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

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 ...

13 thoughts on “Steampunk Pound Store Plastic Warriors or WW2 Tankers?”

      1. I’ll have to have a look. As it is I’m rather taken by your ‘Desert Warrior with robes’
        A nice use of an awful figure, I suspect a drawing pin will make a good shield šŸ™‚

        Like

      2. The desert warriors were an enjoyably messy PVA glue and tissue paper project for the robes, pins for spears, drawing pin or patterned upholstery pins work well as shields on the smaller Pound Store figures.
        For larger figure shields, I have a bulging couple of charity shop Ā£1 mixed button bags (presumably stripped from unsellable clothing) that does well enough for shields which can be pinned into the larger penny dreadful figures.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ve used tissue paper and pva/water to make the awnings on lorries and suchlike so I feel modestly competent to tackle a new project šŸ™‚
        The buttons is a nice idea

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Pinterest is a most useful tool. I really like the colour choices you have made and the look you have achieved. I enjoyed reading the rationale for your choices. I wonder if you could make a land leviathan for them by using corrugated card as the tracks round a rhombus shaped bit of card/ foam board with a card structure as the tank body. Go on they deserve it …

    Like

    1. Pinterest is very useful scrapbook (and also very very distracting.

      A land leviathan sounds good. Oddly I have access to a wooden WW1 style handmade wartime toy tank a bit like this that I can borrow to look at. I saw several others in Falmouth such as a scrap wood and cotton reel tracks handmade Matilda and cruiser tanks before Christmas but the owners wanted Ā£150 for the three. Too too much. I might hack up some more milk cartons to make some Steampunk interbellum tanks, instead of more LCCs or landing craft (carton). Should be able to get some good rhomboids out of a milk carton.
      There are some great affordable WW1 54mm Allied and German tanks by Steve Weston on his plastic soldiers website (or choppedmerc eBay selling site.) Even the battered old Airfix halftrack and trucks can be steampunked.

      Like

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