Or in my words “I didn’t choose the Geek Life … the Geek Life chose me.”
A big thanks to all my fellow bloggers and readers over the last year (or two) for all your likes, comments and support. Your blogs on my “blogs I follow” blogroll are my regular portals to games blogging, toy soldiers and gaming inspiration.
The last year of Man of TIN and associated blogs has seen a wide range of subjects, being the wargames and toy soldier butterfly that I am.
Some of my highlights from my latest year of Man of TIN blog
9. Unusual anniversaries and special months – MARCH and FEMbruary featuring female figure painting challenges and history, along with “believable female miniatures” including buying some 28mm land girls from Annie at Bad Squiddo.
10. The Bronte bicentenaries – 200 years since several of the Bronte family were born, inspiration for some of my Imagi-Nations games, based in their mythical juvenile worlds of Angria, Gondal and GlassTown.
May – Only about half the way through my New Gaming Year’s Irresolutions … and way off target already!
Alongside repairing some other Broken Britain’s figures, I have been painting and restoring these wrecked figures to gaming and playable condition or fighting fitness.
The aim is to give them the kind of glossy toy soldier factory painting bench finish that they might once have enjoyed.
Ahoy Sailors Ahoy!
A small Royal Navy Landing party restored from earth battered bodies.
Two bashed sailor bodies required a lot of restoration, although some of their original blue paint remained. These Britain’s sailors were once proud part of either the prewar Royal Navy Reserve set 151 or the second grade paint set Royal Navy Bluejackets Set 49N, an attractive simple fixed arm figure like one I have in my collection.
Legs were repaired or restored with matchstick and cocktail sticks, wrapped round and round with masking tape, then sealed with paint.
The sailor figures had no base and feet remaining. Fimo bases were made, fired and painted to match my other Britain’s figures which are mounted on 2p pieces.
A 1mm hole was drilled through the shoulder where the rifle is broken off to insert some 1mm metal to rebuild a barrel. This was thickened to rifle size again by winding a small width of masking tape around it.
Two sailor’s heads with different hats were found in my bits box, both recasts from Dorset Soldiers, and the neck and sailor scarf area built up on each one to take these heads.
These figure repairs need to be stout and strong as they will once again be in tabletop action or campaigning in the garden, H.G. Wells’ Little Wars style, albeit without firing real projectiles at them.
I do not use Milliput due to a family allergy, instead I use the masking tape, matchstick and Fimo (polymer clay) method of repair. I also do not yet know how to solder such small figures.
The pink or red cheek dot on the faces is a useful gloss paint toy soldier style trick. Nothing very Military Modelling or realistic about this type of face.
I worked on the swagger stick torso figure and made this figure out of him, using a peaked cap Prince August 54mm Toy Soldier head that I had previously cast in one of their traditional toy soldier moulds.
He got one of the disembodied pair of legs with puttees, along with a separate wooden leg. This (Crescent Models?) figure’s body is curiously rather short in the arms!
These Guardsmen needed both leg and rifle repairs.
Two of the broken figures were clearly Britain’s Guardsmen marching and firing.
After preparing new legs as required, replacementbases were made from Fimo (polymer clay). Metal replacement bases can be bought for some footless damaged Britain’s figures from companies such as Dorset Soldiers or GBE Toy Soldiers. As these are being repaired back to gaming or fighting condition, rather than restored to red box display condition, I thought Fimo and tuppeny mounted bases like my other restorations were suitable, as well as cheaper and to hand.
Until some suitable recast Guardsman heads arrive, I am showing these figures with a spare loose fusilier or guards busby head.
As these old soldiers are special, restored to life and recalled to the colours, I have given several of them suitable status with various stripes as Corporals and Sergeants / NCOs.
My favourite figure of this bunch so far is one of the most wrecked figures whom, with the addition of a Dorset recast bare head and moustache, I have made into a brave bare-headed Battling Sergeant.
This bareheaded “on guard” pose reminds me of Victorian Battle paintings. I have painted this brave fellow with the yellow facings (colour and cuffs) of the Buffs (East Kent Regiment), one of the popular Britain’s Toy Soldier Line Infantry Regiments.
This Sergeant matches two of the Buffs “on guard” figures amongst the Broken Britains figures recently given to me by John Forman, whose broken rifles I have repaired.
Compared to what he was a few weeks ago, he’s looking quite handsome! I like the fact that his painted red coat is still showing even after years in the soil and now sits within his new red gloss Acrylic painted tunic.
Next task – watch this space
Amongst the next figure challenges from amongst the metal detectorist’s finds are these fine kilted colonial Highlanders by Britain’s and John Hill Co. (Johillco).
I would love to know their previous history, past battles and how these battered toy soldier figures ended up in the earth to be found by metal detectorists decades later.
Great fun, I am really enjoying this quiet, slow and colourful restoration work.
I have now stoutly repaired the other Household Cavalry Life Guard horse, which was missing a lower leg and two hooves, so could not stand up.
Drilling into the missing lower leg, again a 1mm thick wire was inserted at the right sort of angle. Masking tape was then wound round in strips and glued as I went.
Finally Fimo polymer clay (Sculpey in the USA) was moulded to make stout, stable and secure hooves for the three legs.
Once baked for half an hour in the oven, I fixed each of these Fimo hooves on with superglue. It is still possible to carve Fimo after firing or baking, so I trimmed these slightly to keep them stable but bring out a slightly more slender hoof shape. Not too slender though as they need to be stout enough for use in tabletop or garden gaming, H.G. Wells Little Wars style.
Further Acrylic Gloss paint seals and hides the joins.
These horses will then sit well on a thin balsa base each for stability whilst gaming.
Once a recast arm has arrived from Dorset Soldiers next week (they emailed to say they had had production delays), I will finish repainting the Life Guard. This looked like it had been overpainted long ago but thankfully the original face is in good condition.
The fourth horse, a Life Guard officer’s rearing horse, needs a recast arm and head but at least the tail repair was simple using Fimo, then repainted gloss black. I also repaired a missing Zulu foot with Fimo while I was about it as well.
Work is underway on repairing the jigsaw of limbs that are some Broken Britain’s Zulus that I bought last year, along with some broken rifles of John Forman’s Broken Britain’s Infantry donation and also of the metal detectorist’s finds that were in a pretty bashed and buried condition when I bought them.
More posts on Broken 54mm figures as they are completed.
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on Royal Wedding Day 19 May 2018
Having lost soldiers in my childhood garden and found others on the beach recently, I am fascinated by these lost and found soldiers out on an “unending mission”.
Occasionally lost toy soldier figures turn up on online auction sites amongst the hoards and hordes of metal detecting trinket sites.
I spotted this interesting collection from a metal detectorist called Frank in the Southeast of England on offer for a couple of pounds. I asked if they were from one hoard or toy mass battlefield burial but they were apparently collected over many years and many sites.
Whilst I wait for some recast arms to arrive from Dorset Soldiers for my current Broken Britains restoration projects, I have been busy this bank holiday weekend in the sunny garden, gently cleaning these finds up prior to restoring what I can to fighting or parade fitness. The others will go in a display box.
I often wonder about the stories behind how such figures and toys came to be buried or discarded. Were they lost toys or were they discarded because they were broken in action or accident?
They once belonged to someone, probably a small boy. Did they lament their loss or hardly notice it?
Before I post pictures of the cleaned up figures, what familiar figures can you see in the online auction picture?
Hint You can see toy animals, soldiers and more. Enjoy!
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, Bank Holiday weekend 5/6 May 2018.
I have acquired second-hand a few dozen of these attractive 19th Century infantry from Peter Laing’s 15mm range, now commercially unavailable as the moulds have vanished.
With the tall shakos or tall kepis with the ball crests and long frock coats, they look mid 19th Century Crimean to Austrian / Franco Prussian Wars. I think they are probably supposed to be French or Sardinian infantry, but they also look like French Foreign Legion 1850s.
They could be 15mm Peter Laing Crimean French (and dual use Franco-Prussian French with tall kepi)
F814 French Infantry advancing
F815 French infantry drummer
F816 French officer
F817 French standard bearer
With almost Napoleonic shakos, they would do well as Imagi-Nation troops for the Bronte juvenile fiction of Angria, Gondal and Gaaldine. I have enough spare standard bearers for alternative flags and nationalities.
I would be interested to hear from other Peter Laing collectors if they have or recognise these figures as mid 19th Century French.
Some other figure suppliers have similar tall shako / kepis.
Interesting post about Franco Prussian War French Infantry (in French) that reminds us that the 150th anniversary is only 2 years away (1870 / 2020). This will no doubt generate more gaming and historical interest in the FPW. The Austro-Prussian War anniversary was I suspect slightly overshadowed by the 1916 WW1 anniversary events.