Book Review: Harrier 809.

This book was recommended to me from a gaming WhatsApp group I’m on. As I’ve probably mentioned before on this blog the 1982 Falklands War was the first war I can really remember (I was 4 at the time) just vague memories of the news really…

… Rowland White made his name with the superb Vulcan 607, highly recommended, and this his latest book follows a very similar pattern, dealing as it does with the same war and also the same sort of improvised and muddle through to pull it out of the bag in the end in the best British military tradition. Harrier 809 follows the story of the efforts to pull together the 3rd Sea Harrier squadron that was sent down to the Falklands. Cobbling together pilots and airframes from wherever they could be found the squadron sailed south on the ill- fated Atlantic Conveyor, albeit the squadron’s aircraft were flown off and split between the two aircraft carriers. The story of the assembly and deployment of this third Harrier squadron was new to me but I did expect the rest of the book covering the air war to tread more familiar ground. This was mostly the case but there were some very interesting snippets of information that were new to me, regarding the deployment/ sale to Chile of the Canberra reconnaissance aircraft and the relationship between Chile and the UK. Still even the bits I was familiar with were a pleasure to read again given the quality of White’s writing.

All in all, I strongly recommend this book and it is a great addition to my Falklands War library.



Game Report: Falklands War Matrix game.

Last week I got the chance to play in another Matrix game- this time a rerun of the Falklands War of 1982. Again it was with the group from the Sheffield Wargames club but with a suitable socially distanced format through Skype.


Matrix games are really all about structured discussion- state and action and an effect with three reasons why it will happen and then the umpire adjudicates and in this case tells you if you have succeded or not. You are not limited to just yourself and your forces you can try and have an effect on anything.


The game was for seven players, Thatcher and Admiral Woodward for the UK, President Reagan and General Haig for the US, Galtieri for the Argentinians, As well as Pinochet and the UN being played. Each player was given their own briefing in advance. I was given the role of President Reagan with the basic tasks of ensuring that the islands were returned to the UK and offering some support too.


I played quite aggressively; with the US as the preminent economic power house I made sure to funnel supplies to the Brits (I knew they’d need them) as well as trying to distract the Soviets with naval exercises in the Med, hopefully to stop them meddling. I also gave Pinochet some cash to run month long exercises with his armed forces to make sure the Argentines were distracted there too. Am pleased to say that the game followed the history fairly well with the Black Buck raids, Exocets and the eventual recapture of the Islands all happening in more or less the right order.

falklands matrix game

The game was great fun to play- a good chance to do a bit of roleplaying too. Can’t thank Tim enough for running the game and the other players for making it so much fun. The format of the game worked really well over Skype too. Tim just set the camera up at the representationmal map whilst we presented our arguements.

falklands matrix game 2

With a couple of matrix games under my belt I’mm eager to play another one.


You can find Tim’s reports on the game here and here. The scenario is considered a matrix game classic and has been well recieved by a wide vareity of players and organisations, it is available in this book.



More bits from the Shed… broken a century with Russians and Argentinians

… been a productive month this April, painted over 100 20mm figures.

Here are a few bits:


First up a Under Fire Miniatures Soviet sniper- quite pleased with how this one turned out- she wasn’t speed painted like everything else I do.


A batch of MJ and Liberation Argentinians for the Falklands War.


Lastly, a bunch of Liberation and Under Fire modern Russians. This makes a 1 to 1 company of them I’ve got finished for my long running Chechnya project.



Falklands War- Airfix Pucara

Airfix Pucara.

I’ve just finished this kit for the Guild forum’s year long project build. I picked the theme of ‘Aircraft’ simply because I’ve got more off them unmade in my stash than anything else.

I wanted at least one Pucara to go with my Falkands project so I thought the Airfix would be a nice quick build… sadly it was not to be. Rather than being an Airfix original it is a reissue of a limited run kit. This means badly fitting warped parts, loads of flash and no locating pins. Needless to say it was a bit of a pig to do; lots and lots of filler and sanding. Also there was no way to get the cockpit canopy to fit. After a coat of paint it is passable at wargames distances but it doesn’t hold up to close inspection.

I had planned to get four ultimately as targets for a scaled down Pebble Island raid but given the state of the kit I’ve abandoned that idea.

Another Update

Starting this new year I’ve been keeping a log of what I’ve got done. Having it written in down in black and white has made me more productive. So hopefully this will continue.

I ordered some more figures from Elheim. I got some assorted special ops types, both modern (GWOT), Vietnam (SOG) and fictional (based on the Predator film), a pack of the new cold war Brits. These will go well with the Falklands era Brits I posted earlier. Also some USMC (GWOT as well) these have a variety of weapons to add variety to the 6 fireteams worth I’ve already got.

Managed to get a few games in too. A SWAT raid as well as a convoy game design by my friend Evan. I took some pics so I’ll upload them in due course.

Falkland War era Brits.

Given we’re in the year of its 30th anniversary I’ve decided to get a small collection of figures to re-fight the conflict- the main inspiration was in fact last year and a scenario in the Force on Force rule book. It was the first war I can remember- I distinctly remember the coverage on John Craven’s Newsround (I was only young in ’82). I’ve got a small selection of Argentine figures already- a mix of Stonewall/ Combat miniatures and Platoon 20s so I looked around for some suitable opponents. CP models/ TDQ have released 2 really nice packs so I decided to add them to my collection, I’m a big fan of their ranges.

I bought 3 packs, each of 6 figures: 1 pack of SAS with mixed weapons, 2 packs of Squaddies with SLRs, 7.62 Bren and Sterling. THe figures come with a choice of heads and optional backpacks/ Bergens. So I did the SAS with wool hats and the Squaddies all in helmets but one group with Bergens. I gave them a quick paint job- the closeup photos of them are a bit unforgiving and my rendition of DPM could do with a bit more green but I’m happy with them on mass.