One of my trusty blog readers Peter (snaves23) has reminded me again this year that this excellent one day show is coming up, one of the last such toy soldier shows around and a visual feast and rummage of plastic figures :
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).
Somehow this post never got finished in 2018 but thanks to Alan Tradgardland Gruber’s memories in his comment on my Mother’s Day post on my Man Of TIN blog, I thought of Subbuteo and its odd influence on my gaming. Alan had memories of playing Subbuteo Cricket with his mother, which reminded me of this Subbuteo / bottle top tribal wargaming crossover.
Reading John Patriquin’s interesting blog Wargames Hermit, John was interested in recreating the free flowing rituals of Tribal Warfare as seen amongst the Dani people of New Guinea.
It reminded me of a strange article from an early 1983 Miniature Wargames No. 11 magazine called ‘Stone Age Wargames’ that used beer bottle top mounted Warriors as a bizarre Subbuteo / Wargames mash up to reflect the free flowing movement of such Tribal Warfare.
When I mentioned this to John, he too remembered this article!
I thought I would have a winter (2018) evening knock around to see how this might work with whatever figures and bottle tops I had to hand.
I believe this Stone Age Wargames article in Miniature Wargames c. 1982/83 rules were by Andy Callan.
Andy Callan, he of the Hair Roller Armies, the Maori Wars Rules using Peter Laing 15mm amidst dense carpet forests and who is still writing rules for the Peter Dennis Paperboys Series, Never Mind the Billhooks Rules etc.
Blog posted finally by Mark Man Of TIN, 20 March 2023
Alan (Duchy Of Tradgardland) mentioned that I should look at this post or website by Roger Halvorsen, where he tries out the very simple ‘old school’ Donald Featherstone Close Wars Rules (appendix to War Games, 1962) to fight a modern era skirmish.
You can read this post by Roger at his Model Rails and Wargames blog:
In his search for very simple rules, Roger pushes the Close Wars rules past their original setting (or ‘comfort zone’) of French-Indian Wars colonial forest skirmish with ‘natives’ and ‘troops’ to the tropical forest and urban edge of a fictionalised part of an African country in the early 1960s.
The Blue Helmet UN forces tackle the local well-equipped green helmeted local African forces.
As befits a mention on this my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, I like the way that Roger has used simple and cheap, widely available dollar or Pound Store Soldiers. 54mm Modern / American Infantry (TimMee / BMC /Toy Story type) and plastic Matchbox figure copies (US Infantry) have been used, differentiated with two different paint schemes.
It shows what a good simple paint scheme will do for such versatile figures.
Roger has some interesting Pro and Con points to make about the simplicity and drawbacks of these two page rules for modern warfare including vehicles and automatic weapons.
John Yorio in the blog comments suggested to Roger using Featherstone’s World War Two rules from War Games or Battles with Model Soldiers.
At the end of the day, much of the experience of infantry combat on foot with rifles in forests or even urban jungles cannot have changed much in two hundred years, apart from more accurate or rapid fire rifles?
Melee and hand to hand fighting (at boot, fist, blade and bayonet level) cannot have changed much either.
This is good basic rules tinkering, working out how and if to include heavy weapons. Is a machine gun is just modern volley fire from 5 or 10 men (as Featherstone often uses) when not using individual figure firing?
Roger links to my 2016 Close Wars early blog post here with the two page original rules pages :
Two slow burner female figures that have been stalled on the Painting Table but finally finished for #FEMbruary 2022, that celebration of the believable female figure in our modelling and gaming collections.
#FEMbruary 2022 figure No. 1 this month featured an introduction to #FEMbruary and this skater girl,
#FEMbruary 2022 figure No. 2 – The Generic Empress or Queen
You can glimpse the Empress / Queen in black undercoat on my painting table at the back of this picture and the Ladybird book inspiration for the costume colours.
On the New Year rule of “painting what I have in hand”, I used this joblot-acquired or gifted figure of an Empress figure that could be “Queen Elizabeth The First” but is more likely to be Catherine the Great in 54-60mm brown plastic.
With this impressive Sceptre, she could also be a Queen or Empress of Syldavia in King Ottakar’s Sceptre in the Tintin books, bearing the pelican sceptre.
With impressive enough ‘man boob’ armour, I though it might convert easily enough into a Cate Blanchett type Galadriel or Queen Elizabeth at Tilbury type figure.
Literally a Copper Top, as I used my favourite bright gloss acrylics for the shiny toy soldier look from Revell Aquacolor of Orange and copper highlights!
A tissue paper and PVA skirt was added as no self-respecting queen would show off her legs in such martial manly attire!
The visual inspiration was Cate Blanchett’s Tilbury speech from her Elizabeth The Golden Age film. Trailer / clip on YouTube here.
I was also imagining her with a bow, rather than sword, as it also has the classical Amazon overtones or huntress iconography of Diana and Artemis.
Anyway its all just more classical and Tudorbethan Imagi-National propaganda for my Arma-Dad’s Army project! I love this Holy Grail / Monty Python-esque type muster of troops on the clifftops, again useful for Armada era uniform details.
Some screenshots from the Trailer / clip for uniform and colour reference.
My final #FEMbruary female figure (No. 4) will be out of this world … watch this space! (Two clues there).
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 23/24 #FEMbruary 2022
One of those presents put away on the Christmas presents shelf for this Christmas … and well worth the wait!
I like old toy shop packaging and this Battle Ground Military Series pack caught my eye online on EBay a few months back for £5, one pack opened and one still in the pack.
I can’t put a date on this box of Matchbox 1:76 German Infantry copies but it’s obviously post 1976 when these Matchbox figures came out. I only have a few surviving original ones from the time, so they inexpensively fill a gap.
They have a CE mark on the lower right hand corner as well as on the importer label, the CE mark about origin or toy safety is more modern than the 1970s /80s and standard in the EU area from 1993 onwards. So probably 1990s …
There is a maker’s or packager’s company logo of an H? in the top left corner which I don’t recognise. The figures themselves have no Hong Kong or China base markings.
The vibrant flaming orange packaging reminds me a little of today’s ‘Combat Force’ type pound store figure packaging.
In the cheerfully bizarre way of cheap copies and playsets, the packaging images showing vaguely WW2 to Vietnam era American soldiers but this is not matched by the content of German WW2 figures in dark green plastic but oddly does match an American flag!
Oddly included in the pack are some tiny walk-in talkie radiomen.
Accompanying this unopened blister pack was the contents of an opened pack, mixed in with a handful some Airfix American Infantry copies (copies of which still around today).
These look like they have got jumbled in from elsewhere, as I can see no such American figures inside the unopened pack.
Adding to the impression that this is someone’s jumble of figures, a much older stray metal diecast anti-aircraft gun (on a circular vehicle mounting?) with nice elevation gearing is mixed in with the bundle.
Anyway some cheap and cheerful recruits for the toy soldier box …
This charity shop find of a couple of dozen bashed figures came to me as a gift from family.
I imagine they are the ragtag odd mixed bag of someone’s small army. Enough to make two small army squads of red-brown / tan versus everyone else?
They are obviously battle scarred and playworn veterans!
I found these figures interesting as they are mostly copies of Airfix and Matchbox figures. As they have slowly being copied (in Hong Kong / China?) over the last forty plus years, they have slowly shrunk and changed into different figures.
Not a maker’s mark among them either.
Airfix Eighth Army figures are 40mm – 50mm
In the same mixed parcel was other Matchbox copies and a couple of small but slightly larger Airfix copies, shown next to the smaller cousin. I have included the sole probably genuine Airfix figure, the 54mm German submachine-gunner figure for scale.
These bashed and limbless Matchbox copies were around in seaside pound shops c.2007 and still seem to emerge from time to time, getting thinner and more brittle (hence the missing limbs?)
These limbs and weapons might need a little repairing.
These white copies of Airfix German Infantry are slowly changing into squat Generic Infantry. The distinctive “coal scuttle” stalheim helmet is changing, becoming oddly more British or American.
The lying down figure who used to feed the Light Machine Gun is now a distinct figure in its own right, the magazine box in the right hand for the LMG has morphed into a very strange object in its own right.
The officer figure is getting shorter and squatter but still full of character!
Some nice modern American troops and Officer, one or two a bit bashed.
These look like TimMee / BMC / Toy Story sort of stuff. I like the baggy clothes and helmet covers.
The other figures are a curiously mixed bunch of figures and sizes, again with the 54mm Airfix German for size comparison.
Some Matchbox American Infantry copies in two different sizes and colours, and a few of those modern US Infantry / Rambo types.
Lining them up in height order from 54mm Airfix at the right shows how they have shrunk and thinned down over the years of copying.
Last but not least, one of those handy Khaki figures that could be a modern desert warrior, Special Forces / SWAT team or space marine.
Toy Soldiers is an intriguing and funny little film, only six minutes long, made in Canada in 1999 (based around a toy soldier poem or anecdote by Al Rae), all about a young Al’s desire to own a certain rare cereal box toy soldier Teutonic Knight to complete his collection.
Synopsis – “A young boy, desperate to complete his set of toy soldiers, betrays a friend to get what he wants.” Creative team – Writer/producer: Catherine May Director: Jackie May
The figures are familiar Timpo figures, displayed on egg box plinths
Union American Civil War, Waterloo British, Indian Chief, Arab Warrior, Confederate Civil War, American War of Independnce British, Eighth Army, Waterloo Scots Piper, Waterloo Prussian …
and to complete the set the long sought Teutonic Knight who lived at the top of a Lego stand at the house of Brian, young Al’s rival collector who has a complete set.
These Timpo figures were familiar figures from my 1970s childhood, bought in Action Packs and recently reissued by Toyway (now shut).
Glasgow born poet writer and film actor Al Rae (who narrates the film and plays himself as an adult) now lives in Canada and is now known as Lara Rae, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lara_Rae “Lara Rae (born 1963 in Glasgow, Scotlan), formerly known as Al Rae, is a Canadian comedian, best known as the longtime artistic director of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and as a performer on the CBC Radio One comedy series The Debaters…”
Nothing much new in the online Pound stores this year? 2020/21
What with ongoing Covid restrictions I have only been into pound stores a couple of times on the high street only for ‘target: toy section’ for a minute or two.
And visits to charity shops, jumble, steam fairs, junk markets? None.
This paucity and Covid drought of penny dreadfuls and plastic tat has been relieved partly by some kind donationsfrom blog readers of old unwanted Airfix figures, some great samples of Hing Fat 54mm figures from Peter Evans and also from strategic reserves laid down in the past.
These strategic reserves are laid down according to my Pound Store Plastic Warrior wise hoarding maxims –
1. “Buy them when you see them, they’re sometimes only around for a short while”
2. “They’re only a pound”.
3. “You may not need them now, but in the future …”
2020/21 saw a couple of games using Pound Store plastics ranging from snowballing fights of Yukigassen in August …
To an RLS “Land of Counterpane” game in April on an old squared blanket …
Some curious Pound Store conversions, padding out the more expensive Chintoys plastics or old lead …
October 2020 onwards: My Arma-Dad’s Army Elizabethan muster or militia Home Guard 1588 1595 slowly builds using Pound Store knights
This of course having Spanish Fury Conquistadors and Armada troops means Aztec types are a natural match or extension (Peter Laing style ‘dual use figures’ )
With found cheap scenery from scrap … inscribed stones, temple steps, obelisks …
The Super Cheap Wargaming group on Facebook has been good for such affordable scrap terrain ideas as well.
Sometimes my Pound Store Plastic Warriors posts crossposted material or projects from my Man of TIN blog (main blog) or linked to these including:
Fembraury – The new BMC Plastic Army Women becoming Women’s Revolutionary Army of Parazuellia, part of the 1960s Morecambe and Wise comedy film The Magnificent Two whose other government and rebel troops will be padded out with Pound Store GI copies …
January 2021 – Scrap modelling Edwardian style with E Nesbit’s Wings and the Child on the building of Magic Cities
and January also involved archive history research to identify more about H.G. Wells’ connections, family and friends involved in playing his Floor Games and Little Wars c. 1911-13. Well our Pound Store Plastic Warriors strapline is “Little Wars on A Budget”.
Who knows where 2021 and 2022 will lead us?
Thanks for reading and following.
Blog posted on my Fifth Blogaversary 13 September 2021