I’m going to make you into a princess! Cosmetic surgery for plastic soldiers

From High Priest to Princess / Queen in a few easy steps …

One of the challenges of toy soldiers made for modellers and not gamers is the “too many chiefs” problem.

The Chintoys 54mm Mixtecs and Zapotecs featured on my last post have several high profile, high ranking priests, warlords and officer figures with battle flags in each bag of 8 figures, not the rank and file “lumpen proletariat” of the PBI (poor bloody infantry) that you actually want.

It’s like having a Wellington or Napoleon on every sprue of Napoleonic figures or a free Hitler or Stalin on every WW2 German or Russian infantry one.

The Chintoys Mixtecs and Zapotecs are closely modelled on Angus McBride’s colourful plates in the Osprey book of Aztecs, Mixtec and Zapotec Armies.

So the solution to three Oracular High Priests is to paint one like the colour plate, keep one spare for a Celtic or Native Shaman in future and promote the third to a Mixtec Queen.

This striking Queen figure is shown in the colour plate but sadly not included in the Chintoys set.

The priest face and mask is not very feminine, nor are the massive sinewy muscly arms and giant hands but this priestly left arm and hand is transcribed from her Queen pose to the Priest in the Chintoys figures.

Cheap architect / railway civilian figure in hard plastic became the head donor

The challenge to behead or deface required sprue cutters and scalpel. A square of the priest’s face and jaw mask was removed and kept for further statue / carved pillar use.

I removed the head of the female civilian railway passenger (not often you get to type that sentence) from this figure in hard plastic.

The challenge was to trim and shave in small slivers with a scalpel the back of the female head down to a squarish face plate to fit onto the faceless priest – and not slice your fingers off at the same time.

The priest needed to have the face platform further trimmed back into the head.

I decided to simplify the priestly robes with the white and red stripe tribal pattern.

Once I had the female face down to as thin as possible without damaging the front and the slot on the priest suitably trimmed back, I used a small hand drill to pin the new female face in place and superglued to secure it.

A colourful turban and hair was created to fill the edge gaps using kitchen towel and PVA glue.

The Princess / Queen figure had her arm in a different position holding an obsidian tipped spear rather than the blue stone club or war hammer in the Priests hand. I trimmed the arm off with sprue cutters, reangled with drill and pun and the shoulder gap filled with tissue paper / kitchen towel.

The muscly arm was slightly trimmed down to make it more feminine.

The war hammer was removed and the hand drilled to take a spear or staff. The obsidian blade tip was made with masking tape, the pompom was made from a shaved plastic flag or banner pompom section from another figure.

Her giant left hand still needs trimming or obscuring, possibly with bloodied cloth of a sacrifice?

Now with added Britain’s Zoo plastic Eagle …

A valuable and regal addition to my semi fictional ImagiNations ManoTINcas tribe.

Plate Notes

For further information on each figure in the Angus McBride illustration, here are the plate notes by John Pohl the author (below).

From this I took the idea of her painted face, although I did mine on copper, not yellow pigment.

The turban around the hair intwined with coloured cloth and the obsidian blade were two other features that I took from this description and painting.

An excellent Osprey book, well worth buying for the history by John Pohl and the striking illustrations by Angus McBride that complement these unusual Chintoys figures.

Blog posted by Mark ManofTIN on 28/29 November 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 ...

11 thoughts on “I’m going to make you into a princess! Cosmetic surgery for plastic soldiers”

  1. Nice conversion work Mark. Good to see the Britain’s Eagle – in my very first Fantasy Wargames some of those Eagles were brought in to represent the great eagles in Middle Earth!

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    1. Thanks MJT – I have a small collection of Britain’s zoo and farm animals and buildings from my childhood and job lots – both lead and plastic – and they sometimes make random appearances in my games. I think the Britain’s Zoo Eagle would look great in Fantasy games. I did briefly consider mounting the eagle on the Mixtec Queen’s oversized hand but it didn’t really look right. Best wishes Mark Man of TIN

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  2. Excellent plastic surgery Mark! She is a great addition to your force and ready to play her part in many adventures ahead. I seem to recall Irregular Miniatures makes an Eagle in 54mm which would sit well upon her hand. I had one once and I used it as a hawk upon a cavaliers fist. Btw are the Queen and her subjects going to get any pack animals? Lamas ( ok I know they are used by Incas historically rather than these folk) would look nice , easy to add packs to and would carry gold away from these grasping conquistadors…

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    1. Thanks for the link. Fabulous figures but thankfully there is an ouch to collecting these. 88p is a snip compared to the cost of metal 54mm, although I haven’t worked out what a Prince August 54mm figure is to cast recently. A leopard or jaguar may exist in my zoo farm animals. This is beginning to be like the daemons in His Dark Materials on TV

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Worth the effort, it enhances the collection and I think yours looks better than the original. Must watch Apocalypto again, its been a while and have the dvd.
    Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Michael. It was curious working on ‘her’ to slowly realise that the original ‘he’ was an amalgam of the two poses in the drawing – both Priest and Queen.
      Thanks for the reminder about Apocalypto – I have not seen the whole film, only snippets and trailers.

      Liked by 1 person

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