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 

 

 

Pound Bag Skeleton Warriors £1 a bag

Remember the ‘dragons teeth’ scene of skeleton warriors bursting out of the ground in the old Ray Harryhausen Jason and the Argonauts films?

If you haven’t seen this film clip recently or never seen it, here is a YouTube snippet:

https://youtu.be/pF_Fi7x93PY

I like the dramatic illustrations on this packaging. Figures are somewhere between 42 and 54mm high depending on their pose and twistedness.

Skeleton “knights from hell” are child-friendly 100 percent safe and non toxic!

I was reminded of this Harryhausen Skeleton  scene when I luckily spotted two £1 bags of plastic skeleton warriors on a rummage stall at a local steam fair.

The lady stall holder had bought at auction years before for £2  a big plastic storage box containing bags and bags of cheap green plastic toy soldiers.

Most of the ruptured bags contained  the worst flattened, deformed and attenuated tall,  brittle plastic China clone types of toy soldier beyond even my (low standards for) repair or conversion  needs, not even for a £1 a bag …

Hidden amongst the box and elsewhere on the stall were two bags of skeleton warriors.

£2 later and my day was already made, before ten o’clock.

No one had bought these in years, until me, the lady said. The kids of today …

I mentioned to the lady that “Buying these in from the States online” would have daft  shipping charges. Sadly she had no more bags tucked away – at any price.

A couple of useful screen shots from the YouTube various Harryhausen video clips on Masters of FX and stop motion Animation.

Pewtering paint option laziness

How best to paint skeletons? Full of bony nooks and crannies.

After glue-gunning them to tuppenny (2p) pieces for stability, I noticed that the basic plastic colour of ivory / bone / off-white was probably good enough for the finished figure.

But how to bring out the detail?

I have used the pewtering (lazy paint) method before, mostly on metal figures, but not much on plastic.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/home-cast-antique-and-gilt-paint-finishes/

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/more-duelling-inspiration-mexicans/

Black gloss Revell Acrylic Aquacolor was quickly painted on and then let dry for as long as it took to cover a second figure.

Wipe the bulk of the paint off the first figure with kitchen towel and you find it stays behind in nooks and crannies like eye sockets, skeletal rib cages and between bone joints.

Then paint a third figure whilst the second dries before being  wiped … and so on.

I tried various shades of earth brown but black worked best.

Conversions and chopping about

One problem was that after years squashed into their packaging, whilst their flexible plastic had protected usually breakable parts like swords and spears, they were often bent, as were the skeletons themselves. The old trick of soaking them in hot water to straighten them did not work.

On the positive side, oddly contorted skeletons took away the ‘too many of the same pose’ problem. Various stiffening with extra wire spears (inserted into shield hands and base drilled holes) helped slightly right some but not all figures.

Extra wire spears were added to drilled empty hands with spear points of scrap plastic base trimming or Fimo polymer clay.

Some arms were super glued (not very easy with springy plastic) or cut and repinned with wire stubs to change arm and sword angles.

Three pinned and chopped about variations of the weird trumpeter figure.

Other figures like the over-duplicated trumpet player (who needs four?) were thus converted to new uses.

Wired on buttons to make a  shield, showing various ways to cover the button holes.

Extra shields were added with suitable buttons wired on and painted.

Weapons and shields were painted in copper and bronze Revell Acrylic after pewtering.

The most deformed halberd or scythe was converted to a  spear (left).
Right – shield wired on into different pose.

Wooden spear shafts and axe handles seem to have survived perfectly preserved whilst the flesh has vanished – curious!

I was almost tempted to add some scraps of clothing using tissue paper but resisted to keep the figures more flexible in period.

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One figure had an almost Breugel Triumph of Death or Hieronymus Bosch painting typocalyptic pose with skeleton ‘blood angel’ winged rib cage was given away to another family member as just far too weird – for now!

Somewhere between Hieronymus Bosch and the 80s heavy metal album covers discussed in great (boring) detail of my sixth form common room days. Yawn. Wonder why a heavy metal electric guitar is called an axe? Look no further.

Finishing off the Skeleton Warriors

Sand brown (Revell Afrikabraun Matt Acrylic) bases were painted for that desert / earth / Ray Harryhausen look, then sprayed with Gloss Acrylic varnish spray. I have heard that metallic colours can run during varnishing, so I only sprayed the bases.

A lot of (admittedly lazy) paint and conversion work for £2 worth of figures but the result looks like they are much more expensive figures.

That is pretty much the whole ethos of the Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog. Cheap Joy!

Into action?

I might need some slight tweaks for how to kill or defeat the already dead in order to put skeleton warriors into my simple Featherstone based rules for melee and small Close Wars.

Remember – Don’t shoot till you see the darks of their eye sockets!

Brave Sergeant: “Alright lads, steady. Steady. Don’t fire until you see the darks of their eyes!”
Now a Lone Sergeant: Lads? Lads?

Several other scenarios crop up – the renowned Colonel Fazackerly saves the day!

Two of my favourite recent figure restorations or conversions including the Sergeant, a metal detecting find https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/recalled-to-the-colours-54mm-metal-detectorists-toy-soldier-finds-restored-to-fighting-condition/

 

“Skeletons, sir, farsunds of ’em!”

Other Fantastic Skeletal Scenarios?

If England Were Invaded …

After reading a spot of invasion literature like William Le Queux, mixed with a dash of the Angels of Mons, I thought afresh that these skeleton warriors with shield, axes, swords and spears could well be the legendary Arthur and his Ancient Britons arising from their slumbers and returning to save the day If England Were Invaded:

In 1914 … an unlucky Prussian sentry fails to notice that he is being followed.

Unlucky  Prussian invader (original Britain’s hollowcast figure) patrols Lilliput Lane.

Or in 1940 …

An unlucky Nazi sentry fails to notice that he is being followed down an English country lane … “Gott In Himmel!”

King Arthur’s legions follow one of my favourite Britain’s Deetail figures, the marching German with casually stowed grenade. Pure Newsreel figure …

Featherstone’s Fantasy War Games

Now that is a Featherstone title that never happened in the original 1960s Featherstone trilogy and beyond. War Games, Naval War Games, Air War Games, even Advanced War Games … but Fantasy War Games?

I wonder how the knowledgeable, enthusiastic and avuncular Featherstone style would have adapted to orcs, gremlins, wizard magic and skeletons?

Not that far off his Ancients rules and suggested Imaginations and Hyborian campaigns with Tony Bath?

Many of Don’s fantasy figures would no doubt be based on conversions of the versatile Airfix Romans, Ancient Britons, Robin Hood and Sheriff of Nottingham figures and Castle sets.

Blogposted by Mark, Skeletal Man of TIN, 8th / 9th September 2018

Pound Store 42mm Spy?

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The figure is sold as HP24 Jacob Kowalski from the Harry Potter prequel movies Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them …

During a supermarket stroll past the film and DVD  tie-in sections, I spotted amongst the superhero, space and fantasy figures this interesting 40mm-ish metal figure of Jacob Kowalski from Fantastic Beasts.  Interesting movie, well worth seeing, sequel due soon.

Perfect figure for a civilian, a spiv, a spy or escaped POW?

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A suspicious character found on the wired off British coastline c. 1940. Irregular Minitures 42mm British Tommies. Wire from notebook spine.

This Kowalski civilian  figure put put me in mind of some of the stylish 1940 photos and game scenarios set up by Allan Tidmarsh on his various blogs.

http://dorset1940.blogspot.com

http://ww2tanksalot.blogspot.com/2017/

Kowalski  works well with an affordable  joblot of painted, based and play-bashed Irregular Miniatures 42mm metal Tommies. I bought these to accompany a future pound store Home Guard / Operation Sealion  1940 invasion game, bulked out by plastic pound store China clone Germans.  Attractive Irregular Miniatures German Paratroops but £2 each. http://www.irregularminiatures.co.uk/42mmRanges/42mmWorldWar2.htm#British

How would he match my 42mm-ish pound store figures?

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Poundstore unpainted 40 – 42 mm Plastic Infantry, lovely  old Wilko Heroes charging figure on the left. China clone German 42mm on right. 
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The Usual Suspect … 40 to 45mm
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Arrested by more of my  Blue Army (Tintin-esque Imagi-Nations) pound store c. 42mm figures.
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Prince August ‘large’ 40mm Homecast Cowboy, the Kowalski figure  and old bashed Railway figure alongside junk shop find of a bashed 1911 Ford Model T Yesteryear car.
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1911 Ford Model T being repainted in khaki as an army vehicle or staff car. Irregular Miniature 42mm British Tommies.
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As the Man from the Ministry investigating ration violations … from our previous blogpost https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/09/02/pound-store-42mm-farm

 

Dickensian Economics?

Although the Jacob Kowalski figure was not in a pound store (cost £1.97), this and the trashed Yesteryear Ford Model T (£4 junk shop / market stall)  were offset by finding two pots of lolly sticks for 10p each (garden centre sale). These  usually retail in pound and craft stores at £1 to £1.99.

A saving of almost £4 on lolly sticks, which are useful building materials and lolly sticks to attach figures for handling during  painting. Two useful plastic storage pots too!

Result? Happiness.

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10p bargains!

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 2 September 2018.