I loved making these unusual buildings over several weeks, using scrap materials.
An old, long dead Roberts digital radio with wooden frame and stylish fabric print has been upcycled into several wooden 54mm buildings.
Brick ruin walls were provided with air drying Das terracotta clay. This took a week or two to dry!
I wanted to create buildings that could serve a number of uses in a desert scenario or European Countryside on tabletop or garden games.
I wasn’t sure how best to paint these with Acrylics, so went for a ‘Blend’, inspired by two old stalwart childhood favourites, the Airfix Desert Outpost and the ruined house European strongpoint.
My Airfix Painting Inspiration?
After a non-descript base paint colour of sandy Afrikabraun and brown Acrylic to suggest a sand or mud floor, I used a mixture of white and offwhite Acrylic for the whitewashed walls, followed by a dry brush of brown to weather the walls to a more ruinous state. Several coats of white / offwhite were required.
Lolly sticks, cocktail sticks and wooden coffee stirrers provided the ruined window frames. Pushing a couple of ragged holes through the clay walls suggests that the building has been damaged by shell fire or the walls loopholed by troops.
I still have the smaller clay building to paint, which has been based on another oddly shaped wooden internal section of the old radio.
Coastal Gun Emplacement?
Looking at the other part of the old digital radio, once I had removed the electrics / electronics, the shape suggested some kind of camouflaged bunker.
I was inspired by some of the simple wooden Hugar style buildings made in the 1930s for Britain’s. Paul Brookes has written a recent Illustrated History of Hugar, available via Amazon.
The metal front speaker grille that would form the bunker roof would be fine on a sci fi bunker. It didn’t look right on a 1930s/40s one, so was replaced by cardboard covered in some of the fabric pattern removed from the radio back before the back was used as the larger terracotta house base.
Other internal bits of wood from the radio suggested two gun platforms.
I had no plyboard left and had already used the radio base for the larger house ruin, so I substituted stiff cardboard for a base. I tend to use whatever I have to hand, just to get on with the job whilst in the mood.
Amongst job lots of Broken Britain’s figures had been a couple of damaged old Britain’s AA guns without their trailer bases. I had been saving three of these guns for wooden gunboats but two seem to serve well enough here as requisitioned or improvised coastal guns.
A scratch team of repaired Broken Britain’s and other hollowcast lead Khaki gunners and Infantry give the right feel.
These steel helmeted Khaki infantry mounted on tuppenny bases are Britain’s East Kent Regiment on Guard, all broken figures gifted to me by John Forman rather than being scrapped, all of which needed base and rifle repairs.
I’m not sure who the textile designer was for the textiles on this limited edition (but dead) Roberts digital radio c. 2004/5, but I think the strong blotch camouflage colours are reminiscent of experimental wartime camouflage schemes.
For a bit of barbed wire, the metal spines of old notebooks come in handy.
On a scrap hound basis, I also have the old radio aerial for mounting model aircraft at different heights, once a suitable wooden base turns up. Waste not …
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 13/14th October 2018.
Rainy day last weekend, so a chance to do some more 54mm figure repairs.
These figures are not intended to be fine restorations but were bought as a job lot of bashed up, broken figures to be restored to stout enough condition for future gaming use in the garden or on the tabletop.
Work in Progress
Like several of these figures, these two Cherilea Assyrian looking ‘Saracens’ originally had wide thin bases which would not fit onto a twopenny (2p) base. So it gave me a chance using a strong wire leg to have some quite active, almost balletic battle poses.
Where needed, a Fimo polymer clay base on the metal 2p was made for each figure and baked hard still on the 2p base. The figure was secured to the base when its wire or wooden leg was then glued into place.
I discovered looking up the Cherilea ‘Saracen’ figures that they have some opposition amongst the figures to be mended – an English Archer.
The ‘Robin Hood’ English archer figure again was too wide for the 2p base but for balance, I gave him anatomically too long a leg that touched the ground. I may have to shorten this and put a small gravel rock under his foot. A spare Dorset head was attached, as in keeping as the spares box would manage.
To outer Space
The Hilco / Cherilea spaceman was missing a head and leg, as well as a broken space rifle weapon. A Dorset Soldiers recast of a Britain’s style infantry recast head was the most spacey head I had in my spares box. The astro-mech leg you might recognise from the plastic skeleton’s musical horn standard thingy.
The Hilco Cherilea space figure as mended has some balance problems. Finding pictures of original figures online gave me an idea of what instrument or weapon was being carried – in this case, a sort of space rifle.
A simple podfoot base for his other foot may be required. The Dorset Soldiers head could work as it is, as a robotic face or metal face mask. Alternatively it could have a flesh coloured or green alien skin face.
From the Arctic to the Air Force?
The Timpo Eskimo or Arctic Explorer turned WW1 pilot figure in warm sheepskin clothes has worked well. I have inserted a map or flight docs in his hand, a nice touch that I have seen on another hollowcast pilot figure.
The other Indian or tribal figures have shaped up nicely. Where possible I have kept the original paintwork.
A simple metallic copper paint skin tone covers the masking tape repairs well enough. All that is needed now on many figures are some spear tips from plastic scrap or Fimo polymer clay.
The Crescent Indians with rifles had crush body damage, so I filled gaps by hot glue gun for any large holes and then glued masking tape over these areas.
On one Crescent Indian, I covered some crush damage holes by adding a thick loincloth of several layers of masking tape over the leggings. A few layers of paint should cover the joins.
The largeish Harvey Indian was completely broken in half, so I hot glue-gunned both halves together for a secure join.
I have photographed these figures as they are slowly being repaired, just to keep a record.
I will post pictures of the finished figures when painted and varnished. I look forward to doing the fine details points of faces etc.
A rainy day last weekend, so perfect for getting on with these figure repairs.
Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 22 September 2018.
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.
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.
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/
TSAF Recon Mission Report, somewhere in the twin mists of The Great River and the 1930s:
The TSAF (Toy Soldier Air Force) is continuing and widening its search of the Yarden Forests of South Generica for any traces of missing explorer Colonel Bob “Jumbo” Fazackerly.
The skilled TSAF Pilots and their Observers / Navigators in their newly delivered Hybrid twin seater single engine monoplanes are scouring a wider and wider area around the upper reaches of the Great River, the Colonel’s last known position.
Colonel Fazackerley, a seasoned veteran of many a past military campaign, was last seen several months ago heading off “Up River” into the South Generican forests and mountains. Some say the Colonel was in search of inscriptions and artefacts in a rumoured lost cave temple of a lost ancient Generican tribe etc. etc.
Others mention that it is also known that descendants of these ‘lost’ tribes are not always friendly to outsiders. Rumours of unrest amongst these Yarden and Great River tribes have also reached the Colonial Governor, one of the many sons of Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond.
The exact nature of the Colonel’s Mission or Expedition has not been disclosed by the Governor.
How I made Colonel Fazackerley
Colonel Bob started life amongst the ranks of Johillco Line Infantry (shown right below).
At some point during his previous life or military career he lost his head and his rifle, as well as his left arm.
When he arrived amongst a job lot of Broken Britain’s and other damaged hollowcast lead toy soldiers that I am repairing, he barely had any paint left either.
I repainted his scarlet jacket and blue trousers with Gloss Acrylics but then had other ideas.
The Colonel was reborn from my Bits Box, Frankenstein style, thanks to a spare Dorset Soldiers head, and a homecast officer’s sword arm from the Prince August 54mm Traditional Toy Soldier set.
I could have repaired or restored him, as I have done with other similar broken Johillco figures, back to his original Line Infantry firing role.
However something about the look of the stub of the broken rifle reminded me of a chunky automatic American style revolver. This suggested an officer, so next it was finding the right individual sort of hat.
Johillco 54mm figures are a little heftier than the more slender Britain’s figures, so can more easily take the Prince August 54mm cast arms and head. I tried various heads. Eventually I settled on a Dorset Soldiers head with slouch or bush hat from my Bits Box.
This still left the problem of the missing left arm.
Rather than making a new one from a wire “arm-ature” wrapped in masking tape and a Fimo polymer clay hand, I rummaged through my Bits Box again and found a spare Prince August officer’s right sword arm from a past casting session.
Snipping and filing this sword arm at the elbow to match the left arm stump, it was simply attached by drilling stump and arm with a fine 1mm drill bit to insert a short wire stub which joined the two, secured by superglue.
This gives the look of a sword or long machete for slicing through jungle creepers and stylishly seeing off any hostile natives or fierce animals.
A shaved cocktail stick glued on made a simple scabbard.
A spare Dorset Soldiers backpack made a knapsack.
All that remains to make or find to equip the Colonel for campaigning is a suitable water bottle and pistol holster.
Leather knee boots and Sam Browne type belt / knapsack strap were simply painted on.
His shiny new shooter was painted in silver.
This Dorset head had no cast moustache, so I added a painted one and pink cheek dots to keep that old toy soldier look to the face. A coat of Gloss varnish over the Matt Acrylic Khaki suggested a more vintage toy soldier look too.
What I wanted to achieve was a simple, old-fashioned toy soldier factory paint scheme, nothing too fussy or realistic, more toy soldier or Tintin cartoon.
The Natives are (not always) Friendly …
I have spent several weeks repairing and repainting broken Britain’s and other 54mm hollowcast figures to form some suitable native tribes and troops for future garden, yarden and tabletop skirmish games. Spears and weapons were often missing, sometimes bases, legs and arms.
A mixture of Broken Britain’s and Johillco Zulus, Crescent and Britain’s Indians have so far joined the North and South Generican native tribes defending their hard-won territories against various civilising (for which read aggressive) Colonial Imperialists of many nations.
Rifles or spears were repaired or added with wire and masking tape.
These natives will give Colonel Fazackerley and friends something to watch over the shoulder for. I shall show more of these rearmed and repainted colourful tribes in the coming weeks.
A Man of Many Missions
When he is not lost in the Generican forests and mountains of my Yarden, Colonel Bob can relive the glories of his youth out and about on campaign with a variety of field forces from the Bore War (sorry, Boer War) to the North West Frontier, Boxer Rebellion, Burma, the old West and WW1 East Africa, a military family career stretching back and far and wide to his relatives fighting in the American Civil War (but on which side is not fully known). Did he ever tell you
Danger follows him where others fear to tread …
Look out Fazackerley, they’re behind you!
He is rumoured to have disappeared and spent some time in his youth soldiering in the ranks of the French Foreign Legion.
Fazackerley is a man who has served in many forces on many expeditions and missions under many Aliases, thanks no doubt to his gift for getting by in many languages.
Not all the Natives are Unfriendly …
Soon all will be ready for the forests, mountains and rocky plains of the back garden, Yarden or cluttered Close Wars terrain of the tabletop.