There was another slender plastic old toy soldier style figure inside the pack that caught my eye, advancing with a sub machine gun.
A group of these roughly 42mm figures would make another fine SMG Sub Machine Gun unit all advancing together.
The original figure might have been an Airfix WW2 German Infantryman, shown here for size comparison. The pose also reminds me of several 1950s and 60s US infantry plastic soldiers that I have (somewhere!)
Crude as they are, they have loosened into a useful generic Imagi-Nations modern infantry type, much like the Italian made Atlantic “Euro Infantry”.
The lack of detail might appal some and appeal to others; it becomes useful, something that is often said about my favourite slender 15mm figures by Peter Laing. With a paintbrush you can pretty much adapt these loose or lightly detailed figures to many periods.
For those pound store figures just with rifles, these could even be taken back to the 19th century with their equipment and simple headgear as I have tried to do with the red coat toy soldier style of painting. This is something that James at Quantrill’s Toy Soldiers has been doing too with the odd hat plume or Milli – putty Green Stuff slouch hat
Another slimmer or slender figure from the Combat Mission 80 Soldiers pack is based on the very familiar Airfix WW2 German Infantryman throwing a stick grenade. The China made version has a distinctively different sort of grenade, more like a Home Guard sticky bomb!
I should be able to muster a unit of about about 24 of these plucky rifle grenadiers.
The other Airfix figures raided for this pack include American infantry.
Red Devil Paras
One of the other Airfix ranges raided is the WW2 British Paratroops.
Other pound store copies
Copies of the famous Airfix WW2 British Paratroopers have cropped up in my other pound store packs of China made plastic Soldiers over the last ten years. Even older copies turn up inscribed Hong Kong, presumably pre 1997.
There are other websites out there that focus on plastic figures and their copies, notably Small Scale World: http://smallscaleworld.blogspot.co.uk This site has an impressive web list to explore the world of plastic figures.
Around at the moment in pound stores and seaside gift stores are these mixed bag of evolved , morphed, degraded or downsized ‘pirate’ versions of Airfix WW2 figures – Combat Mission 80 soldiers for around £3.50 – £4.00.
After buying the first bag, attracted by one of my favourite poses of the charging rifleman, I bought two more bags to get more of this pose.
The graphics for these suggest a more modern Iraq / Afghanistan “Desert Storm” type of content than the generic WW2 figures that are really inside.
The header illustration is more typical of the other Combat Mission figures that I bought recently which retailed at just over a penny each, whereas these 80 soldiers cost about 4 to 5 pence each (2017).
So whilst these 80 soldiers are not quite pound store prices, they are cheap in comparison to the Airfix originals. The equivalent 54mm / 1:32 WW2 Airfix figures would today at a average box price of £7 for 14 figures cost you about 50 pence per Airfix figure.
The probable inspiration for this figure can clearly be seen alongside the original Airfix German infantryman. Over 40 years of Hong Kong / China Made cloning has reduced the detail and the original size into what looks more like a Britain’s lead charging soldier.
As well as a half dozen similar figures painted in this toy soldier style c.2007/8, I now have 24 new charging infantry to paint up (out of 240 new plastic figures for around £11). They have shrunk a bit over the years to roughly 42mm, rather than the original 54mm.
One part of the attractive old toy soldier look is to have multiple figures of the same pose to make up units.
I look forward to painting up this 30 strong unit of charging infantry, having used my other metal or hollowcast similar charging figures for inspiration.
I will show the other 9 poses (such as those below) for the rest of the Combat Mission 80 Soldiers set in Part 2 (my next blog post).
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN for the Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog on a rainy 10th June 2017.
This is my pound store DIY version of the portable war game or Perry Twins’ popular new Travel Battle game.
Semi-Random Terrain Distribution By Featherstone Air Drop
Tucked inside the box lid are some passable or impassable map symbol type hex squares (marsh, river, impassable forest). Once the first river pieces were laid on fairly at random, the other hexes were dropped from on high to randomise their placing.
This is something I remember as a technique using paper circles scattered from a converted Airfix plastic Dakota kit for scattering paratroops, the Dakota held at a suitable height over the calculated or miscalculated drop zone.
I first saw this in a childhood borrowed library copy of Donald Featherstone’s Wargaming Airborne Operations (recently reprinted by John Curry). Airfix paratroop figures then replaced the paper parachute circles wherever they landed, sometimes fatally in water, on rooftops or behind enemy lines.
I would love to try this outside in a back garden / Yarden game. It would even work for beaming or teleporting down to another planet scenario. Beam ’em down!
The Featherstone Airdrop – Brilliantly odd game mechanic!
These map symbol coloured hexes were improvised from thin white packaging card on my Easter 2016 holiday trip and can be lightly tacked down (like the game board) with a smidgin of magic or Scotch tape.
Pretty it isn’t but practical and portable it is.
In my holiday ‘rainy day’ box I usually pack tape, scissors, a few fine liner pens or Sharpie pens and raid whatever watercolours, paints, cardboard or paper I can find to make game bits. Coffee stirrers are really handy and easy to come by, as are bits of stone etc.
For the back drop, I found somebody’s leftover Saturday’s newspaper had an intriguing surrealist landscape advert. With a bit of camouflage (space palm tree cocktail stick stirrers from Tiger.com taped for weight to a spare dice behind gravel stones) to hide the outsize hunter figure, this folded over to form a surreal space backdrop for my improvised Away Team solo game.
I roll a dice to see which side – silver space marines versus red planet natives – are the Attackers, which the Defenders for the purposes of any Melee dice throws etc. if I ever forget. I use coloured dice for game counters for keeping track of hits (for speed each figure started a melee phase / round of only two combat or life points).
A pink flamingo cocktail stick marker marked out which side were the Attackers, another nod to a different famous Don Featherstone, inventor of the pink lawn flamingo. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Featherstone_(artist) Another d6 dice was rolled to see what the melee result was on the Kaptain Kobold d6 Dice Table dice table. The other spare dice was busy propping up the space palm trees.
Who won, who lost? The Away Team Silver Space Marines or the Red Planet Native Defenders?
The result is future history …
I will finish on a close-up of the ‘profit hunter’ from the nonsensical Artemis advert, looking very much like the cavalry or cowboy ‘Rough Riders on Mars’ blog site. I should be able to mock this hunter figure up pretty easily in several scales using Prince August 40mm Holger Erickson cowboy Homecasts, Airfix or various 54mm and OO/HO cowboys.
This advert has great fun ‘alien desert’ terrain, easy to create from some of the more lurid plastic aquarium plants and terrain.
I found these interesting pound store plastic warriors during the bank holiday weekend at one of those seaside shops that sells lots of lovely plastic tat.
Better than the 50p rummage box, 30 new figures for 50p!
Modern period gaming does not appeal to my usual Imagi-Nations gaming in 54mm. Instead out in the back Yarden planets or galaxies, I can easily see possible paint conversions to Star Wars type Rebel troops from the start of the first film (Episode IV) or from the recent Star Wars: Rogue One.
There are two different versions of many poses as well as two different colours available in different boxes. Quite often many pound store plastic Army men are sold in packs with two different colours (“green and tan”) to have a ready opponent.
Not sure of the origin of these figures, they look like copies of original figures.
If these figures are somewhat crude and on the cheap side, they are perfect pure plastic tat. Whilst many are obviously copies of modern US Desert troops, they are also affordable and possible for conversion into space marines or even back to WW2 US paratroopers in their jump boots and baggage.
Proper Seaside Tat
But not as much joyous plastic seaside tat as this weird pirate version (in both senses of the word) of Lego minifigures seen next to a genuine Ninjago Lego ninja type figure. I love the manufacturer’s name proudly on the back of this pirate – Tatco!
Tatco next to Lego
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN for the Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 29/30 May 2017.
One of my recent boycraft or mancraft projects has been creating some kind of toy soldier style fortified tower out of this old Christmas clementines box, suitable for a range of scales of figures and scenarios.
The box had a wooden jointing that reminded me of recent mdf wargaming or fantasy gaming building.
Its wooden lid is used for something else, but where it slotted into the box corners made these interesting Alamo type firing slits.
and you have the germ of an interesting gaming building or terrain idea.
Putting the tower together with the clementine box desert fort was something coincidentally suggested by Brian Carrick of the Collecting Toy Soldiers blog.
“Good idea for the Tesco clementines box, I still have one of those saved from Christmas, it seemed too useful to just throw away! It would work well with your new tower in the middle, like a North West Frontier hill fort.”
Trying this out, it was a tight squeeze to rebuild the balsa walkways around the tower base but it struck me that this could be some kind of defendable lighthouse, watchtower or semaphore station.
Having researched what semaphore stations would look like in the late 18th and early 19th century, I set about making a working semaphore using available wood and tools.
I don’t have a workshop, so balsa wood, coffee stirrers and craft knives are the extent of my woodworking tools.
Everything was roughed out and moved around in a ‘dry run’ before paint, wood stain and wood glue was used to finish off and fix things in place.
I wanted to make it suitable for a range of sizes from 30mm pound store plastic figures to 40mm homecast metal figures, even 54mm to soldiers at a push.
It proved quite difficult to photograph, being quite tall!
The 54mm figures are a little on the big side but I wanted to make this in the toylike spirit of a simple toy fort such as I had as a child.
Despite the toylike simplicity, I also wanted it to have some kind of logic and extensive play possibilities. It needed to work as a design that could be worked and defended.
The central tower needed to be self sufficient, so has a well or water supply inside the tower (with lid).
Coffee stirrers stuck with UHU or superglue were cut and trimmed with craft knife and sharp scissors, roughly shaded then shaded or painted with a very thin coat of Ronseal light oak wood stain.
A small hatch on the roof allows the defenders or signal crew to reach the roof to repair the semaphore.
Shutters mean that the lighthouse tower can be secured against enemy fire or the weather. They are (non-opening) shutters made from coffee stirrers, stained with light oak wood stain. One set of shutters is not glued to the wall, so that a LED battery tea candle light can be added into the top tower to develop the signal light or lighthouse scenario.
The chimneys let out heat from the lighthouse or signal light tower and lower living parts of the tower (toy soldiers need to cook and keep warm). The chimneys were found in my spare parts box, originally kept to make thatched huts for 1/300 figures, are snap-off screw bits from fixing a couple of new toilet seats at home!
Smoke signals are another possibility using these signal fire chimneys.
I wanted the signal tower to have different scenarios or functions, such as a coastal signal tower or one in the North West Frontier mountains, Wild West borders or French Foreign Legion desert.
I also wanted the tower to pass for anything between late 18th Century throughout 19th century and beyond and even into a future steampunk, VSF sci-fi scenario. This could then work with a range of periods, nationalities, scales of figures and Imagi-Nations.
Early British Semaphore stations often had two watchers with telescopes, one looking in each direction to look towards the next beacon or semaphore / signal tower. Other staff would take down the codes or change the semaphore indicator boards with ropes and cables (not modelled).
A defendable coastal signal tower would have its main door facing away from the sea, to make it more easily supplied and defended from the landward side. Beware foreign navies, marines, smugglers and pirates!
I roughed out this tower as a coastal setting with the wall side showing, the slit window (originally a handle) shuttered against the sea, wind and attack from the sea edge.
Apart from some further white painting of certain areas inside the box, a few storage locker doors to complement the corner squares, this is almost complete for the time being.
I also need a flagpost or two.
I enjoyed making this so much, I might make another one to create a small chain of them across the garden for summer games as needed. I will then be able to pass messages very slowly one letter or number at a time across the back garden wilderness or planet.
In fact I could make and remake lots of versions of this, camouflaged lighthouse or radio stations, brassy steampunk versions, Roman lighthouses … but time, lack of clementines boxes and space will not at present permit this.
I also have to work out a suitable toy soldier Popham type code book for my design of double semaphore indicator boards, using either letter or number combinations linked to key words in the code book.
Popham code books? Indicator boards? The next blog post to immediately follow is all about the semaphore and heliograph that I have researched to make this coastal or desert signal tower.
Pound Land U.K. currently has stocks of 75 to 80mm plastic figures perfect for garden games.
The equivalent Papo or Schleich figure range are better paint finished, slightly more detailed and about one of these would cost the same as five to eight or more of these £1 figures.
As all they had left of this range on the shelves in Poundland were mostly the Roman Testudo Tortoise figures, a little cutting and reglueing of the arm may be needed. Pilum or Spear very fragile but they do have separate sword in a scabbard.
Obviously a little painting may be required but this is a much cheaper way of building up some big troops for garden gaming.
The challenge is who they are to fight against! I will have to keep an eye out for some suitably tribal figures in the sameness price range. Even the gladiator has no opposition but there are plenty more poses of Schleich gladiators at greater cost.
One of my favourite simple ideas chapters in Solo Wargaming by Don Featherstone is called “Wargaming In Bed”.
Transposed to the garden wargame, maybe this should be called “Wargaming in the Flower Bed”?
Here in this chapter, there are simple, mostly skirmish ideas, mostly for a few 54mm figures. There is an interesting short section on the “Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust” duelling game invented by Gerard Du Gre of the MGC (Model General’s Club) in America.
(Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust does sound like an odd bunch of solicitors or estate agents.)
What I like about this card system is that it can be played solo or two handed.
It is almost a card version of “scissors paper stone”, a gaming system used for thousands of years and harnessed for a great caveman / tribal game many years ago in Miniature Wargames. Must look this one out for my Homecast Prince August cavemen!
A set of cards is prepared with one of the following actions on each.
Cut to Head
Parry and Lunge
I prepare a set of three cards for my hand, then a set of about thirty cards for my ‘opponent’ solo games.
Once you gave decided if you are attacker or defender (toss a coin for this), you can turn up the top card for your non-existent opponent’s choice of action at random. Return card to bottom of pile.
Alternatively, you can split the pack in half and play each figure as ‘random’, taking the top card blind from each pack for each figure.
Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust – Combat Points
For each successful hit, remove 1 point / counter from the number given.
Featherstone / Du Gre gives 2 Combat Power points to light foot.
I usually give 5 points to each of these unarmoured swordsman to prolong the game.
Featherstone / Du Gre gives 2 Combat Power points to light foot. You can choose your own points table.
Light Foot – 2 points
Heavy Foot – 3 points
Mounted Knights 3 points plus 1 point for horse
Light Mounted (unarmoured) 2 points plus 1 point for horse.
In the case of Mounted men, the first hit is against their horse. When their horse is killed, the rider continues to fight on foot.
When all points have gone, this opponent is dead.
The winner can be given an additional point / counter.
If you both choose or draw the same card, consult the separate hit deck. The cards either say Both Hit or Both Missed.
To further randomise the opponents cards, I added in a couple of ducks and slips (either being hit or missed) as chance cards.
This is the closest I think I will get to card activation.
Points are kept by scoring pointers – pebbles on the beach, sweets, coins or in the sandpit example, some spare Tiger store flamingo cocktail sticks in homage to the other Don Featherstone.
Duelling in Angria and the Bronte books?
There are lots of examples of the pistols or swords and six paces sort of thing in the Bronte juvenilia Imagi-Nations I have been following up on my Man of TIN blog. Most officer figures with many toy soldier sets had suitable swords.
This duelling card system an also be used to sort out Melee in an interesting way in Solo games and otherwise. Once troops are engaged, time stops whilst an individual skirmish is played out. Morale, Retreat or disengage cards could be added for variety.
Fantasy Gladiator type skirmishes are possible.
The addition of life or hit points means that you can give a combat / defence / life points value to anything from a dinosaur to a mounted knight. Or even in the Heroscape box, a Mounted knight on a dinosaur …
Quick Samurai version?
I am slightly jealous of the attractive cherry blossom in the new Samurai Game Test of Honour featured in Tony’s Tin Soldiering On blog,
although i think its mainly the cherry blossom and not the rules system. I remembered I had some ‘free’ Samurai swordsmen in the couple of Heroscape starter sets which I bought for the hex tiles.
This works equally well in the garden with appropriate Japanese plants like this lovely Acer (Japanese Maple).
And the equivalent of Featherstone’s swoppet knights that as a convalescing invalid he hopes to “Bribe a nurse or browbeat your wife into bringing to your bedside a couple of those plastic 54mm Swoppet armoured knights and position them at either end of the Bed table.”
Maybe suitable figures can be found in their modern equivalent Lego mini figures or Wilko bootleggo mini figures, or pound store bags of knights or pirates.
Interchangeable weapons, heads , legs – Lego type minifigures are the modern version of Britain’s / Herald or Timpo type Swoppets.
I even found Lego minifigure fencing figures and do by chance or blind bag luck own two fencers, but could only find one for the photograph.
Somewhere I have Lego Star Wars and also metal figures of duelling Jedi figures with their lightsaber laser swords – these rules would also work well for this!
Featherstone mentions that “Minor actions can be fought: half a dozen Airfix men can try to capture a Bellona pillbox manned by a German machine gun team”. Well, having seen handmade trench raid weapons in museums and visited trenches like Dixmuide the Trench of Death on the Yser in Belgium, I can see that a World War trench raid is about as close to medieval foot combat as you can get, especially in the dark.
Not sure, having researched my village war memorial, if a trench raid is a bit too close historically to have the gloss or romance of history and fiction that makes pirate sword fighting or duelling an enjoyable card activated game though …
Airfix OO/HO sets like Robin Hodd / Sheriff also feature lots of swordsmen or men with quarterstaffs suitable for the Lunge Cut and Stop Thrust card game.
Pound store or seaside store pirates have useful duelling 54mm pirate swords men. These proved good fun to try out these rules in a recent family visit to the beach, though the cards get as soggy at the edges as you can see in the sandpit. Sandcastles have to be built and defended!
More elaborate and attractive laminated /sticky back plastic game cards could be made that would last longer in the garden or on the beach.
Jousting rules are also included in this chapter “Wargaming In Bed” in Solo Wargaming by Donald Featherstone but that’s one for another blogpost.
And finally … who was Gerard De Gre of the Model Generals Club who invented these Lunge Cut and Stop Thrust rules?