The Land of Counterpane Invaded – Part 2 The Battle

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April 2021 – the 2016 design finally realised on the kitchen table at last.

 

Previously on The Land Of Counterpane Invaded Part 1: Making The Bed 

Now in  part 2 , The Battle. 

The Opening Scenario:

The main aim is to rescue the men and women of the Thyer Brigadia (FMS) troops, whose supply waggon cannot cross the  missing or destroyed river bridge.

Has the bridge been deliberately destroyed?

The only remaining crossing is a small foot bridge to the south, too small for the waggon to safely cross. This crossing is below an old ruined trading post, burnt out long ago, along  with the ruined windmill and distant village in the hills, all in ruins like much of this troubled and desolate frontier valley. 

Fearing an ambush in this lawless and disputed border region, the stranded waggon party  have sent back a rider to bring help. As evening approaches they have unloaded the waggon and  taken refuge with their stores  in this burnt out hilltop ruin of an old crossing post.

The old lady in their party is sick. The two feisty young Kontraupan sisters ‘Hetty’ and ‘Harriet’ have stayed with the troops in order to nurse her.

The Thyer Brigadia sentry on the opposite ridge sounds the alarm as a small patrol of red enemy Rugasian troops comes storming over the hillside.  

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Back of Postcard Rules (similar to the 30mm Flats game, loosely based on Featherstone rules) – see link end of this 30mm Flats post here . Adapted to work on a square grid. 1 inch from the Flats rules becomes one square (which is just over 2 inches). 

Four figures or two horses can occupy one blanket square. 

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Sketch Map of The Land of  Counterpane 

Compass points have been drawn across it to help determine point of entry and exit of various troops. 

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Bird’s eye view of the opening scenario before the  first Rugasian Redcoats arrive from the SW. 

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April 2021 – the 2016 design finally realised on the kitchen table at last.

 

This game was played solo in one evening, over 16 turns as darkness fell outside.  

D6 dice were thrown to determine the game turn (2d6) and compass entry points (2d6) of diffrent Rugasian (Red or RM) and Bluan (Blue – B ) and Thyer Brigadian (TB) troops. 

Compass points – 2d6 – 1  North, 2 Northeast, 3 Northwest, 4 South, 5 SE, 6 SW, E 7, W 8+

Chronology of the arrival of different units

This was written out for clarity before Turn 1 started. 

Turn 1 – first Rugasian infantry patrol appear on board at SW

Turn 5 – first Rugasian  cavalry / horse artillery unit at S. – Single cannon. 

Turn 6 – first Bluan infantry patrol arrives N (on NE side of river)

Turn 7 – Second Rugasian infantry patrol appear W.

Turn 8 – Blue cavalry rider returns from raising the alarm – NW

Turn 11 – Second Bluan infantry patrol arrives – N

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2 coloured D6 dice thrown to see which side has highest score and moves first – IGO YUGO – see rules at end of post. Winner moves first (any melee?), loser moves second (any melee?), winner fires first, loser fires second.  

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Rugasian Redcoats storm the slippy steep slopes of the ridge

 

Turn 1 – The first Rugasian (RM or Red)  troops move first, fast up the valley slopes from the West towards the lone Thyer Brigadia (TB or Blue) sentry Kverko who is keeping watch beside the dead tree on Wounded Tree- Knee ridge. Can they surprise and overpower him before he raises the alarm? 

D6 thrown to see if the Thyer Brigadia (TB or Blue) sentry notices the RM troops – 1,2, 3 Yes, 4,5,6 N0. 

The sentry Kverko fails to spot them on the first turn. No firing takes place as they are both / all out of range. 

He spots them on the first move of second turn and sounds the alarm, letting off a warning shot at the Rugasian infantry, only to be shot down, easily silhouetted against the sky  by the Reds. 

In Turns 3 and 4 as the Rugasian infantry line the brow of the ridge opposite the trading post, the remaining Thyer Brigadian sentries start heading back towards the cover of  the hilltop ruin. They are few in number, so were spread out on watch. They are all still out of firing range of the enemy. 

By Turn 5, the jingling rumble of the Rugasian horse artillery is heard and they arrive in the river valley to the South along the Rugasian troop side of the valley. 

By Turn 6 the first Rugasian infantry have  crossing the foot bridge and are heading up the steep slopes of the hilltop ruin, within rifle range of the Thyer Brigadian troops. The first TB shots miss, although Hetty Kontraupan gets a pistol hit through a loophole in the wall on the first Rugasian trooper to reach the boardwalk outside the ruin, this is then deflected in a savings throw. Nice shot all the same, Hetty!

Her sister Harriet has drawn a wicked looking sabre and whirls this around menacingly over the rough old gate used to block the doorway. 

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Tricky hill slopes – Bluan pound store troops of the rescue party led by old lead veteran Capitano Harry Counterpayne.

 

By Turn 7, the first glimpse of Bluan infantry border patrol from the North’s  distant Counterpane hills. A spirited “huzzah!” from the besieged blue coated Thyer Brigadians is heartily echoed by the Bluan troops racing to the rescue. The Rugasians turn their eyes  briefly to the North, then push on.  

The Thyer Brigadian troops and sentries, mostly safe behind the walls of the ruin, fire on the Rugasian infantry appearing in front of the ruin. One Rugasian Redcoat is hit outside the ruin window.

The last Thyer Brigadian sentry Vagono, still to return to the ruin, is using the abandoned waggon as cover; he fires on the Rugasian Cavalry and horse artillery riders opposite as they pass up the valley to deploy in flat ground by the destroyed Bedford river bridge. Vagono misses, and curses, knowing that once the gun is unhitched and deployed in Turn 9, it will be ready to fire  at the hilltop ruin in Turn Ten.

If the sentry Vagano could only pick off some of the 3 horse artillery crew needed to man the gun, even if they replace them with willing volunteers from the Rugasian infantry, this will force the gun crew to delay firing and dice for readiness. 

When it is the Rugasian turn to fire, they hit two of the Thyer Brigadian infantry in the ruined house window. Despite being behind cover, they fail their savings throw and both are killed. This leaves few defenders in the ruin. 

Meanwhile, whatever alarm the arrival of the distant Bluan patrol might cause, off to the west shielded from view behind the Wounded Tree-Knee ridge, the second Rugasian infantry patrol enters the board. 

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Turn 8 –  Tarantara! The Thyer Brigadian / Bluan cavalry rider sent for help appears to the Northwest. he heads towards the waggon in the hop to hitch it up and be able to evacuate the women and other defenders from the ruin. 

Things are looking bad for the thinning number of defenders in the hilltop ruin as more of the Rugasian infantry patrol head down hill from the cover of an old stone wall. Before, they were in cover but just a bit too far away to get a good shot at the ruined house. 

The Rugasian infantry outside the ruin now fire at Hetty, Harriet and the Thyer Brigadian soldiers. One Rugasian  scores a hit – but who is the casualty? 

A quick d6 throw resolves the issue –  red, blue and white dice are thrown , 1 for each character. Both women are safe as the third Thyer Brigadian infantry man collapses to the ground, dead. As the defenders return fire, Hetty aims another pistol shot but misses. 

The lone Thyer Brigadian sentry Vagono sheltering by the waggon is more successful – he fires at the Rugasian Horse artillery riders and scores a hit.

Which is killed though, rider or horse?    d6 – 1,2,3 rider killed or 4,5,6 horse killed, rider dismounts. 

Not only does the lone sentry Vagono manage to kill one rider, the Bluan Infantry patrol from the North are now close in  range enough to bring down two more horses. Their  Rugasian riders dismount from their fatlly wounded horses and begin unhitching the single gun.

At this point, whilst most casualties have been left where they fell,  I removed the mounted figures and replaced them with some handy dismounted Herald plastic lifeguard figures. 

Turn 9 

With several defenders of the ruin fallen, three Rugasian infantrymen on the board walk outside the ruin try to climb inside through the barricaded door and ruined window.

Are they successful? Quick d6 throw 1,2, 3,4 – remain outside, 5, 6 climb inside. 

Only one Rugasian makes it into through the barricaded doorway. He is then close enough to instantly melee with the sabre wielding Harriet Kontraupan.

 

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Sadly despite inflicting two wounds on the Rugasian attacker with her sabre, Harriet is fatally wounded three times and collapses to the ground, only  yards from her sister Hetty. 

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The 3 wound or life points tally system used in Melee can be seen here in my gaming notebook alongside Kaptain Kobold’s very tidy dice version of the Gerald De Gre origin /   Donald Featherstone’s  Solo Wargaming ‘Parry and Lunge’ duelling or melee rules. 

In the Bluan / Thyer Brigadian turn to fire, Hetty aims her pistol at point blank range at the Rugasian infantryman who slew her sister. However, tears in her eyes,  she again misses her target. Bad luck, Hetty! 

More successfully the flag-carrying Thyer Brigadian Ensign Flago puts down his sword and flag to pick  up an abandoned rifle. He shoots the Rugasian attacker – Harriet is swiftly avenged! 

Ensign Flago dodges another bullet (savings throw) from two Rugasian infantry at the window. 

Turn Ten

The Rugasian cannon is now deployed ready to fire.  

Rugasian infantry move first, crossing the bridge , they turn to meet the first Bluan patrol closing in on them. Above them up the slope at the ruin, two more Rugasian infantry try to scramble in through the window frame. As one succeeds (d6 throw), he confronts  the Ensign Flago in Melee – and the Rugasian loses!  

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The Bluan infantry patrol led by Capitano ‘Harry’ Counterpane / Kontraupan split as he heads towards the red troops at the  bridge, whilst others aim for the Rugasian cannon.  

As the Bluan / TB  cavalryman hitches up the waggon, the lone Thyer Brigadian sentry Vagano heads up the hill to the ruin to join the remaining defenders. 

Boom! The Rugasian Horse artillery cannon fires  – at Close Range up to 6 squares needing a 5 or 6 to hit,  then roll d6 for number of casualties. Up to 5 characters in and around the ruin are hit. 5 d6 savings throws are thrown including for those under cover.   Two characters under cover roll successful savings throws – that means the casualties   are one Rugasian infantryman hit by his own side, the lone sentry Vagono and one  defender under cover.

But which defender? 

Three coloured d6 are thrown – the old sick lady (red), Hetty Kontraupan (blue) and Ensign Flago (white). Sadly Ensign Flago takes their hit for the team, the last of the Thyer Brigadian escort troops. 

With just the old sick lady and Hetty left in the ruin, they both consider what to do? 

d6 1,2 – retreat via window towards the hitched waggon, 3-4 freeze, 5,6 stay put. They roll 5 and  so stay put. 

The Bluan patrol fire at the cannon and second unit of Rugasian infantry arriving from the west, knocking out more of the cannon crew. 

Turn 11  – Huzzah! Waving their flag, the second Bluan infantry border patrol appears to the North. 

Meanwhile back in the ‘valley of death’, as red and blue bodies pile up, Capitano ‘Harry’ Kontraupan of the Bluan infantry loses his second  Melee with a Rugasian redcoat at the footbridge, becoming one of several more Bluan and Rugasian melee casualties.

Thankfully the Rugasian cannon remains unable to fire. 

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By Turn 12, the second Redcoat infantry group which has arrived from the West now fires on the second  Bluan infantry platoon. 

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By Turn 13, several Bluan infantry reach the hilltop ruin to join Hetty and the sick old lady who are sheltering there. The Bluan waggon is hitched and now heads for shelter behind the ruin but Hetty stays put.  

During Turn 14, the Rugasian horse artillery cannon is hitched up and led off. (d6 Saddle up cannon? 1-4 yes, 5-6 no).  In exchanges of rifle fire across the river, the Rugasian redcoats fire poorly and the Bluan forces fire well. More redcoats fall. 

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A repaired Britain’s household cavalryman takes away the sole Rugasian horse artillery gun. 

By Turn 15, after desultory firing by the last remaining Rugasian soldiers, they throw a d6 deciding roll (1,3,5 retreat or 2,4,6 attack)  and retreat. 

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By Turn 16, the Bluan flag flies over the hilltop ruin. Huzzah! 

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Aftermath

In the aftermath, Hetty and the Blue Cavalaryman escort the sick old lady home in the waggon, returning with the stores and bodies of Harriet and Harry Kontraupan back to the safety of Thyer Brigadia. 

The Bluan troops quickly bury the dead.  Keeping some spare stores from the waggon, they leave a three man patrol in the ruins to watch for further enemy activity.

Verdict: An exciting solo game, worthy of the finest pound store figures and vintage hollowcasts alike. Only 5 slow years since the sketch of the terrain and the playing. 

Playing using the blanket squares as movement and firing range did lead to some oddities of measuring that hexes normally don’t present for me. I think that Bob Cordery in the Portable Wargame book / blog and Phil Dutre in his blog have explored the grid square reasons for this. 

Figures

The red and blue infantry were mostly cheap pound store plastic warrior ‘shiny toy soldier style’ paint conversions  of cloned WW2 figures, roughly about 42mm. https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/pound-store-42mm-infantry-army-red-army-blue/

Thyer Brigadia hollowcast repairs https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/09/12/repairing-broken-britains-thyer-brigadia-colour-party-finished-in-54mm/

A few old hollowcasts and other plastic figures were mixed in for good measure, along with some suitable wooden scenery blocks, building and gun to match that older Land of Counterpane vintage feeling.  

The main hilltop ruin is built out of terracotta self drying clay and parts of an old digital radio wooden case https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/from-old-digital-radio-to-54mm-houses-and-coastal-gun-emplacement/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 6 April 2021 

 

radio conversion to 

 

 

The Land of Counterpane Invaded! Part 1

Preparation for the Game:

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Essential reading matter for The Land Of Counterpane Invaded – or useful book hills under the blanket?

Making the Bed’

I have been tinkering with the idea of a Land of Counterpane game, since writing a post in 2016 about this famous toy soldier poem by RLS (Robert Louis Stevenson, an early wargamer).

This poem from A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885) is strongly linked in my mind to the chapter in Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming entitled ‘War Gaming in Bed’. I found the rules in this humorous chapter such useful skirmish rules as a child.

The arrival of a blue chequered blanket into the house recently gave me the game mat for Counterpane that I have been looking for.

Setting up and playing the game, I encountered many of the problems noted by Featherstone about the apparent attractiveness of the bed as toy soldier terrain. If you are in bed, you can make the most marvellous mountains, valleys and hills with your knees and feet.

Donald Featherstone in his Solo Wargames book mentioned in a chapter on “Wargaming In Bed” exploring the apparent possibilities of lying in bed as wargames terrain

“At first glance beds , with their blanket-covered hummocks, hills and valleys, might seem pretty reasonable places upon which to fight a wargame, but experiment soon proves that this is not so.

In the first place, the figures will not stand up and even the most judicious positioning of the legs under the bedclothes so as to make the hills less steep will eventually be defeated by cramp if nothing else …”

This excerpt is from Chapter 20, “Wargaming in Bed” in Solo Wargaming by Donald Featherstone (1973 /2009 reprint p. 139), an excellent chapter full of suitably simple rules for skirmishes with jousting knights or duellists.

“After all, the easiest wargames terrain is a cloth draped over hills made of books, again if only you can manage to get your figures to stand up on it”, I wrote in late 2016.

This was what I had in mind back in late 2016

In lieu of legs and feet, I first tried pillows and long thin cushions that made a great terrain with slopes, but a terrain on which no toy soldier could stand and fight.

Instead I resorted to the boyhood standard of big chunky books under the blanket or cloth.

Soldiers still have some issues about standing to fight on rising hill slopes.

The choice of book hills was fun. One leg valley was made up of a bound volume of the Strand with H G Wells’ original Floor Games article. Within this volume I keep my original H G Wells’ Little Wars article from the Windsor Magazine 1912/13, Part 2: The Battle for Hook’s Farm.

Another ‘leg’ was made up of 1897 bound volumes of The Windsor Magazine and of The Girl’s Own Annual that I had randomly acquired long ago, both full of ripping yarns. Amongst the Counterpane ‘Two Pillows’ hills was another bound volume – Dicken’s Household Words magazine, Volume 2 from 1851.

Good solid unmovable foundations for my red and blue Pound Store Plastic Warriors to battle over!

 

Pound Store finest, the Red Rugas-ian troops (Rugaj Manteloj or Red Coats) from Rugas, one of the FMS Forgotten Minor States, can be seen here storming the steep slopes of Wounded Tree-Knee ridge. This is guarded by a single blue-coated Thyer Brigadia sentry (Britains’ hollowcast conversion)  standing next to a lovely old  Britain’s plastic farm tree from my childhood farm set. 

Propped up on the twin peaks or pillow hills,  overlooking all is RLS, the child sick in bed from the Land Of Counterpane poem, as painted by American illustrator Jessie Willcox Smith. 

The rough sketch map of the  Counterpane ‘game bed’ (2021) picks out and names different features, some in Esperanto. Oddly from the 1890s, this became a common neutral langauge  or lingua franca in the Forgotten Minor States (FMS) troubled borderlands of Mittel Mittel Europe of my ImagiNations.  

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It is overdrawn with compass directions, helpful for marking entry and exit points of different troops, selected randomly by d6 dice throw.

In part 2 (my next blog post),  I shall feature the desperate and bloody fight to rescue the men and women of the Thyer Brigadia (FMS) troops, whose supply waggon cannot cross the  missing or destroyed river bridge.

Fearing an ambush in this lawless and disputed border region, they have sent back a rider to bring help. As evening approaches they have unloaded the waggon and  taken refuge with their stores  in this burnt out hilltop ruin of an old crossing post.

The old lady in their party is sick. The two feisty young Kontraupan sisters ‘Hetty’ and ‘Harriet’ have stayed with the troops in order to nurse her.

The Thyer Brigadia sentry on the opposite ridge sounds the alarm as a small patrol of red enemy Rugasian troops comes storming over the hillside.  

TO BE CONTINUED … 

Figures are a mixture of random hollowcast figures,  as well as mostly 42mm red and blue ‘shiny toy soldier style’ painted plastics pound store copies of WW2 figures https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/pound-store-42mm-infantry-army-red-army-blue/ 

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 6 April 2021  

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

Little Wars Revisited 54mm gaming day, 16 March 2019 Woking

March 16th 2019 – Little Wars Revisited 54mm Games Day, Woking.

http://littlewarsrevisited.boards.net/thread/172/lwr-forum-2019-games-day?page=1

http://mikelewis.info/littlewars/?p=642

Some good looking games shown on people’s blogs last year – You can see pics of 2018 at Brian Carrick’s blog:

http://toysoldiercollecting.blogspot.com/2018/03/little-wars-revisited-54mm-in-woking.html

and at

https://wargaminggallimaufry.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-little-wars-revisited-54mm-day-in.html

Not sure if I will make it along but Mike Lewis the organiser mentioned promoting the event to 54mm gamers via our blogs. So here goes …

Blog posted / cross posted from Man of TIN blog by Mark Man of TIN on 4 January 2019

More Dumb Soldiers in the Garden

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Wellsian illustration for RLS poem The Dumb Soldier  by Jessie Wilcox-Smith http://gutenberg.readingroo.ms/2/5/6/0/25609/25609-h/25609-h.htm

Being some illustrations of ‘The Dumb Soldier’ poem by Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS) from  A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885), as featured in our recent garden games post:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/dumb-soldiers-the-past-and-future-of-garden-wargames

I was fascinated by the discovery by Tony (of the interesting  Tin Soldiering On blog) of this type of crude wartime or postwar hollowcast figure, the plastic pound store warriors of their day, buried in the garden of the house  he grew up in whilst digging the garden

He is about 54mm (2″) scale, I’m not sure where he has come from,  my parents moved into the house in about 1946 shortly after it was built and I have lived here all my life and can’t remember ever owning him as a child so he is a bit of a mystery, but he will stand guard on my painting tray from now on … it ties in with the age of the house which was built just after the war,  my mother and father moved in on his demob in 1946 I think . Tony, Tin Soldiering On blog

http://tonystoysoldiers.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/lost-and-found.html

So I was curious to see the same type of figure unearthed and turn up for sale on an online site and bought this “Dumb soldier” to go with several others that have turned up in joblots.

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54mm-ish WW2 or post war lead hollow cast, discovered in Bristol by Dave Hough, now in my collection. The pound store plastics of their day. Looks like it’s been buried a while ….

They are very similar in style to the crude moulded figures that I produced from vintage metal moulds.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/more-homecasting/

The Dumb Soldier Illustrated

First is a three page spread by British illustrator Hilda Boswell (1903 – 1976) in watercolours, from her illustrated version of a Child’s Garden of Verses,  published in 1963. The first two pages are a double page spread, broken down to page by page to see more details. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilda_Boswell

Archaeologists of the future might see this toy soldier burial as some kind of  strange ritual practice. (In my experience anything Archaeologists do not understand is linked to strange ‘ritual’ practice).

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Her “Dumb Soldier” looks much like the 1960s Herald Plastic Guardsman I grew up with, first introduced in the early 1950s as plastics steadily took over from lead figures for children. So this Herald figure could easily have been the model.

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One of my Britain’s Herald Guardsman (1950s-1970s) 

The other illustration in my collection is from the late Brian Wildsmith (1930-2016), a well-known British illustrator.

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

I was amazed and pleased to see that his  1960s illustrated version of A Child’s Garden of Verses is  back / still in print (Blackwells, 2017). So you can own a copy too!

http://brianwildsmith.com/bw.about.html

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‘The Dumb Soldier’ poem from my old bashed family copy of RLS Child’s Garden of Verses with illustration by the late Brian Wildsmith.

Lost or deliberately buried in the garden?

My late Dad as a wartime child was given some ‘lost’ metal figures including a coronation coach dredged up from his father’s employer’s  garden pond, presumably unwanted by the previous, possibly careless child owners. Long lost again many years beforei was born,  I often thought of these treasures whilst launching amphibious assaults across our garden pond and then sometimes having to root around in the pond bottom mud for the heavier casualties.

I lost plenty enough small Airfix figures in the pile of builders sand we called a sandpit. Digging one into the lawn, however good his trench or fire pit, would have led to pretty quick decapitation by 1970s hovermower.

 

B.P.S BlogPostscript

I was amazed and pleased to see that Wildsmith’s 1960s illustrated version of A Child’s Garden of Verses is back / still in print (Blackwells, 2017). So you can own a copy too!

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 30th August 2017

20% less Pound Store Plastic Warriors for your Pound

Now only 80 figures per £1 tub where once there were 100 …

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2018/01/26/20-less-pound-store-plastic-warriors-for-your-pound/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on my occasional Sidetracked blog on the themes of my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 26 January 2018