Monday 18 June 2012

Falklands Commemorated

As hoped I've managed to finish off the vignette to accompany the modern British infantry that were completed to commemorate the cessation of hostilities over the Falkland Islands thirty years ago.  A simple blank CD base and a few off cuts of foam and other bits and pieces that I had lying around, have all been thrown together to recreate the tough and unforgiving terrain found in the South Atlantic.

Basic construction textured and awaiting paint.
I did treat myself to a replica, miniature South Atlantic Medal bought from the National Army Museum's online store.   The Campaign medal was awarded to all personnel who took part in operations.  To qualify the recipient had to have at least one full day's service in the Falklands or South Georgia, or thirty days in the operational zone.  A rosette was added to the ribbon for those who served in the combat zone.

Coincidentally as I was finishing the miniatures, Curt posted a rather thoughtful piece entitled, ‘A Question of Historical Wargaming: 'Ok, Who Wants to be The Bad Guys?’ on his marvellous ‘Analogue Hobbies’ blog.   The post was a reflection on the appropriateness of wargamers playing more modern conflicts or conflicts that included scenarios that were perhaps a little troublesome to square away.  I didn’t comment at the time, the post demanding a bit more in the way of a response than the customary winking smiley!  That said I found myself concurring with many of the issues raised by Curt and indeed many of the considered responses from fellow bloggers.  

Why mention it here?  As a young boy, I too, was excited about the prospect of our boys going to take back the Falklands from the Argentinians – once we found exactly where they were on a map that is!  As the reports of the conflict started to filter home it became apparent that this bravado was going to have a real human cost for both sides.  Warfare suddenly leapt from the history books and was propelled to the domain of the headline news; I know that I found the whole experience very confusing.

Now somewhat older, if not wiser, I find myself painting 28mm miniatures representing a variety of different periods from history.  Ultimately, I am doing little more that painting pieces of lead and plastic that represent the past, I’m certainly not looking to make any form of political statement or show any disrespect to those that fought and died in any of the conflicts.  I do not condone war or any of the political ideologies that bring about conflicts, but I am happy to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of individuals.

Many of the comments that followed Curt's post displayed a thoughtful and balanced consideration to just such matters.  One that seemed to resonate more than others was by Sidney Roundwood, who said;

Perhaps (at least for me) the hobby has a great deal to do with commemoration. I'm comfortable playing a game when one of the aspects is commemorating and respecting what happened in history.

Certainly a sentiment that I'm happy to side with.


  1. Looking fantastic Michael!

  2. That is a very very nice piece Michael. Very well done indeed. I must I do like Sidney's comment too.

  3. I too remember the excitement of '82 when our troops were heading down to the South Atlantic slowly giving way to discomfort/shock/horror as the grim reality of conflict took hold.

    It is right that we commemorate events such as this. No soldier who gave his life or limbs (whichever side they fought on) should be forgotten.

    Nice vignette :)

  4. Really nice vignette and agree with your view, I am in the same age group. Remember seeing the typical fat guy drinking outside the local pub with Don't Cry for me Argintina on a T-shirt with a bloodied flag on it. I remember clearly thinking "but it won't be your blood will it?"


  5. Nice little Vignette, Very fitting

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Dave I'm so sorry, I was trying to be clever and copy the web address, but ended up hitting remove! Fortunately I have Blogger set up to send an email notification with the message so was able to retrieve you message- phew!

    So this is what Dave said before sausage fingers here deleted it:

    Great piece and commentary Michael. Certainly if anything this hobby really reinforces the need for appreciation of the sacrifices made on our behalf. Not something forgotten lightly or made light of. I have stood in front of thousands of wargrave headstones and never fail to be moved. I also refuse to let their memories go in vain. Check out the work of the Wargraves Photographic Project for more details

  8. That's very well done Michael, very apt!

  9. That is a great vignette there Michael and its about time that we celebrated the Falklands War. Political it might be wrong for so many reasons but I had mates who fought there and I signed up because of the war, not that I lasted much after the selection weekend. Great vignette and write yp mate.

  10. You've put together an absolutely superb and thought provoking piece. Whatever the geo-politics of the time you cannot deny that the Falklands conflict represents a uniquely fascinating example of expeditionary warfare against huge logistical and climatic challenges. In the end the outcome relied upon immense human bravery, individual endurance, resourcefulness and feats of arms the equal of any gone before. The rights and wrongs of colonialism (British or Spanish)is a subject which this site normally explores at a more comfortable distance in time, but perhaps it sheds a new perspective on those earlier campaigns when we consider our feelings in respect of this more recent example. I myself am currently exploring and blogging the military aspects of the Falklands as a wargames campaign, my extensive research for which just serves to increase my admiration for the troops of both nationalities who fought in that conflict. Aye, Rusty

  11. Nicely done!
    I grew up in the US during the Vietnam era and don't recall ever really idealizing war, although we did play "cowboys and Indians" as kids (which brings its own set of issues). My gaming is more colored by Hollywood than by history. But I still struggle with some of it, like the racism inherent in Colonial-era warfare. Sometimes I'm tempted to go back to using fantasy figures and make it about dwarves or elves against orcs and goblins and monsters, even if I still used rules designed for Colonial games. I don't know.

  12. An excellent work Michael, you've captured the look and feel, very well, and I enjoyed your thoughtful discourse on the subject.

    I too recall being quite mesmerised as events unfolded and were conveyed by the Beeb...

  13. The vignette really is superb all round. As for the subject, I think we are all on the same wave length with this. Honour and respect.

  14. Wow. That is a really interesting, actually inspirational idea. Very cool sir!

  15. Very nice vignette, Michael. It makes me wonder if the Argentinians have an equivalent medal for their service veterans. Would some Argentinian hobbyist do the same in commemoration of their efforts as well?

    I remember very clearly the British fleet slowly steaming down to the Falklands, with all of us thinking that the Argentinians would blink at the challenge. But they didn't, and people paid the price. It all seemed so surreal. Anyway, I'm pleased that my post had some form of resonance with you - I was very impressed by the thought and consideration put forward by those who commented, and the same goes with your post here.

  16. I just wanted to thank you all for your very considerate and often kind views. Emotive subjects can often run the risk of clouding one's judgment so I am delighted to read that so many share similar viewpoints.

  17. That is incredibly neat, better than an old shadow box.

  18. Fantastic piece and fantastic post. Truly, thanks for sharing.


  19. What a nice idea and set up! Really nice work Michael!


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