What do you see when you look at this polystyrene packaging?
Some may look at this as unrecyclable junk.
I look at it and see …
an adobe fort or compound, especially for tiny troops like my 15mm Peter Laing figures.
What do you see or would you make out of it?
Obviously some kind of walkway needs to be improvised inside around the high walls as a firing platform or raised walkway. This could easily be done with lolly sticks or coffee stirrers laid onto matchsticks or cocktail sticks projecting out of the walls, much in the style of the Airfix Foreign Legion Fort.
Similarly doors and repairs to the wall dips and ‘damage’ can be improvised with coffee stirrers and card.
A rough coat of acrylic off-white for the walls and a sandy base colour should not harm the polystyrene (some glues, sprays and paints can melt it).
One project for a rainy day when hands need to be kept busy.
Some 15mm Peter Laing figures for scale…
Around the time this arrived in the house (the family are now well trained to show me interesting packaging before it reaches the bin or recycling), I also bought a handful of Peter Laing 15mm figures from an online dealer. I spotted these Laings amongst several more lots of “Wild West Infantry” figures and cavalry that were confusingly labelled as (but definitely not) by Laing. Nice enough figures but not Laing ones.
For a few pounds I bought ten settlers or backwoodsmen and rarer still, what I take to be a pair of Peter Laing female settlers. They were all curiously mounted individually on metal squares. Even if they are not Laing females, they are a good enough match.
Sadly now Peter Laing figures (the original or first 15mm figures, launched almost fifty years ago in autumn 1972) are long out of production and the moulds vanished, so second hand or recasting is the only way to acquire them.
I have been collecting Peter Laing figures since about 1982 as a teenager when I began my first proper (i.e. metal) wargames army, spending pocket money and paper round earnings on his English Civil War range. He was a efficient and friendly chap to deal with, even with my tiny schoolboy orders. I still have and use these figures today.
Peter Laing figures have a small and loyal following, with a dedicated MeWe online group run by Ian Dury which has replaced the former Google+ community pages. Here we post pictures of our Laing figures and games, as well as highlighting any second hand Laing figures for sale online that we come across. All welcome!
Christmas gifts for my Arma-Dad’s Army project 2021 – Chintoys 54mm, llamas, vintage Monarch Spaniards and books from heavy hints to the family and centre a Cherilea Elizabethan gift and mounted Conquistador from Alan Gruber
Thanks to all my blog readers and friends for their support, comments and distractions in 2020.
Here is my look back at this disrupted year of 2020 and some New Gaming Year Irresolutions of things I may or may not do in 2021:
Sorting through boxes on Lockdown Day #whateveritis, I came across this 1987 Military Modelling A5 supplement on wargaming written by the late and sadly missed Stuart Asquith.
The colour front cover shows an enviable set up of a wargames room with shelves full of figures, a fine games table and some impressive pointing out of stuff by Stuart to the “younger generation”, youngsters who need such a free supplement explaining wargames. One day hopefully I will achieve this adult stage.
Being on furlough, I don’t have my usual office access to scanners so some rough photos will have to surfice for now.
One reason this booklet survived in my collection through my non-gaming busy years is the Peter Laing “Eye Candy” photographs.
These are presumably of Stuart’s collection of Laing, as it features the Boadicca figure that Peter made or converted especially for Stuart. This figure is mentioned in Stuart’s excellent Comfortable Wargaming article.
More Marlburians, the unusual period figures with which Peter Laing launched his 15mm range in the early 1970s.
Jacklex figures and gun conversions, including traction engine models and river launches built by Stuart Asquith.
Gramodels are still operating https://www.gramodels.co.uk. I wonder if these “Jacklex EFSI” vehicles will one day be available again or if they are conversions?
Finally, some of those range of scale pictures.
Part of my unpainted Peter Laing ECW / 1745 collection was preserved for decades of house moves by the sort of plastic box that I received as a present around this time – inspired no doubt by the photo in this supplement?
This box is still a time capsule or touchstone of my gaming activities c. 1986/7 with hair roller armies, Heroics and Ros / Skytrex 1:300, Platoon 20 and Peter Laing figures amongst the oddments. Worth an emptying out for a blog post one day as another fun “Unboxing” post?
Peter Laing 15mm collectors and fans can find those with similar interests on the MeWe Peter Laing site set up by Ian Dury when Google+ pages closed.
I have acquired second-hand a few dozen of these attractive 19th Century infantry from Peter Laing’s 15mm range, now commercially unavailable as the moulds have vanished.
With the tall shakos or tall kepis with the ball crests and long frock coats, they look mid 19th Century Crimean to Austrian / Franco Prussian Wars. I think they are probably supposed to be French or Sardinian infantry, but they also look like French Foreign Legion 1850s.
They could be 15mm Peter Laing Crimean French (and dual use Franco-Prussian French with tall kepi)
F814 French Infantry advancing
F815 French infantry drummer
F816 French officer
F817 French standard bearer
With almost Napoleonic shakos, they would do well as Imagi-Nation troops for the Bronte juvenile fiction of Angria, Gondal and Gaaldine. I have enough spare standard bearers for alternative flags and nationalities.
I would be interested to hear from other Peter Laing collectors if they have or recognise these figures as mid 19th Century French.
Some other figure suppliers have similar tall shako / kepis.
Interesting post about Franco Prussian War French Infantry (in French) that reminds us that the 150th anniversary is only 2 years away (1870 / 2020). This will no doubt generate more gaming and historical interest in the FPW. The Austro-Prussian War anniversary was I suspect slightly overshadowed by the 1916 WW1 anniversary events.
2017: Peter Laing 15mm collector and enthusiast Ian Dury 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.
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?
A busy rainy day rebasing Peter Laing 15mm figures.
A rainy day today, so after a short while rebasing some recently acquired Peter Laing Ancient Greeks, I had the bulk of my time well spent rebasing and flocking some of my 1980s Peter Laing English Civil War and 17th/18th Century Scots. These were the first Peter Laing figures I ever bought, so greatly treasured.
For the last thirty odd years they have waded through knee-high thick dark green flock grass or over gravel ballast, scrounged from the family model railway scrap box when my pocket money ran out.
To suit the Peter Laing / John Mitchell ECW rules they were originally based in groups of 6, 4, 3, 2 0r 1 to make up small regiments of 20 or 30 infantry, which could have casualties removed in various combinations.
Whilst these strips of figures looked good to my childish eye, for my current skirmish Close Little Wars games, I need figures on individual bases.
I have rebased the figures in my own ‘blend’, a mix of different coloured Woodland Scenics flocks, play pit fine sand, very fine local beach pebbles and some of the original 1980s ballast recycled. A little shadow of the original gravel or dark green flock remains around the figure bases, for old time’s sake to remember my childhood efforts.
In most cases I had based my strips of figures on bases roughly similar in size to the individual bases I use today, roughly 15mm by 15mm.
In some cases I could easily score and cut the original plastic card then simply remove old flock or ballast then reflock. The occasional figure that needed a new base has one made from scrap art mounting board card.
The Scots Highland troops from Peter Laing’s “suitable items from other ranges for use with the ECW (500) range” remain great great favourites.
They were designed not only to oppose Peter Laing’s original Marlburian range “to extend the range to cover the ’15 and ’45 risings “ but also “to provide suitable Scots figures for Montrose’s army.”
I still have lots of Peter Laing musketeers, pikemen and cavalry to rebase this winter as well as finding the Highland Piper and Officer.
Recently I have been painting or repainting my Peter Laing figures as needed using gloss acrylic rather than the original matt enamel Humbrol / Airfix paints easily available or scrounged in the 1980s. I really enjoyed as a child painting the bright colours of English Civil War regiments and banners, so the colourful gloss acrylics should add to this when repainting is due.
I did get around to painting my Peter Laing Lowland Regiments in the mid 1980s but never finished them off with flock or basing, as I probably ran out of expensive Plastic Card. The pocket money ‘war budget’ kept running out, as I usually (over)spent it on figures rather than basing materials.
I have recently acquired on EBay a few more bashed Peter Laing Highlanders and Lowlanders that need repainting, along with a few more Marlburian infantry to paint and base. These were recently obtained from Alec Green, swapped for an strange excess of Marlburian drummers and gunners.
I think that there will be a few Close Little Wars skirmishes and ambushes in the suitably “cluttered terrain” of the Glens this coming spring, once the Highland snow has melted of course!
You can read more about John Mitchell’s English Civil War starter rules and the Peter Laing ECW range here:
The blog title? Borrowed from Meghan Trainor’s song All about the Bass – watch the retro version by the talented Kate Davies and Postmodern Jukebox and other ensemble / tour versions on the Postmodern Jukebox channel on YouTube and ITunes.
Hope you enjoyed some of the fruits of my rainy day at the kitchen table spent “flocking“, as it’s known in my household.
Blog posted by Mark, Mr MIN Man of TIN blog, October 2016. All photos unless stated by Man of TIN blog.
I asked in these previous John Mitchell / Peter Laing related blogposts if any reader had bought one of these painted sets. Alec Green bought these delightful Indians from an online auction site.
These well painted Peter Laing figures shown in the box appear to be:
F3007 Indian with bow firing.
M3007 Mounted Indian with bow, charging.
M3008 Mounted Indian with rifle, charging.
M3009 Mounted Indian with spear, charging.
The hand drawn box lid is similar in style to the ECW starter rules and advert by John Mitchell posted previously – see blog links above.
John Mitchell recently passed away in June 2016, aged 83 in Malvern.
John Trevor MITCHELL of Ledbury, formerly of Hook Bank Park and Malvern, passed away on June 19th, aged 83 years. Beloved husband of Janet and much loved dad of Sally. Will be sadly missed by all Family and Friends. The Funeral Service [was] held on Wednesday June 29th, 2016 at Hereford Crematorium. (Published in the Malvern Gazette on 24 June 2016)
Peter Laing’s first figures – the first 15mm Wargames figures ever produced in October 1972 – were a small range of Marlburian figures. Literally a small range as they are somewhere between 12mm and 15mm and very slender!
I have been chatting by email with fellow Peter Laing collectors Ian Dury and Alec Green in the Midlands about this Marlburian range, a few of which I bought directly by post from Peter Laing and painted c. 1983. Recently I found a small group of a few unpainted Marlburians, mixed in with other figures in a 15mm figure job lot online.
What I liked about Peter’s range were the link items or his suggested possible “Dual Use” items that fitted more than one range – more for your money if the figures could be (painted to be) used in several periods. I have some of these lovely Highlanders, but that’s another blog story.
The Duke of Wellington dismissively observed to William Siborne, “You can as well write the history of a ball as of a battle.”
Siborne had asked for the Duke’s memories of the day amongst others to help accurately construct his diorama model of Waterloo, which now rests in the National Army Museum. Well worth visiting in its new restoration.
A short account of this model can be found in Harry Pearson’s autobiography Achtung Schweinhund! featured as a warning against investing too much money in toy soldiers over the years (whoops!); a longer account can be found in a book by Miniature Wargames games writer and historian Peter Hofschroer’s cleverly titled Wellington’s Smallest Victory (Faber, 2004).
Having just finished one longish games write up (the longer as sections of it wiped once), I find this Wellington quote interesting as the possible difference between ‘history’ and ‘fiction’ – the point of view (or continuously confusing shifting point of view if you are Virginia Woolf) that it’s written from. Is it an impersonal lab report? Is it the skeleton plot of historical fiction? A confused blend of both?
As I write up recent tabletop skirmishes, I have been thinking about the links between fiction and gaming. Writing up games reports of past battles, I am reminded of Wellington’s (dismissive?) quote. Commonly many games bloggers feel that their thrilling accounts can appear somewhat tedious for other readers.
Some of the more interesting ones (insert your favourites here) go further than a blow-by-blow account; they reflect on the rule changes or improvisations that crop up, being a form of playtesting.
Such blog write ups become demonstration games for rules, very much in the spirit of H.G. Wells in “The Battle of Hook’s Farm” section of Little Wars or Donald Featherstone’s classic battles in his 1962 War Games. Others like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Yallobelly Times newspaper style battle reports take on a life of their own.
Games reports also hopefully share and remember the escapist “joy and forgetfulness” that gaming brings with itself.
The full Wellington quotes from the ever reliable WikiQuotes are:
“The history of a battle, is not unlike the history of a ball. Some individuals may recollect all the little events of which the great result is the battle won or lost, but no individual can recollect the order in which, or the exact moment at which, they occurred, which makes all the difference as to their value or importance.” Letter to John Croker (8 August 1815), as quoted in The History of England from the Ascension of James II(1848) by Macaulay, Volume 1 Chapter 5; and in The Waterloo Letters (1891) edited by H. T. Siborne.
“Just to show you how little reliance can be placed even on what are supposed the best accounts of a battle, I mention that there are some circumstances mentioned in General —’s account which did not occur as he relates them. It is impossible to say when each important occurrence took place, or in what order.” Wellington’s papers (17 August 1815), as quoted in The History of England from the Ascension of James II (1848) by Thomas Babington Macaulay.
Jane Austen (1775 – 1817), being Wellington’s shorter lived contemporary (Wellington lived 1769 – 1852), would have something to say about the value of writing the history of a ball, from many shifting viewpoints and many carefully observed details, especially if you want to point up character. The famous Brussels ball on the eve of Waterloo also features in Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (1847/8).
Inside Peter Hofschroer’s book (page 178 ) is another version of the “writing a battle and ball” quote, when Wellington talked about his view the accuracy of Siborne’s Waterloo model (quoted by Hofschroer from Sir John R. Mowbray, “Seventy Years at Westminster”, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine July 1898):
“… If you want to know my opinion it’s all farce, fudge! They went to one gentleman and said “What did you do?” “I did so and so.” To another, “What did you do?” “I did such and such a thing.” One did it at ten and another at twelve, and they have mixed up the whole. The fact is, a battle is like a ball; they kept footing it all the day through.”
And to another, Francis Egerton in 1845 (Hofschroer, page 179):
” … of which beautiful work he [Siborne] has made a scene of confusion, such as would be a drawing or representation in one view of all the scenes and acts of a play in five acts.”
Wellington in his old age in his actions towards Siborne does not come out of this account by Peter Hofschroer too well.
And now for some gratuitous photographs of the few Peter Laing 15mm Waterloo / Napoleonic figures I bought as a young teenager, still much as I painted them 30+ years ago. They are due for rebasing and some odd retouches of paint soon. I wished I had bought more and have since acquired a few additional ones for future small skirmish games.