My local history research project talk on WW2 in my local area (as a fundraiser) was postponed by COVID from autumn 2021 to late May 2022.
I think the NGY Irresolutions 2020 will still stand after a year or two interrupted but who knows what might happen in 2022?
New Gaming Year’s Irresolutions 2022
In no particular order
1. Cataloguing Peter Laing 15mm figures as part of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the now out-of-production Peter Laing figures, possibly the first 15mm figures when they launched in October 1972.
As well as cataloguing what I have over the next ten months, fellow members of the Peter Laing collectors circle on MeWe have been helping me identify figures and supplying photos of figures I don’t have. Then there’s painting and basing more of my unpainted Laing figure stash and getting in some more 15mm skirmish games?
Peter Laing 15mm Chasseurs d’Alpins (WW1 Range) complete with walking sticks!
2. England or Cornwall invaded – Variations on Operation Sealion / Leon Marino
Still playing around with skirmish ideas as part of my Look Duck and Varnish Blog ongoing Operation Sealion Home Guard games, but also found out more about the WW1 ‘Gorgeous Wrecks’ or Volunteer Training Corps, good for futureVTC Wide Gamesand Victorian / Edwardian / WW1 era ‘what if’ games.
Arma-Dads Army! 1590s Home Guard Elizabethan Muster of conversions and ECW figures against the Spanish Fury, Chintoys Conquistadors and pound store Pirates …
Two Britain’s Ltd. broken Scots charging – a favourite pose – with part repaired rifles, two more figures from the Waifs and Strays group of figures 2021 – “Waifs and Strays” sounds like it should be a Victorian Regimental nickname.
4. I look forward to some more enjoyable tinkering with 54mm repairs of broken lead figures to add to various units. Over the years I have been stashing away battered and broken figures from various donations – cowboys, Indians, redcoats, Scots and Khaki figures – along with the odd intriguing figure bought online.
Arrived last year and put away for Christmas – some very heavy, solid lead and fairly paint distressed Terraton 54mm-ish German semiflats to repair and rebase. Indians, redcoats, trees and farm animals …
5. What else might happen?
Weather permitting maybe will even get some more home casting done outdoors?
Pound Store Plastic figures, Early War Miniatures 1940 Range (for Svenmarck invaded!) and vintage Airfix OOHO figures to restore or rebase for some skirmish games.
My Battling Bronte Sisters (and Branwell!) are almost done, painted and based. Photographing them close up always throws up a few area to finish.
When they are not role playing their heroic parts in their juvenilia ImagiNations of Glass Town, Angria, Gaaldine and Gondal, they are all of course battling with the Dark Forces of Yarkshire folklore.
What started out as two packs of Bad Squiddo ‘Little Wolves’ (youngsters or child sized figures in Annie Norman’s 28mm Amazon Range) have been subtly converted to capture some of the make-believe of children at play.
I thought that they could be painted both as dressed as children role playing games and as heroic figures tackling Dark folkloric forces of Yarkshire.
Distinguishing the sisters is usually done by hair colour, especially in films.
I referred to the famous Bronte portrait by Branwell (centre, who later painted himself out) as well as the recent BBC drama To Walk Invisible for my colour palette.
Reddish hair – Anne – painted in grey with red sash
Brown hair – Emily – painted with longer skirt and green tunic, red belt
Black hair – Charlotte – painted with blue dress and red sash
Clothes – I kept the colour scheme quite dark coloured, sober and practical for parsons’ daughters in wet damp Tropical Yorkshire, even through early Victorians were often more colourful than our image of sober Late Victorians.
Image: Isabel Greenberg’s Glass Town. She uses the same hair colour system.
All paints were Matt Revell Aquacolor Acrylics, starting with a Matt black undercoat.
Faces – in keeping with the overall drab Matt colours of their clothes, boots or clogs etc, I avoided my usual bright gloss colours and toy soldier faces with pink cheek dots etc. Instead I chose a subtle mouth or lip colour ( a trace of carmine red) and a darker flesh using Revell Afrikabraun (or desert brown) instead of flesh.
To add that grungy, muddy feel of children out on the moors or getting mucky playing around the Parsonage, I used a brown shade or wash of Citadel Agrax Earthshade on flesh, faces and folds.
The Branwell ‘problem’
The two packs I bought from Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo were all female.
As I failed to find any suitable 28mm boy figures, I set about converting one of the girl figures into a red haired brother Branwell boy figure.
Filing down an excess of plaited hair, I covered the rest of the luscious plaited locks with an old hooded travelling cape (it were wet, dark and cold up on those moors) made of tissue paper and PVA.
I considered adding breeches or trousers with tissue paper and PVA but thought that Branwell as a boy was the only one in Victorian times who could get away with bare legs and ankles. The parson’s three surviving daughters probably could not.
Branwell’s poems show a familiarity with the classical and heroic epic, so I painted him bare legged, just wearing his ankle boots. His trouser legs are probably rolled up and he is wearing an old smock to look like a classical hero with tunic and cape. All make-believe or possibly real, playing around with that dual use notion.
Branwell (left) and Charlotte (right). Branwell’s cloak hood needs defining by shadow.
Basing is onto 1 penny MDF bases from Warbases, with PVA used to fix a rough mix of grassy flock and fine Cornish beach sand to suggest the moors. Appropriate enough as the Bronte children’s mother was born and grew up in Penzance, not far from the source beach in Cornwall.
Hopefully gritty and northern enough? Until I can go up on the moor and gather some proper Yarkshire grit and dirt.
Battling the Bronte Sisters
These figures are great for duelling games using simple ‘parry and lunge’ (Gerard de Gre) dice or card rules from Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming.
As a gamer with a love of toy soldiers and ImagiNations gaming, I have a lot of time for the Brontes and their intricate fictional Regency and early Victorian worlds of Gondal, Glasstown, Gaaldine and Angria.
If you don’t know them, check out the excellent recent books based on these tiny Bronte manuscripts – Celia Rees’ Glass Town Wars and the graphic novel Glass Town by Isabel Greenberg.
You might also know them through the 1960s children’s fiction book The Return of The Twelves (or Twelve and the Genie) by Pauline Clarke, based on the Bronte children’s original wooden toy soldiers.
The Bronte sisters Emily, Charlotte and Anne and brother Branwell created childhood and teenage imaginary Napoleonic worlds (paracosms) in tiny handwritten books of poetry, prose, drawings and fictional newspaper adverts in the 1830s and 1840s in Yorkshire.
Were the Bronte children some of the first wargamers, ImagiNations gamers and Historical Fantasy RPG players?
I have been playing Bronte inspired ImagiNations games for a number of years now – check out my page for them on my blog here:
That is why I am supporting the campaign by UK libraries and The Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth Yorkshire to keep some of these precious manuscripts of the Law Collection in the Honresfield Library in this country and at their birthplace, rather than disappear into private collections after auction.
Over the last weekend or two I have been painting a strange mixture of metal 20mm figures in my collection, as varied as 1940s Boy Scouts and Girl Guides from Sergeants Mess, some more colourful 1910-20 Mexican Infantry from Jacklex and these Early War Miniatures 1940 Danish Infantry, along with their Dutch equivalent.
One of the best films or programmes that I have seen in the last couple of years that isn’t weird sci-fi (Star Wars / Stranger Things / X-Files) is 9.April, the Danish film about the first few hours of Blitzkrieg as German forces cross the border of Denmark on 9 April 1940.
This tense drama focuses on the fate of a small handful of conflicting characters (including some usual war film stereotypes) in a platoon of bicycle mounted troops desperately to hold off the motorised columns of the German Army until reinforcements arrive.
EWM Danish 1940 Infantry with rifle and grenade
The film has that ‘against the odds’ feel of a western with an outnumbered and outgunned retreating outpost of troops with little chance of the cavalry arriving. The cinematography and its eerie soundtrack captures well the chaos and confusion of the short lived resistance.
Anyway, film club over …
I have posted about the 9.April film before in 2020:
I don’t intend gaming the historical scenarios from Denmark or the Netherlands in 1940.
Instead I will be recreating those insteresting small scale infantry skirmishes in the forests, heaths and border villages of a small Scandinavian ImagiNations setting called Svenmarck. The kind of small country like Leichtenstein that you go through to reach somewhere else. Further north in Nordweg, it’s a bit more snowy forests with beautiful Fjords. It all exists somewhere on or in my ImagiNations map, probably near Tradgardland from Alan Gruber’s blog Duchy of Tradgardland.
No doubt an ImagiNations equivalent or renaming of Nazi Germany will be required, such as Großreich or GrosReich. All ethical issues about gaming the modern period swept aside, then …
***** Update ***** see blog comments below for brief outline of the political and military geography of Tradgardland and Svenmarck and surroundings *****
It was from Alan Gruber and also from Bob Cordery of Wargaming Miscellany that I first heard of this film. Alan has converted some 54mm figures with the help of Danish helmets from the late Les White. Alan’s conversions here show the mix of traditional old black, grey and newer khaki greatcoats in 1940 that Danish troops wore, many of the updated newer khaki uniforms still in store and unissued:
Uniform References / Painting Guide
Preben Kannik, Military Uniforms of the World in Colour (Blandford)
*** EWM Dutch or Netherlands 1940 Infantry are next on the painting table. ***
Painting took longer than expected on these figures as I undercoated using a bulk craft acrylic Mars Black that dries shiny rather than matt, leading it to look in some awkward areas like unpainted shiny metal even after I thought I had first finished painting. This showed up in nooks and crannies in photos, after I had already once overcoated the black greatcoats with Revell Aquacolor Acrylic Teerschwarz / Matt Tar Black. A second overcoat of tar black and targeted infill was required.
Unlike the bicycle troops of the 9.April film, there are forstærkninger or reinforcements on the way. More EWM troops from the Danish, Dutch, Norwegian (and Mexican!) range have been ordered from Paul Thompson at EWM for the Christmas cupboard including Tankette Tuesday material and bicycle troops!
Like Annie at Bad Squiddo’s little extras on postal orders, there’s sometimes the odd complimentary surprise item from EWM as a thank you for ordering, such as resin items (from the EWM scenics range?) like the oil barrels and boxes seen in the photographs. Peter Laing used to do this with his 15mm ranges, such as a new sample figure from a new period, in his rapid post returns.
Good customer service touch, tempting your customers with new ranges of shiny figures …
Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 12 September 2021
B.P.S Blog Post Script
One of my blog readers left me a comment (thanks!) that others may also be interested in re. a free Memoir 44 scenario and hexmap for Denmark 1940 on Kaptain Kobold’s site Hordes of the Things site: