Two by Two into the Metal Airfix Ark: The Case of the Metal Box

A few of the surviving figures, as I empty out and sort my old Airfix figures.

How did your childhood toy soldier collection survive, if at all?

How did you preserve your collection of childhood figures or how did they survive? By luck? By accident?

One reason that I can still play with some of my childhood family Airfix figures is this battered old flight case or engineer’s aluminium suitcase.

As far as I can remember the case was passed on to me by my late Dad. Having left home for college and work, the play things of my childhood were being packed up, sorted and some things reluctantly passed on.

Three of my surviving Airfix plastic preformed tanks, early 1980s painting. Figures “To Keep …”

The core of my Airfix OOHO and 1:32 figures survived in this suitcase, an Airfix toy soldier Ark.

It has lots of height so this was packed to the brim lid with bagged figures. This stout travel case has meant that this collection has survived several house moves since first leaving home.

Similarly the odd old 1970s battered biscuit tin has preserved a medley of such bagged childhood soldiers. Reopened, they have that familiar ‘plastic death’ chemical smell of ageing figures.

Two by Two …

I remember sitting at ‘home’ before the family final move from my childhood home in a sort of Noah’s Ark mode, sorting out who was to survive, who was to be set aside and who take their chances.

I chose one of each Airfix pose unpainted and some interesting painted ones from each Airfix set.

After that, any gaps were filled with more of my favourite veteran figures – all my 1:32 Airfix Italians, larger numbers of ImagiNations Japanese, my few Airfix Space Warriors and Airfix medieval Knights all survived, crammed in.

Some of the more useless mouths (boxed Airfix Modern Infantry, boxed 1980s Britain’s Super Deetail SAS / Marine / Paratroopers) that had no play history or emotional connection were set aside to sell on early eBay type sites.

I’m not sure what happened to most of the Matchbox 1:32 boxes of figures – probably mostly sold – but my few Atlantic OOHO and 1:32 figures survived.

Some of our 1960s and early 70s Airfix OOHO family figures were already brittle and beginning to crumble by then, so they were set aside during sorting and quickly sold, especially the scarce Waterloo ones. This was at a time when Airfix 1:32 and many of the OOHO figures had vanished again from the shops.

This core collection would survive, even when some of the surplus figures were sold.

This case was to put it fancifully my Seed Bank, my Lifeboat, my Ark or Gene Pool from which to rebuild my collection in future. A Touchstone or Portal …

Other Survivals

In early Lockdown, I have previously shown my 1980s blue box of varied and random spare figures. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/13/unboxing-the-blue-box-of-1980s-gaming-figures-time-capsule-parts-1-to-3/

My small group of based 15mm Peter Laing ECW and medieval figures survived in a ‘carry case’ curious birthday present from the family, a converted 1970s/80s LP case with wooden trays, copied from an early 1980s Military Modelling or Miniature Wargames magazine. The wooden trays and figures have survived, the plastic and cardboard LP case has sadly not.

Having preserved a core of my collection in such a way, I am often fascinated by the odd mixed lots of other people’s plastic or hollowcast figures in an old tin that pop up on EBay. I have had such rusty old tins of mixed Airfix passed on to me by friends, workmates or fellow bloggers.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/vintage-airfix-tin-hoard/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/a-1960s-airfix-owl-pellet/

What I like about this metal box is that it has preserved early family ImagiNations sparse paintwork on figures with random selection of available matt and gloss Humbrol or Airfix paints.

Japanese figures with black hats and boots with red epaulettes?

It has also preserved samples of my own childhood and teenage efforts at Britain’s Deetail style or shiny toy soldier style painting on drab WW2 figures, minus the glossy varnish.

Another cardboard box in a loft held boxes of bits of 1970s and 1990s Airfix Playsets, tanks and figures crammed in – one to show another time.

Thankfully the communal family box of motley 1960s and 70s plastics, Herald and Britain’s knights, cowboys, indians, ceremonials and Guardsmen also survived in a box, along with a battered wooden Fort, having done play service for a time in the extended family.

Old plastic bags might not be the most recommended means of storage for plastic figures but it kept them all sorted until Really Useful Boxes came along and rebasing began.

Two by Two? Numbering the Airfix.

Having kept these figures safe, I am now number code labelling the bases of each of my surviving OO HO and 1:32 figures or rebasing them and labelling them before storing them in Really Useful Boxes.

One crammed metal case of bagged figures turns into a surprisingly large number of Really Useful Boxes and trays, not to be stored in the loft or garage to protect these ageing plastics from the extremes of heat. Some of them are now 50 to 60+ years old. Some of them are older than me!

Once done, I will know what I have got, what still sits on the sprue in my red box and blue box Airfix hoard and which are my original childhood figures. I am using a permanent marker Staedtler fineliner pen, the sort once used for marking DVDs CDRewriteables and CD-Roms. Remember them?

Have case, will travel again …

This metal case almost saw service again last March 2020, emptied out for the occasion, as it was how I planned to carry up by train to Woking a selection of my 54mm snowballing and Scouting Wide game figures and terrain for the Little Wars Revisited 54mm Games Day. The emerging Covid situation had other ideas on this occasion but maybe someday soon …

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/08/celebrating-international-womens-day-2020-but-sadly-im-not-taking-the-girl-scouts-to-woking-games-day-next-weekend/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 7 May 2021

Hing Fat 54mm WW2 Italians painted

Crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, see more pictures of my latest painted sample 54mm plastic figures from Hing Fat (thanks to Peter Evans who sells them via Figsculpt https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/figsculpt on eBay)

There’s also a comparison with the scarce Airfix 1:32 Italian Infantry figures.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/04/27/hing-fat-54mm-plastic-ww2-italian-infantry/

Battling Aggie and the Bald Headed End of the Broom!

Beware the Bald Headed End of the Broom!

A simple scrap kitchen towel for a headscarf transforms one of Steve Weston’s 54mm plastic Mexican peasants into a spirited serving girl, scolding Goodwife or feisty fender-off of invaders from medieval to Tudor times through to the English and American Civil Wars and the Wild West onwards.

This is another figure for my slowly developing 54mm figure and pound store conversions towards a raggle-taggle Arma-Dad’s Army militia muster and civilians to fend off the Spanish Fury of Armada invaders of the southwest coast in the 1590s.

And the title?

Crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog – read the more fully illustrated blog post here:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/04/26/the-bald-headed-end-of-the-broom-battling-aggie-defeats-the-spanish-fury/

Blog post by Mark Man of TIN, 25/26 April 2021

Happy St George’s Day – It’s Shaxberd’s Birthday!

Happy St George’s Day!

1. It’s Shakespeare’s Birthday! Last October I knocked up this pound store plastic Bard for my ongoing Arma-Dad’s Army Elizabethan 1509s Home Guard scenario …

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/10/26/shaxbeard-the-armada-and-war/

Toy Theatres had an attraction for many men of letters including early wargamers like RLS, GK Chesterton and H G Wells.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/h-g-wells-little-wars-floor-games-toy-theatres-and-magic-cities/

There is an excellent Shakespeare toy theatre available from Pollock’s Covent Garden shop: or support the Royal Shaxberd / Shakespeare Company shop in Lockdown: https://shop.rsc.org.uk/products/shakespeares-toy-theatre

2. April 23rd is also St George’s Day, an under celebrated and quite odd National Day whose main point is to ignore it if you’re English and not make a fuss about it unlike other country’s more noisily observed National Days.

Portuguese image of a Boy Scout on horseback like a knight of old slaying the dragon of evil.

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2021/04/23/happy-st-georges-day-to-all-those-fabulous-beasts/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/05/further-wide-game-design-ideas/

“If I should die … a corner of a foreign field that is forever England”

3. It is also Rupert Brooke’s death day – 23 April 1915 – whilst serving with the RNVR en route to Gallipoli. Brooke was amongst the first to die of the well-known WW1 poets. His Neo-Pagan circle of artistic bohemian wealthy Edwardians included Harold Hobson, an early player of H.G. Well’s Floor Games or Little Wars:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/02/05/three-more-players-of-h-g-wells-floor-game-little-wars-1913/

Brooke met Wells when he as an emerging literary talent met several leaders of the Fabian movement including George Bernard Shaw, Wells, Beatrice and Sidney Webb. Like fellow Fabian Society members he developed an enthusiasm for long walks, camping, nude bathing, and vegetarianism (Spartacus Educational website). Through the Fabians, he would also have known E. Nesbit and her husband.

Rupert Brooke took part in the Royal Naval Division action at Antwerp, October 1914, often seen as one of Churchill’s “piratical adventures”.

“Brooke’s accomplished poetry gained many enthusiasts and followers, and he was taken up by Edward Marsh, who brought him to the attention of First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. Brooke was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a temporary Sub-Lieutenant shortly after his 27th birthday and took part in the Royal Naval Division’s Antwerp expedition in October 1914.”

“Brooke sailed with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary on 28 February 1915 but developed pneumococcal sepsis from an infected mosquito bite. French surgeons carried out two operations to drain the abscess but he died of septicaemia at 4:46 pm on 23 April 1915, on the French hospital ship Duguay Trouin, moored in a bay off the Greek island of Skyros in the Aegean Sea, while on his way to the Gallipoli landings (Another Churchill’s brainchild). As the expeditionary force had orders to depart immediately, Brooke was buried at 11 pm in an olive grove on Skyros.” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Brooke)

https://www.nmrn.org.uk/news-events/nmrn-blog/remembering-renowned-war-poet-and-serviceman-rupert-brooke

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/apr/27/rupert-brooke-death-first-world-war-poet-1915

So Happy St. George’s Day and celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday (which is traditionally his Deathday too.)

Remember Rupert Brooke’s death and the many men who died at Gallipoli as well. Anzac Day this year is on Sunday 25th April 2021.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 23 April 2021.

Hing Fat 54mm Plastic WW2 Russian Infantry samples painted

Shiny toy soldier style painted Hing Fat 54mm Russians on the painting table awaiting the gloss varnish of victory …

Crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog – some more interesting Hing Fat 54mm plastic sample figures gifted to me by Peter Evans. (Thanks Peter.)

More photographs and the full range shown at:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/04/14/54mm-hing-fat-ww2-russian-sample-figures/

Peter currently sells these ‘Made in China’ Hing Fat figures through his eBay seller site figsculpt https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/figsculpt

Size comparison with my repaired childhood Airfix 1:32 (2021, currently unavailable)

Previously on Hing Fat samples posts: WW2 French

Next sample trio: probably WW2 Italians?

Meanwhile on a tinier Russian Front …

What, no Soviet women in these 54mm figures? Annie Norman of Bad Squiddo Games is producing a new range of 28mm Soviet women of WW2 on Kickstarter and then via her web shop. I don’t collect or play with 28mm figures at the moment but I have bought several vignette packs of her interesting female figures like her Land Girls. https://badsquiddogames.com

Blog Crossposted by Mark Man of TIN 15 April 2021

Parazuellian Piper figure tartan front and back views

 

Here is the rear view of the piper showing the piper’s tartan cloak in the red (white) and green national or revolutionary colours:

IMG_1844

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN blog, 29 March 2021

Neglected and Forgotten figures? Parazuellian Women’s Revolutionary Army pipe and drum band

My entry for the March 2021 Neglected and Forgotten painting challenge by Ann Wycoff but a bit late for March 4th, International Marching Day #March4th

This interesting rusty old female figure (below) was amongst an unexpected gift of some spare battered metal band figures from Alan (Duchy of Tradgardland) Gruber. Thanks, Alan.

It gave me an idea, after watching the Morecambe and Wise comedy film The Magnificent Two, 1967. This is set in the fictional 1960s South American ImagiNation of Parazuellia (think Mexico with a dash of Castro’s Cuba).

I have written more about the film’s fictional uniforms here: https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/03/05/fembruary-bmc-plastic-army-women-as-the-revolutionary-womans-army-of-parazuellia/

So the Neglected and Forgotten figures?

At first she was going to be a Parazuellian Revolutionary female piper until promoted …

The female figure was marked by its maker ‘G B’ on the base, wearing what looked like 1980s British Army female uniform, possibly a band figure based on the double arm stubs.

Here are the other battered band figures along with some spare and useful heads from Alan Gruber, which were of no immediate use to his small scale infantry skirmish games. A real mixed bag …

A useful selection of heads including two useful Gurkha ones and a mixture of band figures. Many are still queueing along on the painting table.

There were several royal marine type drummers and buglers but also some headless drummers and two with pillbox hats with a feminine look.

Gurkha heads in place, new arms added with wire and masking tape … Airfix Multipose hats and Warbases MDF tuppenny bases

What emerged was a female Parazuellian Womens’ Revolutionary Army pipe and drum band, sporting their battle bowler British type Mark II helmets at a jaunty angle, as in the film screenshot below:

Isobel Black (L) and Margit Saad (R) wearing their steel helmets in he Magnificent Two

As you can see, the helmet roundels are a red star on a white circle with green surrounding line.

Green, white and red are of course the colours not only of the Parazuellian Revolutionary Army in the film but also Mexico in real life. The Revolutionary red is picked up in the scarves, the green in the khaki or olive drab costumes.

Here is that rusty female figure remade as a Parazuellian general:

This could be a General Carla type figure, leading the Women’s Revolutionary Army.

Three side drummers and a piper, all with the national colours of Revolutionary red, white and green

The side drums are in the national colours of red, white and green.

The piper’s pipe flag is in green and red to match the Revolutionary colours. Red stripes or tartan squares on the piper’s green cloak

Parazuellian female piper

I tried the figures without helmets but they lacked the charm of the ‘battle bowler’.

Two of the drummers already had quite female heads with small pill box hats.

Luckily I had four spare steel helmets from an old Airfix Multipose set of Eighth Army figures.

I used two suitable spare Gurkha heads from the head pile for the two headless drummers. After filing down these pillbox hats in order to fit the helmets, I added some bushy female hair with tissue paper and PVA.

In the same way a piper’s cape was added with tissue paper and PVA, to cover the join of these slightly outsize (man’s?) bagpiper arms.

The officer figure’s arm stubs (originally for playing a musical instrument?) were removed and after drilling through, wire and masking tape arms were added.

The figures were painted to match these BMC Plastic Army Women Parazuellian female troops

As I used dark earth skin tones on the new BMC Plastic Army Women to match or suggest the South American ImagiNation of Parazuellia, I used the same skin tones and shiny toy soldier face style including copper cheek dots. These work better on darker skin than the usual pink cheek dots.

A final coat of gloss acrylic spray varnish toned the mixture of matt and gloss acrylic together in a suitable shiny toy soldier style.

Musical accompaniment?

Music was absorbed into their layers of paint and varnish throughout their creation. Accompanying the painting was some jaunty untraditional pipe and drum music on YouTube, Indian pipe and drum bands – at one point I thought these figures had the look of Indian female troops.

A more South American / Mexican pipe and drum sound can be found with the San Patricios or St Patrick’s Battalion pipe and drums (Mexico City), apparently remembering the Scottish and Irish troops who defected from the USA to fight for Mexico in the US -Mexican War of 1847.

Earworm warning! They can be seen and heard here on a trip to Ireland:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EpTzNdVkTqI

in Mexico City
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qsdNnPHqGug

And St Patrick’s Day in Mexico with more pipers
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=foFyzdkr0os

So a unique set of band figures, made from Forgotten and Neglected figures and inspired by a parade (sadly without drums or pipes) in the closing minutes of The Magnificent Two film. Viva Torres!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 27/28 March 2021

Wo-Manning the OP and Garden Wargames

Crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog 14th March 2021:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/03/14/wo-manning-the-op-bmc-plastic-army-women-take-over-the-three-man-pound-store-plastic-soldiers-patrol-post/

FEMBruary female figure painting challenge, 54mm BMC Plastic Army Women figures and Morecambe And Wise’s The Magnificent Two

54mm BMC Plastic Army Women figures as the Women’s Revolutionary Army of Parazuellia

My final entry for the FEMBruary female figure painting challenge are these fine new plastic 54mm BMC Plastic Army Women figures. They reminded me of the Revolutionary female figures in a favourite Morecambe and Wise film from childhood, The Magnificent Two (1967).

Isobel Black in The Magnificent Two

Read more from these two posts from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/03/05/the-magnificent-two-1967-imaginations-uniforms-the-womens-revolutionary-army-of-parazuellia/

Gloss shiny toy soldier paint and varnish finish for these figures

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/03/05/fembruary-bmc-plastic-army-women-as-the-revolutionary-womans-army-of-parazuellia/

Blog cross-posted by Mark Man of TIN, 5 March 2021