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 ...
Mid February 2018 – the same UK pound bought you only 70 troops.
The Epic Battles are now slightly smaller. Watch this space for Further Defence Cuts. (February 2018)
Poundland Defence Forces Update late 2018
Mid to late 2018 – The Epic Battles tubs of 100, sorry 80, sorry 70 figures are now none! Now is the time to invade Poundland … other than a few jointed 6 inch action figures, which don’t really count.
Pound Land is now defenceless. They have no troops left.
Do not be alarmed – these penny dreadful figures can be found in various packs online if you search.
The only Pound Store figures in Pound Land (UK) were these chunky blind bag / box Awesome Little Green Men – I bought three £1 boxes ‘on spec’ (December 2018) to see what these were. Going going gone January 2019 … now series 1 is ‘unavailable’ these collectibles are worth £5 to £6.
2018 started with the disappearance of the old UK pound coin, traded in at Poundland for more ‘penny dreadful’ toy soldier tubs. These steadily decreased from 100 figures (32mm-ish) for £1 to 80 figures, 70 figures and then gone in my local stores for now… Poundland Defence Cuts!
First rule of Pound Store Plastic Warriors: Buy ’em when you see ’em! They won’t be there next week / month / year / visit.
Above top – from early 2018 – an unfinished blog post photo of a raremismould amongst these cheap Poundland penny-ish figures, destined for elite sub machine gun and Commando beret use. No mismould left behind!
December was an Advent Calendar of tiny blogposts using up unfinished drafts and 12ish days of Twixmas into the New Year. Time for some …
Pound Store Plastic Warriors has a few of its own unfinishedblogposts including this one about my uniform sketches for a retro toy soldier look for cheap plastic modern figures. A kind of Postmodern Jukebox approach for plastic tat?
One of the challenges of painting up Imagi-Nations from a motley combination of pound store plastic warriors, homecast and repaired hollowcast metal figures is a coherent uniform scheme that can unify the diverse figures into different armies or groups.
Occasionally as an Airfix child I dream of the restrictive but comforting safe joys of real historical uniforms and their painting guides – and then do my own thing anyway!
In the spirit of H.G. Wells in Little Wars, I started with Army Red and Army Blue.
Reference note: I drew these sketches in 2017/18 before discovering the much more ‘official status’ of the Funny Little Wars army lists and colours.
I stumbled across this curious game whilst searching the web for new cheap sources of Pound Store Plastic Warriors for conversion into gaming pieces.
Usually nicknamed Assume Positions!, readers of Harry Pearson’s 2007 gaming memoir AchtungSchweinhund! will know this game as Airfix Charades, played at some gaming conventions (probably without so much of the drinking involved).
Now for some words and phrases in screenshots that do not normally appear on this blog …
So roughly the ‘game’ works like this:
The Stag or hen drinking party leaders, (bride, groom, best man etc.) give out a random toy soldier figure (from a cheap online or Pound Store source) to each person. When someone shouts AssumePositions or blows a whistle, everyone assumes and holds their figure pose. This is potentially a non-drinking game within a drunken night out. However presumably some play with the last one in assumed position pays a penalty or receives a forfeit (probably alcohol).
Warning: Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog endorses responsible drinking.
I mention this having encountered stag and hen parties (even by day) in various towns.
The game vaguely works because of the standardised types of ‘Toy Story’ familiar Green Army Men, the many cheap plastic clones of these Airfix and American old figures and their outlandish and often useless poses. This range of weird poses was a theme explored more by Thor Sheil on his toy soldier site.
What a quick web search on the Assume Positions topic does provide is a quick cross section or photo reconnaissance flight across the many types of cheap plastic pirated Pound Store figures around over the last few years.
Some stag do sites or quirky eBay suppliers even do business supplying small packets of varied poses.
It could also be a new scenario for the next Toy Story, how these tiny toy soldiers might end up abandoned in various unlikely urban venues. Maybe this is the new modern urban version of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier?
The ułtimate Assume Positions is to buy the fancy dress Green Army Men Toy Soldier costumes with their inflatable toy guns. You could look like this …
However during a heightened terror threat recently, Cheshire Police had to respond to reports of armed men in a city centre and confiscate their plastic guns.
As the writer on the Bless You Emporium EBay website points out, this is potentially a non-drinking game.
I end with more from the first image on this blog post, the colourful assembled toy soldier variety gift sets on EBay from the grandly named BlessYou Gift Emporium. I took a screenshot of their game and figure descriptions for reference as I found it a quirky outsider view of toy soldiers.
So there you are, a New Year’s Eve round up of plastic toy soldier photos. Who doesn’t like looking at these?
Time to head off and make up this year’s New Gaming Year Irresolutions for my hobby year ahead that as usual I have little intention of keeping.
Happy New Year’s Eve from Mark at the Man of Tin blog and Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 31 December 2018.
Or “Where did you get that tat, where did you get that style?”
Regular reader CT asked in the comments section, after reading my link to the DeathZap! Blog post: “Where on earth do you find this stuff? Please answer in your blog”
Answer 1: Portal sites
Where I find interesting new sites featuring Pound Store Plastic figures and budget wargaming ideas partly comes down to spending far far far too much time searching the web for similar and inspiring blogposts, starting out at great portal sites and bloggers such as Bob Cordery at Wargaming Miscellany and Ross MacFarlane at Battle Game of The Month.
Everyone has their own regular or portal sites. From there, I push on exploring other people’s blog rolls and favourite websites. Some blog sites used to have a random button at top for ‘next blog along’, which turned up interesting new blogs and bloggers.
I don’t regularly buy any gaming or Toy Soldier magazines, although if I do find them in larger branches of newsagents, I usually quickly scan through the contents pages to see if it is worth buying that month. More money for figures and hobby materials!
There is a quirky and interesting little book by Iain Dickie, former editor of Miniature Wargames, which is now out of print but widely and cheaply available online secondhand, called Wargaming on a Budget. Well worth tracking down.
Answer 2: the simple joy of cheap plastic tat from Pound stores
Sometimes bloggers who are into similar scales or sources of figures find me; for example, the Wargaming Pastor behind the Death Zap! Website contacted or followed me. Checking out his website I noticed the same Poundland penny dreadful figures that I have been busy this year converting into various different gaming figures. So I put a link to his site, emails followed …
Sadly my local Poundland shop no longer stocks these handy tubs of figures for a penny each. They are available bagged on various online sources, slightly more expensively. I stocked up on a few tubs as the numbers of figures began to drop from 100 to 80 to 70 figures per £1 tub in Poundland stores.
That seems to be the ruleofthumb for cheap pound store, toy shop and seaside plastic figures. They often aren’t around for long, maybe just for one season, so best stock up on lots when you see them! At such cheap prices compared to metal gaming figures, it is daft not to stock up. You never know when they might come in handy. You might not see them again ever or at least for a long while.
Playsets give you a range of figures and accessories with the slight charming complication that they often do not match in scale.
Car boots, jumble sales, charity shops, online auction site job lots, supermarket or online “party bag” or “party favours” sections, cake decoration sites, all have been a source of cheaper plastic figures.
Answer 3 – Serendipity and geography of Tat
Different parts of the country seem to have different figures in stock, different countries have different pound, euro or dollar store figures.
Plastic Tat Envy? What isn’t easily or cheaply attainable in your own part of the world always looks more interesting, but often the shipping or postage is off putting on a budget.
How cool the Tim Mee Galaxy laser team space figures look, but they are currently not easily available in the UK, likewise some other cheap American historical figures.
You make do with what is available – that is half the challenge!
Doug Shand’s pirated Airfix Australian clones are not available in the UK but he makes great conversion use of them.