Mystery 15mm-ish Figures?

A charming little horse, Chinese Pirates ? and for comparison a 15mm Peter Laing figure.

****** Mystery figures identified – or not? See below ******

I bought a cheap and strange little job lot on eBay for £5 of these indeterminate sized figures alongside some curious miniature guardsmen, probably from a Dolls House supplier.

I couldn’t judge size too well but I was curious to see if either would be an interesting match for my Peter Laing 15mm figures.

eBay image

They are most curious and a little stiff and crude. I’m not sure what they are designed to be. They have limited bright colours, a little pigtail at the back and mostly swords.

Are they pirates?

Are they Chinese or Boxer Rebellion type warriors?

Are they home casts?

In terms of size or scale, you can see an unpainted 15mm Peter Laing WW2 German infantryman for comparison.

Whatever they are – they should prove useful sailors or pirates or native troops in ImagiNations games, fiercely waving their swords and a few their strange spears.

**********************

If asked “If anyone recognises them as rough copies of commercial figures or as home casts, I would be interested to know?”

One of my ‘anonymous’ readers suggested an identity as Cellmate Miniatures Boxer Rebellion 15-20mm figures – Thanks!

“Your unknown Boxer miniatures were produced by Cellmate Miniatures.” produced by Tod P. Zechiel (see Blog Post Script below).

However Tod P. Zechiel himself contacted me today by email from the USAto say that they are not his figures – so the mystery continues.

Tod is now retired and so has time to be back in small production of Cellmate Miniatures Boxer Rebellion figures, selling painted and unpainted castings on eBay. His Tuan Boxer Rebellion rules are also still available as a free download.

So the “Mystery of the Chinese Pirates” – Where are the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew when you need them?

Whoever they are made by, I like them and I will probably finish their Warbases MDF 1p bases in a similar Earth Brown colour.

September 2021 – a new seaside purchase of a pirate ship arrives for them!

B.P.S – Blog Post Script

You can find out more about Tod P Zechiel’s Cellmate Miniatures on TMP here:

http://theminiaturespage.com/showcase/143590/

http://theminiaturespage.com/showcase/29765/

“”While trying not to sound apologetic,” Tod P Zechiel explains, “allow me to inform you of the nature of the miniatures. I am an amateur sculpturer, and the figures are gravity cast as opposed to centrifically cast. The figures are therefore of moderate quality. They tend to be thick and simple, with less detail than other manufacturer’s figures. They tend to have a more pronounced parting line or seam, and larger sprues. You need, as a minimum, a sharp exacto knife to remove the excess metal. A tapered, flat, needle file is even better. To reduce cost, the figures contain lead.” (TMP Info source above)

I can see where the suggested identification of these figures came from .

They were also accompanied by a spirited little metal horse or pony, along with the tiny red guardsmen which I will feature in another post.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 28 August 2021 / Updated 17 September 2021

Peter Laing’s “growing range of 15mm metal figures of World War Two infantry” endorsement in Featherstone’s Wargaming Airborne Operations

I was surprised, whilst painting Airfix Paratroops and re-reading Donald Featherstone’s Wargaming Airborne Operations (1977) to find a rare mention of Peter Laing’s “growing range of 15mm metal figures of World War Two infantry“.

This Peter Laing WW2 range never grew very big, not much bigger than that listed above.

This is a bit of a surprise as these mid 1970s figures must have been some of the first 15mm WW2 figures. 25 to 30 years later, 15mm WW2 Flames of War figure and vehicles were all the rage.

Snapshot from an earlier Peter Laing 15mm WW2 skirmish of mine (2016)

Part of this “growing range” was probably the dual-use steel helmeted infantry, guns, wagons and others items from Peter’s extensive British, French and German WW1 range.

I use these figures interchangeably for WW1/WW2, as with Peter Laing’s deliberate under-detailing, the figures are easily converted by paint or file to other periods.

Peter Laing 15mm WW1 / WW2 German Infantry (that I have got around to painting …)
I have posted previously about Peter Laing’s WW2 range and my occasional WW2 skirmish games at:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/peter-laing-ww2-figures

This 2016 blog post also mentions the excellent Tim’s Tanks blog posts about Peter Laing’s WW1 and WW2 range. This features some US Infantry converted to British Paras (see screenshot picture below)

I can testify that, as the Laing catalogue describes, these figures could give “at platoon level … a most satisfactory infantry action game” in a small space –

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/peter-laing-15mm-ww2-skirmish/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/ww2-platoon-level-close-little-world-wars-rules/

Some further Peter Laing WW2 German Infantry figures to be used as Paratroops and British Infantry / Home Guard have been stuck on my painting table for months, ready for a ‘Sealion’ type skirmish. Airfix figures keep just jumping that queue and getting in the way!

My delayed painting tray: Sealion postponed? Laing WW1/ WW2 British riflemen at the back, two HMG crews to repaint khaki centre and German ‘Paras’ at front.

Who knows I might even have painted them all in time for the Peter Laing 50th anniversary 2022 next year.

Next autumn 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the first 15 mm figures and the first Laing ranges being advertised for the first time in October / November 1972 Military Modelling magazine (starting with his Marlburian range).

Some of my original samples of 15mm Peter Laing WW2 ranges, bought and half painted c. 1983 (British, left and Germans, right)

I wish I had bought more Laing WW2 figures at the time but with limited pocket money funds and a good selection of Airfix WW2 figures, vehicles and scenery at the time, I focused my Laing purchases on periods and figures not covered by Airfix that Laing did such as the ECW.

The same “Airfix or Laing?” debate continues in my gaming and collecting to this day.

Pictures of Peter Laing WW2 figures on Tim’s Tanks blogpost

This simple WW2 range for platoon level action is highly praised for its balance on the Tim’s Tanks blogspot, which gave me my glimpse of the Americans for the first time (albeit doubled up as British Paratroops) :

http://timstanks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/peter-laing-15mm-miniatures.html

Screenshot courtesy of Tims Tanks website WW2 Peter Laing blogpost

Any shortfalls in Tim’s Tanks  WW2 Peter Laing collection were patched, as with my own Peter Laing WW2 troops, from Peter’s WW1 range.

http://timstanks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/peter-laing-15mm-miniatures.html

Tim’s Tanks: “This range was ahead of its time and the figures surprisingly well thought through.”

“For each nationality (British, U.S. or German) there was a sidearm equipped officer figure, a SMG armed NCO, an infantryman advancing with rifle at high port, an LMG and No.2 and a Light Mortar and No.2.”

Lovely figures, perfect for the task”. (Tim’s Tanks Peter Laing WW2 themed blogpost)

*************

Sadly, Peter Laing figures are no longer commercially made, whilst the moulds appear to have vanished after Peter Laing retired and sold the moulds to the late John Mitchell.

Your best chance of finding any Peter Laing figures is on eBay where – warning – not all ‘Peter Laing figures’ are Peter Laing, often they are early Minifigs. The strange Laing horses are often a clue Some ranges of these second-hand figures now command good prices!

There is a small and friendly Peter Laing collectors group set up by Ian Dury on the MeWe platform, a good place to flag up any Laing’s figures on sale, get figure IDs etc.

https://mewe.com/join/peterlaingfigures

Heroics and Ros, Airfix, Atlantic, Hinchliffe … and Peter Laing! A page from my 1977 copy of Donald Featherstone, Wargaming Airborne Operations (battered ex library copy from my childhood).

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 1 August 2021

Some Found Terrain and a few more 15mm Peter Laing figures

What do you see when you look at this polystyrene packaging?

Some may look at this as unrecyclable junk.

I look at it and see …

a doorway,

high walls,

an adobe fort or compound, especially for tiny troops like my 15mm Peter Laing figures.

What do you see or would you make out of it?

Obviously some kind of walkway needs to be improvised inside around the high walls as a firing platform or raised walkway. This could easily be done with lolly sticks or coffee stirrers laid onto matchsticks or cocktail sticks projecting out of the walls, much in the style of the Airfix Foreign Legion Fort.

Similarly doors and repairs to the wall dips and ‘damage’ can be improvised with coffee stirrers and card.

A rough coat of acrylic off-white for the walls and a sandy base colour should not harm the polystyrene (some glues, sprays and paints can melt it).

One project for a rainy day when hands need to be kept busy.

Some 15mm Peter Laing figures for scale…

Around the time this arrived in the house (the family are now well trained to show me interesting packaging before it reaches the bin or recycling), I also bought a handful of Peter Laing 15mm figures from an online dealer. I spotted these Laings amongst several more lots of “Wild West Infantry” figures and cavalry that were confusingly labelled as (but definitely not) by Laing. Nice enough figures but not Laing ones.

For a few pounds I bought ten settlers or backwoodsmen and rarer still, what I take to be a pair of Peter Laing female settlers. They were all curiously mounted individually on metal squares. Even if they are not Laing females, they are a good enough match.

These are in Peter Laing catalogue terms,

probably F3006 Female Settler

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/05/peter-laing-15mm-union-infantry-obes-rebased-and-flocked/

And from the Peter Laing American War of Independence Range:

F321 Rifleman hunting shirt standing

F322 Rifleman hunting shirt firing

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/peter-laing-marlburian-figures/

Sadly now Peter Laing figures (the original or first 15mm figures, launched almost fifty years ago in autumn 1972) are long out of production and the moulds vanished, so second hand or recasting is the only way to acquire them.

I have been collecting Peter Laing figures since about 1982 as a teenager when I began my first proper (i.e. metal) wargames army, spending pocket money and paper round earnings on his English Civil War range. He was a efficient and friendly chap to deal with, even with my tiny schoolboy orders. I still have and use these figures today.

Peter Laing figures have a small and loyal following, with a dedicated MeWe online group run by Ian Dury which has replaced the former Google+ community pages. Here we post pictures of our Laing figures and games, as well as highlighting any second hand Laing figures for sale online that we come across. All welcome!

https://mewe.com/join/peterlaingfigures

Established 2019 the Peter Laing MeWe page

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 29/30 April 2021

What I’ve done in April for Ann’s Immaterium “Paint All The Stuff You Own” Challenge

This April of Lockdown and Furlough has been one of finishing what figures and projects that you have to hand, encouraged by Ann’s Immaterium Challenge to “Paint all the Crap You Own”. Ann’s challenge completes on May 3rd 2020.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/05/anns-immaterium-painting-challenge-april-2020/

What have I managed to paint or complete in this time from stuff that I owned before April 1st 2020?

First, I had a good look through my old gaming bits and bobs Blue Box from the 80s. I found lots of figures to finish over the next few weeks or months of Lockdown.

See what I rediscovered at: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/11/unboxing-my-blue-box-of-1980s-gaming-figures-time-capsule-part-three

Peter Laing 15mm ECW unit complete at last …

From this Blue Box, I have added some old ‘new’ units for skirmishes including a unit of Peter Laing 15mm English Civil War Pikemen to complete a ‘White Company’ with a flag, an officer and the pike half of the unit for the first time.

I started painting this unit in the mid 1980s. They are now finally based and equipped with pikes.

Finally based about 35 years after being painted …

The Blue Box was one source of unfinished figures. Another source of figures was a box where I stored random figures from job lots bought over the years, whilst searching for Peter Laing figures.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/19/scrap-napoleonics-ready-to-scrap-forgotten-minor-states/

Some of these job lots were figures that were sold as painted scrap which I have turned into units from some ImagiNations ‘Forgotten Minor States‘ in Europe of the 18th and 19th century.

Many of these Forgotten Minor States (FMS) ‘existed’ as small Principalities and Dukedoms along the Alpen fringes such as Pompomerania, Higher Plumea, Reissenshein, Verdigris, Weissenstein, Gelbania, Hesseansachs, Thyer Brigadia and then some were larger countries such as Bleudelys, Uwessae, Great Butlinnia and Hibernia.

One of my favourite small FMS units, some of the Volunteer Militia of Thyer Brigadia

Stray figures can be allotted to these units as they appear, allotted by colour and head gear. You can see these scratch 15mm national units here:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/19/scrap-napoleonics-ready-to-scrap-forgotten-minor-states/

I made up a border watchtower and some barricades:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/20/at-a-border-watchtower-in-one-of-the-forgotten-minor-states/

32mm Pound Store figures man a barricade made of tile spacers and long matchsticks

Amongst the remaining 15mm Napoleonic scrap figures were a handful of painted and unpainted scrap American Civil War type figures from various makers in mixed uniforms. I based and painted these in grey as Confederates, generic rebels or Revolutionary forces. They have improvised themselves a dramatic Revolutionary flag.

Broken figures made a scratch rebel gun crew, using a cannon from the Napoleonic Risk board game.

Another ‘unaligned nation’ that can provide a threat or an enemy for any of these FMS Forgotten Minor States forces are a small number of 15mm painted colourful pirates of mixed makers found amongst job lots of 15mm figures.

15mm Pirates with muskets and Blunderbusses
15mm Pirates or Brigands with long pistols

Some guerrilla or sailor looking types in white shirts with muskets or rifles are generically useful.

15mm Scratch pirate gun crews to patch up and convert …
An attractive Long John Silver type Treasure Island 15mm figure

Hopefully who ever painted these pirates, game worn as they now are, would be pleased to know that they are based and back in use.

Amongst the pirates were lots of unpainted Tricorne figures with short muskets or carbines that could make a scratch unit of Redcoats or Preventive or Excise Men, the Riding Men or Dragoons. Not sure who made these 15mm figures.

These could double up for Close Wars type French Indian Wars skirmishes against natives in the forests of America.

No messing around with painting turnbacks, cuff or tricorne lace at 15mm scale. These are practical Redcoats roughing it in the forest wilds or along the cliffs and coast searching for Natives or Wreckers.

These have just come off the painting table, leaving some Jacklex ACW 20mm command figures from Christmas waiting their turn at the moment.

This portable Port, pirates and Redcoats was partly inspired by finding a Murray King postcard of Cornish Wreckers bought on a seaside trip a year or two ago. Redcoats! Smugglers! Wreckers!

Pirates and Preventive Men of the Customs and Excise need a port and this gave me a chance to use some wooden block scraps and wooden buildings from Christmas adapted into warehouses.

Ports need protection and sailors need proper lighthouses to avoid the false lights of the wreckers, so a craft shop lighthouse was added in wartime grey.

Fort Crumble – Very proud of the swivelling cannon …

Coastal protection requires a Martello Tower for which the scraps and recycling box provided the materials. See how I made this in more detail at

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/28/making-a-martello-tower-from-scrap-fort-crumble/

Add to this in April I put Man of TIN onto Twitter @ManoftinMark and joined new Facebook groups about ImagiNations, Homecasting and Prince August castings.

Busy old Lockdown month – lots of stuff in storage finally painted and based.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN 30 April / 2 May 2020.

Making a Martello Tower from Scrap – Fort Crumble

To match a bunch of 15mm pirate and Redcoat preventive men from another random job lot of figures, I have added a coastal defence fort.

This is not the familiar Airfix WW2 one of my childhood but an original Napoleonic one – the Martello Tower.

I remember seeing these curious flowerpot coastal castles on childhood holidays to the south coast. I have a feeling I might have been inside one as well. We visited the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch area of Kent, the curious home of light railways, Dr. Syn, smuggling museums and marshes. All equally fascinating to a small child.

Martello Towers are the ultimate bucket and spade seaside sandcastle with a flag and a cannon on top.

If you are not familiar with them, there are several websites about them. Wikipedia has a wide range of information and a useful photo gallery from round the world on Martello Towers. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martello_tower

There is an entire dedicated website to Martello Towers, including ones that have been undermined by the sea revealing parts of their construction.

https://martellotowers.co.uk/armedforces covers the garrison of 24 men (cramped), Napoleonic era gun crews, Artillery Volunteers, Militia and “sea fencibles” (or ‘reformed’ smugglers).

There are in their 1990 English Heritage Martello Tower no. 24 booklet online here some wildly imaginative LacePunk / Steampunk original Napoleonic era prints of how the French might invade by raft, balloon and airship etc. – “typical shabby Nazi, sorry, Napoleonic tricks” as the 1805 version of Captain Mainwaring would say.

https://theromneymarsh.net/martello24guidebook

Cinque Ports Volunteers reenactors https://theromneymarsh.net/martello24#inside

Some smart Militia Volunteers, perfect for my scratch 15mm Napoleonic era garrisons of Forgotten Minor States.

Lots more at: https://theromneymarsh.net/martello24#inside

https://www.papershipwright.co.uk/product/south-coast-martello-tower/

Several manufacturers make resin or even Paper ones on the unusual Paper Shipwright website (which has free downloads of some things).

Some useful Martello Tower words for instant expertise: The roof gunnery platform floor is called a terreplein. The irony – a French word for a seaside castle cannon platform against Napoleon. Impressed?

Building your Crumble Pot Martello Towers

So where to start?

What first gave me the idea was a bit of scrap recycling from a recent sweet treat gift, some mini crumble puddings.

“First eat your puddings …”

Add in the plastic top to some lovely lunchtime Itsu noodles, the only unrecyclable bit but which also comes in handy for flocking trays.

So in Blue Peter style you need in suitable size or scale for your figures, in this case 15mm:

    Two plastic containers or flowerpot shapes, one cut down to sit inside the other to give the roof space.
    A base or lid upturned to give extra height if needed
    A spare cannon such as this one from the Risk boardgame,
    Some lolly sticks for the gun pivot
    A drawing pin for the pivot
    Acrylic model paint to coat the plastic
    Scalpel or sharp scissors to cut out the roof hole and cut down the inner pot.

Cut a neater hole in the base than I did (wrong sort of jaggy plastic, didn’t want to try the candle / knife method to smoothly melt the edges). This gives you your roof opening.

Place this cut open base over the other pot and work out how much you need to cut off to give you the gunnery space and shelter for the Gun Teams. Pop a figure and the gun inside to get an idea of size.

Cut in stages or strips away at the bottom part of the inner pot until your figures and gun sit right inside. Like Lockdown haircuts, you can’t add it back once you’ve cut it off.

The swivel: The gun is on a raised up platform to give that 360 degree swivel. Measure the lolly stick from middle of the pot top / base. Insert drawing pin as pivot. Put through plastic top. Secure pin bit underneath with a piece of thick card or balsa.

Paint the outside of the tower with an undercoat of white or light grey. Don’t forget to paint the inside (pot base) of the tower roof gunnery platform before you start sticking these together.

Stick your gun onto a short piece(s) of lollystick to step it up step by step on the swivel piece until it can freely move around the rim of the tower.

Dry Run – Once you have tried all the finished bits and bobs together, then glue the cutdown pot onto the noodle lid, and add the top pot.

The stepped cannon is the last fiddly bit to add, the barrel poking above the battlements and freely pivoting.

Avoiding cutting out recessed windows and doors into jaggy plastic, I used thin card to make the door and window frames.

These doors and windows were on the landward side to protect them from ship attack. The seaward walls were slightly thicker brick walls to cope with attack from the sea.

An external ladder from the Airfix Commando set was added but could be made from card. The doorway platform and ladder were designed to be easily taken inside or demolished by the tower gun crew.

Cleverly the towers had a rainwater collection from the roof to basement water tank or internal well to survive sieges. Tucked away are musket racks inside, gunnery stores, shot lockers, ration stores. Officers quarters were small but separate from the men’s. It is part castle, part stone naval ship.

Martello Towers were built all around the world so I can feature them in some ImagiNations and Colonial games like the Forgotten Minor States.

What next for gaming scenarios with the Martello tower?

Add some sandy coloured felt and blue felt,

  • a lighthouse, quay, warehouses and scattering of wooden houses,
  • my random job lot 15mm pirates and tricorne men
  • a cheap plastic boat / ship (what is the difference anyway?) from a seaside toy shop pirates set stocked away for rainy days,

All this is surely a scratch recipe for a coastal / pirate / naval game of Close Little Pirate Wars! Pistols, cutlasses, cannons, blunderbusses, muskets …

This lovely Murray King postcard of Cornish Wreckers vs the Excise or Preventative Men gave me some uniform colour ideas. I have some random tricorne figures to paint up as Customs redcoats.

I mocked up a quick harbour scene with the Martello Tower in place, using a Tamiya stone paving baseplate.

I blame Gridbased wargaming for his St. Nazaire raid game last year https://gridbasedwargaming.blogspot.com/2020/01/st-nazaire-raid-game-report.html

I think you can see the influence of this St Nazaire harbour game in my simple dockyard buildings and warehouses using some crafty Christmas decoration presents:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/01/to-the-lighthouse-more-christmas-gaming-crafty-surprises/

These ‘make your own Christmas decoration houses’ were easy to transform into flexible 15mm warehouses. Other blocks of wood were used to add storehouses.

Further Gaming Scenarios

After 1815, Martello Towers around the world were reoccupied as needed by troops, coastguard and preventive men throughout troubled times in the 19th and 20th century. Some were adapted as signal stations.

Others were reused in WW2 for coastwatch, observer Corps and effectively as pillboxes against German invasion.

So Captain Mainwaring lives on, he can again guard the coast of the Novelty Rock Emporium to the Pier at Warmington on Sea against seaborne and airborne German troops – disguised as nuns? – another “typical shabby Nazi trick”. Mainwaring really ought to have a Martello Tower to defend as well.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/01/to-the-lighthouse-more-christmas-gaming-crafty-surprises/

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN 29 April 2020

Scrap Napoleonics Ready to Scrap! Forgotten Minor States

“What you see is what you get …” 2017 Digital Dawn Patrol Reconnaissance Photo

Back in 2017 on one of my “recconaissance flights over the digital front lines” or whatever it was Henry Hyde used to call his web, blog and podcast reviews in Miniature Wargames with Battle Games, I spotted this 1.3 kilos of 15mm lead scrap. In this fuzzy eBay picture I spotted some Peter Laing figures – his horses are very distinctive – and “took a punt” on buying for about a tenner with postage.

Digital Dawn Patrol 54mm scramble https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/tsaf-new-flying-banshee-biplane/

Now the Laing figure moulds are vanished and probably no more. From time to time I and others of the plucky and ever vigilant members of the Peter Laing Collectors Circle suit up, put on the flying goggles, get the engines running and chocks away, fly high and keep a watching brief on the Web and EBay to see what Laing figures come up for sale, glimpsed amongst the mass of figures far below online.

Me & my 54mm fellow plucky pilots from Ian Dury’s Flying Circus of the Digital Dawn Laing Patrol

On returning from our Digital Dawn Patrol, “we few, we plucky few” then pass the word round on the Peter Laing MeWe web community pages set up by Ian Dury. https://mewe.com/join/peterlaingfigures

Although “time spent in Reconnaissance is seldom wasted” (family WW2 saying but who first said that?), this haul was a bit of a Peter Laing dud. Not much a ‘show’! Here is the debrief and the photographic reconnaissance:

Stylish Peter Laing exotic Ottoman or Turkish type figures – well worth recasting more one day!
The Peter Laing cavalry horse I spotted, and two swords and shield men.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/a-few-peter-laing-figures-amongst-the-scrap-lead-mountain/

What to do with over a kilo of scrap figures?

The remaining 1.3 kilos of of white metal and lead scrap was 99% 15mm, mostly painted and unbroken, although minus the usual musket ends, bayonets and flags. Mixed manufacturers but 90% Napoleonic, no guns, few cavalry. A few stray Ancients and some ACW figures who might become guerrilla forces.

I don’t now know the origin of the various figures but it seemed a bit of crime to melt them down for homecasting. Some gamers somewhere had spent a lot of time painting these figures. It was not their tiny fault they had become detached from their units and so ended up unwanted as odds and ends with no RLS martial pride

Some figures as you can see in the original lead kilo photograph were on unit stands, most needed rebasing and flocking. This would add some unity to the varying heights, build, paintwork and stances of this mixed group.

Dividing the groups up was done mostly by uniform colour and style of head gear. This makes it easy to incorporate further random job lot figures in future.

Before repainting or re-uniforming, I photographed one or two features such as flags

I have temporarily misplaced most of the battered broken and unbased cavalry – no matter.

ImagiNations Inspiration for the Forgotten Minor States

For what follows, if you are outraged in a realist historical button counting way by the misidentification and mishmash of Napoleonic units, I will blame the following:

A) The Balkan Ruritanian natures of the proposed Woking 2021 54mm games day group build up of forces https://littlewarsrevisited.boards.net/thread/483/woking-2021-group-build-game?page=4

B) Antony Hope for writing the Prisoner of Zenda, here ably illustrated by Charles Dana Gibson in 1898

C) everyone else’s fictional ImagiNations, maps and campaigns at the moment from the Brontes through Hyboria onwards to Tradgardland and Ascaria.

D) the Brontes

E) Gilbert and Sullivan – not only their many Ruritanian states but also because it was the first time I got wear a “redcoat” (albeit from a theatrical costumiers).

The Forgotten Minor States and Principalities of MittelMittel Europe.

Along the Alpen fringes of MittelMittelEurope in the late 18th and 19th century were plenty of now Forgotten Minor States, now subsumed by unification, inattention, cartographical errors, inbreeding, insurrection, migration, invasion or royal marriage into other larger countries.

Few today now remember the triumphs and traditions, victories and defeats, failed colonies, romances and intrigues, scandals and petty squabbles of their plentiful heirs and claimants, Dukes and Duchesses, Princes and Princesses, Emperors and Electors, Statesmen and Generals, Chancellors and Presidents, Rebels, Republicans and Exiles.

Here are some of the fine forces of the FMS – Forgotten Minor States.

Verdigris

The dandyish young fops in command of the Third Verdigris Volunteer Militia
Musket drill for the Third Verdigris Volunteer Militia – Fyreloque Section – directed by their NCO scout.

Guns for the artillery figures came as game pieces from the Napoleonic version of the Risk boardgame.

Light Artillery of the Verdigris Volunteer Militia – a suitably grey misty day for their grey green uniforms.

In this game world, these early to mid Nineteenth century troops have very light artillery pieces which can be horse drawn or dragged and manhandled on the battlefield by ropes by their four men crews and the rest of the “fire lock” or “fyreloque” company of troops. In mountainous regions the guns are disassembled and carried by Man or Mule.

Some spare Peter Laing horses and holders, artillery and baggage train will have to step in for future games.

The misty mountain regions of Verdigris is allied with Upper or Higher Plumea (see below). Its principal industry is copper mining, copper working for a range of industrial and artistic craft purposes, allied to the use of green pigment by artists. This has slowly declined since more stable green pigments were discovered and became available. As in Bleudelys, its pigment rival, the women of Verdigris play an important role in the processing of the pigment.

The flag reflects the mountain grey mist and the copper green of the Verdigris pigment industry.

Pompomerania

Here we see a fine contingent and drums of the Pompomeranian Grenadiers on field exercises, tramping through a field for exercise, as ever poorly commanded by their General Abysmal Notuptodemark. On this occasion he is not with them, being back at his headquarters, having a major fashion crisis trying to decide what to wear.

.

Notuptothemark’s Fashion Crisis depicted (Wikipedia source: Bismarck article.)

* Not to confused with the region of Pomerania mentioned by Prussian Otto von Bismarck who expressed a view that involvement in the turbulent Balkan wars was “not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier”.

Pompomerania as a minor state or region has two main industries – goat and sheep herding and turning the wool into the exotic dyed pom-poms supplied to the many military uniforms of many countries worldwide. Dyes are sourced through many local wildflowers and plants in the well grazed mountain meadows of Upper Pompomerania, along with a trading approach to purchase such dye stuffs from many sources worldwide.

The excessively large white PomPoms on their shakos both signify the importance of sheep and goat wool to the national culture and economy, as well as advertising the national wares at any military event and occasion at home and abroad from wars to military tattoos, coronations and state funerals. Approaches and requests can be made through the Pompomeranian Embassy and Trade Delegation in your country.

As result of its military exports, it aims to achieve armed neutrality in most conflicts, except where its trading sources are threatened. When nations are at war, demands for adornments to military headgear increase including for splendid volunteer and yeomanry uniforms. During the occasional “Long Peace”, uniforms become even more impractical and flamboyant. A rare “win win” situation in peace and war.

Additional Note: The small quick firing cannon used in many countries is based on the Pompomeranian quick firing light artillery whose rapid fire sound “pom-pom-pom-pom” is due both to excellently choreographed artillery units (drill days Tuesdays Thursdays and Saturdays) and to the similarity to the rhythmic sound of some of the wool processing machinery powered by water mills in this mountainous and snowmelt terrain of Upper Pompomerania. This rhythm is also reflected in the drums and military bands of Pompomerania and the tuneless near wordless “Pom Pom Pom”ing Chorus Section of the national anthem.

An information request to the Pompomeranian embassy can confirm that the breed of local mountain dogs used to carry the sledge or dog cart artillery is indeed the tough and very fluffy White Pompomeranian breed. These also make excellent sheep herding dogs.

The Duchy of Hesseansachs

An advanced unit of Hesseansachs Grenadiers and military cadets.

This minor region and Duchy of Hesseansachs thrives on the supplies of the jute trade, rivalled only by Dundee and the curiously revolving town of Glasgae in Hibernia.

Like the Pompomeranian economy, Hesseansachs thrives in times of war and peace. In wartime it is busy supplying jute sandbags for fortifications or Hessean Sacks as they are known. In times of peace it supplies shopping bags and in case of heavy rainfall both in peace and war, hessean sacks are supplied as sandbags for flood prevention. The military personnel are trained to assist in these times of deluge. War, peace, disaster or shopping, the Jute mills of Hesseansachs are busy by day and sometimes by night. The national motto roughly translates as “Your disaster is our national income”.

A small Hesseansachs Navy and Marines force exists to protect the shipping and supply lines to the sources of jute such as India and Southeast Asia.

Gelbania

Gelbanian Infantry Volunteer Militia – Light Operetta Section

(Above) The “greenery yellary Grosvenor Gallery” uniforms of Gelbania depict the verdant greenery and sunshine of this mountainous state, whose inhabitants frequently indulge in arias and light operettas. They are noted for their harmonic marching songs as they trek up and down the mountain passes. On Sundays, small military bands play a selection of light airs at bandstands in each of the few towns. Here in this small platoon are some cadets and members of the Light Operetta Company of Gelbanian Volunteer Militia – Chorus Section.

“In fine voice, lads!” Singing and shooting, the two main occupations of Gelbanians.

Upper or Higher Plumea

The old green and red of the Higher Plumea Infantry

This small selection of troops from Upper Plumea shows in its uniform the alliance by Royal marriages of the Duchess Maria of the flaming red hair to the reigning family of the small state of Verdigris.

You can clearly see the similarity to the dark green uniforms of the Verdigris Volunteer Militia, the main difference being the copper buttons and band instruments of the Verdigris troops. The two regions share misty and humid microclimates unusual in the Alpen regions. Verdigris is supported by its copper mining and copper working industry.

Upper or Higher Plumea’s mountainous valley economy is mostly based on breeding birds for their feather plumes to supply the military and civilian millinery industry, much like Pompomerania.

The Upper Plumean troops have a tall plume with red upper part and the lower green section reflecting the alliance with the Verdigris.

No one now remembers what happened to Lower or Middle Plumea, whose troops must have had more restrained and unimpressive hats.

Weissenstein

Another mountainous minor state, its troops wear white uniforms and its few Marines of its tiny lake and river navy have attractive top hats.

Weissenstein Militia and Cadets
Weissenstein Marines

Weissenstein Colonial Grenadier troops

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We are awaiting uniform information on this calisthenic nation of early risers.

Thyer-Brigadia

The proudest part of the Thyer Brigadian uniforms is the brass cavalry style plumed dragoon helmets which are often copied by Fire Brigades worldwide. Interestingly these Volunteer Militia troops are also the Volunteer Fire Brigade in their various towns and villages (hence the variations in uniforms), making sure that their native Alpine wooden houses and mountain forests do not catch fire. A fireman’s axe is carried on fire duty and state occasions. The wooden fire towers are also part of Militia watch posts in each valley.

Standard Bearer and Thyer Brigadia Volunteer Militia and Fire Brigade

Thyer Brigadia Militia Infantry and Volunteer Fire fighting Corps

Cacadorias

These excellent Rifleman are from the western edges of Southern Europe. Their brown uniforms provide good cover and camouflage.

Cacadores riflemen and guerilla leader

Bleudelys (Republique de)

Bleudelys Republican forces (below) wear light blue plumes on their darker blue uniforms. These are a selection of the Bleudelys Grenadiers (the ‘Grognards’) or the Old Guard. The uniform is based on that of the Royal Guard of the former Royaume de Bleudelys.

Bleudelys Grenadiers

Bleudelys forces include the Blue plumed Line Infantry, Artillery and Bicorne clad Marines.

Bleudelys Line Infantry

Bleudelys standard bearers

This Bleudelys Republic is currently run by one Revolutionary turned Emperor, the short and far from boney and skeletal Mediterranean-born former artillery officer Napoli de Leon (Napoli the Lion).

Bleudelys Artillery

And finally the Marine Corps and boatmen with their distinctive bicorne hats

Bleudelys Marines with Bicornes and blue plumes

Great Butlinnia and Hibernia

The redcoats of Great Butlinnia, a large island off the coast of MittelMittelEurope with its cheery Redcoat Army, its Navy, Marine, are allied with its North, the kilted Celtic redcoated troops of Hibernia.

Hibernian Infantry

Ruled by King William or ‘King Billy’, Great Butlinnia does not maintain a large standing Army except for the oppression of democracy and reform. In times of peace its Redcoats double up as family entertainers and variety artistes, its wartime barracks serving also as holiday camps for its many citizens and tourists.

Butlinnia Red Coat Infantry

As a result of its dual Redcoat nature, each regiment and branch of the armed forces is in great rivalry with its ornate uniforms, showy parade movements, music and marches on state occasions.

Butlinnia Grenadiers

Great Butlinnian Artillery
Butlinnia Rifle Brigade
King William (King Billy) of Butlinnia and his Commander in Chief

The Republic of the Uwessae

Uwessae, the phonetically spelt former colony of Great Butlinnia in the Neu Welt or New World of Northern Generica has kept the military shako of its former masters but changed its coat colours throughout revolution and independence to a Republican inspired Bleudelys dark blue to avoid confusion with the Redcoats.

More Bluecoated Uwessae Infantry and Officers.

Officer of Uwessae forces with the stars flag and command group with soft caps.

Uwessae Artillery

A troubled border exists to the north of the Uwessae where a mountainous forested country was once occupied by Bleudelys as a trading colony, alliances with warring tribes of the native Generican inhabitants and simmering friction with the existing dominant power of Great Butlinnia – the colony of Butlinnian North Generic or BNG.

For much of the rest of the early 19th Century world in this Napoli-de-Leonic Era of world war and Minor States, look no further than the Bronte ImagiNations of Gondal, Glasstown and Angria.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine/

These are well summarised in Isabel Greenberg’s new graphic novel Glass Town https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/23/glass-town-by-isabel-greenberg-bronte-imaginations-in-graphic-novel-form/

Blog posted by Mark, ‘Man of TIN’ 17/18 April 2020

Peter Laing Eye Candy thanks to Stuart Asquith

Sorting through boxes on Lockdown Day #whateveritis, I came across this 1987 Military Modelling A5 supplement on wargaming written by the late and sadly missed Stuart Asquith.

The colour front cover shows an enviable set up of a wargames room with shelves full of figures, a fine games table and some impressive pointing out of stuff by Stuart to the “younger generation”, youngsters who need such a free supplement explaining wargames. One day hopefully I will achieve this adult stage.

Being on furlough, I don’t have my usual office access to scanners so some rough photos will have to surfice for now.

One reason this booklet survived in my collection through my non-gaming busy years is the Peter Laing “Eye Candy” photographs.

Peter Laing Marlburian 15mm figures

These are presumably of Stuart’s collection of Laing, as it features the Boadicca figure that Peter made or converted especially for Stuart. This figure is mentioned in Stuart’s excellent Comfortable Wargaming article.

Boudicca section of Stuart’s Comfortable Wargaming

More Marlburians, the unusual period figures with which Peter Laing launched his 15mm range in the early 1970s.

The booklet photo caption mentions this fine resin building from Gallia with Laing figures.

Some lovely Esci and Jacklex colonial figure mixes – Jacklex being easily available again through Mark Lodge’s relaunch. https://www.jacklexminiatures.com

Jacklex figures and gun conversions, including traction engine models and river launches built by Stuart Asquith.

Jacklex gun crew, some gun conversions, traction engine toys

Gramodels are still operating https://www.gramodels.co.uk. I wonder if these “Jacklex EFSI” vehicles will one day be available again or if they are conversions?

Finally, some of those range of scale pictures.

A handy storage box for your Peter Laing units
My handy 1980s storage box for Peter Laing odds and ends …

Part of my unpainted Peter Laing ECW / 1745 collection was preserved for decades of house moves by the sort of plastic box that I received as a present around this time – inspired no doubt by the photo in this supplement?

This box is still a time capsule or touchstone of my gaming activities c. 1986/7 with hair roller armies, Heroics and Ros / Skytrex 1:300, Platoon 20 and Peter Laing figures amongst the oddments. Worth an emptying out for a blog post one day as another fun “Unboxing” post?

Peter Laing 15mm collectors and fans can find those with similar interests on the MeWe Peter Laing site set up by Ian Dury when Google+ pages closed.

https://mewe.com/join/peterlaingfigures

Blogpost by Mark Man of TIN 4 April 2020

Peter Laing 15mm and Airfix 54mm German Paratroops

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Close up on the baggy, chunky but slight detail on Peter Laing 15mm WW2 German Infantry that could be dual use for paratroops.

I am currently painting up some 15mm Peter Laing WW2 German Infantry into dual 1940/41 use as German paratroops.

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Batch painting underway on these Peter Laing 15mm German Infantry / paratroops.

The beauty of these first 15mm figures is that Peter Laing deliberately made them with slight and muted detail so that they could be easily converted by paint or file to other figures. These will be gloss paint or gloss varnish when finished.

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“Detail is kept muted so there is no overscale effect … detail in the figure depends on the amount that is put in the painting ”  – Peter Laing catalogue introduction

These 15mm WW2 German rifleman infantry figures have a bagginess of trouser about them that suits paratroop jump suits.  Rifles were also quite widespread issue to paratroops, not all were carrying submachine guns.

A quick uniform check out of the ‘best’ uniform book of my childhood (Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour) shows that such grey dual use figures are possible.

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This is what I still think 1940 Germans in WW2 look  like … thanks to Preben Kannik.

The Andrew Mollo Uniforms of WW2 book (1970s Blandford), familiar from the childhood branch library, had these slightly grainier, grittier, more photo-realist illustrations.

Home Guard manuals of the time in my collection had interesting uniform plates – this book by John Brophy 1940.

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Home Guard manual by John Brophy c. 1940 – uniform plate. “The author of this handbook has a ‘hunch’ that adolescent enemy agents may be dropped in the uniforms of Boy Scouts or Sea Scouts”
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German Parachutists as shown on WW2 British Ministry of Information posters c. 1940/41 – note the camouflaged helmet cover.

This interesting ‘spot on sight’ enemy uniforms poster No. 1 shows a camo helmet cover, otherwise a grey uniform, worth bearing in mind when painting. This poster can be found at: https://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/events/0611/presentations/Teaching%20website/images4/uniforms1.html

I’m not sure I fancy painting 15mm camouflage jackets or helmets in such detail as below on my Airfix figures or as Tim did in his excellent Tim’s Tanks Peter Laing 15mm WW2 Blog post.

http://timstanks.blogspot.com/2015/07/peter-laing-15mm-miniatures.html

My previous paratroop camo painting experience was on a much bigger scale, about thirty plus years ago, tackling the camo from the Airfix packaging onto their then-newish 54mm German paratroop figures.

I have recently rebased, renovated and gloss varnished these 1980s Airfix paint jobs for new use.

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A bit bashed, rebased but still looking good …

I first painted these German Airfix Paratrooper figures in the early 1980s and they have hung around since then, getting increasingly bashed. I kept them as I quite liked the camouflage effects I achieved then with Airfix / Humbrol enamels.

I must have been following the Airfix painting guide on the box backs or catalogues a5 the time, so checked this online.

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As originally painted (in Matt?) I wanted to get a little of the old gloss toy soldier style at a time when I had no lead hollowcast painted 54mm figures to base them on. I must have been reading old toy soldier books in the library.

Three things were needed to  refresh them for modern 54mm Skirmish gaming use.

1. A quick spruce up of the faces in old toy soldier style (pink cheek dots, the lot) matches the original old toy soldier style paint from the 1980s.

2. I have rebased them on tuppenny bases to add some weight.

3. A coat of (gloss acrylic) spray varnish to seal them for play.

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I have a few more unpainted ones lying around from job lots that I hope to paint in a similar toy soldier gloss style to match these figures. Then off to the “Operation Back  Garden or Garten” this summer using Don’s parachute “confetti” paper shapes tipped out of a box or toy plane method of simulating airdrops?

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My local childhood branch library copy of Wargaming Airborne Operations … now mine!

My reference book for such past figure games was the curiously patchy 1977 Wargaming Airborne Operations by Donald Featherstone, still available in reprint from the History of Wargaming Project. http://www.wargaming.co/recreation/details/dfairborne.htm

Now I need to finish these Laing paratroop figures and get working on the Home Guard rifle platoon to see them off …

Remember – be on your guard – “adolescent enemy agents may be dropped in the uniforms of Boy Scouts or Sea Scouts.”

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Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on the 24th March  2019.

If in doubt, undercoat! Peter Laings on the painting table

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Peter Laing 15mms on the painting table

In gaming, if you’re not sure what to do, it’s generally wise to make a rule  and roll a dice.

Equally some wise advice I remember from someone’s ‘black dog’  post – if you’re not sure what to do next, undercoat stuff.

I’m busy undercoating Peter Laing 15mms today. I was reminded that I had not painted or posted about Peter Laing figures for a while by the imminent closing of the Peter Laing Community pages on Google Plus and many people’s migration to the social media platform Me We. You can find like-minded Laing enthusiasts  on the Peter Laing section set up by Ian Dury: https://mewe.com/join/peterlaingfigures

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Eagle eyed readers can spot about 30 WW2 German infantry that I intend to have use as paratroops, along with about the same number of WW2 British Infantry riflemen to double up as Home Guards.

I feel some 1940 /41 ‘Sealion’ type Skirmish rifle platoon  scenarios coming up in future, joining my small number of Laing WW1 and WW2 figures that are so far painted and based. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/peter-laing-15mm-ww2-skirmish/

A cluster of backwoodsmen and settlers in buckskins will double up as Confederates and Boers, useful from French Indian Wars through the war of Independence,  Civil War and beyond. Versatile figures! Likewise there are a small number of very useful Native Americans with bows and arrows.

A few more redcoats in slouch hats as Mounties for Skirmish and Imaginations Games. Some Union or Seventh Cavalry or more Mounties  on horseback to join my few finished ones https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/mountie-ambush-game-15mm/

A few strips of redcoats in tricorne hats and grenadiers, along with a mixed handful of British Napoleonic era Infantry.

A mixed bag, some of whom have been waiting patiently on the painting table for a long time.

Getting my eye back in to painting 15mm after a long period on 40 to 54mm seems  a bit strange.

If you’re not sure what to do next, undercoat stuff. Wise words indeed …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on a  rainy Saturday 23rd March 2019.

15mm Peter Laing 19th Century Figures

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Attractive 19th Century 15mm Peter Laing figures

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

 

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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.

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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.

http://pacofaitlezouave.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/le-fantassin-de-1870.html

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 21/22 April 2018.