Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 7: Airfix Civilians and Country Workers

For a forthcoming gaming scenario in 2020 about the Battle of Saxby between navvies and country farmworkers in Leicestershire during 1844, I needed some suitable looking country figures for the mid 19th Century to match my Airfix OOHO trackworkers / navvies with their red neckerchiefs.

The first of my Airfix OOHO Navvy figures …

I raided all the spare civilian figures that I could find from hoarded boxes of Airfix Waggon Train, American Civil War Artillery and the odd Airfix civilian or airman.

I have used a Citadel Agramax Earthshade brown shade wash to make the figures’ clothes and faces suitably muddy for farm work, on campaign or on the trail.

Shaded figure on left, unshaded figure to the right for each pose

These men with rifles might be too well armed for the Saxby Bridge battle of farm tools and navvy tools.

I painted them non-uniform and nondescript enough to work as American Civil War troops, Wild West cowboys, irregular troops or even Boer sharpshooters. The lamb or calf carried by one of the figure types can be underpainted to look like a bed roll or provisions sack.

Some of the Airfix Waggon Train civilians have no tools or weapons so I used a range of spare picks and shovels from the Airfix OOHO Forward Command Post or Jungle Outpost.

The Earl of Harborough’s men at Saxby Bridge fought off the Midland Railway navvies, who were trying to survey and build a railway across the Earl’s estate, with stout staves and every tool they had to hand.

Oh my darlin, oh my darlin, oh my darlin Clementine, you are lost and gone forever …

The farm figures equipped with picks and shovels should work equally well for future modern railway games, as well as civilian workers, sappers, miners and engineers with a wide range of armies.

Some interesting figures of the American Civil War Artillery crew look as if they could be miners or farmworkers, whilst still being usable as gun crew.

There are also useful Waggon Train female figures who could double up as nurses and a Boy from the Waggon Train (who also works well as a tall man with my Peter Laing 15mm figures). Spot the spare RAF crewman, as many of my past railway figures were padded out with German and British Aircrew.

My favourite conversion of the lot came from looking in a tin of unshucked or uncut sprues from the 1960s https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/vintage-airfix-tin-hoard/

I looked at the Confederate Artillery Officer and thought – could he become an early Victorian policeman to sort out the unruly mobs?

One snip off a plastic straw or paintbrush guard later and I had superglued a Brunel sized top hat in place. Cutlass by his side, he was soon ready to read the Riot Act as needed.

Reading and posting the Riot Act, our brave Victorian bobby faces a surly crowd of more than 12.

Disperse you mob, else you face transportation or hanging!

So there you are, a man ‘happy with his wash’ and some useful vintage Airfix figures, penny based and ready for action next year.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN 6 December 2019

Man of TIN Advent Calendar 2019 Day 6: War Games V & A Exhibition Plymouth 2016

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What I bought at War Games … these now have WG written on their base.

This was a post that got lost back in May 2016. Now I have found most of the photographs again!

The ‘V and A’  (Victoria and Albert Museum) also run the Bethnal Green Musuem Of Childhood. They put together touring exhibitions from their extensive collections of toys, such as the now finished War Games exhibition I saw in 2016.

Sadly it seems photography was not allowed in the main exhibition, but I have photographed some of the things I picked up free around the exhibition and in the shop including the obligatory bag of plastic toy soldiers. These now have WG marked on their bases, short for War Games (the exhibition). They can be seen at this May 2016 blog post https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/spa-treatments-for-toy-soldiers/

675514A4-A5F6-4A62-8F51-A93AC8E4E4CE War Games brochure 2016

This post got lost in the earliest days of my blogging. The Victoria and Albert Musuem / Museum Of Childhood travelling exhibition War Games has now finished travelling. It was hosted as part of the 1941 Plymouth Blitz Anniversary  and the Plymouth City Museum (which survived the Plymouth Blitz) is closed for rebuilding until the Mayflower Anniversary 2020 https://plymhearts.org/

https://plymhearts.org/2019/10/16/figureheads-restoration/

Presumably  the collection is back in store at the V and A Childhood Museum at Bethnal Green https://www.vam.ac.uk/moc/collections

UK blogger PB EyeCandy visited the exhibition and a related talk in London in 2013 and did take some photographs  https://pbeyecandy.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/war-games-talk-and-review/

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Sadly I was unable to photograph the responses written by young and old visitors on these postcards  – hopefully they were suitably wide ranging and thoughtful  comments.
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Picked this up at the end of the visit – obviously well used!
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Britain’s Soldiers formed part of the advertising. Incorrectly these highlanders are labelled as Lancers.
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One of the children’s trail leaflets – a glimpse of some of the toys.
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A very Airfix sprue design to the cover of the children’s trail.
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Hauser Lineol German composition figures 1936

I have a few photographs of the advertising banners outside the museum but nothing inside the museum.

Sadly three years later I cannot remember too much detail about the different sections appealing to different demographics.

There were some well-presented old toy soldiers on parade or in boxes. There was a section on classic board games (Risk etc) and  a whole section on video games. I don’t recall a wargames section and any classic wargames title.  The section on vintage kids dressing up uniforms such as “cowboys and Indians” and toy guns was pure nostalgia!

There was the obligatory dressing up costumes  (for kids only) for  a photo opportunity. From what I recall, you weren’t allowed to photograph the rest of the exhibits and in 2016 not everyone carried an IPhone camera.

The final room featured a big room sized table top diorama using toys of all scales called “Earthling Armies vs. fantasy Forces” which was quite good fun to see and identify figures.

Another random blog post draft finally sees the light of day as part of the Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 6.

 

 

A Late Wash for my Airfix Railway Figures 1980 and 2019

Shade wash is on the left figure on each pair of figures, unshaded figure to the right.

Some recent painting and penny basing of some very old Airfix railway figures:

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2019/11/23/airfix-railway-figures-reviewed-1980-and-painted-2019/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 23 November 2019

BMC Plastic Army Women figures project Kickstarter Now Live

I have backed my first Kickstarter for a bag of these new BMC 54mm Plastic Army Women figures next Christmas!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bmctoys/plastic-army-women

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/11/14/plastic-army-women-kickstarter-now-live/

You can read more about the project so far at previous blog posts such as https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/11/09/bmc-toys-plastic-army-women-update-5/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 14 November 2019

A Jacklex Christmas come early …

General JEB Stuart mounted – an alternative horse pose was also included.

Christmas has come early to Man of TIN house, as my first order of Jacklex figures has arrived from the new owner Mark Lodge.

Before they go into the Christmas present box to be given to me by the family, I thought I would check my order through – all present and correct.

I have long wanted to buy some Jacklex figures having seen them in Donald Featherstone books.

Whilst they are out of the lovely red box and sawdust packaging before Christmas, I thought I would photograph the figures alongside their 20mm Airfix counterparts.

Jacklex figures were made by the talented Jack Alexander (90 this year, 2019) in the 1960s and 1970s, partly to complement the popular OOHO Airfix American Civil War and Foreign Legion figures.

This ‘origin story’ is told here – I have yet to track down in online scan archives the Featherstone Meccano Magazine article or War Games book review in 1962 that first inspired Jack Alexander to make his toy soldier range:

https://www.jacklexminiatures.com/index.php?route=information/information&information_id=4

The Airfix WW1 Americans come across as quite slender in comparison with the Jacklex American Punitive Expedition to Mexico just before WW1. Others like the limited WW1 Jacklex range are a far closer size match to Airfix.

Airfix WW1 German and British Infantry alongside the Jacklex equivalents, albeit with mid to late war steel helmets.

Jacklex ACW figures

The American Civil War figures generally blend well with the Airfix Civil War figures.

My conversions from British Commandos and Japanese Infantry look quite slender in comparison to Jacklex drummers and standard bearers but these are the sorts of figures that oddly Airfix did not produce for their ACW range. Trumpeters and Officers for the American Civil War were produced by Airfix but oddly not drummers or standard bearers. The American War of Independence and Waterloo Airfix range was better served in this way.

Airfix 7th Cavalry on a Jacklex horse, JEB Stuart and an Airfix packhorse for comparison.

The Jacklex horses match quite well the Airfix ACW / Seventh Cavalry and may be a solution to the awkward Airfix horses that do not glue well to their bases.

Jacklex Colonial Range British Army and Navy officers and Foreign Legion Officer

Again these lovely colonial British and Navy officers and French Foreign Legion officer match quite well the size of the relevant Airfix French Foreign Legion, Arabs and Esci colonials and Zulus.

Lead Mountain Warning – you could happily spend a small fortune on the new old Jacklex ranges (but at least you would have something decent and long lasting to show for it).

I have yet to sample the Jacklex Russo Japanese War, Colonial Natives, Mexicans Ranges but they do look attractive figures. Fighting as I tend to do small solo Featherstone ‘Close Wars’ type skirmishes with only a few dozen figures on each side, I can (almost) get away with gaming a wide range of figure scales and periods without additional storage problems and bankruptcy. Oddly appropriate as ‘Close Wars’ rules are a simple appendix to the 1962 War Games book by Donald Featherstone that inspired Jack Alexander to make Jacklex figures in the first place.

https://www.jacklexminiatures.com

Jacklex website page on wargaming with free PDF Andy Callan rules

It is a great easy to use shopping website with good customer service, easy payment, fast despatch and some quirky touches like free PDF Andy Callan 19th Century Rules (veteran rules writer Andy Callan is an old gaming friend of new Jacklex owner Mark Lodge). There are also links to these two Jacklex inspired websites:

All Things Jacklex:  jacklex.blogspot.com

ABC Wargamers:  abcwargamers.blogspot.com

Jacklex – a company and figure range well worth supporting.

Too dark in the evening now to photograph my new figures anymore. Time to pack away for now.

Back in the box they go till Christmas to snooze away the time with their sawdust infused dreams of glory …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 5 November 2019.

Commandos versus Zombies

Missed this in time for Halloween …

The latest in the “… versus Zombies” franchise?

Commandos versus SS Zombies in the Snow.

Who could resist blurb like this?

“In the freezing woods of Norway, dead men leave footprints in the snow. Their SS uniforms are riddled with bullet holes, their hearts frozen solid, and their rotting flesh frostbitten.

What should have been a routine raid took a horrific turn for Commandos Leo Mantelow and Lionel Stone as they faced down something from out of a nightmare. But it’s hard to follow the book when you’re up against the living dead!”

I could and did resist buying this but liked the title.

There’s a weird World War Two scenario for my more battered and broken Airfix German figures that I had never thought of …

Commandos versus Zombies is still in the shops like W.H. Smith.

More about the comic and a few inside glimpses of this title written by a female comic book writer Georgia Standen Battle:

https://downthetubes.net/?p=111955

One for when all other slightly more sensible rules and scenarios are just not providing that gaming buzz?

Now, what would Donald Featherstone have done in his simple WW2 rules or his Wargaming Commando Operations for tackling Zombies?

Blog posted on 1st November 2019 by Mark Man of TIN. “I’m not scared …”