Work in progress … Minutemen from the 1960s 1970s Lucky Products USA
My thoughts recently have been about redcoats and simple Featherstone rules like Close Wars, about painting what I own that I have bought in the past and put away for future occasions (though who would have envisaged our Lockdown situations?)
My scratch / scrap Napoleonics and Tricorne figures in 15mm had no Forest Indian opponents and I had no great wish to buy even more 15mm figures during the Lockdown. Instead I looked through my hoard for some odd-looking plastic flat Indian and Redcoat figures that I had bought for Close Wars and put away unpainted for a rainy day.
US comic book artist Russ Heath’s illustration c. 1961 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russ_Heath
On the painting table this week but not finished are a box of Revolutionary War Lucky Products Comic Book Soldiers from the USA in the 1960s/70s. I was intrigued by these crude 30mm plastic flat figures in their rare appearance on U.K. eBay, so bought them quite cheaply. I have not seen any ‘this side of the Pond’ recently.
Eventually I tracked down what they were, thanks to Doug Shand’s website.
Doug sets out pictures and comments on each of the flat figures, as well as the later smaller rounded figures, along with some superb old adverts which tell you how many figures there should be and what the poses are meant to be.
This Boy and Girl are very happy with their $1.98 toys! 99 cents each?
Many children were apparently disappointed with what 2D flat figures they eventually received. https://web.archive.org/web/20061225135945/http://home.att.net/~1.elliott/comicbooktoysoldiersintro.html
This website interview with comic book artist the late Russ Heath claimed “Surprisingly, Russ never actually saw any of the Toy Soldiers themselves! However, he knew they were Flats and he certainly heard about them. He says “No, I never saw them [the Toy Soldiers.] You know it’s funny, I got letters too that they forwarded to me from the company and everybody was bitching, they said ‘they’re not three dimensional, they’re only in relief [2D Flats] and it was really a rotten thing to do to the kids’. (laughs) Perhaps in his own humorous defense, Russ says “I tried to make, especially with the Revolutionary Soldiers Ad, I tried to make them look somewhat stiff and like the soldiers [Flats] would look.”
What I liked about these plastic flat figures was their curious cartoon or 18th Century print appearance, rather like these Revolutionary War ones in 1775. To both Doug and myself, the look as if these were satirical prints designed by Rowlandson or Gillray. The figures also really do look curiously like these American prints by Amos Doolittle.
So this Pinterest haul and web search, along with several Ladybird classics such as Soldiers and The Last of The Mohicans, gave me an idea a little of how I want these figures to look.
These redcoats are not specific but generic redcoats like my 15mm Coastguard Excisemen of previous posts. The rigorous uniform research I have done these include Ladybird book of Soldiers here:
I did look in Preben Kannik’s Military Unicorns of The World (sorry, Uniforms) and other Blandford books but wanted to keep these Redcoat / Tricorne era figures loose and generic.
I don’t expect to find any Lucky ‘Flat’ Revolutionary War figures easily and cheaply anytime soon in the UK. So I will make use of what I have and in time paint a small detachment of these figures as white coated French Infantry, along with some gun crews and the few Hesseans or redcoat Grenadiers. The cavalry are a little bit on the small side.
There are too many of some poses. Spare officers could make some gun crew. There are probably enough spare drummers and fifers to make up a small military band for some fun.
This gives me a range of small skirmish units for Close Wars in the forest.
I also liked these generic Redcoat / tricorne soldiers endpapers by Peter Spier in his Crash Bang Boom! Picture book (c.1973)
Not sure how much detail of lace or buttons etc I will manage with these 30mm flat figures or how to get that 18th Century Print look. They certainly won’t be the exquisitely painted flats I see online as these plastic flats will be roughing and tumbling on the games table and hopefully out in the garden. They arrived playworn, with engrained mud on some bases so I am glad they have already had a previous play life.
Close Wars usually requires a cluttered forest terrain. Throw in some stylised or stylish trees like the interesting card ones from Bold Frontiers of Australia or the ones on the painting table which are simple paint your own Made of Wood ones, a present bought for me from a local craft shop at Christmas.
Undercoated wooden craft shop forest trees WIP
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 9 / 10 May 2020