More Retro packaging for the ‘Penny Dreadful’ pound store plastic warriors

The Super Cheap Wargaming Facebook group featured a post by Ron Lumbis about the current 30mm-32mm (ish) pound store figures.

I like the retro style of the packaging from Schyllyng with on the back of the box the pen outline of the figures inside, a little like the early 1960s Airfix boxes.

I also like the slight overselling – “INCLUDES TWO ARMIES” – obviously serious defence cuts have happened. What they mean is includes two different colours of figures, in this case the traditional green and tan of some plastic army men figures sets.

I see echoes of the famous Russ Heath Lucky Toys page adverts in US comic books for disappointingly flat mail order figures. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/10/classic-close-wars-and-comic-book-soldiers-back-to-the-forest/

You can also see similarly stylish packaging (short lived packaging and sold out) from 2017, the “WW2 Soldiers” tag a little misleading with the Russian Army looking troops.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/retro-packaging/

Either box would make a good attractive mail order gift, one that I would happily have played with as a child, then have somewhere to put them back in the box afterwards.

The alternative packaging I have found for these figures over the last few years ranges from a flimsy plastic bag and header card of two different colours per bag …

… to the useful storage tubs of single colour figures occasionally found in Poundland UK.

Same figures, different colours, varying prices per figure, different packaging.

To me these are the modern cheap small plastic equivalent to the Airfix figures of our youth.

They are surprisingly versatile and at a penny or two each (prices are steadily creeping up) these anonymous and widely available ‘Made in China’ plastic figures can be cheaply and easily converted to a range of periods past and present – and future.

Several fantasy or sci fi gaming bloggers have used these same figures such as the Wargaming Pastor for his Death Zap future games.

Ross Macfarlane of the long-established Battle Game of the Month blog paid these figures and conversions a sort of dubious tribute when he described them as:

Hence my nickname for them of the “Penny Dreadfuls“, as this is what I once paid for each 100 figures for £1.

I have used them for many things from my Boy Scout rough conversions …

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/05/19/pound-store-plastic-boy-scout-32mm-conversions/

to Flash Gordon style space marines and little green men aliens.

The alien ‘cape’ is a card paper hole punch strengthener from cheap old luggage labels.

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

These figures adapt to modern as well as 19th Century colonial figures

Various theatres of War and historic periods suggested by paint conversions here

Simple cardboard hat brims (again from hole punch paper strengtheners or card circles)

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/pound-store-plastic-colonial-infantry-on-the-painting-table/

Colonial highlanders from Carry on Up the Khyber … tissue paper and PVA kilts added

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/pound-store-plastic-carry-on-up-the-khyber-colonial-highlanders/

Simple desert or native warriors created by scalpel and PVA / tissue paper conversions

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/pound-store-desert-warrior-unit-completed/

Cheap enough to risk losing figures if taken as a travel battle on holiday – simple melee rules.

As you can see these are very versatile figures, with a little imagination, they can become many different types of ImagiNations figures.

Transport easily requisitioned from charity shop cheap finds …

Arguably Airfix figures have or had the advantage of scale model kits and buildings to complement their figures (although both often in and out of availability or production).

However, with a little imagination, suitable Pound Store playset or charity shop vehicles, terrain and buildings can be found.

A full blown pound store colonial skirmish for under a pound …

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

Suitable sized gaming accessories add variety to conversions – here an old Prince August homecast gun.

Or light railway battery ‘train in a tin’ style …

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/deconstructing-trains-train-in-a-tin-vs-train-in-a-box/

This paint conversion or scalpel and PVA approach works with any size or scale of cheap plastic Pound Store type figures as you can see from meandering through my blog.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 21 December 2020

ManoTINcas or ManoTINtacs? 54mm South American Tribal Warriors

En masse the terrifying ManoTINca tribal warriors
I keep misreading this title as the Mixtapes which sounds like an 80s band.

Along with the furious Spaniards / Conquistadors shown in my recent blog post, Alan Gruber of the Duchy of Tradgardland blog had kindly gifted me some opponents and forest fighters in the form of these 54mm Chintoys Mixtecs and Zapotecs from a unfinished project of his.

Alan thought they would enjoy protecting my Bold Frontiers tree forests.

Reaserching these South American warriors led me to a useful second hand old Osprey Men at Arms 239 book on Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec armies – still in print.

As you can see from comparing the cover illustration by Angus McBride, some of the Chintoys figures are sculpted fairly faithfully close in appearance to the Osprey illustrations. Chintoys also make separate boxes of eight figures of Aztec and Mayan warriors (available online).

The central figure a Zapotec priest is wearing the flayed skin of an enemy!

Figures converted to my version of Triple Alliance Jaguar Warriors
Stylised toy soldier faces adapted with copper cheek dots to highlight their darker skin tones

The original Jagaur and Eagle styled warriors both have great animal head dress – here are my Gull Warriors, stylish and stylised figures that look like carvings or Codex drawings.

My Gull Warriors …

Rather than be too specific to a historic period of the slightly confusing Mixtec and Zapotec enemies and allies of the Aztecs, I thought I would adapt the paint scheme slightly to form a new tribal opponents of the Spanish Conquistadors, the not so well known allied South and Central American tribes of the ManoTINcas and the ManoTINtacs led by their Priests and their Empress Queen Thatzyerlottal.

Some of these figures are ordinary warriors but too many of them for gaming are priests, officers and nobles, so I have tried through conversion to create a mixed skirmish force of more ordinary warriors.

I have created a more uniform tribal look by restricting myself to simple red stripes on the white maxtlatl loin cloth worn by most of the Warriors.

Feather banners removed on two figures and banner plumes transplanted to their heads

Alan had sent me several bags of these eight Mixtec figures so I had several of some of the Officer poses with spears and their battle flags strapped to their backs.

With a small skirmish force, I did not want too many officers and priests, so I cut down some of these feather banners to make more fighting men. I kept the feather crests and attached these by drilling, pinning and gluing this to the top of the head.

Many of the warriors are wearing the simple tlahuiztli padded cloth armour

Many of the warriors are armed with the widely used South American Macahuitl wooden sword or club with obsidian volcanic glass blades:

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

Variations existed of this bladed weapon in the form of a obsidian bladed spear, the tepoztopilli.

Bowmen or Archers used arrows tipped with copper or obsidian volcanic glass.

I think these are finely animated figures of hunters with arrows.

Some of the kneeling red clad figures with atlatl spear throwers shown on the Osprey cover were so stylishly modelled in such a stylised way that I thought they might become statues in a jungle temple. These were undercoated in stone grey paint.

This stylised statue look is not so surprising. Much of what we know of Aztec / Inca / Mayan life is from post Spanish conquest Codex drawings and carvings at their city sites.

What might have been … Stone Warriors …

However, being short of troops, I briefly considered if they could be stone warrior statues that might come to life when the Spaniards raided their temple. They remind me heavily of the Inca type figures in Tintin Prisoners of The Sun and Rascar Capac in Tintin The Seven Crystal Balls https://tintin.fandom.com/wiki/Rascar_Capac

Eventually on the same “too many chiefs, not enough Indians” logic, these stone warriors were reanimated with gloss paint treatment as live warriors – the original figures are Zapotec warlords with arrow thrower.

I have used bright Revell Aquacolor gloss acrylics, to try and match the more colourful aspects of feather crests and shields, as they are shown in the Osprey Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec book and the Osprey Men at Arms 101 The Conquistadores volume , also with Angus McBride illustrations which also colourfully covers Aztecs, Mayans and Incas.

I wanted to keep my gloss paint, gloss varnish shiny toy soldier look for these unusual figures, including the stylised toy soldier face with a copper cheek dot in place of pink to match the darker skin tones (Revell Aquacolor Acrylic Mud Brown Gloss).

If Britain’s had made Mixtecs and Zapotecs, Aztecs, Incas and Mayans, I hope they would have come out of the factory looking this shiny and colourful.

The most striking figure in the Osprey Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec Armies book is the Mixtec Oracular priest – sadly they didn’t make the Mixtec queen, so a duplicate priest figure had some cosmetic surgery. Literally a face lift!

I shall feature on a separate blog post how this spare Mixtec priest figure was changed into a Mixtec queen. I still need to work on ‘her’ overlarge left hand.

As mentioned, I have not painted these figures exactly as they are shown in the Osprey books. I have kept the shields simple with uniform yellow and purple round edge patterns.

As well as the colour plates in the Osprey books, I was also guided by the bold colours in one of my childhood library books (pictured below). I like the strong colours such as the bright green quetzal feather plume headdresses.

My first encounter with these exotic warriors was in Warriors and Weapons of Ancient Times by Nils Saxdorph. The short lived Peter Laing 15mm range of Aztec, Inca and Maya warriors came out a little too late for me in the 1980s to invest in this unknown period. Whilst they might all have been on the National Curriculum primary school world history from the early 1990s onwards, reduced to just the Mayans since 2014, we didn’t cover these ancient cultures when I was at school in the 1970s and 80s.

At some point soon these Meso-American Stone Age warriors with obsidian tipped blades will encounter these fierce Spanish Conquistadors with their crossbows, arquebus, war dogs and cavalry …

These Chintoys Spanish Conquistadors will also double up as opponents for my Elizabethan Spanish Armada era English / Cornish ‘Home Guard’ Muster coastwatch rabble (made up of converted Pound Store knights) and Trained Band (made up of old ECW plastics).

I like it when figures ranges overlap and have a dual use, it reduces the cost, time, painting and storage needed for skirmish games. It keeps it more in the spirit of my ‘Pound Store Plastic Warriors’ blog.

The Armada seamen will be converted and painted up from China made cheap seaside pirates, so whilst Chintoys are not cheap Pound Store figures, many of the other plastic figures will be Pound Store or cheap seaside plastic toy figures.

Wearing my Imagi-Nations hat (you can imagine yourself what this might look like) these fierce warriors can stand in for Central and South Generican tribal warriors in my Bronte juvenilia inspired renaming of the world. Meso-Generican then …

I hope you have enjoyed seeing these fascinating colourful figures as much as I enjoyed painting and converting them. Thanks again to Alan Gruber for sending them my way.

So there you go, that’s the Mixtapes …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on this his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog 27 November 2020.

Steampunk Pound Store Plastic Warriors or WW2 Tankers?

Readers of the Pound Store Plastic Warrior might recognise the penny or tuppenny dreadful plastic tat from pound stores and seaside shops that make up our blog header.

Looking at a group of these 45 – 50 mm figures, I picked out the figure pose carrying a rifle (second from right) as a possible space figure.

I had intended to do a larger version of my 32mm Pound Store Flash Gordon inspired space marines and opponents which you can read about at

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

32 mm pound store “1930s futuristic” space marines and orange suited enemies

I thought some bright Flash Gordon or Dan Dare type spacemen in 1950s cowboy type colours and toy soldier style would be the thing.

Which is of course why they ended up as steampunked French tank crew in leather jackets.

In the usual way, this vague plan of colourful space figures went awry as I searched through Pinterest for Steampunk and VSF (Victorian Science Fiction).

Researching images on Pinterest – French WW2 tank crew, re-enactors and steampunk cosplay

Highly influential in my eventual ImagiNations colour scheme were the stylish uniforms of French tank crew and despatch riders.

Source unknown: French tank crew with the very futuristic rear end of a WW2 French tank

There are some very nice 1/35 Alpine Miniature figures tank Crew in their Brown leather jackets, tan trousers and Flying style helmets c. 1939/40.

https://www.squadron.com/SPECIAL-ORDER-1-35-Alpine-Miniature-WW2-French-Tan-p/lp35198.htm

This gave me the base colours – they were going to be painted in gloss toy soldier style using a mix of available Revell Acrylic Aquacolor gloss and matt, finished off with gloss spray varnish.

The figures after gloss Varnish but before the Steampunk copper highlights were added.

At this stage before Steampunk copper highlights were added, some of them could pass vaguely as WW2 or modern figures.

I wanted them to keep that 1930s to 1950s shiny gloss hollowcast look including the pink cheek dot traditional toy soldier face, as if they had just been taken out of their red box.

Once the copper or brass highlights were added, picking up cloned and distorted webbing details, this looked more like power cables for their brass steam or laser weaponry, breathing gear or comms equipment. Nothing too specific …

Grey basing rather than green was chosen for the plain toy soldier style tuppenny base, reflective more of an urban setting or even steel plate metal, maybe even the decking of airships and space craft.

An Officer and An NCO figure (with dark blue tanker beret) can be seen amongst them

I was surprised at how practically well these two tone figures fitted into the landscape, despite the shiny Steampunk bits and gloss Varnish.

Add in some suitably weird Pound Store / playset type Chinese made plastic tat Steampunk Artillery

The closest I could do to the French tankers and the futuristic back of their tank photo here …

Quel petrolier!” or A rough French translation for Lardy tank rules fans of their mischievously named ruleset “What a Tanker!”

… was a rough reconstruction of this historic photograph using the backside view of my lovely cap firing action friction based US tinplate tank (Thunderbolt USA 4U, unknown maker)

So there you go, you start off intending to make Flash Gordon space marines and end up with French tanker inspired Steampunk activity.

Proof that all you need is some time, paint, distraction, a few tangents and you can make something smart out of these unloved overlooked cloned and distorted Pound Store type figures.

For my simple 54mm Donald Featherstone inspired sci-fi rules Close Little Space Wars

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/close-little-space-wars/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/in-a-garden-far-far-away/

For more futuristic sci-fi toy soldier figure fun https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/international-star-wars-day-may-the-fourth-be-with-you/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN

Colour Schemes for Imagi Nations Uniforms

 

 

 

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Modern toy soldiers don’t have to be dull colours in my Imagi-Nations world …

2018 started with the disappearance of the old UK pound coin,  traded in at Poundland for more ‘penny dreadful’ toy soldier tubs. These steadily decreased from 100 figures (32mm-ish) for £1 to 80 figures, 70 figures and then gone in my local stores for now… Poundland Defence Cuts!

First rule of Pound Store Plastic Warriors: Buy ’em when you see ’em! They won’t be there next week / month / year / visit.

Above top  – from early 2018 – an unfinished blog post photo of  a rare mismould amongst these cheap Poundland penny-ish figures, destined for elite sub machine gun and Commando beret use. No mismould left behind!

Over on my other Man of TIN blog, sister to this Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, I have been reviewing my past gaming year https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/01/01/new-gaming-year-irresolutions-2019

December was an Advent Calendar of tiny blogposts using up unfinished drafts and 12ish days of Twixmas into the New Year. Time for some …

Housekeeping!

Pound Store Plastic Warriors has a few of its own unfinished blog posts including this one about my uniform sketches for a retro toy soldier look for cheap plastic modern figures. A kind of Postmodern Jukebox approach for plastic tat?

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Army Grey, Army Green
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Army Yellow, Army White
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Air Force Red, Air Force Blue but  as yet no Navy, Blue or other colour wise.

One of the challenges of painting up Imagi-Nations from a motley combination of pound store plastic warriors, homecast  and repaired hollowcast metal figures is a coherent uniform scheme that can unify the diverse figures into different armies or groups.

Occasionally as an Airfix child I dream of the restrictive but comforting safe joys of real historical uniforms and their painting guides – and then do my own thing anyway!

In the spirit of H.G. Wells in Little Wars, I started with Army Red and Army Blue.

Reference note: I drew these sketches in 2017/18 before discovering the much more ‘official status’ of the Funny Little Wars army lists and colours.

http://www.thevirtualarmchairgeneral.com/800-Funny-Little-Wars-Product-Page.htm

Pound Store Plastic Warriors Plans for 2019? 

Keep collecting more seaside soldier  plastic tat. It stops it getting into the oceans. Maybe we should rename the blog Pound Store Plastic Eco-Warriors?

IMG_0592
One of the small joys of Christmas 2018 …

I have some more ideas for (42mm) FIMO polymer clay figures to fill some figure gaps.

The rest of my 2019 plans are those Irresolutions of the Man of TIN blog.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/01/01/new-gaming-year-irresolutions-2019

I look forward to hearing about your undone 2018 plans and your 2019 Irresolutions via the comments and reply section.

Happy New Year! Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 3rd January 2019.

The Washing of The Spears

 

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Not the famous book about the Zulu Wars and a ritual after battle but the next stage of my Poundland Mission accomplished.

Having acquired four new tubs of Poundland’s finest 36mm figures with my last four old round pound coins, like most plastic figures, it pays back in time and paint later  to give them a quick detergent wash and scrub.

This gets rid of any mould releasant grease or spray that may be on these plastic figures, even though they are a harder plastic than the Airfix figures, which also  suggested a quick wash and a gentle scrub /  brush in detergent before painting.

The Drying of the Spears 

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The Drying of The Spears – This ritual always feels something slightly agricultural or cookery based, spreading the washed figures out to dry on a suitable spare towel. They have a satisfying  rattle …

Hence the rituals of Washing of the Spears, and the Drying of the Spears, the next stages in preparing these odd “penny dreadful” figures for conversion into Generican native warriors.

Will they be Zulu-like ? Will they be desert warriors like my last trial set?

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Some of my  Imagi-Native Pound Store Plastic warriors so far …

Hmm …What sort of hostile Imagi-Natives?

North and South Generica have a wide range of habitats and associated hostile tribes, as does North and South Farica, all my own Imagi-Nations. These will add to the young Bronte family’s  North and South Pacific Imagi-Nations of Gondal (N) and Gaaldine (S) along with the West African based kingdoms or colonies of Glasstown and Angria, slowly being explored on my Man of TIN blog.

 

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What sort of hostile native to make, ready to defend their lands or spread their own empire? Ladybird Soldiers book c. 1974/5

Will they be warlike Jumblies with heads of green and hands of blue and a fundamentally flawed navy and amphibious capability? I’m reading a biography of Edward Lear at the moment as a bit of melancholic yet still lighter relief  from the intense dark Victorian Gothic of the Brontes.

Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve …

http://www.nonsenselit.org/Lear/ns/jumblies.html

For they’ve been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,

And the hills of the Chankly Bore”

 

More Washing of The Spears (and Rifles)

There is an interesting series of blog posts at Megablitz and More by veteran blogger Tim Gow on preparing and painting plastic figures.

It is always fascinating to see how different people do similar tasks differently or similarly to your own way of doing things. http://megablitzandmore.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/painting-54mm-plastics-duffers-guide.html

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 28 October 2017.