicate these with more of a W’79 theme.

In the photo above, you can see that the Authorities have deployed Armed Police plus an Undercover Asset to a riot at Clannogg. The CI5 team have identified civilians before they might have been shot, which would look bad on News at Ten.

An SAS team plus Undercover Asset are ready to deploy from Mandrake to Wrex once MI5 Sue spends an Op Move and flies in to join them.

This game was played directly on the ‘barely altered’ Congo Merc map - i just changed place names -using miniatures in place of tokens. I had wanted to play on a 1979 AA road map of the UK but couldn’t find the copy I have and it still remains AWOL to this day. 

You can of course use the game as a mini-campaign, as I have done, generating incidents that can be transferred to the tabletop, Role-played or played out on a map, as you see fit.

Note that I’m currently in the process of updating the links on this blog but it’s a real pain doing this using my phone. I hope to be finished by end of this week.

Monday 22 February 2016

New Lannies from S&S Models

The Saturday morning post brought a clutch of Land Rovers I ordered from S&S Models two weeks ago. There's a 1/2 ton 'Airportable' Recce, 1/2 ton FFR (Fitted For Radio), 1/2 ton with cnvas tilt and finally a Land Rover Ambulance.

Forgot I'd ordered the 1/2 ton with tilt to be honest. Nevertheless It's the sort of 'kit' I like. Body and 4 wheels, job done! Looking at it in my hand I'm wondering about turning it into an armoured Lannie. Not too hard to do

And the Ambulance? It's joining the resistance!


Saturday 20 February 2016

Is this where I get the No.13 to Luxton?

The dus depot arrived safely from eBayland. My Wessex Rangers took up residence immediately in a show of force with the intention of turning the depot into a temporay base of operations.

Army Land Rovers eh? Wait for one
and then three come along all at once!

Shown in urban context

Just wondering about the viability of security screens, gates, sandbagged sangers etc. More about effort put in vs actual tabletop use? Anyway the bus depot is a welome addition to my 20mm urban collection.