Popped in with my Christmas parcel from our upcountry family in 2019 was this lovely £1 bag of plastic soldiers and tanks.
They are the remnants of a playset style bag from a charity shop, picked up pre-Lockdown in late 2019. They were popped in alongside our Christmas presents as padding or packing in the Christmas parcel before posting. Who needs bubble wrap?
Please note: These were photographed in the poor light of Winter 2019 / 2020. I don’t think I posted these then for some reason.
Larger copies of familiar Airfix figures in two colours
Figures seen here in size order compared to the size of an original 54mm Airfix WW2 British Infantryman.
Again the slight size difference in the same bag of the same poses is interesting … two different factories? Two different mould tools?
Arriving without a header card, a bit of web research and toyshop browsing reveals that these Airfix figure and tank copies are HTI figures, made in China.
Similar bags are still available July 2020 in toy shops, post offices and seaside stores or from online suppliers such as here at Amazon, including with good copies of the Airfix pre-assembled OOHO Centurion tank.
I think that’s enough publicity for buying these here from Amazon (July 2020) for one post.
Buy them where you see them and certainly support your local toy shop.
Just seeing the wonky mixed scale content of these playsets so attractively photographed gives me simple childhood joy.
I really like the running infantryman figure, it originated as the advancing Airfix German infantry man with rifle but in the process of copying over forty to fifty years has become more generic, simpler and smaller. It now has more of a traditional toy soldier look, especailly if painted up in gloss toy soldier paint style.
I can never have enough of these running plastic toy soldier figures!
The smaller running rifleman or standing rifleman is just under 38-40mm from base to the top of his helmet (or if you measure to the eyes about 35-36mm)
The larger running rifleman is about 42mm from base to top of helmet, 38mm to the eyeliner, which is the usual size that I have encountered these before on these smaller figures. Quite a size drop from the 54mm Airfix originals.
This brings these broadly into line with 40mm Prince August figures for example.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, January / July 2020.
These two groups of generic Marine Infantry are loosely based on two different sources:
1) L & F Funcken, Uniforms of WW2 page showing German sailors in landing rig and grey steel helmets.
2) the Russian Navy Marine Infantry or ‘Black Devils’ as the Germans called them after their dark navy blue uniforms. Other equipment like packs and helmets were Russian Army Green.
A page from An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Uniforms of World War Two
They were undercoated in a blue- black acrylic mix. Painting was kept very simple, the kind of painting you did with Airfix figure as a child in the 1970s. They usually already had the basic uniform colour plastic. Face, rifle, packs, boots and base painted.
Otherwise no wash, no fuss, just a green painted washer for a base. Simple.
These new dark blue figures can join in ImagiNations skirmishes with or alongside existing Verdan or Grizan troops.
Grizan versus Verdan forces can be seen in this Interwar border skirmish:
Four groups or units of figures so far – this still leaves me with over a hundred more green and grey basic figures for future projects and groups (albeit with a whole fiercesome unit which will be made up of bazooka men and officers waving pistols!)
A quickly converted chess board and some Wilko Heroes pound store ‘paintzooka’ soldiers
Sometimes you struggle to find a use for all those ‘useless’ toy soldier poses you get too many of.
Bazooka man. Mine detector man. Flamethrower man. You know the ones. The ones you can’t usually properly use, as nobody can use too many of these heavy weapons poses. The ones they sometimes seem to manage to cram too many of into the average pound store bag or playset of toy soldier figures. Not mentioning lying down man, clubbing with rifle man etc.
I have been exploring over the last year or two some non-lethal games, non-fighting or non-lethal strategy games where no one gets hurt or ever dies. These range from Scouting Wide Games, snowball fights rules and Home Guard training games. Such games would be good for public participation or library gaming without the militaristic connotations that put some parents off toy soldier games or wargames.
I have noticed an interesting cross over between wargames, board games, and video games. YouTube has a series of lectures by the now retired American academic and board game collector George Phillies on board wargames design for video game design students.
There is an interesting crossover into other pop culture aspects, where a video game becomes a film (Tomb Raider, Assassins Creed, Angry Birds movies).
Sometimes a video game becomes a physical toy and game (Angry Birds again), books, a collectible card game or short lived plastic figure range (Fortnite etc). which prove useful for sci-fi figure gaming minis (see The Works store in the U.K.).
I thought about turning this video game into another form whilst playing on the family games console the Nintendo ‘paint warfare’ classic Splatoon. (This is almost as much fun as Nintendo Mario mini game Splatarazzi but that’s another story …)
Splatoon is a very successful video game that has now spawned a series of games, Splatoon 2 etc. It can be played solo or as a four game multiplayer game.
The object of the game Splatoon is to cover as much of the area with your paint colour. You can hit opponents to slow them down. You can hit enemy players to knock them out of the game temporarily, once they have lost all their health and life points, sending them back to their spawn point or baseline.
Different weapons have more paint coverage.
Movement and Firing
So for our figure poses the following suggestions (rules draft 1.0):
A (flamethrower) paint-thrower squirts 2 whole squares straight ahead or diagonally.
A mortar fires a paint bomb 3 or more squares away.
The mine detector paint roller covers just the one square that it moves into.
The paint-zooka fires at a single square two squares ahead.
Additional figure: A grenade Man could be throwing paint bombs into the face of the critics and paying gallery public, oh no, sorry, that’s modern art and art history.
Ammo refill as many times as you like. There are only 64 double sided squares to put on the same number of squares on your chessboard.
Figures move one square at a time and can fire on that turn. Fire can be forwards, backwards, diagonal, straight.
Exception: climbing hill or obstacle, you only move that turn – no firing.
Like chess, each side moves one figure each turn. IGOYUGO.
Splatoon the video game is a fast moving shooter / shootemup (paintemup?) with time limits. Solo or several players, setting a short Wellsian time limit to move one figure (or more if you decide) per turn should capture this feel.
A square that has previously been painted can be easily repainted by the opposition. Just turn over the square to the opposite colour.
A time limit or turn limit can be used to see who finally covers most squares in their paint colour in the time – victory!
Too many on each side in this tryout?
What you need
A chess board, hex board or other gridded surface.
Some cheap useless poses of Pound Store Plastic Soldier figures
As many two colour reversible squares as you have in the game board. 64 for a chess board.
I made these squares by paper glueing two different colours together then drawing with pencil a grid of my chess board sized squares on one side of the paper only. When cutting these out, you can add several more two colour sided sheets of paper, if you are careful, speeding up the task.
Add some obstacles – this hill is made of a fence post cap with square grid of paper glued in to match the chessboard. Add a tree. Add a wall. The original Splatoon game is 3D urban industrial skate park territory.
Poundland 32mm paintzooka guys … one just climbed the hill, no firing allowed that turn.
To establish some more complexity, a wider range of poses and weapons of other Pound Store figures could be used.
You may have come across non-lethal paint balling. This is another possibility of hits on players, recorded in various ways such as plastic rings or washers over their weapon / head etc. In Splatoon the enemy or opposing side can be hit by paint and have to respawn on their baseline, wasting their painting time.
Paint Hits on Players
Paintzooka hit on nominated enemy target – Roll 5 or 6 to hit target / figure
Mortar paintbomb – roll 6 to hit at 2 to 3 places at nominated target / figure
Paint-thrower – roll 6 to hit at 2 squares distance at nominated target / figure
Paint roller – no offensive capability? (Mine detector figure)
Once several hits (2 or 3) have been received, the figure goes back to baseline and starts again.
Featherstone savings throws (d6 roll of 5,6 ‘not wounded’) can be added as you require for complexity.
Add in modifiers for being behind cover as you wish.
So there you are – Spl-Attaque, Spl-Attack, Spl-Attergy. Call it what you will. Some quick play draft game rules to play around with over the next couple of months to make a Featherstone simple game, he having frequently used the phrase that wargames are like a game of “chess with a thousand pieces” (and others would no doubt add, as many variations of the rules as there are players). Enjoy rules tinkering!
Blog posted by Mark Man of (paint) TIN, 29 – 30 June 2020. All riches from playing this game should be credited and copyrighted to Mark Man of TIN.
Why the name Splatoon anyway? “S-Platoon – The first casualty of Paint Wars is the Furniture …”?
References screenshots to Splatoon by Nintendo are not ‘unintendo’ to infringe their copyright or IP, purely for reference. Why not buy the original videogame?
so here is now a small test skirmish using adapted Donald Featherstone simple WW2 rules from War Games (1962). Movement and firing ranges were generally halved to fit a small gridded picture frame battlefield with squares on the back of wrapping paper instead of inches.
Photo: Working out the rough dispositions of the Verdan (south) and Grizan troops (north) before allocating arrival turns.
In keeping with the adopted common or international language of Verda and Griza, some Esperanto words appear throughout including on this military map.
The scenario the Verdan Militia forces trained for – light tank / infantry attack on the border.
Rumours of a small lightly armoured reconnaissance column of Grizan militia heading towards their small river or canal wharf border post have reached the Verdan troops and light tank stationed there.
They quickly arrange some of the sacks and freight boxes stored on the canal wharf into a roadblock barricade and elsewhere on the wharf as cover.
Their green MT1 light tank (malpeza tanko) waits in the cover of trees.
A small portable Boom-KA or kontrautankanarmilon (antitank rifle or rocket) is readied in place behind the sack and sandbag barricade on the border bridge.
Message is sent back by despatch rider to call up the rocket car (skolto autoraketo or scout car) stationed further up the road. It will arrive hopefully on Turn 6.
Turns 1 to 4
Elements of both Verdan forces defending the borderpost and attacking Grizan forces appear on the board at staggered turns and locations chosen by d6 throws.
The Grizan forces attack head on from left, centre and right.
By Turn 5, the first few Verdan defenders are hit by fusilo or rifle fire, defending the low stone border or boundary walls.
Turn 7 – the Grizan tank is back in action with its 2 pounder gun.
The front line of the Verdan forces behind the stone walls are now all dead.
The unreliable shoulder-held Verdan Infantry antitank rocket (the Boom-KA) used by the Verdan Militia on the bridge is close enough to score a close range hit. It fires but again lands a glancing blow which failed to penetrate the light tank armour.
Thankfully neither of the Grizan or Verdan light tanks is the machine gun mounted type, it instead has rather light armour for speed and a not so powerful 2 pounder gun.
Turn 8 – the Grizan light tank is destroyed by the Verdan light tank.
On the footbridge to the side of the crossing, Grizan Militia troops have suffered badly trying to outflank the main action. Several Grizan and Verdan Militia men have been brought down by rifle fire from behind cover and melee.
Turn 9 sees the Grizan scout car destroyed by a rocket salvo from the Verdan rocket car (Verda raketo auto)
Turn 10 – Retirigi
The Grizan Officer decides (d6 1-3 yes, 4-6 no) that with the loss of over half his Infantry force and his two vehicles, it is time to retreat. The Retirigisignal is given. Retreat! Retreat!
The battered Verdan border troops cheer – “Venko!” (Victory) “Venko al Verda!”
Verda infanterio – 10
Griza infanterio – 14
Malplaza tanko (Light tank) – 1
Skolto auto (Scout car) – 1
Solo Game Feedback
I haven’t used these simpler WW2 Featherstone rules from War Games (1962) for a while, although I have used them on and off for forty years. I noticed some omissions due to their conciseness. Where needed, I had add or approximate range / hit dice rate rule for “Tank firing on troops” or “Bazooka versus troops”.
I may go back to simple Heroscape hexes on my portable playing board.
ImagiNations Back Story – Verda and Griza
Forgotten Minor States FMS in the early Twentieth Century and Interwar period
Over a hundred years earlier, Verda and Griza were part of Verdigris, one of the many Forgotten Minor Eurasian States (FMS).
In the early twentieth century Verdigris adopted Esperanto as its official language with its international neighbours. This was partly because it liked the bright greenness of the Esperanto flag, for which it hoped to supply much of the copper green pigment.
The inventor of Esperanto, Ludwig Lazar Zamenhof (1859-1917) or one of his followers is said to have visited Verdigris early in the 1890s on a speaking tour to promote his new Lingvo internacia .
Seen here in the mid to late Nineteenth Century, the Light Artillery of the Verdigris Volunteer Militia on a suitably grey misty day for their grey green and red uniforms.
“The misty mountain regions of Verdigris is allied with Upper or Higher Plumea (another Forgotten Minor State). Its principal industry is copper mining, copper working for a range of industrial and artistic craft purposes, allied to the use of green pigment by artists. This has slowly declined since more stable green pigments were discovered and became available. As in Bleudelys, its pigment rival, the women of Verdigris play an important role in the processing of the pigment.”
“The original Verdigris flag reflects the mountain grey mist and the copper green of the Verdigris pigment industry.”
Green, grey and red were the original Verdigris colours. By the late 1920s and 1930s, Verda and Griza had uneasily split in the aftermath of WW1 in the 1920s during the worldwide depression.
In the now forgotten FMS Minor Principality and Duchy (Duklando) of Verdigris, the last Duko and Dukino had died in the early Twentieth century, childless, of extreme old age. The Verdigris line of succession of this tiny royal or aristocratic house had finally dwindled.
It had faded out through low royal birth rates, copper poisoning, no heirs (or disputed heirs of dubious legitimacy) and abdication down to a few disputed, disinterested and financially distressed distant foreign cousins, many times removed, most of whom didn’t even want to live there anymore.
These minor royals and relations were quite happy to live quietly on the capital built up on the profit inherited from the labours of many generations of Verdigris working class copper miners, pigment makers and dyers, men and women alike. Many of the workers died younger than the Verdigris gentry from the toxic effects of copper and arsenic production.
Royalist and Nationalist forces of Verda Armeo (the Verdan or Green Militia army) wore grey-green uniforms and a bright copper green flag or markings on vehicles.
The self-styled “socialist Republic” of Griza Armeo (the Grizan or Grey Militia army) wore grey uniforms with red flag and markings on vehicles.
They wanted the dwindling copper industry nationalised and the profits shared with the people. The lingvo internacia of Esperanto with its Russo-Polish middle European origins was adopted or promoted by the socialist Grizan people as a forward thinking international language of trade and socialist harmony. Many of the copper miners had already joined unions and socialist militias (milicos). It was partly that they liked the copper green flag of Esperanto, as it was good for business. If only the red flag of socialism could be replaced with a greener one …
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (Viro de STANO) 28 June 2020
Blog Post Script B.P.S. – Esperanto and the US Army
The International Language of Peace – Esperanto Military Training Manual
Several decades later, The Ewessae (USA) Army used Esperanto as the language for the ImagiNations enemy “Aggressor Troops” in their troop training from the 1950s to 1970s.
I discovered this through the late Thor Shiel’s Milihistriot website and featured a screenshot in my 2016 blog post here; and two US Army 1960s Training Manuals :
This Aggressor fictional enemy using adapted recoloured US Equipment is one good future way of using Pound Store figures where both sides use the same moulds, albeit in different colours. Lots of ideas here for future gaming .
Here is another link to the US Army Aggressor Training Manual 1962 on archive.org
This recent gift was (I think) bought last year from a seaside gift shop, part of the Combat Mission branding that we have featured elsewhere on this Pound Store Plastic Warriors site. However it can be found online for around £5 including delivery.
The tiny Airfix sized OOHO or 1:72-1:76 2cm type figures are clones or copies of two familiar Airfix figure sets of American Infantry (4 poses) and British Paratroops (2 poses).
They have muted details but are not too distorted with minimal flash and have good bases. Even without vehicles, these 200 odd figures would be 1p to 2.5p each.
Being a cheaper play set, both sides of German / Grey and American / Green troops use the same moulds / figures. Ditto the jeeps and tanks. They all make good enough generic WW2 / modern infantry and vehicles.
Green troops have a radar or searchlight jeep, along with a small multiple rocket launcher.
If you don’t want to use the flag-post mound for its intended purpose, it can become infantry cover.
Overall this is good (play) value, as you can buy these playsets online all in for about £5 and free delivery.
Given that you have 203 figures in my set, approximately four boxes of Airfix figures, this would cost you in the shops about £20. Add in the hard plastic tanks and jeeps similar to the Airfix ones from the 1970s, this £5 set proves good value to the young and not so young gamer.
Quantity has a Qualityall of its own, someone once said. “The phrase has been popular in the US defense community since the 1980s, sometimes acknowledging it as a US coinage, but often misattributing it to Clausewitz, Lenin, Stalin, and Brezhnev, but mostly to Stalin.” http://klangable.com/blog/quantity-has-a-quality-all-its-own/.
As poses go, we have a fair share of each of the poses but this leads us to having too many pistol waving (American Infantry) officers and too many (American Infantry) bazooka men. Obviously you can reuse pistol guy in other roles as vehicle crew etc. That saying, Airfix and other plastic figures have their fair share of useless diorama poses in each box.
One of the typical play set minus points for some is the weird period mix and oddities of scale. These are generic WW2 and postwar figures next to a WW2 type tank and WW2 or postwar type jeeps but the modern odd one out is the secret Stealth type jet.
If you are role-playing a pound store WW2 skirmish rerun of Germany versus Britain and America, this could be a prototype or experimental Me262 type variant jet fighter.
If you are role-playing Green versus Grey in your ImagiNations scenario, again it could be a top secret stealth fighter etc.
The German / American branding is fairly fluid, depending on which bag you get. Other versions of the same figures and vehicles can be found online with desert tan and green troops, marked by flags as Americans and British!
It is the sort of playset that I would have been happy to have bought with my pocket money as a child and even today as an adult gamer, I could enjoy this for what it is.
I might rebase the figures. I might remove the stickers and even add a lick of flesh paint, maybe some brown or black paint on boots and weapons. But I will enjoy them for what they are.
Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 23 June 2020.
You may have your own favourite rules for this period but I like the simplicity of these.
They come from Stuart Asquith’s 1980s Military Modelling Guide to Wargaming. Maybe you need to read the rest of this slim paperback Manual for all of it to make sense but Stuart did champion simple rules.
With simple rules and period outlines from Ancients to WW2, this is a book well worth tracking down, along with his Solo Wargaming book. There are a fair few around online secondhand.
Although I do not yet have a copy of that particular sailor home cast mould, I recognised these sailor figures from the attractive flats or semi flats page in The Collectors All Colour Guide to Toy Soldiers by Andrew Rose (1985), widely available second hand.
These homecast figures are often known as Schneider moulds. Here is the Schneider S and arrow logo, together with the mould number 69.
These semi flat figures are depending how you measure your figures between 45 to 50mm tall or two inches?
I quite frequently check these pages as people send me emails through my blog comments asking for help about figures they have dug up, found in their family collections that need repairs or need IDing. I don’t do repairs for others but am often happy to help ID these figures where I can.
Richard Camp’s Homecast ID site seems to have disappeared from the links at Hugh Walters Small Scale World but there is always the Facebook Homecasting group.
Blogposted by Mark (Thin Semi flat ) Man of TIN, 2/ 3 June 2020
B.P.S. Blog Post Script
Here is a slightly odd photograph in response to Colin Torres’ request about front end shots of these Schneider semiflat figures, which I interpret hopefully rightly as wanting to see how rounded or thin these semi flats are.
Hanging amongst the random bagged toys in our local BHF shop were some figures that I did not recognise or have. Back home after a little web research I discovered these to be various 1/72 Revell WW2 Infantry sets from the 1990s.
For some reason, I’m not sure why, I didn’t post this at the time of buying earlier in the year. They have thus been accidentally saved for some Lockdown cheer!
I wasn’t familiar with these Revell figures as these three sets were first produced between 1990 and 1994 when I had stopped buying plastic WW2 figures. I already had the Airfix or Matchbox figures if needed then.
Two small squads with some dramatic poses and useful figures, good for a skirmish game. Even if these are under a third of a box set in quantity each, for a single Pound, who could argue?
There you go, another Pound to charity – the good old BHF and its random toy bags.
Another bag of aggressive playthings and random toy soldiers kept out of the pocket money clutches of today’s skint children, preventing them becoming the historical figure gamers of the future. I can live with that slight guilt. This skint eternal boy and 70s Airfix kid needs them more!
Under the current lockdown I’m not going to town and the charity shops will be shut as “inessential” anyway, so here is my last lucky find from late February / early March 2020.
Inside were two usable 30mm to 32mm (Pound Store figure scale) larger vehicles that I recognised from childhood. I had these same cars. Hmm. Thinks: Were they a little too familiar from childhood? When I got home I went and checked the toy cupboard. My childhood ones were still there. Nobody in the family had had a secret clearout.
These larger vehicles work well enough with the small Pound Store figures or any other 30mm-ish figures you might game with.
The Corgi Toys Land Rover 109″ W.B. is one I still have, it has always lived in the farm and zoo animals box. I always thought it used to be part of a Safari set.
This new charity shop one is already camouflaged and has good patina.
This charity shop one is minus its windscreen, back seat and plastic canopy. This would still work well as a staff car or a light lorry with a khaki or field grey paint scheme. It could be box backed to make a lorry, take a machine gun or anti aircraft gun or even make the chassis of an armoured car. I should be able to convert a Pound Store figure to drive, etc.
The other two fillers are bashed Matchbox Lesney type trucks that I also remember from childhood. The Lesney Matchbox Foden Concrete Truck No. 21 has clever gear wheels underneath to make the concrete mixer go round as you push it along. Simple but fun.
I have placed a small Airfix 60s vintage figure alongside for scale. These may end up painted khaki or field grey as part of a logistics convoy, but they are almost too nicely bashed for this.
Toy cars played a big role in my primary school break times as you could fit them easily into your pocket or school bag. We were lucky enough in my primary playground to have solid metal drain covers, tree roots, Tarmac, slopes and a low brick wall at perfect height backed by a grassy slope that were all great for marble games, toy cars and dirty knees.
Most of my 1970s toy cars have now been passed on to younger generations of the family where they still get played with on an old road map carpet playmat. The best ones had figures inside driving, openable doors and, like the gritter truck, space to put cargoes.
The design of the gritter truck No. 70 is clever, having a tiny chute out of the back so as you drive it along it spreads true ‘grit’. I remember this as being very good for sand play and sand pits. Real gritty “play value”, this one!
£3 well donated to charity.
Looking forward to more charity shop finds when the town, the high street and pound stores are open again for those cheerful ‘inessential’ journeys.