Featherstone’s Personalised Wargaming in the Desert

Vintage Airfix Privates named, Privates for Desert Army and Privates / Schutz in NordAfrika Korps

One idea I wanted to develop in my skirmish gaming is a more ‘personal’ or ‘personalised’ feel to small troop action.

Giving names to your ‘characters’ adds a different dimension to the nameless hordes of figures.

I use the names suggested in the chapter ‘Personalised Wargaming‘ of Donald Featherstone’s 1969 Advanced Wargames book, recently reprinted and available from John Curry’s History of Wargaming project.

Naming characters has worked really well for me with the snowballers and the Boy and Girl Scout Wide Games.

However it has meant fairly regular picking figures up to check who they are!

See more at: https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com

The Blue Hills Boys … all named in the game, reports and write ups.

Personalised “Ripping Yarns” write up of the game report.

“You, Vot ist your Name?” “Don’t tell him, Pike!”

When I ran out of names from the Featherstone list in Advanced Wargaming and Skirmish Wargaming, especially for the many Schutzen (Riflemen) privates commanded by General Von Rimmel in the NordAfrika Korps, I turned to Wikipedia’s common German surname list and the WW2 / modern rank lists for translations

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

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranks_and_insignia_of_the_German_Army_(1935–1945)

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

Vintage Airfix Afrika Korps – General Von Rimmel can be seen top left

Sch. Schwartz? / Pte Black?

I have marked all the bases with the English ranks. For Schutzen (Sch) read Private etc. If needed, many of the Germanic names have an English equivalent, if you were using the NordAfrika Korps for other non German / non WW2 ImagiNations games.

Private Scruby? Private Young? Private Marrion?

John Curry noticed that Featherstone’s names in his “Personalised Wargaming” chapter were friends, wargamers, illustrators, and figure manufacturers from the 1950s and 1960s.

I wonder if Sergeant Featherstone was putting Brigadier Peter Young in his place a little jokily by only having a Private Young amongst the named characters in his ‘Personalised Wargaming’ chapter?

“Her Privates We” – some of Featherstone’s named figures in Advanced Wargaming.

And Don Featherstone himself? Not on his own list but I do have of course on my extended names list and now on an Airfix figure the name of one Sergeant Stonefeather!

I wonder what experience any of you have had of ‘personalised‘ wargaming? Did it add to your gaming or detract from it?

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

Stealth’s Take on Close Little Wars

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Following up my post about Jen B’s version of Featherstone’s Close Wars Rules, fellow games blogger Stealth contacted me to say that he had been playing around with his own variant of Donald Featherstone’s simple Close Wars rules.

These were first published in Don’s appendix to War Games (1962) and Stealth had been looking at my variants Close Little Wars.

Here is Stealth’s variant are in detail for you to peruse: https://stealthswargaming.blogspot.com/2019/05/stealths-close-little-wars-variant-rules.html

and his classic first wargames minis are first version 1960s tiny Airfix figure conversions, always a charming joy to see

https://stealthswargaming.blogspot.com/2019/06/i-emerge-from-painting-cave-to-give-you.html

Stealth’s rules have a slight D & D influence or feel (see his other blogs) in that carrying or capturing crates forms part of the victory conditions, scoring and scenarios. Interesting idea for ambushing a supply column etc.

I hope you find something of rules variants interest here. I enjoy seeing how people adapt and tinker, go back to basics and then elaborate a bit more.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 16 June 2019.

Featherstone and Co. Naval War Games

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That magical number again 793.9 and the end of its (much borrowed?) library career.  

As mentioned in my recent blog posts on my Flying Tiger Pound Store Navy of eraser ships, I have sent off for two books on Naval  Wargames.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/19/my-pound-store-naval-convoy/

One is old, one new, one much borrowed, both are hopefully blue, as blue as the cruel sea …

I await my Lulu order of  Bob Cordery’s recent Gridded Naval Wargames, highly recommended by several people, no doubt being printed and despatched at this very moment.

The distinctive 60s Book jacket design surrounded by my Pound Store ships

However first to arrive, full speed ahead, at the end of its hopefully much borrowed forty year library career, was Donald F. Featherstone’s Naval War Games.

It has its fans, others condemned on my blog comments it as dry as dust. A reprint is available thanks to John Curry’s History of Wargaming Project:

http://www.wargaming.co/recreation/naval.htm

This used copy (in better condition than I expected) cost only a few pounds from Better World Books, an Abe Books Internet supplier of ex-library stock whose profits go to literacy and library projects worldwide. What’s not to like?

I never borrowed this Featherstone title from my local library, it was always out on loan.

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Stirring stuff? Do you always read the book jacket blurb? Would you be inspired and buy or borrow this book? 
The Tabletop Islands chapter by Joseph Morschauser is unusual!

A wide range of Naval rules by Featherstone “and company”

Some supposedly simple ‘back of postcard rules’ by different gamers that Featherstone starts with.

Slightly hieroglyphic for beginners like many “back of postcard rules”?

Jack Alexander (Jacklex figures) design: how to make a WW1 era battleship
Three completed ‘simple’ ship models shown
An innovative Fred Jane no dice approach to calculate firing and damage!
That eternal boy Donald Featherstone dreams of Pacific War Airfix Combined Ops games
Another inspiring Featherstone image from Naval War Games …

First impressions?

No obvious simple (solo) convoy game rules but should be some interesting ideas. Add Bob Cordery’s book and ideas as well, it should promise to be an interesting few months puzzling out some rules for protecting my eraser ship convoy from the Wolf Pack.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 23 August 2018.

A Small Salute on Donald Featherstone’s Centenary

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My homecast Salute to Donald Featherstone’s Centenary (54mm Prince August).
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My toy soldier style tribute to Donald Featherstone, Don being the physiotherapist to Southampton FC for many years  (Airfix Footballers). He probably wore a suit and tie,  not a tracksuit.

MARCH is my excuse to photograph my MARCHing figures and MARCHing bands in my collection  so these are a small tribute to Don, the sort of Britain’s figures that he would have seen in his inspiration – H.G. Wells’ Little Wars.

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A tiny parade of some of my vintage Britain’s Guards,  MARCHing  to celebrate Donald Featherstone’s Centenary.
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Some Donald Featherstone inspiration – his 30mm Spencer Smith figures in the Plattville Valley, an ACW game from his first book (and my favourite) War Games 1962 

 

Donald Featherstone (1918 – 2013) would have been 100 years old today.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/featherstone100-donald-featherstone-centenary-20-march-2018/

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Happy Birthday Donald Featherstone! An inspiration to us all.

A little suitable light reading for the day …

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Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20 March 2018

Featherstone100 – Donald Featherstone Centenary 20 March 2018

 

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March 1918 Late War German Infantry in 15mm by Peter Laing from my collection.

20th March 1918 is an important date in WW1 anniversary terms as the shock troops of German storm troopers stood trained, in position and poised ready to roll through Allied lines on the dawn of 21 March 2018 – Operation Michael, The Kaiserschlact or the Kaiser’s Day.

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

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

Thousands of British and Allied troops were surrounded, killed or taken prisoner. My eighteen year old Maternal Great Uncle  serving with the British Fifth Army was killed several days later in this confused fighting. Only stubborn Allied resistance by scratch regiments like his and logistics – the Royal Naval Blockade of Germany starving it of war materials – saw this German knockout blow rapidly  run out of fuel and men.

Events of the Russian Revolution in 1917  through to the 3rd March 1918 – the Treaty of Brest Litovsk between Bolshevik Russia and Germany – released thousands of German troops from the Eastern Front back to the Western Front.

A more joyous event – Donald Frederick Featherstone was born on 20th March 1918.

** Some newspaper obituaries have him listed as born on 12 March 1918 but other newspaper obituaries and his death certificate listing says he was born on 20th March 1918.

That makes Tuesday 20th March 2018 the late Donald Featherstone’s Centenary anniversary or #Featherstone100.

As he came into the world, Allied victory in the Great War stood in doubt. He often said in interviews, that he chose the Tank Regiment on enlistment in 1939 because of all his family stories about the slaughter of Poor Bloody Infantry  in the trenches.

How can we best celebrate in our own small gaming ways the Centenary and life of  a man who changed my hobby life – man and boy – for the better, as he did for many gamers of a certain age?

Like many others, I owe a lot to Donald Featherstone.  Many were the warm and richly deserved tributes and obituaries on Don’s death aged 95 in 3 September 2013.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Featherstone_(wargamer)

I’m  glad a Featherstone gaming weekend happens each year with Don’s lucky dice as the annual prize. http://www.wargameshc.co.uk/event/donald-featherstone-tribute-weekend-chancellorsville-march-23-25th-inc-2018/

#bestFeatherstonemoment

My best Featherstone moment this year  was tracking down at the BBC archives and receiving a PDF of the almost illegible typed and hand annotated talk scripts of two Donald Featherstone radio talks.  As John remarked, I may have been the first person to read these since Don Featherstone in 1962/63. I have passed the copyrighted transcripts to John Curry for future use and publication through the History of Wargaming Project.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/donald-featherstones-bbc-radio-talks-1962-1963/

I have also been tracking Don Featherstone through the newspaper archives

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/donald-featherstone-tabletop-generals-daily-herald-article-march-21-1961/

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Daily Herald March 21 1961 – almost a nice 43rd birthday present!

How should we best celebrate the Centenary of Donald F. Featherstone? 

1. Read one of Don’s many books?

Plenty of military history titles as well as his wargaming books to choose from. Reprints are available through the  History of Wargaming Project set up by John Curry. http://wargaming.co

2. Play a Featherstone inspired game?

Plenty of scenarios in his books across all periods. Plenty of his simple “Back of postcard” rules on  my blog or in his books.

3. Watch the great little short video with Don and John Curry on YouTube

 

4 Listen to a podcast by Don about his WW2 experiences  from Bovington Tank Museum

http://tankmuseum.org/download?id=41236

How amazing that the author of the handtyped 1960s Wargamers Newsletter and BBC Radio talks  should be recording a podcast and only missed the games blogging age by a few years.

5. Do a Featherstone themed conversion such as finishing my Airfix footballer to saloon girl conversion?

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Don was famous for his homecasting or his conversion of one available figure into many others.

This inspired many others and does still today including Rod MacArthur who had the privilege of gaming and figure making with Donald Featherstone and Tony Bath  from 1960 onwards  https://rodwargaming.wordpress.com/about/

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

 

 

 

 

#MARCH-ing bands aside, my Featherstone footballer turned wildwest showgirl is my current unfinished work in progress. #MARCH

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/fembruary-post-no-4-a-womans-right-to-vote-and-serve-march/

Arguably every gaming day is a Featherstone day for many gamers, every day that we use a version of his rules, read his books or do our hobby thing, especially if you were inspired by Donald Featherstone’s books out of the library as a child, we celebrate his life, his hobby and his work.

What might you do to celebrate Donald Featherstone’s Centenary or #Featherstone100?

I’d love to hear your #Featherstone100 plans or your #bestFeatherstonemoment through your blogs or my comments page.

“The pleasure does not begin and end with the actual playing of the war-game. There are many pleasant hours to be spent in making model soldiers, painting them, constructing terrain, carrying out research into battles, tactics and uniforms …” Donald Featherstone, War Games 1962. Wise words indeed!

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The very library book that started it all for me – used in my Airfix ACW game last year.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 3 March 2018 (Centenary of the Treaty of Brest Litovsk)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

The domestic modelling joys of the Roll Top Desk

Reprinted from Henry Harris, How to Go Collecting Modelling Soldiers (PSL, 1969)

Posted in response to the photos of his desirable new roll top desk for painting and modelling by Alan Tradgardmastre at the ever interesting Duchy of Tradgardland blog

http://tradgardland.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/new-to-me.html

Some illustrators I know use roll top desks for much the same tidy domestic reasons.

Henry Harris’ useful little book also has a 6 page chapter on Wargames by Donald Featherstone including a short rules section, reprinted here and those in Featherstone’s own Book Tackle Model Soldiers This Way (Stanley Paul, 1963) :

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/featherstone-simple-ww2-rules/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 15 September 2018.