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 found a small cache of these old disused flexible fridge magnets being thrown out at work, so before they were binned, I snaffled or scrounged them (with permission).
I have recycled them into either figure basing strips or the magnetic strips on the bottom of toy Soldier storage boxes, as the magnetic polarity ‘thing’ goes.
After peeling the shiny advertising paper label off, they are thin enough to easily cut with scissors. This has saved a pound or two on magnetic self adhesive tape and also saved a tiny patch of landfill.
Blog posted by Mark the scrounging Man of TIN on 12 May 2019.
I spotted these lovelies in a seaside plastic gift shop whilst looking for plastic pirates and other plastic ‘tat’.
Into my Pound Store modelling brain leapt the thought – steampunk airship bodies? Silver and bronze and wood panelled?
Civil War Paddle Steamer bodies, reversed and given some planking at rear?
They wind up well and on a smooth wood floor just keep rumbling for a long time along like speedy WW1 era landships.
These will all need a jolly good wash before painting, so they may have some proper launching, sea trials and naval manoeuvres first (otherwise known as “putting them into the bathtub”). Just to clean them up you understand …
My steampunk brain started working overtime on the dirigible possibilities of wiring on a plastic bottle ‘gas barrage balloon’ and fixing the whole on a stand. Maybe Steampunk Submarines and Paddle steamers will be easier.
A bevy of WAAF style balloon handlers might be required for such dirigible beasts (they were not nicknamed ‘pigs’ by their WAAF crews just because of their shape). So far Bad Squiddo only does suitable crews in the form of WW2 Ack Ack searchlight Girls in 28mm, which may be a little small?
This whole airship business might be because I have just finished the second MortalEngines book by Philip Reeve and have the third one lined up.
Post apocalyptic / Futuristic ‘Municipal Darwinism’ (city eats city, town and suburbs). Steampunk with strong echoes of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Star Wars. Airships, mech troopers, predator cities on gigantic caterpillar tracks, submarine ice breakers … what’s not too like? (Did I mention Steampunk enough?)
It’s not a million pulp or steampunk miles away from the Edwardian to 1930s era Scout ‘Wide Game’ ideas over on my sister channel, the Man of TIN blog.
They will hopefully compliment my Flash Gordon style 1930s airship or starship troopers converted from Pound Store 32mm plastic figures
Distracting Cheap plastic joy! More tat for the painting table?
Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on 6 May 2019.
BPS – Blog Post Script
I have yet to see the much maligned Peter Jackson directed Mortal Engines movie, as I became too busy near Christmas to see it in the cinema. I will catch up with it on DVD soon. Watch the Trailer here: https://youtu.be/IRsFc2gguEg
The YouTube and internet phenomenon that is the unboxingvideo is still a bit of a puzzle to me.
Different from a finished, made-up kit review or playset review, this is watching someone unpack their latest present or purchase. Unless you want to see what is in a particular box set, it could be pretty dull.
However unpacking a bits box or job lot of Broken Britain’s figures (not just Britain’s but of all makers and scales) is a genuine rummage into the unknown. In the words of Forrest Gump about Life as a box of chocolates, “you never know what you gonna get.”
I received as presents from the family four shoeboxes of toy soldier odds and ends that I had stowed away for Christmas, some old, some new, some red, white and blue (two packs of the BMC Yorktown 54mm figures).
Box number 4? I took a bit of a gamble bidding £30 or so on this small child’s suitcase of mixed toy figures, having glimpsed one or two interesting figures.
What treasures can you see?
I spotted a Wendal aluminium Toytown soldier figure or two – including the hobbyhorse for the Toytown Officer but was the Officer included and unbroken?
This could have been a box of brittle decaying plastic tat.
I was pleasantly surprised – this box of surprises formed box number 4 of my Christmas toy soldier presents.
Share with me this owl pellet of figures and toy bits, as I unpack this scrappy bits and bobs and scrapings of someone else’s toy box.
I was a bit worried that I had bought an expensive box of broken and brittle plastic tat but this unbroken little red phone box seems to be worth more (based on other ebay listings) than the suitcase worth.
I still find it exciting and interesting to find new figures that I don’t have or have never seen for real.
Before job lots or individual figure sales online, it was difficult to affordably find such figures, locked up in a slightly older generation’s toy boxes and biscuit tins in the loft.
This fascination probably dates back to the mid 1960s when my late Dad bought a box of odds and ends random plastic figures from the family next door for our family toy box, their boys having outgrown them. Some of these were always at odds with our staple Airfix 54mm figures. Many were mysterious because they were no longer in the toy shops. Some of the larger 60mm cowboys and Beton WW2 were an oversized oddity, less used. However the different handfuls of a few 54mm figures by Crescent and a handful (literally) by other manufacturers such as Lone Star Harvey became some of my elite troops and command figures.
The two Toytown figures again, if bought separately online, are worth more than I bid for the suitcase of figures. The child’s small suitcase that it all came in is useful for storage.
I hope you enjoyed sharing with me the joy of discovery. There are some useful figures and bits and bobs for the gaming table along with some more interesting figures for rotating into my few wall mounted display cabinets. Figures off such ‘parade’ duty go back into those stout plastic Really Useful boxes for a rest.
Hope you enjoyed this Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog unboxing blogpost.
Posted by Mark Man of TIN blog on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, March 2019.