The simple addition of a cardboard hat brim (I sometimes use luggage label roundels) changes these Pound Store copies of Airfix and Matchbox Japanese Infantry into different Imaginations figures. I picked these Japanese up in a Pound Store about fifteen years ago.
I like the 1:32 / 54mm and OOHO Japanese Infantry figures as they are quite ‘old school’ uniformed figures – puttees, rifles, haversacks, ammunition pouches, water bottles. Flags, buglers, officers with swords in the OOHO set. They could all easily have come from a century before.
A change of head or hat and you have a new figure. Infantry, militia, bandit, revolutionary, irregular …
As suggested by the paint conversion into a Confederate type grey soldier (right), this is something that I also did with the OOHO Japanese Infantry as a youngster in the late 1970s and 80s when I had almost no Airfix ACW figures.
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
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) …
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:
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
‘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.
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.
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?
“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.
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 comedydrama 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.
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.