This site (in various incarnations) is over twenty five years old. I first started posting images to the web in 1997.
Back in the 1990s I took various photographs of my miniatures, using a film 35mm camera, I then developed the film, before scanning the photos in. Later I was able to have the images scanned by the developer onto CD-ROM
Due to bandwidth limits, back in the 1990s most people had dial up modems, so when scanning images and editing them for the web, I kept the size small, both in terms of file size and pixels.
However now, not only do we have faster connections, fibre, 4G and 5G, websites such as this (using word processing) can dynamically and responsively change the size of the image to meet the needs of the different kinds of browsers people are using.
As a result I have decided to start re-scanning images into the website and blog. I will be posting the new images to the blog, and I will be updating the relevant gallery pages as well.
Today saw the announcement of the 2023 Airfix range. I generally don’t do model kits, well I haven’t made an Airfix style model kit since the 1980s… though I have built a fair few wargaming kits since then.
I still have a nostalgic fondness for some of the older Airfix kits so was pleased to see that Airfix have announced the re-release of the Fairey Rotodyne.
The Fairey Rotodyne was a 1950s British compound gyroplane designed and built by Fairey Aviation and intended for commercial and military uses. The Rotodyne featured a tip-jet-powered rotor that burned a mixture of fuel and compressed air bled from two wing-mounted turboprops. The rotor was driven for vertical takeoffs, landings and hovering, as well as low-speed translational flight, but autorotated during cruise flight with all engine power applied to two propellers.
Due to army and Royal Air Force (RAF) interest, development of the Rotodyne had been funded out of the defence budget for a time. The RAF also placed an order for 12 military transport versions. According to rumours, the U.S. Army was also interested in buying around 200 Rotodynes.
One prototype was built. Although the Rotodyne was promising in concept and successful in trials, the programme was eventually cancelled. The termination has been attributed to the type failing to attract any commercial orders; this was in part due to concerns over the high levels of rotor tip jet noise generated in flight.
The re-release of the Fairey Rotodyne reminded me of an idea I had for an alternative history background for gaming. The basic premise was a Desert Storm background but with 1950s tanks, aircraft, helicopters and VTOL craft like the Fairey Rotodyne.
The British forces alongside Westland Whirlwinds and Westland Wessex helicopters would also have access to the Fairey Rotodyne for transport and troop insertion. I even thought about including the Bristol Belvedere, which though entered service in 1961, had its first flight in 1958.
Airfix have also announced they are re-releasing the Bristol Bloodhound SAM missile.
It was developed in the 1950s and was used for air defence until 1991 in the UK.
Alongside the aircraft and missiles I would have also added some Centurion tanks and other armoured vehicles.
I would have painted the models in a desert camouflage similar to the US Desert Battle Dress Uniform (DBDU).
Two shades of brown with those clusters of black and white spots.
As for opponents? Well that would have been Soviet aircraft and vehicles, also in a desert camouflage.
Airfix have said they will release these new models in the Autumn of 2023, so it may be a possibility, just maybe.
I have been playing Talisman ever since it came out in 1983. I own the second edition and this is still played regularly. I also enjoy the digital version on my iPad.
Back in the 1980s I had this idea of building a three dimensional version of the board. In the late 1980s I also managed to purchase all the metal Talisman miniatures in one of Games Workshop’s amazing sales. I had the parts, I had the idea, but like most of my ideas, it stayed an idea. I eventually sold virtually all the miniatures on eBay, keeping a couple I had painted and really liked.
The idea was still there, but I doubted it was ever going to happen…
The other day though I saw this tweet.
Family game night! Tonight we’re playing TALISMAN… on steroids!!
Last year, my friend John gifted me a hand painted set of 3-D terrain for the Talisman 4th edition board game, which is not only the staple game we play in between RPGs but also our family game.
As well as looking at the general feeling of discontent across the country I did focus on an incident in Glasgow.
In Great Britain the government feared a bolshevik uprising and was quick to oppress any potential threat to the established order. One of the biggest areas for concern were the labour movements and trade unions. One strike in Glasgow in 1919 eventually resulted in a street battle between strikers and police, which was so bad, the army was called in. The “Battle of George Square”, also known as “Bloody Friday” and “Black Friday”, was one of the most intense riots in the history of Glasgow; it took place on Friday, 31 January 1919. Clashes between the City of Glasgow Police and protesters broke out, prompting the War Cabinet to make soldiers available to the civil power, to prevent the violence from escalating.
I also saw this post the first of a series of blog posts.
In future blog posts I want to have a look at potential battles in the 1919 British Revolution and the forces involved.
I did start thinking about possible scenarios and forces. I have in the cupboard the boxed set of Battlefront’s 15mm The Great War Mitchell’s Marauders.
The boxed set includes one Company HQ, two Rifle Platoons, one Machine-gun Platoon, one Royal Artillery Gun Detachment. It also has one Medium Tank Platoon comprising a single Mark A Whippet and a Heavy Tank Platoon which is two Mark IV tanks.
I was thinking that this would be a good starting force for the 1919 British Revolution.
In my original blog post I used a couple of contemporary photographs, one was of the tanks, Medium Mark C tanks, and soldiers at the Glasgow Cattle Market in the Gallowgate waiting to be called in for action in Glasgow. The other photograph though was a Mark IV tank on the streets of Dublin.
I realised that I wanted to do some more research into this era and as you do went to Google. As well as finding more photographs from the era I also discovered that there was a book about a range of incidents across 1919.
1919; Britain’s Year of Revolution tells the story of an almost unknown passage in British history. On the August Bank Holiday that year, the government in London despatched warships to the northern city of Liverpool in an overwhelming show of force. Thousands of troops, backed by tanks, had been trying without success to suppress disorder on the streets. Earlier that year in London, 1000 soldiers had marched on Downing Street, before being disarmed by a battalion of the Grenadier Guards loyal to the government. In Luton that summer, the town hall was burned down by rioters, before the army was brought in to restore order and in Glasgow, artillery and tanks were positioned in the centre of the city to deter what the Secretary of State for Scotland described as a ‘Bolshevik uprising’. Industrial unrest and mutiny in the armed forces combined together to produce the fear that Britain was facing the same kind of situation which had led to the Russian Revolution two years earlier. Drawing chiefly upon contemporary sources, this book describes the sequence of events which looked as though they might be the precursor to a revolution along the lines of those sweeping across Europe at that time. To some observers, it seemed only a matter of time before Britain transformed itself from a constitutional monarchy into a Soviet Republic.
Back in the day, my first “experience” of wargaming was back in the 1970s with those bendy and flexible Airfix and Matchbox model soldiers and often using Britain’s matchstick firing weapons.
One of my favourite toys and probably the thing that got me into gaming more than anything else was the 1:32nd Matchbox Counter Attack Playset.
In the set you got a set of American infantry with an M8 Greyhound. Their job was to attack the enemy.
On the German side, you got German infantry, a watchtower and they took refuge in a ruined cafe or restaurant. Watching Saving Private Ryan decades later I was reminded of the building as I watched the defence of the ruined village.
In the box you had two air pump weapons, a machine gun and a rocket launcher. The building was designed that you could knock down and put back together. Pieces fell off it as it was hit by the weapons.
It was an incredible toy that I really loved playing with. I think I was always a little disappointed that they never did more sets in this range.
You could certainly add more infantry, even tanks and trucks, but there was no more scenery or buildings to be had.
It was this game that got me into gaming, and where did I got next, well 25mm Napoleonics.