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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Zulus or Ashantees Rearmed

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A jigsaw of a dozen Britain’s  classic Zulus
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Britain’s second grade Zulus on the repair table …

Britain’s second grade Zulus have been on the fixing table today, having the fragile and missing knobkerry stub replaced with a spear. Each  spear unusually started life as the the metal handle of an indoor firework sparkler!

Ten of these fine Zulu Warriors are awaiting a repaint. Some of the figures have the original rich brown skin colour, but others appear from what paint remains to have simply been painted black.

The reason for the difference may be their painting grade. The lower the paint grade, the less colours used. James Opie records this chunky Zulu figure in Britain’s Toy Soldiers 1893-1932  as “variously catalogued as  4R or 28C or with inferior third grade paint as 21P when sold singly between the wars.” James Opie in British Toy Soldiers 1893 to Present notes this chunky second grade set 22A figure as having been introduced  in 1913.

Simple paint schemes for Britain meant restricting the non uniform or irregular troops such as natives or American Indians to three different colours,  usually red, yellow or blue colours (Zulus) or red, green and blue (Arabs, Togoland warriors) for robes or loin cloths.

These classic slender Zulus have in their bashed surviving paintwork on loincloths some delightful colourful  stripy and spotty loincloths, maybe designed to be exotic animal furs. Too good to overpaint!

The original Zulus figures can be seen on a post from February 2017

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/ashantees-or-zulus-reborn/

The jigsaw set of 12 Broken Britain’s 1906 – 1966 classic Zulus is now almost repaired and rearmed  with Dorset Soldiers recast arms – watch this space.

These will go on to become “Generican or Farican natives” as opposition for the colonial invading Redcoats etc, and as such fit as Ashantee warriors into my Bronte juvenilia Imagi-Nations based games.

Repairing  these fine but bashed Britain’s  is my contribution to the Britain’s 125th     Anniversary 1893 –  2018. Happy Anniversary to William Britain and his dynasty!

B.P.S Blog Post Script

As it’s Fathers Day on Sunday, this post is also dedicated to my late father whose lost wartime Britain’s lead figures and general love of Toy Soldiers, even the Airfix and plastic figures of my childhood, are probably the root of my interest in them. He would be pleased that I am still tinkering, drilling and painting such figures many years on.  Thanks Dad!

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

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

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on 16 / 17 June 2018

Airfix Gold from the back of a dark gaming shop

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A bit like finding Smaug the dragon seated on gold and jewels  in The Hobbit, I found these treasures lurking in the dark back of a gaming shop last month.

I often pop into gaming, railway or model shops when I see them in search of scenery, paint or just out of curiousity.

Gaming shops are often strange places, darker towards the back and occupied by shuffling figures, all dressed in black. Then there’s the mumbling, arcane words about the miniatures games or card systems arrayed on tables. Foreign territory. No eye contact is usually made with strangers in civilian clothing such as me.

(For the record, I have nothing against fantasy gamers and suchlike).

It was quite dreamlike, finding a cache of kits and figures that you had been looking out for for years.

Any second  I knew I was going to wake up.

There was a small shelf of kits, vintage Matchbox kits,  multipose historical Airfix single figures, things I had not seen for years.

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I had little cash on me  and little time to stop and recce.

I went straight for the vintage Airfix figures, things I knew I could use rather than stockpile.

Familiar old Airfix OO/HO Waterloo French and British infantry (reasonable at about £6 per sealed box) were one obvious and versatile choice – these partly made up for the odd lack of British Infantry in their box in my last hoard.

They turned out to be the recent 2000s Airfix reissues in bright red and blue but no matter.

The Hat British Rifles or Light Infantry are new figures to me.

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Some interesting information on the box back about the Light Infantry, suggesting  alternative uses such as Cazadores and Cacadores.

 

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A quick history lesson on the back of a box …

 

Who could resist the odd brown unit of Cacadores or US 1812 Infantry, like those pictured in Preben Kannik’s Military History of the World in Colour ?

 

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These oddly shakoed Hat figures would pass (for me for games purposes) for 1840s British Infantry or Militia in a railway-related scenario that I am working on.

I also spotted their potential as British or US Infantry in a War of 1812 skirmish scenario that I am working on for 2018 with the Waterloo British Infantry.

There was only one lone  box of 1:32 figures to choose from but a good choice – Call to Arms 54mm Zulus – something Airfix strangely never made, despite the popularity of the 1960s ZULU films.

They should match in well with my repaired hollow cast zulus. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/ashantees-or-zulus-reborn/

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Sixteen 1:32 Zulus, four each of the four poses

 

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Another quick history lesson …

 

By luck I have a pack of the Call to Arms 1:32 Rorke’s Drift British Infantry to match them, bought several years ago.

I went back to the gaming shop a week or two ago.

The mumbling black clad figures and the private gaming were still there.  None of the other  vintage material was there. The shop assistant had no knowledge of it.  All the remaining kits were gone. Maybe it had been a dream after all …

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20 September 2017