Tuesday 31 May 2011

DIY Hay Bales from Pan Scrubs

I just thought I'd experiment and see if I could make round hay bales from cheap pan scrubs?

The answer is a resounding.... err yes!

I glued 3 pan scrubs together with PVA 'white glue'. These are really cheap ones from Poundland (10 for £1). Then weighted the pan scrub 'jam sandwich' down so that they stuck firmly together. It worked, sort of.  The glue is still wet a day later but the pan scrub sandwich is stuck together just enough to try out the experiment.

Again using a traditional Humbrol Enamel paint as visual guidance, I first out cut a square around the tin, leaving me holdings a small  pan scrub 'cucumber sandwich'. Then with a pair of sharp scissors, cut a circle, freehand.  

OK, I need to make it a little smaller perhaps. Add a fourth pan scrub. But it's alright as a bit of ridiculously cheap scatter terrain. I reckon you could make 9 per 'sandwich', perhaps 12 if you were careful - that's 18-24 for just a quid! The still wet glue hindered cutting, so I would suggest putting your pan scrub 'sandwich' somewhere warm and ventilated for a couple of days before trying this yourself at home.

I will try using a 20-22mm mdf base as a template circle to cut round in future. Oh! and yes, I know that I have to finish the Platoon 20 Paratrooper's base but I am trying out Woodland Scenics' Earth Undercoat. Which I'm finding both bloody cheap and effective.


Monday 30 May 2011

DIY Hay Bales

I wanted some round hay bales for games set both in Winter of '79 and Alcovia. Anyone who has played the farm mission in Ghost Recon on the X-Box will know the importance of the bales. So they are a must have.

Harburn Hobbies sell packs of five OO scale resin, painted hay bales for around £8, but we're talking a tenner including postage. So I thought to myself, how hard can it be to make my own?

Mark's Homemade Hay Bales

I already had a block of DAS Clay - long story I won't bore you with - so set down to making my own hay bales and it couldn't be simpler. I used a Humbrol paint tin as a template, cut the clay in strips and then placed the paint tin on top. Using a butter knife (don't tell Heather), I cut out the shape using the sides of the tin as a guide for the knife. It was then a case of using a cocktail stick to score in the hay effect. In all between 6-8 minutes per bale.

I'm really chuffed with the result. By the fourth I was a bit bored, but had learnt how to get a near perfect round shape. Plus there's enough DAS in a standard packet to make up to 10-12 bales.


Overthrowing The Fascism of Tabletop Terrain

I have declared war on the fascism of tabletop terrain. Yes the glossy mags with their "look what you can have" Cosmo wargaming terrain that's more of a lifestyle than a hobby - moved the hobby forward. But it's created a fascism that divides us into the terrain haves and have nots.

Yeah, I could have that beautifully sculpted terrain but I'm joe average wargamer. My dining table remains my dining table at the end of the day.I have a finite about of space, time and patience - more so the latter. Plus, I have gaming interests in a range of periods from Sci Fi to Ancients across a variety of scales. Even when I focus that jackdaw mind of mind see's something new and shiny and off I go in a different direction.

So I have come to a compromise to rid myself of this (to some extent self imposed) hobby fascism. Terrain is not there to be fought over - it should be part of the visual appeal of a game, yes, but it should also be a functional part of the game mechanics and scenario.

Why fill my table with walls and hedges when I only need a suggestion. The terrain should be directly relevant only where it impinges or aids movement or fire. Living in the country you often find abandoned and sunken  stone walls that could act as cover or hold up movement over here, but over there you can simply step across it and it provides no shelter at all from incoming fire.

So my new mantra. I can have a piece of terrain that suggest a broken down wall on a windswept heath, a ridge line or whatever, but I don't need to recreate the whole sodding wall running across the table. This has freed me in a staggering way and not just for Winter of '79.


Wednesday 25 May 2011

On The Buses

I was given one of these Tower Models Leyland bus kits............

Got to admit I'm stumped as to what to do with it. Plenty of ideas, just which one?
  • Burned out barricade
  • Armoured Bus
  • Post Apocalypse Survivor Bus
Whilst not strictly on topic the latter interests me. Driving around last year I came across a similar green bus in a wooded layby that was obviously someone's motor-home. It had tarpaulins set up to create a leanto and it looked very much like a fun post-apocalypse 'survivor wagon'.

Searching Ebay (where this photo is pinched from) I found that Tower Models did a range of buses including the famous red double-decker.


Tuesday 24 May 2011

Reservoir Scots: Argyll Foot Patrol

You know, I think that I forgot to post a pic of my Argyll foot patrol! 'Scuse the size of the pic, I had to pinch it fom an email.

Still need a GPMG but Rolfs' new Urban Meltdown Brits will sort that as it inlcudea a nice kneeling GPMG gunner.


Monday 23 May 2011

Winter of 79 Wishlist

So, what 20mm British Urban Meltdown figures do YOU want to see?

Here's Joe's 'wishlist'. Have a think and leave your thoughts as comments below. I'll create a stand alone page that can be viewed in the right hand panel and I'll update it with everyone's thoughts as a 'living' wishlist.

Joe Collins' 20mm 1970’s English Civil War Dream list
  • Firearm Armed Police – Sterling SMG, pistols, and SLR
  • Melee Armed Police – Batons, axe handles, sledgehammers
  • Riot Police without gas mask  wearing traditional British police helmet and circle riot shield,  one with riot gun, one with loudspeaker/megaphone
  • Riot Police with gas mask as above
  • Heavily Armed Police – armed with a Carl G or LAW AT weapons
  • Geezers with older firearms –SMLE, double barreled shotgun
  • Geezers with melee weapons – axe handles, sledgehammers, knives
  • Hold up men with balaclavas and no webbing – shotguns, M16’s, AK’s, pistols, Mini-14’s
  • Rioters – unarmed
  • Rioters – armed and masked with balaclavas, cloth scarves, and gas masks with clubs, stones, bricks, chains, bottles
  • Palace Guards – Guards with bearskins and SLR
  • A well endowed female Aussie pub bartender to go with Mark’s “not-Al Murray” pub lord
  • Fire Brigade – something that looks that can be used for putting out fires from rioters or fighting zombies
  • Post-Apoc gangsters – Mad Max and GW’s Dark Future style of gangsters, but with a British feel (like wearing bowler & umbrella, or wearing a Bobby’s helmet) with 1970’s or 80’s weapons and make-shift weapons (club with spikes, etc.)   Not too crazy, so they could still be used for “realistic” punk gangsters as well.

Wish list for the Falklands line
  • Falklands – Armed with SLR and M79 grenade launchers (I prefer to have one firing, one moving with the M79 and rifle slung, and one with M79 slung and either advancing or shooting with the SLR.)  I also personally would like to see the helmet version first since most of the battles they were wearing helmets.
  • Falklands – a head version for the Welsh Guards for Tumbledown
  • Falklands – ARGENTINES!!!!  I know that Stonewall has the old Hotspur’s Argentines, but from what I understand, their molds for them have really lost their details.

Wish list for the Cold War line
  • British soldiers in NBC suits and masks for Cold War Hot chemical exchange or response to zombie infestation. 
  • US soldiers in NBC suits and masks as above – please, both with the M1 steel helmet and the Kevlar helmet – personally, I want the M1 steel helmets first. 
 Thanks for that list Joe, good ideas. Now let's hear yours.......



Sunday 22 May 2011

A Pile In The Country

Just bought this Masterplan Country Mansion for £2.99 plus postage on Ebay:

I couldn't resist. Especially with that gold Roller sitting outside. Every other episode of The Professionals was filmed at a country house like this. It was the home of an industrialist who was funding a coup, a family that was kidnapped, a diplomat's country residence - etc etc - if Bodie and Doyle weren't storming the place, they were defending it, turning it over, rescuing the occupants or guarding them.

The Masterplan buildings are made simply from coloured card and wood. You can assemble them in their basic form in minutes and have plenty of potential for adding additional detailing if you wish. But at least you have a basic shell that's table ready.


Photo-Etched 1/72 Weapons

I found a Czech manufacturer of 1/72 photo-etched weapons. Not cheap but ideal for those necessary Winter of '79 conversions. They also make photo-etched 1/72 hands which you can animate to hold/fire the weapons too.

Check out the Tracks & Troops webstore here (http://www.tracks-n-troops.eu/shop/).


Saturday 21 May 2011

Daimler Armoured Car Timewarp

Found a pair of Daimler Armoured Car kits in the garage. The Daimler saw action in WW2 and served in Territorial Army units well into the 1960's. Those not sold or scrapped may have been laid up in sheds around the country and could become available to our Winter of 79 protagonists with at least some work.

I fancy them as rebel Trade Union armour. I have a sneeking fondness for the Daimler, partly I think due to the enduring comic image of Tom Courtenay heroically riding atop one in 'Billy Liar'.You can just imagine Arthur Scargill leading the Yorkshire Miners from the turret can't you.

Expediency in times of national emergency or crisis is a wondeful thing. So what other readily available WW2 armour can we bing to the party without things getting silly. I'm tempted by the Britannia Miniatures' Dingo Scout car as a one off. Whilst the Humber Scout and A-34 Comet could also make an appearance somewhere down the line. Perhaps converted with differet turrets or additional makeshift armour and weapons.

I wonder if I can shoehorn the mantlet and gun from an Airfix Scorpion/Scimitar kit onto the Daimler? That would make a very suitable 1979 upgrade methinks. Off now to try..............


Thursday 19 May 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

I'd like to thank Eamon Honan for nominating Winter of '79 for a Stylish Blogger Award. Some girls over on TMP decided it wasn't fashionable and it now seems to be the done thing to say, "Oh I've received X number of wards but of course I politely decline". Well bollocks to you. This 'award' is a communication tool bigger than individual hobby egos. It has helped many, including myself to find more blogs of direct or even indirect interest, built bridges with other gamers and ultimately play a small role in bringing together thi disparate and fractured hobby of ours through an act of kindness, generosity and respect. Surely that is not bad thing especially in these times.

Now as per the stipulation of the 'rules', which aren't set in stone but actually serve a useful purpose and are fun:

1) Thanks again to Eamon (Conrad Kinch) whose wepage can be found here:  http://www.librarything.com/profile/kindermord

2) Seven interesting things about me.
  • Power in the Darkness by the Tom Robinson Band is most definitely the anthem of my life and inspiration for this blog.
  • My family is from the Shannon and my grandfather was shot by the Black & Tans.
  • My mother was a Butlins 'redcoat' alongside Des O'Connor. The joke in my wife's family is, I'm Des O'Connor's lovechild!
  • I am an ex-officio member of the local Trade Union executive. My main role is to prepare members for employement appeals and hearings. Supporting them and making their case for them where necessary.
  • I lived in the flat of the director of Surf Nazis Must Die whilst he was away filming.
  • I was proposed to by the grand-daughter of a Duke. 
  • I secretly watch the TV show How I Met Your Mother, 'cause I have thing for brunette Colbie Smulders who plays 'Robin'.
3) Nominate another blog/blogger (or several) for the award.

In keeping with this blog I'm going to nominate Richard at Cold War Hot, Hot. Hot for a massive resource dedicated to the Cold War with very much a miniatures theme. Richard is grounded, an everyman and takes time out to answer questions and queries.

And I also nominate Steve for England Prevails. I know how much work goes into knocking up fake newspapers and TV reports. Steve does it to a tee and preents a frighteningly realistic picture of an alternative timeline Britain set in the late 1980's. Inspirational stuff from another grounded wargamer.


Sunday 15 May 2011

NEW Urban Meltdown British from RH MODELS

Rolf at RH Models has come through and has built a new pack at my bidding URBMELTSUP: 3 bareheaded figs with stirling smg and, 2 with GPMG. 


I've suggested some variants that include skinheads and punks from the period - otherwise it will be woolly hats and balaclavas. Have your say below.

I've also suggested and may need your support here to make it happen - a pack of more country types with barber jackets, flat caps, shotguns and SLRs. Once again, give us your ideas below.