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.

 

 

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On the Repair Desk

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A varied selection of broken figures. 

Here are some more bashed and broken 54mm lead hollowcast figures that are on the repair bench.

A real mix from various manufacturers – some tribal warriors, Britain’s native Indian warriors on guard, a Robin Hood archer, a Hilco spaceman, an Eskimo and Assyrians …

The Timpo Eskimo will make a fine WW1 pilot.

They are sharing the painting desk with some Peter Laing 7th Cavalry figure recruits from the Duchy of Tradgardland.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 16 September 2018.

Rearmed Again by Dorset Soldiers

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Lots of spare arms for repairing Broken Britain’s old 54mm toy soldier figures

Huzzah! Rearm-ament continues. My order has arrived from Dorset Soldiers

http://dorsetmodelsoldiers.com

 

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Line Infantry, cavalry and Guards head  recast replacements

 

Unpacked ready for repairing more headless armless Broken Britain’s 54mm figures this Autumn.

Blogposted by Mark Man Of TIN August 2018.

The Duchess of Wellington’s Own …

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Almost finished paint jobs on these shapely WTC figures of the Duchess of Wellington’s Own. Broken rifles repaired but  needs  a trouser stripe etc along the mould line.

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I received an unexpected gift in the post this week from Alan the Tradgardmastre of the Duchy of Tradgardland

Four welcome new lead recruits to my Imaginations Army and Air Forces!

I had identified some slender leggy toy soldiers as short-lived WTC Wellington Toy Company figures amongst a batch of old lead figures that Alan was paint stripping.

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Two WTC figures on the left have now left the ranks of the Duchy of Tradgardland and headed south …

I mentioned to Alan that I was working on some paint conversions of my few examples of these Wellington Toy Company figures into female troops.

Almost finished, the Duchess of Wellington’s Own (from old WTC figures).

Very kindly Alan sent me from Tradgardland these two extra paintstripped WTC figures to join my female rifle squad, along with two useful but battered GI mine detectorists by Charbens. Thanks Alan!

The footless one of the two Charbens GIs mine detectorists may well end up as aircraft ground crew as he looks like he is refuelling or oiling something.

Wellington Toy Company figures 1916-1923, Liverpool

In mixed batches of figures over several years I have picked up the odd leggy WTC figure, along with a cache of 6 dark green Rifle Brigade type Regiment ones from the 1920s/30s amongst some French Rivolet guns and gilt cavalry from a Miss Sanderson, selling her father’s boyhood collection to find it a safe home.

Not much is written about WTC figures but in my two most used reference books by Norman Joplin and Andrew Rose, both reference books very much worth the money, I found these few photographs.

The three types of WTC figures I have so far out of the Twelves known WTC are Rifle Brigade / Cameronians, Redcoat line infantry and Bluecoat Line Infantry …

They can be identified through their slender build, along with WTC marked on the untidy circular / oval base.

Three WTC figures in my collection and two new ones (right) from the Duchy of Tradgardland.
A few WTC Figures in Andrew Rose’s Collecting Toy Soldiers
Twelve known types of WTC figures identified in Norman Joplin, The Great Book of Hollowcast Figures. Ones I will be keeping an eye out for …
A brief history of WTC in the Norman Joplin book. B and T used the Waterloo infantry mould  (shown eighth from left above) in the 1950s.
WTC figures repackaged for Chaterhouse shown in Norman Joplin, the Great Book of Hollowcast Figures.
A Small Boys Delight or Cheap Target Practice and Cannon Fodder? as shown in Andrew Rose’s Collecting Toy Soldiers.

Andrew Rose suggests, when discussing Unity Toys and O.H. and Co (Oliver Harper) range of guns, that these WTC figures are also found as the Unity Series of Metal Soldiers Manufactured in London as a cheap range of target figures made for them by WTC. Cheap, they may have been to some, but they would have been to some small boy a great colourful delight.

Base marked WTC, seen here on one of the few legible bases in my collection.

The untidy semi circular puddle bases are marked WTC for Wellington Toy Company and a number, possibly 724. Other markings suggest Made in England Copyright.

The Duchess of Wellington’s Own? 

I think these WTC soldiers are quite attractive figures, slender and surprisingly shapely fore and aft. They remind me of Suburban Militarism’s series of posts about female soldiers illustrated on postcards and prints including the comic Ellam series of haughty female Household Cavalry. As if women could be soldiers, the postcards joke!

https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/girl-soldier/

Looking back through Marvin’s posts on Suburban Militarism, this female squad in their strange kept caps could have made a fine set of Flora Sandes type Serbian soldiers.

However Imaginations Army Blue they now are and Imaginations Army Blue they shall remain – with two new recruits …

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 1st August(a) 2018 – the 1st Augustas sounds like a Lady Regiment too, albeit more European or Roman. Is it #FEMbruary already again?

B.P.S Blog Post Script  

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Unfortunately as with Prince August homecasts, the WTC noses are not always very distinctive until the moulds warm up or the metal just right. Such heads should usually go back in the melting pot. On cheap target figures, with simple quick factory paint jobs and little  quality control, who would notice?

This does not make for the most attractive haughty ladies.  So as well as the toy soldier pink cheek spot highlight, which maybe should have been a little redder,  I have done the same pink paint highlight for a nose on some of the five figures so far.  Leading to a variation on the old music hall joke,

My Lady Soldiers have got no noses.

How do they smell?

Deliciously fragrant.

 

 

 

He Who Walks On Legs of Wood

One of the unusual figure conversions or repairs that arrived in a jumble or joblot of figures about five to ten years ago was this lovely damaged Britain’s 54mm hollowcast lead Indian.

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Lots of original paint details: the headdress, a little belt sash of gold, metallic rifle paint 

As you can see, he has lost his original legs and someone somewhere has carved him simple wooden legs. They have even carved a little buckskin fringe on the back of his leggings.

This is so beautifully and simply done that I will keep Old Wooden Legs as he is, with unpainted legs of wood. Hence his title “He Who Walks on Legs of Wood”, to give him a suitable Native American Indian warrior name.

All I have done is glued him to a tuppenny base so he can join in with future garden, floor or tabletop games. He deserves to be a veteran warrior, maybe even a Chief.

Without a base and maker’s name I was a little puzzled as to his original appearance until one day looking at Britain’s mounted Indians, I realised that he had obviously lost both his horse and his legs somehow. A veteran from Britain’s Mounted Indian Set 152.

Close up of Britain’s mounted Indian set 152 from James Opie’s Britain’s Toy Soldiers 1893-1932

Hopefully this lack of repainting shows him the same respect and value that he obviously once had to someone to be worthy of repair, a Brave warrior or Chief.

Naming the Braves

Choosing names for my growing 20 to 30+ skirmish warband of Broken Britain’s restored Braves (to write on the bottom of their tuppenny bases) will be a challenge. There are fantasy name generators online amongst all the Bond Girl Name Generators but it is good to know what the real Tribal names mean at https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/native-american-indian-names/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20 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.