Looking for a break from … well, everything I have been painting, with the added incentive of reducing the pile of boxes of unpainted Armies in Plastic, I reached for a box of Indian cavalry. They were from the AiP “Boxer Rebellion” range, “1st Skinner’s Horse.” I thought they’d make a nice addition to my Zafrarian army.
Now, I believe I was conflating them with these fellows, who I got in the same haul. The cavalry box had some less-than-helpful, monochromatic AiP art. I was thinking it would be a quick, mostly-khaki paint job, and another unit in the “completed” column.
Though I intended them for Imagi-nation use, I do like to do a little research when a unit is specifically identified. So, into Google went “1st Skinner’s Horse.” To my chagrin, they were not khaki clad at all. However, their uniform was a beautiful, intricate surprise, presenting an unexpected challenge.
Here’s the lot, poorly lit. I did try to be faithful with the uniform, but they would be hopelessly anachronistic in the late 18th-early 19th centuries, as the Imagi-nation of Zafraria is fully integrated. Thus, a panoply of races are represented (which doesn’t show up well in the poor lighting).
Research took quite awhile as there were a variety of renditions of the uniform. Then, they were somewhat elaborate to paint — particularly the headgear. I also replaced the lances with wire, as the originals were unacceptably bendy.
So, they went into the “done” column, though not as expeditiously as I had hoped.
Your Humble Correspondent has been suitably prolific on the hobby front, but not sufficiently strict about documentation. I have much to share.
Whilst in quest of identification of my Royal Marine Band, I found an Ebay listing for a quite reasonably priced partial set — specifically, trumpets and a bass drum, which would complement my fellows nicely. Purchased!
Well, even I could tell they were not from the exact band as mine, but my eyes weren’t yet keen enough to notice those bases …
These fellows, it turns out, are of a much later vintage — circa the 1990’s, apparently. Here they are with pre-war counterparts:
These modern kids are more static — their arms are cast in position, rather than (more-or-less uselessly) articulated. I haven’t as yet had an occasion to parade them ensemble; I’m sure they’ll know many of the same tunes.
On a subsequent visit to the same vintage shop where I found my original band, I fulfilled a long-standing quest for a type case.
I’ve passed on many of these, but this one was in especially excellent condition. My initial thought was to display it turned vertically with 28mm figures. The slots proved too short, alas, so Plan B was for my VSF 15s. Suddenly, however, inspiration struck!
I had been wondering how to best display my marching Britain’s. I would leave the case horizontal (it already had handy hangers on the back to mount it on the wall this way) and give the band — and the rest of my nascent collection — the pride of place they deserve.
In time, I look forward to completing this case and purchasing a second to fill …
Two-and-a-half weeks ago, I found myself dutifully masked, hands a-glisten with sanitizer. I was assiduously perusing a local Junque Shoppe, a joy I had missed during the time of quarantine. I knew this store to have had toy soldiers — a box of modern-ish Britains — during my last visit, years ago, before I had contracted a passion for 54s.
Near the back of the shop, I discovered a booth with a few display cases of miniatures. One immediately caught my eye as being vintage and 54mm. I put back the art books I had been considering and convinced my wife that these fellows would be a perfect Father’s Day gift.
The lot clearly included two sets of figures, which I have regrouped here. The first were, I believe, Britain’s Royal Marines, marching with rifles at slope. Here’s a page from William Britain, which may well be them. The marine in the front rank, foreground, had a damaged arm, which resulted in an un-asked-for 10% discount on the sale! I did not expect that their left arms are articulated and rotate, though that only happens when one picks them up.
There were several command figures (with swords) so they may have come from separate sets. The lads have been confined in a display case for awhile and need work on their “slope,” as I begin to see.
Royal Marines, I believe.
These were the chaps who really caught my eye, though:
All of the present figures were in good condition, though the paint jobs seem a little wonky. I could clearly see “Britain, Copyright, Proprietors,” &c. on most of the bases. I believe them to be the better part of a Royal Marines Band. Their leader was missing, so a Marine with sword is filling in.
Here are a couple of bands people had for sale on the internet, for comparison:
So, I’m missing the leader, a snare drum, some woodwinds, the big tuba-thing. Preliminary research indicates that perhaps they were first issued in 1933, so may be pre-WWII? They weren’t any sort of a “deal” — the seller knew they were worth something and charged accordingly. I’m pleased with the find, though, and perhaps through time, I can track down the missing lads.
Postscript: Over the past few days I have been moving this blog to a new internet host. I believe some typography — including my precious Russian characters for my imagi-native language, have become broken in the process. I shall endeavor to effect repairs and perhaps this whole enterprise will eventually be more stable as a result. Fingers crossed …
Even before the recent “sheltering in place,” I seem to have gone on a bit of a painting jag — the term is, apparently, an Americanism: “a bout of unrestrained activity or emotion, especially drinking, crying, or laughing.” There is no rhyme or reason, just a gentle swirl through the unpainted masses. In the spirit of sharing, we have:
This fellow was a gift from him creator, Thomas Foss. I’ve noticed that his Skull and Crown web store is unavailable; hopefully indicative of a big relaunch. I’ve been hoping more of these fellows to become available.
Let us stay with the big boys. These are the first five Franco-Prussian War Prussians. They are to serve as stock villains for my Isla Victoria VSF setting.
Next up, my current “new shiny object.” When I acquired my Vintage Christmas Haul of Armies in Plastic 54s, one benefit of buying in bulk (in addition to free shipping) was the extra bags of random miniatures. I had long thought that I would press some of these lads into service in an Imagi-Nation. That plan has been set into motion.
Picked from the fellows in the bags plus an additional bag of random AIP Napoleonics I purchased, I have the first unit of Ascodali infantry. I’ll do a subsequent post on what I’m dreaming up.
Now we’ll move on to smaller souls. I’ll note at the outset that my painting style (block colors with a wash) and my not-so-matte sealer make the minis appear a bit blotchy here on the silver screen. They look better— to my eyes, at least — in person.
Here are four adventurous ladies from Wargames Foundry’s Darkest Africa collection. I accidentally captured an appropriate mania in the missionary lass at left.
I tried to create a little vignette for this lone, piratical captive. (Old Glory). Would have been better if I put a little ship in the background, I suppose.
Here is a pulp-era Dame or Gun Moll, I suppose, looking quite blotchy. This was my second attempt at sheer fabric (her stockings) which look terrible in the photo and not much better in the flesh [sigh].
When I began painting this chap years ago, I didn’t understand who he was supposed to be. As often, it was likely Maestro Chris Palmer who informed me Reaper intends him to be “a hougan.” I’ve since become better acquainted with the Reaper Figure Finder for positive IDs.
Last historical stop, the Old West. A couple of entrepreneurs in dispute with a cow herder. No doubt, just a misunderstanding. (Foundry Old West figures).
On to the world of fantasy. The leader of my orc army along with a chariot, as yet un-crewed.
Some villagers (Reaper Bones) …
… and an elf, maybe? As I got into the color scheme, I imagined her as a fantasy Bridezilla. Perhaps adventurers will interrupt her nuptials and invoke her wrath …
This one is meant to be a paladin, I think. With my color choices, I asked: what would happen if the god she followed wasn’t obsessed with purity evinced by chastity? Hence, a “Hot Paladin.”
I don’t know if GW does any female dwarf characters at all. I imagined this young lady as a “Slayer-in-training.” Hence, not yet nude (a shirt skirt and training bra-type-thing you can’t see here) and just a bit of the orange dye in her hair.
This fellow has a silly, Peter Mullen-ish over the topness that appeals to me. I tried — and failed — to paint mystical swirlings on the crystal ball. Looks like a bad globe [sign, again].
The final two were “hate painting,” really, just to get them out of the queue. I recall that Chris Palmer didn’t like this lass when he painted her, either. She’s clearly running away from something — something BIG as she seems to be looking backwards and upwards. I’m hoping it’s whoever sold her that outfit …
Finally, Reaper’s “Mr. Bones.” I don’t get what this guy even is. Skull face, which Chris Palmer refers to as “a mask,” which, I guess, it is, as he has regular hands and feet. Who is he? What is he doing? WTF? I have the next-year’s-model on the desk now. At least he has boney hands and feet as well.
Missed the traditional Saturday, but I submit a brief painting update.
First up we have the first painted fellow from my recently-won WHFB 6/e starter set. I hereby revise my assessment of the sculpts from “aren’t my favorite” to “absolutely my favorite.” Wide swaths of uninterrupted plastic make them a joy to paint.
Next up is one of my inexhaustible Reaper Bones. Historically, I’ve been intimidated by larger figures, so I’m making an effort to tackle some of these giant-types. It’s just like painting a 54mm, really.
Finally, the penultimate figure from my antique store triumph. This chap is the sole nemesis for Her Majesty’s army, an unmarked 54mm Zulu flat:
The toy soldiers I found in a junk store (last seen here) have been successfully stripped and repainted. Here they are after a lengthy bath in acetone and then Simple Green.
The chap on the left is clearly an authentic Britains of unknown vintage. His colleague was marked simply “ENGLAND.”
The highlander, you may recall, had experienced some battle damage. I performed a bit of reconstructive surgery with an epoxy sculpting material from Home Depot — poor man’s “green stuff.” No pictures of the process, alas, and my sculpting skills are rudimentary. Here he is with a spot of paint.
He didn’t have an integral base (I glued him to a washer) and I didn’t notice until the paint was stripped that he has “ENGLAND” in raised letters down his left arm! Particularly vexing for a Scot, one would imagine.
Here is the Britains infantryman in a Zulu war era uniform and then his comrade, in what is intended to be home service uniform.
I can say “long time, no post,” but when an entire year has passed since I attended to this blog, it seems a bit ridiculous. When I finally did check in a week ago, I discovered that the blog had been offline since April! Oh, well… A little elbow grease and filthy lucre and we were back on the net again.
I did manage to have a thoroughly productive 2018 on the hobby front. Christmas 2017 brought me a pile of lovely little boxes full of 54mm plastic warriors from Armies in Plastic, last seen here. Some, not all, was painted during last year. Here is the proof:
First up, Afghan Tribesman, both on foot and mounted. Apparently I thought I needed many of these fellows as I got three boxes. A little over half are finished. [I will note that my lights gave an unpleasant yellowish cast to all of the photographs, compounded by my oldish phone. However, I have pledged not to let “perfect be the enemy of good” this year, so the pictures come with all of their warts.
Next we have the Brits. The Officer came in one of my free bags — he’s from a different era and war, but I like to have officers distinct from foot soldiers.
I wanted lancers as well, so I supplemented the AIP miniatures with some from Expeditionary Force. They are a bit of work, as they come in pieces that one must glue together. Stunning, though.
Finally, a possible British ally or thorn in its side are the plucky US Marines.
Fresh from showing off my counterfeits of Matt’s figures, I should make clear that I also steal from Kenneth Van Pelt. Here are a few pictures of my Square Pegs 54mm craftee VSF soldiers (and some experiments in other genres). Many of the fellows could be used for straight-up colonial combat, I suppose, but I don’t possess enough hard military historical knowledge to paint them correctly…
First up is a British artillery crew with scratch-built gun. I did buy the mdf wheels. (Though, I will say, I made one using the Toy Making Dad’s methods, but it took a LONG TIME so I opted to buy some here). I should also note that these guns do not really fire …
Here are their Prussian counterparts:
The pickelhaube-with-a-ball-on-them are a real thing, by the way. One wonders if it wasn’t just a touch difficult to take them seriously? They were manning a cannon, I suppose…
So that you can appreciate my sacrifice, you see I glued rivets onto this thing. You can’t really see it, but there is also a bolt to turn to adjust the elevation. At one time I fantasized that I would make a firing model; I have given up on that dream for the moment.
Death’s Head Hussars. I cut the tops off the pegs and glued on bits of dowel to fashion the busbies.
Here are some Jægers. I tried to take the easy route by sanding the top at an angle to communicate the distinctive hat. I’m not sure if it was successful.
I think Kenneth was brilliant in devising the pipe cleaner arms, but I agree with Dale that something else — he suggests craft foam — might serve better. The pipe cleaner arms are eminently reposition-able, but they hold guns funny. And [sigh] they make the guys look like muppets.
The field surgeon and a wounded soul. I’m either going to make a scalpel for the medico or buy one intended for Lego people. You’ll see some Lego weapons anon.
A hospital scene, with casualties and nurses. I think one of the ladies from Downton Abbey was serving as a nurse when I made these plucky lasses — I hadn’t seen the costume previously. Note, I have to cut the pegs in half the long way to get them to lie on the cots properly. I don’t recall now how I did it! The blankets are tissue paper soaked in white pva glue.
Here are a couple of civilian ladies and an Indiana Jones-type. Gun and sword are Lego weapons. Hats on Indy and the lady in yellow are some type of metal nut from Home Depot, intended to hold plastic wheels on axels. I haven’t attempted to do a whip yet.
Now we come to some of my experiments. First up, the crew from a famous starship. Phasers are Lego weapons. The figures can be removed from their “starship floor” bases, should I become sufficiently possessed to create exotic planet bases as well.
Feel the need to point out Uhura’s earrings and eye shadow… I have also begun an Orion slave girl (should you even doubt it) but haven’t photographed her yet.
The pirate lass is the favorite figure I’ve done. Her hair is braided, but I had to outsource the task as I seem incapable of learning the art. Tricorne courtesy of Dale’s craft foam tutorials. Lego weapons. Alas, her counterpart is WIP.
Finally, Lara and Tara Kraft, tomb raiders. The only female expression I seem to be able to paint is a smirk… which likely sums up exactly what they think of me.
I came to miniature wargaming as an adult. Childhood Christmases did include wondrous gifts, but never the tubs of little plastic warriors that so many boys enjoyed.
As an aside, I did yearn for that crate of Revolutionary War Soldiers advertised on the back of comic books in the 70’s. I’m quite sure I could have scraped together the $1.98; I think it was lack of postage preventing the transaction.
My recently developing 54mm VSF bug coincided with a big sale at Armies in Plastic ($12 boxes for $7.50) and thus I placed a robust order timed to arrive just before Christmas.
The packaging — cardboard boxes and plastic bags containing the figures — is a bit excessive for 2017 sensibilities. I had a vision, though, of how wonderful it would be to walk into a store that stocked them. The box art is suitably stirring and could serve as painting guides, should one be not girded with preconceived notions…
My preferred look for the British army is the red-coated Zulu wars era. Alas, the AIP figures are in “shirt sleeve order” which, although likely appropriate for the hot African climate, was too informal for the likes of me. My soldiers need to be in uniform.
These chaps from a conflict a few years later could be painted to fit the bill. They seem to be wearing gaiters, but I have already painted them black to look like boots.
The highlanders will be painted as a detachment of the Black Watch and there will be cavalry support as well. I intended for them to be the 17th Lancers, but they are brandishing sabers instead. I may do some modifications with Egyptian lancers. Finally, there will be Indian troops in support.
Next come the opponents: frontier tribesman and Prussians. The uhlans might well be converted to Death’s Head Hussars.
Despite the seriousness with which many pursue the cause of wargaming — devoting hours to painting figures and constructing terrain; then devoting hours more to arguing over the proper number of buttons or color of facings — one should never lose sight of the fact that the hobby is, in essence, little more playing with toys.
I particularly appreciate those who embrace this reality and take the hobby in new directions.
Sawyer’s Playmobil is a website devoted to gaming the 18th century using Playmobil figures and terrain. The website contains abundant eye candy and a lovely, complete set of rules: Three Inch Glory II.
Along with the venerable Garden Wargaming site, it may become necessary for me to create a separate section for Playmobil warriors!