BP, Tramping, Spies and Steam: Steam and Countryside Fair 2019

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A clever way to display your Britain’s vintage lead farm, which I spotted  at a recent West Country steam and countryside fair, full of steam traction, threshing machines and vintage tractors.

Rain flap on the gazebo at the front, anti-pilfer netting, caravan at the back.

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A  relaxing way to show your treasures.

I was flagging by the time I found this display to chat to the owner (who was no doubt having a cuppa in the back). I was also fending off roving Mad Hatters and White Rabbits on stilts at the time.  Theatricals! But that’s another story …

Here is my Steam Fair Haul 2019: https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/08/21/steam-fair-haul-2019/

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Close up – The non-PC rare Village Idiot and the colourful tramp with spotty bundle.

Tramping
This week I was presented with a little gift from my family who spotted him on  a market stall in town. It was this lovely John Hill / Johillco tramp with red and white spotty  handkerchief.

What could the tramp be in a gaming scenario?

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Maybe the tramp is  good cover for a spy, someone from out of town who can come and go, chat to all whilst begging a little bit of  bread and some cheese and slowly gather information without being noticed.

This photo story is inspired by the tiny ‘photo drama’ blog posts of Alan the Tradgardmastre, https://tradgardland.blogspot.com
Allan Tidmarsh at http://dorset1940.blogspot.com/2019/07/something-in-woods.html (Scouts!)
and Tony Kitchen at Tin Soldiering On http://tonystoysoldiers.blogspot.com/2019/08/a-cunning-plan.html

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The tramp is spotted by a passing Boy Scout.  The Boy Scout has noticed this tramp before hanging around near the local aerodrome and army camp.
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The scout reports his suspicions to a passing Scoutmaster, who just happens to be Baden Powell. Coincidence?
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Hopefully the tramp doesn’t spot Baden Powell or the Boy Scout. Have you spotted them?
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Master of self defence, BP is already prepared to tackle this character and will send the Boy Scout for reinforcements as needed.
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Before they can arrest him, the tramp rushes into the bushes and with a quick turn of the coat, transforms himself with a quick change into … master of disguise and retired sleuth Sherlock Holmes. He had been testing the security of local defence establishments.

The characters: BP Scoutmaster by Dorset Soldiers, Sherlock Holmes by Tradition and Boy Scout Vintage Britain’s 54mm hollowcast.

I was reminded of the tramp story mentioned in Scouting for Boys Part 1 and also by the final Sherlock Holmes story set in WW1,  His Last Bow.

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I was also reminded of Baden Powell’s book My Life As as Spy (1915) published during WW1 where he showed how he concealed maps within nature drawings of leaves, butterflies  and moths when scouting the Balkans in the late Nineteenth Century. Download the book at: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15715

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-founder-of-the-boy-scouts-hid-maps-in-insect-drawings

https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/founder-boy-scouts-was-spy-he-used-nature-help-his-cause

Scouting Wide games posts: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/wide-games-scouting-games-page/
Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, August 2019.

BP BPS Blog Post Script
Maudlin Jack Tar and Ian Joppy Jopson commented on the tramp espionage angle and tramp signs: here is the tramp signs published in the 1908 Scouting for Boys and 1912 Girl Guide handbook How Girls Can Help to Build Up The Empire.
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The Girl Guide version 1912 has the added safety warning for unchaperoned young lady Scouts: “Be cautious in asking the way. Passers-by will often tell you wrong, and if an enemy, they would purposefully mislead you.”

Designed as a universal language of scouting, mention is made of hostile and ‘Foreign Scouts’ or Guides were presumably other patrols from out of area rather than overseas ones.

The “I have gone home sign” (circle with a central dot) is touchingly inscribed or carved on the gravestone of Baden Powell (d.1941) and his wife Olave (died 1977/78) in Kenya.

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Excellent article mentioned by Alan Gruber on the Spycyclist stories and rumours of the late 1930s attached to wandervogeling Hitler Youth (which took over ‘officially’ from prewar German scouting) visiting Britain on supposedly friendly visits to British scout groups. Surely some game scenarios there!

FEMBruary 2018 progress so far

FEMbruary progress so far

Two or more weeks already into February, how am I doing on the three or four targets that I have set for myself to celebrate the female figures in my toy soldier and gaming collection?

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/fembruary-hobby-challenge-conversions/

#FEMbruary Challenges 2018

#FEMbruary 1: look through my toy soldier collection and pick out some of my favourite female figures for this blog

#FEMbruary 2: do a tissue paper and PVA Featherstone conversion on one of my childhood 1:32 Airfix Footballers into a high stepping saloon girl (with or without rifle?) for 54mm Wild West games

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/donald-featherstones-unusual-take-on-casualties-and-campaigns/#comments

#FEMbruary 3: convert one of my Steve Weston Mexican Civilian women into a handy Votes for Women Suffragette?

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Then we had slight “challenge creep” into Challenge 4: choose a figure from Annie Norman’s range at Bad Squiddo Games

and one more challenge over on my Pound Store Plastic Warrior sister blog.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/colonial-amazons-women-soldiers-of-dahomey-and-siam/

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My Fourth FEMBruary challenge: The lovely Land Army women from Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo Games have been on the painting table this weekend.

Some quick “pewtering” (a quick coat of paint and then wiped off before dry) brought out how much detail these figures have. It also usefully fills in some dark and shadowy places before the colour coat.

Rather then try and fail to emulate the superb matt realist painting on the packaging by Andrew Taylor, I thought I would use Gloss Acrylic (as I don’t have or normally use Matt paint anyway). I wanted a more gloss Toy Soldier style look which is a bit more difficult at 28mm, rather than at 54mm toy soldier size. Still some tidying up to do on the Land Girl figures including smoothing out the gloss / flesh Acrylic mix, which is a bit lumpy still.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/fembruary-3-annie-normans-bad-squiddo-land-girl-picnic-and-a-cuppa/

I was trying to second guess what figures from Bad Squiddo Games that Marvin at Suburban Militarism would choose, having incidentally introduced me to FEMbruary. I chose Land Girls, he chose Catherine The Great

https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/the-fembruary-challenge/

Aim high and aspire for the top jobs, why not? Empress of Russia, or the Queens shown as my first part of the FEMbruary challenge, photographing some of the female figures in my collection.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/fembruary-challenge-1-two-queens-and-one-vc/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/fembruary-post-2-a-few-more-female-figures-and-a-florence/

More photograph blog posts in preparation.

High kicking! Work has begun on FEMbruary No. 2 the Donald Featherstone suggested Airfix footballer to Wild West saloon girl conversion. First out comes the PVA and tissue paper to add some feminine attributes, hair and then flowing big flouncy showgirl dress.

At this early stage, the big hair still looks like a 70s footballer Kevin Keegan, albeit in a dress. Some more work required here! Once the frills, chokers, flounces and real tiny feathers are added, hopefully ‘she’ will look more like a 1880s saloon girl.

Pound Store Plastic Warriors FEMbruary challenge.

The Pound Store Plastic Warriors challenge to convert these Poundland 32-36mm plastic soldier figures into tribal African style Amazon female warriors is underway. These should be colourful, more red and yellow and bling, than the white robed male desert warriors that I have worked on recently.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/colonial-amazons-women-soldiers-of-dahomey-and-siam/

To be fair, we started late, not on FEMbruary the First. There are still nine days left of the FEMbruary challenge 2018 and there are plenty of topics and figures left for FEMbruary 2019. There is always MOREFEMber too!

What might you do you for FEMbruary this year or 2019?

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, FEMBruary 18th 2018.

Bartitsu and Bayonets

IMG_0419Cross-post  from my sister blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/bartitsu-and-bayonet-duelling/

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Lemax figures – deadly Bartitsu duellists or a music hall variety routine? 

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog. 

Civilian figures # 1: the Zoo

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Trying to find interesting 54mm civilian figures is always a challenge. Apart from an unusual set ordered online from China, it usually involves looking out for figures with playsets or vehicles.

An expensive way to acquire a few figures!

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Parading Through The Zoo

It was always frustrating as a child to have a zoo or farm or a parade set out but no visitors  to watch; it usually resulted in lots of troops endlessly parading with their bands through the model zoo  (H.G. Wells Floor Games style)  along with assorted military staff feeding the animals, selling tickets etc.

Zoo animals were an important and long running part of any lead or plastic figure series, from Britain’s onwards.

To be fair, military bands and other forms of entertainment and display from balloon rides and fetes to fireworks to lifeboat launches were not unknown in the Victorian zoo such as Bristol Zoo. A bandstand was an everyday part of parks, seaside promenades, botanic gardens and often zoos.

This carried right through at Manchester’s Belle Vue Zoo from Victorian times into the 1950s, they staged elaborate military and historical tableaux through both world wars with a local cast of hundreds. Their theatrical stock of obsolete muskets were borrowed by the early Home Guard units locally in 1940.

http://manchesterhistory.net/bellevue/fireworks.html

Military mascots often ended up in zoos during after both World Wars  (including Winnie the Pooh at London Zoo) and an informal naval zoo existed, at Whale Island, this was a little uninspiring as a regular play or garden scenario.  http://www.europeana.eu/portal/en/record/2024904/photography_ProvidedCHO_TopFoto_co_uk_EU044495.htmlEven

Today, Edinburgh Zoo has a penguin called Nils Olaf  “commissioned” into the Norwegian Royal Guard and occasionally visited and paraded  by his fellow (human) comrades in their magnificent full dress uniform.

The Zoo and Wartime Morale

I have 1939 ‘propaganda’ press pictures of servicemen enjoying elephant rides at Belle Vue Zoo Manchester. This was sort of true of many British Zoos in wartime – there were  special rates for servicemen (and lady friends) in uniform, entertainments in WW1 for injured servicemen.

In the first few weeks of being closed to the public on ARP grounds in September 1939, London Zoo made arrangements for servicemen to walk round for the animals to look at. ‘The Zoo’ also made their canteen over to the RAF as the big houses around became RAF Regent’s Park full of training aircrew.

Britain’s and other lead toy soldier manufacturers made plenty of civilians and farm workers in the more pacifist aftermath of WW1. Plastic manufacturers haven’t widely followed suit and painted railway figures in this 54mm /1:32 scale are often quite expensive.

 

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Hong Kong farm girl, China made farm labourer and the real thing – Britain’s / Herald Farm Girl.

 

Failing the mounting of a full scale military parade through your zoo, Wild West town etc. all day and everyday,  some normal civilians are useful for floor games, sandpit games or  wargames.

F.E. Perry in his quirky First Book of War Games and Second Book of War Games often featured civilian or town settings alongside his wargames scenario / photographs.

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The 54mm female figure from the left is from the c. 2007 zoo vehicle  playset, whilst the “Marilyn” stylish 1950s unfinished painted figure is from recent Chinese plastics online purchase of civilians. (Photo / figures: Man of TIN)

These  feature sets  came from a zoo gift shop with two zebra striped jeeps handy for conversion, some brilliant wooden watch towers and rope ways (of which more anon), a couple of odd sized animals and these interesting modern civilians. Similar figures are made for dinosaur playsets.

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Something vaguely unsettling about this boy child in his simple factory paintwork. Useful photographer figure though!

Something similar to the girl child in the photos has recently been repainted and reused in a Slinkachu type way on the front cover of an art photography book about the recent group of artists / photographers playing with scale for satiric, unsettling or comic effect.

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Microworlds contains some slightly disturbing dystopian or to some tasteless items from a range of photographers.

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Another candidate to be my Man of TIN blog photographer? (from a 2007 zoo vehicle playset)

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More plastics including civilians are featured on my Pound Store Plastic Warriors sister blogsite –

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/pound-store-plastic-warriors-previous-blog-links/

Police and firefighters are now available sometimes in pound store tubes, suitable for conversion.

Back in the 1980s there were Britain’s Deetail nurses, doctors and  construction workers, not forgetting the Britain’s farm workers ranging from lead to Herald plastic and a modern farm worker range still around in toy shops or online today.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/tag/plastic-police-figures/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/more-poundstore-warriors/

In future blogposts I will feature more civilian figures to be used for game scenarios from the Chinese made sets available online  to the useful USA manufactured  Toob “heritage” plastic figures roughly in 54mm, also purchased online.

Steve Weston’s Plastic Warrior website also feature an excellent set of Mexican Wild West civilians or peasants.

http://plasticsoldiers.co.uk/index.php/manufacturer/weston-toy-co/

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, January 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

Pound Store Plastic Warriors our sister blog established

imageTo try to separate the joy of ‘Pound Store Plastic Warriors’ from the other gaming content on the Man of Tin blog, I  set up in early September a sister blog site for this material in future, subtitled “Little Wars on a Budget“:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com

It will also extend my ‘free’ 3GB allowance of photos per blog on the WordPress site system as this is soon used up photographing games or figures.

A summary of some previous pound store links on the Man of Tin blog:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/pound-store-plastic-warriors-previous-blog-links/

Some thoughts and links on Garden Wargames:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/garden-wargames-1/

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Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, September 2016.