A happy discovery as I sorted and restowed boxes yesterday, I found I had an overlooked small unit of Peter Laing 15mm American Civil War Union infantry that I had bought online already painted and based in threes some years ago.
In their painting at least, these in Bob Cordery’s words are OBEs – Other Beggars’ Efforts.
I found tucked away in a small box 33 painted figures of ACW Infantry advancing with rifle (Kepi) F3009 of the small ACW range from the now discontinued ‘out of production’ Peter Laing 15mm range.
As they were when I found them, well based in threes, and painted in union blue, mostly with black kepis.
When I discovered them, they were based in threes, which is no use to me as I fight individual figure skirmish games. So the often tedious process of F and B (Flocking and Basing) or in this case, Rebasing and Flocking began yesterday.
Once split off their triple bases, I tried to keep as much of the original figure flocking as I could. Something of their OBE original basing would remain. I glued each figure to a 15mm by 15mm base of scrap mounting board, then used PVA glue and railway flock to cover the gaps.
Once the figures have their base gaps covered in PVA, they were gently plunged into the layers of mixed railway flock in the pink box and left for a while.
I was short of a unit officer, so a previous paint conversion of an A503 Gunner with handspike from the Peter Laing ECW range stepped in to lead them temporarily.
WordPress tell me that this is my 500th Blogpost on Man of TIN blog since it began in 2016. Thank you for reading!
Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 5 April 2020
B.P.S. Blog Post Script
As this is a “hands-on, brain off” type of activity, which is calming enough in itself, I found some suitable period music free on a YouTube or Spotify playlist to listen to. Instrumental versions of Songs of the North by Craig Duncan (and its twin recording Songs of the South) kept me company.
I’m not sure what you might listen to whilst painting and basing, but I’m sure the tiny men appreciate it and it is somehow absorbed into their tiny tin DNA during the painting and basing, giving them entertainment and fighting spirit. Enjoy!
“Middle Eastern Swordsmen for Hire … will go anywhere … do anything … any period … please somebody buy us and paint us and base us.” I wonder if that’s what goes through the lead head thoughts of some of these unloved figures.
These Peter Laings have been sitting online on EBay for so long, that eventually I started to feel sorry for the tiny 15mm chaps.
Every time I went online to look for Peter Laing figures, these unloved and unwanted specimens would turn up.
Peter Laing Ancients seem on the whole less desirable than his later period figures ranges.
I didn’t have a “mounted Camel spearman”. Everybody needs at least one …
EBay retailer figures4sale listed the others as “M207 Turkish Horse Archer and M410 Hun cavalry” and the rather genetic “Middle eastern swordsmen x 5”. I have yet to check them in the catalogue. Maybe some of the MeWe Peter Laing community will beat me to it
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 25 January 2020
A Peter Laing pity party … tinier than the curious Puddles Pity Party at the Postmodern Jukebox HQ. Slowed down cabaret American punk – like an armoured camel, just what everyone secretly needs.
Aerial view of the skirmish area set out as in the Solo Wargaming book. Turn 1
My tribute to Stuart, using some of his former 15mm Peter Laing troops, is a small Ancient skirmish.
It is based on the ‘Wheel Meet Again’ scenario in his Guide To Solo Wargaming. The rules are based on his simple rules in his Guide to Wargaming.
Scenario 8 – Wheel Meet Again
“A lightly guarded convoy of wagons has run into a spot of bother. One of the wagons has suffered a broken wheel and had to be left behind with a guard by the rest of the convoy. On reaching their destination the scouts pass on their news about the disabled wagon. At once a relief column is organised, complete with spare wheel to put the wagon back in service and sets off.
Meanwhile the enemy is also interested in the immobile wagon and its small escort and decide to investigate. The wagon guard, on the alert for just such an event, open fire on the inquisitive enemy, hoping that relief is at hand.
This scenario is fought in three stages. Firstly the wagon guards attempt to keep their attackers at bay. Next reinforcements arrive and deploy to allow the wagon to be repaired. Finally the wagon and its new escort have to gain the safety of the eastern edge of the table once more. A moderately complex, three-part engagement follows and offers numerous permutations for the solo player …”
Stuart Asquith, p.74 Solo Wargaming (1989)
I am not normally an Ancients player but having picked up several years ago a 15mm Pict / Celtic and Roman army from Stuart Asquith and also other figures from online sellers, I have enough scraps of Egyptians, Greeks, Assyrians etc to field several different national skirmish forces.
The setting: Roman Britain – the Pictish wilds
A Roman supply column has left behind a broken down wagon with a few escorts, promising to send a relief force.
A small shadowing hunting party of Pictish scouts lurk to the Northwest.
The broken wagon is a fire cart, a blacksmiths cart, belonging to the Roman Army.
Stuart recommends a small ‘Wagon Guard’ force for part one, such as 6 archers (or musketeers in later periods).
A d6 is thrown to find out when reinforcements on both sides will arrive. In this game they would appear on Turn 5, Romans to the East and Picts to the West.
After playing the game I noticed that Stuart Asquith suggested that one d6 is thrown to work out which turn for the arrival of the enemy, two d6 for the arrival of the supply column.
There are several areas of uncrossable forest to the Southeast and Southwest and a passable rocky forest outcrop to the North East.
It takes two turns to fix the wagon once the Roman forces reach this waggon with the repair tools and a spare wheel. Repairs take the help of four men.
Phase 1 – Holding the Pictish Scouting Party at Bay
Turn 1 sees the Roman armoured archers spread out into a defensive circle, the Pictish scouting party spread out to the Northwest. The Roman archers land two successful hits at mid range and hit the two Pictish archers.
Without distance or range weapons, the Picts charge into melee – one Roman archer is killed and two more Pictish spearman.
In some melee situations, the +1 advantage of the armour of a Roman archers is cancelled out by being confronted by two Pictish spearmen +1.
Roman archers fought the melee with their swords, so are unable to fire this round.
With few Pict scouts left, we take a morale test to work out what the Picts will do. Roll d6 – 1,3, 5 continue for melee and 2,4,6 outnumbered, retreat. The Picts move into melee and being within firing range, the last Picts are quickly wiped out.
Turn 4 sees the Roman Archers regroup.
Phase 2 the Relief Column Arrives
The Pictish War Band and Roman relief column arrived on the scene at opposite ends. The Light Cavalry and Light Infantry head out ahead of the others. Roman archers take out a Pictish light cavalryman and archer. The Pictish archers miss their targets.
The Roman light infantry and cavalry ride up with the mounted office of the relief column to join the Roman archer Wagon Guards who fall back behind the wagon to join them.
In the ensuing movement / melee and fire turns, 2 more Pictish archers are successfully targeted by the Roman archers but the Roman mounted officer is killed by a Pictish archer.
Romans move first and the legionaries in the relief column reach the stranded waggon – the light infantry and cavalry on both sides clash in melee. Two Roman cavalry and two auxiliaries are quickly killed.
At this stage the Picts have a series of lucky dice throws, spelling disaster for the Romans. They slam into the Roman ranks, killing the last 4 Roman archers of the Wagon Guard.
The Romans are unable to fire their pilum short spears as their own men are out in front. Fortunately the Pictish archers are equally blockedfrom firing by the presence of their own men.
In the melee the Roman Eagle standard bearer and another infantry officer is killed. However the Eagle is quickly grabbed by another legionary.
As soon as the Romans can throw their pilums, six Pictish warriors are brought down.
Rule – only the first two rows can throw pilums.
In turn 8 the two front Roman ranks who have thrown pilums spread out to counter the Picts to their right. 6 more legionaries are lost in melee before the remaining pilums are thrown taking out three more Pictish archers and spearmen.
As the Picts move into further melee, 2 more legionaries fall – the Eagle is again grabbed to safety by the Roman officer – and 4 Picts are killed. Only one of the Pictish archers is left.
On the Pictish side, only one archer, a spearman and the mounted Pictish officer and one of foot remain.
On the Roman side, 4 legionaries, the trumpeter and officer with the Eagle remain.
The morale test – throw d6 1,3,5 to retire and 2,4,6 to fight on.
The Picts choose to retire, the Romans to fight on.
Phase 3 – The Wagon repairedand rescued
The Picts retreat and the Roman legionaries repair and recover the wagon, heading off to the East, wary of further Pictish attack.
A beer tribute to Stuart Asquith who watched over the whole proceedings.
Once the game was over, I raised a glass of WW1 anniversary beer to Stuart in thanks for all he had done for my hobby.
Sadly my last bottle of this 2014 WW1 anniversary Cornish vintage beer picked up on my travels hadn’t aged well in the bottle. I had picked up a couple of beer mats for figure basing from the pub after Sunday lunch after an earlier walk – appropriately drinking some Tribute beer.
Rest In Peace, Stuart Asquith – hope you enjoyed the game.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 17 / 18 November 2019.
My Solo Opponent for the weekend? Stuart Asquith in his 1988 Guide to Solo Gaming.
I was saddened by the news about Stuart Asquith’s death, whose funeral is on Monday the 18th of November. It has been good to read the many tributes to him by his gaming friends and readers, as his family have also publicly said.
One of these excellent books mentioned by Stuart is literally top of my list of Ancients research, Nils Saxtorph’s Warriors and Weapons of Early Times (Blandford Colour). Many of my childhood drawings were based on this book. Like the Asquith titles, my copy of this wonderful colour book came from my local childhood branch library when they started inexplicably selling off ‘old’ books in the 1990s (!) That was back in the days of reading Stuart Asquith in Military Modelling.
Choosing just one suitable small scale Skirmish scenario has been a challenge from the many ones in his Solo Wargaming book. One that I have looked forward to playing again is the ‘Stranded Wagon’ scenario 8, Wheel Meet Again, adaptable to almost any period from stranded oxcart of early times and Wild West waggon to broken down supply lorry or futuristic (but broken) cargo speeder.
When is the rescue party going to arrive?
Will the escort hold out long enough?
Can wheel repairs be done in time under the threat of attack?
Stuart’s stranded waggon scenario in his Guide to Solo Wargaming
Before I play out this Solo scenario at the weekend or on the evening of the day that he is put to rest on the 18th November, I need to slightly undo some of Stuart’s handiwork to turn these figures back to single basing.
I’m sure Stuart would be pragmatic about my adapting his multi figure basing to single figures. Stuart’s basing tips from his Guide to Wargaming are shown above, including beer mats that Stuart has used here.
Beer mats aside, some Beer may need to be opened and drunk in Stuart’s memory as well, on or close to the 18th November in spirit alongside my fellow gamers and admirers of Stuart’s many books.
I also want to fit in a 54mm game skirmish in Stuart’s memory soon, an unfashionable scale that he supported.
I shall post pictures afterwards.
The Click2Comic treatment of Stuart Asquith, Solo gamer!
And finally … my Peter Laing 15mm Ancient British Chariot Squadron which will probably not be appearing in this “Wheel Meet Again” Stuart Asquith Solo Scenario.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 15 November 2019
Preparing for an Ancients Solo Skirmish this weekend, a tribute game in Stuart Asquith’s memory, using Stuart’s very own old 15mm Peter Laing Roman and Pictish Army.
I bought these figures, which were painted and based by Stuart, from him via an online dealer about two years ago. I have yet to split or alter the beermat bases into individually based skirmish figures.
Before I do this rebasing (which mostly involves simply cutting the multiple figure beermat bases like the archers into two individual bases), I wanted to photograph them all together, under the watchful eye of their old commander for the last time.
The Picts have some attractive swirly body tattoo or body paint, along with some great command figures.
Elsewhere if I want to transform these into Ancient Britons, I have some old Peter Laing 15mm British chariots somewhere and some Assyrian and Egyptian ones – good for chariot racing games.
There are some attractive 15mm Peter Laing Pictish and Roman / German Auxiliary Cavalry and Mounted Archers. There is also a non-Laing Pictish C in C on Horseback
The Roman and Pictish foot soldiers are backed up by these colourful Peter Laing Pictish and Roman Cavalry.
Many of the figures have Stuart’s unit ID notes on the bases, which I will do my best to photograph and preserve as I split up the bases to individual figures bases.
The Peter Laing Romans are superb little figures.
There are also what I take to be auxiliary troops and some great Roman artillery.
I’m sure my fellow Peter Laing collector colleagues will help me ID with catalogue numbers some of these Ancients figures over the next few months.
I have other Peter Laing 15mm Ancient figures acquired over many years or dual use items from my teenage Middle and Dark Ages Peter Laing figures. Stuart’s Romans can take on (in Ancient future) my Egyptians, Greeks, Sea Peoples and others, even my Zulus. I even have a Peter Laing elephant with howdah somewhere!
I wish I’d asked Stuart for a bit of ‘commander in chief’ advice, as Ancients are a relatively new period for me, aside from playing rough games with my Airfix Romans and Britons many years ago.
However there are his many books to give me some strategy advice.
As well as Stuart’s very simple rules in his books (pictured), there are also simple Ancients rules in Donald Featherstone’s War Games (1962), which also has as an appendix my favourite ‘Close Wars’ Skirmish rules.
So still a little work to do to get my Skirmish game ready for Sunday / Monday in Stuart’s memory.
I have chosen a scenario from the Stuart Asquith book of Solo Wargaming.
The WW1 centenary (2014) ‘soldier’ beer is ready.
Preparation of the game blog post to follow.
Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on 15 November 2019
After a cool early morning stroll through my nearest local village I walked past a fundraising car boot sale. I was tempted to start a small Sylvanian Army by equipping small furry clothed creatures with shields, swords and spears (Redwall style) but kindly left them all to be discovered with delight by a local child.
Instead I bought a Scottish Croft for a Pound.
Thankfully I don’t now have to upsticks and move Northwards to embrace the Good Life of Self Sufficiency anytime soon, only to find both the off-grid smallholding novelty and the delusion wear out quickly. Then write a book about it.
Or maybe not – because it is a very very tiny Croft House and a very small piece of land. It also comes with a tiny flock of sheep built in!
Instead I moved in some suitably tiny tenants into this little resin Lilliput Lane building – some of my vintage 15mm Peter Laing 1715 or 45 Rising figures. I’m not too sure if they are happy about the sheep or the related Highland Clearances that will follow in the next century.
Crofting, Clearances, Sheep or People?
The Highland Clearances (or the “eviction of the Gaels”) were the forced evictions of many tenants in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, mostly in the period 1750 to 1860.
“After the initial swift and bloodthirsty retribution for the Jacobite rebellions, laws were instigated to prevent any further groundswell of support for the previous monarchs. In 1747 ‘The Act of Proscription’ was passed. Clan tartan had become popular during the Jacobite years and this was outlawed under this new act, as were bagpipes and the teaching of Gaelic. The Act was a direct attack on the Highland culture and way of life, and attempted to eradicate it from a modern and Hanoverian-loyal Scotland.”
The article continues: “It was not only Highland culture that disappeared over this period but also the Highlanders themselves, for the most prosaic of reasons: money. It was deduced by those landowners on whose lands the clans lived and worked, that sheep were exponentially more financially productive than people. The wool trade had begun to boom and there was literally more value in sheep than people. So, what followed was an organized and intentional removal of the population from the area. In 1747, another Act was passed, the ‘Heritable Jurisdictions Act’, which stated that anyone who did not submit to English rule automatically forfeited their land: bend the knee or surrender your birthright …”
The hundred or so years between 1750 and 1860 saw the bulk of the Highland Clearances, forced eviction from farms or a move into alternative Crofting tenancies. For many, it led to eventual forced emigration to avoid famine and failed industries like kelp farming. It is still an emotive area of many people’s family histories scattered around the world. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Clearances
So a Scottish Croft for only an English Pound has a lot of complex and partisan economic, social, colonial and military history lurking behind it.
With such big spending, I could have posted this blog post on Pound Store Plastic Warriors.
For a few months my gaming area and tabletop have been covered in broken Britain’s figures awaiting repair, Peter Laing 15mm figures awaiting paint, tools and useful bits of scrap for modelling.
I am as happy casting, repairing and painting figures as I am gaming with them, hence the quote on Man of TIN blog from Donald Featherstone:
The largest hex game board has hung on the wall being a former picture frame – a neat storage solution tucked away in the corner of a shared living room.
As part of the Scout Wide Games research and rules writing, I am not sure if my hex boards will be too small for the 42mm range Scout figures I have painted. Maybe I should have gone smaller, say OO/HO railway or my Pound Store figure conversions? Different size figures, different scale scenarios?
I have been playing around with scale from 54mm superheroes and tiny blocky Minecraft blind bag figures (Heroscape hexes have a 3D landscape Minecraft feel) down to 15mm Peter Laing figures, which give a bigger playing space.
Having a large enough landscape for the Wide Games scenarios is obviously harder with the larger Scout figures 42mm Shiny Toy Soldiers / Little Britons range (from Spencer Smith Miniatures), so the scale and ground space available may shape the scope of future scenarios.
My couple of quick paint conversions of Pound Store figures in a smaller scale may enlarge the territory available to my Scouting games – I can cheaply and quickly knock up a couple of patrols of these to try this out.
Part of the Wide Games appeal is that tabletop Wide Games could equally function as Garden games especially with the largest, simplest 60mm semi-flat Scouts – as pointed by Alan the Tradgardmastre of the Duchy Of Tradgardland Blog.
If only my ageing knees and back and the weather were up to it …
The rest of the space?
A column of Really Useful Boxes divides the playing space from the crafting space. More Really Useful Boxes and Shoe Boxes are stowed away below the gaming table and the chairs.
Acquiring job lots of broken toy soldiers to repair requires storage. The Peter Laing figures, both painted and awaiting paint, require storage. Scrap modelling materials, tools and paints require storage.
For the last few months, wriggling into the old crafting chair has felt like sliding into a narrow cockpit to focus down onto the hand tools, paintbrush and figures in front of me. It’s also meant that I had no gaming space. Shifting these about and restowing boxes has helped no end.
I understand more fully now the points about concentration and wellbeing made in the Models for Heroes videos. There is a mental craft zone that the world shrinks down to.
I am reminded of the ominous episode in Harry Pearson’s gaming memoir Achtung Schweinhund where Harry hears from his gaming best friend about an obsessive hoarder (stereotypically male, middle aged, single). This man’s decaying house is in danger of collapse from an Aladdin’s Cave of stored vintage unboxed figures, magazines and newspapers, yet eerily the paint table is immaculate and ordered. Harry and friend see a vision of their possible lonely futures.
The cutting board and painting space that forms my crafting area has now transferred to the right of the board onto a flap down modern bureau desk, rather than than the traditional modeller’s Roll Top type desk. It fits into the rest of the family without sitting in a room apart. It’s stuffed full of toy soldier things and research notes and books for other work-related projects, protected from paint splatters by a removable cardboard screen. Reorganising the contents means that everything should be able to fold back up out of sight.
The desk top “display” space itself could also do with a tidy up as it is currently piled with figures and books that I have worked on in the last year. Inspiration but it’s also a jumble of what has been inside my head recently.
Next to this sits a small bulging cupboard stuffed full with books, hollowcast figures and hoarded Airfix figures and kits from childhood onwards, again its top piled with this year’s projects. Again all of these could do with a sort through on another grey day.
More Really Useful storage boxes live in the garage for my metal casting kit, buildings, some other temperature proof gaming stuff and metal figures, whilst the indoor storage is reserved for the more vulnerable fragile vintage and childhood plastics figures and vehicles.
The painting above the desk is a recent acquisition, a framed Illustrated London News print of the Lancashire Rifle Volunteers parading at Knowsley Park. Britain’s Victorian Home Guard against another Napoleonic French invasion, and finely dressed at that. One for Marvin at Subterranean Militarism!
So there you are, restored –
an experimental games lab to try out Wide Games or gaming scenarios indoors,
an encouragement to paint and base those Peter Laings stuck in the lead limbo of the ‘work in progress’ painting box,
hopefully a little more presentable part of the Living Room if we have visitors to the house!