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

One of my remounts …

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





“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


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.”



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


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:



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.


12 thoughts on “Old Britain’s Never Die article from an old Mil Mod Manual”

  1. I have this article somewhere. I’m not sure what Das is but I interpreted it as like Pinoclean. I enjoyed this article but I thought the idea of making hollowcast heavier was strange. Why? I guess this man does not wargame or he would know what it is like to move a unit of 24 solid 54mm metal infantry on their movement board – awkward compared to moving a unit of plastic figures. Hollowcast are in between in weight and have a nice feel to them. Solid metal I just find too heavy, at least if we are talking about a whole unit.

    There was a time mid last century when hollowcast toy soldiers were the main material for modellers like Roy Dilley to work their magic. You see in old toy soldier books the results. Often some charm of the original style is preserved with rosy cheeks, for example, but combined with shading and, sometimes, black lining.

    The other approach is to paint them just like the originals, although most painters can’t bring themselves to deliberately paint unevenly, leaving flesh color on the underside of hats etc or to have eyes painted too high, low or far apart.


    1. James
      I thought of you and your Quintrells Toy Soldiers blog posts on conversions when posting this article.
      The emphasis of this author on heft or weight seems to be a Military Modelling thing, to some plastic kits don’t have quite the same value? I have come across gamers / Wargamers who have the same feelings towards plastics. Stick them on tuppeny pieces and they have enough heft.
      Like you I like the weight of Hollowcast, even with stable bases. My own Prince August 54mm solid homecasts seem a little too heavy. Cavalry even more so.
      As you say it is down to personal taste and intended use or end product. Who wants to Store or transport to shows the heaviest heftiest figures?

      The decision to paint or repaint is awkward and depends partly on surviving paint condition. If they are good original faces for example I clean with a slightly damp cotton bud and leave these. Some of the factory finishes were quite fast and sloppy, especially if you were on piece work or producing cheaper second grade paintwork.


      1. Of course the hollowcast were originally designed for children to play with! Using less metal kept the price affordable, as did a basic paint job.

        Was I right about Das?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. To clean castings, the author suggests using Daz which is a UK brand of washing powder or laundry deterrent. I have read on the previous post comments about people using pine disinfectant etc.

        Hollowcasts and their saving on metals must have made non flat toy soldiers far more affordable to average families. The damage points heads, hooves, guns and bases are pretty much the same as solid cast.
        The movable arm introduced a whole new weak point of damage but great flexibility of a basic casting for manufacturers with various arms.


  2. I could be wrong, but I think GBE of Conningsby retired a couple of years ago.I used to be a regular user of their figures, as well as Langley (who do a large range of spares), Dorset, and Soldier Pac (who have also gone).


    1. Thanks Ian
      Regarding GBE, I will check them out by email, as I was going to order from them. Their website is still live. I will amens the blogposts as I find out their status.

      Dorset are under new management. I ordered from them last month and received my goods within a couple of weeks.
      I had forgotten Langley Models did 54mm and will check them out. I know a Railway modelling friend who has used them too. http://www.langleymodels.co.uk/acatalog/Toy_Soldier_Heads__54mm_.html

      Mark Man of TIN


  3. 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.


  4. Thanks Brian for this information. Tony Kite sounded an interesting and enthusiastic man to have known. I shall put your comment up into the body of the blog post.
    Do you happen to know if GBE Great Britain and The Empire Toy Soldiers of Coningsby are still trading? Some think not and I cannot tell from the website. I was curious about their spares range although obviously Langley and Dorset do these.


  5. Great post, Mark. Thanks for the mention too. Certainly my choice of a collection – 19th/20th century cavalry and yeomanry. You’re right, shame there’s no colour but you can tell they’re great figures nonetheless. Terrific to see those female yeomanry figures too, daring and scandalous in their day. Of course, Flora Sands was a member of the F.A.N.Y. prior to her service with the Serbian army.



    Liked by 1 person

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