“Little Wars: a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books” is the long and unusual title of H.G. Wells famous book that started modern war gaming back in 1913.
H.G. Wells had an eye for intelligent girls or ladies, such as Amber Reeves, a pioneering feminist Socialist student at Cambridge University https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber_Reeves with whom Wells had a child outside marriage in 1909. Wells called Amber “Dusa”, a shortened form of his pet name (!) for her of Medusa.
Wells proved himself to be more than just the father of modern war gaming!
The years before Floor Games (1911), an account of floor games with his two sons, led onto the “SandgateCannonade” of Little Wars (1913) were certainly busy ones for Wells, personally and professionally.
I wonder if this Xavier Sager designed Strategie / Strategy postcard girl is “the sort of intelligent girl who likes boys games and books” that Wells had in mind? It’s certainly a nice field gun shooting at what looks like tiny men or toy soldiers.
I came across this curious “Little Wars” style postcard online attached to a completely unrelated foreign language medical website about heart disease.
I was puzzled – Any reason why it was on a medical website?
It’s an interesting little card from somewhere in the early 1900s through to WW1. Look carefully and you will see that the ammunition for her toy gun is hearts!
What Strategy is it that she proposes?
Why the Gulliver Lilliputian style differences in size between giant lady and puny male victims?
Are these her tiny fallen lovers?
Is she a Femme Fatale figure? A Dusa or mythical fate spinner, a fatal woman?
What of the tiny fallen or wounded figures on the floor, including one in uniform, cursing or crying out? He must have a very revealing view of Mademoiselle “Strategie”.
What would the spirited Amber Reeves make of it all?
Strategy was produced as a comic or satirical postcard by Xavier Sager. Sager was a European postcard artist whom I had not heard of before but a quick internet search reveals him to have been most prolific.
However little appears online or in print about Sager’s life. Xavier Sager may have been born in Austria in 1870 or 1881 and died in the USA in 1930. He mostly illustrated Paris life in the first few years of the 1900s. You can see many of his designs here and on Pinterest:
Sager’s image reminds me of this curious Gibson Girls comic drawing by American artist Charles Dana Gibson entitled “The Weaker Sex” (1903).
Xavier Sager reputedly produced over 3000 designs of what in America would later be called pin ups, nose cone art and far more relaxed and revealing than the fashionable Gibson Girls of America at the time.
Many of the military ones seem focussed on cheeky, erotic or patriotic subjects such as flags, national songs, uniforms and female company for Allied soldiers including the Americans after their 1917 entry into WW1. They must have sold like hot cakes or donuts to the American doughboys.
This post is for Marvin, a talented painter of WW1 miniatures!
There are plenty of Xavier Sager’s collectable vintage postcard images for sale online or viewable on Pinterest, if you want to look up his work any further, along with websites below.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 26 August 2018
B.P.S. Blog Post Script
Mademoiselle Strategie with her ammunition of hearts may well be the female version of the man collecting a Jar of Hearts (conquests, hopefully, not real human organs) in Christina Perri’s recent song Jar of Hearts, better heard in the remix of the time travelling Postmodern Jukebox, court musicians to the Duke of Tradgardland. Enjoy!
I know some colonial history but I knew nothing about the barbarous practice of Blackbirding:
Blackbirding is the coercion of people through trickery and kidnapping to work as labourers …
In the 1870s, the blackbirding ship trade focused on supplying labourers to plantations, particularly the sugar cane plantations of Queensland and Fiji … between 1842 and 1904. Those “blackbirded” were recruited from the indigenous populations of nearby Pacific islands or northern Queensland.
So many ships entered the blackbirding trade (with adverse effects on islanders) that the British Navy sent ships from Australia Station into the Pacific to suppress the trade.
Islanders fought back and sometimes were able to resist those engaged in black-birding … Wikipedia article source
Disturbingly the Wikipedia article mentions that Blackbirding has continued to the present day sourcing plantation workers in developing countries such as Central America. All the more reason to support Fair Trade.
The causes of the American Civil War are complex, whether it was states rights or slavery or both that triggered the secession and conflict. The arguments, tensions and legacy continue to this day in America.
Blackbirding was new to me. I also knew nothing about the opposite of Harriet Tubman’s heroic Underground Railroad (to help free escaped slaves from the Southern USA to the freedom of the North around the time of the American Civil War), the opposite being now known as the Reverse Underground Railroad.
“The Reverse Underground Railroad was the pre-American Civil War practice of kidnapping free blacks and fugitive slaves from U.S. free states and slave states and transporting them into the Southern slave states for sale as slaves …
The Reverse Underground Railroad operated for 85 years, from 1780 to 1865.” Wikipedia article source
Solomon Northrup published Twelve Years A Slave in1853, a memoir of his kidnapping from New York and twelve years spent as a slave in Louisiana. This became the award-winning film, which I have not yet seen, nor yet read the book.
Some interesting alternative history and some sources of gaming scenarios, instead of Redcoats blasting away at rebellious natives, you can feature powerless or resisting islanders, a wicked blackbirding gang and the Royal Navy to the rescue, whether on this planet or on another VSF one!
Thanks Pat G!
Another interesting nugget of Colonial gaming history like the female warriors of Dahomey, featured on my blog in February:
This 1970s or 1980s (?) Military Modelling Manual article was kindly sent to me by fellow Peter Laing 15mm figure collector Ian Dury from his extensive collection of Military Modelling magazines and manuals. This was in response to my earliest crudest Fimo inspired attempts to repair some bsahed 54mm Britain’s and Johillco figures. Thanks Ian!
Having recently restored trashed metal detecting finds of toy soldiers, I appreciate how much work is involved in turning such damaged figures as the headless horseman on a legless horse pictured into the beautiful Yeomanry repaints shown throughout the article.
Some of the 1970s/ 1980s materials that B.S. Armstrong mentioned are still around.
Plaka casein based paints (now Pelican Plaka) and Testor metallics or Testors paint are still around and available online or from hobby / craft shops.
Plastic Padding “Chemical Metal from Sweden” is still produced by Henkel / Loctite and extensively available, likewise Epoxy Cements.
Interestingly Milliput or Green Stuff is not mentioned to do this job, suggesting this is quite an early article as it was widely used by modellers in the 1980s. I don’t currently use it for repairs as we have a family / household allergy to Milliput type products.
Nitromors or Daz as a paint remover? Choose your own tried and tested, safe chemical method!
Rose Miniatures as a source of heads and arms? Not sure about the heads but a list of recast Rose figures is available from John Eden Studios, who also produce the beautiful FANY First Aid Nursing Yeomanry figures on horseback here at http://johnedenstudios.com/page48.htm
No internet traces of Antony J. Kite of Castle Hill, Windsor replacement alloy heads for Britain’s plastics (Eyes Right?) Soldiers mentioned in the article.
However Brian Carrick commented: “Antony J. Kite of Castle Hill, Windsor, better known as Tony Kite was one of the great old gentlemen of the hobby, the Castle Hill address was a souvenir shop he ran. He produced several ranges of plastic figures under the Cavendish brand, Henry VIII and his 6 wives, Regiments of 1745 and Ceremonials. If memory serves right they were designed by Stadden. He passed away about 10 years ago and was an active supporter of the hobby to the very end.”
However Langley Models and Dorset Toy Soldiers both produce an extensive range of similar recast Britain’s Type heads, arms, horses tails, heads and legs. I recently ordered (May 2018) and received some recast arms from Dorset. http://dorsetmodelsoldiers.com
I will check by email whether GBE Toy Soldiers in Coningsby still produce their spares range, as their undated website suggests.
Buyer beware: Always worth checking by email, post or phone that the manufacturer of any of these ranges still exists before parting with cash! A small plea to figure makers: I wish manufacturers would make this more apparent on their website that they or their ranges are still currently in production.
I’m not too sure about the dreaded Lead Rot mentioned by B.S. Armstrong but I did seal trashed earthy metal destructor toy soldier finds once cleaned up with an outer coating of acrylic primer paint and the inner coating with paint or glue as much as possible could be oozed through holes such as missing legs or heads.
An interesting and inspiring article!
Inspired? Here are some of my previous recent blogposts on restoring Broken Britain’s:
Copyright remains with B.S. Armstrong for this Mil Mod article, produced in the days before websites, blogs and emails, I have no way of contacting him to ask permission or express my thanks for his encouraging article. I will withdraw this post if Mr. Armstrong he wishes. Hopefully he will be pleased that this article continues to inspire another generation of lead Dr. Frankensteins and toy soldier Remount and resurrection men.
All comments via the usual channels and comments page.
Or in my words “I didn’t choose the Geek Life … the Geek Life chose me.”
A big thanks to all my fellow bloggers and readers over the last year (or two) for all your likes, comments and support. Your blogs on my “blogs I follow” blogroll are my regular portals to games blogging, toy soldiers and gaming inspiration.
The last year of Man of TIN and associated blogs has seen a wide range of subjects, being the wargames and toy soldier butterfly that I am.
Some of my highlights from my latest year of Man of TIN blog
9. Unusual anniversaries and special months – MARCH and FEMbruary featuring female figure painting challenges and history, along with “believable female miniatures” including buying some 28mm land girls from Annie at Bad Squiddo.
10. The Bronte bicentenaries – 200 years since several of the Bronte family were born, inspiration for some of my Imagi-Nations games, based in their mythical juvenile worlds of Angria, Gondal and GlassTown.
May – Only about half the way through my New Gaming Year’s Irresolutions … and way off target already!
I have acquired second-hand a few dozen of these attractive 19th Century infantry from Peter Laing’s 15mm range, now commercially unavailable as the moulds have vanished.
With the tall shakos or tall kepis with the ball crests and long frock coats, they look mid 19th Century Crimean to Austrian / Franco Prussian Wars. I think they are probably supposed to be French or Sardinian infantry, but they also look like French Foreign Legion 1850s.
They could be 15mm Peter Laing Crimean French (and dual use Franco-Prussian French with tall kepi)
F814 French Infantry advancing
F815 French infantry drummer
F816 French officer
F817 French standard bearer
With almost Napoleonic shakos, they would do well as Imagi-Nation troops for the Bronte juvenile fiction of Angria, Gondal and Gaaldine. I have enough spare standard bearers for alternative flags and nationalities.
I would be interested to hear from other Peter Laing collectors if they have or recognise these figures as mid 19th Century French.
Some other figure suppliers have similar tall shako / kepis.
Interesting post about Franco Prussian War French Infantry (in French) that reminds us that the 150th anniversary is only 2 years away (1870 / 2020). This will no doubt generate more gaming and historical interest in the FPW. The Austro-Prussian War anniversary was I suspect slightly overshadowed by the 1916 WW1 anniversary events.