Pound Store Plastic Colonial infantry on the painting table

 

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My latest pound store plastic warriors conversion project has been rapidly painting some Colonial redcoat infantry as  opposition for the desert or hill native warriors that I finished in October.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/10/22/poundland-desert-warriors-finished/

The Man of TIN has been stricken with slight Man of TIN flu of late, which has delayed work on my blog and my latest figure conversions.

I wanted to try something different with these cheap “penny dreadful” 36mm plastic figures which are currently available online or from Poundland  (at £1 for 100).

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!” 

 

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My brave and  Generic / non-specific Desert or Hill Tribe warriors converted from pound store figures. 

 

These ‘brave’ desert warriors needed some opposition, starting out with the same fairly unprepossessing starter figures.

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Crude starter material … my “penny dreadfuls” as bought from Poundland for £1 for 100. 

Some of these 36 mm figures have simply been painted as Redcoat infantry and have had Fimo backpacks and blanket rolls added.

 

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Not running away, never! Rear view showing Fimo backpacks and blanket rolls with white painted straps – far too fiddly! 

 

Other figures have had more conversion work  by scalpel such as the officer figure with his rifle cut into a sword and a Fimo scabbard added. A similar posed figure had the rifle removed and the hand drilled to take a piece of wire to make him into a flag or standard bearer.

 

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Conversions for a Command and Colour Party with rough flag or regimental banner. 

 

Before I tried these command figure conversions, I also added as ‘officer material’ a 30mm-ish WW2 US officer (an old Matchbox China made pound store clone) firing a revolver or pistol in his greatcoat. A thin Fimo scabbard was added.

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A gloss toy soldier look was wanted, so Artist or Revell Model Acrylics were used. Uniformity of moustache was also needed, eyes dotted in with a pin and a very thin brown acrylic wash to add some definition to the faces.

I may well add a pinprick pink dot on each cheek to keep that toy soldier look as I did recently on my 42mm pound store toy soldier style paintwork.

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

There is still some tidying up to do, a few straps to add and the inevitable varnishing, but these red coated troops should soon be ready for action dodging ambush by hill warriors.

 

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Ladybird Leader series 737 ‘Soldiers’ 1976 (illustrations Frank Humphris) 

 

Any slight resemblance to Zulu War Redcoat British  infantry is entirely deliberate, although with such modern figures as starting material, it is only going to be a suggestion.

 

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Redcoat infantry in Home Service black helmet and white Foreign Service Helmet. 

 

For uniform  inspiration I had by me some  childhood books, namely an old Osprey Men At Arms book on ‘The Zulu War’, Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour  and my trusty Ladybird ‘Soldiers’ book.

(Good job I noticed the mistyping as Military Unicorns of the World in Colour – what a book that would be. What a great cavalry regiment or regimental mascot!)

Conversions in Progress

Amongst the other figures can be glimpsed a kneeling modern machine gunner who has had his Heavy Machine Gun cut down to make that start of a Heliograph for signalling. Still needs a reflector disc. A kneeling bazooka man had his bazooka clumsily removed by hot scalpel and a wooden rifle added instead.

The hot scalpel or hot knife technique, warming a blade in a candle flame is not recommended indoors, plastic figures like these give off unpleasant fumes when selectively melted.

 

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Left, a bazooka man converted to rifleman, centre a machine gunner undergoing conversion to a Heliograph signaller and on right, unaltered pound store figure in redcoat paint conversion.

 

Brim-ful of conversion ideas 

A quick dip into Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of The World in Colour suggested another figure conversion. It must have been the floppy hat that caught my attention.

 

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Preben Kannik’s book – my painting guide and uniform inspiration for decades.  

 

Further opposition for the redcoated British style infantry is now underway on the painting table, with some simple headgear conversions or additions. A couple of those old fashioned hole reinforcers, stripped off an old cardboard label, proved a suitable hat brim, further trimmed down once glued in place.

 

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Bush Hat figure No. 1 and the unconverted pound store penny figure. 

 

These should make suitable Boer Commandos or Confederates. There is a farmboy or cowboy look to both figures. Lots of figures are suggested by this simple hat brim addition – US Rough Rider infantry from the 1890s / 1900s, Confederate or Union infantry.

 

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Bush Hat figures 1 and 2 alongside their unconverted pound store penny dreadful originals 

 

A lightly more extravagant hat brim would make a Mexican style bandit brigade of brigands.

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It might even be possible to turn a brim up on one side for that bush hat, slouch hat or smart City Imperial Volunteers ‘titfer’ look.

 

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Black undercoated figures with card slouch or bush hats, currently  on the painting table. I see almost a Vietcong ‘coolie’  hat possible with these figures too, suitable for Ammanite sharpshooters  and other exotically hatted  colonial troops. 

 

Sadly most office hole punchers make  too large a hole for the head of a 36mm Poundland figure. So if you run out of suitable scrounged small parcel label hole reinforcers, use one as a rough template to cut out new ones from scraps of watercolour paper.  Fiddly work but folding the tiny card circle in half means you can cut a rough inner circle. A little bushhat bashing or distressing is then required.

Reinforcements for the Thin Red Line

The Preben Kannik book also has a good kilted khaki Highlander – a conversion I am working on, using a kilt made of a thin strip of tissue paper and PVA.

 

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Not that early Diana nursery nurse photoshoot moment c. 1980 but tissue paper kilts in PVA glue, drying on these future ‘Devils in Skirts’ Highlanders. 

 

The main inspiration for this variously khaki or Redcoat highland unit is mostly one of my favourite films Carry On Up The Khyber, being the infamous 3rd Foot and Mouth (Highland) Regiment, those ‘Devils in Skirts’.

 

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The infamous Kilt inspection of the ‘Devils in Skirts’ scene (Carry on Up The Khyber, 1968) Image Source: IMDB website page for the film

 

The battle scenes are quite impressive, if you ignore the slapstick bits. A great inspiration to any tongue in cheek Colonial gamer.

 

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Uniform Inspiration  – Some of my childhood TV and film heroes, Charles Hawtree (Private Jimmy Widdle), Terry Scott (Sergeant Major MacNutt), Record-breaking Roy Castle (Captain Keene), Sid James (Governor Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond) and  Julian Holloway (Major Shorthouse). Film still from Carry on Up The Khyber, 1968.  Image Source: IMDB website page for the film

 

Some great uniform inspiration photographs here at the IMDB website and also the Carry On UK site.

This 1968 comedy remains to this day my favourite of the many Carry On films. There is still much to like about  this (now very un-PC?) pantomime satire on colonialism and the heroics of 1960s war films like Zulu; I like the fact that this freezing Khyber Pass was filmed in exotic Snowdonia in North Wales.   http://carryon.org.uk/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=31

 

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Highlanders in a very Welsh Khyber Pass (Carry on Up The Khyber, 1968) Image Source: IMDB website page for the film. 

 

So off to paint Another Thin Red Line, or Thin Khaki Line with Kilts, hopefully not as painted by one Private James (Jimmy) Widdle. Bliss …

 

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The late great Charles Hawtree as Private Widdle (Carry on Up The Khyber, 1968).  Image Source: IMDB website page for the film

 

Blog posted on my Pound Store Plastic Soldiers by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 25 November 2017.  (Apologies for the dim photographs, I was photographing figures in natural but dimming light.)

 

 

 

 

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Author: 26soldiersoftin

Hello I'm Mark Mr MIN, Man of TIN. Based in S.W. Britain, I'm a lifelong collector of "tiny men" and old toy soldiers, whether tin, lead or childhood vintage 1960s and 1970s plastic figures. I randomly collect all scales and periods and "imagi-nations" as well as lead civilians, farm and zoo animals. I enjoy the paint possibilities of cheap poundstore plastic figures as much as the patina of vintage metal figures. Befuddled by the maths of complex boardgames and wargames, I prefer the small scale skirmish simplicity of very early Donald Featherstone rules. To relax, I usually play solo games, often using hex boards. Gaming takes second place to making or convert my own gaming figures from polymer clay (Fimo), home-cast metal figures of many scales or plastic paint conversions. I also collect and game with vintage Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, wishing like many others that I had bought more in the 1980s ...

2 thoughts on “Pound Store Plastic Colonial infantry on the painting table”

  1. Imagine that – modern troops into 19th century ones! What an inspiration! I especially like the idea for the heliograph and the Boers. You made some cheerful old style soldiers from some of the cheapest (and crudest) figures available. i love the idea of taking ultra cheapo figures and making them into something. If I was to do it I’d use 54mm and probably some better sculpted figures but your end result is pleasing. Keep up the great work. Are you going to make some into troops for your Bronte sisters world?

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  2. Thanks James, I have continued to watch your imaginative conversions and restorations with interest.

    I have done some 19th Century / Colonial type Army Red Army Blue almost 54mm pound store figures recently. These were figures which oddly came with 54mm pound store pirate / China clone figure packs but were really 42mm, all Tintinesque good fun. https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/pound-store-42mm-infantry-army-red-army-blue/

    The 36mm Poundland figures are just good enough or bad enough to make them worth the work, and at a penny a time … tuppence if you count the penny base.
    Part of the challenge is not being able to use Milliput as we have an allergy in my household to this Epoxy type green stuff. Scalpel, Fimo, paint and Tissue paper / PVA is my safer alternative for turning cheap figures into something roughly playable.
    All these figures should easily fit into the Bronte Imagi-Nations, which is why I am keeping troops and uniforms fairly generic and not too country or period specific. All about as historically accurate as the Carry on Up The Khyber movie. The rough conversions suit this well.
    Best wishes Mark, Man of TIN

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