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.
In this second part of 192 Hexes of Joy, I shall look at the (not very) important overhang issue of base sizes – Are they too big for 4cm Heroscape Hexes? Do they need rebasing?
It is also an excuse for some Peter Laing eye candy, if you like slender 15mm.
There also creeps in a comment or two on basing, related to “one man equals how many?” sort of maths, ground scale, unit frontages and stuff that makes my brain hurt at times.
Overhang, Rebase or Disregard?
To start with, I laid out part of my 15mm Peter Laing colonial flying column of British Redcoats and their artillery to see how they would fit onto the Heroscape hexes.
The Peter Laing British colonial artillery pieces in this colonial flying column do fit onto one hex, but the limbers do not quite fit one hex. Limbers are definitely a two hex piece even with base trimming. Two cavalry or four Redcoats fit one hex comfortably.
The geeky Peter Laing figure ID bit: British Colonial figures 600 range
F603 British infantry advancing with F609 British officer standing
M602 British cavalry walking and A623 British Muleteer with A625 Pack Mule
Not too good on my guns but probably A609 15 pdr field gun, A610 Limber and A611 seated gunner for limber, A607 again and for limber M606 Artillery horse with rider and without rider M607
Gun crew A613 Gunner with shell, A603 British Gunner kneeling and A604 British gunner, field glasses (A602 Britsih gunner kneeling with ram not shown)
Hopefully these are correct, I will amend if told otherwise!
My Peter Laing ECW cavalry are still mostly based and ballasted as they were done in c. 1983 / mid 1980s. I thought that these ‘lobsterpots’ were the finest of 15mm figures, apart from his ECW Dragoons, except I was unsure if they had very fragile short swords or pistols.
My 15mm Peter Laing English Civil War cavalry shown here fit two by two, side by side comfortably on one Heroscape hex.
I may rebase these double cavalry figure bases eventually and add some flock variety to the bases. They were based on scrounged spare railway ballast, which could do with some partial flocking for a bit of variety. Painted in my Matt Grunge Airfix / Humbrol enamel phase, I think a recoat in gloss varnish should bring the figures out more.
More Geeky Peter Laing figure ID – skip if you wish! ECW Cavalry 500 series
Left to right – M511 Mounted Officer in Helmet (definitely Cromwell!)
M510 Mounted Officer in Hat. This could be used for Cavalier officers or Royalist generals – I used a Merit OO/HO railway small dog and on occasion a Peter Laing sheep with painted ears to represent Boy, Prince Rupert’s dog.
M506 – Mounted standard bearer in hat alongside M505 Mounted trumpeter in helmet.
and the bulk of my Roundhead Cavalry – M501 Mounted Trooper in Helmet (with sword or pistol?) Lovely figures.
Other 19 Century / WW1 cavalry shown above were bought second-hand, mounted three to a base. With the more obvious overhang, I think these will need rebasing at least onto two horses per base, but probably singly.
Bob Cordery pointed me in his comments on my last blogpost (Part 1 of 192 Hexes of Joy) that the overhang issue is often a “perceptual problem rather than a real one”, depending on the exactness of your gaming style. Bob also pointed me towards a interesting post by Archduke Piccolo on grid wargames, columns into line and such manoeuvres.
To be fair, my ‘Close Wars’ type Featherstone skirmish level games hardly use many cavalry or artillery in the cluttered skirmish terrain that disrupts and defies column, line and square manoeuvres, let alone easy artillery moves. But with a bigger 192 Hexes of Joy game board, who knows what changes of game style might result?
Will I need to rebase?
My Peter Laing ECW cavalry and ECW artillery are set out on bases in about 1983 to use them with the very affordable John Mitchell ECW rules sold by Peter Laing.
Looking up close at my John Mitchell rules, 1983 based English Civil War artillery, I think these are probably influenced by reading Terry Wise. He has much the same vignette triangular layout for artillery in his Airfix Guide to American Civil War Gaming, all to do with measuring firing angles and whether the guns need to be manhandled and relaid to fire at a different target.
There is a clear overhang of one hex from such vignette artillery basing. In fact seen overhead, this gun base spreads over 3 to 4 hexes, plus limber another one to two hexes.
To be honest, I am not that finicky now about rules for relaying guns, angles or lines of sight basing.
Looking at the photographs however I think that I may need to more compactly base or rebase my Peter Laing artillery onto a smaller near one hex affair.
Limbers, however, are as long as they are, even if bases are trimmed a bit at either end.
In real historical battle situations, the artillery train of limbers, horses and supply waggins were a bit of a nuisance or an encumbrance to the manoeuvrability of troops from one attacking or defensive position to another. Maybe they should occupy two hexes and also be classed as impassable or not allow troops to pass through them. This should add some clutter to the battlefield, much as terrain features do.
Defending such slow-moving vehicles such as baggage or supply wagons, limbers or ammunition caissons, along with their attendant civilians and family members proves for an interesting scenario.
Ground Scale, Bases and Unit Frontages
At this point I usually get a little frustrated with rule sets that start to fret about one man equals so many others on a set ground frontage of such and such. Buildings on this ground scale etc, frontages etc. My brain doesn’t do such maths on its hobby days off and as I am not playing set rules in competition at big brigade, division or Battle level, there is no need.
That is what I play 1 figure: 1 man small skirmishes with ground as it is, buildings as they are, often from another scale too – 15mm games with OO/HO railway huts or buildings etc., from whatever I have in stock.
A typical example from my childhood branch library is David Nash’s interesting little 1974 Hamlyn All-Colour Paperback book Wargames, pages 27 to 30:
Some of David Nash’s rule ideas I found completely bizarre, such as the “I can’t see you” correct or incorrect line of vision over a hill, where “line of vision must relate to the ground scale”. Of course those two figures could see and shoot at each other! A Lionel Tar reversed periscope could have told you that.
Otherwise I found David Nash’s curious little Wargames book a thought-provoking and well illustrated read from the local library, especially when thinking through rules. I now own that exact same well thumbed library copy (with the beautiful Dewey Decimal System number 793.9) Certainly a book worth revisiting in a future “on my bookshelf” style blogpost.
Here are more puzzling pages from books that I had or borrowed as a young gamer, including the affordable but strange little Know the Game – Wargaming booklet by Phil Barker / Wargames Research Group that I (was) bought as a youngster (EP Publishing, 1976/8).
Time Scales, Troop Scales and Ground Scales were earnestly explained. I stuck to 1 man equals 1 man until the John Mitchell ECW rules set out unit sizes.
Elsewhere in time I have stuck to 1 man equals 1 man, which David Nash concludes:
“For modern warfare, it is usually accepted that one piece represents just one piece … This is because there has been a change in the form of warfare. Up to about 1860, unit cohesion was of a paramount importance, but thereafter improved weapon technology increasingly demanded a much looser type of warfare.” (David Nash, Wargames, p. 30, Hamlyn, 1974)
Phil Barker’s Know the Game: Wargaming book was part of a series of 1970s illustrated individual booklets that were advertised as covering “every major sport and pastime … from archery to yoga.” This somehow put me playing with Airfix figures on the same level playing field (!) as Rugby, Football and every other major sport.
“A figure representing a Roman legionary … [herein a bit of maths] …represents 20 men in 4 ranks of 5.” Help, my brain is beginning to hurt here.
However some passages in this odd little booklet made instant sense, such as staggered figure basing for Ancients, admittedly using Airfix Ancient Britons rather than grown-up metals on my childhood budget.
At the end of all this careful explanation in books, I still think what suits me and my style of gaming best is 1 man equals 1 man, 1 gun equals 1 gun etc. at any scale above my handful of 1/300 figures (Imagine individual skirmish figure games at that tiny scale!) So I will slowly base or rebase on these lines.
Note to self at any point during reading the above books:
Remember Mark, relax, it’s just a game, just a board game, an elaborate game of “chess with a thousand pieces” as Donald Featherstone and others described it, each piece with its own movement and attack rules as you / each gamer decides, tinkering with other’s rule sets as we all do.
After considering such (not very) important issues as basing and frontages, ground scales, troop scales and time scales, it must be time for some reckless time-distorting chariot racing around a hex board circuit.
Rules to follow, but a good bit of fun … Ancient Britons versus Ancient Egyptians versus Assyrian chariots anyone?
I hope you have enjoyed the Peter Laing eye candy, and enjoy the comment by Phil Barker in Know The Game – Wargaming on suppliers under Obtaining Metal Figures c. 1976/8 on Peter Laing’s expanding range:
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 3 August 2017.
Meanwhile over on Sidetracked, literally my Man of TIN gets Sidetracked blog for anything to do with trains, https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com, my 15mm Peter Laing figures try not to blow up trains too much in the big desert wastes of 192 Hexes of Joy.
If you have enjoyed this blogpost, please ‘like’ my post or leave any comments, disagreements etc via the comments page. Thanks, Mark, Man of TIN.
In my recent posting of rebased and reflocked 15mm Peter Laing 17th and 18th Century figures, there were a few Scots figures missing from the first line up.
Here are the missing Scots figures, found and freshly rebased:
The unpainted Lowland troops are mine, ones that I never finished in the 1980s, possibly because I couldn’t find or decide on a suitable colour scheme. The painted ones are a motley and colourful bunch I recently found on EBay and rebased.
For the other Highland and ECW figures, check our previous blogposts
Maybe the closest Peter Laing ever got to a 15mm fantasy range are his Ancients, Dark Ages and Medieval figures.
This very handy Priest with Cross F913 from his 900 Medieval range crops up in several of Peter’s suggested “Dual Use Items” such as using the Priest with his Feudal and Dark Ages range. Watch out for those Vikings!
Not quite as multi period as the useful Peter Laing sheep A921 but still a handy figure to have.
No doubt the Priest with Cross might crop up in a more Orthodox role in the Russian Civil War or the Crimea. Maybe even the Spanish Civil War? The Religious Wars and Dissolution of the Monasteries etc using the Peter Laing Renaissance Tudor range is another possible use.
I know Peter Laing often took figure requests to extend his ranges. I wonder what Peter Laing Dwarves, Orcs or Dworcs (whatever) would have looked like if anyone had asked him to produce some?