With The Sword and the Shiny New Shooter

TSAF Recon Mission Report, somewhere in the twin mists of The Great River and the 1930s:

The TSAF (Toy Soldier Air Force) is continuing and widening its search of the Yarden Forests of South Generica for any traces of missing explorer Colonel Bob “Jumbo” Fazackerly.

The skilled TSAF Pilots and their Observers / Navigators in their newly delivered Hybrid twin seater single engine monoplanes are scouring a wider and wider area around the upper reaches of the Great River, the Colonel’s last known position.

Natives are hostile? TSAF pilot and observer / navigator run back to their new kite …

Colonel Fazackerley, a seasoned veteran of many a past military campaign, was last seen several months ago heading off “Up River” into the South Generican forests and mountains. Some say the Colonel was in search of inscriptions and artefacts in a rumoured lost cave temple of a lost ancient Generican tribe etc. etc.

Others mention that it is also known that descendants of these ‘lost’ tribes are not always friendly to outsiders. Rumours of unrest amongst these Yarden and Great River tribes have also reached the Colonial Governor, one of the many sons of Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond.

The exact nature of the Colonel’s Mission or Expedition has not been disclosed by the Governor.

How I made Colonel Fazackerley

Colonel Bob started life amongst the ranks of Johillco Line Infantry (shown right below).

At some point during his previous life or military career he lost his head and his rifle, as well as his left arm.

When he arrived amongst a job lot of Broken Britain’s and other damaged hollowcast lead toy soldiers that I am repairing, he barely had any paint left either.

I repainted his scarlet jacket and blue trousers with Gloss Acrylics but then had other ideas.

The Colonel was reborn from my Bits Box, Frankenstein style, thanks to a spare Dorset Soldiers head, and a homecast officer’s sword arm from the Prince August 54mm Traditional Toy Soldier set.

I could have repaired or restored him, as I have done with other similar broken Johillco figures, back to his original Line Infantry firing role.

However something about the look of the stub of the broken rifle reminded me of a chunky automatic American style revolver. This suggested an officer, so next it was finding the right individual sort of hat.

Johillco 54mm figures are a little heftier than the more slender Britain’s figures, so can more easily take the Prince August 54mm cast arms and head. I tried various heads. Eventually I settled on a Dorset Soldiers head with slouch or bush hat from my Bits Box.

This still left the problem of the missing left arm.

Rather than making a new one from a wire “arm-ature” wrapped in masking tape and a Fimo polymer clay hand, I rummaged through my Bits Box again and found a spare Prince August officer’s right sword arm from a past casting session.

Snipping and filing this sword arm at the elbow to match the left arm stump, it was simply attached by drilling stump and arm with a fine 1mm drill bit to insert a short wire stub which joined the two, secured by superglue.

This gives the look of a sword or long machete for slicing through jungle creepers and stylishly seeing off any hostile natives or fierce animals.

A shaved cocktail stick glued on made a simple scabbard.

A spare Dorset Soldiers backpack made a knapsack.

All that remains to make or find to equip the Colonel for campaigning is a suitable water bottle and pistol holster.

Leather knee boots and Sam Browne type belt / knapsack strap were simply painted on.

His shiny new shooter was painted in silver.

The Colonel and a Johillco Line Infantryman with what looks like a useful sawn-off shotgun …

This Dorset head had no cast moustache, so I added a painted one and pink cheek dots to keep that old toy soldier look to the face. A coat of Gloss varnish over the Matt Acrylic Khaki suggested a more vintage toy soldier look too.

What I wanted to achieve was a simple, old-fashioned toy soldier factory paint scheme, nothing too fussy or realistic, more toy soldier or Tintin cartoon.

The Natives are (not always) Friendly …

I have spent several weeks repairing and repainting broken Britain’s and other 54mm hollowcast figures to form some suitable native tribes and troops for future garden, yarden and tabletop skirmish games. Spears and weapons were often missing, sometimes bases, legs and arms.

A mixture of Broken Britain’s and Johillco Zulus, Crescent and Britain’s Indians have so far joined the North and South Generican native tribes defending their hard-won territories against various civilising (for which read aggressive) Colonial Imperialists of many nations.

Rifles or spears were repaired or added with wire and masking tape.

These natives will give Colonel Fazackerley and friends something to watch over the shoulder for. I shall show more of these rearmed and repainted colourful tribes in the coming weeks.

No match for the Colonel? Crescent Chief with broken tomahawk now has a replacement spear.

A Man of Many Missions

When he is not lost in the Generican forests and mountains of my Yarden, Colonel Bob can relive the glories of his youth out and about on campaign with a variety of field forces from the Bore War (sorry, Boer War) to the North West Frontier, Boxer Rebellion, Burma, the old West and WW1 East Africa, a military family career stretching back and far and wide to his relatives fighting in the American Civil War (but on which side is not fully known). Did he ever tell you

Danger follows him where others fear to tread …

Rearmed repainted Britain’s Medicine Man with the Crescent one with snake curled up leg.

Look out Fazackerley, they’re behind you!

Led by two friendly native guides (Britain’s on Guard and Johillco at trail), Fazackerley explores …

He is rumoured to have disappeared and spent some time in his youth soldiering in the ranks of the French Foreign Legion.

Fazackerley is a man who has served in many forces on many expeditions and missions under many Aliases, thanks no doubt to his gift for getting by in many languages.

Not all the Natives are Unfriendly …

A recently repaired, repainted and rearmed Broken Britain’s second grade Zulu with new spear …

Soon all will be ready for the forests, mountains and rocky plains of the back garden, Yarden or cluttered Close Wars terrain of the tabletop.

My versions of Featherstone’s (Little) Close Wars rules apply to such Natives vs Troops encounters. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

Other simple Featherstone War Games (1962) rules (ACW / WW2) handle larger skirmish troop actions.

Revolvers and rifles aside, simple Bartitsu and Gerald De Gre / Featherstone duelling rules apply for melee and skirmish.

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

And finally

When, where or how the Colonel acquired his unusual “Jumbo” nickname is a tale for another time … one for when he no doubt turns up again with more tall stories and ripping yarns!

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 16 July 2018.

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Wilko Wild Western Express Train

In between planning airplane conversions, I have been repairing Broken Britain’s hollowcast 54mm Indians and casting more Prince August 40mm Cowboys and Indians ready for some garden skirmish games soon.

So adding a Western train set isn’t so surprising …

Vintage 54mm Pound Store Plastic Cowboys and Indians fight over the cargo and caboose of my new Wilko Western Express train.

A snip of a plastic battery operated railway set at £10. Read more at:

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2018/07/14/the-wild-wilko-western-express/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 14 / 15 July 2018.

Heroscape Duelling in the Garden

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The Heroscape Hex tile islands and Heroscape figures over a spotty grid sea of lovely sea blue oilcloth.

I stayed in the shade of the trees surrounding our garden during  the very hot and sunny Father’s Day  weekend. We raided several starter Heroscape packs for hex tile and figures for a knockabout duelling game  in the garden using versions of the Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust duelling rules.

Even the garden table cloth or white spotty oilcloth wanted to join in as a sort of hex sea between the hex islands.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/duelling-in-the-sandpit-lunge-cut-and-stop-thrust/

I’m not what many would call a fantasy gamer, despite my historical Imagi-Nations and the occasional 54mm Space based garden game. These Heroscape figures came prepainted with the very useful Heroscape plastic Hex tile ‘make your own 3D gameboard’ terrain system. So it seemed a shame not to use them occasionally.

Heroscape games system

If you’re not familiar with the Heroscape game and figures by MB / Hasbro, available secondhand online, visit the following sites

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/heroscape-duelling-figures/

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/11170/heroscape-master-set-rise-valkyrie

Extensive fan site: https://www.heroscapers.com/community/blog.php?u=2

amd a fulsome Wikipedia entry or two:

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

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/90725/so-youve-decided-buy-heroscape-primer-2011-update

On my sister blog I have featured more about these unusual or versatile Heroscape painted figures, despite their odd 35mm sizing.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/heroscape-duelling-figures/

The starter or master sets I had bought second-hand provided several interesting warrior groups:

  • Mech type robots  – Zettian Guards (not shown in photographs)
  • Samurai type figures – Izumi Samurai
  • Elite Airborne figures
  • Government type agents – Krav Maga agents
  • Viking type fantasy Ancient warriors
  • Marro scary aliens

Very soon as I and other family members chose Heroscape warrior squads to take each other on in individual duelling or melee bouts, we switched from the slower cards (Parry and Lunge, Stop-Thrust and Cut system) to the quicker d6 version suggested by Kaptain Kobold.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/more-duelling-inspiration-mexicans/

The games proved short and brutal, mostly involving fast melee, using the Kaptain Kobold modification or d6 dice version of Gerard De Gre’s Lunge Cut and Stop Thrust rules for melee or duelling.

1-2 Hit on Attacker (lose one point)

3 – Both Hit (lose one point each)

4 – Both  Miss

5-6 Hit on Defender (lose one point)

To simplify the rules, speed and  even things up between the different Heroscape tribes or clans, we declared all figures or weapons equal in melee and no ranged weapons. In that way a Mech Robot could be defeated by a Samurai or Viking.

Each character had 5 life or combat points (recorded on a dice next to them during combat) and could also only move 2 hexes, halved if moving uphill or through water.

The surviving or winning duellist gained an extra life or combat point when the other rival character was killed off. It quickly got fast, fatal and furious!

My FBI  X-Files team didn’t last long against the grim-faced Alien Marro figures. Warrior Mech Zettian Guards  fought Izumi Samurai and fantasy Vikings, then Elite Airborne figures.

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X Files type Government agents take on Elite WW2 Airborne …

Waterproof  Scenery?

This was also the first outing for some new aquarium ornament resin scenery picked up in a handy 3 for 2 ornaments sale at Pets at Home. A battered rope bridge, a jungle temple, two Ewok style tree houses with lush jungle foliage, a Greek or Roman ruined temple and a Chinese or Japanese fishing boat. All variously suitable for 15 to 40mm size figures.

I didn’t tell the checkout lady the truth when she asked about my non-existent fish and tank,  that these weren’t destined or bought for underwater fish usage but for the gaming table or out in the  garden / yarden for gaming! More on these in a future post.

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Japanese Samurai style warriors take on Fantasy Viking type figures around their Ruined Temple. Whoops – is that rope bridge upside down?
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Asian jungle temple, Chinese or Japanese type fishing boat and Samurai type Heroscape warriors.
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A good view of the new aquarium buildings on Heroscape hex islands.
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The scariest looking of the lot – these Marro type Aliens from the Heroscape starter set.

This proved a short fast knockabout game of the islands suitable for both young and old in the family.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN 21 June 2017.

More seaside Pound Store plastic warriors

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More joy of seaside plastic tat at 50p a box for 30 54mm-ish figures at my sister blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/more-seaside-pound-store-plastic-warriors/

I see for my backyard  Imagi-Nation games some figures who could be Space Marines, US style paratroopers etc.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 30 May 2017.

Baling out and unfreezing the sand table

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The recent nearly but not quite named ‘Storm Doris’ did minor damage in my garden overnight a day or two ago, flipping off the tied on and weighted-down lid of my improvised “sand table”.

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A drowned landscape and forgotten flag …

This ‘sand table’ was flooded with rainwater and a topped with a thin sheet of ice  this morning.

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Quite surreal, as this was how it was otherwise left at the end of a game.

The sculpted sand terrain had smoothed away underwater. Eerily many of the troops were standing or lying still where they had last fought.

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In reality the ‘sand table’ is  a bright blue plastic family sand pit filled with fine play sand but it does service for garden games for all ages of family.

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Cold War? Army transport with rocket launchers entombed in the ice.

Revealed frozen underwater was the end of a last summer  ‘pound store plastic warriors’ sand pit game, literally frozen in time.

I had forgotten to put this game away months ago, just tied the lid on and weighted it with stones.  The weather has not been great in the UK for outdoor garden gaming over the last few winter months.

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Unpainted, these simple pound store troops about 25-30 mm high in three different ‘national colours’ looked surprisingly good underwater, especially this silver cluster.

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I have never built a proper sand table Donald Featherstone style, having heard or read of several near disasters with the weight of sand indoors and the sand’s ability to get everywhere  – “can be rather messy, as sand does not always keep its proper place on the table” as Donald Featherstone points out.

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Wise advice on sand tables  from Donald Featherstone in his War Games 1962

Gaming in the sand pit was always a good garden standby in childhood, mostly using  a rough pile of builders sand in the garden / yard left over from an extension. Growing up with dogs, the sand pit did not thankfully become a litter tray for the neighbourhood cats.

Figures occasionally vanished, sometimes to resurface during later completely different period games. Some were never seen again. By now the entombed 1970s Airfix plastic will have crumbled to dust if that childhood sand pile is still there.

The Sheil website has ‘sand pit’ rules  for those who want to try this in an undrowned sand pit (with well attached roof).

http://www.thortrains.net/armymen/piratgme.htm

http://www.thortrains.net/armymen/westgame.htm

Happy gaming!

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, February 2017.

 

In a Garden Far Far Away

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

Star date: 9.25.2016

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

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

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

He is interrogated with mind control by tiny General Yodel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figures, Vehicles and Buildings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rules and Playtesting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Man of TIN blog, September 2016.

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.