What have my oddly painted Pound Store Plastic Warriors got to do with YouTube music sensation Scott Bradlee and his band Postmodern Jukebox?
Could it be that perennial chore of all gamers – “all about that base, about that base”? – to misquote Meghan Trainor?
So what is the connection between my paint converted penny dreadful plastic toy soldiers and throwaway hiphop or dance music tracks? Postmodern Jukebox (or in toy soldier modelling terms, should that be Postmodern Toolbox or Postmodern Paintbox?)
Take a toy soldier or music track – strip it down, look at it afresh, re-present it in a different way or time period. That is kind of the Pound Store Plastic Warrior blog philosophy and much the same with Postmodern Jukebox.
Is the connection – Taking one cheap throwaway thing like a modern pop song or a pound store plastic toy soldier and turning them (back in time) to something else more interesting with a bit of hard craft?
Talented American piano player Scott Bradlee has teamed up with a range of jazz musicians and vocalists to take modern pop songs from the 1980s classics onwards to today’s chart hits – and take them back in time. Stylish and spirited “Period covers of Pop Songs”.
What would 90s Canadian grungy punk band Nickelback sound like as Motown?
What would modern pop classics like Myley Cyrus’s We Can’t Stop sound like as a 50s doo-wop number?
What would Carly Rae Jepsen’s modern pop hit Call Me Maybe sound like as a 1920s ragtime flapper number?
That is the musical joy that is Postmodern Jukebox … everything I have been doing with cheap toy plastic soldiers in musical form!
It’s also what I often listen to whilst painting, if not listening to period specific music to match the figures on the painting table.
Don’t just take my word for it. I’m not the only Toy Soldier and game blogger to like this stuff. The Duke of Tradgardland himself no doubt employs them as Court Musicians. https://tradgardland.blogspot.com
Outside the Jukebox, Scott Bradlee’s autobiography, is an interesting and easy read about being a modern basement creative in the internet and social media age. It reads as an honest mistakes and failure through to success and attendant pitfalls story.
Well worth a listen … anyway, back to Bass-ics? Enjoy.
You might also find other YouTube groups like the Gardiner Sisters stripping back to acoustic and slowing down fast modern pop songs into more interesting versions:
Whilst picking up The Unincredibles ‘bootlego’ superheroes in Poundland this weekend, I spotted a sight for sore eyes.
A lone tub of the 32mm-ish PennyDreadful figures (as I call them after Ross Macfarlane said about them).
Ross MacFarlane of Battle Game of The Month blog described these cheerfully as “some of the crudest cheap plastic toy soldiers that I’ve ever seen but you have managed to rescue them and transform them into brave warriors!”
I had not seen these tubs in the pound store for months.
Forlornly, it was one stray tub of these Soldiers that must have been lurking at the back of a shelf, and sadly with a quarter less contents. When I first bought these it was 100 soldiers for £1. Now it is 70 soldiers for £1.
As somebody wisely commented on my blog, these are now not quite so Epic Battles. 30% less Epic.
I bought the tub anyway, for old times sake, as they will always come in useful.
The proportions of figures in each tub seems to vary quite widely too – this one seemed to have a high proportion of bazookas and machine gunners.
They could become great little figures with a bit of work.
Blogposted by Mark, easily pleased Man of TIN, on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 12 February 2019.
Or “Where did you get that tat, where did you get that style?”
Regular reader CT asked in the comments section, after reading my link to the DeathZap! Blog post: “Where on earth do you find this stuff? Please answer in your blog”
Answer 1: Portal sites
Where I find interesting new sites featuring Pound Store Plastic figures and budget wargaming ideas partly comes down to spending far far far too much time searching the web for similar and inspiring blogposts, starting out at great portal sites and bloggers such as Bob Cordery at Wargaming Miscellany and Ross MacFarlane at Battle Game of The Month.
Everyone has their own regular or portal sites. From there, I push on exploring other people’s blog rolls and favourite websites. Some blog sites used to have a random button at top for ‘next blog along’, which turned up interesting new blogs and bloggers.
I don’t regularly buy any gaming or Toy Soldier magazines, although if I do find them in larger branches of newsagents, I usually quickly scan through the contents pages to see if it is worth buying that month. More money for figures and hobby materials!
There is a quirky and interesting little book by Iain Dickie, former editor of Miniature Wargames, which is now out of print but widely and cheaply available online secondhand, called Wargaming on a Budget. Well worth tracking down.
Answer 2: the simple joy of cheap plastic tat from Pound stores
Sometimes bloggers who are into similar scales or sources of figures find me; for example, the Wargaming Pastor behind the Death Zap! Website contacted or followed me. Checking out his website I noticed the same Poundland penny dreadful figures that I have been busy this year converting into various different gaming figures. So I put a link to his site, emails followed …
Sadly my local Poundland shop no longer stocks these handy tubs of figures for a penny each. They are available bagged on various online sources, slightly more expensively. I stocked up on a few tubs as the numbers of figures began to drop from 100 to 80 to 70 figures per £1 tub in Poundland stores.
That seems to be the ruleofthumb for cheap pound store, toy shop and seaside plastic figures. They often aren’t around for long, maybe just for one season, so best stock up on lots when you see them! At such cheap prices compared to metal gaming figures, it is daft not to stock up. You never know when they might come in handy. You might not see them again ever or at least for a long while.
Playsets give you a range of figures and accessories with the slight charming complication that they often do not match in scale.
Car boots, jumble sales, charity shops, online auction site job lots, supermarket or online “party bag” or “party favours” sections, cake decoration sites, all have been a source of cheaper plastic figures.
Answer 3 – Serendipity and geography of Tat
Different parts of the country seem to have different figures in stock, different countries have different pound, euro or dollar store figures.
Plastic Tat Envy? What isn’t easily or cheaply attainable in your own part of the world always looks more interesting, but often the shipping or postage is off putting on a budget.
How cool the Tim Mee Galaxy laser team space figures look, but they are currently not easily available in the UK, likewise some other cheap American historical figures.
You make do with what is available – that is half the challenge!
Doug Shand’s pirated Airfix Australian clones are not available in the UK but he makes great conversion use of them.