Army Red and Blue home castings simply painted

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Twa  Bonny Lads – homecast Highlander firing, repainted Britain’s Highlander charging

 

Back around January the 25th (Burns Night) I tried out some new vintage metal home cast moulds including this Highlander firing.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/burns-night-casting/

He got stuck in the mould, despite using release powder, but cleaned up nicely.

The face is not very detailed but he has a fine vintage toy soldier look. There is a distinctive casting line but not too much flash.

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The original Highlander home casting. 

There is not much fine detail in the mould, whatever type of casting metal is used.

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Simple paint scheme to suit a simple home cast figure. The Britain’s Highlander has a repaired rifle, again using the shaved cocktail stick method. 

I like this Highlander enough to want to cast more. A row of them firing would look a fine addition to any wargames table or garden skirmish, despite the casting line running across and obscuring any facial detail.

Another vintage metal  mould casting on the same day was this curious greatcoated steel helmet figure, a little in the small side at about 50mm.

Again this was a figure with some casting problems (hollows in the chest or backpack) but with lots of conversion potential, especially if heads were exchanged. There was more flash than you would expect from a modern home cast silicon figure, requiring a bit of filing. The rifle also failed to fill out on one or two castings.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/more-homecasting/

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The Homecast steel helmeted guardsman. 
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Army Red and Army Blue paint options of this Home cast figure. 

The steel helmet is oddly cast enough that it could with little filing be turned into a bush hat, or a head swap or replacement arranged.

Superb as the Prince August 54mm multipose 54mm traditional toy soldier range are (choose the head, body and arms you want)   I also like the simplicity of a single figure mould sometimes.

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The slightly hollow pack in one  and chest on the other can be seen here. 

A useful and versatile figure to cast more of, and one that suits a simple gloss toy soldier paint scheme. I imagine he was intended to be painted khaki.

Not sure of the Home cast manufacturer.

Blogposted by Mark, MIN Man of TIN blog, March 2017.

 

Tintin and Imagi-Nations Games

 

imageOne of the things I like about Tintin are the interesting ‘Euro’ nations and enemies that Belgian author and illustrator Herge created as foils for his intrepid young reporter detective Tintin.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Tintin

Great uniforms amongst enemy troops, but as a child I couldn’t work out why the Police in Tintin for example of what I took to be a supposedly British / English setting for Captain Haddock of Marlinspike Hall looked so odd.

Had Herge (I wondered as a child) never been to Britain? Slowly as I got older I realised that Herge was drawing mostly European / Belgian settings and that the books are translated all over the world.

This  ‘Glocal’ World (both Global and Local) of Herge in translation has strange villains and fake euro Imagi-Nations such as Borduria in the Calculus Affair and the realign of the villainous Kurvi-Tasch with his strangely fascist moustache logo on his very Nazi looking generals, troops and 1950s looking tanks.

Even though Tintin goes back to the 1940s, to me his books are the ‘Funny Little Cold Wars’ of the 1950s and 1960s in graphic novel / comic strip version,  akin in style and feel to the early 1960s James Bond movies with the suave and stylish Sean Connery and his menacing enemies.

A range of plastic Tintin figures / key ring figures is available online in various sizes.

Great inspiration for some enemy troops as shown with generic enemy  “red troops” or “red guards” in my Back to Basics DIY figure making blogpost:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/back-to-basics-toy-soldiers/

 

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Unfinished faceless hordes of red guards based on a 1950s US Barclay podfoot dime store lead figure representing ‘enemy troops’, defending the secret base of whatever enemy regime or Imagi-Nations you choose (photo/ figures: Man of TIN)

Tintin should prove equally good inspiration  for some paint conversions of Pound Store Warriors from modern / WW2 green / toy army men.

So why not make up your own Imagi-Nations, uniforms and all?

If Tintin is not your gaming thing, then there is of course Asterix and this fabulous wargaming Asterix and the Romans website http://romansgohome.blogspot.co.uk

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Fictional Enemy, Threat or Aggressor Troops  

Making up your own enemies, uniforms and all isn’t that far from the truth.

The Milihistriot Website (c/o Sheil family USA website) has an interesting section with coloured plates of threat, enemy or “aggressor” troops with adapted uniforms from military exercises:

 

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Green crested helmet enemy troops as just one example of some colourful training enemies from a 1964 MIlihistriot article soldiers of Never-Never Land by James Glazer,  based on US troop manuals. These are archived at: http://www.thortrains.com/online/aggressor1.htm

Examples of 30-101 / these US troop manuals can be seen at:

https://ia600302.us.archive.org/4/items/FM30-101/FM30-101.pdf

http://www.alternatewars.com/WW3/Trigons/FM30_101_1959.pdf

The fictional (Esperanto speaking!) aggressor troops had a white ensign or badge with black triangle.

http://www.thortrains.com/online/aggvehicles1.htm

These manuals have obviously inspired many of the imaginative paint finishes and uniforms on the Sheil range of vintage home cast Toy Soldier Art figures. More have been created on the same principle at their Spy Troops page: http://www.thortrains.com/online/spytroopies.htm

Herald infantry (like those from my family collection above) had ready made plastic ‘enemy’ troops made briefly in what the Sheils call ‘Berlin Gray’, http://www.thortrains.com/online/berlinggray.htm

http://www.thortrains.com/online/Berlin%20Grays%20%20and%20Spies.htm

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Atlantic 54mm plastic soldiers, a junk shop find. (Figures / photos: Man of TIN)

Back to Tintin and Imagi-Nations

The Tintin / Calculus Affair  Kurvi-Tasch troops also have a look of the strange Atlantic modern troop figures that occasionally and erratically  appeared in shops in the 1980s, featuring an odd sort of  Euro army appearance. They looked strangely foreign, even futuristic on occasion (not quite American, not British and not German). Only later did I discover that they are meant to be Italian / Euro troop types. Atlantic figures and their strange box art are well covered in the Airfix’s Competitors chapter of my much-thumbed copy of  Airfix’s Little Soldiers by Jean Christophe Carbonel (Histoire & Collections publishers, 2009). Some of the Atlantic figures were recently reissued by NEXUS.

Happy Imagi-Nations Gaming!

Posted by Man of TIN, June 2016.

 

 

 

Home cast antique and gilt paint finishes

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A very long time ago as a child I was bought a jumble job lot  of toy soldiers, mostly plastic but amongst them was this trio of metal soldiers.

I painted their hats, coats and boots but never finished them. I had no idea what they were, who made them or what to do with them as they were 40mm tall, bigger or smaller than my other figures. So no real use or match. On their base I could just make out the letters HE which meant nothing to me at the time.

Fast forward to ten years ago: poking around a craft shop on a trip to Cornwall, I discovered a tiny cache of Prince August moulds for making traditional toy soldiers which I bought straight away.

I had seen as a child intriguing adverts for this company in modelling magazines but the dangers of hot metal and shortage of pocket money as a child  meant that I never bought any.

Looking through the Prince August  online catalogue, I recognised these strange random trio of figures, their designer’s name HE (Holgar Eriksonn) and sent off for some PA moulds to find out at long last how they worked. And to give this three man patrol  some company  to pick on of their own size.

http://shop.princeaugust.ie/h-e-40mm-scale-military-moulds/

I found these figures are Prince August PA17 Musketeer, PA23 Musketeer standing and PA24 kneeling.

Playing around with paint finishes

There are many possible finishes for these shiny Prince August castings.

One suggestion is pewtering, an idea from their cast your own chess sets ‘antique finish’. Black acrylic paint is painted over the figures, then fairly quickly wiped off with a cloth or kitchen roll before fully dry.

Another alternative is the simple gilt or gold paint finish.

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I tried out the gilt finish on another home casting, an American sailor drumming,  from a metal mould of a different much older (American?) manufacturer.

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The older type of metal home cast moulds (usually German or American origin) have much more flash and casting lines, requiring more time and filing to clean up than a modern rubber Prince August mould.

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Another gilt finish home cast Schneider mould figure in my collection with mould half.

 

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This is a 1910-20s gilt finish early British lead toy soldier in my collection (Photo / Figure: Man of TIN)

Sometimes I find stray home cast  figures in junk shops and online lots that are quite crude, often overpriced such as this cowboy type figure from another metal mould (in this cast in quite soft and bendy lead).

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They have a simple charm and many conversion or paint possibilities.

I have now tracked down a three figure (Schneider?) mould No. 56 of this cowboy and two Indian figures to produce more. At some point worth casting enough for a Close Little Wars home cast skirmish of settlers versus natives maybe?

Plastic Postscript 

This “fake pewter” or “antiquing”  technique can also be tried with some success on silver plastic figures from pound stores.

Compared to the original plastic figure:

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

OBE repaint figures #1

 

imageOBE figures are what Wargaming Miscellany blog author Bob Cordery calls “Other Bugger’s Efforts”, being figures painted by others that you have acquired and their credit shouldn’t be claimed by yourself.

This bunch of six repurposed or repainted Airfix WW1 British Infantry picked up in a £1 mixed bag of bashed painted OO/HO Airfix figures from a favourite second hand shop in Cornwall. (This shop  is only occasionally open when I visit, being that sort of shop, a big like the erratic supply / production of Airfix figures themselves).

Dissecting this “Airfix owl pellet”, the mixed remains of someone else’s spare or unwanted figures, I found these interesting troops.

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I like their blue and red “Imagi-Nations” sort of uniform and look forward to painting them some reinforcements.

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These give me some paint inspiration for Schneider home cast metal figures:

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imageWatch this space!

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN.

Typecasting

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Home cast metal Schneider mould No. 80 figures beside a 19C. paper mache / composition figure (Photo / collection Man of TIN)

Type casting

“With these 26 soldiers of lead  I will conquer the world” is a saying attributed to many famous people from history and world leaders from Gutenberg onwards to Benjamin Franklin and Karl Marx.

This quote’s origin  is explored more fully in this interesting typography blog:

http://typefoundry.blogspot.co.uk/2007/05/with-twenty-five-soldiers-of-lead-he.html

“… I am the leaden army that conquers the world: I am type!”

The 25 or 26 soldiers of lead are of course the lead print letters of the alphabet in a printer’s case.

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From a 1960s Ladybird book The Story of Printing

The 25 or 26 soldiers of lead also remind me of Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Steadfast Tin Soldier, where the source of metal is an old tin spoon, melted down to make almost 25 soldiers, including  one incomplete soldier with one leg and a complicated love life.

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“Prowl the car boot sales, you can probably pick pint mugs up for around 50p” is Iain Dickie’s advice in sourcing old pewter mugs to melt down for soldier metal in Wargaming on a Budget (Pen & Sword, 2010).

Iain Dickie talks wisely about the dangers and safety measures around melting and moulding lead on the kitchen stove or table, where food is prepared.

Other writers like Theodore Gray in Gray Matters on the Popsci blog in the USA talk more about the apparent and often disputed risks of lead casting toys of the past: http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2012-01/getting-lead-out2

The classic book War Games (1962) by Donald Featherstone, ex-wartime tank sergeant and peacetime physiotherapist, had a short section on how to make your own model figures in plaster of Paris moulds.

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Proper DIY figure making in Donald Featherstone’s Wargames  (Stanley Paul, 1962)

One part of printer’s type, which can usually be obtained from the local printer, who usually has a considerable surplus of cuttings and small pieces“, Donald Featherstone says.

These scraps of lead from printers as a source of lead was obviously from the pre-computer days when Fleet Street and local printers still used lead type faces. Vanished world …

I remember when this technology change happened in the 1980s, when suddenly loads of printers’ type trays were on the market. Not sure if they were UPPER CASE or lower cases.

At first sight these trays looked good display frames for figures but were quite shallow and  without a glass cover, you’d be forever dusting. Another manly household chore to add to “slaving over a hot stove” as Donald Featherstone mentions below.

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I love this photograph, and this is how I always think of Donald Featherstone; I always feel underdressed and under groomed when casting, compared to this. Note the nifty plate warming rack and lack of safety goggles. This photo is in Donald Featherstone’s  book Tackle Model Soldiers this Way (pub. Stanley Paul, 1965)