Friday 30 December 2011

It Couldn't Happen Here

The National Archives have just released papers from the Prime Ministers Office relating to the civil unrest in the major cities of the UK in 1981. Concentrating on Toxteth in Liverpool and St Paul's in Bristol.

What we see are a wide range of papers, including the more high profile transcripts of the telephone conversations between Margaret Thatcher and Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw, where they discuss police requests for equipment, including the use of baton rounds, water cannons, the potential for arming police, and whether army camps should be used to detain the large number of offenders they expected to be arrested.

The documents paint an interesting if not revealing picture of unrest simmering beneath the surface of Rule Britannia at the start of the eighties. Beyond racial tensions and distrust of the police, we find unemployment, pay and industrial disputes. Militant Nationalism is Wales and to a lesser extent Scotland. Irish nationalist tensions in Liverpool and Glasgow. The rise of the far Right and neo-nazi groups. And the role expected to be played by political extremist groups, in fermenting dissent. It's evident that had the extremists, especially the Trotskyist 'reds under the bed', been better organised and capitalised on the situation, they may well have tipped the country over the brink.

But it takes two to Tango, and whilst the government discussed all potential avenues, it refused to be drawn into knee-jerk measures that themselves would undermine British rule of law and society. 

"Quiet desperation is the English way"
                                           -Pink Floyd

These papers are available now for free download in pdf format from the National Archives and I strongly recommend you do so rather than revel in the sensationalist headlines about their contents. Unless that is, you want to use the selective headlines "Liverpool to be abandoned" as reasoning or potential scenario fodder for your own revolution in miniature.


Thursday 29 December 2011

An Eye For An Eye

Following the shooting of a junior member of an Army Council on Boxing Day. The Police have announced that they are searching for Alan Tate, 26, from the Bristol area, who is believed to be responsible for several other shootings and terrorist incidents.

Anyone who has information that may lead to his arrest is encouraged to call the confidential State of Emergency hotline, 0990 0990.

It has emerged that Brigadier Raymond Barret was gunned down as he left the property of a close acquaintence in Chelsea and died at the scene. Eye witnesses report that the gunman wearing an army greatcoat, fired several shots at close range and made his getaway on a white scooter. The area remains cordened off whilst the Police conduct their investigation. Brigadier Barret's wife has been unavailable for comment and remains at their Suffolk home.

Other news. Bread production rose in the last fiscal quarter........

Tuesday 27 December 2011


Checking out the Ambush Alley Games Forum I came across these goodies. Some WIP of upcoming Cold War BAOR from Elheim Figures.

 Elheim Figures: BAOR WIP

Now, I have to say that I like patrolling poses, particularly when done right, and useful for the types of games we are playing. I think the GPMG No.1 should really be carrying this more level, due to the weight and balance of the weapon, but I like how the the SLRs and Sterlingare carried. I can already picture them advancing in V formation on Ambridge. Certainly going to keep my eye on these.

Next up. Shaun at S&S Models has released a burning car. Very nice. Looks like Bodie and Doyle have got themselves in a bit of trouble. A couple of these could well find a place in  my Urban Decay battlefield.

Finally, Skytrex are offering a 20% Off SALE on all online orders placed until the 2nd January, 2012. Discount will appear when you checkout at their online store. Not only do they have some very well mastered and cast metal 20mm Cold War Brit stuff, but they also have Individual Oil Drums.

Always great for urban settings in particular, these individual oil drums can be used for checkpoints, semi-permanent VCPs and impromptu barricades/cover. With 20% off, they are only £2.40 for ten, which is very good value.

'Mick Travis' firing his Bren, Gangsta style

With Rolf working on more Urban Meltdown Brits too, there's no better time to take to the streets or rooftops and join in the revolution!


Monday 26 December 2011

The Lynx Effect

The Winter of '79 air forces continues to grow with the addition of a Corgi 1/72 , Westland Lynx AH.1 (655 Sqn, Operation Banner,1983) courtesy of Ms Santa!

The British Army ordered 113 Lynx AH.1 to fulfill a broad variety of battlefield roles. These ranged from tactical transport, armed escort, anti-tank warfare (equipped with eight TOW missiles), to surveillance, tactical reconnaissance and CASEVAC (casualty evacuation). First deliveries began to arrive with the Army Air Corps from December 1977, and continued until 1984 when it was superceded by the AH.7 model Lynx and more recently the AH.9 and AH.9A.

655 Squadron actually flew Westland Scout helicopters in 1979, when they moved to Omagh in Northern Ireland to carry out anti-terrorist duties in support of 3 Brigade. The Squadron deployed to Shackleton Barracks at Ballykelly, Co. Londonderry in 1982 where they changed over from the "much-loved" Scout to the Lynx, a modern, faster machine, with far greater endurance and a larger capacity for carrying tactical units.

This lead to the Lynx taking on a significant role within the Northern Ireland, security effort. "Eagle  Patrols" consisting of a pair of Lynx helicopters conducted 'snap' Vehicle Check Points (VCPs) over wide operational areas. One Lynx inserted/extracted airmobile troops or Special Forces who would conduct these VCPs, whilst the other Lynx maintained overwatch of the inserted VCP with a reaction force large enough to deal with any terrorist contact. Additional firepower could be provided if needed, from a door mounted GPMG.

Perfect for use in future Winter of '79 games.


Saturday 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas


The committee calls for a completely new motion. That, that there be immediate action, once the vote is taken, obviously once the vote has been taken can't act on a resolution until you've voted on it. Would like to motion...... 

Our thanks to everyone who has followed Winter of '79 during the course of what has been a difficult year, with especial thanks too to the following people for supporting what we've been trying to do.... Tony at Platoon20, Shaun at S&S Models, especially Rolf at RHModels/Liberation Minis.

I'd like to extend a very personal thank you to Tony at Card Models for so completely coming onboard Winter of '79 and becoming a good mate to boot!

We, the committee, would like to wish you and your loved ones all the very best for the Christmas festivities, a Happy New Year, and a safe and healthy 2012.

Cheers & Good Health
Mark, Maff & Mike

Friday 23 December 2011


Chaps I have finally got access to blogger again after being hacked earlier this year. I haven't being doing a lot for the 79 project recently. Too busy being sidetracked by Broo and Lunars. But now I can Blog again I have the hankering to paint and maybe have a wee game.
Cheers Mike

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Upcoming Urban Meltdown Brits

A quick update on the Urban Meltdown Brits from RH Models. Rolf has been in touch to say that the next pack will have helmets and they will be followed by a Command pack together with a pack of two civvies armed with a 'Charlie G'.


Monday 19 December 2011


This is the first ever Military Modelling magazine I bought, way back when in July 1974. Before we get all misty eyed, I'm highlighting this issue because it has an a nicely illustrated article on Zulu War Imperial Regiments*. Very much evocaitive of 'Zulu' and in keeping with my plans to finally see the Zulu War on my wargames table in 2012.

It's easy to forget in an age of TMP, forums and blogging, that back in the 70s there were limited resources for gamers. Featherstone and Grant's books, Battle for Wargamers and Military Modelling. Finding companies and shops was a matter of scanning the small ads at the back of Military Modelling, whilst Wargamers' Newsletter was the principal source of news about new figures.

I'm taking a small sabbatical from work at a point where my project has reached a plateau and the Christmas holiday season is a convenient point to take a break and take stock. This gives me the opportunity to capitalise on my refound health and mental acuity. So I've several days put aside just for me and Winter of '79 painting/modelling.

The Urban Meltdown Brits with SLR arrived on Friday. Huzzah! Very nice figures indeed Mr Rolf. A couple more packs are definitely required! Must see if Rolf can provide some Modern Russians with ZSH1 (K6) helmets that would be easy enough to remove and use as open faced motorcycle helmets on the Urban Meltdown Brits.

With Tony's new Falklands range and in particular the Govenors Residence, I'm now regretting not buyng those painted ex-Hotspur Buzo Tactico that appeared on eBay a month or so ago. Doh!

 Tony's Card Models 20mm/OO 
Falkland Islands Govenors Residence

However, I do have a small number of ex-Hotspur Buzo Tactico (thanks Mike!), but twelve to sixteen wouldn't go amiss. Maff will be able to pick up some more for me in Jan at Penarth (depending on casting quality) and in the meantime I'll check out the status of Rolf's forthcoming Argies.


* 2nd part of the article was in the August Edition. 

Sunday 11 December 2011

Government House, Port Stanley

Tony has done a great job creating a 20mm/OO 'cut-down' version of Government House for our forthcoming Operation Rosairio games.

Government House is available to you from Card Models for just £4.99. The model has been created with flexibility in mind so you can leave off the wing and greenhouse for use on it's own, and it could even be proxy as a 'posh' proxy for Top Malo House.

Combined together these Falklands buildings from Tony at Card Models can create small settlements for actual or hypothetical battles including SAS/SBS or even Buzo Tactico raids and skirmishes.




Something for most C20th gamers. Don't forget their range of excellent FF20 Cold War metal kits. Discount is taken off at the online basket so their Scorpion, Scimitar and FV432 which are all £11.00 each will be only £8.75. Time for me to break the piggybank and get those 105mm pack howitzers!



I remember buying my first Airfix Magazine. Late sixties, possibly 1969, maybe 1968. I continued buying it with my pocket money through to 1971. Then again between '74 and '75 but it finally ceded to Military Modelling, which I bought fairly regularly up to 1984.

One of these early Airfix magazines had a photo article about Harriers on exercise in field hides. From that point on I was smitten.

A week or so ago I managed to win this fine GR3 on eBay for a tenner. It was about my fifth attempt. I'd actually been after a SEPECAT Jaguar but that finally sold for over £20, but  the guy also had this Harrier for sale. Put a bid in, forgot about it and out of the blue, I win. Result!

So now, in addition to my planned proxy Pebble Island raid, I have an idea for a game based around a rebel air force Harrier hide in a Tesco car park, inspired by Tony's card model.

Work is leaving me with little energy in the evenings for the hobby. Rightly or wrongly I enjoy my job (mostly) and am emotionally tied to my project. I am taking some negativity that's going about personally and battling to keep the project alive in a time of a multitude of demands vs reducing resources. All the while the shadow of out sourcing looming ever closer. I know I shouldn't let it get to me, but easier said than done eh.

Dr Vesuvius made a great point in a comment attached to my previous SITREP, "At times like these we most need our hobbies to help us unwind". Which makes it even more frustrating when purchases are delayed, damaged or incomplete.

Arriving at work in the dark and leaving again in the dark doesn't help either. Im really not engaging with Christmas this year. The christmas lights and throngs of shoppers are just a blur on my way to the station in the evenings. This has partly come about because I 'lost' so much of my year, but also this year feels so much more commercial than any other and seems to me to have started earlier. I guess if there is such a thing as 'christmas fatigue', I'm suffering from that as much as anything. Looking forward to Christmas Day with family. I just want all the guff to be over.

Going to play out a smallish game this week if Maff is up to it, set on the rail line approaching Abergavenny. Must remind muself to buy some track from Model Zone tomorrow.

Saturday 10 December 2011

An Ungentlemanly Act

Following a chat with Tony this morning, he's going to have a go at making a 20mm card model of Government House for us. Due to the size and complexity of the real building it will be a 'cut-down' version. But still ripe for some Buzo Tactico madness.

 Government House

The great thing is that many of these Falkland Island buildings, including Government House can be used within Winter of '79 or other Cold War, Modern and post apocalyptic settings.

Once again, any suggestions for Falkland Islands or other buildings you want to see, either leave a message below or visit Card Models and email Tony direct.


Thursday 8 December 2011

Yomping Architecture in 20mm

I'm delighted to present a new range of Falkland Islands buildings in 20mm from Tony at Card Models. These were designed to support our planned 20mm Falklands War project next Spring. Well, when you have lots of late 1970's/80's Brits in DPM and weilding SLRs, you can't not can you?

 Falkland Islands Buildings from Card Models

Tony's had fun creating these and he is happy to hear your suggestions for additions to the range. You can't get better than that!

So yomp over to Card Models and email Tony if you have any particular building in mind.


Wednesday 7 December 2011

Brings a Tear to The Eye

Bewhiskered gent in a red and white suit with black boots and a belt round his middle...Santa? No! Colour Sergeant Bourne of course!

Heather and her dad mugged me for my Christmas pressie list. To be honest I didn't really want anything but they insisted. Essentially, the argument runs "You've had a crap year. We want to get you something nice that you want."

Oh god, decisions, decisions. There's enough of those at work without turning Christmas into a chore as well. So OK, I'm putting a hold on any more purchases for Winter of '79 until I've got Rolf's Meltdown British with SLRs in my hands and can plan my future needs around them. So, not Cold War Brits....Mmmm. Our preferred Christmas day film is ZULU. I've wanted to do the Zulu War since 1974, but only now with the Empress Miniatures' recent releases is there a range that has the depth and most importantly, provides a match for my inner vision of what Zulu War models should look like. I had the Cliff Sanderson 54's way back when, and not one single wargame range has come close to replicating the energy and imagery embodied in those figures over the past 35 years. So decision made! And and hey presto, Maelstrom Games have sent me a 17% off for Christmas voucher. Wish it were that simple at work.

So, Zulu War, Black Powder it is. And an extra impetus required now to get Winter of '79 stuff built and painted before "Zulus! Thaaaaasands of 'em!" hit the Hannam lead pile.

Meanwhile, very much back in the realms of 1979, I've picked up some ex-Citadel Dark Future 'punks' on eBay. A glut appeared there recently, but I still had to put up a fight against some serious bidding. As you know, I'm an exponent of playing the 'long game' and gratefully ended up not paying over the odds on my third or fourth attempt. Added to the ones MajorMike donated, these'll do the biz until I get some dedicated Winter of '79 armed punks sculpted.

I have a Sex Pistols cover of the Zulu version of Men of Harlech playing in my head right now....


Saturday 3 December 2011


"Come the revolution.....Jeremy Clarkson ......bop,bop.bop!" This week was just off the wall!

Monday, a 'Masterclass' in Coaching and Influencing, facilitated  by Peter Hill. Brilliant! I came away firing with enthusiasm and positivity.  The rest of the week did its best to knock that out of me.

My boss resigned. They aren't going to replace him which puts the long term survival of my team in doubt (again). Then my Web Developer resigned. He was offered a more secure job with better prospects, which given the current financial situation, good for him!  However it's left my project temporarily dead in the water, so I have been liaising with recruitment agencies and  interviewing contract developers to fill the immediate gap.

Tuesday, attended an impromptu party after work to thank everyone who had participated in the employee appeals process. That was seven years of my life. Some low moments in that time, but many more highs and I can honestly say I came away richer with new friends from across the organisation.

Wednesday was completely thrown out by the public sector strike. Thursday the Highlanders homecoming parade in Union Street. On the train home my airways closed up and I was left struggling for breath. Reassuringly one of my travelling companions is a nurse, just in case things got really bad. Took a steroid shot when I got home and retired to bed.  Friday was left to pick up the pieces from the week.

Maff's not had the best week either. He works for an international company, whose workload is generated internationally, so the Eurozone crisis is a more immediate threat to his employment. Neither of us in a mood for a game on Wednesday.

And still waiting for me Urban Meltdown Brits.
But despite all that, today I have taken over the kitchen and am making more of Tony's card buildings.

They are really fast to cut-out and construct once you build up a rhythm.  I suggest you batch them up for the hot glue gun. The fiddliest part remains as with all card kits, the chimney stack. Apart from that, they are fun to build and look good. Wish I'd come across them before I started buying Metcalfe kits.