Kaskowiski 1873 inspired scenario

The Kaskowiski invasion hoax of 1873 set me thinking about future games scenarios that could be based around the supposed or suggested incident. After all, that is what the author or newspaper editor of the Daily Southern Cross David Luckie intended in his May 1873 article,  published in February 1873, to stir up concern over New Zealand’s naval and land defences. Eventually continued concern led to the building of fortified batteries.

Where would I get a suitable coastal fort or battery as a focus for a game?

I  have explored Victorian and later adapted wartime forts and gun batteries  in the West Country ranging from Pendennis Castle

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/pendennis-castle/

in Falmouth and its sister fort of St Mawes (both English Heritage) along with the St. Antony Battery and Lighthouse nearby (National Trust) and similar adapted fortifications in the Scilly Isles. I was familiar with the underground passageways and ammunition stores, mess rooms, ventilation grilles and concrete gun emplacements that might be found in such coastal  forts.

There are some interesting photographs of Victorian coastal forts and artillery on the internet, ranging from Britain to New Zealand.

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Fort Jervois (New Zealand) https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/fort-jervois

Closed by recent earthquake damage, Fort Jervois has been photographed by Urbex photographers https://urbexcentral.com/2016/01/27/earthquake-island/fort-jervois-ripapa-island-95/

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A little picture research brought up this massive gun (or tiny people)

Seeing these last few pictures of grassy concrete batteries and giant coastal guns convinced me that I had a  suitable fort or two packed away from childhood – the Airfix Gun Emplacement.

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With a little repainting, these would serve from Victorian times onwards. At a pinch they should suit my 15mm Peter Laing figures as well as  the larger OO/HO 20 to 25mm plastic Airfix sort of figures.

 

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Repainted and flocked, this old Airfix fort with gun shield off makes a reasonably old-looking  coastal gun position.

My 15mm and 20mm figure bases are a little large for the narrowest passageways, so I may have to trim any bases slightly before painting up a suitable garrison or attackers. I remember it being a tight fit anyway with the later larger Airfix OO/HO second version figures (the first version 1960s  ones had smaller but more topply bases).

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I also have a passable Airfix coastal defence fort from childhood that could be added, much like the one featured on the front of John Curry’s recent reprint of Donald Featherstone’s unpublished Wargaming Commando Operations.

The 1873 Kaskowiski Russian Invasion of New Zealand Hoax focuses on an amphibious raid or landing by Russian Marines, Naval Infantry  or Sailor, supported by a Russian Ironclad like the PavelPavlosk.

The closest ‘Russian marines’ I currently have are some 15mm Peter Laing Russians (painted as Bulgarians)

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Russian Ironclad of the 1870s the Petropavlovsk https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_ironclad_Petropavlovsk

I do have about four Russian Marines from a brief flirtation in the 1980s with new Platoon 20 figures  (metal, 20mm, which wiped my pocket money). These Platoon 20 figures are still available.

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The officer with pistol and rifleman with bayonet might be suitable for such Kaskowiski scenarios, rather than the LMG and SMG figures.

I shall have to look through and see what Peter Laing figures I have that are suitable. Here are my 15mm Russians, disembarking near a lonely customs post.

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The customs officer and volunteer rifle Militia man confront the Russian Marines.
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The good old Airfix Pontoon Bridge boat makes a handy pinnace or Invasion barge. Heroscape Hex landscape.

It will be interesting to research suitable Victorian uniforms for 19th century Colonial figures.

The Volunteer Rifle movement had reached New Zealand by the time of the Kaskowiski invasion hoax of 1873, as this account shows in the Daily Southern Cross  newspaper around the hoax date of 17 February 1873.

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O should the Cask of Whisky / Kaskowiski come? The Volunteers will sort it out, as this ditty poem suggests.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, November 2018.

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From old digital radio to 54mm houses and coastal gun emplacement

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I loved making these unusual buildings over several weeks, using scrap materials.

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The larger house at Das terracotta clay stage onto a wooden radio base.

An old, long dead Roberts digital radio with wooden frame and stylish fabric print has been upcycled into several wooden 54mm buildings.

Brick ruin walls were provided with air drying Das terracotta clay.  This took a week or two to dry!

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The smaller house – yet to be painted – its shape dictated by the base, an internal piece of radio woodwork.

I wanted to create buildings that could serve a number of uses in a desert scenario or European Countryside on tabletop or garden games.

I wasn’t sure how best to paint these with Acrylics, so went for a ‘Blend’, inspired by two old stalwart childhood favourites, the Airfix Desert Outpost and the ruined house European strongpoint.

My Airfix Painting Inspiration?

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The amazing 1:32 Desert Outpost from Airfix
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The wonderful old 1:32 Airfix Strongpoint

After a non-descript base paint colour of sandy Afrikabraun  and brown Acrylic to suggest a sand or mud floor, I used a mixture of white and offwhite Acrylic for the whitewashed walls, followed by a dry brush of brown to weather the walls to a more ruinous state. Several coats of white / offwhite were required.

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The desert ruin setting
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Repaired Broken Britain’s and other 54mm hollowcast soldiers in this European ruin setting.
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Back view of the larger ruin.

Lolly sticks, cocktail sticks and wooden coffee stirrers provided the ruined window frames. Pushing a couple of ragged holes through the clay walls suggests that the building has been damaged by shell fire or the walls loopholed by troops.

I still have the smaller clay building to paint, which has been based on  another oddly shaped wooden internal section of the old radio.

Coastal Gun Emplacement?

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Looking at the other part of the old digital radio, once I had removed the electrics / electronics, the shape suggested some kind of camouflaged bunker.

I was inspired by some of the simple wooden  Hugar style buildings made in the 1930s for Britain’s. Paul Brookes has written a recent Illustrated History of Hugar, available via Amazon. 

https://www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk/index/Category:Hugar_Models

The metal front speaker grille that would form the bunker roof would be fine on a sci fi bunker. It didn’t look right on a 1930s/40s one, so was replaced by cardboard covered in some of the fabric pattern removed from the radio back before the back was used as the  larger terracotta house base.

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Inside the bunker, the simple gun mounting blocks and improvised crews.

Other internal bits of wood from the radio suggested two gun platforms.

I had no plyboard left and had already used the radio base for the larger house ruin, so I substituted stiff cardboard for a base. I tend to use whatever I have to hand, just to get on with the job whilst in the mood.

Amongst job lots of Broken Britain’s figures had been a couple of damaged old Britain’s AA guns without their trailer bases. I had been saving three of these guns for wooden gunboats but two seem to serve well enough here as requisitioned or improvised coastal guns.

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A scratch machine gun team from various damaged figures and pieces. The officer with binoculars was created from a trashed metal detecting find.

A scratch team of repaired Broken Britain’s and other hollowcast lead Khaki gunners  and  Infantry give the right feel.

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These steel helmeted Khaki infantry mounted on tuppenny bases are Britain’s East Kent Regiment on Guard, all broken figures gifted to me by John Forman rather than being scrapped, all of which needed base and rifle repairs.

I’m not sure who the textile designer was for the textiles on this limited edition (but dead) Roberts digital radio c. 2004/5, but I think the strong blotch camouflage colours are reminiscent of experimental wartime camouflage schemes.

For a bit of barbed wire, the metal spines of old notebooks come in handy.

On a scrap hound basis, I also have the old radio aerial  for mounting model aircraft at different heights, once a suitable wooden base turns up. Waste not …

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 13/14th October 2018.

 

 

Timpo Desert Fort pictures

Using my blog as a scrapbook (kind of what Pinterest was invented for), here are a couple of cheeky screen shots from an online auction site of the Timpo Desert Fort.

Never had this fort or knew it existed. However I still have my childhood Timpo Arabs and Foreign Legion, some of them in need of repair from brittle joints.

I have been slowly collecting the odd beaten up Timpo cowboy buildings for 54mm games.

There are lots more Timpo buildings at this site for some Timpo Nostalgia:

http://www.spanglefish.com/hallmarkstoysoldiers/index.asp?pageid=169845

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 29 August 2018.

Wilko Wild Western Express Train

In between planning airplane conversions, I have been repairing Broken Britain’s hollowcast 54mm Indians and casting more Prince August 40mm Cowboys and Indians ready for some garden skirmish games soon.

So adding a Western train set isn’t so surprising …

Vintage 54mm Pound Store Plastic Cowboys and Indians fight over the cargo and caboose of my new Wilko Western Express train.

A snip of a plastic battery operated railway set at £10. Read more at:

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2018/07/14/the-wild-wilko-western-express/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 14 / 15 July 2018.

TSAF Pink Wing Scramble!

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In a lonely forest airstrip, the radio message crackles Through – “Pink Wing,  Scramble!”

Two pilots run to their waiting machine  …

A couple of missed photographs from my previous TSAF blogpost https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/06/tsaf-toy-soldier-air-force/

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Two fabulous vintage  Johillco (1939 era) Running  Pilot hollowcast figures, one in Khaki, the other in civilian white pilot or technicians overalls run to “Poppet” their waiting Hybrid Corsair / Hellcat / Buffalo.

I have now tracked down for a fiver a third Moshi Monster aeroplane. This one will be converted in time to a string bag biplane. Up Up and Away!

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 9 July 2018.

Happy 2nd Blogaversary and Geek Pride Day from the Man of TIN!

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Waving flags and cheers from or for my tip-off find of the year – 15mm Peter Laing Late Victorian Parade Range Civilians. 

Today 25th May 2018 is my second happy Blogaversary (blog anniversary) of the Man of TIN blog! Huzzah! Wave flags etc

May 25 is also Geek Pride Day around the world

https://www.thinkgeek.com/geekpride/

Or in my words “I didn’t choose the Geek Life … the Geek Life chose me.”

A big thanks to all my fellow bloggers and readers over the last year (or two) for all your likes, comments and support. Your blogs on my “blogs I follow” blogroll are my regular portals to games blogging, toy soldiers and gaming inspiration.

The last year of Man of TIN and associated blogs has seen a wide range of subjects, being the wargames and toy soldier butterfly that I am.

Some of my highlights from my latest year of Man of TIN blog

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1. Pound Store Plastic Warriors – my other blog https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com

Being mostly 42mm paint conversions and 36mm pound store plastic tat figures transformed into loveliness!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/pound-store-plastic-figure-conversions-and-comparisons/

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2. Sidetracked – my other railway gaming related blog and its Blowing Up Desert Trains games

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/blowing-up-desert-trains/

all thanks to the gift of a Train in a TIN.

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Peter Laing 15mm troops  clash on the tracks in the desert
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192 Heroscape Hexes of Joy on my Portable Game Board

3. Expanding my Heroscape hex portable game board

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/192-hexes-of-joy-a-larger-hex-game-board/

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4. The Remount Department and Broken Britain’s, all part of my ongoing interest in 54mm gaming and figure repair and restoration.

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Metal detectorist toy soldier finds restored.  

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/recalled-to-the-colours-54mm-metal-detectorists-toy-soldier-finds-restored-to-fighting-condition/

5. My ongoing search for vintage Peter Laing 15mm figures, now they are no longer produced and the Peter Laing collectors Google G+ Community Page established by Ian Dury

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/peter-laing-15mm-google-community-page/

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My best find of the last blogging year? A tip off towards Peter Laing 15mm Victorian Civilians.

6. Along with American painter and toy soldier collector Andrew Wyeth exhibitions, I have also enjoyed Forgotten Georgia,  still an enjoyable slice of old American life and buildings on this website

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/forgotten-georgia-blog/

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7. Vintage Airfix OO/HO figure gaming

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/another-vintage-airfix-hoard/

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The end of the Airfix ACW game and surviving Union troops!

One of my favourite games last year was a vintage ACW  Airfix game using the Train in a TIN!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/acw-battle-of-pine-ridge-vintage-airfix-full-game-write-up/

8. Using Donald Featherstone rules of course in the year of his Centenary (1918-2013).

Reading and transcribing BBC scripts from Don’s 1960s long-forgotten radio talks was another highlight, the contents now passed onto John Curry at the History o& Wargaming Project.

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From an early Featherstone interview in the newspapers which I tracked down.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/featherstone100-donald-featherstone-centenary-20-march-2018/

9. Unusual anniversaries and special months – MARCH and FEMbruary  featuring female figure painting challenges and history, along with “believable female miniatures” including buying some 28mm land girls from Annie at Bad Squiddo.

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100 years since the Vote was awarded to some British women – my suffragette conversions and Home cast Prince August policemen conversions. 

10. The Bronte bicentenaries – 200 years since several of the Bronte family were  born, inspiration for some of my Imagi-Nations games, based in their mythical juvenile worlds of Angria, Gondal and GlassTown.

May – Only about half the way through my New Gaming Year’s Irresolutions … and way off target already!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/tell-it-to-the-unicorns-new-gaming-year-irresolutions-2018/

Many thanks for sharing my latest blogging year and I hope you enjoy the next! Next posts will be more “Broken Britain’s” 54mm lead figure conversions.

And Happy Geek Pride Day

“I didn’t choose the Geek Life … the Geek Life chose me.”

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 2nd Blogaversary, 25 May 2018.

 

 

 

 

The magic number 793.9

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793.9 that magical number that ought to be the PIN number or four digit code of all gamers of a certain generation.

793.9 the most important bit of any school library or the adult section of the public library when you were too young to afford any gaming books except at Christmas or Birthday.

793.9 the public secret code to the portal of gaming. The cupboard to Narnia of toy soldier gaming. As I recall in one lovely tiny branch library of my childhood,  793.9 was round the back of shelving and out of view from the rest of the library.

What was 793.9 in the mysterious world of Dewey library numbers?

793 Indoor games & amusements
793.2 Parties and entertainment
793.3 Social, folk, national dancing
793.4 Games of action
793.5 Forfeit and trick games
793.7 Games not characterized by action
793.8 Magic and related activities
793.9 Other indoor diversions

http://bpeck.com/references/ddc/ddc_mine700.htm

793.9 other indoor diversions including Wargames 

793.9 has even generated its own 2014 book Dragons in the Stacks, as befits some of the more forward thinking libraries such as Kaptain Kobold’s local Australian library’s games events. http://hordesofthethings.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/dragon-rampant-at-library.html

 

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Mainly focussed on RPG games, snippets can be read on Google books.

http://www.librarything.com/mds/793.92  suggests that Wargames now have their own unique number 793.92

So who was Dewey the decimal library wizard?  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dewey_Decimal_Classification

Here is the man himself, American librarian  Melvil Dewey (1851-1931)

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The great man Melvil Dewey  1851–1931 (Image:Wikipedia source)

Would Melvil Dewey have approved of the activities categorised under 793.9?

Probably not, accorading to Anna Elliott’s article below. He did not seem too fond of “silly games” although arguably everything I have learned about history, psychology and tactics through gaming would class it as the sort of “self improvement activity” he enjoyed in place of “silly games” as a child.

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http://www.hwwilson.com/databases/PDFsample/WLB/dewey.pdf

What a singular man Melvil Dui turned out to be …

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, player of Games not characterized by action