A Skirmish in Angria: Close Little Wars rules

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It has been a few weeks since I ran a solo game bigger than sword fighting and Bartitsu duelling. I feel that I have neglected my Peter Laing figures of late.  To be fair  I’ve been busy making the fortified Signal Tower as well.

I wanted to get a quick evening game in, based on the Bronte family’s  Imagi-Nation of Angria, having read more of Charlotte Bronte’s Tales of Angria and the Oxford Companion to the Brontes. Both these books are slowly helping me work out maps and scenarios based on more of Bronte’s fictional realms or paracosms.

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Turn 2 – Angrian 5th Infantry supported by Dragoons cross the river to rescue the waggon from MacTerrorGlen’s Scottish troops. Ashantee bowmen line the rock opposite.

Small Angrian Skirmish Scenario:

By March 1836 – half of Angria is “in possession of our foes”.  

During 1835-37 The Second Angrian War, Civil War  between Angria and the Verdopolitan Union is happening at the same time as the Ashantee threat.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/charlotte-bronte-as-gamer-1/

Early 1836, Angria, Western Central Africa: A group of invading Ashantee bowmen, part of Quashia Qamina’s forces, have discovered an  abandoned Angrian supply waggon and remain in ambush on the rocks overlooking the crossing.

They are backed by a small sword and musket group of Sir Jehu MacTerrorGlen’s rampaging Scotsmen and Highland Warriors, led by one Captain Scotte,  who are aiming to capture the river crossing and loot the abandoned  Angrian supply waggon.

Location: The river crossing eventually feeds into one of the many tributaries of the River Olympia or Calabar, running down to the sea.

This waggon was part of a supply column along one of the many roads to the regional or provincial capital of  Adrianoplous, all aid and supplies to The Duke of Zamorna. Zamorna is fighting to protect the Angrian province (that he is named after) against this invasion of Ashantees and MacTerrorGlen’s unruly Scots.

A rebellious and unruly kilted Highland Regiment in Africa? Many of the original settlers of the Bronte’s fictional realm of GlassTown and Angrian area of West Africa were of Scots, Irish  and Yorkshire origin.

Coming to recover the waggon of supplies are Angrian forces under the Blood Red banner of the Rising Sun. These include a dismounted group of smart red-coated Angrian “Dragons” or Dragoons, along with some men of the “Fighting Fifth” (or “Filthy Fifth”),  the  5th Angrian  Infantry Regiment in homespun and motley campaign dress, led  by a young Lieutenant called Prunty.

The scruffy nature of the Angrian Regiments on campaign in the ‘East’ in the Angrian Civil War is reminiscent of Confederate Butternut Infantry towards the end of the American Civil War. Their scruffy dress is commented on by one of Charlotte Bronte’s cynical narrators in the smart Regency Colonial society of the  cities.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/charlotte-bronte-as-gamer-1/

The Angrian dragoons had dismounted, leaving their horses up the valley and with the 5th Angrians in two groups were scouting the river, half their number in reinforcements a mile or two behind.

D6 dice rolls saw these troops delayed arriving, until the 5th and 6th turn in area 5 and 6 on the Angrian baseline.

The turns were short and brutal, mostly involving fast melee, using the Kaptain Kobold modification or  d6 dice version of Gerard De Gre’s Lunge Cut and Stop Thrust melee or duelling rules.

1-2   Attacker Hit

3    Both Hit

4   Neither Hit

5-6   Defender Hit

Melees occurred from group stage in adjacent hexes or who have charged into their opponents.  The Pell-Mell, Hell for Leather pace of the game meant that there were few casualties from rifle or musket fire, many more from Highland claymore, bayonet, short sword and rifle butt (and no doubt boot and fist).

Turn 1 and 2 saw rapid movement through the cluttered terrain towards the first shots and melees of Turn  3.

Turn 3 saw 9 Angrian troops and 12 of MacTerror Glen’s Scots killed, mostly when the Highland  claymore warriors  charged the Angrian troops.

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At the start of turn 4 (as shown in photo by a d6 Turn Dice)  the few Angrian infantry over the bridge are outnumbered by Scots.

By Turn 4, some of the outnumbered Angrian forces on the board retreated to await their reinforcements (D6 dice roll 1-3 Retreat, 4 Stay, 5-6 Advance).

This didn’t stop one party of three Angrian 5th Infantry being surrounded and outnumbered on two sides by Scots around the bridge. Luckily supporting fire from the Angrian command party and standard bearer picked off two further Scots musketeers.

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Engaged on both sides by Scots, this small cohort of Angrian 5th Infantry are wiped out.

In Turn 5 the advancing Scots moved into Melee with the Angrian Command and Colours party, leading to a doubly fatal duel between Highland claymore against Angrian officer’s broadsword.

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Angrian Officer Lieutenant Prunty charges down the hill to engage with his  Highlander enemy in a fatal duel.

Thankfully the rest of the Angrian Dragoons and Fifth Regiment arrived in Turn 5 and 6. Just in the nick of the time …

These Angrian reinforcements pushed back and  pursued the last of MacTerrorGlen’s troops and the Scots command party and colours back over the bridge. They made their last stand outside the crossing hut.  The  Scots colours were lost when the command and colours party decided to fight to the finish  (dice roll d6 roll 1-3 surrender, 4 – 6 fight on).

Throughout the early part of the battle, the Ashantee Bowmen on the high ground rocks were out of range and sight of many of the Angrian troops. Overall they played very  little part in the whole battle, not even firing many volleys of arrows before they were engulfed in melee. Their officer or chief Khla managed to escape to carry on the invasion  with the other invading Ashantees under Quashia  Qamina.

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Ashantee bowmen move into range of Angrian troops.

At the end, the Angrian Armed Transport Corps hitched the abandoned supply waggon to their horses and slowly dragged this back up the valley to where the dismounted dragoon horses and horse holders would provide further armed escort back to Adrianopolis, Zamorna or Edwardston as needed.

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Detail of map of Angria by Christine Alexander (Oxford Campanion to the Brontes)

Discarded weapons and the captured colours of MacTerrorGlen’s Scots are sent back onboard the supply waggon as victory trophies to inspire the flagging Angrian forces.

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The remaining two Angrian  Dragoons, Angrian standard bearer and drummer remain behind in the bridge crossing hut. Suitably armed with discarded carbines, muskets and ammunition, they make themselves  busy fortifying this outpost and guarding the crossing  until further Angrian reinforcements arrive. Burying the dead will have to briefly wait, but not too long in these African “Yorkshire Tropic” climes.

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The Rising Sun banner of Angria flies victorious over the captured river crossing hut as the surviving Ashantee officer flees on the opposite bank.

Arise Angria! Raise the Blood-Red Banner of the Rising Sun! Huzzah!

Figures and Terrain 

All the figures are from  the sadly now discontinued Peter Laing range of 15mm figures.

The Ashantee bowmen are from the Ancient Egyptian range  (Nubian Archers F452 and their officer F453 Nubian Spearman).

MacTerrorGlen’s rogue Scots troops are from the Peter Laing ECW and ’15-’45 ranges. I especially like his kilted Highlander charging with Claymore (F1006) and small shield but his Highland musketeers ( F1008) are fine figures too.  https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/more-peter-laing-scots/

 

The “Angrian Dragons” are ECW dismounted dragoons firing, F515, one of my favourite Peter Laing figures.

The homespun 5th Angrian Regiment in campaign dress are the ACW butternut infantry advancing F3012, along with the Boer Rifleman advancing at trail F622.

I quickly made and  coloured an Angrian flag and added this to one of the Boer figures to make a standard bearer.

The Heroscape hex terrain terrain on my two portable gaming boards tries to create  that curious mix of European and African or Yorkshire Tropical that exists  in the Bronte’s limited but imaginative view of the world outside their native Haworth and Yorkshire. This was backed by PECO Scene Backgrounds Medium SK 44 Country with River with its great view of mountains and stone bridges over streams and slightly incongruous European stone farm houses, obviously in the Yorkshire / European influenced Angrian settler style.

Pine trees, impassable rocks, a raging stream or river form all part of a rugged and Romantic, almost Gothic landscape of hills, fields and  craggy mountainous peaks of how the Bronte children  saw Angria (West Africa). This fits well the restricted routes and impassable labyrinths of trees, logs and rocks that suit Donald Featherstone’s original Close Wars rules for forest skirmish that I have tweaked for hex board or garden games. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

The waggon was an underscale diorama piece from the 54mm Safari figures Wild West Settlers Toob. Its  eventual escorts were Peter Laing Boer War cavalry M603 or M605 Imperial Yeomanry figure.

Post-mortem:

This was a great fun game for an evening. Using the Gerald De Gre duelling rules in Kaptain Kobold’s simplified dice version for the first time as the Melee section with the rest of the Little Close Wars rules led to quick fast and murderous melees.

The look of the board / game?

I like the portable hex game boards but I would like to flock or sand more of the Heroscape hex pieces, and glue and flock some of the pine tree bases permanently to hex bases.

Part of the early evening was spent tidying up the portable game boards, removing the temporary masking tape letters and grid numbers and sanding the edges before rewriting them in a neater fashion. Eventually I think I will wood stain the outer edges and possibly acrylic paint (sap green) the inner sections  of game board that show up as bare wood in the middle and edge. Hopefully they will look less intrusive but still allow each board to be used separately.

Outcome:

A swift outcome of a minor skirmish in the Angrian Civil War, a minor victory in a disastrous campaign.

This campaign led to Angria’s defeat at the Battle of Edwardston 26 June 1836, which saw Zamorna exiled and Angria savagely occupied by Ashantee and MacTerrorGlen’s forces throughout the rest of 1836. Angrian troops fight on in the hills.

Victory does not come until Zamorna returns and leads his forces to victory at the Battles of Leyden,  Westwood and Evesham throughout 1837.

Hopefully Charlotte and Branwell Bronte would approve, their imaginary worlds having been sparked by a gift from their father of a box of toy soldiers.

Read more at the other Bronte 200 inspired blogposts at: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/charlotte-bronte-as-gamer-1

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20th May 2017

Of Semaphore and Signal Towers

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From Clementine box to fortified signal tower ….

I have posted two new posts on my sister blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors,  all about the fun of making this semaphore signal tower for coast, mountain or desert from available scrap, a suitable toy soldier type fortified building for 30 mm to 54mm figure games.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/scratchbuilt-desert-or-coastal-signal-tower/

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Some of my Peter Laing 15mm British colonial troops and heliograph. 

Some of the design ideas came from researching the fascinating history of flag and flash, semaphore and heliograph, which forms the subject of  my second post here:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/by-heliograph-and-semaphore/

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, May 2017.

 

Garden Wargames and Lost Dumb Soldiers

Garden Wargames blog post – Dumb Soldiers: The Past and Future of Garden Wargames? – Cross-posting from our sister blog site Pound Store Plastic Warriors https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/dumb-soldiers-the-past-and-future-of-garden-wargames/

(Picture of beach found plastic soldiers, lost in the biggest sand pit for miles around!)

A few Peter Laing figures amongst the scrap lead mountain

A successful bid on an online auction site around New Year  brought a kilo box of lead figures for spares or scrap for recasting, all for £10.

Among them I thought I had spotted some 15mm Peter Laing figures  in the single photo of a mass of random lead.  Now that Peter Laing figures are no longer made, finding new ones is exciting.

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So throughout the last two weeks in odd moments I have been sorting through this random mix of Napoleonic troops of many nations, a few ancients and even the odd space figure.

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Flocking and basing my way through a small part of a kilo of lead

It’s like a gamer’s owl pellet, ready for dissection. Mostly painted, with few broken figures.

Two weeks on and off spent flocking and basing and I am still not through this kilo of  this scrap lead mountain. Almost all will return to active service, few will end up in the casting ladle.

Most are 15mm to 20mm with many different manufacturers, with some good matches for Peter Laing 15mm figures and others of the gnome type of chunky 15mm that I thankfully bought very few of in my early gaming years.

I was right that there were Peter Laing figures in that kilo of lead – sadly less than I thought – but I really like the randomness of the other figures.

The Peter Laing figures match quite well with some of the other figures.

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Other slender 15mm figures that match well the Peter Laing American Civil War figure second from left. 
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Some other Peter Laing style figures flank the Peter Laing American Civil War Union infantryman. 
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Some Ancient Peter Laing warriors 
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Ottoman or Renaissance Peter Laing  Turks 

Some of the figures I recognised from the amazing collection of Peter Laing figures by John Patriquin the Wargame Hermit blogger.

http://wargamehermit.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/15mm-peter-laing-ottoman-turks.html

The rest of the kilo of mostly Napoleonic era troops in their distinctive shakos, bicornes and helmets will be organised with minimal repainting into Gondal, Gaaldine, Glasstown and Angria forces for my Bronte juvenilia inspired skirmishes later this year.

They all look battle-hardened figures with battered bayonets and muskets to be carefully straightened.

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Just one interestingly shaped Peter Laing horse – not sure what – distinctively shaped even amongst a jumble of figures.

Posted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, January 2017.

More Peter Laing Scots

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F510 Scots Musketeer firing – painted in the 1980s but never based until now.

 

In my recent posting of rebased and reflocked 15mm Peter Laing 17th and 18th Century figures, there were a few Scots figures missing from the first line up.

Here are the missing Scots figures, found and freshly rebased:

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F1008 Highlander advancing
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F1002 Highland Chieftain?  and F1003 Highland Piper
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F1008 Highlander Advancing and F1009 Highlander Firing.
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Another View of Highlander Firing and Advancing figures.
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F1010  Lowland Musketeer Firing, painted and unpainted

The unpainted Lowland troops are mine, ones that  I never finished in the 1980s, possibly because I couldn’t find or decide on a suitable colour scheme. The painted ones are a motley and colourful bunch I recently found on EBay and rebased.

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F1007 Lowland Musketeer on guard

For the other Highland and ECW figures, check our previous blogposts

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/all-about-the-base-about-the-base/

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F1006 Highlanders Charging with Claymores
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F1008 Highlanders advancing 

 

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Peter Laing 15mm Highlanders with Lochaber Axes F1001 and Highland drummer standard bearers and command figures. My Matt enamel 1983 painting.

 

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Peter Laing Catalogue section for some of the above Scots figures.

Still more painting and basing work to do on the remaining unpainted, unbased Scots Musketeers, Highlanders and Lowland troops – a job for the winter months.

Posted by Mark, Mr MIN,  Man of TIN blog, 4 November 2016.

Peter Laing Happy Halloween Fantasy!

Maybe the closest Peter Laing ever got to a 15mm fantasy range are his Ancients, Dark Ages and Medieval figures.

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Peter Laing 15mm Priest with Cross and his meagre flock …

This very handy Priest with Cross F913 from his 900 Medieval range crops up in several of Peter’s suggested “Dual Use Items” such as using the Priest with his Feudal and Dark Ages range. Watch out for those Vikings!

Not quite as multi period as the useful Peter Laing sheep A921 but still a handy figure to have.

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Heroscape Ruins and Hex preaching mound with Peter Laing 15mm Priest with Cross and my small flock of  Peter Laing sheep. Fimo gravestone. Other Flock: Woodland Scenics

No doubt the Priest with Cross might crop up in a more Orthodox role in the Russian Civil War or the Crimea. Maybe even the Spanish Civil War?  The Religious Wars and Dissolution of the Monasteries etc using the Peter Laing  Renaissance Tudor range is another possible use.

I know Peter Laing often took figure requests to extend his ranges. I wonder what Peter Laing Dwarves, Orcs or  Dworcs (whatever) would have looked like if anyone had asked him to produce some?

Posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 31 October  2016.

All About the Base, About the Base …

A busy rainy day rebasing Peter Laing 15mm figures.

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A few of my Peter Laing 15mm as based and roughly painted in 1983 …
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My original 1980s Plastic Card bases for Peter Laing musketeers and highlanders. 

A rainy day today, so after a short while rebasing some recently acquired Peter Laing Ancient Greeks, I had the bulk of my time well spent rebasing and flocking some of my 1980s Peter Laing English Civil War and 17th/18th Century Scots. These were the first Peter Laing figures I ever bought, so greatly treasured.

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Plastic Card had a slight tendency to warp a bit  on my original larger bases. Peter Laing F517 Musketeers in helmet firing, F505 Standing Drummer in Hat, F504 Standard Bearer with original flock or ballast bases. 

For the last thirty odd years they have waded through knee-high thick dark green flock grass or over gravel ballast, scrounged from the family model railway scrap box when my pocket money ran out.

To suit the Peter Laing / John Mitchell ECW rules they were originally based in groups of 6, 4, 3, 2 0r 1 to make up small regiments of 20 or 30 infantry, which could have casualties removed in various combinations.

Whilst these strips of figures looked good to my childish eye, for my current skirmish Close Little Wars games, I need figures on individual bases.

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Just a few of my Peter Laing F503 Musketeer in hat marching, now individually rebased. Lots more to rebase this winter. 

I have rebased the figures in my own ‘blend’, a mix of different coloured Woodland Scenics flocks, play pit fine sand, very fine local beach pebbles and some of the original 1980s ballast recycled.  A little shadow of the original gravel or dark green flock remains around the figure bases, for old time’s sake to remember my childhood efforts.

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My favourites F515 Dismounted dragoon firing, now individually based for skirmishes. 

In most cases I had based my strips of figures on bases roughly similar in size to the individual bases I use today, roughly 15mm by 15mm.

In some cases I could easily score and cut the original plastic card  then simply remove old flock or ballast then reflock. The occasional figure that needed a new base has one made from scrap art mounting board card.

The Scots Highland troops from Peter Laing’s “suitable items from other ranges for use with the ECW (500) range” remain great great favourites.

They were designed not only to oppose Peter Laing’s original Marlburian range “to extend the range to cover the ’15 and ’45 risings “ but also “to provide suitable Scots figures for Montrose’s army.”

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Peter Laing F1001 Highlanders with lochaber axes, F1005 Highland standard bearer and F1004 Highland drummer with M1001 Mounted Highland officer, now individually rebased. My 1983 matt enamel paint job. 
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Peter Laing F1008 Highlanders advancing along with Highland command group, now individually rebased. My 1983 paint job needs updating and detailing. 
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Peter Laing F1006 Highland clansmen with claymores. Chaaarge!

 

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Sometimes there is quite a lot of facial detail on Peter Laing figures, something  to look at when I repaint these again from their 1983 original painting. 

I still have lots of Peter Laing musketeers, pikemen and cavalry to rebase this winter as well as finding the Highland Piper and Officer.

Recently I have been painting or repainting my Peter Laing figures as needed using gloss acrylic rather than the original matt enamel Humbrol / Airfix paints easily available or scrounged in the 1980s. I really enjoyed as a child painting the bright colours of English Civil War regiments and banners, so the colourful gloss acrylics should add to this when repainting is due.

I did get around to painting my Peter Laing Lowland Regiments in the mid 1980s but never finished them off with flock or basing, as I probably ran out of expensive Plastic Card. The pocket money ‘war budget’ kept running out,  as I usually (over)spent it on figures rather than basing materials.

I have recently acquired on EBay a few more bashed Peter Laing Highlanders and Lowlanders that need repainting, along with a few more Marlburian infantry to paint and base. These were recently obtained from Alec Green, swapped for an strange excess of Marlburian drummers and gunners.

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Hopefully soon my recent Peter Laing Marlburian swaps  will look as splendid Alec Green’s neatly painted and based Marlburian infantry. Photo: Alec Green. 

I think that there will be a few Close Little Wars skirmishes and ambushes in the suitably “cluttered terrain” of the Glens this coming spring, once the Highland snow has melted of course!

 

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Send no money or stamps, Peter Laing has retired and moved. Sadly the whereabouts of the moulds is currently (October 2016) not known. Military Modelling advert c.1982/83,  7p a foot figure! 

You can read more about John Mitchell’s English Civil War starter rules and the Peter Laing ECW range here:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/19/simple-ecw-starter-rules-a-john-mitchell-tribute/

The Close Little Wars skirmish rules I use  (based on Donald Featherstone’s appendix to his 1962 book War Games) are featured here:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

The blog title? Borrowed from Meghan Trainor’s song All about the Bass – watch the retro version by the talented Kate Davies and Postmodern Jukebox and other ensemble / tour versions on the Postmodern Jukebox channel on YouTube and ITunes.

Hope you enjoyed some of the fruits of my rainy day at the kitchen table spent “flocking“, as it’s known in my household.

Blog posted by Mark, Mr MIN Man of TIN blog, October 2016. All photos unless stated by Man of TIN blog.