Four more packs of £1 joy
Q. Why are these the perfect toy soldiers for Christmas?
A. Read on below – be patient … it’s almost worth waiting for.
Part of the joy of Christmas is new toys, either a surprise or a long awaited gift. Here are four bags of delayed gratification!
I featured their arrival by post and stowage back in August during Lockdown and Covid Shielding when I could not go browsing in pound stores, seaside shops or charity shops. I opened one packet for review and stowed the other four in the Christmas cupboard.
They cheered then and cheer now my inner seven year old that this much richness could still be bought for a pound. If these were metal figures, this haul would cost a small fortune.
I remarked a little upon the strangely worded bold claims of the packaging then. They have some discerning small customers to attract and persuade with serious pocket money.
When life and shopping was more normal before Covid, it was often a quiet delight to quickly cruise at speed through several pound or discount stores, looking for Pound Store toy conversion gold. Sometimes I would overhear those sort of toy discussions between children and parents about how much their gift pound would get them each and witness that painful indecision in the toy aisles that I had when I was originally seven.
If you only have one pound to spend, which toy do you choose?
If I’m spending serious child pocket money in a pound store, I want a lot of bang for my buck (or pound). Tiny pictures of military hardware, camouflage packaging, ziplock bag for storage – all good for Christmas or party bags – and big words:
METAL SLUG – SUPER SYSTEM – WORLD PEACE MILITARY EQUIPMENT –
and best of all the para wings or elite forces insignia – WINNER. I’m feeling like an elite highly trained veteran five star general already before I open the bag.
As I notice now, this is not just special forces – this is SPECIA FORCES.
This makes them the perfect Christmas Toy Soldiers.
Q. Why are they the perfect Christmas Toy Soldiers?
A. No L. No L.
A suitable Christmas Cracker joke for the season. If you’re not sure why, check the packaging again. Quality proofreading on the packaging!
The contents of the bag I discussed a little in my August post, the thin contorted nature and brittleness of the plastic may disappoint some. The amount of flash. Too many useless Officer ‘waving with binoculars’ poses.
They are not constant scale, the usual pound store playset irritation of slightly different sizes to annoy the scale purist – but then so many ‘proper’ expensive toy soldier manufacturers are guilty of the same scale creep.
They may be mass produced in China without much love or care but in the right imaginative hands, they could be great heroic stuff!
My favourite figures are the WW2 US style infantry with rifle advancing.
The original pound store toys webpage I ordered from is on hold at the moment over Christmas – no doubt the pound store elves are exhausted. https://toysforapound.com
Quantity, as Stalin and so many others supposedly observed, has its own quality.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 29th December 2020.
13 thoughts on “Specia Force: More Christmas Toy Soldiers from the Online Pound Store”
Great conversion filled material. Hopefully 2021 will allow you to forage more widely once more too. I look forward to seeing what you do with these fellows…
I miss the buy a single Britains, Lone Star etc boxes in post offices etc filled with delights. I feel that children today miss out on that rummaging thrill and the physicality of handing over coin for plastic. I wonder when toy soldiers stopped being sold this way? Probably in the seventies I imagine. Display racks of Airfix boxes of figures or kits were great but the individual toy soldier was cheaper and had a joy of it’s own…
I do remember from early childhood through to mid teens rummaging in single figure boxes of farm and zoo animals, Britain’s figures etc so it must be the Mid to Late 1980s, when these went?
Guards Museum MKL Model Soldier shop in London still sells individual new metal ceremonial figures by its till. Very enticing …
I remember in my early teens visiting by chance a small toy shop quite away from home that was sadly closing down and happily stocking up with whatever cash I had on me, feasting on the remnants of Herald modern British infantry and Deetail black knights. Still have them. (Should in retrospect have gone for the more valuable rummage cardboard box packaging instead?)
The new reissue super paint jobs of Britain’s Deetail cowboys, ACW, knights and WWII are still sold in counter packs like this in some shops and heritage attractions like castles.
There is a great tactile feel and sound to rummaging through such figures looking for the poses you want.
Playmobil aside, in some ways one group of figures are still sold like this for cash which is the largish 70mm+ individual Papo, Schleich and Bullyland animals / dinos and figures – near but not quite action figure size. There are some well painted great historical and fantasy figures for large skirmish, duels and gladiatorial contests. Almost like larger tough plastic Elastolin … never met anyone else who uses them for games.
Mark, I had a nostalgic experience today, which confirms the importance of packaging. Looking at the plastic tray which originally held chocolate biscuits, I was reminded of the Stingray underwater cities, or alien bases on Captain Scarlet. It was the various shaped plastic domes with their connecting tubes. I guess my thinking has not changed so much in 50 years. (I cannot fiddle, but I can make a great state from a little………….. plastic biscuit tray, apologies to Themistocles.)
Do not resist! It sounds like you are ready to join the Facebook Super Cheap Wargaming Group https://m.facebook.com/groups/1974415836124872/
My inner 7 year old still loves toys like this too, and as I still have to buy my 30-something daughter LEGO every Christmas it’s clearly genetic.
It is all due perhaps to needing a tactile fiddly something to do with your hands in their increasingly swipe digital, touch screen, non-smoking age.
Next year Christmas you need to serve up this Lego beauty
“No L”. I actually guffawed out loud when I read that! Well done for coming up with a cracker of a joke.
My memories of loose toy soldiers are hazy but slightly more nuanced. My local toy shop owner was a grumpy old… well, let’s just say he wasn’t full of Christmas cheer. He didn’t like children messing with his stock or ‘wasting his time’, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. I think he expected kids to look at the displays, quickly choose what they want without touching, pay and go. In Woolworth’s on the other hand it was organised chaos – they piled them high and let you rummage as much as you wanted. Funny how I always ended up in Woolworth’s!
When it comes to bags of toy soldiers nowadays, the thing that gets my attention is – terrain. If there are trees, shell-damaged buildings, fortifications, rock piles, etc then I’m in. We all need something to hide behind!
Don’t worry. It only took me four months to work out / notice the Specia Forces typo.
Quite often when you meet such shopkeepers, even of small independent shops, you wonder why they do a customer facing role. Obviously nowadays with Covid, who would want such rummage stock with sticky hands and worse …
I have the same playset response. There is a subtle purchase balance of accessories versus figure. Do I need that many more cheap plastic farm / zoo animals / dinos / wildlife tubs and playsets just to get hold of more palm trees, plastic boulders etc? Luckily if you scout around you can find online Chinese companies selling 10 of everything such as
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10PCS-Military-Model-Playset-Soldiers-Army-Men-Accessories-Tank-Bunker-Rockery/ … type of thing
I was hooked from the start and completely fell for the punchline! Shoot me now! Totally worth it 🙂
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Of course, Specia is, in fact, the name of an imagi-nation and these are her soldiers!
I remember I had some very misshapen green plastic soldiers when a young lad. I called them “Gorillas”, being a pun on the name for irregular troops and the fact that they looked rather more like apes than men!
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Jinx! Same thoughts / words as they say. I had thought / wondered if it was worth adding further puns to the Blogpost but thought No L No L was bad enough …
Specian forces will no doubt emerge in 2021.
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I envisage their forces might have a similar lack of a full letter compliment. The Lif Guards?
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The Ife Guards? Ogistics Corps? Oyalist Mi-I-tia?
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