Pound Store Plastic Warriors 5th Blogaversary

Another year of Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog posts have come and gone …

Nothing much new in the pound stores this year. Good to see these still around. Poundland – my Shelfie 2020/21

Thanks to my loyal regular blog readers and new followers who have found my blog over the last year. Your likes and comments are always welcome.

This marks the fifth Blogaversary or anniversary of the first post on my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, dedicated to affordable gaming or “Little Wars on a Budget”.

What’s happened since last September and our 4th Blogaversary in 2020?

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/09/13/pound-store-plastic-warriors-4th-blogaversary/

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 donations from 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 mistakes – octagonal ‘hexes’ in this budget reconstruction of Games Workshop Lost Patrol for Pound Store space marines … the well known eight sided hexagon, that one …

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

Spacemen, Colonials and the Small Scale World of Shelfies

Our Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog earned an honorable mention during Rack Toy Month on Hugh Walter’s Small Scale World this month – http://smallscaleworld.blogspot.com/2021/08/s-is-for-single-solitary-shelfie.html

I put in a mention for the Wargaming Pastor’s work with these figures on the Death Zap blog

***********

Thanks Hugh for the mention and blog link – if you don’t know it, Small Scale World is a great, almost encyclopaedic reference source for plastic soldiers and all plastic rack toys including their pirate copies and packaging.

“Spaceman and colonials from the same blob”?

Surprising what you can do with some paint, scalpel, (wire and PVA and tissue paper) …

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

Pound Store Boy Scouts?

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

Pound Store Colonials?

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/10/22/poundland-desert-warriors-finished/

Colonial conversions?

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

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

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 1st September 2021

Pound Store Snowball Fight 2021

As it’s hot and August, it’s a good time to cool down with Snowball fights, albeit on the tabletop.

Several bags of soldiers from Toys for a Pound online shop yielded a fine range of coloured Snowball teams which I have simply based and painted.

Faces, boots, snowy white on bases were painted then stuck on Warbases MDF 2p size bases. A tiny number written on the back and base help identify figures, add names etc. in game scenarios.

As you can see, the grenade is now a snowball, thanks to a blob of some gloss white paint.

I dug out my draft snowball fight rules “Packing Sugar at Freddie” that Alan (Duchy of Tradgardland) Gruber and I have been developing on and off as a non-lethal war game, akin to Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop.

Short of time before the dining table was needed again, I quickly set up a quick scatter of white stones, white foam packaging and Christmas fir trees on a white felt gaming cloth and tablecloth.

A quick sketch of rules.

Movement is one lolly stick, half uphill. Some areas (cling film) ice is impassable.

Snowball ammunition unlimited. IGOYUGO roll d6 for each team, highest score moves first, second team next, first team shoots (throws), second team throws.

No melee, no morale, no savings throws.

Long range of three lolly sticks, hit on target on 6 on a d6

Medium range of two lolly sticks, hit on target on a 5 or 6.

Close range of one lolly stick or less, hit on target on a 4,5 or 6.

If target undercover, deduct 1 from d6 score.

Two hits means that the target figure must head (without further firing) straight away each turn towards Camp HQ to the east. Once reached, the umpire can restore the figure to ‘life’ after two turns and they can enter the game again.

Scenario and rules are explained in more detail here:

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2019/10/29/packing-sugar-at-freddy-street-gang-snowball-fight-scenario-write-up/

Aerial view of the snowy tabletop

North is at the top, the Black team base.

To the east is the Game HQ with umpires and observers from the local scout troop.

To the south is the Blue team base.

To the east and west are other snowball fight teams of different colours – green, red and tan – to watch the snowball fight game.

The Aim of the game / Victory Conditions

‘Capture the Flag’ style, each team must steal the rival team’s flag (barrel) from their base and return it to their own camp, without losing their own flag (barrel) from their own base.

A small bear cub wanders through the snowscape past the central snowman.

A wall heater gets disguised as a distant snow ridge with Christmas trees.

Within three moves, long range snowball shots (3 lolly sticks range) are being exchanged.

Things started to wrong for the Blue team quite quickly, leading to them either falling back South to protect their ‘flag’ end area or heading East to be restored to gaming life.

An old-fashioned black and white wargames book type photograph.

Black team are now within long range snowball distance of the Blue team camp.

Each successful snowball hit is marked by a gemstone on the base, then when reaching two hits, the figure’s game life is lost.

A metal washer or silver tape ring is used to mark those figures who have lost their ‘game life’ and are heading straight for the Game HQ to the east. Here the umpire can restore a figure to fresh game life and head back onto the table after two turns.

Movement is restricted, interrupted and shaped using logs, trees, impassable ice (marked out by gems and polythene cling film) and snow hills

Very quickly, most of the Blue team seemed to be ‘heading east’, twice hit by snowballs so temporarily out of the game and unable to fire, until their game lives can be restored by the Umpire to the east.

The Blue team’s ‘flag’ (barrel) is captured and would quickly be taken unopposed back to the Black team’s camp, so the Umpire declares this a Black team win and game is over.

‘Home’ and time for tea …

What I liked about this quick game

It could all be made very cheaply using Pound Store soldiers in grenade throwing and other poses, along with terrain of cheap Christmas fir trees, snow hills from foam packaging and other found objects such as logs on a white cloth.

I have also used polystyrene or white Lego type bricks in previous games – see here https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/12/27/snowball-fight-at-camp-benjamin-bmc-plastic-army-women-arrive/

I like the crisp whiteness, simple and fresh look of the game.

I didn’t add extra abilities like marksman (add 1 to each d6 dice roll) or target’s agility (remove 1 from the d6).

I didn’t add the ‘called home time’ rule, the ‘cold fingers’ Rules etc as I knew it would be a short game – read more here at

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2019/11/02/more-packing-sugar-at-freddie-snowball-fight-rules-variations-with-funny-dice/

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2019/10/30/tradgardland-suggestions-about-snowball-fight-rules/

What I didn’t like so much about the quick game

I played this game solo and the dining table being in a busy area of the house with distractions, I often forgot what or who was moving or shooting at times. A simple Turn Counter would solve this.

I couldn’t find my bag of small metal washers to mark hits on figures, so quickly made some silver rings from silver present tape. The two gems as hit markers often get mixed up and left behind. I have now ordered some small clear plastic Roman blind or curtain rings for the next game.

Two hits happened very quickly to many figures, especially at close range; with no savings throws, many figures were soon heading east to the Game HQ to have a gaming life restored. A higher number of hits is perhaps needed before the game life is lost?

Anyway, a good fast fun game. Why not have a go with some suitable figures and some old Christmas stuff?

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 3 August 2021

Pound Store Snowball Fight Squads

It’s now August, thankfully a bit cooler again in the Southwest UK as it has been unusually energy-sapping hot in the last few weeks.

So in the summer sunshine, my thoughts naturally turn to snow and snowball fights, continuing the work on simple snowball fight rules with Alan (Duchy of Tradgardland) Gruber.

Toys For A Pound Online – Soldier offerings 2021

https://toysforapound.com/search?type=product&q=Soldiers*

These figures have a useful snowballer figures (below left) in the form of these 45 mm-ish plastic copy of the Matchbox 1:76 / 1:32 US WW2 Infantry grenade thrower.

There is another figure throwing a grenade (centre right) who could have his rifle /SMG cut away as needed to make another snowballing figure.

The second toy soldier offering from Toys For A Pound Online 2020/21

Specia Forces! Still attractive pricing, cheap plastic Soldiers for a Pound 2020/21

Amongst these 42/43mm-ish plastic figures (top left) is again a useful copy of the Matchbox 1:76 / 1:32 US WW2 Infantry grenade thrower.

Very useful to convert into a military snowballer, as he is also quite well wrapped for winter.

The officer with binoculars (bottom left) can be an umpire of the Snowball fights.

These should be in action fairly quickly in a snowball fight scenario.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 2 August 2021

Fifth Blogaversary of my Man of TIN blog (and Happy Geek Pride Day 2021)

Pound Store Wars was the first post I wrote on my Man of TIN blog, a theme that would later become this separate Pound Store Plastic Wars blog by September 2016.

Blogaversary reflections over on my sister blog Man of TIN …

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/05/25/may-25th-geek-pride-days-and-my-fifth-man-of-tin-blogaversary-2021/

The fifth Blogaversary for this Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog is in September.

Happy Geek Pride Day.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 25 May 2021

Jungle or Desert Fighters? Some quick 54mm Pound Store Plastic conversions

The original pirate or clone Matchbox figures and the Bush hat conversions. I shall paint in the desert / jungle cravat …

These Matchbox 8th Army copies were amongst some of the unlovely but cheap plastic, increasing distorted mouldings that I bought from now vanished local pound stores around 2005/6.

I am intrigued by the way that as figures are copied, they change slowly into the suggestion of different figures. Great for conversion potential?

These sandpit pound store knock offs of long unavailable Matchbox figures have continued to evolve or de-evolve with less and less detail into even thinner shadows of themselves.

2019 Steam Fair haul – for scale two of my my original Airfix / Matchbox 54mm figures (centre) versus slowly de- evolving pound store copies.

‘Original’ unaltered pound store copies and my Bush hat conversions …

The bush hat conversions are made using a hole punched circle of card trimmed down to size and attached by PVA or UHU glue. These early crude attempts do have a unfortunate fashionable Edwardian ladies’ bonnet look.

Out in the garden / yarden jungle where they belong … danger lurks everywhere!

Once varnished or sealed, they could be useful for sandpit games or garden gaming, as well as on the tabletop.

They may not be lovely copies but ..

Over the years, many of my original Airfix and Matchbox 1:32 figures have not survived various house moves and downsizing into adulthood, so these copies were a good way in 2005/6 to bulk up available gaming and conversion figures for a cheerful pound a bag.

There are cheapish, (not quite) pocket money alternatives out there again now, ranging from Hing Fat 54mm to reissued late 2021 Airfix (£9 a box for 14 figures or 65p each!)

Again, these are painted in simple or traditional toy soldier style in Revell Aquacolor Acrylics. These will then receive the shiny toy soldier gloss varnish treatment, which also protects them during handling.

The original Matchbox figures can be seen in 1:72/76 scale here; poses were copied for the 1:32 offering http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/ManufacturerList.aspx?id=15

Matchbox WW2 figure homecast moulds 2021?

Dunken sells these Matchbox and Airfix WW2 figures as home casting moulds (once available through Prince August) – they are still available in the USA (and overseas?) via Rich at Dunken . https://www.dunken.com/product-category/our-products/molds/dunken-molds/world-war-ii/

How many kilted bagpipe Eighth Army figures do you need?

54mm Matchbox copy figures 2021?

If you search around online, you will find these Matchbox copies of four colour, four different nations Matchbox copies of German, Japanese, American and Eighth Army Infantry in its various incarnations or tubs. The Americans are widely available as reprints.

How many kilted bagpipe Eighth Army figures do you need?

Screenshot April 2021 of such four nations ‘currently available’ figures from Amazon UK – Matchbox copies.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 15 April 2021

The Hex Files – Things are Getting Strange…

“Things are getting strange, I’m Starting To Worry, This could be a Case for Mulder and Scully …” (Catatonia)

Heroscape Krav Maga figures 32mm could double up for the FBI … extreme hourglass corseting by Agent Scully here?

What series or TV programmes distract from or inspire your gaming scenarios?

Painting has slowed considerably in the Man of TIN Towers and Pound Store Plastic Warriors thanks to the Disney+ subscription channel now hosting all seasons of the X Files from the early 1990s.

Part of the steady Lockdown year has been spent binge watching box sets of series and episodes in order such as Star Wars spin off series The Mandalorion, Stranger Things, Buffy the Vampire Slayer …

I have been waiting years for the X Files to be available but the cost of video and DVD box sets has been off-putting.

These Heroscape suitably besuited characters could make FBI figures

I remember watching this series as it came out in the early 1990s. Watching them through again from Episode 1 and seeing the series and main characters develop, I remember some storylines and character monsters very well but I obviously missed quite a few episodes too – I was hard at work in my first job.

I enjoyed the stand alone one-off “monster episodes” in the early series far more than the tangled plot and subplots of conspiracy within conspiracy. Trust No One etc.

The series cleverly combined a US cop show and crime drama with every Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World case and conspiracy theory you can think of, exploiting the public mistrust of “government within government”, all recently dealing with the recent end of the Cold War and the shadowy activities of the CIA.

I like the small town America where anything weird can happen. It’s perfect Forgotten Georgia territory, although I think lots of the X Files was filmed in Vancouver, Canada.

It reminds me strongly of the old 90s high school horror teen comedy drama series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (recently rewatched – free on All4) or the more recent retro 80s Stranger Things series on Netflix with its cast of young teenage kids, another of the binge-watching delights of this last unusual year.

Somehow I don’t think such series could have been made in Britain, despite the weird West Country cryptozoology and other dark regional folklore. To be fair, we had Doctor Who grounded on Earth (or 70s Britain) fighting off monsters in the Jon Pertwee Third Doctor series (arguably the best Doctor?) with its fabulous Brigadier and and UNIT episodes. I have seen several such UNIT games on people’s blogs.

Obviously time spent enjoying watching the X Files is time spent not painting figures. I should be painting my ArmaDads Army figures and repairing hollowcasts but …

Sometimes X Files plots seem like possible gaming scenarios.

Who needs new figures?

In my boxes of figures I have these handy ready painted FBI figures which came with the useful boxes of plastic Heroscape hex terrain.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/heroscape-duelling-figures/

And some weird looking alien crew from a downed space craft, avoiding the blue hats and awaiting rescue from above?

I can see a way in future to reuse the bodged hexagon (whoops octagon tiles) from recreating the old OOP Games Workshop Lost Patrol game:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/02/12/octagons-are-not-hexagons-or-my-diy-games-workshop-lost-patrol-tiles/

Pound Store Plastic stores stock lots of the 1990s and post Gulf War American troops that could be easily paint converted into the brutally efficient (fictional?) Blue Berets or Blue Hats US Army UFO Retrieval Team or the various SWAT teams.

Usually these plastic modern figures range in size from 30-32 mm to 40/45 – often 54mm plastic clones and copies, steadily downsizing as they become more distorted.

Even these distortions can be used as aliens as the Wargaming Pastor does with his alien Selanoids in his Death Zapp game. https://thedeathzap.wordpress.com/2019/05/25/battle-squadron/

Other sources of figures to hand:

These two metal Fantastic Beasts figures with a repainted brown trench coat almost make a Mulder and a Scully, if I repainted the hair – investigating wizardly goings amongst the young at a secret castle (somewhere in the north of Britain?)

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/14/a-quick-trip-to-the-works/

Size comparison of metal nano figures from The Works with my pound store plastic penny dreadfuls, Phoenix SD and STS Little Britons Boy Scouts 42mm range

Anyway I look forward to more adventures with clean cut boyish Agent Mulder, and “Gutsy Girl” intelligent, sceptical agent Dana Scully … it’s a great way to wind down from a busy working day!

What series or TV programmes distract from or inspire your gaming scenarios?

TO BE CONTINUED …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 24 March 2021

Pound Store Plastic Warriors into Girl Scouts? Celebrating Juliette Daisy Gordon Low and the first Girl Scouts of America on this day 12 March 1912

Daisy’s biography and my 54mm pound store plastic soldier rough conversions to Girl Scouts

Celebrate an amazing woman Juliette ‘Daisy’ Gordon Low (1860-1927) and the Girl Scouts of America that she founded on this day in Savannah, Georgia, 12th March 1912.

The very first Girl Guides registered in Savannah, GA (Georgia, USA) were girls from the Savannah Orphans Asylum Girl Guide Troop.

Crossposted from our ongoing Tabletop Scouting Wide Games (and Snowball Fights) Project blog. This blog was set up by me (Mark Man of TIN) and Alan (Duchy of Tradgardland) Gruber before the Woking Little Wars Revisited Games Day 54mm last March 2020:

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2021/03/12/12-march-usa-girl-scouts-founded-by-juliette-daisy-gordon-low-1912/

The Pound store plastic warriors connection?

As few Girl Guide or Girl Scout miniatures exist in larger model scales, you have to make your own as we did using the cheapest and weirdest cloned toy soldier figures.

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2019/10/17/turning-cheap-pound-store-army-figures-into-boy-scouts-and-girls-scouts/

Crossposted by Mark Man of TIN, March 12th 2021.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transport easily requisitioned from charity shop cheap finds …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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