More Retro packaging for the ‘Penny Dreadful’ pound store plastic warriors

The Super Cheap Wargaming Facebook group featured a post by Ron Lumbis about the current 30mm-32mm (ish) pound store figures.

I like the retro style of the packaging from Schyllyng with on the back of the box the pen outline of the figures inside, a little like the early 1960s Airfix boxes.

I also like the slight overselling – “INCLUDES TWO ARMIES” – obviously serious defence cuts have happened. What they mean is includes two different colours of figures, in this case the traditional green and tan of some plastic army men figures sets.

I see echoes of the famous Russ Heath Lucky Toys page adverts in US comic books for disappointingly flat mail order figures. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/10/classic-close-wars-and-comic-book-soldiers-back-to-the-forest/

You can also see similarly stylish packaging (short lived packaging and sold out) from 2017, the “WW2 Soldiers” tag a little misleading with the Russian Army looking troops.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/retro-packaging/

Either box would make a good attractive mail order gift, one that I would happily have played with as a child, then have somewhere to put them back in the box afterwards.

The alternative packaging I have found for these figures over the last few years ranges from a flimsy plastic bag and header card of two different colours per bag …

… to the useful storage tubs of single colour figures occasionally found in Poundland UK.

Same figures, different colours, varying prices per figure, different packaging.

To me these are the modern cheap small plastic equivalent to the Airfix figures of our youth.

They are surprisingly versatile and at a penny or two each (prices are steadily creeping up) these anonymous and widely available ‘Made in China’ plastic figures can be cheaply and easily converted to a range of periods past and present – and future.

Several fantasy or sci fi gaming bloggers have used these same figures such as the Wargaming Pastor for his Death Zap future games.

Ross Macfarlane of the long-established Battle Game of the Month blog paid these figures and conversions a sort of dubious tribute when he described them as:

Hence my nickname for them of the “Penny Dreadfuls“, as this is what I once paid for each 100 figures for £1.

I have used them for many things from my Boy Scout rough conversions …

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/05/19/pound-store-plastic-boy-scout-32mm-conversions/

to Flash Gordon style space marines and little green men aliens.

The alien ‘cape’ is a card paper hole punch strengthener from cheap old luggage labels.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/little-green-men-pound-store-plastic-space-warriors/

These figures adapt to modern as well as 19th Century colonial figures

Various theatres of War and historic periods suggested by paint conversions here

Simple cardboard hat brims (again from hole punch paper strengtheners or card circles)

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/pound-store-plastic-colonial-infantry-on-the-painting-table/

Colonial highlanders from Carry on Up the Khyber … tissue paper and PVA kilts added

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/pound-store-plastic-carry-on-up-the-khyber-colonial-highlanders/

Simple desert or native warriors created by scalpel and PVA / tissue paper conversions

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/pound-store-desert-warrior-unit-completed/

Cheap enough to risk losing figures if taken as a travel battle on holiday – simple melee rules.

As you can see these are very versatile figures, with a little imagination, they can become many different types of ImagiNations figures.

Transport easily requisitioned from charity shop cheap finds …

Arguably Airfix figures have or had the advantage of scale model kits and buildings to complement their figures (although both often in and out of availability or production).

However, with a little imagination, suitable Pound Store playset or charity shop vehicles, terrain and buildings can be found.

A full blown pound store colonial skirmish for under a pound …

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/02/03/pound-store-colonial-skirmish-part-1/

Suitable sized gaming accessories add variety to conversions – here an old Prince August homecast gun.

Or light railway battery ‘train in a tin’ style …

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/deconstructing-trains-train-in-a-tin-vs-train-in-a-box/

This paint conversion or scalpel and PVA approach works with any size or scale of cheap plastic Pound Store type figures as you can see from meandering through my blog.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 21 December 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 ...

4 thoughts on “More Retro packaging for the ‘Penny Dreadful’ pound store plastic warriors”

  1. That packaging brings a real smile to my face too, particularly the exploding ‘exclamations’ of what’s inside!
    They are brilliant conversions and excellent painting Mark. Just goes to show what can be done to bring figures to life with a bit of paint—even more so with the quality of your brush work.
    Regards, James

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Reply / Comment, part 2: … even though these figures are churned out cheaply in plastic somewhere without love or thought, something can be made of them. The retro packaging always seems ironic, over enthusiastic or overstated (is that what’s called hyperbole?) for the lovelessly produced contents. Thankfully in children’s hands (of whatever age) they are epic and heroic.

        Liked by 1 person

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