Man of TIN Advent Calendar 2019 Day 6: War Games V & A Exhibition Plymouth 2016

What I bought at War Games … these now have WG written on their base.

This was a post that got lost back in May 2016. Now I have found most of the photographs again!

The ‘V and A’  (Victoria and Albert Museum) also run the Bethnal Green Musuem Of Childhood. They put together touring exhibitions from their extensive collections of toys, such as the now finished War Games exhibition I saw in 2016.

Sadly it seems photography was not allowed in the main exhibition, but I have photographed some of the things I picked up free around the exhibition and in the shop including the obligatory bag of plastic toy soldiers. These now have WG marked on their bases, short for War Games (the exhibition). They can be seen at this May 2016 blog post

675514A4-A5F6-4A62-8F51-A93AC8E4E4CE War Games brochure 2016

This post got lost in the earliest days of my blogging. The Victoria and Albert Musuem / Museum Of Childhood travelling exhibition War Games has now finished travelling. It was hosted as part of the 1941 Plymouth Blitz Anniversary  and the Plymouth City Museum (which survived the Plymouth Blitz) is closed for rebuilding until the Mayflower Anniversary 2020

Presumably  the collection is back in store at the V and A Childhood Museum at Bethnal Green

UK blogger PB EyeCandy visited the exhibition and a related talk in London in 2013 and did take some photographs


Sadly I was unable to photograph the responses written by young and old visitors on these postcards  – hopefully they were suitably wide ranging and thoughtful  comments.
Picked this up at the end of the visit – obviously well used!
Britain’s Soldiers formed part of the advertising. Incorrectly these highlanders are labelled as Lancers.
One of the children’s trail leaflets – a glimpse of some of the toys.
A very Airfix sprue design to the cover of the children’s trail.
Hauser Lineol German composition figures 1936

I have a few photographs of the advertising banners outside the museum but nothing inside the museum.

Sadly three years later I cannot remember too much detail about the different sections appealing to different demographics.

There were some well-presented old toy soldiers on parade or in boxes. There was a section on classic board games (Risk etc) and  a whole section on video games. I don’t recall a wargames section and any classic wargames title.  The section on vintage kids dressing up uniforms such as “cowboys and Indians” and toy guns was pure nostalgia!

There was the obligatory dressing up costumes  (for kids only) for  a photo opportunity. From what I recall, you weren’t allowed to photograph the rest of the exhibits and in 2016 not everyone carried an IPhone camera.

The final room featured a big room sized table top diorama using toys of all scales called “Earthling Armies vs. fantasy Forces” which was quite good fun to see and identify figures.

Another random blog post draft finally sees the light of day as part of the Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 6.



Man of TIN Advent Calendar 2019 Day 5: Armed Edwardian Police


I was sent these four odd crude homecast figures with very chunky lead rifles as part of a job lot by Alan the Tradgardmastre of the Duchy of Tradgardland blog.

Rather than painting them as the more obvious Victorian colonial troops, I thought they had a look of armed Sydney Street Siege era Edwardian police with rifles.

The Siege of Sidney Street of January 1911, also known as the Battle of Stepney, was a gunfight in the East End of London between a combined British police and army force and two Latvian revolutionaries. Home Secretary young Winston Churchill witnessed the event at close hand as did Pathe Newsreel.

There is some fascinating British Pathe footage

All I need now are some armed anarchist figures, a young Winston Churchill  and a built up area.

One needed a new Prince August head, another needed a replacement rifle (wire insert wrapped with masking tape).

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 5 December 2019 – Advent Day 5.

Man of TIN Advent Calendar 2019 Day 4: The War Game for Scouts and early War Game Pioneers



Thanks to a tip off from Phil at Tiny Tin Men and several readers, I have recently bought a copy of The Wargaming Pioneers, edited by John Curry of the History of Wargaming Project.

Available, as are many Wargames books by Bob Cordery, on

Inside  are several interesting  sets of early rules,  not only the well-known H.G.Wells’ Little Wars, but others from late Victorian up to WW2.

“Volume 1 of the Early Wargames series contains a compilation of fascinating pre-Donald Featherstone wargames written between 1898 and 1940. Prior to Donald Featherstone publishing his classic book War Games in 1962 there were numerous attempts by other authors, to create wargames. H.G. Wells’s 1913 Little Wars, was the best known early wargaming book, although only one of a number of early wargaming rules. The many similarities in the rules indicate that H.G. Wells was clearly familiar with some of these when devising his own rules.” John Curry

This book contains selected key wargames all written between 1898 and 1940 including:

  • Notes on the Robert Louis Stevenson Game (1898)
  • The Great Wargame (1908)
  • War Games for Boy Scouts (1910)
  • Little Wars (1913) by HG Wells
  • Sham Battle 1929 (Extract) by Lt. Dowdall and Gleason
  • Mechanix Artillery Duel (1932)
  • The Liddell Hart Wargame (1935)
  • Captain Sach’s War Game (1940)
  • The obvious connection to my Scout Wide Games was the War Games for Boy Scouts (1910), written by A.J. Halladay, a Boer War CIV volunteer veteran who later went on to run Skybirds aeroplane and tank models and figures (perfect for wargaming). Now also reissued

    Scouting Wide Games using STS / Little Britons 42mm Range Boy Scout LBB30 (Spencer Smith Miniatures) including my Girl Scout conversions.

    War Games for Boy Scouts 1910

    I found these Scout War Games rules a curious thing, more like a campaign or map game with terrain marked out by paper pin flags.

    To be honest I  couldn’t really see what role toy figures played.

    The rules rely heavily on an Umpire. I want my Scout Games to have a solo option.

    A simple points system for choosing a force is described.

    The supply of food / supply lines are covered.

    These rules are a historical oddity that at present which add little to my or Alan Gruber’s (Duchy of Tradgardland) aim to bring Scouting Wide Games to the Tabletop or Back Garden.

    These 1910 rules stem from a time, just before Little Wars 1913,  when you could have put the word Boy Scout on anything and sold it,  such was the popularity and commercial opportunity that Baden Powell’s Scouting created.

    I wonder how many Boy Scouts actually did get around to using these 1910 rules with their lead toy soldiers.

    There is a post Boer War concern with manliness, fitness and Empire that links these Halladay rules with the wider concerns of Mafeking hero Baden Powell’s  scouting movement.

    Overall a fascinating book looking at the echoes of Featherstone and Wells on early rule sets

    Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 4 December 2019.

    B.P.S. Blog Post Script 

    John Curry also reprinted as a free PDF some American rules with a curious almost Robert Louis Stevenson feel, the  Tin Army of the Potomac,  a curious Little Wars type hand drawn and lettered games rule book from 1888, including pages erupting with or  disrupted by the charming scrapbook illustrations of late Victorian flat soldiers.

    Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, on 4th September 2019 – Day 4 of our Advent Calendar.

    Man of TIN blog Advent Calendar 2019 Day 3 – Wargaming Bahrain Style

    Lots about the therapeutic and social side of gaming here, as well as the fascination of our gaming hobby in another part of the world.

    This website link came from eagle-eyed Hugh Walter at Small Scale World, linking to an article in Gulf Weekly entitled “Reliving the Joys of Childhood” published October 16 – 22, 2019 written by Mai Al Khatib-Camille:

    The kingdom’s popular gaming group, TableTop House Bahrain, aims to spark nostalgia, build social bonding as well as provide an escape from every day “adulting” by staging bi-monthly mini-conventions for young and old to enjoy.

    The group, which is made up of various board gaming and role playing aficionados including Nasser Al Alawi, Mohamed Al Shirawi, Abdulla Sultan and Khaled AlDossary, have been hosting events since 2018 to share their childhood joys as well as to help develop the surface-playing scene across the island.

    “Tabletop is any game played on a surface or table such as Monopoly or even Wargaming,” said Nasser, a 39-year-old real estate agent from Gufool who has been playing Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) since 1999. “Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop role playing game where you play as an imaginary character using a character sheet that has stats and dice to determine failure or success.

    “There are no boundaries to this game and it is a great way to fuel someone’s imagination.

    “Tabletop role playing has been in Bahrain for 30 years thanks to the likes of Hamad Al Najar who, from what I remember, was the oldest dungeon master (DM). He started it up in the 90s and now we are passing on the torch to teach the next generation. We host these events to give the hobby exposure, offer people the experience and joy of playing these games, to show them that there is more than video games and how it can be a social gathering where people meet face-to-face and have a great time.”

    The group, which is now led by Abdulla, 23, a banker from Juffair, recently held an event at Darseen Café, at Bahrain National Museum, featuring one-shot games. According to Nasser, one-shot is a game that takes from an hour to two hours where players are introduced to a scenario. “Basically, you have to play through that scenario until it’s resolved, whether it may be goblins attacking a village or rescuing a fair maiden; the usual fantasy trips that are available,” explained Nasser. “Some people played D&D, I ran the Pathfinder game and other people featured other systems. There was even a Star Wars tabletop role playing game and another person ran Starfinder.”

    Around 100 aspiring and dedicated gamers attended the event including the kingdom’s first female DM Kirsten Hofstad.

    The 32-year-old teacher who lives in Mahooz has been playing D&D since she was 12. She said: “It’s a great way to meet people and make friends. I first started being a DM when I lived in Thailand and wanted to find a role playing group. I decided to try my hand at it since finding a DM to run the game is the hardest thing to do. I discovered that I really enjoy being a DM more so than playing the game. I have been a DM for eight years now.”

    Yasmine Bouroubi, 31, a teacher from Janabiya, sat in on Kirsten’s game as her children Hamza, five, and Zaynab, eight, and her husband Reda Ibn-Tahaikt cheered on. She said: “I like this game because it’s sociable, there is team work and you will meet people. I definitely think my children should get into this because they aren’t sitting in front of a TV and it’s all about face-to-face interactions.”

    Other parents tend to suggest joining Wargaming, run by Radio Bahrain DJ Khaled, for its therapeutic and strategic aspects.

    “Wargaming is a hobby that started by H G Wells,” said Khaled, 34, who lives in Hamala and started playing the game in 2015 before developing a group on Instagram @wargaming_bahrain. “It was an idea he had with a friend of his who was ill at the time. He wanted to find a way for them to both have fun. He took toy soldier figures from his nephew and developed a game using dice in combination with soldiers and measuring tape to move and simulate combat, which they were very big fans of because they were both historians who loved to read battels.”

    “This hobby features two factors. Some people love to play the side of the game that’s throwing the dice and simulating battles. Then there are people who like to paint miniatures.”

    There are recurring events such as paint nights. “We teach painting workshops and we get different ages playing this game too,” added Khaled. “Many parents want their children to do something tactile with their hands and then they will get to take the miniature soldier or figure that they painted home.”

    People can follow @tabletophousebh to find out more about upcoming events as well as the weekly games run at The Raven’s Nest Café. Co-owner Mirna Almaz, 32, who lives in Seef, said: “We encourage people to leave their screens and technology behind and focus on using their minds to strategise, imagine and role play for the sake of entertainment. We all know the brain is a muscle and board games are considered exercise for one’s mind. These hobbies are also used to fight depression and anxiety; not to mention, strengthening social interaction and bonding.” [End of article]


    Fascinating that boardgaming, RPGS, tabletop gaming and wargames of all sorts are played all over the world with much the same social and therapeutic benefits. And if you’re ever passing through Bahrain in need of a game …

    Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 3rd December 2019 – Advent Day 3. M

    Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 1 – The Greek Sacred Squadron Combined Ops 1940 to 1945 WW2

     It’s that clear the decks time of year when half finished drafts of blogposts get polished up for the Man of TIN Advent Calendar – figures, references, websites and other wargaming scenario miscellany.

    What’s behind the window today on Day 1?


    I came across this interesting Combined Ops website,

    A website covering in the English language the exploits of many Allied special forces and Combined Ops teams in WW2.

    “In October 1940, Greece was drawn to the vortex of WWII, the most catastrophic struggle the world has ever known. Its participation in hostilities was to last, formally, until October 1944, a period during which Greek troops would fight from the rugged mountains of Albania and the numerous islands of the Aegean, to the inhospitable desert of North Africa and the Italian peninsula. In fact, Greek troops continued to fight against the Axis forces in the Aegean until the last day of the war – 8 May 1945. These troops included parts of the famous Sacred Squadron.”

    Some of the website information is available from detailed and illustrated sources like this by Nikos Nikoloudis here:

    As such interesting websites have a habit of disappearing, best read or print it sooner rather than later.

    It makes accessible translated Greek sources and many of these small scale actions would make fascinating gaming scenarios.

    Other sources:

    Gallery of pictures

    Wikipedia article


    Hints for gamers and modellers are included on this Greek War Equipment blog.

    An equally interesting page of this blog covers Greek WW2 ski troops:

    One of this latter blog’s  comments by John Begg mentions “recommended reading for the Aegean role of the Sacred Band is ‘The Filibusters’ by John Lodwick, published by Methuen in 1947.” Available secondhand, a reprint of this or similar book by John Lodwick on the SBS is called “Raiders from the Sea”.

    Much of the Greek Sacred Squadron equipment and uniforms appears to be British issue, making sourcing suitable gaming figures and vehicles easier for any Desert War and Aegean raiding scenarios. Ditto, use your favourite WW2 Skirmish rules.

    Commando hats and berets seem to have been sported in many photos, but maybe steel helmets were worn in action.

    Definitely a website worth looking at, alongsid a reread of Donald Featherstone’s Skirmish Wargaming and Wargaming Commando Operations as well, recently published or reprinted by John Curry’s History of Wargaming Project.

    Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 1 December 2019.


    Wheel Meet Again: A Tribute Ancients Game for Stuart Asquith

    Tomorrow / today the 18th November is the day of Stuart Asquith’s funeral.

    I know that several of Stuarts’s long term gaming friends and magazine colleagues and contemporaries will attend.

    I hope the many online tributes and the tribute games played this weekend in his memory will be of great comfort to his family.

    Aerial view of the skirmish area set out as in the Solo Wargaming book. Turn 1


    My tribute to Stuart, using some of his former 15mm Peter Laing troops, is a small Ancient skirmish.

    It is based on the ‘Wheel Meet Again’ scenario in his Guide To Solo Wargaming. The rules are based on his simple rules in his Guide to Wargaming.


    Scenario 8 – Wheel Meet Again

    “A lightly guarded convoy of wagons has run into a spot of bother. One of the wagons has suffered a broken wheel and had to be left behind with a guard by the rest of the convoy. On reaching their destination the scouts pass on their news about the disabled wagon. At once a relief column is organised, complete with spare wheel to put the wagon back in service and sets off.

    Meanwhile the enemy is also interested in the immobile wagon and its small escort and decide to investigate. The wagon guard, on the alert for just such an event, open fire on the inquisitive enemy, hoping that relief is at hand.

    This scenario is fought in three stages. Firstly the wagon guards attempt to keep their attackers at bay. Next reinforcements arrive and deploy to allow the wagon to be repaired. Finally the wagon and its new escort have to gain the safety of the eastern edge of the table once more. A moderately complex, three-part engagement follows and offers numerous permutations for the solo player …”

    Stuart Asquith, p.74 Solo Wargaming (1989)


    I am not normally an Ancients player but having picked up several years ago a 15mm Pict / Celtic and Roman army from Stuart Asquith and also other figures from online sellers, I have enough scraps of Egyptians, Greeks, Assyrians etc to field several different national skirmish forces.

    The setting: Roman Britain – the Pictish wilds

    A Roman supply column has left behind a broken down wagon with a few escorts, promising to send a relief force.

    A small shadowing hunting party of Pictish scouts lurk to the Northwest.

    The broken wagon is a fire cart, a blacksmiths cart, belonging to the Roman Army.

    Stuart recommends a small ‘Wagon Guard’ force for part one, such as 6 archers (or musketeers in later periods).

    A d6 is thrown to find out when reinforcements on both sides will arrive. In this game they would appear on Turn 5, Romans to the East and Picts to the West.

    After playing the game I noticed that Stuart Asquith suggested that one d6 is thrown to work out which turn for the arrival of the enemy, two d6 for the arrival of the supply column.

    There are several areas of uncrossable forest to the Southeast and Southwest and a passable rocky forest outcrop to the North East.

    It takes two turns to fix the wagon once the Roman forces reach this waggon with the repair tools and a spare wheel. Repairs take the help of four men.

    Phase 1 – Holding the Pictish Scouting Party at Bay

    Turn 1 sees the Roman armoured archers spread out into a defensive circle, the Pictish scouting party spread out to the Northwest. The Roman archers land two successful hits at mid range and hit the two Pictish archers.

    Without distance or range weapons, the Picts charge into melee – one Roman archer is killed and two more Pictish spearman.

    In some melee situations, the +1 advantage of the armour of a Roman archers is cancelled out by being confronted by two Pictish spearmen +1.

    Roman archers fought the melee with their swords, so are unable to fire this round.

    Turn 3

    With few Pict scouts left, we take a morale test to work out what the Picts will do. Roll d6 – 1,3, 5 continue for melee and 2,4,6 outnumbered, retreat. The Picts move into melee and being within firing range, the last Picts are quickly wiped out.

    Turn 4 sees the Roman Archers regroup.

    Phase 2 the Relief Column Arrives

    Turn 5

    The Pictish War Band and Roman relief column arrived on the scene at opposite ends. The Light Cavalry and Light Infantry head out ahead of the others. Roman archers take out a Pictish light cavalryman and archer. The Pictish archers miss their targets.

    Turn 6

    The Roman light infantry and cavalry ride up with the mounted office of the relief column to join the Roman archer Wagon Guards who fall back behind the wagon to join them.

    In the ensuing movement / melee and fire turns, 2 more Pictish archers are successfully targeted by the Roman archers but the Roman mounted officer is killed by a Pictish archer.

    Turn 7

    Romans move first and the legionaries in the relief column reach the stranded waggon – the light infantry and cavalry on both sides clash in melee. Two Roman cavalry and two auxiliaries are quickly killed.

    At this stage the Picts have a series of lucky dice throws, spelling disaster for the Romans. They slam into the Roman ranks, killing the last 4 Roman archers of the Wagon Guard.

    The Romans are unable to fire their pilum short spears as their own men are out in front. Fortunately the Pictish archers are equally blocked from firing by the presence of their own men.

    In the melee the Roman Eagle standard bearer and another infantry officer is killed. However the Eagle is quickly grabbed by another legionary.

    As soon as the Romans can throw their pilums, six Pictish warriors are brought down.

    Rule – only the first two rows can throw pilums.

    Turn 8

    In turn 8 the two front Roman ranks who have thrown pilums spread out to counter the Picts to their right. 6 more legionaries are lost in melee before the remaining pilums are thrown taking out three more Pictish archers and spearmen.

    Turn 9

    As the Picts move into further melee, 2 more legionaries fall – the Eagle is again grabbed to safety by the Roman officer – and 4 Picts are killed. Only one of the Pictish archers is left.

    Turn 10

    On the Pictish side, only one archer, a spearman and the mounted Pictish officer and one of foot remain.

    On the Roman side, 4 legionaries, the trumpeter and officer with the Eagle remain.

    The morale test – throw d6 1,3,5 to retire and 2,4,6 to fight on.

    The Picts choose to retire, the Romans to fight on.

    Phase 3 – The Wagon repaired and rescued

    The Picts retreat and the Roman legionaries repair and recover the wagon, heading off to the East, wary of further Pictish attack.

    A beer tribute to Stuart Asquith who watched over the whole proceedings.

    Once the game was over, I raised a glass of WW1 anniversary beer to Stuart in thanks for all he had done for my hobby.

    Sadly my last bottle of this 2014 WW1 anniversary Cornish vintage beer picked up on my travels hadn’t aged well in the bottle. I had picked up a couple of beer mats for figure basing from the pub after Sunday lunch after an earlier walk – appropriately drinking some Tribute beer.

    Rest In Peace, Stuart Asquith – hope you enjoyed the game.

    Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 17 / 18 November 2019.

    B.P.S.Blog Post Script – 18 November 2019,

    Henry Hyde’s

    Appendix – Amending Stuart Asquith’s Ancients Rules

    I reduced the movement scales and weapons ranges down from Stuart’s simple rules for 15mm scale:

    Spears (such as pilum) 4 inch range.

    Bows 12 inch range

    Weapon ranges –

    Close range up to 4 inches, throw d6 4,5 or 6 for a kill.

    Medium range 4 to 8 inches, throw d6 5 or 6 for a kill.

    Long Range 8 to 12 inches, throw d6 6 for a kill.

    Movement rates

    Light Infantry 6 inches – Roman Auxiliaries and Picts Celtic warriors

    Heavy Infantry 4 inches e.g. Roman legionaries and Archers

    Heavy Chariot / Ox Cart 6 inches

    Light Cavalry 9 inches

    Melee rules

    Individual melee, throw a d6 for each man involved, highest number wins. If there is two versus one man, add +1 for each attacker.

    Mounted versus foot, +1 for mounted.

    Fighting troops with shield or armour, -1 for attackers.

    Unarmoured troops, -1 from their dice.

    Preparing an Ancients Game in Tribute to Stuart Asquith

    My Solo Opponent for the weekend? Stuart Asquith in his 1988 Guide to Solo Gaming.

    I was saddened by the news about Stuart Asquith’s death, whose funeral is on Monday the 18th of November. It has been good to read the many tributes to him by his gaming friends and readers, as his family have also publicly said.

    Along with many other gamers worldwide, I will be holding a small tribute game in Stuart’s memory. It will be a solo Ancients Skirmish game for this coming weekend. This will be using some of my 15mm Peter Laing Ancient Roman and Picts / Celts that used to belong to Stuart.

    Here is my excellent research material:

    Some Ancient inspiration …

    Stuart Asquith’s Military Modelling Guide To Wargaming – Ancients page
    Simple rules for the Ancients from Stuart’s book with option for individual melee
    Tradgardmastre Alan Gruber recommends the Phil Barker WRG titles

    One of these excellent books mentioned by Stuart is literally top of my list of Ancients research, Nils Saxtorph’s Warriors and Weapons of Early Times (Blandford Colour). Many of my childhood drawings were based on this book. Like the Asquith titles, my copy of this wonderful colour book came from my local childhood branch library when they started inexplicably selling off ‘old’ books in the 1990s (!) That was back in the days of reading Stuart Asquith in Military Modelling.

    Some of Stuart’s books and his Peter Laing figures feature in my Full Metal Hic Jacet project ‘research’ pile:

    Choosing just one suitable small scale Skirmish scenario has been a challenge from the many ones in his Solo Wargaming book. One that I have looked forward to playing again is the ‘Stranded Wagon’ scenario 8, Wheel Meet Again, adaptable to almost any period from stranded oxcart of early times and Wild West waggon to broken down supply lorry or futuristic (but broken) cargo speeder.

    This is the broken down ox waggon, almost straight out of Asterix!

    When is the rescue party going to arrive?

    Will the escort hold out long enough?

    Can wheel repairs be done in time under the threat of attack?

    Stuart’s stranded waggon scenario in his Guide to Solo Wargaming

    I had one recent go at this scenario theme in my Bronte inspired Angrian Imagi-Nation skirmish

    My Angrian waggon Skirmish scenario – Bronte ImagiNations

    Before I play out this Solo scenario at the weekend or on the evening of the day that he is put to rest on the 18th November, I need to slightly undo some of Stuart’s handiwork to turn these figures back to single basing.

    Original Asquith beermat bases – proof that he followed his own book advice!

    I’m sure Stuart would be pragmatic about my adapting his multi figure basing to single figures. Stuart’s basing tips from his Guide to Wargaming are shown above, including beer mats that Stuart has used here.

    Single basing using Stuart’s original beermat bases cut in two or three
    A small Roman Column, some to escort the stranded ox waggon, some to repair and rescue it.

    Beer mats aside, some Beer may need to be opened and drunk in Stuart’s memory as well, on or close to the 18th November in spirit alongside my fellow gamers and admirers of Stuart’s many books.

    I also want to fit in a 54mm game skirmish in Stuart’s memory soon, an unfashionable scale that he supported.

    I shall post pictures afterwards.

    The Click2Comic treatment of Stuart Asquith, Solo gamer!

    And finally … my Peter Laing 15mm Ancient British Chariot Squadron which will probably not be appearing in this “Wheel Meet Again” Stuart Asquith Solo Scenario.

    Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 15 November 2019