Work in Progress: The next Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop patrol or group is a little different. They are the 1st St Trinians Girl Guides, no less.
The St Trinians Guides appear in at least one film to retrieve casualties on stretchers on First Aid duty during one of the famous hockey matches (or hockey massacres).
These girls are conversions from the Little Britons STS 42mm Range LBB30 Boy Scout figure, using PVA glue and tissue paper for skirt / pinafore dress and untidy hair, with a file and snips to roughen the hats up.
Dressed in a motley assortment of hats, guide uniform and school uniform from the 1930s and 40s, these gals eschew the traditional scout staff for the more effective duelling or melee weapon of the hockey stick. I found modelling a lacrosse stick a bit tricky; the odd croquet mallet might be possible instead.
More on St Trinians, the original Ronald Searle cartoons and their wartime origins, several YouTube film clips, including their school or battle song (with its astute military strategy) here at:
A repost of a December 2019 “clearing the drafts” blogpost about Escape from Kraznir that I reread recently as I try to work out more RPG / narrative and fantasy elements into my Scouting Wide Games Project:
August 2022 Update: New Post with the original Kraznir scenario and map which I have crudely denamed, the characters made gender neutral and differently classed or with more generic, updated character types to suit a wider range of periods:
As a collector of toy soldier things, I found this toy soldier postcard entitled Une page de tournée (“a turning page”) on Etsy for a few pounds. I was intrigued by the toy soldiers escaping from a battle illustration in a (French) book.
A little surreal … especially the connected or disconnected collection of objects around them:
A knight statue. Spider webs. Old French postcard. Unwritten postcards. Bound volumes or old books. Lautrec style Paris Moulin Rouge / Can Can print of group de Mlle Eglantine.
They carry light machine guns and look a little like chunky Airfix British Paratroopers or Atlantic ‘euro figures’. Presumably they may be ‘modern’ 20th century French Troops? Or generic modern infantry?
Some figures escape the page or several of the figures are still in the book, covering their retreat or just wounded.
Paintings like this are designed to provoke questions.
What are they escaping from?
Have they been defeated or routed?
What story are they in? Is it a history or a fiction story?
They reminded me of a modern version of the Bronte “Twelves” toy soldiers in the famous children’s book and the art installation at Bronte Parsonage Museum.
They reminded me also a little, albeit in modern combat fatigues, of the toy soldiers which come to life in E. Nesbit’s The Town in The Library, an Edwardian children’s book:
“André Martins de Barros was born in 1942 in Pau, a small town in the foothills of the Pyrénées near the Spanish border. He married in 1974 and has two grown-up children.” Apparently he worked in Paris.
There was a very interesting quote about his work by Christian Germak –
“His painting are never simple; they tell more than the story depicted on the surface and are often deep philosophical statements in themselves revealing great thoughts, secrets and symbols. They can be poetic or full of humour.”
“Each painting belies more than than one interpretations and in some pictures you sense as he is playing with his characters arranging them as children would with their toy soldiers. Whether he is using books, bodies, horses or cans, it is all a game.”
Comment by Christian Germak (translated in English by Fiona Remnant)
How odd that he doesn’t mention “arranging them as grown men and women of a certain age would still with their toy soldiers.”
Christian Germak goes on to say about Martins’ work: “The artist’s ultimate aim is to lead us in his world of dreams and fantasy and in so doing offers us the opportunity to be surrounded by and confront our own philosophical thoughts and beliefs inspired by travels through the subconscious. Experience his work and enter his world.”
This makes me think that what we do, collecting and displaying toy soldiers in vignettes and dioramas or gaming with them, is quite similar to how Martins and other illustrators create character, scene and story along with tension, peril and emotion in a scene.
This could be said of the striking Airfix ‘Box Art’, especially for the figures and vehicles. A freeze frame from real life or a 50s 60s war film?
The same could be said of our gaming scenarios, diorama making and writers.
In some ways, painting, scriptwriting, (graphic) novels and TV scripts, some types of figure gaming and RPGs share similarities – they are all creative, character building, involve setting the scene, overcoming challenges and coming to some form of resolution.
There is an old writers maxim – “Impediment makes a narrative“, whether it is a fantasy RPG or historical War Game, a Hollywood script, TV or Radio cliff-hanger, theatre or musical performance.
This “Impediment” in our games is the contested pinchpoint of a bridge over impassable stream, the unbalanced force, the dice roll delaying the arrival of reinforcements, the ammunition running out, the Paratroops arriving off landing zone target …
What is written on the “turning page”?
What does the book say in Martins’ strange painting?
The illustrated page is captioned “[… dade] de l’ennemi” (… of the Enemy) and the other page
“… the war costing us nearly two billion a day … we must foresee the moment when the [re…] gold of our public treasury … be started, only to settle the orders that we have made abroad. Today we export less and import more. At present we find ourselves debtors of a few nations. Here are the realities.”
It doesn’t make much sense, being roughly translated using a French to English translation online website / program.
Blogposted by Mark Man Of TIN, 15 August 2022
B.P.S. Blog Post Script
Another artist who collected and featured ‘toy soldiers’ in his art – Andrew Wyeth
Recent uniform research to create new patrols of Girl Scouts and Guides, Boy Scouts and other unformed groups for my Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop Project – a summary of recent blog posts late July / August 2022, crossposted from my other blogs:
I wondered whether Kate Bush’s music – most obviously in the track Hounds Of Love 1985 album (which featured her Running Up That Hill song used in Series IV volume 1 – had an unconscious influence on Stranger Things?
What about her Experiment IV song and her 1986 video (from her 1986 Greatest Hits album The Whole Story?)
Did this make it big enough Stateside for the Duffer brothers to have seen or heard this?
Every Reference? Experiment IV or Cloudbusting clearly wasn’t mentioned in this Wired channel Youtube interview with Stranger Things creators The Duffer brothers 🙂
I do not own copyright to these images – copyright Kate Bush- All screenshots for discussion / research purposes only.
A very 1981 Raiders of The Lost Ark ending angel or demon summoned by Experiment IV?
The good old Stranger Things nosebleed motif in Experiment IV ?
The unmarked white Government transit van …
Unlikely but Experiment IV and Stranger Things are both clearly the product of the nuclear 80s Cold War, as is her track and video for Cloudbusting.
Isn’t that device being pushed up the hill by Kate Bush and Professor Donald Sutherland a little like DustinHenderson’s amazing ham radio antenna in Stranger Things Series 3 Episode 1 “Suzie, do you copy?” and the Never Ending Story theme song duet (funny bit) of Series 3 Episode 8: Battle Of StarCourt Mall?
Cloudbusting video still: Donald Sutherland and Kate Bush
As I don’t have the tech skills to film and cut one Kate Bush video to the tune of another song (the Stranger Things soundtrack), instead you can get the effect by watching the official Kate Bush music video of Experiment IV or Cloud Busting with the sound down and the Stranger Things theme music playing from another device.
Richard Vernon, Dawn French, Hugh Laurie – in the British Experiment IV Hawkins Lab?
Insert cameos of famous 80s actors in both Stranger Things or Experiment IV and Cloudbusting. Light the blue touch paper and retire. Do not return …
Peter Vaughan cameo as General with Kate Bush
Somebody has already done 4 his in reverse, cut some Hawkins Lab Stranger Things series 4 scenes (Beware Spoilers! Beware fake blood and gore! etc.) to this Kate Bush music track of Experiment IV – https://youtu.be/NDhdaCFRfGc
So when speculating as I have done recently why Stranger Things or The X Files couldn’t have been set in Britain or deepest darkest South West, or what its 70s 80s based British TV equivalent would be –
Grange Hill with Monsters meets the troubling and disturbing Rentaghost and Pipkins –
I can now add to this mix Kate Bush Experiment IV and Cloudbusting video along with the earth based Pertwee 1970s Doctor Who Series.
How this mistrust of government (mis)”guided by the science” and other pulp themes will influence my gaming, who knows?
My previous posts on gaming scenarios and Stranger Things: