More Seaside Pound Store Plastic Warriors

IMG_0173.JPG

I found these interesting pound store plastic warriors during the bank holiday weekend at one of those seaside shops that sells lots of lovely plastic tat.

IMG_0170
60 new plastic toy soldiers for £1 – seaside pound store bliss!

Better than the 50p rummage box, 30 new figures for 50p!

IMG_0171
Up close these crude figures have some useful detail. Fine space marines these would make!

Modern period gaming does not appeal to my usual Imagi-Nations gaming in 54mm. Instead out in the back Yarden planets or galaxies, I can easily see possible paint conversions to Star Wars type Rebel troops from the start of the first film (Episode IV) or from the recent Star Wars: Rogue One.

IMG_0172IMG_0175

There are two different versions of many poses as well as two different colours available in different boxes. Quite often many pound store plastic Army men are sold in packs with two different colours (“green and tan”) to have a ready opponent.

IMG_0176
Useful comms figure with wires leading to backpack. 
IMG_0177
Hurry, Imperial Troops are boarding ….
IMG_0178
A paratrooper type figure … that I recognised from somewhere. 

Suitably for a seaside plastic shop bought box of figures, I finally found the source of a beachcombing  find https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/lost-legions-1-fighting-on-the-beaches/

IMG_0179
Three versions of a similar pose with slightly different sizes. 

IMG_0180

IMG_0181
Lots of good baggage on these desert warriors or space marines. 

Not sure of the origin of these figures, they look like copies of original figures.

IMG_0182
Nice animation on these infantry or paratrooper type figures, peeking warily round corners. 

IMG_0183

IMG_0184
A WW2 type paratrooper look to this figure. 
IMG_0186
The suppliers of these Combat Mission figures. 

If these figures are somewhat crude and on the cheap side, they are perfect pure plastic tat. Whilst many are obviously copies of modern US Desert troops, they are also affordable and possible for conversion into space marines or even back to WW2 US paratroopers in their jump boots and baggage.

Proper Seaside Tat

But not as much joyous plastic seaside tat as this weird pirate version (in both senses of the word) of Lego minifigures seen next to a genuine Ninjago Lego ninja type figure. I love the manufacturer’s name proudly on the back of this pirate – Tatco!

IMG_0188

 

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN for the Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 29/30 May 2017.

Advertisements

Green Toy Army Men

imageThese are not quite pound store figures, as they  cost £5 at a Hawkins’s Bazaar shop on my travels.

Manufactured for Tobar, they are of course China copies of the very familiar but now unobtainable Matchbox US Infantry figures. Still 32 figures for £5 is reasonable.

image

Dull packaging but good little drawstring kit bag for storage.

Good to see the old Matchbox figures available again from time to time.

Blogposted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN.

 

Pound store space marines?

image

image
2nd in line with grenade is a clone of the old Matchbox US infantry.

O I do like a gift shop by the seaside … Outside this gift shop were the usual wire baskets full of plastic tat and seaside flim-flam.

image
Unusual choice of flags, Barbados with the trident, Brazil, North Korea? Plus free undersized castle tower in two halves.

image

£1 per pack of average 19 soldiers, a free plastic castle tower and bizarre flag choice. What more could you want?

image

The figures are manufactured in China, imported or packed by PMS.

Although these are supposed to be modern American infantry, their slightly distorted moulding gives them a space marine 1930s/1950s look, suitable for paint conversion.

image
Distorted copies of Modern US infantry or Suitable space marine troopers?

They are remarkably spindly, very thin pressings or mouldings, a bit of flash to clean up, almost semi-round or semi flat but fun all the same. The usual minimal basing to save plastic …

image

image

What attracted my eye amongst the seaside plastic gifts were the echoes of my other favourite pound store figures of different scales seen here, 54mm ish versus these smaller 30 to 40mm-ish  figures, currently available in Poundland bags or buckets (£1 per 100!)

Blogposted by Man of TIN.

 

Pound Store US Marines

image

A seaside gift shop was the source of 6 boxes of these figures at 50p a box. The flimsy boxes have a curious ‘military’ land mine or Lewis Gun magazine look to them.

image
50p well spent? 

They are China copies of BMC US Marines from WW2 with a few of their Japanese lying down figures thrown in.

image
Well animated officer and radioman figures.
image
I like the animation on these as well as all the backpack and equipment. 
image
Slightly distorted moulding in the face but a nicely animated figure with grenade.
image
A slightly wobbly Marine 
image
Flamethrower man or candidate for the space marines? 
image
An almost statuesque figure lying down to reload. 
image
The left and right figures I think are originally Japanese troops. 

These figures will probably not end up khaki or green; I shall see what they look like in more colourful Imagi-nations garb. Redcoats? Blue coats? Army Red, Army Blue. With all the haversack, entrenching tools and ammunition pouches they could make interesting steampunked 19th century figures.

At the time of buying I had no idea whose figures they were or how old they were.

Like many pound store figures, they are of Chinese manufacture.

Subsequent web research shows these Dan Hai Military Assault figures are China copies of US Marines made by the US firm of BMC for their Iwo Jima set, a playset not available in the shops in the UK.

https://victorybuy.com/collections/bmc-toys/era_world-war-2

The original figures were produced for BMC Toys, founded by Bill McMaster in 1991. Bill passed away in 2014 but the line is to be produced again in the USA by Victorybuy.com

I sometimes wonder whether ‘pirate’ or pound store copy figures do the original manufacturers out of sales or a living?

To be fair, many of them are fairly distorted compared to the originals and some of these originals are no longer available such as the Matchbox figures (and for many years Airfix). It’s almost like buying a jumble of second hand figures.

I think pound store figures are pitched at a different ‘pocket money’ market from those who will spend the amount that the venerable  Airfix  figures now cost for example, new or vintage.

A useful set of figures and overall £3 well spent for 6 boxes at 50p each. This amounted to 144 figures for £3, on average 24 figures a box and each costing around tuppence (2p).  A high street coffee is sometimes more expensive than this whole haul!

image

Posted by Man of TIN.

Plastic Zoo Visitors # 1

image
They could be zoo keepers, Rangers or tooled up to become space marines …

Trying to to find interesting 54mm civilian figures is always a challenge. Apart from an unusual set ordered online from China, it usually involves looking out for figures with playsets or vehicles. An expensive way to acquire a few figures!

image

Britains and other companies used to make civilian and railway figures in 54mm lead but few in plastic, the occasional keeper figure or farm worker.

It was always frustrating as a child to have a zoo or farm or a parade set out but no visitors  to watch; it usually resulted in lots of  troops parading (H.G. Wells Floor Games style) endlessly  through the zoo along with assorted military staff feeding the animals.

Military bands and other forms of entertainment and display were not unknown in the Victorian zoo and right through to Manchester’s Belle Vue Zoo into the 1950s. Whilst military mascots ended up in zoos (including Winnie the Pooh at London Zoo ) and even a naval zoo existed, at Whale Island, this was a little uninspiring as a regular play or garden scenario.  http://www.europeana.eu/portal/en/record/2024904/photography_ProvidedCHO_TopFoto_co_uk_EU044495.html

Evn today, Edinburgh Zoo has a penguin called Nils Olaf  “commissioned” into the Norwegian Royal Guard and occasionally visited and paraded  by his fellow (human) comrades in their magnificent full dress uniform.

This was sort of true of British Zoos in wartime – there were  special rates for servicemen (and lady friends) in uniform, entertainments in WW1 for injured servicemen. I have 1939’propaganda’ press pictures of servicemen enjoying elephant rides at Belle Vue Zoo Manchester. In the first few weeks of being closed to the public on ARP grounds in September 1939, London Zoo made arrangements for servicemen to walk round for the animals to look at. ‘The Zoo’ also made their canteen over to the RAF as the big houses around became RAF Regent’s Park full of training aircrew.

Britain’s and other lead toy soldier manufacturers made plenty of civilians and farm workers in the more pacifist aftermath of WW1. Plastic manufacturers haven’t followed suit and painted railway figures in this 54mm /1:32 scale are often quite expensive.

image

Failing the mounting of a full scale military parade through your zoo, Wild West town etc. all day and everyday,  some normal civilians are useful for floor games, sandpit games or  wargames.

image
The 54mm female figure from the left is from the c. 2007 zoo vehicle  playset, whilst the “Marilyn” stylish 1950s unfinished painted figure is from recent Chinese plastics online purchase of civilians. (Photo / figures: Man of TIN)

These  feature sets  came from a zoo gift shop with two zebra striped jeeps, some brilliant wooden watch towers and rope ways (of which more anon) , a couple of odd sized animals and these interesting modern civilians.

image
Something vaguely unsettling about this boy child in his simple factory paintwork. Useful photographer figure though!

Something similar to the girl child in the photos has recently been repainted and reused in a Slinkachu type way on the front cover of an art photography book Micro Worlds about the recent group of artists / photographers playing with scale for satiric, unsettling or comic effect. An interesting book but one which contains some slightly disturbing dystopian or to some tasteless items from a range of photographers.

image

image
Another candidate to be my Man of TIN blog photographer? (from a 2007 zoo vehicle playset)

image

Police and firefighters are now available in poundstore tubes. Back in the 1980s there were Britain’s Deetail nurses, doctors and  construction workers, not forgetting the Britain’s farm workers from lead to Herald plastic and a modern farm worker range still around in toy shops today.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/tag/plastic-police-figures/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/more-poundstore-warriors/

In future blogposts I will feature more civilian figures to be used for game scenarios from the Chinese online set to the useful USA manufactured  Toob “heritage” plastic figures roughly in 54mm, also purchased online.

Plastic Warrior website also feature an excellent set of Mexican Wild West civilians or peasants.

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, September 2016.

 

Garden Wargames # 1

image
Not quite got (permission for) this John Ruddle setup in my family garden – yet.

 

 

 

 

A large part of my childhood was spent on my knees.

No, this is not as pious or religious as it would have sounded in Victorian times. I spent a lot of time crawling around on the floor, lawn and flowerbeds in epic battles with tiny men.

When I first saw John Boorman’s WW2 childhood autobiography film Hope and Glory, I immediately identified with the opening scene when war is declared over the radio on that first Sunday of the war. The young boy / Boorman is at lawn and flowerbed level, playing with a tiny Britain’s style metal knight and an odd wizard figure (a filmic nod to Boorman’s Excalibur movie?) as the Sunday lawn mowers stop and the radios are switched on for Chamberlain’s speech. It’s that playing with real plants and pretend characters, the play with scales, which says something about the make-believe between acting, film making and playing with colourful toy soldiers (which remains the heart of our hobby).

From tiny Airfix HO/OO  (or 1:72/76) which were really too tiny for outdoor use (many of them went ‘missing in action’ and perished  in the pile of builder’s sand in the garden that passed for our sandpit or sand table) to the much more practical 54mm plastic figures (or 1:32) that could stay out at night, throughout the week and resume action next weekend or the next spare teatime or evening.

I can recall parts of my childhood garden in tiny texture and colour detail inch by inch. More than I can the house, my schooldays or many people.

image
I can still recall in great detail these childhood  flowerbed jungles, open grassland airstrips, rocky cliff steps to the right and useful path (airstrip, road, town). A pond (river / lake) lurked amongst the top flowerbed area. (Photo:Man of TIN)

If I obeyed the rules, Knights, Soldiers, Cowboys were welcome.

Simple rules: Keep them clear from blocking paths, not left out on any lawn that was to be mown (death by flymow didn’t just happen to tortoises in the 1970s) and above all, not to damage any plants.

Other than this,  I pretty much had free rein to invade the flowerbeds, rockeries and wilder more overgrown areas of our thin uphill sloping  back garden.

Rocks, twigs and stones, collected but not broken off, were all useful for making tiny camps and fortifications.

Flowerbeds were forests and jungles. Lawns were seas  between flowerbeds and rockery cliffs. Or open fields, airstrips … Whatever game life your current figures and imagination breathed into them.

Oddly it’s a habit that has never gone away. Following my late dad’s playful instructions, you should always  post a three man patrol out in the garden equipped with a radio (radioman were often scarce plastic figures) or signalman, depending on the period. I still do.

image
Three Man Garden patrol from pound store plastic warriors (pirates of BMC figures?) – officer, radioman and heavy firepower.

The radio or signalman is so that they can contact back to base and summon up air strikes, rescue and reinforcements depending on period. Ideally you should have another patrol elsewhere within flag, beacon or radio range either indoor or outdoor to pick up this intelligence and reconnaissance info.

Don’t forget to change patrols over regularly otherwise they get sleepy and inefficient. Rest in billets required!

Alongside the radio man, ideally you should have some kind of patrol leader or officer with binoculars. They can then observe all possible troop and wildlife movements, hostile natives, cats, snails etc. This was probably a tiny toy soldier precursor of today’s BBC Spring Watch or the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch?

image.jpeg
My portable three man patrol and their travelling box.

When I am away travelling, I still have a tiny wooden box with a three man garden patrol  that often goes with me, just to keep me in touch with the (tiniest) folks at home.

image
One on the left: “I cannot tell a lie. It was him over there”. A sort of travelling bunker for the three man patrol …

What is it about garden wargames?

Is is it the texture and smell of real mud and wet that makes this garden patrol and Yarden / garden gaming thing an attractive memory and occasional current pastime?

Is it the heady effects of the free burst of Vitamin D from the sun on your skin?

Is it the not quite having to grow up and have a ‘sensible’ garden?

Is that the same attraction of the more complicated process of running a garden railway or creating a model village with its dwarf plants, deadly ponds and the interplay with scale and reality?

Is it that Borrowers tiny people thing who are really alive and tweeting when you are not looking?

Who knows, but despite the older I get and the creakier the knees (maybe knee pads would convince people I really was sensibly gardening), the attraction and the wonder still lurks out there – under a bush, behind a stone – playing at toy soldiers down at ground level in the mud.

image
Cowboy Ambush! Schleich, Bullyland, Safari and Papo prepainted 60+mm figures aren’t cheap at £5 a pop but they are fantastic for hate. Games  There are plenty of cheaper versions out there, big enough not to lose on the beach or in the garden. More on these in another blog post …

Garden or Yarden Rules 

You can pretty much use any game rules in the garden, scaled up to your figure size. I use scaled up period versions of my Close Little Wars rules (my version of Donald Featherstone’s Close Wars appendix to his 1962 War Games):

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

H.G. Wells’ Little Wars are another choice, recently republished by John Curry or available scanned online: https://archive.org/details/littlewarsgamefo00well

Track down the Funny Little Wars rules and forums or Tim Gow’s Little Cold Wars rules (below).

Alternatively, head for the Sheil’s Sandpit Rules for pound store figures in many period variations beginning at:  http://www.thortrains.net/armymen/wargame1.htm

Interesting garden wargame links:

More inspiring pictures of John Ruddle’s garden wargame here: http://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/john-ruddle-and-garden-wargame.html

http://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/more-about-john-ruddle-and-garden.html

http://vintagewargaming.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/unidentified-john-ruddle-article.html

Some interesting modern games out in the garden:

Tim Gow and his Little Cold Wars garden games http://megablitzandmore.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/little-cold-wars-published.html

The lovely Shandyesque garden siege game:

http://shandyandvauban.blogspot.co.uk

The Wargames Hermit John Patriquin’s blog:

http://wargamehermit.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/garden-wargaming-with-30mm-sae-figures.html

The Playmobil version:

http://www.gardenwargaming.com/intro/intro.html

The extraordinary Peter’s War setup: http://peterswar.com

Notice the very practical ground or base lawn spike seen here on Orun’s blog:

https://orun.wordpress.com/category/garden-wargaming/

and overall I blame H.G. Wells for starting it all.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22777029

Lots more garden gaming riches out there to find!

Happy gaming outside in the garden / Yarden (when the British or wherever weather allows!)

Posted by Man of TIN, 1 September 2016.

 

 

 

Plastic Space Figures

image
Around 54mm or 1:32 scale  plastic space figure back view of equipment.

image

image
Plastic space figures on a fluffy white felt planet and Donald Featherstone War Games 1962 hardback black galaxy background (the nearest black thing to hand). Photo / figures: Man of TIN

 

image

image
Some strange slightly furry planet …

Posted by Mr MIN Man of TIN blog, 1st September 2016