Easter Eggs, Wide Games and the Cloak of Romance

That Easter dilemma …

F57E847C-4529-4822-BF39-53ACBF437022Easter egg or tiny tin men?

I chose wisely,  the long lasting, low calorie, diabetic friendly option. Instead of chocolate or chocolate egg,  I received from my family twenty tiny Boy Scouts from the Spencer Smith Miniatures  (LBB30) from the 42mm Shiny Toy Soldiers Little Britons range.



Being boys they do not quite reach 42mm, rather they are about 36mm. LBB30 Boy Scout

The trigger for this non-chocolate choice was picking up a 1942 wartime copy of Wide Games from a seaside vintage shop. £4 well spent!


Wartime reprint purchased and inscribed K.E. Munn 17 December 1942
Contents page

Flicking through this well used 1942 paperback, I noticed lots of Wide Game scenarios with maps. They are almost like Neil Thomas’ One Hour Wargames, but 1:1 scale in the outdoors.


Map research reveals this map – Whitehouse Plain Almshouse Plain  North Long Hills Plain High Beech  – is a real part of Epping Forest near the Scouts HQ at Gilwell Park. Map 1 is used for many of the Wide Games so worth laying out as a Games terrain. 


Could these scenarios and maps be turned into “non violent” war game or figure gaming scenarios?

Could I in future adapt or create some rules that would work?

Could this work as a solo game?

Would it work on a grid system like my large hex game board?

Would it work better as a garden game than a tabletop game?

The Cloak of Romance recaptured, as shown in an extract from Bevis.
A suitably Dangerous Book for Boys  / Ripping Yarns /  Empire building sort of book list!

One of the interesting chapters is The Cloak of Romance, about turning Wide Games into imaginative role playing games through the addition of narratives, an aim or quest and characters or groups from history or popular literature.

Pirates? Cowboys and Indians?  Frontiersmen? Smugglers? Cops and Robbers?

Wide Games on a small scale?

My late Dad was a wartime evacuee as a small boy  from London to coast and country, told nostalgic tales of playing Cowboys and Indians after the war in some of the wild spaces and parks still left around London, and was obviously influenced enough by this freedom and National Service to go on to become  a Cub Scout leader as an adult.

So I grew up with all this, and as a result didn’t stay in cub scouts beyond the early months of gaining a Bronze Arrow. Instead I went for long walks and dens and bushcraft alone with my Dad.

For some while, I have had pencilled in my notebooks some ideas about a ‘war game’ based on these Wide Games.

Wide Games note book ideas … 1940s

The last attempt was in OOHO railway scale  attracted by the railway figures of trekcarts and tiny Boy Scout figures to give a big groundscale. Various companies do this including Langley Miniatures OOHO and N Gauge, Preiser OOHO (European / American – looking a little like  Hitler Youth) and  OOHO scale cubs and guides from Richard Harris at Looks Like Repros.

463EEB60-5DF8-4519-9D5F-7701C306D0A1.jpegSadly sculptor Tony Burley’s attractive cub scout and guide figures in 54mm are no longer available.

Paint schemes?

First I have to paint my Boy Scouts.

There was lots of interest in Boy Scout history and uniforms during the Boy Scout centenary anniversary of 2007. The original Scouting for Boys book (1908) was republished and I have a copy of this with its additional Scout Games and Wide Games ideas.

William Britain’s quickly   issued c. 1911 an attractive glossy range of 54mm scale Boy Scouts, which are good for paint scheme ideas. Different patrol colour scarves etc?

Interestingly  A. J. Holladay, a sergeant in the Volunteers in 1910 published rules for War Games for Boy Scouts played with Model Soldiers.


Judging by photographs of WW1 era and 1920s in my village history book, in reality a cub cap for boys  or brownie headscarf for Girls was about as much as many ordinary children could afford.



The Little Britons figures I have in lieu of Easter Eggs remind me strongly of the Peanuts / Snoopy / Boys Scouts of America cartoon strips, each of them with their lemon squeezer or doughboy hats.

That comic genius Schulz has created a dog with a vivid Baden Powell / Wide Games “Cloak of Romance” about his every day adventures with Woodstock and his tiny feathered gang  – whether it is escapee WW1 pilot, shot down by the Red Baron,  Foreign legionnaires in the sand pit or an adventurous  Boy Scouts of America troop. These are by far my favourite element of the Peanuts cartoons …

Thankfully some of the associated Shiny Toy Soldier 42mm range bought with such hats and arms with no rifles should work as Scout leaders and  adults if required.

Colour scheme inspiration! 

I suddenly remembered that amongst my few Victorian and Edwardian scraps of street life and military themes I have some Edwardian Boy Scouts. They have different patrol flags, something I could put onto some of their staffs.


More varied colour scheme ideas from my Edwardian scraps.
Patrol flag detail
An attractive drummer Scout
The whole A3 size scrapbook page

The brother of James Opie the toy soldier collector is the packaging historian Robert Opie (their parents were Iona and Peter Opie, the folklore collectors of children’s nursery rhymes and playground singing games). A family of collectors!

If you have not come across Robert Opie’s Museum of Brands and Packaging in London, you might know him through his published scrapbooks including the WW2 Wartime Scrapbook  and The 1910s Scrapbook which covers WW1 – and Boy Scouts, including the many board games cashing in on the Boy Scout craze.

More paint scheme inspiration? Many early Cub Scout uniforms shown in Robert Opie’s  The 1910s Scrapbook. Copyright: Robert Opie. 

Various cigarette manufacturers  issued sets of Cub Scout cigarette cards with many attractive themes. These can be expensive to collect in sets but some can also be found reprinted in book form such as Boy Scouts Series 1 to 5 in Paperback 2013 by Trading Card Enterprises LLC (available via Amazon). 

54mm Tradition of  London and Dorset Soldiers (Baden Powell) Boer War figures,; 2nd from left my Prince August home cast figure.

There is much rich Cub Scout history out there




including about the military and Imperial origins of scouting and the complex character Robert Baden Powell, popular hero of the disastrous Boer War.

Britain’s 54mm Boy Scout works as a Scout Leader with 35mm Boy Scouts; Baden Powell Dorset Soldiers 54mm figure.

So there you are – lots of gaming scenario ideas, 20 Boy Scouts, and no calories.

I wonder how this renewed attempt at a Wide Games project will turn out?

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (Bronze Arrow, retired) 27 April 2019. 





Unboxing Box No. 4

An EBay glimpse and hunch that paid off? 

Join me in a virtual rummage  through (Christmas 2018)  Box No. 4. Who knows what you’ll find!

Crossposted from my other blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/unboxing-box-no-4/

If you enjoyed this cross-post, you might also enjoy this recent rummage of a blog post https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/03/30/my-plastic-warrior-show-in-a-box/

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, April 22 2019.

Guisval Airfix derived metal figures

Beside the seaside …

An interesting box of metal Airfix clones … and the original Airfix Commando figures.

I saw these strange metal mash ups of Airfix figures from the 1970s in a seaside antiques and craft market. I couldn’t identify them other than the plastic box marked Guisval.

Guisval is a Spanish based diecast vehicle company established in 1962.

Defenders? Invaders? On a seaside wall “somewhere in England” …

The figures seem to be attached to military trucks and tanks, which are a marked Guisval Fabricado en Espana. They appear to be the equivalent of the British Matchbox Lesley and Dinky.

I remember that the Matchbox military offerings  sometimes had accompanying soldiers from or similar to the Matchbox OO/HO range of figures. http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/ShowFeature.aspx?id=91


Majorette diecast figures (on my Ebay recce / research) also had random plastic copies of Airfix figures.

Not much shows up when researching Guisval metal military figures until I found one Flickr site – RMJ68.


A quick web search of Guisval diecast vehicles revealed few useful photos of this type of military figures, except for a Flicker album of diecast vehicles by RMJ68 https://www.flickr.com/photos/41049565@N08/albums

RMJ68’s figures by Guisval – the only other Guisval figures I found researching on the web.

Please note: RMJ68’s photos are Copyright to their Flickr site – I have included them with credit to the author as part of my research into the figures I bought.




This set of Guisval related photos by RMJ68 shows these figures with tanks and lorries. Reading the Flickr comments,  I am not sure that the plastic landscape and palm trees are Guisval issue or linked. Manufacture seems to be 1970s to 1980s.

The box they come in seems purpose built clear plastic lid with yellow plastic base with strange base clips to attach them in transit and slide / release them. A similar  type of clear box can be seen in RMJ68’s photos of Guisval military vehicles. Some tank or vehicle box bases have a plastic stud in the middle of the figure bases that appears in some of my figures to be broken off and still attached to the base.

Airfix version 2 British Commando and the Guisval clones.
Another Airfix British Commando and the Guisval clones.

My figures fit well with the figure types shown in RMJ68’s Guisval photo albums. They are  similar strange blend of Airfix British commando second version poses – seen here at


and German or modern US ‘Fritz’ style helmets adopted by various NATO countries. This Fritz helmet was seen in the Airfix modern US / NATO infantry sets http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=431

The figures could be intended to be Spanish army wearing stalheim German style helmets? http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/axis-militaria/spanish-wwii-helmet-553819/


An idea of where some of these Guisval poses began as Airfix British Paratroopers, much cloned …

Familiar or classic poses  of the Airfix British Paratroops are featured too – such as my  smaller radio man and kneeling firing figure, rather  than the Airfix second version Commando radio operator. In the RMJ68 photo examples are several of the much copied or pirated  Airfix British Para poses which were never issued by Airfix in smaller sizes. These may have been  pantographed down in size and then helmets altered.

They are cast or painted in two colours – a dark bronze to browny black and a shiny silver metal. These might be different sets joined or intended,  as in Green and Tan Army Men type toy soldiers, to be enemies (attackers and defenders) in different colours with the same poses.

I hope that RMJ68 enjoys my pictures of these curious little Guisval metal figures.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 17 April 2019.

Le Toy Van classic space rocket and pound store space figures

Little green men have stylishly landed … Le Toy Van Space rocket 

A classic space rocket to match my Pound Store Plastic figure space conversions. More pictures at – Crossposted from Pound Store Plastic Warriors https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/le-toy-van-space-rocket

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 16 April 2019

Girl with Attack Helicopter or Pound Store Block Figures

Wilko Wilkoblox UK website screen shot 2019

Crossposted for the sheer love of budget pocket money plastic toys  from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog –  see the blog post in full at:


Inspiring the next generation of helicopter pilots or engineers? Good STEM / STEMette role Models? Screen shot from the Wilko / Wilkoblox website April 2019 

Blog posted / crossposted by Mark Man of TIN, 12 April 2019

Farewell Google +, ByeBye Google Plus, Hello MeWe


Welcome to the new Peter Laing community on Me We, home to many Google+ refugees https://mewe.com/join/peterlaingfigures

Farewell Google+ Peter Laing pages (2017-2019).


Hello MeWe.

Thanks to Ian Dury.

There will no doubt be more gaming and figure related MeWe groups https://mewe.com/join/aminiaturesgroupaboutwargamesandtoysoldiers

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on April 1st / 2nd, 2019.