These were Christmas gifts, these “Made of Wood” craft products from a local craft store – in the varied shapes of a lighthouse, wooden pine trees and Christmas decoration houses.
The label suggests that they are made from a very fast growing timber called the Paulownia tree, widely farmed and forested in China / East Asia and now across America as the ‘new balsa’ because of its lightness and valued for its attractive grain.
A light green wash or woodstain should bring out best features of these toy like pine trees.
There are some fantastic wooden buildings in this St Nazaire raid game that give an idea of how to make your own or use wooden buildings like these:
After a cool early morning stroll through my nearest local village I walked past a fundraising car boot sale. I was tempted to start a small Sylvanian Army by equipping small furry clothed creatures with shields, swords and spears (Redwall style) but kindly left them all to be discovered with delight by a local child.
Instead I bought a Scottish Croft for a Pound.
Thankfully I don’t now have to upsticks and move Northwards to embrace the Good Life of Self Sufficiency anytime soon, only to find both the off-grid smallholding novelty and the delusion wear out quickly. Then write a book about it.
Or maybe not – because it is a very very tiny Croft House and a very small piece of land. It also comes with a tiny flock of sheep built in!
Instead I moved in some suitably tiny tenants into this little resin Lilliput Lane building – some of my vintage 15mm Peter Laing 1715 or 45 Rising figures. I’m not too sure if they are happy about the sheep or the related Highland Clearances that will follow in the next century.
Crofting, Clearances, Sheep or People?
The Highland Clearances (or the “eviction of the Gaels”) were the forced evictions of many tenants in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, mostly in the period 1750 to 1860.
“After the initial swift and bloodthirsty retribution for the Jacobite rebellions, laws were instigated to prevent any further groundswell of support for the previous monarchs. In 1747 ‘The Act of Proscription’ was passed. Clan tartan had become popular during the Jacobite years and this was outlawed under this new act, as were bagpipes and the teaching of Gaelic. The Act was a direct attack on the Highland culture and way of life, and attempted to eradicate it from a modern and Hanoverian-loyal Scotland.”
The article continues: “It was not only Highland culture that disappeared over this period but also the Highlanders themselves, for the most prosaic of reasons: money. It was deduced by those landowners on whose lands the clans lived and worked, that sheep were exponentially more financially productive than people. The wool trade had begun to boom and there was literally more value in sheep than people. So, what followed was an organized and intentional removal of the population from the area. In 1747, another Act was passed, the ‘Heritable Jurisdictions Act’, which stated that anyone who did not submit to English rule automatically forfeited their land: bend the knee or surrender your birthright …”
The hundred or so years between 1750 and 1860 saw the bulk of the Highland Clearances, forced eviction from farms or a move into alternative Crofting tenancies. For many, it led to eventual forced emigration to avoid famine and failed industries like kelp farming. It is still an emotive area of many people’s family histories scattered around the world. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Clearances
So a Scottish Croft for only an English Pound has a lot of complex and partisan economic, social, colonial and military history lurking behind it.
With such big spending, I could have posted this blog post on Pound Store Plastic Warriors.
Two short YouTube videos by UK charity Models for Heroes about the therapeutic value of plastic modelling and how having a hobby focus helps with mental health and PTSD: https://www.modelsforheroes.co.uk
I did even less or next to nothing about the next two.
NGY 2018 Irresolution Four – Full Metal Hic Jacet – Whoops! did nothing this year.
NGY 2018 Irresolution Five – Return to Planet Back Yarden – I seemed to spend all year enjoyably preparing for a 42mm or 54mm Garden Skirmish that never properly happened.
As I mentioned “It should be fun to look back in a year’s time to find out what shiny distractions cropped up during the New Gaming and Painting Year of 2018”. So what happened and how did 2018 go so enjoyably awry?
January 2018 – more pound store conversions (see Irresolutions 1) – on target so far
In March and April 2018, some unusual WW1 anniversary themes that were “Not On The Western Front” started to creep in, ranging from Portuguese and Bulgarian infantry to later in the year Belgian Cycle troops.
I could blame Marvin over at Suburban Militarism for much of this distraction.
December 2018 was an Advent Calendar madness of blogposts every day on very varied topics, a good way to finish off part drafted blog posts accumulated over several years. Everything from punk rock singer Toy Soldier collectors to Victorian toy soldier scraps!
So what next for 2019?
Several Irresolutions from 2018 to carry forward and possibly ignore.
NGY 2018 / 2019 Irresolution One – Carry on Converting (and repairing). I have a whole desk full of these hollowcast casualties to keep me busy …
NGY 2018/19 Irresolution Two – More solo short small skirmish games
NGY 2018/19 Irresolution Three – Paint More Peter Laings
NGY 2018/19 Irresolution Four – Full Metal Hic Jacet – if I can find my Ancients Skirmish Mojo.
NGY 2018/ 19 Irresolution Five – Return to Planet Back Yarden – those 54mm space figures won’t paint themselves, you know!
Not forgetting all those American Civil War / Colonial / War of Independence figures who need finishing off and basing to fight skirmishes in the garden and tabletop against those Broken Britain’s Zulus and American Indians. All inspired by Wells’ Little Wars and Featherstone’s Close Wars rules. All of these duel purpose figures with a Bronte inspired ImagiNations twist of Angria Gondal and Glasstown, if real world, button-counting / ethical history proves too awkward. The Brontes! Arise Angria!
Chuck in some likely shiny distractions such as conversions for SecretProjectSF – StrangeFruitWars, some commando raid inspired skirmishes, lots more blogging and a bit of hot metal pouring (homecasting), who knows how the year will go?
I look forward again to reading everyone else’s foolishly optimistic Irresolutions and all your New Year of Gaming and Painting adventures.
It’s all for the love of Toy Soldiers!
Happy New Year!
Don’t forget – further distraction from your own resolute tasks exists at my other occasional toy soldier and gaming related blogs