Where on earth do I find this stuff?

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Pound Store green and tan army men with more colourful traditional toy soldier paint style 

Or “Where did you get that tat, where did you get that style?”

Regular reader CT asked in the comments section, after reading my link to the DeathZap! Blog post: “Where on earth do you find this stuff? Please answer in your blog” 

Answer 1: Portal sites

Where I find interesting new sites featuring Pound Store Plastic figures and budget wargaming ideas partly comes down to spending far far far too much time searching the web for similar and inspiring blogposts, starting out at great portal sites and bloggers such as Bob Cordery at Wargaming Miscellany and Ross MacFarlane at Battle Game of The Month.

http://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.com

https://gameofmonth.blogspot.com

Everyone has their own regular or portal sites. From there, I push on exploring other people’s blog rolls and favourite websites. Some blog sites used to have a random button at top for ‘next blog along’, which turned up interesting new blogs and bloggers.

I don’t  regularly buy any gaming or Toy Soldier magazines,  although if I do find them in larger branches of newsagents, I usually quickly scan through the contents pages to see if it is worth buying that month.  More money for figures and hobby materials!

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There is a quirky and interesting little book by Iain Dickie, former editor of Miniature Wargames, which is now out of print but widely and cheaply available online secondhand, called Wargaming on a Budget. Well worth tracking down.

Answer 2: the simple joy of cheap plastic tat from Pound stores

Sometimes bloggers who are into similar scales or sources of figures find me; for example, the Wargaming Pastor behind the Death Zap! Website contacted or followed me. Checking out his website I noticed the same Poundland penny dreadful figures that I have been busy this year converting into various different gaming figures. So I put a link to his site, emails followed …

 

 

 

Sadly my local Poundland shop no longer stocks these handy tubs of figures for a penny each. They are available bagged on various online sources, slightly more expensively. I stocked up on a few tubs as the numbers of figures began to drop from 100 to 80 to 70 figures per £1 tub in Poundland stores.

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That seems to be the rule of thumb  for cheap pound store, toy shop  and seaside plastic figures. They often aren’t around for long, maybe just for one season, so best stock up on lots when you see them! At such cheap prices compared to metal gaming figures, it is daft not to stock up. You never know when they might come in handy. You might not see them again ever or at least for a long while.

Playsets give you a range of figures and accessories with the slight charming complication  that they often do not match in scale.

Car boots, jumble sales, charity shops, online auction site job lots, supermarket or online “party bag” or “party favours” sections, cake decoration sites, all have been a source of cheaper plastic figures.

Answer 3 – Serendipity and geography of Tat

Different parts of the country seem to have different figures in stock, different countries have different pound, euro or dollar store figures.

Plastic Tat Envy? What isn’t easily or cheaply attainable in your own part of the world always looks more interesting, but often the shipping or postage is off putting on a budget.

How cool the Tim Mee Galaxy laser team space figures look, but they are currently not easily available in the UK, likewise some other cheap American historical figures.

You make do with what is available – that is half the challenge!

Doug Shand’s pirated Airfix Australian clones are not available in the UK but he makes great conversion use of them.

http://dougssoldiers.blogspot.com/2012/08/dollar-store-thirty-years-war.html

http://dougssoldiers.blogspot.com/2013/05/plasticene-dreams.html

Conversion by paint, scalpel, flame and glue along with a bit of imagination is usually required to make the most of the cheap degraded pirated figures that turn up.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/pound-store-plastic-warrior-conversions-and-comparisons/

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A few simple paint conversions of Pound Store 30/32mm figures …

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/02/03/pound-store-colonial-skirmish-part-1/

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What I liked about the recently passed Thor Shiel’s websites was his lack of snobbery about using whatever branded and unbranded plastic figures you had available wherever you are.

http://www.thortrains.net/armymen/armymen1.htm

So that is where I get some of my stuff … I’m not sure if this answered CT’s question ?

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 5th December 2018.

On my other blog, Man of TIN, I am counting down to Christmas with my Advent Calendar of mini blog posts and pictures, clearing through the backlog of unposted blog post drafts of 2018.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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Poundland Space Marines on the DeathZap! Blog site

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A new blog follower for my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog  – welcome to The Wargaming Pastor – is using the good old Poundland tiny soldiers in his sci-fi battles on his DeathZap! Website.

The blog strap line “Anyone Can Afford Wargaming” is much in line with the  similar Pound Store Plastic Warriors mantra of “Little Wars on a Budget”.

https://thedeathzap.wordpress.com/2018/11/17/getting-rather-sel-annoyed/

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Those useful Poundland figures painted up on the DeathZap! Website

Sadly in my local small Poundland stores these figures have vanished – for the time being? – but are still available more expensively on the internet.

Thankfully I managed to stockpile several Poundland tubs and have used them for various conversions including space marines and little green men.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/poundland-space-marines-platoon-on-parade/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/pound-store-plastic-figure-conversions-and-comparisons/

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/little-green-men-pound-store-plastic-space-warriors/

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN,  27 November 2018

In Memoriam Thor Shiel

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A pound Store army men parade for Thor Sheil

Sad news about the passing of the “plastic army man” game and simple sandpit rules champion  Thor Shiel in the USA, passed on by Hugh Walter at the excellent Small Scale World website:

http://toyconnect.blogspot.com/2018/11/in-memorium-thor-sheil.html

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A pretty good obituary by Ed Berg: “If you’re having fun, you’re doing it right”

I have been reading Thor Sheil’s various websites for several years,  inspired by his simple backyard or sandpit rules using whatever you have to hand. He had “no brand name snobbery” as Ed Berg succinctly puts it. I also liked Thor’s simple enthusiasm for enjoying whatever plastic toy soldiers you have.

An interesting obituary tribute by Ed Berg and a glimpse of the man behind these Sandpit Rules http://thortrains.blogspot.com

http://www.thortrains.net/armymen/basicgme.htm

http://www.thortrains.net/armymen/westgame.htm

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Worth reading and enjoying these many websites  and webpages now as sadly websites like Milihistriot and Thor’s  Army Men Homepage have a tendency to vanish when the author or host passes away.

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http://www.thortrains.net/armymen/armymen1.htm

http://www.thortrains.net/toysoldierart/

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Thor’s own Toy Soldier Art website picture can be his own victory and passing parade http://www.thortrains.net/toysoldierart/

Here is my pound store plastic victory parade for Thor from this Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog:

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and a suitable Valhalla?

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Reading about his interest in Viking ancestry and culture, as a man called Thor should have, reminded me of one of the Stan Lee RIP fan tributes featured on YouTube (from our last post), so here is the Beecher Arts Valhalla graphic tribute for Stan Lee and superhero Thor that might hopefully apply to Thor Sheil?

RIP Thor Sheil

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, Pound Store Plastic Warrior blog, 21 November 2018.

 

 

 

Zombie Men Only?

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Why no Zombie Women? Boys, you’ll just have to dance by yourselves …

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“Uh Hu Hu! I’m all shook up …” Zombie Elvis impersonators
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The only real disintegrating disco diva amongst the Zombie Men? 

These disco Zombies came from the same online party bag source as the More Fun for Less Fun Express Cowboys and Indians.

As you can see from the More Fun For Less packaging, these are “Zombie Men” only.

Where are the Zombie Women?

I think these smaller figures (45mm to eye line, 50mm to top of head) are probably sold as cake decorations or party bag favours for Halloween.

Few of these figures look that dead or resurrected. Most of them look like they have staggered on to the disco set of Saturday Night Fever – or possibly Thriller.

If you want some slack jawed, staggering 19th century to modern scruffy civilian men for your gaming table or model railroad, these are probably for you.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, Halloween 2018

Pound Bag Skeleton Warriors £1 a bag

Remember the ‘dragons teeth’ scene of skeleton warriors bursting out of the ground in the old Ray Harryhausen Jason and the Argonauts films?

If you haven’t seen this film clip recently or never seen it, here is a YouTube snippet:

https://youtu.be/pF_Fi7x93PY

I like the dramatic illustrations on this packaging. Figures are somewhere between 42 and 54mm high depending on their pose and twistedness.

Skeleton “knights from hell” are child-friendly 100 percent safe and non toxic!

I was reminded of this Harryhausen Skeleton  scene when I luckily spotted two £1 bags of plastic skeleton warriors on a rummage stall at a local steam fair.

The lady stall holder had bought at auction years before for £2  a big plastic storage box containing bags and bags of cheap green plastic toy soldiers.

Most of the ruptured bags contained  the worst flattened, deformed and attenuated tall,  brittle plastic China clone types of toy soldier beyond even my (low standards for) repair or conversion  needs, not even for a £1 a bag …

Hidden amongst the box and elsewhere on the stall were two bags of skeleton warriors.

£2 later and my day was already made, before ten o’clock.

No one had bought these in years, until me, the lady said. The kids of today …

I mentioned to the lady that “Buying these in from the States online” would have daft  shipping charges. Sadly she had no more bags tucked away – at any price.

A couple of useful screen shots from the YouTube various Harryhausen video clips on Masters of FX and stop motion Animation.

Pewtering paint option laziness

How best to paint skeletons? Full of bony nooks and crannies.

After glue-gunning them to tuppenny (2p) pieces for stability, I noticed that the basic plastic colour of ivory / bone / off-white was probably good enough for the finished figure.

But how to bring out the detail?

I have used the pewtering (lazy paint) method before, mostly on metal figures, but not much on plastic.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/home-cast-antique-and-gilt-paint-finishes/

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/more-duelling-inspiration-mexicans/

Black gloss Revell Acrylic Aquacolor was quickly painted on and then let dry for as long as it took to cover a second figure.

Wipe the bulk of the paint off the first figure with kitchen towel and you find it stays behind in nooks and crannies like eye sockets, skeletal rib cages and between bone joints.

Then paint a third figure whilst the second dries before being  wiped … and so on.

I tried various shades of earth brown but black worked best.

Conversions and chopping about

One problem was that after years squashed into their packaging, whilst their flexible plastic had protected usually breakable parts like swords and spears, they were often bent, as were the skeletons themselves. The old trick of soaking them in hot water to straighten them did not work.

On the positive side, oddly contorted skeletons took away the ‘too many of the same pose’ problem. Various stiffening with extra wire spears (inserted into shield hands and base drilled holes) helped slightly right some but not all figures.

Extra wire spears were added to drilled empty hands with spear points of scrap plastic base trimming or Fimo polymer clay.

Some arms were super glued (not very easy with springy plastic) or cut and repinned with wire stubs to change arm and sword angles.

Three pinned and chopped about variations of the weird trumpeter figure.

Other figures like the over-duplicated trumpet player (who needs four?) were thus converted to new uses.

Wired on buttons to make a  shield, showing various ways to cover the button holes.

Extra shields were added with suitable buttons wired on and painted.

Weapons and shields were painted in copper and bronze Revell Acrylic after pewtering.

The most deformed halberd or scythe was converted to a  spear (left).
Right – shield wired on into different pose.

Wooden spear shafts and axe handles seem to have survived perfectly preserved whilst the flesh has vanished – curious!

I was almost tempted to add some scraps of clothing using tissue paper but resisted to keep the figures more flexible in period.

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One figure had an almost Breugel Triumph of Death or Hieronymus Bosch painting typocalyptic pose with skeleton ‘blood angel’ winged rib cage was given away to another family member as just far too weird – for now!

Somewhere between Hieronymus Bosch and the 80s heavy metal album covers discussed in great (boring) detail of my sixth form common room days. Yawn. Wonder why a heavy metal electric guitar is called an axe? Look no further.

Finishing off the Skeleton Warriors

Sand brown (Revell Afrikabraun Matt Acrylic) bases were painted for that desert / earth / Ray Harryhausen look, then sprayed with Gloss Acrylic varnish spray. I have heard that metallic colours can run during varnishing, so I only sprayed the bases.

A lot of (admittedly lazy) paint and conversion work for £2 worth of figures but the result looks like they are much more expensive figures.

That is pretty much the whole ethos of the Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog. Cheap Joy!

Into action?

I might need some slight tweaks for how to kill or defeat the already dead in order to put skeleton warriors into my simple Featherstone based rules for melee and small Close Wars.

Remember – Don’t shoot till you see the darks of their eye sockets!

Brave Sergeant: “Alright lads, steady. Steady. Don’t fire until you see the darks of their eyes!”
Now a Lone Sergeant: Lads? Lads?

Several other scenarios crop up – the renowned Colonel Fazackerly saves the day!

Two of my favourite recent figure restorations or conversions including the Sergeant, a metal detecting find https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/recalled-to-the-colours-54mm-metal-detectorists-toy-soldier-finds-restored-to-fighting-condition/

 

“Skeletons, sir, farsunds of ’em!”

Other Fantastic Skeletal Scenarios?

If England Were Invaded …

After reading a spot of invasion literature like William Le Queux, mixed with a dash of the Angels of Mons, I thought afresh that these skeleton warriors with shield, axes, swords and spears could well be the legendary Arthur and his Ancient Britons arising from their slumbers and returning to save the day If England Were Invaded:

In 1914 … an unlucky Prussian sentry fails to notice that he is being followed.

Unlucky  Prussian invader (original Britain’s hollowcast figure) patrols Lilliput Lane.

Or in 1940 …

An unlucky Nazi sentry fails to notice that he is being followed down an English country lane … “Gott In Himmel!”

King Arthur’s legions follow one of my favourite Britain’s Deetail figures, the marching German with casually stowed grenade. Pure Newsreel figure …

Featherstone’s Fantasy War Games

Now that is a Featherstone title that never happened in the original 1960s Featherstone trilogy and beyond. War Games, Naval War Games, Air War Games, even Advanced War Games … but Fantasy War Games?

I wonder how the knowledgeable, enthusiastic and avuncular Featherstone style would have adapted to orcs, gremlins, wizard magic and skeletons?

Not that far off his Ancients rules and suggested Imaginations and Hyborian campaigns with Tony Bath?

Many of Don’s fantasy figures would no doubt be based on conversions of the versatile Airfix Romans, Ancient Britons, Robin Hood and Sheriff of Nottingham figures and Castle sets.

Blogposted by Mark, Skeletal Man of TIN, 8th / 9th September 2018

Hex marks the spot (or six pirates for a pound yo ho)

No toy soldiers in the pound store today. However I found these rough looking characters in a local covered market stall for baking and cake decorations.

I enjoy finding unusual sources of figures like this, adding some variety to the usual figures.

Palm trees £1 each by Flying Tiger, six Cake Dec pirates for a pound (local market)

Hex marks the spot?

Figures are about 50 to 54 mm base to head, marked on the back ‘China’.

They are made in flesh tint hard plastic, crudely but colourfully painted to adorn a pirate cake.

Six colourful pirates for a pound! Proper piratey poses amongst the figures including a pegleg and crutch, parrot on shoulder carrying a treasure chest and another with shovel to bury it.

One has a knife carried in the teeth, keeping hands free for climbing the rigging and there are plenty of cutlasses amongst them. Good Treasure Island material here.

One of them with an oar looks like a girl pirate. They were all mixed in with the usual Cake Dec box full of sports people, so ‘she’ might really be a sporty female rower.

Figures like these can of course be repainted to make bandits, navy crews or other irregular troops.

Some interesting piratey poses to repaint and add to my plastic pirate skirmish gaming box.

The blue coated captain looks like he has a broken sword or pistol.

He was the only of this pose available. Should be an easy repair.

Huzzah for cakes of piratey death! Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest, yohoho and a bottle of rum … and all that.

Figures repainted this winter ready for more desert island duelling? Sadly the age old family sand pit is no more.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/duelling-in-the-sandpit-lunge-cut-and-stop-thrust/

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 7 September 2018

Pound Store 42mm Spy?

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The figure is sold as HP24 Jacob Kowalski from the Harry Potter prequel movies Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them …

During a supermarket stroll past the film and DVD  tie-in sections, I spotted amongst the superhero, space and fantasy figures this interesting 40mm-ish metal figure of Jacob Kowalski from Fantastic Beasts.  Interesting movie, well worth seeing, sequel due soon.

Perfect figure for a civilian, a spiv, a spy or escaped POW?

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A suspicious character found on the wired off British coastline c. 1940. Irregular Minitures 42mm British Tommies. Wire from notebook spine.

This Kowalski civilian  figure put put me in mind of some of the stylish 1940 photos and game scenarios set up by Allan Tidmarsh on his various blogs.

http://dorset1940.blogspot.com

http://ww2tanksalot.blogspot.com/2017/

Kowalski  works well with an affordable  joblot of painted, based and play-bashed Irregular Miniatures 42mm metal Tommies. I bought these to accompany a future pound store Home Guard / Operation Sealion  1940 invasion game, bulked out by plastic pound store China clone Germans.  Attractive Irregular Miniatures German Paratroops but £2 each. http://www.irregularminiatures.co.uk/42mmRanges/42mmWorldWar2.htm#British

How would he match my 42mm-ish pound store figures?

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Poundstore unpainted 40 – 42 mm Plastic Infantry, lovely  old Wilko Heroes charging figure on the left. China clone German 42mm on right. 
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The Usual Suspect … 40 to 45mm
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Arrested by more of my  Blue Army (Tintin-esque Imagi-Nations) pound store c. 42mm figures.
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Prince August ‘large’ 40mm Homecast Cowboy, the Kowalski figure  and old bashed Railway figure alongside junk shop find of a bashed 1911 Ford Model T Yesteryear car.
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1911 Ford Model T being repainted in khaki as an army vehicle or staff car. Irregular Miniature 42mm British Tommies.
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As the Man from the Ministry investigating ration violations … from our previous blogpost https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/09/02/pound-store-42mm-farm

 

Dickensian Economics?

Although the Jacob Kowalski figure was not in a pound store (cost £1.97), this and the trashed Yesteryear Ford Model T (£4 junk shop / market stall)  were offset by finding two pots of lolly sticks for 10p each (garden centre sale). These  usually retail in pound and craft stores at £1 to £1.99.

A saving of almost £4 on lolly sticks, which are useful building materials and lolly sticks to attach figures for handling during  painting. Two useful plastic storage pots too!

Result? Happiness.

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10p bargains!

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 2 September 2018.