Sunday 28 August 2022

London Toy Soldier Show March 2022

I went along to the London Toy Soldier Show back in March, but I'm only getting around to putting up the pictures now, It's been that sort of a year! I have to say the event was rather sparse compared to pre-pandemic times but I suppose that's only to be expected as people begin to re-emerge and things slowly get back to the old normal.  Nonetheless I managed pick up a fairly eclectic haul, but first stop was at the game being run by members of the Little Wars Revisited Forum.

Several spectators took part in this demonstration game which saw Fort Pippin take centre stage.

The stylised terrain is really quite charming..... is this rather neat little armoured train!

I bought these from Harry Kemp who just returned with a junk box of plastics from the Nanterre Show in Paris. Top left is a copy of an Elastolin Turk made by Cane of Italy, next two are by JEM of France and the bottom row are by Bonux of France. The four small size figures of WW2 Russian and Japanese infantry were premiums in packets of bubble gum available across the EU in the 1970's under various names such as Dargaud y Tito and Dunkin.

Odds and Ends!  A rather fine Swedish hussar from the Tennfigurer range made by Holger Eriksson, I'll get around to painting him one day (hopefully) the mounted figure in the centre is made of a composition material in post-war Communist Hungary and finally a Britains hollowcast Togoland Warrior in need of some TLC.

I've no idea what these are or who made them, solid white metal and quite chunky, I have them in mind for a Wars of Religion project which has been simmering on the back burner for several decades, the riders will be going on nice sturdy Deetail mounts.

Thursday 28 April 2022

More of the new display

I've been wondering which figures to display on the extra shelves I added to my IKEA display cabinet, this is what I've come up with so far:

Some Polish Lancers, the officer in the centre made in France by JIM, the troopers around him made in Poland by PZG (the Polish Association of the Deaf), beautiful figures destined to remain in the cabinet and not risk the rigours of the wargame table.

The Corsican Ogre himself, made by Cyrnos, the Mamelouk standard bearer made by JIM as are the Carabinier and Hussars behind them. 

The Duke of Marlborough, mounted by Cherilea and on foot made by Tradition, the Grenadiers in the background are repainted Cavendish figures.

A hotchpotch of American Revolution figures, many converted from old Britains swoppets and Helmet kits parts by Denis Donovan and Gareth Lloyd, who have established an enviable reputation for such work.

Friday 15 April 2022

Upcycling a display cabinet

 Some years ago I picked up an IKEA display cabinet in a charity shop, and have been very pleased with it.  I got it for a reasonable price, and some time later learned that it is their DETOLF model, which is a "Best Seller" and is still available brand new for a very reasonable £65.  Here's what it looks like:

I use it to house my 7 Years War collection of wargames armies, which are quite attractive figures but the collection has now outgrown the four shelves in the unit.  It can house about 300 foot figures but as you can see the big drawback with this unit is that there's a lot of empty space and for years I've been looking for a suitable method to install additional shelves.  A few weeks ago a friend on facebook gave me the heads up on a firm in Northern Ireland who produce custom made supports and Perspex shelves for this very unit.  So I got some! 

The original shelf for two Regiments of Infantry (BMC AWI), two guns and two companies of Grenadiers (HaT and various conversions).  The new shelf supports are a bit fiddley to attach but after acouple of goes you start to get the hang of it and I managed to add a further eight shelves in the space available.

The new layout with additional shelf, for 2nd Cuirassiers, two more Regiments of Infantry and some light troops.  The figure of Old Fritz on the left is an early tin flat.

The original display of the Cuirassiers was a bit cramped.  The bronze disk in the foreground is dated 1757 and is a Campaign Medal issued for the battles of  Lissa (Leuthen) and Rossbach, I found it in a junk box of old coins 50 years ago when I was a teenager working a Saturday job in London's Portobello Road Market, it seemed appropriate to display it here.

The Austrian shelf (these also double as French but I need to do more flags) Three Regiments of Infantry (HaT Prussian infantry), two companies of Grenadiers (Italieri) a unit of Pandours (various conversions) and two guns (BMC)

On the left are the Russian contingent (BMC AWI) and on the right the Army of Brunswick (Marx infantry and HaT cavalry)

New layout with additional shelves.

And finally a closer look at the Russian Infantry and Artillery.

Saturday 2 April 2022

Woking Wargames Day 2022

 A couple of weeks back (how time flies) I went along to the Woking Wargames Day organised by Mike Lewis of the Little Wars Revisited Group, there were four games in play throughout the day and here is what they looked like:

Mike Lewis put on the Battle of Quatre Bras using Neil Thomas' Napoleonic rules.

The Prussians take the crossroads..........

................and hold it to win the game.

Anthony Morton brought along his Romans and Ancient Germans, as seen on this blog recently.

We didn't use these German cavalry last time we played so I was very pleased to get this shot of them.

Pat (sorry didn't get your last name) treated us to his Anglo-Normans game using the Lion Rampant rules, which seem to be universally popular with 54mm wargamers.

The figures used are 54mm metal castings from Irregular Miniatures.

Nice to see all the different shield designs.

The fourth game of the day was Eric Kemp's Italian Revolution skirmish using Eric's own simple fast play rules.

All the figures were conversions made from just about every American Civil War range you can think of.

Garibaldi's Red Shirts get to grips with Papal Zouaves, Eric's conversions are always a joy to behold.

The home made rules were very easy to assimilate and gave a realistic outcome despite Eric's legendary ability to throw a 1.

I can't remember which Regiment these chaps represent but they were a welcome addition to the Papal forces.

That's all for another year folk's, I missed the last two and am already looking for ward to the next one.

Thursday 10 February 2022

Early Hussars by Manzsoldaten

This rather nice pair of Hussars were made in Germany circa 1910/20 by Manzsoldaten, one of the minor makers of composition toy soldiers, and one of my all time favourites.  I particularly like the style of the horse' heads although the leggy stride of that foreleg is a bit off-putting.

Early Manzsoldaten figures don't carry a makers mark but are characterised by being semi flat, which is unusual for composition figures, and have this distinctive oval base.  Earlier German composition figures from this period tended to be quite large, typically 10cm, before settling down to 6.5cm and 7cm in the 1920s and 30s but these are unusual in that the riders are roughly 54mm, not looking bad for a pair of centenarians.

Saturday 5 February 2022

What have the Romans ever done for us? Part II

 We left our Roman Cohort battling against overwhelming odds, surrounded on three sides by the Germanic tribesmen.

Outnumbered three to one, with more tribesmen ready to join the fray the Romans can see two more cohorts of their comrades racing over the northern hill to rescue them. 

Too late, the Romans are cut down to a man.  

Victory conditions for the Tribesmen is to get 3 units off the table via the road to the south, so technically the game is over at this point but we couldn't just leave it there, it's not about winning, it's all about playing the game.

Just when it looked like it was all over, a unit of Roman auxiliary cavalry thunder around the woods to the north west in hot pursuit of the fleeing Tribesmen.

At the same time the alarm is raised as a body of Roman skirmishers and seen working their way through the woods.

The Roman cavalry witness the massacre of their infantry and spur headlong into a charge.

The Tribesmen reform to meet the threat from behind while their archers find easy targets among the advancing enemy cohorts and cavalry.

Back in the woods, the Germanic skirmishers have sprung an ambush on their Roman counterparts, both sides are expert at fighting in loose formation and making full use of cover, they slug it out but with little progress and few casualties on either side.

The Tribesmen have turned to face their pursuers and throw themselves into the attack, more Roman infantry are approaching from every direction but their attacks are made piecemeal and the Germans break them up systematically.

In the end the Tribesmen have taken a lot of punishment but have seen off the Romans and now continue on their way, to lick their wounds and fight another day.

The game ran to about 12 turns and reached a surprising but satisfactory conclusion, in summing up we felt that the slower ponderous movement of the cohorts was the deciding factor, if they could have caught the tribesmen as a cohesive force rather than entering piecemeal then their armoured front wuld have won the day.  As it was we both learned a great deal about the importance of pinning the enemy and then delivering flank attacks, something which is difficult to achieve in later periods with OHW where firepower is more dominant.

And it was great to play with such nice toys!

Wednesday 2 February 2022

What have the Romans ever done for us? Part I

 Well they gave us roads!  And here's a nice straight one, just the job for scenario 13 of One Hour Wargames (OHW) by Neil Thomas.  After several grid based games in recent months we decided it was time to get back to a more traditional style of play.  That's not entirely true, Anthony has recently built up a very nice 54mm toy soldier collection of Romans and German Tribesmen, and we were both itching to see them on the table.  Here's how it went:

One Hour Wargames is an ideal game system to use with 54mm toy soldiers and requires minimal amounts of terrain, we chose scenario 13 which sees a German raiding party returning home chased by a Roman Legion looking for vengeance!  

The battlefield is split sown the middle by a fine straight Roman road running North to South, in the north corner is a small hill and on the other side of the road, a little further south is a sizeable forest.  The opening position sees 6 German units following the road from the north and discovering their route home blocked by a Roman cohort on the road to the south of them.

We used the OHW "Ancients" rules but incorporated the Warband features from the "Dark Ages" section, as it better reflects the nature of the German tribesmen and gives them greater mobility with a combat bonus to offset the armour advantage of the Romans.

The Germans drew 4 Warbands of warriors, 1 of Archers and 1 of Skirmishers.  The Romans drew 4 Cohorts of infantry, 1 of Auxiliary cavalry and 1 of Skirmishers.

The Roman Legionaries here are modified from A Call to Arms figures to make the poses more realistic, all the figures in the collection have been expertly converted by Rupert of  Drum and Flag toy soldiers.

As the German tribesmen charge headlong up the road two of the Warbands peel off to move around the flanks of the Roman cohort blocking the way.  The skirmishers have already moved into the woods behind them to protect the rear, with OHW skirmishers have little combat value but are good for holding rough terrain, from which they can dominate the surrounding area with fire while remaining relatively safe.

The Warband figures are converted from several sources including Weston Toy Co Mexicans, and Expeditionary Force Early Germans

Here the German skirmishers (converted from HaT figures) have taken up position in the woods to protect the Warbands from any pursuers.

Two more Cohorts from the Roman Legion have now appeared on the hill to the north east and charge in support of their beleaguered comrades. 

The Roman Cohort blocking the road has been retiring in order, maintaining a steady line while the Tribesmen bear down on them.

The leading Warband slams into the Roman shieldwall while two more hit the flanks.  Can the Cohort hold out long enough for their comrades to reach them in time?