I really enjoyed painting these 54mm Armies in Plastic Woodland Indians, plentiful straps and tassels and all.
They were part of a kind gift of a box of surplus mixed plastic figures from Alan Tradgardland Gruber for my Close Little Wars forest skirmishes.
I introduced them to the garden forests and mountains today, after a gloss spray varnish and final shiny paint bits.
These Woodland Indians of the little known Gull Tribe (see their prized head dress feathers) have little adornment and decoration, unlike other Indian Tribes in North Gondal and North Generica.
They are not as richly decorated as many of the Woodland Indians of the French Indian War and “The Revolutionary War”.
Looking through the uniform plates in various AWI books, Pinterest, box art and figures from different figure ranges (everything from John Jenkins and modern Wm. Britain’s to the shiny gloss Tradition of London range), I settled on a generic plainer shiny gloss look for my under-adorned Woodland Indian ImgaiNations tribe.
Interesting to look at the flintlock and powder horn equipment, tomahawk in its sling, knife held on the upper chest. Much of this equipment is found on the 54mm plastic AIP Gruber’s / Rogers Rangers figures AWI Light Infantry and Rangers that I painted last week.
I struggled a little to find the toy soldier look I wanted but used an old hollowcast painting trick of using bronze or copper skin tones.
Bronze or copper skin worked well enough repairing damaged old hollowcast Britain’s and other makers’ more 50s Hollywood Indians (and Cowboys). It didn’t work recently for some 54mm to 60mm Steve Weston plastic Mexican peasants.
So with these gloss toy soldier style Indians in mind I used Revell Aquacolor Acrylic Gloss Leather Brown for the Woodland Indian skin tone. All the other colours used were Matt like the musket in Matt Leather Brown and desert Afrikabraun for the Buckskin leggings and equipment. They were all going to get gloss spray varnished anyway.
The toy soldier style face was achieved with black pin dot eyes and eyebrows, red mouth dot (both using a shaved cocktail stick) and after gloss varnish, the final copper cheek dot.
There was one interesting pose with a fearsome looking wooden root club. Interestingly the character is carrying a powder horn so has laid down a flintlock somewhere.
Having rewatched the 1992 Daniel Day Lewis Last of the Mohicans film for the Indian costumes, the slow reload of a flintlock musket is obviously a problem for troops engaging charging Natives in ‘Close Wars, type forest skirmishes and melees.
I could have spent a long time painting different Indian beadwork and breechclout patterns, legging ties etc and facial paints but I didn’t really want to. I tried one club figure with Citadel Agrax Earthshade Wash (brown) but I didn’t really think it would work with gloss varnish toy soldier style.
These were not the only Indians in the Back Yarden Forests.
The Crescent / Kellogg’s Cornflakes 1960s plastic Friar Tuck is from the Robin Hood plastic range. We had him at home bizarrely painted bright gloss red ever since I was a child. Now over fifty years on, he finally gets a new gloss toy soldier paint job.
I’m sure some of my Guardsmen came out of cereal packets.
I checked. Amongst the many toy soldiers in my family collection or that have turned up in job lots are these free guardsmen from Kellogg’s cereals in the 1960s.
I vaguely recalled that our family collection of cereal figures received firing, shooting and bayoneting guardsmen.
Looking through the bases of my tatty collection, it appears that the guardsmen with rifles are Crescent toy soldiers from the late 1950s to 1960s and the Bandsmen are both Crescent and Kellogg’s.
Crescent were not around for sale in the toy shops when I was young with pocket money in the 1970s, whereas Britain’s Herald and Deetail delightfully were.
Bandsmen – Not quite the “cereal killers” I remember!
Crescent appear to have manufactured exact unpainted copies of their bandsmen for Kellogg’s, c. 1958 dated according to the CerealOffers website.
I found these fine bandsmen shown online with original box backs and adverts whilst spending happy hours last week on the cereal ‘premium’ website http://cerealoffers.com, where I found again the cardboard Asterix figures and Weetabix scenes of my childhood.
“FREE IN THIS PACKET at the bottom of the inner bag” – free toy soldiers in your cornflakes – imagine that today!
For example this box back and screenshot of the figures is interesting, as it picks up on the earlier ceremonial craze of the 1953 Coronation when lead soldiers were still around. By 1958 / the early 1960s “Unbreakable” coloured plastic “smart as paint” was taking over for many Toy Soldier manufacturers as hollowcast lead was phased out.
Being late 1950s they remind me of the first offerings of Airfix tiny small scale OO/HO Guards Band and Guards Colour Party. A curious choice in many ways, these first few early Airfix figures but mirroring maybe part of that shift from lead figures into plastic ones in profitable, established or traditional themes of toy soldiers, farms, zoos, railways, cowboys, civilians and then military topics.
Although the last few months of blogging have been Scout Wide Games based, I think my Dad would have approved of this year’s family gifts.
This year the wonderful addition to my toy armoury was two handmade warships which I saw and liked in a vintage shop months ago, a small hollow-cast raiding force (a complete surprise, as a raiding force should be!) and an ACW book that I had put aside in case my family weren’t sure what to get.
Mannie Gentile recently posted a blogpost on the Golden Book of the American Civil War
So Mannie is responsible for me buying a cheap secondhand paperback of this interesting book that launched the hobbies and careers of hundreds of Civil War enthusiasts and historians.
This book is richly illustrated and includes some fabulous battlefield “bird’s eye view” maps whose detail I would have found fascinating as a child.
The toy hollowcast soldiers are a treat – a surprise gift from my family found all together in a local vintage shop that they “hoped were all right”.
Any vintage lead soldiers are all right in my eyes!
I was interested to see the kneeling American infantryman as he appears quite similar in style to a trio of (solid lead home cast?) soldiers sent to me by Alan as reservists from his Duchy of Tradgardland forces. The kneeling green Crescent trooper has a knee ‘flange’ to give him more stability.
The three Duchy of Tradgardland reservists have acquired new blue uniforms for a mission in a galaxy far far away. They have an odd space look to them with their helmet and rifle. They are now acquiring blue uniforms and white or silver boots, helmets and weapons to come. They should soon have a 30s / 50s space ‘thing’ going on to match some of the Tim Mee Galaxy Laser Team and Airfix Space Warriors.
The two fine handmade boats have some battle damage that needs sympathetic repair. They deserve a blog post of their own as they are repaired and researched, along with their paperwork. They came from what can be a “grey port” at times of naval vessels in for refit.
Are they accurate handmade models or spirited imaginative examples of “modern warships” with guns and rockets? It will be interesting to find out.
Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, Father’s Day 16 June 2019.
One of the delights of slowly unpacking presents after Christmas is to look in these wreckage and repair boxes. I bought these cheaply online over the least few months to store away, bought as part of my Christmas present in advance, paid for using my Christmas gift money.
Box No. 1 contained some interesting zoo animals, lots of cowboys and cavalry along with some battered foot figures.
Box No. 2 contained an equally eclectic mixture of damaged and destroyed figures to be repaired and converted. None have reached the stage of melting down.
Box No. 3 contained another eclectic mix of makers and figures from cowboys to redcoats.
Box No. 3 had an interesting mix of much less damaged figures. I photographed these fast against fading natural light.
Box No. 4 – a shoebox of delight – still remains to be explored and photographed.
It is always a delight to explore these joblot boxes and work out what to repair first.
Some ragtag motley regiments may be possible, once repaired and repainted where necessary, figures made suitable again for garden or floor games in the spirit of H.G. Wells.
Using some wonderful illustrated toy soldier books by Norman Joplin, Andrew Rose and James Opie, I should be able to work out who made some of the less familiar figures. This gives me clues towards whether to repair, restore or convert.
Another order for Dorset Soldiers spare arms and heads may be due later in the year, once my current batch of Broken Britain’s figure repairs from 2018 are finally off the repair bench.
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN January 2019.
2018 blogposts on Broken Britains and broken lead toy soldiers include: