20th March 1918 is an important date in WW1 anniversary terms as the shock troops of German storm troopers stood trained, in position and poised ready to roll through Allied lines on the dawn of 21 March 2018 – Operation Michael, The Kaiserschlact or the Kaiser’s Day.
Thousands of British and Allied troops were surrounded, killed or taken prisoner. My eighteen year old Maternal Great Uncle serving with the British Fifth Army was killed several days later in this confused fighting. Only stubborn Allied resistance by scratch regiments like his and logistics – the Royal Naval Blockade of Germany starving it of war materials – saw this German knockout blow rapidly run out of fuel and men.
Events of the Russian Revolution in 1917 through to the 3rd March 1918 – the Treaty of Brest Litovsk between Bolshevik Russia and Germany – released thousands of German troops from the Eastern Front back to the Western Front.
A more joyous event – Donald Frederick Featherstone was born on 20th March 1918.
** Some newspaper obituaries have him listed as born on 12 March 1918 but other newspaper obituaries and his death certificate listing says he was born on 20th March 1918.
That makes Tuesday 20th March 2018 the late Donald Featherstone’s Centenary anniversary or #Featherstone100.
As he came into the world, Allied victory in the Great War stood in doubt. He often said in interviews, that he chose the Tank Regiment on enlistment in 1939 because of all his family stories about the slaughter of Poor Bloody Infantry in the trenches.
How can we best celebrate in our own small gaming ways the Centenary and life of a man who changed my hobby life – man and boy – for the better, as he did for many gamers of a certain age?
Like many others, I owe a lot to Donald Featherstone. Many were the warm and richly deserved tributes and obituaries on Don’s death aged 95 in 3 September 2013.
My best Featherstone moment this year was tracking down at the BBC archives and receiving a PDF of the almost illegible typed and hand annotated talk scripts of two Donald Featherstone radio talks. As John remarked, I may have been the first person to read these since Don Featherstone in 1962/63. I have passed the copyrighted transcripts to John Curry for future use and publication through the History of Wargaming Project.
How amazing that the author of the handtyped 1960s Wargamers Newsletter and BBC Radio talks should be recording a podcast and only missed the games blogging age by a few years.
5. Do a Featherstone themed conversion such as finishing my Airfix footballer to saloon girl conversion?
Don was famous for his homecasting or his conversion of one available figure into many others.
This inspired many others and does still today including Rod MacArthur who had the privilege of gaming and figure making with Donald Featherstone and Tony Bath from 1960 onwards https://rodwargaming.wordpress.com/about/
Arguably every gaming day is a Featherstone day for many gamers, every day that we use a version of his rules, read his books or do our hobby thing, especially if you were inspired by Donald Featherstone’s books out of the library as a child, we celebrate his life, his hobby and his work.
What might you do to celebrate Donald Featherstone’s Centenary or #Featherstone100?
I’d love to hear your #Featherstone100 plans or your #bestFeatherstonemoment through your blogs or my comments page.
“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 indeed!
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 3 March 2018 (Centenary of the Treaty of Brest Litovsk)
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.
My Fourth FEMBruary challenge: The lovely Land Army women from Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo Games have been on the painting table this weekend.
Some quick “pewtering” (a quick coat of paint and then wiped off before dry) brought out how much detail these figures have. It also usefully fills in some dark and shadowy places before the colour coat.
Rather then try and fail to emulate the superb matt realist painting on the packaging by Andrew Taylor, I thought I would use Gloss Acrylic (as I don’t have or normally use Matt paint anyway). I wanted a more gloss Toy Soldier style look which is a bit more difficult at 28mm, rather than at 54mm toy soldier size. Still some tidying up to do on the Land Girl figures including smoothing out the gloss / flesh Acrylic mix, which is a bit lumpy still.
I was trying to second guess what figures from Bad Squiddo Games that Marvin at Suburban Militarism would choose, having incidentally introduced me to FEMbruary. I chose Land Girls, he chose Catherine The Great
High kicking! Work has begun on FEMbruary No. 2 the Donald Featherstone suggested Airfix footballer to Wild West saloon girl conversion. First out comes the PVA and tissue paper to add some feminine attributes, hair and then flowing big flouncy showgirl dress.
At this early stage, the big hair still looks like a 70s footballer Kevin Keegan, albeit in a dress. Some more work required here! Once the frills, chokers, flounces and real tiny feathers are added, hopefully ‘she’ will look more like a 1880s saloon girl.
Pound Store Plastic Warriors FEMbruary challenge.
The Pound Store Plastic Warriors challenge to convert these Poundland 32-36mm plastic soldier figures into tribal African style Amazon female warriors is underway. These should be colourful, more red and yellow and bling, than the white robed male desert warriors that I have worked on recently.
To be fair, we started late, not on FEMbruary the First. There are still nine days left of the FEMbruary challenge 2018 and there are plenty of topics and figures left for FEMbruary 2019. There is always MOREFEMber too!
What might you do you for FEMbruary this year or 2019?
Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, FEMBruary 18th 2018.
Having focussed on Queens in the last FEMbruary post, I thought I would focus on slightly more ordinary or achievable female jobs.
FEMBruary is a challenge set up by Leadballoony to focus more on the female figures in our collection as an attempt to be more inclusive as a hobby, along with all the things Annie Norman is trying to do with her believable female Miniatures stocked at Bad Squiddo Games. More on Bad Squiddo below and in my next blog post.
Here for #FEMbruary are a few more female figures from my toy soldier collection, a collection of old and new metal figures with a range of paint styles to guide my brush on my FEMbruary painting challenges.
The WRVS Women’s Royal Voluntary Service was one of those stalwart wartime women’s organisations which received recent and well deserved publicity in Housewife 49, the Mass Observation WWII wartime diaries of Nella Last in Barrow in Furness. This was turned into a TV drama, written and performed by the much missed Victoria Wood. If you have not read the diaries or seen Housewife 49, they are well worth tracking down as a book or DVD for an interesting view of (extra)ordinary women and their families on the Home Front.
and has an interesting wartime history and archives collection on its website.
I have one of two Land Army girls, including this Britain’s figure. Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo Games has featured some new Home Front women in 28mm including some fine Land Army Girls in three collections: working in the fields, armed with shotguns (bunnies and parachutists beware) and at picnic. More on Bad Squiddo in another post http://badsquiddogames.com/shop#!/WW2
Salvation Army bands were once a popular figure for Britain’s and other manufacturers, still highly collectable.
For more modern civilians there are always those sets of plastic civilians for model railways sold online unpainted. This young woman has a 1940s / 1950s look.
Still need to do some work “putting her face on” before she goes out with a serious case of panda eyes.
Another distinctive and smart young woman in uniform was the Nippy.
A Nippy was a waitress who worked in the J. Lyons & Co tea shops and cafés in London. Because the waitresses nipped (moved quickly) around the tea shops, the term “Nippy” came into use. Nippies wore a distinctive maid-like uniform with a matching hat, the clean uniform being part of their wholesome image. Nippies appeared (and still appear) in all manner of advertising and the Nippy soon became a national icon until the last Lyons Corner Houses shut in the Seventies .
Another recurring female figure in hollowcast metal and plastic ranges, apart from the odd squaw or a farm worker, was the army or civilian nurse. I have picked up a range of nurses (mostly in job lots) which could fill a whole future blogpost.
However the most famous nurse of them all is also featured in the recent Corgi Forward March range. Here is the other figure link to The Crimean War, which was mentioned in our last blog post about Queen Victoria and the first VCs. The Crimea is a curious, mismanaged and inglorious conflict that has always fascinated me. There was a Peter Laing 15mm Crimean War range that I wish I had bought but no nurses were featured.
Until the New National Gove Curriculum threatened to remove her and other historic figures, Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War had long been a part of the old National Curriculum primary history syllabus in Britain, along with Mary Seacole and Queen Victoria. I know some weary Primary school teachers who were pleased at the prospect of never having to teach Florence Nightingale again after years and years. However she was retained, as you can see below.
I wish we had done the Crimean War at school.
Florence Nightingale, Edith Cavell and Mary Seacole along with Suffragettes and Queen Victoria are still suggested primary school content for British five to seven year olds:
“the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements, some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell.”
The Corgi Forward March Miniatures limited edition range featured several other women and some handy mini biographies of each figure. They have a simple and attractive ‘hand painted’ paint finish.
Part of a limited edition distribution worldwide.
Few figures exist of Mary Seacole, the Jamaican Nurse and Sutleress who also served in the Crimea, although I have tracked down one recent 28mm limited edition which will feature on a future blog post.
Looks like FEMbruary might carry on past the 28th February this year at this rate.
So there you are, a range of believable female miniatures and female job roles from Nippy to nurse, flower seller to Florence Nightingale, from Sally Army Lasses and Land Army Girls to Suffragettes.
Cakes and tea supplied by the WRVS and the Lyons Corner House Nippy.
More to follow …
Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN during FEMbruary 2018
Blog Post Script B.P.S.
I was saddened to hear that the sculptor of many of the Asset Miniatures figures Alan Caton died late 2015. Asset Miniatures figures like these WWII female figures above are still available secondhand online.