“A secret has been revealed, and I finally understand the meaning of toys, something my papa learnt long before me. When you are young, what you want out of toys is to feel grown up. You play with toys and cast yourself an adult, and imagine life the way it’s going to be.”
Yet, when you are grown, that changes; now, what you want out of toys is to feel young again. You want to be back there, in a place that did not hurt or harm you, in a pocket of time built out of memory and love. You want things in miniature, where they can be better understood: battles and houses, picnic baskets and sailing boats too.
Boyhood and adulthood – any toy maker worth his craft has to find a place to sit , somewhere between the two. It’s only in these borderlands that the very best toys are made.”
The Toymakers, a novel by Robert Dinsdale (Penguin, 2018), p. 256/7
My current reading – half way through – is The Toymakers, a fantasy / magic realism book set in a magical winter toy shop in Edwardian London up to and into the First World War.
The book blurb aims for the Harry Potter market – “If There were a toy shop on Diagon Alley it would be the Toymakers” – and I can imagine the film makers who made the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies would enjoy recreating this world in CGI.
Here in the Emporium, a refugee European Toymaker Papa Jack and his two sons Emil and Kaspar Godman compete in both love and Toys, including “The Long War” fought between brothers through their alive (clockwork?) handmade toy soldiers.
The realism part of the magic realism steps up a pace when the First World War breaks out, Emporium staff join up, white feathers are handed out and at first, toy soldiers became the patriotic gift to give to small boys.
But what would happen as the war ground on? I often feel this looking at this WW1 era magazine scrap in my eclectic and chaotic collection
I did even less or next to nothing about the next two.
NGY 2018 Irresolution Four – Full Metal Hic Jacet – Whoops! did nothing this year.
NGY 2018 Irresolution Five – Return to Planet Back Yarden – I seemed to spend all year enjoyably preparing for a 42mm or 54mm Garden Skirmish that never properly happened.
As I mentioned “It should be fun to look back in a year’s time to find out what shiny distractions cropped up during the New Gaming and Painting Year of 2018”. So what happened and how did 2018 go so enjoyably awry?
January 2018 – more pound store conversions (see Irresolutions 1) – on target so far
In March and April 2018, some unusual WW1 anniversary themes that were “Not On The Western Front” started to creep in, ranging from Portuguese and Bulgarian infantry to later in the year Belgian Cycle troops.
I could blame Marvin over at Suburban Militarism for much of this distraction.
December 2018 was an Advent Calendar madness of blogposts every day on very varied topics, a good way to finish off part drafted blog posts accumulated over several years. Everything from punk rock singer Toy Soldier collectors to Victorian toy soldier scraps!
So what next for 2019?
Several Irresolutions from 2018 to carry forward and possibly ignore.
NGY 2018 / 2019 Irresolution One – Carry on Converting (and repairing). I have a whole desk full of these hollowcast casualties to keep me busy …
NGY 2018/19 Irresolution Two – More solo short small skirmish games
NGY 2018/19 Irresolution Three – Paint More Peter Laings
NGY 2018/19 Irresolution Four – Full Metal Hic Jacet – if I can find my Ancients Skirmish Mojo.
NGY 2018/ 19 Irresolution Five – Return to Planet Back Yarden – those 54mm space figures won’t paint themselves, you know!
Not forgetting all those American Civil War / Colonial / War of Independence figures who need finishing off and basing to fight skirmishes in the garden and tabletop against those Broken Britain’s Zulus and American Indians. All inspired by Wells’ Little Wars and Featherstone’s Close Wars rules. All of these duel purpose figures with a Bronte inspired ImagiNations twist of Angria Gondal and Glasstown, if real world, button-counting / ethical history proves too awkward. The Brontes! Arise Angria!
Chuck in some likely shiny distractions such as conversions for SecretProjectSF – StrangeFruitWars, some commando raid inspired skirmishes, lots more blogging and a bit of hot metal pouring (homecasting), who knows how the year will go?
I look forward again to reading everyone else’s foolishly optimistic Irresolutions and all your New Year of Gaming and Painting adventures.
It’s all for the love of Toy Soldiers!
Happy New Year!
Don’t forget – further distraction from your own resolute tasks exists at my other occasional toy soldier and gaming related blogs
The Christmas Parade this year is mostly the old Lone Star / Harvey series (the stocky ones with the squareish bases) in various states of original and repaint or their TIMPO recasts in fresh glossy acrylic.
No Scots or Irish pipers this year (save that for Hogmanay!) and this is as many as could fit on our mantelpiece with tinsels and lights mixed in. Plenty of bandsman left in the box for another Christmas parade.
Mixed in you might spot the odd Crescent / Kellogg’s Guards bandsman, a couple of aluminium Wendal Salvation Army bandsmen in peaked caps and even one hollow cast Guards Band figure.
Our parade centrepiece is this three jolly guardsmen Christmas card illustrated by Clare Wilson for the Museums And Galleries collection. Some of my blog readers that I have been in postal contact with about toy soldiers might even have received one of these cards in the post!
I hope you had a happy Toy solder filled Christmas ready for a happy Gaming New Year.
I will post some of my new toy soldier or gaming arrivals over the almost Twelve days of Christmas or “Twixmas” as this next week or so are becoming known.
Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on Boxing Day Twixmas 2018.
A trip a few months ago to a Tiger store brought a few gaming related purchases, including these plastic beach boats. Painted grey they should make useful converted landing barges for 40 to 54mm figures including my Pound Store plastics.
Once I have added some ledges of balsa for crew (mocked up here in cardboard), gunboat style sandbag cover for the bridge tower and LC Letraset number letter decals, this should work well enough.
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN for Advent Day 15, 15th December 2018
Gareth’s work reminds me of what might have happened if H. G. Wells’ Little Wars or FloorGames were happening in a modern house. It’s a WW2 Miniatures version of ToyStory with a dash of The Borrowers. I like visual jokes playing with scale. You also realise behind each quickly glanced at shot is hours and hours of model making.
Gareth’s work in 2016/17 can be found in various sites including
The Facebook header picture of Tommies dug in, camouflaged with the dry earth, really captures the imaginative nature of childhood playing with toy soldiers, down at ground or floor level, out in the garden …