We kicked off our new Soldier of Fortune collection of special figures back in August with the legend of the Special Air Service, David Stirling, The Phantom Major, with John ‘Jock’ Lewes swiftly following in September. Maintaining the SAS Rogue Heroes theme, and completing the Rogue Heroes trio, this month’s figure is ‘Paddy’ Mayne, The Irish Lion! This special figure will only be available until the end of October 2023, thereafter to fade back into the desert – the model will not be made available again, in any way, shape or form for at least two years. Mayne will be the last of our SAS-themed Soldiers of Fortune (at least for a good while), a brand-new (and very exciting figure) takes his place in November.
Each month, a different, unique special figure is made available to be purchased exclusively through the Warlord Games Webstore, for that month only. At the end of the month, a new special figure takes its place. Once gone, those figures will be unavailable for a minimum of two years thereafter, by any means.
Paddy Mayne, The Irish Lion is the third of these figures, and is thus titled Soldier of Fortune 003, so it’s easy to keep track of your whole collection of these Warlord Webstore-exclusive figures. Remember that each figure will only be around for a month; don’t miss out on getting hold of the complete collection of Soldiers of Fortune.
Robert Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne really has to be considered a real-life superman. Before the war, he was a keen amateur boxer and golfer, as well as a rugby star, being capped for both Ireland and the British Lions. Between his sporting exploits, he even found time to train as a solicitor but his sporting and legal careers were rudely interrupted by the outbreak of World War Two. Like so many young men, Mayne joined the British Army, initially serving as a subaltern in an anti-aircraft regiment, before volunteering to join the newly-formed Commando Force in 1940. Posted to No. 11 (Scottish) Commando, he saw service in Lebanon against Vichy French forces, earning a Mention in Dispatches for his efforts, before being recruited by the secretive and brand-new Special Air Service – the now infamous SAS.
A myth exists that Mayne was recruited to the SAS from a jail cell by the legendary David Stirling, having been imprisoned for striking his commanding officer. There appears to be no truth to this, although he had previously assaulted his battalion second-in-command over a rather nasty incident wherein his superior had ordered Mayne’s pet dog shot. In any case, it was true that by this stage of his career he had something of a reputation as a troublemaker, particularly when drinking – one account of his 1938 Lions rugby tour recounts that he relaxed by “wrecking hotels and fighting dockers”! He was nevertheless a superlative soldier, and these talents would become even more apparent once he joined the SAS.
Through 1941 and ’42, Mayne served with distinction in the SAS’s campaign of destruction across the Western Desert, sabotaging German airfields and supply dumps and destroying enormous amounts of war materiel. including in the infamous raid on Sidi Haneish Airfield, the most successful operation of the campaign. Earning his first DSO (Distinguished Service Order) in the desert war, he went on to command the Special Raiding Section of the unit in Sicily and Italy, and later went on to command the 1st SAS Regiment in north-west Europe, frequently operating behind enemy lines and garnering significant fame and respect from his peers and commanders alike, along with an almost-unprecedented three Bars to his DSO. To the surprise of many, he was not awarded a Victoria Cross at the time, and a campaign continues to this day for him to be given the United Kingdom’s highest military award.
Postwar, Mayne returned to practise law in Ireland, but a back injury sustained during the War left him in too much pain to continue his sporting career. He rarely talked about his service, and was tragically killed in a car accident in 1955, aged just 40.
We produced a Paddy Mayne limited edition figure for our 2022 Open Day, but Soldier of Fortune 003 is a different beast. This brand-new Paddy Mayne figure depicts the Irish Lion battle-ready, with native headwear and leather jerkin to combat the harshness of the desert, and Thompson SMG ready to sow chaos and destruction amongst the next Axis airfield.
Fielding The Irish Lion in Bolt Action
Rules to allow you to field this legendary soldier in games of Bolt Action can be found in the theatre supplement, Duel in the Sun, representing him during his desert raiding days, and provides a fantastic bonus to any SAS force. His Special Mission rule allows SAS units to Outflank, even in missions that do not allow it, and arrive anywhere on the opponent’s board edge!
Additional rules for Paddy Mayne can also be found Campaign Italy: Soft Underbelly, representing Mayne later in the war as a Major. Those rules turn him into a proper close-combat beast, representing his great physical strength and courage. His Strong as an Ox rule means that opponents must re-roll successful Wound rolls against him, while the Ruthless rule allows Mayne and any units within his Command Radius to easily destroy enemy infantry in close combat!
SAS: Rogue Heroes
Paddy Mayne was recently portrayed by Jack O’Connell in the hit BBC series, SAS: Rogue Heroes, which is soon to return for a second series. O’Connell brought a captivating intensity to his performance, stealing every scene in which he featured. The exploits of the SAS were larger than life, and this series really amped up our interest in the Western Desert theatre. The desert raids of the SAS provide an atypical template for a game of Bolt Action, making for perfect narrative scenarios. A trailer is below!
Don’t miss out on adding Paddy Mayne to your collection – snap up this month’s Soldier of Fortune now, and complete the trio of Soldier of Fortune SAS Heroes. Next month, something completely different!