Kaskowiski 1873 inspired scenario

The Kaskowiski invasion hoax of 1873 set me thinking about future games scenarios that could be based around the supposed or suggested incident. After all, that is what the author or newspaper editor of the Daily Southern Cross David Luckie intended in his May 1873 article,  published in February 1873, to stir up concern over New Zealand’s naval and land defences. Eventually continued concern led to the building of fortified batteries.

Where would I get a suitable coastal fort or battery as a focus for a game?

I  have explored Victorian and later adapted wartime forts and gun batteries  in the West Country ranging from Pendennis Castle

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/pendennis-castle/

in Falmouth and its sister fort of St Mawes (both English Heritage) along with the St. Antony Battery and Lighthouse nearby (National Trust) and similar adapted fortifications in the Scilly Isles. I was familiar with the underground passageways and ammunition stores, mess rooms, ventilation grilles and concrete gun emplacements that might be found in such coastal  forts.

There are some interesting photographs of Victorian coastal forts and artillery on the internet, ranging from Britain to New Zealand.

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Fort Jervois (New Zealand) https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/fort-jervois

Closed by recent earthquake damage, Fort Jervois has been photographed by Urbex photographers https://urbexcentral.com/2016/01/27/earthquake-island/fort-jervois-ripapa-island-95/

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A little picture research brought up this massive gun (or tiny people)

Seeing these last few pictures of grassy concrete batteries and giant coastal guns convinced me that I had a  suitable fort or two packed away from childhood – the Airfix Gun Emplacement.

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With a little repainting, these would serve from Victorian times onwards. At a pinch they should suit my 15mm Peter Laing figures as well as  the larger OO/HO 20 to 25mm plastic Airfix sort of figures.

 

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Repainted and flocked, this old Airfix fort with gun shield off makes a reasonably old-looking  coastal gun position.

My 15mm and 20mm figure bases are a little large for the narrowest passageways, so I may have to trim any bases slightly before painting up a suitable garrison or attackers. I remember it being a tight fit anyway with the later larger Airfix OO/HO second version figures (the first version 1960s  ones had smaller but more topply bases).

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I also have a passable Airfix coastal defence fort from childhood that could be added, much like the one featured on the front of John Curry’s recent reprint of Donald Featherstone’s unpublished Wargaming Commando Operations.

The 1873 Kaskowiski Russian Invasion of New Zealand Hoax focuses on an amphibious raid or landing by Russian Marines, Naval Infantry  or Sailor, supported by a Russian Ironclad like the PavelPavlosk.

The closest ‘Russian marines’ I currently have are some 15mm Peter Laing Russians (painted as Bulgarians)

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Russian Ironclad of the 1870s the Petropavlovsk https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_ironclad_Petropavlovsk

I do have about four Russian Marines from a brief flirtation in the 1980s with new Platoon 20 figures  (metal, 20mm, which wiped my pocket money). These Platoon 20 figures are still available.

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The officer with pistol and rifleman with bayonet might be suitable for such Kaskowiski scenarios, rather than the LMG and SMG figures.

I shall have to look through and see what Peter Laing figures I have that are suitable. Here are my 15mm Russians, disembarking near a lonely customs post.

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The customs officer and volunteer rifle Militia man confront the Russian Marines.
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The good old Airfix Pontoon Bridge boat makes a handy pinnace or Invasion barge. Heroscape Hex landscape.

It will be interesting to research suitable Victorian uniforms for 19th century Colonial figures.

The Volunteer Rifle movement had reached New Zealand by the time of the Kaskowiski invasion hoax of 1873, as this account shows in the Daily Southern Cross  newspaper around the hoax date of 17 February 1873.

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O should the Cask of Whisky / Kaskowiski come? The Volunteers will sort it out, as this ditty poem suggests.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, November 2018.

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Mountie Ambush Game 15mm

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Opening positions – Mounties entering left on patrol, rebels hidden right. 

I wanted to try out my newly painted 15mm Peter Laing Mounties, so set up a quick backwoods scenario on one of my small portable game boards using a crowded mountain terrain mostly of old  Heroscape hexes and some pine trees.

I have been reading up about some of the Canadian rebellions and the role of the Mounted Police.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Rebellion

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Mounted_Police

Scenario

Four dismounted Mounties and two on horseback were on patrol down a narrow creek or wooded canyon where rebel activity had been reported.

The two on horseback rode off to scout the valley whilst the dismounted four stayed back to watch down the valley and give covering fire as needed.

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First contact as the Mounted  patrol stumbles into the waiting rebel ambush. 

In the original Close Wars rules, which was an  appendix to Donald Featherstone’s 1962 book War Games, there are no horses or mounted infantry mentioned.

I had no rules to hand  for melee from infantry to cavalry or mounted infantry, so when the  Mounties rode into contact with the waiting hidden rebels, we skipped the melee stage and went straight to firing.

Playing solo, most of the awkward decisions as the game progressed were solved by creating a dice roll rule for the situation.  For example, I quickly wrote a d6 dice rule – firing at cavalry or mounted infantry, if a six or hit is rolled, 1-3 horse is killed, 4 both horse and rider killed and 5-6 rider killed.

In the situation of having a horse killed or cavalry dismounting to fight, a replacement infantry figure is obviously needed. I have enough spare Peter Laing figures to manage this in future. Obviously one figure has to remain back as a horse holder and some spare horses will also be needed.

Another quick d6 rule was required to decide for rebels being able to pass through the narrow creek over the fallen horses (and riders) at half rate of movement (4-6) or the narrow canyon being made impassable (1-3).

Once the Mounties on horseback had ridden into the canyon or creek, their escape was cut off by the small group of rebels lurking lower right.

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Close up of the Mountie Patrol and the rebel ambush. 

Once the Mounties on horseback had ridden into the canyon or creek, their escape was cut off by the small group of rebels lurking lower right.

Very quickly both mounted figures were down and out, then the Mounties on foot were quickly pursued by much larger numbers of rebels.

Another quick d6 rule for the Mounties on foot was to retreat on a dice roll of 1-3 or stay and fight 4-6. They retreated.

Omce they had reached where they entered the gameboard, they were deemed to have picked up their horses and be able to escapement on horseback.

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The two surviving Mounties exit left to pick up their horses and head for help. 

The Mounties are 15mm Peter Laing Boers and AWI Settlers, recently painted.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/25/peter-laing-15mm-mounties-on-the-painting-table-rcmp/

The rebels were Peter Laing 15mm Boers at the trail and Confederate Butternut Infantry.

It has been a while since I got such a short game in and whilst the rules were a bit rusty in my head, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I had better start painting more Mounties for the return column!

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 30 November 2018.

Classics Illustrated on Archive.org

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Lots of interesting titles scanned and free …

https://archive.org/details/classicsillustrated

Some great adventure stories, Sci-fi Classics and biographies such as Napoleon, free to download or read in a range of formats.

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And many more …

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 28 November 2018

Peter Laing 15mm Mounties on the Painting Table RCMP

I have been neglecting my Peter Laing 15mm figures a little of late.

Alan the Tradgardmastre of the Duchy of Tradgardland kindly sent me some spare Peter Laing mounted and dismounted colonial and ACW cavalry with bush hats.

I started painting them as US 7th or Union Cavalry.

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Then I spotted a Britain’s hollow cast Mountie in a display cabinet at home, and this set me thinking.

Wouldn’t a unit of Royal Canadian Mounted Police or  “Mounties” be an interesting use of these figures?

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So using this figure and an old 1930s Player’s cigarette card for uniform reference, I set about painting some Mountie test figures.

Downsizing to painting 15mm after months painting 54mm figures was a bit of a change.

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Painting those yellow trouser stripes on 15mm figures is a bit fiddly.
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Still on the painting stick …
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Does the brown or white / grey horse look more Hollywood, more cinematic?

These figures could also double up as redcoat colonial infantry or  Imagi-Nations troops for the Bronte Angria / Gondal sagas.

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Drugs? Murder? Witchcraft? Lots of scenarios there. 

And finally, what roles did or do the Mounties undertake? What scenarios might suggest themselves, having a bunch of Mounties?

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NWMP North West Mounted Police 1900 (Wikipedia Public Domain)

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/history-rcmp

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Mounted_Police#history

There are many interesting small skirmishes or battles that would form interesting and imaginative scenarios with my Peter Laing butternut Confederate figures  as  rebels. I have a small group of unpainted Peter Laing Native Americans to paint up who might be ‘Hollywood useful’ for all this.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Duck_Lake

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Frenchman%27s_Butte

Rewatching Gary Cooper in North West Mounted Police is also required.

Fun Fact – Francis Jeffrey Dickens (# O.29)
The son of famous British novelist Charles Dickens served with the North-West Mounted Police from November 4, 1874 until March 1, 1886. He also commanded Fort Pitt during the Northwest Rebellion, 1885.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 25 November 2018

 

 

A poor old Toy Soldiers Home?

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A great little “tum te tum” poem about old forgotten toy soldiers from Tony Kitchen’s ever interesting blog Tin Soldiering On. 

If you’ve not visited, look up Tony’s website http://tonystoysoldiers.blogspot.com

The Broken Toy Soldier by Marguerite Tracy 

We wear no medals on our breasts for gallant battles won;

No pension-bureau offers us reward for service done.

Yet no one of Napoleon’s, nor one of Caeser’s host,

Has made himself a record such as event I can boast.

 

Toy  soldiers must work harder than real troops, you see;

A march of fifty thousand miles is nothing much to me.

I lost a leg at Marathon, an arm at Monterey,

Was left for dead at Gettysburg – all on the self same day.

 

And now that I’m forgotten and no longer fit to roam,

I wish some kindly boy would found a poor Toy Soldier’s Home.

 

Marguerite Tracy

Having read this poem on Tony’s website, I was curious to find out more about the poem and some of the references.

This poem was first published in December 1897 in St. Nicholas:  An Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks Magazine Volume 25, No. 2, a fact mentioned in the footnotes or endnote section of the book Sing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America by James Alan Marten, 2011. This makes it sort of sad toy related Christmas poem. The original can be seen here: https://archive.org/stream/stnicholasserial251dodg/stnicholasserial251dodg#page/120/mode/1up

I like the HG Wells’ Little Wars style illustrations.

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Monterey? Had to look this one up. This was a short battle or landing by US Navy and Marines to occupy this part of California in the Mexican American War in July 1846 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Monterey

Along with Gettysburg being mentioned,  it suggests the poet was American?

I found this  short poem strangely quite moving, wistful  and resonant: “Was left for dead at Gettysburg – all on the self same day.”

I often wonder what battles my bashed and broken figures (collected for repair from various people and online auction sites) have had in their old days. How did they lose that leg, arm, head or rifle?

There is an element of truth to the poem – before you could afford to buy or had available every figure / period ever, in the old days when your few figures stood in for everything, green were generally  the good guys, grey and all else the enemy. (The power of Imagi-nations?) One figure could indeed fight Gettysburg, Marathon and Monterey all on the same day or at least the same weekend.

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Tin Soldiering On … website

“And now that I’m forgotten and no longer fit to roam …”  

At last a pointless vocation! All those broken Britain’s figures under repair – I’m turning into a poor Old Toy Soldier’s Home.

I hear the cry “Lead Medic! Lead Medic!” and come running. A call goes out for a Lead Vet to fix a missing horse leg. Farewell dear friend? No shooting if injured for these noble old animals in my Remount Department.

Hopefully Tony might  catch  the old Toy Soldier Home bug and start repairing bashed and broken vintage figures.

The Good Soldier Svjek 23 November 2018 at 08:40
Have noticed lots of broken figures on Ebay and having seen your good work on repairing them I’m tempted to have a go myself .

MIN ManofTin 23 November 2018 at 12:35
Huzzah! Go on and do so, Tony. Restore their battered dignity … and give them a new lease of gaming life. I’m not damaging my supply options – there are more than enough battered figures on EBay for everyone. If you do, I look forward to seeing them feature on your blog.

Here are a couple more of my current  lead veterans from various makers in need of minimal repair  help, just a broken rifle to mend for each one.

A small pin vice drill to drill the rifle holes to insert  some stiff wire, thickened out with masking tape should do the trick. Stout enough for gaming again.

Some may need repainting, others have enough original paint that there is no need to disturb their bashed and playworn “veteran” patina.

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Guardsmen, fusiliers and line infantry with repaired rifles, ready to trim and paint.
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Lying firing – in red ceremonials or khaki battle dress  – with repaired rifles.
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Repaired missing left leg, right foot and Fimo polymer clay tuppenny base and with a new rifle in place of a tomahawk. Now needing trim and paint.
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Fimo polymer clay base and wire / feet repairs on these attractive braves.
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A headless farm worker becomes an airfield mechanic in overalls with a Dorset Soldiers head. A battered armless ARP Decontamination worker achieves ‘super stardom’ with a Prince August home cast arm holding what will become a laser sword.

All on the road to recovery,  ready for for some 54mm skirmish games next year.

Inspired?

A few of my figure related blogposts ranging from early experiments with cocktail stick rifles and heavy Fimo bases (now debased and re-repaired or upgraded) to more delicate pin vice drilled wire, masking tape and super glue repairs:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/the-old-toy-soldier-remount-department/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/recalled-to-the-colours-54mm-metal-detectorists-toy-soldier-finds-restored-to-fighting-condition/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/fixing-broken-britains-part-1-three-charging-highlanders-head-out-for-a-coffee/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/29/on-the-repair-bench-rainy-day-update/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/03/the-remount-section-gets-a-visit-from-the-lead-vet/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/old-britains-never-die-article-from-an-old-mil-mod-manual/

and plenty more to find on the blog – I hope some I them are helpful.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN (at Ye Olde  poor  Toy Soldier Home) November 2018.

A Toy Soldier Valhalla for Thor Sheil RIP

Sad news about the death of toy soldier enthusiast and simple rules writer Thor Sheil over in the USA in Monday

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Cross posted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/11/21/in-memoriam-thor-shiel/

by Mark, Man of TIN, 21 November 2018

Proper old Jumble Sale loot!

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A beautiful Lledo horse bus and an old BHF Christmas card backdrop (Christmas Shopping by David Underwood).

Good old fashioned Jumble sales are a bit rarer now in the age of EBay, collectables fairs, table top and car boot sales. I bumped into one today in my local Village Hall whilst out for a  walk.

Was it worth the cheeky fundraising  20p entry fee?

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An attractive Ford Model T van promotional model – this one might keep its attractive Cornish or Christmas livery.

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My new red Ford Model T (£1 in the jumble today) meets one similar  Corgi Ford Model T jumble item from last year that I have painted  a khaki undercoat colour …  and an old Lowryesque flat railway OO/HO passenger figure.

Another such  jumble recently turned up this attractive Corgi stagecoach, a recent gift from a family member.

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A recent gift – a Corgi stagecoach meets some of my Airfix Waggon Train and High Chaparral figures, more ACW veterans from my childhood games.

What I like about the horse bus and stagecoach is the detail of figures, seats to add more sitting railway passenger figures and the baggage and “riding shotgun” waeponry.

The two cowboy figures inside will be difficult to paint, working through the windows! What great supply, ambush  and bandit  scenarios this Corgi toy model opens up for ACW and Western games.

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These weary   Airfix 1914 Tommies, veterans from my childhood, meet their new transport in its hastily requisitioned and under coated khaki paintwork.

As well as the horse bus and attractive red Ford Model T van, both £1 each, I also picked up some old ‘Fahnenpicker’ or cocktail stick flags (Fahnen – flags) for 50p, that may one day come in useful somehow.

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Not a bad haul of two Lledo vehicles and the flags all for £2.50 – lovely to step aback and watch a proper old rummage through the jumble in my local Village Hall.

Well worth that twenty pence entrance fee?

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 25 November 2018.