Sunday, 8 November 2009

Another day for bargains

Yesterday my wife and I went to visit my father-in-law who lives near the sea in North East Kent. On the way we stopped at the Chatham Maritime Retail Outlet Centre – a rather long name for a large collection of shops that sell ‘ends of ranges’ etc. to the public – for something to eat and some retail therapy.

Since we last went there a small department store has been added, and we naturally gravitated towards it as we walked round. My wife wanted a ‘quick look round’ the seasonal section, and I expected to see nothing but Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, and greetings cards; you can therefore imagine my pleasant surprise when I found that ‘seasonal’ included some toys … which I bought!

Last year Hasbro/MicroMachines brought out a range of ‘Indiana Jones’ vehicles and figures that were part of a commercial tie-in with Lucas Films, and it was some of the models from this range that were on sale. I managed to buy two tanks and a cargo truck that will fit in very nicely with 15mm scale wargames figures.

The tanks are both described as ‘Vogel’s Mark VII tank’ and were featured in THE LAST CRUSADE. The box has the following information about them:

Only a very few of the formidable British Mark VII tanks survived the end of World War I, to be either sold or given to friendly governments in Africa and the Middle east. This one has been retrofitted to add a more modern swivelling turret gun on top, and heavier armour, rather than netting to deflect grenades.
What a lot of old tosh!

The Hasbro/Micromodels model of 'Vogel's Mark VII Tank' , as featured in THE LAST CRUSADE.
The model is actually a modified version of the Mark VIII (or Liberty Tank), which was the result of a project by the British and US Governments to produce a standard heavy tank. Unfortunately it only came into production at the end of the war, and never entered full service. The only Allied unit to be fully equipped with the Mark VIII was the US 67th Infantry (Tank) Regiment.

The Mark VIII or Liberty Tank.
Despite this historical inaccuracy, the model is very useful and could easily be used – after the removal of the extraneous turret – in wargames set in the early 1920s (or perhaps even slightly later). Paul Farrow (of MrFarrow2u (+ Jack & Amys!!) DBA 1500 Onwards Page fame) has two painted to represent captured British tanks in service with the German Army on his blog … and might fine they look!

The truck is very typical of the type used by the German Army in the late 1930s and 1940s. It comes with its own model figure of Professor Jones being dragged along behind – as featured in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK – but this will be easy to cut off.

The German Cargo Truck, as featured in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. The Indiana Jones figure can be seen being dragged behind the model.
I also visited the branch of ‘Past Times’ where I bought two bags of wooden houses for less than £5.00 each.

Each bag of buildings includes ten small single-storey houses, two slightly larger two-storey houses, a Dutch-style town house, a railway station, a Town Hall/School building, two towers and an arched gateway, eight lengths of wall, and numerous other bits and pieces.
I already own quite a few of these buildings … but you can never have too many! Their basic design is similar to the buildings featured in the photographs of Joseph Morschauser’s wargames, and this was an added incentive to buy them.

On our return home I found that Royal Mail had delivered a book I had ordered via Amazon.

HITLER’S WAR ON RUSSIA by Charles D Winchester (published by Osprey [2007] ISBN 978 1 84603 195 3) is an extensively re-written, new edition of the same author’s OSTFRONT (published by Osprey in 1998), and I am looking forward to reading over the next few weeks.


  1. How fortunate we indeed are, that that nice Mr survived that terrible shipwreck ordeal.


  2. Tone,

    Very true, otherwise the World would have also lost one of London's main exponents of Jimmy Buffett's songs!

    All the best,


  3. Hi Bob,

    Do you know who makes those wooden house sets? Maybe you still have the packaging? I'd like to try to find them here in the States.



  4. Jim,

    I know that they are sold by Amazon UK, Toypost, and Blueberry Forest Toys.

    I hope that you can find them.

    All the best,


  5. Hi again,

    Thanks for the links to the wooden village vendors.

    I will have to move to Plan B as shipping costs are more than the product cost, even at quantities up to 5.

    So I think I will just get some balsa wood and/or bass wood and make my own. No big deal.

    Thanks again for the help.


  6. Hi Bob, yet again.

    Third time is a charm.

    Blueberry Forest Toys is in the US.

    GKTT050 My Little Village Wooden Mini-Blocks Set, $15.95 USD.

    Order placed.

    Thanks again!


  7. Jim,

    Glad that I could be of help.

    Although the buildings are not lifelike they do seem to fit in well with wargames (see my blog entry about the Battle of Turga to see them 'in action' on the tabletop).

    All the best,


  8. The Battle of Turga and your WW2 rule testing games are where I noticed the building. I like 'em.

    I received my Peter Pig WW1/RCW figures this week. Now all I have to do is get busy painting them.

    Next is a 4' x 4' piece of thin wood for a 2" gridded playing surface.

    The goal is to play WEC and my Dark Age rules with miniatures on the table top. All my playing and testing to this point have been with cardboard counters and a paper surface.

    It's good to have a goal.



  9. Jim,

    I had forgotten that I had used some of those buildings in any of my WWII play-tests.

    I think that WEC should work well with WWI/RCW, even in its as-yet-unfinished form.

    I must admit that I tend to use counters to test ideas before moving on to painted figures; it can save such a lot of time and effort in the long-run.

    As I said in reply to your email, I hope to read the latest verion of your Dark Ages rules later today ... life and work permitting!

    All the best with your projects,


  10. Hi Bob, Just a quickie re the buildings - I note you use them for 15mm - how would they match up with 10 to 12mm figures? The reason I ask is because they may be quick solution to the Risk based terrain. I checked the Past Times website and this was described as a Town in a bag so I assume that is the one. What exactly do you get in the bag? Many thanks in advance, Ogre

  11. Now then Bob

    Thanks for the plug. The tanks do paint up rather well. If you do remove the turret, there's a large pin holding it in, can be a bit fiddly. We picked up six tanks at £1.50 each, a bargain. We've got a couple left that may appear in some post WW1 army.. a future project.

    Take care

  12. Ogrefencer,

    The buildings should be fine with 12mm figures; in fact they would be more 'in scale' with them.

    'Town in a bag' sounds about right, although I have seen them advertised as a 'Wooden Village' as well.

    As I said in my bog entry you get the following in each bag:
    ten small single-storey houses; two slightly larger two-storey houses; a Dutch-style town house; a railway station; a Town Hall/School building, two towers and an arched gateway; eight lengths of wall; and numerous other bits and pieces including some pretty naff looking trees, a couple of 'people', and what I think is supposed to be a railway train.

    All the best,


  13. Mr F,

    I am always pleased to plug such an excellent blog! Reading your entries gives a lift to my day!

    Thanks for the tip about the turret pin. I will want to remove the turret, and knowing that will help me to get it right when I do so.

    £1.50 is a bargain! I thought that I had done will getting them for £2.99.

    What they remind me off is the tanks that are featured in some of the battle scenes in Korda’s THINGS TO COME (which was written by H G Wells). I have always hankered after running a campaign set in a 1930s post-apocalyptic world, where there are few heavy weapons available, and the airpower is very fragile. It would look something like the Russian Civil War but with each player taking the role of a local warlord (or ‘Boss’ as he is called in the film). Each of them would fight to gain assets such as power sources (coal mines, power stations), arms factories, and arable land. A sort of Medieval conflict with twentieth century weapons! Ideal for HOTT, I would have thought.

    All the best,



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