Spla-fiti and Skateboarders WIP

It’s a long time since I fell off a skateboard.

Blue Crue paint it pink – how very gender neutral.

This Spray-Fiti game (very much WIP or Work In Progress) developed out of my Spl-Attack boardgame gridded wargame / chessboard version of Nintendo’s Splatoon video game.

If Spla-fiti has a video game ancestor, this would be Subway Surfers, see the game trailer at https://youtu.be/tYysQOHTimo

It is another exploration of my interest in non-lethal ‘war’ games.

The Aim

** youth skateboard graffiti stereotype alert **

Here the game aim is to cover as much of the city walls with your own side’s graffiti art as you can, avoiding capture by the City Police and overspraying and replacing the graffiti of the rival skate crew where possible.

The Police and the Council Cleaners turn up after 2 x d6 turns to try and restore law and order, clean up the streets etc.

A range of player options – two skateboard crews versus each other

or one skate crew versus 1 police unit and / or council clean up unit.

Or two skateboard crews versus the city police and city council unit.

Victory Conditions? – At the end of so many turns (e.g. throw 2 or 3 d6) count up how many grafitti panels in your colour you have sprayed.

If you are the Council clean up team, you might have taken down and cleaned up more graffiti than the skate gangs sprayed or oversprayed.

WIP Rules Spla-fiti 1.0

You can MOVE one figure in a turn or you can SPRAY a wall in a turn but cannot do both.

IGOYUGO

Council staff and Police on foot are slower (moving two squares each turn) than skaters on boards (moving four squares).

Jumping up obstacles costs half the move.

Note: Adjust the following distances as you see fit.

Spraying a wall panel takes one turn (attach graffiti panel in your crew colour).

Respraying the other crew’s work takes one turn – change their graffiti panel for one of yours. Keep theirs in your base pile.

The Council repainting the wall also takes one turn. Council players – remove the grafitti panel and keep it.

You have limited or unlimited spray cans as you see fit (the Spla-fiti equivalent of ammunition). I have not added cans to the skaters’ hands yet.

Melee?

There is no melee fighting phase. If you choose to crash into another skater and knock them out of a game, a d6 dice throw of 1 knocks out another skater and yourself. However savings throws are thrown for both you and the other skater. Less than 6 knocks out the skater or yourself. 6 is unhurt.

You can decide for how long you or the other skater are out of the game until you respawn at home base.

Green Teem” make the city streets uncleen with their grafitti tagging – easy!

I didn’t have a big enough chessboard for it to work with 54mm skater figures and their cardboard city buildings so I drew up two cardboard grey city street grids with squares the same size as my chessboard.

To get that rundown urban feel, I made some simple city retail or industrial buildings out of biscuit boxes turned inside out to get the cardboard side. I improvised some downtown urban clutter and street furniture.

Did they not read the NO SKATEBOARD sign? DF62 Crew / Green Teem’s HQ and Blue Crue on the improvised skate ramp.
Spray-fiti including HGW LW 13? AG DT?

The City Council clean up, removing spray-fiti and repainting the city walls.

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Here you can see the magnetic strip by which the spray-fiti or graffiti panels are attached.

I tried the self adhesive magnet strips inside the card buildings to keep outer walls clean but it did not work so well as direct contact with the graffiti panels which have a small square of magnet strip on the back.

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Council Teams clean up the city walls. These are represented by flamethrower figures, repurposed to repaint the city walls.

The police officers are there to catch the skater grafitti artists. They can arrest skaters (if you can catch them) and take them individually away back to an off board jail square (or you can add a set-to-stun “Tazer” option.)

I have yet to add in programmed random NPC (non player character) city types to get in the way (from model railway civilians etc) – a chance to add in my hollow-cast lead tramp figure as a hobo etc.

DF62 Crew? The initials of other famous war gamers and games bloggers are here too!

Before anyone mentions it …

Keith Haring and other graffiti artists like Banksy might classify as Art.

I’m not endorsing spray-painting, graffiti art and tagging, much of the time in the wrong place it just looks ugly.

I did smile at the chalked-up message on the passageway walls into Shepherds Market in London when the Tradition of London toy soldier shop was still there. It simply said in big chalk letters – Cheer Up! It made others walking past smile reading it too.

However much I dislike graffiti in the wrong place, I enjoyed doing the mini graffiti panels. Some were based on examples I found online. In others, there are a few wargamers’ names or initials amongst ones for family and friends here “Tagged in This Photo”. Particularly proud of DF62 and PL15!

Sk8r figures are by AJ’s Toy Boarders – all sold out and now hard to find. I picked up a green and blue pack years ago online, along with their surfer dudes which I found second hand. You may now find them in set 1 and 2 together in tubs at Vat19 in the USA who ship reasonably cheaply to the UK:

https://www.vat19.com/item/toy-boarders-skateboard-figurines

All 8 of the different skateboard move poses are shown here, as listed on the card header. Pushing, Nosegrab, Smith, Cruising 1 and Cruising 2, Manual, Tailgrab and Ollie. Sounds like weird gang names.

“Charlie don’t surf …”

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN July 2020

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

All Sk8r Boys? Sorry Avril Lavigne, sadly there was no skater girl in set 1, she was in set 2 which I couldn’t find for sale online.

Set 2 Skaters which I don’t have …

If I don’t buy more skaters from VAT19, I might be able to improvise one or two female skateboarders from 54mm model railway civilians on coffee stirrer boards (with cocktail stick wheels?)

Some of the model railway figure sets by Noch and Preiser have roller skaters, inline skaters and skateboarders in HO OO for tiny city scapes.

For a few clues on colours and “uniform painting”, you can now check out the slightly dated ‘skate punk’ music videos by Avril Lavigne such as Sk8r Boi from the early 2000s: https://youtu.be/TIy3n2b7V9k

Sandtables and the ABCA in a WW2 Training film

I recently completed a four week free FutureLearn course, a Military History sampler unit from the University of Kent / National Army Museum called From Waterloo to The Rhine: The British Army from 1815 to 1945 https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/waterloo-to-the-rhine

In the fourth and final week, there was a short section on this Future Learn: British Army From Waterloo to the Rhine course, which showed briefly a US Army training film clip on the British Army’s WW2 ABCA (the Army Bureau of Current Affairs). I spotted what looks like a sandtable in the midst of the education and training room, full of plane identification charts and models, German equipment and uniform.

Watch the ABCA film here, the sandtable is about 14:30 and 15:30 into the film:

Periscope Films YouTube ABCA film https://youtu.be/jtL3jQ3-87o

A screenshot close up reveals a little more fuzzy detail:

Donald Featherstone writes in War Games (1962) about the wargames use of the sandtables whilst almost wistfully for a former tank regiment sergeant, he remembers the military use of these at Bovington during WW2:

“… the author recalls, with some pleasure, a fascinating hut at Bovington Camp, Dorset, in the Second World War, where miniature tanks were made to move over realistic countryside, being made mobile by the movement of magnets under the table.” (P. 16, Featherstone, War Games, 1962).

There is more WW2 manual material on sandtable training for the Home Guard on my blogpost here as https://lookduckandvarnish.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/gaming-the-home-guard-with-sand-tables-1941/

Sandtables are a bit of a gaming rarity these days. They had many operational drawbacks, not least the weight of the sand, but several pages were devoted by Donald Featherstone to their use and construction in War Games (1962).

I recently spotted sand tables in use again for 1944 tank battles by some such as John Muzy on 1/72 forums and pages on Facebook, linked to a YouTube video here https://youtu.be/vNnOQJa7mvc

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 6th July 2020.

Happy Birthday NHS 72 Years Old

Thanks to all the amazing NHS staff on the 72nd birthday of an amazing organisation, the National Health Service, and a great idea.

I shall be out on the doorstep with family at 5pm on Sunday 5th July 2020 to join the national NHS Birthday clap, the last thank you clap of the 2020 Coronavirus epidemic.

To celebrate the NHS’ Birthday I have tracked down a few of my tiny medical figures.

These figures are from left to right:

54mm hollowcast lead Crescent Nurse and Britain’s seated aged female villager No. 556 (1919- postwar, oddly repainted by somebody sometime.)

Playmobil nurse – she was given to me as a good luck charm by friends when I was undergoing a serious operation by the NHS about ten years ago.

Smaller scale 46mm lead hollowcast WW1 looking nurse (as arrived with serious damage) Britain’s 1905-35 set 137 The Army Medical Service (54mm)

54mm plastic nurse from the Britain’s Super Deetail 1983 short lived Hospital range.

Limited edition 54mm pre-painted Corgi Forward March range Florence Nightingale

Not forgetting the Nightingale Hospital lady Florence herself and Mary Seacole from previous FEMbruary blogposts

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/mary-seacole-and-the-crimean-war/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/fembruary-post-2-a-few-more-female-figures-and-a-florence/

Not all of my medical figures are accessible for the photograph, and one of the lead pre-war Johilco nurse figures needs some radical repair to replace a head in the next few weeks.

Another figure worthy of repair. Prewar issue Johilco nurse.

Happy Birthday NHS and thanks to all their staff, past and present.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (or late 1960s NHS baby of TIN?), 5 July 2020

B.P.S Blog Post Script

As an NHS baby myself, I wondered who the first NHS baby was born on 5th July 1948? Named after the Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan, the answer is Aneira Thomas, who along with her sisters, went to work as an NHS nurse herself. Happy birthday Aneira!

“I feel passionate about the preservation of this fantastic service, which provides support from the cradle to the grave, for every person in Great Britain. It means equality for all. As Aneurin Bevan said, ‘The National Health Service will stay as long as there are folk to fight for it.’ The NHS is our jewel in the crown, and it’s our duty to not let it slip away.”

Aneira Thomas, 2017

BBC News Interview https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-44663249/nhs-at-70-aneira-thomas-the-first-nhs-baby

Here is a link to an interview blog piece from 2017:

https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/about-us/whos-who/aneira-thomas

https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2017/09/growing-nhs-born-5-july-1948

Splattaque Splattack Splattergy Paint Wars chess board grid game

Close Little Paint Wars for some useless poses of toy soldiers.

Crossposted by Mark Man of TIN from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/07/01/spl-attack-spl-attaque-and-spl-attergy-games-close-little-paint-wars-rules-1-0/

Verda versus Griza FMS 20mm Pound Store Plastic Warriors skirmish now with added Esperanto!

Scene / seen from the Verdan border post, the attacking Grizan troops in grey

Cross posted from my sister blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors,

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/06/28/verda-versus-griza-pound-store-plastic-soldiers-20mm-interbellum-fms-skirmish-now-with-added-esperanto/

Now with added Esperanto and a Blog Post Script on US army 1960s training using Esperanto as the enemy language

The Joy of Pound Store Play Sets

200 grey or green 2cm plastic soldiers, two tanks, three armed jeeps, a couple of flags, play mat and an aircraft all for £5. Felt river not included!

Cross-posted by Mark Man of TIN from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors sister blog on budget wargaming.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/06/23/the-joy-of-pound-store-play-sets/

Six types of grey or green 2cm figures included – a few poses that you might recognise!

Two ‘cute’ little light tanks or tankettes included, of indeterminate make or nation.

Enough here for a scratch skirmish WW2 / postwar / ImagiNations game and only a fiver!

More Gentle Repairs on Odd Sized Figures – 70mm Indians and 60mm Germans

Cherilea 60mm crumbling plastic jigsaw with missing bits .. Cherilea 1960s WW2 German Infantry.

This Cherilea German Infantry WW2 in dark green plastic with brown helmet, boots and webbing was from the early 1960s and was brittle and crumbling. It had so far lost an arm and part of a base.

I drilled, wire pinned and glued the back foot to the base. I then glued the base fragments to a new piece of mounting board (with magnet strip below to attach to a tuppenny base). This kept the fragment of Cherilea roundel logo on the base, visible for the future. As I made repairs I took a few rough photos on the repair desk as I went – not always best quality in great light but a rough notebook of work done.

What did the missing arm look like? Was the German surrendering? Did he have a rifle? A little web research was needed.

Aha! Here is our figure running or fleeing carrying rifle amidst a very defeated enemy range of poses.

Looking up these original Cherilea figures on Barney Brown’s Herald Toys Website archive pages of sold items, I found these figures but in enemy grey, not my dark green. https://www.heraldtoysandmodels.co.uk/catalog/

These ‘German’ figures were a bit weirdly dressed compared to the more authentically uniformed Airfix and Britain’s Deetail German figures that I had grown up playing with. These 1960s Cherilea plastic issue figures of WW2 Germans had almost 1980s US or NATO “Fritz” helmets.

The green colour? Outside of deserts, German Infantry were made in grey plastic, Americans and British in green or khaki, as every 1960s/70s child knows. I noticed in several books that Britain’s hollowcast and other manufacturers produced their pre-war Grey German Infantry figures as post war green German Infantry, reflecting the Cold War changes in uniform? Were these supposed to be West German Infantry? Allies at last?

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At first I thought the missing arm could be in the Hande Hoch! “Hands Up” surrender pose, one of those useless diorama poses along with ‘falling wounded’ beloved of toy soldier manufacturers in the 1950s to 1970s.

The surrender poses seem mostly confined to the enemy / Germans from 1950s and 1960s 60mm plastic down to 1970s OOHO Airfix Africa Korps version 2. The annoying waste of space wounded or dead diorama poses applied to figure sets of all nations.

Subtle propaganda reminder of Allied victory they may be, this was my limited childhood pocket money resources that the manufacturers were wasting on these and other useless diorama poses! I’m sure you could make a special thematic collection of useless enemy surrender poses. Such surrender poses exist from WW1 era with Germans wearing pickelhaube spiked helmets.

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This gave me an idea of what the original figure was supposed to be like.

To get the arm sort of right, I gently drilled the missing arm and inserted a long enough piece of fine jeweller’s wire to make the arm and hand. Having built up the bulk of the arm with masking tape, I wrapped the remaining fine wire round a rifle length of thicker wire to make the rifle.

These could then be built up with strains of masking tape into the hand and the rifle shape. Triangular pieces of masking tape starting at the small end of the triangle wrap around to make the triangular rifle butt shape.

The final stages of the figure was painting and colour matching.

Bronze Green Revell Acrylic Aquacolour Matt was used to match the dark green plastic. Afrika Braun desert colour matched the old flesh.

Next

Cherilea 60mm figure No. 2 Falling Wounded

The other Cherilea 60mm German WW2 Infantry was in the bizarre shot falling wounded category. The same drill, pin with wire and glue approach was needed. The rifle was barely attached in two places.

Cherilea 60mm Figure No. 2 in pieces

Again, Bronze Green and Afrika Braun desert colour Acrylic paints were used to roughly match the originals. Another Cherilea 60mm jigsaw of arms and legs repaired.

As these were the only two figures of this type I had in my childhood collection of these odd sized or oversized figures, I noticed a stray oversize Airfix Afrika Korps officer clone figure. He started life as a recent China made plastic parachute toy soldier. I quickly based and painted him up in the same green, flesh and leather brown gloss Acrylic colour to be their officer.

Cherilea 60mm German figures – ready to fight and fall over again, led by a new officer

Hanks 70mm big hollowcast Indian

This Hanks early 70mm figure of an Indian* c. 1916 turned up in a job lot, missing an arm. Identified by its base marking and in Norman Joplin’s Great Book of HollowCast Figures, this has to be a ‘plus-sized’ oddity well over a hundred years old.

Our Indian as one of four 70mm Hanks figures (right), Joplin’s Great Book of Hollow-Cast Figures

.* American Indian, Native American, First People – insert as appropriate.

Hanks Brothers’ hollow-cast figures were an early rival or pirate of William Britain’s figures, only made from 1893 through to the depression (1920s or 1930s?) Former employee of Britain’s, the Hanks brothers mostly made 54mm toy soldiers, with only a handful of 70mm figures.

Knowing this, I was unlikely to find a suitable recast or spare Hanks 70mm arm anywhere.

I made a quick rough arm through bending some old sparkler or garden wire into the rough arm length plus extra wire length for a tomahawk.

The arm was built up using masking tape in strips and a tomahawk blade made of masking tape too.

New arm tried on for size and fit.

Finally, I had to decide whether to repaint the whole figure or not. At the moment, I thought not.

A mixture of black and silver acrylic paint turned masking tape into bare old metal.

A few smudges of red, grey green and brown matched the worn paintwork of the original.

H. Hanks Copyright? in faint writing on the base above the hollowcast metal drain or pour holes.

New arm painted to roughly match the playworn Hanks Indian figure.

It’s a functional repair, good enough for gaming, with some ‘double sided’ folding masking tape holding it to a tuppenny base, keeping the H. Hanks name visible on the base for the future.

A new arm almost as good as old? Big Chief Tom-ahawk Hanks, ready for action for the first time in decades again alongside 60mm plastic Indians.

Job done …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 20/21 June 2020.

Back on the Repair Desk – four crumbling WW2 Cherilea 60mm plastic paratroops

The jigsaw remains of Cherilea 60mm WW2 Paratroops

Fans of the BBC series The Repair Shop, a gentle hour’s watch of an evening, will appreciate the calmness of some quiet focussed mending.

I have been doing some gentle repair work in between Forest Indian / Close Little Wars skirmishes and reorganising my 54mm toy soldier storage into those handy stackable 4L Really Useful Boxes.

This reorganisation of most of my various junk shop and online job lot purchases into “like figures with like” boxes (Red Guards, Red Line Infantry, Scots, Cavalry, Bands, Blue enemies, Zulus, Cowboys, Indians, Khaki troops, Farm etc.) has revealed a slight repair backlog.

I can now joyfully look forward to many hundreds of hours of repair work on damaged men and horses over the next few years. I’m sure I will be putting in a new order for spare arms and heads from Mike Lewis at Dorset Model Soldiers sometime this year.

Mostly my repairs involve repairing or repurposing bashed old lead hollow-cast figures into game playable condition.

I frequently get emails asking if I will repair someone’s toy soldiers or animals that belonged to their father, grandfather etc. Regretfully I explain that my repairs are functional and to my own rough and ready standards for gaming, not professional repairs.

Tools of the gentle repair task …

For a change from 54mm lead hollowcast figures, I decided to work on some fragile crumbling 1960s plastic figures, including oversize 60mm ones. Some of these have hung around in our family collection since my childhood. They never quite fitted with the Airfix others, so were usually left unloved in the toy box.

The completed jigsaw becomes four 60mm paratroopers in tan and green versions …

These four figures are Cherilea plastic 60mm WW2 Paratroopers c. 1960.

The two figures on the left have the look of French Resistance fighters, if any really damaged ones ever need a repaint. One of these needed the machine gun barrel repaired.

The grenade throwing figure needs a replacement hand and grenade built up from Fimo polymer clay, masking tape, glue gun or Multipose Airfix spares.

Over the past few years, a few more odd oversized ones have turned up in job lots, so slowly I have enough for a small skirmish game or two of khaki Infantry, Redcoats, Indians, American Civil War or Wild West.

I should be able to run soon a small Close Little Wars game in the Forest of Indians versus Troops (grey, khaki, Redcoat or blue), cowboys etc.

To identify these figures, apart from base markings, I have used Barney Brown’s Herald Toys web shop archive pages of sold figures:

http://www.heraldtoysandmodels.co.uk/catalog/index.php?cPath=128

Grenade man pictured! Some grey versions of these Cherilea paratroopers – enemy troops?

This post is for Brian Carrick of the Collecting Toy Soldiers blog and 1980s Big Wars article who says at the moment in a previous comment he feels like one of these brittle plastic figures – get well soon, hope the broken leg is mending well!

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on 19 /20 June 2020

Repairing Old Oversize Oddities 60mm+ Figures

This week in the figure repair desk, I have three or four of these play-worn and paint-distressed oversized 60mm+ metal Scots Highlanders by Johilco (John Hill and Co).
Size comparison of 54mm Britain’s / Herald figures with 60mm figures

Hong Kong marked broken ‘Elastolin style’ Ancient warrior to rearm and repair, alongside my Cherilea ‘Viking’ as I have always called him.

The Cherilea ‘Viking’ over the years had lost spear, sword scabbard and finally one helmet horn. The spear and scabbard were roughly repaired with wire (old sparkler wire). The damaged helmet and missing horn was more difficult. A piece of foam and the round end of an old paintbrush were superglued into place. After painting, these should blend in.

For family household allergy reasons, I do not usually use epoxy fillers, Milliput or Green Stuff for figure repairs. Instead I improvise with PVA, UHU glue, matchsticks, cocktail sticks, wire, tissue paper, masking tape, superglue, Fimo polymer clay amongst other things such as cast metal 54mm spare heads, arms etc.

Cherilea plastic 60mm ‘Viking’ figure, an oversized oddity of my childhood.

One of the odd one out figures of my childhood, this oversize 60mm sized ‘Viking’ in my family’s collection may have arrived sometime in the 1960s/early 1970s in company with this pegleg pirate, which also needed repair from wear and tear.

Both oversized figures probably came from a job lot of odd plastic figures that my late Dad bought us all from the family next door in the 1960s once their children were grown up.

I kept them as crumbling curios. With so few and such weird choices of oversized figures, it was hard to fit them into games. Viking versus Pirate? Pirate versus Cowboy or Indian?

Plastic figures once marketed as unbreakable, indestructible – time & chemistry has changed this.

This fine 60mm Long John Silver figure by now had suffered a broken base, missing crutch and pegleg. A tuppeny base and garden or sparkler wire inserts wrapped in masking tape were secured with superglue. Not sure of maker, the base was so damaged.

Like Weebles and many other plastic figures in our house from the early 1970s, a basic Airfix grey home paint job needs replacing with something better.

The Viking’s attractive Cherilea roundel logo – sometimes I find similar figures with a more basic (pirate copy?) roundel with raised dots- then the basic Crescent Toy Co letter coding for each range or the simple ‘Hong Kong’ marking.

Size and scale comparison of Lemax Christmas Village figures (big 1:32) with 60mm Indians – a source of civilian figures?

Identifying some of these Crescent and other 60mm figures is made easier by the great photos at Barney Brown’s Herald Toys and Models http://www.heraldtoysandmodels.co.uk/catalog/index.php?cPath=26

A growing war band of 60mm Indians – I may leave the well worn paint as found on some of these. The front one is repaired Crescent, the others are unknown makers, the bases marked with a round circle with a pattern of dots and lines.

I hope that I can gently use these Indian figures with some ACW and cowboy figures for a Forest Indian oversized figure skirmish in the next few weeks. This might be the first time in decades that they have seen any play action.

Two red painted oddities from my childhood, a Crescent 54mm or 1:32 scale Friar Tuck and a ACW or 7th Cavalry 60mm plastic podfoot. We must have had a surplus of red gloss or a shortage of other paint at home. Well worth a repaint, especially so Tuck can rejoin my other 54mm Robin Hood figures.

The unmarked seventh cavalry type figure was unstable as a podfoot so I have added a tuppenny base.

Downsized back to 54mm figures now

The last three figures came from joblots and from amongst the wider family – original Airfix 1:32 paratroopers from 1969 that I never saw or knew of as a child. I was familiar with their poses from the smaller OO/HO Airfix paratroop figures.

Fragile early Airfix 1:32 paratroopers 1960s, repairs to one’s fractured legs and missing SMG. The damaged one will get a repaint or paint job.

These crumbling, fragile plastic figures, where broken, needed careful keying or roughing up of the broken joint areas with a scalpel tip and gentle pin drill holes with an insert of very fine jewellery wire. Finally masking tape covered difficult joins or damage. This one damaged figure has both cut marks (lawnmower?) and teeth marks!

1968/69 issue figures, replaced quite shortly by the familiar 54mm 1:32 paratroops I grew up with.

More about these first 1968/69 54mm figures here at Hugh Walter’s excellent Small Scale World plastic figure blog including pictures of all the 1:32 poses –

http://airfixfigs.blogspot.com/2010/05/01-british-paratroops-1st-vertion-132.html

Repro cardboard Airfix brown boxes are available on eBay in Australia!

More figures on the repair and repaint desk next time include a jigsaw of arms and legs that were once oversized 60mm plastic paratroops and a 54mm Timpo Napoleonic British standard bearer in bits.

No crumbling plastic man left behind!

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 19 June 2020.

Gold in them there forested hills of Gondal?

Northwest Gondal, 1870s

Rumours have reached the Redcoats at Fort MacGuffin that a gang of illegal loggers and miners are back in the hills to the NW edge of the Northern Forests. From time to time, rumours of past gold finds and limitless timber have lured landless settlers and gangs to try their luck.

Usually a Hunting Party of Forest Indians deal with any threats to their Hunting Grounds and Sacred Forests.

Redcoat patrols in the forest are warned to watch out for trouble. What will happen?

Turn 1

A small gang of armed miners is glimpsed at the entrance to the old mine, pulling down the boards that close it off.

D6 thrown to see at which turn or when next two parties of miners (Turn 4 and 9) and the next two Forest Indian Hunting Parties of five each arrive at Turn 6 and 7.

The Redcoat patrol of nine will emerge on the board and road to the south of the mine at Turn 11. Two d6 were thrown to determine how many redcoats are on patrol.

A Forest Indian Hunting Party emerges from the Northwest following a scrub turkeyfowl. They spot the Miners and some felled trees. This must be stopped! Where there are a few Miners, more follow.

The Forest Indians decide to scare the Miners off with some up close rifle fire.

Do the Miners post a lookout? D6 yes 1,2,3 – no 4,5,6.

Do the Miners see the Indians moving in the forest before the Indians fire? D6 Yes 1,2 No 3,4,5,6 – at this point Turn 1 and 2 the Indians are not seen approaching.

By Turn 3, the Miners do notice the Indians approaching. They are all out of range.

The first Hunting Party of Forest Indians uses cover to get closer to the miners.

By Turn Four and Five, firing has begun.

By Turn Six, the Melee between the Miner with the Pike and the Indian Braves sees the Miner and one Brave killed.

Photo: Turn Four, To the North a second Party of miners appears, weapons drawn.

Turn 8 – One of the first Hunting Party is in melee with the Miners’ Lookout, who is killed.
A higher bird’s eye view of the second Forest Indian Hunting Party advancing using cover of trees

Turn 9 – the final small group of miners appear on the track, south of the mine. Several Forest Indians and Miners are in melee.

Turn 10 – more Close Range firing does not lead to a mass of casualties due to some poor dice throws when firing and lucky Casualty Savings Throws.

Turn 11 A patrol of Redcoats appears on the path, south of the mine.

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At this stage with three groups on the table, I chose what would happen next from six options for a d6 dice throw.

1 – Miners fire on Redcoats

2 – Miners try to ally with Redcoats against Forest Indians

3 – Redcoats ally with Indians against Miners

4 – Redcoats fire in Forest Indians

5 – Forest Indians retreat away into the trees

6 – Indians fire on Redcoats

The outcome this time is Number Four, that the Forest Indians retreat whilst firing and being fired upon by the Miners.

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Turn 12 – time to leave?

The Indians departing and Redcoats arriving, the Miners throw a d6 to see if they stay to fight (1-3) and be caught or retreat (4-6). They wisely throw a retreat dice number, leaving their equipment behind.

Turn 12 As the Redcoat patrol advances, Miners hurriedly exit north and the Forest Indians disappear into the trees.

The Valhalla Queue – seven miners and a Hunting Party of five Forest Indians.

The fortunate Turkey watches the Redcoats load up and wheel away the Miners’ cart. It lives to gobble another day!

Before they departed, the Redcoats hastily used the gunpowder and explosives they found at the site to blow up the entrance to this troublesome mine good and proper, once and for all. If they can’t carry back all the Miners’ supplies on the cart, they will be buried for later or blown up in the mine entrance. No sense leaving it all for more Miners or the Forest Indians to find.

BOOM!

The fleeing Miners and Forest Indian Hunting Parties far away hear the sound and saw the plume of dust, smoke and rock spouting high above the trees as the Old Mine was sealed shut under a rockfall tumbling onto the Forest Path.

In their colonial policing role, the Redcoat Patrol gather up any dropped weapons and loaded them onto the Miners’ handcart. Removing any identification papers or personal effects that they find, the Redcoats quickly bury the Miners in one area.

That done, they bury the fallen Indians in shallow graves and cairns in another area, to keep them safe from wild beasts, knowing that the Forest Indians would return by nightfall to retrieve their fallen warriors and bury them according to the Forest Indian tradition.

By nightfall, even with the Miners’ Cart, the Redcoat Patrol should be back towards the safety of Fort MacGuffin by dusk.

Photo: The surviving two Hunting Parties of Forest Indians lurk to see what they can scavenge, including this small mystery barrel. Firewater? Explosives? Food?

Who knows what will happen next in the forests of North Gondal?

Conclusion:

An enjoyable short solo skirmish game in cluttered terrain, handling three different groups of characters for once. Hope you enjoyed it too!

I am enjoying the rough continuity of tensions between skirmish episodes amongst the various character groups and their background motivations.

The 54mm figures and terrain used are the following:

  • The Forest Indians are my repaired and repainted mostly Britain’s Hollowcast metal Indians
  • The Redcoats are my paint conversions of Pound Store Plastic copies of WW2 German Infantry
  • The Miners are Replicants plastics ‘Confederate Raiders’ sets, sourced through Steve Weston Toy Soldiers or on his eBay site
  • Trees are Bold Frontiers Australia tree packs.
  • The large dead tree and rocky mine entrance (a plastic pond edge or rockery) from Britain’s farm and garden sets in my childhood collection.
  • Charbens metal cart, repaired
  • Terrain is old fashioned felt pieces over big book hills with ‘logs’ and ‘rocks’ from the garden.

Rules are Close Little Wars scaled down adaptations of a Donald Featherstone ‘Close Wars’ appendix to his War Games (1962), book reprint or ebook copy available from John Curry’s History of Wargaming website.

Movement distances are again generally halved from the Close Wars appendix to reflect the smaller playing space available.

By chance, the Amazon.co.uk page for this book currently features in the sample pages / ‘see inside’ section a view of these Close Wars rules appendix – good choice, as you can see proof that it is a (reprint) book worth buying and reading!

Blog posted by Mark ManofTIN, 11 June 2020.