Whilst picking up The Unincredibles ‘bootlego’ superheroes in Poundland this weekend, I spotted a sight for sore eyes.
A lone tub of the 32mm-ish PennyDreadful figures (as I call them after Ross Macfarlane said about them).
Ross MacFarlane of Battle Game of The Month blog described these cheerfully as “some of the crudest cheap plastic toy soldiers that I’ve ever seen but you have managed to rescue them and transform them into brave warriors!”
I had not seen these tubs in the pound store for months.
Forlornly, it was one stray tub of these Soldiers that must have been lurking at the back of a shelf, and sadly with a quarter less contents. When I first bought these it was 100 soldiers for £1. Now it is 70 soldiers for £1.
As somebody wisely commented on my blog, these are now not quite so Epic Battles. 30% less Epic.
I bought the tub anyway, for old times sake, as they will always come in useful.
The proportions of figures in each tub seems to vary quite widely too – this one seemed to have a high proportion of bazookas and machine gunners.
They could become great little figures with a bit of work.
Blogposted by Mark, easily pleased Man of TIN, on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 12 February 2019.
I spent far too much time (and sometimes money) happily looking through the cheap job lots of plastic and lead toy soldiers on EBay. Looking at toy soldiers makes me happy. Discovering new and interesting ones also makes me happy.
It’s not a very useful social skill but childhood years of intense looking at Airfix figures and many others has helped me build up a rough working knowledge of many different makes of plastic soldiers makers, much in the same way birders and twitchers can pick out the “jizz” of different and often similar looking birds by their shape and movements.
So among the flock of ordinary everyday ‘birds’ you might spot the odd rarity or some new or unusual figures.
Spotted on an Air Ambulance EBay shop, I saw a useful tin of the usual dull coloured green and tan army soldiers but mixed in were a few colourful flashes. Based on aglimpses in the photos, I took a punt or gamble on bidding, as nobody had yet bid on this job lot tin.
In return for what is effectively a small donation of under a tenner to the Air Ambulance that might fund a few vital seconds of lifesaving flight, a tin arrived by post a few days later.
A good deal – I get all the interest of my hobby, whilst a worthwhile charity gets a small donation without me having to climb mountains, run marathons or walk the Great Wall of China. Happy result!
I couldn’t wait to open it and see if what I had glimpsed was worth the money. I shall share the joy with you now, share my virtual jumble sale rummage joy.
The first odd ones I spotted amongst the green and tan army figures were these peculiar pirates with very oddly moulded pistols.
A host of useful bicorne era figures emerged, mostly around 45mm. I often spot figures like these on US EBay, Etsy or Amazon but they are not usually available in the UK. Regional plastic ‘tat’ envy.
These seventeen American War of Independence era figures are in patriotic red white and blue (Union Jack or Stars And Stripes?), roughly 42 to 45mm.
I had not seen these tricorne figures before, they alone were worth the price of the whole tin. Maybe one of my blog readers recognises the make?
Over the last few weeks I have been spending a bit of Christmas money on eBay, picking up the kind of cheap plastic figures you don’t normally see in UK toy stores. A few pounds here and there.
Being either new-ish secondhand or sometimes a whole chocolate tin of mixed figures, the scrapings of someone else’s toy box with some tantalising glimpses of unusual figures, they all need a good wash before painting. It should remove any grime and mould release chemicals.
With so many figures, the sink wasn’t an option so the bath tub stood in this time.
Here was the washing up bowl ‘spa treatment’ I did last time, back in June 2016:
Over the last few months I have been chatting on and off (through the comments pages of my Man of TIN blog) to JenBurdoo, a librarian and gamer in the USA.
Jen has been interested, like other library staff around the world, in bringing historical figure gaming or wargaming or miniatures gaming into the library.
I know that this happens in Australia having read of such things in Kaptain Kobold’s The Stronghold Rebuilt blog.
I knew somewhere that I had filed away an old teaching or education newspaper article somewhere about something similar being done with fantasy gaming in libraries in Britain, partly to encourage boy’s literacy.
In the interests of this discussion and for those interested in the general history of fantasy gaming, I have scanned this Times Education Supplement (TES) article of February 23 2001, entitled WarofWords by Elaine Williams.
I am not a fantasy gamer. I am not really interested in the ups and downs, ‘love them or loathe them’ relationship with Games Workshop that many fantasy gamers seem to have.
I know that children playing with the ‘scary’ or ‘supernatural’ warlock and wizardry, demons and dragons, sorcery and spells side of fantasy games raises some concerns for some people.
Interestingly about the same timesavers the TES article, there was a brief correspondence in 2002 about a similar project linked to the Lord of the Rings films and a letter regarding comments in the article on a Christian or religious angle on Tolkien and fantasy games.
Please note that I, Man of TIN, does not wish to get into any religious arguments over reprinting this article on my blog and respects other people’s rights to their beliefs. Thank you.
I hope that these couple of articles are of interest to (fantasy) gamers and those involved with library gaming.
As someone who spent much time in branch libraries researching uniforms, battles, history and borrowing Wargames books, it must have done much for my literacy.
I hope that reading this article is of historical or current interest to some gamers.
I also had stored away for my Christmas gifts this useful little secondplayset of figures and accessories.
The third set in the trio of loveliness in my local seaside gift shop this summer (just gone) – all would be perfect toys for beach battles or rainy holiday days – were just a bag of 40-54mm mostly Airfix pirate / clone figures. I didn’t buy this figure set, as many of the figures I already had. What unexpected Pound Store plastic restraint!
It was this simply moulded artillery piece that first caught my eye in this set. Worth the £3 the set cost for this artillery alone? Could it be repainted as Victorian? Steampunk? VSF? Space? WW1 or WW2?
I almost bought several sets on the spot for these useful looking guns.
It fits in with my converted digital radio case mate or gun emplacement.
Trying out the different scaled play set elements with different sizes and scales of figures is interesting. What fits and works? What gaming scenario ideas does it suggest?
What could these strange towers be? Guard Posts? Radar towers?
I feel that the playset would have been better scaled with some of these 32mm figures that are / were offered in different bagged sets by the same supplier.
However a strange mismatch of scales is one of the hallmarks of a proper cheap plastic play set.
Several of the elements such as the towers can be bought separately (often in packs of ten!) directly by post from online suppliers in China.
Already the first of the more space marine looking figures are under coated dark blue and tuppenny based, ready for painting into larger versions of their smaller selves. These completed smaller figures can be seen above, painted as 32mm blue Flash Gordon Style ‘space marine’ figure conversions. They have with their Officer or NCO in the beret a certain Star Ship Trooper/ ‘grunt’ look to them already.
Play set therapy session over for now …
Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on 23 / 24 January 2019.
I have a nostalgic soft spot for a pocket money play set. This one from a seaside gift shop is worth £3 of anyone’s money and would I hope be good value for a child. It has useful figures and vehicles for any pound store budget gamer.
The stock graphics show modern US or British troops ( the flag, plane and helicopter markings are also US). The contents are the usual bizarre mix of modern (Stealth aircraft) right back to WW2 figures and Jeep.
A useful little play set that I would have enjoyed as a child. Still useful to me today.
Mid February 2018 – the same UK pound bought you only 70 troops.
The Epic Battles are now slightly smaller. Watch this space for Further Defence Cuts. (February 2018)
Poundland Defence Forces Update late 2018
Mid to late 2018 – The Epic Battles tubs of 100, sorry 80, sorry 70 figures are now none! Now is the time to invade Poundland … other than a few jointed 6 inch action figures, which don’t really count.
Pound Land is now defenceless. They have no troops left.
Do not be alarmed – these penny dreadful figures can be found in various packs online if you search.
The only Pound Store figures in Pound Land (UK) were these chunky blind bag / box Awesome Little Green Men – I bought three £1 boxes ‘on spec’ (December 2018) to see what these were. Going going gone January 2019 … now series 1 is ‘unavailable’ these collectibles are worth £5 to £6.