From Black Prince Knight to Elizabethan “Arma-Dad’s Army” Muster or Militia 54mm plastic conversion

Before, during and after conversion from Plastic knight to Elizabethan rabble

After reading my last post, Alan Gruber of the Duchy of Tradgardland asked for a “how it was done” blog post on how to downgrade a cheap plastic 54mm knight or man at arms into a Spanish Armada era Elizabethan armed rabble known as the ‘Muster’. This was a Tudor version of the Militia or WW2 Home Guard.

Here’s some I made earlier: four Elizabethan rabble converted from this original figure type.

So I took some photos of this downgrade or upgrade when next converting one of these cheap plastic knights or men at arms with its medieval Black Prince type helmet, coronet and heraldic tabard.

Step 1: Off with the helmet point and coronet

Step Two – use scalpel and file to remove detail

Use the file point to tough over any medieval detail such as the plate armour, chain mail around the neck, posh knife belt and heraldic devices on the tabard.

The file point is also useful for roughing up what was chain mail and the neck section of the helmet into long hair.

Step Three – Masking tape trousers or breeches

The strips of masking tape rough measured by eye and cut to size below the knee. Several layers of masking tape needed to bulk out these breeches or trousers. This is not Tudor fashion, the effect you want to achieve is rough working clothes.

Any further plate armour and chainmail detail can be lightly removed by scalpel.

Step Four – More Masking tape

Add masking tape strips to thicken out arms where you have removed armour plate. Cut V shape strips to make a tailored breast plate, secured with a thin dot of super glue. The masking tape roughed up with the file point …

Step Five – Undercoat to blend all together

Step Six – Paint in shiny toy soldier acrylics

Although shiny toy soldier style paint is used including the pink cheek dots, the look of the clothes should be far from parade ground and not ‘uniform’ with the other already completed figures.

On the painting stand …
The finished article next to the original figure

Shiny silver paint is used for toy soldier style simplicity. In reality, the scrapyard of armour and helmets that the Elizabethan Muster wore especially in more remote rural and coastal areas were probably already old fashioned and burnished up from their slightly rusty state. The Trained Bands were probably mostly better equipped than the Muster.

Hidden underneath his left hand is a partly concealed dagger in a scabbard, only a small part of the hilt of this knife is visible, hence the reason for the leather belt.

You could if wanted vary the spear to a pole arm or other agricultural looking tool. Whatever pointy stick you choose, “Remember – they don’t like it up ’em!”

I may do another one of these standing figure poses as an archer and one as visiting journalist, playwright, ballad writer and travelling player young Bill Shaxbeard. Somebody has to write up these epic struggles in doggerel, verse and prose!

Step Seven – Gloss spray varnish and base as required.

As regards paints, unless otherwise stated, I use Revell Acrylic Aquacolor, mostly the limited colours of their gloss range but also some of their matt acrylics as well. The light spray of gloss varnish should blend these together.

Spray varnished – shiny on parade, if not smart

Some of the brighter colours like the 361-52 Blue gloss looked a little too bright and too much like another of the figures with his blue coat or cassock. Some gloss black was mixed in.

These are not uniforms nor posh Tudor court clothes from portraits, they are everyday working clothes.

The 361-31 Fiery Red gloss of the woollen or cloth hat was also slightly darkened down with some Blue and Black, partly as I am using blue as the overall English bluecoat colour and red for the Spaniards.

The skin tone for my Spaniards and English troops is not the Matt Flesh 361-35 but the 361-35 AfrikaBraun matt. It gives a more old fashioned toy soldier look or tone to the skin. I used Humbrol enamel gloss Pink 200 for the cheek dot.

The leather shoe, hair and spear colour brown is the darker 361-84 Leather Brown Matt and lighter brown leather belt 361-80 Mud Brown gloss.

The green base is Pebeo Studio Acrylic tube 60 Opaque Chrome Green Hue.

So here is another finished member of my Tudorbethan coastwatch, the Beacon Boys, my late Elizabethan Amar-Dad’s Army, ready to ‘Muster’ against any Spanish invasion.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 15 October 2020

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

The Knights packaging to my set – with pictures of the horses and cavalry available in other sets

This type of cheap plastic knight can be found online worldwide as part of a bag of black and silver six poses knight set from many dealers such as https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/60PCS-Black-Silver-Medieval-Knights-Warriors-Kids-Toy-Soldiers-Figure-Models-Set-/124188406402

Elizabethan Muster for the Spanish Armada in Shiny 54mm

Cheap plastic 54mm knight conversions alongside a couple of Chintoys conquistadores.

What’s on the painting table at the moment?

It’s always the way that nobody quite makes the figures you want in cheap plastic 54mm …

Things have gone a bit 16th century here at Man of TIN Towers, thanks to the gift from Alan Duchy of Tradgardland Gruber of a handful of surplus 54mm Mixtec, Zapotecs and Conquistador figures (Chintoys). These are perfect for more Close Wars forest fighting amongst the forest trees. These figures are all steadily gaining bright shiny toy soldier gloss colours on the painting table.

Reading around the times I realised that a bunch of Conquistador Spanish could have several opponents, not least the Late Elizabethan Tudors.

The planned land invasions of the Spanish Armada of 1588 and the Spanish Raids on the West Country in the 1590s both had ‘skirmish’ potential of a relatively small handful of infantry or cavalry figures.

I have done a bit of quick reading around the Tudors, not least in a reprint of A.L. Rowse’s Tudor Cornwall (1941), written when Britain’s shores were again threatened by a different enemy. Rowse makes direct comparison of the late Tudor Cornish forces to the hastily improvised coastal defences and the squabbles and politics of the Home Guard, the WW2 equivalent to the ‘Muster’ and ‘Trained Bands’ in each County during the Spanish Armada invasion scares.

Could I put forth an Elizabethan equivalent of Captain Mainwaring’s platoon in Dad’s Army?

I must admit to some personal interest in this period and era as I can trace Cornish ancestry on one side of the family back to the West Penwith area of the Spanish Raids in the 1500s. Odd to think my farming ancestors may have seen the Armada ships and signal beacons along the Cornish coast, heard tell of the Spanish landings and town burnings of Paul, Nelwyn, Mousehole and Penzance or even mustered in motley defence of their local coastal towns.

The original Black Prince style original plastic figure converted to some Cornish Muster or Militia. The pointy metal hat, rich tabard and plate armour will have to go! So last century …

54mm Late Elizabethan figures are quite scarce and often fairly expensive.

How best and cost effectively to put together an unfurnished or ill equipped Muster of Cornishmen to oppose these Spanish invaders?

My answer is to convert cheap plastic knights and medievals with paint, scalpel and masking tape. But what should they look like, wear and carry as weapons?

Unfortunately I know from a thread on the Little Wars Revisited 54mm forum that figures or spare recast heads with Tudor caps and Morions seem hard to find. Short of buying the Prince August Spanish Armada homecast chess set moulds, a little plastic conversion might be needed to make a poorly armed rabble.

Finding uniform information about ordinary Elizabethan Tudor soldiers, especially the local Muster, is a bit of a challenge. Only the better off commanders seem to have have left their portraits and images of their rich and fashionable clothes behind, not the ordinary West Country man.

Fortunately I did track down through EBay and second hand books shops the Osprey Elite book on the Spanish Armada and The Bluecoats: Clothing the Elizabethan Soldier 1572-1603 by David Evans. Along with a useful Academia / jstor article by John S. Nolan on The Muster of 1588, I was getting more of a picture of what ordinary Tudor levy and Muster troops would wear and what weapons they would carry.

https://www.cornwallforever.co.uk/history/the-spanish-raid-on-west-cornwall

https://west-penwith.org.uk/raid.htm

https://www.history.org.uk/files/download/11326/1359731635/Armada.pdf

During the Armada scare of 1588, bows and polearms were still carried by the Muster whereas the Trained Bands were more likely to carry pike and firearms such as an arquebus, caliver or early heavy musket.

By the 1590s Spanish Raids, fewer bows were evident in the national defence but then in the furthest poorest reaches of the West Country, bows and polearms would still have been around in good number. Training and weapons drill varied greatly across each county.

Many of the Levy troops to fight the wars in Ireland and the Muster and Trained Bands of the Armadas period seem to have been issued with blue Cassocks, tabards or coats. Some of them were in a lighter blue colour called Watchet Blue named after the town in Somerset. Most of the Muster would have worn their everyday working clothes and carried farming implements, much like the early Home Guard or LDV in WW2 parading before uniforms were issued.

Some of these medieval figures needed repair, changing a broken spear into a poleaxe for example using wire and plastic card. I want to give the impression that old equipment like a rusty old corselet breastplate or a metal skullcap has been dug out of cupboards and chests and hastily burnished up for the occasion.

A handful of English Civil War musketeers and Pikemen, drummers and standard bearers in my rummage box of figures should do double duty or dual use as the Trained Bands of the late Elizabethan era and also as ECW troops – only 50 years apart.

An interesting period of history and an intriguing Elizabethan Operation Sealion “what if” scenario of what if the Spanish had landed in force during the 1580s and 1590s.

Now a dozen or two more motley archers, men at arms and medieval types to convert from plastic still to see of those pesky Spaniards …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 11 October 2020.

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WW2 Wargaming on a Budget – Tom the Wargamer and Historical Wargaming on YouTube

Interesting blog post by Scotia Albion about a recent series of YouTube videos by Tom a young wargamer talking about budget ways for a young gamer of getting into historical wargames (as well as Sci-fi and D&D). For example:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oCeHBYNCRI0

https://scotiaalbion.blogspot.com/2020/09/tom-wargamer-future.html

Good to see positive and supportive comments by many other (older) gamers. I think we all recognise a bit of our early gaming history in Tom’s short Youtube videos.

Good to see Peter Dennis’ Paperboys books of figures, rules and terrain featured.

Good to see Airfix red box WW2 Infantry featured as a budget alternative to more expensive plastic figures for Bolt Action games etc.

A shame for younger gamers like Tom that the Airfix range is so intermittent and patchy historically on the Airfix.com shop and elsewhere

Adding in tanks, Tom admits, is going to get fiddly (kit making) and expensive – a shame the Airfix range of cheap readymade plastic tanks, landing craft and vehicles is no longer around.

For cheap tanks etc, you need to go Pound Store and cheap plastic playsets but choice of tank may be limited by the historical accuracy of Bolt Action rules.

Anyway good to see younger voices coming through. Bravo Tom!

Everything that Pound Store Plastic Warriors is about – wargaming on a budget.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors 20 September 2020.

Pound Store Plastic Warriors 4th Blogaversary

This past week four years ago I branched out from my regular main Man of TIN blog to start my occasional Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, covering the joyously budget plastic figure gaming end of my toy soldier hobby.

Rainbow warriors – 5 different plastic colours per £1 bag

This week I shall be working on these baker’s dozen figures as space pilots, having rewatched Star Wars Rogue One on DVD and still working my way through four series of grungy Battlestar Galactica (2004 version) available free in the U.K. on BBC I-Player.

Four years on from starting the blog, a bag of cheap plastic tat with conversion potential still gives me as much joy as new metal or more expensive plastic gaming figures. I enjoy the wonky out of scale playsets and accessories as well as the sometimes oddly worded packaging.

Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog – It all keeps me happily in touch with my inner seven year old with never quite enough pocket money!

More about these c. 40mm plastic semi-flat figures previously on Pound Store Plastic Warriors:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/08/16/modern-flats-and-toys-for-a-pound-online-pound-store-soldiers/

Here’s to another year of cheap and cheerful!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 13 September 2020

Scrap modelling a SteamPunk Tank

His and Her Majesty’s esteemed shipwrights and steam boiler makers have used all the available materials including scrap to make His and Her Majesty’s first Land Ship.

I blame Mr. Alan Gruber of the Duchy of Tradgardland blog.

If he hadn’t mentioned in the comments about building a tank for my WW2 tanker inspired Steampunk infantry, I probably wouldn’t have got around to it. Thanks Alan.

So ‘corrugated card tracks’? This made a connection with some Lockdown grocery packaging in my scrapbox.

I didn’t go for the WW1 Rhomboid tank with tracks top and bottom, I went more for the more interbellum type Sno-Cat tank track.

The body of the tank was going to be another trusty milk carton. Some readers might remember the LCC Landing Craft Carton of 2019.

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

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/11/02/landing-craft-carton-two-more-how-to-photo/https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/11/02/landing-craft-carton-two-more-how-to-photo/

I discovered bizarrely that one set of such tracks would suit one of my LCCs and make it a tracked landing craft (like a US Buffalo). That’s for another day.

Landing Craft aside, I kept the rhomboid shape that Alan mentioned by pushing the Carton ends out at the front and steeply in at the rear. Staples held these shapes roughly in place.

The basic tank shape and turret hole

I thought the central turret would come from a handy tin, but all the ones I found were too wide. Instead I found a spare lid and plastic jar.

The tools for the job … staplers, Sharpies, corrugated card and milk cartons.

There is a lot of space inside the Carton that could be used in other designs.

Old sprues from Pound Store mini tanks and coffee stirrers add instant scrap texture

The sprues I thought might suggest steam tubes or steel plating?

The Milk Carton pouring hole created the tank commander’s cupola.

The gun barrel was a pen lid. Additional armament is a front machine gun.

The bit that was most fiddly but fun was making the tank track wheels. I could have bought a set of brass gears and cogs from some of the many jewellery, crafting and even Hornby site. However keeping with the scrap modelling and scratch built feel, I found I had a few spare “cogs” and “gears” from not putting the friction motors and wheels in Pound Store mini tank kits (which is yet another blogpost).

Add to these some tiny buttons as the smaller road wheels and you have a quirky set of tracks, gears and wheels.

I like the scrap toy nature of these button wheels …

The buttons, big and small, came from a charity shop £1 bag of old buttons (retrieved from unsellable clothes?) that in the past has provided button ‘shields’ for conversions.

Copper painted button wheels and button viewing slits on escape doors.

The most useful buttons were ones with straight holes as they made very good concealed front and side viewing slits for safe firing and viewing.

A small hatch below the turret allows the turret crew, gunners and drivers to enter and escape.

Cupola open and cut down tank commander figure
The steampunk infantry sit between engines and turret. A step over the track links allows safe deployment of infantry without hitting the tracks.

Rear view of the copper and brass steam exhausts – note the signal flag.

One day I might work on individual tank track plates, but not yet. I might coat the cardboard tracks with PVA.

This Land Ship could work with a range of figures, from Victorian Redcoats right the way through Steampunk into Sci-fi.

All that remains now is to choose a name for this Landship – Any ideas? We’ve had a few family suggestions already.

All Land Ship name suggestions in the comments box, thanks!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 28 / 29 August 2020.

Steampunk Pound Store Plastic Warriors or WW2 Tankers?

Readers of the Pound Store Plastic Warrior might recognise the penny or tuppenny dreadful plastic tat from pound stores and seaside shops that make up our blog header.

Looking at a group of these 45 – 50 mm figures, I picked out the figure pose carrying a rifle (second from right) as a possible space figure.

I had intended to do a larger version of my 32mm Pound Store Flash Gordon inspired space marines and opponents which you can read about at

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/little-green-men-pound-store-plastic-space-warriors/

32 mm pound store “1930s futuristic” space marines and orange suited enemies

I thought some bright Flash Gordon or Dan Dare type spacemen in 1950s cowboy type colours and toy soldier style would be the thing.

Which is of course why they ended up as steampunked French tank crew in leather jackets.

In the usual way, this vague plan of colourful space figures went awry as I searched through Pinterest for Steampunk and VSF (Victorian Science Fiction).

Researching images on Pinterest – French WW2 tank crew, re-enactors and steampunk cosplay

Highly influential in my eventual ImagiNations colour scheme were the stylish uniforms of French tank crew and despatch riders.

Source unknown: French tank crew with the very futuristic rear end of a WW2 French tank

There are some very nice 1/35 Alpine Miniature figures tank Crew in their Brown leather jackets, tan trousers and Flying style helmets c. 1939/40.

https://www.squadron.com/SPECIAL-ORDER-1-35-Alpine-Miniature-WW2-French-Tan-p/lp35198.htm

This gave me the base colours – they were going to be painted in gloss toy soldier style using a mix of available Revell Acrylic Aquacolor gloss and matt, finished off with gloss spray varnish.

The figures after gloss Varnish but before the Steampunk copper highlights were added.

At this stage before Steampunk copper highlights were added, some of them could pass vaguely as WW2 or modern figures.

I wanted them to keep that 1930s to 1950s shiny gloss hollowcast look including the pink cheek dot traditional toy soldier face, as if they had just been taken out of their red box.

Once the copper or brass highlights were added, picking up cloned and distorted webbing details, this looked more like power cables for their brass steam or laser weaponry, breathing gear or comms equipment. Nothing too specific …

Grey basing rather than green was chosen for the plain toy soldier style tuppenny base, reflective more of an urban setting or even steel plate metal, maybe even the decking of airships and space craft.

An Officer and An NCO figure (with dark blue tanker beret) can be seen amongst them

I was surprised at how practically well these two tone figures fitted into the landscape, despite the shiny Steampunk bits and gloss Varnish.

Add in some suitably weird Pound Store / playset type Chinese made plastic tat Steampunk Artillery

The closest I could do to the French tankers and the futuristic back of their tank photo here …

Quel petrolier!” or A rough French translation for Lardy tank rules fans of their mischievously named ruleset “What a Tanker!”

… was a rough reconstruction of this historic photograph using the backside view of my lovely cap firing action friction based US tinplate tank (Thunderbolt USA 4U, unknown maker)

So there you go, you start off intending to make Flash Gordon space marines and end up with French tanker inspired Steampunk activity.

Proof that all you need is some time, paint, distraction, a few tangents and you can make something smart out of these unloved overlooked cloned and distorted Pound Store type figures.

For my simple 54mm Donald Featherstone inspired sci-fi rules Close Little Space Wars

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/close-little-space-wars/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/in-a-garden-far-far-away/

For more futuristic sci-fi toy soldier figure fun https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/international-star-wars-day-may-the-fourth-be-with-you/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN

Modern Flats and Toys for a Pound online pound store soldiers

I do like metal flats but find them a little on the expensive side.

I just found an exciting new range of 40mm flats or semi flats of ultra modern and Sci-fi figures such as this well armed soldier:

A. Stylish and spirited ultra modern metal flat sci-fi or special forces trooper?
A great Flash Gordon or Star Wars rebel pilot? Interesting semi-flat figure.

But could I afford to buy a skirmish force or two of metal flats? They can cost several pounds or euros each. That could be an expensive proposition for even a small skirmish force. Then there’s usually negotiating websites in German, shipping from Germany / Europe etc.

Some of these figures have a charming simple retro feel such as this advancing modern WW2 semiflat figure.

Or maybe …

B. I just found a new range of plastic semi flat toy soldier figures from an online pound Store, priced about £1 for 80 to 90 mixed figures.

Perception test: Which is it? Expensive metal flat or Pound Store Plastic?

When it’s metal and officially ‘flat’ from a recognised manufacturer, it is it an object or figure of higher value?

When it’s a penny dreadful distorted plastic figure from an online Pound store, worth about a penny, some people might see disposable plastic tat. Is it of lower value?

The answer?

Being the guttersnipe, pocket-money, neighbourhood trash puppy that still I am, finding an online pound store during Lockdown was irresistible.

Toys for a Pound? I’m in.

https://toysforapound.com/products/special-forces-soldiers-mini-army-figures?_pos=1&_sid=44ef637cc&_ss=r

There are plenty of what some call ‘plastic tat’ or ‘plastic trash’ figures out there for sale on the internet. They are what many of the next generation of gamers will or may cut their teeth on.

One glimpse of a running or advancing figure with rifle in the packet was enough to sell it to me.

Sadly despite “quantity having a quality of its own”, they are not in many people’s eyes generally a pretty bunch but to me they have both potential and play value.

They are the Airfix figures for the kids of today, cheap and easily available, here today, gone tomorrow, but obviously lacking the historical range and individual figure quality. If you could find them, Airfix ranges forever going in and out of production.

They vary in size from 35mm to an average of 40/41mm. Looked at sideways, some are almost the modern flats.

Some of these figures painted silver could easily pass as metal flats costing many times the penny price.

Could I as a child in the past learn to love them? I’m sure I could. Especially with a lick of paint.

£1 a month pocket money saved up back in the late 70s or a poundnote in a birthday card would get you a whole Star Wars Action Figure. Not sure what the Airfix box of figures cost was in those days. Not sure what average pocket money per month is today but these are Pound Store and pocket money affordable.

Could I as an adult build them into my gaming life with a few tweaks? I surely could.

Seeing Airfix figures in use or simply converted to other periods in wargames books and the occasional magazine had a major influence on me as a young child or teenage gamer of limited means. If Airfix were good enough for Donald Featherstone and others like Terry Wise (add in also Brian Carrick and FE Perry in 54mm) from time to time, they must be alright for me. Grown ups who write books and magazine articles use them. This legitimised my young gaming efforts in a way that expensive metal figures out of my reach and league didn’t.

Here I must give a Pound Store shout out to the Wargaming Pastor Death Zap blog posts for his various sci-fi units made up of Penny Dreadful Pound Land figures. https://thedeathzap.wordpress.com/2019/05/18/simple-satisfying-games/

To be fair, they are 80 to 90 figures for a Pound. What do you expect? They are (to some eyes) pretty much what Ross MacFarlane called my PoundLand bucket all stars back in 2017, “the crudest cheapest plastic toy soldiers I have ever seen”. I happily nicknamed these figures in his honour my “Penny Dreadfuls”, even though as someone quickly predicted you only get 50 figures for a Pound Land tub now. Tuppenny Dreadfuls then!

The kind of comment that makes my Pound Store toy soldier day happy and complete. Thanks Ross!

They are exactly what the packaging says – SPECIAL FORCE – WINNER – WORLD PEACE MILITARY EQUIPMENT – SUPER SYSTEM – METAL SLUG – as is the handy resealable ziplock badge with camo packaging and modern vehicles, tanks and troops shown. MADE IN CHINA. Definitely modern.

Helicopters, modern troops, tanks graphics amongst the camo patterns.

The figures match the graphics. They are clones of WW2 / modern / Post WW2 / Gulf War type figures. They come about 8 poses in several different colours, helpful if you are a child for different units, not just green and tan.

I have notice of late that not only are Pound Store Plastic figures generally getting smaller than 54mm but also thinner, flatter and more contorted, obviously saving Plastic but thankfully not at the expense of the plastic base. They stand up quite well.

Eight poses, my running rifleman the smallest of the lot at 35mm

Five colours – green, red, blue, tan, black – I was rather taken with the light blue ones for a change!

Perfect for party bags at a Pound each.

Good tip: Party bags or “party favors” are often good search terms for bulk plastic toy soldiers online or in shops and supermarkets.

If you need the tanks, lorries, jeeps, sandbags and other stuff, you can easily find this kit in other ‘playsets’ that you find online, albeit sometimes in a bizarre range of sizes within the same bag.

Maybe it is right that we should showcase in our magazines, blogs and exhibitions the very best of the figure maker’s art. Maybe we should also sometimes include these Pound Store figures, simply or elaborately painted and based and in use to show, as the Wargaming Pastor says, that the fun and educational social activity that is our hobby of wargaming is “affordable for all.”

Hopefully Pound Store Plastic Warriors as a Blog has done a little of this for the aspiring young and old gamer of limited budget at the happy plastic tat end of the toy soldier scene.

What will these figures become? What exciting games and Tabletop adventures will they take part in? Watch this space.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 16 August 2020.

A Well Spent Pound?

Slightly smaller scale figures and vehicles – Airfix Centurion tank copies

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.

One or two figures had the CE mark on the base.

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.

Age range for kids toys stops at 12+, no categories for men ‘of a certain age’ 46-55, 55- 65, 65

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.

How have sizes changed from the Airfix originals?

I posted some comparison shots here:

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

Airfix original 54mm figure getting smaller and stranger with each generation of copies

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!

That red coat ‘Toy Soldier’ look

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

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

How do they measure up as they get smaller?

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.

Tell That To The (Pound Store Plastic) Marines

Marine Infantry with grey helmets and blue sailor’s neck cloth.

Marine Infantry with green helmets and side packs

Two new skirmish or raiding forces added from the 200 tiny Airfix cloned or pirated figures from the current Combat Mission Mini Play Set. https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/06/23/the-joy-of-pound-store-play-sets/

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.

Marine Infantry (Grey helmets) alongside Marine Infantry (Green Helmets)

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.

Verdan forces

Grizan forces

Grizan versus Verdan forces can be seen in this Interwar border skirmish:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/06/28/verda-versus-griza-pound-store-plastic-soldiers-20mm-interbellum-fms-skirmish-now-with-added-esperanto/

I was pleased to see these simple Airfix copy figures crop up on Maudlin Jack Tar’s excellent blog:

https://pampersandp.blogspot.com/2020/07/army-men-activity.html

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!)

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 13 July 2020.

Spl-Attack, Spl-Attaque and Spl-Attergy Games – Close Little Paint Wars? Rules 1.0

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.

Nintendo Splatoon 1 trailer

https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Wii-U/Splatoon-892510.html

Nintendo Splatoon 2 YouTube trailer

https://youtu.be/_brdPvSQ3gE

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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.

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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.

Wilko Heroes (OOP) paintzooka guys … too many men?

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.

TimMee type 54mm standard pound store infantry types: paint-thrower, paint-zooka …

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?