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!
The contribution of Portuguese troops during the Spring Offensive, Operation Georgette and the Battle of The Lys of March and April 1918 was commemorated by the French and Portuguese Governments today at the Portuguese War Memorial on the Western Front.
Interesting photographs taken by Joseph Zimet @josephzimet on Twitter.
April 9 1918: The Battle of La Lys, as it becomes known in Portugal, or Operation Georgette or the Battle of Estaires to the British, starts with a heavy artillery barrage from the Germans, followed by a German offensive with intensive use of lethal gas. The German Sixth Army deploys eight divisions (about 100,000 men), supported by intensive artillery fire. Against the force, the Portuguese have 20,000 soldiers and 88 guns. As a result, the Second Division is annihilated during the battle. The Portuguese CEP loses 327 officers and 7,098 soldiers, about 35% of its effective fighting capacity. The survivors are sent to the rear, some of the units being integrated into the British Army later on.
During this battle, one of the most courageous acts in Portuguese military history is perpetrated, as private Aníbal Milhais (also known as “Soldado Milhões” [“A Soldier as good as a million others” in his commanding officer’s words]) defends the retreating allied forces with nothing but his machine gun, allowing them to fall back and regroup. Once he runs out of bullets, he escapes the battlefield.
After defeating two German regiments and forcing the remaining German forces to go around him (they find it impossible to defeat what they believe to be an heavily armed post), he gets lost along the way, having to eat nothing but the sweet almonds his family had sent him from Portugal for three days. Lost and exhausted, he is able to rescue a Scottish major from drowning in a swamp. The major leads him to the Allied camp and tells of Milhais’s deeds. (Infomation source: Wikipedia)
More about the Portuguese Expeditionary Forces in WW1
I knew that the Portuguese Army of WW1 fought in French sky blue coloured British Army cut uniforms with unusual fluted steel helmets from a comment on some sky blue painted Airfix WW1 British figures I had posted online in 2016.
I couldn’t remember where I had seen coloured illustrations of such troops, it wasn’t in my usual reference of Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour. Instead I found a page on Portugal 1917-18 in Andrew Mollo’s Army Uniforms of World War 1.
Modellers and gamers should be able to adapt WW1 British Army figures with steel helmets or soft caps into suitable Portuguese troops.
Aly Morrison featured some beautifully painted Portuguese WW1 conversions and colourised photographs of WW1 Portuguese troops.
I have completed these Suffragettes as my final challenge as part of #MARCH 2018, being my excuse to photograph a few of my MARCHing toy soldier and MARCHing Band figures each year. It coincides with Cupcakes and Machetes’ blog challenge for March as part of Women’s History Month (and stuff left over from FEMbruary).
I had been working on a small Suffragette vignette or boxed diorama for my local spring show art and craft section but failed to complete it in time. I couldn’t get the glossy toy soldier look quite right.
Instead I added several more 54mm female figures that I had unpainted in my collection, painted as suffragettes. I started work on such random figures as a bride (Tradition of London), two Salvation Army girls from Dorset Soldiers, a plastic Mexican peasant woman wielding a broom from Steve Weston figures and last but not least, my unsatisfactory conversion of an Airfix footballer into a Western saloon girl.
I put the finished figures on a makeshift plinth (a painted fence post cap from B&Q) with a Suffragette anniversary enamel brooch.
Individual suffragette figures have been converted from existing figures.
Simple figure conversions turned surplus 54mm female figures into Suffragettes.
This Mexican peasant woman brandishing a broom from Steve Weston figures converts smoothly into a protesting Suffragette waving a placard. A large Edwardian style hat was added using a circle of stiff card with hole punched out in the middle to sit over the original bun hairstyle. Layers of white kitchen roll paper were added with PVA to simulate the floaty flouncy layers of the large hats of Edwardian ladies.
The suffragette is holding a metal ‘prison arrow’ on a pole, symbolic of any suffragette who had been imprisoned as shown in this 1910 short film:
A quick look at suffrage march photos show that this Mexican figure needed a hat as few women would go out without a hat on a formal occasion such as in a parade, demonstration or MARCH in the early Twentieth century, especially if you were out to prove that your Suffrage movement and arguments were reasonable and respectable. Bare heads in public and long hair were for girls or much younger women.
One reason for getting on and finishing these MARCHing figures is the unfinished FEMbruary conversion of an Airfix Footballer into a Western saloon girl, as suggested by Donald Featherstone in his Wildwest chapter of Skirmish Wargaming.
The unfinished conversion using paint, PVA glue and tissue paper still looked heavily masculine, especially with the longer hair, even more like Kevin Keegan in a dress. I repainted her in white with additional layers of frontal skirts to be more respectable and less revealing. A white head covering over the long dark hair softened the masculine features slightly.
Whilst wanting to keep the figures and paint scheme simple and glossy toy soldier like, I found the solid white clothes a little dull to look at. Knowing that light pale blue brings out white colours, dolly blue being added to white washing in the past, a slight wash of pale light blue brought out a little shade and shadow.
So that is MARCH, Women’s History Month, the final bit of FEMBruary done for this year and another toy soldier conversion or painting challenge completed.
I have really enjoyed working on some different figures for a change.
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN as my final MARCH 2018 blogpost, 31 March 2018.
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)