Martial Pride Restored at Circa Games USA

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Three of the bashed original vintage figures  from a bag for $6, money well spent by Scott.

Scott Larson of the Circa Games blog USA dropped me an email (via the Man of TIN blog comments page) to say that he had finished stripping and repainting his chance find of some hollowcast lead figures in a US junk shop. http://www.circagames.com/wordpress/this-doesnt-usually-happen-to-me/

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The finished figures here: http://www.circagames.com/wordpress/toy-soldier-update/

They look as smart and shiny as the day they were first painted and would have proved a joy to a small boy or girl somewhere  when the box was opened and they were seen strung into the card liner, ready for action!

Battle damaged and with playworn paint, who knows where and what heroic adventures these lead figures have had in the past with their original owners and down through the generations to Scott?

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Scott’s website or blog header is a colourful VSF scene with some great steampunk tanks.

Scott’s blog Circa Games is a varied and interesting read ranging from westerns to VSF, wooden figures … oh, and designing and building your own games shack out the back. A games shed that has to deal with both snow and termites, as casually mentioned in http://www.circagames.com/wordpress/onward-and-backward/

and more fully shown at

http://www.circagames.com/wordpress/a-room-of-ones-own/

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Designing his Games Shack – screenshot from Scott’s Circa Games website.

As a man who struggles to make even model buildings of plastic, card and balsa wood, I have “to take off my wargames hat” to Scott for this amazing bit of carpentry.  (P.S. Before anyone asks, sadly I do not own or wear a special wargames hat.)

There are more of these old lead figures on Scott’s painting table to look forward to.

Add to that the VSF resource pages and the Triggernometry (Old West) one, there is lots to read and refer too here!

Blog posted by Mark, hatless Man of TIN, 17 June 2019.

All images are screenshots from Scott’s Circa Games website and he retains copyright © of his images.

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Father’s Day 2019

Usually on Father’s Day (UK) I post a link to a toy soldier figure that has some strong link back to my late Dad and the love of Toy Soldiers and History that he passed on to me.

2016: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/fathers-day-raf-firefighter/

2017: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/18/national-service-days-1/

2018: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/zulus-or-ashantees-rearmed/

2019?

Although the last few months of blogging have been Scout Wide Games based, I think my Dad would have approved of this year’s family gifts.

This year the wonderful addition to my toy armoury was two handmade warships which I saw and liked in a vintage shop months ago, a small hollow-cast raiding force (a complete surprise, as a raiding force should be!) and an ACW book that I had put aside in case my family weren’t sure what to get.

Father’s Day 2019: Two wooden ships, a book and a small raiding force

Mannie Gentile recently posted a blogpost on the Golden Book of the American Civil War

http://toysoldiersforever.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-book-that-launched-thousand-careers.html

So Mannie is responsible for me buying a cheap secondhand paperback of this interesting book that launched the hobbies and careers of hundreds of Civil War enthusiasts and historians.

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A book I never saw as a child growing up in Britain …

This book is richly illustrated and includes some fabulous battlefield “bird’s eye view” maps whose detail I would have found fascinating as a child.

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This is what my childhood Airfix ACW games aspired to, without knowing this book. (First Bull Run, detail)

The toy hollowcast soldiers are a  treat – a surprise gift from my family found all together in a local vintage shop that they “hoped were all right”.

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Crescent figures metal American infantry in 54mm and smaller 50mm range with the round backpack flamethrowers. All postwar issues.

Any vintage lead soldiers are all right in my eyes!

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Curious Cherilea figures c. 1954 – designed to carry a firing mortar or bazooka?
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Similar figures by Cherilea in Norman Joplin’s The Great Book Of Hollow-Cast Figures.
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At first sight I thought these Cherilea bazooka or mortar  teams might be gimmicky paratroopers with parachutes or engineers with carrying arms.
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Two fine Crescent Khaki Infantry with green helmets, figures issued postwar. I like the lively animation of the grenade thrower.  John Hill (Johillco) Bren Gunner?
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American troops by Crescent 1940s – 1950s. Paratroop type helmets

I was interested to see the kneeling American infantryman  as he appears quite similar in style  to a trio of (solid lead home cast?) soldiers sent to me by Alan as reservists from his Duchy of Tradgardland forces. The kneeling green Crescent trooper has a knee ‘flange’ to give him more stability.

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The three Duchy of Tradgardland reservists have acquired new blue uniforms for a mission in a galaxy far far away. They have an odd space look to them with their helmet and rifle. They are now acquiring blue uniforms and white or silver boots, helmets and weapons to come.  They should soon have a 30s /  50s space ‘thing’ going on to match some of the Tim Mee Galaxy Laser Team and Airfix Space Warriors.

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The lady in the vintage shop thought that all these four items belonged together, so maybe the photo and  1940s / 1950s Royal Navy trade certificate of AB Able Seaman Thomas C. Owen are of the man who made  the two fine warships?

The two fine handmade boats have some battle damage that needs sympathetic repair. They deserve a blog post of their own as they are repaired and researched, along with their paperwork. They came from what can be a “grey port” at times of naval vessels in for refit.

Are they accurate handmade models or spirited imaginative examples of “modern warships” with guns and rockets? It will be interesting to find out.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, Father’s Day 16 June 2019.

 

Stealth’s Take on Close Little Wars

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Following up my post about Jen B’s version of Featherstone’s Close Wars Rules, fellow games blogger Stealth contacted me to say that he had been playing around with his own variant of Donald Featherstone’s simple Close Wars rules.

These were first published in Don’s appendix to War Games (1962) and Stealth had been looking at my variants Close Little Wars.

Here is Stealth’s variant are in detail for you to peruse: https://stealthswargaming.blogspot.com/2019/05/stealths-close-little-wars-variant-rules.html

and his classic first wargames minis are first version 1960s tiny Airfix figure conversions, always a charming joy to see

https://stealthswargaming.blogspot.com/2019/06/i-emerge-from-painting-cave-to-give-you.html

Stealth’s rules have a slight D & D influence or feel (see his other blogs) in that carrying or capturing crates forms part of the victory conditions, scoring and scenarios. Interesting idea for ambushing a supply column etc.

I hope you find something of rules variants interest here. I enjoy seeing how people adapt and tinker, go back to basics and then elaborate a bit more.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 16 June 2019.

Restored corner of the house that is my Hex Boards of Joy

For a few months I have not done much gaming to write up.

Not since a short Mountie Skirmish in late November 2018 last year https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/mountie-ambush-game-15mm/

For a few months my gaming area and tabletop have been covered in broken Britain’s figures awaiting repair, Peter Laing 15mm figures awaiting paint, tools and useful bits of scrap for modelling.

54mm superheroes and tiny blocky Minecraft figures

I am as happy casting, repairing and painting figures as I am gaming with them, hence the quote on Man of TIN blog from Donald Featherstone:

The largest hex game board has hung on the wall being a former picture frame – a neat storage solution tucked away in the corner of a shared living room.

As part of the Scout Wide Games research and rules writing, I am not sure if my hex boards will be too small for the 42mm range Scout figures I have painted. Maybe I should have gone smaller, say OO/HO railway or my Pound Store figure conversions? Different size figures, different scale scenarios?

15mm Peter Laing figures for a different scale

I have been playing around with scale from 54mm superheroes and tiny blocky Minecraft blind bag figures (Heroscape hexes have a 3D landscape Minecraft feel) down to 15mm Peter Laing figures, which give a bigger playing space.

Set up for 42mm range STS Little Britons Scouts (Boy and Girl) …

Having a large enough landscape for the Wide Games scenarios is obviously harder with the larger Scout figures 42mm Shiny Toy Soldiers / Little Britons range (from Spencer Smith Miniatures), so the scale and ground space available may shape the scope of future scenarios.

My couple of quick paint conversions of Pound Store figures in a smaller scale may enlarge the territory available to my Scouting games – I can cheaply and quickly knock up a couple of patrols of these to try this out.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/05/19/pound-store-plastic-boy-scout-32mm-conversions/

32mm Pound Store Scout conversions & the original penny plastic figures

Part of the Wide Games appeal is that tabletop Wide Games could equally function as Garden games especially with the largest, simplest 60mm semi-flat Scouts – as pointed by Alan the Tradgardmastre of the Duchy Of Tradgardland Blog.

http://tradgardland.blogspot.com/2019/05/scouts-for-wide-games.html

If only my ageing knees and back and the weather were up to it …

The rest of the space?

A column of Really Useful Boxes divides the playing space from the crafting space. More Really Useful Boxes and Shoe Boxes are stowed away below the gaming table and the chairs.

Acquiring job lots of broken toy soldiers to repair requires storage. The Peter Laing figures, both painted and awaiting paint, require storage. Scrap modelling materials, tools and paints require storage.

For the last few months, wriggling into the old crafting chair has felt like sliding into a narrow cockpit to focus down onto the hand tools, paintbrush and figures in front of me. It’s also meant that I had no gaming space. Shifting these about and restowing boxes has helped no end.

My flap-down desk with cardboard screen keeping paper contents and books safe from paint.

I understand more fully now the points about concentration and wellbeing made in the Models for Heroes videos. There is a mental craft zone that the world shrinks down to.

I am reminded of the ominous episode in Harry Pearson’s gaming memoir Achtung Schweinhund where Harry hears from his gaming best friend about an obsessive hoarder (stereotypically male, middle aged, single). This man’s decaying house is in danger of collapse from an Aladdin’s Cave of stored vintage unboxed figures, magazines and newspapers, yet eerily the paint table is immaculate and ordered. Harry and friend see a vision of their possible lonely futures.

My Crafting “Cockpit”: Phoenix 43 Trek Cart kit & washed-out Cath Kidston pink Guards mug

The cutting board and painting space that forms my crafting area has now transferred to the right of the board onto a flap down modern bureau desk, rather than than the traditional modeller’s Roll Top type desk. It fits into the rest of the family without sitting in a room apart. It’s stuffed full of toy soldier things and research notes and books for other work-related projects, protected from paint splatters by a removable cardboard screen. Reorganising the contents means that everything should be able to fold back up out of sight.

The desk top “display” space itself could also do with a tidy up as it is currently piled with figures and books that I have worked on in the last year. Inspiration but it’s also a jumble of what has been inside my head recently.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/the-domestic-modelling-joys-of-the-roll-top-desk/

Next to this sits a small bulging cupboard stuffed full with books, hollowcast figures and hoarded Airfix figures and kits from childhood onwards, again its top piled with this year’s projects. Again all of these could do with a sort through on another grey day.

More Really Useful storage boxes live in the garage for my metal casting kit, buildings, some other temperature proof gaming stuff and metal figures, whilst the indoor storage is reserved for the more vulnerable fragile vintage and childhood plastics figures and vehicles.

The painting above the desk is a recent acquisition, a framed Illustrated London News print of the Lancashire Rifle Volunteers parading at Knowsley Park. Britain’s Victorian Home Guard against another Napoleonic French invasion, and finely dressed at that. One for Marvin at Subterranean Militarism!

The Review of Lancashire Rifle Volunteers in Knowsley Park. Illustration for The Illustrated London News, 15 September 1860.

So there you are, restored –

an experimental games lab to try out Wide Games or gaming scenarios indoors,

an encouragement to paint and base those Peter Laings stuck in the lead limbo of the ‘work in progress’ painting box,

hopefully a little more presentable part of the Living Room if we have visitors to the house!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 9 June 2019.

D-Day Forty Years On 1984 – Part 2

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Some further additions to the 1984 press coverage of D-Day posted a few days ago:  https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/04/d-day-forty-years-on-1984/

 

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Here is how the BBC Radio Times covered the events in D-Day week 1984. Some interesting colour magazine pictures in an otherwise black and white newspaper world.

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This  glossy 1984 newspaper souvenir from Portsmouth is proving a bit difficult to photograph so I will try to scan sections of this on a good scanner at some point in the next week or two. Some interesting veterans’ stories inside worth sharing more widely. Lots of the photos in the newspaper are freely available on the IWM website. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/searchquery=&pageSize=15&style=list&filters%5BwebCategory%5D%5BPhotographs%5D=on&filters%5BthemeString%5D%5BNormandy%20Landings%201944%5D=on

Hope these two posts have been of interest. I found this interesting sketch by Rommel when rereading the very varied viewpoints from Allied and German forces and French civilians in Cornelius Ryan’s book The Longest Day (1959), abridged in True Stories of World War Two (Reader’s Digest 1981). It shows how formidable the beach defences could be where Rommel had his way, suitable time, materials and labour.

 

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I have bought or will buy the equivalent newspapers for today and tomorrow for comparison 35 years on. Somewhere (!)  I have other 50th 60th and 70th D-Day Anniversary newspaper cuttings gs, so will scan these in future as I find them again.

Posted by Mark Man of TIN on D-Day75 6th June 2019.

 

Models for Heroes and the well-being aspects of Hobbies

I have been busy casting a few more scout figures for my Wide Games project this weekend. Nothing like molten hot lead for focusing the attention on what you are doing.

After watching the short videos for Models For Heroes, I thought again whilst hot metal casting about some of the things  the veterans said regarding the therapeutic benefits of modelling:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/30/models-for-heroes-film-trailer/

What is said of modelling here is applicable probably to many hobbies. I’m sure many of the veterans would find home casting as therapeutic.

Text below is taken / transcribed by me from this BFBS YouTube video https://youtu.be/3gsyyJ5AOhc

Malcolm Child, Models for Heroes: “It brings you away from the problems of the day. It brings you away from thinking about problems in the past and perhaps stresses the future, so yeah it keeps you in the now.”

Karl, Model Maker: “As a long term sufferer of PTSD I spend a lot of my time looking in my peripheral vision for threats … Coming here into a safe environment,  the concentration on the model takes away the need to look for those threats and I can concentrate on the model and actually the byproduct of that, it gives my brain a time to rest, so it’s not absorbing all its energy on threats and what’s going on around me.”

Barrie, one of the other interviewees who was struggling with his concentration after a major operation, talked about the benefits of modelling:  “the sitting peaceful, the quietness and the ability to work at your own pace and do things in your own time and actually to get something from the end result …”

Ceri Lawrence Occupational Therapy Assistant: “It gives people a meaningful occupation … [for] people who’ve lost the ability to do the things they used to enjoy … giving people a new chance, a new hobby and it’s an occupation they can do here as a group or elsewhere as a group or solo.”

These are all interesting points which I think are true of my own hobby enjoyment of making and painting figures for tabletop gaming. I have no mental health issues (so far) nor the black dog or PTSD but I have friends and acquaintances who have and I can see how modelling or other hobbies would help.

This concentration aspect sounds much like the well-being and mindfulness focus etc from the “colouring book” craze a year or two back.

In some ways, it’s nothing new, as in the past and today, gardening for example has been used as therapy – horticultural therapy  – such as the UK charity Gardening Leave (2007-2015) https://www.thirdsector.co.uk/armed-forces-charity-gardening-leave-close-13-jobs-lost/management/article/1375807. Walled gardens worked well for many veterans as  the  garden walls provided  a place of safety for veterans – many of whom suffered from hyper-vigilance and found open spaces difficult.

This form of “Social prescribing” for depression, isolation and anxiety such as joining a walking or sports group is now increasingly practised in the NHS.

Toy making using carpentry seem to have fulfilled this role during and after WW1 such as the Lord Roberts workshops and also this discharged veteran here:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/toys-from-the-scrapheap/

I probably still have (somewhere) in my varied collection at home a WW2 era needlework pattern used with convalescent Troops in  WW2. Similarly an altar piece for St Paul’s made in WW1 by recovering veterans has recently been restored and displayed as part of the 1914-18  Centenary.

https://www.stpauls.co.uk/history-collections/history/ww1

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/01/first-world-war-altar-frontal-st-pauls-cathedral

Whatever your hobby or hobby blog,  I hope it brings you peace, relaxation,  focus and satisfaction at whatever time scheme you set out. No rush …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 2nd of June 2019.

See also my previous post https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/uk-mens-sheds-association/