2020 Man of TIN New Gaming Year’s Irresolutions

NGY 2020 Irresolution One – Carry on Converting

Sadly I discovered that Carry on Converting, Carry on Gaming and Carry on Painting are not a trio of 1960s British comedy movies with Barbara Windsor and Kenneth Williams. Not to mention Carry on Basing and Carry On Flocking …

Paint conversions, figure conversions from Pound Store plastic figures and old Airfix through to repairing old 54mm lead figures – more needed in 2020!

Airfix Confederates or Angrian Bronte ImagiNations militia?

Saxby Bridge, Navvy Battles and Civil Unrest as small skirmish scenarios

NGY 2020 Irresolution Two – More solo short small skirmish games

Including 15mm Peter Laing, Airfix 20mm up to 54mm figures across a range of periods including Romans, Bronte ImagiNations etc. using simple Featherstone inspired rules.

NGY 2020 Irresolution Three – Paint More Peter Laings

I should be putting more content of painted figures and gaming with Peter Laing figures on the MeWe Peter Laing community forum


NGY 2020 Irresolution Four – Full Metal Hic Jacet

15mm Peter Laing Romans vs Picts and Ancients ‘Small Skirmish’ games. I’m fairly new to Ancients, if you don’t count Airfix Romans and Britons:


It is Rosemary Sutcliff’s centenary in December 2020, Eagle of the Ninth was one of my favourite childhood books. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/rosemary-sutcliff-birth-centenary-december-2020/

NGY 2020 Irresolution Five – Return to Planet Back Yarden

I seemed to spend all year on and off enjoyably preparing for a 42mm or 54mm garden skirmish game with plastics or old lead that never properly happened. Sci-Fi Space Wars, American Civil War, ImagiNations and colonial Little Wars or WW2 – who knows which period will make it into the flower bed battles? I foresee creaky knees and an aching back …

NGY 2020 Irresolution Six – Develop my Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop

Developing my Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop games and rules on my sister blog site including snowball fights rules and preparing for the Little Wars Revisited Woking 54mm Little Wars Saturday 14th March 2020.

NGY 2020 Irresolution Seven – Develop my Bronte inspired ImagiNations in 19th and 20th Century

2020 is another of the Bronte200 anniversaries https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine/

Simple Airfix joy – I was so happily sidetracked by Tony’s gift …


How did the 2019 New Gaming Years Irresolutions go?


I succeeded in a few (very few) of my vague irresolute hobby targets. 2019 The year just gone seems to have gone very quickly.

February or #FEMbruary 2019 saw the believable female miniature painting of modelling challenge with my Bad Squiddo 28mm Land Girls entered into my local spring flower show. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/huzzah-for-boycraft-flower-show-craft-success/

‘Scouting’ happened along in April, when I picked up a copy of a vintage Wide Games book on a seaside holiday, which set me (and also Alan at the Duchy of Tradgardland) off on a new tangent.

In summer, the kind gift of a bag of old 1960s Airfix figures by Tony Adams at the Miniature Wood Screw Army led to some nice relaxed painting and rebasing of Airfix figures. This often feels quite relaxing to be like happy colouring in.

Who knows where my “gaming journey” will have taken me at the end of 2020 and by the end of the Twenty Twenties?

If it’s as fun as where it’s has taken me since 2010, I will be happy enough!

Moddelling and gaming and the company they bring (odd for a largely solitary prepping hobby) are good for your mental health. Just ask Models for Heroes

Here’s best wishes for the tabletop gaming year to come to all my blog readers, to all those whose blogs I enjoy reading and for all those online strangers that I have not met yet who stumble across my Man of TIN blog and my other blogs this year.

Happy New Year! Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 31 December 2019 / 1 January 2020.

Recycling Christmas Cracker Scraps

In these days of sustainability, climate change and avoiding SUPs (Single Use Plastics), it seemed wise if you have to choose crackers to recycle as much as you can of what is left “after the bang”.

Good modellers are scrap recyclers, looking at objects and wondering what they can be recycled into.

Loo roll type cardboard inners and jokes go into household recycling. The shiny red and gold textured foil outers go into the scraps box for household crafts.

Paper hats (tissue paper) of all colours go into the conversions box – a coating of PVA makes for a cloak, robe, skirt or turban to convert a modern figure into something for historical or fantasy gaming.

Ribbons? Good for fabric flags.

Plastic fir trees and berries? Potential trees or bushes. Cannonballs?

The plastic berries had two crafty claimants – me to use them as buffers or edgers for my milk carton conversions to Landing craft and somebody else claimed them for making plastic jewellery!

A bizarre fish skeleton keyring? Not sure yet.

A small silvered plastic picture frame? Obviously awaiting the portrait of The Queen, Empress, King or military hero etc for some ImagiNation.

The odd old pirate joke?

To me, used party poppers have the potential look of storage silos or gas tanks at different scales.

Christmas cards usually end up cut up into gift tags for next year’s presents, the rest recycled.

This odd gift tag caught my eye as a possible flag or symbol for a Bronte ImagiNations country or as a 1930s ImagiNations / VBCW type movement. It has a stylised new dawn, sunrise or tropical palm tree look to it.

New dawn? National sunrise? Tropical palm tree of leaf?

Previously on the Christmas Cracker Recycling section of Man of TIN blog:



Other useful Christmas recycling includes the old Christmas satsuma box into a fort.

Can you see the fort potential yet in this satsuma wooden box crate?

Obviously the best way to make SUP Single Use Plastic sustainable is to recycle and reuse it like my small joy in restoring vintage Airfix, something that Alan Gruber (Duchy of Tradgardland) is up to as well.

Christmas decorations furnish lots of possible alternative modelling uses, as I mentioned in my most recent post:


I would be interested to hear what other favourite Christmas recycling tips for our varied gaming hobby that my blog readers and fellow bloggers have.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 28 / 29th December 2019

Clipping the Fir Trees for Christmas?

A tiny 15mm Peter Laing figure to give a scale idea of these fir trees.

More useful Christmas gifts, making the most of the riches of the season in the shops, are these rocky snow ‘deco sand’ stone lumps and fir tree clips.

The fir tree clips are from Sainsbury’s HOME range, designed as “present clips”, whatever they are. I saw their potential as 15mm size snowy pine trees, once removed from the wooden pegs. They have their own wooden bases but might need the heft of washer bases or penny bases.

The spare clothes pegs themselves have other household or craft uses such as tiny Clothes Peg WW1 biplanes that I featured last year:


The ‘deco sand’ rocks are probably crushed white quartz and come in two sizes, presumably for inertly holding candles or flowers. They should add well to my snowy landscape Scouting Wide Games.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN 2? December 2019

Tales of Derring Do: inspiring books for Scouting Wide Games on the Tabletop

New figures, new reading including a great little Shire Library book on The Scouts.
British and Dutch East Indies Sea Scouts encounter hostile Natives …

Christmas Present 2019: Some inspiring reading and some Scout Patrol reinforcements from STS Little Britons 42mm via Spencer Smith Miniatures, over in my Scouting Wide Games blog site:


Hope that you got some good “new shiny” this Christmas, ready for the New Year.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (1970s Cub Scout, Bronze Arrow, Retired) on 27 December 2019

Happy Christmas 2019 from Man of TIN

“Bright and Early on Christmas Morn …” A few pounds from the Works, this useful little wooden church with LED lights.

Many best wishes for Christmas and the New Year from Mark Man of TIN!

Thank you for another year’s blogging ‘company’ and comments from readers.

After a busy Blogvent Calendar of 24 days with many an old lurking draft polished up and published for your amusement, we will be back to the occasional posts after a busy few days of family gatherings.

So I have no plans for Twelve Days of Twixmas or Blogmas posts this year. There will inevitably be some posts of the ‘what I got for Christmas’ type. I very much enjoy reading these posts on other people’s blogs.

I’m looking forward to the samples of Jacklex figures for example: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/08/a-jacklex-christmas-come-early/

At New Year, I will post my New Gaming Year’s Irresolutions of current and future projects for 2020. Ditto, I’m always curious and interested to read your blogs and comments about what you may (or may not) be up to in 2020 and beyond.

Last year I optimistically set out 2019’s possible Gaming and modelling plans, which were as reliable as the 2018 plans:



Invariably I got sidetracked onto other things, such as this year’s Vintage Airfix or Scouting Wide Games scenarios and figures. Keeps it all fresh. Who knows what 2020 will bring?

Whatever happens in 2020, thankfully we are all part of a supportive hobby and blogging community of a calming and creative hobby that is very positive for our mental health and wellbeing: https://www.modelsforheroes.co.uk

Repoussage or pressed aluminium sheet work to make a Man of TIN (or aluminium) decoration.

I hope you all have an enjoyable Christmas and New Year’s holiday with your families.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 25 December 2019.

Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 24: Alfred Lubran’s “Peckitin” matchbox target game

When I was a child, I used to supplement my pocket money in various ways – catching cabbage white butterflies in summer to protect the family allotment (price one penny each) or mostly gutter-sniping.

Gutter sniping? This is an urban form of mudlarking on the River Thames or beach-combing.

guttersnipe (n.)

also gutter-snipe, 1857, from gutter (n.) + snipe (n.); originally Wall Street slang for “streetcorner broker,” attested later (1869) as “street urchin,” also “one who gathers rags and paper from gutters.” As a name for the common snipe, it dates from 1874 but is perhaps earlier.

Many interesting things were dropped and discarded in the street in preplastic days from coins to matchboxes and matchbooks,  before disposable plastic lighters became a staple of marine plastic waste on our beaches.

Picking these matchboxes  out of the gutter, you would look to see if it was a special Matchbox label in good enough condition to trade or sell on to collector friends, who were like stamp collectors. Added bonus – If they only wanted the label, once carefully removed, the wooden matchbox sides were good for figure basing.

Some Donald Featherstone books used sets of matchboxes for campaigns, surprise or Solo Games movement options.

Nowadays with few matchboxes around with less smokers, more vaping, less matchboxes, if you want enough matchsticks or matchboxes  for crafting, you can buy matchsticks or blank non-striker card ones in craft stores online.

I still have this gutter-sniping habit even today.

So what has my 1970s / 1980s gutter-sniping got to do with wargaming and handmade toys for a wartime Christmas? The answer – Alfred Lubran.


Following up the interest there was about Action (a kind of DIY gridded wartime chess) in my last Alfred Lubran post back in 2016 about his book Let’s Make A Game,


Several of Alfred Lubran’s friends or connections have contacted me since 2016 about this remarkable man.


I was reminded of another of Lubran’s six DIY games called “Peckitin” whilst looking at a post by Scottish Wargames blogger Jim Duncan about comic Naval Wargames encounters, his 2012 Cotton Wool Ball Battle:


Recently  many Old School / Little Wars inspired gamers have been using every missile from the old matchstick firing guns, lawn darts to party poppers  and the like onto targets to simulate missile fire and party popper ‘flak’.  It seems to work equally well for solo or group games, exhibition or convention participation games.

Jim Duncan uses cotton wool balls onto a ship template to see if a broadside hits and where damage occurs. Having problems with the first smaller target, he quickly redrew a larger target ship on cardboard.

In the lively comments section which ensued, Wargames bloggers such as Bob Cordery suggested simulating torpedoes using cotton buds, fired from matchstick cannons etc. Inventive and ingenious!

All this throwing adds some skill or randomness as an alternative to dice, once the target is in range. Range firing can be simulated by throwing the missiles from closer of further away.

Landing cotton wool ball so onto a fact 2D ship outline  takes some skill.

I wonder what would happen to the skill level if the cardboard target was made with some matchbox sections, like Alfred Lubran’s Peckitin DIY matchbox target game?

Second page of Lubran’s Peckitin games instructions

Lubran uses any available tiddlywinks or buttons in his wartime DIY scrap game, rather than cotton wool balls.

As ever, levels of complexity or alternatives are built into Lubran’s games to increase the challenge level.

The idea of tilting the cardboard structure or raising the target off the table adds to this, whilst adding deflection barriers at a certain points level could also be adapted. These could be tank armour plating or spaceship deflected shields.

It would take a little time and gunnery practice to get the tilt level of the target right for the cotton wool ball or button missiles to remain in the matchboxes. A book rest, IPad or cookery book stand or pyramid of books would all help here or some angled cardboard.



I foresee several adaptations of Lubran’s target game, mashed together with Jim Duncan’s target outline and cotton wool ball missiles.  A generic modern war ship target from the side  is by far  the simplest. Merchant ship versions could also be drawn.

Designs could include a wooden ship of the line with compartments for gun decks etc, masts etc.

A generic tank outline of matchboxes would need front / back / left and right sides templates for its 3D nature. That’s a lot of matchboxes!

A genetic starship  outline is another possibility, hit by laser guided cotton wool balls or cotton wool asteroids.

Deflection shields’ could be placed in front of tanks or spacecraft, building on a suggestion by Lubran of matchbox screens to be fitted in front of or onto the matchbox targets. This adds some difficulty.

Even a castle outline with matchboxes would be suitably blocky for siege games. Sometimes my past childhood experience throwing cotton wool balls at an Airfix coastal defence fortress and beach invasion scenario  was an equally satisfying and 3D way of simulating off table naval gunfire, especially when it falls short as friendly fire! Better still, none of the figures got damaged, just flattened if using unbased or lightly based plastic figures.

All together, a mad fairground game requiring lots of big or small matchboxes or some clever woodwork!

Q. Now where do I get lots of matchboxes, and what can I build with all the surplus matches? A. Craft shops

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

Inspiration for this blog post came from Alfred Lubran, and many thanks to :

Jim Duncan http://jim-duncan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/cotton-wool-ball-battle.html

Shandy and Vauban  http://shandyandvauban.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/experiments-in-artillery-or-bigger-balls.html

Megablitz and more ‘s inventive party popper flak http://megablitzandmore.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/somme-enchanted-evening.html

And many other garden gamers.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, (Guttersnipe, third class), only one more sleep till Christmas 24 January 2019.


Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 23: Kraznir Revisited and RPG Tinkering

Another old random unfinished draft polished up for the Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar.

Escape from Kraznir

This role playing scenario was published in the late 1980s or early 1990s in an English textbook as an attempt to encourage literacy and group work through fantasy, especially amongst boys. Hence all the writing exercises mentioned. I don’t have and can’t find this old English text book but found examples on Miss Ransom’s teaching website:


Thanks, Miss Ransom! As web materials vanish, I have taken some screenshots for future reference:

Many cheap to expensive plastic and metal fantasy ‘minis’ (miniature figures) based on these fantasy archetype characters are available in many places, some pictured on my sister blog : https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/02/24/fantasy-plastic-warriors/

Miss Ransom has added various character illustrations from the web but some of the original characters and fantasy creatures (unknown illustrator) are here: IMG_2187IMG_2188

Pupil creative writing version by a young man called James https://rapturerise.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/escape-from-kraznir/

Kraznir Screenshot from James’ Rapture Rise blog post

Hopefully this may be of use for scenario writing in the future.

Links with RPG and fantasy gaming?

Jennifer or Jen Burdoo, a gaming librarian in the USA, has been working on simple Dungeons and Dragons (D & D) type RPG Scenarios and rules to use in the ‘community outreach’ setting of a public library, alongside simple Featherstone Rules for historical figure gaming.

She recently posted on my Angria ImagiNations related Blogvent post some links to simple RPG rules and games mechanic sites using very few figures:

Jennifer has been using material from the RPG Tinker blog, a great web name, proof that it’s not just Historical figure gamers or wargamers who cannot resist taking rules apart and tweaking and tinkering with them:


Comment on Man of TIN blog by Jen Burdoo

For those of us who play mostly solo games without opponent, umpire or dungeon master, Jennifer recommends an interesting RPG Tinker page or post:

Some ideas for RPG Solo play



For those who cannot pick up Google docs here is a summary doc by Jennifer Burdoo of RPG Tinker’s Playing the World character generator. (Screenshot)

Google Doc – Ready to play summary sheet by Jennifer Burdoo of Andrei Baltakman / RPG Tinker’s Play the World character generation sheet. Screenshotted with permission 

Kraznir as it was used in schools was probably inspired by Games Workshop and the popular Fighting Fantasy type books still in print and in Apps by Tin Man Games (no relation to this my Man of TIN blog) https://fightingfantasyapps.com/books/the-warlock-of-firetop-mountain/

RPGs and historical wargaming?

I can see several rules tinkering uses for this RPG character elements in the forthcoming gaming year 2020

Oh no, it’s the roaring Twenties all over again! There will probably in gaming and wider culture be a nod to 20s style Flappers, Bugsy Malone, Prohibition, Pulp, but hopefully not a rerun of mass unemployment, world recession, the rise of fascism and dictators …

Possible RPG or character driven ‘grit’ could be given to the kind of small scale skirmish games you can find on Man of TIN blog and its Bronte and Scouting sister blogs such as:

Small scale Commando Raids including Operation Hardtack and Greek Sacred Squadron  

Scouting Wide Games scouting patrols

Home Guard related Operation Sealion Games

French Indian War SYW Featherstone Close Wars type of games

Angrian and Bronte based ImagiNation skirmishes

There is nothing new under the gaming sun as Donald Featherstone was doing this in his 1960s and 70s  Skirmish Wargaming book and chapters on “Personalised Wargaming” in Solo Wargaming and Advanced Wargaming. All these Featherstone titles are still available in reprint or digital via John Curry’s History of Wargaming project

Playing at the World?

Play the World – Not to be confused with Jon  Petersons’s book and RPG blog http://playingattheworld.blogspot.com

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 23 December 2019