Historic Rural Churches Of Georgia book review

Readers of Man Of TIN Blog might have read my previous posts about the interesting old American buildings featured in the Forgotten Georgia blog spot and associated Forgotten Georgia Facebook group.

My family find it amusing that whilst I live in the rural southwest UK, that Georgia in the Southern States Of America has fast become my ‘adopted’ American State, even down to an ‘adopted’ city of Bowdon (“The Friendly City”, Carroll County, NW Georgia) for which I have Mixed Train Daily to blame …

Many of these churches and their communities have now been bypassed by history, the changing economy and agriculture and quite often physically bypassed by the Interstate highways, leaving ghost towns and fading communities. Maybe I feel some empathy or understanding for this as in my own area of semi-rural Britain, many of the distinctive local Methodist stone chapels have now closed and become at best houses or builders’ stores, as their once large agricultural and mining populations have moved on.

From a gaming and modelling point of view, Forgotten Georgia blog and this beautiful Historic Rural Churches Of Georgia book are a great resource for looking at everyday buildings from the Revolutionary War onwards.

A fair number of these ordinary historic buildings on the Forgotten Georgia Blog, photographed in various states of decay and preservation, are the rural churches, many listed on the Historic Rural Churches Of Georgia website and charity.

I noticed that in addition to its own HRCGA YouTube channel of videos The Steeple , that they have also produced a book. The last of my Christmas money went on this, ordered new at £35 to £45 including shipping through Book Depository / Amazon.

Many of the photographs on the HRCGA website are ones taken from this beautiful photographic survey of 47 representative church buildings, written and edited by Sonny Seals and George S. Hart.

The publisher’s blurb describes the contents and background:

“Aspects of Georgia’s unique history can only be told through its extant rural churches. As the Georgia backcountry rapidly expanded in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the churches erected on this newly parceled land became the center of community life. These early structures ranged from primitive outbuildings to those with more elaborate designs and were often constructed with local, hand-hewn materials to serve the residents who lived nearby. From these rural communities sprang the villages, towns, counties, and cities that informed the way Georgia was organized and governed and that continue to influence the way we live today.”

“Historic Rural Churches of Georgia presents forty-seven early houses of worship from all areas of the state. Nearly three hundred stunning color photographs capture the simple elegance of these sanctuaries and their surrounding grounds and cemeteries. Of the historic churches that have survived, many are now in various states of distress and neglect and require restoration to ensure that they will continue to stand.”

“This book is a project of the Historic Rural Churches of Georgia organization, whose mission is the preservation of historic rural churches across the state and the documentation of their history since their founding. If proper care is taken, these endangered and important landmarks can continue to represent the state’s earliest examples of rural sacred architecture and the communities and traditions they housed.

It has a foreword by President Jimmy Carter from Plains, Georgia, peanut farmer and the earliest incumbent US president that I could remember as a child, and one who still teaches Sunday School in a Georgia Church in his nineties. His childhood church from Plains is one of the 47 churches featured and photographed.

A preface by the two authors Sonny Seals and George Hart sets out how the HRCGA project came about, partly with Sonny and George discovering Seals’ grandfather’s Confederate grave in Powelton Methodist Church cemetery in the now vanished or lost town of Powelton, Hancock County, GA. This is the deteriorating Church featured on the book’s cover.

There is more about this church and Powelton on the HRCGA blog amongst many other stories.

About the authors Sonny Seals and George S. Hart – HRCGA blog post

About the HRCGA photographers

Some useful historic maps of Georgia accompany an Introduction or essay by John Thomas Scott on ‘Religion in Georgia’. This sets out the history of the early colonisation Of Georgia, before the Revolutionary War (what we ‘British’ call the American War Of Independence), the clearance of land from Cherokee and Creek Native American inhabitants (and ‘Trail Of Tears’) and the development of King Cotton and slavery before its decline after the American Civil War.

The essay by Thornton also sets out how the churches were founded, moving on from early Anglican efforts under British rule to Northern and Southern Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and other denominations.

Interesting to note, living as I do in the UK in a country of ancient stone and later brick churches, that most of the sturdy timbers of these buildings were logged and shaped locally from Georgia’s once extensive heart pine forests. These made up the walls, roofs, floors, steeples, pews and pulpits of these important community buildings.

Many of the short histories that accompany the photographs note how the churches fared during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, along with some short accounts of soldiers buried in the adjacent cemetery.

The most surprising feature that I found were the early churches which had upper floor ‘slave balconies‘ for the servants and slaves of the prosperous white families worshipping below.

“The Civil War ended the slave based cotton kingdom but not the Bible Belt – in either the white or the black community.” (xxxii Introduction, Clarke)

Despite the emancipation of the Civil War, segregation still affected many congregations. One solution was for the establishment of separate white churches and African American churches – AME (African Methodist Episcopal) and CME (Coloured Methodist Episcopal) – and African Baptists.

In many rural and pioneer areas, “The churches performed as community center, dating service, courthouse (complete with judge and jury) and everything else these individualistic settlers needed in order to function as a civilised society.” (xxi Preface, Seals and Hart)

Some of these churches are still active, whilst others have been restored for new uses. One is now a stable but far too many are closed and sometimes decaying, often to the point of collapse.

One black African American church at Carswell Grove Baptist, Jenkins County is pictured before and after the fire that consumed its old timbers in 2014.

Some of the saddest cases can be found in the “Almost gone but not forgotten” category on searching by County on https://www.hrcga.org/find-a-church/

When the church has gone, often only the cemetery remains, often the last clue to a lost or vanished community.

The photographs and churches featured in the book and many more can be found at: https://www.hrcga.org/find-a-church/

A beautiful photographic book and part of a worthy project to record and restore these beautiful and historic buildings.

From a military history point of view and modelling point of view there is much of interest in this book and this HRCGA website.

Sardis Volunteers ACW – Sardis Presbyterian – for the American version of our WW1 British ‘Pals’ Battalions.

The Battle Of Chickamauga – ACW – Cove Methodist, Walker County

Blogpost by Mark Man Of TIN, March 2023


B.P.S. Postscript

Worth watching these stories on Youtube – Saving Grace Georgia’s Historic Churches On Youtube / PBS https://m.youtube.com/@savinggracetheshow367

Inspired? There are a number of modelling kits of American churches usually for railway models but sometimes for tabletop gaming:


And Terry Wise’s American Civil War conversions of Airfix railway buildings (kits still issued by Dapol)



Bronte Modern Fiction – A Tale Of Two Glass Towns by Nicola Friar

Promotional blurb:

“In 1999, seven-year-old Theo has been uprooted to live with his grandparents at the opposite end of the country. As the countdown to the year 2000 begins, Theo is increasingly worried about the arrival of the Millennium Bug. Is it an illness, an alien, or the end of the world?”

“When something crashes in the back garden one night, events are set in motion that will change the world as Theo knows it forever. Perhaps his imagination, fuelled by the covers of his Aunt Nina’s favourite sci-fi novels, has run away with him. Or perhaps something really is lurking in the mist.

“Years later, in 2020, a grown-up Theo contends with a world gripped by a very different, and far more dangerous bug. As he reflects on his childhood, the interesting characters he met in the old graveyard, and what it means to be alien, the line between past and present begins to blur …”

This is the first book by author Nicola Friar, a young writer who I came across through her posts on her Bronte Babe Blog on Facebook – her biography https://olympiapublishers.com/authors/nicola-friar

My own interest in the Brontes partly comes from the Regency / Napoleonic Colonial ImagiNations of ‘Tropical Yorkshireset in West Africa and the Pacific, ripe for skirmish gaming


I wasn’t sure what to expect from this new fiction book. I don’t read a lot of fiction, but was intrigued by what Nicola Friar would do with the ideas, places and characters of the Glass Town, Angria and Gondal juvenile fictions or ImagiNations of the Bronte family.

It’s not quite what I expected as a story, but to be fair I am not the intended General (Children’s / Teenage) or Young Adult fiction age of reader.

I read it through to the end (not something I do with all fiction) and I think I would have enjoyed and finished it if I had been that intended age.

The book is set in two time zones, 1999 the eve of the Millennium Bug and the eve of COVID c. 2019, linked by the main character Theo as a boy and a young man.

Sometimes as a reader I had a sense of deja-vu. This was intentional. As in many science fiction or time travel tales, short sections are repeated with slight differences showing how decisions in the past or present influence the narrative.

There is also a suitably Gothic Bronte element of dreams and spooky old churchyards to add an element of uncertainty and mystery. The Gothic is picked up in the balanced but asymmetrical front cover design of Theo as a boy or man (or a mysterious dark stranger who recurs throughout).

There is a motif in both time zones of a painted wooden toy soldier called ‘Wellington’ with a nod towards the Bronte family’s box of early 19th Century wooden toy soldiers that inspired their ImagiNation fiction.

The story touches on ‘aliens’, whether they are asylum seekers escaping from modern wars or extraterrestrial aliens, along with a background story of Belgian refugees from WW1. There is even a passing reference to Agatha Christie’s Belgian emigre / refugee detective Poirot.

The good thing is that you cannot easily predict how these strands of the story or final version of the story will work out.

A nod or reference is made to other time travel or Bronte fiction such as Tom’s Midnight Garden and the Bronte toy soldier inspired The Twelve and the Genii, as well as various titles from the science fiction library of Theo’s Aunt Nina.

Anyway, it kept me reading through to the conclusion – no plot spoilers!

I’m not sure if it will mutate into tabletop gaming scenarios as easily as Celia Rees’ young adult novel Glass Town Wars or Isabel Greenberg’s Glass Town graphic novel but as mentioned it was an enjoyable page turner!

Blog posted by Mark Man Of TIN, 26 March 2023

H. G. Wells and War of the Worlds in Woking …

H. G. Wells is one of the more famous inhabitants of the Surrey town (or London Borough? suburb?) of Woking.

Woking takes great pride in the fact that Wells lived and wrote there in 1895-1896, at a time when he was writing some of his most famous works.

On his 150th birthday in 2016, Wells was celebrated in Woking with a statue by Wesley Harland. In his hand he holds the spaceship sphere from The First Men in The Moon. Beneath his chair, alien red weed from The War Of The Worlds sneaks and writhes.


http://www.hgwellsstatue.com/ – dead link?

I like the creeping (alien?) tendrils beneath the chair.

Surely there should have been a toy soldier or two on the floor of the statue?

Something to remedy with a camera and some Britain’s figures next time I visit …

As an aside, Spike Milligan’s statue bench in Finchley amongst its many details has soldiers (representing his wartime service) but no toy soldiers incorporated into it.


There is now apparently an annual Wells in Woking Day, celebrated on 21 September (1866) – the anniversary of his birth.

They have a Wells in Woking Trail https://wellsinwoking.org.uk with heritage trail map to download. This can also be found at www.celebratewoking.info

Michael Condron designed the tripod statue and capsule in Woking’s centre streets. I failed to photograph the detail of the bacteria paving stone, bacteria being the undoing of the Tripod invaders.


The 2017 Wells In Woking event included a Game Jam for computer game designers.

You could ask “Why not a Toy Soldier Day, to celebrate the author of Little Wars?”

Arguably the Woking Little Wars Revisited 54mm Games Day held at the very central Christchurch Woking in March was / is that day?

March 4th to some worldwide is also Marching Band Day and Toy Soldier Day.

Wot, No Toy Soldier Day in Woking?

Floor Games and Little Wars were still fifteen or so years ahead in the future from when Wells lived in Woking in 1895-6.

Wells with his second wife Amy Catherine ‘Jane’ Robbins would later move to Spade House, Sandgate, Folkestone in Kent then by 1911 had moved again later to Hampstead in London.

Floor Games and Little Wars were developed if not fully written at Sandgate and published in 1911 and 1913 respectively. By then, Wells had two sons ‘Gyp’ and Frank, pictured on the front of Floor Games.

Read more about Wells on my posts here: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/h-g-wells-little-wars-floor-games-toy-theatres-and-magic-cities/



If Wells and his sons came ‘back to the future’ Woking in his Time Machine in 2023, could they still buy proper big toy soldiers in Woking?

Not quite. On my brief look round in Woking, I discovered only a busy Warhammer shop with its incomprehensible but oddly appropriate futuristic sci-fi mech warriors.

The Works, Poundland and Wilko were sadly lacking in any soldiers or cheap plastic toy soldiers. The only other shopping mall toy centres (The Entertainer and Argos) didn’t seem to have anything toy soldier related.

Addlestone Models, a few miles away to the North east across Horsell Common, carries various kits, along with the reissued Airfix WW2 1:32 and 1:72 figures and Plastic Soldier Company figures.

So a scratch improvised Floor Games, minus the firing cannons, is still just about possible for the Wellsian chap in the Woking area!

Blog posted by Mark Man Of TIN, 18 March 2023

The Recorded Voice Of H.G. Wells

I had read that H.G. Wells had quite a distinctive high-pitched voice and as he lived into the 1940s, I wondered if a recording of Wells existed?

I found on Youtube a 1931 recording of Wells talking.

Clip can be found at: https://youtu.be/qRgP-46AC_o

Further film and sound footage British Pathe of a now elderly Wells talking in 1940 about the possible entry of America into the Second World War:



British Pathe clip (1930s?) of Wells talking to publisher Frank Nelson Doubleday at: https://youtu.be/i3eDp3weMAw

Obviously this is Wells in his sixties and in the final decades of his life, but interesting to hear the author of Floor Games and Little Wars speak.

Blog post by Mark Man Of TIN Blog on 11 March 2023

H.G. Wells amongst these Airfix 1/32 Civilians?

Affordable 1/32 civilian figures from past historic periods are usually quote difficult to find.

I saw these four figures on an eBay site and bought them for £4 plus postage.

They are spare crew and passengers from the Airfix 1:32 ‘Old Bill’ London Bus kit.

Somewhere in storage all boxed up I have the 2000s Airfix reissue of the Fire Engine and Civilian Bus as a rainy day project.

Two of these men look to be wearing Edwardian bus driver and ticket inspector hats and uniforms.

The other two are clearly passengers.

One of them with that moustache reminds me strongly of H.G. Wells himself …

That is how he will eventually be painted in shiny toy soldier gloss, as befits the author of Little Wars and Floor Games.

Blog posted by Mark Man Of TIN, 18 March 2023

Snow Ball Fight at the Woking 54mm Games Day

Finally I made it on Saturday last to the Woking Little Wars Revisited 54mm Games Day hosted by Mike Lewis.

There are already several write-ups of the games played on the day by Brian Carrick


and others reviewed on the Little Wars Revisited forum:


including these photos by Mike Lewis of some of my Snowball teams.

These show the ‘mystery’ teams of Rupert and friends from Nutwood (chosen by Alan Gruber) and also the Penguin team that I played. Brian Cameron chose four of the Blue Hills Boys (adapted Lemax Christmas Village snowballers).

I ran the tables as long and thin rather than side to side, which changes the feel of the game.

Movements of various Non Player Characters (NPCs) such as the local vicar and other civilians were communally controlled by d6 throws linked to simple compass cards. They get in the way of line of sight or snowball throws.

Oddly none of the NPCs got snowballed.

The bridge, lampposts and bandstand are versatile Lemax Christmas Village items mixed in with lead sundials and the old plastic Britain’s garden rockery or pond.

My Team Penguin (who entered the table in the middle) quickly became the jam in the sandwich between Alan’s Nutwood Gang and Brian’s Blue Hills Boys.

I lost my Team Penguin flag and the game to Edward Trunk of the Nutwood Gang.

My brave Penguins did manage, after having their own games lives restored, to take down Rupert and Bill Badger with a few well aimed shots and send them back to their Team HQ to have their Games lives restored.

Probably the most successful Penguin on my team, with a Marksman modifier of +1 on each throw, managed to hole up within the cover of the Band Stand and control the bridge, sending several Blue Hills boys back to their base.

All together an interesting playtest with several ideas to explore in future, along with the Gruber variations.

It could be shortified as needed, but the game stretched out the whole morning with lots of chat.

The afternoon sped by with Alan and myself playing Brian Cameron’s Smugglers game.

Here are Brian’s painted pirates or smugglers which I commanded – with low throws throughout, only my Captain survived and no barrels of strong drink were spirited away.

Sadly I didn’t get much time to look in detail at the other three games being played.

I look forward to Woking in March 2024, probably taking the Scouting Wide Games figures for some short fast games.

Blog post by Man Of TIN on 8 March 2023.

Woking Snowball Fight Rules 2023

Preparing for Woking 54mm Games Day on Saturday, a simple Playtest version of the snowball fight rules:


Simple Snowball Fight Rules

1:1 figure

Four to eight figures in a snowball team.

Only two hits take the game ‘life’ of a player

Snowball ammunition unlimited.

Movement range is one lollystick per move.

Ice cannot be crossed *

Hit Ranges

range measured using lolly sticks, roll one dice per thrower:

close range – one lollystick distance – 4,5,6 is a hit on a d6

medium range – two lollysticks, 5 or 6 to hit

long range – three lollysticks – 6 only to hit

If target is behind cover, modify with -1 on d6 throw

Damage and repair of a life

Only two hits to take the game ‘life’ of a player.

Hit damage indicated by clear curtain ring hung on figure.

Wide Games style – A character can return to HQ base camp on edge of board and rejuvenate / return to game life after set number of turns.


If character indicated as Marksman, they get +1 modifier

Marksman can be selected by rolling a 6 on a d6 roll for each character before game starts.

Melee / Morale / Savings throws

No Melee Rules

No Morale Rules.

No Savings throws


Aim / Victory Scenario – “Capture the Flag” style.

Each base camp has a flag or other supplies token.

If this is taken by the enemy team, it must still be got back to their base camp to win.

The base camp flag can be guarded by one “rush goalie”.

Captured flag can be recaptured en route to the enemy base by its own side, if bearer / capturer is knocked out by two hits.


NPCs or Non Player Characters

These move around randomly and must not to be hit by Snowballs – otherwise forfeit or penalty incurred by thrower? Some form of being sent off or sent home to base camp.

NPCs can be handled by a spare player or umpire using dice rolls on a compass rose at the start of each turn for all NPCs or each NPC figure. D6 thrown – 1 North, 2 East, 3 South, 4 West, 5 south west, 6 south east – move one lolly stick in that direction.


Adding complexity – without too much record keeping?

Other interesting ideas that we might get time to try out in play-testing, suggested by Alan Tradgardmastre Gruber. Some of them may work in a Woking Games Day situation, others in Solo games.


A. The frozen fingers rule – Alan: “After three throws a person could get a minus one on a dice to hit to simulate very cold fingers.”

It will be interesting to see how easily tallied this can be.

B. Experts at throwing? The difference of ability of experience between older and younger characters or different grades of scout (young tenderfoot through to First Class Scout \ Patrol Leader) is the same as Veteran, Elite, Regular, Militia troop rating etc:

Alan: “Competence and incompetence at throwing could be represented by using a eight sided dice for experts and a four sided dice for wee kids who can’t throw so far.”

Effectively the smallest or youngest characters could only then achieve a hit at close range before their fingers froze!

C. Knowing when to finish the game could be randomised in this charming and very childhood way:

Alan: “Perhaps the game could run a limited number of turns to simulate everyone getting too cold and needing to go home to warm up. 

This could be done by throwing a dice at the end of each turn and if you threw a number equivalent to the turn or less the game ended. Using a d8 again or two d 6 as an alternative. So in turn five if you threw a 3 and a 4 it would continue but a 2 and a 1 would mean everyone scurrying home.”

So lots of ideas for adding variety or simple complexity to this game.

* If you want to add more complexity, you can declare that Ice cannot be crossed without a 6 on a d6 each move per figure. So probably best not …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 1st March 2023

A Small Spark Of Courage, Donald Featherstone’s War Games and Solo Wargaming

I noticed an interesting similarity of maps between A Small Spark Of Courage by D.A. Rayner, a 1959/ 1961 book mentioned by Donald Featherstone as the acknowledged basis of a scenario in a chapter of his Solo Wargaming and unacknowledged in his WW2 Rules and scenario of his 1962 War Games.

Map by Charles Green in Denys Rayner’s A Small Spark Of Courage

and close up of the map in War Games 1962 – the classic WW2 scenario ‘Tank and Infantry Action on the St James Road’.

The Plantation, Copse Hill, familiar names … Red Farm has moved position from the original Farabique. Other French place names have been changed.


Denys Arthur Rayner was a WW2 naval officer and ship designer who wrote mostly naval fiction.


Unusually for a naval officer Rayner wrote about tank warfare in The Small Spark of Courage (1959), titled Valor in US editions of the novel. Two further close up versions of the map are included in the book.

It is not so strange that Donald Featherstone should base a scenario on this book or map. He was of course a Tank Sergeant in the Royal Tank Regiment in WW2.

This Small Spark map led towards the WW2 scenario and those very familiar photographs of Airfix first version German Infantry and British (Infantry Combat Group) OOHO figures (photographed by Ken Baker) in Featherstone’s War Games (1962).

The Small Spark book is discussed in more detail as a scenario idea by Donald Featherstone in his book Solo Wargaming.

Second-hand copies of Rayner‘s book can be found online. Likewise, Donald Featherstone’s books are available second-hand online, although there are now affordable handy Featherstone reprints and books about Featherstone’s wartime experiences in the Royal Tank Regiment by John Curry, published as part of the History Of Wargaming Project.

Author’s Note:

Endnote: Donald Featherstone was influenced in his early gaming by H.G. Wells’ Little Wars. I noticed that one other famous wargaming fictional scenario maps is loosely based on real places, such as The Battle Of Hook’s Farm, the classic scenario in H.G. Wells’ Little Wars (1913).


Blog posted by Mark ManofTIN on 12 February 2023.

Forgotten Georgia Cottage

The Officer and his Lady photographed in front of their new cottage. 54mm metal and resin figures.

I have been house-painting over the last few weekends, working fitfully on wooden cottage No. 2, having finished Blackbird Cottage just before New Year.

This evening I finished the last few bits of touching up the paintwork, so here’s Georgia Cottage, shown here with some 54mm toy soldiers and civilians for scale.

Inside the walls are painted a charming light blue. It could be an English cottage, it could be out in America …

The idea for the light blue painted walls came from this photograph on the wonderful Forgotten Georgia blog / website.

A beautiful flash of blue inside this old abandoned, tree damaged shack on Forgotten Georgia website reminds you that people once lived here and made choices about brightening up their living space.

Great photo by Paul Bridges, posted and hosted on the amazing Forgotten Georgia website by Dot Payton.

The Forgotten Georgia Photo Blog / website and its Facebook group are together a superb photographic record of surviving of vanishing traditional vernacular architecture in Georgia and the South, from shacks and houses to stores and churches, railways and industrial buildings. It also covers buildings and graveyards of relevance to the “Revolutionary War” (AWI) and the Civil War amongst other conflicts.

Thankfully not all the houses and buildings shown on Forgotten Georgia are in ruins – here are two cottages or houses that give a more colourful feel.

I like the simple whitewashed or white painted walls and colourful window frames or shutters of these Wayne County farmhouses.

Pictures screenshotted as reference for building / painting. Image Source/ copyright again to Dot Payton / Forgotten Georgia Blog (and Facebook Page)

Instead of a generic brown wooden plank house (I can always buy another) I thought in painting a second cottage that I would add a touch of colour.

Blackbird Cottage was colourful in its own way with its yellow windows although mainly pitch black or tar black.


To paint the second cottage, I took it apart again, so I could paint the interiors more easily. Painting the first one after construction took some minor contortion painting through windows and roof areas!

I used the same colour palette for some aspects using Revell Aquacolor Acrylic Matt paints:

Sand – the ground area

Dark Earth – plank floor

White – fence and this time outer walls

Rust – tin roof

The main difference on this white walled cottage was the Purple Red windows. The Forgotten Georgia photos show pinky red window frames etc. but I think this is faded (red often seems the first to fade, unstable colour). I did not have a suitable pink and failed to mix a suitable colour.

The other big difference is the Light Blue inner walls, which should make the interior of the house lighter then the previous cottage with its Dark Earth plank walls.

Looked at a second time, the ledge above the door (that locks the moving swing door into place) can become a wooden shelf.

Taking the kit apart, I thought that I could maybe add a planking floor in the crude dry brushed way I painted the cottage roof to suggest a tin roof. I tried this painting down a line approach and it just looked messy. I could use fine line illustrator pens to mark in planking but I wanted to keep the simple, solid colours of a toy building.

Of course roof sections can easily be swapped with Blackbird Cottage …

This Georgia cottage should have a more domestic feel compared to the more functional shedquarters of Blackbird Cottage, which looks like it could be commandeered for Coast Watching.

House roof swap with Blackbird Cottage and lead 54mm cowboy for scale

Again some flat details on the walls – paintings, noticeboards – would help add some generic interest without restricting to any one period or nationality.

Peppermint Patty: “You kind of like me, don’t you, Chuck?”

Here is Georgia Cottage with a different set of appropriately American characters: Good Grief! Cheer Up Charlie Brown.

One of those great unrequited gentle love affairs? Peppermint Patty’s crush on the cheerfully unaware Chuck (Charlie Brown). “Peppermint Patty has a secret crush on Charlie Brown. However, Charlie Brown is not aware of her feelings for him, and only likes her as a friend.


Another Classic Peanuts line – black haired Lucy van Pelt to Snoopy: “Eurgh! I’ve been kissed by a dog!”

More about The Peanuts gang: https://www.peanuts.com/about-peanuts

For details of where to buy these cottages, see our blog post on the first painted one, which I christened Blackbird Cottage


I am still scouting around looking for suitable affordable basic 1:32 or 1/32 furniture, having found a couple of resin 1/35 chairs and tables. I will also make a couple of framed charts, maps or paintings for the wall.

The Peanuts figures are a Schleich Charlie Brown and the rest are a set of cake toppers.

Previously on Man Of TIN Blog: Snoopy Biplane


Blog posted by Mark Man Of TIN (roof), 6/7 February 2023

Blackbird Cottage

One of the first unplanned things that I have made and painted during Twixmas and New Year is this 3D wooden puzzle cottage, a welcome Christmas gift.

Two of these kits came via mail order from Alice in Scandiland, a Nordic design inspired interiors shop that I have visited in the interesting Cornish town of Lostwithiel.

There are two of these wooden house designs available, one with entrance ramp and the one I received with gate. Other house examples in the series can be found online.

The four houses available made by www.creotime.com – no idea if all 4 are the same scale / size

Anyway the two cottage kits soon arrived by post from Lostwithiel. This interesting town with many antique and collectable shops sits inland centres around the bridge on the river Fowey, below the ruins of Restormel Castle high up on the hill. The area was the site of an important West Country bocage skirmish, the Battle of Lostwithiel of 1644 during the English Civil War. It also has a corrugated iron cadet hall.


Back to Blackbird Cottage …

Looking at the instructions, I saw an interesting black walled, light window colour scheme.

This colour scheme reminded me strongly of the tarred shacks of the southern states of America such as seen on one of my favourite photo blogs / Facebook page of Forgotten Georgia.

I spent a happy hour trawling back through several years of photo posts on Forgotten Georgia, looking at these old vernacular American buildings. These gave me colour scheme ideas for both of my cottage models.

The cottage kit also reminded me of the colourful wood and corrugated iron buildings of the Falkland Islands.

The third and strongest influence was the tin roof and black as pitch tarred walls and yellow windows of Derek Jarman’s fisherman’s cottage, Prospect Cottage and its famous shingle garden on the beach at Dungeness in Kent.



If you look online, you can see find some rare shots of Prospect Cottage’s wooden walls and floor.

Some Lemax Christmas village 54mm+ snowballing children and lead cowboy for size comparison


I found both kits easy and quick to make, following the A4 sized panel of instruction graphics. Much like many modern laser cut MDF models, this is a push out and clip together puzzle wooden model, no glue or craft knife is required. A tiny black square of sandpaper is helpfully included.

Lead 54mm cowboy alongside door panel for scale / size comparison.

Construction Tip 1: Parts on sheets A to C on the wooden push out are not numbered, although there is a labelled plan of them on the instructions. To be on the safe side I pencilled the letter and number onto each part


Thus equipped, having easily made up both cottage kits, I painted the first cottage using Acrylics (Revell Aquacolor Acrylics from local hobby and craft shops or Hobbycraft (online / instore).

I find that these acrylic paints require two coats to get a really rich covering or colour.

Construction Tip 2: Paint the panels first before construction (or disassemble the model after a dry run) to do this.

Painting the first cottage was made harder by painting them after construction. Getting into nooks and crannies inside the building even with roof panels off.

Toy soldier style – I wanted to keep these as much as possible toy houses, for toys and toy soldiers, to suit a wide range of 19th and 20th century scenarios or settings, in the style of H.G. Wells’ Little Wars. I have written in a previous post about the charming 1930s wood toy buildings by Hugar.

Colour choices: Revell Aquacolor Acrylics (Matt)

Tar Black (appropriately!) for the wall

Rust for the roof panel

Dark Earth for the floor and walls

Lufthansa Yellow for the window frames

White for the fence

Sand for the surrounding base


Painting the suggestion of a corrugated iron or tin tabernacle roof was an interesting challenge. I used Revell Aquacolor Acrylic Rust colour (Matt) as the base colour.

Using the same Rust paint mixed with a little Tar Black, I painted narrow stripes down each roof loose / freehand using another paint brush as a guide line. No precision here, just a suggestion of planking or rusty tin roof.

It oddly captures the rough planking feel on my now vanished childhood cowboy fort (along with the sand base colour).

I wanted to be able to place figures inside, so have kept the roof sections removable.

In hindsight, I would have liked to try this tin / plank roof paint technique on the floor sections as well but it would have meant dismantling the whole house.

In the next cottage I will use the same paint brush technique to suggest floor planking, all painted before final (re)construction.

I used some of the small push out wooden ‘bits and bobs’ to reinforce the chimney and also cover wall / floor holes.

Furniture and Fittings

Further detailing could be added – shutters, window sills etc – but I wanted to keep that simple toy fort feel.

In keeping with those tin litho American barrack buildings, I will look out for or make a few non-specific pictures, framed maps or noticeboards for the wall.

Similarly some rough furniture, which I might have to make, as most 54mm toy soldier sacks furniture in the UK is usually from expensive scale model railway ranges or too ornate for the period and setting.

That is only a problem on this side of the Atlantic as BMC do some interesting furniture sets in the USA but shipping to UK is expensive. They sadly don’t seem to have a UK dealer.

Anyway I want to keep these buildings flexible and uncluttered.

The Coast Watch hut with its Britain’s Ltd naval guard, my Prince August homecast Special Naval Reserve officer and Boy Scout messenger (original boyhood Marx Plastic) c. 1910 to 1914


And in keeping with its Blackbird colours, below here is the closest I have to a tiny Derek Jarman in his shingle beach gardening overalls.

The washed up old fishing net is from Christmas chocolate gold coins.

I enjoyed Derek Jarman’s strange films and his books / memoirs in the early 1990s, as well as the photographs of his found object beachcomber garden taken by Howard Sooley before Derek’s early death in 1994, having struggled like many gay men of his generation to fight off HIV / AIDS infection.


And finally …

A gentleman of the road (or spy?) strolls past the Coast Watch Station … hollowcast Britain’s and other 54mm figures.

What next?

Next stop is to paint the other cottage which may have white external walls and colourful window frames or dark earth (plank) wall, and again the suggestion of tin roof / planking.

One of the sadly decaying Forgotten Georgia blog photo posts showed a plain old wooden shack which was falling apart enough to reveal an unexpected painted light eggshell Blue wall inside (wallpaper or paint?) A reminder that these buildings were once someone’s proud home …

Blog post by Mark Man Of TIN (roof), 7th January 2023.

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

My Bird House Railway Halt Building conversion