More lovely Plastic pound store inspiration or more seaside plastic tat?
A useful collection of Combat Mission 80 Soldiers plastic Airfix copies per bag, some now so long copied, cloned, shrunken and ‘degraded’ that they have acquired a slender toy soldier charm of their own.
Crossposted from my sister blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors – Little Wars on a Budget.
This weekend would have been my late Mum’s birthday (she died last Autumn in her early 80s). Some of these tiny painted plaster houses (no doubt birthday presents) and her other collections have now been sold to make a donation to a medical charity on her / our family’s behalf but family members were all able to choose a keepsake or two.
I chose these two Lilliput Lane buildings for my gaming table.
They were two of my favourites amongst her remaining collection. They are
St. Kevin’s, a typical early Irish stone church in Wicklow
Tumbledown “Cobbler’s Cottage” (in Northants) with damaged roof.
Most Lilliput Lane houses are based on very well kept and very well groomed buildings. Both these choices looked the most wonky or battered and timeless, so most versatile as centrepieces of any gaming scenario.
The white window frames might need a little dulling down but they are well matched for size by my Peter Laing 15mm figures.
It was the detail of gravestones and flowers or the old wheel inside a shed that I found especially fascinating. I often used to wonder who lived in these houses. I half expected the door to open and a Peter Laing 15mm sized figure to come marching out or come whistling round the corner. I partly blame the 1992 BBC TV version of Mary Norton’s The Borrowers for that.
Although I admired them on their cabinet shelf, I wasn’t allowed by Mum to use them in my gaming with my 15mm Peter Laing figures. Being made of painted plaster, they are quite easily damaged and quite fragile unlike most resin games buildings. These two buildings both need a little bit of paint repair.
They are a nice way to remember my Mum, every time these are out on the gaming table or on my desk.
Lilliput Lane ceased manufacture in November 2016 with few buildings left in their online shops. Another small British company sadly bites the dust.
“The factory has been trading at a loss for some time now and we have reached the point where this is no longer sustainable. It has been a long journey since Lilliput Lane started in 1982, we have enjoyed the support of many thousands of our loyal collectors at hundreds of events all over the United Kingdom and overseas, many friendships have been made and good times had by all. It is now at a time of changing consumer tastes that the demand for our products has declined to the point where it is impossible to go on.” (Website statement)
Other stockists may have stock, along with collectors’ fairs and the usual online auction sources.
The website catalogue / website shows how these fine plaster buildings were carved or moulded in wax, handcast in silicon mounds and then hand painted.
Short work with a craft knife removed the oversized blue hat, bird house, pine cone roof decorations, hanging string thread and twisty branch things. Much of it was originally hot glue gunned in the factory, so not too difficult to remove. I wanted to keep the rough and ready nature of the building and its materials
Some of this removed scrap was reused such as the staples, reused to hook on the removable Station and Stores signs, which were made from thin balsa wood. These hooked over the existing “Our Summer Home” Sign. In this way different language signs could be used for different scenarios. The new looking Balsa signs were aged by staining with a tea bag, confident that the lettering would not run as I used artists fine liner waterproof ink pens.
The separate “miniature bird house” on the pole is now an ornament in my kitchen.
The altered bird house entrance / round window can be seen here.
A simple square window was added to the rounded bird hole and the small round perch removed. This was glued at front as a log next to the giant axe. Small wooden patches of damage from removing items were repaired either by brown felt tip or coloured / stained coffee stirrer ‘patches’ superglued in place. Good and rustic.
Balsa, coffee stirrers, felt tip pens, and a bought bird house – all this saved me time, paint and mess especially having no workshop and few woodwork skills. Like Bob Cordery’s greyed dayglo castle, I may add some flock but the base feels like a wooden veranda or porch.
A happy bit of “Kit Bashing” on the kitchen table, which certainly saved me some woodwork. It should provide an interesting focus to a suitable backwoods scenario game.
If anyone asks what I do outside work, I can say I am now a proud home owner or property developer, renovating an interesting period property with no previous owners.
Or should I have painted up my carefully hoarded boxed 1978 Airfix Bluetits kit from their Nature Series and let them move in?