Hanging amongst the random bagged toys in our local BHF shop were some figures that I did not recognise or have. Back home after a little web research I discovered these to be various 1/72 Revell WW2 Infantry sets from the 1990s.
For some reason, I’m not sure why, I didn’t post this at the time of buying earlier in the year. They have thus been accidentally saved for some Lockdown cheer!
I wasn’t familiar with these Revell figures as these three sets were first produced between 1990 and 1994 when I had stopped buying plastic WW2 figures. I already had the Airfix or Matchbox figures if needed then.
Two small squads with some dramatic poses and useful figures, good for a skirmish game. Even if these are under a third of a box set in quantity each, for a single Pound, who could argue?
There you go, another Pound to charity – the good old BHF and its random toy bags.
Another bag of aggressive playthings and random toy soldiers kept out of the pocket money clutches of today’s skint children, preventing them becoming the historical figure gamers of the future. I can live with that slight guilt. This skint eternal boy and 70s Airfix kid needs them more!
Under the current lockdown I’m not going to town and the charity shops will be shut as “inessential” anyway, so here is my last lucky find from late February / early March 2020.
Inside were two usable 30mm to 32mm (Pound Store figure scale) larger vehicles that I recognised from childhood. I had these same cars. Hmm. Thinks: Were they a little too familiar from childhood? When I got home I went and checked the toy cupboard. My childhood ones were still there. Nobody in the family had had a secret clearout.
These larger vehicles work well enough with the small Pound Store figures or any other 30mm-ish figures you might game with.
The Corgi Toys Land Rover 109″ W.B. is one I still have, it has always lived in the farm and zoo animals box. I always thought it used to be part of a Safari set.
This new charity shop one is already camouflaged and has good patina.
This charity shop one is minus its windscreen, back seat and plastic canopy. This would still work well as a staff car or a light lorry with a khaki or field grey paint scheme. It could be box backed to make a lorry, take a machine gun or anti aircraft gun or even make the chassis of an armoured car. I should be able to convert a Pound Store figure to drive, etc.
The other two fillers are bashed Matchbox Lesney type trucks that I also remember from childhood. The Lesney Matchbox Foden Concrete Truck No. 21 has clever gear wheels underneath to make the concrete mixer go round as you push it along. Simple but fun.
I have placed a small Airfix 60s vintage figure alongside for scale. These may end up painted khaki or field grey as part of a logistics convoy, but they are almost too nicely bashed for this.
Toy cars played a big role in my primary school break times as you could fit them easily into your pocket or school bag. We were lucky enough in my primary playground to have solid metal drain covers, tree roots, Tarmac, slopes and a low brick wall at perfect height backed by a grassy slope that were all great for marble games, toy cars and dirty knees.
Most of my 1970s toy cars have now been passed on to younger generations of the family where they still get played with on an old road map carpet playmat. The best ones had figures inside driving, openable doors and, like the gritter truck, space to put cargoes.
The design of the gritter truck No. 70 is clever, having a tiny chute out of the back so as you drive it along it spreads true ‘grit’. I remember this as being very good for sand play and sand pits. Real gritty “play value”, this one!
£3 well donated to charity.
Looking forward to more charity shop finds when the town, the high street and pound stores are open again for those cheerful ‘inessential’ journeys.
I really like the running infantryman figure, it originated as the advancing Airfix German infantry man with rifle but in the process of copying over forty to fifty years has become more generic, simpler and smaller. It now has more of a traditional toy soldier look, especailly if painted up in gloss toy soldier paint style. I can never have enough of these!
The smaller running rifleman or standing rifleman is just under 38-40mm from base to the top of his helmet (or if you measure to the eyes about 35-36mm)
The larger running rifleman is about 42mm from base to top of helmet, 38mm to the eyeliner, which is the usual size that I have encountered these before on these smaller figures. Quite a size drop from the 54mm Airfix originals.
This brings these broadly into line with 40mm Prince August figures for example.
The tiny jeeps proved useful for my desert raid game as LRDG jeep trucks.
Pottering around the garden gathering leaves before work, I spotted this lone warrior, left behind on duty months or years long ago after some forgotten garden game – just like the one in the Robert Louis Stevenson RLS’ poem The Dumb Soldier.
“Hallo? Hallo? Come in Base, over.”
His radio aerial was almost intact when I found him but now needs some repair.
Long has he been on duty reporting back to base on all he saw.
When he finally gets painted, he shall get rewarded for his long service with some corporal or sergeant stripes. I have marked his base up to remind me.
The Dumb Soldier poem can be found in my blogpost here:
Now here is how I did this in easy to follow stages:
Stapling gets tricky round the back end unless you have a very nimble slim stapler and cast iron fingers.
Details such as the machine gun cupola are added, secured by hot glue gun or staple.
The machine gunner figure is cut down to size to fit in at a low profile and so can be changed. A different sized / scaled or nationality figure can be added and removed easily.
A small square of Magnetic strip on base should secure the figure in place. Previous attempts to glue the figure to the lid to make him interchangeable (seen in early photos in background) left him too high up and exposed.
Details such as the hatches from scrapbook crafting thin wooden ‘Scrabble’ squares and cocktail stick radio masts or flagpole pennant masts are added.
Hot glue gun and staples are used to secure the back flap section, sealed with a coffee stirrer strip secured with hot glue.
Next step is to glue into place coffee stirrers to strengthen and ‘box’ the sides as desired. Further coffee stirrer strips can be added to cover staples and add to the appearance of the front landing flap.
Add as required to create a suitable boxy feel of a tough little craft.
Next step is to paint base colour grey with acrylics which seem to work well enough on the waxy plastic surfaces. Several coats of paint and varnish required.
Your landing Craft should still float in flat seas like a pond with not too choppy waters.
Additional details of fenders, lettering and ropework can be added as desired. I looked at this advert for King and Country figures and Landing Craft for ideas.
The Real Thing and Seaside Military History
I have a soft spot for The Rangers shown in the King and Country advert for their Normandy ’44 range. These brave men trained on the cliffs around the lovely North Cornwall seaside town of Bude, where they were billeted on the local townspeople and are very fondly remembered. The Bude cliffs were a good enough match for the cliffs in Normandy.
On D-Day the Rangers scaled the cliffs at Pointe Du Hoc to capture a battery of big guns at a great cost in dead and injured, only to find that some of the coastal guns were fake. The barrels seen in aerial photographs were large tree trunks or telegraph poles. Not all the Atlantic Wall defences were what they seemed! They had to track down and destroy the real ones nearby. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pointe_du_Hoc
There is a poignant small display about the Rangers and their equipment in Bude’s The Castle Museum, an unusual early Victorian house on concrete and sand created by Goldsworthy Gurney. Memories of the Rangers in Bude – https://youtu.be/QMnhb5lNsWA
Goldsworthy Gurney a haphazard inventor pioneered the Steam Waggon or Steam Car, including a viewing by the the British army in the 1830s. If it had been commercially successful, the British Army could have headed off to Crimea with Steam Powered armoured vehicles and gun tractors almost half a century or at least decades earlier. Pure Steampunk! https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldsworthy_Gurney#Gurney’s_steam_carriage
If you find yourself in holiday in the area …
Being a few miles from the English Civil War battlefield at Stratton and other wartime sites such as Davidstow Airfield / Wartime Museum, there is much that Bude has to offer the history tourist including its pre-Victorian “Canal” (1819).