Saturday 28 April 2012

Preview: MJ Figures 20mm Falkland British

Second order of MJ Figures new 20mm Falkland 1982 figures have arrived together with some samples of forthcoming figures that Mark kindly sent me to share with you.

 MJ Figures: Falklands 1982 British

Mark tells me his new 20mm Falklands 1982 range will begin by mirroring the existing 15mm Falklands range - Paras, Marine Commandos, Guards/Gurkhas, SAS/SBS, Argentinian troops. Then expand to include heavy and support weapons, plus extras such as Rapier and the Gemini assault boat.

The British packs will be available in berets, M76 Para helmet, MKIV/V 'turtle', cold weather caps (photo: bottom left) and I've suggested a few in knitted woolly hats too. Two packs of berets (BF01 and BF02) are available now. The Para helmets have a mix of DPM covers, netting and scrim/foilage. Cold weather caps are modelled both with ear flaps up and down.

Got to say I am increasingly impressed. Both by these miniatures plus Mark's enthusiasm for the period. The quality of the sculpting and detail equals many 28mm ranges. They scream to be painted - now, now, now! Best of all, the poses by and large have a dynamic realism and they capture the feel of the Tom from the Cold War era.

Am I excited by the new Falkland figures from MJ? Maybe. Inspired? Definitely.


Wednesday 25 April 2012

Operation Parakeet

South Georgia, April 1982. British arctic researchers and naturists are held by Argentine Special Forces at the old coaling station of Penguin Inlet. With all attention on Grytviken, a scratch team of SBS/SAS troopers and a platoon of Royal Marines are tasked to "get the bloody Penguin twitchers out and don't let anyone slot them."

The SAS / SBS land at dusk and observe the settlement; the Marines are delayed by strong currents and engine trouble, with dawn rising and the Marines slogging up the far side of the Glacier, Sgt Chaz tells his 7 lads - "let's just f**cki*ng do it."

Penguin Inlet: South Georgia

They divide into two bricks - Sgt Chaz and troopers Gaz, Daz and Baz going left and Sgt Mike, Jake, Stan and Goffy going right; each brick has M16s, a M203 and a couple of LAWs. The first buildings are empty. The next, to judge by the empty tins and a grimace from Stan, are Argie steps out of the right hand shack, goes to call an alarm and is dropped. It all goes loud as 203 rounds thump into the shacks, followed by M16 fire. The buildings are clear. Mike's brick pushes up to the house adjacent to the slipway and spot a clutch of Argies over the road; they open fire and drop the Argies but Mike goes down. Meanwhile Chaz's brick is up to a small shack on the road, Baz and Gaz break left to move up to the house next to the Church......"Action LEFT" as a squad of Argies bundles out, firing...."ACTION FRONT!" as FNs are poked out of the windows of a house over the track.

 SAS/SBS Firing line working forward

The entire settlement is engulfed as the Brits put out fire. The Argies to the left are grenaded and scatter but a stray round drops Daz; Baz puts some down range but a rife grenade goes off far too close and he's down too.  Mike's brick is under fire now with Goffy put out of action.

Its looking a bit tight for the SAS/SBS but Chaz unlimbers a LAW and fires it at the house across the road - demolishing the chimney; its followed by some 203 rounds that rattle the windows. Doors are slamming and some Argies run towards the church - are they going for the civvies? They get dropped.

 Protagonisti: Chaz, Gaz, Daz and Baz

Mike is cut off from his guys as they are on the other side of the shack putting fire down the road - he slots a couple of Argies across the slipway and ducks back head ringing from a grenade. Shaking his head, he gets the M16 online and drops two more Args. He steps back into a porch and covers the right flank.

While everyone else (about two blokes in all) put out covering fire, Chaz leads Gaz in a looping run around to the side door of the church...."BRITISH ARMY!!".....size tens are applied to the door which is stuck firm. Cheers and singing of Rule Britannia are heard from the church as the door gets another good kicking but succumbs to a pew wielded by some large Arctic Survey lads.

Two brave Argies run out the back of the house
to set up a fire position in cover

Bullets rip into the settlement as an Argie MAG MG up on the hill opens up. Its a long shot but Jake cycles his 203, raises the M16 and plonks a grenade onto the gun team. The civilians pour out of the church and are ushered to cover; its all oddly quiet. The troopers scout around quickly and help their wounded up and away. Sgt Chaz gets on the radio "Penguin One Alpha to Penguin Actual. We have run out of Argies. Out."

Sgt Chaz: unhurt
Gaz: unhurt
Daz: torn 'tache
Baz: killed

Sgt Mike: unhurt
Jake: demon with the 203
Stan: ripped copy of Penthouse
Goffy: dented tin of Chicken Supreme

Game hosted and run by Mark, played with a liberally interpreted Voyages Extraordinaire from Wessex Games.


Tuesday 24 April 2012

20mm Street Furniture

Just popped over to The Scene to pick up some 15mm 'You lose it here and you're in a world of hurt' US Special Forces for my Posse Commitatus project. Whilst browsing the webstore I found they now do a series of skips in their Scrap Yard range in both 15mm and 20mm and at very reasonable prices.

The Scene UK: SK2001 
£1.80 for 2 empty skips

The range includesnot just empty skips but also skips filled with various ballast, building materials and waste/scrap metal. I had planned to make some of my own skips from spare card but at these prices it's a no brainer to buy straight from The Scene!

 S&S Models: UrbanJunkandRats 1

Shaun at S&S Models has released this pack of generic urban junk with rats. Great as markers and generic battlefield debris. Like the traffic cones in particular. Next month these will be on the shopping list along with his previous urban barricade and burning debris to add to my burgeoning piles of rubbish bags to give my urban setup a much more fought over and inner city decay look about it.

 MJ Figures: Sand Wars - Clan Falcon

What are these?  Near Future/Cyber Punk cops. No, not really, they are MJ Figures new 20mm Sand Wars: Clan Falcon Sci Fi figures. Two packs of these figs and I thought in the right urban camouflage they would make great Near Future SWAT team keeping order on the streets in 2079. There are two packs of very nice figs. I'm going to get some to try out and also see if they would work with Winter of 79 with some added SLRs from my spares box.


ps... tonights game is a joint force of SBS/Royal Marine Commandos retaking the fictional settlement at Penguin Inlet, South Georgia, 1982.

Sunday 22 April 2012

S&S Models OTO-Melara 105mm Pack Howitzer

I have to admit a soft spot for the meccano-like 105mm L5 Pack Howitzer (aka Italian OTO-Melara Mod 56). Some of you who are my age would have had a Corgi diecast model of one of these as a kid back in the early seventies. So I'm delighted that Shaun at S&S Models has released this iconic weapon in 20mm.

£5.50 inc postage to UK

The L5 saw action in Aden, Borneo, Vietnam and Malaya with British and Commonwealth forces. The Argentines also deployed three batteries in the Falklands in 1982.

The pack howitzer was designed to be easily broken down (into 12? parts) by it's crew and as a result it was not suitable for being towed over long distances unless you had a REME wagon following behind to pick up the bits that fell off. I believe the offical handbook restricted road movement to a MAXIMUM of 20 miles and shows it porteed on the flatbed of a Bedford truck, though the principal means of battlefield transport was meant to be a 3/4 ton Land Rover.

The L5 was progressively replaced by the L118 Light Gun from 1974 to 1978/9. Read more about British towed artillery in the seventies in my previous article.

From a Winter of '79 perspective the L5 105mm pack howitzer, with it's compact size and ease of transportation amkes it a perfect weapon to equip rebel formations whether regular or militia. The fact that the L5 could be placed in the back of a Bedford gives us ample opportunity for building some fun hastily armoured lorry 'technicals' for Winter of '79.

The 105mm pack howitzer is also available from Skytrex but in this instance I prefer the look of Shaun's so email is on the way to order one to start off my rebel artillery park. 


Saturday 21 April 2012

MJ Falklands 20mm British: Go & Buy

Back on Tuesday evening I ordered several packs from MJ Figures new 20mm Falkland 1982 range. Wednesday they sent an email to inform me the figs had been despatched and duly enough on Thursday, there was a note through the letterbox to say they're waiting for me at the post office.

MJ Figures: BF01 £2.50

So this morning I walked up to the post office in the village to pick up the parcel. Made it back just before the rain but I wouldn't have minded, as these little beauties would have been worth the soaking.

The photos on the MJ webstore don't do them justice. The actual figures are well sculpted, crisply moulded, with no flash or mould seams. Unfortunately one figures arrived without most of his rifle, which had obviously broken during packaging, but I'm sure in this instance I can rustle up a spare Sterling for him. The minis are very naturally posed with well articulated faces (obligatory Tom Selleck moustaces in evidence on some figures) and above all, the berets look absolutely cracking, giving these Toms plenty of real soldier character.

Even better, these MJ Falklands British match with my ex-Hotspur figures - hallebloodylujah! I'll be buying at least one additional pack of the MJ's simply to whip the beret heads off and convert some ex-Hotspur Falkland figures.

The figures mostly appear to be wearing 68 pattern DPM Windproofs and a couple are wearing the longer and more voluminous 68 pattern Waterproof. In this scale the 68 pattern Windproof can easily double as a combat jacket with detachable hood, whilst the Waterproof can be painted as a civilian or ex-foreign army parka.

The 58 pattern webbing is in fighting order (sans bumroll). IMO the various pouches are too small on many of the figures to be truly accurate, especially waterbottle and kidney pouches, but I guess they suffice to look the part in this scale and a small niggle considering how good the figures are overall.

The L4 (Bren) LMG and SLR are very well sculpted, though the L4 looks a little short to my eye and there's no bipod in evidence. A small sprue with folded and extend bipod options like Elhiem provided with their GPMG gunner would have been a great addition. All SLRs have bayonets attached. Too often a pigs ear when attempted by other manufacturers, are in this case, well moulded and look like they can do the business.

Pack BF02, includes a bareheaded casualty lying face down and a separate SLR on a base, which even on it's own would make a good morale marker.

Summing up, what do I think? Well, these MJ Figures Falkland 1982 British are hot out of the parcel and I'm about to place a second order, so that should say something in itself. I hope Mark at MJ expands the range to include helmeted variants, GPMGs, Charlie Gs and support weapons as I'd love to see more Toms of this quality available.


Thursday 19 April 2012

Noddy Suits

Throughout the Cold War, the threat of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical warfare was taken very seriously. Any picture of the British soldier in 'Noddy suit' and respirator remains a chilling reminder of those days.

Elhiem have just released BAOR 2,  a 20mm Cold War British infantry section in full NBC protective kit including S6 respirator. The figures are based on the previously released BAOR 1 pack. Nice poses, the NBC gear this time round gives them additional character. 

So how useful are these minis in Winter of '79? Surely they are best left for British 1 Corps in NORTHAG or defending an RAF Leuchars from WarPact VDV? Well, I  say if you want troops who represent the faceless authority of the government in areas where there is open rebellion and civil war, these are it. They make a great juxtaposition to opposition forces in more regular British Army combat uniforms.

OK, so the NBC overshoes are a bit of overkill, agreed, but we can largely go into squint mode. Combat chic was popular in the early '80's and I remember young people wearing the 'Noddy suit' smocks as fashionable (go figure) items of outdoors wear. As a quick and easy way to uniform a citizen militia though, possibly not a bad choice either as the 'Noddy suits' are worn over normal clothing.

And if you are put off painting DPM, then the 'Noddy suit' is your deliverance young man. You can even 'speed paint' your Toms in a grey-green colour all over, followed by black respirator, gloves and boots. That just leaves the olive webbing and weapons. Add some colour by giving the weapons wooden stocks and drybrushing the hessian strips mid and light khaki. Done.

A wonderful flashback, plus immensely useful for TW2000 and Zombie games, so definitely on my shopping list.


Tuesday 17 April 2012

MJ Figures 20mm Falklands Brits

MJ Figures have released two packs of 20mm Toms in berets suitable for the Falklands conflict and of course, will equally find themselves perfectly at home on Winter of '79.

What can I say? Naturally these minis have my attention, particularly as most of the riflemen have bayonets 'cause "they don't like it up 'em". Hoods are also visible on the back of the jackets and a couple look like windproofs from the photos, which doubly gives them a Winter of '79 feel. I've ordered a couple of packs based on owning some of MJ's crisp, well proportioned Modern Mercenaries and am looking forward to these Brits dropping through the letterbox in a couple of days.


Monday 16 April 2012

The 1970s New BBC Series

Tonight on BBC 2 at respected social historian Dominic Sandbrook begins a new series looking at the 1970's and the decade's impact on Britain over the last 30 years.

Sandbrook's latest book SEASONS IN THE SUN: The Battle for Britain 1974-1979 is available in hardback and a thoroughly recommended read. If you want to know the real history leading up to The Winter of '79, this is the one stop shop for your research.

Looking forward to the TV series to immerse myself in period feel. Tonight's episode spotlights 1970-72.


Saturday 14 April 2012

Free C20th Download and Print Buildings

Tony at Card Models has made the decision to offer his fantastic range of C20th card model buildings as FREE, that's right, FREE, PDF downloads.

 Card Models' Falkland Island Settlement

This means that you can download and resize them on your own printer to match your preferred scale. And build that inner city warzone as large as you need for minimal effort and cost.

On the Card Models homepage you will see that you have the chance to donate a little something via Paypal. It's a cool way to spread a little karma and say "Thank you" given the range and versatility of the buildings that Tony has placed at your fingertips.


Wednesday 11 April 2012

Captain P's happy snaps from Trebizon.

"I said shut up. SHUTIT. Right, the Headshed has decided that you all need a quick catch up on events in Sunny Trebizon. So, here you are, pics by Soap, dull comments by Stench. Mine's a pint, Gaz!

This is Spiros Vondas; the Green Slime think he's part of the local business scene. He's got lots of cousins, all of them called Spiro.

You got to love it. Me and Soap would have been in the proverbial if this beauty hadn't been circling.

Lovely car, shame about the bullet holes.

Colonel Mavropoulos. Local Narco Cop boss and all round hard guy.

                      Commissioner Methodius. I don't trust anyone with more braid than brains.

                    Local politicians. Gaz was undercover on this one; that's him in the ashtray.

Right. That's it. Got it? See you on the helo."

Thursday 5 April 2012

Bob Peck's Finest Hour

When mark asked me whether I wanted to play Major Norman's Marines or the Buzo Tactico ("Boozy Tacticals" as Mark called them), I didn't hesitate to choose the Argies. It's been a tough week in work and I thought the opportunity to be blatantly aggressive would suit my mood. My text to Mark on wedneday afternoon said "this is going to be loud". How right I was.

 Bob Peck, Cpl Baz and Marine Gaz; a three man army

I did think about trying it by stealth and looking to minimise both casualties and collateral damage but then it struck me - as Part of Operation Rosario, these chaps had malleted Moody Brook Barracks and were clearly not playing to be popular. So, I settled for a full on attack.

Teams No. 1 & 3 were set up on the right with No.2 hanging back (in a reverse arrowhead), then teams No.4, an MG team and the sniper were placed on the ridge to give support fire. The plan was that team No.s 1 & 3 would flash a covered torch back at the ridge once in position up to the walls and 2 would exploit through. Then it would all go loud.

Needless to say an eagle eyed bootneck spotted something before the half way point was reached and all hell broke loose. The sniper with NV goggles dropped the Marine and the fire support group opened up. The assault teams got to the buildings but Major Norman and a small group of Marines were concealed by the Land Rovers and made their prescence felt. A drawn out firefight developed which saw team No.3 shot up totally but the careful SLR fire (single shots ony, none of that semi auto nonsense) of the Booties couldn't compete with the MG on the ridge and the ever present sniper threat and were forced back to the main building.

Meanwhile Team No.1 under Lt. Gaucho Marx had broken into the Maids quarters while No.2 had entered the isolated admin building. Here they were set up facing the courtyard but were worried about being caught in the flank by 'That Man' Norman. Team No. 4 were now legging it fast to the buildings with no clear plan, just get there......

So, at half time, it was 1-1 with team No.3 scratched and the Bootnecks pushed into the Residence proper. Team No. 1 pressed on into the Residence but got bumped by a pair of Marines. A nasty fight broke out and the sole survivor of team No. 1 hid behind a desk, head ringing from grenades and a Size 10 Boot DMS.

Team No.4 reached the buildings and I decided to go for the Maids quarters again and use it as a meatgrinder, forcing the Marines to put men on the line; with the yard still quiet 2 decided to dash across to the main door. No fire as they scuttled over, which was a total suprise.....and then another messy attempt to break in. It was plain that the Buzo just werent good at kicking in doors and meanwhile the Booties in the Maids Quarters still refused to get the message. I really needed to get into the building to open another front.

A map I'd seen had shown a CSM and a couple of Marines in the garden, hiding....where were they? A CSM, he had to be dangerous! After two efforts team No.2 were finally somewhere inside the main building, a mere matter of metres from Sir Rex Hunt I hoped but to judge by the rounds pinging about, the Marines were still up for it and that fat bloke was still on the floor loading mags for them. No. 4 had bumped the Booties between the Maids quarters and the residence and everywhere furniture was rapidly turning to matchwood. It was still 1-1, I thought about just holding till dawn brought the Amtracs up from Stanley but meanwhile those Booties were still in the game. I was stretched for numbers and that nutter Norman was still leading the defence with cohones!

From the gunfire I worked out Rex Hunt was protected by Norman accompanied and at least two Marines. No doubt about it, I needed a "Hand of God" moment. All I had left was the MG and sniper, utterly useless in CQB and too far back, so I followed Rommel's advice and just kept shooting. Mark is well aware of my tactic of using a sniper as a poor man's gun group. They could only rake the upstairs of the residence in the hope of making an impression. Oh well, keep bashing on then......where were those damned Amtracs?

Then, after a flurry of attacks which again stalled, a breakthrough. Cpl Baz is hit crouching near Rex Hunt which shakes him. A die roll and  Mark announced that Sir Rex had persuaded Major Norman that it was time to stop the bloodshed. I almost fell out of my chair. They thought they'd had problems? Mark then explained that a major factor had been the volume of fire going in from the ridge and the impression that there were more Buzo out there. The loss of Norman's radioman (Cpl Baz) in the last fusilade within the house had turned it. Given I had about 5 effectives on the line and there were apparently the same number of Marines still standing, I had lucked out.

This was a very hard fought game with both Mark and I throwing everthing bar penguin guano at each other and not backing down an inch. it was plain we both thought we'd lost it at some stage. The man of the moment had to be Major Norman, who was in the thick of it from start to finish. The Buzo sniper was pretty crucial too, rarely missing a supressive hit and not having the problems the MG team showed with a few fumbled rolls at the start. I'd not adopted a personal command figure but with hindsight the leader of team No.4 was a good bet given their swift intervention.

So there you are Bob Pecks finest moment captured in 20mm metal. Buildings by Tony at CardModels, rules Cold War: 1983 and figures all ex-Hotspur RM Marines and Argie Marines/Special Forces.


ps: Maff has posted this before I've got the pics ready. So don't worry there are more pics to come!

Wednesday 4 April 2012

An Ungentlemanly Act: Game Teaser

Tonights game.....  Maff leads an Argentine Marine Commando force against Major Norman's lads who are holding Government House in Port Stanley.

Bags of fun was had all round in a tightly contested game lasting an hour. The fate of Govenor Sir Rex Hunt hung on a knife edge with the balance swinging first one way then the other.

Buildings by Tony at CardModels. Full After Action Report with more pics to follow.


Sunday 1 April 2012

Petrol Crisis.Government Send in Troops!


Troops takeover forecourts as petrol crisis spreads 


An Emergency Government spokesman has outlined operations underway to protect dwindling fuel supplies vital to the economy from terrorist attack. As a further measure, rationing of petrol at the pumps will begin at midnight tonight to "ensure the fair and even provision of petrol".

In an interview with the BBC, the Under Secretary for Trade announced that the rationing is also aimed at "the prevention of uneccessary hoarding and profiteering by unscrupulous individuals", whilst also allowing "those engaged in essential services such as doctors, nurses and firemen to be able to get to their place of work".

It was also announced that petrol prices will remain at 79p a gallon for 4 Star for all those working in the essential services, but rise to 89p for everyone else. In an effort to lessen the blow to motorist's wallets, double Green Shield Stamps will be offered with all petrol sales.

Whilst the Labour Party denounced the move as "Rich man's rationing", queues of cars started to form at garage forecourts from early in the morning. Many motorists ran out of petrol during the lengthy wait and had to resort to pushing their cars to the pumps.

Gerald Gibbon, 35, a civil servant, and one such motorist whose car ran out of petrol said, "Well, if they weren't putting the prices up, I wouldn't have had to sit in a queue for 3 hours and probably wouldnt have run out of petrol". Harriet Bells, 33, mother of two who had been queuing for two hours said "I've been stuck in this queue for 2 hours. My children should be at school not having to queue for petrol."

A sergeant from the Royal Corps of Logistsics whose unit had secured one of many petrol stations in the Midlands told reporters "My wife's a nurse. She needs a car because of her shifts. I bet many of these people could walk their kids to school or take the bus".

Shops have experienced a run on bread, milk and eggs amid fears that the fuel crisis and rationing will effect supplies of everyday groceries.