ImagiNations OBEs and vintage Airfix scrapings from someone else’s toy box?

Window shopping through the toy soldiers section of Etsy as you do, I spotted a couple of items that reminded me of an unusual hoard find that I hadn’t shared on this or my blogs so far.

Firstly some funky Fifties or Sixties toy soldier fabric on Etsy

then a more recent late 90s Wade’s whimsy of a toy soldier ceramic figure in yellow and blue. A touch of 60s Sergeant Pepper and his Lonely Hearts Club Band?

I’m not buying, I hope they find the right homes. A mere photo reminder is enough for me.

However these two odd Etsy items reminded me of a colourful “dragon’s hoard” of vintage plastic in a ziplock bag turned up for a couple of pounds about five to ten years ago in a local collectibles shop at the seaside.

It is the sort of shop that had (or has) odd opening hours, most often shut when I visited,  one that has been an erratic supply of lead and plastic figures for over twenty years. I hope each time I go that it is still there and that it is sometimes open. I hope it has survived Lockdown.

I have been taking stock of my old childhood Airfix figures recently and the odd small hoard or haul of others’ old Airfix that has come my way from time to time.

This mixed bag for a few pounds had a range of vintage Airfix that sold it to me straight away, maybe not for immediate use, but worth buying because  you never know with erratic Airfix (ancient or modern) when you will see the like again.

Airfix Washington’s Army

Some of my surviving childhood painted Airfix Washington’s Army S39

and the Airfix AWI British Infantry both issued in 1971 in time for the bicentenary. They were scarce enough figures during my 70s childhood and remain unissued for years from the 1980s onwards. Oddly they never had an Airfix Playset of their own but Bellona produced a preformed Bunker Hill vacformed base if you could find one.

Some of my own childhood painted surviving Airfix AWI British Grenadiers S40

Coupled with some on these tricorne figures on the sprue in a recent gift from a railway modeller work colleague of a 60s / 70s tin of unwanted Airfix, I should have enough for some future Lace Punk / Lace Wars / Gulliver’s Travels style ImagiNation skirmishes.

http://mcristobylacew-abdul666.blogspot.com

Unpacking these random figures, they were mostly roughly painted and simply card based in units but unflocked.

Clearly they were a cast off part of a gamer’s collection, as they had handwritten Regiment labels on them. Whether they represent real regiments or ImagiNations ones, I find it hard to tell.

January 2021: I have now flocked and individually card based each soldier in each unit but not yet properly repainted them.

I wanted to photograph them as they were, when first seen as a ragtag of units.

I intend keeping the unit colours, just reprinting missing paint and adding flesh tones to faces and hands.

1. Shocking Pink Coated Tricorne Troops

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The versatile tricorne Airfix figures, cut for multiple basing by a previous owner / gamer.

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A shocking pink firing line

I quite like the random brightness of unusual colour, perfect for ImagiNations. I’m not sure if they are intended to be real uniforms. Tricorne and Napoleonics are not really my area.

They obviously meant something to somebody once.

Figures painted by someone else are what Bob Cordery of Wargaming Miscellany blog calls OBEs – politely this means Other Beggars’ Efforts.

As mentioned I intend to keep the colourful unit paint schemes, just tidy the paint work up and finish individual rebasing as you see I have done here.

2. Purple Coated Tricorne Troops

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A more regal, sacred or royalist purple …

These purple clad troops were a random mix of Airfix and other makers. I identified these on the ever useful Plastic Soldier Review website as Accurate / Imex / Revell American War of Independence British Redcoats

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=186

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More of those group 1 Pink clad tricornes … can you ever have enough?

3. Yellow clad tricornes troops,

again the Airfix Washington’s Army figures

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Led by an Airfix Officer, these yellow tricorne troops must also be the Imex / Accurate Revell American War of Independence British tricorne troops.

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4. Green clad Bicorne Troops

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Green coated Esci Set 226 Prussian and Austrian infantry with Bicorne – Napoleonic wars

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5. Blue clad Tricorne Troops – Fusilier Grenadiers

Airfix Washington’s Army figures

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6. More light blue Grenadiers
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Airfix French Napoleonic Imperial Guard in light blue, painted and marked up by the previous commander (gamer / owner) as 2nd Bat(talion?) Gren(adiers?)
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Close Up of the cross on the busby like head gear

7. Grey Clad Tricorne Troops – see also 9?

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8. Fancy Pants King’s Guard

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Airfix AWI British Grenadiers / Infantry – An Airfix ACW officer gets new colours and a fine tall new hat!

9. Light grey Bicorne Troops – should maybe join Group 7?

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ImagiNation guns and horses

Some unusual figures such as Italeri French Line Guard Artillery

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=202

mixed in with some attractive flags and spirited conversions of Airfix cavalry

and that American Civil War officer with new Grenadier hat to match the Airfix British Grenadiers.

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More random Airfix and Esci Cavalry

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Random Esci style Artillery from the Tricorne Bicorne Busby and Shako periods –

Red Coated Italeri / Revell / Zvesda French Horse Line Guard Artillery

and

Hat Napoleonic Bavarian Artillery

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=202

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=146

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and a few smuggler like figures of Tricorne artillery –

Seven Years War Revell Set 02579 Austrian Artillery

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=586

I have some spare Prince August home cast guns somewhere that would suit these well enough.

All these OBE figures – Perfect for ImagiNations!

No 1. A sample of Pink coated Tricorne Troops – Flocked and based on square individual mounting card bases in January 2021

Photographs of original figures set against Heroscape ruins and hexes

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 19th May 2021 / photographed August 2019 before Flocking and Basing January 2021

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.

Pound Store Scout Figures from Airfix WW1 Americans

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Some simple Scout figures knocked up quickly from Airfix WW1 Americans.

 

I have been painting in the garden today for the first time in many years. In the past, painting outdoors kept me safe from being cooped up inside in a room amidst the heady fumes of Airfix enamels and glue.

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As an experiment, some of the more useless poses (lying down etc.) in the  Airfix WW1 American troops have been adapted to become Scouts for my Wide Games Project.

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The skipping picnickers or  ammunition carriers from Airfix WW1 American infantry repainted as Boy Scouts for Wide Games.

One possible source of Scout figures for Wide Games are the Airfix WW1 Americans with their doughboy / lemon squeezer hats. Their puttees look a little like long Scout socks and their tunics like Scout blouses.

When I was a boy, WW1 Airfix figures were no longer in the shops by the late 1970s and so were very hard to get hold of. I made do with what precious few WW1 figures came down through the family.

They have since been rereleased in the 2000s by Hat and more recently by Airfix themselves in their Vintage Classics range.

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=498

https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/shop/figures/airfix-vintage-wwi-us-infantry.html

The old ones are in green, the Hat ones I think are the ones in Sandy brown.

The idea of hacking up precious WW1 Americans to make Scout figures still seems a little odd, so I have used the more ‘non combatant’ poses.

These include the famous skipping doughboys with their picnic hamper, the doughboy sat on a box, the usually useless dying casualty and the lying down but not firing figures.

Falling over guy and lying down guy, alongside originals.

The figures still need painting in suitable Scout uniform colours, with painted details added of scarves, shorts and long socks.

Clipping rifles off and replacing these with wire patrol staffs or staves should help demilitarise these figures.

Classic skipping doughboys and Rovering to Success pose, with originals

Hot glue gunning to a base makes the more useless lying down poses stand in a more useful manner.

Smaller scale Scouts?

For my Wide Games Project, suitably wide terrain, suitable ground scale and size of figures are an obvious issue. Going smaller means that my hex board becomes a bigger territory. However there are not many old fashioned Scout Hat type figures.

The advantage of these HO / OO or 1:76 WW1 figures is that they should link with HO or OO type railway figures and buildings.

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/ShowFeature.aspx?id=107

Peco Modelscene Uniformed Services, hikers and Scouts Trek Cart set

Scouts and trek carts are available in railway figures but they are usually few in number and expensive or in more modern Scout gear. Preiser also do a set of very European or Germanic looking Scouts.

Peco Modelscene Trek Cart and Scouts

The Dapol (former Airfix) passengers and railway staff / navvies etc should provide some inexpensive suitable country characters.

https://www.dapol.co.uk/shop/model-accessories/self-assembly-oo-kits

Lots of possibilities for a larger scale Wide Games using OO railway size buildings and scenery that I already have (sounds like material for my Sidetracked blog https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 1970s Cub Scout (Bronze Arrow, Retired)  on 22 June 2019

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.

 

japanese infantry
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.