Toot Toot!

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Emily the Stirling Engine arrives at a vintage wooden station crowded with 15mm Peter Laing Victorian Civilians.

Cross posted by Mark Man of TIN from my occasional railway / gaming blog

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2019/01/13/emily-the-stirling-4-2-2-engine/

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Black and white version.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 14 January 2019

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New Gaming Year Irresolutions 2019

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Last January I set  out five  irresolute things that  I might or might not do in my gaming hobby for 2018.

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

I have achieved only a couple of these, becoming busy with new gaming and toy Soldier projects as is the way.

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NGY 2018 Irresolution One – Carry on Converting

January was all this on Poundland’s penny dreadful figures https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/pound-store-plastic-figure-conversions-and-comparisons/

Success! Lots of this happened and figure repair on Broken Britains took over mid year.

NGY 2018 Irresolution Two – More solo short small skirmish games

Very few of these, as my games table was usually covered in Broken Britains but some enjoyable games such as:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/pound-store-colonial-skirmish-parts-1-and-2/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/mountie-ambush-game-15mm/

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NGY 2018 Irresolution Three – Paint More Peter Laings

Apart from Deutsche Afrika Korps paint conversions, a handful of Mounties was all the Peter Laings I managed to paint.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/24/peter-laing-15mm-ww2-dak-desert-africa-korps/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/25/peter-laing-15mm-mounties-on-the-painting-table-rcmp/

I did even less or next to nothing about the next two.

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Pax Romana? A quiet year for my Peter Laing 15mm Roman Command Group (painted by Stuart Asquith!)

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.

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Repairs and repainted 54mm figures with the intrepid Colonel Fazackerley

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

#FEMbruary 2018 – I didn’t expect this challenge of painting and collecting believable female models ranging  from Bad Squiddo Land Girls to Suffragette Conversions from Airfix footballers https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/fembruary-2018-progress-so-far/

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March 2018 – #MARCHing bands continued #FEMbruary activities – way off target already

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/marching-for-votes-for-women/

More centenaries in 2018 (WW1, Votes for Women)  included two very different toy soldier folk such as Spike  Milligan (April 17th) and Donald Featherstone, who would have been 100 on 20 March 2018.

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

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.

https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com 

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May 2018 saw the gift arrival of some Broken Britain’s from John Forman, which set off a spate of 54mm figure repair including someone’s toy soldier metal detecting finds.

This repair bench activity continued throughout June, building up repaired and repainted  54mm Skirmish natives such as American Indians and Zulus.

July and August 2018 saw a switch to 54mm aircrew and aircraft conversions. A lot of this was focussed on preparing for garden games that never happened this year.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/tsaf-aircraft-repaint-part-1/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/tsaf-new-flying-banshee-biplane/

and a quick return to (almost) #FEMbruaryish female figure repairs and reprints, thanks to The Duchy of Tradgardland.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/the-duchess-of-wellingtons-own/

August 2018 saw a brief dip of the toe in the waters of naval wargaming thanks to some eraser ships – maybe something to come back to in 2019?

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/23/featherstone-and-co-naval-war-games/

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August 2018 – I reached the heady heights of 50 blog followers. What I most enjoy about this is that many of them are regular readers who take the time to comment on the blog posts.

And from the 51st follower, I learnt another new little history nugget, one of several  this year.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/06/black-birding-and-the-reverse-underground-railroad/

Other such 2018 discovery of history nuggets to inspire scenarios include:

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/the-faked-railway-explosion-that-led-to-war-the-manchurian-or-mukden-incident-china-18-september-1931/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/09/man-of-tin-advent-calendar-day-9-the-russians-are-coming-1873-new-zealand-hoax/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/auckland-invaded-1873/

September 2018 – more repairs and 54mm conversions, along with an outbreak of skeletons on my other blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/08/skeletons-sir-farsunds-of-em/

October 2018 was distraction by scratch buildings

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/from-old-digital-radio-to-54mm-houses-and-coastal-gun-emplacement/

November 2018 saw the passing of Thor Sheil and Stan Lee, more coastal forts and a looming commando theme for 2019?

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/kaskowiski-1873-inspired-scenario/

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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

Linked to

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!

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Donald Featherstone’s Wargaming Airborne Operations (my childhood copy) and John Curry History of Wargaming Project at the recently published Commando follow up has lots of distractions to answer for!

Chuck in some likely shiny distractions such as conversions for Secret Project SFStrange Fruit Wars, 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

Sidetracked https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com

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Pound Store Plastic Warriors https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com

And our Year reviews https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/01/01/colour-schemes-for-imagi-nations-uniforms/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN / Pound Store Plastic Warriors blogs, 31st December 2018 / 1st January 2019.

The Brontes!

 

Christmas Parade by the Guards Band

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Not quite 11 pipers or 12 drummers this year but a good turn out by the plastic Guards Band.  A Wendal stowaway civilian farmer watches the Parade.
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Spot the odd recent Timpo remakes, recently painted in gloss acrylic.

The Christmas Parade this year is mostly the old Lone Star / Harvey series (the stocky ones with the squareish bases) in various states of original and repaint  or their TIMPO recasts in fresh glossy acrylic.

No Scots or Irish  pipers this year (save that for Hogmanay!) and this is as many as could fit on our mantelpiece with tinsels and lights mixed in. Plenty of bandsman left in the box for another Christmas parade.

Eleven Pipers piping popped up last Christmas

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/eleven-pipers-piping/

alongside twelve drummers drumming

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/twelve-drummers-drumming/

Mixed in you might spot the odd Crescent / Kellogg’s Guards bandsman, a couple of  aluminium Wendal Salvation Army bandsmen in peaked caps and even one hollow cast Guards Band figure.

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Our parade centrepiece is this three jolly guardsmen Christmas card illustrated by Clare Wilson for the Museums And Galleries collection. 

Our parade centrepiece is this three jolly guardsmen Christmas card illustrated by Clare Wilson for the Museums And Galleries collection. Some of my blog readers that I have been in postal contact with about toy soldiers might even have received one of these cards in the post!

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All watched over by a friendly giant robin redbreast  …
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All fifty eight bandsmen on Parade.

I hope you had a happy Toy solder filled Christmas ready for a happy Gaming New Year.

I will post some of my new toy soldier or gaming arrivals over the almost Twelve days of Christmas or  “Twixmas” as this next week or so are becoming known.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on Boxing Day Twixmas 2018.

Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 18 – Peter Laing WW1 Belgian Cyclists

I have neglected my 15mm  Peter Laing figures this year. I also have to confess – I didn’t paint these 15mm Belgian cyclists, but I did spot them for sale online buried away amongst thousands of 15mm listings.

I took a punt on these being Peter Laing figures as they were not listed by manufacturer. Having collected and painted several hundred Laing figures, I hoped I had correctly recognised these as Peter Laing figures which have quite a overall slender, stylish and distinctive look to them.

F711 Belgian Carabinier Cyclists

These cyclists are attractively based in units on road section bases.

Looking up the website of experienced Peter Laing collector John Patriquin (The Wargame Hermit blog) I saw an unpainted cyclist casting that gave me some hope that these figures for sale online were by Peter Laing. The sales photo left me with a few doubts. http://wargamehermit.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/peter-laing-machine-gun-cyclsts.html

Nearby were some well painted 15mm Peter Laing WW1 Belgian infantry which I also purchased.

The Belgian infantry Carabiniers wore an interesting black uniform and shako that had yet to be fully modernised by the time WW1 broke out in 1914, so some units went to war in almost Napoleonic uniforms.

Peter Laing F710 Belgian Carabinier advancing

Although they are not Peter Laing figures, there are some attractive dog cart machine guns and the odd officer figure by another manufacturer.

Eventually I will split these unit bases up and rebase them as my rules use individual figure bases.

Marvin at Suburban Militarism blog beautifully painted these 1:72 Hat Belgian cyclist versions https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com/2018/08/22/belgiums-carabinier-cyclists-complete/

Another old unposted blog entry on Bicycle Troops
Finding some odd bicycle troops amongst a job lot of Peter Laing WW1 and WW2 15mm figures was interesting – still not sure of maker.

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Bicycle troops

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/peter-laing-15mm-ww2-skirmish/

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Bicycle troops

From Victorian era  Boer War bicyclists to modern Afgahnistan and the modern Swiss Army, bicycles have played an interesting role in getting infantry and paratroops mobile, from the WW2 Bicycle Blitzkreig through  Japanese cyclists on the jungle tracks to the airborne  infantry with their parabikes.

Two recent books cover this area: Jim Fitzpatrick, The Bicycle in Wartime: An Illustrated History Paperback 2011 and R.S. Kohn’s book Bicycle Troops (2011) is  also available on Amazon.

Both of these I look forward to reading, they are now on this year’s 2019 reading list.

As well as the Belgian cyclists, Hat offer  German and other nations bicycle  infantry in plastic 1:72 http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/review.aspx?id=2095

Airfix had the odd OO/HO bicyclist in its RAF Crew figures range that could have a rifle added or a well equipped one or two in its WW1 French infantry. Bicycles were also added clutter  in some of its OO/HO buildings range (Forward Strongpoint)

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A useful bicycle figure from RAF Ground Crew which could have a rifle added etc.

Some wargames have simply added Bicycle shaped novelty paper clips.

Lots more information on the interesting Wikipedia entry : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_infantry

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Danish bicycle soldiers cycle toward the German invaders 1940 (Wikimedia / Wikipedia source)

There are plenty of well illustrated museum websites on military bikes:

http://www.theliberator.be/militarybicycles.htm

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/military-bicycles-a-short-history-34906/

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WW1 Italian Bersaglieri Bicycle troops (Image: Public Domain Wikipedia / Wikimedia)

Bersaglieri WW1 bicycle troops pictured: https://bsamuseum.wordpress.com/1911-bianchi-military-folding-bicycle/

In Mark Thompson’s The White War Life and Death on the Italian Front (p.71)  tells the story of a Slovene child seeing Bersaglieri with their plumed hats approaching by bikes into the Caparetto /  Isonzo area  in 1915 and exclaimed “Daddy, look at all the ladies coming here on bikes!” Hardly the image that these tough mountain troops wished to create.

Many other amazing posts on this BSA Museum website such as AA Cycle scouts in wartime.

 https://bsamuseum.wordpress.com/aa-cycle-scouts/

Excellent YouTube Clip of the Swiss Military Cyclists of today:  https://ruedatropical.wordpress.com/2009/02/10/swiss-army-bicycles/

Dorset soldiers produce civilian, band and postal bicycle 54mm figures that could be converted to military uses.

http://smallscaleworld.blogspot.co.uk/2015_07_01_archive.html  photo of lovely Heyde Balkan bicyclists..

Interestingly H.G. Wells, writer of Little Wars , was a keen cyclist with Mrs Wells.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN as Advent Day Calendar  18, 18th December 2018.

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.

Mountie Ambush Game 15mm

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Opening positions – Mounties entering left on patrol, rebels hidden right. 

I wanted to try out my newly painted 15mm Peter Laing Mounties, so set up a quick backwoods scenario on one of my small portable game boards using a crowded mountain terrain mostly of old  Heroscape hexes and some pine trees.

I have been reading up about some of the Canadian rebellions and the role of the Mounted Police.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Rebellion

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Mounted_Police

Scenario

Four dismounted Mounties and two on horseback were on patrol down a narrow creek or wooded canyon where rebel activity had been reported.

The two on horseback rode off to scout the valley whilst the dismounted four stayed back to watch down the valley and give covering fire as needed.

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First contact as the Mounted  patrol stumbles into the waiting rebel ambush. 

In the original Close Wars rules, which was an  appendix to Donald Featherstone’s 1962 book War Games, there are no horses or mounted infantry mentioned.

I had no rules to hand  for melee from infantry to cavalry or mounted infantry, so when the  Mounties rode into contact with the waiting hidden rebels, we skipped the melee stage and went straight to firing.

Playing solo, most of the awkward decisions as the game progressed were solved by creating a dice roll rule for the situation.  For example, I quickly wrote a d6 dice rule – firing at cavalry or mounted infantry, if a six or hit is rolled, 1-3 horse is killed, 4 both horse and rider killed and 5-6 rider killed.

In the situation of having a horse killed or cavalry dismounting to fight, a replacement infantry figure is obviously needed. I have enough spare Peter Laing figures to manage this in future. Obviously one figure has to remain back as a horse holder and some spare horses will also be needed.

Another quick d6 rule was required to decide for rebels being able to pass through the narrow creek over the fallen horses (and riders) at half rate of movement (4-6) or the narrow canyon being made impassable (1-3).

Once the Mounties on horseback had ridden into the canyon or creek, their escape was cut off by the small group of rebels lurking lower right.

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Close up of the Mountie Patrol and the rebel ambush. 

Once the Mounties on horseback had ridden into the canyon or creek, their escape was cut off by the small group of rebels lurking lower right.

Very quickly both mounted figures were down and out, then the Mounties on foot were quickly pursued by much larger numbers of rebels.

Another quick d6 rule for the Mounties on foot was to retreat on a dice roll of 1-3 or stay and fight 4-6. They retreated.

Omce they had reached where they entered the gameboard, they were deemed to have picked up their horses and be able to escapement on horseback.

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The two surviving Mounties exit left to pick up their horses and head for help. 

The Mounties are 15mm Peter Laing Boers and AWI Settlers, recently painted.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/25/peter-laing-15mm-mounties-on-the-painting-table-rcmp/

The rebels were Peter Laing 15mm Boers at the trail and Confederate Butternut Infantry.

It has been a while since I got such a short game in and whilst the rules were a bit rusty in my head, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I had better start painting more Mounties for the return column!

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 30 November 2018.

Peter Laing 15mm Mounties on the Painting Table RCMP

I have been neglecting my Peter Laing 15mm figures a little of late.

Alan the Tradgardmastre of the Duchy of Tradgardland kindly sent me some spare Peter Laing mounted and dismounted colonial and ACW cavalry with bush hats.

I started painting them as US 7th or Union Cavalry.

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Then I spotted a Britain’s hollow cast Mountie in a display cabinet at home, and this set me thinking.

Wouldn’t a unit of Royal Canadian Mounted Police or  “Mounties” be an interesting use of these figures?

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So using this figure and an old 1930s Player’s cigarette card for uniform reference, I set about painting some Mountie test figures.

Downsizing to painting 15mm after months painting 54mm figures was a bit of a change.

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Painting those yellow trouser stripes on 15mm figures is a bit fiddly.
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Still on the painting stick …
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Does the brown or white / grey horse look more Hollywood, more cinematic?

These figures could also double up as redcoat colonial infantry or  Imagi-Nations troops for the Bronte Angria / Gondal sagas.

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Drugs? Murder? Witchcraft? Lots of scenarios there. 

And finally, what roles did or do the Mounties undertake? What scenarios might suggest themselves, having a bunch of Mounties?

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NWMP North West Mounted Police 1900 (Wikipedia Public Domain)

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/history-rcmp

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Mounted_Police#history

There are many interesting small skirmishes or battles that would form interesting and imaginative scenarios with my Peter Laing butternut Confederate figures  as  rebels. I have a small group of unpainted Peter Laing Native Americans to paint up who might be ‘Hollywood useful’ for all this.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Duck_Lake

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Frenchman%27s_Butte

Rewatching Gary Cooper in North West Mounted Police is also required.

Fun Fact – Francis Jeffrey Dickens (# O.29)
The son of famous British novelist Charles Dickens served with the North-West Mounted Police from November 4, 1874 until March 1, 1886. He also commanded Fort Pitt during the Northwest Rebellion, 1885.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 25 November 2018