Miniature Wargames Magazine Milestone Issues 1 and 400

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I bought the latest issue of Miniature Wargames with Battlegames  number 400 this week (August 2016 issue) at W.H. Smith’s  on the local high street. To be honest  I haven’t bought this magazine much over the last ten to thirty years, beginning to read it again about two months ago on a long train journey.

To be honest the local High Street has changed a lot too since I read issue 1 in late 1982. Just around the corner is the vanished Woolworth’s, now Poundland or Wilko, both home to erratic supplies of cheap pound store plastic warriors. Nearby  is the sad site of an empty British Home Stores; never again  will I have an affordable family snack (shades of John Shuttleworth there) in the BHS café, a High Street standby since childhood shopping trips. Instead there are dozens of coffee shops, clothes,  lifestyle and interior shops to choose from.

The High Street today feels like the obituary columns of the last few years as childhood icons of light entertainment and music from the 1970s to 80s die off or are (posthumously) disgraced.

So how have things changed in the gaming world between Issue no. 1 late 1982 of Miniature Wargames and this milestone issue number 400, now edited by Henry Hyde?

In his editorial in issue 400, Henry Hyde reflects on first writing for the original magazine under the original Editor Duncan McFarlane in issue 47 which would have been in the mid 1980s.

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Henry was writing his Editorial or Briefing as the  Brexit vote was declared and  writes about his hopes that Brexit will not affect the friendly gaming fraternity’s travels and the business side of the wargames / gaming / fantasy industry across Europe.

One of the reasons I haven’t bought many gaming magazines over the last ten to thirty years since regularly gaming as a child and teenager  is the boxfile of Miniature Wargames I have kept from its first issue through to its early twenties. Along with a couple of folders of useful Military Modelling tips, history and gaming articles cut out and filed away in plastic A4 sleeves, these have been just enough for when the gaming mood has recurred over the last thirty years like a benign form of malaria. For some people their recurring malaria or family curse  is steam trains or sci-if, for me it is toy soldiers and gaming.

On the rare occasions since the late 1980s that I have bought or more likely flicked through random issues of games magazines in the newsagents,  I have found many of them very advertorial, very product and current  games system based, great if you’re playing that complex games system,  puzzling or dull if not.

The launch issue of Miniature Wargames brought home for me by my late father was of great interest, not least for the eight full pages of colour photographs of figures and terrain from Peter Gilder’s Wargames Holiday Centre in Yorkshire (which featured in a two page article). “We shall  have great regards for the aesthetics of the hobby …” Duncan Macfarlane the Editor claimed in his introductory Editorial. The magazine certainly did. These were not the Airfix and assorted plastic figures I had grown up with.  Airfix figures featured in Donald Featherstone books. Where were they here? This was the grown up world of hex boardgames and metal gaming figures.

Miniature Wargames is now £4.50 a month; the 75 pence cover price of Issue 1 in 1982  was almost beyond my reach at the time, if I was to buy any figures or paints but this magazine remained a kind monthly gift from my dad for several years. That meant 10 more Peter Laing foot figures a month …

The articles in Issue 1 were by some games people I had heard of in Military Modelling (also first encountered around c. 1981/82) or from borrowing their books in the local library:  Terry Wise, George Gush and  Phil Barker.

An article on Computer Assisted Wargaming by Mike Costello was forward looking but beyond me in 1982 (and arguably now)  – “A minimum of 12K usable memory will be needed …” for programming, less than the average single email today?

Some articles I found beyond me at the time, such as Paddy Griffiths’ article about Wargames Developments which formed in May 1980  and mentioned their journal or newsletter  ‘The Nugget’, edited then as now by one Bob Cordery, writer of Wargaming Miscellany, one of the gaming blogs I regularly read.

Now having rethought my way through some early Featherstone rules,  I find the Wargames  Developments  much more accessible now. Good reason to keep these early articles and refer back to them.

The idea of ‘fanzine style’ digital colour photography enriched  gaming blogs and digital download copies of magazines were in 1982  almost Science Fiction in themselves at the time. At the time  Peter Laing’s lists were typewritten and reproduced faintly on A4, as were John Mitchell’s English Civil War starter rules that I bought from Peter Laing (I will post more about these soon).

Hex-A-Noughts the free Sci Fi Board Game by Julian D. Fuller, a staff writer who also reveiwed several board games in this issue, remains uncut in my Issue 1 and unused to this day. These were way beyond my ‘bear of little brain’ style of gaming both then and now, preferring the simple ‘back of postcard’ rules that began to appear in later MW  issues.

The article on building “Small Buildings for the Battlefield”  by Ian Weekley of Battlements with some inspiring but sadly black and white photos was of more immediate use. Basil Fletcher of Fortress Models and Ian Weekley’s “How to build terrain  and fortresses”  articles would be a great reason to keep buying Miniature Wargames over the next few years. A one page article by John Sharples on random generation of the location of terrain features is something I still use today as a solo gamer.

The article on the English Civil War  siege of Chester and Battle of Rowton Heath 1645 by Terry Wise  and an excellent  article by Nick Slope  on A  Plain man’s Guide to 15mm Figure Painting would soon become very useful once I made it to the adverts pages.

It was overall the colour pictures of terrain and figures that caught my attention then as today, since  most wargames books at the time were sparsely and often badly illustrated in black and white. Colour pictures still form an important and inspiring part of Miniature Wargames  today, along with the ever important adverts.

Amongst  the familiar names are some ranges that survive today, others are now the subject of wargames blogs and vintage figure hunting. There are late 1982 adverts for Minifigs, Jacobite Miniatures, QT Models,  Heroics and Ros,  Skytrex, Campaign Figures, Chronicle and Dixon Miniatures, Wargames Research Group, Gallia Buildings, Irregular Miniatures, Standard Games with its Felt Hexes  and Cry Havoc games (paper soldiers). Bill Lamming’s advert is cancelled by an overprint breaking news – “Bill Lamming Has Retired.” I hope Bill enjoyed a happy retirement!

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My battered Gallia 15mm farmhouse and lovely Peter Laing English Civil War Figures on the adverts page of Miniature Wargames Issue No. 1, late 1982 – stop press Bill Lamming Has Retired! but Irregular Miniatures still going strong! (Photo /  figures: Man of TIN)

The adverts are interesting from the point of view today of  possible alternative universes of “what if I had chosen those figure ranges and periods rather than that one?”

The one that caught my eye and matched my schoolboy pocket money funds was Peter Laing’s 15mm English Civil War range. “Send 21p stamps for List and Sample” from  “Over 750 items from Ancients to WW2”.

Write off I did and the ECW sample must have impressed as I bought hundreds of Peter Laing  English Civil War and Medieval figures over the next few years. What wasn’t to like about foot figures at 7p, his curious horses and riders at 14p and guns or waggons at 20p? I still have them and still use them regularly today.

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Some of my lovely Peter Laing pikemen and musketeers surround that fateful advert from Miniature Wargames No. 1, late 1982 (Photo / figures: Man of TIN)

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Scroll forward 34 years from 1982 to 2016  and for a magazine to achieve 400 monthly issues is quite an achievement. I was surprised a few months ago to still find it on the magazine shelves. Airfix magazine  has gone and come back again, Military Modelling has survived and even Miniature Wargames was launched in the demise / aftermath of Battle for Wargamers merging with Military Modelling.

As launch Editor  Duncan MacFarlane observed in his opening Editorial,

“Those of you with a knowledge of the recent history of wargames magazines may well consider our launching of this one to be a somewhat perilous adventure! However there is definitely a gap to be filled; no general circulation wargame magazine has succeeded in establishing itself since the demise of  “Battle” several years ago. We feel that we can become established because we have a solid financial basis from the outset and thus have several advantages over those magazines which have tried and failed in the recent past.” Editorial, Issue 1 Miniature Wargames.

400 issues on in Miniature Wargames  there are regular or perennial favourite articles such as new figure, rules, board games or book reviews and exhibition reports  that would not be out of place 34 years ago, but are now enhanced with beautiful colour photographs.

However being up to date on the hobby, there is a regular review article on  wargames blogs where Henry Hyde the “Editor takes his regular reconnaissance flight over the digital front line”, beautifully and wittily phrased.  

Interestingly Henry’s opening rant is about “anonymous blogs …so please reveal who you are. if you are broadcasting to the world and want us to read what you write, the least you can do is have the courtesy to tell us who you are!” Whoops! I, Mr MIN, Man of TIN have been duly warned.

Similarly technological and unimaginable in 1982 is a Kickstarter funded “Miniature Wargaming the Movie” by Joseph Piddington, reviewing the past, present and future of the hobby from H.G. Wells to modern figure designers, a Who’s Who of the industry. A documentary movie like this is a natural step, developing the thriving YouTube and podcast audio-visual citizen contribution to the gaming hobby. Unimaginable in 1982, even before you could imagine  an 80s Cable TV station for wargames?

YouTube of course allows you now to track down the slow  but beautiful Gilder landscaped wargames  featured on Tyne Tees 1978 TV series Battleground, which hopefully visually did for the “Aesthetics” of the hobby on TV what Miniature Wargames did (and still does) in magazine form. Duncan Macfarlane, then a school librarian in Hull and soon to be the original Editor of Miniature Wargames,  featured as one of the two gamers in the Edgehill episode in  1978.

Some authors continue to pioneer and review their scene, John  Treadaway having written about fantasy since I started reading his articles in the Battle for Wargamers Wargames Manual (Military Modelling Magazine Extra, MAP 1983) and he’s still reviewing figures in Miniature Wargames Issue 400, 3o+ years on.

Lovely  article in MW 400 as part of a series  by Diane Sutherland, “Wargames widow“, in this issue for example turning  a pound store gardening bundle of willow twigs into frontier log cabins. One project to try, after searching pound stores for more cheap plastic warriors  of course! I remember another series of similar articles by women gamers, modellers or wargames widows like Nell Clipsom in early Miniature Wargames issues.

Paper Soldiers return? 

I look forward to photocopying, downloading (what did that mean in 1982?) and printing off the free French Foreign Legion game paper  figures  featured in an interesting exhibition demonstration game by Phil Dutre from Belgium.The stepped hill idea was just brilliant. Aesthetics were certainly there in bundles … and a French Foreign Legion Airfix Desert Outpost just like mine at home.

What with the new release of Helion books wargaming series of paper soldiers and rules reviewed in issue 399, who would have thought that paper soldiers would be making a comeback?

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Junior General website aside, these paper figures are gifts that remind me of those included as a giveaway from  the Standard Games Saxon Army paper figures (now unobtainable?) given away free in the Battle For Wargamers Wargames Manual (Military Modelling Magazine Extra special issue, MAP 1983) and advertised for sale (then £2) in the back pages of Miniature Wargames Issue number 1. Scanned copies of these may be gracing my tabletop this Autumn to coincide with the 1066 Battle of Hastings anniversary.

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Standard Games Saxon Army warriors, free card gift in the Battle for Wargamers Wargames Manual (1983)

“Old School” wargames and large scale games (featuring fabulous Spencer Smith Miniatures and 18th century games) are a colourful feature of Issue 400.

Henry Hyde, having jokingly in his own words  “burnt out” several regular MW contributors, has now turned this space over to an interesting new feature that I hope runs and runs – Wargaming My Way,  featuring a different contributor each issue. Could be one to watch …

Burnout or stress of a different type is featured in the Miniature Wargames / Battlegames commendable contribution to PTSD forces charity Combat Stress (the veterans’ mental health charity),  a lingering and crippling after-effect of service more widely understood and publicly supported since witnessing  the effect on the service generation of the Falklands War of 1982 (Miniature Wargames’ launch year), Iraq, Afghan and Northern Ireland conflicts. Thankfully this charity is in place and the condition recognised now that the last of my own 1980s school friends who became  servicemen are retiring from the forces.

Towards Miniature Wargames Issue 800 to be downloaded in 2050?

Joy and Forgetfulness blog author Conrad Kinch in his regular page offer hints on how to encourage or include new  wargamers  or hobbyists, something discussed in Issues  398 or 399 as my whole generation and above gets older, who will be buying the Airfix figures or their own version of my much loved  Peter Laing figures in 10 to 20 years time?

Teaming up with model railway exhibitions and other craft hobbies into multi-faceted hobby exhibitions is  one interesting suggestion in an article by David R. Clemmet and Thomas Davidson from issue 398. Model railway enthusiasts (for some people, their version of the recurring hobby malaria that they  can never quite shake off throughout life)  are apparently pondering the same “who will play with Hornby trains or model railways in 20 years?”  question.

Will all the games have gone digital or 3D Virtual Reality by 2050?

Will the missing Peter Laing moulds have turned up by then?

If there are any of us still left gaming by 2050, maybe, just maybe  I will by have gotten around to contributing 2000 words towards Miniature Wargames new feature “Wargaming My Way” on the stuff you might have seen on this blog over the next 34 years on very, very simple rule sets and cake decoration soldiers.

Woolworths, BHS and other staples of British life have gone since 1982. Airfix figure supplies come and go. Miniature Wargames magazine and this hex-scapist, diverting and fulfilling hobby and community  will hopefully keep going strong for another 400 issues. Huzzah!

Happy Anniversary Henry Hyde and his team at Miniature Wargames, 400 issues young!

Posted by the (irritatingly anonymous) Mr MIN, Man of TIN, July 2016.

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A few of my surviving Hair Roller Army troops next to Heroics and Ros 1:300 / 5mm Greek spearman (Photo / figures: Man of TIN) 

Postscript

Miniature Wargames No. 2 featured a well-remembered article by Paddy Griffiths of Wargames Developments which featured the infamous Hair Roller Armies, an idea developed into artillery, wagons, cavalry and full ACW rules by Andy Callan in Miniature Wargames No. 9. This went down really well (or not) in a family with hair dressing amongst its trades, namely “WHERE ARE MY BEST HAIR ROLLERS?” I still have them today. But this is a topic for another blogpost.

Does anyone else still have theirs?

Tintin and Imagi-Nations Games

 

imageOne of the things I like about Tintin are the interesting ‘Euro’ nations and enemies that Belgian author and illustrator Herge created as foils for his intrepid young reporter detective Tintin.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Tintin

Great uniforms amongst enemy troops, but as a child I couldn’t work out why the Police in Tintin for example of what I took to be a supposedly British / English setting for Captain Haddock of Marlinspike Hall looked so odd.

Had Herge (I wondered as a child) never been to Britain? Slowly as I got older I realised that Herge was drawing mostly European / Belgian settings and that the books are translated all over the world.

This  ‘Glocal’ World (both Global and Local) of Herge in translation has strange villains and fake euro Imagi-Nations such as Borduria in the Calculus Affair and the regime of the villainous Kurvi-Tasch with his strangely fascist moustache logo on his very Nazi looking generals, troops and 1950s looking tanks.

Even though Tintin goes back to the 1940s, to me his books are the ‘Funny Little Cold Wars’ of the 1950s and 1960s in graphic novel / comic strip version,  akin in style and feel to the early 1960s James Bond movies with the suave and stylish Sean Connery and his menacing enemies.

A range of plastic Tintin figures / key ring figures is available online in various sizes.

Great inspiration for some enemy troops as shown with generic enemy  “red troops” or “red guards” in my Back to Basics DIY figure making blogpost:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/back-to-basics-toy-soldiers/

 

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Unfinished faceless hordes of red guards based on a 1950s US Barclay podfoot dime store lead figure representing ‘enemy troops’, defending the secret base of whatever enemy regime or Imagi-Nations you choose (photo/ figures: Man of TIN)

Tintin should prove equally good inspiration  for some paint conversions of Pound Store Warriors from modern / WW2 green / toy army men.

So why not make up your own Imagi-Nations, uniforms and all?

If Tintin is not your gaming thing, then there is of course Asterix and this fabulous wargaming Asterix and the Romans website http://romansgohome.blogspot.co.uk

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Fictional Enemy, Threat or Aggressor Troops  

Making up your own enemies, uniforms and all isn’t that far from the truth.

The Milihistriot Website (c/o Sheil family USA website) has an interesting section with coloured plates of threat, enemy or “aggressor” troops with adapted uniforms from military exercises:

 

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Green crested helmet enemy troops as just one example of some colourful training enemies from a 1964 MIlihistriot article soldiers of Never-Never Land by James Glazer,  based on US troop manuals. These are archived at: http://www.thortrains.com/online/aggressor1.htm

Examples of 30-101 / these US troop manuals can be seen at:

https://ia600302.us.archive.org/4/items/FM30-101/FM30-101.pdf

http://www.alternatewars.com/WW3/Trigons/FM30_101_1959.pdf

The fictional (Esperanto speaking!) aggressor troops had a white ensign or badge with black triangle.

http://www.thortrains.com/online/aggvehicles1.htm

These manuals have obviously inspired many of the imaginative paint finishes and uniforms on the Sheil range of vintage home cast Toy Soldier Art figures. More have been created on the same principle at their Spy Troops page: http://www.thortrains.com/online/spytroopies.htm

 

Herald infantry (like those from my family collection above) had ready made plastic ‘enemy’ troops made briefly in what the Sheils call ‘Berlin Gray’, http://www.thortrains.com/online/berlinggray.htm

http://www.thortrains.com/online/Berlin%20Grays%20%20and%20Spies.htm

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Atlantic 54mm plastic soldiers, a junk shop find. (Figures / photos: Man of TIN)

Back to Tintin and Imagi-Nations

The Tintin / Calculus Affair  Kurvi-Tasch troops also have a look of the strange Atlantic modern troop figures that occasionally and erratically  appeared in shops in the 1980s, featuring an odd sort of  Euro army appearance. They looked strangely foreign, even futuristic on occasion (not quite American, not British and not German). Only later did I discover that they are meant to be Italian / Euro troop types. Atlantic figures and their strange box art are well covered in the Airfix’s Competitors chapter of my much-thumbed copy of  Airfix’s Little Soldiers by Jean Christophe Carbonel (Histoire & Collections publishers, 2009). Some of the Atlantic figures were recently reissued by NEXUS.

Happy Imagi-Nations Gaming!

Posted by Man of TIN, June 2016.

 

 

 

Peter Laing figures in carpet forests

 

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Amongst my Peter Laing scrapbook of magazine articles (this one from  Military Modelling September 1983) is this lovely article by Andy Callan about War Gaming The Maori Wars.

I loved Andy’s use of carpet offcut forest undergrowth for the New Zealand scrub, probably why I kept this article.

Good to see over 30 years later that Andy Callan is still producing simple interesting rules, ranging from Miniature Wargames magazine articles  in the 1980s  through to most recently his one sheet simple rules for Peter Dennis’ new Helion Publishers Wargame the English Civil War paper figures. http://www.helion.co.uk/published-by-helion/battle-for-britain-wargame-the-english-civil-wars-1642-1651.html

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Sadly I never bought any Naval Landing Party figures or tribesmen from Peter Laing, as pictured in the article, I was mostly buying Peter Laing’s English Civil War and Medievals with my schoolboy pocket money in the 1980s. Luckily I have now tracked down some lovely Peter Laing colonials over the last few years.

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Maybe in my am-bush version of Featherstone’s Close Wars rules (two page  appendix to his 1962 book Wargames) there is future space for some carpet forest  terrain on my Heroscape hex bases.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

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If you want Andy Callan’s  whole rules, track down a copy of  Military Modelling September 1983 through online magazine auction sites.  All I wanted to do was share the atmospheric Peter Laing figures pictures and the lovely carpet forest.

Even this simple set of Andy Callan rules were a puzzle to me in places then but they really do suit the unusual type of Maori fighting.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/close-little-wars-scenarios-and-inspiration/

For more about the Maori Wars see Ian Knight’s Osprey book. https://ospreypublishing.com/the-new-zealand-wars-1820-72

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Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, July 1916.

Peter Laing Sheep

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Peter Laing 15mm miniatures range sheep – my only one!

Hence the protection of a well armed Peter Laing Ancient “shepherd”.

This is Peter Laing figure A921 Sheep Standing (as opposed to the more dynamic A922 Sheep Grazing) from his Medieval range.

Peter along recommends it for Dual Use or Suitable Items From Other Ranges in his catalogue for sheep figures from Ancients, Feudal and Dark Ages, Renaissance and the English Civil War periods.

Sadly this sheep doesn’t quite have what it takes to make it into Peter Laing’s recommended figures for Marlburian, the American War of Independence, Napoleonic, 19th Century, Wild West or 20th Century (WW1 or WW2).

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Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, June 2016.

Beachcombing Castle Ruins

imageimageimage.jpgOne of my useful beachcombing finds is this base of a mug or marmalade storage jar.

It makes a very useful ruined fort or watchtower.

A few simple bricks or stones have been inked onto the front.

Shown here with Peter Laing 15mm ancient infantry for size on top of Heroscape hexes.

Read my previous Beachcombing and gaming blogpost:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/lost-legions-1-fighting-on-the-beaches/

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, June 2016.

Simplest Featherstone rules ever?

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This very short back of postcard  rules featured in a very short chapter on Wargames by Donald Featherstone in Henry Harris’ book How to Go Collecting Model Soldiers, first published by PSL in 1969.

They seem a great distillation of his own rules and H.G. Wells, presumably as good for 54mm military models / conversions  as for smaller figures.

“Simple, isn’t it?” as Donald Featherstone puts it.

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Posted by Man of TIN, June 2016.

Spencer Smith Figures for Close Little Wars

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As good and simply cast and sculpted on the back as on the front, right down to the raccoon skin tailed hat and knapsacks. (Photo: Man 0f TIN)

Peter Johnstone still sells the Spencer Smith Miniatures range of figures from the 1960s. http://www.spencersmithminiatures.co.uk

They prove interesting and charming toy soldier figures for my favourite rules /  Close Little Wars scenarios based on Donald Featherstone’s Close Wars two page appendix to his 1962 book War Games.

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You may recognise them from the example American Civil War battle photographed for his  books.

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As well as these white metal figures (as yet unpainted) I also have some 30 year old original hard plastic 30mm American Civil War Union troops. For some reason I never bought any opposition, no doubt distracted by another project.

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These packs of Spencer Smith plastic figures seemed a very good deal at the time. The figures are still available individually in metal.

 

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I was especially pleased to recognise these figures in the first Donald Featherstone book War Games (1962) in the Horse and Musket rules for the American Civil War.

Using Featherstone’s appendix 2 in this book to form the Close Little Wars rules I use on the table or in the garden (without a hex scape grid ), there is little role for many if  any massed Cavalry in the cluttered terrain.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

However here are some fine US or Union Cavalry, again showing their age since schoolboy painting 30 years ago.

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I really like the size, animation and simplicity of these figures. Few of the other SSM figures have survived in my collection, apart from unpainted metal samples, yet  the 18th century figures would work equally well against his small range of natives for French and Indian Wars of the 1750s or American War of Independence in the 1770s.

There is an excellent gallery on his website showing many of these 18th Century figures, including some contributed by Miniature Wargames editor Henry Hyde:

http://www.spencersmithminiatures.co.uk/html/gallery01_0.html

Blog posted by Man of TIN, June 2016.

 

 

 

 

Airfix British Redcoat Infantry 1960

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Trying out different colour schemes:  Airfix Guards Colour Party repaints escort the Governor General’s Daughter (originally / promoted  from the  Airfix Waggon Train) Photo/ figure paints: Man of TIN. 

Amongst the proliferation of so many plastic gaming figures today , I sometimes  wonder what would have happened if the gaming clock was a reset to 1962, the year of first publication of Donald Featherstone’s War Games book.

Imagine, Groundhog Day style, that all you had available (going back in an “it’s 1962 again” time loop) were conversions of these figures:

  • Airfix  S1 Guards band 1959
  • Airfix S2 Guards Colour party 1959
  • Airfix S3 Combat Infantry Group 1960
  • Airfix S4 Farm Stock 1960
  • Airfix S5 WW2 German Infantry 1960
  • Airfix S6 Civilians 1960
  • Airfix S7 Cowboys 1961
  • Airfix S8 Indians 1961

Donald Featherstone in his WW2 example game used Airfix figures and tank kits, featuring Set S3 Combat Infantry and Set S5 WW2 German Infantry. These gave me much pleasure as a gaming child as they were the same as figures that I recognised and had in our family collection.

By 1962 when Donald Featherstone’s War Games went to press and was published, the following lovely Airfix sets were issued, expanding the conversion possibilities:

  • Airfix S9 8th Army 1962
  • Airfix S10 Foreign Legion 1962
  • Airfix S11 Afrika Korps 1962
  • Airfix S12 American Civil War Union Infantry 1962
  • Airfix S13 American Civil War Confederate Infantry 1962
  • Airfix S14 American Civil War Artillery 1962
  • Airfix S15 Wagon Train 1962
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Some simple ideas on wargaming with the available figures 0f the time in this much thumbed (Ex-library) copy of Donald Featherstone’s Tackle Model Soldiers This Way, written in 1963. 

So circa 1960-62, what were the paint and conversion possibilities available to gamers then or vintage gamers today?

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From sketch book to first draft painting or repaint, I’m happy with the results so far with these Victorian British redcoat paint conversions of Airfix 1960 Infantry Combat Group:

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Still a few final details to add to these figures, along with some natives or opposition.

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The opposition could be these blue coated Danish style guardsmen, still unfinished in fine detailing.

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I hope the late Donald Featherstone would have liked these simple redcoat figures c. Airfix 1960/2.

Several years later, many of the conversion ideas of his and others featured in his book Military Modelling were made easier by production of WW1 figures, the American War of Independence figures and the Waterloo range.

Colonial redcoats could by 1966 be made from Airfix WW1 German Infantry:

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These are part-painted, first draft Victorian Redcoats formed from some spare  Airfix WW1 German Infantry, a suggestion made in books at the time.

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Unfinished / Rough first draft repaint into  Airfix British redcoats or steampunk VSF Victorian British infantry? Some more brass and silver required for steampunk! (Figures / photo: Man of TIN.)

And if these redcoats on land required any naval back up, Airfix Cowboys could make a passable Royal Naval landing party …

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turning these Cowboys (top right) from American Civil War infantry conversions into Victorian sailors something like these Fimo cake mould conversions sailors.

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More paint conversions and retro / vintage Airfix c. 1962 to share with you in future blogposts.

Back, back, back into the past in our Airfix time machine …

Happy gaming!

Posted by Man of TIN, June 2016.

OBE repaint figures #1

 

imageOBE figures are what Wargaming Miscellany blog author Bob Cordery calls “Other Bugger’s Efforts”, being figures painted by others that you have acquired and their credit shouldn’t be claimed by yourself.

This bunch of six repurposed or repainted Airfix WW1 British Infantry picked up in a £1 mixed bag of bashed painted OO/HO Airfix figures from a favourite second hand shop in Cornwall. (This shop  is only occasionally open when I visit, being that sort of shop, a big like the erratic supply / production of Airfix figures themselves).

Dissecting this “Airfix owl pellet”, the mixed remains of someone else’s spare or unwanted figures, I found these interesting troops.

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I like their blue and red “Imagi-Nations” sort of uniform and look forward to painting them some reinforcements.

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These give me some paint inspiration for Schneider home cast metal figures:

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imageWatch this space!

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN.

The Brontes Games scenarios

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Interesting 54mm Byronic or Bronteish figure picked up with other cavalrymen in The Works store for £1-£2.

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The Brontes created for their characters ( the Twelve young men)  heroic scenarios that could be adapted for the gaming table.

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Interesting scenarios for a range of small skirmishes can be found amongst the Bronte juvenilia stories such as this in Charlotte Bronte’s juvenile Two Romantic Tales.

Setting and terrain ideas to be sketched onto a gaming map:

A tropical island, unexplored, maybe a continent?

A. small natural harbour around ship under repair.

Travel through about two miles of the following terrain –

B. Cultivated grain fields, plantations of palm and almond trees

C. Olive trees groves

D. rice paddies / enclosures

Any of these (BCD) can be deemed impassable as required or require movement at half pace.

They can be random terrain scattered about or cluttered around a path.

Your characters: 12 named characters ( plus assorted ship’s crew if needed)

Your opponents: Twenty men ‘well armed’ – natives?

What happens next?

Here is the Bronte version of this Battle Narrative. Yours may end differently and be ‘game over’ for the adventurers.

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The joy of gaming is that this story could have gone very differently. What if the natives won or captured some of the Twelve adventurers?

The characters in the Bronte juvenile stories are inspired by their imagination but also real people of the age.

imageOnce the characters were established, the following scenarios are set out for the Twelve Young Men:

The Bronte family’s knowledge of the tropical realms of the expanding British empire was through books, atlases and periodicals like Blackwood’s Magazine.

The Ashantees were no doubt generic natives or tribesmen, but Britain did fight the first Anglo Ashanti  war in west Africa (now Ghana) around 1824, news of which would have been in the Brinte’s reading matter. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Ashanti_wars

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Whilst the real early Ashanti wars were fought over the slave trade and Britain’s abolition movement, one of the interests of gaming is to turn tables and see the Twelve Adventurers as imperialist invaders.

Thundering Cannon, naval Landing Parties, trumpets, war drums, wild wailing natives trying to repel the colonial invaders who man the walls in their city, burning fields, mountainous strongholds – this is the stuff of colonial gaming!

Exotic landscapes and terrain.

A releif party or news from England.

AW ‘Arthur Wellesley’ (based on the duke of Welkington, victor of Waterloo) as the Brontes had been born into the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars.

Figures needed for gaming this Bronte period could be culled from a mix of Napoleonic and early Victorian figures versus any available natives.

Lots of interesting ideas here to develop into games scenarios.

Illustrations from the Ashanti Empire Wikipedia entry show an Ashanti warrior with a simple musket and powder horn.

You can read more about the Brontes and their real and imaginary worlds at:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brontë_family

Blogposted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN.