Snow and Ski Troops



Inspired by Tradgardmastre’s snow pictures!

It has stopped snowing where I live and stormy winds and rain  have replaced the snow clouds. The snow is beginning to melt but not before I found one of my Britain’s style ski Troops in my toy soldier collection. Not sure if he is an original or a repair or recast, certainly he has been repainted.

Many of my Airfix 1:32 German Mountain Troops from childhood have long since disintegrated, one of those sets where the plastic turned  brittle and crumbled fast. The newer Airfix replacements (available recently) that  I have bought are not yet painted. So this solitary metal Ski trooper, picked up in a job lot of metal figures, stands in for them.

Skielober 1811by Johannes Senn,  depicting Norwegian Ski Troops (Wikipedia Source)

There is an interesting section on Ski Troops on Wikipedia, including some references to Norwegian Ski troopers in Napoleonic times. Napoleon’s Troops famously were famously routed by winter weather in 1812, the Germans again in 1942.

Apart from the disastrous British involvement in the Norway Campaign of 1940, I was not aware of much mountain warfare in WW2. I knew that the Finns fought successfully against the Russians  for a time in 1939/40. I always thought that this Britains Ski trooper in white snow suit represented in sets 2037 / 2017 was based on these  brave Finnish troops.

Reading the Wikipedia entry

I was surprised to learn of Australian ski Troops fighting Vichy French in the mountains of Lebanon in WW2. Equally I was surprised to discover Greek WW2 ski Troops

I thought that my tiny 15mm Peter Laing WW1 Italian Alpini with their great feathered cap  might disappear into the snow, so rescued them and sought out my Britains 54mm Ski trooper.

Peter Laing 15mm Italian Alpini Troops in the Snow (F772)

Peter Laing did do a WW1 French Chassueur D’Alpin along with Soviet and Finnish ski troopers in their WW1 Russian Civil War range but sadly I never bought any of these.

Somewhere I have some fine Atlantic Alpini OO/HO WW2 Italian Mountain Troops, a great set with a truculent mule as well. Recently Waterloo 1815 have issued Alpini and US Mountain troops.

Winter War in Napoleonic Times 

In my  IBooks I have stored an interesting short PDF by George Falco de Mats or De Mas called Winter War in Napoleonic Times – unfortunately I cannot find a link or URL – with interesting pictures of  ski scouts.


Picture from Winter Warfare in Napoleonic Times PDF by George Falco de Mats / Mas




The author George Falco De Mats / Mas’  photographs in the PDF from the Kongsvinger Museum also show an ingenious sledge cannon and a Norwegian 1808 Jäger uniform

There are some excellent reenactor pictures of Norwegian Napoleonic era ski troops here in superb costumes:

This whole area of the Napoleonic Wars is unknown to me. Thankfully Wikipedia has a summary:–09

“The Dano–Swedish War of 1808–1809 was a war between Denmark–Norway and Sweden due to Denmark–Norway’s alliance with France and Sweden’s alliance with the United Kingdom during the Napoleonic Wars. Neither Sweden nor Denmark-Norway had wanted war to begin with but once pushed into it through their respective alliances, Sweden made a bid to acquire Norway by way of invasion while Denmark-Norway made ill-fated attempts to reconquer territories lost to Sweden in the 17th century. Peace was concluded on grounds of status quo ante bellum on 10 December 1809.” (Wikipedia source)

There was also a Norwegian war of independence in 1814 between–Norwegian_War_(1814)

“The English Wars (Danish: Englandskrigene, Swedish: Englandskrigen) were a series of conflicts between England and Sweden with Denmark-Norway as part of the Napoleonic Wars.

It is named after the most prominent region of its other main participant, the United Kingdom, which declared war on Denmark-Norway due to disagreements over the neutrality of Danish trade and to prevent the Danish fleet falling into the hands of the First French Empire.

It began with the first battle of Copenhagen in 1801 and its latter stage from 1807 onwards was followed by the Gunboat War, the Dano-Swedish War of 1808-1809 and the Swedish invasion of Holstein in 1814.” (Wikipedia source)

Lots of interesting Napoleonic conflicts that I have not heard of before, beyond Copenhagen, the sources being mostly not in English and ones which I have not seen on a gaming table. There are some interesting gaming blogs on this subject.

I was unaware of English involvement in the Swedish- Danish / Scandinavian Wars.

George Falco De Mas /Mats refers to a book available in reprint Narrative of The Conquest of Finland by The Russians which is a dispirited free download PDF on Google Books; it looks an interesting book.

Short Google Books extract – Sir John Moore later escaped home with his small British army.

Published in 1854 around the time of the Crimea this refers to the events of 1808-9.

Imagine Napoleonic British troops and Royal Navy  in action in support of the Swedish  King Gustavus  against the Russians. Apparently the ‘mad’ Swedish King Gustavus would not let the British troops land and even arrested Sir John Moore, according to a brief entry in Jenny Uglow’s In These Times.

I will see if I can find the original URL or link of the PDF by George Falco De Mas or DeMats; until then I have cut and pasted some of  the photographs onto the blog, suitably credited.

Blogposted by Mark, Snow-Man of TIN, 2 March 2018





Peter Laing 15mm WW2 DAK Desert Africa Korps



Peter Laing 15mm WW1 Late War German infantry, converted to WW2 Desert DAK Deutsche Afrika Korps. Almost finished except for faces,  fine details and gloss varnish.

You won’t find a Peter Laing 15mm WW2 Western Desert range as his WW2 range was a limited WW2 range of Americans, British and Germans.

Now that the Peter Laing figures are sadly no longer available and the original moulds probably lost, there will be no specific WW2 Western Desert range. However the slight detail of Peter Laing’s 15mm figures, which were painstakingly carved from laminated plasticard, here proves to our benefit:

“Detail is kept muted so there is no overscale effect, the detail in the figure depends on the amount that is put in the painting.” (Peter Laing Catalogue intro)

“It is naturally difficult to cover every Army type, but I have tried to give a good representative range to enable satisfactory games to be played. In 15mm scale it is possible, by judicious use of paint, to vary one figure to represent various army types, and of course the use of a file and knife can extend the utility of a figure even further.” (Peter Laing Catalogue Ancients section)

Conversion was something Peter encouraged through his suggestion of Dual Use Items / Suitable Items from other  ranges.

As Peter produced an unusually comprehensive WW1 range at a time when few makers (except Airfix) had any WW1 gaming figures, there are perfectly good WW1 Late German infantry and artillery that can be used for WW2 troops.

F743 German Infantry Advancing, Steel Helmet

F745 German Infantry grenade thrower, Steel Helmet 

Simple paint detailing of straps on the rear side.

This set of unpainted WW1 German figures came with a few Feldgrau painted figures, some with red insignia and piping etc of a WW1 German soldier or a colourful early pattern camouflage of a Stalheim or Steel helmet.

Peter Laing 15mm field grey WW1 Late War German Infantry F743, also suitable for WW2.
Some of these already painted but second-hand WW1 Peter Laing figures needed a little repaint but arrived with some useful conversion  details such as the  Plasticard square / rectangle knapsacks. The centre figure has the colourful WW1  stalheim camouflage.


At some point when I have acquired enough Peter Laing British steel helmet figures, picked up online in ones and twos, I shall  paint these spare British infantry in desert colours for a small WW2  desert skirmish force. Some of the khaki Indian infantry with Turbans would complement these well.

peter laing
My 2017 WW1 era desert skirmish with Indian troops and a trial  Desert DAK type German figure with WW1 Turks.

I have also experimented with filing down the pointed dome of the pith helmet on some spare WW1 British Infantry Tropical Helmet F748, working on spare figures who have broken bayonets etc,  in order to make more of a steel helmet WW2 “desert rat”. They already have the desert shorts. I should be able to make a scratch  rifles Platoon / section  for small skirmish games in this way.



Peter Laing 15mm WW2 figures

I have posted previously about Peter Laing’s WW2 range and skirmish games

which also mentions the excellent Tim’s Tanks blog about Peter Laing WW1 and WW2 range.

and a WW1 blowing up desert train sounds scenario using the Indian troops

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN blog February 2018.


Peter Laing 15mm Victorian Civilians

I was alerted to the online sale of this small box of John Mitchell Military Miniatures, thanks to Stephen Prentice. Stephen had seen my previous entries on John Mitchell box sets and buildings.

The late John Mitchell, who died last year, painted boxes of Peter Laing 15mm figures for sale, right the way up to whole starter armies.

Some of the figures IDs are obvious – I had heard of the Victorian girl with hoop F7051 and Victorian boy with flag F7052 so I was confident that these probably were Peter Laing figures as best I could tell from the small online sales pictures.

The missing figure of the eight is possibly a duplicate of the girl, standing man or boy with flag? As one of my family pointed out, in keeping with today’s pulp fiction / Victorian Science Fiction VSF gaming, this might also be an ultra-rare, uncatalogued Peter Laing 15mm figure of The Invisible Man.



Hopefully my fellow Peter Laing collectors will assist me in identifying the other figures, which are presumably:

F7049 Civilian Male standing – presumably the male figure with the larger hat?

F7050 Civilian female standing – presumably the female figure with the hat or bonnet?


This still leaves unidentified the standing woman or older girl without hat and the man with hat and gesticulating arm on the odd-one-out green base.



Female figures are pretty rare in the Peter Laing range of figures. As part of FEMbruary looking at female figures in my collection, there  is

F3006  A female settler and

F3018 Squaw in the ACW / Pony Wars series,

F8006 a Cantiniere in the Franco-Prussian range,

F9013 a peasant woman in the late Samurai series

F6009 a European woman (Memsahib)  in the Indian Mutiny range.

Any  of these might be in this box masquerading as Victorian Civilians.

Handling the box itself was interesting, it felt like the same flimsy card on which his card buildings were printed. The box is in fact a single sheet of A4 printed card cleverly folded. Unfortunately they were printed with a spelling mistake or printers typo of “Minatures” instead of “Miniatures”.

Fascinating to have one of these Mitchell sets and best of all, some delightful Peter Laing figures I thought that I would never own.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, February 2018.


Peter Laing 15mm Crackers Air Capability


The  festive season has brought some gaming delights to be shared on the blog over the next few weeks. Usually crackers only yield up the occasional useful dice.

Some were unexpected delights like this Christmas Cracker derived air capability.

This tiny 5 part airplane kit is very useful, being about 15mm sized, especially after opening up the double cockpit to make a single seater.

WW2 era Black and white shot of my new cracker sourced  Air Force.

I shall have to look about for a suitable Air Force type figure or two.

I don’t think Peter Laing ever made any 15mm aircrew, which I think a little odd.

These Sainsbury’s crackers show the wings the wrong way round! 

Odd, considering that the scale of 15mm figures were accidentally invented by Peter trying to make figures for 1:144  aircraft. He produced a small range of WW1 vehicles and tanks but no planes.

Check out the Peter Laing Community  page on Google plus or this website for more about his WWI and WWII range.

This airplane story is mentioned in the December 1982 interview in Military Modelling, one of the filleted  magazines for useful article pages from my scrapbook. I found it really interesting to see who and where my figures came from.


The full article can be read at

More shots of the near finished aeroplane.

Alas the Allied test pilot crash lands and his plane is captured by enemy troops who stretcher him away. Peter Laing 15mm WW1 / WW2 figures from my collection. 

I have yet to work out what decals may be required.


Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 17 September 2018.



Tell It to the Unicorns: New Gaming Year Irresolutions 2018


Military Unicorns, sorry Uniforms, of the World. 36mm pound store figure paint conversion

It has been an interesting Gaming Year, has 2017, or maybe rather more of an interesting Painting Year, mainly playing around with Pound Store Plastic Warriors.

All fully in keeping with the Man of TIN blog favourite quote: “The pleasure does not begin and end with the actual playing of the war-game. There are many pleasant hours to be spent in making model soldiers, painting them, constructing terrain, carrying out research into battles, tactics and uniforms …” Donald Featherstone, War Games 1962. Wise words …

What’s on the painting table at the moment to take me into the New Painting Year 2018?

Joining in with the general New Year resolutions and looking back, looking forward spirit of many blogs, here are five things that I might get around to in 2018?

NGY 2018 Irresolution One – Carry on Converting

Several tubs of Poundland’s finest “penny dreadful” plastic figures  should see me through 2018, along with a jumble of pound store 42mm and 54mm figures.

Pound Store Plastic Warriors is my sister blog to this Man of TIN blog. 2017’s pound store “Little Wars on a Budget” has partly been simple paint conversions and latterly scalpel and tissue page conversions into how many interesting skirmish size forces in 36mm can be made over time from Poundland’s current £1 for 100 plastic Funtastic figures. Lots on the painting table at the moment to take me into the New Painting Year 2018.

Penny Dreadfuls – My 2017 36mm conversions from modern soldiers into native desert warriors on Heroscape Hexes.

NGY 2018 Irresolution Two  – More solo short small skirmish games 

Get some small skirmish games in on my portable game boards, either on my larger  192 Hexes of Joy board or my two smaller boards.

NGY 2018 Irresolution Three – Paint More Peter Laings

Get painting more of the small stashes of vintage 15mm Peter Laing figures that  I have randomly picked up throughout last year, mostly Nineteenth, Colonial  and early Twentieth Century / WW1. This should be great fun, whilst the tribal and Arabian figures will help with the next Irresolution …

Full Metal Hic Jacet part I – gorgeous 15mm Peter Laing Imperial Romans (painted by Stuart Asquith) and some serious Ancients research  reading.

NGY 2018 Irresolution Four – Full Metal Hic Jacet 

Pardon the Pun but the Romans in Britain or (Asterix the) Gaul have always had a bit of a Vietnam or Colonial feel to me. Eagle of the Ninth. Lost legions of the  Battle of the Teutoberg Forest 9AD.    Trained technically advanced troops  versus masses of  hit and run wily natives,  it’s similar in feel to  Andy Callan’s simple rules ‘take’ on the Maori Wars. When he wrote these rules in 1982/3 he “saw them as a sort of Victorian assymetrical Vietnam equivalent – high tech westerners vs wily bunkered-down natives…”

I now have a fair number of Peter Laing 15mm Ancient figures, including some lovely vintage Roman and Pict figures painted by Stuart Asquith! It was good to let Stuart know that they are in good hands and will soon be in action again.  Bought during 2017, these Romans and Picts were embargoed in the present cupboard until Christmas. A Happy Christmas Day at the Man of TIN house. Patience apparently is a virtue …

Some of the other randomly acquired Peter Laing Ancients range of  infantry, cavalry and chariots are named, some unidentified. I’m sure my fellow members of the Peter Laing Google G+ Community (set up this year by fellow Peter Laing enthusiast Ian Dury) will be a great help here with the ID.

Full Metal Hic Jacet may turn into a new sister or side blog or at least a thematic blog Page on this blog. I checked my Latin online and Hic Jacet is appropriately “Here Lies …”, a common epitaph.

Ancients are quite a new or mystery period to me, apart from the familiar Airfix Romans and Ancient Britons. Cavalry or chariots on the battlefield are a bit of an unknown quantity for me too.  Asterix aside, I have started reading up on Ancients, initially Phil Barker’s Airfix Guide to Ancient Wargaming and for simple Ancient rules  Donald Featherstone / Tony Bath’s  Ancient rules in Don’s War Games (1962). These link into my adaptation of Don’s  previous Close Wars skirmish rules.

I also like the Tony Bath Hyboria idea of fictional countries, mentioned in Donald Featherstone’s War Games. This is something that fits well into or prefigures my ongoing Imagi-Nations work based on Angria, Gondal and Glasstown 19th Century Bronte (paracosmic)  family fiction set in the colonies.

For uniforms and troop types, there are various Ladybird books and another colourful childhood library classic (j399 SAX) Blandford’s Warriors and Weapons of Ancient Times by Neils M. Saxtorph and Stig Bramsen.

36mm Poundland modern soldier figure changed into a little green man or space alien, with a bit of paint and a hole reinforcer, something I want to do in 54mm too!

NGY 2018  Irresolution Five – Return to Planet Back Yarden

More Garden games and Close Little Wars in the summer? When the weather improves by summer (!), I might want a change of scale. I hope to get my  54mm ACW figures (mostly unpainted) or the 2017  Close Little Wars conversions, homecasts and hollowcast repairs of the Remount Department back into action in the garden.

However, since watching  the recent Star Wars movies VII and VII and my favourite of the three, Rogue One, I have also been wanting to paint the 54mm Airfix Space warriors picked up here and there and Pound Store  ‘Space Marines’ that never got painted this year (or 2016).

Probably best to quit at five Painting or Gaming Irresolutions for one year.

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!

I look forward to reading everyone else’s foolishly optimistic Irresolutions and all your New Year of  Gaming and Painting adventures.

Happy New Year!

Blogposted  by Mark, Man of TIN / Pound Store Plastic Warriors blogs, 31st December 2017 / 1st January 2018.

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Maori Wars update 1846 1916 2017

Interesting  news story about the discovery of a British Army multiple grave in New Zealand from the 1846 Northern War, part of the long running Maori Wars.

According to the Telegraph article: “The men had been buried according to Maori burial rites, along with objects that had been in their possession such as a clay smoking pipe.”

According to NZ archaeologist Jono Carpenter the men died during an attack on the Ruapekapeka pā on 11 January, 1846, in which 1600 British soldiers battled 400 Maori fighters. “Despite the British troops far outweighing the Maori, the battle was seen as a draw by both sides.”

The Guardian article has a few interesting history links too about the Northern War or Flagstaff War of 1845-6.

with some video of the battlefield, Pa fort,  reenactment etc on NZ One News coverage:

The Flagstaff part of the Maori Wars is also covered in a chapter of Britain’s Forgotten Wars: Colonial Campaigns of the Nineteenth Century by Ian Hernon (Sutton, 2003).

Maori Wars Memorial, Auckland War Memorial Museum with British and Gate Pa Maori flag (image: vpassau / Wikipedia)

There is an extensive Wikipedia entry on the Maori or New Zealand Wars,   an interesting Osprey Men at Arms on the Maori Wars, a fair amount online and a short simple set of Maori Wars rules by Andy Callan that he allowed me to reprint on this blog from Military Modelling,  September 1983.

Andy Callan wrote last year “Wow! That’s a real blast from the past. When I wrote these rules I saw them as a sort of Victorian assymetrical Vietnam equivalent – high tech westerners vs wily bunkered-down natives…”

I remember well the pictures of Peter Laing 15mm Maori War figures (Crimean and Zulu War figure) with a carpet forest.


Those deadly carpet forests ….

Lots of interesting material for both historians and skirmish gamers.  A difficult style  of formal war, siege  and guerilla  fighting to reproduce.

One interesting longlived veteran from this period is Sergeant Edwin Bezar (1838-1936), who wrote his military autobiography in 1891

1916 the Maori “Kaiser”

I was also surprised to read about the “Maori Kaiser” as he was dubbed in WW1, a Maori leader who popped up in 1916, mentioned in this NZ history website on the Maori in WW1 and WW2. One of the last gasps of Maori armed resistance before the civil rights struggle later through the 20th Century.

Devon and Exeter Gazette, April 5, 1916

Titled by other papers “Kaiser’s  Maori Ally”

Birmingham Gazette, 15 August 1916 (British Newspaper Archive).
Beverley Recorder Sept 18, 1915

There is a free digitised NZ newspaper archive which features the Maori Kaiser story

Fielding Star 22 February 1916 NZ

The Mercury, Tasmania,  Australia,  4 April 1916

and other Australian digitised newspapers

An interesting article looking on both sides of Maori feeling about WW1 and WW2:

This website features this short summary:

A Māori Kaiser?
Ngāi Tūhoe of the Urewera was one of the tribes that suffered greatly in the 1860s wars. In 1907 the followers of Tūhoe prophet Rua Kēnana established a community in the Urewera mountains, at Maungapōhatu. With the coming of war Rua discouraged his followers from volunteering. Some Pākehā feared that he was a Māori ‘Kaiser’, actively supporting the Germans. A party of 67 police marched on Maungapōhatu in April 1916, to arrest Rua on charges of illicitly selling alcohol. An armed confrontation occurred in which Rua’s son and uncle were killed.

As one Maori concluded, reported in Ian Hernon’s book, eventually the Maori were outnumbered by pakeha foreign settlers and crippled by introduced disease.

“Overwhelming numbers and disease crippled and contained the daring Maori. But the spark of resistance did not die out … in 1928 an anonymous Maori wrote:  “We have been beaten because the pakeha outnumber us in men. But we are not conquered or rubbed out, and not one of these pakeha can name the day we sued for peace. The most that can be said is that on such and such a date we left off fighting.”  (Page 75)

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20 December 2017.


Quick wrapping paper grid game board

A new gaming use for wrapping paper at this festive time of year.

As it is fast approaching Christmas, there is lots of wrapping and dispatching of parcels in our house at the moment.

I noticed on this Sainsbury’s brown wrapping paper with  festive shiny red dots that they have a handy small square grid marked on the back to help with tidy cutting and wrapping.

Like most gamers, my brain instantly thought of gaming applications. I quickly wrapped a spare piece around the backing part of a redundant picture frame – one instant portable game board.

I had put this wooden picture  frame aside for future game board use, when its glass broke long ago (Reuse Reduce Recycle etc.) It still has the string on the back,  so I can hang this board out of the way somewhere on a spare wall when not in use.


Testing the board out with my Poundland 36mm plastic warrior conversions 


I tried the grid board out with the nearest figures to hand, some of my recent Poundland 36mm colonial plastic conversions


Up close view of the grid – they fit reasonably well the size and bases of my converted 36mm Poundland colonial figures, which are mounted on pennies. 

Marking out grid lines on the game board can be tedious and intrusive. These wrapping paper lines are very faint and instant!

With two sides to the frame backing board it would be possible to use either side for game play or more tediously reverse the frame backing board each time. Undoing of the tiny metal clips is fiddly  and not a long term solution.

Changing the hanging strap arrangement (D-rings to the side, string with some kind of clips?) would help in making a two sided game board more flexible.

This would allow the same board to be easily used on either of the two sides for two different grid sizes, different terrain habitats  or flexible grid sizes.

If I decide to keep this paper grid long term, I will think about pasting the paper down as wrinkle free as possible (possibly with spray mount?) and a coat of varnish to  probably help keep it neat. I shall test out on a spare scrap of this wrapping paper to see if some light watercolour terrain patches cause any wrinkling.

Peter Laing 15mm redcoat colonials cautiously approach the desert style building as night falls. 

I tried the hex board out with some smaller vintage 15mm Peter Laing figures, smaller figures suit the hexes even better.

Obviously such a square grid could feature small size squares or larger squares made of four small size squares.

When I get tired of this grid paper, I can paint over what was before and mark up a fresh new grid board for quick skirmish games.

This gives me a variety of sized hex and square portable game boards, without any carpentry at all!  You can see more of them on various of my blog posts including:

Grid Based Wargaming

Lots of interesting discussion of grid based wargaming, both hex and square,  on the gaming web including these three excellent blogs:

Author of The Portable Wargame blog and book, Bob Cordery’s Wargaming Miscellany blog features  links to his other blogs including The Portable Wargame!

Both Peter at Grid Based Wargaming and Bob Cordery sometimes use 15mm Peter Laing figures on their grid based portable games, making them even more worth looking at!


As for Christmas, I have some Peter Laing 15mm figures to look forward to,  already wrapped and packed away,  embargoed throughout the last few months until Christmas Day. Something to share on the blog in the New Gaming Year of 2018.

Happy wrapping. Happy gaming to all my blog readers.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 8 December 2017