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 Rabbitsin My Basement blog
GAmerica, America … no this is not a post about the Women’s World Cup.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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 femalesoldiers including recently Serbian WW1 women soldiers
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 http://wargaminggirl.blogspot.co.uk
and also Victoria Dickinson at Vicky’s Crazy Wargames World blog with lots of unusual fantasy / historical gaming (Wormingrad? Fabulous Fimo fantasy figures?) http://crazywargames.blogspot.co.uk
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.http://badsquiddogames.com
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
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.
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.
What have I enjoyed about Blogging?
Blogging is like an online wargaming clubor 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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
Brian Carrick, blog author of the brilliant Collecting Plastic Soldiers blog, http://toysoldiercollecting.blogspot.co.uk 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.
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).
There are old soldiers and there are bold soldiers, but there are no old, bold soldiers, as the saying goes.
I always feel a bit sad seeing the lead graveyard of damaged toy soldiers that is sometimes EBay.
Repairing horses or cavalry is very tricky. Infantry are less tricky, if you are not too fussy, although many companies like Dorset Soldiers will do a fine job for you but at a cost. Recast heads and arms are available from several companies.
There is surprisingly little information on the Internet about repairing old broken lead soldiers.
I have been working my way through some of the casualties that have turned up in job lots of vintage toy soldiers to give them some gaming life again. I’m not one for a soldering iron or even Milliput / Green Stuff. This is not family friendly for us to use in our house as we have allergies to this Green Stuff in the family.
What else could I use to repair these damaged warriors?
What puts toy soldiers literally back on their feet in our house is Fimo or Sculpy polymer clay.
Crude, but using the traditional matchstick or cocktail stick into the hollow of the damaged legs, it is possible to make a custom made ‘prosthetic’ Fimo base to support the balance or weight of the damaged figure.
30 minutes baking later and once cool, the figure can be glued back into position on its Fimo base. Two pence pieces make good weighty support bases.
Overly chunky Fimo supports can be disguised if flocked or Fimo / Sculpy remains slightly shaveable with a scalpel after baking.
Once these bases are painted and the feet painted in, they should look slightly less clumsy but at least they are sturdy and live to fight again! With a few new arms bought in and a bit of repainting where needed, they should look almost shiny and new, certainly enough for the odd tabletop or garden skirmish.
Cocktail sticks cut and shaved into shape make good simple repairs for broken rifles, once glued into place and painted.
Some of the natives in this batch needed extensive rearming, new shields and rebasing with new feet.
These natives are part of a slowly growing force of natives, one I have repainted from bashed and damaged Zulu figures in job lots, ready for skirmish gaming.
One or two figures still need to have Fimo hands added like this Grenade thrower or hands / gloves shaved down into size like this drummer boy.
Sometimes the balance of figures is not quite right, as in the charging Tommy in the steel hat. One to rebase again!
Really pleased to have found a simple method of repairing of rebasing damaged figures. I will post some updated figures when these damaged figures are repainted or finished.
Posted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 18 November 2016.
Following up my “favourite Peter Laing figure?” Blogpost, I asked knowledgeable enthusiast Ian Dury about 15mm Peter Laing figures whether Peter Laing had ever made a 15mm photographer figure, knowing how much Ian and others liked his Victorian Parade Range.
As far as Ian was aware, Peter Laing hadn’t made such a figure, so the natural thing to do was a quick conversion.
A colonial British infantry heliograph operator in pith or foreign service helmet (A605) made a good basic figure for a photographer with his tripod. The addition of a tiny black plastic Qixel cube or square bead roughed in for the clunky camera or early cine film apparatus. Until I find a smaller cube, it’ll do.
I let this tiny ‘blogs of war’ photographer loose on the my portable game board ‘battlefield’ of an impending North / South skirmish to take the combatant’s pictures. I think some time travel will be required if he is to document other such skirmishes.
More pictures of my newly painted and based Northern and Southern / Blue and Grey infantry on my next blog post.
This 30mm white plastic cake decoration guardsman was around when I was a child, whether I hope a left over ‘treasure’ from a family birthday cake or maybe just part of a random jumble sale bag.
I can’t recall his origin but this Drum Major was too big to fit with my other figures, so I kept him aside in my odds box.
The idea of a parade or band of these marching over a cake seemed highly appealing.
I always loved the decorated cakes on display in our local bakery window. Beyond the reach of most ordinary families in the 70s and 80s, who did you know who had a ‘boughten’ birthday cake from a shop? I recall staring for many years at the same pale green and white line iced football match cake with players and goals. Clever but by then very very stale!
It was also fascinating to rummage through the boxes and boxes of cake decorations in bakers or stationers, but they were pretty expensive for such cheap and badly painted plastic. Seemingly the boxes always seemed far too full of wedding cake figures or ballerinas, rather than useful, convertible figures for gaming.
Sadly I have yet to find an online museum of vintage cake decorations to find out more about this Guards Drum Major.
Fimo / Polymer Clay and Resin figures online now seem to have replaced these cake decoration selections in shops. Some of these offer creative possibilities!
The silicon cake decoration moulds around online now prove pretty handy for a range of gaming figures or tokens – from guardsmen to nativity shepherds and cowboys and Indians, lots of polymer clay and gaming play possibilities. If you like your figures on the cartoon, game token or ‘toy soldier’ side …