Restored corner of the house that is my Hex Boards of Joy

For a few months I have not done much gaming to write up.

Not since a short Mountie Skirmish in late November 2018 last year

For a few months my gaming area and tabletop have been covered in broken Britain’s figures awaiting repair, Peter Laing 15mm figures awaiting paint, tools and useful bits of scrap for modelling.

54mm superheroes and tiny blocky Minecraft figures

I am as happy casting, repairing and painting figures as I am gaming with them, hence the quote on Man of TIN blog from Donald Featherstone:

The largest hex game board has hung on the wall being a former picture frame – a neat storage solution tucked away in the corner of a shared living room.

As part of the Scout Wide Games research and rules writing, I am not sure if my hex boards will be too small for the 42mm range Scout figures I have painted. Maybe I should have gone smaller, say OO/HO railway or my Pound Store figure conversions? Different size figures, different scale scenarios?

15mm Peter Laing figures for a different scale

I have been playing around with scale from 54mm superheroes and tiny blocky Minecraft blind bag figures (Heroscape hexes have a 3D landscape Minecraft feel) down to 15mm Peter Laing figures, which give a bigger playing space.

Set up for 42mm range STS Little Britons Scouts (Boy and Girl) …

Having a large enough landscape for the Wide Games scenarios is obviously harder with the larger Scout figures 42mm Shiny Toy Soldiers / Little Britons range (from Spencer Smith Miniatures), so the scale and ground space available may shape the scope of future scenarios.

My couple of quick paint conversions of Pound Store figures in a smaller scale may enlarge the territory available to my Scouting games – I can cheaply and quickly knock up a couple of patrols of these to try this out.

32mm Pound Store Scout conversions & the original penny plastic figures

Part of the Wide Games appeal is that tabletop Wide Games could equally function as Garden games especially with the largest, simplest 60mm semi-flat Scouts – as pointed by Alan the Tradgardmastre of the Duchy Of Tradgardland Blog.

If only my ageing knees and back and the weather were up to it …

The rest of the space?

A column of Really Useful Boxes divides the playing space from the crafting space. More Really Useful Boxes and Shoe Boxes are stowed away below the gaming table and the chairs.

Acquiring job lots of broken toy soldiers to repair requires storage. The Peter Laing figures, both painted and awaiting paint, require storage. Scrap modelling materials, tools and paints require storage.

For the last few months, wriggling into the old crafting chair has felt like sliding into a narrow cockpit to focus down onto the hand tools, paintbrush and figures in front of me. It’s also meant that I had no gaming space. Shifting these about and restowing boxes has helped no end.

My flap-down desk with cardboard screen keeping paper contents and books safe from paint.

I understand more fully now the points about concentration and wellbeing made in the Models for Heroes videos. There is a mental craft zone that the world shrinks down to.

I am reminded of the ominous episode in Harry Pearson’s gaming memoir Achtung Schweinhund where Harry hears from his gaming best friend about an obsessive hoarder (stereotypically male, middle aged, single). This man’s decaying house is in danger of collapse from an Aladdin’s Cave of stored vintage unboxed figures, magazines and newspapers, yet eerily the paint table is immaculate and ordered. Harry and friend see a vision of their possible lonely futures.

My Crafting “Cockpit”: Phoenix 43 Trek Cart kit & washed-out Cath Kidston pink Guards mug

The cutting board and painting space that forms my crafting area has now transferred to the right of the board onto a flap down modern bureau desk, rather than than the traditional modeller’s Roll Top type desk. It fits into the rest of the family without sitting in a room apart. It’s stuffed full of toy soldier things and research notes and books for other work-related projects, protected from paint splatters by a removable cardboard screen. Reorganising the contents means that everything should be able to fold back up out of sight.

The desk top “display” space itself could also do with a tidy up as it is currently piled with figures and books that I have worked on in the last year. Inspiration but it’s also a jumble of what has been inside my head recently.

Next to this sits a small bulging cupboard stuffed full with books, hollowcast figures and hoarded Airfix figures and kits from childhood onwards, again its top piled with this year’s projects. Again all of these could do with a sort through on another grey day.

More Really Useful storage boxes live in the garage for my metal casting kit, buildings, some other temperature proof gaming stuff and metal figures, whilst the indoor storage is reserved for the more vulnerable fragile vintage and childhood plastics figures and vehicles.

The painting above the desk is a recent acquisition, a framed Illustrated London News print of the Lancashire Rifle Volunteers parading at Knowsley Park. Britain’s Victorian Home Guard against another Napoleonic French invasion, and finely dressed at that. One for Marvin at Subterranean Militarism!

The Review of Lancashire Rifle Volunteers in Knowsley Park. Illustration for The Illustrated London News, 15 September 1860.

So there you are, restored –

an experimental games lab to try out Wide Games or gaming scenarios indoors,

an encouragement to paint and base those Peter Laings stuck in the lead limbo of the ‘work in progress’ painting box,

hopefully a little more presentable part of the Living Room if we have visitors to the house!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 9 June 2019.

11 thoughts on “Restored corner of the house that is my Hex Boards of Joy”

  1. A most enjoyable post albeit with some home truths for me. It was really interesting to see your gaming and modelling set ups. Sadly my roll top desk is not as pristine internally as l wish on the painting surface. It reminds me of the canvas bag my father kept his tools in in glorious disarray. The desk as too many tempting nooks and crannies where l just stuff things hoping to tidy them later. Nevertheless it has been a great addition to things being in a well lit area, close to the kettle and fridge.
    As for the description of the middle aged gamer’s house well l had bet say no more. I type this surrounded by too many box files, wee boxes and the detritus of the hobby in my bedroom. Neither edifying or practical l hope to do something about it over what passes for a summer in these parts. Even my gaming table has aquired bits ,bobs and books covering it which need to be stuffed somewhere when it is called into service gaming wise.
    I really think your hex terrain looks excellent and shows the scouts off splendidly.


    1. The bureau desk is only clean as it is a recent big present (four or five years ago) and has not been used for painting and crafting until a month or two ago.
      Behind the protective cardboard screen it is stuffed full of books and papers. Due for a sort through sometime …
      Bits and bobs and tiny boxes and tools took up so much space on what is now my gaming table space, so I have been deboxing small boxes and storing these things a bit more thematically in bigger boxes. I like the Really Useful boxes (especially with the optional tray dividers) as they are light, uniform, see-through and stack well.


    1. I shall feature these mostly lead figures in glass cases on another future blog post, once I have re-stored the various buildings, biplanes, books and figures in front of them.

      You can see some of the figures in this first blog photograph

      These are mostly all recent project things that have not yet found a place or not yet returned to their rightful place. “Every hole a stone and every stone a hole” as they say of Cornish hedging and dry stone walling.


  2. There something going on with email reminders from WordPress, I’ve missed a few things from blogs recently including this post. I should stick to using the Reader.

    When we moved into our current house some years ago, I suggested to the misses that the spare room upstairs could be used for my modelling activities. She put her foot down by saying that if she allowed that she’d never see me. Since then, my hobby takes place on the dining room table where I can easily be observed anywhere within the ‘open plan’ dining room / kitchen / lounge area. I must clear away my modelling area whenever the table is needed. Increasingly, however, she often disappears upstairs to watch her TV shows so now I never see her! Grrrr… It’s time I got myself a roll desk, sir!

    Of course, I love your antique print! Funnily enough, I was doing a bit of research lately into volunteers appearing on contemporary prints with a view to even forming into a full blog post. Often for these small volunteer corps, the newspaper articles celebrating a local event proves an almost unique insight into their uniforms, etc. During my research I was very tempted to buy one for the house but convinced myself I had more than enough hobby-related artwork around the walls. Your print in situ has now convinced me that I do need one in my life! 🙂


    1. I find at the moment that I cannot leave a comment on some other people’s WordPress and Blogger posts unless they contact me directly. It must come down to blog / mail / facebook settings etc.
      The roll top desk idea by Henry Harris is a very neat solution to being part of the family but at the same time safely apart.
      Add some headphones and an IPad or whatever and you can be truly oblivious to the sound of TV or whatever is going on around you!
      It is an inoffensive little print that suits a shared living space with a social history side of all the Frith’s Derby Day or Dickens like crowds watching with a bit of business going on.
      There are several other related prints from this event or ILN issue including I think the Prescot or Huyton Volunteers and others associated with Knowsley and the Merseyside Liverpool areas. Type in ‘Illustrated London News Knowsley Lancashire Volunteers’ and
      you should be able to see them all, occasionally some for sale.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hoping that my print will also find its way into a shared living space. I have my eye on a specific print which I included in a recent post, featuring rifle volunteers, light horse volunteers and a keenly interested Dickensian crowd foreground.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I also think you need to start a line of research on pubs with the word ‘The Rifle Volunteer’ in the title for a definitive study. Spotted one in Bath, one in Exeter and Lyme Regis this year but not easy to photograph the pub signs for you. Presumably this was the muster point before or after the Drill Hall.
      They all seemed the more ‘traditional’ sorts of ‘drinking pub’ than Gastropub. One of them (in Lyme?) was either an Irish Bar or next to one, which I thought an interesting or ironic mix.
      Didn’t get time for a drink in any of them so can’t comment on any military prints or Rifle Volunteers related material.
      Sadly with the collspase and closure of many local pubs, some of these Rifle Volunteer pubs may have vanished.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The research process alone is tempting – spending time in pubs! 🙂 Certainly something I’ll keep an eye for as I hadn’t thought of it before.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s