Having completed the second part of a local history project talk on how my local area of the southwest U.K. changed during and after WW1, I can return back to my 2019 project putting Scouting Wide Games onto the tabletop and in future on the floor out into the garden.
Talking of garden games,it is well worth checking out the extraordinary blog of Mannie Gentile Toy Soldiers Forever reacreating an American Civil War battle with unpainted plastic figures. Look up the 17 September 2019 blogpost on the Sunken Lane http://toysoldiersforever.blogspot.com
I am lucky to be sharing this Scouting Wide Games ‘journey’ of rule writing and puzzling out game mechanics with Alan Gruber of the Duchy Of Tradgardland blog. After meeting up with him a few weeks ago, he has taken away a set of our draft scratch outline rules to work out some possible rules and workable scenarios. Many of them can be found here:
One possibility, with only eight figures in each Patrol, is to use a Role Play Game approach of a character card for each figure with different scout badges of skills and achievements amongst your Patrol.
Lots of work to do to get this playable …
Pinterest is a great research tool and source of images for gaming projects. As part of the Wide Games project, I have been looking at ‘Early Boy Scout and Girl Scout’ images on cigarette cards.
I came across this Northern Bush web page on camping and scouting reading resources:
I never made the link between scout trek carts and the Wild West type pioneer trek carts featured in this episode of Mormon and American West history.
This is a pioneer story as gripping and tragic as that of the Oregon Trail.
“To cut down on expensive wagons and oxen, some 3,000 of the [Mormon] pioneers subsequently used low-cost wooden handcarts that were light enough to be pulled across the Great Plains. One family or five individuals were assigned to a handcart, with 18 to 20 people sharing a tent. A cart hauled no more than 200 pounds — about 17 pounds of baggage per person. Each highly organized company was led by an experienced guide and was accompanied by at least four oxen-drawn supply wagons.
The first party of handcarts set out from Iowa City, Iowa, on 9 June 1856 with a company of 266 people from England, followed two days later by a second company of just over 200. These early handcart brigades successfully arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, but the trips were not easy. Pioneer journals recorded harsh weather, the threat of hostile Indians, the death of fellow travelers and the ongoing hardships of hunger and fatigue.”
A quick trip into town on dull family business was enlivened by popping into several charity shops (sadly no plastic tat, but a mass of obscure WW2 aircraft, mostly foreign 1/72 kits in one – resisted) and The Works.
The Works had a tiny selection of a few Nano Metal Figures, mostly Harry Potter / Fantastic Beasts and Halo SciFi, but at good prices – 2 for £3.00.
As a result they should roughly fit with my 40mm figures to 42mm figures. They do slightly tower over my Pound Store Plastic Warriors penny dreadful conversions, which are roughly 32mm. There is only a slight size and build difference between the adults and child / pupil figures in the Harry Potter series.
The shiny colours are not a problem as I like old toy soldier Gloss paint styles. It was the choice of colours that needed work on them to blend them in better as multipurpose civilians. Blue and silver trench coats were quickly repainted in dull khaki, a little more ordinary civilian or secret agent. A green Toy Soldier style base quickly altered the feel of the figures.
The original Nano figures can be seen here with their packaging, colours and a range of other figures for size comparison. I flagrantly ignored the instruction on the reverse “Caution: Heavy metal collectible figure – not meant to be played with as action figure”
These figures are diecast metal. Whilst I found that I could drill a hole without difficulty through Ron Weasley’s hand to take a Scout stave, I could not easily clip or cut the generously sized bases any smaller.
I thought that ‘Ron’ might somehow make a useful Scout Wide Games figure, alongside the two civilians. With the “Cloak of Romance” mentioned in the 1930s Wide Games scouting scenarios book , Alan ‘Tradgardland’ Gruber suggested that we could adopt or re-use any available figures that the Boy Scouts are imagining themselves into being – pirates, smugglers, natives, cowboys, Indians, settlers etc.
As well as as cheaper books, The Works also has a craft section of paints and crafting materials, small wooden boxes etc. I found this set of Scrabble style thin wooden tiles designed for crafting and scrapbooking. With the sticky backing dot removed, they could make quick and easy figure bases for 15 mm figures. 4 pence each a base. This would make an alternative to penny bases for 20 – 40mm figures or an alternative to cutting out squares of scrap mounting board, which is how I usually mount my Peter Laings.
Alongside the 32mm pound store plastic figure conversions of space figures, the Halo female figure of ‘Cortana’ is slightly taller at 41mm. But in space and sci-fi, different races and cyborgs etc will vary in size. Just watch Star Wars cantina scenes.
Meanwhile back in the post Edwardian years before WW1 …
Travelling back to a different time and different world, I have finished reading through ‘How Girls can Help to Build Up The Empire – The Handbook for Girl Guides’, c. 1912, the second of my original Scouting texts that I have read as part of the scouting Wide Games Project. The paperback reprint American adapatations or versions of both books are on order.
Whilst H.G. Wells was working on Floor Games and Little Wars, Robert Baden Powell’s sister Agnes was busily adapting his bestselling Scouting for Boys for an eager new audience.
This book is a fascinating period piece, along with Baden Powell’s 1908 Scouting For Boys, with lots of useful details to include early BP Girl Scouts and then the BP Girl Guides in the scouting Wide Games tabletop simulations. However from 1912 the new BP Girl Guides were discouraged from or not officially allowed to ‘romp’ or train alongside the Boy Scouts.
No fraternisation? This might have to be ignored in many circumstances on my table top simulation / gaming version. I will have to trust them to behave. Scout’s or Guide’s “Honour” is an important concept to bring into the gaming set up.
More on these fascinating books in future blog posts. The Phoenix 43 Scout Trek Cart group is almost finished too.
Once Alan’s two patrols were cast and complete, I knocked out a spare patrol for future use of these strange crude blocky 60mm home cast figures. It’s taken a while to get them painted in my usual gloss toy soldier style. They now need varnishing for garden or tabletop use.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 1970s Cub Scout (Bronze Arrow, Retired) June 2019.
The Bumper Book of Scout Stories 1929 – I saw this for £10 in an online sale, and was attracted by the cover and good black and white line illustrations.
It has some some good detail of early Boy Scout uniforms and equipment c. 1920s such as the signallers on the spine, the bugler on the title page and the colour frontplate showing scarf and patrol shoulder flashes.
I thought it might have some suitable thrilling stories as further possible scenarios for my scout Wide Games on the tabletop project.
It also shows other scenes of Scout life outdoors, such as tent pitching, cooking and some stereotypical town and country characters they might encounter – all good ideas for the Wide Games scenarios.
The shocking fate of Ronald (a ballad poem in doggerel rhyme) is typical of the moral tone of these instructional stories.
The stories are much in the same mystery and thrilling yarn tradition as Enid Blyton and the early 1920s / 1930s Hardy Boys books in America, including a similar black and white illustration style.
Stereotypical characters include thieving gypsies and lounging smoking dapper young men about town up to no good, every bit the opposite of a good honest scout.
The first story ‘The Forsaken Camp’ finds the two scout characters Micky and Cory finding an eerily abandoned scout camp with all the kit left behind and food supplies gone. This injects a note of mystery and almost sci-fi or supernatural events into the opening pages. The tents and kit have then vanished after the two scouts’ quick search of the surrounding woods … “Looks as if everyone has been spirited away”
An eerie start, only to be resolved by thieving gypsy stereotypes and a bad case of food poisoning behind the Forsaken Camp in the first place. (Whoops – plot spoiler!)
I was hoping for a resolution that was something a little more X-Files / Boy Scoutes versus Zombies …
Anyway these books should have some interesting plot ideas for further scenarios.
A quick trail of old scouting books for sale online reveals more interesting covers and illustrations.
Available on eBay, this attractive cover shows Scouts with a trek cart
The trek cart reminds me that I have a Phoenix 43 ( S and D models) trek cart to make up.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (1970s Cub Scout, Bronze Arrow retired), 9 June 2019.