Spot the toy soldier in the first episode of the new female Doctor Who

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I spotted this Britain’s New Metal Guardsman in the first episode of the  new Doctor Who series – and I claim my toy soldier Geek Points!

It appears briefly on a shot of the desk of Ryan, one of the new young companions to a new female Doctor Who (Jodie Whittaker). It stands next to a photo of his Granny, who is another important character in this first episode.

No plot spoilers for you but the presence of the toy soldier hasn’t yet altered the plot.

I haven’t watched Doctor Who for years and years, not properly since my childhood days of watching Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker.

Blog posted on 10th October 2018 – World Mental Health Day – by Mark,  Man of TIN.

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He Who Walks On Legs of Wood

One of the unusual figure conversions or repairs that arrived in a jumble or joblot of figures about five to ten years ago was this lovely damaged Britain’s 54mm hollowcast lead Indian.

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Lots of original paint details: the headdress, a little belt sash of gold, metallic rifle paint 

As you can see, he has lost his original legs and someone somewhere has carved him simple wooden legs. They have even carved a little buckskin fringe on the back of his leggings.

This is so beautifully and simply done that I will keep Old Wooden Legs as he is, with unpainted legs of wood. Hence his title “He Who Walks on Legs of Wood”, to give him a suitable Native American Indian warrior name.

All I have done is glued him to a tuppenny base so he can join in with future garden, floor or tabletop games. He deserves to be a veteran warrior, maybe even a Chief.

Without a base and maker’s name I was a little puzzled as to his original appearance until one day looking at Britain’s mounted Indians, I realised that he had obviously lost both his horse and his legs somehow. A veteran from Britain’s Mounted Indian Set 152.

Close up of Britain’s mounted Indian set 152 from James Opie’s Britain’s Toy Soldiers 1893-1932

Hopefully this lack of repainting shows him the same respect and value that he obviously once had to someone to be worthy of repair, a Brave warrior or Chief.

Naming the Braves

Choosing names for my growing 20 to 30+ skirmish warband of Broken Britain’s restored Braves (to write on the bottom of their tuppenny bases) will be a challenge. There are fantasy name generators online amongst all the Bond Girl Name Generators but it is good to know what the real Tribal names mean at https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/native-american-indian-names/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20 July 2018.

American Indians First Nations or Imagi-Nations?

Another lucky bid online for a few pounds brought this haul of battered and colourful American Indians.

17N Britain’s brave with rifle or the similar posed John Hill Co. (JohillCo) post War Indian on Guard.

I wanted to pick up a cheap and colourful opponent for my Redcoats or Bluecoat Troops, a wily native ally to match my Zulus.

A few broken spears and rifles are no problem to fix.

These rifle, bow and spear toting native warriors should prove great for garden and tabletop games once repaired and mounted on tuppenny bases. They are almost perfect for Donald Featherstone’s simple Close Wars skirmish rules (in his appendix to his War Games 1962).

More correctly these figure should be known today as Native Americans, First Nations or First Peoples but the ones you can see here are pure Imagi-Nations,  wily natives straight out of Hollywood B Movies and Wild West TV shows.

A mixture of makers –  Johillco, Britains and Crescent 50 and 54mm. Bottom row 2 is a slim thin Crescent 1950s die cast, covered in cracks. 
FiguresA wide variety of  figures from a range of makers:  top left first 2 Britain’s figures , top row 3,4 and 6 are otherwise Crescent 1950s. Bottom right damaged Timpo archers, 1950s. 

Nicely animated crawling Braves sneaking up on an unwary opponent!

I get the feeling that some manufacturers might have quite enjoyed sculpting the animated poses and bright colours after producing regiment after regiment of increasingly khaki figures.

I’m sure after World War 1 these Indians  also fitted a need to get away from the reality and aftermath of modern war off and away to the lawless and heroic but imaginary frontiers of the ‘Wild Wild West’, so popular in its many formats in fiction, cinema and Buffalo Bill shows.

1950s Timpo Indian Drummer (left) and Crescent chief seated right (prewar?) 
Johillco Indian with Tomahawk (postwar)
Right – Johillco crawling Indian.
Not a Red Indian more of a bronzed one with this unusual red bronze metallic painted skin tone – Crescent 1950s figure with broken rifle. I have also seen this paint finish used on Crescent postwar American GI mortar crew troops stripped to the waist that may have suggested African Americans?
An animated Indian Chief figure on the hunt from William Britain 16N Crown Range of figures
Elaborate head dress on a Britain’s chief or Medicine Man with Tomahawk on movable arm (Pre and post war).
Fine Crescent 1950s Indian chief dancing with shield minus tomahawk and (right) medicine man with snake curled up leg!

A curious hole which may have held a pin to attach a shield? Not sure of maker yet. 

Two of the T and B (Taylor and Barrett) figures were a bit smaller scale, around 40mm. They blend quite well with the 40mm Holger Erickson Prince August Homecast moulds.

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Taylor and Barrett Indians can be seen alongside my home cast and based 40mm Prince August figures.

ID of figures based on figure markings and Norman Joplin’s wonderful The Great Book of Hollowcast Figures.

Blogposted by Mark  Man of TIN, 21 June 2018.

 

 

Zulus or Ashantees Rearmed

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A jigsaw of a dozen Britain’s  classic Zulus
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Britain’s second grade Zulus on the repair table …

Britain’s second grade Zulus have been on the fixing table today, having the fragile and missing knobkerry stub replaced with a spear. Each  spear unusually started life as the the metal handle of an indoor firework sparkler!

Ten of these fine Zulu Warriors are awaiting a repaint. Some of the figures have the original rich brown skin colour, but others appear from what paint remains to have simply been painted black.

The reason for the difference may be their painting grade. The lower the paint grade, the less colours used. James Opie records this chunky Zulu figure in Britain’s Toy Soldiers 1893-1932  as “variously catalogued as  4R or 28C or with inferior third grade paint as 21P when sold singly between the wars.” James Opie in British Toy Soldiers 1893 to Present notes this chunky second grade set 22A figure as having been introduced  in 1913.

Simple paint schemes for Britain meant restricting the non uniform or irregular troops such as natives or American Indians to three different colours,  usually red, yellow or blue colours (Zulus) or red, green and blue (Arabs, Togoland warriors) for robes or loin cloths.

These classic slender Zulus have in their bashed surviving paintwork on loincloths some delightful colourful  stripy and spotty loincloths, maybe designed to be exotic animal furs. Too good to overpaint!

The original Zulus figures can be seen on a post from February 2017

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/ashantees-or-zulus-reborn/

The jigsaw set of 12 Broken Britain’s 1906 – 1966 classic Zulus is now almost repaired and rearmed  with Dorset Soldiers recast arms – watch this space.

These will go on to become “Generican or Farican natives” as opposition for the colonial invading Redcoats etc, and as such fit as Ashantee warriors into my Bronte juvenilia Imagi-Nations based games.

Repairing  these fine but bashed Britain’s  is my contribution to the Britain’s 125th     Anniversary 1893 –  2018. Happy Anniversary to William Britain and his dynasty!

B.P.S Blog Post Script

As it’s Fathers Day on Sunday, this post is also dedicated to my late father whose lost wartime Britain’s lead figures and general love of Toy Soldiers, even the Airfix and plastic figures of my childhood, are probably the root of my interest in them. He would be pleased that I am still tinkering, drilling and painting such figures many years on.  Thanks Dad!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/fathers-day-raf-firefighter/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/18/national-service-days-1/

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on 16 / 17 June 2018

Lost Highlanders Rearmed

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I have been steadily working through some of the remaining damaged figures found and sold to me  by a metal detectorist, including three legless and headless Highlanders.

Previous restorations and the original state of the figures can be seen at: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/recalled-to-the-colours-54mm-metal-detectorists-toy-soldier-finds-restored-to-fighting-condition

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Some of the last figures to repair – three kilted Highlanders and an odd Redcoated torso.

The surviving paintwork suggested that two of the Highlanders were Khaki colonials, the other two were a Redcoat Highlander lying firing made by Johillco and a headless Redcoat torso.

Matchstick legs were inserted into the body through the leg holes and then shaved to a more round shape with a scalpel. Masking tape was then wound round to thicken the leg up to a suitable width.

Suitable heads were mostly found in my homecast 54mm Prince August spares box.

Luckily with two of the figures, the Johillco lying firing Highlander and the Khaki Britain’s standing firing figure,  I had battered original figures with which  to compare the headless, legless torsos.

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Johillco Highlanders – at back the figure being restored, matchstick legs and wire rifle, prior to adding masking tape. At the front an original figure having the missing rifle replaced. Good for clues to paintwork.

The Highlanders had puggrees or wound strips of cloth around their pith helmets, so these were simply added with several fine thin strips of masking tape. The same technique was used to build up the sock strips on the legs.

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A puggaree, puggree, puggry or puggary (from a Hindi word ) is a strip of cloth wound around the upper portion of a hat or helmet, particularly a pith helmet, and falling down behind to act as a shade for the back of the neck.

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Fimo polymer clay feet were required to finish off the legs, modelled on a Britains Khaki firing British infantryman with feet pointing outwards.

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One of the Khaki Highlanders lying firing acquired a WW2 tin hat and arm with binoculars, both recast spares from Dorset Soldiers. An added pistol in a holster from Airfix Multipose spares should suggest an officer’s side arm. A spare right arm had to be built up with wire and masking tape.

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This quirky figure should fit well with many World War Two scenarios and match those kilted Matchbox British Eighth Army Khaki Highlander and Piper 54mm figures in kilts or shorts and Tam O’ Shanter berets. http://www.airfixtoysoldiers.com/Matchbox%20sets.htm

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The standing firing Highlander also needed a small hole drilled into the missing arm stump with 0.9mm hand drill, a wire arm or armature added (secured with superglue) and built up with masking tape. Glue and paint stiffened and secured the masking tape, stopping it from unravelling.

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The restored figure (right) is not an exact match of the original Britain’s figure in my collection (shown on the left)  but it gave a rough idea of what to aim at.

This figure was easier to do because of the lucky fact that I had a battered Britain’s  original Khaki Highlander standing firing figure in my collection to compare it with. This standing firing original figure also needed repair of a broken rifle, so I did that as well.

The looser repaired arms lack the neat slender precision of the original Britain’s limbs but provide character one-off  figures. The repaired figures here remind me a little of the looser limbed but spirited poses of Heyde of Germany and Lucotte or Mignot figures of France.

Milliput might be easier for sculpting but I cannot use this due to a family / household allergy, so  I used what I safely had to hand.  I could have ordered and waited for further Dorset Soldier recast Britain’s heads, but impatiently used what Dorset heads or Prince August heads I had in my spares box, even though Prince August 54mm figure heads are a little bigger and heftier than Britain’s original or recast ones. It adds to the toy soldierness of the figures anyhow.

The final non Highland figure was the redcoated torso.

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Prince August head, armature arm and rifle, matchstick legs …

This was the trickiest figure, the Redcoated  torso,  as  I was not sure who the maker was or what the original figure looked like. It had the chunky, slightly oversized look of an early Britain’s Fusilier but having no other fusiliers in my armies,  I chose instead found a suitable Prince August line infantry spiked helmet. This would more closely match my other  line infantry figures. The legs and base were easy enough to make out of matchsticks, masking tape and the usual Fimo feet and base to fit a tuppeny base for stability.

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The near-finished slightly clunky figure. 

The right arm was half missing, so I drilled a small hole to insert a bent wire armature that would be both an arm and shouldered rifle all in one piece. Not the usual rifle position for marching or sloping  arms, but it kind of works.

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A few more useful finishing touches – NCO stripes, maybe some medals – should complete this tiny lead Frankenstein figure.

A satisfying few evenings’ work, mixed in with other figure repair work in progress on more Broken Britain’s, some more Zulus etc to feature in future blog posts.

Hopefully these once lost and battered figures are as bright and proud, as fighting fit as the day they were cast, painted and bought home from a toy shop in a red box. As shiny again as they once were before their curious fate to be bashed, buried and eventually found again over many years by a metal detectorist called Frank in the Southeast of England.

I have based them on tuppeny pieces and made them stout repairs to arms, legs and rifles, stocky rather than thin and elegant,  as these figures will eventually will fight once more in gardens and on tabletops. Huzzah!

You might also be interested in my previous blog posts over the last few weeks about other toy soldier repairs.

Just two more tricky figures left from the figure part of the original haul, the headless driver figure who will become a pilot and a half a body figure in longcoat and gauntlets – possibly originally a pilot?

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 11  January 2018.

 

Recalled To The Colours – 54mm metal detectorist’s toy soldier finds restored to fighting condition

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How these figures looked once I cleaned them of the earth and mud, much  as they were found over many years by a metal detectorist.

A week or two ago I shared photos of how my inexpensive purchase of a metal detectorist’s finds of battered old toy soldiers were cleaning and shaping up. https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/more-dumb-soldiers-in-the-garden-the-clean-up-operation-begins/

Alongside repairing some other Broken Britain’s figures, I have been painting and restoring these wrecked figures to gaming and playable condition  or fighting fitness.

The aim is to give them the kind of glossy toy soldier factory painting bench finish that they might once have enjoyed.

Ahoy Sailors Ahoy!

A small Royal Navy Landing party restored from earth battered bodies.

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The Britain’s sailor figures as they cleaned up, still with blue paint, alongside a complete example in my collection. The other torso with swagger stick is possibly  Crescent Models?

Two bashed sailor bodies required a lot of restoration, although some of their original  blue paint remained. These Britain’s sailors were once proud part of either the prewar Royal Navy Reserve set 151 or the second grade paint set Royal Navy Bluejackets Set 49N, an attractive simple fixed arm figure like one I have in my collection.

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Sailors and Guardsman  Repairing or restoring legs with matchstick and cocktail stick wrapped round and round in masking tape, then sealed with paint.

Legs were repaired or restored  with matchstick and cocktail sticks,  wrapped round and round with masking tape, then sealed with paint.

The sailor figures  had no base and feet remaining. Fimo bases were made, fired and  painted to match my other Britain’s figures which are mounted on 2p pieces.

A 1mm hole was drilled through the shoulder where the rifle is broken off to insert some 1mm metal to rebuild a barrel. This was thickened to rifle size again by winding a small width of masking tape around it.

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Two restored sailors alongside my original Britain’s sailor figure for reference.

Two sailor’s heads with different hats were found in my bits box,  both recasts from Dorset Soldiers, and the neck  and sailor scarf area built up on each one to take these heads.

These figure repairs need to be stout and strong as they will once again be in tabletop  action or campaigning in the garden, H.G. Wells’ Little Wars style, albeit without firing real projectiles at them.

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I do not use Milliput due to a family allergy,  instead I use the masking tape, matchstick and Fimo (polymer clay) method of repair. I also do not yet know how to solder such small figures.

The pink or red cheek dot on the faces is a useful gloss paint toy soldier style trick. Nothing very Military Modelling or realistic about this type of face.

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I worked on the swagger stick torso figure and made this figure out of him, using a peaked cap Prince August 54mm Toy Soldier head that I had previously cast in one of their traditional toy soldier moulds.

He got one of the disembodied pair of legs with puttees, along with a separate wooden leg. This (Crescent Models?) figure’s  body is curiously rather short in the arms!

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Guards! Guards!

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Comparing these two metal detectorist’s finds with original Britain’s  Guards figures in my collection.

These Guardsmen needed both leg and rifle repairs.

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Guardsmen on the left, preaparing new Fimo feet and bases to fit a 2p coin base. On the right are two more Broken Britain’s figures from John Forman, Khaki Infantry  on guard in Steel helmet and Boer War Gloucester Regiment in Khaki firing set 119. I will feature these two groups in future blogposts.

Two of the broken figures were clearly Britain’s Guardsmen marching and firing.

After preparing new legs as required, replacement bases were made from Fimo (polymer clay). Metal replacement bases can be bought for some footless damaged Britain’s figures from companies such as Dorset Soldiers.  As these are being repaired back to gaming or  fighting condition, rather than restored to red box display condition, I thought Fimo and tuppeny mounted bases like my other restorations were suitable, as well as cheaper and to hand.

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A temporary spare original head whilst I wait for a recast one to arrive.

Until some suitable recast Guardsman heads arrive, I am showing these figures with a spare loose fusilier or guards busby head.

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Restored Britain’s Marching Guardsman with repaired wooden matchstick right leg, new feet and base and new rifle. The head is a temporary spare original head from my bits box. 

As these old soldiers are special, restored to life and recalled to the colours, I have given several of them suitable status with various stripes as Corporals and Sergeants / NCOs.

My favourite figure of this bunch so far is one of the most wrecked figures whom, with the addition of a Dorset recast bare head and moustache, I have made into a brave bare-headed Battling Sergeant.

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This bareheaded “on guard” pose reminds me of Victorian Battle paintings.  I have painted this brave fellow with the yellow facings (colour and cuffs) of the Buffs (East Kent Regiment), one of the popular Britain’s Toy Soldier Line Infantry Regiments.

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This Sergeant  matches two of the Buffs “on guard” figures amongst the Broken Britains figures recently given to me by John Forman, whose broken rifles I  have repaired.

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Compared to what he was a few weeks ago, he’s looking quite handsome! I like the fact that his painted red coat is still showing even after years in the soil and now sits within his new red gloss Acrylic painted tunic.

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A new pair of legs and new rifle repaired.

Next task – watch this space

Amongst the next figure challenges from amongst the metal detectorist’s finds are these fine kilted colonial Highlanders by Britain’s and John Hill Co. (Johillco).

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New legs, arms and heads needed for these three damaged Highlanders.

I would love to know their previous history, past battles and how these battered toy soldier figures ended up in the earth to be found by metal detectorists decades later.

Great fun, I am really enjoying this quiet, slow and colourful restoration work.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20 May 2018.

 

#MARCH no. 1

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Wendal aluminium marching bandsman – Salvation Army or Circus uniforms. British made.

As well as March being Women’s History Month (a continuation of FEMbruary), it is  an excuse for painting, modelling or photographing more of my MARCHing toy soldier figures and MARCHing bands.

I love a marching figure and given the choice, I would rather have a set of marching toy soldiers than the more realistic modern multiple poses, just for that classic toy soldier look.

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Here’s one I made earlier … they look great on parade or the battlefield. Prince August 54mm home cast metal Traditional Toy Soldier set. Cast your chosen arms,  head and body, assemble, paint  and you have your own home made figure. Still magical.

https://shop.princeaugust.ie/54mm-traditional-toy-soldiers-moulds/

So here are a few of my marching figures for this MARCH.

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Two Britain’s Scottish marching troops with the moving arm still attached. Left,  Highland Light Infantry from set 213 (prewar manufacture) and Right, The Royal Scots from set 212.

More will be MARCHing across this blog for a small parade on Donald Featherstone’s Centenary on 20 MARCH 2018.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/featherstone100-donald-featherstone-centenary-20-march-2018/

We might even get time for a small suffragette March before the month is out.

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A simple tartan and lace trimmings … in Scottish doublet and tartan trews.

The simple beauty and joy of a MARCHing figure or a MARCHing band.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN,  MARCH 2018