Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 10 – The Boys to Entertain You or Broken Britains rearmed

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“Meet the gang, for the boys are here, the boys to entertain you …”

That was the  familiar opening to the 70s WW2 Jungle sitcom by David Croft and Jimmy Perry,  It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, stalwart of my childhood along with their other sitcoms such as Dad’s Army.

This group of Broken Britain’s have the look of  a dodgy ENSA show or music hall chorus line, cheap comics in a strange troops revue.

Seen from another angle, they are more Broken Britain’s – East Kent Regiment in Khaki on guard –  from a donation by John Forman, all broken  figures that would otherwise probably be scrapped.

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The East Kent Regiment based and rearmed, defending my stylishly camouflaged gun emplacement.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/from-old-digital-radio-to-54mm-houses-and-coastal-gun-emplacement/

There were seven types of Broken Britain’s infantry in the group kindly donated by John Forman, variously missing feet and bases and all missing rifles.

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1. Britain’s Guardsmen firing – six classic figures with broken rifles – not sure which Guards Regiment, as they were play-bashed enough to have no obvious plume colours.

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The figures as they arrived from John Forman.

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Rifles repaired, busby repainted and figures tuppeny based, otherwise I have kept the patina of battered body and face paint.

2. Britain’s Line Infantry (spiked helmet in black home service  with black facings firing  rifle – Royal Irish Regiment set 156, wearing gaiters – 1 figure.

3. Britain’s Line Infantry (spiked helmet white foreign service) with yellow facings  on guard with rifle – Worcester Regiment set 18 c. 1930,  wearing gaiters – 1 figure.

4. Britain’s East Kent Regiment on Guard, The Buffs Set 16 – yellow facings,  second version with square base, on Guard. Produced 1910 – 1930, wearing gaiters – 2 figures.

5. Britain’s  East Kent Regiment on Guard, service dress set 326a produced postwar in Steel Helmets (my “boys to entertain you”, above) – 5 figures.

6. Gloucester Regiment (Boer War) firing, produced 1901 to 1941 – 3 figures

7. The 3 charging Highlanders seen in a previous blog post

East Kent Regiment in Khaki Service Dress 

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They have rifles missing as well as feet or base missing, so replacement bases are required, easily made from Fimo polymer clay to suit tuppeny 2p coin bases.

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Rifles repaired, feet made from cocktail sticks glued into Fimo polymer clay bases. Third figure   East Kent Regiment in Khaki service dress  and fourth, Gloucester Regiment firing.

The rifle repairs are more fiddly, requiring drilling a hole with a 1mm pin vice or hand drill into the broken section. If this is a stubby section of broken rifle this is quite tricky, whereas it is much easier to drill into the hand section where it grips the rifle, which has a greater thickness of lead.

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Drilling into the rifle hand of another of John Forman’s damaged Britain’s Guards riflemen..

So finally  how did the ENSA “boys to entertain you” turn out in the end?

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My Boys to Entertain You (and Mr Hitler) from the Britain’s East Kent Regiment …just a little work to do on tidying and painting the Fimo and tuppenny bases.

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And for a suitable ear worm … the theme song to It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. Whilst the services / Seventies humour might have dated and the Indian characters would be handled differently today, as a child and still today, to me Windsor Davies is every bit the archetypal comic Sergeant Major to his “Lovely Boys”.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on Advent Calendar Day 10, 10th December 2018.

 

 

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A poor old Toy Soldiers Home?

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A great little “tum te tum” poem about old forgotten toy soldiers from Tony Kitchen’s ever interesting blog Tin Soldiering On. 

If you’ve not visited, look up Tony’s website http://tonystoysoldiers.blogspot.com

The Broken Toy Soldier by Marguerite Tracy 

We wear no medals on our breasts for gallant battles won;

No pension-bureau offers us reward for service done.

Yet no one of Napoleon’s, nor one of Caeser’s host,

Has made himself a record such as event I can boast.

 

Toy  soldiers must work harder than real troops, you see;

A march of fifty thousand miles is nothing much to me.

I lost a leg at Marathon, an arm at Monterey,

Was left for dead at Gettysburg – all on the self same day.

 

And now that I’m forgotten and no longer fit to roam,

I wish some kindly boy would found a poor Toy Soldier’s Home.

 

Marguerite Tracy

Having read this poem on Tony’s website, I was curious to find out more about the poem and some of the references.

This poem was first published in December 1897 in St. Nicholas:  An Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks Magazine Volume 25, No. 2, a fact mentioned in the footnotes or endnote section of the book Sing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America by James Alan Marten, 2011. This makes it sort of sad toy related Christmas poem. The original can be seen here: https://archive.org/stream/stnicholasserial251dodg/stnicholasserial251dodg#page/120/mode/1up

I like the HG Wells’ Little Wars style illustrations.

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Monterey? Had to look this one up. This was a short battle or landing by US Navy and Marines to occupy this part of California in the Mexican American War in July 1846 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Monterey

Along with Gettysburg being mentioned,  it suggests the poet was American?

I found this  short poem strangely quite moving, wistful  and resonant: “Was left for dead at Gettysburg – all on the self same day.”

I often wonder what battles my bashed and broken figures (collected for repair from various people and online auction sites) have had in their old days. How did they lose that leg, arm, head or rifle?

There is an element of truth to the poem – before you could afford to buy or had available every figure / period ever, in the old days when your few figures stood in for everything, green were generally  the good guys, grey and all else the enemy. (The power of Imagi-nations?) One figure could indeed fight Gettysburg, Marathon and Monterey all on the same day or at least the same weekend.

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Tin Soldiering On … website

“And now that I’m forgotten and no longer fit to roam …”  

At last a pointless vocation! All those broken Britain’s figures under repair – I’m turning into a poor Old Toy Soldier’s Home.

I hear the cry “Lead Medic! Lead Medic!” and come running. A call goes out for a Lead Vet to fix a missing horse leg. Farewell dear friend? No shooting if injured for these noble old animals in my Remount Department.

Hopefully Tony might  catch  the old Toy Soldier Home bug and start repairing bashed and broken vintage figures.

The Good Soldier Svjek 23 November 2018 at 08:40
Have noticed lots of broken figures on Ebay and having seen your good work on repairing them I’m tempted to have a go myself .

MIN ManofTin 23 November 2018 at 12:35
Huzzah! Go on and do so, Tony. Restore their battered dignity … and give them a new lease of gaming life. I’m not damaging my supply options – there are more than enough battered figures on EBay for everyone. If you do, I look forward to seeing them feature on your blog.

Here are a couple more of my current  lead veterans from various makers in need of minimal repair  help, just a broken rifle to mend for each one.

A small pin vice drill to drill the rifle holes to insert  some stiff wire, thickened out with masking tape should do the trick. Stout enough for gaming again.

Some may need repainting, others have enough original paint that there is no need to disturb their bashed and playworn “veteran” patina.

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Guardsmen, fusiliers and line infantry with repaired rifles, ready to trim and paint.
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Lying firing – in red ceremonials or khaki battle dress  – with repaired rifles.
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Repaired missing left leg, right foot and Fimo polymer clay tuppenny base and with a new rifle in place of a tomahawk. Now needing trim and paint.
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Fimo polymer clay base and wire / feet repairs on these attractive braves.
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A headless farm worker becomes an airfield mechanic in overalls with a Dorset Soldiers head. A battered armless ARP Decontamination worker achieves ‘super stardom’ with a Prince August home cast arm holding what will become a laser sword.

All on the road to recovery,  ready for for some 54mm skirmish games next year.

Inspired?

A few of my figure related blogposts ranging from early experiments with cocktail stick rifles and heavy Fimo bases (now debased and re-repaired or upgraded) to more delicate pin vice drilled wire, masking tape and super glue repairs:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/the-old-toy-soldier-remount-department/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/recalled-to-the-colours-54mm-metal-detectorists-toy-soldier-finds-restored-to-fighting-condition/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/fixing-broken-britains-part-1-three-charging-highlanders-head-out-for-a-coffee/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/29/on-the-repair-bench-rainy-day-update/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/03/the-remount-section-gets-a-visit-from-the-lead-vet/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/old-britains-never-die-article-from-an-old-mil-mod-manual/

and plenty more to find on the blog – I hope some I them are helpful.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN (at Ye Olde  poor  Toy Soldier Home) November 2018.

From old digital radio to 54mm houses and coastal gun emplacement

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I loved making these unusual buildings over several weeks, using scrap materials.

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The larger house at Das terracotta clay stage onto a wooden radio base.

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!

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The smaller house – yet to be painted – its shape dictated by the base, an internal piece of radio woodwork.

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?

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The amazing 1:32 Desert Outpost from Airfix
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The wonderful old 1:32 Airfix Strongpoint

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.

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The desert ruin setting
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Repaired Broken Britain’s and other 54mm hollowcast soldiers in this European ruin setting.
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Back view of the larger ruin.

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?

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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. 

https://www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk/index/Category:Hugar_Models

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.

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Inside the bunker, the simple gun mounting blocks and improvised crews.

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.

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A scratch machine gun team from various damaged figures and pieces. The officer with binoculars was created from a trashed metal detecting find.

A scratch team of repaired Broken Britain’s and other hollowcast lead Khaki gunners  and  Infantry give the right feel.

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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.

 

 

On the Repair Bench – Rainy Day Update

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Repairs underway – wire spears, masking tape, matchstick, wire  and glue leg repairs. 

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.

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First row of figures repaired and rebased on Fimo polymer clay twopenny bases. 

I discovered looking up the  Cherilea ‘Saracen’  figures  that they have some opposition amongst the figures to be mended – an English Archer.

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Source Oldtoysoldier auctions reference image online. 
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Repaired Cherilea ‘Saracen’ Warriors and what I have discovered to be an ‘English Archer’ from the same postwar series. They all have certain Flash Gordon quality …

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.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/09/08/pound-bag-skeleton-warriors-1-a-bag/

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.

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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.

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The Eskimo or Arctic Explorer fits in pretty well with the other pilots, alongside my “work in progress” Moshi Monster monoplane conversion to a Thirties biplane. 

The other Indian or tribal figures have shaped up nicely. Where possible I have kept the original paintwork.

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Three Timpo Indians and a Johillco Zulu repaired and rebased, before further 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.

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(Left) Timpo running brave with spear. (Right) Colorful postwar Johillco Zulu or Maori figure, the broken fragile knobkerry replaced with a spear. 
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Hands Up? Slight differences in the Fimo bases give a bit of variety to these oddly posed Timpo Indians.  
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Two Britain’s Indians on Guard, two Crescent Indians with rifles, badly damaged on the body and largeish Harvey 1950s Indian with spear replacing Tomahawk.

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.

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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.

On the Repair Desk

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A varied selection of broken figures. 

Here are some more bashed and broken 54mm lead hollowcast figures that are on the repair bench.

A real mix from various manufacturers – some tribal warriors, Britain’s native Indian warriors on guard, a Robin Hood archer, a Hilco spaceman, an Eskimo and Assyrians …

The Timpo Eskimo will make a fine WW1 pilot.

They are sharing the painting desk with some Peter Laing 7th Cavalry figure recruits from the Duchy of Tradgardland.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 16 September 2018.

Rearmed Again by Dorset Soldiers

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Lots of spare arms for repairing Broken Britain’s old 54mm toy soldier figures

Huzzah! Rearm-ament continues. My order has arrived from Dorset Soldiers

http://dorsetmodelsoldiers.com

 

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Line Infantry, cavalry and Guards head  recast replacements

 

Unpacked ready for repairing more headless armless Broken Britain’s 54mm figures this Autumn.

Blogposted by Mark Man Of TIN August 2018.

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.