Father’s Day 2019

Usually on Father’s Day (UK) I post a link to a toy soldier figure that has some strong link back to my late Dad and the love of Toy Soldiers and History that he passed on to me.

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

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

2018: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/zulus-or-ashantees-rearmed/

2019?

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.

Father’s Day 2019: Two wooden ships, a book and a small raiding force

Mannie Gentile recently posted a blogpost on the Golden Book of the American Civil War

http://toysoldiersforever.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-book-that-launched-thousand-careers.html

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.

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A book I never saw as a child growing up in Britain …

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.

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This is what my childhood Airfix ACW games aspired to, without knowing this book. (First Bull Run, detail)

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”.

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Crescent figures metal American infantry in 54mm and smaller 50mm range with the round backpack flamethrowers. All postwar issues.

Any vintage lead soldiers are all right in my eyes!

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Curious Cherilea figures c. 1954 – designed to carry a firing mortar or bazooka?
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Similar figures by Cherilea in Norman Joplin’s The Great Book Of Hollow-Cast Figures.
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At first sight I thought these Cherilea bazooka or mortar  teams might be gimmicky paratroopers with parachutes or engineers with carrying arms.
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Two fine Crescent Khaki Infantry with green helmets, figures issued postwar. I like the lively animation of the grenade thrower.  John Hill (Johillco) Bren Gunner?
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American troops by Crescent 1940s – 1950s. Paratroop type helmets

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.

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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.

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The lady in the vintage shop thought that all these four items belonged together, so maybe the photo and  1940s / 1950s Royal Navy trade certificate of AB Able Seaman Thomas C. Owen are of the man who made  the two fine warships?

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.

 

Christmas Parade by the Guards Band

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Not quite 11 pipers or 12 drummers this year but a good turn out by the plastic Guards Band.  A Wendal stowaway civilian farmer watches the Parade.
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Spot the odd recent Timpo remakes, recently painted in gloss acrylic.

The Christmas Parade this year is mostly the old Lone Star / Harvey series (the stocky ones with the squareish bases) in various states of original and repaint  or their TIMPO recasts in fresh glossy acrylic.

No Scots or Irish  pipers this year (save that for Hogmanay!) and this is as many as could fit on our mantelpiece with tinsels and lights mixed in. Plenty of bandsman left in the box for another Christmas parade.

Eleven Pipers piping popped up last Christmas

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/eleven-pipers-piping/

alongside twelve drummers drumming

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/twelve-drummers-drumming/

Mixed in you might spot the odd Crescent / Kellogg’s Guards bandsman, a couple of  aluminium Wendal Salvation Army bandsmen in peaked caps and even one hollow cast Guards Band figure.

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Our parade centrepiece is this three jolly guardsmen Christmas card illustrated by Clare Wilson for the Museums And Galleries collection. 

Our parade centrepiece is this three jolly guardsmen Christmas card illustrated by Clare Wilson for the Museums And Galleries collection. Some of my blog readers that I have been in postal contact with about toy soldiers might even have received one of these cards in the post!

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All watched over by a friendly giant robin redbreast  …
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All fifty eight bandsmen on Parade.

I hope you had a happy Toy solder filled Christmas ready for a happy Gaming New Year.

I will post some of my new toy soldier or gaming arrivals over the almost Twelve days of Christmas or  “Twixmas” as this next week or so are becoming known.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on Boxing Day Twixmas 2018.

With The Sword and the Shiny New Shooter

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.

Natives are hostile? TSAF pilot and observer / navigator run back to their new kite …

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.

The Colonel and a Johillco Line Infantryman with what looks like a useful sawn-off shotgun …

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.

No match for the Colonel? Crescent Chief with broken tomahawk now has a replacement spear.

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 …

Rearmed repainted Britain’s Medicine Man with the Crescent one with snake curled up leg.

Look out Fazackerley, they’re behind you!

Led by two friendly native guides (Britain’s on Guard and Johillco at trail), Fazackerley explores …

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 …

A recently repaired, repainted and rearmed Broken Britain’s second grade Zulu with new spear …

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.

My versions of Featherstone’s (Little) Close Wars rules apply to such Natives vs Troops encounters. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

Other simple Featherstone War Games (1962) rules (ACW / WW2) handle larger skirmish troop actions.

Revolvers and rifles aside, simple Bartitsu and Gerald De Gre / Featherstone duelling rules apply for melee and skirmish.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/bartitsu-and-bayonet-duelling/

And finally

When, where or how the Colonel acquired his unusual “Jumbo” nickname is a tale for another time … one for when he no doubt turns up again with more tall stories and ripping yarns!

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 16 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.