More Desert Kit and Equipment from Scratch

These two Pound Store jeeps have been converted into Jeep ‘Trucks’ for my desert raiding Force. Extra stowage, fuel tanks, winches and spare (button) tyres came from what was to hand in the scraps box, in keeping with their pound store origins.

The old tiny version 1 Airfix as crew do look a little undersized – probably less so with version 2 Airfix which are slightly larger – but if you think of them as desert trucks like the old LRDG Chevrolets, it kind of works.

Jeep trucks, windscreens trimmed – with LMG crew in place in game and without, with crew.

Monday Update: Responding to comments (below), trimming the windscreen does work to rescale it. It was not easily possible to remove the whole windscreen thing.

Goggles and tiny windscreens on this LRDG Matchbox kit.

They started life in the pound store, a Christmas gift from a charity shop, the usual mismatch mixture of scales.

This shows how the jeeps started off. The Airfix Centurion China copy tanks would be in scale for the vintage OO HO Airfix figures.

Improvised oil tanks from toothpaste lids – reused, not recycled!

I wanted to mock up fast a desert storage facility at a railway yard / airfield. Something for Airfix Commandos to blow up. These party popper storage tanks (first conversion attempts) are a bit wonky, as cutting off the necks and inserting this down into the flimsy body did not work as cleanly as I wanted.

The mysterious tarpaulin covered or camouflaged shapes are offcut blocks of wood, wrapped in some light brown serviette tissues I found in a cafe and glued with PVA wood glue.

A few additional figures that might prove useful, so I have painted and rebased some useful figures.

Desert Arabs from the early Airfix set, painted about 40 years ago and rebased.

A few Airfix Luftwaffe ground crew make good train staff, aircraft mechanics and oil tanks staff.

A handy antitank gun from the Airfix ready made solid plastic vehicle range, the gun that accompanied the halftrack. A little surprise or an extra bit of protection for the facilities at Wadi Yu Min.

These all add some potential for these desert raid scenarios.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on 12 January 2020.

Featherstone’s Personalised Wargaming in the Desert

Vintage Airfix Privates named, Privates for Desert Army and Privates / Schutz in NordAfrika Korps

One idea I wanted to develop in my skirmish gaming is a more ‘personal’ or ‘personalised’ feel to small troop action.

Giving names to your ‘characters’ adds a different dimension to the nameless hordes of figures.

I use the names suggested in the chapter ‘Personalised Wargaming‘ of Donald Featherstone’s 1969 Advanced Wargames book, recently reprinted and available from John Curry’s History of Wargaming project.

Naming characters has worked really well for me with the snowballers and the Boy and Girl Scout Wide Games.

However it has meant fairly regular picking figures up to check who they are!

See more at: https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com

The Blue Hills Boys … all named in the game, reports and write ups.

Personalised “Ripping Yarns” write up of the game report.

“You, Vot ist your Name?” “Don’t tell him, Pike!”

When I ran out of names from the Featherstone list in Advanced Wargaming and Skirmish Wargaming, especially for the many Schutzen (Riflemen) privates commanded by General Von Rimmel in the NordAfrika Korps, I turned to Wikipedia’s common German surname list and the WW2 / modern rank lists for translations

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_most_common_surnames_in_Germany

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranks_and_insignia_of_the_German_Army_(1935–1945)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranks_of_the_German_Bundeswehr

Vintage Airfix Afrika Korps – General Von Rimmel can be seen top left

Sch. Schwartz? / Pte Black?

I have marked all the bases with the English ranks. For Schutzen (Sch) read Private etc. If needed, many of the Germanic names have an English equivalent, if you were using the NordAfrika Korps for other non German / non WW2 ImagiNations games.

Private Scruby? Private Young? Private Marrion?

John Curry noticed that Featherstone’s names in his “Personalised Wargaming” chapter were friends, wargamers, illustrators, and figure manufacturers from the 1950s and 1960s.

I wonder if Sergeant Featherstone was putting Brigadier Peter Young in his place a little jokily by only having a Private Young amongst the named characters in his ‘Personalised Wargaming’ chapter?

“Her Privates We” – some of Featherstone’s named figures in Advanced Wargaming.

And Don Featherstone himself? Not on his own list but I do have of course on my extended names list and now on an Airfix figure the name of one Sergeant Stonefeather!

I wonder what experience any of you have had of ‘personalised‘ wargaming? Did it add to your gaming or detract from it?

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 9/10 January 2020.

Desert Raid on Wadi-Yu-Min Briefing Map 1941

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Damaged Sketch Map  left by raiding party on Wadi-Yu-Min, NordAfrika – sent to Von Rimmel Headquarters NordAfrika 1941

Received Bletchley Park Hut 43 (NordAfrika Army section):

Decoded signal sent by the NAK NordAfrika  Korps Special Section radio station at Wadi-Yu-Min  to General Von Rimmel, NAK Headquarters, North Africa: CLASSIFIED: Despatch rider has been sent with what is is believed to be operational sketch map prepared by enemy forces  for the recent raid on our operations at Wadi-Yu-Min, Nord Afrika. Map damaged and it appears attempt made to burn this by Allied raiding party. Map was located amongst Allied equipment left behind by raiding forces  and recovered by NAK troops after the action.

It appears or claims to be based on aerial reconnaissance photographs by the enemy’s air forces operating over the desert.

It appears not  accurate enough to be based on good local knowledge of the local population or local railway staff.

Damage report to follow. As directed by General Von Rimmel,  NAK Special Section operations to continue. HH. [Message Ends.]

——————————- ———————— ———————————————

(Bletchley Park) Station X message – passed to Military Intelligence,  Combined Ops and LRDG-D Sections: Summary to be passed to  Aerial Reconnaissance Section Desert Air Force, Royal Angrian Defence Forces (West Africa), C in C Yestershire Regiment

Intercept of NAK  signal to Von Rimmel’s HQ NordAfrika re. Sketch map supplied to our raiding party at Wadi Yu Min. Map and equipment  attributable to allied forces successfully left to make  sure that no blame attached to local population or from any informants amongst the railway staff for the raid or reconnaissance.

Advised that enemy NAK Special Section Operations to be resumed.

Further aerial reconnaissance or scouting parties  to be advised that following this raid, additional anti-aircraft sources may be installed and further ground defences at Wadi-Yu-Min.

Debrief, casualty and damage report to be forwarded with intelligence reports Section.

Photograph of the pre damaged sketch map (deliberately left behind) attached along with original air reconnaissance Section Desert Air Forces.

Signed – authorised by Major Martin, Hut 43 NAK Section / Station X / Military Intelligence liaison.

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Readers can compare the sketch map with the aerial reconnaissance photograph.

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Were your observations correct?

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We will have to wait and see, to read the Intelligence debrief report on how the raid on Wadi-Yu-Min went.

Meanwhile previously on Man of TIN:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/aerial-reconnaissance-photos-western-desert-1941/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/03/weirdos-and-misfits-with-odd-skills-wanted-no-10-lrdg-soe-commandos-gchq-and-bletchley-park/

Debrief, casualty  and damage report to be forwarded with intelligence reports.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 5 January 2019

“Weirdos and Misfits with odd skills” Wanted – No. 10, LRDG, SOE, Commandos, GCHQ and Bletchley Park

Dominic Cummings, some Tory Brexit politico adviser, in his blog set out a Churchillian request for hiring people to make No. 10 and the Civil Service (and his Brexit / post Brexit team) much less ” public school bluffers” and “Oxbridge English graduates”, more “misfits and weirdos“.

He writes: “We want to hire an unusual set of people with different skills and backgrounds to work in Downing Street with the best officials, some as spads (special advisers to ministers) and perhaps some as officials. If you are already an official and you read this blog and think you fit one of these categories, get in touch.” He says the categories he wants to recruit are:

  • Data scientists and software developers
  • Economists
  • Policy experts
  • Project managers
  • Communication experts
  • Junior researchers – “one of whom will also be my personal assistant”

Send your CV to Mr Cummings if you think this applies to you. You may only last a week, in our “hired and you’re fired” modern world, as instant dismissal is threatened, in which case you will no doubt be known as a “Cummings and Goings.”

Well intentioned and headline grabbing as it may be, the whole “weirdos and misfits” thing is a gift to cartoonists and satirists.

Oddly Mr. Cummings forgot to mention on his list: wargamers and “board game geeks”.

Not so long ago, top secret GCHQ was publicly looking for a more diverse modern workforce of “spooks” and “spies wanted

I am reminded of Churchill’s wartime request to “leave no stone unturned” to recruit the right people to staff Bletchley Park and SOE. Part of GCHQ’s ancestry, Bletchley recruited a strange team of debutantes, crossword puzzle champions, Post Office engineers, mathematicians, linguists and graduate oddities to break German cyphers.

Too busy to read? Just watch the cinema shorthand, myth-making movie versions of such an eccentric cast of characters: Robert Harris’ Enigma and the Imitation Game.

After meeting Alan Turing and his other eccentric colleagues at Bletchley Park, Winston Churchill reportedly said to MI6’s Stewart Menzies, “I know I told you to leave no stone unturned to find the necessary staff, but I didn’t mean you to take me so literally.”

Extraordinary jobs require unusual people. Polar explorer Ernest Shackleton would agree!

Which is why my mind straight way turned to SOE, inspired by Churchill “to set Europe ablaze”, Bletchley Park, inventive backroom boffins, the Commandos and the scruffy but tough and talented Long Range Desert Group. All the cast of Mr Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare as they were termed in a recent book title.

St Nazaire? See the inspiring terrain with the promise of vintage Airfix Commandos https://gridbasedwargaming.blogspot.com/2020/01/st-nazaire-raid-project-more-terrain.html

 

Such people and characters in small teams are perfect for small scale gaming scenarios.

Weirdos and Misfits wanted? Small teams of characters (figures) who can see what is going on in this gridded aerial reconnaissance photo and improvise a plan when it is not what it seems …

What can you see?

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/aerial-reconnaissance-photos-western-desert-1941/

 

As pointed out in my comment to the vintage Airfix inspired Tradgardmastre himself,

“Sketch map in preparation by Desert Air Force Intelligence Officers, ready to brief some scouting parties of LRDG (D) – D For Demolition.

This is a mixed bag made up of various disruptive elements from the Royal Angrian Defence Force from West Africa (Bronte ImagiNations), some men of the Yestershire Regiment (Man of TIN Imaginations), various other upper class desert traveller, novelist and travel writer misfits, and some Royal Engineers and Commandos in training.

Two tooled up long range fast Desert Jeeps called “Ragtag” and “Bobtail” (Pound Store finest) being prepared.”

Vintage 1960s Airfix LMG teams and modern China plastic tat playset jeeps.

So a quick bit of internet searching brought me to various LRDG websites, seeking the childhood memory of LRDG box lids of Tamiya and unavailable vintage Matchbox LRDG kits (oddly featured in January 2020 Airfix Model World).

https://www.scalemates.com/kits/matchbox-pk-173-lrdg-30cwt-chevrolet-willys-jeep–130346

So preparing my teams, here are the vintage Airfix LRDG and 8th Army desert teams:

Vintage Airfix OO HO 8th Army (version 1) from my childhood collection and Tony Adams’ gift

Vintage Airfix 1960s Commandos and crawling woolly hatted (version 1) 8th Army
OMG! Vintage Airfix SMG, LMG and HMG teams – Airfix Commandos & 1960s 8th Army

Research and further inspiration:

https://gridbasedwargaming.blogspot.com/2020/01/st-nazaire-raid-project-more-terrain.html

LRDG Preservation Society (Research and Reenactment) website http://www.lrdg.org

Combined Ops Website https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/01/man-of-tin-advent-calendar-day-1-the-greek-sacred-squadron-combined-ops-1940-to-1945-ww2

I’m doing Popski on the cheap with vintage Airfix, inspired by this article in Wargames Illustrated Infamous Squads issue November December 2019

Donald Featherstone ‘Wargaming Commando Operations’ http://www.wargaming.co/recreation/details/dflosttalesvol2.htm

Weirdos and Misfits – your country needs you!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 3 January 2020

And finally for The Tradgardmastre on LRDG Buffs Film Club:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053935/mediaviewer/rm2816642305

Aerial Reconnaissance Photos Western Desert 1941

Gridded aerial reconnaissance photo from one of our Aircraft. What can you see?

1941: Somewhere in the desert, North Africa

One of our plucky Reconnaissance pilots has noticed some enemy activity around one of the old railway halts on a tired old desert branch line that served a pre-war oil prospecting expedition and abandoned desert air strip.

Some building work and fresh build up of stores appear to be in progress.

Using the photos, a sketch map is quickly being prepared by the Intelligence Officers for some of the misfits in our LRDG (D) Long Range Desert Group (Demolition section) to scout it out and if necessary, “light it up” and disrupt the railway.

Civilians or service personnel may be present. Local people should not be attributable for blame or harmed due to LRDG (D) actions. Enemy personnel should be taken prisoner where possible for interrogation.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 1 January 2020

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

Intelligence reports suggest that some armoured vehicles may be present and there is the possibility of concealed weapons pits.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/16/man-of-tin-blogvent-calendar-day-16-vintage-airfix-africa-korps-1962

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/21/that-vintage-airfix-afrika-korps-gun-1962

Happy New Year 2020 from Man of TIN

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Surprise Christmas gift, a Timpo style US lead field telephone man and ‘Tommy’ cover.

“Hello? Hello?”

It’s 1st January 2020 now in the Blog date list and many best wishes to all my fellow bloggers and readers for the coming New Year and a new decade, the Twenty Twenties!

I wonder how different the world and the hobby will be in ten years time at the start of the Twenty Thirties?

Several hours in and not broken any 2020 gaming irresolutions yet:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/31/2020-man-of-tin-new-gaming-years-irresolutions/

“Roger, Over and Out!”

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Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 1st January 2020, happy new decade!

2020 Man of TIN New Gaming Year’s Irresolutions

NGY 2020 Irresolution One – Carry on Converting

Sadly I discovered that Carry on Converting, Carry on Gaming and Carry on Painting are not a trio of 1960s British comedy movies with Barbara Windsor and Kenneth Williams. Not to mention Carry on Basing and Carry On Flocking …

Paint conversions, figure conversions from Pound Store plastic figures and old Airfix through to repairing old 54mm lead figures – more needed in 2020!

Airfix Confederates or Angrian Bronte ImagiNations militia?

Saxby Bridge, Navvy Battles and Civil Unrest as small skirmish scenarios

NGY 2020 Irresolution Two – More solo short small skirmish games

Including 15mm Peter Laing, Airfix 20mm up to 54mm figures across a range of periods including Romans, Bronte ImagiNations etc. using simple Featherstone inspired rules.

NGY 2020 Irresolution Three – Paint More Peter Laings

I should be putting more content of painted figures and gaming with Peter Laing figures on the MeWe Peter Laing community forum

and

NGY 2020 Irresolution Four – Full Metal Hic Jacet

15mm Peter Laing Romans vs Picts and Ancients ‘Small Skirmish’ games. I’m fairly new to Ancients, if you don’t count Airfix Romans and Britons:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/full-metal-hic-jacet/

It is Rosemary Sutcliff’s centenary in December 2020, Eagle of the Ninth was one of my favourite childhood books. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/rosemary-sutcliff-birth-centenary-december-2020/

NGY 2020 Irresolution Five – Return to Planet Back Yarden

I seemed to spend all year on and off enjoyably preparing for a 42mm or 54mm garden skirmish game with plastics or old lead that never properly happened. Sci-Fi Space Wars, American Civil War, ImagiNations and colonial Little Wars or WW2 – who knows which period will make it into the flower bed battles? I foresee creaky knees and an aching back …

NGY 2020 Irresolution Six – Develop my Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop

Developing my Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop games and rules on my sister blog site including snowball fights rules and preparing for the Little Wars Revisited Woking 54mm Little Wars Saturday 14th March 2020.

NGY 2020 Irresolution Seven – Develop my Bronte inspired ImagiNations in 19th and 20th Century

2020 is another of the Bronte200 anniversaries https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine/

Simple Airfix joy – I was so happily sidetracked by Tony’s gift …

 

How did the 2019 New Gaming Years Irresolutions go?

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/01/01/new-gaming-year-irresolutions-2019/

I succeeded in a few (very few) of my vague irresolute hobby targets. 2019 The year just gone seems to have gone very quickly.

February or #FEMbruary 2019 saw the believable female miniature painting of modelling challenge with my Bad Squiddo 28mm Land Girls entered into my local spring flower show. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/huzzah-for-boycraft-flower-show-craft-success/

‘Scouting’ happened along in April, when I picked up a copy of a vintage Wide Games book on a seaside holiday, which set me (and also Alan at the Duchy of Tradgardland) off on a new tangent.

In summer, the kind gift of a bag of old 1960s Airfix figures by Tony Adams at the Miniature Wood Screw Army led to some nice relaxed painting and rebasing of Airfix figures. This often feels quite relaxing to be like happy colouring in.

Who knows where my “gaming journey” will have taken me at the end of 2020 and by the end of the Twenty Twenties?

If it’s as fun as where it’s has taken me since 2010, I will be happy enough!

Moddelling and gaming and the company they bring (odd for a largely solitary prepping hobby) are good for your mental health. Just ask Models for Heroes

Here’s best wishes for the tabletop gaming year to come to all my blog readers, to all those whose blogs I enjoy reading and for all those online strangers that I have not met yet who stumble across my Man of TIN blog and my other blogs this year.

Happy New Year! Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 31 December 2019 / 1 January 2020.