Poundland Desert Warriors finished

 

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Modern infantry, oddly moulded or sculpted, original penny figures (100 for a pound) ready for conversion …

I am quite pleased with how my Desert Warrior conversions from Poundland penny soldiers (£1 for a tub or bag of 100) are shaping up so far.

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Tissue Paper and PVA added and first layer of white paint. Possible shields.

Several coats of white paint were required on the kitchen roll and PVA glue or the better alternative of tissue paper and PVA.

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Desert Warriors – Painted and based

For a penny each these 36mm plastic figures have lots of conversion potential although I have yet to try splicing one body onto another. It is quite hard plastic compared to Airfix figures.

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Desert warriors on a sandy (cork) background.

I enjoyed adding the brass or copper strips on the long barrels on the rifles or jezails of these hill and desert warriors.

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Desert or mountain rocky sandy base was in fact the base painted with flesh tint artists’ acrylic then quickly dipped in a small box of  red Devon beach sand, collected on a recent seaside trip.

I tried a very very weak or thin umber wash of acrylic to bring out the folds and shadows of the white desert robes, without losing the toy soldier look.

The warriors are not based on any one tribe – they are part Mahdist,  part Desert or Bedouin type ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ Arab Warrior and part Pathan North West Frontier hill tribe. They are destined for fighting in the distant deserts of  Farica or Generica.

Donald Featherstone was one inspiration for these figures, shown in my Man of TIN blog:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/desert-warrior-pound-store-plastic-warrior-conversions-inspired-by-featherstone/

My other inspiration for these desert warriors, apart from Featherstone’s tribesmen in Solo Wargaming, was an early 1970s childhood Ladybird book, Soldiers  by John West and illustrated by Frank Humphris.

The page on tribal warriors was pretty useful – I like the surprising 1970s Ladybird equality sentiment about:

Soldiers of other lands 

“Not all soldiers had regimental uniforms.

They were fighting men too.

They were just as brave.”

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A good book to draw inspiration from. 

The long rifles of the oddly moulded or copied original pound store modern troops suggested details or conversion possibilities like a long  Jezail type musket. Their bulky head gear or helmet looked oddly like a turban or the head scarf of a late 19th Century desert or hill  tribesman.

I need to run up two of three dozen more of these conversions for a suitable skirmish encounter. Then I need to make  some suitable red or khaki Colonial infantry as opponents.

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Colonial infantry uniform ideas in Ladybird Soldiers.

I have started work on some trial Colonial infantry figures such as this rough unfinished Redcoat engineer or signaller with a heliograph, crudely converted from a modern machine gunner. Kneeling artillery gunners are another conversion possibility for this figure.  Still some work to do on the heliograph.

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I look forward to trying some other tribesmen variations, more Pathan or more Mahdist, some more colourfully robed Airfix type Bedouin of Desert warriors, even a mysterious tribe of black cloaked Desert Warriors.

All for a penny each …

B.P. S. Blog Post Script 

I shall come back in another blogpost to this handy little 1970s Ladybird book Soldiers and its simple clear view of history and occasional sentiments about the waste of war.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN.

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Desert Warriors Conversions WIP

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Following a couple of posts on these small Poundland figures (100 for £1), I have started some new conversions – very much still Work in Progress  (WIP).

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The aim using tissue paper and PVA glue is to make full length robes and once painted white, you have Generican desert warriors.

These were inspired by the Pathans in Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming. The long jezail type rifles and bulky head gear suggest the weapons and dress of these mountain and desert warriors.

Some of the figures were converted using ordinary kitchen towel, but this is a bit bulky and textured. I will also try ModRoc next time. Once fully dry I will paint skin tones, weapons, shoes etc.

Simple shields from coffee stirrers or bronze coloured drawing pins will add greatly to the dancing figures with arms upraised. A touch of the Mahdist as well …

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 16 October 2017

Battle Ground figures

 

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Dramatic header artwork, reminiscent of all those WW2 story cartoon booklets  …

An online purchase last year from a vintage ex-shop stock supplier, at first I thought these were 54mm pirate copies. In fact they turned out to be OO/HO.

I was not disappointed as this meant I had some OO/HO copies of the larger Airfix Japanese Infantry to play with, pirated and pantographed down in size from 1:32.

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A motley collection of OO/HO copies of 1:32 Airfix copies of Japanese and American Infantry and Matchbox Germans. With extra added flash …

These were pretty ropey, poor quality  copies with extra flash and badly moulded weapons. Perfect for conversion then! Four bags full …

Because of the unusual nature of these Airfix Japanese figures in a small scale,  I think that they are worth trimming free of flash  and painting up as an Imagi-Nations army unit.

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Violently coloured and attractive pirate copies.

Hopefully I will be able to create some interesting new OO/HO figures for the American Civil War or for an Imagi-Nations army, such as I have done with the original 1:32 Airfix Japanese Infantry that I have repainted here.

 

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My Pippin Fort style Imagi-Nations troop paint conversions of 1:32 Japanese Infantry.

These Pippin fort figures were previously shown at my Man of TIN blog in June 2016 (link below here) and would feature well in the employ of any late 18th or 19th Century  Imagi-Nation:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/pound-store-wars/

 

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1:32 Airfix Japanese Infantry officer (copy) repainted and more modern radioman. 

Equally these OO HO Japanese figure copies could be used alongside Airfix Japanese Infantry OO/HO (still in production) to make ACW figures in kepis.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/confused-by-zouaves-some-airfix-acw-paint-conversions/

Another set of figures for winter 2017/ 2018 projects.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, on his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog  7 October  2017.

 

 

 

 

 

Ocean Adventure

 

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Ocean Adventure with divers, vehicles and sea creatures of many types.

 

In a previous blog post, we had ‘Western Adventure’ (Cowboys and Indians).

Today, from the same BJ Toys supplier, is a set that I purchased several years ago, we have ‘Ocean Adventure’.

So far I have failed to create any game that involves warring scuba divers, produced surely as a 1960s spin off from those James Bond movies with underwater battles.

I was attracted by the copy of the Britain’s two man submarine and in another set, the blue speedboat.

 

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Attractive packing header for ‘Ocean Adventure’
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An attractive cheaply and colourfully printed below the sea play mat or backdrop for ‘Ocean Adventure’.

 

Again this is another inexpensive set, no doubt designed  for the beach or bath tub, that is attractive to imaginative children of any age.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN (or cheap plastic tat), 10 September 2017.

 

Wild West Adventure

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Wild West Adventure Set packaging and contents

A recent end-of-season seaside visit yielded nothing new  in the way of plastic tat, just the usual current pound store plastic warrior offerings.

Last year the same row of seaside shops that yielded ‘space marines’ was empty of anything new:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/pound-store-space-marines/

This year some other shops were smaller or semi-closed for retirement. A few less suppliers of plastic tat …

No doubt when the current crop of pound store figures disappear from the shops I will regret not stockpiling more of them on the pound store plastic mountain.

I was surprised to see Cowboys and Indians (or Native Americans) retitled “Western Adventure” but these were (similar to) sets that I already have stockpiled for a rainy day from several years back.

I bought several sets about 5 or 6 years ago  more for the useful slightly below scale waggon and useful Britain’s lead style plastic palm trees than the pirate ‘China made’ clones of the Airfix Cowboy and Indian figures.

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No set is complete without a bright colourful plastic play mat with evidence of battle.
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More bright and colourful Wild West bag header packaging.

What was inside was well worth the £2 it cost a few years ago. A good starter pack for an imaginative child of any age!

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The contents of 7 Indians 7 cowboys, fencing, wagons, teepee and totem pole – and palm tree?

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 8 September 2017

Brian Carrick’s Big Wars

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Impressive Elastolin knights and castle pictured here.

“I can trace my Wargaming origins, as I suspect many of my generation can, back to the days of plastic toy soldiers and cannons that could fire matchsticks being sprawled out in full battle array across the living room floor. The days when Confederates and Germans (both being grey) took to the field against anything in green!”

So begins Brian Carrick in his article on “Big Wars: Nostalgic Wargaming”. He then went on to summarise H. G. Wells’ Little Wars rules, useful at a time when reprints were hard to come by and then outline the current erratic  state of figure availability.

I was intrigued by photos of Brian Carrick’s village of  Airfix Jungle Houses, Britain’s Deetail British Infantry Attack Boats  and a scratch built gunboat with Britain’s Lifeboat sailors.

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Close up of Brian Carrick’s scratchbuilt gun boat with Britain’s Deetail Lifeboat sailor crew, Deetail British Infantry attack boats and Airfix Jungle Outpost village.

I found this article in the Battle for Wargamers Military Modelling Extra Wargames Manual  really inspiring at the time it came out (1983) as I had not come across any serious adult gamers who used 54mm figures or the garden.

Gunboat envy and ‘whole village of Airfix jungle houses’ envy ensued.

Donald Featherstone’s Skirmish Wargaming,  borrowed from the local branch library, was too much of a mathematical rules puzzle of charts to me but I loved the illustrations, scenarios and photographs. They featured Airfix and other plastic figures that I had. I could one day sort of be like these giant gamers and gaming authors.

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I had the remains of one of these Airfix houses and the Figure. Britain’s Deetail Japanese?

Little did I realise at the time that one day 35 years later that I would be chatting on blog comment sections  about garden games  with the article author Brian Carrick through his fabulous Collecting Plastic Soldiers blog and the 54mm forum Little Wars Revisited.

Brian’s blog Collecting Toy Soldiers is at http://toysoldiercollecting.blogspot.co.uk

http://littlewarsrevisited.boards.net

Blog? Websites? Internet? Surprisingly this 1983  Wargames Manual did mention the word “Computer” on the cover and listed “machine gaming” amongst the articles.

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For me then, (war) gaming in many books and magazines was unattainable, glossy, expensive and for grownup wallets, a far cry from playing with the bashed-up Airfix at my disposal. A lot like the eye-candy front cover of this interesting manual / magazine extra.

Today there are a good range of 54mm plastic figures in many historical periods and still affordable buckets of Green Army Men. Despite the disappearing  number of toy shops, there are in pound stores or online lots of  ‘pirate’ or pound store figures (soldiers, cowboys, Indians, knights etc) at entry level cost for youngsters.

An impressive author’s list for this 1983 special edition edited by Stuart Asquith:

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My surviving uncut Free Cut Out Saxon Army centre insert from Standard Games.

At least there was a free Cut out Saxon Army – too precious to cut out at the time – and one lacking any opposition without buying more card warriors from Standard Games (a range now vanished?)  One day I will scan and make these Saxons. Paper soldiers have returned recently with Peter Dennis and Andy Callan’s attractive colourful card soldier series for Helion books.

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Inside were tempting adverts, the lure of grown up metal. I had already made my first forays into Peter Laing 15mm figures, a few English Civil War figures with my pocket money each month. I went for a historical range that Airfix sadly did not do.  Peter Laing kindly did not mind such small orders but I later bundled up several months pocket money worth of orders to save postage.

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Unattainable in price at the time were the home cast Prince August Moulds – “send £3.95 … for an 8 days trial …” These had to wait another 30 plus years until I stumbled over them again in a craft shop. Their range of “mould your own 54mm traditional toy soldiers” that I eventually fell for  was not yet mentioned here.

A fan of the Fighting Fantasy books from the library (“to take the left hand door to uncertain death, turn to page 37”), there was also the lure of Dungeons and Dragons. I was bought a D and D boxed set which I never understood. Interesting to see the introduction to Fantasy Wargaming article by a young John Treadaway, now Editor of Miniature Wargames. 

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This is a lifelong hobby, or one that you can return to throughout life. Although I have still to obtain the desirable games room and hex table shown here:

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Here to conclude is the whole article by Brian Carrick, reprinted with his permission:

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Big Wars – clever play on words on Little Wars and the by now enormous 54mm figure size.

Brian’s comments on erratic or faltering plastic 54mm figure availability were sadly true for many years until quite recently. “The decline of Airfix … the demise of Timpo … Britain’s  once famous range of guns now badly depleted.

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As Brian Carrick concludes his article,  Big Wars:

“… I should point out that there will be as many differing views as to the value of such games and how they should be played as there are 54mm gamers. I imagine this is largely because there is no representational body that I know of to develop this section of the hobby by the exchange of participants’ views.

I hope that this article will have provided the spark to kindle some interest in potential recruits to the ranks of 54mm Wargamers and perhaps provoke some comment from existing enthusiasts who, in the past, have had little voice in the hobby media.”

 

Big Wars PostScript:

When I contacted Brian to ask if he was happy for me to reprint his photos and article, he replied: “Gosh is it really 35 years since I wrote that! the pics weren’t very good I’m afraid …” but they made a big difference to a young gamer like me. They stopped me throwing out many of my childhood 54mm figures and chasing  proper small scale shiny fashionable metal as I got older, even when I stopped gaming for a few years (college, first jobs etc – usual story).

Thanks Brian for all you have done for 54mm gaming for many years past and for many years to come.

Blogposted with gratitude and reprinted with permission  by Mark, Man of TIN, June 30 2017

Heroscape duelling figures

IMG_0188Whilst they may not have come from a pound store, these plastic Heroscape figures were sort of free.

I bought two or three cheap bashed Master Set or Starter Kit boxes of Hasbro / MB (Milton Bradley) Heroscape: Rise of The Valkyrie for the interlocking plastic hex terrain pieces and along with two of the sets were the original 30 pre-painted figures per set.

I never quite understood or liked  the Heroscape rules system, but thought the prepainted figures worth keeping.

The different  Heroscape squads in this Master Set  are:

Izumi Samurai figures

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Mech figures –  Zettian Guards or Soulborgs, led by giant mech Deathwalker 9000.

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Krav Maga agents from Earth – FBI or X Files type government agents led by Agent Carr with his Sword of Reckoning. Some extreme corsetry going on here!

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Alien Marro figures from the Planet Marr (obviously).

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Centre top is Ne-Gok-Sa (beware his Mind Shackle powers) and his Marro Warriors from the Planet Marr.

 

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‘Elite Airborne’ WW2 American based figures

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More Airborne Elite figures. The one with  the samurai sword and ‘Grapple Gun’  (?!) is Hero Character figure Sgt. Drake Alexander.

Fantasy type Tarn Viking Warriors who go berserking!

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Fantasy Heroscape Vikings with a touch of chunky Asterix in the middle? Otherwise known as Thorgrim the Viking Champion. (Centre) Raelin The Kyrie Warrior with wings and to her right, Finn the Viking Champion.
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Fantasy Elf archer Unique Hero Sylvarris  from  Feylund  and a (steampunk goggle wearing?) Tarn Viking warrior.

The original figures come with game character cards listing movement, weapons ability etc. But if you are not playing ‘the game’ as designed, you can make all this up yourself.

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Heroscape game character cards – examples of front and back.

There is more about the original Heroscape game at

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/11170/heroscape-master-set-rise-valkyrie

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heroscape

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Heroscape_supplements

https://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/HeroScape_Figure_List

I like the crazy mix of periods and characters, a bit of time trickery  much like the BBC TV episode and book Doctor Who: The Wargames  and also the Time Conquistadors game on Vicky’s Crazy Wargames World blog.

http://crazywargames.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/time-conquistadors.html

This is summed up well on the Wikipedia entry:

“At its essence, Heroscape is an epic battle between and among characters from multiple cultures, periods, and genres, taking place on a three-dimensional gaming surface of various elevations and terrain types. Although the game manual contains ideas for scenarios, many players combine multiple sets of terrain tiles to create large playing surfaces, and develop their own house rules and custom scenarios.”

“The heroes are inspired heavily by popular science fiction and fantasy, as well as the Old West, the Roman Empire, ancient Greece, feudal Japan, the Scottish highlands, the Nordic sagas, American history, medieval Europe, and classic mythology, among others. A single team may consist of heroes from many genres, with dragons, elves, robots, angels, demons, vampires, werewolves, dinosaurs and wizards fighting alongside (and against) soldiers, vikings, knights, samurai, cowboys and futuristic agents and more, including various forms of animal life, such as wolves, spiders, and serpent-like vipers.” Wikipedia entry for Heroscape

 

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Heroscape – Measuring up against 54mm Britain’s?

In terms of scale or size, the Heroscape figures measure in at around 35mm excluding base.

This doesn’t quite match any other figures I have and may be part of the reason why many people didn’t warm to the game despite several relaunches. If you launch your own scale, the chance of using other maker’s ranges are reduced. You can both dominate and limit your own market and audience in this way.

However as ‘free’ figures they work quite well for my duelling games for example.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/heroscape-duelling-in-the-garden/

The game has its own fans (Heroscapers or Scapers) and fan website, with many figure conversions and fan-derived rules extensions to keep their game fresh: https://www.heroscapers.com/community/blog.php?u=2

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Heroscape Tarn Vikings on their natural games terrain of these stackable hexes, the reason I bought these second hand master or starter sets.