Black Cowboys, Time Tunnels, Earworms and the Old Town Road

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More realistic 54mm cowboys (Pound Store copies of Airfix)?

Gaming and pulp scenarios here: Time tunnels, black cowboys, American western history and myth,  earworm songs and music videos, all on my sister blog post Pound Store Plastic Warriors:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/08/16/black-cowboys-on-the-old-town-road/

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Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN 15 August 2019. Boogety, Boogety,  Boogety!

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A 1960s Airfix Owl Pellet …

IMG_1144IMG_1145IMG_1146IMG_1158Chatting by email to Tony Adams of the Miniature Wood Screw Army blog, he mentioned passing on a few Airfix figures that he no longer needed. I little expected an A4 jiffybag to arrive a few days later full of unwanted 1960s version 1 Airfix figures.

I find it interesting to see the mix and the range of paint schemes when buying the odd job lot of figures or seeing the OBEs on Hugh Walter’s Small Scale World.

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An Airfix timeline 1960 to about 1966 along with RAF kit figures c. 1969

This lovely gift was heavy on version 1 Afrika Korps but had an interesting early 1960s mix from the Guards Colour Party 1959/60 through to the First World War.

In Plastic archaeology terms this was a short stretch of time from Guards Colour Party (1960) to WW1 figures (1966), as the Version 1 figures were replaced from 1972. The version 1 Airfix figures are those used in Donald Featherstone’s WW2 game in his first book War Games 1962.

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Left version 1 Germans and strange egg box fortifications in Terry Wise,  Introduction to Battle Gaming (1969/72) and right, Donald Featherstone War Games (1962).

The beautiful paperback Airfix’s Little Soldiers (2010) by Jean-Christophe Carbonel has a useful Year by Year chronology of Airfix HO/OO figures. A book well worth getting for the pictures of the figures and their packaging alone.

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Version 1 Airfix replaced by Version 2 Chronology

(based on Plastic Soldier Review and Small Scale World Airfix figure listings)

1960 Infantry Combat Group (British Infantry) replaced 1973

1961 WW2 German Infantry replaced 1974

1962 British 8th Army replaced 1974

1962 Afrika Korps replaced 1973

1962 French Foreign Legion replaced 1970-72?

1963 US Marines replaced 1979

The American Civil War figures were all produced in 1962 and the slender and versatile Russian and Japanese infantry in 1964 before the shift to slightly larger figures such as the WW1 figures which appeared in 1966. The Chunky British Paras appeared in 1965.

These larger or version 2 figures are the ones still available from Airfix over 40 to 50 years later on their sporadic reissue as Vintage Classics. https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/shop/figures.html

I wonder what was behind the change from the charming version 1 figures? Version 2 figures are often a scaled down (pantographed) small version of the equivelant 1:32 poses. Was it a change in technology or different sculptor?

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Jean-Christophe Carbonel,  Airfix’s Small Soldiers (2010)

Were the Version 1 figures deemed too crude or small by emerging metal figure and kit standards? Jean-Christophe Carbonel in Airfix’s Small Soldiers suggested that John Niblett sculpted lots of the Airfix HO/OO and 1:32 figures for  Airfix until 1974 when Ron Cameron  took over, Ron having also sculpted figures for Matchbox. Hopefully someone can tell me more.

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http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/ManufacturerList.aspx?id=3

By the time my pocket money was being spent on Airfix kits and figures in the early to mid 1970s, it was mostly the chunkier or more detailed Version 2 that was available. The same slender and smaller to chunkier and bigger figure shift can be seen in the Airfix platform and railway figures still available in hard plastic from Dapol. Was it a HO/OO scale issue trying to resolve the 1:72 / 1:76 thing?

Sadly figures of this age, condition and style are not accorded much value.  Some of these charming Version 1 smaller figures that were my quiet childhood favourites are beginning to crumble now. Usually it’s just lost rifle ends but occasionally heads, arms and bases. These can be carefully repaired or replaced. I wish someone would recreate or recast the Version 1 figures in metal as vintage gaming figures.

One of the attractive features of someone else’s playbox are the mysteriously painted or coloured figures from past battles with their now cryptic base markings and uniform colours. I like these OBE figures on Hugh Walter’s Small Scale World, for example the Afrika Korps http://airfixfigs.blogspot.com/2010/06/1962-wwii-afrika-korps-1st-type-s11-hooo.html

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Amongst the figures were some odd ones with slightly unusual hats that I take to be from their harder plastic and dark green colour to be Hong Kong copies.

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From the new arrivals HK Copies or Airfix originals? Some have almost miners hats or bowler hats.

There were some recognisable Airfix kit vehicle crews such as Bren crews (1964)  and cut down Afrika Korps version 1 figures,  amongst some unusual and very versatile hard plastic German seated troops. Manufacturer identified by Tony Adams (see comments)  as Airfix kit crew for the half track towing the 88mm gun (1967). At around 60 seated infantry and 15 drivers, that’s a lot of half track kits !  A seated platoon  may possibly be created.

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It was interesting to see the change in size from Airfix version 1 to the larger Airfix Version 2 style, whilst also  amongst Tony Adams’ figures were some larger pirate copies of other figures, seen here next to one of my Pound Store equivalent 32mm figures.

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Version 1 through larger Airfix 1:72 figures through Crescent copies to a modern Pound Store 32mm figure.

There were also some larger Hong Kong copies of Lilliput style Herald Britain’s 1958 1:72 or 54mm Herald 1953/54 Modern Infantry or Crescent 54mm Eighth Army figures.

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Flashy 25mm Hong Kong copies of Crescent 54mm Eighth Army c. 1960 plastics

I have a battered few of these Crescent 54mm Desert Rats, seen here in better condition set on Barney Brown’s Herald Miniatures website (archive pages).

http://www.heraldtoysandmodels.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=128&products_id=2732

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Archive sold section  screenshot from Barney Brown’s Herald Toys  shop

Those familiar and classic Britains Herald plastic ‘British’ Modern infantry in 54mm (1953/4) were also briefly issued in 1957/8 as 1:72 figures, similar to the Britain’s Lilliput Range. These tiny figures  weren’t issued for long, but long enough to be pirated in Hong Kong.

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Those four delightful words of childhood pocket money  joy – ‘Made in Hong Kong’

So the best of these figures will be repaired, painted up and penny based for Future Featherstone vintage nostalgia ‘War Games’  1962.

With a bewildering variety of scale and figure choice today, harking back to the restricted pocket money choices of the Sixties child or adult gamer of my youth has some Featherstone War Games (1962)  charms.

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These figures have some unusual paint schemes, probably making the most of the figures in hand, along with cryptographic colour markings on the base that only Tony Adams would understand. Look at his Miniature Woodscrew Army and you will see similar hat, base and body markings for different branches of the armed forces still.

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Thanks Tony, for sending these and the pleasant evening sorting through this Airfix Owl Pellet of the Sixties gamer into a Really Useful Box tray for future games inspiration.

Blog posted by Mark , Man of TIN, child of the 1970s nostalgic for version 1 Airfix, 2 August 2019.

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

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The first figures repaired and put on penny bases. Have run out of spare pennies for now …

New Prince August Flats 60mm Queens Guards Moulds

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New at Prince August the curiously sized 60mm and flat Queen’s  Guards mould https://shop.princeaugust.ie/british-queens-guard-flat-60mm-scale-mould/

They look quite charming. I like these poses – marching, firing, advancing, bayonet drill –  but not sure yet if I will order any. Are they going to produce any more 60mm flat figures?

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Other old plastic Crescent 60mm semi flat figures or older large metal flats up to 60mm could be drafted in as opposition.

Like I need a new size of soldiers to collect. Resisting shiny. Resisting shiny.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 22 July 2019

Landing Craft (Carton)

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How to avoid landfill and land your pound store plastic warriors on the beach – cross posted from my other blog:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/milk-carton-creation-no-1-cheap-landing-craft/

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Hit the beach, fellas! 

Raid the fridge and get cutting. Enjoy! Posted by Mark Man of TIN 21 July 2019

The Legendary Wood Screw Miniature Army of Tony Adams

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Scratchbuilt limbers and bowsers to accompany Tony Adam’s  woodscrew army 

Crossposted from my sister blog – enjoy!

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/design-ideas-from-the-legendary-woodscrew-wargames-army/

 

Have Trek Cart, Will Travel …

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Bob a Job for the War Office? Phoenix 43 range (S and D models) scout trek cart, scouts and scoutmaster group. Crate – old Tamiya  1:35 stock.
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My recent broken figure conversions to Girl Scouts admire the Trek Cart
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Beautifully detailed moulded figures with scout badges and all …

I have pretty much finished painting my Trek Cart scout group of Phoenix 43 figures, apart from gloss varnishing them.

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1\43 Phoenix 43 S and D Models Scouts and Trek Cart

At first it looked a little fiddly but fitted together well with little flash.

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The Trek or Trek Cart is mentioned in very early Scout cigarette cards.

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First series Ogden’s  cigarette  cards – Boy Scout Series 1 to 5 Cigarette Card Images, an internet book / reprint by Trading Card Enterprises, LLC

It is also pictured as an iconic bit of scout history in the 1990 Cub Scout Handbook history of Scouting pages:

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Baden-Powell’s Mafeking idea of ‘Model Soldiers’
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An interesting conversion idea for a Boy Scout patrol with turbans – plenty of world Boy Scout uniforms on cigarette cards on Pinterest. Cub Scout Handbook, 1990.
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Close up of the trek cart picture illustration 1990 by Martin Aitchison

Search around and you will find that trek carts were once quite iconic for the scout movement, such as this book cover illustration.

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Pinterest is a useful source of images and there are Trek Cart sections on there,  from which I have taken some screen-shots as  reference pictures for painting my trek cart model.

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The dark green works well as a scout colour (Pinterest image source)
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Bright and colourful Trek Cart paint scheme
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Good design  and colour references for vintage trek carts from a Pinterest search.
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S and D models Phoenix 43 Trek Cart No. OF154

I chose a dark green Gloss simple paint scheme for my trek cart  with no wording.

The trek cart or baggage waggon train provides a good target or focus for many Wide Games / tabletop gaming scenarios.

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Lots more Trek Cart stories and images at http://www.shurdington.org/Scouts/Trekcart.htm

I never made the link between scout trek carts and the Wild West type pioneer trek carts featured in this episode of Mormon and American West history.

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Recreating the Mormon pioneer treks of the 1840s

This is a pioneer story as gripping and tragic as that of the Oregon Trail.

“To cut down on expensive wagons and oxen, some 3,000 of the [Mormon] pioneers subsequently used low-cost wooden handcarts that were light enough to be pulled across the Great Plains. One family or five individuals were assigned to a handcart, with 18 to 20 people sharing a tent. A cart hauled no more than 200 pounds — about 17 pounds of baggage per person.  Each highly organized company was led by an experienced guide and was accompanied by at least four oxen-drawn supply wagons.

The first party of handcarts set out from Iowa City, Iowa, on 9 June 1856 with a company of 266 people from England, followed two days later by a second company of just over 200.  These early handcart brigades successfully arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, but the trips were not easy. Pioneer journals recorded harsh weather, the threat of hostile Indians, the death of fellow travelers and the ongoing hardships of hunger and fatigue.”

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/pioneer-trek

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

The Mormon pioneer treks of American history are often recreated as part of youth camping activities within this church, pictured and described here:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/youth/activities/stake-and-multistake-activities/camps-and-youth-conferences/treks?lang=eng&country=am

There is also a Wikipedia article on the Mormon Handcart Pioneers https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_handcart_pioneers

As mentioned before, the Man of TIN blog supports no particular faith denomination. All are welcome at the Man of TIN blog.

Trek carts which disassembled were made in the early William Britain’s Boy Scouts Range, seen here featured in James Opie’s Britain’s Toy Soldiers 1893 – 1932: 

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Two of my repaired Broken Britain’s 54mm  Scouts beside Britain’s Trek Cart  pictures in James Opie’s book.

Trek Carts can also be found in smaller OOHO  railway scale figures by Modelscene / Peco.

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OOHO Modelscene Peco railway series trek cart and Scouts with berets

A historical Huzzah for the humble Trek Cart!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 15 July 2019.

Rosemary Sutcliff Birth Centenary December 2020

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About 18 months ago I re-read Rosemary Sutcliff’s first book The Eagle of The Ninth for the first time since childhood. I also had strong memories of this Roman adventure story set beyond Hadrian’s  Wall in Scotland from the late 1970s BBC Children’s / Family TV serial version.

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I was reminded of this book by Alan Gruber the Duchy of Tradgardland blog’s latest SPQR related Roman scenario   http://tradgardland.blogspot.com/2019/07/warriors-looked-out-awaiting-arrival-of.html

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A brief biography …

How the book was written or inspired:

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C. Walter Hodges’ illustrations

A suitably mountainous pine tree background with some of my Toyway 54mm Romans.

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December 2020 is Rosemary Sutcliff’s birth centenary. There are several interesting blogs about her including sporadic ones by Anthony Lawton, her godson and literary executor:

https://therosemarysutcliffarchive.wordpress.com

Oxford University Press have a few,  sadly very few,  of her most popular titles in print:

https://global.oup.com/education/content/children/authors/rosemary-sutcliff/?region=uk

Rosemary Sutcliff  has a good extensive Wikipedia entry with links

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

Blue Remembered website has several years of blog posts  up to 2017 written by Sandra Garside-Neville and Sarah Cuthbertson, two fans of her work http://blueremembered.blogspot.com

https://sutcliff.fandom.com/wiki/Sutcliff_Wiki

http://www.historicalnovels.info/Rosemary-Sutcliff.html

Hang on a minute, I ask myself, weren’t you working on Scouting Wide Games?

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Suggested reading for Boy Scouts for imaginative Wide Games personas  -Wide Games 1931

This is not a million miles from my Scouting Wide Games as some of the recommended imaginative historical reading for  “The Cloak of Romance” section of Scouting Wide Games includes authors that Sutcliff’s admired.  Rosemary Sutcliff also liked Kipling’s historical romance Puck of Pook’s Hill.

The historicalnovels.info webpage mentions:

“Sutcliff felt a particular affinity with Rudyard Kipling. His work, especially his collected stories Puck of Pook’s Hill, aroused her interest in the way a conquered land can become “heart-home” to its conquerors, as seen in The Eagle of the Ninth and epitomised by Kipling’s poem “The Roman Centurion’s Song”. 

I think Rosemary Sutcliff’s work and Henry Treece books have probably inspired the odd Wide Game Scouting scenario.

One great fun 54mm Roman Wargames website to explore is By Toutatis! or Romans Go Home by Allan Tidmarsh channels Asterix http://romansgohome.blogspot.com

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For the last 18 months I have had a Roman “Close Wars” Skirmish idea focussed on troops vs natives nicknamed Full Metal Hic Jacet

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/full-metal-hic-jacet/

Other equally spurious projects have got in the way a bit.

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Teutoburg Forest AD 9 (Osprey) was one example of an Eagle of the Ninth style disaster.

The  Marcus Didius Falco detective series set in Ancient Rome  has similar disbanded and destroyed legions. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Didius_Falco

To end …

Some more gratuitous pictures of Peter Laing Romans (painted by Stuart Asquith!)

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Peter Laing 15mm catalogue extract

So there you are, another cheerfully rambling blog post about toy soldiers and books.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on 16/17 July 2019.