Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 10 – The Boys to Entertain You or Broken Britains rearmed

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“Meet the gang, for the boys are here, the boys to entertain you …”

That was the  familiar opening to the 70s WW2 Jungle sitcom by David Croft and Jimmy Perry,  It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, stalwart of my childhood along with their other sitcoms such as Dad’s Army.

This group of Broken Britain’s have the look of  a dodgy ENSA show or music hall chorus line, cheap comics in a strange troops revue.

Seen from another angle, they are more Broken Britain’s – East Kent Regiment in Khaki on guard –  from a donation by John Forman, all broken  figures that would otherwise probably be scrapped.

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The East Kent Regiment based and rearmed, defending my stylishly camouflaged gun emplacement.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/from-old-digital-radio-to-54mm-houses-and-coastal-gun-emplacement/

There were seven types of Broken Britain’s infantry in the group kindly donated by John Forman, variously missing feet and bases and all missing rifles.

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1. Britain’s Guardsmen firing – six classic figures with broken rifles – not sure which Guards Regiment, as they were play-bashed enough to have no obvious plume colours.

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The figures as they arrived from John Forman.

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Rifles repaired, busby repainted and figures tuppeny based, otherwise I have kept the patina of battered body and face paint.

2. Britain’s Line Infantry (spiked helmet in black home service  with black facings firing  rifle – Royal Irish Regiment set 156, wearing gaiters – 1 figure.

3. Britain’s Line Infantry (spiked helmet white foreign service) with yellow facings  on guard with rifle – Worcester Regiment set 18 c. 1930,  wearing gaiters – 1 figure.

4. Britain’s East Kent Regiment on Guard, The Buffs Set 16 – yellow facings,  second version with square base, on Guard. Produced 1910 – 1930, wearing gaiters – 2 figures.

5. Britain’s  East Kent Regiment on Guard, service dress set 326a produced postwar in Steel Helmets (my “boys to entertain you”, above) – 5 figures.

6. Gloucester Regiment (Boer War) firing, produced 1901 to 1941 – 3 figures

7. The 3 charging Highlanders seen in a previous blog post

East Kent Regiment in Khaki Service Dress 

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They have rifles missing as well as feet or base missing, so replacement bases are required, easily made from Fimo polymer clay to suit tuppeny 2p coin bases.

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Rifles repaired, feet made from cocktail sticks glued into Fimo polymer clay bases. Third figure   East Kent Regiment in Khaki service dress  and fourth, Gloucester Regiment firing.

The rifle repairs are more fiddly, requiring drilling a hole with a 1mm pin vice or hand drill into the broken section. If this is a stubby section of broken rifle this is quite tricky, whereas it is much easier to drill into the hand section where it grips the rifle, which has a greater thickness of lead.

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Drilling into the rifle hand of another of John Forman’s damaged Britain’s Guards riflemen..

So finally  how did the ENSA “boys to entertain you” turn out in the end?

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My Boys to Entertain You (and Mr Hitler) from the Britain’s East Kent Regiment …just a little work to do on tidying and painting the Fimo and tuppenny bases.

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And for a suitable ear worm … the theme song to It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. Whilst the services / Seventies humour might have dated and the Indian characters would be handled differently today, as a child and still today, to me Windsor Davies is every bit the archetypal comic Sergeant Major to his “Lovely Boys”.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on Advent Calendar Day 10, 10th December 2018.

 

 

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From old digital radio to 54mm houses and coastal gun emplacement

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I loved making these unusual buildings over several weeks, using scrap materials.

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The larger house at Das terracotta clay stage onto a wooden radio base.

An old, long dead Roberts digital radio with wooden frame and stylish fabric print has been upcycled into several wooden 54mm buildings.

Brick ruin walls were provided with air drying Das terracotta clay.  This took a week or two to dry!

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The smaller house – yet to be painted – its shape dictated by the base, an internal piece of radio woodwork.

I wanted to create buildings that could serve a number of uses in a desert scenario or European Countryside on tabletop or garden games.

I wasn’t sure how best to paint these with Acrylics, so went for a ‘Blend’, inspired by two old stalwart childhood favourites, the Airfix Desert Outpost and the ruined house European strongpoint.

My Airfix Painting Inspiration?

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The amazing 1:32 Desert Outpost from Airfix
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The wonderful old 1:32 Airfix Strongpoint

After a non-descript base paint colour of sandy Afrikabraun  and brown Acrylic to suggest a sand or mud floor, I used a mixture of white and offwhite Acrylic for the whitewashed walls, followed by a dry brush of brown to weather the walls to a more ruinous state. Several coats of white / offwhite were required.

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The desert ruin setting
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Repaired Broken Britain’s and other 54mm hollowcast soldiers in this European ruin setting.
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Back view of the larger ruin.

Lolly sticks, cocktail sticks and wooden coffee stirrers provided the ruined window frames. Pushing a couple of ragged holes through the clay walls suggests that the building has been damaged by shell fire or the walls loopholed by troops.

I still have the smaller clay building to paint, which has been based on  another oddly shaped wooden internal section of the old radio.

Coastal Gun Emplacement?

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Looking at the other part of the old digital radio, once I had removed the electrics / electronics, the shape suggested some kind of camouflaged bunker.

I was inspired by some of the simple wooden  Hugar style buildings made in the 1930s for Britain’s. Paul Brookes has written a recent Illustrated History of Hugar, available via Amazon. 

https://www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk/index/Category:Hugar_Models

The metal front speaker grille that would form the bunker roof would be fine on a sci fi bunker. It didn’t look right on a 1930s/40s one, so was replaced by cardboard covered in some of the fabric pattern removed from the radio back before the back was used as the  larger terracotta house base.

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Inside the bunker, the simple gun mounting blocks and improvised crews.

Other internal bits of wood from the radio suggested two gun platforms.

I had no plyboard left and had already used the radio base for the larger house ruin, so I substituted stiff cardboard for a base. I tend to use whatever I have to hand, just to get on with the job whilst in the mood.

Amongst job lots of Broken Britain’s figures had been a couple of damaged old Britain’s AA guns without their trailer bases. I had been saving three of these guns for wooden gunboats but two seem to serve well enough here as requisitioned or improvised coastal guns.

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A scratch machine gun team from various damaged figures and pieces. The officer with binoculars was created from a trashed metal detecting find.

A scratch team of repaired Broken Britain’s and other hollowcast lead Khaki gunners  and  Infantry give the right feel.

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These steel helmeted Khaki infantry mounted on tuppenny bases are Britain’s East Kent Regiment on Guard, all broken figures gifted to me by John Forman rather than being scrapped, all of which needed base and rifle repairs.

I’m not sure who the textile designer was for the textiles on this limited edition (but dead) Roberts digital radio c. 2004/5, but I think the strong blotch camouflage colours are reminiscent of experimental wartime camouflage schemes.

For a bit of barbed wire, the metal spines of old notebooks come in handy.

On a scrap hound basis, I also have the old radio aerial  for mounting model aircraft at different heights, once a suitable wooden base turns up. Waste not …

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 13/14th October 2018.

 

 

On the Repair Bench – Rainy Day Update

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Repairs underway – wire spears, masking tape, matchstick, wire  and glue leg repairs. 

Rainy day last weekend,  so a chance to do some more 54mm figure repairs.

These figures are not intended to be fine restorations but were bought as a job lot of bashed up, broken figures to be restored to stout enough condition for future gaming use in the garden or on the tabletop.

Work in Progress

Like several of these figures, these two Cherilea Assyrian looking ‘Saracens’  originally had wide thin bases which would not fit onto a twopenny  (2p) base. So it gave me a chance using a strong wire leg to have some quite active, almost balletic battle poses.

Where needed, a Fimo polymer clay base on the metal 2p was made for each figure and baked hard still on the 2p base. The figure was secured to the base when its wire or wooden leg was then glued into place.

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First row of figures repaired and rebased on Fimo polymer clay twopenny bases. 

I discovered looking up the  Cherilea ‘Saracen’  figures  that they have some opposition amongst the figures to be mended – an English Archer.

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Source Oldtoysoldier auctions reference image online. 
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Repaired Cherilea ‘Saracen’ Warriors and what I have discovered to be an ‘English Archer’ from the same postwar series. They all have certain Flash Gordon quality …

The ‘Robin Hood’ English archer figure again was too wide for the 2p base but for balance, I gave him anatomically too long a leg that touched the ground. I may have to shorten this and put a small gravel rock under his foot. A spare Dorset head was attached, as in keeping as the spares box would manage.

To outer Space

The Hilco / Cherilea spaceman was missing a head and leg, as well as a broken space rifle weapon. A Dorset Soldiers recast of a Britain’s style infantry recast head was the most spacey head I had in my spares box. The astro-mech leg you might recognise from the plastic skeleton’s musical horn standard thingy.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/09/08/pound-bag-skeleton-warriors-1-a-bag/

The Hilco Cherilea space figure as mended has some balance problems. Finding pictures of original figures online gave me an idea of what instrument or weapon was being carried – in this case, a sort of space rifle.

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A simple podfoot base for his other foot may be required. The Dorset Soldiers head could work as it is, as a robotic face or metal face mask. Alternatively it could have a flesh coloured or green alien skin face.

From the Arctic to the Air Force? 

The Timpo Eskimo or Arctic Explorer turned WW1 pilot figure in warm sheepskin clothes has worked well. I have inserted a map or flight docs in his hand, a nice touch that  I have seen on another hollowcast pilot figure.

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The Eskimo or Arctic Explorer fits in pretty well with the other pilots, alongside my “work in progress” Moshi Monster monoplane conversion to a Thirties biplane. 

The other Indian or tribal figures have shaped up nicely. Where possible I have kept the original paintwork.

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Three Timpo Indians and a Johillco Zulu repaired and rebased, before further paintwork 

A simple metallic copper paint skin tone covers the masking tape repairs well enough. All that is needed now on many figures are some spear tips from plastic scrap or Fimo polymer clay.

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(Left) Timpo running brave with spear. (Right) Colorful postwar Johillco Zulu or Maori figure, the broken fragile knobkerry replaced with a spear. 
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Hands Up? Slight differences in the Fimo bases give a bit of variety to these oddly posed Timpo Indians.  
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Two Britain’s Indians on Guard, two Crescent Indians with rifles, badly damaged on the body and largeish Harvey 1950s Indian with spear replacing Tomahawk.

The Crescent Indians with rifles had crush body damage, so I filled gaps by hot glue gun for any large holes and then glued masking tape over these areas.

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On one Crescent Indian,  I covered some crush damage holes by adding a thick loincloth of several layers of masking tape over the leggings. A few layers of paint should cover the joins.

The largeish  Harvey Indian was completely broken in half, so I hot glue-gunned both halves together for a secure join.

I have photographed these figures as they are slowly being repaired, just to keep a record.

I will post pictures of the finished figures when painted and varnished. I look forward to doing the fine details points of faces etc.

A rainy day last weekend,  so perfect for getting on with these figure repairs.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 22 September 2018.

Little Tin Gods – Egyptian Gods

Another source of sometimes expensive but unusual figures for gaming involves museum gift shops.

I picked up these two Pewter 54mm Egyptian gods, Thoth and Anubis, about ten to fifteen years ago for £2 each.

They have now been replaced by the Westair manufacturer with a smaller scale set (closer to 30mm?) of four Egyptian gods. You gets yer learning off the tiny writing too! Very educational.

Here you can see them for scale opposite a 54mm Johillco rifleman conversion into lost explorer type Colonel Fazackerley.

Colonel Fazackerley encounters some Ancient Egyptian gods …

Scenario uses

They should look good guarding the entrance to an H. G. Wells type Floor Games / Little Wars type of building block temple.

They might need sandstone or colour paint for this.

French Napoleonics in Egypt and Sudan Egyptian campaign onwards.

Night at The Museum scenarios and superhero / Pulp genre games.

All those weird Egyptian setting Tintin books …

They would also look good with the few old 1:32 Atlantic plastic Egyptian Warriors that I have.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 21 September 2018.

Rearmed Again by Dorset Soldiers

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Lots of spare arms for repairing Broken Britain’s old 54mm toy soldier figures

Huzzah! Rearm-ament continues. My order has arrived from Dorset Soldiers

http://dorsetmodelsoldiers.com

 

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Line Infantry, cavalry and Guards head  recast replacements

 

Unpacked ready for repairing more headless armless Broken Britain’s 54mm figures this Autumn.

Blogposted by Mark Man Of TIN August 2018.

Fimo Figure Failure Fun

Brian Carrick, blog author of the brilliant Collecting Plastic Soldiers blog, http://toysoldiercollecting.blogspot.co.uk  wondered whether the Prince August 54mm chess toy soldier pawn figures that I featured this week would work in Fimo polymer clay.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/prince-august-chess-pawn-toy-soldiers/

Would this work in Fimo, Brian wondered?  Would it be both cheaper and lighter?

I said I would Have a Fimo Go! (If you are reading this in America or elsewhere, Fimo is the equivalent to Sculpey Polymer Clay).

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I wasn’t expecting much and was sadly proved right. Using a block of slightly old red Fimo, I rolled out, softened or warmed this through the hand rolling and then an appropriate size chunk inserted into one half of the mould.

I chose the simplest of the Prince August chess set moulds that I used this week  – the Alamo American Infantry pawn figure.

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Fimo Figure Fail?

Putting the the second half of the mould on and squeezing them together, on removing the figure, it was clear that it had only partly worked. The face and front moulding was mostly there, the hat not quite.

The back was missing the lovely detail of knapsack and powder horn.

There was some detail but lots of spare Fimo flash  to trim in the form of a big moulding line.

With more care this could be lessened if the amount of Fimo were reduced.

With care a knapsack could be added which I have done to add 3D roundness to other flatbacked 54mm Fimo figures.

Rather than build up the figure with detail, I baked it at 110 degrees for 30 minutes then trimmed of any spare Fimo and the mould line with a scalpel.

With a bit of paint, a bit of trimming and a bit of detail added to an already baked figure (you can rebake and add to  Fimo like this), a passable figure could be made. The hat could be built up or trimmed to a battered kepi.

However if you have the ability to cast as intended in metal, this is surprisingly simple and fast.

Brian Carrick wondered how they compare in terms of weight. The Prince August chess pawn figure weighs in at just under an ounce of metal, the Fimo figure with twopence base for stability, about 5 grms (most of which is the tuppence coin!)

You could also work out cost in terms of an ounce of Prince August metal versus a small lump of Fimo.

Fimo Figure Fun Or Fail?

In the first months of Man of TIN blog, I featured several Fimo soldier figure experiments including using simple silicon Cake Dec mould Soldiers (my Cakes of Death battalions) and fun  Fimo freestyle or freesculpt figures.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/more-diy-gaming-figure-making/

This was one of my first Fimo failures, as I reinforced the body around a cocktail stick which led to cracking. I had not learnt that you can bake, add detail and rebake etc.

Over cooking at the wrong temperature was another Fimo failure and gives off not nice fumes and the figures distort badly.

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Arise Angria! The Rising Sun banner of the Bronte kingdom of Angria.

This battered and cracked figure eventually found a role, painted up initially as some kind of Confederate standard bearer, he now carries the newly designed  flag of Angria, one of the imaginary kingdoms created by the young Bronte sisters.

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The way we wore – this is how the figure first looked on the blog back in May 2016 after a little tinkering. (I don’t use  Green Stuff / Milliput in my house as some of my household are allergic to it).

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Unpainted, cracked – Fimo failure or a bit of fun?

Fimo failure but fun!

Blogposted  by Mark, Man of TIN, March 2017.

 

In a Garden Far Far Away

Play testing my Close Little Star Wars / Close Little Space Wars blog post rules https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/close-little-space-wars/

Star date: 9.25.2016

Planet: Yarden / Location: in a galaxy far afar away (but strangely, just round the corner of my house)

Scenario: A captured red hat enemy staff officer  of the  Imperious Forces (usually the bad guys) has revealed the whereabouts of the secret Imperious Space Base on Planet  Yarden.

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Rebellious General Yodel uses Mind Force to interrogate a captured Imperious Staff Officer, watched by an Astromech droid and Princess Layla.

He is interrogated with mind control by tiny General Yodel.

Rebellious or Revolutionary Commando Troops from many nations and planets led by the tiny General Yodel and feisty Princess Layla are heading there to destroy this base.

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Its giant super laser cannon is capable of destroying entire planets / space ships / etc, yardeh yardeh yardeh …

Any similarity to the characters and plots of well known space films by George Lucas and Disney are entirely coincidental or in your own mind.

Meanwhile on Planet Yarden, the Rebellious or Revolutionary Troops head towards the Imperious base with their star crawler packed with Space TNT.

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Rebellious Troops- Figures from the 1981 Airfix Space Warriors set and recent  Star Wars Command troops, past the tendrils of mysterious creeping plants. Discer laser grenadiers in the background.

The secret Imperious base is protected by watchtowers and a smaller guard base.

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The smaller Imperious Guard base with khaki pound store Imperious troops and 1960s spacemen.

Luckily the Rebellious or Revolutionary troops have a secret weapon, a heavy space ballista mounted on a space ship.

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Space Freighter Ship and Space Ballista with Rebellious Revolutionary Crew and Astromech droid pilot. Yodel, Layla and their captive can be seen in the hovel behind them.

In Turn 1, whilst most of the figures are out of weapons range, the Rebellious troops land a direct hit with a space rock on several of the (Cylonic looking)  Imperious Troops  behind rocky barricades, guarding the smaller space cannon.

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Rebellious Captain Lush and his heavily armoured Laser sword wielding troops of The Rebellious or Revolutionary Forces (all Airfix Space Warriors).

In Turn 2, Captain Lush and several of his Rebellious laser sword warriors are killed in a melee with Imperious Troopers.

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Direct hit on the Space Ballista and freighter, whilst Imperious troopers head towards Yodel and Layla’s position. 

Turn 3 – The giant space cannon of  Imperious Trooper Base lands a direct  hit on the Rebellious Space Freighter and destroys the space Ballista and its crew. A dice throw sorts out if it is repairable; it isn’t, cutting off the Rebellious chances on escape by ship.

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Rebellious forces storm the laser cannon position and prepare to climb the ladder to enter the Imperious Base, drawbridge guarded by pound store imperious space troopers. The irony of Plastic rocks in the garden. Lovely 1920s spring cannon firing laser Q tips / cotton buds.
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The smaller Imperious Guard base is blown up by the TNT  onboard  ‘fire ship’ of the Rebellious Half track Space Crawler.

Fortunately in Turn 3, the crew of the Rebellious Space Crawler packed with Space TNT roll the right d6 number: 4,5,6 to blow up on this move.  The smaller guard base is breached, killing several Imperious troopers. The Rebellious crew bale out  and head towards the larger base.

Turn 4 – A desperate fight takes place on the entrance ladders and drawbridge of the larger Imperious Space Base.

Turn 5 – Meanwhile some Imperial troopers threaten to capture General Yodel and Space Princess Layla and free the Imperious Staff Officer. However Layla grabs a space blaster rifle and Yodel uses his Mind Force (two d6 compared to 1d6 in the melee) to fight off the Imperious Troopers.

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The Imperious Base in lockdown, drawbridge and telescopic space cannon withdrawn. The fallen Rebellious and Imperious Troopers lie scattered where they fought.

Turn 6 – A dice is thrown for when Rebellious troops might continue to attack and take over the base or withdraw into the forests.

Similarly the Imperious Base Commander dices to see when the base goes into lockdown.

The main Imperious base being in lockdown, its smaller base destroyed by the exploding Rebellious  half-truck , their own Rebellious space freighter ship irreparably damaged – it’s time for General Yodel and Layla to escape into the forests and undergrowth of Yarden. Time to fight another day …

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Watching their backs!  Layla leads the surviving Rebellious Revolutionary Forces and Imperious prisoner into the planetary undergrowth.

Figures, Vehicles and Buildings

The 54mm / 1:32 scale figures were a real mix, cobbled quickly together for this game, so many are unpainted. If I had waited to paint figures and vehicles  or scratch build a space base etc, the weather may well have turned and I would not have got this solo outdoor game in.

Sterne the Imperious Base Commander and Staff Officer prisoner  are Lone Star Afrika Korps. Colourful 1960s spacemen man the smaller space cannon.

Pound store figures in khaki  form the bulk of the Imperious troops, commanded by Imperial Empire Star Wars officers.  Airfix 1981 Space Warriors and Star Wars Command figures (from Pound stores / Wilko) form the rest of the Rebellious troops, led by a zoo ranger as Princess Layla. Pound store police formed some dark blue space marines.

The space freighter ship is a lucky ‘handmade’ wooden ship find from the 1960s, topped by another junk shop find of a plastic ballista (Timpo?) This had to be strapped on to fire properly.

The smaller laser cannon is really a spring loaded metal cannon from the 1920s, it had a good range of about 2 feet of more firing cotton  buds / Q tips.

The buildings are an Airfix Strongpoint Bridge watchtower (off show in photos) and  a small roofless ‘pet house’ to hold the Imperious Staff Officer prisoner.

The main space and guard bases are the black plastic delivery bases of those PC / computer server boxes, obtained spare as packaging from a local workplace. The plastic space domes are seed incubator tops from the garden centre. The deadly large space gun is a Tiger.com £1 periscope.

Rules and Playtesting

The Close Little Star Wars version of Close Wars were scaled up for the Yarden / Garden and 54mm figures.

Buildings such as the bases seemed too impregnable, without firing the Q Tip weapons.

Any umpire type command decisions (playing solo) were solved by creating special d6 dice throws such as Is the freighter reparable? Will the Rebellious troops withdraw? Will the Imperious base and big gun withdraw into lockdown? When will the TNT in the half track blow up the Guard base?

Many of the troops only had close quarter weapons such as laser pistols or laser swords, meaning they could only be used up close or in melee phase.

The Airfix space Warriors with the disc / boomerang thing were used as Laser Space Grenadiers. Range of 12″, throw 4 to 6 to hit home. Throw d6 to see how many troops are hit.

Luckiest Shot? The Space Ballista worked well firing in trials at first chunky dice (too heavy) and second, pea gravel. This took out several of the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ type Cylon figures from the Airfix Space Warriors set  who were safely behind barriers serving with the Imperious forces. Ironic to be using plastic figure pound store rocky outcrops outdoors in the Yarden.

I hope H.G. Wells would approve of this stellar mash-up …

Great fun, possibly the last garden game maybe of the year as it gets colder and wetter going into autumn.

Posted by Man of TIN blog, September 2016.