The Old Toy Soldier Remount Department

There are old soldiers and there are bold soldiers, but there are no old, bold soldiers, as the saying goes.

I always feel a bit sad seeing the lead graveyard of damaged toy soldiers that is sometimes EBay.

Repairing horses or cavalry is very tricky. Infantry are less tricky, if you are not too fussy, although many companies like Dorset Soldiers will do a fine job for you but at a cost. Recast heads and arms are available from several companies.

There is surprisingly little information on the Internet about repairing old broken lead soldiers.

I have been working my way through some of the casualties that have turned up in job lots of vintage toy soldiers to give them some gaming life again. I’m not one for a soldering iron or even Milliput / Green Stuff. This is not family friendly for us to use in our house as we have allergies to this Green Stuff in the family.

What else could I use to repair these damaged warriors?

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Three fantastic Johillco (left) and Britain’s rifle brigade (?) and Zouave figures charging or running at trail, all well worth repairing.

What puts toy soldiers literally back on their feet in our house is Fimo or Sculpy polymer clay.

Crude, but using the traditional matchstick or cocktail stick into the hollow of the damaged legs, it is possible to make a custom made ‘prosthetic’ Fimo base to support the balance or weight of the damaged figure.

30 minutes baking later and once cool, the figure can be glued back into position on its Fimo base. Two pence pieces make good weighty support bases.

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Not sure of maker (Taylor and Barrett?) but with a repaired gun and new feet/ base, this interesting figure is ready for action after a future repaint. 

Overly chunky Fimo supports can be disguised if flocked or Fimo / Sculpy remains slightly shaveable with a scalpel after baking.

Once these bases are painted and the feet painted in, they should look slightly less clumsy but at least they are sturdy and live to fight again! With a few new arms bought in and a bit of repainting where needed, they should look almost shiny and new, certainly enough for the odd tabletop or garden skirmish.

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Johillco line infantry left, Britain’s metal and plastic Herald kneeling, Airfix Japanese and postwar Crescent British Infantry –  a range of plastic and lead figures from different makers and historical periods rearmed very simply with shaved cocktail sticks. Back into action soon with a little repaint.

Cocktail sticks cut and shaved into shape make good simple repairs for broken rifles, once glued into place and painted.

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Two damaged Zulus, on left a Reka / Crescent Prewar Zulu, the other Johillco (missing shield and arm as well as foot!

Some of the natives in this batch needed extensive rearming, new shields and rebasing with new feet.

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Two repaired Natives joined by some of my recently repainted Second grade Britain’s Zulu figures.

These natives are part of a slowly growing force of natives, one I have  repainted from bashed and damaged Zulu figures in job lots, ready for skirmish gaming.

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This delightful Britains drummer boy needed a new hand and drumstick. The plastic figure is a plastic Guards band figure with a new Fimo helmet to trim  to match a strange joblot  bunch of marine bandsmen with hats carved out of busbies!

One or two figures still need to have Fimo hands added like this Grenade thrower or hands / gloves shaved down into size like this drummer boy.

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This Johillco grenade thrower may well become a standard bearer, possibly  repainted for Imagi-Nations but keeeping the simple face.

Sometimes the balance of figures is not quite right, as in the charging Tommy in the steel hat. One to rebase again!

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Well worth the effort of rebasing / repairing feet to bring these Johillco bugler and lovely Britain’s artilleryman back into action. More work is required on rebasing the charging Tommy with steel helmet.

Really pleased to have found a simple method of repairing of rebasing damaged figures. I will post some updated figures when these damaged figures are repainted or finished.

Posted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 18 November 2016.

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Author: 26soldiersoftin

Hello I'm Mark Mr MIN, Man of TIN. Based in S.W. Britain, I'm a lifelong collector of "tiny men" and old toy soldiers, whether tin, lead or childhood vintage 1960s and 1970s plastic figures. I randomly collect all scales and periods and "imagi-nations" as well as lead civilians, farm and zoo animals. I enjoy the paint possibilities of cheap poundstore plastic figures as much as the patina of vintage metal figures. Befuddled by the maths of complex boardgames and wargames, I prefer the small scale skirmish simplicity of very early Donald Featherstone rules. To relax, I usually play solo games, often using hex boards. Gaming takes second place to making or convert my own gaming figures from polymer clay (Fimo), home-cast metal figures of many scales or plastic paint conversions. I also collect and game with vintage Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, wishing like many others that I had bought more in the 1980s ...

6 thoughts on “The Old Toy Soldier Remount Department”

  1. If you want to strip paint off old lead (or plastic) figures but don’t want too use chemical paint stripper you can soak them overnight in a jar of Dettol pine disinfectant and next day the paint cleans off easily with a drop of detergent on an old toothbrush. You probably know this already but I thought I’d mention it for anyone who else who didn’t. It’s a lot less messy and smelly than paint stripper like Nitromors and does a better job on small items but it’s still powerful stuff and you need to be careful with it around young children and cats.

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  2. Thanks for this tip, Brian! I didn’t know this tip and I’m sure that this disinfectant is more accessible stuff in your average household than other products. As ever it’s a chemical so I’ll check the COSHH label etc.
    Thanks
    Mark Man of TIN blog

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  3. It is great to see you helping our lead companions to have fallen upon hard times. Everyone deserves another battle,another parade.
    Alan

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    1. Alan
      I do feel genuinely sad to see somebody’s once pride and joy so bashed, although happy that once they had a play life and even happier to bring them back to life again. Saved from the lead graveyard or the scrapyard.
      I’m sure their little hearts of TIN are thankful and racing to get into action!

      For some people it’s rescuing greyhounds, factory chickens, preserved steam engines etc, for me it’s bashed toy soldiers. Some slightly misplaced empathy here!

      I have to be wary of storage issues though – The Fimo and cocktail stick repair method is so simple, it’s tempting to buy too much scrapyard stuff. As they, like repaints, have little or no value, you can do whatever you want with them without affecting collectors value.

      Mark, Man of TIN blog

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  4. (2nd try at leaving a comment)

    Good work on the repairs! I also like broken figures as a source of bodies and/or parts for conversions.

    Have you tested alternative putties that harden without baking? Things like milliput which disolves in water prior to hardening, or acrylic wood putty etc? Not to mention Ye olde plasticine and banana oil! One of those might be less allergy unfriendly than green stuff.

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