Home casting figures – functional repairs and old toy soldier DNA

Useful tools of the repair trade – pin vice and file – to repair a miscast musket.

Miscastings or half castings that are not too bad do not always go straight back in the ladle.

To avoid fumes and mess, I restrict my casting to days outside in warmer weather with no threat of rain; hot metal and moisture make an explosive mix.

As a result casting days (or days when I have time and feel like casting) are infrequent enough that I save the 90+ % figures that are ‘nearly all there’. I can then do some simple repairs on missing musket tips and other fiddly bits. Even missing heads can be swapped …

“Where’s your head at?” Missing a head, why not try swopping one with a Pound Store figure?

Such repairs that I make are usually fairly simple ones, such as drilling out a miscast musket to insert a short piece of wire.

Second casting session a few days ago – a few missing musket tips, heads and bows to repair.

On the repair tray where missing musket tips are replaced, heads swapped and bows repaired …

The perfect casting, the half cast musket and a masking tape, wire and glue repair.

Old Toy Soldier DNA

You might notice from photos that I often drill, file and repair over sheets of white A4 paper, which I have folded into four and unfolded again to make a cross shaped crease.

This is because I keep the metal filings, drilling ‘swarf’ and trimmings from old Hollowcast figure repair, roughing up the base when rebasing or cleaning up home castings.

From time to time during repairs, I carefully slightly fold the crease-crossed A4 page and slide the metal filings and trimmings into a small lidded pot.

Why do I keep this toy soldier ‘magic dust’ mixed together in a small pot of this “old toy soldier DNA“?

It not only keeps the workbench of my roll-top desk clean but it also means that I can then add a minute pinch of this unique and special mixture from time to time to the casting ladle when home casting.

Each new shiny casting might then have inside it a tiny nano-percentage of an old Britain’s hollowcast casting or old flat tin figure.

Each shiny new casting then might have a small part of all the accumulated bravery, courage and adventure from the countless battles that the old damaged hollowcast veterans (from various makers and owners) have been through over the last hundred years or more.

Reinforcements for Tradgardland, Lurland or Afrika?

A small number of these unpainted Schneider castings of pith helmeted Colonial figures and fierce Natives will soon be heading towards Alan Gruber at the Duchy of Tradgardland blog as reinforcements for his interesting Lurland and Ost Afrika campaigns.

http://tradgardland.blogspot.com/search/label/Afrika

http://tradgardland.blogspot.com/search/label/Lurland

Alan has sent me some interesting spare figures and heads to keep me busy throughout Lockdown, so this is a small thin flat thank you heading to the Duchy of Tradgardland Post Office.

Fight well my tiny men, you have the brave DNA of old toy soldiers in you!

Previously on Man of TIN …

Here is one of the first blog posts that I wrote back in 2016 “type casting”. My WordPress avatar / host page @26soldiersoftin is still named after these famous “26 soldiers of Lead” of Gutenberg (or whoever first said this quote).

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/typecasting/

We finish with a fine picture of a dapper, almost Duke of Edinburgh looking Donald Featherstone, casting away on the kitchen stove in his cheerily enthusiastic 1960s book Tackle Model Soldiers This Way.

“In the author’s house, everyone slaves over a hot stove”. Note the plate drying rack and safety equipment of a shirt and tie. An inspiration to us all!

Inspired?

If you want to have a go at casting, these companies sell new moulds and casting equipment:

Prince August (Ireland / UK/ EU) do some great starter sets at their website

https://shop.princeaugust.ie

or their official eBay shop mouldsandminis https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/mouldsandminiatures?_trksid=p2047675.l2563

Berlinner Zinnfiguren (Germany / EU) https://www.zinnfigur.com/en/Casting/

In America, Rich at Dunken has now acquired several old manufacturers’ collections of moulds https://www.dunken.com

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 17/18 April 2021.

Hing Fat 54mm Plastic WW2 Russian Infantry samples painted

Shiny toy soldier style painted Hing Fat 54mm Russians on the painting table awaiting the gloss varnish of victory …

Crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog – some more interesting Hing Fat 54mm plastic sample figures gifted to me by Peter Evans. (Thanks Peter.)

More photographs and the full range shown at:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/04/14/54mm-hing-fat-ww2-russian-sample-figures/

Peter currently sells these ‘Made in China’ Hing Fat figures through his eBay seller site figsculpt https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/figsculpt

Size comparison with my repaired childhood Airfix 1:32 (2021, currently unavailable)

Previously on Hing Fat samples posts: WW2 French

Next sample trio: probably WW2 Italians?

Meanwhile on a tinier Russian Front …

What, no Soviet women in these 54mm figures? Annie Norman of Bad Squiddo Games is producing a new range of 28mm Soviet women of WW2 on Kickstarter and then via her web shop. I don’t collect or play with 28mm figures at the moment but I have bought several vignette packs of her interesting female figures like her Land Girls. https://badsquiddogames.com

Blog Crossposted by Mark Man of TIN 15 April 2021

April – First Casting sessions 2021

Today’s Castings ready for trimming and filing …

Today’s casting session outdoors in the garden sunshine worked much better than one last week late afternoon with a chill in the wind.

These are mostly 45mm – 50mm Flats from old metal Schneider moulds.

The metal Schneider type home casting moulds do not work so well or the metal run so well if they lose too much heat between each cast.

Last week’s casting session – colder weather – and some scenics

I am keeping some of the miscast ones to see if I can repair muskets or rifles and swap missing heads with …

Pound Store Plastic figures.

Schneider mould 69 – colonials and highlander

Schneider mould 56 – settler and natives

Schneider mould 70 – charging colonial officer and bayoneting soldier

Schneider mould 80 – peaked cap kneeling and standing firing

Mixed in amongst last week’s castings you can see some flat scenics, which did not cast fully – low brick or stone wall, wall and hedge section – and a successful churn. Five bar gates are as tricky as cannon wheels!

I was also testing out an old silicon home cast / home made moulds that I bought a while ago for a Britain’s American infantryman in 54mm. The 50mm little Indian infantryman is an attractive figure, again randomly acquired.

Now for a trim and tidy up …

Meanwhile back at the Flat 2D ranch …

Alan Duchy of Tradgardland blog has been doing some unusual small Flats skirmishes of late such as these:

https://tradgardland.blogspot.com/2021/04/lurland-skirmish.html

https://tradgardland.blogspot.com/2021/03/forgotten-sons-of-semi-flat-homecast.html

https://tradgardland.blogspot.com/2021/03/afrika-palms-and-portuguese.html

Spot the same Schneider figures I cast this afternoon! Reinforcements?

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 14 April 2021

Steadfast Man of Tin #2

imageAnother part of my collection of different  illustrated versions of the Steadfast Tin Soldier  by Hans Christian Andersen is this one illustrated by John Patience, undated but looking 1960s or 1970s.

John Patience was born in 1949, and you can see more of his work at:

http://johnpatience.deviantart.com/gallery/

http://www.patience.co.uk/john/

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A Napoleonic shako wearing set of tin soldiers with Danish blue trousers and white cross belts.

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A dramatic battleground backdrop for John Patience’s Steadfast Tin Soldier book.

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Strong black and white patterns along with a psychedelic wizard or jack in the box suggests a 1960s to 1970s date of illustration:

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Amphibious adventures for Napoleonic toy soldiers result.

Menacing rats …

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A very heroic lack of reaction …

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A  collage of real newspaper in this lovely underwater scene.

And then the tragic end or the romantic blending into a tin heart, at one with the ballerina …

The tin heart features in the Prince August mould.

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Posted by Mark, Man of TIN, April 2018.

Neglected 30mm Flats FMS Frontier Skirmish

GRIZAN FORCES ADVANCE ACROSS BORDER INTO KRUZOKAMPO (KREUZFELD) REGION OF NIGRAKRUZO

Another squabble between two FMS or Forgotten Minor States of old Mittel-Mittel Europe in the late 19th century.

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The lone KruzoKampo (KK) sentry leans against the barrier post in the first light at a minor border crossing on the edge of the small town of KruzoKampo (KK), in this rural region of the state of NigraKruzo. The area was once called Kreuzfeld during past Teutonic occupation.

The KK sentry fails to spot an advance party of Grizan infantry hedinf south towards him along the road. Beside him on the wall, primed and ready, sits a signal cannon to alert the other guards and the Town Reserve / Militia in the town.

The border post is manned by the blue-coated volunteer militia of the Hejma Gvardio (or LandSturm as their Teutonic neighbours would have it).  

A reconnaissance sketch map is shown below, carried by Grizan forces who attack from Grizan territory south towards the bridge and this largely forgotten foot crossing on the  rural NigraKruzo border. 

The Grizan troops have one objective, to seize this neglected border crossing and hold it until further Grizan reinforcements arrive down the road to the North. 

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Turn 2 – The KK sentry rolls 5 (4,5,6 to spot movement, 1,2,3 did not notice) and so spots suspicious movement on the Grizan side in the dimsy early morning light. He rushes to bang on the border post / toll house door to rouse his fellow Hejma Gvardio militia. He then [completes his move to] fire the small signal cannon on the wall to alert the Reserve in the nearby town – it fails to fire first time!

[Signal Cannon – Fires 1,3,5, Fails 2,4,6]

Turn 3 – As the rest of the sleepy guards turn out of the Border hut, strapping on their equipment and readying their muskets and bayonets, they hear a small boom and echo. Success! The signal cannon fired.

The KK militia reserve troops from the town will take 5 turns to reach the border post (turn number decided by d6 throw)

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The first Grizan troops take one move to dismantle the barrier. They are out of firing range. More Grizan troops follow from the Northwest field to the gap in the field wall, aiming for the bridge. 

A wider view of the border post and  the footbridge, which spans a fast and impassable river tributary of the Rivero Nigra that divides the  FMS state of Griza from its southern neighbour.

An ancient artillery piece sits facing the Grizan side of the river and bridge. The usual traffic is foot travellers and livestock to the market of the town, the bridge being too narrow for most waggons. 

IMG_1885The small and still sleepy group of border guards stumble out of the warmth of their border post to man the barricade. Their officer and artilleryman head behind the post to ready the ancient artillery piece. 

The sleepy militiamen are soon overcome by the bullets and bayonets of the Grizan advanced guard. 

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It takes one turn to ready and prime the ancient cannon, and in their flustered state, they fire only one round which misses the Grizan troops on the road. 

The surviving KK Officer and artilleryman are surrounded and quickly surrender.

IMG_1887Disarmed the two prisoners are marched north over the border into Griza by two Grizan riflemen.  

The Grizan infantry now have two turns left to quickly fortify their position before the KK Town Militia will reach them on the outskirts of KruzoKampo. They hear the drum and calls of the KK militia in the distance. 

The Grizan officer quickly directs his men to line the field walls and barricade, whilst one crackshot occupies the window position in the border post. 

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The sixteen surviving Grizan reserves and advanced guard, flag fluttering,  line  the KK border walls, ready to clash with the KK town reserve or militia as they arrive. 

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On the other southeast side of the bridge, bayonets clash in melee over the low field border walls.  Eight of the KK Militia and five of the Grizan infantry are quickly  killed in the clash along the walls. 

In the next ragged volley from the Grizan troops, the KK militia officer and ensign are fatally wounded.

IMG_1894The two surviving KK troops, the drummer boy and a disarmed infantry man are rounded up and herded into the stores building out of the way.

The black cross of the NigraKruzo flag on the flagpole is symbolically toppled by the jubilant Grizan troops. 

The surviving thin grey line of Grizan troops inside the hut and along the walls settle down to hold the border crossing until their reinforcements arrive from the North.  

TO BE CONTINUED ….

This game was inspired by the recent flats games by Alan ‘Duchy of Tradgardland’ Gruber.

Troops are 30mm ‘Nuremberg scale’ flats from a random painted and bashed selection of troops that I bought online in the last ten years. They were freshly based on MDF penny bases. 

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Notes on Terrain 

Building:  Modern Chinese ‘Little Farm’ set copy of old Herald / Britain’s 54mm animal house and trough. The stores hut is an OO/HO railway building.  

Barricade – tile spacers and matchstick barrier or old Airfix / Dapol OO/HO windmill sail spar.  Flagpost cocktail stick and MDF tuppeny piece Warbases

Grass and roads / river – roll out coated A4 flocked paper – model railway shop, strips of felt (fabric shop) 

Bridge – 1960s plastic by “F G  T & Sons London England” – F.G. Taylor & Sons, Ltd. England Farm Series No. 539 Rustic Bridge, 

Wooden ‘stone’ walls from German toy village. Plastic rock and various stone chippings.   

Trees – old Britain’s / plastic dead tree and mini Christmas card wooden clip fir trees on Warbases MDF tuppeny bases.  

Back of Postcard Rules for this game 

Loosely based on Donald Featherstone 

Needs 6″ ruler and handful of d6 dice, some coloured.

Movement rates on Foot – 3 inches, 6 inches on road 

River impassable except by bridge – tree areas impassable. 

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(Effective) Firing range – 6 inches, of which: 

Long Range LR – 5 to 6 inches – requires 6 to hit (d6 dice)

Medium Range MR – 3 to 4 inches – requires 5,6 to hit (d6 dice) 

Close Range CR – 1 to 2 inches – requires 4,5,6 to hit (d6 dice)

Savings Throws as you wish – roll one d6 for each casualty. 6 saves life, 5 or 6 if behind wall / barrier. 

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IGO YUGO rules – Role 2 dice at start of each turn, one for each side. Highest score wins, those troops move first.  

  1. Winner moves  first [Melee?]
  2. Other side moves second [Melee?]
  • Remove casualties as you go 
  1. Winner fires first
  2. Other side fires second.

Turn ends. No morale checks etc. 

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Melee system as you see fit 

Melee happens when two troops touch base, cross rifles bayonets, swords etc. 

Version A – 1d6 each for each  man and his opponent, highest wins.

Version B –  3 life points each, Parry and Lunge rules 

Version C – Kaptain Kobold reduction of B (Parry and Lunge) to single d6 dice rules  

3 life points each man, decide who is attacker, who defender 

1,2 – Hit on attacker, attacker loses one point 

3 – Both Hit (lose one point each) 

4 – Both Miss 

5,6 – Hit on Defender (defender loses one point)

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Artillery Range – two crew minimum – nominate target / area

Close Range CR:  1″ up to 6″ – hit on 5,6 – roll 1 d6 for casualty numbers 

Medium Range MR: 6″ up to 12″ – hit on 6 – roll 1 d6 for casualty numbers 

Long Range LR: 6″ – 12″ up to 18″ – hit on 6 – roll 1 d6 for casualty numbers

  • Adjust number of casualty dice as you wish for different ranges

Write d6 rule for any decision you need e.g. if low numbers / isolated, roll d6:

  • 1,2 – retreat / head for safety or cover
  • 3,4 – surrender (or 3 – freeze, 4 – surrender)
  • 5,6 – attack, advance 
  • N.B. Surrendering troops are disarmed and escorted to rear by one guard to two prisoners

Write d6 or movement rules as needed e.g. 2 men to remove barricade one move. Crossing wall, half a move. 

Write fire rules as needed e.g. for signal gun – Fire: Yes 1,3,5 or Misfire 2,4,6 

 

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 4/5 April 2021 

 

 

 

Steadfast Soldiers of Tin #1

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A lost post draft from June 2016, in my first month of Man of TIN blog: I have several copies of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Steadfast Tin Soldier“, which was originally published close (1838) to the Brontes imagi-nations writing of the Angria and Gondal stories, also inspired by a box of toy soldiers.

The illustrations and story sections in some illustrated Andersen editions are darker and more troubling than others. A quick Google or Pinterest search on images throws up dozens of different illustrations for the Steadfast Tin Soldier.

There is more about Andersen’s disturbing or inspiring tale of ‘steadfastness’, interpretations of its psychology and its many variations from Balanchine ballet to punk songs on the Wikipedia entry for the story:

On his birthday, a boy receives a set of 25 toy soldiers and arrays them on a table top. One soldier stands on a single leg, having been the last one cast from an old tin spoon.

Nearby, the soldier spies a paper ballerina with a spangle on her sash. She too is standing on one leg and the soldier falls in love. That night, a goblin among the toys in the form of a Jack in the box angrily warns the soldier to take his eyes off the ballerina, but the soldier ignores him.

The next day, the soldier falls from a windowsill (presumably the work of the goblin) and lands in the street. Two boys find the soldier, place him in a paper boat, and set him sailing in the gutter … (Wikipedia summary)

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Rene Cloke’s illustrations for the Steadfast Tin Soldier.

25 Soldiers of lead (or tin), so nearly our blog title!

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Rene Cloke illustration.

Surely there is the opportunity for further adventures or alternative endings rather than what usually happens. Is this the making of a board game, a figure game, a new story?

The usual ending goes:

… the boat and its passenger wash into a storm drain, where a rat demands the soldier pay a toll. Sailing on, the boat is washed into a canal, where the tin soldier is swallowed by a fish.

When the fish is caught and cut open, the tin soldier finds himself once again on the table top before the ballerina. Inexplicably, the boy throws the tin soldier into the fire.

A wind blows the ballerina into the fire with him; she is consumed at once but her spangle remains. The tin soldier melts into the shape of a heart. (Wikipedia plot summary)

Prince August do a superb little home metal casting starter set based around the Steadfast Tin Soldier: http://shop.princeaugust.ie/pa111-the-brave-tin-soldier-mould/

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A very Danish Life guard design for the Steadfast Toy Soldier (Image source: Prince August home casting website.)

Metal and wooden toy soldier inspiration from the Steadfast Tin Soldier:

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Dorset Soldiers’ Toy Town soldier casting (photo / painted by Man of TIN)

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Wooden Toy Soldier Guardsmen and policemen from London Wooden toy building  sets (Collection: Man of TIN)

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Pound store pirate copy of German infantryman painted up in Toy Soldier gloss paints. (Painted / photo: Man of TIN)

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Charming toy soldier drummer boy brooch alongside wooden London guardsmen toy soldiers. (Collection: Man of TIN)

These steadfast toy soldier figure styles can be achieved by imaginative gloss paint schemes, such as these Pippin Fort Trumpton inspired figures using spare 54mm Airfix Japanese infantry.

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Steadfast Tin Soldiers or plastic Airfix Japanese Infantry? (Painted / photo: Man of TIN)

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Salute the Steadfast Tin Soldier! This one of my Prince August 54mm home cast guardsman was created as a rather heavy brooch gift with suitable backing clip. This is also My Man of TIN / 26 Soldiers of Tin profile picture / Gravatar. (Painted/ photo: Man of TIN)

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

Hans Christian Andersen’s Birthday

Happy Birthday Hans Christian Andersen, born 2nd April 1805 – author of The Steadfast Tin Soldier.

Andersen also wrote about the Danish independence battles of 1864. In 1864-66, Denmark lost Schleswig-Holstein to the Prussians under the reign of King Christian IX.

Andersen  is mentioned in Tom Buk-Swienty ‘s 1864: The Forgotten War that Shaped Modern Europe, the book which inspired the Danish TV series 1864 on the 150th anniversary back in 2014. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Christian_Andersen

A beautiful but pricy 54mm gloss version from Tradition of London 

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There is more background about this curious  story here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Steadfast_Tin_Soldier

I have one Steadfast Tin Soldier in my collection – about 30-40mm high – from the Prince August casting mould https://shop.princeaugust.ie/pa111-the-brave-tin-soldier-mould/

There are many interesting illustrated copies of this story – Pinterest is a great source of such varied illustrations. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/04/amphibious-landings-toy-soldier-style/

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Rene Cloke illustration

And to wish Hans Christian Andersen a Happy Birthday, here is that earworm of a tune from the 1955 Danny Kaye film: https://youtu.be/KJzwC_8f6nA

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 2 April 2021

Parazuellian Piper figure tartan front and back views

 

Here is the rear view of the piper showing the piper’s tartan cloak in the red (white) and green national or revolutionary colours:

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Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN blog, 29 March 2021