The 15 Mill free online magazine and gamette from Peter Pig

How did I miss this?

Have I been under a stone for the last couple of the years in the Wargames Garden?

The 15 Mill – A free online magazine from Peter Pig devoted to 15 millimetre figures and gaming.

https://www.peterpig.co.uk/the15MILL.html

I look forward to reading these as the autumn nights draw in!

Each edition (until Covid) has a free gamette scenario for small games.

https://www.peterpig.co.uk/the15MILL.html

Cleverly, you can buy a 15mm Peter Pig figure package suitable for each gamette.

A clever and fun way to promote your company and your scale!

Fifteen turns Fifty

The pendulum has swung some way from 15mm (and ‘Flames of War’) being the most popular scale some years ago to 28mm, which is apparently “where it’s at” for many gamers today.

15mm is fifty years old next year, if you count the appearance of Peter Laing figures in October \ November 1972.

Peter Laing is long retired. Sadly these figures are out of production and the moulds vanished but small lots sometimes appear for sale online.

Issue 4 of The 15 Mill in October 2019 appropriately featured a fine display of Peter Laing WW1 figures from the ABC gamers blog.

A good time to start sorting through my old original Peter Laing figures, painting and basing as required to celebrate a half century.

A small and friendly collectors circle of Peter Laing enthusiasts exists on the MeWe forum, set up by Ian Dury. https://mewe.com/join/peterlaingfigures

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 23 October 2021

“And for the more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys games”

Famous or infamous quote from H.G. Wells https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/25/that-more-intelligent-sort-of-girl-who-likes-boys-games-and-books/

Female war gamers often describe themselves as legendary or mythical creatures.

Search around, there are now a fair number of female war gamers blogging (usually more fantasy than historical).

Other Mythical Creatures – https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/military-unicorns-of-the-world-in-colour/

Cards on the table: I am not a club war gamer or club board gamer, never have been and probably never will be. I have always been essentially an occasional solo gamer, but mostly a repairer, converter, painter, collector and general hack-abouter of toy soldiers.

However the ‘social history’ of gaming and war gaming is an interesting one to me as it spread out from a military training tool in the nineteenth century onwards via H.G. Wells’ Little Wars, avoiding a destructive swish of skirts on the nursery floor to a more diverse civilian audience in the 1960s and 1970s boom.

I was intrigued whilst casually researching ‘war games’ on the British Newspaper Archive to come across this curious snippet from The West Briton November 18, 1971 (interestingly around the Armistice / Remembrance period):

Wargame Society

“A meeting of wargaming societies from Truro School and Truro Girls Hugh School was held last week at Truro School to discuss the possibility of forming a Wargaming Society which would be open to members of the public of Truro.

About 20 attended the meeting, which was presided over by Mr. Derek Burrell, headmaster of Truro School.”

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What makes this noteworthy fifty years later is the words “and Truro Girls High School“.

Both schools are still in existence, both long established (nineteenth century) independent, fee-paying or private schools in Cornwall.

The time of the event is not surprising: 1971 was midway through the ‘first Wargames boom period’ from Featherstone’s War Games 1962 onwards with Airfix riding high: cue vintage wargaming sort of nostalgia.

A month or so later a further interview turns up in the West Briton, 20 December 1971: almost no mention of any girl gamers or female gamers.

Club spokeswoman sixth former Bob Aldridge on “Britain’s fastest growing hobby” West Briton, December 1971. (Bob Aldridge was still active on Facebook in the last few years.)

I can find no further trace of this Truro Wargames Society involving girls or female gamers.

As club members move on, it may not have lasted very long. Clubs schism over rules, scale and periods played.

A Fantasy and Wargames Society was announced in the same area in the 1983, according to the article, one particularly seeking female members to play Dungeons and Dragons.

Kevin Roke, organiser of a Fantasy and Wargames Society of Cornwall, (21 March 1983 West Briton) sought more members including women gamers. Keen to “attract some women, secretary Kevin Roke believes, the games being played have appeal not only for men.”

This type of press article is always fascinating, as bemused local journalists try to get their head round a quirky niche hobby and make it sound interesting to outsiders:

West Briton 15 December 1980 – Trevor Jones and Grant Pettit name checked – Grant is still active in the Cornwall Wargames Association Facebook group forty years later. Life-long lasting hobby!

An Armageddon Club of gamers also met in the Truro area in the 1980s, maybe not the most sensitive of naming in the Nuclear 80s when the phrase The War Game in the British Newspaper Archive ironically throws up multiple 1980s listings of the local CND groups showing ‘The War Game’ film in village halls.

Another West Briton newspaper snippet about a new Wargames West society was announced at a local boys club in Truro in 1993 suggesting the other 1971 Society or 1980s ones were no more?

As mentioned, the Cornwall Wargames Association and other SW games societies still exist, with a few outposts of Games Workshop stores down West and a declining number of local model shops.

Maybe other readers know more?

There may be some veteran Truro High School for Girls female war gamers in their sixties and seventies out there with vague memories in 1971 of pushing lead and plastic figures around a table

but sadly I somehow doubt this …

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Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, down far West, 2 October 2021.

Title Quote from H.G. Wells https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/25/that-more-intelligent-sort-of-girl-who-likes-boys-games-and-books/

Here is a bit of background research from early 2021 into the women around the Wells household when Little Wars was written.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/03/07/the-dread-broom-and-the-swish-of-skirts-jessie-allen-brooks-part-of-the-h-g-wells-household-floor-games-and-little-wars/

More Colourful 20mm Jacklex Mexicans WIP

Arriba, arriba … andale, andale!

Some more colourful Jacklex 20mm Mexican Infantry 1910-1920 almost done on the painting table. Only a face wash and a tidy-up left to do before varnishing. These will probably be shiny gloss varnished to match the gloss acrylic shirt colour.

The shiny inspiration for these were the first (4-5) and second rate (6-7) colour schemes for the 54mm Britain’s Ltd. lead hollow-cast Mexican figures, pictured in Andrew Rose’s Toy Soldiers book, seen in my last Jacklex Mexican post.

Previously on Man of TIN blog …

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/09/02/jacklex-birthday-mexicans/

Keeping the paint scheme simple in a Britain’s kind of way meant that the bold colours sing out and give me painting joy, the Carmine Red scarf on the glossy Light Blue jacket and matt Sand sombreros (Revell Acrylic Aquacolor range).

I also like the simple chrome green or sap-green Britain’s type base colour in place of my first attempt with the logical desert Sand bases.

Still some more work dry-brushing and highlighting to do on these guns …

A shell stack at the back, a freebie from EWM …

Painting notes for the future

Undercoat – brown craft Acrylic

Revell Aquacolor Acrylics

Flesh – Dark Earth matt

Hair – Teerschwarz – Tar Black Matt

Scarves or Neckerchiefs – Carmine Red Matt

Jackets – Light blue gloss, mud brown gloss or dark green matt

Face and hands – Citadel shade wash – Nuln Oil (Black)

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I lack a desert background for North Afrika, Wild West and Mexico, so improvised in a simple Featherstone kind of manner. A J G desert background is on order for future shoots.

Gunnery practice up in the desert foothills …

Add in a train track and whole new scenarios present themselves …

That’s all folks!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN / Hombre de HOJOLATA, 16 September 2021

Svenmarck Invaded: EWM 20mm Danish Infantry 1940

***** Svenmarck Invaded ****** Troops Mobilised ****** Border Crossed by Hostile Forces *****

EWM Danish 1940 Infantry versatile figure with rifle grenade option and spare Madsen LMG curved round – masking tape repair to the left hand rifle which I clumsily broke.

Over the last weekend or two I have been painting a strange mixture of metal 20mm figures in my collection, as varied as 1940s Boy Scouts and Girl Guides from Sergeants Mess, some more colourful 1910-20 Mexican Infantry from Jacklex and these Early War Miniatures 1940 Danish Infantry, along with their Dutch equivalent.

EWM Danish 1940 Infantry with rifles and grenades

One of the best films or programmes that I have seen in the last couple of years that isn’t weird sci-fi (Star Wars / Stranger Things / X-Files) is 9.April, the Danish film about the first few hours of Blitzkrieg as German forces cross the border of Denmark on 9 April 1940.

EWM Danish 1940 Infantry with rifles amid EWM scenic boxes and oil barrels

This tense drama focuses on the fate of a small handful of conflicting characters (including some usual war film stereotypes) in a platoon of bicycle mounted troops desperately to hold off the motorised columns of the German Army until reinforcements arrive.

EWM Danish 1940 Infantry with rifle and grenade

The film has that ‘against the odds’ feel of a western with an outnumbered and outgunned retreating outpost of troops with little chance of the cavalry arriving. The cinematography and its eerie soundtrack captures well the chaos and confusion of the short lived resistance.

Anyway, film club over …

I have posted about the 9.April film before in 2020:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/09/remembering-denmark-april-9th-1940/

EWM three man Madsen LMG and rifle team with EWM scenic boxes

Svenmarck? Gaming scenarios?

I don’t intend gaming the historical scenarios from Denmark or the Netherlands in 1940.

Instead I will be recreating those insteresting small scale infantry skirmishes in the forests, heaths and border villages of a small Scandinavian ImagiNations setting called Svenmarck. The kind of small country like Leichtenstein that you go through to reach somewhere else. Further north in Nordweg, it’s a bit more snowy forests with beautiful Fjords. It all exists somewhere on or in my ImagiNations map, probably near Tradgardland from Alan Gruber’s blog Duchy of Tradgardland.

No doubt an ImagiNations equivalent or renaming of Nazi Germany will be required, such as Großreich or GrosReich. All ethical issues about gaming the modern period swept aside, then …

***** Update ***** see blog comments below for brief outline of the political and military geography of Tradgardland and Svenmarck and surroundings *****

It was from Alan Gruber and also from Bob Cordery of Wargaming Miscellany that I first heard of this film. Alan has converted some 54mm figures with the help of Danish helmets from the late Les White. Alan’s conversions here show the mix of traditional old black, grey and newer khaki greatcoats in 1940 that Danish troops wore, many of the updated newer khaki uniforms still in store and unissued:

http://tradgardland.blogspot.com/2020/04/finished-danish-conversions.html

Uniform References / Painting Guide

Preben Kannik, Military Uniforms of the World in Colour (Blandford)

*** EWM Dutch or Netherlands 1940 Infantry are next on the painting table. ***

Uniform notes from Kannik
Danish Infantry in black greatcoats, Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Uniforms of WW2

There is a useful painting guide for Great Escape Games 28mm WW2 Danish troops range and well painted examples of their figures – download the PDF painting guide at https://www.greatescapegames.co.uk/danish-infantry

This mentioned the useful research into the history and uniform of the Danish troops in WW2, thankfully published in English by Per Finsted, well illustrated with photos and almost paper soldier like illustrations from an old chakoten.de magazine. https://www.chakoten.dk/The%20Danish%20Army%20on%20April%209th,%201940_complete.pdf

EWM Danish 1940 figures – Madsen LMG group

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

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9qbbr-_QdyY&feature=youtu.be

Mistakes were made …

Painting took longer than expected on these figures as I undercoated using a bulk craft acrylic Mars Black that dries shiny rather than matt, leading it to look in some awkward areas like unpainted shiny metal even after I thought I had first finished painting. This showed up in nooks and crannies in photos, after I had already once overcoated the black greatcoats with Revell Aquacolor Acrylic Teerschwarz / Matt Tar Black. A second overcoat of tar black and targeted infill was required.

Forstærkninger?

Unlike the bicycle troops of the 9.April film, there are forstærkninger or reinforcements on the way. More EWM troops from the Danish, Dutch, Norwegian (and Mexican!) range have been ordered from Paul Thompson at EWM for the Christmas cupboard including Tankette Tuesday material and bicycle troops!

Like Annie at Bad Squiddo’s little extras on postal orders, there’s sometimes the odd complimentary surprise item from EWM as a thank you for ordering, such as resin items (from the EWM scenics range?) like the oil barrels and boxes seen in the photographs. Peter Laing used to do this with his 15mm ranges, such as a new sample figure from a new period, in his rapid post returns.

Good customer service touch, tempting your customers with new ranges of shiny figures …

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 12 September 2021

B.P.S Blog Post Script

One of my blog readers left me a comment (thanks!) that others may also be interested in re. a free Memoir 44 scenario and hexmap for Denmark 1940 on Kaptain Kobold’s site Hordes of the Things site:

https://hordesofthethings.blogspot.com/p/free-stuff.html

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7jivXekpX0LOUtiZjdmekFTR0thd0tQcEFWWUFaQQ/view?resourcekey=0-q3kwDaC4R27pi4A_yiRb-g

Jacklex Birthday Mexicans?

Well I missed Jack Alexander’s birthday in one way (he turned 92 on 22 August just over a week ago) but in other ways, he was much remembered on my painting table at the time.

Belated – Happy Birthday Jack – from the many gamers who enjoy your figures.

The first dozen of my 20mm Jacklex Mexicans, ones that arrived in their sawdust filled red box for a birthday or Christmas a year or so ago, have slowly been inching along the paint queue until being finished today (bar the toy soldier style gloss varnish).

So that’s my birthday parade for Jack Alexander their designer …

Image source 2019: http://jacklex.blogspot.com/2019/08/happy-90th-birthday.html

Sadly twelve months ago in August 2020, Alan Cook, the blogging one of the three ABC wargamers (from the initials of Jack Alexander, Bob Black and Alan Cook) passed away.

The late Stuart Asquith was also involved in their games as well.

Sad news, as I have enjoyed reading their ABC gamers’ exploits on their blog over the past five years or so.

Happier news that the new Jacklex owner Mark Lodge has taken over figure production since 2019.

He has also carried on the Jacklex side of the Jacklex blogspot such as http://jacklex.blogspot.com/2021/03/an-old-school-tale.html

Jack Alexander was first introduced to wargaming and figure productions by reading Donald Featherstone’s 1962 book War Games, the same book that later inspired my first childhood ‘war games’ and continues to inspire my games today.

The figures were designed to be compatible with Airfix 20mm and fill gaps in the Airfix range.

The first Jacklex figures I ever saw would have been in the black and white photo pages of Featherstone books (probably the Colonials). They were fairly unobtainable at the time anyway, even if I could have afforded them on pocket money budget.

I first bought some Jacklex sample figures ACW, WW1, Americans to see if they really were compatible with Airfix figures, Christmas 2020 https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/08/a-jacklex-christmas-come-early/

I liked the samples enough to buy the Mexicans in 2020 to put away as a birthday or Christmas 2020 present.

Airfix made Cowboys, Indians, Waggon Train, 7th Cavalry and ACW figures but never made Mexicans. The sombreros almost look like or could also pass as Tom Mix ten gallon high cowboy hats.

20 Jacklex 20mm Mexican infantry, with officer and standard bearers, 1 machine gun and crew, 1 artillery crew. The start of a small skirmish force against initially Airfix WW1 American Infantry and a few Jacklex American Infantry samples?

All are based on Penny MDF Warbases – but how to paint them?

A Colour Scheme for my Mexicans?

The Jacklex site has some good painted examples of the Mexican figures on its website, ranging from cowboy colourful to desert dusty grunge.

My surviving Timpo and Britain’s Deetail Mexican figures from the 1970s – in 70s flared trousers?

Arriba! Arriba! Desperados!

Who could forget the fabulous Timpo or Britain’s Deetail Mexicans of our childhood? Great and colourful characters including their leader, the central cartoon two gun ‘Yosemite Sam’ figure, suitably battle worn or play worn.

Some of my favourite Britain’s 54mm figures are the old hollow-cast Mexican infantry, produced from 1914 to 1941. For colour schemes, I found the Rurales (Pride of Mexico) figures pictured on the Archive of the Christie’s auction website

The Mexicans are also featured in James Opie’s The Great Book Of Britain’s (below). I like the colour scheme but find that the neckerchiefs will need to be simplified to a red neck cloth.

Andrew Rose’s Toy Soldiers book (below) mentions other paint schemes.

Second grade painting – Officer in green jacket, the men in blue or red jackets – useful future uniform colour scheme?

James Opie in his Britain’s Toy Soldiers 1893-1932 mentions that these are “one of Britain’s most sought after sets.”

I have only two such 54mm hollow-cast figures in my collection, both only part painted so possibly ones sold off as unpainted castings or since paint stripped and repainted? However one of these is in the unusual blue jacket colourings .

My “Magnificent Two” (and only) Mexican Britain’s hollow-cast figures.
Front and back on these unpainted castings you can see the detail of collars, ties, waistcoats and cuffs on the original figures.

Putting these uniform ideas together and after consulting the trusty Ladybird Leaders: Soldiers, I decided to follow the attractive colour scheme used by Britain’s from 1914 to 1941. Grey trousers, brown jackets, red scarves or neckerchiefs, straw coloured sombrero.

More on Mexicans

Having already bought lots of his Mexican peasants, I am resisting the rest of the 54mm Mexicans range from Steve Weston on his Plastic Toy Soldiers website (or choppedmerc eBay sales site.)

I could of course paint the Jacklex Mexican figures in the white clothes of Mexicans seen in Hanna-Barbera Speedy Gonzalez cartoons (another influence from my childhood).

‘Mexicans’ tended to form the stereotypical or traditional bandit enemy in many western cowboy films, not surprising when most such movies are ‘Made in America‘ with its long history of border and territory disputes including the US Punitive Expedition to Mexico for which these Jacklex figure range was developed.

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

The Britain’s hollow-cast figures were produced by 1914, obviously picking up on the Mexican Revolution events from 1910 onwards.

These sombrero figures remind me of the opening section at the Campo Grande train station of sombrero wearing revolutionaries with sub machine guns in the ImagiNations Latin or Central American country of Parazuellia in the Morecambe and Wise 1960s comedy film The Magnificent Two, (also with its villainous President Diaz!) As seen in the YouTube Trailer
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NXOJBc_i_GE

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/03/05/the-magnificent-two-1967-imaginations-uniforms-the-womens-revolutionary-army-of-parazuellia/

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The ABC Gamers together forever in an image from their website – Alan left, Jack centre and Bob right – with an escort of my freshly painted Mexicans, designed by Jack himself!

B.P.S Blog Post Script

FMI – For My Information – (as source websites tend to vanish)

The Jacklex Story (edited from the Vintage Wargaming Figures Website)

An article in Meccano Magazine was the catalyst for the Jacklex range of 20mm figures.

In 1962 military-hobby enthusiast Jack Alexander, a local government work-study officer, was travelling up to London when a piece about Donald Featherstone’s new book “War Games” caught his eye. “I had a birthday coming up, “ he recalls, “And my wife and I were going to London to get me a present. So we got off the train and went straight up to Foyle’s and bought a copy of Don’s book”.

[Jack] Alexander was soon hooked. “The trouble was the period that interested me was the Franco-Prussian War and there were no figures for that, so I started to convert my own from Hinton Hunt and Rose”.

Eventually Alexander’s efforts caught the eye of Bill Pearce, who ran The Garrison model soldier shop in Harrow, Middlesex …

Pearce put Alexander’s first models, the British Colonial Infantry into production in the summer of 1968.

“One day I went in to see Bill,” Alexander says, “and he said, “Have you got any more of those Jacklex figures?” I said, “Who are Jacklex?” He said, “It’s you, you idiot, you’re Jacklex!”

After half-a-dozen or so years The Garrison closed down … From then on Jacklex figures were sold through Arthur Cross’s Harrow Model Shop …

While the American Civil War figures – deliberately made to tie in with Airfix ACW – were always the best-selling of the various Jacklex ranges (which also included Foreign Legion, The Great War and – a prize for the most unusual choice, surely- The Russo-Japanese War), it was the Colonial selection that increased most rapidly …

In the late-1980s The Harrow Model Shop ran into difficulties finding anyone to cast the figures, which were made using hand-poured drop-moulds, a time consuming process.

As the remaining miniatures were gradually sold Jacklex faded away.

In 1993-4 Jacklex’s ACW range briefly re-surfaced with an advert and mention in Practical Wargamer (It is believed they were being cast by PW’s editor Stuart Asquith, a friend of Jack Alexander). There was a promise of the whole range being made available once more, but things soon went quiet again. A few of the 1993 ACW figures are around. They are distinguishable from earlier castings by the thick bases and poorer quality.

Peter Johnstone in 2002 took on the Jacklex figures as part of the Spencer Smith Miniatures Range.

Mark Lodge bought the moulds etc from Peter Johnstone of Spencer Smith Miniatures in 2019 – https://www.jacklexminiatures.com

Information edited from http://www.vintagewargamingfigures.info/rblack/jachist.htm

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As mentioned, Peter Johnstone in 2002 took on the Jacklex figures as part of the Spencer Smith Miniatures Range, and he still has this succinct summary of the Jacklex range on his website:

“In 1962 Jack Alexander, a local government work study officer, was travelling up to London and reading an article in Meccano Magazine about Donald Featherstone. Since it was his birthday, his wife took him to Foyles and bought him Don’s book War Games. Jack was hooked, and after early efforts working on some Franco-Prussian War figures, and following an introduction to the Garrison model shop in Harrow, Jack brought some British Colonial Infantry onto the market in the summer of 1968.”

“But the real business took off with Jack’s American Civil War range, which was designed to complement the HO/OO (20mm) Airfix range at the time. This quickly increased to include WWI, Foreign Legion, Boer War and the Egyptian/Sudan campaigns. What was particulary interesting was the extensive range of equipment to go alongside the figures.”

“Jack’s figures were sold through the Harrow Model Shop from the late 70s to the late 80s and then they went off the market, but a chance conversation between Peter Johnstone and Jack in 2002 led to Spencer Smith Miniatures taking on the moulds and production, leaving Jack to enjoy his wargaming in retirement. Slowly but surely, Peter is converting the old hand-cast moulds to centrifugal ones and greatly improving the finished product to do justice to these lovely little perfectly-scaled figures. All the ACW range are now up and running on the new moulds.”

Taken 2018 / 2021from http://www.spencersmithminiatures.co.uk/html/jacklex.html

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Read also https://jacklex.blogspot.com/2015/10/jack-at-86.html

“Back in the 60s when I started wargaming 20mm was king, mainly due to AIRFIX plastic figures. For the first time there were full ranges in inexpensive plastic like the ACW boxes. I could buy infantry for both sides, cavalry, artillery and civilians (cowboys and settlers).

Pioneering metal sculptors were producing their own 20mm figures and one of these was Jack Alexander – JACKLEX. Jack was interested in the 19th century and decided to make his figures compatible with AIRFIX.

He modelled his 20mm figures on toy figures from his childhood made by BRITAINS.

These BRITAINS were real toy soldiers, stylised and with little detail. Jack’s figures were similar, and with minimal detail – if you wanted more detail you painted it on.  Yet it was this very simplicity that gave them a charm of their own, a charm that has lasted from the sixties till today. Jack’s figures are still available and he is producing new figures for the wargames group he games with.

Back in the 60s Jack was asked for advice by Don Featherstone and features in one of his books. As well as figures he made artillery, wagons and various models.  He continues to do so. When he wanted artillery pieces for his Russo Japanese series he sculptured a 15 spoke wheel and scratch built the guns.

In the 70s most manufacturers abandoned 20mm and enlarged their figures into 25mm, but Jack stayed true to 20mm. He expanded his figures to feature a huge colonial range which included British, Boers, Pathans, sailors and assorted equipment including an artillery train pulled by elephants. Don Featherstone had got him started on naval modelling and as well as 20mm Victorian sailors he has since produced junks, Korean turtle ships, Victorian gunboats and pirate ships.” (2015)

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Yukigassen Snow Battle snowball fight rules for the Tabletop

My try out rules version 1.0 https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2021/08/22/yukigassen-snow-battle-tabletop-game-rules-try-out-1/

based on my

Yukigassen background research, useful YouTube match clips from real Yukigassen tournaments

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2021/08/22/yukigassen-japanese-snowball-fights-capture-the-flag-version-research/

Using 40mm-ish cheap plastic pound store soldiers as snow balling figures.

Crossposted from my Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop blog, 22 August 2021 by Mark Man of TIN.

Man of TIN’s More Men of ZINN

I was pleased to find a tiny surprise parcel from the Duchy of Tradgardland last week.

Alan the Tradgardmastre had sent me some spare surplus home cast 40mm figures that he had picked up along the way. I quickly filed the bases flat, cleaned up the mould lines and got them based on MDF tuppenny 2p from Warbases, ready for painting.

I recognised these figures, as I have a small collection of them acquired at random in an online job lot about five to ten years ago. I was probably being lazy at the time, acquiring some secondhand precast home castings (especially painted ones) instead of casting them myself.

Somewhere I’m sure I still have a silicon mould for the standing and kneeling firing infantryman amongst my randomly acquired moulds collection.

They are old Zinn Brigade moulds 40mm figures still available or reissued from Schildcrot https://www.zinnfigur.com/en/Casting/Moulds/Schildkroet-oxid/2-Infantrymen-firing.html

One of Alan’s suggestions was that these figures could be useful for “creative uniform design and tailoring …I thought you might enjoy coming up with some toy soldier uniforms for these fellows.”

This creative colour choice is already part chosen for me as the painted figures I have are in dark blue Prussian uniforms, so I have an Army Dark Blue skirmish unit of infantry, cavalry and gunners already.

My trusty old Ladybird Leaders: Soldiers book suggests Portuguese, British, German …

They could stand in for several dark blue coated nations who adopted the Prussian style spiked helmet from US Marines in late 19th century dress uniforms through to Portuguese 1890s, several South American and colonial units.

Some interesting ideas in Funcken, Uniforms – the 18th Century to the Present Day.

Norway, Portugal, Chile, Brazil, colourful Argentina … lots of late 19th century spiked helmets which my Army Blue could be used as, if you want a change from Prussian 1870.

Wikipedia has some interesting photos and snippets of useful history https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickelhaube#

“From the second half of the 19th century onwards, the armies of a number of nations besides Russia (including Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, and Venezuela) adopted the Pickelhaube or something very similar. The popularity of this headdress in Latin America arose from a period during the early 20th century when military missions from Imperial Germany were widely employed to train and organize national armies.”

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One easy colour scheme solutions for the new unpainted figures would be the late 19th Century red coated British Infantry with spiked helmet.

However looking through my uniform books, I have found several other historical nations with spiked helmets or ones that could also double as ImagiNations uniforms.

Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour gives a few ideas.

Red Coat, spiked helmet – a Netherlands 1960s Guards ceremonial uniform which is a tribute to British wartime cooperation with the Dutch.

The traditional Redcoat with spiked Home Service helmet, still in use 1900-1914
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pith_helmet#Home_Service_helmet shows several variations of this including a green rifle brigade and grey rifle volunteer version.
No red coat this time, but a fetching dark blue Colonial outfit c. 1900 from the Dutch here.

I am rather taken with the light blue uniform with yellow facings of the Baden dragoons 1870 FPW, although this could be mistaken for the French uniforms. Army Light Blue ? 

Mixed in with my old painted joblot of Zinn figures were some semi-flat French figures, some of which almost from a distance on the table match the Zinn Brigade / Schildcrot figures.

Amongst the castings was a cheery note from the Tradgardmastre himself, apologising for the lack of horses for the rider figures. Fortunately these horse moulds are available from Zinnfigur.com, although I read on many blogs that postage costs from Europe to the UK post-Brexit is causing issues for some people and firms.

I also already have some Holger Erickson unsaddled horse moulds in 40mm from Prince August, which may prove suitable.

Thankfully I have some pre-painted dark blue cavalry, along with small hollow-cast cavalry.

More kind gifts from Tradgardland of unpainted cavalry riders

The unpainted rider castings from Tradgardland are these Zinnfigur / Schildcrot officer ones

https://www.zinnfigur.com/en/Casting/Moulds/Schildkroet-oxid/Cavalry-Officers-without-Horses.html

Some quick and simple repairs required on my old cavalry figures, a head here, a leg there.

These cheap hollow-cast cavalry from bits and bobs box seem a good match or opposition, once repaired. These come originally in red paint … hmmm. Thinks. 

 

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I also have amongst my random figures selection some suitable officer figures, standard bearers, fife players and artillery crews from the Schildcrot range with a few Meisterzinn origin 18th Century limbers, horses and guns.

297E8F79-F7D3-42AE-A542-08FD4B749BAD

A strange combination of periods but that is the joy of the Job Lot ImagiNation!

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Some colourful old 40mm guns and limbers from Meisterzinn.

With the addition of the new unpainted  figures from Alan, this should be good for a small  balanced force of a gun or two, a few cavalry and some infantry for skirmishes.

So lots of ideas but still undecided what colour the new figures from Tradgardmastre should be.

Whilst I think about the new army uniform colour, I have been busy repairing and basing the original blue Prussian painted figures from my past joblot.

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Army Dark Blue 40mm figures in my collection. Some rifles  broken or short-cast to repair. I will post pictures when finished …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN / ZINN, 18 August 2021

 

 

 

Type 1 Airfix Desert War figures repainted by Wargaming Pastor of the Death Zap blog

Some bold and colourful ImagiNations repainting of a handful of Type 1 vintage Airfix Desert War OOHO figures by the Wargaming Pastor, author of the Death Zap blog (Strapline: ‘Anyone can afford wargaming’).

https://thedeathzap.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/north-and-south-cameria-go-to-war

Previously I have posted on his colourful reappointing of cheap pound store figures and also of instant Airfix WW2 games, often using simple Featherstone rules https://thedeathzap.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/instant-ww2/

Some interesting simple cheap fantasy sci-fi conversions and repurposing as well, enjoy browsing on his blog.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/poundland-space-marines-on-the-deathzap-blog-site/

https://thedeathzap.wordpress.com/2021/04/24/getting-back-into-deathzap/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 8 August 2021

Pound Store Plastic Soldiers Snowball Fight 2021

Avoid the heat of August with a quick snowball fight using Pound Store figures

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/pound-store-snowball-fight-2021/

Cheaply continuing our work with the Duchy of Tradgardland (Tradgardmastre) on Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop and snowball fights,

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2019/11/10/snow-patrol-and-polar-dashes-wide-game-scenarios/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/29/packing-sugar-at-freddie-snowball-fight-wide-games-scenario/

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2019/10/11/gladys-and-the-daisy-patrol-see-it-through-snow-forts-gaming-scenario/

Cross posted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog by Mark Man of TIN 3 August 2021.

Unusual Airfix endorsement? Charles Grant, The War Game and Battle!

In my battered (and so affordable) copy of The War Game (1971) by Charles Grant, the final chapter XXX lists War Games Figures and Equipment –

After a roll call of eight 1960s now classic / vintage figure makers, the last at No. 9 is surprisingly Airfix Ltd. –

No. 9 Airfix Ltd, Haldane Place, Garratt Lane, London SW18

“It would be improper not to mention the products of this firm, whose inexpensive plastic war games figures (20mm to 25mm – they do vary) have started the career of many a junior and not a few senior wargamers.”

“They are quite the cheapest on the market (about 15p for boxes of 20 to 30 figures) and the war-gaming world owes Airfix a not inconsiderable debt.”

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The “war-gaming world owes Airfix a not inconsiderable debt” … true words indeed.

By 1970/71 when this book was written, Airfix had by the mid 60s issued horse and musket era figures for the American Civil War, the first Waterloo figures arrived in 1969 although the most suitable American War of Independence bicorne and grenadier figures for The War Game had yet to arrive, advertised in the Airfix Catalogue and Airfix Magazine for late 1971.

Had they been available, a few well placed Airfix box pictures of these AWI figures (as Featherstone did for the latest Airfix releases in his books) would have done much to make The War Game 18th Century era even more accessible to many war gamers.

Some of my childhood painted AWI Airfix veteran figures … recently flocked and based.

No Airfix figures appear on the hallowed pages of Grant’s The War Game.

Ironically all the photographs in The War Game book are of Charles Grant’s 18th Century figures, mostly Spencer Smith Miniatures in 30mm plastic that appeared to have vanished by 1971:

Chapter II – “The bulk of the photographs used in this work to illustrate various tactical points and battle narratives show 30mm figures. It is sad they are no longer obtainable, especially as they were do startlingly inexpensive that a few shillings would enable one to recruit a brigade or a regiment. They were immensely durable …”

Interestingly, just as Spencer Smith figures disappeared for a time, Airfix historical figures like the AWI sets often disappeared from the Catalogue and the shelves in the 70s and 80s.

I do recall that SSMs reappeared in plastic c. 1982 in the back pages of gaming magazines at affordable bag prices for me to buy a few ACW figures.

Plastic SSM figures from the 1960s are now becoming brittle with age, snapping at the ankle or hoof joint, like some 1960s Airfix figures also have.

These classic figures remain available, albeit in individual “and durable” metal from Spencer Smith Miniatures.

The War Game is still available / in print

https://kentrotman.co.uk/newbooks/the-war-game/

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Charles Grant and Airfix … WW2

Charles Grant’s Battle! WW2 Wargaming book has recently been reprinted with additional chapters from the first incarnation as chapters or articles in Meccano Magazine in the 1960s to 1970 when Battle! was first published in book form.

https://wargaming.info/2011/charles-grant-battle-practical-wargaming/

Screenshot: Some Airfix Russian figures converted into an Bazooka team.

Here is a Wargames Illustrated “flip through”of Charles Grant’s Battle! book on this short video on YouTube: photographs in the book clearly shows early Type 1 Airfix figures in action.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0JW9-pcLaw0

Screenshot from Battle: First generation or Type 1 Airfix German Infantry

A reprint of Battle! is available, recently updated with six Meccano Magazine articles not included in the original book, by Charlie M. Grant, grandson of Charles Grant. https://www.caliverbooks.com/bookview.php?id=20554

The “war-gaming world owes Airfix a not inconsiderable debt” … true words indeed.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 31 July 2021