Friday 29 June 2012

Freikorp you know the score!

Remember back in March I mentioned I had started a new Freikorp project? Well I made quite fast progress and have finished enough figures for a few units.I just need to finish the bases, paint on loads of swastikas and do the heavy weapons. I also need to think about the opposition. I don't want the Freikorp to fight other WW1 Germans as it would look too boring. So I was thinking maybe some armed sailors or civilians. One of the guys in the club has a stash of German model railway building so I can see this becoming a game pretty soon. 

For rules we will use our ubiquitous 38 rules adapted from  the Foundry Old West set. They give a simple fast game and stats are available online for just about every AFV of the era. We actually used these rules for a 79 game involving geezers, terrorists, armed police and army patrols and they worked very well. You just have to keep things simple.


Monday 25 June 2012


Well that was an intense week! Seriously feels more like a month has passed since last weekend in what has been a tough week, with the added stress of two professional exams. Enjoyed the experience nevertheless in a strangely masochistic kind of way. I guess in part because I have come away with increased confidence after last years neurological issues, which still leave me with some residual memory issues.

I returned home on Friday with raging 'man-flu' and have spent the weekend 'bravely' lying up and taking things easy. So, my workbench remains as I left it last week. Whilst resting up, I read more about the American Militiaman movement. What prompted this was twofold. Jon at Khurasan getting in touch, which resulted in me finding some new goodies on his webstore that would suit my Possee Comitatus project. Followed by the NatWest Bank's 'glitch' with their IT systems.  I just thought to myself, "right after UK banks have been downgraded. What a wonderful way to begin an economic apocalypse!"

This led to TIME Magazine which has a very interesting article The Secret World of 'Extreme Militias' profiling the Ohio Defence Force. I pulled several ideas from the article about potential scenarios. Including a Jihad Dawn remake of the 1984 classic, Red Dawn, using Khurasan's 15mm Neo-Arabs. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2: with a twist.

Of course I also wanted to see what parallels could be drawn between the American militia movement and our Winter of '79 scenario in Britain. In fact, when you think of it, were the 'private armies' Britain's own response in terms of a militia movement, but in a more typically British way of course?

At what point would the ordinary householder in 1979-81 Britain take up arms? With inflation hitting 17.4% in November 1979, would the axiom that "society is only nine meals away from anarchy" hold true when the Fish Fingers ran out?


Sunday 17 June 2012

20mm Falklands 1982 Argentinian Infantry Greens

Mark from MJ Figures sent me this taster of his upcoming 20mm Argentinians for his Falklands 1982 range. Over the phone, Mark told me about the support weapons including mortars and recoilless rifles plus a range of resin dugouts he's had created specifically for this range.

MJ Figures Falklands 1982
Argentine Infantry WIP

I also received a couple of samples of new British Paras from him, tucked in with an order. They are both bareheaded and wearing helmets (photos to follow). The bareheaded Tom is particularly good makes a nice character figure! All in all this range is shaping up nicely.

 A Free Wales Army raid on a Rupert billet in Monmouthshire

A quick SITREP at this point won't go amiss.  The recent downpours in the south of the country have left Maff with the unenviable and costly task of stripping back his interior walls and flooring.

After final effort, I have all the Land Rovers I need - well, almost. Long Wheel Base, Short Wheel Base, 1 Ton and Airportable. A couple are in Berlin Brigade schemes for 10 Field Force, who are going to have a more urban role going forward... fires on "the mersey and the thames and the tyne..."

I've been focusing on course work for some professional exams coming up next week. Bearing this in mind, I'm in 'lockdown' from now until Friday 22nd, when I hope a big celebratory drink will be in order. See you then!



Monday 11 June 2012

Fighting in the middle of the road....

 In 1979, Paddy Griffiths developed an urban skirmishing game called 'Young Team' that was aimed at moving away from the traditional wargame rules for low level combat and trying instead to understand and model the combatant's inner personal psychology and will to fight. In this particular case, 'Young Team' was a game created from Glasgow gang fights and based largely on James Patrick's study A Glasgow Gang Observed.

 The Sarrie Heed: or The Young Team Mk III devised by Jim Roche for the Conference of Wargamers 1990 (COW90), is a very playable revision of Paddy's original work and remains one of the reasons why I love my small stash of worn and well read Wargames Developments Annuals. If you ever come across them you will find they make superb reading. Wonderfully eclectic, each one brims with ideas, inspiration, evocative rules plus full or partial game systems.  

The Sarrie Heed  is one such gem, taking up no more than a double page spread at the centre of The WD Annual 1990.  The basic premise of the game as played at COW90, is that late one Saturday night, fuelled up and bellicose, the punters at The Saracen Head spill onto the Gallowgate looking for trouble with the punters from The Quarter Gill. The winner is the 'team' - figure, player, who demonstrates the greatest 'bottle' in the ensuing clash, without getting themselves arrested by the 'polis'.

Naturally the potential of the game doesn't rest there...."Teenage guerillas on the tarmac, Fighting in the middle of the road" (Up Against The Wall, TRB).... with plenty of application for us within a Winter of '79 context, a game is already in preparation as part of our ongoing campaign.


Thursday 7 June 2012

Radio Go! Go! GO!

On a parade ground somewhere near Fort Benning........

"Rangers, as you know, Operation Prompt Anger has been authorised by the President.

Amongst the mission targets is the local radio station at Santa Maria dos Los Paraguayos. The station is located at the end of a street forming a T junction; it is adjacent to the local school and so we are unable to seize it by a direct assault. Instead Bravo Chalk will rappel from helos at the end of the street and move onto the objective with speed. Alpha Chalk will provide LZ security. Local resistance is however expected to be light.



Several hours later in the Caribbean....

Reef Radio promises "Good Skanking Tonight, Every Night".....

But something else is in the air...

"This is Chick Two we are on LZ over. Go! Go!"

"This is Mother Hen, negative Chick One slated to land first over"

"Chick Two here, we are off course, ETA 2 minutes over"

"This is Chick One, we are landed, holding LZ.......over"

Despite the confusion both Chalks land and form up but....


"Enemy heavy weapon 12 o clock!"

"Enemy infantry! 11 o clock!"

"Man down!"

Local militia and a DUSHKA
(dug in outside the Radio Station)
open up on the Rangers

"BRAVO! Move right, Rangers lead the way"

"Grimes! Get your 203 on the DUSHKA! Smith! LAW that DUSHKA !"


"Grimes, you're useless."
"DUSHKA suppressed!"

"Supressed is no good to me. I want it DEAD!"
"Sniper! Sniper!"

"Eyes up! Nail that sniper! This is Alpha, under sniper and small arms, targets moving on our LEFT!"

And on the right......

"BRAVO! Move up, get over the railway tracks!"

"Enemy in sight 12 o clock!"

"Man hit!"

Bravo engaging enemy infantry on the wrong side of the tracks

"This is Mother Hen, we are holding LZ but Bravo stick is heavily engaged on the right flank over"

"Move up ! We are Oscar Mike at the edge of the shacks. Enemy infantry ahead!"

"Don't these guys give up?"

"We can enfilade the DUSHKA! Go Go Go!"

"This is Alpha, enemies to left neutralised , we can see Bravo at the radio station."

"Man down! Alpha! All eyes for that sniper!"

"Got him, target neuralised."

"Good shot Lohn."

"Bravo. Stack up. Prepare to breach. BREACH!GO GO GO!"

"an dat was Prince Buster, an it's a fine morning with Reef Radio....WHAT? An deres a helicopter outside an guys are sliding down ropes BANG Leroy, catch that WAILERS disc, it's signed! An theres shooting in the street, in the bush an BANG there goes real damage eh Leroy.....? An dere's more shooting....."


"Hey I'm de DJ, you got a request, you PHONE it in like anyone else!"

"This is BRAVO, target secured, wait up. SMITH! check the windows! What's that noise?"

"Cuban armour! Approaching up the railtracks!"

"Rangers! Check LAWS! Mother Hen....we have a situation here .....

To be continued.............

Ranger two Chalks, each 6 Rangers, assorted car15, m16, 203, sniper and LAWs.

Costaguans - assorted militia, DUSHKA and sniper (in the power units on the station roof) - regulars.

Figures - Hotspur (dushka Pltn 20), tank - AIRFIX, terrain, you've seen it all before amigos...
Rules, CW83 with even more mango and a hint of rum

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Power to The People!

Took some time out today to create the Tooting Popular Front's generalissimo, Wolfie Smith, as a character figure for Winter of '79.

The Fulham scarf? Well you have to don't you!

I thought the Uzi was 1970's revolutionary in the Baader-Meinhof mould and right up Wolfie's street as the self styled Che Guevara of South London.


ps Now working on Rick "The People's Poet".

Tuesday 5 June 2012


The head of steam I had built up early last week was brought to a halt on Wednesday when Heather was made redundant.

22 years with the same company. A job she loves and is dedicated to, is now, for all intents and purposes over. The team she has built and nurtured, the friends that make her job so enjoyable on a day to day basis - all to go.

Regardless of being change managers ourselves, the effects of change, that sudden painful "What now?" reality check, is inescapable. Yes, you can be better prepared, you can understand how it will impact on you, how you will go through phases of emotional response etc, but you can't escape it.

Believe me, we are in a better position than many in a similar situation, so we aren't complaining. Funny thing is that I had the redundancy axe hanging over my head for two years and then 18 months of the threat of outsourcing, which I grasped as an opportunity. And that's where we are now. We may need to sell up, downsize, move in with her father, relocate entirely, or a combination of all these options. Whatever happens going forward, we have been given the impetus to review our combined skill sets and make sure we utilise them fully. This may take the form of multiple income streams to give us some protection against the winds of economic downturn and change. Who knows, Winter of '79 the 3 part ITV mini-series may now become a reality!

I am back at the paint-front today. Perhaps it's symptomatic of my inner feelings, but I'm building an Airfix Chieftain to turn into a wreck as W'79 scatter terrain. I've just been rusting up this old Airfix T34 for our Bakonga games as a test piece.... see the photo below.   

Both tanks are going to be mounted on Laser Cut Terrain Templates from East Riding Miniatures. I've got one template prepped with the first layer of basing material drying before I fix down the T34 hull. These Terrain Template packs are cracking good value, especially the medium size, and I thoroughly recommend them. ps (T34 largely complete now).

Been discussing rules with Maff and I really want to stick with Cold War: 1983. Most of our face to face gaming is done via Skype these days and we often have strict time limits of an hour, hour and a half, including chat and any show and tell.

Rather than limiting our hobby, the reverse is true. We specifically focus our games to maximise these windows of opportunity and are specifically targetting our figure and terrain collections to support this.

So, why Cold War: 1983? Well, we know the system inside out. We rarely have to refer to the book at all, so game play can zip along. Plus it's a versatile system and very easy to incorporate your own ad hoc mission/scenario specific rules.

It's not that CW:83 are necessarily better than any other rules, just in this case better suited to our current game play and the constraints we face. So I've formalised our game play with Cold War: 1983 into three distinct styles.

For small games, no more than half a dozen figures per side, we play the rules as is. Full granularity. We call this CW:83 CQB.

For Call of Duty: Modern Warfare/ Ghost Recon inspired games we have CW:83 Gaz's Rules. In this house variant, the SAS or other Special Forces figures are considered First Person Shooters (FPS), whilst any supporting troops and enemy forces are largely dealt with as fireteams, though there may be the odd FPS enemy sentry, leader or "boss" figure. In other words the enemy fireteam plays as a single entity.  This harks back to the 'Goon Squad' rules Maff originally conjured up in Cross of Iron.

For larger games, 3+ fireteams each, we have a further house variant CW:83 Fireteam. If you've played the video game  Full Spectrum Warrior, you'll understand where we are going with this. Here leaders lead whilst fireteams move and fight as a single element. Im just now adding in some ideas that have come out of gaming Force and Force and Hell and Uncivil Disorder to make CW:83 Fireteam sharper and a bit slicker for Skype play.

I should add that Maff and I have known each other since the early nineties. For us the game is more important than winning or losing, and sometimes we smooth game play for the sake of a fun game. We regard rules as an enabler rather than being simply immutable laws. But, it's still important to us that combat outcomes make sense and have logical results.

Apart from finishing off  miniatures I started last week, what's on the menu this week? Highlighting and bushes/tall grass clumps on some rock formations I've been painting for the Falklands, some distressed buildings.... but Land Rovers mostly.The aim is to complete four by the weekend. Six if I can get some bandage for camo nets.


Sunday 3 June 2012

20mm Falklands Argentinian Teaser

Mark at MJ Figures has sent me a teaser picture from his new range of 20mm Falklands War Argentinians. He has given me permission to share here with you:

MJ Figures 20mm Argentinian
sculpt in progress

Looking good to me. Mark tells me he will be picking them up early this coming week (w/c 5th June), so should be available shortly. I'll keep you updated as and when I receive more news.


Friday 1 June 2012

Creating a Rebel Cadre

Organising my forces for playing the Top Malo House game on Wednesday, it occurred to me... the 19 Royal Marine Mountain & Artic Warfare Cadre including an L4 (Bren), sniper and pair of GPMGs with the right choice of figures, not only provides a historical force for the Falklands, but gives you a very nice Rebel force for Winter of '79.

So let's look at the organisation:

  • 1x Leader, w/M16A1
  • 1x Signaller, w/SLR
  • 1x Platoon Sergeant, w/M16A1 & M79

  • 1x Section Leader, w/M16A1
Fireteam Alpha
  • 1x Fireteam Leader w/SLR
  • 1x Grenadier w/M16A1 and M79
  • 1x Rifleman with w/M16A1
  • 1x Rifleman w/SLR
Fireteam Bravo
  • 1x Fireteam Leader w/SLR
  • 1x Gunner w/L4 LMG (Bren)
  • 1x Rifleman with w/M16A1
  • 1x Rifleman w/SLR

  • 1x Section Leader, w/M16A1 & M72 LAW
Support team Alpha
  • 1x Fireteam Leader w/SLR & M72 LAW
  • 1x Grenadier w/M16A1 and M79
  • 1x Gunner w/ GPMG
Support team Bravo
  • 1x Fireteam Leader w/M16A1 & M72 LAW
  • 1x Gunner w/ GPMG
  • 1x Sniper w/ L42A1 Sniper Rifle
There's a slightly different composition in the scenario on page 182 of Force on Force from Ambush Alley Games, but I found this one elsewhere and am happy with it for my purposes.

Now, the first thing we notice, is that it provides us with something that is tactically radically different from the 1979-80 regular army platoon structure we can expect from the Government Forces, eg 3 sections each of 8 men including a GPMG. It also stamps itself with the identity of being an unconventional force, for it's time. On the gaming table it is well suited to ambushes, raids and going toe to toe with a regular infantry platoon in a stand up fight.

We can create something similar to the Cadre organisation at Top Malo with a minimum of purchases from RH Models (Liberation Miniatures):
  • SASFALKSQU: FALKLANDS ERA SAS - 6 w/M16A1, 2 w/CAR 15 - Mixed headgear
  • SASFALKSUP: As above: 2 w/GPMG , 2  w/BREN, 4 w/M16/M203 
  • OZSAS: 9 SAS , Mixed weapons (M16A1,SLR,AND M79), Mixed headgear
  • SASFALKSUP: As above: 2 w/GPMG , 2  w/BREN, 4 w/M16/M203
  • Sniper figure/s of your choice from the range available.

For a more distinct Cadre look, (Royal Marine or Welsh regiments cadre within rebel Welsh rebel forces) add some figures in berets. The simplest way being to use the smaller packs of signallers or machine gunners available from Rolf.

If you want a more Durruti style armed populace feel to your unit, replace a few of the suggested SAS figures with some of the many choices of armed civilians that are also available from Rolf's ranges. This will provide that more urban civilian resistance look. Choose figures with AKs and similar Soviet Bloc kit for a more Marxist or Communist edge.

Of course you can mix and match figures from various manufacturers ranges as you see fit, but as a one stop shop, RH Models (Liberation Miniatures) provides you with all this plus more options than I've listed here. The figures in my photo at the top of the page and indeed my own M&AWC are all ex-Hotspur figures. I'm very fond of them but the overall range is limited.

Personally, I suggest a core force created as M&AWC for Top Malo with enough armed civilian options to change the character or supplement the force as required. And of course you can always turn things round, where your cadre are government Special Forces or local Home Guard and the regulars or armed civilians are rebels.

With less than 20 figures, you can begin your own rebellion, Winter of '79 style and still have a force that can play more historical or hypothetical Cold War conflicts down the club.