Support Smaller Figure Companies: Annie Norman and Bad Squiddo Pigeoneers of WW2

Always a personal touch, last time a herbal tea bag, this time a Dr Carrot doodle by Annie and Co.

My Bad Squiddo order arrived a day or two ago. I unpacked and checked it ready for the next 2021 Spring Flower Show in the Village Hall.

Always a pleasure to see the lively and stylish quality of the graphics on all the Bad Squiddo packaging, as I posted about back in 2018:

I don’t usually go to wargames shows as there are none that near me anyway.

I know that not attending these shows due to the pandemic closures has affected lots of manufacturers, big and small. I thoroughly support someone’s suggestion on their blog or Facebook forum that we should buy what we would have browsed and bought at a show. Many figure companies that have not mothballed during the pandemic have been doing their best to keep going through their online shop offer.

In addition to the small purchases that I make throughout the year to put away for Christmas to help my family out on the difficult task of what to buy me as a gift, I have bought ahead of time these beautiful and unusual Bad Squiddo female Pigeoneers of WW2 and pigeon baskets.

I don’t game in 28mm. These will get painted up as part of my #FEMbruary female figure painting challenge for 2021.

They should do well as a possible painting diorama vignette entry on the next Spring Flower Show (this year’s show was another casualty of Lockdown). The wonderful Doctor Carrot and Potato Pete figures are for another future project but could also form an alternative Spring flower show entry in the mixed craft section?

The last 2019 Flower Show diorama to showcase or promote ManCraft or Boycraft in a mostly female art and craft section was Annie’s Land Girls, a tribute to her Land Army Nan.

When I posted this in Baggy’s Cave the Bad Squiddo Facebook fan group, it made Annie Norman cry!

Whoops. I made Annie Norman cry. I didn’t think the gloss toy soldier painting was that bad. πŸ™‚

Sorry Annie! Bad Squiddo – a great smaller ‘mini’ company to support. Annie Norman does a very relaxed and informal visual Sunday coffee morning hangout on YouTube and there is also the Baggy’s Cave Facebook group.

In future posts, I will share some more Christmas stowings away of a small Infantry skirmish sized order from Paul at Early War Miniatures Dutch and Danish 1940 range in 20mm and a patrol or two of Sergeants Mess Boy Scouts also in 20mm (1:72 metal).

Support your favourite Miniature makers – buy early for Christmas. Or now …

Why? Because you’re worth it! They need the cash flow. It’s our gaming version of the government “eat out to help out” scheme for restaurants in the U.K.

Watch this space.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 9 August 2020.

Rangers and Forest Indians 54mm skirmish with Bold Frontiers Trees and Rules For Junior Generals

Back in the period of the French Indian Wars / Seven Years War (1750s 1760s) in North America you had Warriors with good bushcraft skills such as the Forest or Woodland Indians and Light Infantry type scouting units such as Rogers Rangers.

Rather than set this in historical America, this scenario is set back in the same period of the 1750s and 60s in North Gondal, one of the Bronte ImagiNations of the North Pacific where we recently set our later 1870s skirmishes between Forest Indians, Redcoats and Loggers.

If that is not to your taste, this is North Generica, a parallel but slightly altered version of North America. So no one can say “That Never Happened” in that way …

Gruber’s Rangers cooking up lunch (hopefully not red squirrel) outside my RoyToys USA log cabin.

As well as trying out a small patrol of my new Gruber’s Rangers, I also wanted to try out the simple Rules for Junior Generals enclosed with my Bold Frontiers (Australia) cardboard tree sets that made up my forest. I was playing both sides, solo play.

I have been recently chatting by email to the trees designer Chris Lynch of Bold Frontiers (Australia) about 54mm gaming, toy soldiers and forest wars. He asked what I thought of these simple starter rules on 3 sides of A5 paper.

There are more complex rules about using the trees for concealment and using markers etc on his website but these Rules for Junior Generals are more akin to simple H G Wells starter rules or simple Featherstone rules to give a basic ruleset for young players, slipped into his attractively packaged historical figure and trees selections and playsets.

This is trying to give young players a step into figure gaming beyond firing at them with Nerf Guns in place of various projectiles such as matchstick firing toy cannons and marbles that we all had as young gamers.

Firstly Chris suggests simple equipment that any school age child might have – two d6 dice, a 30cm ruler and optional protractor.

My Battlefield

This was quickly set up on the dining between meals. It was fairly traditional, made up of large felt pieces over book hills with blue felt strips for stream, grey strips for the road, Bold Frontiers trees, a rocky scatter of slate chippings, twig logs and a coffee stirrer plank bridge alongside a swiftly assembled Roy Toys USA wooden log cabin. Simple enough. A few Lego Friends forest animals mysteriously appeared during the fighting.


Once the trees are placed on the playing surface, Chris suggests an aim for the battle such as building a small ruin out of construction bricks as something that the two sides fight for.

I used my RoyToys ‘build your own’ log cabin as I thought it suited the forest setting. It helps suggest that the Forest Indians are angered by their Sacred Forest being felled to make the cabin and the bridge and overall resent the building of the military road to help supply the soldiers and settlers. An attack on these might discourage settlers and troops.

Once each side had reached half casualties, a d6 morale dice would be thrown – fight on or retreat.

The starting moves

A pony and cart escorted by a Ranger was due to arrive with basic supplies for the Ranger post and then on to settlers beyond.

Repaired or restored Britain’s and others hollowcast Indians led by Big Chief Blue Trousers!

The Forest Indians had to get quite close in to start firing, as befits the fairly forested cover of this area. Any figures hit whilst under cover have a simple d6 savings throw to reflect the protection that this cover affords.

Basic movement ranges are given, Chris’ suggested movement of 15 cms matches the old 6 inch move and is not too big for the average dinner table. My game was set up on the dining table between lunch and tea.

Climbing walls and obstacles also has a simple movement penalty in cms, depending on the size of wall or obstacle of chest height or lower. Again, simple for young gamers to work out.

Line of Sight, sightlines and eyeline are simply outlined, with more detail of arc of sight for each figure also set out (this is where you could use your protractor). I didn’t use this to closely. I simply thought – Could the characters see each other?

The suggested firing ranges in this case for flintlocks, muskets or rifles were not too long, close range being under 30cms and long range beyond 30cms.

Chris’ Rules for Junior Generals mentions inventing dice rolls to solve disputes or unforeseen situations. I added in a d6 dice roll regarding whether the Ranger sentries spotted any Forest Indian movement as they flitted from tree cover to cover closer and closer to the log cabin. A 6 on a d6 would mean the sentry spotted the Indians moving before they opened fire or charged.

Until the Forest Indians opened fire, whilst they were sheltered behind trees, they were classed as concealed. Once firing began, especially with Black Powder, their positions were known. More detailed points about tactics and concealment are made here.

Rather than my usual Close Wars / Featherstone type dice rolls to choose which one side moves first, before the others move, then fires first etc. (IGOYUGO).

Chris instead has a simple approach that each side (or individual) can only do one of these actions in their turn – FIRE, MOVE or FIGHT (Melee). I rolled a simple d6 as suggested to decide which side went first.

The Forest Indians close in on the log cabin and Rangers inside.

Chris suggested that once a side reaches 50% casualties or lower, to roll a d6 to stay on or retreat.

In one late move, about half the surviving Rangers were killed, dropping them rapidly below half numbers, so a morale roll saw the three surviving Ranger slipping quietly away into the forest.

Aerial bird’s eye view of the skirmish casualties including the fierce fighting around and inside the log cabin.

The final paragraph of Fight (Melee) section is a little unclear, possibly a typo or cut and paste paragraph error, as it reprints the ‘firing at figures in cover’ savings throws paragraph, not a mechanism for resolving a Fight / Melee. Instead, I settled melee with a dice roll.

I have to say that my firing dice rolls were generally lousy on both sides throughout the whole game!

The end of the skirmish

Once the last Rangers had slipped away through the trees, the Forest Indians harnessed the pony and cart and stripped the cabin of all its supplies. They carried away their own fallen warriors and also collected the fallen Rangers Flintlock Muskets and ammunition. The Rangers were roughly buried.

Finally the Forest Indians set fire to the log cabin.

Hopefully it would discourage the settlers and soldiers from returning to the Sacred Forests of the Forest Indians. Or would it?

Surviving Forest Indians and their loot. The cabin packs neatly away in its Roy Toy box.
The three surviving Gruber’s Rangers slip away through the Bold Frontiers trees.

Final reflections on Rules for Junior Generals from Bold Frontiers

They prove a good enough starting point for a young gamer wanting a few rules for an Infantry game, without the complications of cavalry or artillery. This makes sense as the current Bold Frontiers playsets do not include cavalry or artillery.

They cover simple mechanisms for moving, shooting, fighting, arc or line of sight, cover savings throws and end of game victory conditions.

They encourage you in the final ‘safety clause’ to create your own rules:

“If you find that your game can be improved or made easier to understand, don’t hesitate to modify and refine the rules. Write down these changes so you don’t forget them. This process can help to improve a game and make it more satisfying and enjoyable to play.”

A licence for a lifetime of rules tinkering begins here!

Chris Lynch mentions on his front page (August 2020):

“We are no  longer selling Armies in Plastic figures by the box.  In the near future, we will begin introducing more comprehensive playsets depicting military and other adventurous themes.  These will include foot figures, cavalry and artillery, and exciting new ranges of scenery such as rocky terrain, tropical jungles, deserts with palm trees, and the scarred battlefields of World War I.  There will also be some economical architectural features to add atmosphere to games with 54mm figures.”

All sounds promising!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 3 August 2020.

Garage Gleanings Plastic Figure Rapid Repairs

Some of Gruber’s Garage Gleanings …

Mixed in amongst Alan Tradgardland Gruber’s kind postal gift of AIP plastic 54mm Rogers Rangers and Woodland Indians were some random figures including some in jigsaw form that Alan included, knowing that I like a figure repair challenge.

Some wonderfully odd over-painting and broken figures to repair. Cowboys missing arms, Prussian missing bases and bayonets, horses without legs and hooves,

My repairs are usually stout ones, functional rather than fine military modelling, in order to bring these battered warriors back into Little Wars tabletop or garden gameable condition.

I use fine wire, superglue, cocktail sticks and masking tape to fix or rebuild missing or broken parts. We have a household allergy to Milliput / Green stuff so fine sculpted carve-able repair is not an option indoors.

Bizarre 60mm Cherilea Indian brave with weapons rebuilt to join my oversize 60mm warband.

Smaller scale cowboy on horse with no legs on the repair desk …

Horse legs roughly repaired, just a little trimming and smoothing required …

Some figures were in multiple fragile pieces like this lovely old Swoppet Indian, still with separate necklace and knife belt attached. After careful repair, he still swivels at waist and head.

Swoppet Indian and Cherilea cowboy in pieces.

Reassembled Swoppet Indian meets clubbing Herald cowboy

Some other smaller cloned cowboys go clubbing with the reassembled smaller Cherilea Cowboy.

A few of the revolvers need a little further trimming and work, but you get the idea.

Converted ACW Confederate Artillery Man with arms or hands repaired.

The Plastic Napoleon had two hoofs or lower leg parts missing on his horse. He has now been rebased with two new sturdy hooves and lower legs.

This charging Timpo Prussian pose was a childhood favourite. Now rebased and bayonet restored.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 2 August 2020.

Forest Rangers in 54mm

AIP 54mm plastic Roger’s Rangers with Light Infantry caps.

Part of the delightful parcel from Alan Tradgardland Gruber received a week or two ago was this box of Roger’s Rangers from Armies in Plastic. It was part of his contribution of surplus 54mm figures to my forest skirmish Close Wars games.

The Rogers Rangers and various other light infantry ranger units were highly mobile and lightly equipped as scouts and skirmishers for backwoods work, around the time of the French Indian Wars of the 1750s (Seven Years War).

Wikipedia media – portrait of Robert Rogers 1776

Some had ‘Light Infantry’ type headgear with brass forehead plates. One figure looked like he was modelled on portraits of Robert Rogers and other contemporary officers of the American War of Independence who had gone somewhat native in their dress and their dealings with the local forest Indians.

The Rangers with Berets

A few of the Ranger figures had already had some partial conversion work to headgear, including cutting away parts of Light Infantry helmets into more woollen or raccoon skin caps.

Other Rangers in the pack had a soft beret or cloth Tam O’Shanter type Highland Bonnet, rather than the light Infantry hat. This more formal Light Infantry hat had a shiny brass plate which must have been some simple armour plating for the head.

The Rogers Rangers are one of the most famous of the Ranger companies and inspire reanactors, gamers and modellers to this day with their 28 Rules of Ranging.

A little research on Pinterest and reenactor pages gave me an idea of the range of equipment and colours of green that these troops, Rangers and woods runners (French: coureurs des bois) wore in the forest

Both interesting blogs or websites.

I was pleased to read in Preben Kannik’s trusty old Military Uniforms of The World that these Rangers and light Infantry did not fuss with prinky lace, wigs or shaving, so were permitted to grow quite elaborate facial hair. Most of my Rangers have a fine moustache, some the makings of a full wilderness beard.

Preben Kannik 118. Great Britain Light Infantry in North America. Man, 1758.

“Various items of the Infantry man’s normal equipment were made lighter as a result of the campaign in the forests of North America. This applies especially to the equipment of the light companies of specially picked men from the regiment, who were trained to move and fight in the forests. The uniforms were stripped of all lace. The sleeves of the coat were attached instead to the jacket, which became the principal garment, and the now sleeveless coat was used as an outer garment.

“As shown here the coat was rolled up with the pack which, for the first time, is carried high on the back by the means of two straps. The water bottle was carried below the pack and a powder horn under the right arm. A tomahawk was also carried below the cartridge pouch, which was carried on a narrow strap. Two pockets made of leather or rawhide were sewn to the breast of the jacket, for carrying shot and flints. Trouser-leggings were worn instead of knee breeches and boots.”

“The hat had been cut down to a cap, which had black flaps over neck and ears. The troops were allowed to be unshaven on active service, which frequently resulted in some picturesque growths of hair and beard.

Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour.

Although the light companies supposedly wore no lace, many of the illustrations how shiny buttons, which surprised me. My Rangers have mostly blacked out their shiny buttons much in the way of the Rifles Companies 50 years later.

That spare head came in handy for a headless rebuilt hollowcast archer who was missing legs, head and bow.

The Ranger archer with added Fimo Polymer Clay pack …

Painting Armies in Plastic Miniatures

I had been forewarned by Jen Burdoo and others that Armies in Plastic Miniatures are quite hard to get Acrylic paint to adhere to, that it easily flakes and chips off weapons, extremities and bases.

After a little web browsing in various forums, I decided to undercoat in PVA glue, after their initial wash, scrub and brush up to remove any loose paint, grease or mould releasant.

An undercoat in various shades of dark green was followed by two coats of Revell Aquacolor Acrylic Matt paint. Two coats? Painting over PVA, I often find that the first coat of Acrylic often cracks a little, so a second one covers this well.

As they arrived, some of the Rangers more colourfully painted …

I left any metallic paints like the flintlock and tomahawk metal until after a coat of spray Acrylic Varnish. I really do not like the heady stink of spray paint or spray varnish.

These figures have a gloss toy soldier finish and face, using the distinctive pink gloss dot highlight on the cheek.

No two of my Ranger figures are painted the same as often these troops brought their own kit, clothes and weapons along.

The Rangers lived off the land and carried all they needed into the forest, able to hunt and forgave for themselves, making them much more independent of the army supply column. Even without buttons and lace, all that even left a lot of straps and equipment to paint – knapsack, powder horn, blanket or coat roll, tomahawk, cartridge pouch, legging straps or garters. I was surprised by the amount of such detail on these AIP figures. It felt a little like painting US or British WW2 paratroops with all their straps and buckles.

Rangers Colours and Uniforms

I did not intend my Rangers unit to be a particular type or regiment, although maybe in thanks they should be called Gruber’s Rangers?

I don’t believe that many Rangers quite wore that regimented uniform as shown in this dapper 1970s Rene North Military Uniforms paperback.

The headless figure and his 60s footballer replacement head. His old head ended up on an archer.

What they need next is some time spent on the Tabletop amongst forest trees like my Bold Frontiers trees and some company or opposition.

In my ImagiNations Close Little Wars I already have my various repaired hollowcast Forest Indians, along with plastic BMC 54mm opponents or allies in Tricornes that I have stored away for painting.

A similar box of toy soldier 54mm garage gleanings arrived from Alan Gruber today mixed in with a box of Armies in Plastic Woodland Indians. More delight for the paint table. Thanks again, Alan!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 1 August 2020.

Big Bad Al or Heap Good Al? You decide.

Howdy! The Fabulous Flying Gruber Brothers needed a leader of their Gang, so they kept it in the family.

Meet Al – some say Big Bad Al, some say Heap Good Al.

Some say that he is the Father of the Gruber boys, others that he is their Cousin, Uncle or Older Brother. Some wisely choose not to say anything.

Some say that Al may in fact be Twins, just never seen together in the same place.

Those that have opinions on the matter and keep their mouths closed generally live longer lives out on these Wilde frontiers and borders and may even get to die in bed of old age.

In the wilds of the Wyrd Wilde West, anything could be a fact or true.

Timpo Bank and Timpo unpainted cowboy reunited … love those bright Timpo colours.

Big Bad Al or Heap Good Al? It depends who’s asking and who’s paying.

Whether they are protecting the Bank with their firepower or relieving it of some of that tiresome shiny metal, it’s a matter of opinion – it all depends on who is asking and who is paying (usually the most but they like to pick and choose their work).

The Gruber Family Door Knocker …

The Fabulous Flying Gruber Brothers Abe, Zeke and Frank can be seen here in their repaired state:

The Armies in Plastic figures Rogers Ranger’s kindly gifted to me by Alan Tradgardland Gruber are seen here after unpacking. They are now painted or repainted, gloss varnished and awaiting final shiny metal work before they set off to explore my mighty fine Bold Frontiers forest trees.

A wider, more historically accurate and more diverse range of cowboys can be seen here from my blog post in 2019:

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 29/30 July 2020.

Christmas Toys Toy Soldier Seller 1947

Toy soldiers for sale Petticoat Lane Market London Christmas 1947

You can see the whole offcut of Pathe Newsreel Christmas Shopping 1947

Difficult to get a good clear close up on moving film.

These at first sight appear to be hollowcast lead figures, sold boxed in the market – hard to identify, but they could be Crescent or copies. However, after checking a few sources in response to a comment by Alan Gruber, in 1947 they were probably solid cast or homecast scrap metal.

Classic playset arrangement mixture of scales in some boxes of big figures, smaller horses.

Hopefully they cheered a small boy for Christmas 1947!

Brian Carrick of the Collecting Toy Soldiers blog has found some more Pathe Newsreel toy soldier related films here:

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, July 2020.

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

In response to Alan Gruber’s question: “Do we know how toy soldier production was affected by the war and was it much better by 1947? The dolls look home made and I wonder if there was much of a market in cheap copies? Would it be hard to have got hold of metal anyway? A most enjoyable clip,thanks for posting it.”

Many of the Britain’s toy companies including Britain’s (1941) shut down toy production due to a scarcity of suitable metal and shifted to munitions war work. Postwar for a number of years, much of the metal available was for export manufacture of figures to the US and world markets, rather than home market. Hollowcast production did not widely resume until about 1949.

In Christmas 1947, these figures being sold in the market may well have been scrap metal home casts or solid copies. The boxes look unmarked.

Here is more detail from a small section from the wonderful Norman Joplin’s colourful and inspiring The Great Book of Hollowcast Figures.

Taken from Norman Joplin’s The Great Book of Hollowcast Figures

For more on wartime and postwar toy improvisation read these two posts about Alfred Lubran’s DIY wartime 1940s Toys – an unusual ‘Character’

The Fabulous Flying Gruber Boys are Back in Town!

From this jigsaw of bits …
To these, the fabulous Flying Gruber Boys are back in Town!

I was fortunate and surprised this week to open a battered old Armies in Plastic box crammed full of mixed 54mm plastic figures from Alan ‘Tradgardmastre’ Gruber, he of the Duchy of Tradgardland blog, received through the highly efficient Tradgardland overseas mails and postal service.

Drying on the back steps after a pre-painting wash and brush up.

Inside, I found three colourful broken plastic 1960s cowboys amongst the part-painted and converted original box contents of Rogers’ Rangers (now on the painting table) and some Timpo Confederate and Union troops.

These were all figures surplus to Alan’s present requirements and kindly sent to me as suitable for my Featherstone Close Wars forest skirmish games amongst my Bold Frontiers trees.

I thought best to tackle the crumbling plastic figures first. To be made playable again, they needed some gentle but solid functional repairs.

The armless figure on the right was detached from its Cherilea base and his legs were broken in several places, as was the shot and staggering one on the left.

With a fine pin drill, I drilled small holes into broken limbs ready for a fine wire insert and tiny dob of superglue. This secures the join, although the 1960s plastic was so fragile in parts that some sections broke whilst being gently drilled. I secured such fragile joins with fine strips of masking tape and sealed with superglue.

Work in progress shot.

Some figures were missing limbs and I had nothing suitable in my bits box, so built up limbs and missing weapons from fine wire, masking tape and glue.

Note: I cannot use Milliput / green stuff type epoxy resin easily at home due to a household allergy.

Frank Gruber, Gunslinger

In the case of the Cherilea gun slinger who was missing lower legs and a base, I used a strip of wire in each leg to secure him to a stiff card base. His revolver or pistol had a broken tip, so a new six shooter was built up with a wire scrub and tiny strips of masking tape.

Frank, fastest on the draw of the Fabulous Gruber Boys? Wears a White Hat, so one of the Good Guys?

Zeke Gruber, the flying cowboy?

The shot staggering Cowboy had broken legs, no feet or base. Instead of repairing him as shot and staggering, which is not that useful for skirmish games, I altered one already broken leg to come forward and balanced this now diving figure with a new forearm and wire rifle as balance.

Without a base, I inserted a twist of wire that could be attached with masking tape onto a twopence piece for stability and built up the missing foot with tape.

The new hand and wire rifle join was a bit clunky and needs cleaning up a bit but this figure was already fragile and needed stoutness if he were to fight again on the Tabletop. Fashioning this wire support into a long old fashioned squirrel shooter seemed to work well enough.

He too required a pistol, so again a wire armature was built up into a pistol being fired as Zeke dives to the ground.

Abe Gruber, Artillery Guy!

This figure had an arm and a hand missing along with the broken base and legs. I repaired one upraised hand without a pistol as both his holsters are already full. A thin wire stub, built up with thin strips of masking tape and shaped into a wave.

The other arm was more of a challenge. What was this Cherilea cowboy originally doing? I checked Herald Toys Archive sales photos and could not easily see this figure.

Searching for my Cherilea cowboy – I found the gunslinger pose

What to do with the handless and armless figure? He kept toppling over on his Cherilea base.

I thought it best to stabilise him with a stout piece of garden or sparkler wire, maybe as a standard bearer?

Standard or flag bearer didn’t seem very cowboy. I wanted to keep close to the original bright cowboy colours, although the pale green hat and trousers were a little too bright for me.

Abe still has two pistols in his holster when his handy cannon isn’t around.

Abe Gruber is happy with his Pencil sharpener cannon!

Finally, having put in a new wire armature for his left arm, I had left enough wire for a hand to grip a ramrod or sponge for a cannon.

Abe Gruber just joined the Artillery. Kaboom!

The paintwork on the figures was generally quite scuffed up, so I decided to keep some of the original brightly coloured paintwork and then try to colour match any additional paint with what I had in Revell Matt Aquacolour or craft Acrylics.

In their ‘paint DNA’, they still have some of their factory finish touches such as a shiny silver belt bristling with bullets or a dapper red neck cloth. Hopefully the original piece work factory painter wouldn’t be too offended at covering up the more playworn scuffed sections but keeping some of her work.

I aimed for the traditional toy soldier style face with pink cheek dots and each Gruber boy has grown a natty little moustache!

Next time I do a cowboy shoot out, the other cowboys better watch out for those Fabulous Flying Gruber boys!

In the time it took to stabilise and rebuilt these three fragile 1950s/60s cowboys I could probably have done most of the painting on the Rogers Rangers, but somehow it’s what my hands felt like doing first.

I wonder if the Airfix Australian Jungle figure with Tommy Gun could be a Late Wild West cowboy?

From the surprise postal box, along with the ACW figures to paint and two great Timpo cowboys to paint (one a bandit with money box), there is also a mystery unmarked slender plastic cowboy to identify and a damaged Kellogg’s Indian brave with broken rifle fire to repair.

Thanks again to the Tradgradmastre himself!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (and masking tape), 25 July 2020.

Suffragettes on Roller Skates in Edwardian London scenario WIP

Suffra-Graffiti? This is a spin-off from the draft rules for my Spla-fiti skateboard graffiti wars in 54mm, after Alan Gruber made a comment about replacing the graffiti panels with political posters.

This comment set my early morning brain racing off beyond VBCW to combining two Edwardian ‘crazes’ – the suffragettes and roller skating or “rinking”.

This post shares some of the inspiration and reference materials behind Suffrage-Graffiti, along with a rough draft rules appendix.

Comments page on Man of TIN blog with fateful imaginings …

40-42mm Irregular Miniatures Deutsche Hommage ‘Mystery Lady’ on Tony Kitchen’s Tin Soldiering On blog

I have no proof that Suffragettes ever took to eight wheels (four on each boot) but in view of their inventiveness and what was seen by some as a reign of hit and run terror tactics, it was probably only a matter of time! They certainly took up the two wheels option of the bicycle which was a major tool of liberation for working class men and women.


Suffragettes on wheels and graffiti … the historical proof.

“These campaigners used various methods of campaigning, for example, in 1910 Miss Constance I. Craig , known locally as “the Suffragette”, spent her time riding a bicycle to isolated villages and placed Votes for Women [posters? Newspapers?] in bus shelters and libraries. (Votes for Women, September 23rd, 1910)”

“…Visits on market towns to neighbouring towns … where awestruck children who had never seen a real live lady chalking the pavements whispered “them must be Suffragettes” (Votes for Women, September 13th, 1912)

Quoted from pages 54-55 from Friends and Visitors: A History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Cornwall 1870-1914, Katherine Bradley (Hypatia Press, second edition 2019 now out)

See also Cycling to Suffrage

Rinking double page spread in Robert Opie’s The Edwardian Scrapbook

There is a fine double page spread on each in The Edwardian Scrapbook, one of Robert Opie’s wonderful packaging and ephemera scrapbook series. At the time, postcards and board or card games were one way of promoting, ridiculing or cashing in on such topical news.

Reference material: The PankAsquith game, Panko card game, posters and postcards – suffragete double page spread in Robert Opie’s The Edwardian Scrapbook – beautiful book and series well worth tracking down.

Even the sprightly language seemed similar – one suffragette board race game was called Panko, whilst a mineral water drink aimed at Roller Skaters was called Rinko. The full inventive weight of the publishing, advertising, marketing and promotion business of the day was given over to such spurious and ephemeral inventions. Aeroplanes, diablos, motor cars … all were new crazes of the decade.

Ruffians, plain clothes policemen, bystanders – who knows?

Without trivialising the escalating violence of the Suffrage struggle for women’s rights such as Black Friday 1910, I had a mad vision of creating a similar gridded game with suffragettes and anti-suffrage supporters on roller skates posting up their meeting posters, chalking graffiti, pulling down or overpasteing their rivals posters. Meanwhile burly or comically tubby Edwardian postcard policemen try to arrest and restrain the Suffragettes.

Even more splendidly, militant Suffragettes were trained in Suffrajitsu to resist arrest or form a protection mob for their leaders, should a suffragette meeting be broken up by rivals or paid ‘roughs’ and rentamobs.

More on Suffrajitsu and a great Punch Magazine cartoon of the time of “the suffragette who knew Jujitsu”

Watch this Suffrajitzu clip from BBC‘s Back in Time For School

The Highly Simplified History Bit – Suffragist or Suffragette?

Suffragists were women and some men who supported Votes for Women (Suffrage) through peaceful meetings and legal campaigning, lobbying councils, MPs and Parliament. Most suffragists were part of the NUWSS, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, led by Millicent Fawcett. Their colours were red, white and green.

Suffragettes from 1912 used more ‘direct action’ based, civil disobedience militant tactics. These women were prepared to break the law and cause physical damage (window breaking, arson attacks on buildings and postboxes) as well as chaining themselves to railings and going on hunger strike. Most suffragettes were members of the WSPU or Women’s Social and Political Union led by the Pankhursts from 1903. Their colours were purple, white and green. They published the weekly paper Votes For Women then later The Suffragette.

White clothes (the symbol for purity) were generally worn on marches and parades.

American suffragists (NAWSA) had purple, white and gold as their colours.

Anti-Suffrage or Anti-Suffragists were women and men opposed to women having the vote (suffrage). Their response ranged from campaigning and writing against Suffrage by women of the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League (1908) to the more physical violent breaking up of meetings by men. They had no particular colours (Black, Red?) and published The Anti-Suffrage Review.

Both sides broadly backed the war effort from August 1914 onwards and suspended campaigning. The first votes for some women (over 30) in the U.K. were granted at the end of WW1 in 1918. All women in Britain were given the vote in 1928.

The suffragette figure problem*

*No jokes about buxom or trim waistlines please. Leave that to the postcard artists of the time.

Nobody strangely seems to make an easy and affordable source of Edwardian period Suffragettes on or off roller skates or indeed any roller skating figures above the modern roller skaters for HO OO railways. Yet (grumble, grumble) I can in this golden age of gaming buy multiple versions by different makers of the same old Waterloo, Roman, ACW, WW2 figures in many scales.

My previous Suffragette conversions and home cast policemen 2018

Conversion was my only option. Whilst I had kit-bashed together a bunch of Suffragettes for the 2018 centenary of Votes for Women, none of them looked right as roller skating ‘bill stickers‘, anxious not to be caught and prosecuted. (That’s Wilhelmina Stickers or Belinda Stickers, obviously.)

Buying and converting metal 54mm Edwardian ladies would cost a small fortune. Curiously researching what female figures I could find on the web, I could buy plenty of erotic female figures, but not one suffragette. Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo has done some fabulous female WW2 Home Front figures in 28mm but not produced pre-WW1 Suffragettes (yet).

Suffragette figures did exist at the time as games counters, like these auctioned from the Edwardian game Pank-A-Squith in 2018

Metal figures from Pank-A-Squith, a game about who was running the country? Mrs Pankhurst or Prime Minister Herbert Asquith?

I have based some of my NUWSS suffrage ladies on these PankAsquith game pieces.

One cheap and easy solution was to do a Peter Dennis of Paper Boys fame and draw some “Paper Girls”. After all this is just work in progress and proof of concept.

Having no printer, I could not copy and print enough of Peter’s wonderful figures from his 54mm Little Wars range. So I went one further or sideways and traced the outline of an Edwardian lady from his Little Wars 54mm paper soldiers, as I knew this would be the right size.

Backview of my suffragette figure, before painting.

Making a paper cut-out copy front and back of even one Peter Dennis figure gives me renewed respect for his achievement in putting together his Paper Boys books. He is a very clever man! If Peter sees this, I hope that he likes what I have done to alter the basic figure, adding roller skates, billposters, paste pot and brush.

Excellent reference materials and Peter Dennis’ Paperboys: Little Wars

I used the same height / scale size sketches of the original Pank-a-Squith figures.

For policemen, oddly there are none in Peter Dennis Little Wars and I do have some homecast and hollowcast ones but I will sketch one or two hefty Edwardian policemen out, based on photographs or comic postcards.

Then using a few cardboard packets reversed I should be able to make a slightly more Edwardian townscape than the rundown urban setting of my skateboard game.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 10th / 11th July 2020

Appendix Draft Rules, Suffra-graffiti WIP 1.0

Aim: to put up as many as possible of your colours posters and remove those of rivals.

Roller Skater figures can go four squares in one move (except on grass, where movement halved)

Figures on foot like the Police, NASWL anti-suffrage ladies, ruffians and bystanders move two squares.

You can MOVE in a turn or you can PASTE A POSTER on a wall in a turn but cannot do both.

IGOYUGO – give a number 1-6 to each faction, the first number rolled on a d6 moves first.

Jumping up obstacles costs half the move.

Note: Adjust the following distances as you see fit.

Pasting a poster on a wall takes one turn (attach poster in your colours).

Pasting a poster over the other side’s poster takes one turn – change their panel for one of yours. Keep theirs in your base pile.

You have limited or unlimited posters as you see fit (the Spla-fiti equivalent of ammunition).

Victory Conditions

The side with the most posters up at the end of the game wins (or the most of their opponents posters taken down.)


There is no melee fighting phase except for a suffragette resisting arrest.

If you choose to crash into another roller skater and knock them out of a game, a d6 dice throw of 1 knocks out another roller skater and yourself.

However savings throws are thrown for both you and the other roller skater.

Less than 6 knocks out the roller skater or yourself.

6 is unhurt.

You can decide for how long you or the other skater are out of the game until you respawn at home base.

Winston … Spot the suffragette with her votes for women label and green and purple … Punch, source unknown.

Anti-Suffrage character taking down a Suffragette poster and replacing it with one of her own.

NASWL Anti-suffragist ladies are not arrested for putting up or taking down posters. They have no roller skates.

The Police

The police officers are there to catch the roller skating suffragettes and suffragists. If they can touch bases, they can try to arrest them.

If the Police can successfully arrest a skater girl suffragette (if they can catch them*) they can take them individually away back to an off board jail square.

(No Mr Churchill, as Home Secretary, You cannot add an Edwardian set-to-stun β€œTazer” option.)

* Suffragettes are trained in Suffrajitzu to resist arrest (see Bartitsu Duelling rules of parry and lunge – – truncheons versus umbrellas and parasols?)

Arrest is by melee – if the suffragette or suffragist wins, they escape arrest and can move an extra turn away from the Police.

If the Policeman wins, the suffragette or suffragist figure is escorted by one policeman at two paces a move off the board.

Under arrest whilst putting up a poster …


I have yet to add in programmed random NPC (non player character) city types to get in the way (from model railway civilians etc) – a chance to add in a paper version of my hollow-cast lead tramp figure as a hobo etc.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 16/17 July 2020

Book Nooks and Book Ends from BBC News

BBC website “book nook” image of work by Konstantin Borisov 

An enchanting little story, of book nooks, an idea that could well grace a military or fantasy modeller’s book shelves? Lots of examples of these on Pinterest. Lots more pictures and links at this BBC article including Harry Potter style Diagon Alley type streets between books:

Freudian dream analysts look away now …

This is a different idea from the Railway Modeller book ends that I featured on my Sidetracked blog:

Book Nooks and Book Ends – an interesting modelling idea to keep an eye on.

Trenches, tunnels, streets … lots of modelling ideas here.

I wonder what the fantasy gamer or modeller, the military or aircraft modellers etc would make of these novelty book nooks or book ends?

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 20 July 2020

On the cutting and painting table – Paper Girls and Poster Girls

Peter Dennis inspired figures left and right, centre Pankasquith Suffragette game piece inspired.

Adapting a figure outline for scale and size from Peter Dennis’ fabulous Paper Boys Little Wars 54mm – roller skating, bill sticking, fly posting suffragettes and suffragists.

These are intended for my Edwardian Suffragette version of Close Little Skate Wars / Skateboarder graffiti battles.

I now realise how tricky these figures are to match both sides and how clever Peter Dennis is!

Colouring up, trimming and basing next.

Next stop Edwardian Comic Postcard policemen, Ruffians and Roughs and biscuit box streets …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 15 July 2020