Wade’s Toy Soldier Artillery from vintage Airfix OOHO French Artillery ImagiNations

Inspiration for ImagiNations units comes from very odd and whimsical sources such as this slightly Sergeant Pepper ceramic toy soldier by Wade, glimpsed recently on Etsy.

Great moustache!

My starting materials would be these vintage Airfix French Napoleonics:

Napoleonic French Artillery (centre) posted for future service by the Duchy of Tradgardland

These were a gift of some battered Airfix OOHO French Napoleonic Artillery and other figures from Alan Gruber (The Duchy of Tradgardland blog).

Having no intention of starting proper historical Napoleonic gaming, this gave me leave to experiment with colour and ImagiNations using these familiar vintage figures.

I searched and found some side and back views as well again from Etsy:

Although not exactly the same, the Wade figure having a longer tail coat and no gaiters, it gave me an idea of how to develop these spare random Artillery figures and a future use for any stray French shako troops that I might find whilst sorting.

The first attempt painting involved a multi racial unit but somehow the ones painted with darker skin tones worked better (Revell Aquacolor Acrylic Dark Earth colour).

An attempt at a flag colour. Blue sky, sandy beach?

One of my family said they thought the figures had a Caribbean look to the bright uniforms.

Equally they might suit the Bronte ImagiNations islands Gaaldine and Gondal set in the South or North Pacific.

Borrowed a couple of Esci French Napoleonic Artillery pieces that I painted in the 1980s

And on a less beach background, this is how the figures look.

I have painted a few Airfix Waterloo Napoleonic French Infantry (including some chewed up or melted ones) from the same gift to join with firelock troops from the Napoleonic Artillery set.

A colourful ImagiNations unit to play with.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN June 2021

13 thoughts on “Wade’s Toy Soldier Artillery from vintage Airfix OOHO French Artillery ImagiNations”

  1. Mark, these have turned out really well indeed. I do like Wade inspired colour scheme and agree with the Caribbean vibe. I am very interested to see what their opponents will look like.


    1. Thanks Alan. I have a little work to do on repairing / salvaging a few of the horses, limbers and guns.
      AWI Grenadier figures next, possibly joining the Kings Guard Grenadier paint conversions from the original random painted bag that started this all?


  2. Mark. A very good use of old figures once again. I have to say I am much taken with the backdrop to the non beach poses. The mountains and fields look great. Please share where this came from, its exactly what I need !!!
    Regards Tony


    1. Hello Tony.
      The backdrops are lovely old watercolour ones (been around for years but still available) from Peco – railway backdrops available in a range of sizes to match the size and scale of your railway. They even do blue sky, hills etc.
      Some sadly do have cars, or shops which are 50s 60s or more modern etc. 😦
      Some good urban red brick industrial factory backdrops.

      This is where the mountains backdrop came from.
      Or look under catalogue number SK …

      I would happily buy a coffee table book of these and sit there and think about what’s going on, who is speaking to whom about what.
      Peco are branching out into photographic backscenes too.

      I want to invest in a few more such as the seaside one, but am also keeping an eye out for more diverse backgrounds – Desert / west, snow, forest, jungle (generic and not too modern). One source of these?
      John Gittins at JG Miniatures does photographic ones
      https://www.jgminiatures.com/collections/posters-and-backdrops. and 3D resin streets sections for 54mm etc

      Andrew at Replica Miniatures does some display backdrops too intended for 54mm toy soldiers https://www.replicametalsoldiers.co.uk/backdrops


  3. The many colours of Airfix figures. I am constantly amazed how different paint jobs change them. These look excellent. The sky blue shakos particularly and it is they that really top them off (haha!).
    Regards, James


    1. At one point the infantry accompanying the French Artillery sets threatened to become Steadfast Tin Soldier Hans Christian Andersen Danish troops with red tunics, black shakos, blue trousers and white cross belts etc. This might still happen to future ones.


  4. Hi Mark, I’ve no plans of entering (returning) to 20mm, but I love seeing classic Airfix HO.OO painted figures, particularly the Napoleonic and AWI ranges. Yes its nostalgia, I don’t have that enthusiasm for other makes, it has to be classic Airfix. More photos please.


    1. More Airfix nostalgia fest photos will follow to give pleasure to many as I catalogue my childhood collection, make the most of the stock in hand and identify any need for further hoarding (whilst Airfix are back in production, erratic as their supply is).
      You could of course join in at 1:32 scale, although the historic stuff is scarce. Six WW2 reissues of 1:32 troops this summer, in a new form of resin.

      Through joining Airfix Club I have tracked down a scarce copy of Peter Williams’ Airfix HOOO Scale Figures book, which is like a more gorgeous coffee table nostalgia Airfix packaging reference version of this blog.


  5. Love it!

    I have started Glass Town Wars, and the battle near the beginning of the book is inspiring – complete with uniform details, characters and a scenario. Glasstown tries to seize Gondal… I might try it with my ’45 Wofuns, though the description is of course Napoleonic.

    BTW, my blog address is librariangamer.blogspot.com. It’s incorrect on your sidebar. Thanks for adding it, who knows, I might get a bit of traffic.


    1. Glass Town by Isabel Greenberg is very good, I like the Bronte girls in their Genii imaginary selves in Napoleonic military attire. I put them forward to the (Facebook group) of Annie Norman of Bad Squiddo games as military women for her new Miniatures project! Failed but as I don’t Game in 28mm anyway …

      I shall do my best to change my sidebar – thanks for pointing this out. I hope you get lots of traffic!


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