Martial Pride Restored at Circa Games USA

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Three of the bashed original vintage figures  from a bag for $6, money well spent by Scott.

Scott Larson of the Circa Games blog USA dropped me an email (via the Man of TIN blog comments page) to say that he had finished stripping and repainting his chance find of some hollowcast lead figures in a US junk shop. http://www.circagames.com/wordpress/this-doesnt-usually-happen-to-me/

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The finished figures here: http://www.circagames.com/wordpress/toy-soldier-update/

They look as smart and shiny as the day they were first painted and would have proved a joy to a small boy or girl somewhere  when the box was opened and they were seen strung into the card liner, ready for action!

Battle damaged and with playworn paint, who knows where and what heroic adventures these lead figures have had in the past with their original owners and down through the generations to Scott?

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Scott’s website or blog header is a colourful VSF scene with some great steampunk tanks.

Scott’s blog Circa Games is a varied and interesting read ranging from westerns to VSF, wooden figures … oh, and designing and building your own games shack out the back. A games shed that has to deal with both snow and termites, as casually mentioned in http://www.circagames.com/wordpress/onward-and-backward/

and more fully shown at

http://www.circagames.com/wordpress/a-room-of-ones-own/

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Designing his Games Shack – screenshot from Scott’s Circa Games website.

As a man who struggles to make even model buildings of plastic, card and balsa wood, I have “to take off my wargames hat” to Scott for this amazing bit of carpentry.  (P.S. Before anyone asks, sadly I do not own or wear a special wargames hat.)

There are more of these old lead figures on Scott’s painting table to look forward to.

Add to that the VSF resource pages and the Triggernometry (Old West) one, there is lots to read and refer too here!

Blog posted by Mark, hatless Man of TIN, 17 June 2019.

All images are screenshots from Scott’s Circa Games website and he retains copyright © of his images.

Father’s Day 2019

Usually on Father’s Day (UK) I post a link to a toy soldier figure that has some strong link back to my late Dad and the love of Toy Soldiers and History that he passed on to me.

2016: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/fathers-day-raf-firefighter/

2017: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/18/national-service-days-1/

2018: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/zulus-or-ashantees-rearmed/

2019?

Although the last few months of blogging have been Scout Wide Games based, I think my Dad would have approved of this year’s family gifts.

This year the wonderful addition to my toy armoury was two handmade warships which I saw and liked in a vintage shop months ago, a small hollow-cast raiding force (a complete surprise, as a raiding force should be!) and an ACW book that I had put aside in case my family weren’t sure what to get.

Father’s Day 2019: Two wooden ships, a book and a small raiding force

Mannie Gentile recently posted a blogpost on the Golden Book of the American Civil War

http://toysoldiersforever.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-book-that-launched-thousand-careers.html

So Mannie is responsible for me buying a cheap secondhand paperback of this interesting book that launched the hobbies and careers of hundreds of Civil War enthusiasts and historians.

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A book I never saw as a child growing up in Britain …

This book is richly illustrated and includes some fabulous battlefield “bird’s eye view” maps whose detail I would have found fascinating as a child.

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This is what my childhood Airfix ACW games aspired to, without knowing this book. (First Bull Run, detail)

The toy hollowcast soldiers are a  treat – a surprise gift from my family found all together in a local vintage shop that they “hoped were all right”.

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Crescent figures metal American infantry in 54mm and smaller 50mm range with the round backpack flamethrowers. All postwar issues.

Any vintage lead soldiers are all right in my eyes!

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Curious Cherilea figures c. 1954 – designed to carry a firing mortar or bazooka?
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Similar figures by Cherilea in Norman Joplin’s The Great Book Of Hollow-Cast Figures.
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At first sight I thought these Cherilea bazooka or mortar  teams might be gimmicky paratroopers with parachutes or engineers with carrying arms.
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Two fine Crescent Khaki Infantry with green helmets, figures issued postwar. I like the lively animation of the grenade thrower.  John Hill (Johillco) Bren Gunner?
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American troops by Crescent 1940s – 1950s. Paratroop type helmets

I was interested to see the kneeling American infantryman  as he appears quite similar in style  to a trio of (solid lead home cast?) soldiers sent to me by Alan as reservists from his Duchy of Tradgardland forces. The kneeling green Crescent trooper has a knee ‘flange’ to give him more stability.

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The three Duchy of Tradgardland reservists have acquired new blue uniforms for a mission in a galaxy far far away. They have an odd space look to them with their helmet and rifle. They are now acquiring blue uniforms and white or silver boots, helmets and weapons to come.  They should soon have a 30s /  50s space ‘thing’ going on to match some of the Tim Mee Galaxy Laser Team and Airfix Space Warriors.

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The lady in the vintage shop thought that all these four items belonged together, so maybe the photo and  1940s / 1950s Royal Navy trade certificate of AB Able Seaman Thomas C. Owen are of the man who made  the two fine warships?

The two fine handmade boats have some battle damage that needs sympathetic repair. They deserve a blog post of their own as they are repaired and researched, along with their paperwork. They came from what can be a “grey port” at times of naval vessels in for refit.

Are they accurate handmade models or spirited imaginative examples of “modern warships” with guns and rockets? It will be interesting to find out.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, Father’s Day 16 June 2019.

 

Huzzah for the Wooden Cavalry!

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A charming birthday gift last year, an arrival from Etsy.

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Herald 54mm guardsman for scale  comparison

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These beautifully packed little redcoat guards cavalry arrived as a birthday gift last year.

Much smaller in size but similar in style, they are an interesting comparison with the Guards ‘gun crew’ (from yesterday’s blog post) that arrived at Christmas

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/10/wooden-soldiers-and-toy-cannons/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 11 March 2019.

 

 

 

Wooden Soldiers and Toy Cannons

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A stylish gun crew … great little moustaches

These stylish guardsman arrived at Christmas in the company of this simple cannon. The cannon is wooden but with attractively simple metal wheels.

They are handmade, possibly using a lathe in places but also curiously and crudely carved on the body.

They look almost well padded or as a comedian like Max Miller would say “like a roll top desk, all front.” Very odd.

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As usual, these wooden figures have quite fragile arms and rifles. Not something to repair – Sign of their veteran play worn status.

Tucked in with the package from the Etsy vintage trader was a little threebie or  freebie in the form of these vintage matching puzzles of jobs and uniforms in bright 1960s / 70s colours.

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Showing the purple pull knob and wire arrangement.

The round little disk base can be seen on illustrations of toy soldiers featured here recently in this poem:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/24/a-poor-old-toy-soldiers-home/

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And this sheet music parade of toy soldiers shows this simple base.

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Illustrator Stephen Cartwright’s toy soldiers
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From an Edwardian scrapbook in my collection
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Wikipedia source.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/23/nutcracker-toy-soldiers/

Happy Christmas 2018 from the Man of TIN

 

I hope you have enjoyed the last 24 days chaotically themed or eclectic blog posts as the Man of TIN Advent Calendar.

From your likes and comments, it seems that many of you have enjoyed the varied nature of these December posts and thank you for taking the time to leave these comments, I really enjoy reading them.

This is my other Advent Calendar, part of the beautiful traditional Toy Shop Advent Calendar that we have been opening at home this Christmas, designed by talented modern British artist Emily Sutton. http://www.emillustrates.com

You can see the whole thing at

http://www.art-angels.co.uk/prod/toy-shop

I photographed the two panels which feature toy soldiers, another one of a long running theme of traditional toy soldier blog posts.

The tiny pictures by Emily behind hidden numbered doors or windows were equally whimsical and charming, such as the dolls house interior of the dolls house (at No. 8).

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Giving away no secrets, this tipsy bunch of toy soldiers popped up behind another window. So maybe that’s why Toy soldiers have their traditional red cheeks?

Blog posted by Mark for the  Man of TIN blog on Christmas Day 2018. Happy Christmas!

Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 10 – The Boys to Entertain You or Broken Britains rearmed

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“Meet the gang, for the boys are here, the boys to entertain you …”

That was the  familiar opening to the 70s WW2 Jungle sitcom by David Croft and Jimmy Perry,  It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, stalwart of my childhood along with their other sitcoms such as Dad’s Army.

This group of Broken Britain’s have the look of  a dodgy ENSA show or music hall chorus line, cheap comics in a strange troops revue.

Seen from another angle, they are more Broken Britain’s – East Kent Regiment in Khaki on guard –  from a donation by John Forman, all broken  figures that would otherwise probably be scrapped.

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The East Kent Regiment based and rearmed, defending my stylishly camouflaged gun emplacement.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/from-old-digital-radio-to-54mm-houses-and-coastal-gun-emplacement/

There were seven types of Broken Britain’s infantry in the group kindly donated by John Forman, variously missing feet and bases and all missing rifles.

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1. Britain’s Guardsmen firing – six classic figures with broken rifles – not sure which Guards Regiment, as they were play-bashed enough to have no obvious plume colours.

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The figures as they arrived from John Forman.

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Rifles repaired, busby repainted and figures tuppeny based, otherwise I have kept the patina of battered body and face paint.

2. Britain’s Line Infantry (spiked helmet in black home service  with black facings firing  rifle – Royal Irish Regiment set 156, wearing gaiters – 1 figure.

3. Britain’s Line Infantry (spiked helmet white foreign service) with yellow facings  on guard with rifle – Worcester Regiment set 18 c. 1930,  wearing gaiters – 1 figure.

4. Britain’s East Kent Regiment on Guard, The Buffs Set 16 – yellow facings,  second version with square base, on Guard. Produced 1910 – 1930, wearing gaiters – 2 figures.

5. Britain’s  East Kent Regiment on Guard, service dress set 326a produced postwar in Steel Helmets (my “boys to entertain you”, above) – 5 figures.

6. Gloucester Regiment (Boer War) firing, produced 1901 to 1941 – 3 figures

7. The 3 charging Highlanders seen in a previous blog post

East Kent Regiment in Khaki Service Dress 

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They have rifles missing as well as feet or base missing, so replacement bases are required, easily made from Fimo polymer clay to suit tuppeny 2p coin bases.

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Rifles repaired, feet made from cocktail sticks glued into Fimo polymer clay bases. Third figure   East Kent Regiment in Khaki service dress  and fourth, Gloucester Regiment firing.

The rifle repairs are more fiddly, requiring drilling a hole with a 1mm pin vice or hand drill into the broken section. If this is a stubby section of broken rifle this is quite tricky, whereas it is much easier to drill into the hand section where it grips the rifle, which has a greater thickness of lead.

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Drilling into the rifle hand of another of John Forman’s damaged Britain’s Guards riflemen..

So finally  how did the ENSA “boys to entertain you” turn out in the end?

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My Boys to Entertain You (and Mr Hitler) from the Britain’s East Kent Regiment …just a little work to do on tidying and painting the Fimo and tuppenny bases.

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And for a suitable ear worm … the theme song to It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. Whilst the services / Seventies humour might have dated and the Indian characters would be handled differently today, as a child and still today, to me Windsor Davies is every bit the archetypal comic Sergeant Major to his “Lovely Boys”.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on Advent Calendar Day 10, 10th December 2018.

 

 

From old digital radio to 54mm houses and coastal gun emplacement

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I loved making these unusual buildings over several weeks, using scrap materials.

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The larger house at Das terracotta clay stage onto a wooden radio base.

An old, long dead Roberts digital radio with wooden frame and stylish fabric print has been upcycled into several wooden 54mm buildings.

Brick ruin walls were provided with air drying Das terracotta clay.  This took a week or two to dry!

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The smaller house – yet to be painted – its shape dictated by the base, an internal piece of radio woodwork.

I wanted to create buildings that could serve a number of uses in a desert scenario or European Countryside on tabletop or garden games.

I wasn’t sure how best to paint these with Acrylics, so went for a ‘Blend’, inspired by two old stalwart childhood favourites, the Airfix Desert Outpost and the ruined house European strongpoint.

My Airfix Painting Inspiration?

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The amazing 1:32 Desert Outpost from Airfix
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The wonderful old 1:32 Airfix Strongpoint

After a non-descript base paint colour of sandy Afrikabraun  and brown Acrylic to suggest a sand or mud floor, I used a mixture of white and offwhite Acrylic for the whitewashed walls, followed by a dry brush of brown to weather the walls to a more ruinous state. Several coats of white / offwhite were required.

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The desert ruin setting
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Repaired Broken Britain’s and other 54mm hollowcast soldiers in this European ruin setting.
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Back view of the larger ruin.

Lolly sticks, cocktail sticks and wooden coffee stirrers provided the ruined window frames. Pushing a couple of ragged holes through the clay walls suggests that the building has been damaged by shell fire or the walls loopholed by troops.

I still have the smaller clay building to paint, which has been based on  another oddly shaped wooden internal section of the old radio.

Coastal Gun Emplacement?

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Looking at the other part of the old digital radio, once I had removed the electrics / electronics, the shape suggested some kind of camouflaged bunker.

I was inspired by some of the simple wooden  Hugar style buildings made in the 1930s for Britain’s. Paul Brookes has written a recent Illustrated History of Hugar, available via Amazon. 

https://www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk/index/Category:Hugar_Models

The metal front speaker grille that would form the bunker roof would be fine on a sci fi bunker. It didn’t look right on a 1930s/40s one, so was replaced by cardboard covered in some of the fabric pattern removed from the radio back before the back was used as the  larger terracotta house base.

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Inside the bunker, the simple gun mounting blocks and improvised crews.

Other internal bits of wood from the radio suggested two gun platforms.

I had no plyboard left and had already used the radio base for the larger house ruin, so I substituted stiff cardboard for a base. I tend to use whatever I have to hand, just to get on with the job whilst in the mood.

Amongst job lots of Broken Britain’s figures had been a couple of damaged old Britain’s AA guns without their trailer bases. I had been saving three of these guns for wooden gunboats but two seem to serve well enough here as requisitioned or improvised coastal guns.

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A scratch machine gun team from various damaged figures and pieces. The officer with binoculars was created from a trashed metal detecting find.

A scratch team of repaired Broken Britain’s and other hollowcast lead Khaki gunners  and  Infantry give the right feel.

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These steel helmeted Khaki infantry mounted on tuppenny bases are Britain’s East Kent Regiment on Guard, all broken figures gifted to me by John Forman rather than being scrapped, all of which needed base and rifle repairs.

I’m not sure who the textile designer was for the textiles on this limited edition (but dead) Roberts digital radio c. 2004/5, but I think the strong blotch camouflage colours are reminiscent of experimental wartime camouflage schemes.

For a bit of barbed wire, the metal spines of old notebooks come in handy.

On a scrap hound basis, I also have the old radio aerial  for mounting model aircraft at different heights, once a suitable wooden base turns up. Waste not …

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 13/14th October 2018.