“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
A few more Toy Soldier orientated gifts this Christmas, all pretty ephemeral.
Attractive sweet packaging tin and a chocolate lolly from Marks and Spencers. Interesting ImagiNations uniform, part circus band, part Danish Hans Christian Anderson and part Napoleonic.
Some of my Christmas gifts arrived wrapped in Toy Soldier wrapping paper. This Christmas there were quite a few Toy Soldier decorations around in the shops, which mostly seemed to be the Nutcracker Russian ballet style soldier figures, big and small (2018).
I kept parts of these sheets for my scrapbook but also kept several other sections in case I want to knock up or rather glue up some cardboard Russian Nutcracker soldier figures.