Hing Fat Plastic 54mm French WW2 figures

I had the welcome surprise this week of a small gift parcel of Hing Fat 54mm plastic figure samples from Peter Evans. A colourful rainbow bundle.

Peter currently sells these ‘Made in China’ Hing Fat figures through his eBay seller site figsculpt https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/figsculpt

I thought I recognised his name and it turns out that Peter was involved in setting up and still contributes to Plastic Warrior Magazine, along with Brian Carrick of the Collecting Toy Soldiers blog.

Hing Fat figures are a new brand to me – I wasn’t very familiar with Hing Fat figures other than the versatile pirates, which Brian Carrick turned into Chinese figures or a fantastic Maratha Indian army. I’m not quite sure if the seaside shop pirates I have bought are real Hing Fat ones or pirated clone pirates. There must be some irony there?

Sample Figures 1. WW2 French Hing Fat 54mm plastic figures

In the parcel were samples from a variety of figure ranges from Knights and AWI to WW2. The hard plastic figures are usually in a base colour relating to where they fought or their base uniform colour. They would withstand fairly rigorous play handling by children (and ageing garden gamers).

I thought I would start with the most unusual, which are the Hing Fat WW2 (or at a push WW1) French infantry in light blue plastic.

At first sight I thought this Poilu poses was pantographed up from the familiar OO/HO WW1 French Infantry by Airfix.

The full range of twelve poses of Hing Fat French WW2 figures can be seen here on Peter’s Figsculpt eBay site:

Screenshot 2021-03-28 at 8.35.26 PM

They wear greatcoats (the capote), puttees and the Adrian helmet without backpacks.

IMG_1848

Paint notes: Revell AquaColor Acrylic – Horizon Blue uniform and helmet light blue gloss 361-50, for other equipment paint colours see paint notes figure 3 (bayonet fighter) below.  Gloss varnish acrylic spray for that traditional simple shiny toy soldier finish.

IMG_1849

Painted khaki rather than ‘les bleuets’ of the Great War, these Adrian helmeted French infantry could pass as Belgian as well as French Infantry. Maybe even WW1 Italians?

If you were not too fussy, many of these rifle wielding poilus and the officer and bugler could be used for WW1 French or late WW1 Belgians.

Similarly, if you were a 54mm wargamer not looking too closely at buttons, webbing and equipment, these would work for a range of other nations in WW1 and WW2 who adopted the greatcoat and Adrian helmet, as suggested below looking at a few uniform books.

My trusty Preben Kannik, Military Uniforms of The World suggests Belgian and French in WW2, wearing khaki greatcoats and Adrian helmets.

My battered Funcken WW2 Uniforms part IV volume suggest Free French Infantry WW2 and an interesting colonial French Moroccan Riflemen in Uniform in WW2 Part IV (see figure 3 below with bayonet)

Funcken WW2 part III has Norwegian forces in their Norway 1935 Pattern Helmet which looks a little like an Adrian Helmet. There is also a Navy blue great-coated French Navy sailors in Landing Rig. I don’t have Funcken WW2 Uniforms parts 1 and 2 yet.

The Funcken 18th Century to the Present Day volume shows “les bleuets” from WW1 and khaki Belgians in late WWI, along with khaki French and Belgians in WW2.

Let’s look at the other two sample figures, No. 2 and 3:

This almost war memorial poilu statue 54mm figure has a large  Bren type LMG, probably the FM 24/29  French LMG (in service from 1924-60s and beyond.   I cannot find information about a French stick grenade from WW2.

A rather outsize stick grenade, slightly outsized along with some other weapons on Hing Fat figures.
I painted this figure in late WW1 or WW2 Khaki as a Belgian or French infantryman.

IMG_1850 French WW2 or Belgian late WW1 and WW2 Infantryman
My paint notes as below  for figure 3 but with the uniform in Revell AquaColor Acrylic BronzeGreen matt 361-65. Gloss spray varnish finish.

IMG_1851

The third sample figure was in the act of bayonet fighting.

My painted version of this 54mm figure in shiny gloss toy soldier style portrays this bayonet warrior as a French Colonial Moroccan Infantryman in Khaki overcoat:IMG_1846

French Colonial Moroccan Infantryman in Khaki overcoat WW1 / WW2 – Paint Notes – painted using Revell AqauColor Acrylic paints – Olive Green silk matt 361-36 for the uniform greatcoat and helmet, Mud brown gloss 361-80 for boots and leather equipment, Leather brown matt 361-84 for wooden rifle parts, Dark Earth matt 361-82 for face and Copper paint cheek dot. Gloss spray varnish finish.

IMG_1847

Further Uniform Possibilities?

The two volumes of The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Uniforms of WWI and its WWII companion volume suggest various troops wearing the Adrian Helmet:

WW1 volume

Various figure suggestions including the Polish Legion, Russian Civil War and various other conflicts including French Foreign Legion in khaki.

WW2 volume

Belgium 1940 – khaki Infantry greatcoat and helmet with Belgian lion badge for officers, men and support troops.

France 1940 – khaki French greatcoat and Adrian helmeted colonial infantry such as African Tirailleurs Senegales and Zouaves (when not wearing a fez)

Some (Free) French Infantry were still wearing the Adrian helmet in 1944-45 with US or British uniform.

Polish lancers in 1939 in khaki, shown without greatcoats.

These figures could represent the unsavoury figures in dark blue uniform and Adrian helmet of the Vichy France (Gardes Republicaines Mobiles) paramilitary police so feared by the Resistance. They are shown in tunics without greatcoats.

The French WW2 soldiers are shown in my trusty childhood Ladybird Leaders book of Soldiers, illustrated by Frank Humphris:

I hope you have enjoyed this taster glimpse of these sample figures which I enjoyed painting. I think a box or two of these poilus might be on my Christmas list.

IMG_1820
Hing Fat Eighth Army and Japanese figures alongside 54mm Britain’s hollowcast.

As you can see, some Hing Fat WW2 figures seem to echo Matchbox WW2 figure poses.

Size or scale wise as 54mm / 1:32 figures go, here are three of the Hing Fat WW2 sample figures against my ‘standard’ figures of Britain’s 54mm hollowcast and Airfix plastic 1:32.

IMG_1822
Hing Fat 54mm Russian Infantry next to Airfix 1:32 Russian Infantry

Nest sample figures: Three Hing Fat WW2 Russian sample figures 

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

These WW1 / WW2 French Infantry reminded me of the tantalising glimpse in a late 70s / early 80s Airfix catalogue that promised 1:32 WW1 British Infantry in soft caps, based on the OO/HO ones. Sadly, this never happened and was never again mentioned. Did I dream this one?

More on Hing Fat

Hugh at the encyclopedic Small Scale World blog covers Hing Fat’s varied output such as the pirates http://smallscaleworld.blogspot.com/2018/09/h-is-for-hing-fats-hooligan-hijackers.html

There is another view or review of these figures, which has them labelled DGN figures rather than Hing Fat.https://ww2pts.blogspot.com/search/label/Maker%20-%20DGN?m=0

The Hex Files – Things are Getting Strange…

“Things are getting strange, I’m Starting To Worry, This could be a Case for Mulder and Scully …” (Catatonia)

Heroscape Krav Maga figures 32mm could double up for the FBI … extreme hourglass corseting by Agent Scully here?

What series or TV programmes distract from or inspire your gaming scenarios?

Painting has slowed considerably in the Man of TIN Towers and Pound Store Plastic Warriors thanks to the Disney+ subscription channel now hosting all seasons of the X Files from the early 1990s.

Part of the steady Lockdown year has been spent binge watching box sets of series and episodes in order such as Star Wars spin off series The Mandalorion, Stranger Things, Buffy the Vampire Slayer …

I have been waiting years for the X Files to be available but the cost of video and DVD box sets has been off-putting.

These Heroscape suitably besuited characters could make FBI figures

I remember watching this series as it came out in the early 1990s. Watching them through again from Episode 1 and seeing the series and main characters develop, I remember some storylines and character monsters very well but I obviously missed quite a few episodes too – I was hard at work in my first job.

I enjoyed the stand alone one-off “monster episodes” in the early series far more than the tangled plot and subplots of conspiracy within conspiracy. Trust No One etc.

The series cleverly combined a US cop show and crime drama with every Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World case and conspiracy theory you can think of, exploiting the public mistrust of “government within government”, all recently dealing with the recent end of the Cold War and the shadowy activities of the CIA.

I like the small town America where anything weird can happen. It’s perfect Forgotten Georgia territory, although I think lots of the X Files was filmed in Vancouver, Canada.

It reminds me strongly of the old 90s high school horror teen comedy drama series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (recently rewatched – free on All4) or the more recent retro 80s Stranger Things series on Netflix with its cast of young teenage kids, another of the binge-watching delights of this last unusual year.

Somehow I don’t think such series could have been made in Britain, despite the weird West Country cryptozoology and other dark regional folklore. To be fair, we had Doctor Who grounded on Earth (or 70s Britain) fighting off monsters in the Jon Pertwee Third Doctor series (arguably the best Doctor?) with its fabulous Brigadier and and UNIT episodes. I have seen several such UNIT games on people’s blogs.

Obviously time spent enjoying watching the X Files is time spent not painting figures. I should be painting my ArmaDads Army figures and repairing hollowcasts but …

Sometimes X Files plots seem like possible gaming scenarios.

Who needs new figures?

In my boxes of figures I have these handy ready painted FBI figures which came with the useful boxes of plastic Heroscape hex terrain.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/heroscape-duelling-figures/

And some weird looking alien crew from a downed space craft, avoiding the blue hats and awaiting rescue from above?

I can see a way in future to reuse the bodged hexagon (whoops octagon tiles) from recreating the old OOP Games Workshop Lost Patrol game:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/02/12/octagons-are-not-hexagons-or-my-diy-games-workshop-lost-patrol-tiles/

Pound Store Plastic stores stock lots of the 1990s and post Gulf War American troops that could be easily paint converted into the brutally efficient (fictional?) Blue Berets or Blue Hats US Army UFO Retrieval Team or the various SWAT teams.

Usually these plastic modern figures range in size from 30-32 mm to 40/45 – often 54mm plastic clones and copies, steadily downsizing as they become more distorted.

Even these distortions can be used as aliens as the Wargaming Pastor does with his alien Selanoids in his Death Zapp game. https://thedeathzap.wordpress.com/2019/05/25/battle-squadron/

Other sources of figures to hand:

These two metal Fantastic Beasts figures with a repainted brown trench coat almost make a Mulder and a Scully, if I repainted the hair – investigating wizardly goings amongst the young at a secret castle (somewhere in the north of Britain?)

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/14/a-quick-trip-to-the-works/

Size comparison of metal nano figures from The Works with my pound store plastic penny dreadfuls, Phoenix SD and STS Little Britons Boy Scouts 42mm range

Anyway I look forward to more adventures with clean cut boyish Agent Mulder, and “Gutsy Girl” intelligent, sceptical agent Dana Scully … it’s a great way to wind down from a busy working day!

What series or TV programmes distract from or inspire your gaming scenarios?

TO BE CONTINUED …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 24 March 2021

New Battle Squadron packaging for the penny tuppenny dreadfuls 100 toy soldiers

As a pound store trash puppy (not a trash panda – that’s a raccoon), I keep an eye out for the changing packaging of the sort of pocket money cheap toy soldiers I collect and convert on this – the Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog.

With non essential retail closed during Lockdown, I keep an eye out online.

Shelfie screenshot EBay March 2021 – Battle Squadron – 100 PCS for £4.50 to £6.

Battle Squadron were the branding c. 2016-2019 before Poundland stocked the same figures repackaged as ” Cyber Combat Alien Defence Force”.

Late 2019 _ same figures, different packaging. Cyber Combat Alien Defence Force takes over in Poundland from Battle Squadron tubs – less and less figures for a Pound.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/11/16/defence-cuts-affect-poundlands-xta-alien-defence-force-now-50-figures-for-1/

These pouches or bags might be from old boxes of such stock that eBay sellers are selling off, rather than anything brand new.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/10/31/pound-store-plastic-warriors-poundland-artwork/

This battle sandpit illustration seems to have been redone from the Poundland runs or buckets of such troops, ones that I bought in early 2017 before the old pound coins were called in. Poundland cleverly continuing to take the old coins for longer than most.

A useful generic national flag

I like the green flag with white line outline star. Each pack inside through appears to have one or two flags of the WW2 and postwar super powers – usually Germany, America, Britain, sometimes Russia. Oddly not China!

As a child I would have been a bit miffed with the depiction of typical plastic playset helicopters, tanks, walls etc on the packaging but then finding only figures and a flag inside.

Toy Buyer beware – not quite requiring the Trades Descriptions Act but always a little annoying. Was there ever a “Serving Suggestions” type get-out clause – “does not contain sand, walls or helicopter or nuts”?

On a practical play note the figure tub or stiff plastic ziplock pouch is a handy container for a child to keep these figures safe in, not as leaky as the old Airfix cardboard boxes.

A simpler header card version can also be found online (screenshot from EBay March 2021), packaged in the easily tearable plastic bag. Usual “elite forces” type illustration in an otherwise quite plain harder card. 100 such figures now

Available online on eBay but also for £2 plus P&P from Bovington Tank Museum

https://tankmuseumshop.org/products/combat-mission-100-piece-soldier-set

I like the Bovington Tank Museum online shop description of these figures which adds value to what others might see as disposable plastic: ” A classic toy … A timeless collection of figurines perfect for playtime. Each soldier comes equipped with his own battlefield kit and is moulded onto a solid base to stop them falling over in the middle of all the action.”

A reassuringly complete description that is, “classic … timeless … “each with his own battlefield kit”, like buying 100 tiny Action Men for £2, who don’t fall over and lose their “kit”.

Why I like toy soldier packaging

The 1960s and 1970s colourful cardboard header and Hong Kong contents are becoming more collectible and kitsch – eBay and Etsy are good place to go window shopping and take digital “shelfies” screenshots for reference. *

These header illustrations are the poor cousins of the Airfix kit or figure box illustrations but with a certain rough excitement to them, promising to show you the inside contents of your head and your play world to which these clone Hong Kong copies are a cheap portal.

After Blue Planet II on TV, plastic is becomingly increasingly demonised from an environmental point of view as cheap and therefore throwaway disposable. We are rightly told that we now need to reduce, recycle and revalue our use of plastic.

We had no such public awareness about SUP (Single Use Plastic) when I was a child, although it all had to pass the non ‘single use plastic’ throwaway / ignorable, easily breakable, five second wonder toy test. Toys had to have proper “Play Value!”, as my Mum and Dad would say to guide me away from the more transient, flimsy, seasonal topical breakable trash of the toy shop.

These cherished plastics from the 1970s are still on display at home and sometimes appear in battle on my Tabletop, handled carefully now as some of the plastics are getting a little brittle. Indeed this makes them MUP Multiple Use Plastic or LUP Use Plastic.

At least for now, this brittleness is not such a worry with the freshly moulded, rough and tumble ‘play tough’ pound store plastics of today’s sandpit and Floor Games.

Cinematic excitement in colourful cardboard form. Once 15P, now it is vintage, mint and bagged, collectible, worth much more on line. Tempted? Track it down and find it on eBay March 2021.

Maybe this is a side effect of growing up in the late Sixties or Early Seventies without colour TV and few colour picture books in infancy?

I had (and still have) one of these Britain’s copy cannons as a child in our family toy box. (Image: Ebay source March 2021)

* “Shelfies” are reference pictures you take in a store if you are not buying everything you see.

I am amateurishly straying into the more organised serious plastic collecting, packaging and referencing territory of Hugh Walter’s Small Scale World and the Plastic Warrior magazine team. Writ the collection larger, you become Robert Opie of the Packaging Museum and his wonderful Scrapbooks, showcasing by decade and era his fascinating collection of ephemera. Robert Opie is the brother of the toy soldier collector and author James Opie, son of the folklore and playground rhyme collectors Iona and Peter Opie.

Me? I just find the colourful packaging and hyperbolic language and illustrations of passing interest.

blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 24 / 25 March 2021

Online Pound Store Plastic Warriors – Affordable Joy

With non-essential retail still closed and avoiding the High Streets during Lockdown, my chances of plastic tat shopping in pound stores and charity shops has been nil.

Aside from kind donations from the lead and plastic mountain of fellow bloggers like Alan (Duchy of Tradgardland) Gruber, I have also discovered the occasional joys of the online pound store.

Toys for a Pound! https://toysforapound.com

Yes, toys for a pound.

The H. G. Wells’ “eternal boy” of Little Wars (on a Budget – see our strapline) or my inner 7 year old is still far too easily pleased with this.

The contents of the £1 pack – 60 figures, six different styles in two colours (the traditional green and tan)

 

I like the “bigging  up” on the bag header  of what for many people is  just a pound bag of 60 plastic tat soldiers – but these are no ordinary troops, they are  THE TROOPS – WAR FORCE SET – SPECIAL MISSION – SUPER SPEED. 

 

“Super Speed Power!” on the header, Ramboesque figures and a blue beret

 

These plastic soldiers are about 45-50mm. 

As well as the plastic toy soldiers, there are also more military figures and film collectibles on Toys for a Pound:

The back of the pack shows the rather groovy moves of these M.Y military characters

 

You can glimpse a weapon for each figure in the bottom of the blister pack.

 

At the moment (as lines sell out), you can get 4 ‘Lego compatible’ block type soldiers for 25p each – that’s about a twelfth of the price of a Lego blind bag minifigure, and you can see what or who you are getting.

These mini-figures did used to be in M.Y blind bags – similar blind bags with bricks and minifigures can also be seen on https://toysforapound.com

Perfect stocking fillers, party bags, Easter presents – apparently you could also give them as gifts to children (over 3 or 6 years old).

Screen shot on https://toysforapound.com doesn’t show their equipment

 

Unlike the picture shown in the website, the military figures do actually come equipped with military equipment.

Being precoloured  plastic, these would be good for garden gaming, as if you lost them, they are only 25p each. You would need some flat Lego type base plates to help them stand on uneven surfaces. Wilko stores do pick and mix blocks / Wilko Blox, whilst Toys for a Pound have blind bags of 50 Lego compatible pieces and a minifigure. 

For those requiring female soldiers, an equally lavish pound will get you four female M.Y block figures for head swaps.

The Pound Store Lastic Warriors blog acid test: Q. Would I enjoy either of these packs of soldiers or block figures  as a (1970s) seven year old spending my pocket money on them? Absolutely.

Which of the two would I choose to spend my Pound on? Difficult one! 

I was slightly too old when the Lego minifigures started to appear as we now know them, but  Airfix figures  and Lego walls mix well enough. 

Wilko do small military vehicles as we mentioned in a 2019 post:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/04/12/the-joy-of-pound-store-block-figures/

What every modern girl needs … her own attack helicopter! (Wilko 2019)

https://www.wilko.com/en-uk/toys/construction-toys/c/858

Interesting to look at but I am currently avoiding starting a whole new Lego compatible army. I wonder what H.G. Wells, writer of Floor Games and Little Wars, would make of these block figures and this plastic building bricks world? 

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 20 March 2021. 

Wo-Manning the OP? BMC Plastic Army Women take over the Three Man pound store plastic soldiers patrol post

2016 – Three Man Patrol of pound store pirated clone* BMC US Marines, officer, radioman and prone BAR man providing covering fire.

Not entirely intended as A Mother’s Day Post March 14th as it is largely about the ongoing influence of toy soldier games in the garden with my Dad.

For the last month or two I have been exploring the origins and early players of H. G. Wells’ Floor Game or Little Wars.

Although I researched the women who saw this happening, it appears to be mostly Edwardian men who would happily be found stretched out on Wells’ lawn or nursery floor, firing spring loaded cannon at lead toy soldiers. This sometimes, according to the tongue-in-cheek Wells, brought “disdain” from lady visitors who did not see the imaginative play going on at floor or garden level.

Some gamers of players with toy soldiers would say that not much has changed 100 years later if middle aged men are glimpsed crawling round their floor or garden in pursuit of toy soldiers. Or worse still, their front garden …

Gardens and floors seem a natural home for toy soldiers.

Ever since I was a small boy in the early 1970s, I have left toy soldier figures in the garden “on Patrol”, usually a three man Patrol Post or Observation Post OP tucked away in a flower bed or safe area, safely away from being dug up, trampled or mown down.

Each three man Patrol had the following usual figures:

  • One officer or someone with binoculars, armed
  • One radio man, armed (usually a bit of a scarcity per box in early Airfix or Matchbox)
  • One rifleman, SMG or LMG infantryman for Patrol protection

These were usually unpainted plastic 54mm figures. Sometimes these would be WW2 troops, sometimes Cowboys or Civil War figures (despite the lack of radios) and occasionally even knights.

Each of these 3 Man teams (in threes, like Lighthouse Keepers) had a way to communicate with each other or raise the alarm, some firepower to defend themselves and their OP and enough men to have at least one sleeping whilst others were on watch.

My late Dad took a slightly dim view if I left the same figures out on Patrol, neglected for weeks or months. It made sense. More regular changeovers of personnel kept the garden and these Patrol Posts tidier.

Patrol bases were hidden amongst these flowerbeds, rock walls and lawn edges of my Dad’s flowers in full bloom in my childhood garden 1970s/80s. Great Little Wars garden lawns – It looks far too peaceful for a war zone!

Usually in my childhood garden, a small stone base was made for the Patrol Posts with flat stone or slate walls, roof and floor base. Small palisades of wood or twig log piles completed the defence. Some kind of plastic stores box was usually included of “food” and “ammunition” such as Britain’s farm sacks or Airfix sandbags.

Inside the house up in my room would be the HQ team, such as the little travel box three man Patrol that I take away on holiday and travels – to keep in touch by radio with ‘home’ and teams in the field.

It’s odd but I still find that keeping the three man Patrol out there provides a calming link back to my childhood games, my late Dad’s vanished flower garden and our shared playful interest in toy soldiers.

*

I liked the Borrowers scale thing, the threat of giant garden wildlife like snails and other minibeasts, the military birdwatching. RLS’ poem The Dumb Soldier captures this well – see also later for a brief quote from the poem:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/dumb-soldiers-the-past-and-future-of-garden-wargames/

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/11/29/lost-and-found-rls-the-dumb-soldier-2019/

*

I wrote a little about this garden before on this blog back in 2016 on a Garden Wargames post, from which I have taken some of these older photos:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/garden-wargames-1/

Bearing their battered sloppy childhood paintwork … my indoor desktop / travelling Three Man Patrol (TMP) of Airfix figures. About time they got some proper paintwork.

Usually I have used my most expendable pound store figures, as there was always the risk that dogs, lawnmowers and wildlife would trash the Patrol Post.

* Back in 2016 I was using what I now know were BMC clone US Marines

Retiring three man Patrol March 2021 in the latest OP building

The OP has changed from this safari / zoo animal walkway tower to an odd little house that I picked up about 15 years ago in a pet shop. Italian plastic, originally designed as a rodent hamster type house, sadly I have not seen them since. The label says Casetta per Criceti or a Hamster house (see B.P.S. Blog Post Script)

I liked it straightaway for its white walls and pantile roof. Instant Mexican cowboy town or Mediterranean village hut.

This pet shop where I found this house was a few doors away from a now closed independent pound store where I bought lots of pound store plastic soldier figure packs (Cowboys, Indians copies of Airfix with wagons, pirates, those 60s divers and sea creatures). Another pound store full of plastic tat, vanished and sadly missed …

I have always liked my Patrol or OP posts to have a certain kind of internal logic to them, otherwise they are just useless and silly. So as part of this, the pantiled roof house OP has a rigging type plastic ladder to the roof.

The boat at the foot of the cliff is their Patrol transport in and out of the situation and route of resupply, if not by air. A rope ladder links the house plateau with the river below. Supplies are winched up on ropes and stored in the house. It all makes its own kind of (non)sense.

The blue cowboy in my retiring three man Patrol in the pictures is one such Airfix clone, the blue speedboat in pictures below from a divers underwater play set kit. You got a lot more plastic tat for your pound 15 years ago.

The retiring Patrol after weeks to months in the field (in winter I forget don’t change figures as regularly) are a mix of figures, (what I now know are) some pirate cloned playset Tim Mee USA infantry, * the BMC clone US marine radio man and the blue Airfix clone cowboy. All expendable beach, garden or sandpit plastic figures.

Now in 2021, expendable plastic army men based on cloned Tim Mee, Airfix and BMC figures are being replaced by –

The incoming stores and Patrol of …

genuine new BMC Plastic Army Women.

Again in our new three woman Patrol we have:

    Female officer figure with binoculars and pistol
    Radiowoman or signaller (with no pistol)
    Sniper on the roof tiles

In my BMC Plastic Army Women Parazuellia Women’s Revolutionary Army figures that I painted for FEMbruary, I gave the unarmed Radiowoman a spare pistol in its holster from Airfix Multipose spares.

Having used up all these spare Multipose weapons, I noticed that there is a handy rifle on the trusty old Britains Herald Cowboy raft cargo boxes. That then is the weapon for the radiowoman – my internal logic says that is so.

A supply barrel (old barrel bead or button) is glued to slate to stop it blowing away. These stores will be packed away into the house whilst this new Patrol gets settled in.

The Cliff House OP: Bit of a Greek island feel here – blue pot, blue boat, whitewashed house …

The Patrol house OP has a handy removable red tile roof, but no closing doors or window – so I will assume that there are internal door and shutters. I like the ability to poke a toy soldier rifle out of the window. The house itself is expendable but this one has withstood many frosts and storms (sometimes the roof blows off in very bad weather!)

The Patrol house OP is a pale imitation of those excellent Timpo Wild West plastic buildings of our childhood that now go for such extortionate sums on eBay, even with the working closing doors missing. Timpo buildings would now be too old, brittle and valuable to be left outside in all weathers anyway.

At some point these patrols may mingle and we may have a mixed Co-Ed Patrol, out in the wilderness for weeks and months on end. For now, we will have single sex patrols.

Who knows what they will see, night and day in the wilds of the Yarden or Garden. We might need to alter RLS’ The Dumb Soldier slightly:

“She has lived, a little thing,

In the grassy woods of spring;

Done, if she could tell me true,

Just as I should like to do.

*

She has seen the starry hours

And the springing of the flowers;

And the fairy things that pass

In the forests of the grass.

*

In the silence she has heard

Talking bee and ladybird,

And the butterfly has flown

O’er her as she lay alone.”

*

Alone? Well, maybe not, as there are three highly trained and well equipped Plastic Army women out there anyway, but you may be alone on watch.

The travelling Box HQ three man team remain the same indoors and should now be in radio contact with the new three woman Patrol.

“Come in, Garden Patrol … come in, Garden Patrol.”

The retiring three man Patrol team await a debrief on their return, before a wash and brush up and some well earned leave.

That’s my family toy soldier tradition garden patrols, still going strong. I have come across Marvin at Suburban Militarism’s tradition of Christmas soldiers.

Anyone else have any strange toy soldier superstitions or strange family traditions to do with their toy soldiers?

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 13 March 2021

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

Below – some Casetta per Criceti or Hamster House examples online 2021, but not my exact pantile roofed example.

Hamster or mouse houses in wood or plastic – search around, there are some interesting small house examples online. Hamster or small rodent houses are a source of some possible garden wargames houses or cottages. They may prove an alternative to the converted bird box or the useful aquarium ornaments, something to look out for whilst browsing the pet store ?

Pound Store Plastic Warriors into Girl Scouts? Celebrating Juliette Daisy Gordon Low and the first Girl Scouts of America on this day 12 March 1912

Daisy’s biography and my 54mm pound store plastic soldier rough conversions to Girl Scouts

Celebrate an amazing woman Juliette ‘Daisy’ Gordon Low (1860-1927) and the Girl Scouts of America that she founded on this day in Savannah, Georgia, 12th March 1912.

The very first Girl Guides registered in Savannah, GA (Georgia, USA) were girls from the Savannah Orphans Asylum Girl Guide Troop.

Crossposted from our ongoing Tabletop Scouting Wide Games (and Snowball Fights) Project blog. This blog was set up by me (Mark Man of TIN) and Alan (Duchy of Tradgardland) Gruber before the Woking Little Wars Revisited Games Day 54mm last March 2020:

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2021/03/12/12-march-usa-girl-scouts-founded-by-juliette-daisy-gordon-low-1912/

The Pound store plastic warriors connection?

As few Girl Guide or Girl Scout miniatures exist in larger model scales, you have to make your own as we did using the cheapest and weirdest cloned toy soldier figures.

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2019/10/17/turning-cheap-pound-store-army-figures-into-boy-scouts-and-girls-scouts/

Crossposted by Mark Man of TIN, March 12th 2021.

FEMBruary BMC Plastic Army Women as the Revolutionary Woman’s Army of Parazuellia

Isobel Black as Captain Juanita Negra in The Magnificent Two 1967 (RareFilm)

Following up my recent viewing of the 1967 Morecambe And Wise film The Magnificent Two as potential games material –

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/03/05/the-magnificent-two-1967-imaginations-uniforms-the-womens-revolutionary-army-of-parazuellia/

I have finished the last gloss varnish of the 54mm new BMC Plastic Army Women in the guise of the Women’s Revolutionary Army of Parazuellia in time for FEMBruary’s end.

Gloss varnish finish for khaki and olive drab figures is a matter of taste. I wanted to achieve that gloss shiny toy soldier look, complete with cheek dots as if Britain’s or other hollowcast figure makers had carried on production past the early Sixties. Gloss varnish also protects the paintwork from the rough and tumble of the garden or the game table.

As these are Revolutionary forces from the Parazuellian ImagiNation of Central or South America, I am using darker than normal skin tones for these women. Usually when I paint darker skin tones, I use a gold or copper cheek dot, rather than flesh pink. Cheek dots add toy soldier style and some definition or highlights to the face.

I photographed them first on a white background outdoors.

The Women’s Revolutionary Army medical team with added Airfix multipose rifles or pistols.

Some shots taken outside show the wider range of random olive drab, khaki and green grey uniforms of these Revolutionary forces, along with the Red scarf. All paints are matt or gloss Revell Aquacolor Acrylic with Humbrol gloss spray varnish.

BMC team added a loose hair braid on this figure

Nicely modelled prone sniper, could also be converted into an LMG with Multipose Bren Gun

This grenadier or bomber now has an Airfix belt pouch or knapsack for her grenades

The uniform painting colour scheme is based on the film costume designs of Anna Duse (1908-1992) in The Magnificent Two film.

President Eric! One of the random Revolutionary Army vehicles – a Dingo scout car?

Some further uniform close ups from the RareFilm screengrab – tan uniforms are those of the President’s of Governmnet forces. Green are the revolutionary figures.

https://rarefilm.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/The-Magnificent-Two-1967.mp4.jpg

More uniform details of dress uniform and field uniforms of different colour greens and khaki.

I took a few literal ‘screenshots’ of the TV to grab some more uniform reference details, however fuzzy on pause. There are some excellent short glimpses of a women’s cavalry unit

Isobel Black on horseback as part of the Women’s Revolutionary Army cavalry section – note the rifle holder

Some of the standing figures with the utility KP ‘Castro’ Field caps might make good dismounted cavalry figures.

I have yet to use my remaining Airfix Multipose scrap to convert any BMC figure to ones wearing the British WW2 steel helmet or tin hat for the Women’s Revolutionary Army figures.

Margit Saad and Isobel Black wearing WW2 tin hats in The Magnificent Two.

Finally two odd figures added to the Women’s Revolutionary Army forces – a rare plastic 54mm female skateboarder figure from Toy Boarders / Vat19.

and a spare Rosie the Riveter figure from BMC – Rosita the Riveter? – prior to varnish

Next stop is to create some of the men’s Revolutionary Army figures and then some Government Troops in Tan from the much copied BMC and Timmee type pound store plastic figures.

Viva General Carla! Viva Torres!

Blog posted for FEMBruary by Mark Man of TIN 5 March 2021

The Magnificent Two 1967 ImagiNations Uniforms The Women’s Revolutionary Army of Parazuellia

Green Red and – (Isobel) Black, Revolutionary Captain Juanita Negra in The Magnificent Two (1967)

My Final FEMbruary 2021 female figure painting challenge figures are the new BMC Plastic Army Women in 54mm. In their 1950s / 60s uniforms, they reminded me of a childhood favourite comedy film.

Shiny gloss varnish is not the usual finish for khaki figures, but it’s the 54mm shiny toy soldier look I want for these BMC figures – and practical too for gaming and handling.

See more of these painted figures on my post here:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/03/05/fembruary-bmc-plastic-army-women-as-the-revolutionary-womans-army-of-parazuellia/

Amonongst my favourite Saturday films as a child was this 1967 Morecambe and Wise oddity, the last of their three films The Magnificent Two, set in the fictional (?South American? Mexican?) Republic of ParaZuellia.

Generic / Western / Cowboy / Mexican / South American architecture

Taking its title from the popular Magnificent Seven film (1960), you get a good flavour of this odd cowboy western town / war movie meets Carry On style comedy mash up in the short official Rank Film 1967 trailer here:

http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/1207253/synopsis.html

Screen captures for uniform research purposes from https://rarefilm.net

As the trailer boldly claims, the film is “A Saga of Fear. A Drama of Courage. the Time is Now. The Place – Campo Grande, Parazuellia, flashpoint of a troubled continent.

The synopsis or plot of the film

Mid 1960s: Two British Action Men travelling salesmen [Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise] arrive in Campo Grande in the (Central or South American?) country of Parazuellia to sell their goods.

During the train journey Eric accidentally opens a train door leading to the accidental death of the returning British educated Fernando Torres, the son of an assassinated Revolutionary president and figurehead of a revolutionary movement, and a government secret policeman who is trying to arrest him.

Upon arrival by train in the city of Campo Grande, Eric is mistaken by the revolutionaries for Torres. When they discover the death of the real Torres, they pay Eric and Ernie to maintain Eric’s impersonation of Torres to lead a revolution to oust the unpopular dictator President Dias.

However once the revolution is successful, Eric gains an inflated opinion of himself, promises lots of unaffordable reforms to the people and has to be “assassinated” by his own side in a myriad of absurd further comic plot twists and turns and betrayals.

Aided by chief of the women’s army General Carla (Margit Said), once he is “dead” Eric rescues the President’s young children (who were due to be executed by the revolutionaries). Morecambe and Wise then try to flee the country.

Having delivered the President’s children to the President’s secret hideout, a military museum in the forest on the site of a great Parazuellian victory in the past, they are then warned by Revolutionary Captain Juanita Negra (Isobel Black) that a mobile armoured column of the revolutionaries led by the shady General Carrillo (Virgilio Texera) have followed them.

The bizarre “Battle of Campo Grande” (as the trailer calls it) takes place and the few Presidential forces are bolstered by old cannons and by dummies from the military museum manning the battlements in true Beau Geste / Fort Zinderneuf style.

Wikipedia Source: British quad cinema poster by Arnaldo Putzu.

Captured by Carillo’s Revolutionary forces, Morecambe and Wise are rescued in the nick of time by General Carla, Capatin Juanita and the Women’s Revolutionary Army in an unexpected and not fully clothed tactical manoeuvre that befits a late 1960s British comedy in the style of the Carry On series …

This can be clearly seen on the trailer, various film posters including the one above and on IMDB.

This comically handled tactical manoeuvre, it could be argued, slightly undermines the film’s potentially late 60s feminist credentials.

My need for a colour scheme for these Revolutionary uniforms does not extend to the underwear, which for the record is camo khaki green, red or black in the revolutionary and national colours for the women. I’m not sure if the film dwells on that level of modelling information for all the characters beyond a white vest or khaki shirt and shorts from Eric and Ernie.

Somehow it’s quite abrupt ending parade not long after this Carry On moment is a curious mixture of Gilbert and Sullivan humour about ‘female troops’ (Princess Ida meets Castro’s Cuba) and “sisters doing it for themselves” 60s feminism.

Fifty years on from The Magnificent Two, we now live in a world where many armies worldwide have removed the bar or glass ceiling from allowing women into front line combat roles.

A more detailed, plot spoiler / synopsis from the BFI:

http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/1207253/synopsis.html

As a child what I most remember was the Action Men battle bit at the start (with some Britains 155 mm guns) and the larger Action Men joke of the Military Museum ‘Beau Geste’ dummies on the battlements trick. I liked watching Morecambe and Wise then, as harmlessly silly, and I still do.

Many people dismiss this and the trio of Morecambe and Wise cinema films from the Sixties as uneven and a box office flop.

I rather like the three Morecambe and Wise films in the way I prefer the early Sixties Bond movies to any of the others.

As one commentator or critic pointed out, it has a rather high body count for a comedy. It would be a proper blood and guts gritty western / War movie, if only Morecambe and Wise hadn’t blundered into it – therein is the joke.

Watching this again on DVD as an adult, I was intrigued by the fictional ImagiNations uniforms and equipment. The Parazuellian Presudentail forces of El Presidente Diaz (Martin Benson) wear American style sand coloured uniforms.

The ‘heroic’ Revolutionary forces of men and women wear American style Green uniforms, men with US green helmets and the women wearing British WW2 tin hats with a red revolutionary star on white circle badge.

Green and Tan 50s 60s US uniforms – what does this remind me of? This Magnificent Two film costume universe is like a large bag of cheap green and tan pound store play set figures and mismatched equipment writ large in its simple colour schemes. The film is a comic Little Wars of an American plastic playset of the 1960s.

1966 Action Man figure, just in time for this 1967 movie

That basic GI Joe cap from 1960s Action Men https://www.actionman.com/history.php

The American KP or Ridgeway utility peaked caps, as seen in the basic early Action Men / GI Joe, reminds me a little of Fidel Castro and his Cuban Guerillas, all part of the 1960s topical theme of the film https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrol_cap

An equally odd mix of equipment – British scout cars, trucks, American half tracks and jeeps, FN Armalite rifles, Vickers HMGs, Sten and Bren Guns – scraped together by the film company help to give the impression of the Government and Revolutionary forces using any equipment they can get their hands on.

Many of the lobby card images by The Rank Organisation are now copyright / licensed of Alamy, so I will not reproduce them here. The Rare Film photo montage gives a good flavour of the adapted uniforms.

The Film Set-tings

The station (based in a now vanished station from Longmoor Military Railway) and city set of Campo Grande can be seen on Reel Streets (set up by John Tunstill of the Soldiers Soldiers website – it’s a small world sometimes).

https://www.reelstreets.com/films/magnificent-two-the/

http://railwaymoviedatabase.com/the-magnificent-two/

As ImagiNations go, Parazuellia is obviously a mix of Paraguay, Venezuela and an “-ia” ending. (Presumably there is another nearby country called Vene-guay-a?) A further fictional South American country is mentioned: Urapania, made up of Uruguay and Hispania?

I am reminded strongly of the South American ImagiNations in the Gran Chapo War in Tintin’s 1930s The Broken Ear, based on the real Gran Chaco War.

Anyway it’s an enjoyable Saturday afternoon slice of childhood comedy nostalgia with some interesting possibilities of gaming scenarios with pound store figures and the new BMC Plastic Army Women figures.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 4 March 2021

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

The New Zenda / Ruritania for film makers in the 1960s was obviously South American revolutionary ImagiNations. Recently there have been some blogposts about Viva Max! a 1969 Peter Ustinov fronted ‘comedy Mexican’ screwball film plot about Mexicans retaking the Alamo in 1969. See the trailer here as the IMDB article is sparse:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065184/?ref_=tttg_tg_tt

The Mexicans in Viva Max! wear very similar desert tan uniforms to the Presidential army of Parazeullia. Red Green And White national colours and thinly disguised Mexican type National and Presidential flags crop up in The Magnificent Two. (IMDB Notes them as a blooper.)

IMDB Website Quotes for The Magnificent Two

Ernie: We’ll never sell anything here. I don’t suppose anybody’s got two pesos to rub together.

Eric: Maybe we picked the wrong town.

Ernie: The wrong town, we picked the wrong country! We were doing all right in Urapania until you had to open your big mouth. “Long live the President.”

Eric: How was I to know they’d just shot him?