UK Mens Sheds Association

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https:/menssheds.org.uk

Sounds like a great idea to have for those that need it … why? Because every man needs access to a shed  and the company it brings.

https://menssheds.org.uk/about/what-is-a-mens-shed/

“Our mission is to enable access to a Men’s Shed for every man that would benefit from one and we won’t stop until we’ve achieved it.”

“Talking about the social and health benefits of Men’s Sheds in reducing isolation and empowering local communities. We do this through various communication channels, including public events, online and in the media.”

A great idea!

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 27 June 2018

 

 

 

 

 

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Rearming the Native American Indians WIP 1

Work In Progress WIP 1: I have been busy this weekend basing and rearming some of last week’s new arrivals in the form of “Bashed and Broken” Britain’s North American Indians.

You can see the original bashed figures here:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/20/american-indians-first-nations-or-imagi-nations/

A Prince August 54mm homecast toy soldier hand does the job well enough for one of this fine pair of Johillco Braves missing their tomahawks.

After drilling through body and hands, rifles or muskets were built up from wire and masking tape.

Broken Britain’s Indians as they arrived last week …
Broken Britain’s Indians with rifles or muskets repaired.

Making Fimo polymer clay tuppenny bases for two footless Braves …

I chose bronze or copper for flesh tones after studying closely the variety and range of these recently acquired bashed Indian figures and others in toy soldier reference books.

Toy soldier Indians often had a limited but lurid colour palette which I hope to keep close to.

More paintwork to do in toy soldier style of Gloss paint. Very much work in progress.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN 25 June 2018

American Indians First Nations or Imagi-Nations?

Another lucky bid online for a few pounds brought this haul of battered and colourful American Indians.

17N Britain’s brave with rifle or the similar posed John Hill Co. (JohillCo) post War Indian on Guard.

I wanted to pick up a cheap and colourful opponent for my Redcoats or Bluecoat Troops, a wily native ally to match my Zulus.

A few broken spears and rifles are no problem to fix.

These rifle, bow and spear toting native warriors should prove great for garden and tabletop games once repaired and mounted on tuppenny bases. They are almost perfect for Donald Featherstone’s simple Close Wars skirmish rules (in his appendix to his War Games 1962).

More correctly these figure should be known today as Native Americans, First Nations or First Peoples but the ones you can see here are pure Imagi-Nations,  wily natives straight out of Hollywood B Movies and Wild West TV shows.

A mixture of makers –  Johillco, Britains and Crescent 50 and 54mm. Bottom row 2 is a slim thin Crescent 1950s die cast, covered in cracks. 
FiguresA wide variety of  figures from a range of makers:  top left first 2 Britain’s figures , top row 3,4 and 6 are otherwise Crescent 1950s. Bottom right damaged Timpo archers, 1950s. 

Nicely animated crawling Braves sneaking up on an unwary opponent!

I get the feeling that some manufacturers might have quite enjoyed sculpting the animated poses and bright colours after producing regiment after regiment of increasingly khaki figures.

I’m sure after World War 1 these Indians  also fitted a need to get away from the reality and aftermath of modern war off and away to the lawless and heroic but imaginary frontiers of the ‘Wild Wild West’, so popular in its many formats in fiction, cinema and Buffalo Bill shows.

1950s Timpo Indian Drummer (left) and Crescent chief seated right (prewar?) 
Johillco Indian with Tomahawk (postwar)
Right – Johillco crawling Indian.
Not a Red Indian more of a bronzed one with this unusual red bronze metallic painted skin tone – Crescent 1950s figure with broken rifle. I have also seen this paint finish used on Crescent postwar American GI mortar crew troops stripped to the waist that may have suggested African Americans?
An animated Indian Chief figure on the hunt from William Britain 16N Crown Range of figures
Elaborate head dress on a Britain’s chief or Medicine Man with Tomahawk on movable arm (Pre and post war).
Fine Crescent 1950s Indian chief dancing with shield minus tomahawk and (right) medicine man with snake curled up leg!

A curious hole which may have held a pin to attach a shield? Not sure of maker yet. 

Two of the T and B (Taylor and Barrett) figures were a bit smaller scale, around 40mm. They blend quite well with the 40mm Holger Erickson Prince August Homecast moulds.

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Taylor and Barrett Indians can be seen alongside my home cast and based 40mm Prince August figures.

ID of figures based on figure markings and Norman Joplin’s wonderful The Great Book of Hollowcast Figures.

Blogposted by Mark  Man of TIN, 21 June 2018.

 

 

Zulus or Ashantees Rearmed

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A jigsaw of a dozen Britain’s  classic Zulus
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Britain’s second grade Zulus on the repair table …

Britain’s second grade Zulus have been on the fixing table today, having the fragile and missing knobkerry stub replaced with a spear. Each  spear unusually started life as the the metal handle of an indoor firework sparkler!

Ten of these fine Zulu Warriors are awaiting a repaint. Some of the figures have the original rich brown skin colour, but others appear from what paint remains to have simply been painted black.

The reason for the difference may be their painting grade. The lower the paint grade, the less colours used. James Opie records this chunky Zulu figure in Britain’s Toy Soldiers 1893-1932  as “variously catalogued as  4R or 28C or with inferior third grade paint as 21P when sold singly between the wars.” James Opie in British Toy Soldiers 1893 to Present notes this chunky second grade set 22A figure as having been introduced  in 1913.

Simple paint schemes for Britain meant restricting the non uniform or irregular troops such as natives or American Indians to three different colours,  usually red, yellow or blue colours (Zulus) or red, green and blue (Arabs, Togoland warriors) for robes or loin cloths.

These classic slender Zulus have in their bashed surviving paintwork on loincloths some delightful colourful  stripy and spotty loincloths, maybe designed to be exotic animal furs. Too good to overpaint!

The original Zulus figures can be seen on a post from February 2017

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/ashantees-or-zulus-reborn/

The jigsaw set of 12 Broken Britain’s 1906 – 1966 classic Zulus is now almost repaired and rearmed  with Dorset Soldiers recast arms – watch this space.

These will go on to become “Generican or Farican natives” as opposition for the colonial invading Redcoats etc, and as such fit as Ashantee warriors into my Bronte juvenilia Imagi-Nations based games.

Repairing  these fine but bashed Britain’s  is my contribution to the Britain’s 125th     Anniversary 1893 –  2018. Happy Anniversary to William Britain and his dynasty!

B.P.S Blog Post Script

As it’s Fathers Day on Sunday, this post is also dedicated to my late father whose lost wartime Britain’s lead figures and general love of Toy Soldiers, even the Airfix and plastic figures of my childhood, are probably the root of my interest in them. He would be pleased that I am still tinkering, drilling and painting such figures many years on.  Thanks Dad!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/fathers-day-raf-firefighter/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/18/national-service-days-1/

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on 16 / 17 June 2018

Lost Highlanders Rearmed

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I have been steadily working through some of the remaining damaged figures found and sold to me  by a metal detectorist, including three legless and headless Highlanders.

Previous restorations and the original state of the figures can be seen at: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/recalled-to-the-colours-54mm-metal-detectorists-toy-soldier-finds-restored-to-fighting-condition

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Some of the last figures to repair – three kilted Highlanders and an odd Redcoated torso.

The surviving paintwork suggested that two of the Highlanders were Khaki colonials, the other two were a Redcoat Highlander lying firing made by Johillco and a headless Redcoat torso.

Matchstick legs were inserted into the body through the leg holes and then shaved to a more round shape with a scalpel. Masking tape was then wound round to thicken the leg up to a suitable width.

Suitable heads were mostly found in my homecast 54mm Prince August spares box.

Luckily with two of the figures, the Johillco lying firing Highlander and the Khaki Britain’s standing firing figure,  I had battered original figures with which  to compare the headless, legless torsos.

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Johillco Highlanders – at back the figure being restored, matchstick legs and wire rifle, prior to adding masking tape. At the front an original figure having the missing rifle replaced. Good for clues to paintwork.

The Highlanders had puggrees or wound strips of cloth around their pith helmets, so these were simply added with several fine thin strips of masking tape. The same technique was used to build up the sock strips on the legs.

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A puggaree, puggree, puggry or puggary (from a Hindi word ) is a strip of cloth wound around the upper portion of a hat or helmet, particularly a pith helmet, and falling down behind to act as a shade for the back of the neck.

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Fimo polymer clay feet were required to finish off the legs, modelled on a Britains Khaki firing British infantryman with feet pointing outwards.

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One of the Khaki Highlanders lying firing acquired a WW2 tin hat and arm with binoculars, both recast spares from Dorset Soldiers. An added pistol in a holster from Airfix Multipose spares should suggest an officer’s side arm. A spare right arm had to be built up with wire and masking tape.

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This quirky figure should fit well with many World War Two scenarios and match those kilted Matchbox British Eighth Army Khaki Highlander and Piper 54mm figures in kilts or shorts and Tam O’ Shanter berets. http://www.airfixtoysoldiers.com/Matchbox%20sets.htm

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The standing firing Highlander also needed a small hole drilled into the missing arm stump with 0.9mm hand drill, a wire arm or armature added (secured with superglue) and built up with masking tape. Glue and paint stiffened and secured the masking tape, stopping it from unravelling.

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The restored figure (right) is not an exact match of the original Britain’s figure in my collection (shown on the left)  but it gave a rough idea of what to aim at.

This figure was easier to do because of the lucky fact that I had a battered Britain’s  original Khaki Highlander standing firing figure in my collection to compare it with. This standing firing original figure also needed repair of a broken rifle, so I did that as well.

The looser repaired arms lack the neat slender precision of the original Britain’s limbs but provide character one-off  figures. The repaired figures here remind me a little of the looser limbed but spirited poses of Heyde of Germany and Lucotte or Mignot figures of France.

Milliput might be easier for sculpting but I cannot use this due to a family / household allergy, so  I used what I safely had to hand.  I could have ordered and waited for further Dorset Soldier recast Britain’s heads, but impatiently used what Dorset heads or Prince August heads I had in my spares box, even though Prince August 54mm figure heads are a little bigger and heftier than Britain’s original or recast ones. It adds to the toy soldierness of the figures anyhow.

The final non Highland figure was the redcoated torso.

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Prince August head, armature arm and rifle, matchstick legs …

This was the trickiest figure, the Redcoated  torso,  as  I was not sure who the maker was or what the original figure looked like. It had the chunky, slightly oversized look of an early Britain’s Fusilier but having no other fusiliers in my armies,  I chose instead found a suitable Prince August line infantry spiked helmet. This would more closely match my other  line infantry figures. The legs and base were easy enough to make out of matchsticks, masking tape and the usual Fimo feet and base to fit a tuppeny base for stability.

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The near-finished slightly clunky figure. 

The right arm was half missing, so I drilled a small hole to insert a bent wire armature that would be both an arm and shouldered rifle all in one piece. Not the usual rifle position for marching or sloping  arms, but it kind of works.

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A few more useful finishing touches – NCO stripes, maybe some medals – should complete this tiny lead Frankenstein figure.

A satisfying few evenings’ work, mixed in with other figure repair work in progress on more Broken Britain’s, some more Zulus etc to feature in future blog posts.

Hopefully these once lost and battered figures are as bright and proud, as fighting fit as the day they were cast, painted and bought home from a toy shop in a red box. As shiny again as they once were before their curious fate to be bashed, buried and eventually found again over many years by a metal detectorist called Frank in the Southeast of England.

I have based them on tuppeny pieces and made them stout repairs to arms, legs and rifles, stocky rather than thin and elegant,  as these figures will eventually will fight once more in gardens and on tabletops. Huzzah!

You might also be interested in my previous blog posts over the last few weeks about other toy soldier repairs.

Just two more tricky figures left from the figure part of the original haul, the headless driver figure who will become a pilot and a half a body figure in longcoat and gauntlets – possibly originally a pilot?

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 11  January 2018.

 

Old Britain’s Never Die article from an old Mil Mod Manual

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One of my remounts …

“The first task was to clean my pile of headless, armless, dented, holed horrors”

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“The first task was to clean my pile of headless, armless, dented, holed horrors …”

So B.S. Armstrong begins one section of his usefully detailed “How To” article on repairing old lead toy soldier cavalry figures.

My recent blogposts on the Man of TIN blog have involved the joyous restoration of some equally “headless, armless, dented, holed horrors” of Broken Britain’s figures.

This Yeomanry related toy soldier article is posted here for Marvin at the wonderful Suburban Militarism blog https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com  and the beautiful Yeomanry uniform plates shown as part of the 1897 project on the Eastern  Garrison Website https://easterngarrison.blogspot.com

What a shame the Mil Mod article isn’t in colour!

This 1970s or 1980s (?) Military Modelling Manual article was kindly sent to  me by fellow Peter Laing 15mm figure collector Ian Dury from his extensive collection of Military Modelling magazines and manuals. This was in response to my earliest crudest Fimo inspired attempts to repair some bsahed 54mm Britain’s and Johillco figures. Thanks Ian!

Having recently restored trashed metal detecting finds of toy soldiers, I appreciate how much work  is involved in turning such damaged figures as the headless horseman on a legless horse pictured into the beautiful Yeomanry repaints shown throughout the article.

Some of the 1970s/ 1980s materials that B.S. Armstrong mentioned are still around.

Plaka casein based paints (now Pelican Plaka)  and Testor metallics or Testors paint are still around and available online or from hobby / craft shops.

Plastic Padding “Chemical Metal from Sweden” is still produced by Henkel / Loctite and extensively available, likewise Epoxy Cements.

Interestingly Milliput or Green Stuff is not mentioned to do this job, suggesting this is quite an early article as it was widely used by modellers in the 1980s. I don’t currently use it for repairs as we have a family / household allergy to Milliput type products.

Nitromors  or Daz  as a paint remover?  Choose your own tried and tested, safe chemical method!

Rose Miniatures as a source of heads and arms?   Not sure about the heads but a list of recast Rose figures is available from John Eden Studios, who also produce the beautiful FANY First Aid Nursing Yeomanry figures on horseback here at http://johnedenstudios.com/page48.htm

 

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FANY sets still available (2018)  as castings from John Eden Studios. 

No internet traces of  Antony J. Kite of Castle Hill, Windsor replacement alloy heads for Britain’s plastics (Eyes Right?) Soldiers mentioned in the article.

However Brian Carrick commented: “Antony J. Kite of Castle Hill, Windsor, better known as Tony Kite was one of the great old gentlemen of the hobby, the Castle Hill address was a souvenir shop he ran. He produced several ranges of plastic figures under the Cavendish brand, Henry VIII and his 6 wives, Regiments of 1745 and Ceremonials. If memory serves right they were designed by Stadden. He passed away about 10 years ago and was an active supporter of the hobby to the very end.”

Cavendish

http://smallscaleworld.blogspot.com/2014/07/c-is-for-cavendish-listing.html

However Langley Models and Dorset Toy Soldiers both produce an extensive range of similar recast Britain’s Type heads, arms, horses tails, heads and legs.  I recently ordered (May 2018) and received some recast arms from Dorset. http://dorsetmodelsoldiers.com

http://www.langleymodels.co.uk/acatalog/Toy_Soldier_Heads__54mm_.html

I will check by email whether GBE Toy Soldiers in Coningsby still produce their spares range, as their undated website suggests.

Buyer beware: Always worth checking by email, post or phone that the manufacturer of any of these ranges still exists before parting with cash! A small plea to figure makers: I wish manufacturers would make this more apparent on their website that they or their ranges  are still currently in production.

I’m  not  too sure about the dreaded Lead Rot mentioned by B.S. Armstrong but I did seal trashed earthy metal destructor toy soldier finds once cleaned up with an outer coating of acrylic primer paint and the inner coating with paint or glue as much as possible could be oozed through holes such as missing legs or heads.

An interesting and inspiring article!

Inspired? Here are some of my previous recent blogposts on restoring Broken Britain’s:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/recalled-to-the-colours-54mm-metal-detectorists-toy-soldier-finds-restored-to-fighting-condition/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/broken-britains-cavalry-back-on-fimo-hooves/

Copyright remains with B.S. Armstrong for this Mil  Mod article, produced in the days before websites, blogs and emails, I have no way of contacting him to ask permission or express my thanks for his encouraging article. I will withdraw this post if Mr. Armstrong he wishes. Hopefully he will be pleased that this article continues to inspire another generation of lead Dr. Frankensteins and toy soldier Remount and resurrection men.

All comments via the usual channels and comments page.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 1st June 2018.