Black Birding and the Reverse Underground Railroad

I have reached the huge goal of 50 followers on the Man of TIN blog, so thanks to all who read my blog(s). You are all very welcome here.

I try not to pay much attention to the blogstats but I noticed a 51st follower, Pat G and I usually check out the person’s website out of courtesy and curiousity.

On Pat G’s blog Irregular Warband Fast I found an interesting article and scenario / game write up by Pat G on Black-Birding

https://irregularwarbandfast.blogspot.com/2018/05/goldfinching.html

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

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbirding

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

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_Underground_Railroad

Solomon Northrup published Twelve Years A Slave in 1853, 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:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/colonial-amazons-women-soldiers-of-dahomey-and-siam/

Blosposted by Mark, Man of TIN, August 2018.

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Old Britain’s Never Die article from an old Mil Mod Manual

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One of my remounts …

“The first task was to clean my pile of headless, armless, dented, holed horrors”

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“The first task was to clean my pile of headless, armless, dented, holed horrors …”

So B.S. Armstrong begins one section of his usefully detailed “How To” article on repairing old lead toy soldier cavalry figures.

My recent blogposts on the Man of TIN blog have involved the joyous restoration of some equally “headless, armless, dented, holed horrors” of Broken Britain’s figures.

This Yeomanry related toy soldier article is posted here for Marvin at the wonderful Suburban Militarism blog https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com  and the beautiful Yeomanry uniform plates shown as part of the 1897 project on the Eastern  Garrison Website https://easterngarrison.blogspot.com

What a shame the Mil Mod article isn’t in colour!

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

 

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FANY sets still available (2018)  as castings from John Eden Studios. 

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.”

Cavendish

http://smallscaleworld.blogspot.com/2014/07/c-is-for-cavendish-listing.html

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

http://www.langleymodels.co.uk/acatalog/Toy_Soldier_Heads__54mm_.html

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:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/recalled-to-the-colours-54mm-metal-detectorists-toy-soldier-finds-restored-to-fighting-condition/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/broken-britains-cavalry-back-on-fimo-hooves/

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.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 1st June 2018.

Happy 2nd Blogaversary and Geek Pride Day from the Man of TIN!

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Waving flags and cheers from or for my tip-off find of the year – 15mm Peter Laing Late Victorian Parade Range Civilians. 

Today 25th May 2018 is my second happy Blogaversary (blog anniversary) of the Man of TIN blog! Huzzah! Wave flags etc

May 25 is also Geek Pride Day around the world

https://www.thinkgeek.com/geekpride/

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

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1. Pound Store Plastic Warriors – my other blog https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com

Being mostly 42mm paint conversions and 36mm pound store plastic tat figures transformed into loveliness!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/pound-store-plastic-figure-conversions-and-comparisons/

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2. Sidetracked – my other railway gaming related blog and its Blowing Up Desert Trains games

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/blowing-up-desert-trains/

all thanks to the gift of a Train in a TIN.

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Peter Laing 15mm troops  clash on the tracks in the desert
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192 Heroscape Hexes of Joy on my Portable Game Board

3. Expanding my Heroscape hex portable game board

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/192-hexes-of-joy-a-larger-hex-game-board/

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4. The Remount Department and Broken Britain’s, all part of my ongoing interest in 54mm gaming and figure repair and restoration.

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Metal detectorist toy soldier finds restored.  

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/recalled-to-the-colours-54mm-metal-detectorists-toy-soldier-finds-restored-to-fighting-condition/

5. My ongoing search for vintage Peter Laing 15mm figures, now they are no longer produced and the Peter Laing collectors Google G+ Community Page established by Ian Dury

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/peter-laing-15mm-google-community-page/

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My best find of the last blogging year? A tip off towards Peter Laing 15mm Victorian Civilians.

6. Along with American painter and toy soldier collector Andrew Wyeth exhibitions, I have also enjoyed Forgotten Georgia,  still an enjoyable slice of old American life and buildings on this website

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/forgotten-georgia-blog/

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7. Vintage Airfix OO/HO figure gaming

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/another-vintage-airfix-hoard/

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The end of the Airfix ACW game and surviving Union troops!

One of my favourite games last year was a vintage ACW  Airfix game using the Train in a TIN!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/acw-battle-of-pine-ridge-vintage-airfix-full-game-write-up/

8. Using Donald Featherstone rules of course in the year of his Centenary (1918-2013).

Reading and transcribing BBC scripts from Don’s 1960s long-forgotten radio talks was another highlight, the contents now passed onto John Curry at the History o& Wargaming Project.

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From an early Featherstone interview in the newspapers which I tracked down.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/featherstone100-donald-featherstone-centenary-20-march-2018/

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.

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100 years since the Vote was awarded to some British women – my suffragette conversions and Home cast Prince August policemen conversions. 

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!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/tell-it-to-the-unicorns-new-gaming-year-irresolutions-2018/

Many thanks for sharing my latest blogging year and I hope you enjoy the next! Next posts will be more “Broken Britain’s” 54mm lead figure conversions.

And Happy Geek Pride Day

“I didn’t choose the Geek Life … the Geek Life chose me.”

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 2nd Blogaversary, 25 May 2018.

 

 

 

 

15mm Peter Laing 19th Century Figures

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Attractive 19th Century 15mm Peter Laing figures

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

 

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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.

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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.

http://pacofaitlezouave.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/le-fantassin-de-1870.html

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 21/22 April 2018.

Sidetracked by WW1 Southwest Africa desert railway scenarios?

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2018/04/16/german-colonial-railways-southwest-africa-ww1/

Crossposted from my occasional Sidetracked blog by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 17 April 2018.

Away From The Western Front WW1 history blog

IMG_3368Away from the Western Front is a two year project (2017-2019) funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional grants from the British Institute for the Study of Iraq (Gertrude Bell Memorial) and the Centre for Hidden Histories. The project is being run by the ‘Away from the Western Front’, a registered charity.

https://awayfromthewesternfront.org/about-us/

Lots of information here on some unfamiliar aspects of WW1 from Africa to China, the Balkans, Gallipoli, Salonica and across the Middle East. Fascinating stories here. A WW1 Centenary website to watch for an alternative to the more familiar coverage of the Western Front.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, April.

 

 

Portuguese War Memorial WW1

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Unusual shaped headstones of Portuguese troops at the Portuguese War Memorial, Richebourg, France  (Image: Centenary News Twitter source)

The contribution of Portuguese troops during the Spring Offensive, Operation Georgette and the Battle of The Lys of March and April 1918 was commemorated by the French and Portuguese Governments today at the Portuguese War Memorial on the Western Front.

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Photo on Centenary News Twitter Feed 9 April 2018
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Joseph Zimet’s photographs on Twitter 9 April 2018

Interesting photographs taken by Joseph Zimet @josephzimet on Twitter.

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Close up of Portuguese troops at the ceremony  @josephzimet on Twitter

April 9th 1918 / 2018 is obviously an important day in Portuguese army history, as set out in The Portugal in WW1 Wikipedia entry: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portugal_during_World_War_I

April 9 1918: The Battle of La Lys, as it becomes known in Portugal, or Operation Georgette or the Battle of Estaires to the British, starts with a heavy artillery barrage from the Germans, followed by a German offensive with intensive use of lethal gas. The German Sixth Army deploys eight divisions (about 100,000 men), supported by intensive artillery fire. Against the force, the Portuguese have 20,000 soldiers and 88 guns. As a result, the Second Division is annihilated during the battle. The Portuguese CEP loses 327 officers and 7,098 soldiers, about 35% of its effective fighting capacity. The survivors are sent to the rear, some of the units being integrated into the British Army later on.

During this battle, one of the most courageous acts in Portuguese military history is perpetrated, as private Aníbal Milhais (also known as “Soldado Milhões” [“A Soldier as good as a million others” in his commanding officer’s words]) defends the retreating allied forces with nothing but his machine gun, allowing them to fall back and regroup. Once he runs out of bullets, he escapes the battlefield.

After defeating two German regiments and forcing the remaining German forces to go around him (they find it impossible to defeat what they believe to be an heavily armed post), he gets lost along the way, having to eat nothing but the sweet almonds his family had sent him from Portugal for three days. Lost and exhausted, he is able to rescue a Scottish major from drowning in a swamp. The major leads him to the Allied camp and tells of Milhais’s deeds.   (Infomation source: Wikipedia)

More about the Portuguese Expeditionary Forces in WW1

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_Expeditionary_Corps

Plans for a memorial in England were recently suggested here  http://www.centenarynews.com/article/memorials-for-a-king–country-plans-for-tribute-in-uk-to-portugals-fallen

56,500 Portuguese troops were sent to the Western Front, of these approximately 2,100 were killed, 5,200 wounded and 7,000 taken prisoner.

The Portuguese Fireplace is an unusual Memorial of Canadian and Portuguese troops on forestry duty in the New Forest.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_Fireplace

There is a small amount of information about the Portuguese Army in Britain and Western Front in WW1 on the Imperial War Museum website.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205305030

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A curious handful of junk shop find, painted Airfix WW1 British figures in sky blue. 

I knew that the Portuguese Army of WW1 fought in French sky blue coloured  British Army cut uniforms with unusual fluted steel helmets from a comment on  some sky blue painted Airfix WW1 British figures I had posted online in 2016.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/obe-repaint-figures-1/

I couldn’t remember where I had seen coloured illustrations of such troops, it wasn’t in my usual reference of  Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour. Instead I found a page on Portugal 1917-18 in Andrew Mollo’s Army Uniforms of World War 1.

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Portuguese Uniforms  in Andrew Mollo’s Army Uniforms of WW1

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Uniform notes in Andrew Mollo’s book

Modellers and gamers should be able to adapt WW1 British Army figures with steel helmets or soft caps into suitable Portuguese troops.

Aly Morrison featured some beautifully painted Portuguese WW1 conversions and colourised photographs of WW1 Portuguese troops.

http://alystoysoldiers.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/partizan-2018-few-more-portuguese.html

Including a superb colourised photo of some drummers and Portuguese troops marching

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An interesting bit of WW1 history that I knew little about.

Remembering many gallant Portuguese soldiers 100 years on.

http://www.remembrancetrails-northernfrance.com/history/nations-in-war/the-portuguese-in-the-great-war.html

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN 9 April 2018