I recently began working on some 20mm Falklands miniatures. Now, I started painting 20mm miniatures for the Falklands more than a decade ago, and have painted some off and on, but this recent batch by far is the largest I have done in a long time.
What started this latest frenzy was a couple of very good books I read, combined with some discussion in my local club, and a recent game. I made plans with Keith Stine ( of This Very Ground and Disposable Heroes: Point Blank fame) to make a scenario for the skirmish at Top Malo House ( here if you need some background ). Its an unusual battle that saw two groups of special forces types, in a fight with nearly equal numbers. The British MAW (Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre) were and are certainly a very well trained, very experienced, group. The Argentine 602 Commandos were specially trained Argentine army troops. The 602 Commandos, however, originally had a much different role than a "true" special forces outfit like the US Navy Seals, or British SAS, and I would not consider them to have been in the same league as the British cadre, but they can still be considered a type of special forces during the Falklands War.
More on that in the future, once we game the scenario.
I looked over the miniatures I had, did some tallying, and decided to broaden the scope of the project. I made a substantial order with Liberation, including 18 SAS (Falklands era), hoping to mix and match them with other miniatures I already had. I had some unpainted Platoon 20 British in berets, a single pack of unpainted Combat British SBS, a single pack of unpainted Combat British MAW, a few random Combat Argentine command figures, and a number of previously painted Platoon 20 Argentine Marines in berets (light blue berets).
So, I got to work. Now, I have a ton of Falklands era British and Argentine miniatures already painted, most of which were painted a long time ago. I did not feel like repainting all of those. That being the case, I painted the new British miniatures with colors and patterns that more or less matched the"old" miniatures, rather than trying for something better. In the end, it worked out, as it wasn't too difficult for me to paint all of this camo. Since the 602 commandoes would look different from the rest of my Argentine forces, this was not much of an issue. I simply painted over the old paint. Not fantastic, but easy and quick.
Enough jabber-jawing, lets see some pictures.
First up, 18 Liberation British SAS. Notice, a lot of bare headed miniatures, and a lot of watch caps. Mix of weapons includes mostly M16s, CAR-15s, some '16s fitted with M203s, Brens, and MAGs. One radio operator is equipped with an SLR.
As usual, the Liberation are clean, hardy miniatures. Weapons are very distinct, and these SAS are gesturing all over the place, looking like the active SFer types they are supposed to be (no one is smoking and joking). As you can see, my camo is really simple, close up it certainly doesn't look accurate, but on the table, the colors work very well... and these guys will fit in with my older miniatures.
Next are the pack of 5 Combat Miniatures SBS in watch caps, and pack of 5 Combat MAW in Royal Marine green berets.
Next up are the Platoon 20 British in berets, painted as Royal Marines.
This mix includes a Milan, and a Carl Gustav, for a little anti-tank capability. The nice thing about these, is that I can mix in a few helmeted figures from my regular infantry, to beef them up (though its hard to find many RMs in helmet, they were indeed issued them at times).
Speaking of mixing and matching, I can very easily mix the SBS with the SAS, or mix the SAS, SBS, MAW and regular Royal Marines for a larger force any time I need too. This was why I decided to order the Liberation SAS, so that my MAW force for the Top Malo scenario would have as many options as possible (the only thing I might be missing is figures with M-79s.... the M-16/203 combinations will have to fill in).
The 602 Commandoes are mostly Platoon 20 Argentine Marines in berets. As I said, I simply painted over the old paint, trying for a lighter camo pattern that looked slightly different from the British camo. Also, the 602 berets are a completely different shade of green from the RM berets. I used 3 command figures from Combat, an officer with pistol, a radio operator, and a sniper. The officer and RTO are in helmets, but I figured that would be ok.
I really liked an idea I saw on another blog ( here at Dougie's Wargaming Blog ), where the Combat officer was fitted with an FAL. I bought a pack of MJ Figures FALs for terrain details. The MJ FAL was a little big in my opinion for the Combat figure, so I compromised and placed the SLR on the ground beside the officer.
Something I definitely want to try, after the Malo scenario, is having an SAS raid during the 1980's Cold War era against rear echelon Soviets. The 602 commandos could be readily employed in any number of South & Central American scenario. I like to get the most bang I can for my buck.
One group of Argentine special forces that are missing are the Agrupacion de Comandos Anfibios, for the initial invasion of the Falklands. I have some, I think its 13 or so, painted already from years ago... but since I never had any Royal Marines painted, I never used them. I also have 15 more unpainted, so at some point I will finish those, and then post pictures.... after all, the 602s need some help, I think.
OK, on to the next dilemma!