Sunday, January 20, 2019

'Sport' from JamesM: NAAFI Van

Hi Folks,

Aiming for the most tenuous link to a bonus round theme ever...! I present you - a Tea Van!

So, why does this entry qualify as 'Sport', I hear you (loudly and repeatedly) ask?

Well, obviously this is a NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes - probably in this case staffed by Expeditionary Force Institutes personnel) Tea Van 'somewhere in Normandy'.

It is currently closed (the serving counter is covered by the hatch).

Meanwhile a queue of thirsty British soldiers waits with gradually decreasing politeness in the scorching sun for it to open and serve hot tea to help cool them down (I don't understand that either!), mugs in hand.

Thus, this entry represents at least three of the British national sports (more if you include things like 'inappropriate head-wear for the weather', 'having tea breaks', 'complaining about the amount of time others take on their tea breaks', 'fighting wars in France', etc). The main three 'national sports' represented are:

1.  Tea drinking/Tea breaks
2.  Queueing
3.  Poor customer service

As well as some of our lesser known but very popular local sports, which include:

3a.  Politely making your presence known by coughing quietly, and if very angry, by also tapping a foot.
3b.  Being unable to complain about them not being open on time, without them replying 'well, we're open now', thus rendering your carefully crafted argument moot.
3c.  Making your thunderous displeasure known by tutting and looking at your (looted) watch.
3d.  Catching the eye of other people in the queue and rolling your eyes while shaking your head slightly, but otherwise avoiding any conversation at all costs. Perhaps also tutting, if your really really angry.
3e.   Accepting any excuse they offer with a 'no problem', no matter how ridiculous the excuse was,  and the fact you could see them round the back having a smoke rather than doing their job, and they knew you were waiting as they had caught your eye while you stared at them to let them know you could see them having a smoke, but they still made no effort to hurry up until the last 30 seconds when they pretended to be in a mad rush to help you...
3f.   A sense of humour that does not always travel well.

The model of the van came all the way from Canada to the UK, care of my good friend Dennis (also known as Matt Varnish on YouTube). I believe the project found it's basis during the last challenge, when I was asked to produce a tea truck by a certain Aussie.

The truck is a 15mm Battlefront tournament objective. I believe it may be from a set they did severl years ago with some of the characters from Dad's Army and the Butchers van. I added a plasticard sheet onto the side to represent a cover over a serving counter, turning it more into a mobile canteen.

The three figures are also from Battlefront, and have been altered using greenstuff and some plastic rod to be (roughly) holding 'mugs'. This included chopping a Bren magazine from a hand and greenstuffing a magazine on the gun.

Basing was applied using my standard technique. With the base looking a bit bare I also raided the bits box for a barrel and added a plasticard sign.

I also made an attempt to paint the NAAFI crest on the side of the truck... As well as hand painting some of the signage from pictures and re-enactors vehicles. The crest looks like this close up, so i don't think I did too badly at this scale!

This base will form another little diorama somewhere on a table at some point. I may even attach special rules to it (+1 to morale checks if within X inches?).

The truck was painted to include some 'non uniform' darker greens along the wheel arches, to represent it's slightly less military duties. I was tempted to add a Aerial Recognition Star, but decided to leave it looking a bit more civilian. 

The whole base consists of 1 x 15mm vehicle at 8 points, and 3 x 15mm infantry figures at 2 points each, for a total of 14 points!


  1. Very good theme here and very nice vignette

  2. No tenuosity here. Brits are known for being good sports so they all qualify. Nice vignette.

  3. Damn... now you need to do a goulashkanon for the Germans! Nicely done , and classic British sports!

  4. Really clever rationale, and a great vignette.

  5. this is really great, do like a nice cuppa and can't beat a good queue

  6. Great vignette, and again, it's good to see a willingness to think outside the box. Splendid work on the NAAFI crest as well!

  7. Wgat z nice idea and splendid work on the execution of it!

  8. Very smart summary of our national sports!
    Best Iain

  9. Haha! Great write-up, James, and the diorama is brilliant.

  10. Tea, lousy customer service and no idea how to dress for any weather - yeah that's the Brits. Love this vignette and appreciate the conversions.

  11. Haha! Excellent stuff and very well realised.

  12. An interesting take on the concept, but well executed. Well done!

  13. 1. Tea drinking/Tea breaks
    2. Queueing
    3. Poor customer service


  14. Thanks everyone for the kind comments, really chuffed to have come 4th!