A 1960s Airfix Owl Pellet …

IMG_1144IMG_1145IMG_1146IMG_1158Chatting by email to Tony Adams of the Miniature Wood Screw Army blog, he mentioned passing on a few Airfix figures that he no longer needed. I little expected an A4 jiffybag to arrive a few days later full of unwanted 1960s version 1 Airfix figures.

I find it interesting to see the mix and the range of paint schemes when buying the odd job lot of figures or seeing the OBEs on Hugh Walter’s Small Scale World.

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An Airfix timeline 1960 to about 1966 along with RAF kit figures c. 1969

This lovely gift was heavy on version 1 Afrika Korps but had an interesting early 1960s mix from the Guards Colour Party 1959/60 through to the First World War.

In Plastic archaeology terms this was a short stretch of time from Guards Colour Party (1960) to WW1 figures (1966), as the Version 1 figures were replaced from 1972. The version 1 Airfix figures are those used in Donald Featherstone’s WW2 game in his first book War Games 1962.

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Left version 1 Germans and strange egg box fortifications in Terry Wise,  Introduction to Battle Gaming (1969/72) and right, Donald Featherstone War Games (1962).

The beautiful paperback Airfix’s Little Soldiers (2010) by Jean-Christophe Carbonel has a useful Year by Year chronology of Airfix HO/OO figures. A book well worth getting for the pictures of the figures and their packaging alone.

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Version 1 Airfix replaced by Version 2 Chronology

(based on Plastic Soldier Review and Small Scale World Airfix figure listings)

1960 Infantry Combat Group (British Infantry) replaced 1973

1961 WW2 German Infantry replaced 1974

1962 British 8th Army replaced 1974

1962 Afrika Korps replaced 1973

1962 French Foreign Legion replaced 1970-72?

1963 US Marines replaced 1979

The American Civil War figures were all produced in 1962 and the slender and versatile Russian and Japanese infantry in 1964 before the shift to slightly larger figures such as the WW1 figures which appeared in 1966. The Chunky British Paras appeared in 1965.

These larger or version 2 figures are the ones still available from Airfix over 40 to 50 years later on their sporadic reissue as Vintage Classics. https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/shop/figures.html

I wonder what was behind the change from the charming version 1 figures? Version 2 figures are often a scaled down (pantographed) small version of the equivelant 1:32 poses. Was it a change in technology or different sculptor?

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Jean-Christophe Carbonel,  Airfix’s Small Soldiers (2010)

Were the Version 1 figures deemed too crude or small by emerging metal figure and kit standards? Jean-Christophe Carbonel in Airfix’s Small Soldiers suggested that John Niblett sculpted lots of the Airfix HO/OO and 1:32 figures for  Airfix until 1974 when Ron Cameron  took over, Ron having also sculpted figures for Matchbox. Hopefully someone can tell me more.

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http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/ManufacturerList.aspx?id=3

By the time my pocket money was being spent on Airfix kits and figures in the early to mid 1970s, it was mostly the chunkier or more detailed Version 2 that was available. The same slender and smaller to chunkier and bigger figure shift can be seen in the Airfix platform and railway figures still available in hard plastic from Dapol. Was it a HO/OO scale issue trying to resolve the 1:72 / 1:76 thing?

Sadly figures of this age, condition and style are not accorded much value.  Some of these charming Version 1 smaller figures that were my quiet childhood favourites are beginning to crumble now. Usually it’s just lost rifle ends but occasionally heads, arms and bases. These can be carefully repaired or replaced. I wish someone would recreate or recast the Version 1 figures in metal as vintage gaming figures.

One of the attractive features of someone else’s playbox are the mysteriously painted or coloured figures from past battles with their now cryptic base markings and uniform colours. I like these OBE figures on Hugh Walter’s Small Scale World, for example the Afrika Korps http://airfixfigs.blogspot.com/2010/06/1962-wwii-afrika-korps-1st-type-s11-hooo.html

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Amongst the figures were some odd ones with slightly unusual hats that I take to be from their harder plastic and dark green colour to be Hong Kong copies.

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From the new arrivals HK Copies or Airfix originals? Some have almost miners hats or bowler hats.

There were some recognisable Airfix kit vehicle crews such as Bren crews (1964)  and cut down Afrika Korps version 1 figures,  amongst some unusual and very versatile hard plastic German seated troops. Manufacturer identified by Tony Adams (see comments)  as Airfix kit crew for the half track towing the 88mm gun (1967). At around 60 seated infantry and 15 drivers, that’s a lot of half track kits !  A seated platoon  may possibly be created.

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It was interesting to see the change in size from Airfix version 1 to the larger Airfix Version 2 style, whilst also  amongst Tony Adams’ figures were some larger pirate copies of other figures, seen here next to one of my Pound Store equivalent 32mm figures.

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Version 1 through larger Airfix 1:72 figures through Crescent copies to a modern Pound Store 32mm figure.

There were also some larger Hong Kong copies of Lilliput style Herald Britain’s 1958 1:72 or 54mm Herald 1953/54 Modern Infantry or Crescent 54mm Eighth Army figures.

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Flashy 25mm Hong Kong copies of Crescent 54mm Eighth Army c. 1960 plastics

I have a battered few of these Crescent 54mm Desert Rats, seen here in better condition set on Barney Brown’s Herald Miniatures website (archive pages).

http://www.heraldtoysandmodels.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=128&products_id=2732

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Archive sold section  screenshot from Barney Brown’s Herald Toys  shop

Those familiar and classic Britains Herald plastic ‘British’ Modern infantry in 54mm (1953/4) were also briefly issued in 1957/8 as 1:72 figures, similar to the Britain’s Lilliput Range. These tiny figures  weren’t issued for long, but long enough to be pirated in Hong Kong.

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Those four delightful words of childhood pocket money  joy – ‘Made in Hong Kong’

So the best of these figures will be repaired, painted up and penny based for Future Featherstone vintage nostalgia ‘War Games’  1962.

With a bewildering variety of scale and figure choice today, harking back to the restricted pocket money choices of the Sixties child or adult gamer of my youth has some Featherstone War Games (1962)  charms.

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These figures have some unusual paint schemes, probably making the most of the figures in hand, along with cryptographic colour markings on the base that only Tony Adams would understand. Look at his Miniature Woodscrew Army and you will see similar hat, base and body markings for different branches of the armed forces still.

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Thanks Tony, for sending these and the pleasant evening sorting through this Airfix Owl Pellet of the Sixties gamer into a Really Useful Box tray for future games inspiration.

Blog posted by Mark , Man of TIN, child of the 1970s nostalgic for version 1 Airfix, 2 August 2019.

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

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The first figures repaired and put on penny bases. Have run out of spare pennies for now …

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New Prince August Flats 60mm Queens Guards Moulds

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New at Prince August the curiously sized 60mm and flat Queen’s  Guards mould https://shop.princeaugust.ie/british-queens-guard-flat-60mm-scale-mould/

They look quite charming. I like these poses – marching, firing, advancing, bayonet drill –  but not sure yet if I will order any. Are they going to produce any more 60mm flat figures?

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Other old plastic Crescent 60mm semi flat figures or older large metal flats up to 60mm could be drafted in as opposition.

Like I need a new size of soldiers to collect. Resisting shiny. Resisting shiny.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 22 July 2019

The Legendary Wood Screw Miniature Army of Tony Adams

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Scratchbuilt limbers and bowsers to accompany Tony Adam’s  woodscrew army 

Crossposted from my sister blog – enjoy!

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/design-ideas-from-the-legendary-woodscrew-wargames-army/

 

Have Trek Cart, Will Travel …

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Bob a Job for the War Office? Phoenix 43 range (S and D models) scout trek cart, scouts and scoutmaster group. Crate – old Tamiya  1:35 stock.
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My recent broken figure conversions to Girl Scouts admire the Trek Cart
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Beautifully detailed moulded figures with scout badges and all …

I have pretty much finished painting my Trek Cart scout group of Phoenix 43 figures, apart from gloss varnishing them.

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1\43 Phoenix 43 S and D Models Scouts and Trek Cart

At first it looked a little fiddly but fitted together well with little flash.

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The Trek or Trek Cart is mentioned in very early Scout cigarette cards.

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First series Ogden’s  cigarette  cards – Boy Scout Series 1 to 5 Cigarette Card Images, an internet book / reprint by Trading Card Enterprises, LLC

It is also pictured as an iconic bit of scout history in the 1990 Cub Scout Handbook history of Scouting pages:

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Baden-Powell’s Mafeking idea of ‘Model Soldiers’
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An interesting conversion idea for a Boy Scout patrol with turbans – plenty of world Boy Scout uniforms on cigarette cards on Pinterest. Cub Scout Handbook, 1990.
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Close up of the trek cart picture illustration 1990 by Martin Aitchison

Search around and you will find that trek carts were once quite iconic for the scout movement, such as this book cover illustration.

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Pinterest is a useful source of images and there are Trek Cart sections on there,  from which I have taken some screen-shots as  reference pictures for painting my trek cart model.

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The dark green works well as a scout colour (Pinterest image source)
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Bright and colourful Trek Cart paint scheme
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Good design  and colour references for vintage trek carts from a Pinterest search.
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S and D models Phoenix 43 Trek Cart No. OF154

I chose a dark green Gloss simple paint scheme for my trek cart  with no wording.

The trek cart or baggage waggon train provides a good target or focus for many Wide Games / tabletop gaming scenarios.

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Lots more Trek Cart stories and images at http://www.shurdington.org/Scouts/Trekcart.htm

I never made the link between scout trek carts and the Wild West type pioneer trek carts featured in this episode of Mormon and American West history.

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Recreating the Mormon pioneer treks of the 1840s

This is a pioneer story as gripping and tragic as that of the Oregon Trail.

“To cut down on expensive wagons and oxen, some 3,000 of the [Mormon] pioneers subsequently used low-cost wooden handcarts that were light enough to be pulled across the Great Plains. One family or five individuals were assigned to a handcart, with 18 to 20 people sharing a tent. A cart hauled no more than 200 pounds — about 17 pounds of baggage per person.  Each highly organized company was led by an experienced guide and was accompanied by at least four oxen-drawn supply wagons.

The first party of handcarts set out from Iowa City, Iowa, on 9 June 1856 with a company of 266 people from England, followed two days later by a second company of just over 200.  These early handcart brigades successfully arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, but the trips were not easy. Pioneer journals recorded harsh weather, the threat of hostile Indians, the death of fellow travelers and the ongoing hardships of hunger and fatigue.”

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/pioneer-trek

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_handcart_pioneers

The Mormon pioneer treks of American history are often recreated as part of youth camping activities within this church, pictured and described here:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/youth/activities/stake-and-multistake-activities/camps-and-youth-conferences/treks?lang=eng&country=am

There is also a Wikipedia article on the Mormon Handcart Pioneers https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_handcart_pioneers

As mentioned before, the Man of TIN blog supports no particular faith denomination. All are welcome at the Man of TIN blog.

Trek carts which disassembled were made in the early William Britain’s Boy Scouts Range, seen here featured in James Opie’s Britain’s Toy Soldiers 1893 – 1932: 

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Two of my repaired Broken Britain’s 54mm  Scouts beside Britain’s Trek Cart  pictures in James Opie’s book.

Trek Carts can also be found in smaller OOHO  railway scale figures by Modelscene / Peco.

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OOHO Modelscene Peco railway series trek cart and Scouts with berets

A historical Huzzah for the humble Trek Cart!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 15 July 2019.

A Quick Trip to the Works

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A quick trip into town on  dull family business was enlivened by popping into several charity shops (sadly no plastic tat, but a mass of obscure WW2 aircraft, mostly foreign 1/72 kits in one – resisted) and The Works.

The Works had a tiny selection of a few Nano Metal Figures, mostly Harry Potter / Fantastic Beasts and Halo SciFi, but at good prices – 2 for £3.00.

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“What’s in the suitcase, sir? Show us your Papers.” Nano Metalfigs Jacob Kowalski Figure  (centre) being questioned by Irregular Miniatures 42mm British Infantry.

I had previously bought one of this Nano range last year (above),  who with his suitcase and suit worked well as a civilian or spy figure in different eras  for some 40 – 42mm figures I have https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/09/02/pound-store-42mm-spy/

In terms of size these metal Nano figures are quoted as 1.65” (inch) or roughly 40 to 41 mm, equating to roughly 1:43 scale https://www.peoplescale.com/143-1625-in-TALL-41275-mm-TALL_c265.

As a result they should roughly fit with my 40mm figures to 42mm figures. They do slightly tower over my Pound Store Plastic Warriors penny dreadful conversions, which are roughly 32mm. There is only a slight size and build difference between the adults  and child / pupil figures  in the Harry Potter series.

The shiny colours are not a problem as I like old toy soldier Gloss paint styles.  It was the choice of colours that needed work on them to blend them in better as multipurpose civilians. Blue and silver trench coats were quickly repainted in dull khaki, a little more ordinary civilian or secret agent. A green Toy Soldier style base quickly altered the feel of the figures.

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Repainted Ron Weasley (teenage pupil) centre  alongside some slightly taller adult figures from the Fantastic Beasts film, Tina Goldstein (left)  and Newt Scamander  (right) both about 41mm – quick repaints. A woman wearing trousers – suspicious or a land girl in britches?

The original Nano figures can be seen here with their packaging, colours and a range of other figures for size comparison. I flagrantly ignored the instruction on the reverse “Caution: Heavy metal collectible figure  – not meant to be played with as action figure”

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C. 40mm – 42mm Halo and Harry Potter Nano Metal figures – 2 for £3 at The Works – with some 32mm boers (right), Spencer Smith Shiny Toy Soldiers Scout (centre) and Phoenix 43 (left) Scout figures.

These figures are diecast metal. Whilst I found that I could drill a hole without difficulty through Ron Weasley’s hand to take a Scout stave, I could not easily clip or cut the generously sized bases any smaller.

I thought that ‘Ron’ might somehow make a useful Scout Wide Games figure, alongside the two civilians. With the “Cloak of Romance” mentioned in the 1930s Wide Games scouting scenarios book , Alan ‘Tradgardland’ Gruber  suggested that we could adopt or re-use any available figures that the Boy Scouts are imagining themselves into being – pirates, smugglers, natives,  cowboys, Indians, settlers etc.

As well as as cheaper books, The Works also has a craft section of paints and crafting materials, small wooden boxes etc. I found this set of Scrabble style thin wooden tiles designed for crafting and scrapbooking. With the sticky backing dot removed, they could make quick and easy figure bases for 15 mm figures. 4 pence each a base.  This would make an alternative to penny bases for 20 – 40mm figures or an alternative to cutting  out squares of scrap mounting board, which is how I usually mount my Peter Laings.

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A useful (unknown maker, job lot) 15mm pirate / sailor / irregular figure on a ‘Scrabble’ base, next to a Peter  Laing 15mm Zulu on mounting board base.

Alongside the 32mm pound store plastic figure conversions of space figures, the Halo female figure of ‘Cortana’ is slightly taller at 41mm. But in space and sci-fi, different  races and cyborgs etc will vary in size. Just watch Star  Wars cantina scenes.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/poundland-space-marines-platoon-on-parade/

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A towering female form not to be messed with? 41mm diecast metal Cortana from Halo alongside my 32mm Pound Store Figure conversion into space troopers / marines.

These discounted  Nano metal figures at £1.50 are good value alongside similar 1/43 or  40 to 42mm metal figures which are around / between  £2 to £3 such as:

The civilian, railway and military  ranges at at S&D Phoenix  1/43 https://www.sanddmodels.co.uk/products_43_figures.htm

STS Little Britons 42mm   (Spencer Smith website) http://www.spencersmithminiatures.co.uk/html/lb_gallery.html

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Still on the painting table awaiting toy soldier faces … Little Britons figures – two patrols of  LBB30 Boy Scouts and 4 Girl Scout or Guide conversions.

My Boy Scout LBB30 as a smaller single casting  figure in the adult 42mm range is only £1.25 compared to the £1.95 for an adult figure.

Irregular Miniatures 42mm civilian and military WW2 figures. http://www.irregularminiatures.co.uk/42mmRanges/42mmWorldWar2.htm

Meanwhile back in the post Edwardian years before WW1 …

Travelling back to a different time and different world, I have finished reading through ‘How Girls can Help to Build Up The Empire – The Handbook for Girl Guides’, c. 1912, the second of  my original Scouting texts that I have read as part of the scouting Wide Games Project. The paperback reprint American adapatations or versions of both books are on order.

Whilst H.G. Wells was working on Floor  Games and Little Wars, Robert Baden Powell’s sister Agnes was busily adapting his bestselling Scouting for Boys for an eager new audience.

This book is a fascinating period piece, along with Baden Powell’s 1908 Scouting For Boys, with lots of useful details to include early BP Girl Scouts and then the BP Girl Guides in the scouting Wide Games tabletop simulations. However from 1912 the new BP Girl Guides were discouraged from or not officially allowed to ‘romp’ or train alongside the Boy Scouts.

No fraternisation? This might have to be ignored in many circumstances on my table top simulation / gaming version. I will have to trust them to behave. Scout’s or Guide’s “Honour” is an important concept to bring into the gaming set up.

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More on these fascinating books in future blog posts. The Phoenix 43 Scout Trek Cart group is almost finished too.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 14 July 2019.

More Girl Scout Conversions

 

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A couple of broken metal figures have found a brand new life as Girl Scouts.

These conversions  fit well with my slow reading ‘research’ for my Scout Wide Games tabletop project, poring through the earliest Scouting for Boys books and Girl Scout  equivalent, How Girls Can Help the Empire: The Handbook for Girl Guides.

I was delighted to pick up an early original copy of this Guides book  c.1912 or pre-WW1 version on EBay, much cheaper than the paperback reprint! Other originals were £100 or more! https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Girls_Can_Help_to_Build_Up_the_Empire

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The Victorian or Edwardian sailor suited boy might  have come from the ‘bits and bobs’ box at Tradition of London (their old Shepherd Market shop). He had broken off at the ankles.

The archer was a small broken gilt figure minus its head.

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Drilled hand with wire staff and fixed feet and base – penny for size comparison.

The sailor boy was fixed by drilling holes in both feet and ankles with a fine pin vice or hand drill. Small pins  of wire joined body and feet together, secured with superglue.

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The repaired Boy

Something about that cheeky face said that this could be a Girl Scout recruit, rather than an Edwardian Boy Scout. I quickly made a tissue paper skirt fixed with clear PVA glue.

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Paper skirt and penny base in place

I was quite curious to see how these figure conversions would be enhanced (or not) by paint. I wanted an old-fashioned toy soldier look to the faces, along with a final spray of  gloss varnish.

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The floppy brimmed hat seems to work well as an Edwardian or 1920s Guiders hat. 
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Rear view of the conversions, the simple quiver was part of the original figure. 

And the scout mistress or archer? He started life as a man, then when I came across him, he had no head. A quick rummage in the spares box found a spare pound store figure about the right size. Off with his head!

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Hole reinforcer or hole punch hat brims, spare plastic figure and the headless gilt archer.

I cannot find a manufacturer for either figure. It looks on the original gilt figure as if one hand is carrying an arrow. This fine detail may need to be added.

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The American “fritz” helmet does convert into a hat with twenties bobbed haircut.

Archery was certainly recommended as a sport for Guides by Robert Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes, who adapted her brother’s 1908 hand book Scouting for Boys  into the 1912 handbook, How Girls Can Help To Build Up The Empire: The Handbook For Girl Guides. The ‘Girl Guiding’ handbook replaced this first book in 1918.

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The Baden-Powells also recommended rifle shooting. Both boy and girl scouts  could attain a Marksman badge for rifle shooting. There was also a section on self defence (jujitsu) as you never knew what you might encounter as a young woman at home or in the colonies on the frontiers of the Empire! Tigers, mad dogs, brigands, insurgents?

Research is slow but enjoyable, being a comparitive reading of this first 1912 Girl Scout or Guide handbook, alongside its predecessor Scouting For Boys. The sections are mixed up and in a different order. It is interesting to note what is kept in and suitable for guides, what is substituted as specifically for girls.

For instance, Baden Powell mentions in Scouting for Boys in a section on marksmanship: “The Boers are all good shots, and so are the Swiss. In both countries, the boys begin learning marksmanship at an early age by using crossbows…”, something suggested to Boy Scouts but not to Girl Scouts or Guides.

Being an accomplished marksman, after the lessons of the Boer War,  was  also seen by Baden Powell as a patriotic duty for men (‘citizen soldiers’) and good for home defence.

There is no obvious suggestion in either book that women should be armed ‘citizen soldiers’ in Britain, only in the frontiers of Empire for self defence of property and family.

Certain of the original Wide Games scenarios are included for girls; the book often mentions to save space ‘as in Scouting’, so the 1912 Guides book and the 1908 original Scouting book are designed to read together.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN 9th July 2019.

 

 

July 4th Part 2 – Vintage Airfix ACW Battle of Pine Ridge Revisited

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Loved this ACW vintage Airfix game from July 2017.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/acw-battle-of-pine-ridge-vintage-airfix-full-game-write-up/

I don’t check my blog stats that often but I noticed in passing a little spike on June 26th Of over 300 hits on one old blog post  from two years ago in a week of not posting much new. The referrer site was the TMP website http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=510247

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Some good looking clever Airfix paint conversions by Paul’s Bods. TMP Page forum

July 4th Blog Post Part 1 – https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/04/marx-boy-scouts-of-america-54mm-figure/
Blog Posted by Mark Man of TIN on the 4th of July 2019