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.

 

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Recalled To The Colours – 54mm metal detectorist’s toy soldier finds restored to fighting condition

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How these figures looked once I cleaned them of the earth and mud, much  as they were found over many years by a metal detectorist.

A week or two ago I shared photos of how my inexpensive purchase of a metal detectorist’s finds of battered old toy soldiers were cleaning and shaping up. https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/more-dumb-soldiers-in-the-garden-the-clean-up-operation-begins/

Alongside repairing some other Broken Britain’s figures, I have been painting and restoring these wrecked figures to gaming and playable condition  or fighting fitness.

The aim is to give them the kind of glossy toy soldier factory painting bench finish that they might once have enjoyed.

Ahoy Sailors Ahoy!

A small Royal Navy Landing party restored from earth battered bodies.

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The Britain’s sailor figures as they cleaned up, still with blue paint, alongside a complete example in my collection. The other torso with swagger stick is possibly  Crescent Models?

Two bashed sailor bodies required a lot of restoration, although some of their original  blue paint remained. These Britain’s sailors were once proud part of either the prewar Royal Navy Reserve set 151 or the second grade paint set Royal Navy Bluejackets Set 49N, an attractive simple fixed arm figure like one I have in my collection.

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Sailors and Guardsman  Repairing or restoring legs with matchstick and cocktail stick wrapped round and round in masking tape, then sealed with paint.

Legs were repaired or restored  with matchstick and cocktail sticks,  wrapped round and round with masking tape, then sealed with paint.

The sailor figures  had no base and feet remaining. Fimo bases were made, fired and  painted to match my other Britain’s figures which are mounted on 2p pieces.

A 1mm hole was drilled through the shoulder where the rifle is broken off to insert some 1mm metal to rebuild a barrel. This was thickened to rifle size again by winding a small width of masking tape around it.

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Two restored sailors alongside my original Britain’s sailor figure for reference.

Two sailor’s heads with different hats were found in my bits box,  both recasts from Dorset Soldiers, and the neck  and sailor scarf area built up on each one to take these heads.

These figure repairs need to be stout and strong as they will once again be in tabletop  action or campaigning in the garden, H.G. Wells’ Little Wars style, albeit without firing real projectiles at them.

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I do not use Milliput due to a family allergy,  instead I use the masking tape, matchstick and Fimo (polymer clay) method of repair. I also do not yet know how to solder such small figures.

The pink or red cheek dot on the faces is a useful gloss paint toy soldier style trick. Nothing very Military Modelling or realistic about this type of face.

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I worked on the swagger stick torso figure and made this figure out of him, using a peaked cap Prince August 54mm Toy Soldier head that I had previously cast in one of their traditional toy soldier moulds.

He got one of the disembodied pair of legs with puttees, along with a separate wooden leg. This (Crescent Models?) figure’s  body is curiously rather short in the arms!

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Guards! Guards!

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Comparing these two metal detectorist’s finds with original Britain’s  Guards figures in my collection.

These Guardsmen needed both leg and rifle repairs.

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Guardsmen on the left, preaparing new Fimo feet and bases to fit a 2p coin base. On the right are two more Broken Britain’s figures from John Forman, Khaki Infantry  on guard in Steel helmet and Boer War Gloucester Regiment in Khaki firing set 119. I will feature these two groups in future blogposts.

Two of the broken figures were clearly Britain’s Guardsmen marching and firing.

After preparing new legs as required, replacement bases were made from Fimo (polymer clay). Metal replacement bases can be bought for some footless damaged Britain’s figures from companies such as Dorset Soldiers.  As these are being repaired back to gaming or  fighting condition, rather than restored to red box display condition, I thought Fimo and tuppeny mounted bases like my other restorations were suitable, as well as cheaper and to hand.

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A temporary spare original head whilst I wait for a recast one to arrive.

Until some suitable recast Guardsman heads arrive, I am showing these figures with a spare loose fusilier or guards busby head.

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Restored Britain’s Marching Guardsman with repaired wooden matchstick right leg, new feet and base and new rifle. The head is a temporary spare original head from my bits box. 

As these old soldiers are special, restored to life and recalled to the colours, I have given several of them suitable status with various stripes as Corporals and Sergeants / NCOs.

My favourite figure of this bunch so far is one of the most wrecked figures whom, with the addition of a Dorset recast bare head and moustache, I have made into a brave bare-headed Battling Sergeant.

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This bareheaded “on guard” pose reminds me of Victorian Battle paintings.  I have painted this brave fellow with the yellow facings (colour and cuffs) of the Buffs (East Kent Regiment), one of the popular Britain’s Toy Soldier Line Infantry Regiments.

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This Sergeant  matches two of the Buffs “on guard” figures amongst the Broken Britains figures recently given to me by John Forman, whose broken rifles I  have repaired.

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Compared to what he was a few weeks ago, he’s looking quite handsome! I like the fact that his painted red coat is still showing even after years in the soil and now sits within his new red gloss Acrylic painted tunic.

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A new pair of legs and new rifle repaired.

Next task – watch this space

Amongst the next figure challenges from amongst the metal detectorist’s finds are these fine kilted colonial Highlanders by Britain’s and John Hill Co. (Johillco).

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New legs, arms and heads needed for these three damaged Highlanders.

I would love to know their previous history, past battles and how these battered toy soldier figures ended up in the earth to be found by metal detectorists decades later.

Great fun, I am really enjoying this quiet, slow and colourful restoration work.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20 May 2018.