Steadfast Man of Tin #2

imageAnother part of my collection of different  illustrated versions of the Steadfast Tin Soldier  by Hans Christian Andersen is this one illustrated by John Patience, undated but looking 1960s or 1970s.

John Patience was born in 1949, and you can see more of his work at:


A Napoleonic shako wearing set of tin soldiers with Danish blue trousers and white cross belts.

A dramatic battleground backdrop for John Patience’s Steadfast Tin Soldier book.


Strong black and white patterns along with a psychedelic wizard or jack in the box suggests a 1960s to 1970s date of illustration:




Amphibious adventures for Napoleonic toy soldiers result.

Menacing rats …



A very heroic lack of reaction …



A  collage of real newspaper in this lovely underwater scene.

And then the tragic end or the romantic blending into a tin heart, at one with the ballerina …

The tin heart features in the Prince August mould.


Posted by Mark, Man of TIN, April 2018.

Steadfast Soldiers of Tin #1


A lost post draft from June 2016, in my first month of Man of TIN blog: I have several copies of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Steadfast Tin Soldier“, which was originally published close (1838) to the Brontes imagi-nations writing of the Angria and Gondal stories, also inspired by a box of toy soldiers.

The illustrations and story sections in some illustrated Andersen editions are darker and more troubling than others. A quick Google or Pinterest search on images throws up dozens of different illustrations for the Steadfast Tin Soldier.

There is more about Andersen’s disturbing or inspiring tale of ‘steadfastness’, interpretations of its psychology and its many variations from Balanchine ballet to punk songs on the Wikipedia entry for the story:

On his birthday, a boy receives a set of 25 toy soldiers and arrays them on a table top. One soldier stands on a single leg, having been the last one cast from an old tin spoon.

Nearby, the soldier spies a paper ballerina with a spangle on her sash. She too is standing on one leg and the soldier falls in love. That night, a goblin among the toys in the form of a Jack in the box angrily warns the soldier to take his eyes off the ballerina, but the soldier ignores him.

The next day, the soldier falls from a windowsill (presumably the work of the goblin) and lands in the street. Two boys find the soldier, place him in a paper boat, and set him sailing in the gutter … (Wikipedia summary)

Rene Cloke’s illustrations for the Steadfast Tin Soldier.

25 Soldiers of lead (or tin), so nearly our blog title!

Rene Cloke illustration.

Surely there is the opportunity for further adventures or alternative endings rather than what usually happens. Is this the making of a board game, a figure game, a new story?

The usual ending goes:

… the boat and its passenger wash into a storm drain, where a rat demands the soldier pay a toll. Sailing on, the boat is washed into a canal, where the tin soldier is swallowed by a fish.

When the fish is caught and cut open, the tin soldier finds himself once again on the table top before the ballerina. Inexplicably, the boy throws the tin soldier into the fire.

A wind blows the ballerina into the fire with him; she is consumed at once but her spangle remains. The tin soldier melts into the shape of a heart. (Wikipedia plot summary)

Prince August do a superb little home metal casting starter set based around the Steadfast Tin Soldier:

A very Danish Life guard design for the Steadfast Toy Soldier (Image source: Prince August home casting website.)

Metal and wooden toy soldier inspiration from the Steadfast Tin Soldier:

Dorset Soldiers’ Toy Town soldier casting (photo / painted by Man of TIN)
Wooden Toy Soldier Guardsmen and policemen from London Wooden toy building  sets (Collection: Man of TIN)
Pound store pirate copy of German infantryman painted up in Toy Soldier gloss paints. (Painted / photo: Man of TIN)
Charming toy soldier drummer boy brooch alongside wooden London guardsmen toy soldiers. (Collection: Man of TIN)

These steadfast toy soldier figure styles can be achieved by imaginative gloss paint schemes, such as these Pippin Fort Trumpton inspired figures using spare 54mm Airfix Japanese infantry.

Steadfast Tin Soldiers or plastic Airfix Japanese Infantry? (Painted / photo: Man of TIN)
Salute the Steadfast Tin Soldier! This one of my Prince August 54mm home cast guardsman was created as a rather heavy brooch gift with suitable backing clip. This is also My Man of TIN / 26 Soldiers of Tin profile picture / Gravatar. (Painted/ photo: Man of TIN)

Posted by Mr. MIN, Man of TIN, June 2016.

Hans Christian Andersen’s Birthday

Happy Birthday Hans Christian Andersen, born 2nd April 1805 – author of The Steadfast Tin Soldier.

Andersen also wrote about the Danish independence battles of 1864. In 1864-66, Denmark lost Schleswig-Holstein to the Prussians under the reign of King Christian IX.

Andersen  is mentioned in Tom Buk-Swienty ‘s 1864: The Forgotten War that Shaped Modern Europe, the book which inspired the Danish TV series 1864 on the 150th anniversary back in 2014.

A beautiful but pricy 54mm gloss version from Tradition of London 

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There is more background about this curious  story here:

I have one Steadfast Tin Soldier in my collection – about 30-40mm high – from the Prince August casting mould

There are many interesting illustrated copies of this story – Pinterest is a great source of such varied illustrations.

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Rene Cloke illustration

And to wish Hans Christian Andersen a Happy Birthday, here is that earworm of a tune from the 1955 Danny Kaye film:

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 2 April 2021