Saturday, January 28, 2012

Movie Review: “The Iron Lady” (2012)

I liked this movie!  Meryl Streep well deserves every award and nomination that she gets for her role as Margaret Thatcher.  This movie is about Margaret Thatcher, the woman that rose to power as one of the longest lasting Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and not about her policies. They touch on her policies, as it would not be possible not to without explaining her decline as the head of her party.  Whether you like Thatcher or despised her, one can’t deny that she was a powerful figure in the British politics.   

The movie is done through flashbacks, after Thatcher has suffered her strokes and memory losses.  While I don’t recall them ever giving an actual date when the modern day scenes are suppose to be taking place, one event where they place an statue of her in Parliament and that occurred in Feb., 2007.  As part of her memory lost, she is repeated visited by her dead husband, Sir Dennis Thatcher, played by Jim Broadbent. 

There are scenes in the movie that touch on what I am doing for my Falklands project and the Anarchy in the UK project.  The Falklands section is probably only 5 to 10 minutes long, but was very interesting, especially with her meeting with the US Secretary of State, Alexander Haig and the scene dealing with the sinking of the General Belgrano.

Again, I enjoyed it and think it is worth the seeing if one is interested in the 1980’s UK.



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

IABSM3 Play test – Falklands

Well, this Sunday we did another play test of IABSM3 to introduce more of the rules like indirect fire, snipers, and night fighting.  We did this play test at Wargamer’s Cave (link) again, but this time using my 20mm Falklands figures.  The scenario was a fictional engagement of two platoons of UK Para’s with some support (a SFGPMG team, a Carl Gustav team, and a half battery of 105mm on call) vs. a weak platoon of Argentine Army Commandos with some support (a SFGPMG team, a section of 81mm mortars with a FOO, and a sniper).  Steve H. was running the Para’s and Curtis T. was running the Commandos.  Each Para figure was equal to two men and the Commando figures were 1 figure to 1 man.  I didn’t get my Falkland’s Blinds done, so I was using Viet Cong blinds for the Commandos and the Para’s did not start under blinds.  I also did not get my Art Cow cards yet either.

The background of the scenario is that the Commandos were camped out at a farm, but expecting a push by the British, was able to deploy his platoon and support in about the center of the board.  The Para’s were on a time schedule, so had to advance in a fairly straight line until an engagement broke out. 

I failed to take photographs until about half way through the game.  So, what happen earlier in play test was the Commandos were very observant and spotted the Para’s right off at the get go, but the Para’s were have some problems spotting until their Big Men started using their flares.  Thanks to the flares and the poor dice rolling by Curtis, the Commandos were losing men, but doing no damage to the Para’s.

One of the Para platoons laid a base of fire as the other started to flank the Commandos.  The Para’s never got their FOO in to a position to call in the 105’s, but the Commandos were able to eventually get their 81’s to fire for effect on one of the Para sections.  The flanking Para platoon crested the hill next to the Commandos.  With that, the Argentine commander orders the one section of Commandos still around to charge up the hill against two Para sections.  It did not go well for the Commandos.

At the end of the game, fourteen Argentine Commandos were killed, mostly from the charge up the hill.  Three Para’s were killed, with two from the Commando charge and one from the mortar attack.   I think everyone enjoyed the game, but we still need to get more familiar with the new Big Man rules.

Argentine Commandos in defensive positions
The Para Platoon making a flanking attack
Preparing to cease the hill crest
Moments before the Commando's charge
The Commando's charge
The result from the Commando's six dice, two Para's killed
The results of the Para's 20 dice, 12 Commandos killed

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Falklands, IABSM3, Litko, and Art Cow

I have been a busy guy this last two weekends and during the week on working on a side project that started 9 months ago.  I finally got it done today…YEA! 

As you know, I am really pushing to get into gaming the land combat of the Falklands conflict this year.  Part of this includes choosing a rules set and getting what is needed to run a game.  My 20mm figures are mostly done that must have, but I am still missing a few figures mainly more Milan ATGM teams and Argentine .50cal HMG teams and got them on order from Liberation (Link).  I still have other odds and ends that I need to pick up like an Argentine shoulder launcher SAM, a Panhard 90mm Armored car, penguins, buildings, and terrain.  Luckily, the Panhard is available from S&S Models (Link), the penguins are back again from MJ Figures (Link), some buildings are available from Card Models by Tony (Link), so I need to do is convert a UK Blowpipe figure to look like an Argentine commando from Liberation (plan to use the figure with the beret so I should only have to modify the webbing) and get terrain done.

So, now for the rules, I plan to use Too Fat Lardies’ “I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum!” 3rd edition for the company size battles.  In the 2004 Xmas Special from TFL is a supplement for IABSM2, but I also have the information on how to convert the IABSM2 to IASBM3 for Big Men, so no problem there.  

Since I will only have about a platoon “+” size force for both sides on a 1:1 scale, I will use 4-5 figures on a base to represent a section for the games.  I plan to leave my figures mounted on individual stands for skirmish games, so I am going to pick up some bases that have the round holes in them that I can place my figures in, like these from Litko (Link) or these (Link).

Also, I am picking up some more different type of tokens from Litko for the IABSM3 system.  I already have the following Litko's IABSM set (Link) so I am going to keep the tokens along those lines in design.  But for keeping track of “Kills” and “Shock” on individual sections and teams, I will be using a device from S&S that hold three 7mm six-sided dice and looks like a trench.  I plan to paint and flock it up so they will blend in on the board.  I will be using red dice to keep track of “Kills” and white dice for “Shock.”

Now, this is where Art Cow comes into play.  Too Fat Lardies games are a card driven game for sequence of play during a turn.  While I got my IABSM3 card deck with the IABSM3 bundle, I wanted a special Falklands card deck with pictures from the conflict.  Art Cow allows people to create various art projects with photographs and one of those projects is a 54 card playing deck.  So using that program, I designed two playing decks, one for the Argentine forces and the other for the British.  Both decks combined will have everything I need to play the Falklands scenarios from the TFL’s Seasonal Specials, 2004 Xmas and 2008 Xmas issues.  Since there were too many cards for one deck, but not enough to complete two decks, I added some extra cards.  Some of these cards, ‘Critical Wound’, ‘Medic’, and ‘Medical Evacuation’ are from the “Charlie Don’t Surf” Vietnam rules, but I think plays into the Falklands as well from what I have read.  I also added some sections and team cards which could be used for independent patrols.   

I can’t wait to get everything together and start gaming the Falklands soon, hopefully.



Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 - the 90th anniversary of the end of the Newport Rolling Mills Strike, Kentucky

OK, I was Google surfing today looking for some pictures of armored vehicles used the Falklands and I some how got side tracked (which is actually very easy for me when I am looking up historical photographs.) I am not really sure how I got to the following as I was not looking up anything that related to the following.  But behold, I found the picture that haunted me since I first saw it on the Ken Burn's documentary, "Prohibition" (Excellent show and excellent book, see my review here - Link).   If you have not noticed from some of my earlier post, I have had a long fascination of the 1920's and 1930's, especially the Rum War (the enforcement of Prohibition) and the War on Crime (bank robberies and other lawlessness of the 1930's).  I have also found some of the labor strikes interesting, but really have not started reading up on them, even thought I have a dozen or so books on the subject, mostly on Blair Mountain.  It is some thing that I have often thought of dabbing in miniature, but really have not yet.  Anyway, this is one of those pictures that really gets my attention and really start thinking about gaming the period.  

 The picture is a FT-17 tank from the Kentucky Army National Guard crushing captured moonshine stills during the Newport Rolling Mills Strike.  The National Guard was sent in on Dec. 24th, 1921, and the strike did not end until April, 1922.  Two National Guardsmen were killed during the strike duty and both by accidental discharges of a revolver falling and striking the ground and discharging.  This was two different events, which I also find amazing.  Below is another picture from the strike.  

Of course, this could also stir some one's interest in doing a 2nd American Civil War in the 1920's or 30's that is something in the line of the popular gaming period, "A Very British Civil War."  But that is too much for me to consider to game due to other commitments, but it idea is keen.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 - And the 30th Anniversary of the South Atlantic War

Happy New Year, 2012 – The last year of Man! (Or at least to New Age Mayans.)  But more importantly, this is the 30th Anniversary of the South Atlantic War over the Falklands / Malvinas Islands.  I am hoping to be running some 20mm games for this conflict during this year.  The only thing really holding me back is terrain of bunch of hills, but I am trying to fix that.

Anyway, I have finally given up on my search for trying to find a correct model of LVTP-7 for the Argentine Marines in 20mm.  At first, all I could find were 1/72 Dragon kits, of which none were right.  All of them have the Up Gunned Weapons Station (UGWS) turrets, which are not correct for the Argentine LVTP-7’s, all though one kit has the old turret which would work.  Next problem is that all of the Dragon kits have the ramp / cattle guard looking thing on the front (I am not into studying the Marines, so I really have no clue what that thing is called or what is used for at all.)  That would not be so bad, but I would have to cut down the “bumps” on the front from the cattle guards hinges to make the front smooth for the Argentine Marines LVTP-7s.  Finally, the headlights are all wrong.  The Argentine LVTP-7s had the three lights in each of two circle indentations, where the Dragon models have the current two sets of two rectangular lights on the front.  But I recently find that Altaya released a 1/72nd collectible of an AAVP7A1.  It still has the wrong headlights, but at least it has the right looking turret and no cattle guard.  So, I order two of them to armor up my 20mm Argentine platoon.  Now I need to order a 1/72nd Panhard 90mm from S&S Models to give my Argentine conscripts something to fight with my British Scimitar light tank.  I also have on order from Liberation some figures that I am hoping to convert to work for Argentine .50 HMG and 107mm Recoilless Rifle teams, but I am still looking for some figures that would work for the M20 Super Bazooka teams without heavy conversions.  Then I should be done with my Argentine forces in 20mm, except maybe for a helicopter or two for an air insertion scenario. 

See the pictures below for the Argentine LVTP-7 and the kits.

Argentine LVTP-7s in Port Stanley

Dragon 1/72nd AAVP7

Altaya 1/72nd AAVP7
 Also, I am putting up a picture of an Argentine TAM tank which I found will searching for pictures of the Altaya model of the AAVP7.  They did not see action in the Falklands War as they were still under trials and final production.  I am only including this picture as I really find the paint job pretty cool.

Finally,I am putting up a picture of one of rare photographs (possibly the only one also) of the Top Malo house before it was destroyed in 1982.  It is from the 1930’s and I got it from Gordon Ramsey’s, “Falklands War Then and Now.”  Excellent book if you are looking for photographs on the Falklands war.