The Joy of Pound Store Play Sets …

Combat Mission Mini Soldier Play Set Play Mat – more of a poster than a play mat?
The contents in full – 203 soldiers, 3 jeeps, 2 tanks, 2 flags, 1 aircraft – felt river not supplied.

Side view of the 2 cm green and grey 203 figures

This recent gift was (I think) bought last year from a seaside gift shop, part of the Combat Mission branding that we have featured elsewhere on this Pound Store Plastic Warriors site. However it can be found online for around £5 including delivery.

The tiny Airfix sized OOHO or 1:72-1:76 2cm type figures are clones or copies of two familiar Airfix figure sets of American Infantry (4 poses) and British Paratroops (2 poses).

They have muted details but are not too distorted with minimal flash and have good bases. Even without vehicles, these 200 odd figures would be 1p to 2.5p each.

Being a cheaper play set, both sides of German / Grey and American / Green troops use the same moulds / figures. Ditto the jeeps and tanks. They all make good enough generic WW2 / modern infantry and vehicles.

Six poses of green or grey troops, mostly scaled to each other. 4 and 6 are Airfix British Para derived, others American Infantry derived.

Green troops have a radar or searchlight jeep, along with a small multiple rocket launcher.

Whoopee! Grey troops have their very own rocket propelled jeep.

Side view of a ‘cute’ little grey tank. It looks like a light airborne armour or early war light tank.

A neat little tank from the rear, some good engine & stowage detail. Not sure which model of tank it is meant to be.

If you don’t want to use the flag-post mound for its intended purpose, it can become infantry cover.

Overall this is good (play) value, as you can buy these playsets online all in for about £5 and free delivery.

Given that you have 203 figures in my set, approximately four boxes of Airfix figures, this would cost you in the shops about £20. Add in the hard plastic tanks and jeeps similar to the Airfix ones from the 1970s, this £5 set proves good value to the young and not so young gamer.

Quantity has a Quality all of its own, someone once said. “The phrase has been popular in the US defense community since the 1980s, sometimes acknowledging it as a US coinage, but often misattributing it to Clausewitz, Lenin, Stalin, and Brezhnev, but mostly to Stalin.http://klangable.com/blog/quantity-has-a-quality-all-its-own/.

As poses go, we have a fair share of each of the poses but this leads us to having too many pistol waving (American Infantry) officers and too many (American Infantry) bazooka men. Obviously you can reuse pistol guy in other roles as vehicle crew etc. That saying, Airfix and other plastic figures have their fair share of useless diorama poses in each box.

One of the typical play set minus points for some is the weird period mix and oddities of scale. These are generic WW2 and postwar figures next to a WW2 type tank and WW2 or postwar type jeeps but the modern odd one out is the secret Stealth type jet.

If you are role-playing a pound store WW2 skirmish rerun of Germany versus Britain and America, this could be a prototype or experimental Me262 type variant jet fighter.

If you are role-playing Green versus Grey in your ImagiNations scenario, again it could be a top secret stealth fighter etc.

Britain vs America? Available play set Amazon U.K. June 2020

 

The German / American branding is fairly fluid, depending on which bag you get. Other versions of the same figures and vehicles can be found online with desert tan and green troops, marked by flags as Americans and British!

It is the sort of playset that I would have been happy to have bought with my pocket money as a child and even today as an adult gamer, I could enjoy this for what it is.

I might rebase the figures. I might remove the stickers and even add a lick of flesh paint, maybe some brown or black paint on boots and weapons. But I will enjoy them for what they are.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 23 June 2020.

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 ...

8 thoughts on “The Joy of Pound Store Play Sets …”

  1. I’ve been looking for this exact set for a while! I find the softer details on the figures to be a strength rather than a weakness since you can paint them as basically anything. I’ve built a few sci fi forces out of these guys in the past including bits from that strange discount set with larger figures but that has 1/72ish scale sci fi tanks in it.

    Like

    1. It is still available on Amazon – and probably with ‘other online retailers are available’.

      The softer details are an intended strength in their design with the Peter Laing 15mm figures that I also collect.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think they both have a lot in common – probably it was a production quality issue compared to today’s methods – but it was put to good use to make them more flexible as figures for paint conversion. I have a small number of ACW AWI Spencer Smiths 80s plastic and later metal bought possibly for Close Wars but once they were no longer mass plastics bagged, thought them a little pricey as metal figures go. They still hold a large nostalgic charm for many.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. How ARE you painting them? I’m struggling to paint the Armies in Plastic figures; granted I won’t be using them for programming for a long while, but the paint flakes like, well, something flaky. Junior General suggests Krylon spray paint as a good undercoat for soft plastic figs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have yet to posing any AIP figures so can’t offer any experienced advice re flaky paint – maybe some of our fellow 54mm gamers forum could suggest re undercoating these plastic figures https://littlewarsrevisited.boards.net

      My usual undercoat is cheap craft shop Acrylic in the uniform base colour, white or black. I prefer the monotony of undercoating to mucking around with spray paint. I no longer use enamels which do flake.
      In my excitement at getting this new playset painted and on the table, I forgot to wash them in detergent / washing up liquid to remove any mould releasant but it didn’t seem to affect any subsequent undercoat or painting .

      To be honest I was quite as lazy with these as my seven year old self with real Airfix. They were already the right uniform colour. I simply painted the base, boots and equipment, rifle, face and hands in turn, finally the helmet for good measure, kept it very simple as I was doing 20 a side and their simple washer basing. Childishly happy and satisfying!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s