Black Cowboys on the Old Town Road

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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.

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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?

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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.

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

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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?

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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!

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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.

Combat Mission Military Soldier Play Set

A welcome part of my Christmas presents …

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.

Combat Mission Play set (imported by Kandy Toys UK) 
What do you get for your £3? For the price of a high street coffee you get 20 figures, 4 planes and vehicles. Hopefully also priceless hours of plastic fun.

Figures are the usual odd mix  (and usual slight scale difference) of pirate  / clone ‘China made’ WW2 Airfix British Paratroops, US Infantry and smaller more distorted German infantry clone figures.

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

All have their conversion potential and in play set terms, despite being the same colour, could split into two groups to form two different armies.
The smaller figures paint up well enough:

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

A handy little jeep (near 54mm scale) with useful barbed wire fencing.

An odd chunky little tank that reminds me of a Soviet tank (not sure what it is based on) so I have included some childhood Platoon 20 Russian infantry 20mm metal figures. Certainly not pound store parts of my childhood! Old notebook ‘spine’ barbed wire.
Too small to be a tent for these 40 to 54mm figures but maybe a covered supply or ammo dump?
The same ‘tent’ is more plausible with 20 mm Platoon 20 metal figures (or smaller 15mm figures)
The same ‘tent’ with Poundland 32mm conversions is perhaps better as a supply dump.
Every good cheap play set needs a bizarre playmat but this has a river, sand bag positions …
Platoon 20mm metal figures, bootleg Airfix US WW2 infantry and ESCI Vietnam era US infantry match this chopper or  helicopter quite well.

A useful little play set that I would have enjoyed as a child. Still useful to me today.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN 21 January 2019.

More Fun for Less – Party Favor Plastic Cowboys and Indians

A good toy slogan to have “More Fun for Less.” These funexpress.com Made In China Cowboys and Indians have a couple of interesting poses, some of which echo the familiar Airfix and Britain’s Deetail Cowboys and Indians.

They were ordered online from a UK “party favors” shop, an interesting but sometimes expensive place to find plastic figures.

They are marked MARIES 0415 funexpress.com on the base. They were £3.60 including postage, so 36p each.

The plastic figures are slightly larger than the usual 54mm figures but close enough, the last picture gives a size comparison with similar Britain’s 54mm lead hollowcast figures.

Two of the plastic figures alongside a Britain’s hollowcast lead cowboy and repaired Indian.

I look forward at some point to painting these in Gloss toy soldier style.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20 July 2018.

Saluting Donald Featherstone’s Centenary

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A small 54mm plastic parade for Donald Featherstone on his Centenary.

Celebrating Donald Featherstone’s Centenary on 20 March 2018

Donald F. Featherstone (1918 – 2013)

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/featherstone100-donald-featherstone-centenary-20-march-2018/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20 March 2018.

Battle Ground figures

 

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Dramatic header artwork, reminiscent of all those WW2 story cartoon booklets  …

An online purchase last year from a vintage ex-shop stock supplier, at first I thought these were 54mm pirate copies. In fact they turned out to be OO/HO.

I was not disappointed as this meant I had some OO/HO copies of the larger Airfix Japanese Infantry to play with, pirated and pantographed down in size from 1:32.

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A motley collection of OO/HO copies of 1:32 Airfix copies of Japanese and American Infantry and Matchbox Germans. With extra added flash …

These were pretty ropey, poor quality  copies with extra flash and badly moulded weapons. Perfect for conversion then! Four bags full …

Because of the unusual nature of these Airfix Japanese figures in a small scale,  I think that they are worth trimming free of flash  and painting up as an Imagi-Nations army unit.

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Violently coloured and attractive pirate copies.

Hopefully I will be able to create some interesting new OO/HO figures for the American Civil War or for an Imagi-Nations army, such as I have done with the original 1:32 Airfix Japanese Infantry that I have repainted here.

 

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My Pippin Fort style Imagi-Nations troop paint conversions of 1:32 Japanese Infantry.

These Pippin fort figures were previously shown at my Man of TIN blog in June 2016 (link below here) and would feature well in the employ of any late 18th or 19th Century  Imagi-Nation:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/pound-store-wars/

 

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1:32 Airfix Japanese Infantry officer (copy) repainted and more modern radioman. 

Equally these OO HO Japanese figure copies could be used alongside Airfix Japanese Infantry OO/HO (still in production) to make ACW figures in kepis.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/confused-by-zouaves-some-airfix-acw-paint-conversions/

Another set of figures for winter 2017/ 2018 projects.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, on his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog  7 October  2017.

 

 

 

 

 

More Combat Mission 80 pound store plastic soldiers – Part 2.

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Previously on Pound Store Plastic Warriors we looked at my favourite charging figure out of the pack of Combat Mission 80 Soldiers.

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

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There was another slender plastic old toy soldier style figure inside the pack that caught my eye, advancing with a sub machine gun.

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A group of these roughly 42mm figures would make another fine SMG Sub Machine Gun unit all advancing together.

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My Sub Machine Gun Regiment advances in formation.

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!)

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Airfix WW2 54mm German Infantry next to the smaller 42mm Combat Mission 80 soldier.

Crude as they are, they have loosened into a useful generic Imagi-Nations modern infantry type, much like the Italian made Atlantic “Euro Infantry”.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/tintin-and-imagi-nations-games/

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

http://quantrillstoysoldiers.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/how-to-make-horse-hair-plumes-for.html

http://quantrillstoysoldiers.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/ruritanian-tropical-uniform-4th-infantry.html

Grenade!

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!

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L to R: Airfix 54mm original, Hong Kong / China copy and my recent Combat Mission 80 China copy of the WW2 infantry German Stick grenade thrower.

I should be able to muster a unit of about about 24 of these plucky  rifle grenadiers.

http://www.airfixtoysoldiers.com/set_list.htm

Over Here 

The other Airfix figures raided for this pack include American infantry.

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Combat Mission 80 China made copies of Airfix WW2 US Infantry.
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Airfix 54mm original figures on left of each pair.

Red Devil Paras

One of the other Airfix ranges raided is the WW2 British Paratroops.

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Combat Mission 80 versions of Airfix British Paratroopers.
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Airfix original WW2 British paratroops on the left paired next to the Combat Mission versions.

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Combat Mission 80 China made version of the Airfix WW2 paratroop figure with change to a helmet rather than beret, just like the officer figure.
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Airfix original with paratroop beret on left, followed by the helmeted copies from different pound store packs.

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.

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Airfix original second from left, next to a rather good Hong Kong copy first left. The other smaller two on the right are recent China made pound store copies.
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Airfix original  WW2 Paratrooper (Far Right) next to three China made pound store copies, including one I painted with red coat Toy Soldier paint style.
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Spot the Airfix original …

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.

Brian Carrick’s site http://toysoldiercollecting.blogspot.co.uk also has good plastic soldier coverage and web links.

A fun summer of pound store plastic unit painting awaits.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN for Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, June 2017.