Sunday 25 November 2012

20mm Urban Grittiness on eBay

Time to push one of my favourite eBay sellers. David a.k.a. eBay seller Harleycat pushes out a constant stream of excellent decaying urban and industrial buildings in OO scale (20mm). And all at very reasonable starting bids to boot.

Each of these low-relief run-down block of flats measures 14.5cm long x 13.5cm high x 4cm deep and are solidly constructed from printed card mounted on a sturdy and professionally constructed hardboard frame.

Over the year David *Harleycat* also offered a wide variety of run-down commercial premises, offices and factories. The popular ones come round again fairly regularly, so no need to get into a frantic bidding war. I look out for new products from David every time I stop by eBay because I love the grittines of the urban secenes he photographs and find them inspiring for Winter of 79.

As a consequence, I've picked up several of his buildings. For scaling purposes, here's one of David's low-relief flats (left) on the streets of Winter of 79. I've got the flats with shuttered convenience store too and am after that Chinese Takeway you can see in the background of the second photo to round out a particular scene I have in mind. One of David's two part commericial/industrial buildings forms the backdrop to my industrial estate.


Saturday 24 November 2012

Digging In!

Up to now I've been in two minds about Javis Scenics products. However, Javis's new 'resin' range of superior quality terrain items for wargamers has me hooked. I saw the photo below on eBay and was immediately prompted to buy this set. I'm sure you'll agree they just looked perfect for Free Taff positions in the Black Mountains.

Javis Scenics Assorted Foxhole Trenches (Ref RB60)

Past experience prompted me to set my expectations low. Well, the foxhole set arrived yesterday and I fully admit that my scepticism proved to be unfounded. They are believe me, really, really good, with a lot of care being put into the design. The casting is crisp and well detailed and I love the fact they really do look like defensive positions hastily put together with meagre defence stores and anything else at hand. You can just imagine the Free Taff Militia holding them can't you?

The foxholes come grey base coated, highlighted and flocked. Ready to be put into action on the tabletop until time is available to get round to painting them. Each fighting position of corrugated iron, wooden boards and sandbags, is approximately 3" or 8cm in diameter. The larger one holding 6 standing/kneeling squaddies at a push. The foxholes are billed as 20-25mm by Javis and best suit larger 20mm (1/72) figures or original 25's. Having said that my 28mm Pig Iron Sci Fi Colony troopers don't look too out of place.

 Platoon 20 Government Paras

Maff needs to get used to this sight
of Paras in Free Taff positions

Just looking at them again. I may well buy a second set, add rubble, masonry and oildrums to ceate a set of urban  fighting positions. Heather brought home from work some small scale ribbed cardboard from packaging and I'm going to see if painted as corrugated iron, I can give at least two of them some lightweight removable overhead cover.

I'm now more than happy to buy more from this range, whether defences, ruined outbuildings or the versatile set of 4 ruined wall corner pieces. Probably order one or two of these  items a month to ring the changes and build up a small collection of inexpensive scatter terrain.If you are looking for the foxholes yourself on eBay or elsewhere, run a search for 'Javis Trenches' and check out the rest of the products here: Javis Scenics.


Friday 23 November 2012

Helicopter Magazine: Westland Wessex

Quick heads up. Issue 7 of Helicopter Magazine is in the newsagents now and sports a very nice 1/72 diecast Westland Wessex HU5 for only £7.99. Great value when you consider the corresponding Matchbox plastic kit is around £9.00 and the Corgi collectible version a whopping £45 (average).

Couldn't resist some Ride of the Valkyries glory in Winter of '79 so bought three. You can just imagine the Paras watching Apocalypse Now, loving it and coming up with a ballsy plan. The next phase of operations in Wales....sorted!


Thursday 22 November 2012

Bedsit Revolutionaries

We interrupt this gripping 1970's saga...... I found a set of  1/72 scale 1970'ish furniture on eBay from a European company called Lone Wulf Miniatures. Thought it was perfect for adding a bit of 3D depth to Operation Pantheon style house raids or impromptu 'cover' on the streets.

Comes on a sprue. Very nice, crisp, clean casting too! Quite impressed. Nothing you can't make yourself with plasticard and some Green Stuff to make the sofa but coming in less than a fiver including postage it takes all that bother away. Not done anything with it yet, so here's a promo shot I found on the interweb.

Looking around for additional items to supplement this purchase I found more 20mm WW2 orientated furniture at C-P Models (TQD Castings Moveable Objects) and Frontline Wargaming's Blitz Bits. If you know of others please let me know.

If you are looking to repeat this yourself, don't worry about the age of common items such as wardrobes, chests of drawers and comfy chairs. Despite being WW2 era, older furniture styles survived through the seventies and beyond in flats, bedsits and even family homes, often mixed with newer styles.

Still with me......? Right, I have created some CQB house clearing rules for Cold War: 1983 and now running them through the USEME Modern Warfare blender to see how they fit there.

Now you may have been thinking that the Kebab House drama has just been a lame effort at amateur writing? Far from it. The Tate/Kebab House storyline has propelled us back into the miniature world of 1979-80 Britain with gusto. Inspired, I've taken an old set of my own rules - The Odd Angry Shot and 'lifted' them to become a system from tracking down Rhodesian guerrillas in the bush to running a manhunt on the streets of London. But you know, now I've opened pandora's box with The Odd Angry Shot, I'm keen to get back to some bush warfare skirmish gaming as a result.

And then at a very natural point in the gaming story surrounding the Grey Cortina - which I still need to blog up - it seemed only natural to utilise the original system for a police car chase in the best traditions of Police Camera Action "Right! Right! Right!"


Monday 19 November 2012


TV Commentary:   "In response to shots fired inside the besieged premises earlier today, armed police supported by specialist Army anti-terrorist units have stormed the flats above the Kebab House where terrorist leader and wanted fugitive Alan Tate, who together with an unknown number of others were holding two confirmed hostages.
At approximately 2.40pm this afternoon, explosions rocked the building. Glass and debris cascaded onto the pavement below. Shots could be heard as smoke and flames began to billow from the 3rd floor windows.
10 minutes later we could see one of the hostages, thought to be Miss Galina Vankov, a 24 year old student caught up in the siege drama, being led out by black clothed armed police and taken away in an ambulance, escorted by police cars with flashing lights. The upper storey is clearly on fire but the police are preventing fire crews from putting out the blaze......."
Roy: "Right bloody mess."
Tom: "Do you think we've got him?"
Roy: "I'm not counting our chickens until I see him on a slab or his teeth in an envelope. They should have waited and let us send Special Projects in. This inter-department rivalry has got to be stopped if we hope to end this thing.

Anyway, we need to get our hands on the girl."
Tom: "I think SIX will probably be sitting on her for some time before handing her over to FIVE. We won't get a look in for weeks, possibly months, if at all. Especially if Tate is off the slate."
Roy: "Tom, start the ball rolling. Show we mean business. Then get Carter on it. Tell him to use blackmail if he has to. We've got plenty on everyone concerned...... I've got a job for you in Glasgow. You'll need Jim and Special Operations for this one."

Tom: "Glasgow eh? I thought for a moment you were sending me to Wales. Doing the Beacons once is more than enough in a lifetime".

Roy: "There's a big operation planned. Special Forces, ours and theirs, are running around having a field day at the moment. Can't risk a blue on blue."
Tom: "Didn't know you cared."
Roy: "I don't. Glasgow may put a huge dent in their hierarchy. Now the girl?"

Phone rings. Tom answers and looks at Roy. There is a clear unspoken message between them. Standing to leave Tom nods and acknowledges, "The girl."

Silently, Roy sits back down in his chair and slips a Met traffic report about a grey Cortina into a manila folder marked TATE before dropping the whole thing heavily into his desk drawer. Pressing the intercom, "June. More tea, and bring in the Glasgow file."


Sunday 18 November 2012

The Kebab House Siege

Shoppers witness shootings in broad daylight! 
Armed policeman and shop owner killed!
Mad Trot robbers take 3 hostage 
in Tooting Bec Kebab House!

The News of the World can reveal that Police officers searching for Mad Trot Alan Tate, ran him to ground at the very moment he was undertaking an armed raid on the King of Kebapche Kebab Takeaway in Tooting Bec on Wednesday.

In the ensuing shootout which saw innocent shoppers scurrying for safety, heavily armed police attempted to arrest and apprehend Alan Tate and an unknown number of accomplices. One police officer and shop owner Petar Bukowski, 35, were mercilessly killed by Trot gunfire. 

Heavily armed police quickly surrounded the building, sealing off Tooting Bec and soldiers erected barricades, checkpoints and searchlights facing Tooting Broadway to prevent interference from pockets of Popular Front diehards still thought to be at large in the area. Shops and homes on either side of the property were hurriedly evacuated.

Tate is forcing attractive hostage Galina Vankov, 24, a student at the London School of Economics, to negotiate with police through a third floor window. Though visibly shaken and operating to orders being given from inside the barricaded upstairs flat, Galina has pleaded with police for the safety of those inside.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the whereabouts of a Grey Cortina, whiplash aerial, racing trim, seen leaving the area at sped shortly after the shootings.


We'll unravel the real story behind the siege and aftermath over the coming week.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

The Bulgarian Connection

Roy, "Tom?"

Tom, "No go. Drawn a blank so far, sir. He's gone to ground deep".

Derek, "Maybe his latest girlfriend is a nurse? Stitched him up and is mopping his brow."

Roy, "Get this Tom, the Smith & Wesson is Bulgarian. War Office issue, part of a shipment sent in 1915. So what's a Bulgarian revolver from the First World War doing on our rock revolutionary?"

Tom, shaking head "Grandad's Spanish Civil War memento? Stage prop?"

Derek, "Bulgarian? I could murder a kebab. There's that Bulgarian kebab place as you turn left off the High Street towards Tooting Bec. They do nice chips too!"


Roy, "Tom get onto SIX now! I want ALL Eastern Bloc targets in their play book. From Norwood to Croydon, Micham to Crystal Palace. Derek, still fancy a take away?"

 A mile away, in a flat above the KING OF KEBAPCHE Takeaway.

Galina,  "Alan, you were foolish to meet him. No good could have come of it."

Alan, "I just thought..... I dunno what I thought. Thought he could have handed us a popular rising. Turn the despair and anger into action.....Maybe."

Galina, "You need politically motivated soldiers who want to fight for a socialist cause, not a pop one. You're wound is good now? You are ready to move? Petar does not want you to stay. He thinks you will bring bad luck this time". 

Alan, "What about us?"

Galina, "What about the cause? We have placed a lot of trust in you. Your weapons are in the car. Five AK47's, 12 Skorpion sub-machine guns, 3 Makarov pistols, plastic explosives, fuses and a quantity of ammunition. We have left further ammunition where we agreed......Shte mi lipsvash tiva."

Galina, "Shhhh.....Do you hear something?"


Tuesday 13 November 2012

The Streatham Powerplay

No.2, "We had better call everyone in on this Roy. The more resources, the quicker we'll catch him. Don't you think?" 

Roy, "He's injured. We know that much. We don't know how badly, but a 7.62 tends to leave a mess. Damn it! He might just as easily have hopped on a bus out of there and be squirrelled away with some posh trot totty in Hampstead."

No.2, "He's gone to ground and will head for friends locally. You know the routine. Riga wasn't it?"


Roy, "Get me enough bodies on the ground and I'll put every chemist shop and veterinary surgery under surveillance. We'll turnover every clinic and surgery within 3 miles for known sympathisers. If anyone so much as goes home with a band aid in their pocket, Special Branch will be on to them".

No.2, "I'll pull out all the stops for this and will turn out every cook and bottle washer from Hereford if I have to. I'm sure Dickie would appreciate a result. Something to celebrate between ourselves though, eh!

You'll need some extra muscle on the streets. This pop chappie has caused a stir. Even in Hampstead."

High wire fencing on the playground,
High rise housing all around....
High time to pull it all down


Monday 12 November 2012

Fallen Icon

Here is the Nine O'Clock News. Sid Vicious, controversial bass player in the Sex Pistols'  has been shot and killed by an army checkpoint in Streatham, south London earlier today. An army spokesperson for the Emergency Government said that Sid Vicious, real name John Simon Ritchie, was shot when he failed to stop after a warning was given and when challenged appeared to throw an object at the soldiers manning the checkpoint.

Checkpoint Zulu Two Two
Streatham High Street

Sporadic violence followed the news of the death of the pop icon and the security forces have been placed on high alert. Further news, in Jordan...

The Sun can reveal that Sid Vicious was mistaken by the army for Mad Trot Terrorist Alan Tate. Punk Rockers around the world are in shock. Violence has erupted in major cities throughout Great Britain. In  Berlin and New York violent demonstrations have been held by distraught fans.

Punk Rocker Janet Scissors, 19, said "The streets aren't safe. They'll just shoot anyone." Lewis Benjamin, 24, known as 'Dog' in Punk Rock circles, said "Whitehall think they've got us up against the wall but this will just put more teenage guerrillas on the tarmac."

Checkpoint Zulu Two Two
Streatham High Street

Office 5 Whitehall, S Branch, transcript of report
by Private George, 'Dodd', McLaren

Err, nineteen, Sir....
I turns to Carol, sorry, Corporal Davies and says, "That's Tate. It's him, it's bloody Alan Tate!" She says, "You're a bit keen aren't you? He's in hiding. Wouldn't be wandering the streets of Streatham for us to capture would he?" She looks at the rogues gallery on her clipboard, then at him. He's with another fella. They look dodgy. See us looking and split up.

She, Corporal Davies, leans in the van and says "Mac we have him, Tate. Quick he might do a runner." They must have heard her or maybe Mac and Titch, Sergeant MacDonald and Private Hewitt getting out the back, as they run.
Sergeant MacDonald shouted "Go!" We went after them. One, I don't remember which, threw a can of Iron Bru or something at us. I dropped to my knee and shouted "Army. Halt or I Fire!" and aimed at the one in the black jacket. Tate. I'm sure it was Tate. I fired two rounds. Missed. He dived into the department store, Pratts. Corporal Davies and I followed, but it was like a jungle in there. Lot's of customers. Places to hide. Sorry, we lost him in the confusion.
....The other? I heard shots, then Sergeant MacDonald shout and fire his weapon about the same time as me. I saw the man in the overcoat sprawled on the ground as I sprinted after Tate.

"Bloody mess Tom!"

Tom, "It's grim reading whatever way you cut it Sir. Shootout in a busy street. Popular icon killed. The press is having a field day"

"A gun was found though? Fired?"

Tom, "Yes. Smith and Wesson. Three rounds fired from chamber. Only recovered one spent round. Too bloody to determine who fired it."

"Perhaps for the best. If we say it's this Viscous fellow, it hands the other side another Che bloody Guevara. A pop rebel turned real rebel. We'll be facing another 1,000 urban players and 10,0000 dickers in a week. No. Deny all links to Clash Action Front. Tate was never there. No weapon found on the scene. Mistaken identity. Have all the green army involved posted to defend an oil rig to keep them out of the way of the press".


Tom, "Tate's been injured. That was SB. Forensics have confirmed the blood on the rear exit Fire Door.  The plods also recovered the object thrown at the checkpoint. UXB Pipe bomb in a Fanta can."

"Get it sent over once it's safe and have June bring in some Penguins".

Sunday 11 November 2012

The Navy Lark

00:37hrs Zulu: HMS Shoestring slips her station off Penzance and makes a dash for a pro Government port. Whoop! Whoop!

I loved Seastrike (WRG Edition) as an adolescent and have picked up a group of tasty Triang Minic 1/1250 waterline diecast Royal Navy warships from eBay to regain some of that innocent pleasure within a Winter of '79 setting.

The models aren't at all bad and came in between £1.50 and £3 each from a private seller.  OK, not quite what I wanted in terms of pure 1979 warships - but have you seen the price of 1/1200 and 1/1250 warship kits? I felt that for a bit of a laugh and an excuse to go Whoop! Whoop! over the kitchen table they would be fine.

Now, Seastrike was fought around a series of islands. Could easily set the naval engagements off the Orkney's, Shetland and Hebrides, but I was also wondering about using Container and Tanker shipping to fulfil the same role within the Channel or Irish Sea?


Friday 9 November 2012

SITREP: New RH Models

Been a victim of my own success at work. Taken on Business Intelligence and Sharepoint in addition to the online HR Portal. H suddenly became ill too and at one stage we feared for her life, but she's safely in the hands of the medicos and we expect a successful conclusion. All leading to a very quick shift in gears, as you might expect, and wargaming has once again taken a back seat.

Still, managed to grab a day off today for some R&R and to just STOP. May even get back to my Winter of '79 workbench this weekend.

Meanwhile, Rolf at RH Models (Liberation Miniatures) has been beavering away at his usual eclectic release schedule, bringing out several new packs suitable for Winter of '79 and more.

Urban Meltdown;
Urbmeltsqu ; 11 figures , 10 with SLR and 1 with Bren £5.35
UrbmeltsquT; as above in 44 pattern British helmet  £5.35
Urbmeltbren; 2 figures with Bren , 2 NCO's with FN , 1 sniper nya
UrbG3; 9 figures with G3 rifle - use for TW2K West German Home Guard etc NYA

Falklands era Brits 1970's/80's

FalkcomH; 5 figure command pack helmets £2.50
FalkcomA; Command pack in berets - 6 figures. £3.00
FalkcomT; as above 44 pattern helmets £3.00
FalksmgH; 2 figs with stirlings helmets - new/remade £1.00
Falk4; new figs revised as a 4 figure pack £2.00 (GPMGs in helmets)
FalksamT; blowpipe fier in 44 helmet nya
FalkgunT; 4 gun frew in 44 helmets nya
SasFalkrad; 2 radio figs - wool knit cap £1.00
SaSFalkFN: 8 figures with SLR nya
SASFalkMort; 3 man mortar crew nya
SASFalksni; 3 figs with L42 nya

ArgSqucc; 10 figures in parka with FN Rifle in canvas covered helmet £4.80

ultpccom; Multipupose command pack in officers peaked cap - 6 figs £3.00

Rolf will be at Warfare in Reading on the 17/18th November. If you are going, pop along and say Hi from me. I'm particularly looking forward to the SAS with SLR (SaSFalkFN) and civvies with G3 (UrbG3) becoming available and those SAS signallers (SaSFalkrad) plus civvies in '44 helmet with SLRs are definitely on the shopping list.

Over the past while, I've been buying my RH Models via Pumpkin Models on eBay and thoroughly recommend him as an eBay trader.

Feels good getting back to the blog!