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.

More Pound Store Plastic Warriors – Combat Mission 80 Soldiers

IMG_1952More lovely Plastic pound store inspiration or more seaside plastic tat?

A useful collection of  Combat Mission 80 Soldiers plastic Airfix copies per bag, some now so long copied,  cloned, shrunken  and ‘degraded’ that they have acquired a slender toy soldier charm of their own.

Crossposted from my sister blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors – Little Wars on a Budget. 

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/10/combat-mission-80-plastic-pound-store-soldiers-part-1-charge/

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/more-combat-mission-80-pound-store-plastic-soldiers-part-2/

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Pound store plastic given the glossy toy soldier treatment …

Lilliput Lane Buildings for 15mm figures

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A  bit of a collector like most of my family, my Mum had a lovely selection of plaster Lilliput Lane houses amongst other things.

https://www.lilliputlane.co.uk/pages/made-in-britain

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“St. Kevin’s Church” (Wicklow) in the Lilliput Lane Irish Collection 1989-96 series alongside my 15mm Peter Laing priest F913 and sheep A921/22. The Lilliput Lane name shield is obscured by the added model railway brown bush. Peco scenic backdrop.

This weekend would have been my late Mum’s birthday (she died last Autumn in her early 80s). Some of these tiny painted plaster houses (no doubt birthday presents) and her other collections have now been sold to make a donation to a medical charity on her / our family’s behalf but family members were all able to choose a keepsake or two.

I chose these two Lilliput Lane buildings for my gaming table.

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Cobbler’s Cottage (Northants, Lilliput Lane series 1986-94) with Peter Laing 15mm English Civil War Musketeer in hat advancing F503  – that roof looks like it has taken a cannonball! 

They were two of my favourites amongst her remaining collection. They are

  • St. Kevin’s, a typical early Irish stone church in Wicklow
  • Tumbledown “Cobbler’s Cottage” (in Northants) with damaged roof.

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Most Lilliput Lane houses are based on very well kept and very well groomed buildings. Both  these choices looked the most wonky or battered and timeless, so  most versatile as centrepieces of any gaming scenario.

The white window frames might need a little dulling down but they are well matched for size by my Peter Laing 15mm figures.

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The detail I love(d) of an old wheel for example can be seen in the tumbledown outhouse. This end is a bit chipped and the plaster showing through. 15mm Peter Laing British WW2 infantry ammo carrier F2006. 

It was the detail of gravestones and flowers or the old wheel inside a shed that I found especially fascinating. I often used to wonder who lived in these houses. I half expected the door to open and a Peter Laing 15mm sized figure to come marching out or come whistling round the corner. I partly blame the 1992 BBC TV version of Mary Norton’s The Borrowers for that.

Although I admired them on their cabinet shelf,  I wasn’t allowed by Mum to use them in my gaming with my 15mm Peter Laing figures. Being made of painted plaster, they are quite easily damaged and quite fragile unlike most resin games buildings. These two buildings both need a little bit of paint repair.

They are a nice way to remember my Mum, every time these are out on the gaming table or on my desk.

Postscript

Lilliput Lane ceased manufacture in November 2016 with few buildings left in their online shops. Another small British company sadly bites the dust.

“The factory has been trading at a loss for some time now and we have reached the point where this is no longer sustainable. It has been a long journey since Lilliput Lane started in 1982, we have enjoyed the support of many thousands of our loyal collectors at hundreds of events all over the United Kingdom and overseas, many friendships have been made and good times had by all. It is now at a time of changing consumer tastes that the demand for our products has declined to the point where it is impossible to go on.” (Website statement) 

Other stockists may have stock, along with collectors’ fairs and the usual online auction sources.

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Collage photo of a Lilliput Lane building sketched, cast, painted and finished (copied from Lilliput Lane website in case it disappears). 

The website catalogue / website shows how these fine plaster buildings were carved or moulded in wax,  handcast in silicon mounds and then hand painted.

https://www.lilliputlane.co.uk/pages/made-in-britain

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 11 June 2017.

Inspired by Bob Cordery’s DayGlo Castle

Last week was enriched for me by watching Bob Cordery on his Wargaming Miscellany blog transform a flourescent My Little Pony-esque aquarium castle …

http://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/a-day-glo-castle-what-was-i-thinking.html

into a promisingly odd Ruritanian war games castle in finest shades of grey. Inspired.

http://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/the-former-day-glo-castle-begins-to.html

This made me think it was time to start work on another recent seaside gift shop impulse purchase that I saw and thought, “That might just be …”

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54mm Tradition of London metal Confederate infantry and Herald Confederate Bugler in the original unaltered  “Summer House”.

It took me a while to work out exactly what the house was for. Looking at it outside the shop, hidden beneath its very reasonable price label of £6.99, I spotted a fairly obvious hole.

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40mm Prince August homecast cowboy figures (designed by HE Holger Eriksson)

A hole which could be turned from looking through a “round window” into a “square window” (memories  of 1970s BBC Playschool flood back!)

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An  unusual  hideyhole for a sneaky Yankee sniper … a stylish Herald 1950s 54mm Union infantryman.

I looked at this and thought that underneath the charmingly rustic addition of moss and pine cones, there was a simple solid little building, albeit one a little grand in its gables and roof work.

Maybe it could be a Wild West Train station? A mail or trading post?

It could be an excellently rough toy-like building for the wargames table or garden war game, representing a range of periods. With a little work …

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Simple plain back wall. Beautifully painted 54mm Confederate Butternut infantry from the Tradition of London’s old shop in Shepherd’s Market, London.

It works with a range of figure scales from Lego minifigures and 40mm Prince August Cowboys through to 54mm.

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Already stripped of some of its stranger decoration, its lazy potential begins to show. Suitable American themed Lego minifigures.

A touch of Andrew Wyeth or Grant Wood’s American Gothic …

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/hobby-learning-1-andrew-wyeth/

Further Renovations

Short work with a craft knife removed the oversized blue hat, bird house, pine cone roof decorations, hanging string thread and twisty branch things. Much of it was originally hot glue gunned in the factory, so not too difficult to remove. I wanted to keep the rough and ready nature of the building and its materials

Some of this removed scrap was reused such as the staples, reused to hook on the removable Station and Stores signs, which were made from thin balsa wood. These hooked over the existing “Our Summer Home” Sign. In this way different language signs could be used for different scenarios. The new looking Balsa signs were aged by staining with a tea bag, confident that the lettering would not run as I used artists fine liner waterproof ink pens.

The separate “miniature bird house” on the pole is now an ornament in my kitchen.

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Tracks laid, the railway halt is open and a photograph taken to mark the occasion …. Tradition of London 54mm figures except the Station master / guard with repaired flag.
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The official railway halt  opening photograph, June  18## (reproduced with permission from our tiny blog photographer).

The altered bird house entrance / round window can be seen here.

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Watch out! The Rainbow Gang are in town … Red, Blue and Yella (no coward, he!) Lovely Britain’s hollowcast figures.

A simple square window was added to the rounded bird hole and the small round perch removed. This was glued at front as a log next to the giant axe. Small wooden patches of damage from removing items were repaired either by brown felt tip or coloured / stained coffee stirrer ‘patches’ superglued in place. Good and rustic.

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Changing the signs around and adding a female and child figure from the Safari Toob Wild West Settlers set brings the look of a proud couple of homesteaders being photographed outside their store.

Balsa, coffee stirrers, felt tip pens, and a bought bird house – all this saved me time, paint and mess especially having no workshop and few woodwork skills. Like Bob Cordery’s greyed dayglo castle, I may add some flock but the base feels like a wooden veranda or porch.

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A happy bit of “Kit Bashing” on the kitchen table, which certainly saved me some woodwork. It should provide an interesting focus to a suitable backwoods scenario game.

If anyone asks what I do outside work, I can say I am now a proud home owner or property developer, renovating an interesting period property with no previous owners.

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Or should I have painted up my carefully hoarded boxed 1978 Airfix Bluetits kit from their Nature Series and let them move in?

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 9 June 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Pound Store Plastic Away Team on a Surreal Space Planet

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Pound store plastic silver space marines Away Team on the Surreal Space Planet Artemist, my Away Game, a  portable game board. 

Pound store plastic silver space marine Away Team on the Surreal Space Planet Artemist, aboard my Away Game or portable game board.

Cross-posted from my sister Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog site:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/pound-store-surreal-space-planet-away-team/

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 1 June 2017.