Black Birding and the Reverse Underground Railroad

I have reached the huge goal of 50 followers on the Man of TIN blog, so thanks to all who read my blog(s). You are all very welcome here.

I try not to pay much attention to the blogstats but I noticed a 51st follower, Pat G and I usually check out the person’s website out of courtesy and curiousity.

On Pat G’s blog Irregular Warband Fast I found an interesting article and scenario / game write up by Pat G on Black-Birding

https://irregularwarbandfast.blogspot.com/2018/05/goldfinching.html

I know some colonial history but I knew nothing about the barbarous practice of Blackbirding:

Blackbirding is the coercion of people through trickery and kidnapping to work as labourers …

In the 1870s, the blackbirding ship trade focused on supplying labourers to plantations, particularly the sugar cane plantations of Queensland and Fiji … between 1842 and 1904. Those “blackbirded” were recruited from the indigenous populations of nearby Pacific islands or northern Queensland.

So many ships entered the blackbirding trade (with adverse effects on islanders) that the British Navy sent ships from Australia Station into the Pacific to suppress the trade.

Islanders fought back and sometimes were able to resist those engaged in black-birding …  Wikipedia article source

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

Disturbingly the Wikipedia article mentions that Blackbirding has continued to the present day sourcing plantation workers  in developing countries such as Central America. All the more reason to support Fair Trade.

The causes of the American Civil War are complex, whether it was states rights or slavery or both that triggered the secession and conflict. The arguments,  tensions and legacy continue to this day in America.

Blackbirding was new to me. I also knew nothing about the opposite of Harriet Tubman’s heroic Underground Railroad (to help free escaped slaves from the Southern USA to the freedom of the North around the time of the American Civil War), the opposite being now  known as the Reverse Underground Railroad.

“The Reverse Underground Railroad was the pre-American Civil War practice of kidnapping free blacks and fugitive slaves from U.S. free states and slave states and transporting them into  the Southern slave states for sale as slaves …

The Reverse Underground Railroad operated for 85 years, from 1780 to 1865.” Wikipedia article source

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

Solomon Northrup published Twelve Years A Slave in 1853, a memoir of his kidnapping from New York and twelve years spent as a slave in Louisiana. This became the award-winning film, which I have not yet seen, nor yet read the book.

Some interesting alternative history and some sources of gaming scenarios, instead of Redcoats blasting away at rebellious natives, you can feature powerless or resisting islanders, a wicked blackbirding gang and the Royal Navy to the rescue, whether on this planet or on another VSF one!

Thanks Pat G!

Another interesting nugget of Colonial gaming history like the female warriors of Dahomey, featured on my blog in February:

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

Blosposted by Mark, Man of TIN, August 2018.

Advertisements

Pound Store Colonial Skirmish Parts 1 and 2

img_2955-2

A small and enjoyable 1:1 skirmish game played solo with 36mm converted Pound Store plastic ‘penny dreadful’ figures, fought over a number of evenings on a portable game board.

Part 1 – scenario and opening moves

https://wordpress.com/post/poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/3955

Part 2 – final moves

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/pound-store-skirmish-part-2/

A fast moving game, heavily influenced by the colonial games in Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming and the irreverent Carry on Up The Khyber Pass.

Finally managed to get these converted figures into action after many weeks prep, conversion  and painting.

Cross posted by Mark Man of TIN from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog,  sister blog to this one, 25 February 2018.

Pound Store Colonial Skirmish

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/02/03/pound-store-colonial-skirmish-part-1/

Crossposted from Pound Store Plastic Warriors / Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 3 February 2018

Pound Store Plastic Figure Conversions and Comparisons

Some unprepossessing modern pound store plastic ‘penny’ figures (£1 for a tub of 100 or more recently 80 figures from Poundland) have proved great conversion potential for my skirmish games, at the slightly odd size of roughly 36mm.

Over the last few months I have been busy creating small skirmish forces of 25 to 30 figures a side for my portable hex game boards.

Strange modern Rambo-ish machine gunner figures become a set of Desert Warrior Spearman, to join my previous Desert Warrior riflemen shown here:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/pound-store-desert-warrior-unit-completed/

Some work in progress / ‘how to’ photos about these figures are shown here:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/work-in-progress-from-pound-store-plastic-rambos-to-spear-warriors/

It has been interesting comparing how many simple conversions are possible with these same 12 sometimes crudely moulded figures, explored in this blogpost:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/pound-store-plastic-warrior-conversions-and-comparisons/

Some kilted Colonial Highlanders conversions to join my Redcoats, straight out of my favourite Carry On film, Carry On Up The Khyber with Private Jimmy Widdle of the 3rd Foot and Mouth, the ‘Devils in Skirts’ no less!

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/pound-store-plastic-carry-on-up-the-khyber-colonial-highlanders/

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/pound-store-plastic-colonial-infantry-on-the-painting-table/

Some figures become Boers, Cowboys or Confederates to complement my 19th Century Colonial conversions. The hats? Label or paper hole reinforcers.

The same figures can be painted and converted into many different figures, like this versatile rifleman. This was another of the figures that attracted me to these pound store figure tubs.

And finally, a host of Little Green Men in orange and gold space suits to take on my silver and blue Space Marines

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/little-green-men-pound-store-plastic-space-warriors/

Coming soon to a hex game board near me …

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, featuring posts from his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 28 January 2018

Pound store colonial infantry on the painting table

pound store warriors colonials

Pound store plastic warriors on my painting table and  conversions in progress, along with some unlikely uniform inspiration, all an ongoing project crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors sister blog:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/pound-store-plastic-colonial-infantry-on-the-painting-table/

Airfix British Redcoat Infantry 1960

image.jpg
Trying out different colour schemes:  Airfix Guards Colour Party repaints escort the Governor General’s Daughter (originally / promoted  from the  Airfix Waggon Train) Photo/ figure paints: Man of TIN. 

Amongst the proliferation of so many plastic gaming figures today , I sometimes  wonder what would have happened if the gaming clock was a reset to 1962, the year of first publication of Donald Featherstone’s War Games book.

Imagine, Groundhog Day style, that all you had available (going back in an “it’s 1962 again” time loop) were conversions of these figures:

  • Airfix  S1 Guards band 1959
  • Airfix S2 Guards Colour party 1959
  • Airfix S3 Combat Infantry Group 1960
  • Airfix S4 Farm Stock 1960
  • Airfix S5 WW2 German Infantry 1960
  • Airfix S6 Civilians 1960
  • Airfix S7 Cowboys 1961
  • Airfix S8 Indians 1961

Donald Featherstone in his WW2 example game used Airfix figures and tank kits, featuring Set S3 Combat Infantry and Set S5 WW2 German Infantry. These gave me much pleasure as a gaming child as they were the same as figures that I recognised and had in our family collection.

By 1962 when Donald Featherstone’s War Games went to press and was published, the following lovely Airfix sets were issued, expanding the conversion possibilities:

  • Airfix S9 8th Army 1962
  • Airfix S10 Foreign Legion 1962
  • Airfix S11 Afrika Korps 1962
  • Airfix S12 American Civil War Union Infantry 1962
  • Airfix S13 American Civil War Confederate Infantry 1962
  • Airfix S14 American Civil War Artillery 1962
  • Airfix S15 Wagon Train 1962
image
Some simple ideas on wargaming with the available figures 0f the time in this much thumbed (Ex-library) copy of Donald Featherstone’s Tackle Model Soldiers This Way, written in 1963. 

So circa 1960-62, what were the paint and conversion possibilities available to gamers then or vintage gamers today?

image

 

From sketch book to first draft painting or repaint, I’m happy with the results so far with these Victorian British redcoat paint conversions of Airfix 1960 Infantry Combat Group:

image

Still a few final details to add to these figures, along with some natives or opposition.

image

The opposition could be these blue coated Danish style guardsmen, still unfinished in fine detailing.

image

I hope the late Donald Featherstone would have liked these simple redcoat figures c. Airfix 1960/2.

Several years later, many of the conversion ideas of his and others featured in his book Military Modelling were made easier by production of WW1 figures, the American War of Independence figures and the Waterloo range.

Colonial redcoats could by 1966 be made from Airfix WW1 German Infantry:

image

These are part-painted, first draft Victorian Redcoats formed from some spare  Airfix WW1 German Infantry, a suggestion made in books at the time.

image
Unfinished / Rough first draft repaint into  Airfix British redcoats or steampunk VSF Victorian British infantry? Some more brass and silver required for steampunk! (Figures / photo: Man of TIN.)

And if these redcoats on land required any naval back up, Airfix Cowboys could make a passable Royal Naval landing party …

image

turning these Cowboys (top right) from American Civil War infantry conversions into Victorian sailors something like these Fimo cake mould conversions sailors.

image

More paint conversions and retro / vintage Airfix c. 1962 to share with you in future blogposts.

Back, back, back into the past in our Airfix time machine …

Happy gaming!

Posted by Man of TIN, June 2016.