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 ...
I quite like the oddly phrased Soldiers of the Combat, a slightly weird translation maybe?
Trying to control my plastic mountain, I have simply taken a screenshot of these.
The usual slightly out of scale play set stuff – a small boat, a Jeep, a tank, the usual flag and flag stand, some greenery perhaps and a mixed assortment of copies of Matchbox / various maker’s WW2 figures.
Difficult to work out sizes without actually parting with cash, but they look the smaller 20-30mm size.
Different sets, different colour figures, different countries or armies, even if they do seem to get stuck with the same flag in several sets.
I’m sure as a young lad, I would have thought that these would be (what is now a pound or two) pocket money or holiday money well spent, giving many happy hours gaming, compared to the pocket money alternative of ‘all gone’ 70s favourites of crisps or sweets.
I’m sure these will do very well as party bag or stocking fillers.
Enough screenshot eye candy.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on the Pound Store Plastic Warriors Blog, Longest Day, 21 June 2022.
Previously from Toys for a Pound online, their 2020 and 2021 offers:
James deleted a parallel blog of the same name that he stopped using in 2011 but this oddly has made his continuing blog not viewable in a search other than through a Google image search and mentions on other blogs.
On the bright side he has finally fixed the follow mechanism (top left menu) so it is easier to find and follow.
His new blog header gives a glimpse of a well-stocked games room of shelves and display cabinets full of toy soldiers.
Alonng the side menu (three lines on top left) with the follow button, there is a date archive of posts going back to 2011.
I have been following this blog since 2016 and enjoy James’ madcap conversions of battered plastic 54mm figures into colourful characters for his ImagiNations and fantasy games. It’s the sort of thing I sometimes do here on my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog here from time to time.
Quantrill’s Toy Soldiers blog also gives a glimpse of Toy Soldier collecting in Australia, such as the recent post on the ACOTS Australian Collectors of Toy Soldiers meeting 2022.
Dozens of photos of old toy soldiers in plastic or lead, a feast for the eyes. They also got an ACW game or two in as well. Looks just like a mini “Plastic Warrior Show” in Australia!
Two slow burner female figures that have been stalled on the Painting Table but finally finished for #FEMbruary 2022, that celebration of the believable female figure in our modelling and gaming collections.
#FEMbruary 2022 figure No. 1 this month featured an introduction to #FEMbruary and this skater girl,
#FEMbruary 2022 figure No. 2 – The Generic Empress or Queen
You can glimpse the Empress / Queen in black undercoat on my painting table at the back of this picture and the Ladybird book inspiration for the costume colours.
On the New Year rule of “painting what I have in hand”, I used this joblot-acquired or gifted figure of an Empress figure that could be “Queen Elizabeth The First” but is more likely to be Catherine the Great in 54-60mm brown plastic.
With this impressive Sceptre, she could also be a Queen or Empress of Syldavia in King Ottakar’s Sceptre in the Tintin books, bearing the pelican sceptre.
With impressive enough ‘man boob’ armour, I though it might convert easily enough into a Cate Blanchett type Galadriel or Queen Elizabeth at Tilbury type figure.
Literally a Copper Top, as I used my favourite bright gloss acrylics for the shiny toy soldier look from Revell Aquacolor of Orange and copper highlights!
A tissue paper and PVA skirt was added as no self-respecting queen would show off her legs in such martial manly attire!
The visual inspiration was Cate Blanchett’s Tilbury speech from her Elizabeth The Golden Age film. Trailer / clip on YouTube here.
I was also imagining her with a bow, rather than sword, as it also has the classical Amazon overtones or huntress iconography of Diana and Artemis.
Anyway its all just more classical and Tudorbethan Imagi-National propaganda for my Arma-Dad’s Army project! I love this Holy Grail / Monty Python-esque type muster of troops on the clifftops, again useful for Armada era uniform details.
Some screenshots from the Trailer / clip for uniform and colour reference.
My final #FEMbruary female figure (No. 4) will be out of this world … watch this space! (Two clues there).
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 23/24 #FEMbruary 2022
One of those presents put away on the Christmas presents shelf for this Christmas … and well worth the wait!
I like old toy shop packaging and this Battle Ground Military Series pack caught my eye online on EBay a few months back for £5, one pack opened and one still in the pack.
I can’t put a date on this box of Matchbox 1:76 German Infantry copies but it’s obviously post 1976 when these Matchbox figures came out. I only have a few surviving original ones from the time, so they inexpensively fill a gap.
They have a CE mark on the lower right hand corner as well as on the importer label, the CE mark about origin or toy safety is more modern than the 1970s /80s and standard in the EU area from 1993 onwards. So probably 1990s …
There is a maker’s or packager’s company logo of an H? in the top left corner which I don’t recognise. The figures themselves have no Hong Kong or China base markings.
The vibrant flaming orange packaging reminds me a little of today’s ‘Combat Force’ type pound store figure packaging.
In the cheerfully bizarre way of cheap copies and playsets, the packaging images showing vaguely WW2 to Vietnam era American soldiers but this is not matched by the content of German WW2 figures in dark green plastic but oddly does match an American flag!
Oddly included in the pack are some tiny walk-in talkie radiomen.
Accompanying this unopened blister pack was the contents of an opened pack, mixed in with a handful some Airfix American Infantry copies (copies of which still around today).
These look like they have got jumbled in from elsewhere, as I can see no such American figures inside the unopened pack.
Adding to the impression that this is someone’s jumble of figures, a much older stray metal diecast anti-aircraft gun (on a circular vehicle mounting?) with nice elevation gearing is mixed in with the bundle.
Anyway some cheap and cheerful recruits for the toy soldier box …
This charity shop find of a couple of dozen bashed figures came to me as a gift from family.
I imagine they are the ragtag odd mixed bag of someone’s small army. Enough to make two small army squads of red-brown / tan versus everyone else?
They are obviously battle scarred and playworn veterans!
I found these figures interesting as they are mostly copies of Airfix and Matchbox figures. As they have slowly being copied (in Hong Kong / China?) over the last forty plus years, they have slowly shrunk and changed into different figures.
Not a maker’s mark among them either.
Airfix Eighth Army figures are 40mm – 50mm
In the same mixed parcel was other Matchbox copies and a couple of small but slightly larger Airfix copies, shown next to the smaller cousin. I have included the sole probably genuine Airfix figure, the 54mm German submachine-gunner figure for scale.
These bashed and limbless Matchbox copies were around in seaside pound shops c.2007 and still seem to emerge from time to time, getting thinner and more brittle (hence the missing limbs?)
These limbs and weapons might need a little repairing.
These white copies of Airfix German Infantry are slowly changing into squat Generic Infantry. The distinctive “coal scuttle” stalheim helmet is changing, becoming oddly more British or American.
The lying down figure who used to feed the Light Machine Gun is now a distinct figure in its own right, the magazine box in the right hand for the LMG has morphed into a very strange object in its own right.
The officer figure is getting shorter and squatter but still full of character!
Some nice modern American troops and Officer, one or two a bit bashed.
These look like TimMee / BMC / Toy Story sort of stuff. I like the baggy clothes and helmet covers.
The other figures are a curiously mixed bunch of figures and sizes, again with the 54mm Airfix German for size comparison.
Some Matchbox American Infantry copies in two different sizes and colours, and a few of those modern US Infantry / Rambo types.
Lining them up in height order from 54mm Airfix at the right shows how they have shrunk and thinned down over the years of copying.
Last but not least, one of those handy Khaki figures that could be a modern desert warrior, Special Forces / SWAT team or space marine.
Toy Soldiers is an intriguing and funny little film, only six minutes long, made in Canada in 1999 (based around a toy soldier poem or anecdote by Al Rae), all about a young Al’s desire to own a certain rare cereal box toy soldier Teutonic Knight to complete his collection.
Synopsis – “A young boy, desperate to complete his set of toy soldiers, betrays a friend to get what he wants.” Creative team – Writer/producer: Catherine May Director: Jackie May
The figures are familiar Timpo figures, displayed on egg box plinths
Union American Civil War, Waterloo British, Indian Chief, Arab Warrior, Confederate Civil War, American War of Independnce British, Eighth Army, Waterloo Scots Piper, Waterloo Prussian …
and to complete the set the long sought Teutonic Knight who lived at the top of a Lego stand at the house of Brian, young Al’s rival collector who has a complete set.
These Timpo figures were familiar figures from my 1970s childhood, bought in Action Packs and recently reissued by Toyway (now shut).
Glasgow born poet writer and film actor Al Rae (who narrates the film and plays himself as an adult) now lives in Canada and is now known as Lara Rae, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lara_Rae “Lara Rae (born 1963 in Glasgow, Scotlan), formerly known as Al Rae, is a Canadian comedian, best known as the longtime artistic director of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and as a performer on the CBC Radio One comedy series The Debaters…”
Living in the West Country or the Southwest U.K., you are never that far from the sea. And what does that mean? Seaside gift shops! Plastic Pirates!
A close up of the contents, still with the fearsome pirate stickers. I removed these carefully and put them away in the bits box.
Close up (below) of its box mounting which is attractive and atmospheric in itself, with something of the toy theatre or theatrical backdrop about it. A touch of Tolkien or fantasy even?
The pirate boat or ship (what is the difference?) looks even better without most of its stickers.
It also comes with two giant pirate figures, around 60mm+, of which more anon.
The inclusion of figures (and out of scale ones) is obviously what makes a pirate ship into a play set.
If I were designing this pirate ship playset, I would turn two oversized figures into 5 or 6 smaller figures of pirate crew, seamen or prisoners including maybe the odd female pirate or pirate treasure chest. Obviously the smaller the figures, the more risk that they will be lost or swallowed. Solution: Best not let children near them and reserve these play sets for adults? 🙂
I quickly tried the ship out for size with a smaller sized crew.
A smaller crew of 15mm Chinese and other Pirate figures (below) …
Slightly larger scale crew (below) – old lead sea captain aloft and pound store plastic c. 32mm conversion figures on the deck.
And slightly in between (below) – 20mm Jacklex Mexicans to hand for scale … the Mexican Navy!
The ship’s figurehead is a delightful oddity, a winged male or female figure,
A curious figurehead of almost modernist or modern art strangeness.
The large scale pirate figures are roughly factory painted. Oddly or unfairly, the balding figure is unarmed, not even a cutlass for sword fights?
Britain’s old and new 54mm figures for size comparison with these larger pirates.
This ship and crew cost the princely sum of £9.99. So I bought two …
Not quite pound store prices. However, making one of these ships would take quite a long time, so this price seems a fair trade.
Pirate ships – an interesting conversion and painting project to convert this into a useful sailing boat or pirate ship for the tabletop for the autumn or winter.
logposted by Mark Man of TIN! Ahoy! 18 September 2021
There has been much focus on the dangers of Single Use Plastic (SUP) at the seaside, ending up on the beach or in the ocean affecting marine wildlife. Look after your pirate ship to make it RUP – Repeated Use Plastic!