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!
I have acquired second-hand a few dozen of these attractive 19th Century infantry from Peter Laing’s 15mm range, now commercially unavailable as the moulds have vanished.
With the tall shakos or tall kepis with the ball crests and long frock coats, they look mid 19th Century Crimean to Austrian / Franco Prussian Wars. I think they are probably supposed to be French or Sardinian infantry, but they also look like French Foreign Legion 1850s.
They could be 15mm Peter Laing Crimean French (and dual use Franco-Prussian French with tall kepi)
F814 French Infantry advancing
F815 French infantry drummer
F816 French officer
F817 French standard bearer
With almost Napoleonic shakos, they would do well as Imagi-Nation troops for the Bronte juvenile fiction of Angria, Gondal and Gaaldine. I have enough spare standard bearers for alternative flags and nationalities.
I would be interested to hear from other Peter Laing collectors if they have or recognise these figures as mid 19th Century French.
Some other figure suppliers have similar tall shako / kepis.
Interesting post about Franco Prussian War French Infantry (in French) that reminds us that the 150th anniversary is only 2 years away (1870 / 2020). This will no doubt generate more gaming and historical interest in the FPW. The Austro-Prussian War anniversary was I suspect slightly overshadowed by the 1916 WW1 anniversary events.
I have bought the odd small mixed lot of gaming figures recently online because they contained small caches of 15mm Peter Laing figures. Now that the moulds are missing, this is one of the few ways to acquire new Peter Laing figures.
Amongst one lot was a small group of about a dozen WW1 Russian Infantry figures with rolled greatcoats F759 and officer F760 but all painted brown with unusual black and white cross-gartered boots.
A quick check in Military Uniforms of The Worldin Colour suggests that the original owner painted them as WW1 Bulgarian Infantry. They needed basing and some of the paint touching up, whilst about half of them have no fixed bayonets.
An unusual choice of figure. I had to go and look up which side the Bulgarians fought for in WW1 – with Germany and the Central Powers from 1915 – and against whom. After a period of early neutrality, courted by both sides, they joined the Central Powers and fought initially against the Serbs, then against other Allied troops including the British on the stalemate of the Macedonian / Salonika Front.
“The Kingdom of Bulgaria participated in World War I on the side of the Central Powers from 14 October 1915, when the country declared war on Serbia, until 30 September 1918, when the Armistice of Thessalonica came into effect.” (Wikipedia)
The unusual leggings are called Opankers and a dull brown woollen uniform was already in use amongst other ranks.
During basing and flocking, I managed not to obscure the well painted opanker leggings too much.
So these Bulgarians were part of the army that invaded and pushed back the Serbian army, whose soldiers that Marvin at the Suburban Militarism blog has been beautifully painting recently, albeit in slightly larger 1:72 plastic figures.
Alongside the painted Peter Laing Bulgarians were some unpainted original figures of Russian infantry and others in peaked caps that may be British, Russian or other figures.
With Peter Laing figures details being so slight at 15mm size, there are a range of similar looking figures in similar helmets or soft and peaked hats which are almost interchangeable with some suitable painting.
A suitbale painting guide for these figures as Russian WW1 infantry can also be found in the same uniform guide.
Amongst some of the other mixed figures were these artillerymen, one type medieval and the other Russian fur hatted artillery men.
There were also a couple of machine gunners. Not sure which nation or side the left hand figure represents, the right hand figure may well be ANZAC machine gunner Fseven five two.
With so few of these Russian figures it is difficult to know whether to paint the remaining nineteen unpainted infantry as Russians.
Alternatively I could paint most of them as Bulgarians to make a small Bulgarian skirmish force of about thirty to thirty five figures to fight my British pith-helmeted infantry in a Macedonia or Balkan scenario, aided by the WWI Turkish infantry that I have. The two uniforms are pretty close anyway to paint and use interchangeably with a bit of gamer’s licence. I may keep one figure back to use as a future mould original and one to paint as a Russian figure.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
“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)
“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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.