New 54mm Prince August toy soldier moulds planned

 

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Exciting new Prince August 54mm home cast moulds planned 

Crossposted from my Man of TIN blog – home casts are not as cheap as Pound Store Plastic Warriors but a good source of heads and arms and these should prove a different  home cast complement to cheap plastic figures?

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/14/new-prince-august-54mm-homecast-toy-soldiers-planned/

 

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BMC Plastic Army Women Update No. 3 September 2019

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A quick update from his most recent newsletter https://bmctoys.com/blogs/news/bmc-toys-plastic-army-women-project-update-3 on how Jeff Imel and his BMC Plastic Army Women Project is coming along, with tweaking of more realistic hairstyles under the GI style helmet and consideration of first and future poses.

It sounds like the first four female poses might be available in the US by “Christmas 2020”.

Hopefully they will be available in the U.K. without too heavy international shipping costs.

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The Good Guys and The Bad Guys?
Fascinating to watch the American News Channel interviews with Jeff Imel of BMC in his workshop and the young American girl who wrote to him about “why no Plastic Army Women?”, as she shows at home off her collection of plastic figures including the “bad guys” led by a skeleton and the “good guys”.

Thinking of Mitchell and Webb in their famous “Are We The Baddies?” WW2 sketch, this is what many of our historical and fantasy games so often boil down to – the good guys versus the bad guys (if you take sides, that is).

This is some part of the spirit of simple gaming that I aim to recover in my hobby. I’m sure H.G. Wells would approve of these ground-level plastic Little Wars, which he described as “a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books”. Plastic Army Women would of course add an extra dimension to this Wellsian Floor Games mix.

Back to the figure designs:

It is fascinating to see the female figures evolving through the concept drawing into the early sculpt stage, shown here in these BMC copyright drawings (screenshots from the BMC website and email newsletters).
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After showcasing the revised female officer figure, Jeff Imel says in his latest email:
“I discussed the next figure, possible other poses, and worked out some details and timelines. The next figure will be standing and firing a rifle. This is a pose that I’m always told there aren’t enough of in sets and is always in demand when setting up a living room battlefield. This next figure will likely be a little less of an hourglass figure than the prototype. We’re going to try to have some different body types, faces and hair in the set instead of all the figures being identical characters. Speaking of weapons, I’m leaning towards an M14 for the rifles. I’m not aiming for 100% historical accuracy with this set, but I think the M14 will look good, and matches the uniform period well. The next figure will likely be prone firing a rifle, and I’m thinking of adding a scope and bipod to the M14 make her more of a sniper.”

I like the level he is approaching this as the best poses for the “living room battlefield” unlike some of the weird and useless poses from Airfix, Timpo and other plastic Army Men manufacturers.

Jeff says on his newsletter / email:

“Please continue to let me know your thoughts. I am behind on answering messages and comments, but I’ve read, and appreciate, all of them. I’ve heard all the requests for pre-orders and suggestions for specialty poses like radio operator and medic loud and clear (over). I’m considering a crowdfunding campaign in November as a way to take pre-orders and expand the figure selection.”

Here’s a link to the full update on the BMC Toys blog that is full of photos and recent news stories: https://bmctoys.com/blogs/news/bmc-toys-plastic-army-women-project-update-3

Sign up for the newsletter via the BMC website to keep informed of what is happening with this interesting BMC Plastic Army Women project. It adds more figures to the “believable female Miniatures” debates over #FEMbruary, Annie at Bad Squiddo’s quest for believable female gaming miniatures.

All screenshot images copyrighted from the BMC website.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, September 2019.

BMC Plastic Army Women Female Toy Soldiers Project Update 2019

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BMC Plastic Army Women logo – Screenshot from the BMC Toys website 31/08/2019
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How it Started … the story so far

Jeff Imel at BMC Toys USA recently sent out an email to those interested in his plastic 54mm Army Women Project:
“I’ve got some exciting news about the BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Project. The story about young Vivian’s “Why aren’t there Plastic Army Women?” letter has been circulated widely over the past month. The CBS Evening News will feature Vivian in an ‘On the Road’ segment at the end of the program tomorrow (Friday, August 30th). Steve Hartman (host of On the Road) even took some time to ask me about the project.

“The interest in Vivian’s letter has already helped increase subscribers to this newsletter from about 200 to nearly 500 (my goal is 2000). The extra attention and support has prompted me to get this project in gear, so I’ve had a bunch of new art created and will have a full update this weekend. In the meantime, I’ve created a handy link to share the blog posts. Thanks for your support, Jeff Imel at BMC Toys”

PlasticArmyWomen.com

https://bmctoys.com/blogs/news/tagged/plastic-army-women

Concept drawings and prototype figures (images copyright of BMC Toys) :

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Concept sketches

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If you want to support this 54mm BMC Plastic Army Women project or know more, visit the PlasticArmyWomen.com web page, sign up for the newsletter or look at https://bmctoys.com/blogs/news/tagged/plastic-army-women

Should add some interesting figures for modern mixed and female units as well as Amazonian style ImagiNations troops.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 31 August 2019

B.P.S. Blog Post Script
Having seen the BMC website, I now recognise the originals of pound store figures as https://bmctoys.com/products/bmc-iwo-jima-marines, which sometimes turn up as clone or pirate figures in cheap plastic figure sets. Hence putting this post out on my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog. https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2016/09/21/pound-store-us-marines/
Also seen here: https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/milk-carton-creation-no-1-cheap-landing-craft/

Steam Fair Haul 2019

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Part of a £5 bag of plastic, a mixture of Hong Kong / China and the odd Britain’s Farm or Zoo Animal like the Eagle – very Wild West.

I like a nice steam fair, not just for the shiny, steamy and clanky vintage transport, but also for the stalls and auto jumble.

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This year at long last I saw a steam waggon amongst the usual and commoner traction engines and steam rollers. This was of great personal interest as my Great Uncle, killed in France as an 18 year old in the last months of the Great War, was in civilian life back in Home Front Britain a steam waggon stoker. Now at last I have seen up close the sort of conditions where he would have worked.

This machine was a 1921 Foden steam lorry – 25 mile range, one and a half hours to steam up, top speed 14mph. Loads of many tons could be carried by this wonder

Several times over the last few years  I have taken a gamble over a tightly packed bag of vintage plastic glimpsed amid the jumble of a steam fair stall that you couldn’t quite make out what was inside. Another vintage plastic owl pellet …

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These 30 – 40 mm policemen were part of what sold me the £5 bag. A similar scale but portly road construction figure.

I spotted amongst the plastic farm animals some interesting 30 to 40mm old policemen. These were made by Lledo for their ‘Days Gone By’ vintage vehicle Range. http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/ShowFeature.aspx?id=5Plastic 

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Plastic Soldier Review Lledo Page: How “The Usual Suspects” line up for size.

There were some useful Hong Kong made plastic civilian farm worker copies of Herald (or tiny Lilliput) figures.

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Farmers and farm workers big (40 – 45mm) and small (20 – 25mm) in  the £5 bag.

Amongst a jumble of bashed toy cars in a bucket on a charity stall, I spotted the plump form of Sir Topham Hatt The Fat Controller (70mm) from Thomas the Tank Engine – Mine for one pound. He will make a suitable civic dignitary to rescue. He has a slightly Churchill look or a mini Mussolini.

Later on in a craft tent I spotted this new large 95mm Guards Officer made by GG. I think he might be painted resin – only £2. Other similar ceremonial figures were for sale.

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A resident VIP Sir Topham Hatt The Fat Controller and his GG Guard Of Honour

The first thing I spotted was a tiny selection of not so common Britain’s  Deetail figures. Afrika Korps. French Foreign Legion. Waterloo French. Complete ones were £1.50, armless ones for repair 50p. I did not have either of these two Afrika Korps figures which are well animated.

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Broken Rifles can be repaired …

Oddly the French Foreign Legion, Sons Of the Desert, get grass green bases. The Afrika Korps get sandy ones – why?

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Two broken Deetail French infantry only 50p each. I’m sure I have some spare arms around.

The very last thing I bought was a £1 bag of 50 figures of flimsy and thin plastic.

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Henbrandt plastic skeletal thin copies of the Matchbox 54mm Americans shown. Airfix 54mm Russian Officer for comparison.
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Cheap Modern American and Matchbox copies of British 8th Army, again very thin and distorted compared to the 54mm fully round Airfix and Matchbox figures.
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Unusual thin and fragile plastic lying down firing figures. Should be more rugged mounted on card.

These Henbrandt figures (£1 a bag for 50 figures) are generally pretty poor quality. They are remarkably thin, almost semi-flat. I did not examine them well on the stall, buying them at the end of my steam fair trip. If I had, I would probably have bought the other few bags as there were a few interesting poses amongst them. These standing guardsmen for one, shown next to 54mm Airfix and Matchbox originals.

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Three thin guards

My favourite figures were these thin spacemarine type figures and their officer figure, that you may recognise big and small from my other pound store purchases. This set have the head turned to the side.

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Airfix 54mm fully rounded Russian Officer next to these curious flat figures.
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Seen in black and white, these thin cheap  plastic figures could  be good quality metal flats.
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The header card for those who like this sort of thing. Henbrandt UK 2012 Made in China.

I’m sure that they were there last year, so they may be there at next year’s steam fair!

So another successful haul of cheap convertible plastic and some happy stall holders.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 22 August 2019

Previous Posts

Back in 2018 my steam fair haul was just skeletons https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/09/08/pound-bag-skeleton-warriors-1-a-bag/

Black Cowboys on the Old Town Road

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A posse of Black cowboys from seaside Pound Store copies of Airfix (painted by me c. 1993/4)

About 25 years ago I painted these cheap Pound Store copies of Airfix 54mm Cowboys and Indians into a home-made DIY western play set. It was made as a jokey present for a western movie enthusiast daughter of a work colleague. This was recently passed back to me 25 years later for safekeeping.

I was reminded of this DIY Wild West Vintage playset box by a recent American chart topping song. I also thought of this box whilst researching my recent scouting related blogpost on segregation and the idealised, romantic Native American cultural influences on early Boy Scouts Of America as part of my Scouting Wide Games tabletop project. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/more-original-scouting-handbooks-boy-scouts-and-girl-scouts-of-america/

The Wild West. Independence. The Frontier. These are the seductive and selective histories and stories that countries tell about themselves, to their young and to others. The pioneers, the frontiersman, the noble savage …

A familiar cast of stock Western characters – and then someone comes along and subverts this all with a jokey pop music video

https://youtu.be/w2Ov5jzm3j8

American music charts for the last three to four months have been dominated by a country / hip-hop crossover track called Old Town Road by young hip-hop artist Lil Nas X and Country and Western star Billy Ray Cyrus.

Warning – It is the perfect earworm and in crossing two distinct genres of music has caused controversy and divided musical opinion. Is it Country and Western? Is it hip hop or rap?

Controversy? “Cyrus sent a tweet to Lil Nas X after Billboard decided that the rapper’s song, Old Town Road, was “not country enough” to be on its Hot Country chart. Billboard said the song “does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version” despite its twanging banjo. The removal of the song sparked a fierce debate — white country artists like Florida Georgia Line use hip hop beats in their songs, why can’t a black artist embrace country beats?“

 

So Billy Ray Cyrus stepped into the remix and the music video ‘movie’ to make it a little more country.

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I like the tongue-in-cheek western movie pastiche that was made as the music video. It features black cowboys in 1889 falling through time into the blingy 2019 modern equivalent of fast cars in place of horses, line dancing, designer label cowboy hat and boots.

Time tunnel? Interesting gaming scenario, pure pulp fiction and “Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur” in reverse?

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What it suggests about the reality of cowboy life is quite interesting – many cowboys were in fact Black or Hispanic. Not quite the rugged Hollywood 1950s myth making.

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Classic and much pirated / copied Airfix figures, still around today in clone form.

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Jokey DIY play set  elements …

I packed inside this all into an old decorated shoebox with their favourite cowboy novel and a simple set of rules for gunfights (roll a dice or split a card deck – highest value wins) or decided via using scissors / paper / stone. Each cowboy and Indian (Native American / first people) had a name on the base of famous historical or western movie characters. (Subrule – Clint always wins). I wonder if the gunfight rules were ever used quietly when no one else was looking?

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I must have made this box c. 1993/4 when this film came out.

I wonder – Where have all the cowboy movies gone?

Various cowboy film and dime store novel images were decoupaged onto the box, wrapped in Western wrapping paper.

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The Old Town Road song has inspired some curious and destructive tourism in the USA:
https://www.standard.co.uk/insider/living/lil-nas-xs-old-town-road-sees-street-signs-for-the-real-place-hacksawed-and-stolen-by-fans-a4212286.html

Billy Ray Cyrus mentioned in interviews – “I’ve never had a writing/recording session like this,” 57-year old Cyrus said in a video. “I used to play as a kid in this town called Argillite, Kentucky and there was an old, covered bridge outside Argillite called Old Town and there was the road that led to the covered bridge was Old Town Road. I heard this song and I go my gosh I just love what this is saying, plus I can relate to this.”
https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/billy-ray-cyrus-new-song-with-lil-nas-x-old-town-road-goes-viral/news-story/378b541ba26900aacac78a0ba278d197

For more about this song and its controversy https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Town_Road

For more about this covered bridge (I do love a nice covered bridge): https://www.kentuckytourism.com/oldtown-covered-bridge/

Part memory or part myth, maybe lots of people have their own Old Town Road in their heads. It all makes me want to to go look up my favourite photo blog of vanishing Americana, Forgotten Georgia https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/dutchy-and-dade-the-confederate-history-of-forgotten-georgia/

Back to the earworm …

https://youtu.be/w2Ov5jzm3j8

Posted by Mark Man of TIN on his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 14 August 2019. Boogety! Boogety! Boogety!

Milk Carton Creation No. 1 – Cheap Landing Craft

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My previous post showed these clever recycling craft kits (stickers?) from Flying Tiger with ideas for reusing cartons.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/cheap-flying-tiger-canal-boat-landing-craft/

This is the day and this is the hour …

My first Milk Carton Creation is a simple Landing Craft for 54mm figures down to 40mm or even 32mm figures.

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I sketched out an idea of the shape of the Landing Craft on the side of the carton with a permanent marker Sharpie pen, before cutting with sharp scissors.

Folds and cuts are first secured by staples. Later on I used a hot glue gun to fix flaps and wooden coffee stirrers for rigidity and strength.

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The end cap section was removed and reinserted elsewhere as the machine gun cupola.
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Staples can be seen along with a cocktail stick radio mast.

Next time I make one of these, I will not lose the thin screw on ring that was attached or sealed to the cap. It might make the cupola tidier to insert and secure.

I used Revell Aquacolour Acrylic (Stone Grey) which binds to the shiny waxy carton both inside and out  well enough. I shall give this a further coat or two of Stone Grey paint. A final tough gloss varnish spray should protect some of the paintwork.

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I tested the landing craft in the water and it does still float, thanks mostly to not having an opening front door flap section.
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The back splash and bullet  guard is made of a plastic card  iTunes voucher.

The back splash and bullet guard is made of a cut up plastic card iTunes voucher, the flaps or hatches from thin wooden crafting Scrabble squares and cardboard – all secured with a hot glue gun.

I can add more detail such as fenders and life rings and lettering after a few more coats of paint.

Inspiration for the Landing Craft came  partly from the Flying Tiger catalogue page and partly from the back and review pages of Toy Soldier and Model Figure or TSMF Magazine this month.

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My Landing Craft (Carton)  –  A fraction of the price and tough enough to game with in the garden,  compared to the more delicate King and Country model version.  
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The machine gunner’s Cupola / gun shield was partly inspired by these Vietnam War APCs.

In keeping with my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog ethos of cheap and cheerful, recycling and reusing scrap and plastic tat, here are some suitably Pound Store Plastic figures to give me an idea how the Landing Craft works.

The plastic figures are mostly unpainted and Pound Store clone or pirate copies of Matchbox,  Airfix or BMC US marines.

First off, a Normandy D-Day type Landing with mostly pirate Pound Store copies of Matchbox German infantry and US infantry. Barbed wire, sand bags and beach obstacles from Elite Corps (space marines) playset.

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The Grey Defenders – Mostly Matchbox figure German Infantry or Africa Korps 54mm-ish copies atop the granite cliffs.

The same scenes in grainy black and white:

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Hit the beach, fellas!

Meanwhile somewhere in the Pacific …

Several tubs of what I later discovered were Pound Store copies of BMC Marines also had the odd Japanese lying figures, to bolster the defences of mostly Pound Store Matchbox and Airfix Japanese on this more tropical but strangely familiar shoreline.

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I bought about 5 drums or tubs of these BMC Marines copies at  the seaside for 50p a tub!

Those well-defended  tropical beaches in grainy black and white:

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I thought I would also try the Landing Craft out with some lead hollowcast  figures of US infantry from the family on Fathers Day:

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The cupola Navy machine gunner is a copy of a plastic Tim Mee infantry machine gunner.

Finally I tried the Landing craft out with smaller scale 32mm pound Store figures and similar size toy jeep.

Switching figure scales, the machine gunner in the lid appears too large for the smaller scales. This is not always so important with plastic toy soldiers. Just look at the weird scale mix in Pound Store Soldier bags.

In future however on my next Landing Craft (Carton) I shall try keeping the milk carton round lid and cutting down and sticking on the suitable size machine gunner figure, so that with a couple of spare carton lids, I can have an easy swap or switch of figures.

Hopefully I can add some suitably Pound Store type scrap details like fenders and life ring along with some Letraset style letters and numbers.

A few less cartons to landfill if you have no carton recycling nearby. All I need now is dozens more and I can invade (a pound Store version of) France …

Blogposted by Mark ‘Man of TIN’ and Carton, 21 July 2019

Cheap Flying Tiger Canal Boat Landing Craft?

Flying Tiger, that strange mash up of quirky Scandi design and Pound Store (Ikea meets Poundland) had this clever little section of their Newsletter. I have no stores very near and sadly they do not yet have mail order but the ideas are good.

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This reminds me of the childhood Ladybird book ‘Toys and Games  To Make’, a great use of those everyday childhood items, things like old date boxes, matches, matchboxes  and fag packets.

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A terraced row of these carton houses or warehouses reminds me of H.G. Well’s Little Wars type games and Alan Gruber’s Tradgardland biscuit box houses of 2017:

http://tradgardland.blogspot.com/2017/07/breakfast-biscuits-little-wars-house.html

http://tradgardland.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/if-h-g-wells-had-known-breakfast.html 

Previously on Flying Tiger

My Previous Flying Tiger blog posts also have a very naval or maritime quality.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/19/my-pound-store-naval-convoy/

httpss://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/05/flying-tiger-palm-trees/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/man-of-tin-advent-day-15-hit-the-beach-tiger/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/poundstore-palm-trees/

Lots of gaming uses – terraced houses, warehouses on wharfs, landing craft and canal boats –  as a way of using up those difficult-to-recycle tetrapak type juice and milk cartons.

However it might be a challenge to paint their shiny texture. A thin layer of Papier-mâché maybe or masking tape?  Dolls House stone, brick and tile papers?

My first carton creation will be a flexible use Landing Craft.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/milk-carton-creation-no-1-cheap-landing-craft/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 18 July 2019