I have bought the odd small mixed lot of gaming figures recently online because they contained small caches of 15mm Peter Laing figures. Now that the moulds are missing, this is one of the few ways to acquire new Peter Laing figures.
Amongst one lot was a small group of about a dozen WW1 Russian Infantry figures with rolled greatcoats F759 and officer F760 but all painted brown with unusual black and white cross-gartered boots.
A quick check in Military Uniforms of The Worldin Colour suggests that the original owner painted them as WW1 Bulgarian Infantry. They needed basing and some of the paint touching up, whilst about half of them have no fixed bayonets.
An unusual choice of figure. I had to go and look up which side the Bulgarians fought for in WW1 – with Germany and the Central Powers from 1915 – and against whom. After a period of early neutrality, courted by both sides, they joined the Central Powers and fought initially against the Serbs, then against other Allied troops including the British on the stalemate of the Macedonian / Salonika Front.
“The Kingdom of Bulgaria participated in World War I on the side of the Central Powers from 14 October 1915, when the country declared war on Serbia, until 30 September 1918, when the Armistice of Thessalonica came into effect.” (Wikipedia)
The unusual leggings are called Opankers and a dull brown woollen uniform was already in use amongst other ranks.
During basing and flocking, I managed not to obscure the well painted opanker leggings too much.
So these Bulgarians were part of the army that invaded and pushed back the Serbian army, whose soldiers that Marvin at the Suburban Militarism blog has been beautifully painting recently, albeit in slightly larger 1:72 plastic figures.
Alongside the painted Peter Laing Bulgarians were some unpainted original figures of Russian infantry and others in peaked caps that may be British, Russian or other figures.
With Peter Laing figures details being so slight at 15mm size, there are a range of similar looking figures in similar helmets or soft and peaked hats which are almost interchangeable with some suitable painting.
A suitbale painting guide for these figures as Russian WW1 infantry can also be found in the same uniform guide.
Amongst some of the other mixed figures were these artillerymen, one type medieval and the other Russian fur hatted artillery men.
There were also a couple of machine gunners. Not sure which nation or side the left hand figure represents, the right hand figure may well be ANZAC machine gunner Fseven five two.
With so few of these Russian figures it is difficult to know whether to paint the remaining nineteen unpainted infantry as Russians.
Alternatively I could paint most of them as Bulgarians to make a small Bulgarian skirmish force of about thirty to thirty five figures to fight my British pith-helmeted infantry in a Macedonia or Balkan scenario, aided by the WWI Turkish infantry that I have. The two uniforms are pretty close anyway to paint and use interchangeably with a bit of gamer’s licence. I may keep one figure back to use as a future mould original and one to paint as a Russian figure.
You won’t find a Peter Laing 15mm WW2 Western Desert range as his WW2 range was a limited WW2 range of Americans, British and Germans.
Now that the Peter Laing figures are sadly no longer available and the original moulds probably lost, there will be no specific WW2 Western Desert range. However the slight detail of Peter Laing’s 15mm figures, which were painstakingly carved from laminated plasticard, here proves to our benefit:
“Detail is kept muted so there is no overscale effect, the detail in the figure depends on the amount that is put in the painting.” (Peter Laing Catalogue intro)
“It is naturally difficult to cover every Army type, but I have tried to give a good representative range to enable satisfactory games to be played. In 15mm scale it is possible, by judicious use of paint, to vary one figure to represent various army types, and of course the use of a file and knife can extend the utility of a figure even further.” (Peter Laing Catalogue Ancients section)
Conversion was something Peter encouraged through his suggestion of Dual Use Items / Suitable Items from other ranges.
As Peter produced an unusually comprehensive WW1 range at a time when few makers (except Airfix) had any WW1 gaming figures, there are perfectly good WW1 Late German infantry and artillery that can be used for WW2 troops.
F743 German Infantry Advancing, Steel Helmet
F745 German Infantry grenade thrower, Steel Helmet
This set of unpainted WW1 German figures came with a few Feldgrau painted figures, some with red insignia and piping etc of a WW1 German soldier or a colourful early pattern camouflage of a Stalheim or Steel helmet.
At some point when I have acquired enough Peter Laing British steel helmet figures, picked up online in ones and twos, I shall paint these spare British infantry in desert colours for a small WW2 desert skirmish force. Some of the khaki Indian infantry with Turbans would complement these well.
I have also experimented with filing down the pointed dome of the pith helmet on some spare WW1 British Infantry Tropical Helmet F748, working on spare figures who have broken bayonets etc, in order to make more of a steel helmet WW2 “desert rat”. They already have the desert shorts. I should be able to make a scratch rifles Platoon / section for small skirmish games in this way.
Peter Laing 15mm WW2 figures
I have posted previously about Peter Laing’s WW2 range and skirmish games
Some of the figures IDs are obvious – I had heard of the Victorian girl with hoop F7051 and Victorian boy with flag F7052 so I was confident that these probably were Peter Laing figures as best I could tell from the small online sales pictures.
The missing figure of the eight is possibly a duplicate of the girl, standing man or boy with flag? As one of my family pointed out, in keeping with today’s pulp fiction / Victorian Science Fiction VSF gaming, this might also be an ultra-rare, uncatalogued Peter Laing 15mm figure of The Invisible Man.
Hopefully my fellow Peter Laing collectors will assist me in identifying the other figures, which are presumably:
F7049 Civilian Male standing – presumably the male figure with the larger hat?
F7050 Civilian female standing – presumably the female figure with the hat or bonnet?
This still leaves unidentified the standing woman or older girl without hat and the man with hat and gesticulating arm on the odd-one-out green base.
Female figures are pretty rare in the Peter Laing range of figures. As part of FEMbruary looking at female figures in my collection, there is
F3006 A female settler and
F3018 Squaw in the ACW / Pony Wars series,
F8006 a Cantiniere in the Franco-Prussian range,
F9013 a peasant woman in the late Samurai series
F6009 a European woman (Memsahib) in the Indian Mutiny range.
Any of these might be in this box masquerading as Victorian Civilians.
Handling the box itself was interesting, it felt like the same flimsy card on which his card buildings were printed. The box is in fact a single sheet of A4 printed card cleverly folded. Unfortunately they were printed with a spelling mistake or printers typo of “Minatures” instead of “Miniatures”.
Fascinating to have one of these Mitchell sets and best of all, some delightful Peter Laing figures I thought that I would never own.
It has been an interesting Gaming Year, has 2017, or maybe rather more of an interesting Painting Year, mainly playing around with Pound Store Plastic Warriors.
All fully in keeping with the Man of TIN blog favourite quote: “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 …
What’s on the painting table at the moment to take me into the New Painting Year 2018?
Joining in with the general New Year resolutions and looking back, looking forward spirit of many blogs, here are five things that I might get around to in 2018?
NGY 2018 Irresolution One – Carry on Converting
Several tubs of Poundland’s finest “penny dreadful” plastic figures should see me through 2018, along with a jumble of pound store 42mm and 54mm figures.
Pound Store Plastic Warriors is my sister blog to this Man of TIN blog. 2017’s pound store “Little Wars on a Budget” has partly been simple paint conversions and latterly scalpel and tissue page conversions into how many interesting skirmish size forces in 36mm can be made over time from Poundland’s current £1 for 100 plastic Funtastic figures. Lots on the painting table at the moment to take me into the New Painting Year 2018.
NGY 2018 Irresolution Two – More solo short small skirmish games
Get some small skirmish games in on my portable game boards, either on my larger 192 Hexes of Joy board or my two smaller boards.
NGY 2018 Irresolution Three – Paint More Peter Laings
Get painting more of the small stashes of vintage 15mm Peter Laing figures that I have randomly picked up throughout last year, mostly Nineteenth, Colonial and early Twentieth Century / WW1. This should be great fun, whilst the tribal and Arabian figures will help with the next Irresolution …
NGY 2018 Irresolution Four – Full Metal Hic Jacet
Pardon the Pun but the Romans in Britain or (Asterix the) Gaul have always had a bit of a Vietnam or Colonial feel to me. Eagle of the Ninth. Lost legions of the Battle of the Teutoberg Forest 9AD. Trained technically advanced troops versus masses of hit and run wily natives, it’s similar in feel to Andy Callan’s simple rules ‘take’ on the Maori Wars. When he wrote these rules in 1982/3 he “saw them as a sort of Victorian assymetrical Vietnam equivalent – high tech westerners vs wily bunkered-down natives…”
I now have a fair number of Peter Laing 15mm Ancient figures, including some lovely vintage Roman and Pict figures painted by Stuart Asquith! It was good to let Stuart know that they are in good hands and will soon be in action again. Bought during 2017, these Romans and Picts were embargoed in the present cupboard until Christmas. A Happy Christmas Day at the Man of TIN house. Patience apparently is a virtue …
Some of the other randomly acquired Peter Laing Ancients range of infantry, cavalry and chariots are named, some unidentified. I’m sure my fellow members of the Peter Laing Google G+ Community (set up this year by fellow Peter Laing enthusiast Ian Dury) will be a great help here with the ID.
Full Metal Hic Jacet may turn into a new sister or side blog or at least a thematic blog Page on this blog. I checked my Latin online and Hic Jacet is appropriately “Here Lies …”, a common epitaph.
Ancients are quite a new or mystery period to me, apart from the familiar Airfix Romans and Ancient Britons. Cavalry or chariots on the battlefield are a bit of an unknown quantity for me too. Asterix aside, I have started reading up on Ancients, initially Phil Barker’s Airfix Guide to Ancient Wargaming and for simple Ancient rules Donald Featherstone / Tony Bath’s Ancient rules in Don’s War Games (1962). These link into my adaptation of Don’s previous Close Wars skirmish rules.
I also like the Tony Bath Hyboria idea of fictional countries, mentioned in Donald Featherstone’s War Games. This is something that fits well into or prefigures my ongoing Imagi-Nations work based on Angria, Gondal and Glasstown 19th Century Bronte (paracosmic) family fiction set in the colonies.
For uniforms and troop types, there are various Ladybird books and another colourful childhood library classic (j399 SAX) Blandford’s Warriors and Weapons of Ancient Times by Neils M. Saxtorph and Stig Bramsen.
NGY 2018 Irresolution Five – Return to Planet Back Yarden
More Garden games and Close Little Wars in the summer? When the weather improves by summer (!), I might want a change of scale. I hope to get my 54mm ACW figures (mostly unpainted) or the 2017 Close Little Wars conversions, homecasts and hollowcast repairs of the Remount Department back into action in the garden.
However, since watching the recent Star Wars movies VII and VII and my favourite of the three, Rogue One, I have also been wanting to paint the 54mm Airfix Space warriors picked up here and there and Pound Store ‘Space Marines’ that never got painted this year (or 2016).
As it is fast approaching Christmas, there is lots of wrapping and dispatching of parcels in our house at the moment.
I noticed on this Sainsbury’s brown wrapping paper with festive shiny red dots that they have a handy small square grid marked on the back to help with tidy cutting and wrapping.
Like most gamers, my brain instantly thought of gaming applications. I quickly wrapped a spare piece around the backing part of a redundant picture frame – one instant portable game board.
I had put this wooden picture frame aside for future game board use, when its glass broke long ago (Reuse Reduce Recycle etc.) It still has the string on the back, so I can hang this board out of the way somewhere on a spare wall when not in use.
Marking out grid lines on the game board can be tedious and intrusive. These wrapping paper lines are very faint and instant!
With two sides to the frame backing board it would be possible to use either side for game play or more tediously reverse the frame backing board each time. Undoing of the tiny metal clips is fiddly and not a long term solution.
Changing the hanging strap arrangement (D-rings to the side, string with some kind of clips?) would help in making a two sided game board more flexible.
This would allow the same board to be easily used on either of the two sides for two different grid sizes, different terrain habitats or flexible grid sizes.
If I decide to keep this paper grid long term, I will think about pasting the paper down as wrinkle free as possible (possibly with spray mount?) and a coat of varnish to probably help keep it neat. I shall test out on a spare scrap of this wrapping paper to see if some light watercolour terrain patches cause any wrinkling.
I tried the hex board out with some smaller vintage 15mm Peter Laing figures, smaller figures suit the hexes even better.
Obviously such a square grid could feature small size squares or larger squares made of four small size squares.
When I get tired of this grid paper, I can paint over what was before and mark up a fresh new grid board for quick skirmish games.
This gives me a variety of sized hex and square portable game boards, without any carpentry at all! You can see more of them on various of my blog posts including:
Both Peter at Grid Based Wargaming and Bob Cordery sometimes use 15mm Peter Laing figures on their grid based portable games, making them even more worth looking at!
As for Christmas, I have some Peter Laing 15mm figures to look forward to, already wrapped and packed away, embargoed throughout the last few months until Christmas Day. Something to share on the blog in the New Gaming Year of 2018.
Happy wrapping. Happy gaming to all my blog readers.
Occasionally very tiny mixed groups of Peter Laing figures turn up on auction sites or second hand figure sales websites. Sometimes the figures are identified, sometimes not.
I recently bought a group of 18 mixed foot and 2 cavalry – but only recognise a few of them.
Maybe the Google plus Peter Laing group or my blog readers could help me identify these figures?
Some of the native figures may be Mahdists or Dervishes with spear and sword ? Or are they Boxers? These two groups were interchangeable in the Peter Laing range, even appearing as “Suitable Items from Other Ranges” within the same range where Peter suggested F628 Dervish with Spear could be Boxer with Spear.
Ross MacFarlane suggested in the comments: “The others look like Mahdists to me. F612, F628, F629. Your pigtail is probably the tail of the turban which was often left to dangle down the neck. The armoured cavalry looks like M608 Armoured Dervish cavalry. Thanks, Ross!
Ian Dury wrote: Just to confirm Ross’ views on the Colonial and Crimean figures – they are indeed:
F612 (Mahdist) Jihadia rifeleman
F628 Dervish with spear
F628 Dervish with raised sword
M608 Dervish Armoured Horseman
A806 Russian Gunner, sponge
A807 Russian Gunner, Portfire
A few have some paintwork, suggestive of the colourful patches of Dervishes.
The few details on these tiny 15mm figures made them very versatile for paint conversions to other periods or armies.
A few I already recognise like the Zulu, probably F620 advancing raised assegai or F626 Zulu running.
Ross MacFarlane thinks: “The armoured cavalry looks like M608 Armoured Dervish cavalry” which makes more sense in the colonial company it is keeping. I thought at first it might be weird Mounted Norman …
Any help identifying this small random group of Peter Laing figures is much appreciated.
B.P.S. Blog Post Script – Prussian or Russian?
In his comment, Ross thinks that the infantryman has the look of a Crimean Russian infantryman, rather than Prussian Landwehr. This is a sensible suggestion with it being lumped in with stray Crimean Russian gunners.
This would probably make it F824 Russian infantry advancing (cap)?
Hopefully someone with Waterloo Prussian or Crimean Russian Peter Laing figures might have thoughts on this.
Ian Dury’s fine collection of Peter Laing Crimean Russian figures in caps advancing are shown here on Bob Cordery’s blog
Just as the Russian gunner figures look like they have long coats and /or baggy breeches, these figures in Ian’s photographs look to have slightly longer baggy coats. We are only talking a difference of up to a millimetre!
The new unpainted figure is so close to one that I bought from Peter Laing as samples of his Waterloo range in the 1980s that I think the figures, if not the same, are pretty much interchangeable – a bonus really for building up an army!
I photographed my Waterloo Prussians alongside for comparison.
The full extent of my Prussian intervention in a Waterloo setting is currently shown here – tremble, tiny Napoleon!
I am still slightly swayed towards the figure being Napoleonic Prussian rather than Crimean Russian. However it is close enough to the Crimean Russian figures in Ian Dury’s photographs that, thanks to Ross’s suggestion, I could easily use these Landwehr type figures for Crimean War scenarios.
Peter Laing 15mm collector and enthusiast Ian Dury has set up a Google+ Community page / forum to celebrate these early and charming 15mm figures, which are sadly no longer available.
As Ian Dury wrote: “I hope you will all join and contribute – pictures, notifications of e-Bay sales, personal sales and wants are all welcome.”
“If you know of anyone else who would be interested – please let them know!”
Ian also hopefully mentioned: “For those of you who aren’t already Google+ users, you will probably need to register for a (free) GMail account to make full use of the community. You can link this to an existing e-mail account if you use another provider – but you may need to change your G-Mail settings to do so.”
I’m already signed up with a Gmail account and it was easy enough.
This Google community looks to be great fun. Already featured are Peter Laing blogs including Man Of TIN, lots of figure photos and a full Peter Laing catalogue.