Tell it to the (Pound Store Plastic) Marines

Marine Infantry – More lazy 1970s Airfix style painting, sorry, I mean ‘charmingly retro’ simple painting of Airfix copies. Joy!

Crossposted by Mark Man of TIN from my sister blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/07/13/tell-that-to-the-pound-store-plastic-marines/

Unboxing my Blue Box of 1980s figures time capsule part 2

More drawers from my 1980s time capsule of a bits box. Part 1 blog post and the box’s background is here: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/08/unboxing-my-nineteen-eighties-figures-box-part-1/

First, some Heroics and Ros 1/300 WW2 Infantry figures

This fridge magnet of Whitby Abbey becomes a useful church ruin for my 1/300 WW2 figures.

I’m not sure why I have such a random selection of British, German and possibly French Infantry and heavy weapons. I think they were part of a schoolboy swap.

A strange few extras of the Red Barons triple decker WW1 triplane, an old ship’s cannon (from a naval board game?) and a recent space droid and a Dalek.

Allied forces 1/300 WW2

I sorted the tiny 1/300 figures as best I could into German and Allied (British and French) based on helmet shape and backpacks. The kneeling figures need a further sort out with a good magnifying glass. There are not many photos to ID these figures on the 1/300 Heroics and Ros website:

1/300 German WW2 Infantry and Heavy Weapons

There are less German Infantry but they have heavier weapons.

Heroics and Ros 1/300 catalogue advert page, C.1983

French Infantry, possibly the Allied ones with pointy Adrian helmets?

Enough figures here for a tiny Infantry skirmish.

I also found my lovely little Dinky Supermarine Swift jet aircraft 734 that is a little too big and modern for the 1/300 figures: it could be a “large experimental bomber” at this scale.

If this was my Desert Island Discs box, my ‘fire box’, if this Blue Box from my 1980s gaming were all that survived, I think there is enough interesting variety to scratch together some skirmish games.

If these were the only figures you had in the world, what fantastical ImagiNations games these would be.

There would be enough for some Ancients and WW2 1/300 games, some 15mm ECW and Marlburian era games and OO/HO or 1/72 Plastic and metal figure games from various manufacturers and several 19th and 20th Century periods.

Plastic OO/HO or 1/72 and 1/76 figures from the Nineteenth Century – American Civil War period, Colonials and Napoleonic period. A complete painted box of Esci French and British Napoleonic Artillery was a pleasant surprise!

The WW2 period figures mostly from Airfix and Railway Civilians with some improvised artillery pieces and useful wheels and horse transport.

Colonials, mostly mid 1980s sets from Esci and some Airfix oddments and animals

American Civil War figures and Waggon Train with the usual awkward Airfix horses.

Interesting 1981 RSA South African centenary stamp from the First Boer War Battle of Amajuba

Finally the kit figures, some of these Eighth Army and Afrika Korps are clearly Airfix copies, a little larger than the normal Airfix version two figures.

Esci hard plastic Eighth Army kit figures with gun crew and spare radio from Red Devils Paratroop set

Reviewed here http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=722

Esci hard plastic German Afrika Korps figures 1980s

The Esci hard plastic kit figure Afrika Korps are reviewed here:

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=839

British or Allied Paratroop figures are part straight Airfix copies, part kit figures. Unusual little PIAT figure.

Esci Red Devils British Paratroops kit figures http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=754

The final selection of these kit figures shows some more need for repairs – order, arms! A few Atlantic US Marines from the Iwo Jima flag raising set.

Airfix, Atlantic, Esci gunners, Fujimi gunners and Herald British Infantry clones

The German anti tank gun crew in fragments reviewed here http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=741

Some pirate OO/HO copies of Herald 54mm British Infantry are interesting oddments.

The key is to my long vanished LP Storage case for wargames figures made or crafted for my birthday by my family to store my Peter Laing ECW figures after reading an article in a modelling magazine. The LP case of plastic and card eventually fell apart but the inner wooden storage trays still survive in use with Peter Laing 15mm figures.

A small desert skirmish or WW2 action could be improvised from the various OO/HO figures in this Blue Box.

Finally to go from 1/300 to the other end of the scale, two random 54mm figures.

Two different 54mm Airfix US Infantry captains to repair together, a Timpo drum and Timpo 7th cavalryman

The two large shells are all that I have left of my much missed lovely Britains breech loading heavy siege howitzer, a powerful cannon for playing Little Wars with 1/32 or 54mm figures.

In the final forthcoming part of the Unboxing the Blue Box post, part 3 focuses on 15mm metal figures including some lovely Peter Laing figures.

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

A Jacklex Christmas come early …

General JEB Stuart mounted – an alternative horse pose was also included.

Christmas has come early to Man of TIN house, as my first order of Jacklex figures has arrived from the new owner Mark Lodge.

Before they go into the Christmas present box to be given to me by the family, I thought I would check my order through – all present and correct.

I have long wanted to buy some Jacklex figures having seen them in Donald Featherstone books.

Whilst they are out of the lovely red box and sawdust packaging before Christmas, I thought I would photograph the figures alongside their 20mm Airfix counterparts.

Jacklex figures were made by the talented Jack Alexander (90 this year, 2019) in the 1960s and 1970s, partly to complement the popular OOHO Airfix American Civil War and Foreign Legion figures.

This ‘origin story’ is told here – I have yet to track down in online scan archives the Featherstone Meccano Magazine article or War Games book review in 1962 that first inspired Jack Alexander to make his toy soldier range:

https://www.jacklexminiatures.com/index.php?route=information/information&information_id=4

The Airfix WW1 Americans come across as quite slender in comparison with the Jacklex American Punitive Expedition to Mexico just before WW1. Others like the limited WW1 Jacklex range are a far closer size match to Airfix.

Airfix WW1 German and British Infantry alongside the Jacklex equivalents, albeit with mid to late war steel helmets.

Jacklex ACW figures

The American Civil War figures generally blend well with the Airfix Civil War figures.

My conversions from British Commandos and Japanese Infantry look quite slender in comparison to Jacklex drummers and standard bearers but these are the sorts of figures that oddly Airfix did not produce for their ACW range. Trumpeters and Officers for the American Civil War were produced by Airfix but oddly not drummers or standard bearers. The American War of Independence and Waterloo Airfix range was better served in this way.

Airfix 7th Cavalry on a Jacklex horse, JEB Stuart and an Airfix packhorse for comparison.

The Jacklex horses match quite well the Airfix ACW / Seventh Cavalry and may be a solution to the awkward Airfix horses that do not glue well to their bases.

Jacklex Colonial Range British Army and Navy officers and Foreign Legion Officer

Again these lovely colonial British and Navy officers and French Foreign Legion officer match quite well the size of the relevant Airfix French Foreign Legion, Arabs and Esci colonials and Zulus.

Lead Mountain Warning – you could happily spend a small fortune on the new old Jacklex ranges (but at least you would have something decent and long lasting to show for it).

I have yet to sample the Jacklex Russo Japanese War, Colonial Natives, Mexicans Ranges but they do look attractive figures. Fighting as I tend to do small solo Featherstone ‘Close Wars’ type skirmishes with only a few dozen figures on each side, I can (almost) get away with gaming a wide range of figure scales and periods without additional storage problems and bankruptcy. Oddly appropriate as ‘Close Wars’ rules are a simple appendix to the 1962 War Games book by Donald Featherstone that inspired Jack Alexander to make Jacklex figures in the first place.

https://www.jacklexminiatures.com

Jacklex website page on wargaming with free PDF Andy Callan rules

It is a great easy to use shopping website with good customer service, easy payment, fast despatch and some quirky touches like free PDF Andy Callan 19th Century Rules (veteran rules writer Andy Callan is an old gaming friend of new Jacklex owner Mark Lodge). There are also links to these two Jacklex inspired websites:

All Things Jacklex:  jacklex.blogspot.com

ABC Wargamers:  abcwargamers.blogspot.com

Jacklex – a company and figure range well worth supporting.

Too dark in the evening now to photograph my new figures anymore. Time to pack away for now.

Back in the box they go till Christmas to snooze away the time with their sawdust infused dreams of glory …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 5 November 2019.

On Wargames magazines and ‘new’ Airfix figures

I rarely buy wargames magazines now.

When I was a youngster, my Dad would bring back Military Modelling, the occasional Airfix Magazine and then Miniature Wargames each month when it first came out in the 1980s. No doubt he read and enjoyed them on the train home for the history articles. I still have many of them in part or whole. Thanks Dad!

So I was interested to read the wargames magazines reviews and comments on various blogs including Bob Cordery on Wargaming Miscellany as the magazines have changed audiences and editors over the last few years.

I wrote a little about this back in 2016, having not read many gaming magazines for years: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/30/miniature-wargames-magazine-milestone-issues-1-and-400/

Many of the recent comments on the changing nature of some magazines seemed to fall into a generational trench or historical vs fantasy gaming camps, the recent editorial and ownership changes to Miniature Wargames magazine having polarised opinion.

Some confess to fall no back in love with print magazines like Big Lee:

http://www.blmablog.com/2019/09/falling-back-in-love-with-print.html

For a fringe or niche hobby, it is a surprise to me that there are still in 2019 three colour wargames magazines on the newsagent stands alongside two toy soldier collector magazines and all the tabletop and fantasy gaming magazines.

I usually flick through these magazines when I go into town to see if they are ‘worth buying’.

Irritatingly, some are shrink wrapped issues with free gaming show catalogues or free sprues of the latest plastic figures (i.e. clever product placement) so that you cannot see inside some of the magazines.

This freebie is calculatedly and temptingly an effective entry level drug to a new period, scale or games system, clever but something new that I simply do not need with a head and a paint table already full of ideas.

There is also a QR code on the front cover to scan to see the contents page, if you have that sort of phone (which I don’t). It loses Wargames Illustrated Magazine and Miniature Wargames one potential reader every month.

Like many of those who comment on the review posts, which is obviously just one slice of opinion, I am regularly put off buying several of these magazines over the last twenty years by the increasingly advertorial scenarios for certain games systems and figure ranges.

If you don’t play those systems, this style of magazine article seems almost meaningless.

I do like a look at the adverts and new figure ranges, although quite often they are featured long before on the websites of other bloggers, excitedly distracted by the next new shiny thing.

One interesting feature in the most recent Wargames Soldiers and Strategy WSS magazine www.wzssmagazine.com is the thematic approach to the core articles of each issue. A few months ago I bought the French Indian Wars issue as this is when my favourite Featherstone Close Wars small wooded Skirmish (natives vs soldiers) rules are set. This month I bought the mostly WW2 1944 issue – theme: the Fight for Overloon and Venray.

I recognise a few of the opinion column writers from past magazines, blogs and podcasts such as Henry Hyde, former editor of Miniature Wargames and Battle Games and Guy Bowers the Editor.

Guy Bowers review page in Wargames Soldiers and Strategy and an Airfix omission?

I enjoy the Guy Bowers‘ figure reviews showing a sample of what figures in what scales are currently available to play for each issue’s main theme period.

Obviously not every manufacturer and every scale could be featured in such an article.

Wot No Airfix?

I noticed one surprise omission on the figures page for WW2 1944 Northern Europe scenarios, which covers the current fashionable scales from 6mm through 10mm and 15mm to the ubiquitous 28mm. (No 54mm?) One set of cheap and affordable figures were missing – there were no Airfix.

There were four other 20mm manufacturers mentioned, mostly metal – Adler, Frontline, Valiant plastics and Wartime Miniatures (Australia). Foundry 20mm are mentioned rather than shown. Some of these figures are £1.20 each!

But no Airfix. Why the omission? It could be because they are currently and irritatingly out of stock on Airfix.com and only available in shops or online suppliers if you can find them.

Maybe Airfix figures are the generational Fault Line?

On the same basis, I’m sure the old Airfix 54mm figures are not shown in the review as their 54mm British Infantry (Combat Support Group) are hard to find in the shops and few now game in this scale. 54mm British Infantry are now fairly hard to find cheaply, but as for 54mm gamers, they are available to find online in one place at the Little Wars Revisited 54mm gaming forum.

But No Airfix? This was maybe something I only noticed because a few days earlier on a trip into a real toyshop searching for family presents, I had picked up the latest ‘new’ Airfix figures in thirty odd years. Obviously latest and new meant 2011 – I hadn’t noticed that the 1973 ones had been replaced.

This type of cheap plastic figure is where many a gamer of my generation or older cut their teeth. The metals and plastics shown in Guy Bowers’ magazine review were or still are beyond pocket money range and easy access to many youngsters, even today through online sales. I was able to look at these Airfix figures and others closely in the shop. I paid hard cash for these figures. I bought a box of the new WW2 figures partly as I am a ‘Completist’ who owns Airfix figures from all the sets ever issued but mostly to show my support for real toyshops.

Airfix is still just about available in many of the larger hobby shops, craft and toy stores as well as these WW2 British Infantry (currently out of stock) at Airfix.com

£6 for a box of 48 figures seems reasonable, at roughly 12p each figure. As Bob Cordery mentioned, this is pretty much the cost of a magazine these days. They also come with an available Airfix relaunched ‘vintage classics’ range of WW2 vehicles, admittedly ones you have to make yourself.

The only 20mm alternative in plastic shown are the Valiant figures at £13 for 68 Miniatures. This is comparable value per figure, just a big outlay for maybe too many figures for a simple Skirmish game.

Plastic Soldier Review – Airfix WW2 Britain Infantry

Airfix have issued several British Infantry sets over the years. Which do I like most?

Not these old ones – not the 1973 ones that were newly around when I was little, http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=25

These 1973 ones replaced the charming but odd 1960s Infantry Combat Group http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=53.

Didn’t really like the odd poses of these spindly 1973 ones much.

Not the 1982 Esci reissues under the Airfix name when Airfix lost the moulds for the 1973 Airfix British infantry http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=84

Here below is a better off the sprue photograph of the new 2011 Airfix British Infantry.

The review on Plastic Soldier Review is not flattering about the skinny legs, what should be shapeless but here skin-tight battle dress and poorly moulded weapons but they seem no more distorted than the average metal figures.

To me, they look a useful enough set loaded down with lots of haversacks, equipment and few useless weird diorama poses.

New WW2 Battle Dress 2011 Airfix figures – Plastic Soldier Review photo source

They are a good looking, animated set of figures which almost don’t look like Airfix. Shame that they don’t make them as copies in 54mm but there are the old Britains Paratroops, Britains Deetail and Steve Weston’s WW2 versions if you can find them.

They would be a good match for the Airfix WW2 German Infantry in either scale if you can track them down (also out of stock on Airfix.com).

At some point I will get a chance to paint these new figures. Painting table is a bit cluttered at the moment.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 20 / 21 October 2019.

Close Little Wars Game 8 of 2016

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Turn  2 of Counterpayne / Close Little Wars game No. 8

The Duke of Wellington dismissively observed to William Siborne, “You can as well write the history of a ball as of a battle.” Here is an old overlooked battle or skirmish report.

This scratch game is an oldie from 2016, stuck in the drafts folder, that didn’t as far as I remember get published on this blog at the time. It uses my first version of a portable wooden hex game board using Heroscape tiles.

Close Little Wars game 8 involves Natives v Redcoats.

Based on my hex version of Donald Featherstone’s Close Wars rules appendix to his 1962 War Games. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

Figures – The Natives are vintage Airfix Indians  versus Redcoats who are vintage Airfix Guards Colour Party.

Weapons – The Natives (Airfix Indians) are equipped with distance weapons mainly bows, spears and a few rifles. 18  Redcoat Infantry, NCO and the Bugler have Rifles,  the Officer and Standard Bearer  have pistols and swords / cutlasses.

Range reminders – Rifles and native bows fire 4 hexes, pistol and spears 2 hexes.

Movement reminders – Natives move 3 hex squares, Redcoat troops in groups of 3 or less move 3 hex squares, Redcoat troops in groups of 4 or more move 2 hexes. There are no roads on this terrain. Uphill movements take half a move (1 hex height equals half a move). Heights above two hexes stacked are unclimbable unless a different route of 1 hex steps are available.

Size of Force – Usually we have about 25 figures on each side but throw a d6 for each side to remove that number of figures from each side, giving slight disadvantage of only 21 Redcoat Guardsmen (Redcoats rolled 4 on their d6) to 24 natives.

Only 4 figures can occupy a hex square. 1 figure = 1 man.

Scenario Aims – The Aim of the Redcoats is  firstly to recover the old crossing fort, capture the crossing and possibly the native campsite. Capturing the Native Chief and his Squaw is also a secondary aim.

The Aim of the Natives is firstly to defend the crossing and defeat the Redcoats. Secondary aim is for their Chief and Squaw to escape intact, inflicting as many Redcoat casualties as needed.

Arranging the Terrain – The Hex  Scape board was arranged before the game with suitable high ground and restricted height areas. The  Natives are encamped around their tent near the Old Crossing Fort.

Staggered start – By setting out d6 alternatives, it is possible to delay for a move how many figures are in place on the first move. Roll 2d6 to see how many of the group are involved on the board on the first move and 2d6 how many move onto the board on the second move.

Alternatively  roll a d6. Roll 1-3 – all on board first move, roll 4-6 half the group (natives or redcoats) on board first move.

By allocating numbers to the grid squares A to F and 1 to 8, it was possible to slightly randomise where different groups first moved onto the board.

Future note: Blank hex map page to help with quick mapping / recording.

A second point to speed up precious game play time is to prewrite and set up scenarios, entry points well ahead of the game.

As it worked out all Redcoats / guards enter from one point on the river edge, whilst all the Natives are encamped around their tent hex with their Chief and Squaw (who is a non-combatant). The Chief has a suitable weapon for Melee as required.

At turn start – Red Dice used for the Redcoats, White dice for the Natives.

Escape / End Scenario – a log canoe is hidden in the undergrowth at A/B2 on  the riverbank which will allow the Native Chief and Squaw to escape. A minimum of two figures are needed to operate canoe to escape to the SW, as there is no access past the low plank bridge crossing or to the North because of rapids, rocks, weir etc.

Unbeknown to the natives, Redcoats will not knowingly fire on women or children but may capture them, hold them in the fort etc. They also wish to rebuild the old crossing fort.

Bridge Crossing Rule applies – bridge crossing dice throw  (roll 1 – fall in and drown). River is deemed impassable or unfordable. Redcoats have no engineers, pontoons or river crossing equipment.

First Turn of Game 8

Turn 1 begins with Natives moving first, having won highest dice throw..

Are the Natives aware of the Redcoats? Do the Natives have scouts or lookouts posted? Roll d6 to find out.

Roll 1-3, yes natives aware of enemy forces, scouts or returning hunting parties have bought word.

Roll 4-6, scouts need to be posted. Natives unaware of Redcoats.

Result of d6 dice throw is that No, the  Natives are not aware of Redcoat activity.

Redcoat move – Redcoat group splits up and heads fast for the bridge.

Turn 1 Summary – End of Turn 1, no firing as no one in range. No casualties so far.

Turn 2 of Game 8

Natives win highest throw so they  move first.

Are Natives aware of Redcoat troops yet? Roll d6 as above, Yes! Native sentries or scouts glimpse Redcoat movement and pass word to hunting party.

Natives move – they spread out and  disperse to river edge, covering the crossing and edge of the camp. Four native bowmen cross the bridge to the Redcoat side (losing no men over the bridge on their river crossing dice throw), whilst a mixed Native group of riflemen and bowmen remain on the Native end of the bridge. The Chief moves up into a good viewing position in the old Crossing Fort. Squaw packs up and prepares to break camp.

Redcoats move second –   they have seen the advance party of four native bowmen come into sight over the bridge and along the river edge. Movement is quite restricted and bottle necked at this stage with only a maximum of four figures per hex square.

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Advanced party of Native Bowmen cross the bridge and engage the Redcoats. Turn 2 of  Counterpayne / Close Little Wars Game 8.
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Wider view of Turn 2 of Counterpayne / Close Little Wars Game 8

Natives fire first in Turn 2 – Their advanced party over the bridge fire arrows at the nearest Redcoat troops but fail to score any fatal hits (2 dice score hits on Redcoats but they are saved by successful casualty savings throw). The Native spearmen on furthest bank are more successful, killing 1 Redcoat infantry man. First Redcoat casualty of  Game 8!

Redcoats fire second – The Redcoat group who have taken the first casualty return fire and score a successful fatal hit on one of the Native spearmen over the river. First Native Casualty of Game 8!

The Redcoats closest to the Bridge fire at the advanced party of Native Bowmen with no success.

Turn 2 Summary – End of Turn 2, Game 8 – one Redcoat Infantryman, one Native spearman.

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Even wider view of the Native’s side of the river terrain,  Turn 2

Turn 3, Game 8 –

Natives win throw to move first. The advanced party of Native bowmen  over the bridge engage the nearest Redcoats in melee. Two of the native bowmen are killed in the melee (after failing casualty savings throws) and the Natives lose the melee morale dice throw and retreat one hex backwards in good order, rather than rout.

Whoops! I realised afterwards that I had not given the Natives a +1 impetus throw.

Elsewhere the Natives move into a clearer firing line along the river edge within range of the Redcoats.

Redcoats move second , the final Redcoat figures moving onto the board / off the start line but still a bottleneck in places where rocks are too high to climb or pass over. Moving back into Melee, one Redcoat is killed by natives  and the remaining 3 Redcoats in this group retreat one hex backwards in good order.

Natives fire first but achieve no successful hits. Redcoats fire second and  kill one of the Native Bowmen near the Bridge. A further native is killed by Redcoat fire on the riverbank.

Turn 3 Summary During Turn 3, four Natives and a Redcoat infantryman are killed.

Turn 4, Game 8

Turn 4 sees the Redcoats move first, 3 Redcoats by the bridge move into further melee   with the last surviving native of the advanced guard of Native Bowmen over the bridge on their side – who fights them all off and kills one Redcoat casualty! Melee morale throw a draw, so no retreat on either side.

When Natives move second, I wanted to see if this Lone Indian would retreat over the bridge. A 6 dice throw of 1 to 3 means retreat to the safety of the Native side of the river, 4-6 means the Lone Indian will remain on the Redcoat side of the River. A six is thrown and the Lone Indian remains on the Redcoat side, unfortunately  blocking the fire path of the other Indians.

In the Firing phase, Redcoats fire first with no hits. Natives elsewhere along the riverbank fire second and kill three Redcoat infantry.

Turn 4 Summary – During Turn 4, things have gone badly for the Redcoats with 4 casualties. Overall 6 Redcoats have been lost in the first four moves at a cost of 5 natives.

Both groups have now lost a fifth to a quarter of their starting numbers.  There is no retreat position, it will be a fight to the finish and / or an escape for the Native Chief and Squaw.

Turn 5 of Game 8

Redcoats roll highest dice, so move first. Four Redcoats move into Melee against the brave Lone Indian by the Bridge who kills one Redcoat but is finally killed fighting off the other 3. His base is inscribed for bravery in perpetuity!

When the natives move second, groups of warriors reinforce the riverbank and their side of the bridge. Some remain behind with the Chief and Squaw as a rearguard.

When should the Chief and Squaw make a move to evacuate themselves from the Old Crossing Fort ruins and head for the canoe? Playing solo, throw a dice to decide of course.

A d6 throw of 1-3 means an immediate retreat or evacuation by Native Chief and Squaw towards the canoe and possible safety down river

A d6 throw of 4-6 means stay put for this move.

In this move, they throw and have to stay put.

Turn 5 Summary –  In the firing phase there are no losses so Turn 5 ends with One Redcoat lost and of course the brave Lone Native / Indian.

Turn 6 of Game 8

Redcoats throw highest so move first. Playing solo, I needed to decide whether the four Redcoats nearest the bridge would cross the bridge and attack the Natives or remain and fire at whoever was in sight or range.

Again a d6 throw was set up, 1-3 ordered across by Officer via the bugler, 4-6 remain on their side of the river.

The dice throw saw them ordered to cross the river and  the river / bridge crossing throw saw one of them fall in (on a dice roll of 1) but saved by the others (on account of a successful casualty saving throw).

The Redcoats moved immediately into Melee with the nearest Natives who lose two of their men and the melee morale throw, retreating in rout one hex move backwards.

The Redcoat colour party moves down from the heights. Redcoat reinforcements move forward to cover the bridge crossing.

Natives move second – again the Chief throws his evacuation dice but rolls to remain put. He orders reinforcements of 2 Native spearmen to reinforce the routed bowmen retreating from the bridge.

Redcoats fire first, members of the Colour Party also joining in using abandoned rifles now that they have moved closer into range. 1 Native is killed. Natives fire second, no hits.

Turn 6 Summary At the end of turn 6, the Redcoats are successfully across the river but are quite low in number. 3 Natives have been killed during the turn, 2 at the bridgehead, one on the riverbank.

Turn 7 of Game 8

Whoops! Turn 7 never happened – miscounted in the fog of war. No casualties.

Turn 8 of Game 8

A photograph was taken of this turn when 4 Redcoats crossed the bridge.

Redcoats move first into melee at bridgehead; 1 Native killed and 1 Redcoat. Natives lose melee morale throw and retreat 1 move in good order. Extra Redcoats ordered over bridge to reinforce bridgehead party. The colour party stays put on Redcoat side of river.

Natives move second, again into melee of 3 Natives versus 4 Redcoats, resulating in the loss of 1 Native and their retreat 1 hex in good order after  melee morale throw. The Chief rolls d6 re evacuation but stays put.

Firing phase, Redcoats fire first but inflict no casulaties. The Natives fire second and on a long shot from the Native warrior guarding the Native Chief, kill one Redcoat (who rolls d6 but loses casualty saving throw).

Turn 8 Summary – Turn 8 of Game 8 – 2 Redcoats lost, 2 Natives lost.

Turn 9 of Game 8 –

Redcoats move first, 4 of them into melee with Natives. 2 Natives killed. Another Redcoat on the Riverbank moves to the Bridgehead.

Natives move second, again into melee. Chief rolls re evacuation and again stays put.

Four Natives into melee at Bridgehead with four Redcoats; 1 Redcoat and a Native killed. Redcoats lose melee morale throw and retreat 1 hex back onto bridge in good order.

Redcoats fire first, inflicting a casualty on a Native rifleman on the riverbank below the bridgehead. Natives return fire but inflict no casualties.

Turn 9  Summary – Turn 9 of Game 8 – 4 Natives killed, 1 Redcoat killed. The battle still centres on the bottleneck of the bridge crossing, the river being unfordable and uncrossable elsewhere.

Turn 10 of Game 8 –

Three Redcoats at the Bridgehead move first again into Melee with the further loss of a Native casualty, yet the three Redcoats gain lose the Melee Morale Throw. They  retreat back to the bridge in rout (no further firing from these 2 Redcoats).

The Natives move second and the two remaining Native Bowmen at the bridge move into melee against the rear of the three routed retreating Redcoats (adding 1+ impetus to their dice scores). One Redcoat is lost, again the Redcoats retreat in rout a one hex move taking them over / onto the bridge.

The Chief orders two further Natives from the Canoe river bank party to reinforce the bridge  and two Native Bowmen from the riverbank to protect him by moving to the front of the old Crossing Fort.

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Turn 10, Counterpayne / Close Little Wars Game 8 – the escape dugout Native canoe can be glimpsed near the edge of the board by the three Native spearmen.

The Chief passes on his orders in his native language and by arm movements so that his commands are not understood by the Redcoats , who have no translator with them. likewise, the Natives do not understand the Redcoats shouted orders or bugle calls.

The Redcoats fire first but score no successful hits, their field of fire being interfered with by the two routed Redcoats retreating across the bridge, who are themselves unable to fire being in rout and retreat.

When the Natives fire second, there are no casualties.

Turn 10  Summary – Turn 10 of Game 8 – one Redcot lost, 1 Native, both in Bridgehead melee.

By this stage of the game, the Redcoats have lost 11 men, almost 50% of their 21 men at the start of the game. No officers, colours or NCOs have yet been lost. The Natives have lost 16 Native warriors out of 24 (not including the non-combatant Squaw), being two-thirds of their available men. The Native Squaw, Chief and canoe are still safe on their side of the river and they still control the river crossing.

Turn 11 of Game 8

The Natives move first and the Chief again rolls an evacuation d6 dice but stays put.

Whether the Natives risk a melee on the bridge itself (roll 1-3,  d6 dice) or stay put on their side of the river (roll 4 – 6, d6 dice) is decided by a dice throw: they stay put and make no further movement during this turn.

Again with the bridge becoming a battle bottleneck, the Redcoats when they move second have to  throw a d6 to decide movements. The problem is the 2 Redcoats in rout stuck on the bridge, they throw a d6 and remain in rout on the bridge unable to move further.

A bridge crossing throw is brought in, having crossed or crossing the river. One of the two Redcoats falls in and is lost in the river, failing his casualty savings throw.

This still leaves three Redcoats including the NCO unable to cross the bridge unless a another d6 dice decision rule is brought in.

Can the Redcoat NCO and his men cross the bridge past their routed Redcoat colleague?

Roll 1 – 3, yes they can. Roll 4 – 6 no they can’t, being blocked by the routed and unmoving Redcoat.

They throw a 4 so remain blocked on their side of the bridge. 2 more Redcoats move to the rocky ridge breside the bridge to improve their field of fire.

Both Redcoats and Natives fail to hit anything on their firing round.

Turn 11 Summary – Turn 11 of Game 8 – one retreating routed Redcoat lost in the river and drowned whilst crossing bridge.

Turn 12 of Game 8

Redcoats move first. Thankfully the Redcoat blocking the bridge finally passes his morale throe so can move and fire. The NCO can then cross the bridge with his two men, gather up the Redcoat on the bridge (no Redcoats lost in Bridge crossing throw) and move into Melee with the two native bowmen holding the Bridgehead.

One Redcoat is lost in the Melee (dice thrown to see if it was the NCO – not) but the Natives lose the Melee Morale throw and retreat 1 move in good order backwards. Seeing this, the Redcoat Officer orders his Bugler to recall the two Redcoats watching the three  Native spearmen guarding the canoe end of the river.

When the Natives move second, the Native Chief throws a d6 evacuation dice and on the resulting 6 begins to move himself and Squaw towards the Canoe and escape.

A minimum of two Natives is required to operate the canoe.

As the Chief and Squaw move 4 hexes towards the canoe with one Native rifleman as cover, 2 Native bowmen moving to  higher ground.

The Chief orders 4 of his Native warriors into Melee against the three Redcoats at the Bridgehead as further cover for his escape.

During this Melee of four Natives versus three Redcoats, 2 Native spearmen are lost. The Redcoats lose the Melee Morale Throw and retreat in rout or disorder 1 hex back onto the bridge. (Dice for River crossing throw on next move.)

The Chief’s retreat with Squaw and Native warrior bodyguard is still bodily covered or shielded by the presence of two Native bowmen at the bridgehead and two bowmen  on the ridge.

The Redcoats are unable to fire as  their view is blocked by the three retreating routed Redcoats on the bridge.

The Natives fire next and two of the Redcoats on the Bridge are wounded (passed their casualty savings throw). Most Natives at this Turn have no clear field of fire.

Turn 12 summary – Turn 12 of Game 8 – 2 Native spearmen are lost and 1 Redcoat.

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Counterpayne / Close Little Wars Game 8 Turn 13

Turn 13

Redcoats win dice throw and  move first. Turn 13  opens with the Redcoat NCO Sergeant and 2 Redcoats retreating over the bridge but luckily they morale throw a 6, steadying their retreat. They are now able to fire, move and respond to orders. Thankfully all of them survive the bridge crossing dice throw  (If they rolled a 1, they fall in and drown).

The Redcoat Sergeant rallies the group  back into a melee to defend the bridge and the Sergeant defeats one native bowman in hand to hand combat. The natives lose the melee morale throw and retreat one move backwards but in good order rather then rout.

The Redcoat NCO reminds his party that they are ordered not to fire on the squaw and native chief but to capture them alive if possible.

The Redcoat officer orders another Redcoat guardsman over the bridge, leaving one Redcoat on the Redcoat side of the Bridge to cover the Colour party. The Redcoat guardsman moves into the lee or cover  of the large rock near the bridge to get a better view of the final actions.

The Natives move second having thrown the lower dice at the start of this turn.

The Native Chief with Squaw retreats to the log canoe with their warrior guard rejoining the native spearmen. They have range to fire on the bridge from their position. It will take one clear move to launch the canoe.

The remaining three Native bowmen move into melee to deal with the 4 Redcoats including the NCO / Sergeant. During the melee one Native bowman is killed and they lose the morale throw, retreating in good order and providing further cover for the Native Chief and Squaw.

Firing phase of Turn 13

Redcoats fire first but no losses are inflicted or are unable to fire without hitting the Native Chief or Squaw.

The Natives fail to hit anything in their firing round.

Turn 13  Summary – Turn 13 of Game 8 – two Native bowmen have been lost.

Turn 14 of Game 8

Natives move first. The Native Chief, Squaw and two Native warriors push canoe into the water. Roll a d6 to see how many can fit into the Canoe – the dice roll of a six means up to 6 Natives can squeeze in.

The Native Chief orders his two remaining bowmen to stay put and cover his escape then to melt away and meet him off the board further upstream.

The two Native bowmen roll a d6 to see if they move into Melee (roll 1 -3) or stay put and block the Redcoat  movements (roll 4-6). They roll 3 so move into Melee where one Redcoat is killed. The Natives lose Melee Morale Throw but retreat in good order back one hex, still covering the escape route / attempt of their Chief.

Redcoats move second, back into Melee with the two Native bowmen. there are no casualties.  The Redcoats lose melee Morale Throw and retreat one hex backwards to bridgehead  in rout or disorder, being unable to move or fire further this turn.

Native bowmen fire first being the only Natives in range of the Redcoats but fail to hit any Redcoats. Redcoats unable to return fire.

Summary of Turn 14 – Turn 14 of game 8 – 1 Redcoat killed.

Turn 15

Redcoats move first, a successful morale throw allowing the Redcoat NCO and two Redcoat riflemen to move back into Melee with 2 Native bowmen. One Redcoat and one Native are lost. Again the Redcoats lose the Melee Morale Throw and retreat again in disorder back towards the bridge.

Further Redcoat movements require a d6 decision dice throw

Should the Redcoat Officer and Colour party move into position to see what is going on? Roll 1-3 yes, 4-6 no, too risky. As a 4 was thrown, they  rely still on the limited view of the lone sentry on the bridge.

Natives move second. The canoe moves off downstream and off the games board to safety, taking the Native Chief, Squaw, one Native spearman and a bowman.

What should the lone Native bowman do? A D6 decision dice to be thrown.

1-2 retreat to the canoe safely. 3-4 Retreats off board to safety

5 Stays put and blocks Redcoats.   6 – Melees into the Redcoats.

Bowman rolls a 3,  so he retreats safely off the board down river to rendezvous with the escaped canoe party further downstream.

The Canoe is now out of the Redcoats firing range. All natives are now out of firing range.

Summary  of Turn 15 – Turn 15 of Game 8 – 1 Redcoat and one Native lost in Melee.

The Native Chief, Squaw and three Native warriors have escaped the Game board, leaving the Redcoats in possession of the Bridge crossing fort and their old campsite.

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Redcoat Colour Party retake the Old Crossing Fort – Turn 16 of Close Little Wars Game 8.

Final Turn – Turn 16 0f Game 8

The 2 Redcoats on the bridge throw a morale throw dice of 4 so are able again to move towards and secure the ridge camp and old Crossing Fort. The Colour party successfully cross the bridge and join them. One Redcoat sentry is posted to watch the direction of the Native retreat.

The Colours are hoisted again on the old Crossing Fort and a second tent posted next to the abandoned Native tent. The bridge crossing is also watched from the Crossing Fort again. Bugle calls are ordered to contact any Redcoat reinforcements in earshot, the number of troops at present being too few to send any messenger to gain any reinforcements.

The surviving Redcoat group are small in number – what would happen if a further Native force returned? Interesting future scenario.

Is Game 8 a Native or Redcoat Victory?

I think this is a Draw.

The Redcoats reoccupied the Crossing Fort and Bridge, awaiting reinforcements to strengthen their position.  The Colours are safe.

They failed to capture the Native Chief and his Squaw or wipe out the other three Natives (a bowman, spearman and rifleman) who escaped in the Canoe with some provisions.

Both groups live to fight another day!

At the end of Turn 16, there are six Redcoat survivors: Two Riflemen and their NCO Sergeant, an Officer, Colour Bearer and Bugler.

15 Redcoat casualties are lost on both sides of the river or in the river and need recovery and burial where possible by the surviving six Redcoats, as soon as the Crossing Fort is made as safe as possible.

In addition 21 Natives need mass burial by the Redcoats.

All these  brave and surviving Native warriors and Redcoats have the number 8 written underneath their cardboard base, in addition to the brave  Lone Indian (though departed to the happy hunting grounds has 8 and the Lone Indian inscribed.

Draft from 2016, finally blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 22 September 2019.

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Airfix WW2 Kits and WW1 Figures limited reissues 2018

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Screenshot, not an active link.

Look them up at http://www.Airfix.com shop section Vintage Classics 

https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/shop.html

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Limited edition May 2018 Announcement and currently on Pre-order:

The 1:76 / 20mm Airfix WW1 figures and WW1 British Tank are back, along with a selection of classic WW2 tanks, lorries and guns. There are also a few classic ship models.

A limited few 1:76 OO/HO WW2 figures are already on sale.

All good classic figures and kits for WW2, WW1 games and Conversions for  Wargames.

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Screenshot of classic kits and figures

Grab them while you can.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 14 May 2018.

Douglas Coupland’s memorial to the War of 1812

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I am intrigued by photos of a 2008 war memorial statue in Toronto designed by Canadian author and artist Douglas Coupland https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Coupland 

It is unusual because it marks the less familiar War of 1812. It is also unusual in that is also naturalistic but also in the shape of two giant toy soldiers.

I had come across Coupland’s statues of giant “toy green army men” in the  author photos for his books that I have read over the years.

These “toy soldiers” are part of an ongoing series, very similar to his “Vietnam Swamp Soldier” (2000), a statue or installation shown at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, 2015 featured here:

http://www.artslant.com/ams/articles/show/44508

https://www.iizt.com/project/237/

https://canadianart.ca/online/see-it/2008/08/07/the-big-gift/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1608478.stm

http://www.ysmag.com/features/midCentury.html

https://www.coupland.com/public-arts 

These websites  feature several others of these giant green toy soldier statues by Doug Coupland and a monumental Canadian firefighter in similar style.

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War of 1812 memorial Toronto by Douglas Coupland (Wikipedia source / public domain)

 

Monument to the War of 1812 (2008) by Douglas Coupland in Toronto, Canada.
The standing soldier is painted gold and depicts a member of the 1813 Royal Newfoundland Regiment (Canada).

The other fallen toy soldier figure is painted silver and depicts an American soldier from the 16th U.S. Infantry Regiment.

The statue caption or information panel by Coupland mentions a highly local link – one block away is the War of 1812-14 site of Fort York, site of a crucial battle in April 1813 that secured Canada’s future as a separate nation from The USA

http://www.fortyork.ca/history-of-fort-york.html

and

http://www.fortyork.ca/featured-attractions/fort-york-guard/the-fort-york-guard.html

Why the Toy Soldier style on the memorial? 

The victorious Canadian soldier looks rugged and heroic, not unusual on a war memorial. Certainly more conventionally heroic and rugged  than the unfortunate Confederate war memorial in Dade, Georgia, known as “Dutchy”, pulled down and buried by his own townsfolk:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/dutchy-and-dade-the-confederate-history-of-forgotten-georgia/

Safely two hundred years past, Coupland’s toy soldier approach to this war memorial is highly unusual, showing toy soldier versions of the protagonists complete with fake mould lines.

Is Coupland suggesting in game terms that this side won, or “you lost” as was recently scrawled on some Confederate war memorials in America?

Gold and silver statues, winner and runner up in sporting terms?

I wonder how we would react to a WWI or WWII statue in this rugged big toy soldier style, replete with figure bases and mould lines.

How would we react now as members of the public or the armed services to a statue in this  style of a more recent conflict like the Gulf Wars or Afghanistan?

Is Coupland suggesting that soldiers are pawns in a game of war?

This toy soldier style of memorial  or public artwork had done its job, in getting me thinking about its meaning.

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I am reminded of H.G. Wells’ wise words in Little Wars book (about fighting battles with toy soldiers) compared with the real blundering thing of Great Wars. Wars, as Yoda wisely observed of great warriors in the Star Wars movies, “Wars do not make one great.”

A 2008 interview with Coupland about the statue features the unveiling, public response, toy soldiers and 1812 reenactors  – see this short Vimeo video by Inkblot media https://vimeo.com/5020532 

I would  be curious to hear what other blog readers think of this interesting War of 1812 ‘toy soldier’ style memorial?

Events of 1812 

So watching this video with its short and varied contributors, it seems that there is some controversy from different sides (Canada, America, Britain) on who exactly won and lost the war of 1812-14 in North America. This is partly what statue designer Douglas Coupland says he is challenging or questioning in his 1812 memorial.

All I remember from school about the War of 1812 is that “The British burnt the White House” with no real understanding of why. The events and background to the War of 1812 are outlined here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812

In view of recent controversy over the future of some Confederate war memorial statues in a changing multi-racial America, it is interesting to read the response to this less well-remembered conflict or civil war in North America, amongst other controversial markers or memorials.

http://militaryhistorynow.com/2012/09/21/monumental-struggles-war-memorials-that-sparked/ 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/coupland-creates-statue-to-mark-war-of-1812-1.717530

Tiny but Statuesque

I am always struck by the highly familiar miniature statues that are our childhood Airfix figures.

Some of the spare Airfix OOHO British Waterloo infantry that I have recently found (in a couple of recent lucky Airfix box finds) could do well at a pinch for both British, Canadian and American troops in an 1812 Skirmish. Using Featherstone’s Close Wars appendix rules (from War Games 1962), this is another idea for the Man of TIN 2018 project list.

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https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/airfix-gold-from-the-back-of-a-dark-gaming-shop/

Such figures would also suit Army Red, Army Blue type of scenarios in Imagi-Nations and my fictional Bronte kingdoms of  Angria and Gondal.

My trusty old library / childhood copy of Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour features British or Allied troops of the time, as well as these couple of 1812 American troops.

As a child I often thought the 1812 New York Rifle Corps uniform one of the more exotic, almost Santa Claus like in the trimmed hunting shirt,  but had no figures similar or suitable.

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The Portuguese Cacadores in their brown uniforms are interesting paint variations for Airfix or Napoleonic figures. The fact that the regular Portuguese units wore blue is another chance to reuse any Blue uniformed Airfix  British looking troops with Shakos when they are not pretending to be  American 1812 troops. The French infantry will provide any opposition needed. Flexible armies result if you don’t look too closely!

Interesting that the Butternut improvisation of dress (green, brown, grey, blue) of the American Civil War was alive in the 1812 US Army as supplies ran short. Good camouflage for  guerilla and back woods fighting.

The US 16th Infantry Regiment pictured in Kannik’s book is the US regiment shown in Coupland’s Toy Soldier Statue or Memorial.

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My local library service also turned up for me from its stores on loan  The War of 1812, an old Osprey Men at Arms. Very useful – several more recent titles on the subject have been added.

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The ‘American War’ is also very very briefly covered in Jenny Uglow’s In These Times, as much for the naval blockade as its land battles https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/in-these-times/

As mentioned, another idea for the painting table and the Man of TIN 2018 project list!

Blog Post Script

Interesting comments in the comment section  from Ross MacFarlane from a modern Canadian standpoint, worth reproducing here: “Hmm, as I recall the popular reaction to the statue was not exactly favourable, I suppose most of us aren’t enlightened enough. Odd to celebrate Ft York as a turning point since we lost that one but what’s history if you can’t rewrite it?

Its interesting to follow the shift in interpretation over the centuries to match various shifts in politics and culture from “brave Canadians stood up to the American elephant with a bit of help from the Old Country” to “the Brits did it all and the Canadians weren’t really involved” (hard to take in view of battles like Chateauguay where no Brits were involved and others where units raised in what is now Canada were raised as British regiments ) to a more balanced view based on facts.”

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Ross’s other comment on Kannik’s uniform book got me thinking:

“I used to wonder just what kind of weird hat that the NY rifleman was wearing, would have been much better if he turned his head a bit to show the common top hat with turned brim. Looking back it was also surprising that the pictures on the dust jacket were not replicated inside, inc that handsome NY Dragoon”.

I had quite forgotten this figure:

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I have some ideas in the comments section about making such a dandy Dragoon unit out of Airfix Waterloo British Royal Horse Artillery and Hussars conversions. More food for thought …

Thanks, Ross!

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, September 2017.

 

 

Airfix Gold from the back of a dark gaming shop

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A bit like finding Smaug the dragon seated on gold and jewels  in The Hobbit, I found these treasures lurking in the dark back of a gaming shop last month.

I often pop into gaming, railway or model shops when I see them in search of scenery, paint or just out of curiousity.

Gaming shops are often strange places, darker towards the back and occupied by shuffling figures, all dressed in black. Then there’s the mumbling, arcane words about the miniatures games or card systems arrayed on tables. Foreign territory. No eye contact is usually made with strangers in civilian clothing such as me.

(For the record, I have nothing against fantasy gamers and suchlike).

It was quite dreamlike, finding a cache of kits and figures that you had been looking out for for years.

Any second  I knew I was going to wake up.

There was a small shelf of kits, vintage Matchbox kits,  multipose historical Airfix single figures, things I had not seen for years.

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I had little cash on me  and little time to stop and recce.

I went straight for the vintage Airfix figures, things I knew I could use rather than stockpile.

Familiar old Airfix OO/HO Waterloo French and British infantry (reasonable at about £6 per sealed box) were one obvious and versatile choice – these partly made up for the odd lack of British Infantry in their box in my last hoard.

They turned out to be the recent 2000s Airfix reissues in bright red and blue but no matter.

The Hat British Rifles or Light Infantry are new figures to me.

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Some interesting information on the box back about the Light Infantry, suggesting  alternative uses such as Cazadores and Cacadores.

 

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A quick history lesson on the back of a box …

 

Who could resist the odd brown unit of Cacadores or US 1812 Infantry, like those pictured in Preben Kannik’s Military History of the World in Colour ?

 

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These oddly shakoed Hat figures would pass (for me for games purposes) for 1840s British Infantry or Militia in a railway-related scenario that I am working on.

I also spotted their potential as British or US Infantry in a War of 1812 skirmish scenario that I am working on for 2018 with the Waterloo British Infantry.

There was only one lone  box of 1:32 figures to choose from but a good choice – Call to Arms 54mm Zulus – something Airfix strangely never made, despite the popularity of the 1960s ZULU films.

They should match in well with my repaired hollow cast zulus. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/ashantees-or-zulus-reborn/

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Sixteen 1:32 Zulus, four each of the four poses

 

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Another quick history lesson …

 

By luck I have a pack of the Call to Arms 1:32 Rorke’s Drift British Infantry to match them, bought several years ago.

I went back to the gaming shop a week or two ago.

The mumbling black clad figures and the private gaming were still there.  None of the other  vintage material was there. The shop assistant had no knowledge of it.  All the remaining kits were gone. Maybe it had been a dream after all …

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20 September 2017