30 percent less troops at Poundland?

E1A446EB-F653-4646-B8D9-9F67E618FA9E.jpegWhilst picking up The Unincredibles ‘bootlego’ superheroes in Poundland this weekend, I spotted a sight for sore eyes.

A lone tub of the 32mm-ish Penny Dreadful figures (as I call them after Ross Macfarlane said about them).

Ross MacFarlane of Battle Game of The Month blog described these cheerfully as “some of the crudest cheap plastic toy soldiers that I’ve ever seen but you have managed to rescue them and transform them into brave warriors!” 

As you can see converted here  https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/pound-store-plastic-colonial-infantry-on-the-painting-table/

I had not seen these tubs in the pound store for months.

Forlornly, it was one stray tub of these Soldiers that must have been lurking at the back of a shelf, and sadly with a quarter less contents. When I first bought these it was 100 soldiers for £1. Now it is 70 soldiers for £1.

As somebody wisely commented on my blog, these are now not quite so Epic Battles. 30% less Epic.

I bought the tub anyway, for old times sake, as they will always come in useful.

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Some of the more immediately useful figures …

The proportions of figures in each tub seems to vary quite widely too  – this one seemed to have a high proportion of bazookas and machine gunners.

They could become great little figures with a bit of work.

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Blogposted by Mark, easily pleased  Man of TIN, on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 12 February 2019.

 

 

 

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The Unincredibles? More Pound Store Superheroes

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 Night falls on More Pound Store Superheroes?

My latest find at Pound Land is another set of Superheroes to match those I found in November last year: https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/11/17/rip-stan-lee-and-farewell-from-the-pound-store-superheroes/

These figures are cleverly made to look slightly like well known Super Heroes without having to pay super (hero) amounts of copyright. I see glimpses of Iron Man, Spider-Man and Hawkeye.

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No backprinting on these simple Blocktech figures with their hollow heads. 
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Back of the box illustration

Some people may look down on such ”bootlego”  budget figures at four Superheroes for a Pound. 25pMan anyone? The QuarterofaQuid  Kid?

Buying legitimate Lego super heroes with their Marvel and DC franchise would cost considerably more.

Even the real Lego base plates are quite expensive – however in Poundland  this grey square cost only a pound, much less than Lego would charge.

However these generic, unnnamed, slightly derivative super heroes have what my parents called “play value”.

Hopefully the imagination of a child will make them priceless and valuable, as set out in this lovely paragraph in the  Little Wars chapter  from John G. Garrett ‘s Model Soldiers – A Collector’s Guide, late 1950s:

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These ones will sit happily on my desk alongside the first set as inspiration. Repeat after me – Never forget,  tiny plastic Super Heroes “I am Joan of Arc; I am Napoleon; I am Ivanhoe” …

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN blog on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 10 February 2019.

What’s in this tin of Plastic pound store Warriors?

 

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But what other interesting figures are mixed up with the usual green and tan army men?
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A few EBay screen shots with tantalising glimpses of unusual figures …

I spent far too much time (and sometimes money) happily looking through the cheap job lots of plastic and lead toy soldiers on EBay. Looking at toy soldiers makes me happy. Discovering new and interesting ones also makes me happy.

It’s not a very useful social skill but childhood years of intense looking at Airfix figures and many others has helped me  build up a rough working knowledge of many different makes of plastic soldiers makers, much in the same way birders and twitchers can pick out the “jizz” of different and often similar looking birds by their shape and movements.

So among the flock of ordinary everyday ‘birds’ you might spot the odd rarity or some new or unusual figures.

Spotted on an Air Ambulance EBay shop, I saw a useful tin of the usual dull coloured green and tan army soldiers but mixed in were a few colourful flashes. Based on aglimpses in the photos, I took a punt or gamble on bidding, as nobody had yet bid on this job lot tin.

In return for what is effectively a small donation of under a tenner to the Air Ambulance that might fund a few vital seconds of lifesaving flight, a tin arrived by post a few days later.

A good deal – I get all the interest of my hobby, whilst a worthwhile charity gets a small donation without me having to climb mountains, run marathons or walk the Great  Wall of China. Happy result!

I couldn’t wait to open it and see if what I had glimpsed was worth the money. I shall share the joy with you now,  share my virtual jumble sale rummage joy.

The first odd ones I spotted amongst the green and tan army figures were these peculiar pirates with very oddly moulded pistols.

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Stand and Deliver! Your money or your life? Some well muscled kneeling pirates with an eye patch flank a strange almost Marlburian officer, intended maybe as a  pirate or highwayman. Roughly 42mm in height. ‘China’ marked on the base.

A host of useful bicorne era figures emerged, mostly around 45mm. I often spot figures like these on US EBay, Etsy or Amazon but they are not usually available in the UK. Regional plastic  ‘tat’ envy.

These seventeen American War of Independence era figures are in patriotic red white and blue (Union Jack or Stars And Stripes?), roughly 42 to 45mm.

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Unsure of maker (they have no makers marks) these bicorne figures are about 42-45mm tall.

I had not seen these tricorne figures before, they alone were worth the price of the whole tin. Maybe one of my blog readers recognises the make?

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These are worth painting up for some French-Indian Wars and ‘Close Wars’ type skirmishes in the forest against similar smallish 42mm pound store plastic Indians or natives. I use the ‘Close Wars’ two page rules in the appendix to Donald Featherstone’s War Games (1962, recently reprinted). https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

Christmas bought me some 54mm BMC plastic figures from the same bicorne / tricorne period from a UK online supplier Drum and Flag who happened to have a few bags in stock.

Again worth the money are these 19 Matchbox US Infantry 54mm copies and a useful Jeep. Modern copies of these figures are still around at about 30 for £6 to £7.

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Matchbox US Infantry copies
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The useful scrapings of someone else’s toy box, a few sci-fi bits and bobs, plastic rocks and 25mm-ish spacemen.
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A useful rest of tin of green and tan army figures for conversion …

Overall a happy rummage through this tin. I hope you enjoyed it too!

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Simple retro paint conversions of these Green and Tan army men (2016)

Posted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 8 February 2019.

More Washing of The Spears

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A right colourful bath tub mix up of 40 to 54mm figures …

Over the last few weeks I have been spending a bit of Christmas money on eBay, picking up the kind of cheap plastic figures you don’t normally see in UK toy stores. A few pounds here and there.

Being either new-ish secondhand or sometimes a whole  chocolate tin of mixed figures, the scrapings of someone else’s toy box with some tantalising glimpses of unusual figures, they all need a good wash before painting. It should remove any grime and mould release chemicals.

With so many figures,  the sink wasn’t an option so the bath tub stood in this time.

Here was the washing up bowl  ‘spa treatment’  I did last time, back in June 2016:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/spa-treatments-for-toy-soldiers/

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Drip drying en masse in an old beach or bath toy net …

To dry so many, I rigged up an old beach toy net (commonly used for storing bath toys) and they  all drip dried pretty quickly.

Next job is sorting them all out … an exciting mixture of modern plastic 40 to 54mm soldiers, pirates, redcoats, ninjas, fantasy figures male and female  – and skeletons which sank.

I shall post photos of each group in the next few posts.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on 2 February 2018.

 

Fantasy Games, Boys’ Literacy and Gaming in The Library TES Article 2001

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When Prussian invaders met Skeleton Knights …

Over the last few months I have been chatting on and off (through the  comments pages of my Man of TIN blog) to Jen Burdoo, a librarian and gamer in the USA.

Jen has been interested, like other library staff around the world, in bringing historical figure gaming or wargaming or miniatures gaming into the library.

I know that this happens in Australia having read of such things in Kaptain Kobold’s The Stronghold Rebuilt blog.

I knew somewhere that I had filed away an old teaching or education newspaper article somewhere about something similar being done with fantasy gaming in libraries in Britain, partly to encourage boy’s literacy.

In the interests of this discussion and for those interested in the general history of fantasy gaming, I have scanned this Times Education Supplement (TES) article of February 23 2001,  entitled War of Words by Elaine Williams.

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Times Education Supplement TES February 23 2001
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2001 stats on Games Workshop / Fantasy Games TES February 23, 2001.

I am not a fantasy gamer. I am not really interested in the ups and downs, ‘love them or loathe them’ relationship with Games Workshop that many fantasy gamers seem to have.

I know that children playing with the ‘scary’ or ‘supernatural’ warlock and wizardry, demons and dragons, sorcery and spells side of fantasy games  raises some concerns  for some people.

Interestingly about the same timesavers the TES article, there was a brief correspondence in 2002 about a similar project linked to the Lord of the Rings films and a letter regarding comments in the article on a Christian or religious angle on Tolkien and fantasy games.

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Please note that I, Man of TIN,  does not wish to get into any religious arguments over reprinting this article on my blog and respects other people’s rights to their beliefs. Thank you.

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TES November 29 2002

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I hope that these couple of articles are of interest to (fantasy) gamers and those involved with library gaming.

As someone who spent much time in branch libraries researching uniforms, battles, history and borrowing Wargames books, it must have done much for my literacy.

I hope that reading  this article is of historical or current interest to some gamers.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN 20 January 2019.

Combat Mission Soldier Play Set 2

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What toy soldier or gaming inspiration lies inside this playset? Imported by Kandy Toys 

As well as the Combat Mission playset shown on my previous blog post,

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/combat-mission-military-soldier-play-set/

I also had stored away for my Christmas gifts this useful little second playset of figures and accessories.

The third set in the trio of loveliness in my local seaside gift shop this summer (just gone) – all would be  perfect toys for beach battles or rainy holiday days –  were  just  a bag of 40-54mm mostly Airfix pirate / clone figures. I didn’t buy this figure set, as many of the figures I already had. What unexpected Pound Store plastic restraint!

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Tiny 54mm Man of TIN salutes the contents and new recruits.
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These figures in scale against Britain’s 54mm lead hollowcast guardsman and my 54mm homecast Man of TIN profile figure / gravatar.
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How these figures measure up. A mix of 45 to 48mm? Already planned as space marine figures. 
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Some useful and interesting plastic play features that can be adapted at various scales for gaming. Setting this to be photographed, the years just slip away. Playset therapy?
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This gun looks interesting, lots of possibilities here. Store crates, sandbags, ammo dumps.
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Three useful vehicles – modern Army?  Space tanks?
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What this set breaks down to – you can see how these were moulded and made.
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Header card artwork for Combat Mission sets. Modern British infantry based?

It was this simply moulded artillery piece that first caught my eye in this set. Worth the £3 the set cost for this artillery alone? Could it be repainted as Victorian?  Steampunk? VSF? Space? WW1 or WW2?

I almost bought several sets on the spot for these useful looking guns.

It fits in with my converted digital radio case mate or gun emplacement.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/from-old-digital-radio-to-54mm-houses-and-coastal-gun-emplacement/

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Inside the gun emplacement, staffed and sandbagged with other elements of the set. 40 to 54mm plastic and lead hollowcast figures. Simple old notebook spine metal barbed wire.
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How does this gun measure or scale up when put with some of my 32mm pound store figure conversions? Laser cannon?

Trying out the different scaled play set elements with different sizes and scales of figures is interesting. What fits and works? What gaming scenario ideas does it suggest?

What could these strange towers be? Guard Posts? Radar towers?

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More scaled down ideas from converted smaller 32mm Pound Store figures (not sold in this set)
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How these towers  could be adapted for use with simple internal floors. Again more 32mm Pound Store figure conversions (not supplied with this set).

I feel that the playset would have been better scaled with some of these 32mm figures that are / were offered in different bagged sets by the same supplier.

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Maybe these 32mm figures in the same Combat Mission brand are a more suitable size to fit most of the accessories? Bought a couple of years ago, 2016/17.

However a strange mismatch of scales is one of the hallmarks of a proper cheap plastic play set.

Several of the elements such as the towers  can be bought separately (often in packs of ten!) directly by post from online suppliers in China.

Already the first of the more space marine looking figures are under coated dark blue and tuppenny based, ready for painting into larger versions of their smaller selves. These completed smaller figures can be seen above, painted as  32mm blue Flash Gordon Style ‘space marine’ figure conversions. They have with their Officer or NCO in the beret a certain Star Ship Trooper/  ‘grunt’ look to them already.

Play set  therapy session over for now …

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on 23 / 24 January 2019.

Combat Mission Military Soldier Play Set

A welcome part of my Christmas presents …

I have a nostalgic soft spot for a pocket money play set. This one from a seaside gift shop is worth £3 of anyone’s money and would I hope be good value for a child. It has useful figures and vehicles for any pound store budget gamer.

The stock graphics show modern US or British troops ( the flag, plane and helicopter markings are also US). The contents are the usual bizarre mix of modern (Stealth aircraft) right back to WW2 figures and Jeep.

Combat Mission Play set (imported by Kandy Toys UK) 
What do you get for your £3? For the price of a high street coffee you get 20 figures, 4 planes and vehicles. Hopefully also priceless hours of plastic fun.

Figures are the usual odd mix  (and usual slight scale difference) of pirate  / clone ‘China made’ WW2 Airfix British Paratroops, US Infantry and smaller more distorted German infantry clone figures.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/more-combat-mission-80-pound-store-plastic-soldiers-part-2/

All have their conversion potential and in play set terms, despite being the same colour, could split into two groups to form two different armies.
The smaller figures paint up well enough:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/pound-store-42mm-infantry-army-red-army-blue/

A handy little jeep (near 54mm scale) with useful barbed wire fencing.

An odd chunky little tank that reminds me of a Soviet tank (not sure what it is based on) so I have included some childhood Platoon 20 Russian infantry 20mm metal figures. Certainly not pound store parts of my childhood! Old notebook ‘spine’ barbed wire.
Too small to be a tent for these 40 to 54mm figures but maybe a covered supply or ammo dump?
The same ‘tent’ is more plausible with 20 mm Platoon 20 metal figures (or smaller 15mm figures)
The same ‘tent’ with Poundland 32mm conversions is perhaps better as a supply dump.
Every good cheap play set needs a bizarre playmat but this has a river, sand bag positions …
Platoon 20mm metal figures, bootleg Airfix US WW2 infantry and ESCI Vietnam era US infantry match this chopper or  helicopter quite well.

A useful little play set that I would have enjoyed as a child. Still useful to me today.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN 21 January 2019.