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
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.
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!
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
Here is the man himself, American librarian Melvil Dewey (1851-1931)
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.
A free gift from the wider family, this versatile cardboard packaging. Great that it isn’t unrecyclable plastic. Even better that it suggests lots of scrap modelling possibilities.
There are a few felt tip marks from previous play owners that will need a gentle paint disguise. Otherwise I will probably leave the blocks as they are for now. Any detailing would diminish them or fix a scenario too much. They remind me of the desert and city scenery in Star Wars Rogue One.
They also work for multiple scales, another reason for not adding detail. At 54mm the deep pits make firing positions in an old fort or blasted village. At the 36mm scale of pound store plastic warriors, they are more like old tombs or excavations, an abandoned city in the Generic Badlands.
Being essentailly papier-mâché cardboard packaging, they may need hot glue gunning to some backing board and not leaving around in the garden. A thin brush over of PVA might waterproof them all.
When storage space becomes a problem, they “flatpack” back to cardboard with the happy aid of boots and into the recycling.
Being the Christmas blogpost from the Man Of TIN. No Christmas Railway this year to entertain and entrain the troops, instead the first part of a new Christmas Village.
Build a Christmas Village by Leonard Hospidor, 2011, Sterling Innovations, New York, USA
The pre-punched cardstock buildings come with a sheet of see-through Vellum paper for the window glass, which can have details inked in with a suitable pen or black biro. This window element looks extra festive and good at night if you put a small LED battery candle inside.
The box and book were created in 2011 by US papercrafter Leonard Hospidor and published by Sterling Innivation. They are still available online. I bought mine in a shop a Christmas or two ago for about fifteen pounds. The website BuildAChristmasVillage.com sadly appears to be no longer functioning.
The pressout buildings seem to be suitable for about 20 to 30mm scaled figures.
What makes this set extra useful is the reusable template section of the book that can be freely scanned or photocopied and scaled up or down as basic buildings for gaming, such as the American Colonial house for Revolutionary War or Civil War Games. The snowy bits can be overpainted as needed.
We have yet to build the church or English Tudor Revival timber framed building, but the glue supplied was good PVA craft glue that stuck card quickly. There is also a doghouse (small barn for tiny figures?), stark winter oaks and green snowy fir trees. All useful. All a bit of fun for all the family.
I have resisted the masses of other Christmas village houses and figures, the all-singing, musical LED ones etc around in the shops at this time of year, even though the gaming mind thinks “Hmm, useful civilian figures, useful country cottage in snow …”
Wishing all my Man of TIN blog readers and Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog readers a very happy toy filled Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Gaming Year 2018.
2017 has been a good hobby and blogging year. Thanks for all your comments, likes and emails this year and for sharing your hobby on your blogs too. It’s been fun!
Blosposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 22/23 December 2017
Look out for a suitably cheap plastic festive offering on our other blog soon!
A lucky find on a collectibles or junk stall was a £10 teabag box full of a small jumbled collection of miniature ceramic French houses produced by Gault.
I had never heard of ‘Gault Made in France’ but I saw the games potential of this ‘bric a brac’ straight away. They looked close to 15mm scale.
About Gault France ceramic houses
“The magic of Gault houses was born from the combination of the talents of 2 brothers: Jean-Pierre, architect, painter and sculptor, and Dominique, designer and businessman”. http://gault-france.com/gault-history/
Sadly ceramics production of this attractive little French houses by Gault ceased for a while in 2001 and finally by 2010, due to the expensive production costs of these individually made and painted houses, after about thirty years of production.
Judging by the long individual making process, I am not surprised that they had high production costs:
“Two months were needed to produce a house through 14 manufacturing stages. Sculpting of roofs, shaping and modelling of balconies, pavements…Natural drying, firing at 700°C; rinse-bath with oxides, painting, patina, dust removal, cold enameling at 1000°C and shop-fronts miniaturising. All those stages were necessary to produce a piece finally worthy of seal of Gault. The world of Gault: the charm weaves its spell.” http://gault-france.com
The Gault France site (above) by Stephane is the only English language site I can find about them. It is well worth a visit, a real labour of love. It features pages of a rare Japanese book about them, showing the commonest Provence range that my houses belong to and many more ranges on his website http://gault-france.com/
“J Carlton houses are made of resin instead of ceramic and are generally a bit smaller than the Gault Original (ceramic) houses. A key difference between the ceramic and resin houses is that the ceramic houses were entirely made by hand; each one was unique as the window styles, doors, business name and other aspects of the pieces was different on each one of the same model. The resin houses are made from highly precise molds and therefore each one of the same model are identical.” Taken from http://gault-france.com website
The resin replacements of the Gault houses still produced and available on the ‘J. Carlton’ website. These are resin moulded, much brighter and, to me, have far less character or texture than the ceramic Gault originals. Like old metal figures, the ceramics also have a satisfying weighty heft about them.
Dominique Gault personally created the design for the comic little metal figurines, vehicles, and town furniture working with a French sculptor or artist Jean-Pierre Lobel. They do not feature on Lobel’s Art Miniature range, produced surprisingly in the former French colony of Madagascar since 1995. www.figurine-artminiature.com
However the Gault / Lobel figures are still produced in metal, hand painted and sold through J Carlton or second hand online sites. I am not too sure of their size, online auction sites suggest about 1 inch high, but they turn these model French towns into something charming and comic, somewhere between Trumpton and Tintin. http://pxlentreprise.fr/jcarlton/categorie-produit/figurines/
This motley collection of Gault houses suggest lots of gaming possibilities, especially in 15mm (they would probably work with 10mm too). You can mix and move the smaller side buildings around, much as you can in the traditional wooden German toy villages beloved of gamers, to create new combinations of buildings.
It is difficult to resist moving these little houses and outhouses around to make new village or townscapes.
Like all new gaming finds, these houses rearranged into a square, a small hamlet or long street suggest gaming scenarios or just atmospheric scene setting.
With the bell tower, it could a Mexican, Spanish Colonial or southern states desert village for some of my 15mm Peter Laing Boers as cowboys or bandits with other American Civil War figures.
With some Peter Laing 15mm Romans stashed away for Christmas to look forward to as opponents to my Peter Laing Ancient troops, I can see these working as simple Roman buildings. Instead of the maker’s mark of Gault written on the back wall, I may find the words Romans Go Home written instead!
I have tried the smaller Gault buildings out on 4.5 cm Heroscape hexes and they work quite well in a token ‘toy town’ kind of way.
However they do well enough on a felt gaming cloth.
Behind the scenes and underneath Gault Houses
For those who know such things, here are the maker’s marks or catalogue numbers of the pieces I picked up.
Looking on online sites, now that these Gault ceramics are out of production, even the smallest outhouse seems to be selling for at least twice the price I paid for the whole cardboard tea box of jumbled houses. A lucky day.
So I can now say that I own a property in Provence or two … albeit in miniature.