Miniatures: The Lynx Effect

The current issue of Helicopter Magazine (9) comes with a lovely 1/72nd British Army Westland Lynx AH7 complete with FITOW missile rack. As the AH7 variant entered service in 1985 it is perfect for the England Prevails era and is just the thing to take on those pesky Irish Panhard's!

News: Royalists Land Troops in Ulster

8th February 1989: Landings of Royalist "reinforcements" in Ulster were reported on Sky News to "assist in the efforts to repulse the Southern aggressors".

The U.S. Government had made clear its concerns about the Soviet presence in the Republic of Ireland and saw the invasion by the Irish Army as the first step towards the whole island falling under Moscow's influence. However, given the sentiments of many in America, President Bush regarded  it as political suicide to provide U.S. troops to aid the British against the Irish Republic's army (even if it was, in his view, a Soviet puppet).

To this end he negotiated a quid pro quo with the Royalist government, offering to expedite the provision of American Volunteer Group forces to England, if the Royalists would help repulse the invasion of Ulster.

The 1st Royal Irish Rangers were airlifted to positions north of Belfast seizing control of the M2 and M5 motorways, with the 2nd Royal Irish landing to the south occupying the M1 and other routes from the south. With most units of the Ulster Defence Regiment already engaging the Irish army or taking positions along the border with the Republic, very minimal resistance was met from some Constabulary Forces and quickly suppressed. Special Forces units took control of key points in Belfast, notably the port facilities allowing for more reinforcements to be ferried into the six counties.

News: American Volunteers Join The War

7th February 1989: Sky News reported the first elements of the American Volunteer Group, sanctioned by President Bush in his inauguration speech, had seen action against Republican forces near Peterborough.

Flying A-10 Thunderbolt's, the AVG helped stall a French armoured advance north and allow Royalist forces the chance to dig in near around Stilton.

The first AVG squadron to see action was the 78th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which had been based at RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk before Cranwell's order for US forces to leave British soil when it had decamped to Naval Air Station Keflavik in Iceland.

Officially the AVG comprised solely of volunteers but in reality complete units of the US military were transferred to the AVG given the desperate need of the Royalists and the US Government's concerns over French and German involvement in England, as well as the Soviet presence in Ireland.

Blogs: Sapper Joe's Anarchy in the UK

Sapper Joe, who kindly nominated us for a Liebster Award, has been working on his own Modern English Civil War project, Anarchy in the UK. Focusing on low intensity COIN warfare, it is certainly worth keeping an eye on...


News: Irish Advance Halted at Dungiven

6th February 1989: RTÉ News reported that fierce fighting had occurred as Irish Defence Forces advanced east as part of a plan to establish a safezone outside of Derry.

The reality of the situation was that Taoiseach Charles Haughey had decided to take advantage of the situation in Britain to seize the Ulster and reunite Ireland. Claiming that the invasion was a peacekeeping mission was a smokescreen that few believed, especially as the Irish Army became embroiled in fierce fighting in the days following the relatively bloodless capture of Londonderry.

The Irish forces were keen to seize Dungiven, a strategically important town on the route to Belfast. The 2 Cavalry Squadron supported by the 5 Infantry Battalion and 65 Reserve Infantry Battalion moved up from Strabane having crossed the border with the 1 Cavalry Squadron and 27 Infantry Battalion advancing from Derry.

Three Battalions of the Ulster Defence Regiment; the 5th (Londonderry), 8th (Tyrone) and 7th/10th (Belfast), dug in in the rough countryside around the town and fought off a number of attacks by the Irish forces attempting to seize control of the A6 main road that would facilitate an advance on Belfast.

Despite the Irish Cavalry Squadrons employing Panhard AML armoured cars, the UDR, utlising Carl Gustav recoilless rifles were able to thwart the Irish plans.

News: Irish Army Seizes Derry

5th February 1989: RTÉ News reported that elements of the Irish Army including the 3 Infantry Battalion and 1 Cavalry Squadron had crossed the border into Northern Ireland on a peacekeeping mission, following weeks of internecine warfare between Nationalist, Republican and Royalist factions in Ulster.

The Irish forces entered Londonderry without resistance, although elements of the Ulster Defence Regiment (under Republican orders) took up positions near Dungiven and Garvagh to resist any potential move towards Belfast.

Miniatures: Helicopters

The current issue (7)  of the Helicopter Magazine partwork comes complete with a very useful 1/72nd pre-painted Westland Wessex HU.5 the Royal Navy troop transporter (so ideal for getting your Marines into battle). I think it could also do duty as a HC.2 with an RAF repaint. At £7.99 this is really good value.

Earlier issues of the magazine came with a Westland Sea King that could be used as a Westland Commando troop carrier and a wonderful Chinook HC2, both worth getting hold of, even if they probably need a repaint, as they were in service for the late eighties.

News: Royalist Frontline Collapses

2nd February 1989: The Royalist army fell back under the onslaught of the Republican's Operation Hammer with Panzerbrigade 12 "Oberpfalz" leading Republican troops into Cambridge and the 3e Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes seizing Mildenhall airport before being relieved by the advancing 3e Régiment de Chasseurs and 4th Tank Regiment.

The Royalist Government appealed to the United Nations over the intervention of France and Germany in an internal conflict, but a US sponsored resolution was vetoed by France. Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar expressed his disappointment in the escalating conflict and urged the US and France to concentrate their efforts on instigating a ceasefire rather than fuelling the conflict.

News: European Volunteers Aid Republicans

31st January 1989: The Republicans launched Operation Hammer, a massive counter-attack against the Royalist forces poised to invest London. In complete secrecy the Republican government had integrated 'volunteer' units from the Armée de Terre and Bundeswehr into their army, enjoying complete surprise against the Royalists as a three prong attack was launched in the early hours of the 29th January.

The French 1re Division Blindée, 2e Régiment d'Infanterie de Marine and 92e Régiment d'Infanterie
smashed through the Royalist line west of St Albans swinging east between Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City enveloping the Royalist King’s Own Royal Border Regiment.

In the centre the 3rd Tank Regiment and the Hampshire Regiment pushed north up the M11 corridor towards Harlow engaging in heavy fighting with the 1st Royal Tank Regiment and the Green Howards.

Meanwhile the Luftlandebrigade 26 "Saarland"and Force d'Action Rapide were landed at Hawk Hill near Battlesbridge to cut off the retreat of the Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire, itself forced back by Republican units, including the Jägerbataillon 291 and Light Infantry, that had landed at Leigh-on-Sea.

News: Blackout To Be Lifted

29th January 1989: Home Secretary Peter Taaffe has announced that the recently imposed news blackout across the British Republic will be lifted within the next 48 hours...

Miniatures: Police Vehicles

On a trip down to Tesco's to pick up a lorry (more of which soon) I discovered a couple of packs of emergency vehicles which will be great for games including a police car and an ambulance (and a police tow truck which I have  half-formed plan to convert into mounting some kind of support weapon).

As I two ambulances I decided to convert one into a police transit which required repainting the green rectangles blue, tinting the middle side windows with Badab Black wash (darn useful this) and covering the ambulance markings with a fresh coat of paint and some police decals from ASB Models (who produce useful mirror image decals as well as a chequer board to convert other vehicles).

All the diecasts where satin varnished before detailing and weathering. The varnishing helps provide a surface for wash and paint to key to, vital for painting in the recessed panel lines, a trick which helps make any diecast look more like a model and less like a toy.

Miniatures: Commercial Vehicles

Along with the cars I purchased on Friday I also picked up a couple of packs of Fuel Line commercial vehicle packs (three vehicle for a fiver) from Tesco. I've a recycling lorry and one with a skip left to work on, but decided to weather up all the yellow construction vehicles in the two packs.

The car and the SUV really got "messed up" the look of vehicles you often see on motorways and building sites at this time of the year. As with the cars all I satin varnished them before adding a splatter of earth drown paint then a black wash (making sure to mask the windscreen wiper area).

The lorrys are the same basic vehicle with different backs, Same weathering process as the car and SUV, though I did tone down the effect this time.

One of the lorrys came with a load in the form of two extremely recycling containers which make great scenery. Both were satin varnished then weathered with brown paint and a black wash.

Miniatures: Trade Union Militia

I've managed to finish off the first squad of Trade Union Militia using Chechen figures from the Red Star Miniatures range. Lovely figures I've left them largely as is, although two sport TAG SA80's rather than AK-74's to tie in with the background.

The lads of the TGWU Liverpool Dock Workers Chapter have been painted in a mix of civilian styles with jeans and track suit bottoms, trainers and anoraks all in use. I added red armbands to all using green stuff as a unit/side identifier. With the possibility of criminal gangs also operating around the battlefield it seemed logical that the Militia would have some identifier. Also, as the militia come from Liverpool I decided that the famous football rivalry of the city needed honouring with one worker (pointing) wearing a Liverpool FC woolen hat and one (firing) an Everton one.

One issue that came to light when painting these and the Police Whiteshirts was that the Militia were in cold/wet weather (normal British weather) clothing with the Police in summer short sleeves which kind of doesn't mix. The Militia will therefore face off against some TAG British Army royalists when painted, whereas the Whiteshirts will eventually face up to some Popular Front Militia converted from some African/Somali militia types if I can find some I like...

Miniatures: Fuel Line Dream Cars

Civilian vehicles are something of a pain for 28mm gamers, 1/56th looks too small (even if you can get them) and 1/43rd (a common car scale) is a bit too big. Consequently it is a case of what looks right and having seen the Tesco Fuel Line range of toy cars flagged as useful I popped along this morning to see what Tesco Brislington had.

The Fuel Line 'Dream Car' pack contains three super cars (not sure what type but they're the kind you see on Top Gear every week) which whilst the right size seemed at tad too flash for what I wanted. Fortunately at the back of the stand was a different 'Dream Car' pack containing a BMW Z4, Mercedes SLS and Jaguar XKR, not cars in my pay range, but not uncommon on British streets (the Jaguar will make a useful politicians vehicle).

Die-casts invariably come with a bright gloss finish which never looks right on the tabletop so I gave the models a quick satin varnish then a bit of weathering and panel lining using GW washes. I did wonder if I had overdone the silver Merc until I looked out the window at the numerous silver cars in the street which show every bit of dirt going.

I also picked up some construction vehicles which are part way through some heavy weathering and have almost finished the TGWU Liverpool Dockers Militia (bases drying) so expect more photos soon.

Miniatures: Royalist Whiteshirts

At long last I have eventually got around to painting some miniatures for England Prevails with a section of Royalist Whiteshirts aka Armed Police. The miniatures are from Urban Beat's 28mm range (which has been repackaged since I bought them with additional figures) which I must say are really well sculpted and easy to paint...

The first four are police armed with MP5's. One figure, now in a character pack was bareheaded and bald and I didn't like him so after attempting to sculpt a Green Stuff beanie I painted on a balaclava using Liquid Green Stuff (clearly to avoid identification and reprisals against his family by NUM hit squads).

The second four are CO19 Counter-Terrorist Police, not a lot of difference aside from the weapons and baseball caps instead of peaked caps but they mix well enough.

Why Whiteshirts? Well that is what the miners called the police in the NUM strike, an obvious play on the fascist blackshirts and as these will be fighting Republican trade union militias and Popular Front forces it seemed apt...

Blogs: Maintain The Quarantine

The trouble with teenage sons (well one of the problems...) is that they don't always like what you like. To be honest I'm quite lucky, my son demonstrates a fine taste in music (by and large) and likes wargaming (even if the PS3 is a preferred way of fighting modern battles these days).

A common love is zombies (bear with me...) and Santa did bring Saul a pile of Wargames Factory zombies for Christmas. Gluing the buggers together I got to thinking about games. Thoughts went to using Apocalypse-Z, the zombie supplement for Battlefield Evolution and this got me to my Eureka! moment when I realised that the non-zombie elements of the zombie project could not only be British (whilst I like The Walking Dead I am bored of zombies in America) but that they could be the same miniatures I want to use for England Prevails! Trade Union Militia could double as armed survivors, troops and cops do double duty, simple really... The same would apply for scenery and some vehicles.

I have been browsing a number of really interesting zombie wargames blogs (all of which contain some great stuff on buildings and vehicles that are very useful for modern wargames) and concluded that I should blog this project in a similar manner.

Consequently I have set up Undead Kingdom which I'll recall the detail of the father and son zombie project (I haven't posted anything yet but will soon). If you don't like the undead don't worry, this is the the only mention zombies will receive here and anything used in both projects will be posted on both blogs...