Maybe the closest Peter Laing ever got to a 15mm fantasy range are his Ancients, Dark Ages and Medieval figures.
This very handy Priest with Cross F913 from his 900 Medieval range crops up in several of Peter’s suggested “Dual Use Items” such as using the Priest with his Feudal and Dark Ages range. Watch out for those Vikings!
Not quite as multi period as the useful Peter Laing sheep A921 but still a handy figure to have.
No doubt the Priest with Cross might crop up in a more Orthodox role in the Russian Civil War or the Crimea. Maybe even the Spanish Civil War? The Religious Wars and Dissolution of the Monasteries etc using the Peter Laing Renaissance Tudor range is another possible use.
I know Peter Laing often took figure requests to extend his ranges. I wonder what Peter Laing Dwarves, Orcs or Dworcs (whatever) would have looked like if anyone had asked him to produce some?
I noticed today a reference to these 1963 simple rules in Stuart Asquith’s interesting article in Lone Warrior’s free download articles. It has the wonderful article title of Comfortable Wargaming (now there’s a book I would buy if it had a title like that!):
It’s his Hook’s Farm / Little Wars style adaptation of Donald Featherstone’s 1963 Horse and Musket rules, adapted and made freely available with Featherstone’s permission. Well worth downloading and like the article, back to basics, simple stuff. Delightful!
As Asquith concludes, “If you want to shell out around £30 for a set of rules, then feel free, but you know, you really don’t have to – don’t worry about phases or factors, go back to simple enjoyment.”
A busy rainy day rebasing Peter Laing 15mm figures.
A rainy day today, so after a short while rebasing some recently acquired Peter Laing Ancient Greeks, I had the bulk of my time well spent rebasing and flocking some of my 1980s Peter Laing English Civil War and 17th/18th Century Scots. These were the first Peter Laing figures I ever bought, so greatly treasured.
For the last thirty odd years they have waded through knee-high thick dark green flock grass or over gravel ballast, scrounged from the family model railway scrap box when my pocket money ran out.
To suit the Peter Laing / John Mitchell ECW rules they were originally based in groups of 6, 4, 3, 2 0r 1 to make up small regiments of 20 or 30 infantry, which could have casualties removed in various combinations.
Whilst these strips of figures looked good to my childish eye, for my current skirmish Close Little Wars games, I need figures on individual bases.
I have rebased the figures in my own ‘blend’, a mix of different coloured Woodland Scenics flocks, play pit fine sand, very fine local beach pebbles and some of the original 1980s ballast recycled. A little shadow of the original gravel or dark green flock remains around the figure bases, for old time’s sake to remember my childhood efforts.
In most cases I had based my strips of figures on bases roughly similar in size to the individual bases I use today, roughly 15mm by 15mm.
In some cases I could easily score and cut the original plastic card then simply remove old flock or ballast then reflock. The occasional figure that needed a new base has one made from scrap art mounting board card.
The Scots Highland troops from Peter Laing’s “suitable items from other ranges for use with the ECW (500) range” remain great great favourites.
They were designed not only to oppose Peter Laing’s original Marlburian range “to extend the range to cover the ’15 and ’45 risings “ but also “to provide suitable Scots figures for Montrose’s army.”
I still have lots of Peter Laing musketeers, pikemen and cavalry to rebase this winter as well as finding the Highland Piper and Officer.
Recently I have been painting or repainting my Peter Laing figures as needed using gloss acrylic rather than the original matt enamel Humbrol / Airfix paints easily available or scrounged in the 1980s. I really enjoyed as a child painting the bright colours of English Civil War regiments and banners, so the colourful gloss acrylics should add to this when repainting is due.
I did get around to painting my Peter Laing Lowland Regiments in the mid 1980s but never finished them off with flock or basing, as I probably ran out of expensive Plastic Card. The pocket money ‘war budget’ kept running out, as I usually (over)spent it on figures rather than basing materials.
I have recently acquired on EBay a few more bashed Peter Laing Highlanders and Lowlanders that need repainting, along with a few more Marlburian infantry to paint and base. These were recently obtained from Alec Green, swapped for an strange excess of Marlburian drummers and gunners.
I think that there will be a few Close Little Wars skirmishes and ambushes in the suitably “cluttered terrain” of the Glens this coming spring, once the Highland snow has melted of course!
You can read more about John Mitchell’s English Civil War starter rules and the Peter Laing ECW range here:
The blog title? Borrowed from Meghan Trainor’s song All about the Bass – watch the retro version by the talented Kate Davies and Postmodern Jukebox and other ensemble / tour versions on the Postmodern Jukebox channel on YouTube and ITunes.
Hope you enjoyed some of the fruits of my rainy day at the kitchen table spent “flocking“, as it’s known in my household.
Blog posted by Mark, Mr MIN Man of TIN blog, October 2016. All photos unless stated by Man of TIN blog.
‘Action’ according to its creator or author Author Lubran is a ‘thrilling’ war or chess variant game played on a draught board of 64 squares.
First make your own pieces; after all this is one of six games in his booklet, Let’s Make a Game!
I can find no obvious publishing date on this booklet by Bairn’s Books, Imperial House, Dominion Street, London EC2 (B/300/16 68copyright printed in England) but the style suggests 1940s. The style of tanks suggests early British tanks, the Spitfire style monoplane and British soldier also suggest early 1940s.
The style of front cover is surprisingly bright but the children look 1940s enough.
The Do It Yourself scrap modelling “make your own games and toys” approach in the first place also suggests as war time shortages there were not many toy manufacturers in Britain left in production and obviously no toy imports from Germany or the continent.
In the introduction there are a couple of clues to its wartime origin – Lubran suggests that you: “Make the games … Share them with friends in shelters, billets, hostels, clubs, schools, hospitals, at home or wherever else they may be.”
Shelters and billets sound very wartime. He also suggests that “when the games become worn out or broken, save them for the salvage collector“, another wartime clue.
Pen knives, saws and hammers are required, so maybe this is something an older child or adult might make for younger children. However in the 1940s no such health and safety culture existed and these would be within the capability of many a boy (or girl). When you see (below) where Lubran worked, it would be little problem for a boy to knock up these makeshift games with the right tools and materials.
Occasional copies of this 17 page booklet turn up on EBay. Most of this Educational and Instructional Series games in the booklet are quite mathematical and complex.
Players of Hex and Grid war games will find it an interesting version of what Donald Featherstone called Wargames as “Chess with a thousand pieces”
Behind this little booklet is an interesting story of Jewish emigration, wartime evacuation and a highly prolific author.
Who was Alfred Lubran?
I can find no obituary or website for Alfred Lubran.
A UK Teachers’ Registration record exists for 1934-36 for his role as his art and handicraft teaching at the Bayswater Jewish School (now http://SinaiSchool.com ) and later Principal in The Jewish Orphanage in West Norwood, the building of which closed in 1963.
“In the winter months in the short evenings we had to pursue hobbies under supervision. There was a large choice like crafts, leatherwork, painting, drawing, and other things … It was compulsory to take up some activity. You were not allowed to opt out and had to stay with it once chosen. I must say that having a hobby of some sorts stayed with me for the rest of my life. I have never been without one.”
As for Alfred Lubran (not to be confused with author Alfred Lubrano), apart from his teaching role , appears to have been a highly prolific author and compiler of small press publications on an impressively wide and eclectic range of themes including words, the British Printing Society http://www.bpsnet.org.uk, Special Educational Needs, teaching, printing, world poetry, heraldry and children’s poems and stories. He seemed very fond of the word ‘abecedeum’ in his many titles, maybe an alphabetical ABC compilation.
A family history search suggests he was born in 1913, possibly not in the U.K., married a Beatrice Bennister in 1949 and he died in Christchurch, Dorset in May 2001. Lubran is quite an unusual name. Two other Lubran names crop up in recent times, the marriages of a Timothy Lubran and Robert Lubran. Possibly sons?
Assuming they are all the same man, there are currently around 108 Book listings for Alfred Lubran on worldcat.org
Some of his illustrated early reading books for children such as I Can ‘Phone are published by Brimax in 1957. Many of these other prolific publication are short limited editions by his own private press Narbulla Press or Agency of London (anagram or spell Narbulla backwards and you get his name ‘Al Lubran’) throughout the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s when Narbulla seems to have moved to 12 Fitzmary Avenue, Westbrook, Margate or Deal in Kent.
Margate incidentally was the holiday home area for the Jewish Orphanage in summer. He was then published by (his own?) Thimble Press of Christchurch, Dorset throughout the 1990s until 2001 where he lived until his death in 2001.
Lubran’/ prolific writing career seems to have taken off in the late 1960s, after his Jewish Orphanage school building closed or moved out into the community.
His 1980 book A List of Mini-Book printers in Herne Hill (London) is catalogued on world cat.org as “An advertisement for Lubran’s Narbulla Agency, which is the only firm in the list. Edition limited to 160 copies, “produced for distribution to members and guests at the Wynkyn de Worde Society’s luncheon.” This society http://www.wynkyndeworde.co.uk/# still exists, dedicated to the art and history of printing and typography. Other listings for Narbulla list it in the 1970s at 4 Stradella Road, Herne Hill, London, SE24, possibly where he lived.
Lubran has an impressive collection of letters after his name – FRSA, Fellow of the RSA, M.B.Ps.S, Member of the British Psychological Society, M.R.S.T. Member of the Royal Society of Teachers? and A.Coll.H ? Associate of the College of Handicraft possibly?
Some of his ‘wordy’ books can be downloaded including this reprinted list (see link below) of the names for collectors of different things including the name for collections of ammunition, swords, bows, old guns, spears, muskets (Percussophily) and naval and military uniforms, Nautemephily and Sambatohphily.
Stephen Briddon, one of my blog readers, asked about an ‘elementary ‘ set of Donald Featherstone simple WW2 or Moderns rules that I had mentioned. These were first published in a chapter in his 1963 book, Tackle Model Soldiers This Way.
They prove an interesting comparison with his War Games published the year before in 1962. He keeps to the same periods, Ancients, Horse and Musket and WW2 Modern.
“It should not be thought that the only types of war games are those for which elementary rules are given here, that is for battles in the ancient oeriod, horse and musket period and the modern game. There are many war-gamers throughly enjoying games which involve redskins and settlers, naval wargames …”
“The easiest and cheapest method of fighting modern combat seems to be by using Airfix figures (these come in British and German infantry, plus British 8th Army and German Afrika Korps). By using a combination of these figures it is possible to end up with adequate machine-gun teams, anti-tank guns, whilst mortars are not too difficult to fabricate.”
Simple times and irresistible enthusiasm …
There are some interesting differences and simplifications in these simple WW2 rules. Here moderntroops are based in threes and rifles fire in threes for example, rather than firing in a volley of five men as Featherstone usually does in his ‘horse and musket rules’ here and elsewhere in his WW2 rules.
Order of firing is an interesting idea here as well, useful for solo games.
In short, a lovely short inspirational chapter full of enthusiasm for the hobby. Hopefully it created lots of converts for the hobby!
It is a good short summary of his earlier book War Games, designed to create a cross market from one hobby / readership of toy of model soldier collectors to another of wargaming.
I know that Donald Featherstone’s 1962 War Games has been recently reprinted or available as an ebook for a new generation of gamers by John Curry. I’m not sure if John Curry has reprinted these 1963 simple rules elsewhere in his Featherstone reprints.