This was a welcome recent gift from a family member, a £1 gift bag picked up from a British Heart Foundation charity shop.
Let’s look at the figures and bits in more detail:
There were some interesting 50mm cowboys that I don’t recognise (top row) , alongside China copies of Airfix cowboys. It was thought by the gift giver that they might possibly convert into Boy Scouts?
I would be curious to know which maker made the two top row cowboy poses.
The Indians or Native Americans appear mostly 50mm versions, possibly based on Airfix or Britain’s Deetail Indian poses.
They make fairly good generic tribesmen with swords, rifles, spears and shields. These weapons could be removed or converted as needed.
A small amount of repair is required in places as these figures are a bit bashed and well playworn.
Interesting as the figures were, the best parts of this pound were the accessories.
These are versatile accessories such as a cooking pot on a tripod over a log fire, an animal leather skin stretched out and the slightly more Native American weapons and shield tripod or wooden frame.
Mixed in were a few common plastic bushes and some interesting plastic trees that look like copies of older metal or lead trees.
The log fires are handy, they could be used in any age (or scout camp).
The third pole with a hole near the top is a bit flimsy or easily breakable but works for the weapons stand or pot hanger. A long thin dowel or cocktail stick could stand in for this flimsy pole to make up the spare accessory tripods.
A good find as buying these accessories new or vintage in metal would be reasonably expensive.
Many of the trees, figures and accessories have flimsy or minimal basing, so could do with a suitable mdf sort of base.
As befits the scraps from someone else’s toybox, there is also a stray fence or gate panel and steering part of a wagon. All useful for the bits box!
So there you are, a pound donated to a worthwhile charity, a welcome gift and some helpful recycling of vintage non-SUP (single use plastic).
Hing Fat figures are a new brand to me – I wasn’t very familiar with Hing Fat figures other than the versatile pirates, which Brian Carrick turned into Chinese figures or a fantastic Maratha Indian army. I’m not quite sure if the seaside shop pirates I have bought are real Hing Fat ones or pirated clone pirates. There must be some irony there?
Sample Figures 1. WW2 French Hing Fat 54mm plastic figures
Sample French WW1 / WW2 figure No. 1
In the parcel were samples from a variety of figure ranges from Knights and AWI to WW2. The hard plastic figures are usually in a base colour relating to where they fought or their base uniform colour. They would withstand fairly rigorous play handling by children (and ageing garden gamers).
I thought I would start with the most unusual, which are the Hing Fat WW2 (or at a push WW1) French infantry in light blue plastic.
At first sight I thought this Poilu poses was pantographed up from the familiar OO/HO WW1 French Infantry by Airfix.
The full range of twelve poses of Hing Fat French WW2 figures can be seen here on Peter’s Figsculpt eBay site:
They wear greatcoats (the capote), puttees and the Adrian helmet without backpacks.
Paint notes: Revell AquaColor Acrylic – Horizon Blue uniform and helmet light blue gloss 361-50, for other equipment paint colours see paint notes figure 3 (bayonet fighter) below. Gloss varnish acrylic spray for that traditional simple shiny toy soldier finish.
Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World, my childhood branch library standard features this Belgian Infantry Officer in Khaki 1940.
Painted khaki rather than ‘les bleuets’ of the Great War, these Adrian helmeted French infantry could pass as Belgian as well as French Infantry. Maybe even WW1 Italians?
If you were not too fussy, many of these rifle wielding poilus and the officer and bugler could be used for WW1 French or late WW1 Belgians.
Similarly, if you were a 54mm wargamer not looking too closely at buttons, webbing and equipment, these would work for a range of other nations in WW1 and WW2 who adopted the greatcoat and Adrian helmet, as suggested below looking at a few uniform books.
My trusty Preben Kannik, Military Uniforms of The World suggests Belgian and French in WW2, wearing khaki greatcoats and Adrian helmets.
My battered Funcken WW2 Uniforms part IV volume suggest Free French Infantry WW2 and an interesting colonial French Moroccan Riflemen in Uniform in WW2 Part IV (see figure 3 below with bayonet)
Funcken WW2 part III has Norwegian forces in their Norway 1935 Pattern Helmet which looks a little like an Adrian Helmet. There is also a Navy blue great-coated French Navy sailors in Landing Rig. I don’t have Funcken WW2 Uniforms parts 1 and 2 yet.
The Funcken 18th Century to the Present Day volume shows “les bleuets” from WW1 and khaki Belgians in late WWI, along with khaki French and Belgians in WW2.
Let’s look at the other two sample figures, No. 2 and 3:
This almost war memorial poilu statue 54mm figure has a large Bren type LMG, probably the FM 24/29 French LMG (in service from 1924-60s and beyond. I cannot find information about a French stick grenade from WW2.
FM 24/29 type Light Machine Gun
The third sample figure was in the act of bayonet fighting.
My painted version of this 54mm figure in shiny gloss toy soldier style portrays this bayonet warrior as a French Colonial Moroccan Infantryman in Khaki overcoat:
French Colonial Moroccan Infantryman in Khaki overcoat WW1 / WW2 – Paint Notes – painted using Revell AqauColor Acrylic paints – Olive Green silk matt 361-36 for the uniform greatcoat and helmet, Mud brown gloss 361-80 for boots and leather equipment, Leather brown matt 361-84 for wooden rifle parts, Dark Earth matt 361-82 for face and Copper paint cheek dot. Gloss spray varnish finish.
Further Uniform Possibilities?
The two volumes of The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Uniforms of WWI and its WWII companion volume suggest various troops wearing the Adrian Helmet:
Various figure suggestions including the Polish Legion, Russian Civil War and various other conflicts including French Foreign Legion in khaki.
Belgium 1940 – khaki Infantry greatcoat and helmet with Belgian lion badge for officers, men and support troops.
France 1940 – khaki French greatcoat and Adrian helmeted colonial infantry such as African Tirailleurs Senegales and Zouaves (when not wearing a fez)
Some (Free) French Infantry were still wearing the Adrian helmet in 1944-45 with US or British uniform.
Polish lancers in 1939 in khaki, shown without greatcoats.
These figures could represent the unsavoury figures in dark blue uniform and Adrian helmet of the Vichy France (Gardes Republicaines Mobiles) paramilitary police so feared by the Resistance. They are shown in tunics without greatcoats.
The French WW2 soldiers are shown in my trusty childhood Ladybird Leaders book of Soldiers, illustrated by Frank Humphris:
I hope you have enjoyed this taster glimpse of these sample figures which I enjoyed painting. I think a box or two of these poilus might be on my Christmas list.
As you can see, some Hing Fat WW2 figures seem to echo Matchbox WW2 figure poses.
Size or scale wise as 54mm / 1:32 figures go, here are three of the Hing Fat WW2 sample figures against my ‘standard’ figures of Britain’s 54mm hollowcast and Airfix plastic 1:32.
Nest sample figures: Three Hing Fat WW2 Russian sample figures
B.P.S. Blog Post Script
These WW1 / WW2 French Infantry reminded me of the tantalising glimpse in a late 70s / early 80s Airfix catalogue that promised 1:32 WW1 British Infantry in soft caps, based on the OO/HO ones. Sadly, this never happened and was never again mentioned. Did I dream this one?
Amonongst my favourite Saturday films as a child was this 1967 Morecambe and Wise oddity, the last of their three films The Magnificent Two, set in the fictional (?South American? Mexican?) Republic of ParaZuellia.
Taking its title from the popular Magnificent Seven film (1960), you get a good flavour of this odd cowboy western town / war movie meets Carry On style comedy mash up in the short official Rank Film 1967 trailer here:
As the trailer boldly claims, the film is “A Saga of Fear. A Drama of Courage. the Time is Now. The Place – Campo Grande, Parazuellia, flashpoint of a troubled continent.“
The synopsis or plot of the film
Mid 1960s: Two British Action Men travelling salesmen [Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise] arrive in Campo Grande in the (Central or South American?) country of Parazuellia to sell their goods.
During the train journey Eric accidentally opens a train door leading to the accidental death of the returning British educated Fernando Torres, the son of an assassinated Revolutionary president and figurehead of a revolutionary movement, and a government secret policeman who is trying to arrest him.
Upon arrival by train in the city of Campo Grande, Eric is mistaken by the revolutionaries for Torres. When they discover the death of the real Torres, they pay Eric and Ernie to maintain Eric’s impersonation of Torres to lead a revolution to oust the unpopular dictator President Dias.
However once the revolution is successful, Eric gains an inflated opinion of himself, promises lots of unaffordable reforms to the people and has to be “assassinated” by his own side in a myriad of absurd further comic plot twists and turns and betrayals.
Aided by chief of the women’s army General Carla (Margit Said), once he is “dead” Eric rescues the President’s young children (who were due to be executed by the revolutionaries). Morecambe and Wise then try to flee the country.
Having delivered the President’s children to the President’s secret hideout, a military museum in the forest on the site of a great Parazuellian victory in the past, they are then warned by Revolutionary Captain Juanita Negra (Isobel Black) that a mobile armoured column of the revolutionaries led by the shady General Carrillo (Virgilio Texera) have followed them.
The bizarre “Battle of Campo Grande” (as the trailer calls it) takes place and the few Presidential forces are bolstered by old cannons and by dummies from the military museum manning the battlements in true Beau Geste / Fort Zinderneuf style.
Captured by Carillo’s Revolutionary forces, Morecambe and Wise are rescued in the nick of time by General Carla, Capatin Juanita and the Women’s Revolutionary Army in an unexpected and not fully clothed tactical manoeuvre that befits a late 1960s British comedy in the style of the Carry On series …
This can be clearly seen on the trailer, various film posters including the one above and on IMDB.
This comically handled tactical manoeuvre, it could be argued, slightly undermines the film’s potentially late 60s feminist credentials.
My need for a colour scheme for these Revolutionary uniforms does not extend to the underwear, which for the record is camo khaki green, red or black in the revolutionary and national colours for the women. I’m not sure if the film dwells on that level of modelling information for all the characters beyond a white vest or khaki shirt and shorts from Eric and Ernie.
Somehow it’s quite abrupt ending parade not long after this Carry On moment is a curious mixture of Gilbert and Sullivan humour about ‘female troops’ (Princess Ida meets Castro’s Cuba) and “sisters doing it for themselves” 60s feminism.
Fifty years on from The Magnificent Two, we now live in a world where many armies worldwide have removed the bar or glass ceiling from allowing women into front line combat roles.
A more detailed, plot spoiler / synopsis from the BFI:
As a child what I most remember was the Action Men battle bit at the start (with some Britains 155 mm guns) and the larger Action Men joke of the Military Museum ‘Beau Geste’ dummies on the battlements trick. I liked watching Morecambe and Wise then, as harmlessly silly, and I still do.
Many people dismiss this and the trio of Morecambe and Wise cinema films from the Sixties as uneven and a box office flop.
I rather like the three Morecambe and Wise films in the way I prefer the early Sixties Bond movies to any of the others.
As one commentator or critic pointed out, it has a rather high body count for a comedy. It would be a proper blood and guts gritty western / War movie, if only Morecambe and Wise hadn’t blundered into it – therein is the joke.
Watching this again on DVD as an adult, I was intrigued by the fictional ImagiNations uniforms and equipment. The Parazuellian Presudentail forces of El Presidente Diaz (Martin Benson) wear American style sand coloured uniforms.
The ‘heroic’ Revolutionary forces of men and women wear American style Green uniforms, men with US green helmets and the women wearing British WW2 tin hats with a red revolutionary star on white circle badge.
Green and Tan 50s 60s US uniforms – what does this remind me of? This Magnificent Two film costume universe is like a large bag of cheap green and tan pound store play set figures and mismatched equipment writ large in its simple colour schemes. The film is a comic Little Wars of an American plastic playset of the 1960s.
An equally odd mix of equipment – British scout cars, trucks, American half tracks and jeeps, FN Armalite rifles, Vickers HMGs, Sten and Bren Guns – scraped together by the film company help to give the impression of the Government and Revolutionary forces using any equipment they can get their hands on.
Many of the lobby card images by The Rank Organisation are now copyright / licensed of Alamy, so I will not reproduce them here. The Rare Film photo montage gives a good flavour of the adapted uniforms.
The Film Set-tings
The station (based in a now vanished station from Longmoor Military Railway) and city set of Campo Grande can be seen on Reel Streets (set up by John Tunstill of the Soldiers Soldiers website – it’s a small world sometimes).
As ImagiNations go, Parazuellia is obviously a mix of Paraguay, Venezuela and an “-ia” ending. (Presumably there is another nearby country called Vene-guay-a?) A further fictional South American country is mentioned: Urapania, made up of Uruguay and Hispania?
I am reminded strongly of the South American ImagiNations in the Gran Chapo War in Tintin’s 1930s The Broken Ear, based on the real Gran Chaco War.
Anyway it’s an enjoyable Saturday afternoon slice of childhood comedy nostalgia with some interesting possibilities of gaming scenarios with pound store figures and the new BMC Plastic Army Women figures.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 4 March 2021
B.P.S. Blog Post Script
The New Zenda / Ruritania for film makers in the 1960s was obviously South American revolutionary ImagiNations. Recently there have been some blogposts about Viva Max! a 1969 Peter Ustinov fronted ‘comedy Mexican’ screwball film plot about Mexicans retaking the Alamo in 1969. See the trailer here as the IMDB article is sparse:
The Mexicans in Viva Max! wear very similar desert tan uniforms to the Presidential army of Parazeullia. Red Green And White national colours and thinly disguised Mexican type National and Presidential flags crop up in The Magnificent Two. (IMDB Notes them as a blooper.)
IMDB Website Quotes for The Magnificent Two
Ernie: We’ll never sell anything here. I don’t suppose anybody’s got two pesos to rub together.
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
Classic figures – 64p each or 14 for £9.00 – preorder for Summer 2021.
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.
After months watching and reading about these new figures being designed, mastered and made as my first ever Kickstarter pledge, these BMC Plastic Army Women are finally here – and well worth both the patient wait and the effort by Jeff Imel and team at BMC.
What better way to celebrate their time under the Christmas tree than a snowball fight with some of these new recruits out on the parade ground and assault course soon after they were unwrapped?
Camp Benjamin is named after the comedy film Private Benjamin (1981) with Goldie Hawn about American female army recruits in training.
I tracked down some suitably plastic pound store items that match their traditional army men or women style such as this rope bridge and towers, the odd plastic wall sections as well as other snowball fight cover made from white Lego and old Playmobil snow sections.
Add some Christmas trees and you have that spirit of the Snow Ball!
Turn 3 – already some of the snowballers can shoot from behind Snow cover
Snowballing round the base of the Rosie the Riveter statue (also a BMC copper colour freebie)
Each of the squads of four had a box of chocolate rations (colour themed Lego block tan or green) in their sentry box, something to be defended.
Victory Conditions / End of Game either:
a) all four of the rival squad defeated after 6 snowball hits on each
b) capture of the rival squad’s chocolate rations
Range measured in lolly sticks.
Firing per single figure rolling 1 standard d6 dice
Long Range (LR) 3 lolly sticks – 6 required to hit target
Medium Range (MR) 2 lolly sticks – 5 or 6 required to hit target
Close Range (CR) 1 lolly stick – 4,5 or 6 required to hit target
If target hit when behind partial cover (low snow wall etc), roll casualty saving throw of 1d6 – 6 means deflected / saved by the cover, otherwise 1-5 counts as normal snowball hit (lose a point)
Movement is one half lolly stick per figure per turn. Anything like climbing fences, walls etc takes one turn.
IGO YUGO rules. Roll two suitably coloured dice (in this case, tan and green) – highest score moves first, other side second, first side to move shoots first, second side to move shoots second.
Solve any melee as they happen or after firing, as you wish.
Each figure (numbered or named as you wish e.g. Green 1, Green 2 …) needs to have a tally kept of life points – use spare d6, tally chart etc.
Figure removed when hit by 6 snowballs.
If figures are touching bases, this counts as Snow Melee – extreme close range fir snowballing, close enough to shove snow down each other’s necks sort of thing.
Attacker is whichever colour side went first – roll on dice
Roll one d6 per two duelling figures in melee
1 or 2 – Hit on attacker – loses one point
3 – Both attacker and defender hit – both lose one point
4 – Both sides miss
5 to 6 – Hit on defender – lose one point.
(Melee system adapted from Gerard De Gre via Donald Featherstone Solo Wargaming and simplified by Kaptain Kobold)
Snowball Fight variations – Alan Gruber, Duchy of Tradgardland – six life points for each character, one point lost each time hit by a snowball.
From High Priest to Princess / Queen in a few easy steps …
One of the challenges of toy soldiers made for modellers and not gamers is the “too many chiefs” problem.
The Chintoys 54mm Mixtecs and Zapotecs featured on my last post have several high profile, high ranking priests, warlords and officer figures with battle flags in each bag of 8 figures, not the rank and file “lumpen proletariat” of the PBI (poor bloody infantry) that you actually want.
It’s like having a Wellington or Napoleon on every sprue of Napoleonic figures or a free Hitler or Stalin on every WW2 German or Russian infantry one.
The Chintoys Mixtecs and Zapotecs are closely modelled on Angus McBride’s colourful plates in the Osprey book of Aztecs, Mixtec and Zapotec Armies.
So the solution to three Oracular High Priests is to paint one like the colour plate, keep one spare for a Celtic or Native Shaman in future and promote the third to a Mixtec Queen.
This striking Queen figure is shown in the colour plate but sadly not included in the Chintoys set.
The priest face and mask is not very feminine, nor are the massive sinewy muscly arms and giant hands but this priestly left arm and hand is transcribed from her Queen pose to the Priest in the Chintoys figures.
Cheap architect / railway civilian figure in hard plastic became the head donor
The challenge to behead or deface required sprue cutters and scalpel. A square of the priest’s face and jaw mask was removed and kept for further statue / carved pillar use.
I removed the head of the female civilian railway passenger (not often you get to type that sentence) from this figure in hard plastic.
The challenge was to trim and shave in small slivers with a scalpel the back of the female head down to a squarish face plate to fit onto the faceless priest – and not slice your fingers off at the same time.
The priest needed to have the face platform further trimmed back into the head.
Once I had the female face down to as thin as possible without damaging the front and the slot on the priest suitably trimmed back, I used a small hand drill to pin the new female face in place and superglued to secure it.
A colourful turban and hair was created to fill the edge gaps using kitchen towel and PVA glue.
The Princess / Queen figure had her arm in a different position holding an obsidian tipped spear rather than the blue stone club or war hammer in the Priests hand. I trimmed the arm off with sprue cutters, reangled with drill and pun and the shoulder gap filled with tissue paper / kitchen towel.
The muscly arm was slightly trimmed down to make it more feminine.
The war hammer was removed and the hand drilled to take a spear or staff. The obsidian blade tip was made with masking tape, the pompom was made from a shaved plastic flag or banner pompom section from another figure.
Her giant left hand still needs trimming or obscuring, possibly with bloodied cloth of a sacrifice?
Now with added Britain’s Zoo plastic Eagle …
A valuable and regal addition to my semi fictional ImagiNations ManoTINcas tribe.
For further information on each figure in the Angus McBride illustration, here are the plate notes by John Pohl the author (below).
From this I took the idea of her painted face, although I did mine on copper, not yellow pigment.
The turban around the hair intwined with coloured cloth and the obsidian blade were two other features that I took from this description and painting.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 armed with the widely used South American Macahuitl wooden sword or club with obsidian volcanic glass blades:
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 obsidianvolcanic glass.
Some of the kneeling red clad figures withatlatlspear 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.
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 Ballshttps://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 …
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.
It’s always the way that nobody quite makes the figures you want in cheap plastic 54mm …
Things have gone a bit 16th century here at Man of TIN Towers, thanks to the gift from Alan Duchy of Tradgardland Gruber of a handful of surplus 54mm Mixtec, Zapotecs and Conquistador figures (Chintoys). These are perfect for more Close Wars forest fighting amongst the forest trees. These figures are all steadily gaining bright shiny toy soldier gloss colours on the painting table.
Reading around the times I realised that a bunch of Conquistador Spanish could have several opponents, not least the Late Elizabethan Tudors.
The planned land invasions of the Spanish Armada of 1588 and the Spanish Raids on the West Country in the 1590s both had ‘skirmish’ potential of a relatively small handful of infantry or cavalry figures.
I have done a bit of quick reading around the Tudors, not least in a reprint of A.L. Rowse’s Tudor Cornwall (1941), written when Britain’s shores were again threatened by a different enemy. Rowse makes direct comparison of the late Tudor Cornish forces to the hastily improvised coastal defences and the squabbles and politics of the Home Guard, the WW2 equivalent to the ‘Muster’ and ‘Trained Bands’ in each County during the Spanish Armada invasion scares.
Could I put forth an Elizabethan equivalent of Captain Mainwaring’s platoon in Dad’s Army?
I must admit to some personal interest in this period and era as I can trace Cornish ancestry on one side of the family back to the West Penwith area of the Spanish Raids in the 1500s. Odd to think my farming ancestors may have seen the Armada ships and signal beacons along the Cornish coast, heard tell of the Spanish landings and town burnings of Paul, Nelwyn, Mousehole and Penzance or even mustered in motley defence of their local coastal towns.
54mm Late Elizabethan figures are quite scarce and often fairly expensive.
How best and cost effectively to put together an unfurnished or ill equipped Muster of Cornishmen to oppose these Spanish invaders?
My answer is to convert cheap plastic knights and medievals with paint, scalpel and masking tape. But what should they look like, wear and carry as weapons?
Unfortunately I know from a thread on the Little Wars Revisited 54mm forum that figures or spare recast heads with Tudor caps and Morions seem hard to find. Short of buying the Prince August Spanish Armada homecast chess set moulds, a little plastic conversion might be needed to make a poorly armed rabble.
Finding uniform information about ordinary Elizabethan Tudor soldiers, especially the local Muster, is a bit of a challenge. Only the better off commanders seem to have have left their portraits and images of their rich and fashionable clothes behind, not the ordinary West Country man.
Fortunately I did track down through EBay and second hand books shops the Osprey Elite book on the Spanish Armada and The Bluecoats: Clothing the Elizabethan Soldier 1572-1603 by David Evans. Along with a useful Academia / jstor article by John S. Nolan on The Muster of 1588, I was getting more of a picture of what ordinary Tudor levy and Muster troops would wear and what weapons they would carry.
During the Armada scare of 1588, bows and polearms were still carried by the Muster whereas the Trained Bands were more likely to carry pike and firearms such as an arquebus, caliver or early heavy musket.
By the 1590s Spanish Raids, fewer bows were evident in the national defence but then in the furthest poorest reaches of the West Country, bows and polearms would still have been around in good number. Training and weapons drill varied greatly across each county.
Many of the Levy troops to fight the wars in Ireland and the Muster and Trained Bands of the Armadas period seem to have been issued with blue Cassocks, tabards or coats. Some of them were in a lighter blue colour called Watchet Blue named after the town in Somerset. Most of the Muster would have worn their everyday working clothes and carried farming implements, much like the early Home Guard or LDV in WW2 parading before uniforms were issued.
Some of these medieval figures needed repair, changing a broken spear into a poleaxe for example using wire and plastic card. I want to give the impression that old equipment like a rusty old corselet breastplate or a metal skullcap has been dug out of cupboards and chests and hastily burnished up for the occasion.
A handful of English Civil War musketeers and Pikemen, drummers and standard bearers in my rummage box of figures should do double duty or dual use as the Trained Bands of the late Elizabethan era and also as ECW troops – only 50 years apart.
An interesting period of history and an intriguing Elizabethan Operation Sealion “what if” scenario of what if the Spanish had landed in force during the 1580s and 1590s.
Now a dozen or two more motley archers, men at arms and medieval types to convert from plastic still to see of those pesky Spaniards …
A quickly converted chess board and some Wilko Heroes pound store ‘paintzooka’ soldiers
Sometimes you struggle to find a use for all those ‘useless’ toy soldier poses you get too many of.
Bazooka man. Mine detector man. Flamethrower man. You know the ones. The ones you can’t usually properly use, as nobody can use too many of these heavy weapons poses. The ones they sometimes seem to manage to cram too many of into the average pound store bag or playset of toy soldier figures. Not mentioning lying down man, clubbing with rifle man etc.
I have been exploring over the last year or two some non-lethal games, non-fighting or non-lethal strategy games where no one gets hurt or ever dies. These range from Scouting Wide Games, snowball fights rules and Home Guard training games. Such games would be good for public participation or library gaming without the militaristic connotations that put some parents off toy soldier games or wargames.
I have noticed an interesting cross over between wargames, board games, and video games. YouTube has a series of lectures by the now retired American academic and board game collector George Phillies on board wargames design for video game design students.
There is an interesting crossover into other pop culture aspects, where a video game becomes a film (Tomb Raider, Assassins Creed, Angry Birds movies).
Sometimes a video game becomes a physical toy and game (Angry Birds again), books, a collectible card game or short lived plastic figure range (Fortnite etc). which prove useful for sci-fi figure gaming minis (see The Works store in the U.K.).
I thought about turning this video game into another form whilst playing on the family games console the Nintendo ‘paint warfare’ classic Splatoon. (This is almost as much fun as Nintendo Mario mini game Splatarazzi but that’s another story …)
Splatoon is a very successful video game that has now spawned a series of games, Splatoon 2 etc. It can be played solo or as a four game multiplayer game.
The object of the game Splatoon is to cover as much of the area with your paint colour. You can hit opponents to slow them down. You can hit enemy players to knock them out of the game temporarily, once they have lost all their health and life points, sending them back to their spawn point or baseline.
Different weapons have more paint coverage.
Movement and Firing
So for our figure poses the following suggestions (rules draft 1.0):
A (flamethrower) paint-thrower squirts 2 whole squares straight ahead or diagonally.
A mortar fires a paint bomb 3 or more squares away.
The mine detector paint roller covers just the one square that it moves into.
The paint-zooka fires at a single square two squares ahead.
Additional figure: A grenade Man could be throwing paint bombs into the face of the critics and paying gallery public, oh no, sorry, that’s modern art and art history.
Ammo refill as many times as you like. There are only 64 double sided squares to put on the same number of squares on your chessboard.
Figures move one square at a time and can fire on that turn. Fire can be forwards, backwards, diagonal, straight.
Exception: climbing hill or obstacle, you only move that turn – no firing.
Like chess, each side moves one figure each turn. IGOYUGO.
Splatoon the video game is a fast moving shooter / shootemup (paintemup?) with time limits. Solo or several players, setting a short Wellsian time limit to move one figure (or more if you decide) per turn should capture this feel.
A square that has previously been painted can be easily repainted by the opposition. Just turn over the square to the opposite colour.
A time limit or turn limit can be used to see who finally covers most squares in their paint colour in the time – victory!
Too many on each side in this tryout?
What you need
A chess board, hex board or other gridded surface.
Some cheap useless poses of Pound Store Plastic Soldier figures
As many two colour reversible squares as you have in the game board. 64 for a chess board.
I made these squares by paper glueing two different colours together then drawing with pencil a grid of my chess board sized squares on one side of the paper only. When cutting these out, you can add several more two colour sided sheets of paper, if you are careful, speeding up the task.
Add some obstacles – this hill is made of a fence post cap with square grid of paper glued in to match the chessboard. Add a tree. Add a wall. The original Splatoon game is 3D urban industrial skate park territory.
Poundland 32mm paintzooka guys … one just climbed the hill, no firing allowed that turn.
To establish some more complexity, a wider range of poses and weapons of other Pound Store figures could be used.
You may have come across non-lethal paint balling. This is another possibility of hits on players, recorded in various ways such as plastic rings or washers over their weapon / head etc. In Splatoon the enemy or opposing side can be hit by paint and have to respawn on their baseline, wasting their painting time.
Paint Hits on Players
Paintzooka hit on nominated enemy target – Roll 5 or 6 to hit target / figure
Mortar paintbomb – roll 6 to hit at 2 to 3 places at nominated target / figure
Paint-thrower – roll 6 to hit at 2 squares distance at nominated target / figure
Paint roller – no offensive capability? (Mine detector figure)
Once several hits (2 or 3) have been received, the figure goes back to baseline and starts again.
Featherstone savings throws (d6 roll of 5,6 ‘not wounded’) can be added as you require for complexity.
Add in modifiers for being behind cover as you wish.
So there you are – Spl-Attaque, Spl-Attack, Spl-Attergy. Call it what you will. Some quick play draft game rules to play around with over the next couple of months to make a Featherstone simple game, he having frequently used the phrase that wargames are like a game of “chess with a thousand pieces” (and others would no doubt add, as many variations of the rules as there are players). Enjoy rules tinkering!
Blog posted by Mark Man of (paint) TIN, 29 – 30 June 2020. All riches from playing this game should be credited and copyrighted to Mark Man of TIN.
Why the name Splatoon anyway? “S-Platoon – The first casualty of Paint Wars is the Furniture …”?
References screenshots to Splatoon by Nintendo are not ‘unintendo’ to infringe their copyright or IP, purely for reference. Why not buy the original videogame?
It sounds like the first four female poses might be available in the US by “Christmas 2020”.
Hopefully they will be available in the U.K. without too heavy international shipping costs.
The Good Guys and The Bad Guys?
Fascinating to watch the American News Channel interviews with Jeff Imel of BMC in his workshop and the young American girl who wrote to him about “why no Plastic Army Women?”, as she shows at home off her collection of plastic figures including the “bad guys” led by a skeleton and the “good guys”.
Thinking of Mitchell and Webb in their famous “Are We The Baddies?” WW2 sketch, this is what many of our historical and fantasy games so often boil down to – the good guys versus the bad guys (if you take sides, that is).
This is some part of the spirit of simple gaming that I aim to recover in my hobby. I’m sure H.G. Wells would approve of these ground-level plastic Little Wars, which he described as “a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books”. Plastic Army Women would of course add an extra dimension to this Wellsian Floor Games mix.
Back to the figure designs:
It is fascinating to see the female figures evolving through the concept drawing into the early sculpt stage, shown here in these BMC copyright drawings (screenshots from the BMC website and email newsletters).
After showcasing the revised female officer figure, Jeff Imel says in his latest email:
“I discussed the next figure, possible other poses, and worked out some details and timelines. The next figure will be standing and firing a rifle. This is a pose that I’m always told there aren’t enough of in sets and is always in demand when setting up a living room battlefield. This next figure will likely be a little less of an hourglass figure than the prototype. We’re going to try to have some different body types, faces and hair in the set instead of all the figures being identical characters. Speaking of weapons, I’m leaning towards an M14 for the rifles. I’m not aiming for 100% historical accuracy with this set, but I think the M14 will look good, and matches the uniform period well. The next figure will likely be prone firing a rifle, and I’m thinking of adding a scope and bipod to the M14 make her more of a sniper.”
I like the level he is approaching this as the best poses for the “living room battlefield” unlike some of the weird and useless poses from Airfix, Timpo and other plastic Army Men manufacturers.
Jeff says on his newsletter / email:
“Please continue to let me know your thoughts. I am behind on answering messages and comments, but I’ve read, and appreciate, all of them. I’ve heard all the requests for pre-orders and suggestions for specialty poses like radio operator and medic loud and clear (over). I’m considering a crowdfunding campaign in November as a way to take pre-orders and expand the figure selection.”
Sign up for the newsletter via the BMC website to keep informed of what is happening with this interesting BMC Plastic Army Women project. It adds more figures to the “believable female Miniatures” debates over #FEMbruary, Annie at Bad Squiddo’s quest for believable female gaming miniatures.
All screenshot images copyrighted from the BMC website.