Saturday 26 March 2022

Shopping from the Paris show

 I mentioned earlier that there had been some retail incidents last weekend - here are some of the highlights. 

I’ll start with my final purchase of the day - a shoe box full of 100+ mostly medieval figures.  Makers are mainly Starlux with a few Clairet, Mokarex and a couple of Elastolin. The (Mokarex) chap above is one of my favourites - clearly a well-balanced individual. 
There are at least three of this fine Starlux pose. 
More aggressive poses. 
On the right, a dismounted knight by Starlux, while the Mokarex figure at left is none other than Ivanhoe. 

As you’d hope from a French maker, the Starlux Gauls are a delight. I wasn’t looking for any but I can’t bear to part with them!  

Of course, where you have Gauls you need some Romans to fight them. The small batch of Starlux was accompanied by the imposing Elastolin eagle bearer. 
The Gauls again. 
More Romans. 
Civilian figures are always handy. This pair from Mokarex - Thiers and Offenbach - have already been nicely painted. The cheapest figures of the day, they owe me only €1 for the two!
I also scored a box of more Mokarex civilian figures - mostly 20th Century celebrities. Here are Maurice Chevalier and Charles Trenet. The box contained many duplicates (triplicates indeed) and will be shared with a couple of friends. 
Victor Hugo and Gambetta (yes I know they’re 19th Century!)

Finally a change from plastic to lead. EDIT 04/04/22. These last chaps are actually French-made aluminium figures by Quiralu.  Which explains why they don’t  ‘sound’ like lead 🤭
This trio of Great War French are in desperate need of a repaint but they’re lovely old figures for a reasonable €5 each. 
So I make that about 160 figures, of which I’ll be keeping around 100 and passing on the rest.  A very successful show!

Thursday 24 March 2022

Petrograd Nights - the toys

Following a torrent* of requests for more information on the toys used in the Petrograd Nights game, here it is. 

First up - the Tsarists. I used my Charbens recast Russian guards. Their eccentric poses are always a joy to behold!
Two regiments of sailors were potentially available - all Armies in Plastic WW1 Russians. 
The Mensheviks. Marx(?) ACW figures painted for the mid-19th century Italian wars. No wonder they look confused. 
The Bolsheviks (boo, hiss). More ACW types fresh previously used in Italy, with a Replicants officer. 
The conservatives were clearly a wealthy faction as they had the only metal toys in the game. I picked these guys up already painted on eBay last year - I think they may have originally been Boers. Their previous outing was the rather less classy business of fighting for the Commune in 1871 Paris last year. 
The Liberals. More AIP WW1 Russians, this time in dark green.  They don’t look all that liberal to me. 
The last photos are all of the Social Democrats. These were all from my Spanish Civil War militia box and were a real mixed bag, from several manufacturers. This pair are AIP WW1 figures. That on the left is a German with a head swap. 
Replicants ACW and Marx WW2 Japanese. 
And finally - none other then the legend that is known to my regular players as ‘Sophia Loren’.  As seen last year in 1871 Paris and 1936 Madrid. She’s a scratchbuild (not by me) largely made of filler. 

  * at least two

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Paris in the springtime - for real.

 I’m just back from a brief trip abroad - which should have taken place two years ago! Not to be confused with this series

A brief drive brought us to the start of the rail journey. 
The information at St. Pancras wasn’t initially clear!
Part of the pleasure for me of being in a different country/city is simply being there. In Paris it seems you’re never far away from a massive column (40+) CRS (riot police) vans. 
On Sunday morning we set off early and the RER B line to Nanterre Prefecture was followed by a walk through Parc Andre Malraux. Currently there’s a display of some interesting historical posters. 
A vote to re-establish the Empire!  Only in France. 
The sunlit park - even at 0945 in the morning.  Soon our (well, my) destination hove into view.  

A toy soldier show!  My second visit to this splendid show. 

Having spent around 90 minutes and rather more Euros we rode back to Paris, dumped the loot at our hotel and set off on a walk to make the best of the excellent weather. 
The canal basin to the NE of the Place de la Bataille-de-Stalingrad - a pleasant walk and a nice light lunch. 
Then on the Metro to near the Pont d’Austerlirz and a stroll along the north bank of the Seine. 
On Monday - when I forgot to take photos - we walked from out hotel (near Grands Boulevards) to the Marais. Then Metro to the Champs Elysees. We walked as far as the Arc de Triomphe and half a mile or so beyond it on the Bvd Grand Armee. Then back as far as the presidential palace and the Metro back to our hotel. 
Tuesday saw our return to the UK. I’ll do a post on my show purchases soon. 

Sunday 6 March 2022

Petrograd Nights - or “a knout to remember”

Bolsheviks and Kronstadt sailors come to blows while Conservatives and Socialist Revolutionaries look on. 

The high quality replica of the square. 

This was the first full playtest of Russell’s new game. Taking as it’s subject the various Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917, the game starts with a session of the National Executive Committee. 

Surely this will pass off peacefully with everyone in agreement. Well no, because some silly sod always calls a strike. This soon descends into a vulgar street brawl and so resolved using 54mm toy soldiers to represent the various factions.

I had ‘volunteered’ to run the fighting in the square and wrote what might easily be mistaken for rules for such. I assembled various factions of toy soldiers – including two brigades of sailors from Kronstadt – and deployed them on my museum-quality replica of Palace Square.

In our game there was a strike almost immediately but that was followed by two. NEC sessions in which a number of progressive and enlightened measures were…….rejected. 

Fighting in the square 

The factions gathering 

Russell had thankfully resisted the temptation of cheap typecasting and so the factions were:

Bolsheviks - Martin Rapier

Socialist Revolutionaries - Russell

Liberals - John Armatys

Conservatives - Your humble correspondent

Tsarists - John Bassett

The NEC was soon dominated by the Tsarists and Conservatives and we resisted a number of seditious proposals which if passed would clearly have undermined the stability of Mother Russia. This nonsense included the exile of the Tsar, collectivisation of agriculture and ending illiteracy among the peasants. It was widely agreed that all of these went against the laws of God. The one motion we passed was to make peace with Germany, which we all felt was quite a good idea. A government was eventually formed of Conservatives and Tsarists. 

The very busy hospital!

While the Liberals initially supported us, they soon decided to take to the streets! In a close fight in the square, the forces of law and order prevailed over the anarchist street thugs (as we called anyone with even mildly progressive views) and stable government resumed under the slogan ‘Forward to 1850!’

Both regiments of sailors joined the final fight in the square 

A most entertaining game which might well have spin-offs for other situations. Russell has run it again today for a larger group,of players - it went very well.

Look out for it at COW 2022

And if you’d like more information about any of the toy soldiers please let me know in the comments.