New Gaming Year Irresolutions 2021

Another pointlessly optimistic attempt to set out what I look forward to doing in my hobby in 2021?

First for the truth, as found on Tony Kitchen’s Tin Soldiering On website:

http://tonystoysoldiers.blogspot.com/2017/03/wargaming-humour.html

What I sort of planned for 2020:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/31/2020-man-of-tin-new-gaming-years-irresolutions/

NGY 2020 Irresolution One: Carry on Converting

NGY 2020 Irresolution Two: More solo short small skirmish games

NGY 2020 Irresolution Three: Paint More 15mm Peter Laings

NGY 2020 Irresolution Four: Full Metal Hic Jacet – Romans / Ancients Project

NGY 2020 Irresolution Five: Planet Back Yarden 54mm Sci-fi Garden gaming.

NGY 2020 Irresolution Six – Developing my Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop games and rules including snowball fights rules for the Little Wars Revisited Woking 54mm Little Wars Saturday 14th March 2020.

NGY 2020 Irresolution Seven – Develop my Bronte inspired ImagiNations in 19th and 20th Century https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine

https://tonystoysoldiers.blogspot.com/2018/03/wargaming-humour-no-34.html

I think there is often much truth in the ‘wargaming humour’ meme picture Tony Kitchen reprinted above, but in Covid Lockdown this year it was very much about keeping going, interested and busy as one Lockdown day blurred into the next.

What really happened in 2020:

January to March 2020: I continued working on Scouting Wide Games and Snowball Fight Games towards the Woking 2020 54mm Games Day in late March – which I didn’t attend due to Covid.

I enjoyed building up towards my Vintage Airfix figure Long Range Desert Group LRDG raid on Wadi Yu Min game with pound store scrap modelling.

The village Spring Flower and Craft Show in March 2020 didn’t happen either so nowhere to show my FEMbruary figures thanks to Lockdown.

April 2020 was a busy month the first of Lockdown and Furlough, summed up by Ann Wycoff of Ann’s Immaterium blog painting challenge to “Paint all the Stuff You Already Own”: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/02/what-ive-done-in-april-for-anns-immaterium-paint-all-the-stuff-you-own-challenge/

April Lockdown saw a Scratchbuilt Martello Tower (Fort Crumble) to match some past joblot 15mm Redcoats and pirates, finally painted and based.

April was also a nostalgia month, looking through my Blue Storage Box, a time capsule of random 1980s figures that I have carried intact from house move to house move, pretty much untouched. I finally finished or based some 15mm Peter Laing units from the box that had been hanging around for over 35 years https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/13/unboxing-the-blue-box-of-1980s-gaming-figures-time-capsule-parts-1-to-3/

54mm Britain’s hollowcast Indians approach the Rogers Rangers Post through Bold Frontiers trees

May 2020 saw a series of small Close Little Wars skirmishes with 54mm plastics or hollowcast figures using the gift of my lovely Bold Frontiers trees and Featherstone’s Close Wars rules. These ranged from Robin Hood duelling to battles between Pound Store Redcoats, repaired and repainted old hollowcast Indians and Replicant Confederates.

Captain Snortt, Miss MacGuffin and her dog Patch in Bold Frontiers forests

It was all helped by the Bold Frontiers trees and a handy family gift of a Tiger Toys Fort renamed Fort Macguffin and the adventures of the daughter of the fort, the feisty Miss MacGuffin and her dog Patch.

The Close Wars forest games extended to painting a batch of figures that I’d had in store for ages, some old US Lucky Toys plastic 2D flat ‘comic book’ Redcoats and Indians. Last of the Mohicans was a theme in May 2020.

June 2020 saw the reprinting or republishing of the tiny Warrior and Pacific Magazine for the first time in a 120 years since 1901!

June also saw my first pound store playset figures interbellum border skirmish game of the FMS Forgotten Minor States involving Esperanto!

In June there was also a lot of fixing broken figures including outsized 60mm plastic figures from job lots, gifts and my childhood.

2020 was otherwise a year of not being able to go browsing in pound stores and charity shop due to Covid and shielding in the household. Apart from the joy of discovering online pound stores, I was lucky to have instead some timely gifts from other friendly gamers.

If I had had firmer plans for 2020, they would have been derailed and happily sidetracked by some Lockdown ‘clearing out’ gifts of surplus 54mm figures of conversion scrap from Michael Brightwell and several boxes of figures from unfinished projects by Alan Gruber – 54mm Armies in Plastic Rogers Rangers and Woodland Indians for my Close Wars Forest Games, along with some Call to Arms Maryland AWI Infantry.

Chintoys Conquistadors and the Mixtec and Zapotec figures

Later in September, Alan Gruber of the Duchy of Tradgardland blog sent me some unusual 54mm Chintoys Mixtecs and Spanish Conquistador figures. This sparked the Spanish Arma-Dad’s Army project for which I converted pound store knights as an Elizabethan Coastwatch Home Guard. I tracked down and added some more Chintoys figures for Christmas 2020 – Spanish infantry and Conquistadors set 2.

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I joined Facebook as Mark ManofTIN in 2020 for the wargaming and toy soldiers groups including several Historical ImagiNations groups, the Super Cheap Wargaming scrap modelling group and the wonderful Americana site that is the Forgotten Georgia Facebook group and website. This encouraged a bit more pound store figure conversions and Scrap Modelling including my steam punk tank from a milk carton and some pound store Steampunk infantry / tankers.

My own roller skating suffragette versions of Peter Dennis’ Little Wars PaperBoys figures

Paper Soldiers arrived in March 2020 – thanks to Peter Dennis’ 54mm Little Wars (of the Worlds) PaperBoys (Helion) volume. They were dormant whilst I was on furlough and Lockdown away from printers and scanners. However they spawned in July 2020 an unusual Suffgraffiti game of poster pasting paper suffragettes on roller skates version of my Splaffiti game (which used plastic skateboarders).

This itself was created by trying a pound store soldier chess board version Splattack of the video game Splattoon. All three games remain ‘Work in Progress’ through into 2021. Paper Soldiers reappeared – on stage – in December 2020 with the colourful arrival of a Victorian style toy theatre advent calendar.

August 2020 saw some strategic buying for Christmas / 2021, supporting smaller manufacturers who were missing the Trade Shows postponed due to Covid. I acquired small skirmish batches of Sergeants’ Mess 20mm Scouts, EWM Early War Miniatures 20mm 1940 Danish and Dutch Infantry and some Bad Squiddo 28mm RAF women Pigeoneers.

I also made Annie Norman of Bad Squiddo cry – in a good way – with a picture posted of my 2019 village Flower Show entry of her Bad Squiddo Land Girls.

I returned to part work, part furlough in September and as my job fully returned in November, I found I had less and less craft and hobby time. I find I have less energy for hobby stuff in winter anyway as it darkens. I make this dark time useful with reading around the subject instead, in this case mostly about the Armada land invasion plans and the Tudor/ Elizabethan army at home.

Working from home through Teams for part of this uncertain year made me value not only the downtime of e-chat with other bloggers and Facebook users but also the crafting focus of the hobby doing something physical and creative with my hands.

December 2020 had an ‘Eagle of The Ninth’ Roman feel, as I was reading some Rosemary Sutcliff historical fiction and her autobiography Blue Remembered Hills for her centenary on 14 December. This turned out to have more wartime and toy soldier content than I imagined.

Plans for New Gaming Year NGY 2021?

I think the NGY Irresolutions 2020 still stand for this year – a year interrupted – but who knows what might happen in 2021?

#FEMBruary figures – BMC Plastic Army Women figures and possibly Bad Squiddo WW2 RAF Pigeoneers if the village Spring Flower and Craft Show happens in March.

Woking 2021 54mm Little Wars Revisited Games Day? March? October? Covid dependent of course.

Mid year – Covid willing – I have a local history research project talk to do on WW2 in my local area, following up similar ones on WW1 as village fundraisers during the WW1 centenary. Time for some more newspaper archive research online. This research doubles up as good for the Home Guard games and I also found out more about the WW1 ‘Gorgeous Wrecks’ or Volunteer Training Corps, good for future VTC Wide Games and WW1 era ‘what if’ games.

Doubling up 54mm skirmish gaming figures 2021?

Arma-Dads Army! 1590s Home Guard Elizabethan Muster of conversions and ECW figures against the Spanish Fury, Chintoys Conquistadors and pound store Pirates …

Conquistadors who in turn fight the ManoTINcas and Mixtape tribes in the forests and mountain cities of central and South Generica (a thinly disguised South America) …

Which looked at in a different way, leaves me with half an ECW skirmish to build upon and some fresh generic Forest AmerIndian natives for ImagiNations and Colonial gaming.

Christmas gift support for the Arma-Dad’s Army project – books and Chintoys 54mm figures

Further ‘Doubling Up’ comes from using similar scenarios for the 54mm Arma- Dad’s Army games and 54mm Look Duck and Varnish WW2 Home Guard vs German coastal invasion / paratroops occasional games. Seelowe / Operation Sea Lion 1940/41 and Operación León Marino 1580s/ 90s

I look forward to further poking around researching the early ‘History of Wargaming’ (Donald Featherstone, RLS, H.G. Wells etc)

Several sources of 40-54mm metal figure moulds in metal and silicon came up on on EBay in 2020, these are now stored away as presents for the next 2021 Birthday or Easter present fest.

Who knows what 2021 will bring?

Thank you to all those bloggers and readers who have encouraged me through this uncertain and disrupted year with their enthusiasm, humour and kind comments. Happy New Gaming Year 2021.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 30 December 2020

Specia Force: More Christmas Toy Soldiers from the Online Pound Store

Four more packs of £1 joy

Q. Why are these the perfect toy soldiers for Christmas?

A. Read on below – be patient … it’s almost worth waiting for.

Part of the joy of Christmas is new toys, either a surprise or a long awaited gift. Here are four bags of delayed gratification!

All these figures for one British pound.

I featured their arrival by post and stowage back in August during Lockdown and Covid Shielding when I could not go browsing in pound stores, seaside shops or charity shops. I opened one packet for review and stowed the other four in the Christmas cupboard.

They cheered then and cheer now my inner seven year old that this much richness could still be bought for a pound. If these were metal figures, this haul would cost a small fortune.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/08/16/modern-flats-and-toys-for-a-pound-online-pound-store-soldiers/

I remarked a little upon the strangely worded bold claims of the packaging then. They have some discerning small customers to attract and persuade with serious pocket money.

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When life and shopping was more normal before Covid, it was often a quiet delight to quickly cruise at speed through several pound or discount stores, looking for Pound Store toy conversion gold. Sometimes I would overhear those sort of toy discussions between children and parents about how much their gift pound would get them each and witness that painful indecision in the toy aisles that I had when I was originally seven.

If you only have one pound to spend, which toy do you choose?

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If I’m spending serious child pocket money in a pound store, I want a lot of bang for my buck (or pound). Tiny pictures of military hardware, camouflage packaging, ziplock bag for storage – all good for Christmas or party bags – and big words:

METAL SLUG – SUPER SYSTEM – WORLD PEACE MILITARY EQUIPMENT –

and best of all the para wings or elite forces insignia – WINNER. I’m feeling like an elite highly trained veteran five star general already before I open the bag.

As I notice now, this is not just special forces – this is SPECIA FORCES.

This makes them the perfect Christmas Toy Soldiers.

Q. Why are they the perfect Christmas Toy Soldiers?

A. No L. No L.

A suitable Christmas Cracker joke for the season. If you’re not sure why, check the packaging again. Quality proofreading on the packaging!

The contents of the bag I discussed a little in my August post, the thin contorted nature and brittleness of the plastic may disappoint some. The amount of flash. Too many useless Officer ‘waving with binoculars’ poses.

They are not constant scale, the usual pound store playset irritation of slightly different sizes to annoy the scale purist – but then so many ‘proper’ expensive toy soldier manufacturers are guilty of the same scale creep.

They may be mass produced in China without much love or care but in the right imaginative hands, they could be great heroic stuff!

Sorted out, here is five bags worth of my favourite figure in many colours

My favourite figures are the WW2 US style infantry with rifle advancing.

The original pound store toys webpage I ordered from is on hold at the moment over Christmas – no doubt the pound store elves are exhausted. https://toysforapound.com

Quantity, as Stalin and so many others supposedly observed, has its own quality.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 29th December 2020.

Snowball Fight at Camp Benjamin – BMC Plastic Army Women arrive!

After months watching and reading about these new figures being designed, mastered and made as my first ever Kickstarter pledge, these BMC Plastic Army Women are finally here – and well worth both the patient wait and the effort by Jeff Imel and team at BMC.

What better way to celebrate their time under the Christmas tree than a snowball fight with some of these new recruits out on the parade ground and assault course soon after they were unwrapped?

Camp Benjamin is named after the comedy film Private Benjamin (1981) with Goldie Hawn about American female army recruits in training.

I tracked down some suitably plastic pound store items that match their traditional army men or women style such as this rope bridge and towers, the odd plastic wall sections as well as other snowball fight cover made from white Lego and old Playmobil snow sections.

Add some Christmas trees and you have that spirit of the Snow Ball!

Turn 3 – already some of the snowballers can shoot from behind Snow cover

Snowballing round the base of the Rosie the Riveter statue (also a BMC copper colour freebie)

Turn 6 – base to base, toe to toe snowball scrapping and snow melee

Turn 11 – Close up snowball fighting
The final turn – the last of the Tan figures goes down in close melee.

Each of the squads of four had a box of chocolate rations (colour themed Lego block tan or green) in their sentry box, something to be defended.

Victory Conditions / End of Game either:

a) all four of the rival squad defeated after 6 snowball hits on each

Or

b) capture of the rival squad’s chocolate rations

Range measured in lolly sticks.

Firing per single figure rolling 1 standard d6 dice

Long Range (LR) 3 lolly sticks – 6 required to hit target

Medium Range (MR) 2 lolly sticks – 5 or 6 required to hit target

Close Range (CR) 1 lolly stick – 4,5 or 6 required to hit target

If target hit when behind partial cover (low snow wall etc), roll casualty saving throw of 1d6 – 6 means deflected / saved by the cover, otherwise 1-5 counts as normal snowball hit (lose a point)

Movement is one half lolly stick per figure per turn. Anything like climbing fences, walls etc takes one turn.

IGO YUGO rules. Roll two suitably coloured dice (in this case, tan and green) – highest score moves first, other side second, first side to move shoots first, second side to move shoots second.

Solve any melee as they happen or after firing, as you wish.

Each figure (numbered or named as you wish e.g. Green 1, Green 2 …) needs to have a tally kept of life points – use spare d6, tally chart etc.

Figure removed when hit by 6 snowballs.

Snow Melee

If figures are touching bases, this counts as Snow Melee – extreme close range fir snowballing, close enough to shove snow down each other’s necks sort of thing.

Attacker is whichever colour side went first – roll on dice

Roll one d6 per two duelling figures in melee

1 or 2 – Hit on attacker – loses one point

3 – Both attacker and defender hit – both lose one point

4 – Both sides miss

5 to 6 – Hit on defender – lose one point.

(Melee system adapted from Gerard De Gre via Donald Featherstone Solo Wargaming and simplified by Kaptain Kobold)

Rules

Snowball Fight variations – Alan Gruber, Duchy of Tradgardland – six life points for each character, one point lost each time hit by a snowball.

https://tradgardland.blogspot.com/2020/12/snowball-fight-game.html

Our original rules – Scouting Wide Games / snowball fights:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/29/packing-sugar-at-freddie-snowball-fight-wide-games-scenario/

Blog posted by Man of TIN, 27 December 2020

In the Teeth of the Enemy: more unusual scrap terrain

Bad Squiddo Russian Women of WW2 28mm figures and their unusual defensive position

“In many places they advanced in the teeth of stiff opposition.”

As a scrap modeller and trash puppy hoarder of scrap plastic, interesting packaging and old toys for future use, I often look at everyday waste objects and wonder how they could be useful in gaming.

This latest terrain feature started life as Christmas cracker scrap or magazine freebie – a cheap set of comedy false teeth. What else could they become, if not landfill scrap?

Could they become dragons teeth to stop enemy tanks? A stone wall to protect troops?

Truly “In many places they advanced in the teeth of stiff opposition.”

Strips of masking tape cover these holes – the gap is useful for figure bases to fit underneath.

Another cheap and cheerful bit of wargaming terrain.

Don’t forget to recycle your Christmas cracker scrap into useful gaming stuff – see my previous Christmas cracker scrap posts here:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/29/recycling-christmas-cracker-scraps/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 22 / 23 December 2020

More Retro packaging for the ‘Penny Dreadful’ pound store plastic warriors

The Super Cheap Wargaming Facebook group featured a post by Ron Lumbis about the current 30mm-32mm (ish) pound store figures.

I like the retro style of the packaging from Schyllyng with on the back of the box the pen outline of the figures inside, a little like the early 1960s Airfix boxes.

I also like the slight overselling – “INCLUDES TWO ARMIES” – obviously serious defence cuts have happened. What they mean is includes two different colours of figures, in this case the traditional green and tan of some plastic army men figures sets.

I see echoes of the famous Russ Heath Lucky Toys page adverts in US comic books for disappointingly flat mail order figures. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/10/classic-close-wars-and-comic-book-soldiers-back-to-the-forest/

You can also see similarly stylish packaging (short lived packaging and sold out) from 2017, the “WW2 Soldiers” tag a little misleading with the Russian Army looking troops.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/retro-packaging/

Either box would make a good attractive mail order gift, one that I would happily have played with as a child, then have somewhere to put them back in the box afterwards.

The alternative packaging I have found for these figures over the last few years ranges from a flimsy plastic bag and header card of two different colours per bag …

… to the useful storage tubs of single colour figures occasionally found in Poundland UK.

Same figures, different colours, varying prices per figure, different packaging.

To me these are the modern cheap small plastic equivalent to the Airfix figures of our youth.

They are surprisingly versatile and at a penny or two each (prices are steadily creeping up) these anonymous and widely available ‘Made in China’ plastic figures can be cheaply and easily converted to a range of periods past and present – and future.

Several fantasy or sci fi gaming bloggers have used these same figures such as the Wargaming Pastor for his Death Zap future games.

Ross Macfarlane of the long-established Battle Game of the Month blog paid these figures and conversions a sort of dubious tribute when he described them as:

Hence my nickname for them of the “Penny Dreadfuls“, as this is what I once paid for each 100 figures for £1.

I have used them for many things from my Boy Scout rough conversions …

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/05/19/pound-store-plastic-boy-scout-32mm-conversions/

to Flash Gordon style space marines and little green men aliens.

The alien ‘cape’ is a card paper hole punch strengthener from cheap old luggage labels.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/little-green-men-pound-store-plastic-space-warriors/

These figures adapt to modern as well as 19th Century colonial figures

Various theatres of War and historic periods suggested by paint conversions here

Simple cardboard hat brims (again from hole punch paper strengtheners or card circles)

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/pound-store-plastic-colonial-infantry-on-the-painting-table/

Colonial highlanders from Carry on Up the Khyber … tissue paper and PVA kilts added

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/pound-store-plastic-carry-on-up-the-khyber-colonial-highlanders/

Simple desert or native warriors created by scalpel and PVA / tissue paper conversions

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/pound-store-desert-warrior-unit-completed/

Cheap enough to risk losing figures if taken as a travel battle on holiday – simple melee rules.

As you can see these are very versatile figures, with a little imagination, they can become many different types of ImagiNations figures.

Transport easily requisitioned from charity shop cheap finds …

Arguably Airfix figures have or had the advantage of scale model kits and buildings to complement their figures (although both often in and out of availability or production).

However, with a little imagination, suitable Pound Store playset or charity shop vehicles, terrain and buildings can be found.

A full blown pound store colonial skirmish for under a pound …

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/02/03/pound-store-colonial-skirmish-part-1/

Suitable sized gaming accessories add variety to conversions – here an old Prince August homecast gun.

Or light railway battery ‘train in a tin’ style …

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/deconstructing-trains-train-in-a-tin-vs-train-in-a-box/

This paint conversion or scalpel and PVA approach works with any size or scale of cheap plastic Pound Store type figures as you can see from meandering through my blog.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 21 December 2020

Pound Store Pillboxes

One wooden craft box from The Works, deconstructed into useful parts for the future.

Photos from about a year ago / prelockdown and not posted until today.

Snipping out the pattern gives a potential Christmas decoration? And left-over locks and screws?
A stiff cardboard roof top, traced around the wooden lid …
It reminded me again why possibly a pillbox is called a pillbox, based on its shape.

With a lick of grey paint and some some flock, these should one day turn into a couple of Airfix figure sized (20-25mm) to 30mm Pound Store figure (c.30mm) scale pill boxes.

Rather than butcher them with bad carpentry, I will probably add the fire slots and doorway with paint and card.

It reminds me a little of the hexagonal Pillbox of my trusty old Airfix Coastal Defence Forts.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/kaskowiski-1873-inspired-scenario/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 15 December 2020

An old lead cow for her birthday – Happy Centenary to Rosemary Sutcliff born 14 December 1920

A charming childhood photo of the young Rosemary Sutcliff on the cover of her autobiography Blue Remembered Hills (1983)

Today would have been the 100th Birthday of writer Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-1992)

Readers and fellow gamers shared their Rosemary Sutcliff stories in the comments on my recent blog post, that also received a welcome visit and comment from her godson and literary executor Anthony Lawton.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/11/21/rosemary-sutcliff-centenary-14-december-2020/

Today on her birthday I give her – an old lead cow or two. Why?

Two black and white cows with a leg each repaired for Rosemary’s centenary

The reason will become clear if I share two short quotes from the early childhood chapters of her autobiography, for the period just after WW1. Her father was a naval officer. Her older sister Penelope died as a baby in the Spanish Flu pandemic.

“A few more years, and I was born. My father was at the Admiralty at the time, and commuting daily between Whitehall and East Chandon, which is how just before Christmas 1920 I came to be born in Surrey.”

A posting in Malta is memorably described and then her return to Britain. Writing in her 1983 autobiography, Sutcliff recalls the pleasure of lead toy figures almost 60 years ago :

“For a short while, weeks or months, ‘Home’ was a cottage we rented near Sevenoaks, and my father was again at the Admiralty and coming back from London each evening.”

“One evening he bought me the nucleus of what was to become a well stocked toy farm: two cows, one black-and-white lying down, one brown-and-white standing up, and a hen sitting on a nest full of yellow chicks. They were stout heavy little creatures of painted lead. Oh, the satisfying weight and density of the farm animals and toy soldiers of my youth, compared with the flimsy plastic variety with which the modern child has to be content, finely modelled but so light that they blow over if you breathe in their direction.”

“I have always been sorry for children born more than two hundred years ago, and therefore denied the pleasure of popping fuschia buds, and for children born too late to enjoy, except as family treasures and collector’s pieces, the feel of strength and balance and solidity of lead cows or Grenadiers that were a delight to the hand as well as the eye.”

“And then when I was five we went to Sheerness Dockyard.” (C. 1925)

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Two recently repaired black and white lead cows and a red one with chickens

Rosemary Sutcliff – an unexpected patron of the old lead toy soldier!

As she grew up, she had an older family friend, Colonel Crookenden, colonel of the Senior Officers School at Sheerness, who:

“His hobby was making lead soldiers, and I soon had a sizeable private army, complete with despatch riders on motor-cycles and a stretcher party, to range alongside my toy farm on its green baize-covered board.”

The Capricorn Bracelet (1973)

I mentioned that I had kept aside a Sutcliff or two to read for her birthday week, although I realise from the bibliography how few of her books I have read.

One is The Capricorn Bracelet, a series of short stories spaced over three centuries and many generations of the same family from AD 61 to AD 383. The Capricorn bracelet is a linking literary motif, a Roman military Distinguished Conduct bracelet that travels down through members of the family.

Originally written by Sutcliff as some short stories for Radio Scotland, these scripts were redeveloped into short stories. Each short story or chapter feels like you have read a mini Eagle of The Ninth.

The Dacian Cavalry Fire Ride pictured on the front cover from chapter 3 – Outpost Fortress AD 150

The chapter headings give an idea of the time spanned, the narrator or main character varying from legionaries and cavalrymen, officers and men through to British tribesmen:

  • Death of a City AD 61
  • Rome Builds a Wall AD 123
  • Outpost Fortress AD 150
  • Traprain Law AD 196
  • Frontier Post AD 280
  • The Eagles Fly South AD 383

and a handy timeline background chapter for these stories too.

This New York Times review of the book suggested it was “not Sutcliff at her best” which I certainly do not agree with.

Happy Birthday Rosemary Sutcliff!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 14 December 2020

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

I photographed the repair process of mending the lead cows ‘ legs and will feature this on a future post.

The Toy Theatre of War and early Wargamers

Peter Dennis’ Paper Soldiers Little Wars civilians on my Toy Theatre stage

Crossposted from my Man Of TIN blog

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/12/12/penny-plain-and-tuppence-coloured-rls-the-toy-theatre-of-war-and-early-wargaming/

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN 12 December 2020

Christmas Biscuits or Mysterious Jungle Carvings of South America?

“Edwardiana Jones uncovers a strange mysterious stone carving in the jungle …” or This WW2 Australian Infantry Officer is one of my favourite 1:32 Airfix figures.

Following up my post on my recent painting of 54mm Mixtec and Zapotec figures, I saw this and thought South American stone carving!

Unfortunately we had already eaten the rest of the packet of these ‘speculoos‘ or Spekulatius spicy Christmas ginger biscuits by this time, delicious seasonal picture biscuits which are:

“traditionally baked for consumption on or just before St Nicholas’ Day in the Netherlands (5 December), Belgium and Luxembourg (6 December) and around Christmas in Germany and Austria.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speculaas

Chintoys 54mm Mixtec and Zapotecs in the jungle – jaguar warriors and Oracular priest

Unfortunately we had already eaten the rest of the packet of these ‘spekulaties’ spicy Christmas ginger biscuits by the time I found this odd one.

I coated this biscuit with several coats of PVA, having thoroughly dried it out first on the heater.

I then painted this Revell Aquacolor Acrylic stone grey and mounted this into a wooden block, painted grey.

Chintoy 54mm Conquistadors puzzle over these mysterious fierce stone carvings.

The original Spekulatis design up close. I wonder what is it supposed to be?

I’m not sure how long this biscuit will last before it breaks down, the PVA glue coating will only preserve it for so long.

But it will be fun while it lasts!

To keep this super cheap or Pound Store, even the jungle foliage is scrounged, being unwanted old cleaned-up fake aquarium or vivarium plants …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 7 December 2020