#FEMbruary Hobby Challenge Conversions

 

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Suffrajitzu for #FEMbruary anyone?

IMG_2067https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/mr-thomas-atkins-and-family/

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

https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/heroic-female-soldiers-of-serbia/

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. http://www.britserbcham.eu/british-nurses-in-serbia-1915/

Interestingly one of Marvin’s readers Imperial Rebel Ork https://imperialrebelork.wordpress.com mentions #Fembruary as a hobby challenge.

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The #Fembruary challenge seems to have come from

https://leadballoony.com/2018/01/29/more-eru-kin-and-the-fembruary-challenge

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!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representation_of_the_People_Act_1918

http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/case-study-the-right-to-vote/the-right-to-vote/birmingham-and-the-equal-franchise/1918-representation-of-the-people-act/

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

You can hear more about her on her guest slots on the Meeples and Miniatures podcasts episodes 168, 197 and 238 https://meeples.wordpress.com/podcast/https://meeples.wordpress.com/podcast/https://meeples.wordpress.com/podcast/

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

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/tell-it-to-the-unicorns-new-gaming-year-irresolutions-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

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/donald-featherstones-unusual-take-on-casualties-and-campaigns/#comments

OR

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

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/more-duelling-inspiration-bartitsu

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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

 

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May 25th 2017 my 1st Blogaversary!

 

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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.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/pound-store-wars/

A few months later Pound Store Plastic Warriors was created in 6th September 2016 as a separate sister blogsite https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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

 

Of Semaphore and Signal Towers

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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.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/scratchbuilt-desert-or-coastal-signal-tower/

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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:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/by-heliograph-and-semaphore/

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

 

Fimo Figure Failure Fun

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.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/prince-august-chess-pawn-toy-soldiers/

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).

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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.

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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.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/more-diy-gaming-figure-making/

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.

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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.

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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).

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

Fimo failure but fun!

Blogposted  by Mark, Man of TIN, March 2017.

 

The Old Toy Soldier Remount Department

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?

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Three fantastic Johillco (left) and Britain’s rifle brigade (?) and Zouave figures charging or running at trail, all well worth repairing.

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.

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Not sure of maker (Taylor and Barrett?) but with a repaired gun and new feet/ base, this interesting figure is ready for action after a future repaint. 

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.

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Johillco line infantry left, Britain’s metal and plastic Herald kneeling, Airfix Japanese and postwar Crescent British Infantry –  a range of plastic and lead figures from different makers and historical periods rearmed very simply with shaved cocktail sticks. Back into action soon with a little repaint.

Cocktail sticks cut and shaved into shape make good simple repairs for broken rifles, once glued into place and painted.

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Two damaged Zulus, on left a Reka / Crescent Prewar Zulu, the other Johillco (missing shield and arm as well as foot!

Some of the natives in this batch needed extensive rearming, new shields and rebasing with new feet.

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Two repaired Natives joined by some of my recently repainted Second grade Britain’s Zulu figures.

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.

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This delightful Britains drummer boy needed a new hand and drumstick. The plastic figure is a plastic Guards band figure with a new Fimo helmet to trim  to match a strange joblot  bunch of marine bandsmen with hats carved out of busbies!

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.

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This Johillco grenade thrower may well become a standard bearer, possibly  repainted for Imagi-Nations but keeeping the simple face.

Sometimes the balance of figures is not quite right, as in the charging Tommy in the steel hat. One to rebase again!

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Well worth the effort of rebasing / repairing feet to bring these Johillco bugler and lovely Britain’s artilleryman back into action. More work is required on rebasing the charging Tommy with steel helmet.

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.

Peter Laing 15mm blog photographer

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.

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Peter Laing tiny 15mm photographer conversion with Northern infantry in the background beyond the bridge. (Photograph / figures/ Man of TIN)

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.

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Our tiny 15mm Peter Laing blog photographer focuses in on Southern troops (F3009) advancing, led by a scratch-built Fimo polymer clay standard bearer with his home spun Southern flag. (Pictures / figures: Man of TIN)
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Our tiny photographer captures this image of Butternut Southern infantry (F3010) heading into action. The famous Peter Lang sheep can be seen in the background near the Northern infantry.  (Photograph: Man of TIN blog staff photographer)

 

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And again in colour …

More pictures of my newly painted and based Northern and Southern / Blue and Grey infantry on my next blog post.

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, August 2016.

 

Cakes of Death Guardsman

 

 

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1970s cake decoration plastic Drum Major (photo / figure: Man of TIN)

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!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/bearskin-cake-of-death-warriors/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/back-to-basics-toy-soldiers/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/more-diy-gaming-figure-making/

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 …

Defend the Cake Tin!

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, July 2016