Celebrate World Mental Health Day

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Huzzah for the tiny plastic men (and women) who keep us all healthy! 

Celebrate the contribution of our wonderful hobby and hobby community to positive mental health on World Mental Health Day today –

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/10/celebrate-your-hobbys-contribution-to-world-mental-health-day-10-october-2019/

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Blog crossposted from Man of TIN blog, 10 October 2019 World Mental Health Day.

 

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Instant Airfix Featherstone WW2 by the Death Zap! Wargaming Pastor

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Attractively improvised game and games table (I’m sure Little Wars / Floor Games author HG Wells would  approve) with Featherstone rules, scrambled together by the Death Zap!  blogger The Wargaming Pastor: 
https://thedeathzap.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/instant-ww2

These pictures recapture the spirit of the games of my youth.

Enjoy! Blog posted by Mark  Man of TIN, 28 September 2019

Hello and Farewell to the Horses

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British Heart Foundation pound bags of random horses and some new reading

Too likely to rain to do any homecasting in the garden so I headed to the coast. In a nearby seaside town I found no new seaside shop plastic soldiers but two charity shop ‘pound bags’ of random plastic toy horses.

Oddly one of the newish paperbacks that caught my eye today is German author Ulrich Raulff’s history book / memoir ‘Farewell to the Horse’ (2015) about the changing relationship of horses over the last century or so. Translated into English by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp,  it was published in the U.K. by Penguin 2017/18 https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/294/294612/farewell-to-the-horse/9780141983172.html

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Some of the smaller horses – 2nd and 3rd row from top are mostly Airfix OOHO horses
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Bottom right some Airfix OOHO 20-25mm horse, pony and French infantry figures for scale, alongside some Pound Store 32mm-ish figures – a little too big?

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When making my Pound Store conversions, Doug Shand in the comments asked about horses for making these cheap figures into cavalry. I tried casting some Prince August Holger Erikkson forty millimetre scale horses. A bit too big and wide. I scoured the internet for cheap horses but it was difficult to find any I judged from pictures to be the right scale.

I think the larger horses are closer in size to 28 to 30mm figures than my Pound Store 32mm-ish conversions, unless you want big troops or natives on small ponies.

I placed several Spencer Smith metal and plastic horses and infantry on or alongside the horses to see if they were suitable. Some figures like the AWI tricorne officer might work on horseback. However Spencer Smith already do perfectly good cavalry. I have few 28mm figures but put a WW2 Russian female officer from Bad Squiddo on horseback for comparison.

As with all toy horses, many of them have no base and do not stand up on their own. The smaller ones (smaller than most of the Airfix ones) may be slender OO railway modelling horses (and the solitary cow).

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The bizarre non-equine extras – a kneeling cow, a statuesque duck and random prehistoric reptile / fish. Duck cavalry anyone?

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Farewell to the Horse?
The horse book (being partly based in Germany) should be interesting to read in relation to the email comments that Tony Adams at The Miniature Wood Screw Army has made to me about the Not Quite Mechanised state of the horse drawn German Army of WW2, compared to the more motorised transport of the armies of Britain, France and America. Amptly illustrated here on these online forums:

https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=132&t=152124&sid=88c88e726c705a885e3e80b76d8088a9

http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/german-horse-drawn-transport-and-other-nations.6088/

Not a bad haul for a grey mizzly day by the sea. A little money gone to charity, a little less plastic tat gone to landfill. Single use plastic? Not this stuff, as it’s at least second owner.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on 21 September 2019.

New 54mm Prince August toy soldier moulds planned

 

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Exciting new Prince August 54mm home cast moulds planned 

Crossposted from my Man of TIN blog – home casts are not as cheap as Pound Store Plastic Warriors but a good source of heads and arms and these should prove a different  home cast complement to cheap plastic figures?

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/14/new-prince-august-54mm-homecast-toy-soldiers-planned/

 

BMC Plastic Army Women Update No. 3 September 2019

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A quick update from his most recent newsletter https://bmctoys.com/blogs/news/bmc-toys-plastic-army-women-project-update-3 on how Jeff Imel and his BMC Plastic Army Women Project is coming along, with tweaking of more realistic hairstyles under the GI style helmet and consideration of first and future poses.

It sounds like the first four female poses might be available in the US by “Christmas 2020”.

Hopefully they will be available in the U.K. without too heavy international shipping costs.

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The Good Guys and The Bad Guys?
Fascinating to watch the American News Channel interviews with Jeff Imel of BMC in his workshop and the young American girl who wrote to him about “why no Plastic Army Women?”, as she shows at home off her collection of plastic figures including the “bad guys” led by a skeleton and the “good guys”.

Thinking of Mitchell and Webb in their famous “Are We The Baddies?” WW2 sketch, this is what many of our historical and fantasy games so often boil down to – the good guys versus the bad guys (if you take sides, that is).

This is some part of the spirit of simple gaming that I aim to recover in my hobby. I’m sure H.G. Wells would approve of these ground-level plastic Little Wars, which he described as “a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books”. Plastic Army Women would of course add an extra dimension to this Wellsian Floor Games mix.

Back to the figure designs:

It is fascinating to see the female figures evolving through the concept drawing into the early sculpt stage, shown here in these BMC copyright drawings (screenshots from the BMC website and email newsletters).
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After showcasing the revised female officer figure, Jeff Imel says in his latest email:
“I discussed the next figure, possible other poses, and worked out some details and timelines. The next figure will be standing and firing a rifle. This is a pose that I’m always told there aren’t enough of in sets and is always in demand when setting up a living room battlefield. This next figure will likely be a little less of an hourglass figure than the prototype. We’re going to try to have some different body types, faces and hair in the set instead of all the figures being identical characters. Speaking of weapons, I’m leaning towards an M14 for the rifles. I’m not aiming for 100% historical accuracy with this set, but I think the M14 will look good, and matches the uniform period well. The next figure will likely be prone firing a rifle, and I’m thinking of adding a scope and bipod to the M14 make her more of a sniper.”

I like the level he is approaching this as the best poses for the “living room battlefield” unlike some of the weird and useless poses from Airfix, Timpo and other plastic Army Men manufacturers.

Jeff says on his newsletter / email:

“Please continue to let me know your thoughts. I am behind on answering messages and comments, but I’ve read, and appreciate, all of them. I’ve heard all the requests for pre-orders and suggestions for specialty poses like radio operator and medic loud and clear (over). I’m considering a crowdfunding campaign in November as a way to take pre-orders and expand the figure selection.”

Here’s a link to the full update on the BMC Toys blog that is full of photos and recent news stories: https://bmctoys.com/blogs/news/bmc-toys-plastic-army-women-project-update-3

Sign up for the newsletter via the BMC website to keep informed of what is happening with this interesting BMC Plastic Army Women project. It adds more figures to the “believable female Miniatures” debates over #FEMbruary, Annie at Bad Squiddo’s quest for believable female gaming miniatures.

All screenshot images copyrighted from the BMC website.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, September 2019.

BMC Plastic Army Women Female Toy Soldiers Project Update 2019

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BMC Plastic Army Women logo – Screenshot from the BMC Toys website 31/08/2019
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How it Started … the story so far

Jeff Imel at BMC Toys USA recently sent out an email to those interested in his plastic 54mm Army Women Project:
“I’ve got some exciting news about the BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Project. The story about young Vivian’s “Why aren’t there Plastic Army Women?” letter has been circulated widely over the past month. The CBS Evening News will feature Vivian in an ‘On the Road’ segment at the end of the program tomorrow (Friday, August 30th). Steve Hartman (host of On the Road) even took some time to ask me about the project.

“The interest in Vivian’s letter has already helped increase subscribers to this newsletter from about 200 to nearly 500 (my goal is 2000). The extra attention and support has prompted me to get this project in gear, so I’ve had a bunch of new art created and will have a full update this weekend. In the meantime, I’ve created a handy link to share the blog posts. Thanks for your support, Jeff Imel at BMC Toys”

PlasticArmyWomen.com

https://bmctoys.com/blogs/news/tagged/plastic-army-women

Concept drawings and prototype figures (images copyright of BMC Toys) :

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Concept sketches

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If you want to support this 54mm BMC Plastic Army Women project or know more, visit the PlasticArmyWomen.com web page, sign up for the newsletter or look at https://bmctoys.com/blogs/news/tagged/plastic-army-women

Should add some interesting figures for modern mixed and female units as well as Amazonian style ImagiNations troops.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 31 August 2019

B.P.S. Blog Post Script
Having seen the BMC website, I now recognise the originals of pound store figures as https://bmctoys.com/products/bmc-iwo-jima-marines, which sometimes turn up as clone or pirate figures in cheap plastic figure sets. Hence putting this post out on my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog. https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2016/09/21/pound-store-us-marines/
Also seen here: https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/milk-carton-creation-no-1-cheap-landing-craft/

Milk Carton Creation No. 1 – Cheap Landing Craft

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My previous post showed these clever recycling craft kits (stickers?) from Flying Tiger with ideas for reusing cartons.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/cheap-flying-tiger-canal-boat-landing-craft/

This is the day and this is the hour …

My first Milk Carton Creation is a simple Landing Craft for 54mm figures down to 40mm or even 32mm figures.

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I sketched out an idea of the shape of the Landing Craft on the side of the carton with a permanent marker Sharpie pen, before cutting with sharp scissors.

Folds and cuts are first secured by staples. Later on I used a hot glue gun to fix flaps and wooden coffee stirrers for rigidity and strength.

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The end cap section was removed and reinserted elsewhere as the machine gun cupola.
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Staples can be seen along with a cocktail stick radio mast.

Next time I make one of these, I will not lose the thin screw on ring that was attached or sealed to the cap. It might make the cupola tidier to insert and secure.

I used Revell Aquacolour Acrylic (Stone Grey) which binds to the shiny waxy carton both inside and out  well enough. I shall give this a further coat or two of Stone Grey paint. A final tough gloss varnish spray should protect some of the paintwork.

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I tested the landing craft in the water and it does still float, thanks mostly to not having an opening front door flap section.
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The back splash and bullet  guard is made of a plastic card  iTunes voucher.

The back splash and bullet guard is made of a cut up plastic card iTunes voucher, the flaps or hatches from thin wooden crafting Scrabble squares and cardboard – all secured with a hot glue gun.

I can add more detail such as fenders and life rings and lettering after a few more coats of paint.

Inspiration for the Landing Craft came  partly from the Flying Tiger catalogue page and partly from the back and review pages of Toy Soldier and Model Figure or TSMF Magazine this month.

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My Landing Craft (Carton)  –  A fraction of the price and tough enough to game with in the garden,  compared to the more delicate King and Country model version.  
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The machine gunner’s Cupola / gun shield was partly inspired by these Vietnam War APCs.

In keeping with my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog ethos of cheap and cheerful, recycling and reusing scrap and plastic tat, here are some suitably Pound Store Plastic figures to give me an idea how the Landing Craft works.

The plastic figures are mostly unpainted and Pound Store clone or pirate copies of Matchbox,  Airfix or BMC US marines.

First off, a Normandy D-Day type Landing with mostly pirate Pound Store copies of Matchbox German infantry and US infantry. Barbed wire, sand bags and beach obstacles from Elite Corps (space marines) playset.

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The Grey Defenders – Mostly Matchbox figure German Infantry or Africa Korps 54mm-ish copies atop the granite cliffs.

The same scenes in grainy black and white:

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Hit the beach, fellas!

Meanwhile somewhere in the Pacific …

Several tubs of what I later discovered were Pound Store copies of BMC Marines also had the odd Japanese lying figures, to bolster the defences of mostly Pound Store Matchbox and Airfix Japanese on this more tropical but strangely familiar shoreline.

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I bought about 5 drums or tubs of these BMC Marines copies at  the seaside for 50p a tub!

Those well-defended  tropical beaches in grainy black and white:

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I thought I would also try the Landing Craft out with some lead hollowcast  figures of US infantry from the family on Fathers Day:

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The cupola Navy machine gunner is a copy of a plastic Tim Mee infantry machine gunner.

Finally I tried the Landing craft out with smaller scale 32mm pound Store figures and similar size toy jeep.

Switching figure scales, the machine gunner in the lid appears too large for the smaller scales. This is not always so important with plastic toy soldiers. Just look at the weird scale mix in Pound Store Soldier bags.

In future however on my next Landing Craft (Carton) I shall try keeping the milk carton round lid and cutting down and sticking on the suitable size machine gunner figure, so that with a couple of spare carton lids, I can have an easy swap or switch of figures.

Hopefully I can add some suitably Pound Store type scrap details like fenders and life ring along with some Letraset style letters and numbers.

A few less cartons to landfill if you have no carton recycling nearby. All I need now is dozens more and I can invade (a pound Store version of) France …

Blogposted by Mark ‘Man of TIN’ and Carton, 21 July 2019