Some unprepossessing modern pound store plastic ‘penny’ figures (£1 for a tub of 100 or more recently 80 figures from Poundland) have proved great conversion potential for my skirmish games, at the slightly odd size of roughly 36mm.
Over the last few months I have been busy creating small skirmish forces of 25 to 30 figures a side for my portable hex game boards.
Strange modern Rambo-ish machine gunner figures become a set of Desert Warrior Spearman, to join my previous Desert Warrior riflemen shown here:
Some kilted Colonial Highlanders conversions to join my Redcoats, straight out of my favourite Carry On film, Carry On Up The Khyber with Private Jimmy Widdle of the 3rd Foot and Mouth, the ‘Devils in Skirts’ no less!
A free gift from the wider family, this versatile cardboard packaging. Great that it isn’t unrecyclable plastic. Even better that it suggests lots of scrap modelling possibilities.
There are a few felt tip marks from previous play owners that will need a gentle paint disguise. Otherwise I will probably leave the blocks as they are for now. Any detailing would diminish them or fix a scenario too much. They remind me of the desert and city scenery in Star Wars Rogue One.
They also work for multiple scales, another reason for not adding detail. At 54mm the deep pits make firing positions in an old fort or blasted village. At the 36mm scale of pound store plastic warriors, they are more like old tombs or excavations, an abandoned city in the Generic Badlands.
Being essentailly papier-mâché cardboard packaging, they may need hot glue gunning to some backing board and not leaving around in the garden. A thin brush over of PVA might waterproof them all.
When storage space becomes a problem, they “flatpack” back to cardboard with the happy aid of boots and into the recycling.
This airplane story is mentioned in the December 1982 interview in Military Modelling, one of the filleted magazines for useful article pages from my scrapbook. I found it really interesting to see who and where my figures came from.
Some illustrators I know use roll top desks for much the same tidy domestic reasons.
Henry Harris’ useful little book also has a 6 page chapter on Wargames by Donald Featherstone including a short rules section, reprinted here and those in Featherstone’s own Book Tackle Model Soldiers This Way (Stanley Paul, 1963) :
It has been an interesting Gaming Year, has 2017, or maybe rather more of an interesting Painting Year, mainly playing around with Pound Store Plastic Warriors.
All fully in keeping with the Man of TIN blog favourite quote: “The pleasure does not begin and end with the actual playing of the war-game. There are many pleasant hours to be spent in making model soldiers, painting them, constructing terrain, carrying out research into battles, tactics and uniforms …” Donald Featherstone, War Games 1962. Wise words …
What’s on the painting table at the moment to take me into the New Painting Year 2018?
Joining in with the general New Year resolutions and looking back, looking forward spirit of many blogs, here are five things that I might get around to in 2018?
NGY 2018 Irresolution One – Carry on Converting
Several tubs of Poundland’s finest “penny dreadful” plastic figures should see me through 2018, along with a jumble of pound store 42mm and 54mm figures.
Pound Store Plastic Warriors is my sister blog to this Man of TIN blog. 2017’s pound store “Little Wars on a Budget” has partly been simple paint conversions and latterly scalpel and tissue page conversions into how many interesting skirmish size forces in 36mm can be made over time from Poundland’s current £1 for 100 plastic Funtastic figures. Lots on the painting table at the moment to take me into the New Painting Year 2018.
NGY 2018 Irresolution Two – More solo short small skirmish games
Get some small skirmish games in on my portable game boards, either on my larger 192 Hexes of Joy board or my two smaller boards.
NGY 2018 Irresolution Three – Paint More Peter Laings
Get painting more of the small stashes of vintage 15mm Peter Laing figures that I have randomly picked up throughout last year, mostly Nineteenth, Colonial and early Twentieth Century / WW1. This should be great fun, whilst the tribal and Arabian figures will help with the next Irresolution …
NGY 2018 Irresolution Four – Full Metal Hic Jacet
Pardon the Pun but the Romans in Britain or (Asterix the) Gaul have always had a bit of a Vietnam or Colonial feel to me. Eagle of the Ninth. Lost legions of the Battle of the Teutoberg Forest 9AD. Trained technically advanced troops versus masses of hit and run wily natives, it’s similar in feel to Andy Callan’s simple rules ‘take’ on the Maori Wars. When he wrote these rules in 1982/3 he “saw them as a sort of Victorian assymetrical Vietnam equivalent – high tech westerners vs wily bunkered-down natives…”
I now have a fair number of Peter Laing 15mm Ancient figures, including some lovely vintage Roman and Pict figures painted by Stuart Asquith! It was good to let Stuart know that they are in good hands and will soon be in action again. Bought during 2017, these Romans and Picts were embargoed in the present cupboard until Christmas. A Happy Christmas Day at the Man of TIN house. Patience apparently is a virtue …
Some of the other randomly acquired Peter Laing Ancients range of infantry, cavalry and chariots are named, some unidentified. I’m sure my fellow members of the Peter Laing Google G+ Community (set up this year by fellow Peter Laing enthusiast Ian Dury) will be a great help here with the ID.
Full Metal Hic Jacet may turn into a new sister or side blog or at least a thematic blog Page on this blog. I checked my Latin online and Hic Jacet is appropriately “Here Lies …”, a common epitaph.
Ancients are quite a new or mystery period to me, apart from the familiar Airfix Romans and Ancient Britons. Cavalry or chariots on the battlefield are a bit of an unknown quantity for me too. Asterix aside, I have started reading up on Ancients, initially Phil Barker’s Airfix Guide to Ancient Wargaming and for simple Ancient rules Donald Featherstone / Tony Bath’s Ancient rules in Don’s War Games (1962). These link into my adaptation of Don’s previous Close Wars skirmish rules.
I also like the Tony Bath Hyboria idea of fictional countries, mentioned in Donald Featherstone’s War Games. This is something that fits well into or prefigures my ongoing Imagi-Nations work based on Angria, Gondal and Glasstown 19th Century Bronte (paracosmic) family fiction set in the colonies.
For uniforms and troop types, there are various Ladybird books and another colourful childhood library classic (j399 SAX) Blandford’s Warriors and Weapons of Ancient Times by Neils M. Saxtorph and Stig Bramsen.
NGY 2018 Irresolution Five – Return to Planet Back Yarden
More Garden games and Close Little Wars in the summer? When the weather improves by summer (!), I might want a change of scale. I hope to get my 54mm ACW figures (mostly unpainted) or the 2017 Close Little Wars conversions, homecasts and hollowcast repairs of the Remount Department back into action in the garden.
However, since watching the recent Star Wars movies VII and VII and my favourite of the three, Rogue One, I have also been wanting to paint the 54mm Airfix Space warriors picked up here and there and Pound Store ‘Space Marines’ that never got painted this year (or 2016).