A Third Force preying on either side?

A gaming scenario for the future, inspired by the GURU Pig blog, about a group of deserters, guerrillas or even vampires preying on the participants on either side of a battle.

My enemy’s enemy is not always your friend.

Crossposted on 4 September 2022 from my Man Of TIN Two extension site:

https://manoftinblogtwo.wordpress.com/2022/09/04/a-third-force-preying-in-either-side/

First Flats or Homecasts Prince August 1980s

These three strange figures appeared in a (school?) jumble sale mix of plastic figures in the early 1980s. I had no idea what they were, had not encountered flat figures and they were surprisingly heavy for their size.

All the lead hollowcast figures had vanished from the family by the late sixties, these lost legions possibly the casualties of parental concern about lead in children’s toys and the new possibilities of plastic.

I had no idea what these were. They had a strange marking ‘HE’ on the base.

1980/81 – This was the days before the Internet.

They were bare metal or grey undercoated when found, at some point they received my desultory painting of red and black, then languished unseen for decades.

Their survival is probably due to having been in the 1980s Blue Box for the next 25 to 30 years or more, where they remained unused in my 1980s Blue Box of odds and ends, as what use were three figures?

Image source from my blog post on the Military Modelling / Battle for Wargamers 1983 Wargames Manualhttps://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/30/brian-carricks-big-wars

I didn’t connect these orphan HE figures at all with the tempting adverts in Military Modelling in the early 1980s for these grown up, hot metal moulds. The moulds and the metal were unobtainable on my Airfix figures pocket money income, even if I could be trusted with hot metal (unlikely then).

Another 25 years pass.

Early in 2005/6 in a small craft shop on a backwater street of a backwater southwest town, by chance I discovered in a sale one Prince August casting starter set and a box of 54mm Traditional Toy Soldier moulds. At last I could cast my own figures.

Being able to cast your own figures whenever you want more and own the means of production still seems a little bit magical to me.

I have not looked back since.

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I sometimes wonder how different my toy soldier hobby life would be without that chance shop find.

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I know now that these three figures are Holger Eriksson 18th Century / Seven Years War moulds, still available from Prince August and I now have some of these moulds in my collection:

I know now that HE obviously is the talented Swedish Toy Soldier designer Holger Erickson. His HE figures from the 1950s and 1960s are still available through Prince August and from Tradition Of London including S.A.E Figures from the Featherstone era.

Brian Carrick’s excellent blog posts on Holger Eriksson:

https://toysoldiercollecting.blogspot.com/search/label/Holger%20Eriksson?m=0

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40mm?

This seemed such a weird size when I first encountered these three Unknown figures in the early 1980s. Figures to me back then were Airfix size 1:32 or 1:72/76. I now have a fair amount of 40-42mm figures in my collection and gaming skirmish units, including Pound Store Plastic copies of 54mm figures that have through copying shrunk in size, stylish HE Cowboys and Indians and of course my current STS Little Britons 42mm range Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

I wonder if one day these three stray orphan 40mm HE figures – my first metal figures – will kickstart a small gaming collection of Tricorne and Musket figures? Who knows?

These tricorne figures to me inexplicably have a Gulliver’s Travels Lilliputian look to them. If it does eventually happen, it might be unconventional ImagiNations / Lace Wars Steampunk like this 2007 blog link I found via TMP about 6 years ago. But not just yet …

http://mcristobylacew-abdul666.blogspot.com/2007/09/lace-wars-sci-fi.html

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 15 August 2022.

“Une Page de Tournee” toy soldier illustration postcard by Andre Martins de Barros

https://www.artabus.com/martins/chumg5

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.

Su Blackwell’s Remnants exhibition 2010 inspired by Bronte juvenilia at the Bronte Parsonage Museum. Photo: Su Blackwell website.

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:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/how-to-feed-toy-soldiers/

Shirley Tourret’s illustration to Nesbit’s The Town in The Library

I knew nothing about Andre Martins but found a biographical note and digital print of my postcard here – https://www.artabus.com/martins/

“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.

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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.”

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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 …

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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

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B.P.S. Blog Post Script

Another artist who collected and featured ‘toy soldiers’ in his art – Andrew Wyeth

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/hobby-learning-1-andrew-wyeth/

Andrew Wyeth toy soldier sketch in Richard Scholl’s book Toy Soldiers (Courage Books, USA, 2004) about the Malcolm Forbes Toy Soldier Collection.

The Lost Snow Patrol Defrosted – early Girl Scouts versus Mutant Snowmen c. 1909 1910

The Lost Snow Patrol Defrosted – early Girl Scouts versus Mutant Snowmen c. 1909 / 1910

The frozen North, 1909/1910 somewhere in Britain or Europe.

The mystery of a missing Boy Scout patrol. A Girl Scout patrol caught in a snow blizzard up in the hill forests. Lashings of hot chocolate, quarter staff fighting, fire arrows and some carrots …

Cross posted by Mark Man Of TIN (not Man of Snow) from my Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop blog https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2022/07/30/the-lost-snow-patrol-defrosted-early-girl-scouts-versus-mutant-snowmen/

History Of The War Game article Illustrated London News 1970

Great pictures of Peter Young, Derek Guyler, Donald Featherstone and of the war Games scene in 1970.

Read and see more at my ManofTIN Blog Two post here: https://manoftinblogtwo.wordpress.com/2022/03/19/illustrated-london-news-article-29-august-1970-on-the-history-of-the-war-game-then-and-now/

FEMbruary figures – Good Queen Bess and The Generic Empress

Our next two #FEMbruary celebration of female figures are a fantasy figure conversion into an unusual Elizabeth the First and a Generic Empress figure – read and see more at my Pound Store Plastic Warriors Blog

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2022/02/24/fembruary-2022-figure-painting-and-conversions-good-queen-bess-and-the-generic-empress/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 24 February 2020

Storm Eunice, Comic Books, Tintin and Toy Soldiers

A strange stormy day of power cuts, comic books and toy soldiers …

Tintin, Star Wars, Stranger Things … and Storm Eunice:

https://manoftinblogtwo.wordpress.com/2022/02/19/storm-eunice-power-cuts-comic-books-space-wars-and-toy-soldiers/

Blog posted or crossposted by Mark Man of TIN on ManofTIN Blog Two, 19 February 2022.

Pathe Newsreel – Model Battlefield with Magnets, a Donald Featherstone connection

Tiny Stonehenge! 1936 Pathe Newsreel – Model Battlefield

Crossposted from my Man Of TIN Two blog:

https://manoftinblogtwo.wordpress.com/2021/08/07/model-battlefield-pathe-newsreel/

Donald Featherstone a 2013 tribute from his old club Southampton FC

I missed this post first time round. Donald Featherstone’s professional career and early work as an author was as a physiotherapist on work, dance and sports injuries.

Here is the club tribute to him by David Bull from 2013, copied in case this website post disappears.

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Saints Official Historian David Bull remembers Don Featherstone, the club’s physio in the 1950s, who has just died. 

https://www.southamptonfc.com/news/2013-09-18/don-featherstone-an-appreciation

Main pic: Physio Don Featherstone manipulates the knee of full-back Bill Ellerington, while manager George Roughton looks on.

Don Featherstone, who has died aged 95, was the club’s physio at a troublesome time in the Saints’ history.

After war-service in the Royal Armoured Corps, Don was practising physiotherapy in his native London, hoping ‘very much to get into sport.’ He had spent a couple of years at the Athletes Clinic in Harley Street; and then, when AIK Stockholm visited London in November 1949, to play Chelsea and Arsenal, he acted as their physio during their stay.

For the 1950-51 season, Don was the first-team trainer to Hounslow Town in the Corinthian League and was writing a column, in Topical Times, on sports injuries. When that magazine received an advert from Southampton FC for a physio, the editor shared it with Don in advance of publication.

Thus given a head-start, Don dispatched a one-page letter of application-cum-cv. He didn’t’ mess about. He told the club that only two Hounslow players had missed a match through injury and the team had gone 17 weeks, unchanged – not bad, he suggested, for a part-time physio, treating injuries two evenings a week and an occasional Sunday morning. Just think what he might achieve, working full-time. Don told the Southampton directors that he’d appreciate a club-house and ‘a salary on a level with the basic pay of First Team players.’  

He was appointed forthwith and started work in August 1951. It was an odd set-up, under Sid Cann, a former Manchester City and Charlton Athletic player who had qualified as a masseur. He had been Southampton’s masseur-cum-assistant trainer for three seasons, until the manager Bill Dodgin left in 1949. Of three internal candidates, Cann landed the vacancy. But trainer Sam Warhurst, an unsuccessful applicant, was still there. A former Saints goalkeeper, he didn’t have a lot of time for Featherstone, with his ‘new-fangled’ ways. At least Don felt that he got on well with the players, including the all-powerful captain, Joe Mallett – the “Godfather”, as Don saw it.

It was Mallett who tipped Don off about an odd development in December 1951. The side had been having a poor run, including an 8-2 defeat at Bury, when Cann resigned. So the Board apparently decided that, while they no longer wanted him as manager, it would be good to retain him as the physio, in which case Featherstone would have to go. Cann, to his credit, was having none of that.

So Don remained until 1955, when the chairman advised him that, despite his ‘excellent work’, the club’s ‘difficult financial situation’ required ‘the utmost economy’, which included dispensing with his services. Don was not without work – he had a private clinic round the corner from The Dell – but when Ted Bates became the manager in October 1955, Don did ask for his job back. 

Bates continued to plead that the club had no money. Before long, Don realised that his dismissal ‘was the best thing that ever happened’ to him.

He was soon writing books on physiotherapy and then branched out into military history and war-gaming, a field in which he would become an internationally-renowned author, with 40-odd titles to his name. 

DONALD FREDERICK FEATHERSTONE

20 March 1918 – 3 September 2013

https://www.southamptonfc.com/news/2013-09-18/don-featherstone-an-appreciation

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I have written a little about his early / other career:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/donald-featherstones-unusual-take-on-casualties-and-campaigns/

My small Featherstone “Saints” Southampton FC physio centenary tribute using Airfix 1:32 footballers in 2018 – I’m sure the Don wore a suit and tie and not a tracksuit.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/donald-featherstones-centenary/

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This blog post was incidentally inspired by this Dunfermline FC inspired one:

http://prometheusinaspic.blogspot.com/2022/01/hooptedoodle-420-whence-pars.html

And my 2020 blog chat with Marvin @ Suburban Militarism

https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com/2020/10/22/return-of-the-macc/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 16 January 2022

The benefits of 15mm scale explained to the ’little woman’ in your life? Some early Peter Laing adverts in Wargamers Newsletter 1970s

I have spent a blustery wet day today inside in the dry and warm, reading through the superb website of scanned Donald Featherstone’s Wargamers Newsletters.

I have been searching for Peter Laing adverts and reviews from the early 70s, looking at how the new scale and ranges of 15mm figures by the “industrious” Peter Laing rapidly emerged.

https://collectingpeterlaing15mmfigures.wordpress.com/some-peter-laing-adverts/

One of the oddest Peter Laing adverts so far was December 1973 typed advert (above) about the benefits of 15mm and the first six figure series or ranges totalling 100s of items that Peter Laing produced in his first year!

“If she * (the little woman – Mum – the Wife – the Girl Friend – or the better half!) complains that your army or collection is taking up too much room (or you are spending too much money) then Peter Laing’s figures could be the answer …”

https://collectingpeterlaing15mmfigures.wordpress.com/2022/01/08/peter-laing-15mm-wargamers-newsletter-december-1973-the-little-woman-the-benefits-of-15mm-and-the-new-colonial-600-series/

Peter Laing 15mm Colonial figures (including bagpiper) – the unusual route to marital bliss?

I wonder what Mrs Laing – Wife – Better Half – etc thought of the advert?

These “Little Women” in Peter Laing’s life didn’t emerge for a few more years in the Late Victorian Parade Range (and probably ACW and Indian Mutiny Series).

By Christmas 1973, interest was growing in the new smaller scales of 15mm and 5 or 6mm. Minifigs has also by then launched a 15mm and 5mm Range.

In December 1973 I was still literally cutting my teeth at “Floor Games” level on larger plastic Airfix figures. Ten years later c. 1982/83 I would be buying my first Peter Laing ECW figures with my pocket money and paper round earnings.

This cataloguing and celebrating my Peter Laing figures (all now sadly out of production) is one of my ongoing 2022 projects and New Gaming Year’s Irresolutions, counting down towards the 50th anniversary of the first figures in October / November 2022.

Why do this? Pertly it’s because Peter Laing never produced an illustrated catalogue before the range vanished in the late 80s / early 90s when he retired. Now the moulds have sadly vanished.

Fellow Peter Laing collectors from the MeWe Peter Laing collectors circle have already started to contribute photos of figures or ranges I don’t have and sometimes figures I have never seen.

https://collectingpeterlaing15mmfigures.wordpress.com

The first advert October / November 1972 Military Modelling (Ian Dury collection)

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN blog, 8th January 2022