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:
What I sort of planned for 2020:
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
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/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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