Toy Soldiers is an intriguing and funny little film, only six minutes long, made in Canada in 1999 (based around a toy soldier poem or anecdote by Al Rae), all about a young Al’s desire to own a certain rare cereal box toy soldier Teutonic Knight to complete his collection.
Synopsis – “A young boy, desperate to complete his set of toy soldiers, betrays a friend to get what he wants.” Creative team – Writer/producer: Catherine May Director: Jackie May
The figures are familiar Timpo figures, displayed on egg box plinths
Union American Civil War, Waterloo British, Indian Chief, Arab Warrior, Confederate Civil War, American War of Independnce British, Eighth Army, Waterloo Scots Piper, Waterloo Prussian …
and to complete the set the long sought Teutonic Knight who lived at the top of a Lego stand at the house of Brian, young Al’s rival collector who has a complete set.
These Timpo figures were familiar figures from my 1970s childhood, bought in Action Packs and recently reissued by Toyway (now shut).
Glasgow born poet writer and film actor Al Rae (who narrates the film and plays himself as an adult) now lives in Canada and is now known as Lara Rae, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lara_Rae “Lara Rae (born 1963 in Glasgow, Scotlan), formerly known as Al Rae, is a Canadian comedian, best known as the longtime artistic director of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and as a performer on the CBC Radio One comedy series The Debaters…”
Living in the West Country or the Southwest U.K., you are never that far from the sea. And what does that mean? Seaside gift shops! Plastic Pirates!
A close up of the contents, still with the fearsome pirate stickers. I removed these carefully and put them away in the bits box.
Close up (below) of its box mounting which is attractive and atmospheric in itself, with something of the toy theatre or theatrical backdrop about it. A touch of Tolkien or fantasy even?
The pirate boat or ship (what is the difference?) looks even better without most of its stickers.
It also comes with two giant pirate figures, around 60mm+, of which more anon.
The inclusion of figures (and out of scale ones) is obviously what makes a pirate ship into a play set.
If I were designing this pirate ship playset, I would turn two oversized figures into 5 or 6 smaller figures of pirate crew, seamen or prisoners including maybe the odd female pirate or pirate treasure chest. Obviously the smaller the figures, the more risk that they will be lost or swallowed. Solution: Best not let children near them and reserve these play sets for adults? 🙂
I quickly tried the ship out for size with a smaller sized crew.
A smaller crew of 15mm Chinese and other Pirate figures (below) …
Slightly larger scale crew (below) – old lead sea captain aloft and pound store plastic c. 32mm conversion figures on the deck.
And slightly in between (below) – 20mm Jacklex Mexicans to hand for scale … the Mexican Navy!
The ship’s figurehead is a delightful oddity, a winged male or female figure,
A curious figurehead of almost modernist or modern art strangeness.
The large scale pirate figures are roughly factory painted. Oddly or unfairly, the balding figure is unarmed, not even a cutlass for sword fights?
Britain’s old and new 54mm figures for size comparison with these larger pirates.
This ship and crew cost the princely sum of £9.99. So I bought two …
Not quite pound store prices. However, making one of these ships would take quite a long time, so this price seems a fair trade.
Pirate ships – an interesting conversion and painting project to convert this into a useful sailing boat or pirate ship for the tabletop for the autumn or winter.
logposted by Mark Man of TIN! Ahoy! 18 September 2021
There has been much focus on the dangers of Single Use Plastic (SUP) at the seaside, ending up on the beach or in the ocean affecting marine wildlife. Look after your pirate ship to make it RUP – Repeated Use Plastic!
Nothing much new in the online Pound stores this year? 2020/21
What with ongoing Covid restrictions I have only been into pound stores a couple of times on the high street only for ‘target: toy section’ for a minute or two.
And visits to charity shops, jumble, steam fairs, junk markets? None.
This paucity and Covid drought of penny dreadfuls and plastic tat has been relieved partly by some kind donationsfrom blog readers of old unwanted Airfix figures, some great samples of Hing Fat 54mm figures from Peter Evans and also from strategic reserves laid down in the past.
These strategic reserves are laid down according to my Pound Store Plastic Warrior wise hoarding maxims –
1. “Buy them when you see them, they’re sometimes only around for a short while”
2. “They’re only a pound”.
3. “You may not need them now, but in the future …”
2020/21 saw a couple of games using Pound Store plastics ranging from snowballing fights of Yukigassen in August …
To an RLS “Land of Counterpane” game in April on an old squared blanket …
Some curious Pound Store conversions, padding out the more expensive Chintoys plastics or old lead …
October 2020 onwards: My Arma-Dad’s Army Elizabethan muster or militia Home Guard 1588 1595 slowly builds using Pound Store knights
This of course having Spanish Fury Conquistadors and Armada troops means Aztec types are a natural match or extension (Peter Laing style ‘dual use figures’ )
With found cheap scenery from scrap … inscribed stones, temple steps, obelisks …
The Super Cheap Wargaming group on Facebook has been good for such affordable scrap terrain ideas as well.
Sometimes my Pound Store Plastic Warriors posts crossposted material or projects from my Man of TIN blog (main blog) or linked to these including:
Fembraury – The new BMC Plastic Army Women becoming Women’s Revolutionary Army of Parazuellia, part of the 1960s Morecambe and Wise comedy film The Magnificent Two whose other government and rebel troops will be padded out with Pound Store GI copies …
January 2021 – Scrap modelling Edwardian style with E Nesbit’s Wings and the Child on the building of Magic Cities
and January also involved archive history research to identify more about H.G. Wells’ connections, family and friends involved in playing his Floor Games and Little Wars c. 1911-13. Well our Pound Store Plastic Warriors strapline is “Little Wars on A Budget”.
Who knows where 2021 and 2022 will lead us?
Thanks for reading and following.
Blog posted on my Fifth Blogaversary 13 September 2021
**** Delayed post from late May / early June 2021 ***** shelfie photo *****
I had to go into town for a medical appointment on a quiet day at the end of May 2021. With a few minutes to spare, feeling more Covid secure after two jabs, and masked up, I checked out my local poundstores for the first time in over a year.
In Wilko there were no Lego compatible blocks, block ‘pick and mix’ and no toys to be seen. Maybe nothing until Christmas …
However Poundland, wonderful Poundland, had these “penny dreadfuls” (as some unkindly call them) back on sale at a penny each in bags but tubs as before.
Check the shop label: 100PCS – £1 – 1.00p each
That is affordable gaming – and two colours / forces per bag!
I put in a mention for the Wargaming Pastor’s work with these figures on the Death Zap blog
Thanks Hugh for the mention and blog link – if you don’t know it, Small Scale World is a great, almost encyclopaedic reference source for plastic soldiers and all plastic rack toys including their pirate copies and packaging.
“Spaceman and colonials from the same blob”?
Surprising what you can do with some paint, scalpel, (wire and PVA and tissue paper) …
Faces, boots, snowy white on bases were painted then stuck on Warbases MDF 2p size bases. A tiny number written on the back and base help identify figures, add names etc. in game scenarios.
As you can see, the grenade is now a snowball, thanks to a blob of some gloss white paint.
I dug out my draft snowball fight rules “Packing Sugar at Freddie” that Alan (Duchy of Tradgardland) Gruber and I have been developing on and off as a non-lethal war game, akin to Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop.
Short of time before the dining table was needed again, I quickly set up a quick scatter of white stones, white foam packaging and Christmas fir trees on a white felt gaming cloth and tablecloth.
A quick sketch of rules.
Movement is one lolly stick, half uphill. Some areas (cling film) ice is impassable.
Snowball ammunition unlimited. IGOYUGO roll d6 for each team, highest score moves first, second team next, first team shoots (throws), second team throws.
No melee, no morale, no savings throws.
Long range of three lolly sticks, hit on target on 6 on a d6
Medium range of two lolly sticks, hit on target on a 5 or 6.
Close range of one lolly stick or less, hit on target on a 4,5 or 6.
If target undercover, deduct 1 from d6 score.
Two hits means that the target figure must head (without further firing) straight away each turn towards Camp HQ to the east. Once reached, the umpire can restore the figure to ‘life’ after two turns and they can enter the game again.
Scenario and rules are explained in more detail here:
To the east is the Game HQ with umpires and observers from the local scout troop.
To the south is the Blue team base.
To the east and west are other snowball fight teams of different colours – green, red and tan – to watch the snowball fight game.
The Aim of the game / Victory Conditions
‘Capture the Flag’ style, each team must steal the rival team’s flag (barrel) from their base and return it to their own camp, without losing their own flag (barrel) from their own base.
A small bear cub wanders through the snowscape past the central snowman.
A wall heater gets disguised as a distant snow ridge with Christmas trees.
Things started to wrong for the Blue team quite quickly, leading to them either falling back South to protect their ‘flag’ end area or heading East to be restored to gaming life.
Black team are now within long range snowball distance of the Blue team camp.
Each successful snowball hit is marked by a gemstone on the base, then when reaching two hits, the figure’s game life is lost.
A metal washer or silver tape ring is used to mark those figures who have lost their ‘game life’ and are heading straight for the Game HQ to the east. Here the umpire can restore a figure to fresh game life and head back onto the table after two turns.
Movement is restricted, interrupted and shaped using logs, trees, impassable ice (marked out by gems and polythene cling film) and snow hills
Very quickly, most of the Blue team seemed to be ‘heading east’, twice hit by snowballs so temporarily out of the game and unable to fire, until their game lives can be restored by the Umpire to the east.
The Blue team’s ‘flag’ (barrel) is captured and would quickly be taken unopposed back to the Black team’s camp, so the Umpire declares this a Black team win and game is over.
‘Home’ and time for tea …
What I liked about this quick game
It could all be made very cheaply using Pound Store soldiers in grenade throwing and other poses, along with terrain of cheap Christmas fir trees, snow hills from foam packaging and other found objects such as logs on a white cloth.
I played this game solo and the dining table being in a busy area of the house with distractions, I often forgot what or who was moving or shooting at times. A simple Turn Counter would solve this.
I couldn’t find my bag of small metal washers to mark hits on figures, so quickly made some silver rings from silver present tape. The two gems as hit markers often get mixed up and left behind. I have now ordered some small clear plastic Roman blind or curtain rings for the next game.
Two hits happened very quickly to many figures, especially at close range; with no savings throws, many figures were soon heading east to the Game HQ to have a gaming life restored. A higher number of hits is perhaps needed before the game life is lost?
Anyway, a good fast fun game. Why not have a go with some suitable figures and some old Christmas stuff?
I recognised the Atlantic Roman figure No. 5 but the others?
Fellow Peter Laing collector Ian Dury recently sent me some 15mm Peter Laing Victorian Parade range figures (that had come originally from Tony Adams) and added some spare Airfix AWI figures to add troop strength to my ImagiNations armies. Thanks Ian.
Ian also included a couple of Hong Kong figures “that I might find interesting.”
Clearly marked Hong Kong on the base, so pre-1997 handover?
One (no. 4) looks like a scaled down OOHO version of the Greek Trojan Herald figures of the 1960s? They should be able to join my Airfix Roman figures.
I noticed that the Native American Indian warrior on horseback is a close match for Peter Laing’s slender 15mm figures, so he shall no doubt join them in action one day. He should fit in well once the tail is fixed with some simple drilling and a pin link for the tail.
Peter Laing’s horses are quite distinctive or as Phil Barker described them in his 1970s KTG: Know The Game series Wargaming booklet “Horses sometimes a little strange”. This often helps you pick out Laing figures amongst job lots of old 15mm figures.
The plastic Ancients will join the Airfix and Atlantic figures that have survived from childhood for future repair, painting and gaming.