Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin. This is the story of a very suitable present for a toy soldier household – of Guardsmen Trooping the Cushion.
These were a recent gift of a pair of these Boden cushions, which handily can be camouflaged by reversing them onto their red spots on white side. Toy soldier cushions? What toy soldier cushions?
Alongside Cath Kidston’s Guardsman and London ranges (that form my everyday mug collection), these British designed Boden cushions are obviously generic stylised Guardsmen with an almost Union Jack flag.
Boden may not be my taste in clothes but I like these cushions. They have a toy soldier parade look. Sadly this design and cushion seems to be no longer available.
Another Guardsman cushion no longer available online is this more toylike John Lewis design, one which I don’t have. It reminds me a little of my Man of TIN profile picture of the Prince August Guardsman saluting that I made.
Blogposted by Mark, well cushioned Man of TIN, 30 August 2018
“Little Wars: a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books” is the long and unusual title of H.G. Wells famous book that started modern war gaming back in 1913.
H.G. Wells had an eye for intelligent girls or ladies, such as Amber Reeves, a pioneering feminist Socialist student at Cambridge University https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber_Reeves with whom Wells had a child outside marriage in 1909. Wells called Amber “Dusa”, a shortened form of his pet name (!) for her of Medusa.
Wells proved himself to be more than just the father of modern war gaming!
The years before Floor Games (1911), an account of floor games with his two sons, led onto the “SandgateCannonade” of Little Wars (1913) were certainly busy ones for Wells, personally and professionally.
I wonder if this Xavier Sager designed Strategie / Strategy postcard girl is “the sort of intelligent girl who likes boys games and books” that Wells had in mind? It’s certainly a nice field gun shooting at what looks like tiny men or toy soldiers.
I came across this curious “Little Wars” style postcard online attached to a completely unrelated foreign language medical website about heart disease.
I was puzzled – Any reason why it was on a medical website?
It’s an interesting little card from somewhere in the early 1900s through to WW1. Look carefully and you will see that the ammunition for her toy gun is hearts!
What Strategy is it that she proposes?
Why the Gulliver Lilliputian style differences in size between giant lady and puny male victims?
Are these her tiny fallen lovers?
Is she a Femme Fatale figure? A Dusa or mythical fate spinner, a fatal woman?
What of the tiny fallen or wounded figures on the floor, including one in uniform, cursing or crying out? He must have a very revealing view of Mademoiselle “Strategie”.
What would the spirited Amber Reeves make of it all?
Strategy was produced as a comic or satirical postcard by Xavier Sager. Sager was a European postcard artist whom I had not heard of before but a quick internet search reveals him to have been most prolific.
However little appears online or in print about Sager’s life. Xavier Sager may have been born in Austria in 1870 or 1881 and died in the USA in 1930. He mostly illustrated Paris life in the first few years of the 1900s. You can see many of his designs here and on Pinterest:
Sager’s image reminds me of this curious Gibson Girls comic drawing by American artist Charles Dana Gibson entitled “The Weaker Sex” (1903).
Xavier Sager reputedly produced over 3000 designs of what in America would later be called pin ups, nose cone art and far more relaxed and revealing than the fashionable Gibson Girls of America at the time.
Many of the military ones seem focussed on cheeky, erotic or patriotic subjects such as flags, national songs, uniforms and female company for Allied soldiers including the Americans after their 1917 entry into WW1. They must have sold like hot cakes or donuts to the American doughboys.
This post is for Marvin, a talented painter of WW1 miniatures!
There are plenty of Xavier Sager’s collectable vintage postcard images for sale online or viewable on Pinterest, if you want to look up his work any further, along with websites below.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 26 August 2018
B.P.S. Blog Post Script
Mademoiselle Strategie with her ammunition of hearts may well be the female version of the man collecting a Jar of Hearts (conquests, hopefully, not real human organs) in Christina Perri’s recent song Jar of Hearts, better heard in the remix of the time travelling Postmodern Jukebox, court musicians to the Duke of Tradgardland. Enjoy!
This used copy (in better condition than I expected) cost only a few poundsfrom Better World Books, an Abe Books Internet supplier of ex-library stock whose profits go to literacy and library projects worldwide. What’s not to like?
I never borrowed this Featherstone title from my local library, it was always out on loan.
Some supposedly simple ‘back of postcard rules’ by different gamers that Featherstone starts with.
No obvious simple (solo) convoy game rules but should be some interesting ideas. Add Bob Cordery’s book and ideas as well, it should promise to be an interesting few months puzzling out some rules for protecting my eraser ship convoy from the Wolf Pack.
It’s come quite a way since picking up these in Flying Tiger a few weeks ago.
I now look forward this autumn to working out some kind of (solo) convoy gaming simulation, once I have puzzled out what to do for escorts. I might have to raid the card ships from our old family copy of the Dover Patrol game for now.
Thanks to many of you for all the excellent suggestions regarding simple naval wargames rules. I have now ordered a paperback copy from Lulu of the Bob Cordery’s new Gridded Naval Wargames which received most recommendations, as well as a £2 bashed up, ex-library copy of Donald Featherstone’s Naval Wargames.
If these rules don’t suit an old infantry skirmish gamer, there were other helpful suggestions. Thank you all.
It will be interesting moving out into new territory or terrain, a whole new language of ships and naval warfare, a world or ocean apart from H. G. Wells type Little Wars or the small infantry skirmish game of Featherstone’s Close Wars.
Two tone grey camouflage makes it difficult to identify individual ships, which is the point of the dark grey lower and light grey upper sections. However it makes identifying individual cargo ships in any future naval game a problem, so a few pre-war coloured funnels might return as they did in WW2.
Paints used are several coats of Revell Aquacolor Acrylics, Gunship Grey and Stone Grey for the ships and painting separate layers of Ultramarine Blue and Mossy Green onto the black card bases made from scrap art framing or mounting card. What colour the sea?
Big ships don’t leave such a wide angle wake as a small river craft. Getting some kind of bow wave and wake was more tricky, a blob of off-white paint on the bow brushed along the side of the ship and its aftermath seemed to do the trick in most cases.
I also have to name and label my convoy ships, probably with some Bronte inspired Angria, Gondal and Gaaldine names: Angrian Princess, Gondal Queen, that sort of thing that suits possible Imagi-Nation naval campaigns.
I am not by nature a naval gamer. Some of my school friends were but it didn’t immediately ring any bells for me as someone who likes Simple 1:1 figure gaming, none of this 1 figure equals so many men. You could argue even more so, that one ship represents even more men.
Buying HMS Flying Tiger eraser battleships as recruits for a Pound store navy?