Mystery 15mm-ish Figures?

A charming little horse, Chinese Pirates ? and for comparison a 15mm Peter Laing figure.

****** Mystery figures identified – or not? See below ******

I bought a cheap and strange little job lot on eBay for £5 of these indeterminate sized figures alongside some curious miniature guardsmen, probably from a Dolls House supplier.

I couldn’t judge size too well but I was curious to see if either would be an interesting match for my Peter Laing 15mm figures.

eBay image

They are most curious and a little stiff and crude. I’m not sure what they are designed to be. They have limited bright colours, a little pigtail at the back and mostly swords.

Are they pirates?

Are they Chinese or Boxer Rebellion type warriors?

Are they home casts?

In terms of size or scale, you can see an unpainted 15mm Peter Laing WW2 German infantryman for comparison.

Whatever they are – they should prove useful sailors or pirates or native troops in ImagiNations games, fiercely waving their swords and a few their strange spears.


If asked “If anyone recognises them as rough copies of commercial figures or as home casts, I would be interested to know?”

One of my ‘anonymous’ readers suggested an identity as Cellmate Miniatures Boxer Rebellion 15-20mm figures – Thanks!

“Your unknown Boxer miniatures were produced by Cellmate Miniatures.” produced by Tod P. Zechiel (see Blog Post Script below).

However Tod P. Zechiel himself contacted me today by email from the USAto say that they are not his figures – so the mystery continues.

Tod is now retired and so has time to be back in small production of Cellmate Miniatures Boxer Rebellion figures, selling painted and unpainted castings on eBay. His Tuan Boxer Rebellion rules are also still available as a free download.

So the “Mystery of the Chinese Pirates” – Where are the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew when you need them?

Whoever they are made by, I like them and I will probably finish their Warbases MDF 1p bases in a similar Earth Brown colour.

September 2021 – a new seaside purchase of a pirate ship arrives for them!

B.P.S – Blog Post Script

You can find out more about Tod P Zechiel’s Cellmate Miniatures on TMP here:

“”While trying not to sound apologetic,” Tod P Zechiel explains, “allow me to inform you of the nature of the miniatures. I am an amateur sculpturer, and the figures are gravity cast as opposed to centrifically cast. The figures are therefore of moderate quality. They tend to be thick and simple, with less detail than other manufacturer’s figures. They tend to have a more pronounced parting line or seam, and larger sprues. You need, as a minimum, a sharp exacto knife to remove the excess metal. A tapered, flat, needle file is even better. To reduce cost, the figures contain lead.” (TMP Info source above)

I can see where the suggested identification of these figures came from .

They were also accompanied by a spirited little metal horse or pony, along with the tiny red guardsmen which I will feature in another post.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 28 August 2021 / Updated 17 September 2021


9 thoughts on “Mystery 15mm-ish Figures?”

  1. As Toyah would say – it is a mystery to me now! I have never seen such figures before. They do look useful. Perhaps an interesting eastern addition to your games, swarming over the side of a Junk or two? The guardsmen are charming in their stiff toy soldier vibe. Peter Laing compatibly ? I would say so. I recall the Swiss Family Robinson film of my youth and wonder if these fellows might be repulsed by coconut filled with gunpowder…


    1. The guardsmen are slightly smaller than Laing 15mm figures 10mm? They vary in height a little. I shall post pictures of them shortly.

      Yes, Swiss Family Robinson-esque pirate scenarios may happen … and they also have that dual look of Chinese warriors and warlords.
      Dodging Boys Own Paper stereotypes, I’m quite keen to reverse the (gaming) tables in a post-colonial way and see off the invading colonial forces and empires for once …

      The two or three bright (primary) colours was a clever old Britain’s trick for their painters too have some varied ‘uniform’ for their irregular troops from tribesmen, cowboys etc.


  2. If I had these figures, I would construct a couple of Chinese junks. Paint the junks and figures in gaudy colours, and use them as pirates. It would provide unusual and fun game scenarios. Being small scale, the model junks wouldn’t take up too much space either.


    1. Watched and you’ve nailed it – Britain’s irregular troops and natives colour painting scheme obviously inspired Britain’s 1981 moment of glory with our answer to Abba (or was that also Brotherhood of Man in the mid 70s).

      I remember it very well, especially the excellent distraction or winning surprise tactic of the removable skirts / kilt, not that far off a similar tactic at a crucial skirt lifting moment by the Foot and Mouth Regiment in Carry on Up The Khyber Pass!

      Can it really be 40 years ago? I remember it well as Jay Aston was a local lass / local celebrity when I was growing up, although Cheryl Baker was very much the ‘local girl next door’ in a Martine MacCutcheon kind of way, as opposed to the harder, more German / electro synth look of the ‘other blonde girl’ Jay Aston. What walks home we had from my mixed co-Ed school, discussing the unlikely success and comparative attractiveness of these four blonde lovable mop-tops. The following year it was discussing the unfolding Falklands campaign … what fun the eighties were …

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Classic stuff. Tragically I seem to vaguely remember the time it was played at Eurovision. Maybe there is a link between Eurovision and colourful troops – ABBA did do Waterloo after all!

        From Making Your Mind Up to Sinking the General Belgrano. The 80s certainly was a time of light and shade.


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