Pound Store Plastic Warriors 5th Blogaversary

Another year of Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog posts have come and gone …

Nothing much new in the pound stores this year. Good to see these still around. Poundland – my Shelfie 2020/21

Thanks to my loyal regular blog readers and new followers who have found my blog over the last year. Your likes and comments are always welcome.

This marks the fifth Blogaversary or anniversary of the first post on my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, dedicated to affordable gaming or “Little Wars on a Budget”.

What’s happened since last September and our 4th Blogaversary in 2020?

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/09/13/pound-store-plastic-warriors-4th-blogaversary/

Nothing much new in the online Pound stores this year? 2020/21

What with ongoing Covid restrictions I have only been into pound stores a couple of times on the high street only for ‘target: toy section’ for a minute or two.

And visits to charity shops, jumble, steam fairs, junk markets? None.

This paucity and Covid drought of penny dreadfuls and plastic tat has been relieved partly by some kind donations from blog readers of old unwanted Airfix figures, some great samples of Hing Fat 54mm figures from Peter Evans and also from strategic reserves laid down in the past.

These strategic reserves are laid down according to my Pound Store Plastic Warrior wise hoarding maxims –

1. “Buy them when you see them, they’re sometimes only around for a short while”

2. “They’re only a pound”.

3. “You may not need them now, but in the future …”

2020/21 saw a couple of games using Pound Store plastics ranging from snowballing fights of Yukigassen in August …

To an RLS “Land of Counterpane” game in April on an old squared blanket …

Some mistakes – octagonal ‘hexes’ in this budget reconstruction of Games Workshop Lost Patrol for Pound Store space marines … the well known eight sided hexagon, that one …

Some curious Pound Store conversions, padding out the more expensive Chintoys plastics or old lead …

October 2020 onwards: My Arma-Dad’s Army Elizabethan muster or militia Home Guard 1588 1595 slowly builds using Pound Store knights

This of course having Spanish Fury Conquistadors and Armada troops means Aztec types are a natural match or extension (Peter Laing style ‘dual use figures’ )

With found cheap scenery from scrap … inscribed stones, temple steps, obelisks …

The Super Cheap Wargaming group on Facebook has been good for such affordable scrap terrain ideas as well.

Sometimes my Pound Store Plastic Warriors posts crossposted material or projects from my Man of TIN blog (main blog) or linked to these including:

Fembraury – The new BMC Plastic Army Women becoming Women’s Revolutionary Army of Parazuellia, part of the 1960s Morecambe and Wise comedy film The Magnificent Two whose other government and rebel troops will be padded out with Pound Store GI copies …

January 2021 – Scrap modelling Edwardian style with E Nesbit’s Wings and the Child on the building of Magic Cities

and January also involved archive history research to identify more about H.G. Wells’ connections, family and friends involved in playing his Floor Games and Little Wars c. 1911-13. Well our Pound Store Plastic Warriors strapline is “Little Wars on A Budget”.

Who knows where 2021 and 2022 will lead us?

Thanks for reading and following.

Blog posted on my Fifth Blogaversary 13 September 2021

Spot the odd one out Pound Store figure in these version 1 Airfix US Marines from 1963?

Spot the odd pound store figure out amongst the 1960s OOHO Airfix version 1 US Marines featured on my Man of TIN blog post:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/06/07/from-the-halls-of-montezuma-airfix-version-1-us-marines-1963/

It’s a bit like “Where’s Wally?”

Look carefully.

Did you spot him?

Well done!

The only Airfix Version 1 US Marines figure that I didn’t find in my scratch invasion force was the Bazooka man. Standing Bazooka loader yes, Bazooka man no.

Bazooka man as seen here in Plastic Soldier Review Airfix US Marines version 1 review http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=355

***The kneeling loader figure is a damaged US Version 1 Marine, too fragile to repair the rifle, so a few scalpel cuts left him with a Bazooka round instead, kneeling to avoid enemy fire.***

However I knew I had multiple US Infantry Bazooka men from an early 2020 recent pound store purchase.

Just a few dozen Bazooka men, then!

See my July 2020 post here for different ImagiNations ways of painting these Airfix copies
https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/07/13/tell-that-to-the-pound-store-plastic-marines/

These pound store figures are either small copies of the Airfix 1/32 US Infantry or those familiar poses which were scaled down by Airfix themselves to make up part of the newer version mid to late 1970s Version 2 US Marines (still available at Airfix.com or stockists)

Airfix Version 2 US Marines https://uk.airfix.com/products/wwii-us-marines-a00716v

And finally, a strange Bazooka name ‘fact’ …

The Bazooka got its name from a strange jazz instrument invented or played by US comedian Bob Burns.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bazooka_(instrument)

Robbie Burn’s Bazooka” in The Evening World, New York, September 3, 1919. Wikipedia source

The resemblance of the M1 anti-tank weapon to this odd wind instrument probably led to its Bazooka nickname.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bazooka

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 8/9 June 2021

Wo-Manning the OP? BMC Plastic Army Women take over the Three Man pound store plastic soldiers patrol post

2016 – Three Man Patrol of pound store pirated clone* BMC US Marines, officer, radioman and prone BAR man providing covering fire.

Not entirely intended as A Mother’s Day Post March 14th as it is largely about the ongoing influence of toy soldier games in the garden with my Dad.

For the last month or two I have been exploring the origins and early players of H. G. Wells’ Floor Game or Little Wars.

Although I researched the women who saw this happening, it appears to be mostly Edwardian men who would happily be found stretched out on Wells’ lawn or nursery floor, firing spring loaded cannon at lead toy soldiers. This sometimes, according to the tongue-in-cheek Wells, brought “disdain” from lady visitors who did not see the imaginative play going on at floor or garden level.

Some gamers of players with toy soldiers would say that not much has changed 100 years later if middle aged men are glimpsed crawling round their floor or garden in pursuit of toy soldiers. Or worse still, their front garden …

Gardens and floors seem a natural home for toy soldiers.

Ever since I was a small boy in the early 1970s, I have left toy soldier figures in the garden “on Patrol”, usually a three man Patrol Post or Observation Post OP tucked away in a flower bed or safe area, safely away from being dug up, trampled or mown down.

Each three man Patrol had the following usual figures:

  • One officer or someone with binoculars, armed
  • One radio man, armed (usually a bit of a scarcity per box in early Airfix or Matchbox)
  • One rifleman, SMG or LMG infantryman for Patrol protection

These were usually unpainted plastic 54mm figures. Sometimes these would be WW2 troops, sometimes Cowboys or Civil War figures (despite the lack of radios) and occasionally even knights.

Each of these 3 Man teams (in threes, like Lighthouse Keepers) had a way to communicate with each other or raise the alarm, some firepower to defend themselves and their OP and enough men to have at least one sleeping whilst others were on watch.

My late Dad took a slightly dim view if I left the same figures out on Patrol, neglected for weeks or months. It made sense. More regular changeovers of personnel kept the garden and these Patrol Posts tidier.

Patrol bases were hidden amongst these flowerbeds, rock walls and lawn edges of my Dad’s flowers in full bloom in my childhood garden 1970s/80s. Great Little Wars garden lawns – It looks far too peaceful for a war zone!

Usually in my childhood garden, a small stone base was made for the Patrol Posts with flat stone or slate walls, roof and floor base. Small palisades of wood or twig log piles completed the defence. Some kind of plastic stores box was usually included of “food” and “ammunition” such as Britain’s farm sacks or Airfix sandbags.

Inside the house up in my room would be the HQ team, such as the little travel box three man Patrol that I take away on holiday and travels – to keep in touch by radio with ‘home’ and teams in the field.

It’s odd but I still find that keeping the three man Patrol out there provides a calming link back to my childhood games, my late Dad’s vanished flower garden and our shared playful interest in toy soldiers.

*

I liked the Borrowers scale thing, the threat of giant garden wildlife like snails and other minibeasts, the military birdwatching. RLS’ poem The Dumb Soldier captures this well – see also later for a brief quote from the poem:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/dumb-soldiers-the-past-and-future-of-garden-wargames/

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/11/29/lost-and-found-rls-the-dumb-soldier-2019/

*

I wrote a little about this garden before on this blog back in 2016 on a Garden Wargames post, from which I have taken some of these older photos:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/garden-wargames-1/

Bearing their battered sloppy childhood paintwork … my indoor desktop / travelling Three Man Patrol (TMP) of Airfix figures. About time they got some proper paintwork.

Usually I have used my most expendable pound store figures, as there was always the risk that dogs, lawnmowers and wildlife would trash the Patrol Post.

* Back in 2016 I was using what I now know were BMC clone US Marines

Retiring three man Patrol March 2021 in the latest OP building

The OP has changed from this safari / zoo animal walkway tower to an odd little house that I picked up about 15 years ago in a pet shop. Italian plastic, originally designed as a rodent hamster type house, sadly I have not seen them since. The label says Casetta per Criceti or a Hamster house (see B.P.S. Blog Post Script)

I liked it straightaway for its white walls and pantile roof. Instant Mexican cowboy town or Mediterranean village hut.

This pet shop where I found this house was a few doors away from a now closed independent pound store where I bought lots of pound store plastic soldier figure packs (Cowboys, Indians copies of Airfix with wagons, pirates, those 60s divers and sea creatures). Another pound store full of plastic tat, vanished and sadly missed …

I have always liked my Patrol or OP posts to have a certain kind of internal logic to them, otherwise they are just useless and silly. So as part of this, the pantiled roof house OP has a rigging type plastic ladder to the roof.

The boat at the foot of the cliff is their Patrol transport in and out of the situation and route of resupply, if not by air. A rope ladder links the house plateau with the river below. Supplies are winched up on ropes and stored in the house. It all makes its own kind of (non)sense.

The blue cowboy in my retiring three man Patrol in the pictures is one such Airfix clone, the blue speedboat in pictures below from a divers underwater play set kit. You got a lot more plastic tat for your pound 15 years ago.

The retiring Patrol after weeks to months in the field (in winter I forget don’t change figures as regularly) are a mix of figures, (what I now know are) some pirate cloned playset Tim Mee USA infantry, * the BMC clone US marine radio man and the blue Airfix clone cowboy. All expendable beach, garden or sandpit plastic figures.

Now in 2021, expendable plastic army men based on cloned Tim Mee, Airfix and BMC figures are being replaced by –

The incoming stores and Patrol of …

genuine new BMC Plastic Army Women.

Again in our new three woman Patrol we have:

    Female officer figure with binoculars and pistol
    Radiowoman or signaller (with no pistol)
    Sniper on the roof tiles

In my BMC Plastic Army Women Parazuellia Women’s Revolutionary Army figures that I painted for FEMbruary, I gave the unarmed Radiowoman a spare pistol in its holster from Airfix Multipose spares.

Having used up all these spare Multipose weapons, I noticed that there is a handy rifle on the trusty old Britains Herald Cowboy raft cargo boxes. That then is the weapon for the radiowoman – my internal logic says that is so.

A supply barrel (old barrel bead or button) is glued to slate to stop it blowing away. These stores will be packed away into the house whilst this new Patrol gets settled in.

The Cliff House OP: Bit of a Greek island feel here – blue pot, blue boat, whitewashed house …

The Patrol house OP has a handy removable red tile roof, but no closing doors or window – so I will assume that there are internal door and shutters. I like the ability to poke a toy soldier rifle out of the window. The house itself is expendable but this one has withstood many frosts and storms (sometimes the roof blows off in very bad weather!)

The Patrol house OP is a pale imitation of those excellent Timpo Wild West plastic buildings of our childhood that now go for such extortionate sums on eBay, even with the working closing doors missing. Timpo buildings would now be too old, brittle and valuable to be left outside in all weathers anyway.

At some point these patrols may mingle and we may have a mixed Co-Ed Patrol, out in the wilderness for weeks and months on end. For now, we will have single sex patrols.

Who knows what they will see, night and day in the wilds of the Yarden or Garden. We might need to alter RLS’ The Dumb Soldier slightly:

“She has lived, a little thing,

In the grassy woods of spring;

Done, if she could tell me true,

Just as I should like to do.

*

She has seen the starry hours

And the springing of the flowers;

And the fairy things that pass

In the forests of the grass.

*

In the silence she has heard

Talking bee and ladybird,

And the butterfly has flown

O’er her as she lay alone.”

*

Alone? Well, maybe not, as there are three highly trained and well equipped Plastic Army women out there anyway, but you may be alone on watch.

The travelling Box HQ three man team remain the same indoors and should now be in radio contact with the new three woman Patrol.

“Come in, Garden Patrol … come in, Garden Patrol.”

The retiring three man Patrol team await a debrief on their return, before a wash and brush up and some well earned leave.

That’s my family toy soldier tradition garden patrols, still going strong. I have come across Marvin at Suburban Militarism’s tradition of Christmas soldiers.

Anyone else have any strange toy soldier superstitions or strange family traditions to do with their toy soldiers?

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 13 March 2021

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

Below – some Casetta per Criceti or Hamster House examples online 2021, but not my exact pantile roofed example.

Hamster or mouse houses in wood or plastic – search around, there are some interesting small house examples online. Hamster or small rodent houses are a source of some possible garden wargames houses or cottages. They may prove an alternative to the converted bird box or the useful aquarium ornaments, something to look out for whilst browsing the pet store ?

Airfix 54mm 1:32 WW2 figures rereleased for Summer 2021

Childishly delighted to discover that Airfix are rereleasing six of its classic 1:32 54mm plastic WW2 infantry and paratroop sets for Germany, Britain and America – the toys of my childhood available again – preorder Summer 2021

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/01/08/airfix-ww2-132-figures-54mm-rerelease-for-summer-2021/

Classic figures – 64p each or 14 for £9.00 – preorder for Summer 2021.

Curious that only the Airfix Paratroops of each nation had radio men figures.

Pound Store and cheap playset copies of Airfix figures

Now we can play again a fun and fascinating toy shop or pound store plastic warrior sort of game called “Spot The Airfix Original Figure!

Interesting to have the original figures available again – many of the poses of German or American Infantry and British Paratroops are commonly found pirated, copied and cloned for Pound Store and seaside plastic toy soldier play sets.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/more-combat-mission-80-pound-store-plastic-soldiers-part-2/

and as they shrink, deform and de-evolve into newish figures, useful as stylised generic cheap figures for paint conversion.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/10/combat-mission-80-plastic-pound-store-soldiers-part-1-charge/

Copying original Airfix (left) then copying, shrinkage and lessening of detail into new figures

Some see poor smaller copies of Airfix, I see glossy shiny toy soldiers …

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/pound-store-42mm-infantry-army-red-army-blue/

This Airfix pirated figure de-evolution happens both for 1:72 and small copes of 54mm figures

Good Airfix pirate figures are handy for conversions – Para officer into scout mistress?

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2019/10/17/turning-cheap-pound-store-army-figures-into-boy-scouts-and-girls-scouts/

Blog posted by Man of TIN blog, 8 January 2020.

WW2 Wargaming on a Budget – Tom the Wargamer and Historical Wargaming on YouTube

Interesting blog post by Scotia Albion about a recent series of YouTube videos by Tom a young wargamer talking about budget ways for a young gamer of getting into historical wargames (as well as Sci-fi and D&D). For example:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oCeHBYNCRI0

https://scotiaalbion.blogspot.com/2020/09/tom-wargamer-future.html

Good to see positive and supportive comments by many other (older) gamers. I think we all recognise a bit of our early gaming history in Tom’s short Youtube videos.

Good to see Peter Dennis’ Paperboys books of figures, rules and terrain featured.

Good to see Airfix red box WW2 Infantry featured as a budget alternative to more expensive plastic figures for Bolt Action games etc.

A shame for younger gamers like Tom that the Airfix range is so intermittent and patchy historically on the Airfix.com shop and elsewhere

Adding in tanks, Tom admits, is going to get fiddly (kit making) and expensive – a shame the Airfix range of cheap readymade plastic tanks, landing craft and vehicles is no longer around.

For cheap tanks etc, you need to go Pound Store and cheap plastic playsets but choice of tank may be limited by the historical accuracy of Bolt Action rules.

Anyway good to see younger voices coming through. Bravo Tom!

Everything that Pound Store Plastic Warriors is about – wargaming on a budget.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors 20 September 2020.

A Well Spent Pound?

Slightly smaller scale figures and vehicles – Airfix Centurion tank copies

Popped in with my Christmas parcel from our upcountry family in 2019 was this lovely £1 bag of plastic soldiers and tanks.

They are the remnants of a playset style bag from a charity shop, picked up pre-Lockdown in late 2019. They were popped in alongside our Christmas presents as padding or packing in the Christmas parcel before posting. Who needs bubble wrap?

Please note: These were photographed in the poor light of Winter 2019 / 2020. I don’t think I posted these then for some reason.

One or two figures had the CE mark on the base.

Larger copies of familiar Airfix figures in two colours

Figures seen here in size order compared to the size of an original 54mm Airfix WW2 British Infantryman.

Again the slight size difference in the same bag of the same poses is interesting … two different factories? Two different mould tools?

Arriving without a header card, a bit of web research and toyshop browsing reveals that these Airfix figure and tank copies are HTI figures, made in China.

Similar bags are still available July 2020 in toy shops, post offices and seaside stores or from online suppliers such as here at Amazon, including with good copies of the Airfix pre-assembled OOHO Centurion tank.

Age range for kids toys stops at 12+, no categories for men ‘of a certain age’ 46-55, 55- 65, 65

I think that’s enough publicity for buying these here from Amazon (July 2020) for one post.

Buy them where you see them and certainly support your local toy shop.

Just seeing the wonky mixed scale content of these playsets so attractively photographed gives me simple childhood joy.

How have sizes changed from the Airfix originals?

I posted some comparison shots here:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/more-combat-mission-80-pound-store-plastic-soldiers-part-2/

Airfix original 54mm figure getting smaller and stranger with each generation of copies

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 running plastic toy soldier figures!

That red coat ‘Toy Soldier’ look

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/pound-store-42mm-infantry-army-red-army-blue/

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/more-combat-mission-80-pound-store-plastic-soldiers-part-2/

How do they measure up as they get smaller?

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.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, January / July 2020.

Tell That To The (Pound Store Plastic) Marines

Marine Infantry with grey helmets and blue sailor’s neck cloth.

Marine Infantry with green helmets and side packs

Two new skirmish or raiding forces added from the 200 tiny Airfix cloned or pirated figures from the current Combat Mission Mini Play Set. https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/06/23/the-joy-of-pound-store-play-sets/

These two groups of generic Marine Infantry are loosely based on two different sources:

1) L & F Funcken, Uniforms of WW2 page showing German sailors in landing rig and grey steel helmets.

2) the Russian Navy Marine Infantry or ‘Black Devils’ as the Germans called them after their dark navy blue uniforms. Other equipment like packs and helmets were Russian Army Green.

A page from An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Uniforms of World War Two

They were undercoated in a blue- black acrylic mix. Painting was kept very simple, the kind of painting you did with Airfix figure as a child in the 1970s. They usually already had the basic uniform colour plastic. Face, rifle, packs, boots and base painted.

Marine Infantry (Grey helmets) alongside Marine Infantry (Green Helmets)

Otherwise no wash, no fuss, just a green painted washer for a base. Simple.

These new dark blue figures can join in ImagiNations skirmishes with or alongside existing Verdan or Grizan troops.

Verdan forces

Grizan forces

Grizan versus Verdan forces can be seen in this Interwar border skirmish:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/06/28/verda-versus-griza-pound-store-plastic-soldiers-20mm-interbellum-fms-skirmish-now-with-added-esperanto/

I was pleased to see these simple Airfix copy figures crop up on Maudlin Jack Tar’s excellent blog:

https://pampersandp.blogspot.com/2020/07/army-men-activity.html

Four groups or units of figures so far – this still leaves me with over a hundred more green and grey basic figures for future projects and groups (albeit with a whole fiercesome unit which will be made up of bazooka men and officers waving pistols!)

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 13 July 2020.

The Joy of Pound Store Play Sets …

Combat Mission Mini Soldier Play Set Play Mat – more of a poster than a play mat?
The contents in full – 203 soldiers, 3 jeeps, 2 tanks, 2 flags, 1 aircraft – felt river not supplied.

Side view of the 2 cm green and grey 203 figures

This recent gift was (I think) bought last year from a seaside gift shop, part of the Combat Mission branding that we have featured elsewhere on this Pound Store Plastic Warriors site. However it can be found online for around £5 including delivery.

The tiny Airfix sized OOHO or 1:72-1:76 2cm type figures are clones or copies of two familiar Airfix figure sets of American Infantry (4 poses) and British Paratroops (2 poses).

They have muted details but are not too distorted with minimal flash and have good bases. Even without vehicles, these 200 odd figures would be 1p to 2.5p each.

Being a cheaper play set, both sides of German / Grey and American / Green troops use the same moulds / figures. Ditto the jeeps and tanks. They all make good enough generic WW2 / modern infantry and vehicles.

Six poses of green or grey troops, mostly scaled to each other. 4 and 6 are Airfix British Para derived, others American Infantry derived.

Green troops have a radar or searchlight jeep, along with a small multiple rocket launcher.

Whoopee! Grey troops have their very own rocket propelled jeep.

Side view of a ‘cute’ little grey tank. It looks like a light airborne armour or early war light tank.

A neat little tank from the rear, some good engine & stowage detail. Not sure which model of tank it is meant to be.

If you don’t want to use the flag-post mound for its intended purpose, it can become infantry cover.

Overall this is good (play) value, as you can buy these playsets online all in for about £5 and free delivery.

Given that you have 203 figures in my set, approximately four boxes of Airfix figures, this would cost you in the shops about £20. Add in the hard plastic tanks and jeeps similar to the Airfix ones from the 1970s, this £5 set proves good value to the young and not so young gamer.

Quantity has a Quality all of its own, someone once said. “The phrase has been popular in the US defense community since the 1980s, sometimes acknowledging it as a US coinage, but often misattributing it to Clausewitz, Lenin, Stalin, and Brezhnev, but mostly to Stalin.http://klangable.com/blog/quantity-has-a-quality-all-its-own/.

As poses go, we have a fair share of each of the poses but this leads us to having too many pistol waving (American Infantry) officers and too many (American Infantry) bazooka men. Obviously you can reuse pistol guy in other roles as vehicle crew etc. That saying, Airfix and other plastic figures have their fair share of useless diorama poses in each box.

One of the typical play set minus points for some is the weird period mix and oddities of scale. These are generic WW2 and postwar figures next to a WW2 type tank and WW2 or postwar type jeeps but the modern odd one out is the secret Stealth type jet.

If you are role-playing a pound store WW2 skirmish rerun of Germany versus Britain and America, this could be a prototype or experimental Me262 type variant jet fighter.

If you are role-playing Green versus Grey in your ImagiNations scenario, again it could be a top secret stealth fighter etc.

Britain vs America? Available play set Amazon U.K. June 2020

 

The German / American branding is fairly fluid, depending on which bag you get. Other versions of the same figures and vehicles can be found online with desert tan and green troops, marked by flags as Americans and British!

It is the sort of playset that I would have been happy to have bought with my pocket money as a child and even today as an adult gamer, I could enjoy this for what it is.

I might rebase the figures. I might remove the stickers and even add a lick of flesh paint, maybe some brown or black paint on boots and weapons. But I will enjoy them for what they are.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 23 June 2020.

Black Cowboys on the Old Town Road

IMG_1243
A posse of Black cowboys from seaside Pound Store copies of Airfix (painted by me c. 1993/4)

About 25 years ago I painted these cheap Pound Store copies of Airfix 54mm Cowboys and Indians into a home-made DIY western play set. It was made as a jokey present for a western movie enthusiast daughter of a work colleague. This was recently passed back to me 25 years later for safekeeping.

I was reminded of this DIY Wild West Vintage playset box by a recent American chart topping song. I also thought of this box whilst researching my recent scouting related blogpost on segregation and the idealised, romantic Native American cultural influences on early Boy Scouts Of America as part of my Scouting Wide Games tabletop project. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/more-original-scouting-handbooks-boy-scouts-and-girl-scouts-of-america/

The Wild West. Independence. The Frontier. These are the seductive and selective histories and stories that countries tell about themselves, to their young and to others. The pioneers, the frontiersman, the noble savage …

A familiar cast of stock Western characters – and then someone comes along and subverts this all with a jokey pop music video

https://youtu.be/w2Ov5jzm3j8

American music charts for the last three to four months have been dominated by a country / hip-hop crossover track called Old Town Road by young hip-hop artist Lil Nas X and Country and Western star Billy Ray Cyrus.

Warning – It is the perfect earworm and in crossing two distinct genres of music has caused controversy and divided musical opinion. Is it Country and Western? Is it hip hop or rap?

Controversy? “Cyrus sent a tweet to Lil Nas X after Billboard decided that the rapper’s song, Old Town Road, was “not country enough” to be on its Hot Country chart. Billboard said the song “does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version” despite its twanging banjo. The removal of the song sparked a fierce debate — white country artists like Florida Georgia Line use hip hop beats in their songs, why can’t a black artist embrace country beats?“

 

So Billy Ray Cyrus stepped into the remix and the music video ‘movie’ to make it a little more country.

17461847-7B2A-4DDD-B4F1-9E1924FB7299

I like the tongue-in-cheek western movie pastiche that was made as the music video. It features black cowboys in 1889 falling through time into the blingy 2019 modern equivalent of fast cars in place of horses, line dancing, designer label cowboy hat and boots.

Time tunnel? Interesting gaming scenario, pure pulp fiction and “Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur” in reverse?

IMG_1243

What it suggests about the reality of cowboy life is quite interesting – many cowboys were in fact Black or Hispanic. Not quite the rugged Hollywood 1950s myth making.

IMG_1244IMG_1245IMG_1246IMG_1247IMG_1248IMG_1249

Classic and much pirated / copied Airfix figures, still around today in clone form.

IMG_1250
Jokey DIY play set  elements …

I packed inside this all into an old decorated shoebox with their favourite cowboy novel and a simple set of rules for gunfights (roll a dice or split a card deck – highest value wins) or decided via using scissors / paper / stone. Each cowboy and Indian (Native American / first people) had a name on the base of famous historical or western movie characters. (Subrule – Clint always wins). I wonder if the gunfight rules were ever used quietly when no one else was looking?

IMG_1251
I must have made this box c. 1993/4 when this film came out.

I wonder – Where have all the cowboy movies gone?

Various cowboy film and dime store novel images were decoupaged onto the box, wrapped in Western wrapping paper.

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The Old Town Road song has inspired some curious and destructive tourism in the USA:
https://www.standard.co.uk/insider/living/lil-nas-xs-old-town-road-sees-street-signs-for-the-real-place-hacksawed-and-stolen-by-fans-a4212286.html

Billy Ray Cyrus mentioned in interviews – “I’ve never had a writing/recording session like this,” 57-year old Cyrus said in a video. “I used to play as a kid in this town called Argillite, Kentucky and there was an old, covered bridge outside Argillite called Old Town and there was the road that led to the covered bridge was Old Town Road. I heard this song and I go my gosh I just love what this is saying, plus I can relate to this.”
https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/billy-ray-cyrus-new-song-with-lil-nas-x-old-town-road-goes-viral/news-story/378b541ba26900aacac78a0ba278d197

For more about this song and its controversy https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Town_Road

For more about this covered bridge (I do love a nice covered bridge): https://www.kentuckytourism.com/oldtown-covered-bridge/

Part memory or part myth, maybe lots of people have their own Old Town Road in their heads. It all makes me want to to go look up my favourite photo blog of vanishing Americana, Forgotten Georgia https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/dutchy-and-dade-the-confederate-history-of-forgotten-georgia/

Back to the earworm …

https://youtu.be/w2Ov5jzm3j8

Posted by Mark Man of TIN on his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 14 August 2019. Boogety! Boogety! Boogety!

My Plastic Warrior Show in a box!

 

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Plastic Warrior flyer leaflet tucked in the box of 130 odd plastic figures to repair

I haven’t made  it to the Plastic Warrior Show in London yet (the next one is Saturday 11th May 2019).  I hope all those who travel to this annual event have a great social time and a good rummage through the boxes and trays of plastic figures. http://plasticwarrioreditor.blogspot.com

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Speedwell WW2 German Afrika Korps figures

Instead I have been rummaging through a fabulous box of 130 broken or damaged plastic figures bought from Barrie (“Redhalliwell” on eBay)  for £3 to £4. Strangely no one else bid. That’s about 3p a figure – sent straight to my door!

Barrie mentioned interestingly that 2019 “is our 32nd Show. When we first started it was mainly collectors who came but now we get a lot of 1/32nd war gamers coming as there are cheap figures to be had.” (2019 Show details at end of post).

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Some interesting hat conversions to Kepis or cap comforters. UNA (left) Herald copy (right)
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Another view of these interesting cap conversions – Korean War? American Civil War? 

These playworn battle scarred veterans deserve some care and attention. Some Plastic figures from the 1950s and 1960s are now more brittle than others and these clearly have seen better days. My Broken Britain’s metal hollowcast figures in some ways will outlive these.

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Starlux standard bearer
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A dance troupe or 60mm 7th or Union Cavalry? (6 C20 figures, one C21) Crescent figures
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Crescent knights and a fine unmarked  Robin Hood figure. Two Crescent M6 M2 (right)
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Crescent knights  (far left and right), Britain’s Deetail 2 and 3, Timpo fourth.
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Three unmarked but fine tricorne redcoats
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A slinky Hong Kong copy of a Herald hula dancer?
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Airfix Waterloo figures and a fine ‘premuim type’ musketeer who would make a fine female pirate! 
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Timpo and other fallen  desert warriors.
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Mechanics, milkmaid and a ‘golden balls’ footballer
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Unmarked Beefeater /  Yeoman of the Guard
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Oversize 60mm Crescent Indians 1 and 3, and a Lone Star 54mm Indian for scale.
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Three Crescent C2 lasso cowboys and a Kellogg’s conversion, looking almost pirate like. Lone Star (fifth along)
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Attack of the 60mm Tall Mexican! Crescent C25  Mexican and Britain’s Herald (left) and Lone Star (right)

A few hours later the harsh sunlight was fading and photography was easier.

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Lone Star Harvey Paratroops and Infantry except for  a larger Crescent P6 figure running (back right) and Crescent K2 flame thrower  (front right)
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A fine Lone Star Harvey Series paratroop Officer with pistol, who could be a great space police figure too.
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Bashed and battered Britains and Herald American Indians
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Three fine charging Confederate butternuts to repaired. No maker’s name shown.

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A mixed and bashed band to paint and repair. Lone Star Harvey Series and Kellogg’s
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Some figures were more bashed than others but still useful figures for repair. Headless Lone Star guardsman next to Herald Scotsman (right)
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Mostly Britain’s Herald Life Guard and Household Cavalry
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Damaged Herald British Infantry and Hong Kong copies.
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More damaged Herald British infantry and copy (fourth) with damaged Bullpup rifles

More damaged 1950s and 1960s khaki infantry, one Crescent figure with a melted base and a Crescent mortar man.

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Airfix British Eighth Army and left unmarked “desert rat”
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Feisty Timpo swoppet style figures. The damaged Digger in bush hat has a very old Donald Featherstone look to his face.
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Battle scarred veteran Airfix US Infantry to repair.
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Airfix and other random WW2 Infantry – large Crescent K32 radioman
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A fine horse with a broken  back leg to repair.

These should be 130 useful figures for the conversion and repair box.

Interestingly my usual repair glue – fast setting standard Superglue  cyanoacrylate –  does not seem to work on these plastics. Any better ideas?

I know there is a special Plastics Superglue with an activator.

——————

From a previous post comment  by snaves?
Reminder: the PLASTIC WARRIOR figure show
Saturday 11 May 2019
The Harlequin Suite
The Winning Post Inn
Chertsey Road
Whitton
TW2 6LS

60+ tables packed with figures, mainly reasonably priced and LOTS of “junk” boxes
Further details tel: 01483 722 778

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 30 March 2019.