More Dumb Soldiers in the Garden – The Clean Up Operation Begins

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I have been busy this week working on some wounded lead soldiers and horses.  Whilst waiting for recast arms and heads to arrive, I spotted this pile of metal detecting finds on sale online.

A couple of pounds later,  a tiny parcel arrived and as I cleaned them up, I posted the online auction picture to see what  battered lost treasures and delights my blog readers could spot in the pile.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/more-dumb-soldiers-missing-in-action/

Some of my blog readers were pretty accurate in their view of what was in this earthy pile of broken lead. They variously identified:  a bronco cowboy, an old toy racing car, a weird gnome, highlanders in kilts and guardsman. Well spotted!

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The toy soldier and sailor figures before clean up. Fragments of red coats of old enamel paint have survived on some. Possibly a section of a Johillco pilot (bottom right) and Crescent airman or Marine Officer with swagger stick (top right) 
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The animals from Cococubs to cowboys  and a beautiful fox.  An imp, a broken  Native American Indian and part of a petrol pump add to the strange mix. Many of these smaller objects will be put into a display box frame. 

The strangest of the lot was a metal dwarf or garden gnome figure. It might even be Father Christmas with the red paint?

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A strange gnome type figure, an old toy racing car and an ornate broken thing … this is a job for Bagpuss! 

As I cleaned the dry earth from inside and out, I recognised some broken bits as fragments of old lead toy soldier figures that I have in my collection by Britain’s and other makers.

Where I could, I checked them against my originals.

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Battered but common Britain’s Greandier Guardsmen firing (set 34) late 1930s to mid 1960s and marching (second grade fixed arm New Crown range figure No. 41P) 
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The bashed remains of two Britain’s sailors, with traces of blue paint, compared with my intact Royal Navy Blue Jackets No49N (second grade paint) based on the fixed arm Royal Naval Reserve figure (1907 – 1940). On the right, a Crescent airman with swagger stick. 
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Colonial and Khaki Highlanders – John Hill / Johillco (centre) and Britain’s (right) Khaki Highlander 34N second garden finish (with surviving traces of Khaki paint) compared with complete examples in my collection. 

I use Gloss Acrylic paints and will eventually varnish the figures to get that old toy soldier look.

As I began to clean ready for undercoat and painting, I started on some simple traditional repairs using glue, wire and matchsticks.

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Britain’s Guardsmen and sailors get an undercoat along with  the wood and wire start of new rifles and legs. 
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Highlanders and unknown Guardsman torso get their new legs. 
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New bases from Fimo, ready to paint sap green and mount on tupenny (2p) pieces for a bit of weight in the base. Two Britain’s Guardsman from the metal detectorists collection,  alongside two Broken Britain’s figures given to me by  John Forman. 

Repairs may not be pretty but they are designed to be robust, using what materials I have to hand, and aiming to get these lovely figures fighting on the tabletop or in the garden again soon.

Another order of recast heads from Dorset Soldiers will be required soon to finish these figures.

I shall post pictures of the completed figures, like RLS’ poem The Dumb Soldier,  back from the earth when suitable new recast heads arrive.

A very satisfying few days of tinkering and mancrafting.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, Bank Holiday weekend May 5 / 6 2018.

 

 

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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 ...

6 thoughts on “More Dumb Soldiers in the Garden – The Clean Up Operation Begins”

  1. That’s very ambitious of you to fix such damaged figures. There is something very satisfying from repairing such figures. However, I have never attempted to repair figures THAT damaged. You have inspired me to get to work on some of my own damaged old leads, although none require as much repair as those poor fellows.

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  2. Great work Mark. The third picture made me think of the Elgin Marbles! All those headless horses and limbless torsos – in their original form, they too would have been brightly painted.

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    1. Elgin marbles – yes I see what you see. These tiny horses are bound for a display box as they are fragile and beyond restoration. The lead crust has a marble white look to it and in places the paint is preserved in nooks and crannies just like ancient painted statues.

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