Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 20: Bronte Sisters Power Up!


A lovely fake toy commercial from 1998. Watch at:

I was delighted to learn in early November this year that another of Charlotte’s little books was saved for Haworth, Yorkshire, the nation and the world.

Me and the tiny men at the Man of TIN blog did have a small whip-round and made a suitably tiny donation alongside hundreds of others to secure this tiny matchbox sized magazine back to its home, where it was handmade small enough for the Bronte toy soldiers to read.

My handmade Fimo polymer clay 54mm Angrian Flagbearer

Why are the Bronte sisters (and brother) interesting to gamers?

I have been following up ideas from the Bronte family ImagiNations for future gaming scenarios:

With powered up Bronte Sisters like these, and their mech transformation into the BronteSaurus I think they would make short work of the invading armies that threaten their ImagiNations.

Celia Rees’ modern fictional take on the tiny books The Glasstown Wars was also a memorable read this year.

2020 will feature more Bronte inspired war games and gaming scenarios. It is also the 200th bicentenary of the birth of the youngest Bronte sister Anne, the final act in the Bronte 200 celebrations.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 20 December 2019 – only five sleeps till Christmas.


Royal Navy RNAS Culdrose Submarine Hunting Training Hex Grid Professional War Game

Some of my naval wargaming readers may be interested in this professional Wargames news story which I picked up through Twitter and on BBC local radio in the Southwest UK.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 19 December 2019

A few Twitter pics of hexes and the tactical board game instructions:


Some more photos and videos can be seen here:

Man of TIN Advert Calendar 2019 Day 19: a few more photos of some handmade wooden modern warships

A few more photographs of these beautiful handmade vintage wooden battleships and accompanying maker’s Naval service ephemera: a gift from the family earlier in the year. Still some minor repair work required.


Missiles, helicopter pad – obviously post WW2.


Documents (and photo?) belonging to AB Thomas E Owen – the maker?



1957 date stamp?



HMS Pembroke mentioned on the discharge document was the name given to a Royal Navy shore barracks at Chatham. It was commissioned in 1878, moved ashore in 1903 and was paid off in 1983. The buildings, designed by Sir Henry Pilkington, now house the Universities at Medway.

Blog posted on 19 December by Mark Man of TIN.

Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 18: Irregular Spaces

Phil Barker, Know Your Game: Wargaming book (1976)

Interesting page on hexes and irregular spaces that puzzled and intrigued me as a young boy reading this curious book.

Phil Barker’s Know the Game: Wargaming book was part of a series of 1970s illustrated individual booklets that were advertised as covering “every major sport and pastime … from archery to yoga.” This somehow put me playing with Airfix figures  on the same level playing field (!) as Rugby, Football and every other major sport.

More at:

Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 16: Vintage Airfix Africa Korps 1962

Over the last few days I have been repairing, repainting and basing some 1962 vintage Airfix Afrika Korps that were in the package of 1960s Airfix that Tony Adams kindly sent me earlier this year.


Such 50+ year old (almost 60 year old) plastic figures are getting rather fragile now but I thought it better to paint them up and use them for gaming with care whilst still intact.

Before and after basing: Fragile enough 1960s figures that the stick grenade tops have fallen off.

Some of Tony’s originals are seen here in their 1960s paintwork by Tony.

As they arrived from Tony with cryptic base markings and helmet colours

As is usual with Airfix, some of the paint had flaked. I have tried to keep most of Tony’s original paintwork where I can, mostly repainting hats and rifles.

I tried a little bit of Citadel Agramax Earth wash or shade, but this didn’t do much for them, having such muted detail as early Airfix generally had. I could have painted in straps and equipment, but this was not only fiddly but mostly this was dust and khaki colour on khaki.

I thought the mix of old and new paint / uniform makes them look like veteran troops.

I also wanted to keep them slightly non-specific, as the ones in the Bergmutze soft caps had the look of a generic private army such as James Bond villains often had, especially the way Tony had painted them with dark or silver caps. I wanted to be able to use them in ImagiNations as desert forces or desert raiders. This is why in the first batch I have included no figures with the distinctive German helmets.

A Rommel looking figure besides a battered childhood Airfix halftrack.
Another battered old childhood Airfix model an armoured car from the desert reconnaissance set

In Jean Christophe Carbonel’s book Airfix’s Little Soldiers HO/OO 1959-2009, this set is listed as being introduced in 1962, the same year that Donald Featherstone’s War Games was published.

News of the only Airfix WW2 figures available in 1962/3

Mention is made in 1963 of these desert figures arriving in the wargaming chapter of Donald Featherstone’s Tackle Model Soldiers This Way here

The short-lived version 1 set (1962-1973) is unfavourably reviewed on Plastic Soldier Review

I have tried to keep simple paintwork as shown on the early Airfix boxes.

Eventually for opposition I will paint and base some of the version 1 Airfix Eighth Army figures that Tony Adams had in the parcel he sent me and some of my childhood / family original figures.

The 1973/4 update sculpts (version 2) of these desert troops are still available over 45 years later (2019) from Airfix stockists or online.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 15/16 December 2019.

Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 15: Snowman Guards


Thin banner version January 2019

Spotted this ad online last January 2019 and screenshotted it as an interesting future idea of a Fimo polymer clay smart looking Guards regiment of snowmen? Sadly by the end of 2019 staff on South Western Railway are on strike.

Fantasy snow warriors and violent gingerbread men already exist as can be seen in this seasonal post at Rabbits in My Basement blog

Suitable snowman and seasonal figures can be found at Alternative Armies  in 15mm and 28mm


Some more Alternative Armies seasonal  delights …

Certainly some ideas for a creative  Fimo future  session.

As delightful as Jim Purky’s Der Alte Fritz Blog Teddy Bear Wars posts

and the American Civil Paw 18mm figures from Slave2 Gaming


Meanwhile back in the snow forts our Scouting Wide Game and Snow ball rules continue to be developed. Good clean fun

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, December 2019

Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 14: Rice Diets and the Problems of Beriberi in the Japanese Army and Navy

I first came across this story whilst researching Naval gaming ship bases on a TMP page, an intriguing late 19th century naval and military history story

If an army marches on its stomach then this colourfully illustrated article explores how the nutrition expertise of  British surgeon William Willis and Dr Kanehiro Takaki was used in curing the Japanese Navy’s medical problems.

The Japanese Army was much slower to accept this and were still affected by this Beriberi malnutrition problem decades later during the Russo Japanese War of 1905.

From the Jacklex website a finely painted  20mm  Japanese Infantry figure early uniform Russo-Japanese War 1904/5

You might find this article interesting in case you are tempted invest in some fine 20mm Jacklex Russo Japanese War figures with your Christmas money. The Jacklex website helpfully has free uniform painting guides, ORBATs and Mukden to Megiddo rules from Andy Callan.  There is a useful 2004 Osprey on the subject and a RJW section in Featherstone’s Wargames Through the Ages Vol 4 1861-1945.

This is a different sort of article for naval gamers and military history enthusiasts but hopefully an interesting one.


Further articles in English

This article mentions: “In 1915, Kanehiro Takaki received the ‘Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure’, one of the highest decorations in Japan. He died in 1920, and received posthumously the ‘Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun’ in that year. In 1959, a peninsula in Antarctica – The Takaki Promontory (65° 33′ 0″ S, 64° 34′ 0″ W) – was named after him.”

Never underestimate logistics …

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 14 December 2019

Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 13: Operation Hardtack Jersey 1943


Fascinating account of Operation Hardtack 1943, a British Commando raid and intelligence gathering raid on Occupied Jersey.

Such heroic small scale raids are the stuff of gaming scenarios. One suitable book is Donald Featherstone’s Wargaming Commando Operations:


Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN Day 13 December 2019

Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 12: Soldiers of The Queen 1900

Soldiers of the Empress Queen – but only for another year as she died in 1901.

One of the pages in some original Boer War era magazines that I have.

Kipling-esque poem but not quite Kipling’s The Absent Minded Beggar or Hardy’s Drummer Hodge.


The Boer War is not widely Wargamed, partly due to the mobile nature of the conflict – mounted infantry, railways – and the long range rifle fire, as well as the static nature of sieges of Mafeking  and blockhouses.

I wonder if this era is not widely gamed partly because Britain lost the war but  it has some unpleasant elements such as Emily Hobhouse’s  campaigning / press exposure about the concentration camps for Boer Civilians?

There are some interesting challenges or lessons learnt the hard way for the military in the period shortly before the First World War.

There is an interesting Boer War gaming blog –

Blogvent posted by Mark Man of TIN, 12 December 2019