WIP King’s Guard paint conversion of Vintage Airfix AWI British Grenadiers

The original few King’s Guard figures are based on unusual paint conversions of Airfix AWI British Grenadiers.

These were found as a handful of figures in a small hoard of random old Airfix figures from a local collectibles shop plastic bag over ten years ago.

This is how they arrived …

As they were when I emptied the random joblot bag … before paint retouching and rebasing. The officer is a conversion from an ACW officer.

The dozen or so original King’s Guard figures (both blue facings and a few green facings) needed bulking up in numbers to be any kind of effective unit on the gaming tabletop for a skirmish game.

Bottom left, a useful handful of British Grenadiers from Alan. The French Artillery are now painted up https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/06/13/wades-toy-soldier-artillery-from-vintage-airfix-ooho-french-artillery-imaginations/

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/06/04/imaginations-vintage-airfix-figures-1-black-and-gold-washingtons-army-tricorne-troops/

Fortunately, some Airfix ‘turncoats and mercenaries’ arrived from Alan at the Duchy of Tradgardland blog as Army surplus to current Tradgardland projects.

These Grenadier figures from Alan have been painted up to join or blend in with the battered original paint scheme.

Underneath on the Warbases penny MDF bases, I have inscribed with Steadtler fine liner CD/DVD permanent marker pens their origin and individual number.

DofT means Duchy of Tradgardland origin, along with other ‘bag originals’ marked as DH for another origin or KG (for King’s Guard).

Placeholder simple red flag for the King’s Guard, as red as those striking britches!

Reversed colour facings for the drummer.

The original handwritten biro markings beneath their original bases.

Inscribing ID numbers and origin initials on the bases means that I can

  • keep track of how many Airfix figures I have,
  • which are my original childhood ones
  • who or where the kind gifting of figures came from.

It also fits in well with Featherstone’s personalised wargaming chapter of his Solo Wargaming.

I have kept the paintwork on any ‘new’ figures or any refreshed paint style very simple to match the original figures. No washes, no outlining straps and cross belts, and also no varnish (yet).

These early 1971 Airfix AWI figures have a surprising amount of detail to choose to paint or not to paint such as pigtails, powder horns, straps, turn backs, facings and buttons. Plastic Soldier Review are not so impressed by these vintage 1971 figures: http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=43

I wonder if one day the original painter of these “King’s Guard” figures will spot these figures online and recognise their handwriting and their handiwork?

Future vintage Airfix plans

There are several more colourful but undermanned ImagiNations units from the original plastic bag hoard who need reinforcements –

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/05/20/imaginations-obes-and-vintage-airfix-scrapings-from-someone-elses-toy-box/

Recently Ian M. Dury my fellow Peter Laing collector posted the remains of a surplus box each of Airfix British Grenadiers and Washington’s Army to add to the colourful Rainbow ImagiNations figures. Thanks Ian. Ironically they will probably delay some Peter Laing figures on their journey across the painting table.

Welcome AWI Airfix surplus to join my ImagiNations recruits, a gift from Ian Dury …

Naturally these are now marked up on the bases as ID, ready for future painting, along with a handful from Tony Adams (TA) and about half a box from former colleague Ken (KA) of Washington’s Army figures.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/vintage-airfix-tin-hoard/

Washington’s Army from the early 1970s still on the sprue from my former colleague Ken. Thanks Ken.

I wonder – If Airfix rereleased them, would I buy many more? Do I have enough already for my small skirmish forces?

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 5 July 2021

Wade’s Toy Soldier Artillery from vintage Airfix OOHO French Artillery ImagiNations

Inspiration for ImagiNations units comes from very odd and whimsical sources such as this slightly Sergeant Pepper ceramic toy soldier by Wade, glimpsed recently on Etsy.

Great moustache!

My starting materials would be these vintage Airfix French Napoleonics:

Napoleonic French Artillery (centre) posted for future service by the Duchy of Tradgardland

These were a gift of some battered Airfix OOHO French Napoleonic Artillery and other figures from Alan Gruber (The Duchy of Tradgardland blog).

Having no intention of starting proper historical Napoleonic gaming, this gave me leave to experiment with colour and ImagiNations using these familiar vintage figures.

I searched and found some side and back views as well again from Etsy:

Although not exactly the same, the Wade figure having a longer tail coat and no gaiters, it gave me an idea of how to develop these spare random Artillery figures and a future use for any stray French shako troops that I might find whilst sorting.

The first attempt painting involved a multi racial unit but somehow the ones painted with darker skin tones worked better (Revell Aquacolor Acrylic Dark Earth colour).

An attempt at a flag colour. Blue sky, sandy beach?

One of my family said they thought the figures had a Caribbean look to the bright uniforms.

Equally they might suit the Bronte ImagiNations islands Gaaldine and Gondal set in the South or North Pacific.

Borrowed a couple of Esci French Napoleonic Artillery pieces that I painted in the 1980s

And on a less beach background, this is how the figures look.

I have painted a few Airfix Waterloo Napoleonic French Infantry (including some chewed up or melted ones) from the same gift to join with firelock troops from the Napoleonic Artillery set.

A colourful ImagiNations unit to play with.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN June 2021

Airfix OOHO Washington’s Army conversions by Steve Haller from The Courier magazine early 1970s

After posting my colourful black and gold ImagiNations paint version of Airfix OOHO Washington’s Army figures, I had an interesting blog comment / email from Steve Haller about his use of these 20mm figures:

Steve had pictures of his Washington’s Army troops published in the pages of The Courier magazine, which I have reprinted here with his permission.

You can see those familiar Airfix poses!

Steve wrote: “Here are some Courier early 1970s photos from my old AWI Airfix and Scruby 20mm collection (sold in late 1970s).”

They were published in Courier Magazine issues IV-4; V-2; VI-4.

Proof how versatile these figures are and how they made the AWI period accessible to many, even to the stage where they were mixed in games with ‘proper’ metal figures.

Thanks to Steve Haller for sharing these pictures, for which he still has the original prints.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 8/9 June 2021.

“From the halls of Montezuma …” Airfix Version 1 US Marines 1963

Some of my original painted version 1 US Marines veterans from my childhoood, freshly rebased.

Since starting the numbering, basing and flocking of my Airfix figures, I have been basing some of my childhood figures to bring them up to gaming condition.

Once this has been done, I have been searching around for more of such figures in various tins or job lot bags picked up or gifted over the last few years, enough to make a skirmish or small invasion force.

A handful of freshly repainted US Marine figures, originally painted grey by Tony Adams

Eventually with scouring through several boxes of mixed Airfix I found a few dozen more, enough to make a small invasion force. Some of these are probably my original family / childhood ones which were left unpainted.

Over 80 original version 1 figures scraped together, almost two boxes worth.

My paint style as a child or teenage gamer was minimal, leaving the uniform colour unpainted if it was close to the desired base colour and then highlighting usually just face, boots, weapons and webbing. I tried to keep close to this style of the originals that I had painted long ago. Some figures needed olive drab overpainting to cover up any other paint schemes such as Tony Adams’ grey Marines.

There was only one pose missing, the bazooka man, so I used a pound store copy of such a version 2 figure.

Pound store bazooka man, original standing loader and more cautious kneeling conversion.

These figures were first released as set S16, in 1963, a year before their opponents the Japanese Infantry.

They have a variety of odd poses, which the type 1 box usefully lists, pictured in J C. Carbonel’s Airfix’s Little Soldiers.

Years late , when I read them in Carbonel’s book, I thought “Oh, is that what they are supposed to be doing?” Running, charging, leaping, lying, lying wounded, just wounded.

Box listing of figures type 2 and familiar later type 2 blue box from J.C. Carbonel’s Airfix book

The Plastic Soldier Review for this set is here:

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=355

The Marines were remodelled into a new version 2 set somewhere around 1975 to 1978, using scaled down copies of the familiar chunky US Infantry 1:32 figures and some new slender replacement poses: http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=354

These version 2 US Marines figures are still available from the Airfix web shop or stockists for a very reasonable £5 a box, still with the familiar box art from the late 60s and 70s https://uk.airfix.com/products/wwii-us-marines-a00716v

I much prefer to use the version 1 figures when I can.

The only other bit missing in my set was the base of the rubber dinghy or ‘assault boat’ so I improvised with a card replacement until I find such a dinghy base whilst rooting through my Airfix odds and ends.

Using the version 1 Marines

I have no intention of running any Japanese Vs. Marines type games anytime soon. The more I learn of the savagery of the Pacific War, the less I would want to replay actual historical battles.

The Marines would be great for many mid to late 20th century troops and ImagiNations games.

The US Marines figures seemed to fulfil for most at the time the role of US Infantry which oddly Airfix never made in OOHO, unlike Matchbox and other makers. Airfix include the Version 2 ones in their current DDay diorama / Playsets.

I noticed that they are generic enough to use for many postwar armies, and for summer in Korea, Vietnam and the ‘Cold War in hot countries’ type scenarios. They lack the greatcoats etc. for winter warfare.

Curiously whilst I was slowly painting, flocking and basing these figures amongst others over the last few weeks, Alan at the Duchy of Tradgardland blog posted an intriguing picture of Airfix Version 1 US Marines from Charles Grant’s WW2 rules book Battle! Practical Wargaming, ‘spotty’ painted in use as WW2 or postwar modern camouflaged troops:

I shall try this spotty colour scheme out on a few spare crawling Marine figures. Hopefully Alan has now secured some version 1 Marines for future ‘spotty’ use.

The US Marines band – Music For Pleasure?

Whilst painting, basing and flocking these figures, I listened to a wide range of US Marines music and their marching cadence calls, including lots of Sousa marches and a very varied jazz and chamber music repertoire, all free and live streamed on the YouTube United States Marine Band channel. https://m.youtube.com/user/usmarineband

The bandsmen and bandswomen wear splendid red band uniforms.

Hopefully this rousing Marines music is now infused into my tiny Marines’ paintwork and flock.

The Sousa marches seem very familiar since quite by chance, as a child in the early 1970s, my family were given some random Woolworths type LPs by a relative. They included this very cheery album cover of a tanned and smiling American drum lady; in reality, the band itself was all the way from sunny Sandhurst. MFP – good old affordable‘ Music for Pleasure vinyl LPs.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 6th / 7th June 2021

Turncoats and Mercenaries?

Updated July 2021 with Figure paint conversion pictures

A small colourful consignment of turncoats and mercenary troops, previously serving with the Duchy of Tradgardland, have been posted to new service here with various ImagiNations.

These familiar and classic Airfix OOHO figures from the 1970s will be perfect to bulk up the small numbers of the various colourful and random RainBow ImagiNations units featured on my Pound Store Plastic Warrior blog last week:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/05/20/imaginations-obes-and-vintage-airfix-scrapings-from-someone-elses-toy-box/

In red on the left, you can see a handful of Airfix AWI British Grenadiers and Washington’s Army figures.

July 2021 Update: the Tricornes have now become black and gold

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/06/04/imaginations-vintage-airfix-figures-1-black-and-gold-washingtons-army-tricorne-troops/

July 2021 update: The Grenadiers have become reinforcements for the Kings Guard

In the centre, mostly French Napoleonic Artillery figures, gun and limber pieces and a medley of other figures.

July 2021 Update: the French Artillery have become blue and gold

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/06/13/wades-toy-soldier-artillery-from-vintage-airfix-ooho-french-artillery-imaginations/

I like the French Artillery firelock figures at the bottom centre with musket perched casually over the shoulder whilst marching or shuffling along.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/06/13/wades-toy-soldier-artillery-from-vintage-airfix-ooho-french-artillery-imaginations/

On the right, French Napoleonic Imperial Guard.

There was also half a dozen Airfix horses and bases (not shown).

They are all such useful generic shako, bearskin and Tricorne figures for “Horse and Musket” era ImagiNations.

As you can imagine, I will probably not be painting or using them as they were intended. Some of the later shako figures may do well with the post Napoleonic Mid 19th century Bronte family ImagiNations of Gondal, Glasstown and Angria.

I will mount gun crews and skirmish infantry as individually based figures.

Thanks to Alan Gruber of the Duchy of Tradgardland for this kind gesture. The finished figures will feature on this blog in time.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 27 May 2021,

updated 5 July 2021 with phinished phigure photographs.

ImagiNations, OBEs and vintage Airfix scrapings from someone else’s toy box?

In the Pink! Just one group from an oddly coloured haul of vintage Airfix tricornes figures from a mixed bag from a seaside shop. Airfix OOHO Washington’s Army, AWI Britain Grenadiers redcoats and others, painted with great colourful abandon. Redcoats, Pink Coats, Purple Coats …

ImagiNations? Add in a bit of colourful window shopping on Etsy …

See them all at https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/05/20/imaginations-obes-and-vintage-airfix-scrapings-from-someone-elses-toy-box/

Blog cross-posted on my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog by Mark Man of TIN, 20 May 2021.

Octagons are not Hexagons or my DIY Games Workshop Lost Patrol tiles

Alan Tradgardland Gruber’s post on Skirmish Kokoda Trail rules from Lone Warrior magazine reminded me of a failed experiment of mine last summer.

Maths was never one of my strongpoints.

I have often found that drawing hexagons that interlink well is not easy either.

I found this out about twenty years ago trying to plan some hexes to make a D & D style random terrain jungle path to suit Donald Featherstone’s Close Wars forest skirmish rules in the Appendix to his first War Games book (1962).

These simple rules call for impenetrable forests and dead ends to paths etc. as Natives track down Troops in the cluttered terrain on the tabletop terrain, mostly collected from the garden.

My 2020 card and 2000 paper versions of hex lost patrol type tiles, these 2000 paper hex and square ones survived tucked inside the card ticket holder of my old branch library copy of War Games by Donald Featherstone.

Template tin lid, Sharpie pen for doodling jungle plants, ridged garden wire for stranglewort weeds
My DIY cardboard version of Lost Patrol hexes with green paint & Black Sharpie pen doodle forest

I discovered some interesting things.

Hexagons are not Octagons.

One of them has six sides.

I noticed too late that the toffee tin castle lid that I found at home, my sure-fire way to mark out rough draft cardboard hexagons, had on closer examination eight sides.

I was happily looking through the photo archive of original and DIY versions of Games Workshop’s Lost Patrol minigame (2000) on Board Games Geek. The game was reissued in a different form in 2016 and here is also a useful Skip the Rule book on YouTube video on the rules and tile placing in the 2016 re-release.

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2268/lost-patrol

This difference between hexagons and octagons eventually explained why, as I tried to produce rough cardboard copy DIY version of the original tiles for Lost Patrol, that some curved path tiles and the ‘start’ clearing tile of six paths did not work for me. They did not copy across for some reason. It was admittedly quite late in the evening that I was roughing this out.

I wondered why it didn’t work.

One of my family pointed out that my cardboard tiles did not tessellate properly without square inserts. Hexagons should fit snugly together without gaps.

Featherstone’s Close Wars Appendix to his 1962 War Games that inspired my first hex attempts on tiny paper c. 1999 / 2000.

Maybe I would find the answer looking at my tiny flimsy paper hex versions from the year 2000?

Putting numbers on the paper hex tile edges meant that using a d6 dice roll could help to place the tiles for solo play at random. Throw one d6 for the connecting tile edge, another d6 for which of the newest tile sides is connected. And so your path randomly grows before the game or as you travel … d6 dice roll by d6 dice roll.

Fast forward to 2020: Late one evening a few weeks ago I decided to have another go at a random forest path of larger hex tiles.

I had been looking at the Solo Wargaming with Miniatures group on Facebook post on this attractive 3D DIY terrain hexes for Lost Patrol by Raymond Usher.

Raymond Usher’s solo 3D version of Lost Patrol

Obviously the attractive 3D terrain modelling would be more difficult to store than the original design of flat tiles but they looked very impressive.

Raymond Usher’s solo play ideas are very interesting including the random tile choosing tokens.

The interesting concealed enemy (originally ‘lurkers’) have the advantage that they can cross the jungle across country from tile to tile whereas troops need to stay on the paths, which are surrounded by impenetrable jungle forest.

The jungle grows around the troops and can even encircle them. Apparently it is very hard to survive and win in the original Lost Patrol game as the Marines.

Available secondhand online, Airfix Gurkhas along with the Australians, useful as jungle fighters?

The Lost Patrol type hex or octagon path could be easily adapted back from fantasy and futuristic sci-fi of “aliens and lurkers” back to other jungle encounters in colonial times, ImagiNations, Victorian and Interwar explorers or modern / WW2 jungle forces. This malicious forest has a strong fairy or folk tale feel to it.

The Original Lost Patrol rules by Jake Thornton 2000

Hulkskulker has posted the older unavailable Games Workshop rules for Lost Patrol (2000 version) online at the Trove.net – Copyright still belongs to Games Workshop https://thetrove.net/Books/Warhammer/40000/Tabletop/Dataslates%20&%20Supplements/Lost%20Patrol.pdf

Useful starter rules from Games Workshop’s Lost Patrol 2000 version game design / rules by Jake Thornton – reprinted by Hulkskulker on Trove.net

Looking at Board Game Geek, now that the GW 2000 Lost Patrol original is no longer available at sensible prices, there are lots of interesting DIY variations that people have posted including using hex tiles from other games like this urban warfare futuristic game.

One of the many variants using other game tiles – Board Game Geek is a great visual resource for games design.

Very helpful Board Game Geek photos showing original and DIY versions of Lost Patrol.

The Octagon and Hexagon thing aside, these tiles were ‘doodle relaxing’ to draw up as rough tile copies. They could hopefully pass for alien forests or earth jungles.

The original Lost Patrol had ensnaring Tangleweed tiles that you had to dice to escape from. I used ridged garden wire to create my own renamed ‘Snarewort’ tiles.

In the original 2000 Lost Patrol, lurking forces of spirits of the forest were represented by card markers, an idea which could be cheaply and easily adapted such as card markers for the forest Natives in Close Wars / French Indian Wars. Forest spirits? Spirit warriors or ghost soldiers (Thanks, Wargaming Pastor / Death Zapp! ) are another possibility. That’s why your troops should never camp on the old Indian burial ground …

The route out or victory and end condition for the troops is to make it to the crashed dropship and retrieve documents. They do not have to fight their way back anywhere in the original. Presumably they get zoomed somehow out of the situation.

Again the lure or target such as the ‘drop ship’ plans could be adapted to period – a rescue mission, rescuing plans or vital maps and secret documents from a lost wagon or appropriate era vehicle. Explorer figures would have to find the Jungle Temple artefact Indiana Jones style etc.

Like the random path, where will this idea go?

Who knows? I could add or insert 3D jungle elements to the square spacer tiles but again this is a challenge for storage.

First off, I will explore Raymond Usher’s solo wrgaming ideas, read through the original and simplify it to my level.

If it doesn’t work it has cost only cardboard, paint, some ink and some time. I will have relearnt again some basic geometry. Hexagons. octagons. One of these has six sides.

Hex-ctagons anyone?

Watch this space.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN August 2020 / 12 February 2021

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

The Lost Patrol is also a 1934 film which looks promising for games scenarios https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Patrol_(1934_film)

Quick plot summary from IMDB, which also has some dramatic and stylish film posters for The Lost Patrol: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025423/

A World War I British Army patrol is crossing the Mesopotomian desert when their commanding officer, the only one who knows their destination [and mission] is killed by the bullet of unseen bandits. The patrol’s sergeant keeps them heading north on the assumption that they will hit their brigade. They stop for the night at an oasis and awake the next morning to find their horses stolen, their sentry dead, the oasis surrounded and survival difficult.

Airfix WW2 1:32 figures 54mm Rerelease for Summer 2021

Childishly delighted to see that Airfix are rereleasing six boxes of their classic 1:32 / 54mm scale WW2 figures in Summer 2021 – maybe in time for the 80th anniversaries of WW2 events over the next few years?

https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/shop/new-for-2021.html

The 1960s beach buggy in 1:32 is available again – amphibious assault vehicle?

These classic 1:32 figures will be as welcome to military modellers, collectors and diorama makers as to 54mm Wargamers.

The 1:32 British Infantry set – different figures from the 1:72 scale ones

14 figure for £9.00 is a good deal these days, 64pence each compared to 8 Chintoys figures for £25 at £3 ish each, although Steve Weston Plastic Soldiers WW2 British are a very good deal.

64p each – Cheap joy! 1 Officer, 1 radioman, 12 infantry: The tactile shape of my childhood.

Some exciting skirmishes can be fought with Paratroops and Infantry.

Six sets of WW2 1:32 figures is a start. Thanks Airfix! What can we expect next?

Strangely there are no desert war figures – German British or Italians – for the 80th anniversary of the desert battles of 1941/42?

No Waterloo 1:32 figures? No Wild West ones? No Australians or the versatile Japanese figures for the anniversary of Pearl Harbor December 1941? No Russians for the 1941 Invasion of Russia anniversary?

Looking through the website now is like poring over the lovely Airfix catalogues of our youth.

1982! https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/07/warning-more-vintage-airfix-nostalgia/

The last release of 1:32 Airfix figures in the early 2010s are still around online and in some shops including British Infantry Heavy Weapons Support Set and German Mountain Troops.

There are no new releases in 1:72 just these classic figures for WW1 and a few still available for WW2, along with a lone Airfix Multipose German Infantry 1:32 starter set https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/shop/figures.html

The current 2021 available 1:72 range, some now sold out, as of 2021. Sold out on the Airfix.com shop but ‘view stockists’ available from model shops and online stockists.

Good starter figures for young gamers such as Tom the Wargamer on YouTube. https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/09/20/ww2-wargaming-on-a-budget-tom-the-wargamer-and-historical-wargaming-on-youtube/

Blog posted by the childishly delighted Mark Man of TIN, 8 January 2021

Unboxing the Blue Box of 1980s gaming figures time capsule – parts 1 to 3

If you missed any parts, here are links to all three posts about my Unboxing my Blue Box of drawers, my ‘bits and bobs’ box of 1980s figures that I unpacked, explored and sometimes finished off this week.

What lead mountains, unfinished projects, forgotten boxes or stockpiles of your own figures have you raided over these Lockdown weeks?

Part 1 – 1/300, hair-rollers and other scales and the background to these posts:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/08/unboxing-my-nineteen-eighties-figures-box-part-1/

Random 1/300 Ancients from Heroics and Ros

And Moderns – some Platoon 20 Falklands era 20mm metal samples

Part 2: mostly 1/300 and plastic OOHO

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/10/unboxing-my-blue-box-of-1980s-figures-time-capsule-part-2/

Some of the random Airfix and Esci figures tucked away – great figures for an ImagiNations game?
Some random bits and bobs in the Blue Box such as this RSA First Boer War related stamp.

Minifigs 15mm British Colonial Infantry c. 1879, finally based & flocked after 35 years!

Part 3: Mostly 15mm Peter Laing and other 15mm figures.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/11/unboxing-my-blue-box-of-1980s-gaming-figures-time-capsule-part-three/

Peter Laing 15mm ECW musketeers, again finally based after 35 years.

My Blue Box of drawers reminded me of Peter Laing’s casting room wall of drawers. Some of my figures could have come out of these marked boxes from these very photographs. F1, F2, F3 …

These are the vanished moulds … December 1982 Mil Mod interview

I remember that Peter Laing had walls of such drawer boxes to store his castings. This scan from this site saves me tracking down my copy of this December 1982 Mil Mod: http://www.deartonyblair.co.uk/2013/12/peter-laing-interview-from-1977.html

I was already buying from Peter by then so it was interesting to see the man behind the figures.

What were your favourite parts, figures or drawers in the Blue Box?

Already the White Company pikes are in place, a new unit finally finished after 35 years patient waiting for basing and arming. These will eventually join my other Laing ECW regiments in Really Useful Boxes. They are no longer ‘odds and ends’.

What next for the Blue Box figures?

The box’s contents should give me some dedicated “Blue Box days” painting or gaming with the limited resources that I have in the Box.

Some of the random solo figures may be “returned to unit” if more exist elsewhere, packed away in my collections.

With unlimited figures available online now, it is quite restrictively creative in a ‘Desert Island Discs’ scenario that this Blue Box is all that you have …

This used to be the same going on holiday as a child (and still today) where you can only take a really limited box of figures, so you had to choose very carefully!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/portable-wargames-on-holiday/

The portable Wargames 1960s Airfix style in a tackle box (2016)

What if / Blue Box games?

What If this was my Desert Island Discs box, my ‘fire box’, if this Blue Box from my 1980s gaming were all that survived, I think there is enough interesting variety to scratch together some skirmish games.

If these were the only figures you had in the world, what fantastical ImagiNations games these would be.

There would be enough for some Ancients and WW2 1/300 games, some 15mm ECW and Marlburian era games and OO/HO or 1/72 Plastic and metal figure games from various manufacturers and several 19th and 20th Century periods.

In an era of too much choice, I sometimes do this Time Machine thing with vintage Airfix games restricting the figures selection to those boxes available from 1959 to 1969.

What have I learned from several days rummaging through the Blue Box?

I have enjoyed sorting through the mixed figures, sample figures, lost figures, revisiting past projects begun and unfinished, sample figures. Some may have been long forgotten swaps. Sometimes I have no idea or memory why these painted figures were left unbased and unused.

It tells me I am still the easily distracted “Wargames Butterfly” that I was as a childhood or teenage gamer, who just likes collecting toy soldiers. Nothing much has changed.

Some of the junk bits and bobs have quite strong memories attached, from Owzthat dice to parts of long vanished 70s games or bits of houses like the old lead wiring cover strips from my childhood home that I planned to include in castings for my Dad.

Lovely flags! Peter Laing 15mm ECW Standard bearers who should be back with their regiments …

I still like, collect and use the Peter Laing 15mm figures that I eventually focussed on, choosing these above the odd 15mm Mike’s Model samples and for some reason (money?) never went with the 15mm or 25mm Minifigs.

The metal figures were part of the ‘eye candy’ temptation of what I was seeing in the wargames and modelling magazines. Outside of Featherstone books, ‘grown up gamers’ in magazines didn’t seem to use plastic figures. Plastic figures were for kids.

The Platoon 20 metal 20mm “Moderns” samples were good but expensive compared to similar Airfix, Matchbox, Atlantic or Esci plastic figure. That us, if you could find them in stock at the time. I still like and still use these plastic figures.

Early to mid 80s Esci Colonials

There was obviously in the early to mid 1980s a lot of distracting new figures, scales and ranges around to explore and choose from, ranging from tiny 1/300 to 54mm figures. Nowadays there is even more distractions and choice …

1/300 offered such a lot of figures for such a little amount of money. Such a lot of little figures. 1/300 were maybe too tiny for the skirmish level small group or individual figure games that I enjoyed then and still do now. The simple Featherstone War Games 1962 rules and Close Wars appendix still does nicely for me!

What is missing in the Blue Box is much trace of 54mm figures and 54mm gaming. Thankfully a representative sample of some of these original heroic plastic figures from my childhood have survived, despite paring down and house moves, in a separate metal engineers suitcase. For obvious ‘safety’ reasons, Lead 54mm and home casts were just not around in the shops and toy boxes of my childhood, metal 54mm meant Britain’s Deetail with metal bases.

Make Do and Mend

It all fits very well into Ann Wycoff’s Immaterium Challenge for April 2020 of “Painting what you already own”, perfect for exploring what you already have stockpiled for such lockdown situations. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/05/anns-immaterium-painting-challenge-april-2020/

I shall explore some more boxes over the coming weeks.

Mark Man of TIN April 2020