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.

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TSAF Pink Wing Scramble!

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In a lonely forest airstrip, the radio message crackles Through – “Pink Wing,  Scramble!”

Two pilots run to their waiting machine  …

A couple of missed photographs from my previous TSAF blogpost https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/06/tsaf-toy-soldier-air-force/

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Two fabulous vintage  Johillco (1939 era) Running  Pilot hollowcast figures, one in Khaki, the other in civilian white pilot or technicians overalls run to “Poppet” their waiting Hybrid Corsair / Hellcat / Buffalo.

I have now tracked down for a fiver a third Moshi Monster aeroplane. This one will be converted in time to a string bag biplane. Up Up and Away!

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 9 July 2018.

Rearming the Native American Indians WIP 1

Work In Progress WIP 1: I have been busy this weekend basing and rearming some of last week’s new arrivals in the form of “Bashed and Broken” Britain’s North American Indians.

You can see the original bashed figures here:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/20/american-indians-first-nations-or-imagi-nations/

A Prince August 54mm homecast toy soldier hand does the job well enough for one of this fine pair of Johillco Braves missing their tomahawks.

After drilling through body and hands, rifles or muskets were built up from wire and masking tape.

Broken Britain’s Indians as they arrived last week …
Broken Britain’s Indians with rifles or muskets repaired.

Making Fimo polymer clay tuppenny bases for two footless Braves …

I chose bronze or copper for flesh tones after studying closely the variety and range of these recently acquired bashed Indian figures and others in toy soldier reference books.

Toy soldier Indians often had a limited but lurid colour palette which I hope to keep close to.

More paintwork to do in toy soldier style of Gloss paint. Very much work in progress.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN 25 June 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.

 

 

Lost Highlanders Rearmed

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I have been steadily working through some of the remaining damaged figures found and sold to me  by a metal detectorist, including three legless and headless Highlanders.

Previous restorations and the original state of the figures can be seen at: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/recalled-to-the-colours-54mm-metal-detectorists-toy-soldier-finds-restored-to-fighting-condition

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Some of the last figures to repair – three kilted Highlanders and an odd Redcoated torso.

The surviving paintwork suggested that two of the Highlanders were Khaki colonials, the other two were a Redcoat Highlander lying firing made by Johillco and a headless Redcoat torso.

Matchstick legs were inserted into the body through the leg holes and then shaved to a more round shape with a scalpel. Masking tape was then wound round to thicken the leg up to a suitable width.

Suitable heads were mostly found in my homecast 54mm Prince August spares box.

Luckily with two of the figures, the Johillco lying firing Highlander and the Khaki Britain’s standing firing figure,  I had battered original figures with which  to compare the headless, legless torsos.

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Johillco Highlanders – at back the figure being restored, matchstick legs and wire rifle, prior to adding masking tape. At the front an original figure having the missing rifle replaced. Good for clues to paintwork.

The Highlanders had puggrees or wound strips of cloth around their pith helmets, so these were simply added with several fine thin strips of masking tape. The same technique was used to build up the sock strips on the legs.

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A puggaree, puggree, puggry or puggary (from a Hindi word ) is a strip of cloth wound around the upper portion of a hat or helmet, particularly a pith helmet, and falling down behind to act as a shade for the back of the neck.

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Fimo polymer clay feet were required to finish off the legs, modelled on a Britains Khaki firing British infantryman with feet pointing outwards.

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One of the Khaki Highlanders lying firing acquired a WW2 tin hat and arm with binoculars, both recast spares from Dorset Soldiers. An added pistol in a holster from Airfix Multipose spares should suggest an officer’s side arm. A spare right arm had to be built up with wire and masking tape.

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This quirky figure should fit well with many World War Two scenarios and match those kilted Matchbox British Eighth Army Khaki Highlander and Piper 54mm figures in kilts or shorts and Tam O’ Shanter berets. http://www.airfixtoysoldiers.com/Matchbox%20sets.htm

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The standing firing Highlander also needed a small hole drilled into the missing arm stump with 0.9mm hand drill, a wire arm or armature added (secured with superglue) and built up with masking tape. Glue and paint stiffened and secured the masking tape, stopping it from unravelling.

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The restored figure (right) is not an exact match of the original Britain’s figure in my collection (shown on the left)  but it gave a rough idea of what to aim at.

This figure was easier to do because of the lucky fact that I had a battered Britain’s  original Khaki Highlander standing firing figure in my collection to compare it with. This standing firing original figure also needed repair of a broken rifle, so I did that as well.

The looser repaired arms lack the neat slender precision of the original Britain’s limbs but provide character one-off  figures. The repaired figures here remind me a little of the looser limbed but spirited poses of Heyde of Germany and Lucotte or Mignot figures of France.

Milliput might be easier for sculpting but I cannot use this due to a family / household allergy, so  I used what I safely had to hand.  I could have ordered and waited for further Dorset Soldier recast Britain’s heads, but impatiently used what Dorset heads or Prince August heads I had in my spares box, even though Prince August 54mm figure heads are a little bigger and heftier than Britain’s original or recast ones. It adds to the toy soldierness of the figures anyhow.

The final non Highland figure was the redcoated torso.

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Prince August head, armature arm and rifle, matchstick legs …

This was the trickiest figure, the Redcoated  torso,  as  I was not sure who the maker was or what the original figure looked like. It had the chunky, slightly oversized look of an early Britain’s Fusilier but having no other fusiliers in my armies,  I chose instead found a suitable Prince August line infantry spiked helmet. This would more closely match my other  line infantry figures. The legs and base were easy enough to make out of matchsticks, masking tape and the usual Fimo feet and base to fit a tuppeny base for stability.

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The near-finished slightly clunky figure. 

The right arm was half missing, so I drilled a small hole to insert a bent wire armature that would be both an arm and shouldered rifle all in one piece. Not the usual rifle position for marching or sloping  arms, but it kind of works.

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A few more useful finishing touches – NCO stripes, maybe some medals – should complete this tiny lead Frankenstein figure.

A satisfying few evenings’ work, mixed in with other figure repair work in progress on more Broken Britain’s, some more Zulus etc to feature in future blog posts.

Hopefully these once lost and battered figures are as bright and proud, as fighting fit as the day they were cast, painted and bought home from a toy shop in a red box. As shiny again as they once were before their curious fate to be bashed, buried and eventually found again over many years by a metal detectorist called Frank in the Southeast of England.

I have based them on tuppeny pieces and made them stout repairs to arms, legs and rifles, stocky rather than thin and elegant,  as these figures will eventually will fight once more in gardens and on tabletops. Huzzah!

You might also be interested in my previous blog posts over the last few weeks about other toy soldier repairs.

Just two more tricky figures left from the figure part of the original haul, the headless driver figure who will become a pilot and a half a body figure in longcoat and gauntlets – possibly originally a pilot?

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 11  January 2018.

 

The Remount Department # 1 – Army Blue

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Army Blue troops after repair and repaint  –   Johillco buglers, Herald Guardsman kneeling firing on Fimo base and a modern Home cast mould version of Guardsman en garden alongside an original hollowcast version. 
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Emerging shiny from the box, a set that never existed – Army Blue troops

Here are more of the damaged and paint bashed play-worn scrap or repair figures to join Army Blue (as H.G. Wells would call them).

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These are Imagi-Nations paint schemes, channeling mixed uniform influences of American Civil War Union infantry, Danish Guards and late 19th Century Belgian, Prussian and Danish Infantry.

Some of the Blue Danish Guard inspiration came from John Patriquin of the Wargame Hermit blog, which I have successfully used on past Airfix HO/OO Guards figures. http://wargamehermit.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/distracted-once-again.html

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/more-redcoat-toy-soldier-inspiration/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/19/airfix-british-redcoat-infantry-1960/

 

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Close up you might notice a range of Army Blue troop types.

Above: The first two were once Britain’s Redcoat Guards marching with rifles at slope, followed by  two Britain’s Redcoat Line infantry, a Fimo base repair to a damaged footless US Marines figure, (Home cast?  type) Officer with pistol and one of my recent Home cast infantry.

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From the back  – The simple white belts,  equipment and cross belts show up more than practical black and gives a proper toy soldier look.

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Basing and Painting 

A variety of basing can be seen, experimenting with bases for these soldiers to be part of future Close Little Wars skirmish games on the games table or in the summer garden.

Four of them are based on 2p coins, although I am still experimenting with the best adhesive. Wood Glue might not be strong enough. Whilst it was still wet and white, I mixed in some flock to see how this worked. Flock basing is not very traditional toy soldier but then the two pence bases are practical, suitably light but weighty enough, inexpensive and more importantly, to hand.

http://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/single-figure-bases-cheap-bases.html

Figures still need their final coats of varnish and any final details.

I wanted to get a shiny factory  first-grade  everyday paint look, not overpainted with fine details, to look as if they might once  have appeared from a toy soldier factory.

Failing to find an acrylic Gloss flesh, the faces were a Matt Flesh Revell acrylic mixed with some of their Fiery Red  Gloss and some Revell Clear Gloss. The Matt Flesh in itself is too pale.

Eyes and moustaches were put in with cocktail sticks. Other fine line details such as chin straps and cross belts were put on using the fine points of cocktail sticks as well.

The Before Photos

The original state of some of these figures can be seen in the following ‘Before’ photo, before restoration, repair and repaint.

Rather than strip them back to bare metal, I gave each figure a quick wipe over to remove ancient play-dirt and dust and then used several layers of Revell Gloss Acrylic for depth of colour.

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Part of my Christmas horde of figures to repaint and repair. Some require new heads and arms to be ordered.

Some of the unusual colour schemes such as the green bonnet and kilt legs and red coat Highlander will stay as they are, for future reference.

Some of the half finished figures can be seen on a previous blogpost:

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

More rescues and remounts from the Lead Graveyard …

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Damaged and second grade paint quality figures from my Christmas horde – some will appear in the Army Red blogpost.
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Emerging Shiny from a Toy Soldier Box Set that never existed – as shiny as the day they were first made – Army Blue troops.

A sneaky peek at some of their shiny renewed Redcoat opposition saved for another blogpost:

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I really like the Army Red White inspiration over at the Tradgardland  blog: Guaaards!

http://armyredwhite.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/guaaarrdds.html

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

Reverse Colours Khaki Redcoats # 1

 

As well as the odd redcoat repaint of dull khaki figures, some figure manufacturers did the opposite and painted their ceremonial or redcoat figures khaki.

This interesting khaki Scotsman figure joined my collection as a Father’s Day gift. It has a damaged base but was with several Johillco khaki figures.

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Left is the base of Johillco Khaki British soldier, right the damaged base of my khaki Scotsman. Figures: Man of TIN collection.

Several of these khaki redcoat figures are featured in the interesting “Unknown or Unidentified Manufacturers” section of Norman Joplin’s beautiful Great Book of Hollowcast Figures.

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Sketch book of possible Khaki highlanders – I think mine is a Charbens Khaki highlander. Figure / sketches: Man of TIN

Maybe this was wartime expediency, converting a parade or ceremonial range into utility khaki for topical or patriotic appeal?

Maybe this was a childish or parent overpaint?

Interestingly Norman Joplin notes of toy soldier manufacturers that: “Khaki was sometimes repainted with red or blue when Khaki uniforms fell from favour” (page 95, The Great Book of Hollowcast).

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Ladybird Leaders first information books No. 16 Soldiers with text by John West and illustrations by Frank Humphris (1975),  another of my bashed childhood information sources.

When Khaki replaced Red

Khaki came into use during Victorian Colonial Wars; the redcoats last were regularly worn by British troops in 1885 at the Battle of Gennis in the Sudan Campaign.

Insert your own reference to Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army here in his old red coat, fixed bayonets and “they do not like it up ’em!” Several companies now make redcoat and khaki figures of Corporal Jones.

The factual basis of Corporal Jones’ character in his redcoat and khaki days is set out here:  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lance_Corporal_Jones

A fascinating illustrated article on the development and decline of the Redcoat uniform in Britain and its ceremonial survival worldwide can be found here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_coat_(British_Army_and_Royal_Marines)

Another good example of hobby learning: how technology of cloth, dye and weapon along with politics, geography, climate and (social) history are all to be found in the now deemed slightly odd but still pleasurable hobby of painting toy soldiers!

The two Boer wars were probably the turning point in tactics and uniforms, developing a trend for clothing matching the battlefield and climate that had unifficailly been going on in India and across Empire since the early Nineteenth century.

It was the end of black powder and smoky battlefields, an age of more individual fighting, snipers and improved rifles, not to mention binoculars, balloons and aeroplanes; all these made bright colourful uniforms too conspicuous. The French poilu soldiers in their red and blue, almost Napoleonic French flag uniforms learned this the hard way in the first years of World War One. The age of drab camouflage colours and in the toy world  “green army men” had arrived.

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The drab but interesting final page of Ladybird Leaders No. 16 Soldiers, 1975,  illustration by Frank Humphris. Interestingly  the Germans are not pictured in this book from about 1870 onwards.

Repainting the drab green toy soldiers in bright colours has been my mild reverse protest against the age of drabness ever since:

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Figure Painting / photo: Man of Tin
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Pound store warriors: Figure painting / photo: Man of TIN.

Other people’s repaint efforts now in my collection: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/obe-repaint-figures-1/

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Airfix 1960 Infantry Combat Group  repainted as Victorian redcoat British Infantry (figure painting / photo Man of TIN)

Including my  Trumpton / Camberwick Green Pippin Fort inspired redcoat repaint of Pound Store figures and Airfix Japanese infantry:

RIP Gordon Murray, inventor of Trumpton, Chigley and Camberwick Green.

Happy hobby learning, painting, collecting and gaming to you all!

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, 30 June 2016.