The Lost Snow Patrol Defrosted – early Girl Scouts versus Mutant Snowmen c. 1909 1910

The Lost Snow Patrol Defrosted – early Girl Scouts versus Mutant Snowmen c. 1909 / 1910

The frozen North, 1909/1910 somewhere in Britain or Europe.

The mystery of a missing Boy Scout patrol. A Girl Scout patrol caught in a snow blizzard up in the hill forests. Lashings of hot chocolate, quarter staff fighting, fire arrows and some carrots …

Cross posted by Mark Man Of TIN (not Man of Snow) from my Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop blog

Snow Patrol …

The Lost Patrol Of Scouts?

Crossposted from my Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop blog, some friendly or malevolent snowmen and how I made them from FIMO polymer clay:

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 2 July 2022

May 25th Geek Pride Days and my fifth Man of TIN blogaversary 2021

Happy Geek Pride Day May 25th 2021!

Not just a day for Star Wars but also Pound Store Wars?

Five years ago today, I Man of TIN / 26soldiersoftin cautiously launched the Man of TIN blog.

Happy fifth Blogaversary to all my readers!

The very first Man of TIN blog photograph of Redcoat steampunk shiny toy soldier style conversions of modern pound store soldiers

Geek Pride Day is also appropriately the fifth blogaversary of starting this my Man of TIN blog.

“To begin at the beginning…” (as Richard Burtin would say in his deepest Welsh tones in Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood)

It is always interesting to look back at the first posts of people’s blogs, which for me began on Man of TIN blog in May 2016 with a short post titled ‘Pound Store Wars’:

to see how these toy soldier and gaming themes develop.

Early themes in my first post or posts:

  • Pound Store plastics and pirated figures
  • Cheap Hollowcast figures
  • Paint conversions
  • Donald Featherstone
  • A dose of childhood nostalgia
  • Airfix
  • H. G. Wells’ Little Wars
  • 54mm figures
  • Steampunk and ImagiNations
  • Garden wargaming

And within the first month, various posts covered:

Painting Pound Store Plastic tat figures as if they were ‘run of the mill’ factory hollowcasts was an early and still ongoing theme.

25 May 2016 first blog post

The list of blogs I was discovering and listing then in my first posts in May 2016 includes many I still read and follow on a daily or weekly basis:

And South American toy soldiers

Bob Cordery’s Wargaming Miscellany blog roll soon led me to the Duchy of Tradgardland and Battle Game of the Month blogs, which rapidly became my three daily or weekly portal sites.

It took several weeks, even a month or two before any reader comments appeared. I presume I saw some views and reader stats, otherwise this could be very dispiriting for a fledgeling blogger.

Part of the pleasure of blogging is the many comments, emails and even conversations in person that the Man of TIN blog has led to over the last five years.


Donald Featherstone’s quote from my favourite Wargames rules book since childhood War Games (1962) has served well to summarise my approach to “Toy soldiers, gaming, Imagi-Nations” as my Blog strapline says:

“There is a great deal of satisfaction in making one’s own armies, either in their entirety or by conversions.” (Page 21)

“Part of the fun of being a war gamer lies in the making of one’s own soldiers as distinct from purchasing figures  of different sizes obtainable from makers in various parts of the world.” (Page 18, War Games) 


Although I had been involved in regular blogging for work projects since 2008 and also buying toy soldiers online on EBay since 2008, it took another eight years to develop my first toy soldier blog.

By the time that I started Man of TIN blog in 2016, some veteran gamers such as Bob Cordery (2008), Alan Gruber Duchy of Tradgardland (2007) and the Emperor vs Elector blog group (2009 or earlier?) had been blogging for almost a decade.

Without Whom – thanks!

Although my blog is essentially a personal scrapbook, journal or Work in Progress diary made public , my blogaversary is also an opportunity to thank my loyal, passing and occasional blog readers and comment writers. Thanks gentlemen and ladies for your kind words and challenges.

My Spin-off and Sister Blogs

As well as establishing separate pages within Man of Tin blog for H.G. Wells’ Little Wars, Bronte ImagiNations, Roman 15mm games and Scouting Wide Games (now itself a spin off blog), there are now several sister or spin off blogs from which to crosspost.

Fairly quickly my Man of TIN blog had spin off blogs for different materials and to spread the megabyte heavy photo content across several WordPress Free 3GBs.

Pound Store Plastic Warriors September 2016 (which has its origins in these early Man of TIN blog posts on Pound Store plastics)

Sidetracked 2017 (where gaming meets model railways)

Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop (April 2019)

Look Duck and Varnish – Gaming the Home Guard (2019/ May 2020)

And Man of TIN Blog Two, established in 2020 for when Man of TIN blog 1 is (very nearly) full of its Free 3GB WordPress limit, which will be within the next few months / this year? Man of TIN blog will then continue its weekly blog life there.

Man of TIN blog WordPress stats as of w.c. 24 May 2021

I don’t check blog stats often or have a page / view counter thing, likewise across on my sister blogs. So far by w.c. May 24th 2021, a surprising 157,000 views by 78,000 people have stumbled across my Man of TIN blog and hopefully been distracted from something useful if only for a few moments.

A small number of readers return on a regular basis. If you are one of them, thank you!

Why Wednesday evening is a popular reading time, I have no idea – Hump Day at work? Halfway through the week, dreaming of the weekend hobby? I’ve no idea why 29 May 2018 was a two thousand+ views day either.

The next five years 2021-2026?

I wonder where the next five years of blogging will take me and the other bloggers I regularly read?

Forward towards 3D printing and computer assisted gaming (touted since the Wargames Manual 1982/3)? Maybe.

Backwards or retro to Old School, 60s Airfix nostalgia, back of a postcard rules, flats and hollowcasts? Much more likely.

Forward Men! Going forward and back, back, back … for the future!

5th Blogaversary post by Mark Man of TIN, 25 May 2021

Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 15: Snowman Guards


Thin banner version January 2019

Spotted this ad online last January 2019 and screenshotted it as an interesting future idea of a Fimo polymer clay smart looking Guards regiment of snowmen? Sadly by the end of 2019 staff on South Western Railway are on strike.

Fantasy snow warriors and violent gingerbread men already exist as can be seen in this seasonal post at Rabbits in My Basement blog

Suitable snowman and seasonal figures can be found at Alternative Armies  in 15mm and 28mm


Some more Alternative Armies seasonal  delights …

Certainly some ideas for a creative  Fimo future  session.

As delightful as Jim Purky’s Der Alte Fritz Blog Teddy Bear Wars posts

and the American Civil Paw 18mm figures from Slave2 Gaming


Meanwhile back in the snow forts our Scouting Wide Game and Snow ball rules continue to be developed. Good clean fun

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, December 2019

Marx Boy Scouts Of America 54mm figure

GAmerica, America … no this is not a post about the Women’s World Cup.

My battered Marx Boy Scout finally gets some paint after forty plus years. Still some gloss varnish and finishing touches needed.

To celebrate the 4th of July, here is a short blog post on the Marx Boy Scouts Of America figures. Of which I have exactly – one. No idea why I have it, it’s just part of the family collection.

Researching early Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for my Wide Games on the tabletop, I frequently come across references to the American branch of the scouting family. They developed in different ways in a different culture than how scouting and guiding happened in Britain.

After 40+ years I have finally painted a fragile survivor in my family / childhood collection, what I discovered to be a Marx 54mm to 60mm Plastic Scout. He used to hang out with the Cowboys in my childhood games, his fragile scout hatchet long gone.


The whole range of these American figures, the Boy Scouts Of America, can be seen individually here on this great  Marx Collectors site including a superb tin litho club house:

This fragile old figure needs a final coat of gloss acrylic, to get that toy soldier look, then final varnishing. There are some good details to pick out such as a torch or rope loop on the belt.

Rear details of Boy Scout equipment and my metal Boy Scout moulds.

I could drill through the hand and insert a Boy Scout staff or stave but I think he is probably too fragile for this. Part of one foot and the base have already gone.

I often wonder how we acquired just a single American plastic scout figure. I never remember any others as a child.

Coming from a scouting family, he might have been bought by or given to my cub master Dad. He might also have come from a 1960s / 1970s job lot of odd plastic figures that my late Dad bought for us all (c. Very Early 1970s) from a neighbouring family when their boys were grown up and beyond such childish things. (This stage thankfully hasn’t happened to me or many of my blog readers yet).

Copyright image: website

Here is a glimpse of the gorgeous tin club house, a tiny part of a large and interesting Marx website. Looking through this website, I realised that I have or had no other Marx figures in my childhood toy collection. This makes the single Marx Boy Scout more of a mystery!

An American flag for the 4th of July. The Marx tinplate Boy Scout log cabin

Repeat to myself: “I don’t need one of these”

I don’t need one of these.

I don’t need one of these – as I have some lovely genuine American log cabins from Christmas 2018.

My Fimo polymer clay 20mmish American figures and Paines Log Cabins.


Down at the old log cabin in the woods: my single Marx Boy Scout Of America hosts a visiting  Britains Boy Scout with spare replacement Dorset Soldiers bush hat head.

Look out for my July 4th part two blogpost.

Posted by Mark Man of TIN, 1970s Cub Scout (Bronze Arrow, Retired) June 2019.


More Log Cabins!

These log cabins are not what they seem … 20mm ish handmade FIMO figures 

These small little log cabins are another curious gift from the family for Christmas, knowingly bought  as destined for gaming use.

They suggest American backwoods or the forests of Northern Europe and Scandinavia.

They are Paine’s log cabin incense burners, made by an American company from American forests since 1931. They have a door but no windows.

These Paine’s cabins come ready assembled and are a very different size from the RoyToys Log Cabin Building Sets that suit 40mm plus to 54mm figures

For scale I have put a couple of my 20mm ish early handmade DIY figures made from Fimo polymer clay, suitably American figures:

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN during Twixmas on 29 December 2018.

#FEMbruary Hobby Challenge Conversions


Suffrajitzu for #FEMbruary anyone?


I don’t have many female miniatures or toy soldiers. The Queen, the odd nurse or land girl, a few  female pioneers or Wild West Civilians. None of them are quite like the scantily clad Phoenix Phollies Figures  (Phigures?) that lurked expensively in the back pages of Military Modelling magazine in the Eighties, near the latest Peter Laing adverts. You could (and I did) buy a small  15mm Peter Laing army for the cost of one of those female (or male fantasy) figures.

Marvin of the Suburban Militarism Blog sometimes features female soldiers including recently  Serbian  WW1 women soldiers

I had heard of Flora Sandes the British Sergeant Major through Kate Adie’s book From Corsets to Camouflage. I had also heard of Scottish nursing teams in WW1 at Ostrovo in Serbia.

Interestingly one of Marvin’s readers Imperial Rebel Ork mentions #Fembruary as a hobby challenge.


The #Fembruary challenge seems to have come from

Maybe #FEMbruary this year is extra special because  it is the 100th anniversary of The Representation of the People Act on 6 February 1918 / 2018.

This enfranchised or gave the vote for the first time British women over 30 who qualified as property owners etc and British men over 21. To match the men without property who could vote, the women’s vote would finally be widened to all women over 21 in 1928. About blooming time!

Women partly earned this long-fought-for right because of their contribution to the war effort in WW1 stepping into many professions that had previously been denied them as men were called up.

How could you conscript and sacrifice the lives of large numbers of working men in the name of democracy, when these men without property didn’t have the vote back home?

A surprisingly large number of women died on the Home Front in munitions, air raids and overseas on active service through enemy action and disease.

This is the focus of the WW100 commemoration this year with the First World War Centenary Partnership and the Imperial War Museum.


#FEMbruary, Women, fantasy and gaming?

The Fantasy gaming world has more female gamers than the historical gaming / wargaming community. There are  a few female Wargames bloggers such as Tamsin P. , “That mythical beast – a female Wargamer!”of the Wargaming Girl blog

and also Victoria Dickinson at Vicky’s Crazy Wargames World  blog with lots of unusual fantasy / historical gaming (Wormingrad? Fabulous Fimo fantasy figures?)

Gaming has also had (in the past?) some fairly unrepresentative or oversexualised female miniature figures, something that is being challenged by the ‘Dice Bag Lady’ Annie Norman who runs Bad Squiddo games.

You can hear more about her on her guest slots on the Meeples and Miniatures podcasts episodes 168, 197 and 238

Annie produces some interesting WW2 Russian women soldiers, British Land Girls and Women’s Home Guard figures, but in 28mm, unfortunately not one of my current gaming scales.

“The number one aim for Bad Squiddo Games is to create and supply the miniatures that would have made the hobby far far better for my 10 year old self. To welcome more young girls and women into wargaming and miniature painting, as well as providing diverse options to the entire gaming community. And yeah – cool toys!” Bad Squiddo website 

What can Man of TIN do to mark #FEMbruary and the WoMan of TIN?

At a risk of distorting my New Gaming Year Unresolutions 2018

I am going for #FEMbruary 2018

#FEMbruary 1: look through my toy soldier collection and pick out some of my favourite female figures for this blog

#FEMbruary 2: do a tissue paper and PVA Featherstone conversion on one of my childhood 1:32 Airfix Footballers into a high stepping saloon girl (with or without rifle?) for 54mm Wild West games


#FEMbruary 3: convert one of my Steve Weston Mexican Civilian women into a handy Votes for Women Suffragette?  Suffrajitzu anyone?


If it doesn’t all happen in #FEMbruary, there’s always the very FEMinine sounding  #April #May #June #JulieorJulius #Augusta and #NoFEMber?

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN #FEMbruary 2018


May 25th 2017 my 1st Blogaversary!


Marche ou Creve! Peter Laing 15mm French Foreign Legion advancing (F651) around old dead tree hexes, relics from former gardens. Initially the sand was too damp and did not take well to PVA first time around so will need to be redone. Heroscape hexes.

Happy Blogavesary to Me! Happy Blogaversary to You! 

May 25th 2016 was my the date of my first Man of TIN blogpost, all about Pound Store Warriors.

A few months later Pound Store Plastic Warriors was created in 6th September 2016 as a separate sister blogsite 

It seems much more than a year.

It has been a brilliant first year. Having the blog, especially for a solo gamer, encourages you to finish stuff off, get it photographed and written up to share with others.

It’s an online diary, bullet journal, declaration of intent or New Gaming Year’s resolutions in public. It’s my reading journal, book  and figure review column.

Lone Warrior in the pine woods – 15mm Peter Laing Boer advancing rifle at trail (F622) moving through my freshly flocked and fixed “impassable” forest hexagons.

For example, having posted and photographed about  my Bronte inspired skirmish in Angria this weekend, I noticed that these faded old plastic fir trees worked well enough centred on a hex (albeit attached with white tack). I have had these bashed old trees since childhood. So this week I “F and B’d” them – Flocked and Based –  them.

They should continue to work well for my Close Little Wars forest skirmish rules based on Donald Featherstone’s two page appendix to his 1962 book War Games.

Before …  fir trees hastily tacked on to a hex. Ashantee archer warriors attack Angrian infantry and dragoons.

What have I enjoyed about Blogging?

Blogging is  like an online wargaming club or convention  and a free gaming magazine, available more than monthly. I check some ‘portal’ and my blogroll sites quite often daily. In fact, my irregular consumption of gaming magazines has dropped even further. I find now when I flick through the magazines in W.H. Smith’s, that I can find much of this inspiration and advice online.

Mountaineering and fighting in the pine forests, feather in cap, 15mm Peter Laing Italian Alpini Infantry advancing warily (F722?) from his First World War range.

I wonder if blogging this year has taken up valuable time for gaming?

Possibly not, as I think becoming part of the blogging community as a reader or a blogger encourages you to try new things, learn new tips or rediscover old figures. It also encourages you to go completely off at a bizarre tangent like a war games butterfly in search of the new,  colourful or shiny. Whoops!

Repair and repaint back to box fresh and shiny for these Homecast and Hollowcast figures.

Thanks to all who have stopped by and read my blog in its first year, taken time to “like”  a post or have written a positive comment.  I’ve really enjoyed replying, whether it has been chatting to fellow Peter Laing figure collectors, Donald Featherstone rules enthusiasts, getting tips on repairing old bashed Britain’s 54mm toy soldiers or being in contact with people who wrote inspiring articles in the games magazines of my childhood. An enduring hobby indeed!

Thanks to all those who have signed up as followers or posted a link to my blog on their sites. It is really appreciated – I can see this works in the “referrer” blog stats. Cheers!

Pound Store Plastic Warriors given the glossy toy soldier treatment, May 2016.

I don’t put much store by checking blog stats regularly  but for my 125 blog posts in 365 days (blimey! that’s almost one post every three days on average), over four thousand readers have stopped by once or more, leading to almost eleven thousand views from 75  different countries. Most of my blog readers are from the UK and the USA but there are also regular readers from  Ireland, Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, (Flanders) France and Spain. (“Over the hills and far away …”)

My occasional “little sister” blog to this one, Pound Store Plastic Warriors since September 2016 has itself  attracted over 400 readers, and 1000 views.

So to James, John, Ian, Bob, Alan, Ross, Tony, Jon and many other readers  … thanks!

Here’s another year of homecast or homemade figures, solo gaming, toy soldier repair, pound store plastics, portable game boards, flocking and basing, bizarre tangents, Donald Featherstone, vintage Airfix, Peter Laing figures and making the most of the stock in hand.

Here’s to some fine weather for back garden games and skirmishes in the sandpit.

Here’s to another year puzzling out the fictional Imagi-Nations of the Brontes!


Maybe I should have had a First Blogaversary cake made? Topped of course with homemade Fimo Polymer Clay “cakes of death” cake decoration mould soldiers. Huzzah!


Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 25 May 2017 my first Blogaversary! Huzzah!


Of Semaphore and Signal Towers

From Clementine box to fortified signal tower ….

I have posted two new posts on my sister blog Pound Store Plastic Warriors,  all about the fun of making this semaphore signal tower for coast, mountain or desert from available scrap, a suitable toy soldier type fortified building for 30 mm to 54mm figure games.

Some of my Peter Laing 15mm British colonial troops and heliograph. 

Some of the design ideas came from researching the fascinating history of flag and flash, semaphore and heliograph, which forms the subject of  my second post here:

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, May 2017.


Fimo Figure Failure Fun

Brian Carrick, blog author of the brilliant Collecting Plastic Soldiers blog,  wondered whether the Prince August 54mm chess toy soldier pawn figures that I featured this week would work in Fimo polymer clay.

Would this work in Fimo, Brian wondered?  Would it be both cheaper and lighter?

I said I would Have a Fimo Go! (If you are reading this in America or elsewhere, Fimo is the equivalent to Sculpey Polymer Clay).


I wasn’t expecting much and was sadly proved right. Using a block of slightly old red Fimo, I rolled out, softened or warmed this through the hand rolling and then an appropriate size chunk inserted into one half of the mould.

I chose the simplest of the Prince August chess set moulds that I used this week  – the Alamo American Infantry pawn figure.


Fimo Figure Fail?

Putting the the second half of the mould on and squeezing them together, on removing the figure, it was clear that it had only partly worked. The face and front moulding was mostly there, the hat not quite.

The back was missing the lovely detail of knapsack and powder horn.

There was some detail but lots of spare Fimo flash  to trim in the form of a big moulding line.

With more care this could be lessened if the amount of Fimo were reduced.

With care a knapsack could be added which I have done to add 3D roundness to other flatbacked 54mm Fimo figures.

Rather than build up the figure with detail, I baked it at 110 degrees for 30 minutes then trimmed of any spare Fimo and the mould line with a scalpel.

With a bit of paint, a bit of trimming and a bit of detail added to an already baked figure (you can rebake and add to  Fimo like this), a passable figure could be made. The hat could be built up or trimmed to a battered kepi.

However if you have the ability to cast as intended in metal, this is surprisingly simple and fast.

Brian Carrick wondered how they compare in terms of weight. The Prince August chess pawn figure weighs in at just under an ounce of metal, the Fimo figure with twopence base for stability, about 5 grms (most of which is the tuppence coin!)

You could also work out cost in terms of an ounce of Prince August metal versus a small lump of Fimo.

Fimo Figure Fun Or Fail?

In the first months of Man of TIN blog, I featured several Fimo soldier figure experiments including using simple silicon Cake Dec mould Soldiers (my Cakes of Death battalions) and fun  Fimo freestyle or freesculpt figures.

This was one of my first Fimo failures, as I reinforced the body around a cocktail stick which led to cracking. I had not learnt that you can bake, add detail and rebake etc.

Over cooking at the wrong temperature was another Fimo failure and gives off not nice fumes and the figures distort badly.

Arise Angria! The Rising Sun banner of the Bronte kingdom of Angria.

This battered and cracked figure eventually found a role, painted up initially as some kind of Confederate standard bearer, he now carries the newly designed  flag of Angria, one of the imaginary kingdoms created by the young Bronte sisters.


The way we wore – this is how the figure first looked on the blog back in May 2016 after a little tinkering. (I don’t use  Green Stuff / Milliput in my house as some of my household are allergic to it).

Unpainted, cracked – Fimo failure or a bit of fun?

Fimo failure but fun!

Blogposted  by Mark, Man of TIN, March 2017.