Brian Carrick’s Big Wars article

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With Brian Carrick’s permission, a reprint of his Big Wars article from the Battle / Military Modelling Manual 1982/3. Loved this …

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/30/brian-carricks-big-wars/

Crossposted from my sister blog, Pound Store Plastic Warriors, by Mark Man of TIN, June 30, 2017.

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Forgotten Georgia blog

http://forgottengeorgia2.blogspot.co.uk

Sometimes out of curiousity when visiting another games blog, I press the ‘next blog’ link at the top to see what may turn up.

“Forgotten Georgia” is a lovely blog site of ghost signs and Old West buildings with a forlorn Urb Ex ruin about them. Perfect as I’m rereading Garrison Keillor’s Lake Woebegone Days, a book of almost autobiography and Imagi-Nation or Imagi-County. Enjoy!

Flint and Feather, Scissors Paper Stone!

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Five Combat or Life points steadily crossed out as they receive a hit – setting up a Lunge Cut Thrust A4 paper arena for some duelling and walloping with sticks. Looking at the dice, I’m not sure where this is in the game play … 

I have been looking to expand the range of moves in the Lunge, Cut and Thrust duelling game created by Gerard De Gre (published in Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming). https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/duelling-in-the-sandpit-lunge-cut-and-stop-thrust/

One blog reader (thanks!) suggested looking at Flint and Feather rules by Crucible Crush in Canada written by Howard Whitehouse.

I recognised this name from reading a fun and crazy set of “Caveman” conflict rules written by one Howard “Ugga” Whitehouse in Miniature Wargames many years ago (early 2000s?), again also with a Scissors, Paper, Stone game mechanic. I am now casting up some Prince August cavemen this summer to finally try this out as a solo game.

This uses a ‘Rock/Paper/Scissors’ form of deciding how warriors attack and defend. It was available in beta version (free) and being playtested.

https://www.cruciblecrush.com/files/Flint%20and%20Feather%20Basic%20Rules(1).pdf

Looks great fun for a club game (no pun intended) and the PDF rule set  is attractively illustrated with some beautiful Native American Indian figures, terrain, canoes, buildings. https://www.cruciblecrush.com/flint-feather/

The link came from a comment thread about Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust on Tradgardmastre’s blog.

http://tradgardland.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/master-classes.html#comment-form

Players choose or use a deck of cards (at the back of the PDF rule book) to indicate which option below is selected.

“Key Characters – not only Great Warriors and Companions but Shamen and Healers – get to choose their maneuver, placing the card face down on the table but keeping it hidden until both sides reveal their maneuvers. Others choose cards randomly and reveal once both sides have placed their cards face down on the table. Obviously, “Huh!” is an accidental choice that only occurs only when the figure rolls, rather than chooses, an option.” Flint and Feather rules PDF

Attacker options

1) Swing: a good strong swipe at the foe. Often risky … (Flint and Feather goes on to suggest the  ‘Best’ weapon for each  manoeuvre).

2) Cut: a dependable attack, without much risk of disaster …

3) Lunge: a fierce thrust …

4) Bash: A Strong overhead blow …

5) Taunt: no armed attack at all, but a pithy insult to taunt the enemy …

6) Huh!: accidentally failing to make any attack, and possibly making a fool of yourself in the process. Not a deliberate choice …

 

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Flint and Feather beta play test rules include these attractive playing cards.

The Defender has also six  options – again, “Huh!” is an accidental choice.

1) Counter Blow: hitting the other fellow before he strikes you! Risky …

2) Leap Aside: dodge that blow and show off your agility …

3) Jump Back: see him swing at thin air …

4) Duck: Drop down! …

5) Parry: the safest way of fending off an assault, with shield or with weapon. It’s good to have a shield! …

6) Huh!: accidentally failing to offer any defense at all. Usually not a deliberate choice.

One aspect I like is that it shares some of the move words from Gerard De Gre’s Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust duelling game.

Flint and Feather has a combat table that is similar in appearance but larger than to Gerard De Gre in Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust 

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Surely if they have a HuH! move, that nobody would choose by choice, there should also be a clumsy  “whoops-a-daisy” move.

I have changed this into a more Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust type simple table.

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Roughed out first draft of the Close combat table

Using The X cards used in Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust game means that you can have a mixture of Both Hit, None Hit / Both Miss and random event cards such as the Whoops- a-Daisy falling over, ducking, run away, etc and whether a hit is landed or not on either player.

Numbering the Attack and Defence Options 1-6 means that a solo or two player version could be used, rolling dice to randomly select attack, defence or both moves , rather than relying on cards.

If Huh! got too annoying, another unused move type could be added in such as Thrust and the Hit on Attacker / Defender options rewritten for this line.

It remains to be seen how Taunt will work outside of the Flint and Feather rules context. It sounds much like “sledging” in modern sport, designed to put your opponent off their game. It usually ends up with attackers being hit!

Testing Out a Dice version 

I ran a quick play test of the dice choice option using suitable lead figures on a paper sheet using red dice for attacker, green dice for defender. Dice were used instead of cards for selecting the attack and defence options.

Instead of 5 combat point counters, quick scrawled circles are crossed off as combat points are lost or one added if you win the contest and defeat your opponent.

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It works fast and well enough to link into other files where melee combat takes place such as my Little Close Wars skirmish games. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

Sparking of Scissors Paper Stone, after a big of scratching of heads, I finally worked out what the current freebie Sainsbury’s handout Lego cards are supposed to be, having spotted scissors paper stone logos on the cards. Good fun as a family card game, along with fast snap and dominoes if you look at the brick dots on the back etc. They were free with purchases at Sainsbury’s (May to early June 2017).

Stone blunts scissors, scissors cut paper, paper wraps stone …

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Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, June 2017

Tatsuya Tanaka’s Miniature Calender

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Spotted and snapped in a NatGeo Kids magazine May June 2017 excerpt –  Tatsuya Tanaka’s Miniature Calendar pics.

As a man (or grown-up boy) who loves Model Villages which have their own quirky sense of humour and bad puns, I also enjoy Miniature Calendar.

You might want to check out  this daily  visual pun / found object / tiny people website by  a Japanese artist called Tatsuya  Tanaka called Miniature Calendar.

New works are posted daily: http://miniature-calendar.com

Tatsuya’s work reminds me a little of the The Little People Project by British tiny people street artist Slinkachuhttp://slinkachu.com

It also reminds me of all the blog comments from fellow gamers and scrap modellers who also look at a scrap household object, child’s toy, souvenir or aquarium ornament, and think what it might become. This is curiously what many of my June blogposts and people’s comment have been about.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/waterproof-garden-games-terrain/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/lilliput-lane-buildings-for-15mm-figures/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/inspired-by-bob-corderys-dayglo-castle/

I wonder what’s  your favourite scrap conversion?

Enjoy Tatsuka Tanaka’s Miniature Calendar each day!

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 25 June 2017.

Waterproof Garden Games Terrain?

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Tipped off by some blogposts about the delights of the “Home Aquarium” section of pet stores and garden centres, I recently popped into a Pets at Home branch and spotted a 3 for 2 offer (buy 3 get cheapest free).

I didn’t tell the checkout lady the truth when she asked about my non-existent fish and tank, that these weren’t destined for underwater fish usage but for the gaming table or out in the garden / yarden for gaming.

This offer and their reasonable asking price (6 pieces of terrain for around £30) made affordable what I think are sometimes overpriced pieces of potential games terrain. I understand  that it is not cheap to produce these if it has to be a certain type of safe resin and safe paint to protect the fish from chemical harm.

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The underwater Ewok village tree houses become a mysterious Asian jungle village and temple with the addition of some 20mm or OO/HO Airfix Gurkhas.
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Even bigger jungle tree house using 15mm Japanese Samurai figure (unknown maker,  from a job lot).

Some features like the old fishing boat seems Chinese or Japanese.

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35mm Heroscape Samurai figure in the Old Fishing Boat.

 

What I like about many of these generic buildings or features  are their versatile uses. They could equally grace a garden game and stay out in the rain  or appear on a games table.

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Rope bridge with Heroscape Samurai 35mm figures and hex tiles.

With some imagination, the rope bridge could be a vital but damaged rail bridge with a narrow piece of rail track across it. It could be in Southeast Asian Jungle or the Amazon, Darkest Africa or the Wild West. It could be built in many time zones. It works across different scales or sizes of figures.

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Front and back of the tree houses and front view of the four faced jungle temple.

Similarly the tree houses could be on Fantasy or alien planets, or in Darkest Africa or Asia in a Colonial campaign.

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Exploring the abandoned temple village:  “I don’t like it, Sergeant. It’s quiet. Too quiet …” Peter Laing 15mm Colonial British infantry.

All good Indiana Jones stuff.

A little bit of cutting and glueing work to put some balsa wood floors into the buildings should make them even more versatile. The cluttered temple floor might need some clearing or building up to be able put more figures inside.

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Airfix OO/HO Roman Archer (painted by me in the early 1980s) and the back wall of the Temple.

Once again 15mm Peter Laing figures seems to suit these buildings quite well, as well as Airfix OO/HO.

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More precious and now fragile Airfix OO/HO Romans which I painted with paper shields to replace those lost, as these were sometimes scarce figures in the 1980s.
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A surprise awaits these Airfix Germans pausing at this ruined Temple outcrop, somewhere in the Med, North Africa or Italy. Good rocky desert camouflage for these Airfix vehicles and the lovely original 1960s German and British 8th Army figures (version 1)

I was quite intrigued setting up future game scenarios how helpfully  camouflaged or painted the temple is for example when used with WW2 figures.  I haven’t done matt grunge khaki camo painting for over twenty years but I found a few things in  my surviving box of battered  Airfix vehicles.

These were painted up in the early 1980s for Donald Featherstone WW2 rules  (War Games 1962) and go quite well with these North Africa / Med / Middle East / Italy temple ruins. About time these had an airing on the games table with whatever I have left. WW2 Vehicle and camouflage scheme purists look away now!

 

 

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Camouflaged Sherman Tank (one of the useful sturdy Polythene premade type) and Airfix German and British Eighth Army infantry figures (1960s first  version). 
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Image colour faded to match the desert scenery and camouflage tones.  Battered German Airfix Tiger tank and Hanomag half track amongst the Temple ruins.

With my small  WW2 15mm Peter Laing force I can stage a few skirmishes. I have  A few spare German WW1 steel helmet infantry to  be painted up in Afrika Korps / desert camouflage to take on my WW2 British infantry.

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Peter Laing 15mm German WW1 steel helmet infantry in Desert camouflage.

These six aquarium buildings cost (after 3 for 2 discount) only around  £30 in total but they offer lots of interesting possibilities for scenarios in many time periods and scales.

Great fun for last weekend’s garden game.

 

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Yes that rope bridge is upside down – our quick weekend game in the garde using the aquarium buildings and Heroscape hex tiles and figures.

They certainly proved quick and fun terrain pieces in my recent weekend family game https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/heroscape-duelling-in-the-garden/

The Drowned World

Ever since gazing into those childhood fish tanks, I have long had  a bit of a fascination with the kitsch nature of aquarium ornaments. There is something suitably Gothic, melancholy, Romantic  (and Bronteish), out of reach or  abandoned about these drowned ruins and wrecks. In many cases it’s the plain surreal weirdness and lack of taste in some of the designs, they truly  are the garden gnomes of the aquarium world in their “love them or hate them” colourful and kitsch nature.

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My long lasting aquarium castle on the contested rockery battleground in a garden game last year 2016.

I have had one aquarium piece for years, a ruined castle frontage which was free or unwanted from a bundle of aquarium stuff that someone brought into work. It has  moved from house to house or garden to garden with me over many years.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN 24 June 2017.

 

 

 

Heroscape Duelling in the Garden

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The Heroscape Hex tile islands and Heroscape figures over a spotty grid sea of lovely sea blue oilcloth.

I stayed in the shade of the trees surrounding our garden during  the very hot and sunny Father’s Day  weekend. We raided several starter Heroscape packs for hex tile and figures for a knockabout duelling game  in the garden using versions of the Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust duelling rules.

Even the garden table cloth or white spotty oilcloth wanted to join in as a sort of hex sea between the hex islands.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/duelling-in-the-sandpit-lunge-cut-and-stop-thrust/

I’m not what many would call a fantasy gamer, despite my historical Imagi-Nations and the occasional 54mm Space based garden game. These Heroscape figures came prepainted with the very useful Heroscape plastic Hex tile ‘make your own 3D gameboard’ terrain system. So it seemed a shame not to use them occasionally.

Heroscape games system

If you’re not familiar with the Heroscape game and figures by MB / Hasbro, available secondhand online, visit the following sites

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/heroscape-duelling-figures/

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/11170/heroscape-master-set-rise-valkyrie

Extensive fan site: https://www.heroscapers.com/community/blog.php?u=2

amd a fulsome Wikipedia entry or two:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Heroscape_supplements

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/90725/so-youve-decided-buy-heroscape-primer-2011-update

On my sister blog I have featured more about these unusual or versatile Heroscape painted figures, despite their odd 35mm sizing.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/heroscape-duelling-figures/

The starter or master sets I had bought second-hand provided several interesting warrior groups:

  • Mech type robots  – Zettian Guards (not shown in photographs)
  • Samurai type figures – Izumi Samurai
  • Elite Airborne figures
  • Government type agents – Krav Maga agents
  • Viking type fantasy Ancient warriors
  • Marro scary aliens

Very soon as I and other family members chose Heroscape warrior squads to take each other on in individual duelling or melee bouts, we switched from the slower cards (Parry and Lunge, Stop-Thrust and Cut system) to the quicker d6 version suggested by Kaptain Kobold.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/more-duelling-inspiration-mexicans/

The games proved short and brutal, mostly involving fast melee, using the Kaptain Kobold modification or d6 dice version of Gerard De Gre’s Lunge Cut and Stop Thrust rules for melee or duelling.

1-2 Hit on Attacker (lose one point)

3 – Both Hit (lose one point each)

4 – Both  Miss

5-6 Hit on Defender (lose one point)

To simplify the rules, speed and  even things up between the different Heroscape tribes or clans, we declared all figures or weapons equal in melee and no ranged weapons. In that way a Mech Robot could be defeated by a Samurai or Viking.

Each character had 5 life or combat points (recorded on a dice next to them during combat) and could also only move 2 hexes, halved if moving uphill or through water.

The surviving or winning duellist gained an extra life or combat point when the other rival character was killed off. It quickly got fast, fatal and furious!

My FBI  X-Files team didn’t last long against the grim-faced Alien Marro figures. Warrior Mech Zettian Guards  fought Izumi Samurai and fantasy Vikings, then Elite Airborne figures.

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X Files type Government agents take on Elite WW2 Airborne …

Waterproof  Scenery?

This was also the first outing for some new aquarium ornament resin scenery picked up in a handy 3 for 2 ornaments sale at Pets at Home. A battered rope bridge, a jungle temple, two Ewok style tree houses with lush jungle foliage, a Greek or Roman ruined temple and a Chinese or Japanese fishing boat. All variously suitable for 15 to 40mm size figures.

I didn’t tell the checkout lady the truth when she asked about my non-existent fish and tank,  that these weren’t destined or bought for underwater fish usage but for the gaming table or out in the  garden / yarden for gaming! More on these in a future post.

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Japanese Samurai style warriors take on Fantasy Viking type figures around their Ruined Temple. Whoops – is that rope bridge upside down?
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Asian jungle temple, Chinese or Japanese type fishing boat and Samurai type Heroscape warriors.
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A good view of the new aquarium buildings on Heroscape hex islands.
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The scariest looking of the lot – these Marro type Aliens from the Heroscape starter set.

This proved a short fast knockabout game of the islands suitable for both young and old in the family.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN 21 June 2017.

National Service Days # 1

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Britain’s Herald plastic soldier National Serviceman and metal Britain’s grey sentry box. (Photo / figure: Man of TIN)

Happy Father’s Day!

My Family History in Toy Soldiers Part 2.

Part 1 for Father’s Day 2016 covered my Dad and RAF Grandad’s War wartime experiences through a Britain’s RAF Firefighter figure. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/fathers-day-raf-firefighter/

Part 2 – This Herald Infantryman figures reminds me of my late father’s many tales about his National Service days.

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I love all the details of kit (helmet, pouches etc.) required on parade. All these would be wearily familiar to the 1950s  and 1960s National Serviceman like my father.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscription_in_the_United_Kingdom

I recall seeing the shapeless uniform and beret of a National Serviceman in the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry Museum at Bodmin and on visits with my Dad to the National Army Museum in Chelsea.

Dad told me how itchy this battle dress was and how they used to soap the insides to reduce this itchiness. It’s true – having worn battle dress trousers for a re-enactment event a couple of years ago, scratchy they certainly are! Boots were softened and broken in by peeing in them, leaving it overnight. How fragrant they must have smelt.

My late Dad as a lowly private was pretty philosophical about his National Service,  talking about it 25 to 30 years after the event. He understood that what they were doing by keeping you away from family, shouting at you, making you work or fail as a platoon, not wanting to be the weakest link etc. It was all about “breaking you down as a civilian” to build you up as a soldier who follows orders without question – he understood the cult psychology of training, which somehow made it easier.

One day he was up on a charge. His crime? Having his back pocket undone, whilst lying down on rifle firing practice at targets. Why? Next time, he was told, it could be an undischarged round in your rifle when cleaning. Attention to detail.

This photo from the IWM’s National Service collection reminds me of this training story and of my Herald British Infantry figures.

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212572

It’s odd how some of these wartime or army sayings make it into family life including from someone  my family their WW2 maxim that “Time spent on Reconnaissance is rarely wasted” (or “seldom wasted”).

Dad told me lots  of stories of his National Service Days, but sadly I can’t remember them all now, as he died almost 20 years ago. He never wrote them down or recorded them.

Stories of navigation training  and map reading, involving  an army lorry drop off in the middle of nowhere, tasked to find your way home using a compass and map. Who would be home first? He seemed to enjoy this as a bit of a country lark.

Stories of sleepwalking squaddies found by civil or military police wandering naked in the centre of Aldershot, having climbed over a barbed wire fence to get out of camp unobserved – the sentries on duty that evening got a rocket for that one.

Guarding the gatehouse and camp armoury against arms theft (by the 1950s IRA?)  Cycling back from leave, Dad said that you could wake the sentries up by holding your bike pump out and rattling it along the camp railings so that it sounded like a machine gun. That put the wind up the sentries!

Being in a technical trade (REME), Dad reckoned he could still strip down and reassemble a Bren Gun with his eyes closed in a remarkably short time of a few minutes. One day in the mid 1990s I saw a Bren Gun still crated, greased but deactivated. I was tempted for a few moments to buy it as an unusual retirement present. Similarly he could rattle off his National Service number many years later.

Wise words from my Dad’s National Service days 

Wearing boots all the time will apparently give you weak ankles.

“Get a trade or a certificate so you have something to fall back on”, said this former REME Craftsman.

He seemed to spend a lot of his National Service time fixing the electrics of  tanks and lorries – it made him very practical around the house, competent with tools and DIY, something that didn’t get passed on to his cack-handed son. He was also pretty keen if any of were thinking of joining the forces to make sure we got a trade certificate for civilian life so we had something to help us bridge life into civilian work. This was probably from his experience of his working generation of former WW2 and National Service conscripts.

As my Dad was called up in the last few years of National Service in Britain and he said that they didn’t really know what to do with them all. He spent as a result a lot of time (once technically proficient at his trade) cycle racing for the British Army and doing the Isle of Man cycle TT, training and racing to the point of boredom for his former much-loved sport. Moral of this lesson, he said: “Never make you hobby your job!

The endless 1970s sitcoms reliving the war from Dad’s Army to It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, along with National Service RAF comedy Get Some In!,  all of these brought back his National Service memories. The early Carry On Sergeant film  (1958) and Private’s Progress (1956) also brought back similar memories to be shared.

The youngest photo I have of my Dad is his REME platoon passing out photo, signed by all on the back, along with his discharge papers releasing him as a National Service / Territorial Army  Reservist a year or two after his National Service ended.

There are many other  interesting books about National Service including:

Brasso, Blanco and Bull by Tony Thorne

730 Days Until Demob! National Service and the Post-1945 British Army by Keith Miller,  2003 (which accompanied the National Army Museum exhibition?)

Shire Books short histories: National Service by Peter Doyle and Paul Evans.

Bring Back National Service?

I have met many older work colleagues about whom you could sometimes tell that they had done their National Service in the 1950s and 1960s. Others you would never have guessed that they once passed muster and the scrutiny of a drill sergeant.

Some told you about it; some indeed thought me a bit scruffy and that I could be much improved by a spell of National Service or time at Sandhurst to smarten both me and my ideas up.

Some had had National Service colleagues injured or killed during overseas National Service. 395 National Servicemen were killed between 1945 and 1963 on active service.

Stranger still,  some of my overseas student colleagues during my college days many years later were only a year or two older than me but had done national service and active service in their home countries ranging from the Middle East to southern Africa. They didn’t talk much about it. They were generally happy it was over.

“Demob happy” is still a National Service phrase that gets used 50 / 60 years later by many at work  about holiday leave or moving on to a new job. Likewise “Demob Suit” for something a little garish or very old fashioned or “Civvies” as well for your non-work clothes.

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Grenade!  (Left) What my Dad used to look like during National Service training? (Right) – What his officers looked like. Disco dancing Herald British infantry officer.

 

In a future part of this National Service Remembered blog post, I’ll show some of the  Herald figures that Dad and I used in our under the table floor wars or gardens wars (based on other postwar National Service era 1950s troops).

Many of these Herald figures look posed just like the  photos from a 1955 British Army infantry training manual that I have, which no doubt formed the content  of my Dad’s rifle training.

Then there’s the story of  the sadness or joy of a closing suburban toy shop in the Eighties to boost my childhood Herald plastic soldier armed forces …

Happy Father’s Day!

Postscript 1982

When the Falklands were invaded, my Dad jumped out of bed convinced like much of the Nation that these Islands were somewhere off the coast of Scotland and probably wondering not only why Argentina was invading Northern Scotland but also if 20 years on he would be recalled as a Reservist for Home Defence. Now where’s that National Service / Territorial Army Discharge Certificate …

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, on Father’s Day,  June 18th 2017.