Pound Store Surreal Space Planet Away Team

Pound Store Plastic Space Marines Away Team  on a surreal planet

Away from home visiting the seaside for a few days over the rainy Bank Holiday weekend, I took a couple of items to improvise a quick away game, should I need one.

My portable board game hex board with a 2D feel with the map symbols  but 3D figures and stone lumps. Halfway to 3D  or is that 2.5D?

I packed a small A5 tackle box of pound store plastic figures (£1 for 100 30-40mm figs), dice and stuff and the portable hex board cartridge  paper game board from my 2016 Easter away trips.

Pound store figures are good to take as if you lose or leave anything behind on your travel battles, it’s not the end of the world at a penny a figure.


This is my pound store DIY version of the portable war game or Perry Twins’ popular new Travel Battle game.

Semi-Random Terrain Distribution By Featherstone Air Drop

Tucked inside the box lid are some passable or impassable map symbol type hex squares (marsh, river, impassable forest). Once the first river pieces were laid on fairly at random, the other hexes  were dropped from on high to randomise their placing.

This is something I remember as a technique using paper circles scattered from a converted Airfix plastic Dakota kit for scattering paratroops, the Dakota held at a suitable height over the calculated or miscalculated drop zone.

I first saw this in  a childhood borrowed library copy of Donald Featherstone’s Wargaming Airborne Operations (recently reprinted by John Curry). Airfix paratroop figures then replaced  the paper parachute circles wherever they landed, sometimes fatally in water, on rooftops or behind enemy lines.

I would love to try this outside in a back garden / Yarden game. It would even work for beaming or teleporting down  to another planet scenario. Beam ’em down!

The Featherstone Airdrop – Brilliantly odd game mechanic! 

These map symbol coloured hexes were improvised from thin white packaging card on my Easter 2016 holiday trip and can be lightly tacked down (like the game board) with a smidgin of  magic or Scotch tape.

Pretty it isn’t but practical and portable it is.

In my holiday ‘rainy day’ box I usually pack tape, scissors, a few fine liner pens or Sharpie pens and raid whatever watercolours, paints, cardboard or paper I can find to make game bits. Coffee stirrers are really handy and easy to come by, as are bits of stone etc.

These last saw action on holiday in Easter 2016 https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/close-little-wars-away-game/

Ignore the Artemis blurb … look at the picture. No artist credited.  Invest in tiny tin men instead!

For the back drop, I found somebody’s leftover Saturday’s newspaper had an intriguing surrealist landscape advert. With a bit of camouflage (space palm tree cocktail stick stirrers from Tiger.com taped for weight to a spare dice behind gravel stones) to hide the outsize hunter figure, this folded over to form a surreal space backdrop for my improvised Away Team solo game.

I used my Little Close Wars rules improvised and hexed up from Donald Featherstone’s appendix to War Games (1962) https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/


For the melee sections I used the fast play Kaptain Kobold’s reduced dice version of Gerald De Gre’s  duelling rules taken from Donald Featherstone’s  Solo Wargaming.


I roll  a dice to see which side – silver space marines versus red planet natives –  are the Attackers, which the Defenders for the purposes of any Melee dice throws etc. if I ever forget. I use coloured dice for game counters for keeping track of hits (for speed each figure started a melee phase / round of only two combat or life points).


A pink flamingo cocktail stick marker marked out which side were the Attackers, another nod to a different famous Don Featherstone, inventor of the pink lawn flamingo. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Featherstone_(artist) Another d6 dice was rolled to see what the melee result was on the Kaptain Kobold d6 Dice Table dice table. The other spare dice was busy propping up the space palm trees.

Silver Space Marine Away Team versus the dancing Red Planet Native Defenders! 

Who won, who lost? The Away Team Silver Space Marines or the Red Planet Native Defenders?

The result is future history …


I will finish on a close-up of the ‘profit hunter’ from the nonsensical Artemis advert, looking very much like the cavalry or cowboy ‘Rough Riders on Mars’ blog site. I should be able to mock this hunter figure up pretty easily in several scales using Prince August 40mm Holger Erickson cowboy Homecasts, Airfix or various 54mm and OO/HO cowboys.

This advert has great fun ‘alien desert’ terrain, easy to create from some of the more lurid plastic aquarium plants and terrain.

http://chrisminaturewargaming.blogspot.co.uk and the Rough Riders section which starts  here – also brilliantly odd! http://chrisminaturewargaming.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/rough-riders-on-mars.html

What a great hobby. How very Dr. Who! Which planet or time period next?  Where to next?

A bit of light holiday paperback reading that I took along for rainy day reading, all Imagi-Nation  gaming related, except for The Bronte Project book. This Bronte related quick read by Jennifer Vandever  (‘romantic fiction’?) was one I picked out and read from amongst the ‘left behind’ selection of holiday books and magazines where I was staying. 

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, on my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 1 June 2017.

Bartitsu and Bayonet Duelling


Inspired by Bartitsu Duelling,  I have been looking out for  suitable period figures to use in my quick solo card duelling game. This game is based  on Gerard De Gre’s “Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust” rules, reprinted in Donald Featherstone, Solo Wargaming.




I found some interesting civilian figures on the Lemax site available in UK (through Swallow Aquatics and Mill Race Garden Centre UK)

A trusty cane or (sword)stick  – weapons of choice for the Bartitsu duellist.

These Lemax  (badly) prepainted Christmas or Model village type  figures are not cheap at around £5 a pair but period civilian figures are fairly rare beasts  compared to toy soldiers. They get a little closer to the Bartitsu style stick fighting figures shown in the  montage below.


I like the cyclist figure that comes with one of the stick or cane wielding men. The Bartitsu website also features articles and comical video for gents and ladies on how to use your new fangled bicycle invention as a defence or attack weapon against Edwardian ruffians.

These figures sort of capture the Edwardian or VSF top hat street fighting feel of  Bartitsu.

E.W. Barton Wright Bartitsu montage (Wikipedia source)


One other pair of Lemax figures, staves in hand,  looked online like they would be a good pair to split up to make a duelling pair. These Lemax  Spelunkers or mountain climbers are such a fun set and so thickly based that I think I will keep them together and repaint them. There is always the garden rockery to explore!


With a rifle added they would make great mountain troops or guide with their water bottles and haversacks. Separating the resin figures from their bases or cutting the resin base in half would be a tricky and probably doomed option. They will stay together and sometimes explore the rockery in garden games.



They remind me a bit of the more interestingly posed Airfix German Mountain Troops.


Sadly the Lemax figures are big 1:32 figures, more 64mm than 54mm, and on chunky resin bases as can be seen in comparison with this 54mm Britain’s lead farmer.

Comparing Britain’s 54mm with Lemax 1:32 / 64mm

The farmer you might recognise from his other job as Edwardian Ruffian and a quick bout of Country Stick Fighting in a lane somewhere …

Git off my land …. Britain’s lead farm figures with recast Dorset Soldiers arms.

If you recognise this Ruffian on the left, he unfortunately took on a street sweeper and lost. A broom being good as a two handed duelling stick …



But isn’t this the Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog?

Bashed hollowcast lead figures and Resin Christmas figures are all very well. They belong more to my Man of TIN blog projects.  But what about duelling with cheap plastic / pirated figures?

If this post seems to have drifted from pound store plastic warriors for the moment, there are always some uses for of the “useless” pose figures that can be adapted for duelling such as these clubbing and bayoneting troops.

Bayonet duelling – pound store pirated Matchbox Eighth Army figures.

Bayonet drill through the ages is well illustrated on these Thor Trains sites (with the reminder not too try this at home)



and several sites on bayonet fencing and stick drills


This interesting civil war history and re-enactor site has an interesting section on bayonet drill, full of the language of  sword fighting and duelling / fencing thrust parry and lunge but with a coarser edge (using the rifle butt etc).



Bayonet drill American Civil War style from the http://www.64thill.org website.

It was not unknown from an early period for heavy pistols and muskets to be reversed and used as clubs, after the enemy got too close for you to reload.o

Herald Plastic cowboy extravagantly wallops Matchbox Eighth Army …

Add a bayonet as well as a pistol butt  or rifle butt and an infantryman or dragoon had an impressive close quarters duelling weapon that they were trained to use. I’m not sure how coordinated or choreographed this bayonet duelling would be in real life, but in the toy war / duelling card game it fits the balletic lunge and parry style of the  game.

Bayonet drill is possibly one reason for the large number of dramatic but odd stabbing, clubbing etc figures that especially plastic soldier manufacturers seemed to turn out in figure sets, in place of useful marching and firing soldiers.

And at last, an active use for those drum majors off duty … in a quiet London street near a barracks somewhere …

One of my Prince August drum major clobbers an old Lone Star /Harvey type Cake Dec  whilst a Tradition Indian army and Britain’s Gurkha.

Until the local constabulary turns up and breaks it all up. A Truncheon will be drawn if needed. Move along there …

The local constabulary appears … junkshop policeman and one of my Prince August Home Cast  police.

All these quick figure duels using Gerard De Gre’s Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust rules have been great fun solo games in between other gaming projects.

Next step is to add more moves into the pack of card moves  and “combat resolution table”.

How best to expand the simple table of limited moves by Gerard De Gre?

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN.

More Duelling Inspiration – Mexicans!

Duelling hombres with the trusty old length of 2 by 4 …

I have been trying out some more “Lunge Cut and Stop Thrust” duelling skirmishes using the Gerard De Gre rules set out in Donald Featherstone’s Solo War-gaming:



These rules suggest many different two or three figure bouts, contests or wallopings.

Duelling Mexican ladies – besoms at dawn.

The figures used are Steve Weston’s Mexican Peasants – I got mine through  a good deal on his website or EBay site for some sets with water damaged packaging. This  got me two packets for the price of one. Not quite Pound store prices but still cheap.

For a quick and lazy paint job on these white plastic figures, I used the “Pewtering” technique. I learnt this from the Prince August website, giving them a quick brush over with black acrylic paint, them wiping the paint off a minute or two later before it dries. Details are revealed as highlights and shadows, whilst you can always repaint in more detail at a later time.

Useful generic peasant   figures


This wounded or winded peasant looks like he has got on the wrong side of the “bald headed end of the broom”. Defeated duellist.
This wounded or sleeping peasant has the look of an old woodcut with this pewtering paint technique.

Some of the peasants are armed with rifles, very useful for irregular forces, guerillas and settlers. Not so useful for the duelling games.


Mexican Peasants with rifles or whatever troops your Imagi-Nation requires
Dice are being used as counters, each figure starting with 5 combat or life points.

Here the Mexican lady is the attacker – I threw a coin to choose. The man is the defender.

Playing as the attacking angry Mexican lady I have a limited choice of three duelling moves – cut or swipe to head, parry and lunge and stop- thrust.

Playing solo I will be drawing the man’s cards from the top of his deck each time, replacing them to the bottom.

Gerard  De Gre’s duelling table (reprinted in Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming)
The defending Mexican hombre loses a point.
Eventually he is defeated by the attacking Senorita and loses his last combat point with his drawn card.

Mexico Gold Rush: A renewed duel between angry Mexican machete guy and man with shovel  over the golden nuggets in the basket.

Shovel Man down to two combat or life points.
Shovel Guy draws one of the random cards, wiping out his last combat or life point. Adios amigo!

Dice simplification

In his comments on Alan the Tradgardmastre’s use of this limited fast game in a school masterclass club, Kaptain Kobold came up with a very useful dice simplification of the Gerard De Gre duelling rules http://tradgardland.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/master-classes.html

Using the cleverly simple dice version (keeping the other dice as points counters)
Last life point gone … Machete guy still has the gold. But for how long?

Flint, Feather, Scissors, Paper, Stone

Dan Foley in the same comment section pointed out an extension of these limited scissors paper stones type rules in the melee section of some beta play test Native American conflict rules : “For a similar idea taken a bit further check out the beta version of Flint & Feather

These look an attractive  set of miniatures and some interesting rules or games mechanicisms which give me a few new ideas for expanding the limited choices of these fast  duelling games.


Steve Weston’s Mexican Peasants are very versatile figures that could stand in for many eras and nations such as Boxers or Chinese figures from Asia, peasants from Europe as well as the Wild West.

Lots of interesting conversions on the web.




Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN blog.








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