Monday 26 November 2012

Airsoft Tour of Duty: The Academy

"At the weekend, I went to school and shot a few people."

Ordinarily, that sort of a statement might raise a few eyebrows but, rest assured, everything was perfectly above board. When I tell you that 'the school' in question was The Academy, First and Only Airsoft's recently opened CQB site in Leamington, no doubt there will be a huge sigh of relief!

For those who don't know, I'm the skinny one in the middle

I met up there with two guys I regularly play with as part of a 'squad' or 'team' [the two on the right] and a further two guys who used to be part of the same team but who, for reasons connected to their respective jobs, both had to move 'darn sarf' fairly recently. One of them reminded us all during one of our conversations on Saturday that the last time we had all been together for a game was two years ago!

If you look carefully, you might just be able to discern some rather interesting art work, presumably left behind by ex-pupils from the school, just visible in the background!

I'm not going to go into a blow by blow summary of the game play but suffice to say we all had an absolute ball. For someone whose regular game outings revolve around a choice of two woodland sites, both fairly close to where I live, I was really looking forward to playing at a new CQB site and, in all probability, having the chance to play against a few new players. I wasn't disappointed

For those who haven't been, or even looked at the venue on the F&O website, the school is in the middle of a fairly well-healed part of Leamington overlooking a number of very comfortable houses. That in itself was really unusual and felt a bit weird to be honest, in a nice way, looking out of some of the windows to see 'normal' people going about their daily routines just a grenade's throw away from where we mad mothers were shooting the shit out of one another! On the subject of grenades, players were restricted to using Thermo's, Canister grenades and BFGs because, according to Felix, they'd tested Ball grenades and Flash Bangs and there had been complaints from the locals!

The footprint of the building is actually quite small and for a combination of safety and game play related reasons numbers on site are restricted to 30, so booking is essential if you want to be guaranteed a game. Having said that, all four floors of the building are in use and trying to fight your way up, or down, the two flights of stairs, one at either end of the structure, is exhilarating, exhausting, and exasperating in roughly equal measure. In certain areas, and for certain games, there are times when you will be shooting at people from distances resembling those you might be used to in a woodland environment but for the most part this site is about full on, up close and personal, room clearance style gaming. Be prepared to be hit, lots of times, and for quite a few of them to hurt!

Most of the players, myself included, were bearing quite visible signs of a good days fun and games by the time the last firefight had ended. One of my buddies, the one with the gun in the picture below, was shot in the ear by someone leaning over a banister. It drew blood, and the wound continued to bleed a little throughout the remainder of the day. It wasn't until packing up time that he realised he could feel something hard in the vicinity of the wound. Sure enough, the BB had actually penetrated the skin and buried itself in his ear lobe. One or two people could be seen 'squirmishing' as he proceeded to pop it out of the gash!

For quite sensible, and perfectly understandable reasons, all guns are restricted to firing on single shot. I went with two guns, a Masada and a JG MP5, the first with 10 HC mags and the other with 13 HC mags. The games were for the most part timed affairs lasting between 20 and 30 minutes each. The most mags I got through in a single game was 4 and I have to say I really enjoyed the 'discipline' of having to shoot more carefully and sparingly. When you're constantly targeting people at distances of just a few yards, or even feet, single shot is more than good enough, a fact you really appreciate when you're on the receiving end!

For £35, for non-members, you get a day's great gaming in a somewhat unusual environment, with lunch [fizzy drink, chocolate bar and a very nice burger] and unlimited free tea and coffee all included. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and I for one will definitely be heading back there again at some point in the not too distant future

Sunday 18 November 2012

John Gittins Miniatures: New for November

New for November form John Gittins, a handful of individually crafted scenic items to liven up your diorama or bookshelf displays

Dear Customer
The new items below have been made using a different method of production, they are assembled from component parts rather than a single painted casting, this makes each item an individual piece, no two being the same, this is especially useful for items that are made to be grouped together as it gives a more natural appearance, rather than resulting in a repetitive pattern

Prices are as follows

1. S17  Dead tree, max 8" high, RRP £30.00
2. S17A  Fallen branches, pack of  2 RRP £20.00
3. M38L  Piles of rubble, pack of 2 RRP £20.00
4. M34  Battleground earth, pack of 2 RRP £15.00 [re-modelled so items are now all different shapes]

All items are available now through John's web site and will also be available at the London Toy soldier Show on the 1st of December at its new venue - The Business Design Centre, Islington
Happy hunting!

Thomas Gunn Miniature: November Releases

Hello again to all you TGM collectors out there. Read on and you'll find a number of items that I'm almost certain will be of interest

First up, a WW2 German artillery piece that Collectors Showcase have also released a couple of versions of recently. I'm sure I won't be the only one eager to get my grubby little mitts on one of these. Imagine how good they'd look displayed as a battery of 3 or 4 pieces side by side!

SS049 Nebelwerfer: long awaited and here now in 3 versions: Normandy, Winter and Desert. The Nebelwerfer was an iconic German artillery piece that saw action on all three fronts. Nicknamed “Screaming Minnie” by the Allies after its signature noise made by the rockets once they had left the launcher. Although not the most accurate weapon, the Nebelwerfer was ideal for saturation bombing especially where targets were concentrated in an open area

SS050 Nebelwerfer Crew: Designed to go with our Nebelwerfer we have made 100 of each crew version to go with our rocket launchers. Priced at $31 and available mid November
Our set includes one launcher and four spare rockets. Please note the Desert version will look equally at home on a western front diorama due to the Wermacht policy of painting all military hardware a dark yellow/sand colour from 1943 onwards

We have made 120 of the winter and Normandy versions and 100 of the Desert version.
Priced at $45 and available mid November

Sticking with the WW2 theme for a moment TGM are releasing two more versions of the supply truck they introduced last month and which sold out very quickly indeed. I bought one of the field grey ones myself to sit alongside my other 1st SS Panzer Division armour and it's very lovely!

The two versions being released this month have both been painted as medical vehicles and would look delightful alongside the medical Kubelwagens already produced

SS044 Blitz: We have been inundated with requests for a new Normandy and Desert version of the famous Blitz 3 ton lorry, well here it is but with a twist! 

Both versions are decked out with medical red crosses and a few supplies for the back of the lorry. The Normandy version is in the livery of the 1st Leibstandarte SS Division whilst the Desert version will be suitable for any DAK or Italian campaign unit

Once again we have limited these to 120 pieces and priced our vehicle at $135

Last, but by no means least, here are a few more of Napoleon's finest for all you 'Nappie' collectors out there

NAP021 French Infantry: Advancing to attack with musket lowered and bayonet fixed. We have listened to collectors who requested Napoleonic figures in greatcoats and here they are! Not only that but we have reduced the overall height ever so slightly in order that they can march alongside K&C’s and the CS Napoleonic troops. Picture attached for proof in case it is needed!

Our A version figure is from the Imperial Guard and looks every bit the inch of Napoleonic splendour. Dressed in blue coat and bearskin, who would not be frightened with these troops bearing down on them!

NAP021 B comes with grey coat plus Shako and is suitable for any French Line Infantry roll call

NAP021 C comes with a traditional brown coat plus Shako and once again is suitable for any French line infantry diorama. Each set comes with 2 figures per box and priced at $64 for two figures. Limited to 65 sets of each version this must be an all time low production number for Thomas Gunn!

That's it for this month folks. See you again in December with some more news from TG and, in the meantime, happy hunting!

Monday 12 November 2012

In Memoriam

For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

King and Country: Dispatches

Here we are, two weeks nearly into November, with another quick glimpse at the new releases and recently retired figures from K&C

Once again, all the figures previewed in last month's post are now available to purchase, or will be very soon, and if you want further details about any of the sets referred to here then take a look at the company website

We start with some US airmen and their trusty flying machine!

In 1941 and ’42 a bunch of 90 American fighter pilots were formed into the 1st
American Volunteer Group under the command of a former U.S. Army Air Corps officer called Claire Lee Chennault. Putting his men into 3 pursuit squadrons, and using the Curtiss P40, Chennault created a legend…”The Flying Tigers
In a relatively short time they had racked-up over 300 enemy aircraft shot down with the loss of a very small number of their own
K&C is proud to pay tribute to these brave flyers and their extraordinary aircraft

AF018 “Curtiss P40”Flying Tiger
Originally intended to be part of very large order going to Britain’s Royal Air Force, 100 of the planes were separated out for the Flying Tigers in China. Still sporting British camouflage they were then adorned with the famous “Shark’s Teeth” insignia and a cartoon flying tiger courtesy of the Walt Disney Studio! Our aircraft is in the personal #88 markings of former USMC pilot Kenneth A.Jernstedt who shot down 105 Japanese aircraft while flying and fighting with the “Tigers”
Planned Production Run: 250 aircraft

AF024 “Flying Tiger Pilot, David “Tex “Hill”
AF025 “ Flying Tiger Pilot, Kenneth A. Jernstedt”

Next up, some rather eye catching pieces of spiky fencing and such like for those of you collecting the Imperial Chinese range, mind you I reckon it would equally good surrounded by Romans, Vikings or even some Medieval knights or men-at-arms!

Throughout China’s long history there has been a succession of wars where neighbouring countries have tried to “smash and grab” whole states and provinces away from the central power in Beijing. To help protect the integrity of the frontier areas of the country different emperors used different methods. Several rulers built chains of “Frontier Forts” all along the perimeter of the country. Our new individual multi section defense work allows collectors to build a fort as big (or as small) as they need or have the room for…

IC051 “Chinese Fort Main Gate”
IC052 “Left Tower”
IC053 “Right Tower”
IC054 “Wooden Fences”

From Imperial China we travel forwards in time a few centuries for the latest installment of Australian Camel Corps troopers

AL036 “Australian Officer”
AL037 “Aye Ready”  
AL038 “Shirt-Sleeve Order”

From the far-flung British Empire we step back in time to the Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte as K&C announce the arrival of an entirely new, elite cavalry regiment, The Horse Grenadiers of The Imperial Guard

            NA217 “Officer Turning in Saddle”            
NA218 “Officer with Regimental Guidon”
NA219 “Bugler”
NA220 “Grenadier w/Sword (looking front)”
NA221 “Grenadier w/Sword (looking left)”
NA222 “Scout Grenadier w/Musket
NA239 “Mounted Bessieres”
NA240 “Mounted Cuirassier General”

This heavy cavalry unit was reputed to be the finest horse mounted regiment not just in the Emperor’s own army but in all of Europe!

From the elite cavalry units of the Imperial French Army K&C venture to the Wild West to offer us their rendition of an elite US cavalry regiment, part of a bold and exciting new range of figures depicting Custer's Last Stand at The Battle of the Little Bighorn, fought on 25th and 26th June, 1876

The initial release consists of seven [an appropriate number] US cavalrymen, including the inimitable Custer himself, and will be followed in the Spring of next year by more cavalrymen and no less than fourteen Indians, both mounted and on foot

The commander of the famous 7th Cavalry and already a hero from the Civil War. Custer together with 210 of his men would perish on and around “Last Stand Hill” just above the Little Bighorn river. Here we show him wearing buckskin trousers with a decorative blue shirt and colourful red neckerchief. In his hands a pair of matching Royal Irish Constabulary revolvers

TRW020 “Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer”
TRW022 “Captain Myles Keogh”
TRW023 “Bugler
TRW024 “Swinging the Carbine”
TRW025 “Kneeling Firing Carbine”
TRW030 “Dead Horse”
TRW031 “On His Knees”

Finally, here is the list of those figures heading off for the happy hunting grounds in the sky. Those highlighted in red are the ones I want for my own collection!

BBA031  105 Field Gun
BBA035  Winter Motorcycle MP
BBG014  Snow Patrol
BBG049  Stug III Ausf. G
CW053    Brevet Major General George Armstrong Custer
DD117    Piper in Action
DD118   Dismounted Military Policeman
DD119    Monty in Normandy
DD120    Grenadier
LAH126  BDM Girls
LAH127  German Red Cross Lady
LAH128  German Nurse
LAH129  Old Veteran
LAH130  Hitler Jugend (Small)
LAH131  Hitler Jugend (Medium)
LAH132  Hitler Jugend (Tall)
LAH148  SA Bugler

That's all for now folks. Happy hunting!

Sunday 11 November 2012

Warfare Magazine: Latest Issue

The latest issue of Warfare Magazine is out so here is a brief summary of some of the content. Take a closer look by following the link below

31 July 2012 saw the 95th anniversary of the start of the Third battle of Ypres, known as Passchendaele. The Allies’ campaign at Passchendaele took place over several months in 1917, fighting for control of the ridges south and east of Ypres, West Flanders

Warfare has featured several articles over the duration of the Passchendaele campaign, including Britain’s Last Tommies at Passchendaele and Passchendaele: the German Experience, the most recent addition being a look at the Fall of Passchendaele and the end of the battle in November 1917

Warfare had the pleasure of meeting author Bryn Evans during his recent book tour, and he has written a short article to mark the 70th anniversary of Operation Torch and the East Surreys role in Tunisia, Sicily and Italy, along with his experience of meeting the granddaughter of one of the veterans; Operation Torch 70 Years On – An Anniversary to Connect the Generations

There are two new featured charities now live, looking at the work of Thank You Soldier - a website where the British public can send messages of support to serving members of the armed forces, and The War Graves Photographic Project working in association with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to photograph every war grave and memorial worldwide

Happy reading!

Airsoft: Arms and Equipment

For the airsofter who has everything, how about one of these?

Standard Battle Mug. The M4/AR-15 carry handle is an optional accessory
I was sent a link to a blog [The Firearm Blog] featuring this curious product and I have to say I'm tempted, as were the other guys in the team I play in. You can get in a variety of finishes and, should you so desire, you can even have the bottom engraved! How's about that then?


From the website (
Battle Mug starts life as a 13.5 pound solid block of 6061 T6 billet aluminum before it enters a state of the art CNC facility in Huntsville, Alabama. This facility produces specialized parts and equipment for the U.S. Department of Defense, major weapons manufacturers, NASA, and a host of other companies working at the U.S. Rocket and Space Center
Built to military specifications, Battle Mug features a M1913 rail interface system which allows the operator to mount a standard issue M4 carry handle, tactical light, laser device, holographic sight (we call them beer goggles) or even a bayonet for close quarters, high risk operations

BattleMug also comes in a 'dog tag' edition which allows you to mount a dog tag in the base! Check out the company website for more information by clicking on the link above. Happy hunting!           

Sunday 4 November 2012

The KingTiger RC Tank by VST

Hello again toy and model soldier lovers. Having mentioned this little item in a post I wrote last week about the Birmingham Toy Soldier Show, I thought I'd share a few more details with you. Feast your eyes on this, a few close up images, some details of the features included in the model and a video of the tank in action. Tell me you're not tempted!

Happy hunting!