Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Max34 - The cars that ate Murrumbeena.

I have been painting Eureka Miniatures Mad Maximilian cars, plus using their bits box to make more using Matchbox Models of Yesteryear.

The matchbox vehicles are great, but check scale. I found a list on line containing the correct scale for the whole range. The range from 1:32 to 1:86, most falling in the 1:40 - 1:60 range. Note a few, including the Crowley truck are 1:48, the same scale all my ARBM vehicles use.

Make sure you get the accessories pack from Eureka Miniatures. It contains all sorts of goodies. Nic also has a few new car bodies to select from. I am sure he will bring them to Little Wars.

Proof there are sooo many bits to chose from.
 Here is just one of the vehicle.

Photos of the final product still to come.

Happy gaming,


Black Dog Stole My Life!!

Sorry for the huge gap, the Black Dog (depression), stole my life. Again.

Doing better so I have been working on some cars for Max34.

More to follow,


Thursday, 22 March 2018

Who Stole the Last Five Weeks and ARBM Post-1945.

Hi Again,

I apologise for the delay in updating the Blog. Ill health got the better of me and I have spent 5 days each week asleep. I normally lose a day each week. Fortunately these incidents rob me of my concept of time, making life bearable.

Below is an email I wrote to Richard Shepard that I believe is worth sharing. (I also freely admit to being lazy.) It gives some ideas about post-WW2 ARBM.


Hi Richard,

I am glad you enjoyed the book.

I have no plans beyond 1940, at least not in terms of another book, although a smaller endeavour may be on the cards. This is primarily the startling revelation that it took me over 3 years to complete the first book.

In writing ARBM I tried to avoid prescribing the future so that gamers could take the setting where they would. That said I have always had my own narrative.

I like the idea of belonging to the Commonwealth and taking pause to defend it during WWII, with conflict reigniting soon after peace is achieved. This gives us a changed world order with a vast array of new weapons and technology available, much of it surplus and captured items. Using Konflict 47 or any set of WW2 rules to model this is easily achieved and from your note sounds like the way you would like to go. Just give some thought to what you believe happened in the first phase of the conflict, where map line are now drawn and what allegiances have been forged or broken.

The other appealing concept is for Japan to have become actively aligned with Westralia somewhere between 1933 and 1939. This would radically change the conduct of the WW2, making Australia a key battleground, particularly if they had supplied troops as well as weapons. Again Konflict47, Bolt Action, etc can be used to represent this.

Whatever the alternative, the influence of the Soviet Union with the labour unions or potentially Queensland, as you have alluded to, makes a post 1940 conflict between Queensland (or parts thereof) and NSW very interesting. If this takes your fancy (and given you have the models) a post 1945 conflict of this type sounds really interesting. Soviet equipment up north against British and US kit down south, supplemented by captured(?) German and Japanese items potentially available to all protagonists.

If you wish to share your ideas and approach then the ARBM page on the Very British Civil Forum is recommended. The Interwar page of Lead Adventure is also worth a visit.

Happy Gaming,


Thursday, 15 February 2018

How to obtain a copy of ARBM

Welcome to A Right Bloody Mess aka ARBM.

ARBM is a self published source book for gaming in an alternate 1930s Australia. It covers the lead up to the Australian (civil) War which starts in April 1933, and the major factions involved. It is a similar concept to A Very British Civil War.

The book is 282 pages, full colour, cloth-bound hardcover with dust jacket. It is designed to sit on the shelf beside the wonderful tomes of the 1970s by likes of Donald Featherstone and Bruce Quarrie.

It retails for A$80 / £45 / US$63 / €51. 

As it comes direct from the printer, shipping is very reasonable. Postage is A$10, £3, US$4, €4. This covers up to two copies. After that postage double for up to ten copies. By way of comparison, Australian postage would be A$18 if I was to do it. 

Copies of ARBM can be obtained from Eureka Miniatures or directly from me, the author. My email address is:

Happy Gaming,


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

A Generous Review on Lead Adventure

A Mr wharfedalehome (possibly not his real name) has left a review of ARBM on the Lead Adventure forums that I would like to share: Direct Link to Review

His comments are very generous and I would be lying if I was not extremely flattered. As well as the link above I have pasted his review here. I hope others find the book as valuable.

(Author of ARBM) : If you are interested in obtaining a copy, I can contacted here.

wharfedaleme     Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #91 on: January 26, 2018, 01:44:49 PM »

This is a book review of A Right Bloody Mess by Matthew Clarkson. I don’t normally write reviews of, well, anything. I think that if a product is good enough it should sell itself. I know that in an age of mass media and image building this is very much a minority view. So be it. However I think that A Right Bloody Mess (ARBM) is truly exceptional and deserves acknowledging and widespread exposure - hence the review!

The book blurb elegantly and succinctly summarises the entire book for me, so I quote it in full:

Welcome to A Right Bloody Mess, an alternate history of civil war in Australia during the 1930s. A Right Bloody Mess provides you with everything you need to know about the first year of the Australia War, the events leading up to the crisis and its participants. A Right Bloody Mess is a plausible, alternate-reality sandbox environment bursting with historical detail. Created by a wargamer for wargamers, this volume is full of comprehensive information about Australia in the early 1930s and the factions involved in the conflict.

These are ambitious claims I think you’ll agree. But the truth is, Matt delivers these and more with style. OK, enough of the effusion. Here’s the nitty gritty:

Title: A Right Bloody Mess
Author: Matthew Clarkson
Price: £45 / A$80 + postage (you need to ask for local rates as it varies considerably)
Publisher: self published, Australia 2017
Distributor: or direct from the author at:
Importer to UK: None at present (but it really deserves somebody to get behind this exceptional product)
Support & Information: from the author at:
Format: hard back, 6” x 9” (your regular hardback book size).
Pages: 275 pages (there is probably more information in this one volume than has been published on all of VBCW in 10 years. OK, this is not a competition, I’m just trying to give you an idea of what you get for your money).
Quality: professionally bound, with colourful dust jacket, beautifully printed on semi-gloss sepia paper (gives it a very 1930s feel), lavishly illustrated with hundreds of images (troops, models, flags, equipment, interesting places, personages, maps, plans – you name it)
Contents: The contents are broken down into 6 sections:
Section 1 – An Overview of the Australian War (background on Australia in the 1930s, the constitutional crisis over funding that provides the “what if” trigger [ie: like the Edward Abdication crisis in Britain for VBCW] that led to the kidnapping of New South Wales’ Premier, Jack Lang on 13th May 1932 by the New Guard [ie: the “what if”], and what subsequently happened)
Section 2 – Australian Armed Forces Pre-Secession (a breakdown of Australia’s army, navy and air force in the 1930s including their equipment and weapons, details of civilian weapons and equipment that could be pressed into service)
Section 3 – Descent Into Chaos (commentary on the factionalisation that led to war, how troops might be organised equipped and uniformed, model figures that you can use or adapt)
Section 4 – Faction Guide (a long and imaginative list of factions that you could organise anywhere from the towns of New South Wales and Victoria to the outback of South Australia or Westralia. Factions cover left wing union and political groups, state organisations such as police, criminal gangs, right wing extremists as well as immigrant groups and more)
Section 5 – Wargaming ARBM (using and adapting miniatures, useful rules to model ARBM, setting up scenarios and campaigns, how to play skirmish, platoon ands regimental sized games, how to add roleplaying elements, two fully fleshed out examples of Factions from Section 4)
Section 6 – Additional Information (the use of Morale and Quality in an Aussie setting, Primitive 30s technology, raising Militia units, taking the history beyond the opening year of 1933, designer notes, useful links)

This is a work of love by Matt and a real thing of beauty. It is an inspiring, fun and intriguing wargame book on a believable, exciting and new campaign. So if you want to know what happened to Jack Lang, figure out who are the New Guard, want to lead the Australian Light Horse into battle or fancy tooling up an old roadster and screaming across the dusty tracks of the Big Red then get this book. Read it and you’ll be hooked, trust me. It’s like VBCW meets Back of Beyond with a dose of Mad Max thrown in. If you think VBCW is a little unhinged and jolly good fun then your Kangaroos will be loose in the top paddock when you’ve read ARBM.

Once in a generation a wargame book sets new standards. ARBM does this and more with it’s novel approach, its exciting ideas and its bravura performance. For me this sits up there with the best - Featherstone's and Bath’s early stuff of the 60s and 70s. Go on treat yourself, you’ll be pleased you did.

Monday, 5 February 2018

The NSW Riverina - A Major Hot Spot

Shelldrake has started a thread on the ARBM War Room, over at the VBCF, that looks at the importance of the Riverina area. Here is the link: Riverina Information

Shelldrake has been very generous with sharing the information he has found, some of which is new to me. If you are prepared to look there are some real gems hidden in the archives. Ideas for new factions or scenarios can be generated by a few searches through the newspapers of the era.

My post (below) shows why this is the epicentre of conflict in 1933.

Here is a lot of information on the Riverina Movement in the 1930s:

 Riverina Movement - Charles Stuart University

This was used as the basis for the faction within ARBM. The area's extremely strong desire for autonomy from NSW (and Sydney in particular) made the alliance with Victoria so plausible.

The most interesting event is not contained within my book as it happened in August 1933, and did not fit my timeline. A Royal Commission was convened to determine if NSW was too large to be effectively managed as a single state. It recommended that NSW be split into three parts, one of which was the Riverina Area. The Government in is usual wisdom decided to ignore the advice. With the departure of Lang and improving economic conditions, the Riverina Movement and the royal commissions findings slipped into obscurity.

In the context of ARBM, the NSW Riverina is a major hot spot and one of the most interesting areas within which to game as every major faction is represented in some way. You have the following:

  • The Riverina Movement and its supporters. To them its homeground.
  • Local groups within the region opposed to any move toward independence or who desired to retain the connection with Sydney and NSW.
  • Victoria, who effectively invade northward into NSW, offering the Riverina area statehood within the Victorian nation.
  • NSW had just been invaded by Victoria. Naturally, such a slight could not go unanswered.
  • Queensland goes to the assistance of its southern neighbour and ally. While committing troops and equipment they also wanted a degree of control, so integration of forces was discouraged or hampered. NSW-QLD rivalry does not evaporate.
  • Western Australia may wish to assist Victoria, but to do so involves sending men or material eastward via the rail link thru ...
  • ... South Australia, who are allied with NSW but don't want to upset WA or Victoria, their neighbours. The Murray River, the boundary between NSW and Victoria, ultimately flows into SA, bringing with it problems as it is a navigable waterway. In the state's north-east, the population's loyalty would be split between SA, VIC and the Riverina Movement. Just to make things worse, the Trans-Australian railway is subject to raids from the ...
  • ... Australian Red Centre (ARC) who are opposed to WA's secession.
  • Every faction above has a multitude of smaller factions within it, many of which span the territory of multiple major factions. The largest of these are the Union Movement and right-wing organisations such as the New and Old Guard. They are capable of acting across boundaries as its members are spread across the continent. The objectives of these geographically diverse groups may oscillate between assisting the state they reside within and attacking it. Further, these large organisations are far from homogeneous, with sub-factions pursuing their own agendas.

So in summary, YES the Riverina area is a major hot spot for ARBM, particularly in the initial flurry of activity. How the map is drawn  after a year of conflict is for gaming groups to define.

(Author of ARBM) : If you are interested in obtaining a copy I can contacted here.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Historical Information Sources

This is a post I made on the Very British Civil Forum: ARBM War Room. 

It is quite amazing what stuff exists in the archives.

The 1933 Census was one of my primary documents for writing ARBM. I considered a Census in the year I was writing about a lucky coincidence. (Shelldrake generously posted the link to the PDF. 1933 Census He has made a number of interesting posts recently that are well worth reading. VBCForum: ARBM War Room )

The Australian and State yearbooks are particularly interesting if you want to know everything from population distribution to exports and imports for an area. Here is the link to the 1934 Yearbook. 1934 Australian Yearbook. From here you can also get access to the state's yearbooks, except for SA and TAS who didn't produce them till more recently.

If you want to uncover information about the various factions, and probably discover more, then a trawl of the Australian archives provides a vast amount of material collected by the Attorney Generals Department: Investigations Branch and the organisations they morphed into. (The Commonwealth Security Service in 1941 and later Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, aka ASIO in 1949) The files hold official correspondence, surveillance reports, newspaper clippings, etc. Some of which is still redacted, more due to the files being scans of the original paper file rather than being classified. These files provided an insight into the numerous factions that existed at the time and were my primary source for factions presented in ARBM. With the exception of the ARC, which I created, all the factions presented really existed and many were under active surveillance.

Here is the link to the National Archive: National Archives of Australia  If you start by searching on a faction from the book you are interested in you should find something. The New Guard and CPA (Communist Party of Australia) information is voluminous and will provide many nuggets.

The Newspaper archives are also useful if you know what you are looking for. I generally use Trove at the National Library of Australia.  Trove