Monday, 9 October 2017

WW1 Austin armoured car.....sort of?

I have always been drawn to car boot sales, charity, junk and aquarium shops, in fact anywhere that might offer something which can be used to enhance my toy soldiers. Over the years I've accumulated a whole pile of what might loosely be called crap which "might be useful one day".  I suspect I'm not alone in this, at least I do hope I'm not.  This is the sort of stuff I mean:

A wooden car, some sort of tourist tat but the right size for 54mm figures turned up in a charity (thrift) shop for £2 (yes I know I was robbed but it is for charity!).  The transparent spheres are lids from toothpaste dispensers and the block of wood is, well........a block of wood.

The champhered front planes of these toothpaste tube lids just screamed out to be used as turrets for an armoured car, the MGs are made from bits of chopstick from the Chinese takeaway and the pointy ends from a cocktail stick.  Sometimes an idea just comes together from out of the blue, as I become increasingly aware of getting older I've started to make a list of these projects and I'm working my way through them. A major stumbling block is my own lack of confidence that an idea will work.

The almost finished item, posed with a DeAgostini figure of a Russian Company Commander 1919, it maybe needs a lighter green paint scheme, some Cyrillic graffiti and a big red flag.  It's only a bit of fun and it's very robust so perfect for wargaming in the garden.

Monday, 25 September 2017

The Battle of Leipzig in 54mm

Last Saturday saw members of the Funny Little Wars Yahoo Group meet together in London to refight the Battle of Leipzig as a 54mm toy soldier wargame.  This was surely our most ambitious venture yet, with 11 players fielding over 2,000 figures during 7 hours of play, and the result pretty much reflected the original outcome.  Garden wargaming is rather more physically demanding than you might think and today I am still very stiff in the legs, I have been assured that the exercise will be good for me.  Reports on the game will be popping up all over the blogosphere by the other players, more knowledgeable than me, who actually knew what was going on most of the time, so I am just going to post up some pretty pictures of the toys.

Leipzig Cathedral with French staff rushing around organising the defence whilst also preparing to evacuate........ just in case.

Eric's superb French cavalry, see more of them here: mywaterloologaddress

Stolid looking Russians.

My Role was Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenburg (I think?) and these are my Austrians trudging through the leaves.

French cavalry everywhere!

The French hold and fortify the outlying villages

The Russians advance on the right wing

The Austrians form square in the face of a threatened French cavalry charge, which is seen off by a salvo from the guns

Bavarian infantry advance to support the French cavalry

Massed cavalry swirl around the open ground in the centre and right of the field

The British contingent send send their infernal rockets screaming over the heads of the French

A hard fought contest for possession of the village

Allied cavalry wait patiently for their turn to play.... do their artillery, some nice conversions here

toy soldiers as far as the eye can see

Massed Russian and French cavalry melee on the right

The French desperately form square in the centre

Prussian Landwehr stand to

A broad view of the action on the left

Party poppers are used to simulate the effect of grapeshot, it's all great fun

Russian cavalry rule the field

The Austrians and French fight it out among the burning buildings

The very end, as the Allies break into the City, the French exit over the bridge

That's all from me, it was a great day out with lots of conviviality and gentlemanly play, as you would expect!

You will find more here:

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Britains factory caught on film in 1965

There are lots of videos on Utube of toy soldiers but I hadn't seen this one shot in the Britains factory before so I thought I'd post it up here.  Enjoy.

Yes, I know it's a lazy blog post but I'm trying to ease myself back into the saddle here.

Interesting to see a master figure being sculpted in Plasticine and the hollowcast moulding process in action.  Also the transition from lead to plastic, this was very much at the tail end of hollowcast production and production was geared towards lead for adult collectors (can't have been too many of them) and plastic for the mass juvenile toy market.  Note the rare shots of the plastic injection moulding machines being fed plastic pellets.

And here's another clip from 1949:

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Battle of Hook's Farm - finale

Continuing the tale of the Great Game, in which Armies Red and Dark Green come to blows in a 54mm garden wargame:

Army Red infantry advance to the cottage...

.....while their cavalry sweep around Firely Church to threaten the Green flank

Scene from behind Army Red's lines, the Green artillery has opened up and Red's cavalry take the first hit.

Green reaches the safety of the wall while the artillery bombardment continues but with little effect.

The Slavic Regiment move forward into the woods to form and enclave in the centre of the field......but then suffer a direct hit from their own artillery and beat a hasty retreat back to the safety of the main line.

Army Green infantry and elite Rifle Regiment extend their firing line along the wall while the Balkan League cover the flank against the threat from Red's cavalry.

Green becomes pinned to the Farm and along the wall, they lose the initiative and Red begins to close in from all sides.

With pressure mounting on both flanks Green attempts a sortie in the centre but it is beaten back.

On the left flank Red's cavalry sweep around and overrun the heavy howitzer but not before the brave bombardiers spike it by blowing out the breach block to prevent it's capture.

Red's riflemen assault the wall and meet a withering fire which throws them back but their action has enabled their elite Guards Regiment to turn the flank and roll it up.  With the situation rapidly deteriorating the Army Green General Staff gave orders to spike the remaining guns and withdraw in order.

So ended a very pleasurable Saturday afternoon, the game was played in an area roughly 26' square with 120 foot, 25 mounted and 3 guns per side, a classic game played in the true Wellsian manner.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Battle of Hook's Farm on a sunny afternoon

Last weekend in the amiable company of friends M and A I played my first wargame of the year, and it's only September so plenty of time to catch up!  The biggest problem with playing garden games in the UK is the unpredictability of the weather but on this occasion mother nature was kind to us.  And so it was that Armies Red and Dark Green should should come to face each other across the fields for possession of Hook's Farm, conduct of the encounter to be governed by the International Conventions of Funny Little Wars etc.etc.

The day went thus:

An overview of the field, Hook's Farm in the foreground, the Cottage and Hovel behind it, while to the far right is the picturesque Firely Church.  The lush pasture is dotted with clumps of woodland and in the centre some light cover has been provided courtesy of a stone wall.

The aggressors have crossed the border and make their ponderous way forward.

Across the valley Army Red mobilises in the calm efficient manner we have come to expect from such professionals

Red cavalry probe forward and invest the Church......

.....while the infantry and guns cautiously advance in fine order.

Green's army of conscripts are cajoled forward followed by their Allies from subject nations, a little bewildered to be here but enjoying their fancy new uniforms none the less.  A solitary sniper detaches himself from the column to search out targets while the General Staff raise a cheer and wish him "Good Hunting"

Green has massed on the left and now send a flying column of cavalry to take the Farm

Red and Green cavalry jostle for posession of the Farm

While on the right, Red cavalry erupt from behind the Church and Green manoeuvres to refuse the flank.

It's all to play for.  Next episode... who will draw first blood!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Plastic Warrior Show 13th May 2017

The date for this year's Plastic Warrior Show has now been announced, it's Saturday 13th May 2107 at the same venue in West London, The Winning Post, that has been used for the past five years.  Here are the directions from an earlier post on the Plastic Warrior blog: Plastic Warrior Show directions

So make a note on your calendar and as you start to mark the days off, here are the last few pics I took at that other show in London

I'm going through a bit of a French & Indian Wars phase at the moment and having a very low attention span when it comes to uniform research I thought I'd use these superb Britains pieces to provide me with a colour guide when I eventually pick up the paintbrush.

I always find myself in deep water when it comes to non-uniform colour schemes like on these woodland Indians, but I have no shame when it comes to paying someone else the compliment of copying their ideas, so I expect that something very similar to these two fine chaps by Britains will soon be skulking on my wargame table.

......Oh and Vikings.  That's the other phase I'm going through at the moment, more fine figures from Britains.

I think this rather sombre diorama was on the King & Country stand but somehow it managed to absent itself from the previous post!

The colourful displays on the ATS (Alexanders Toy soldiers) stand are always a joy to behold, here our fine fellows fend off those pesky Bavarians.

More glorious colour from ATS, and here the French try their luck with the British Grenadiers.

Beautifully sculpted horses from ATS in this diorama of Parliamentary Horse charging during the English Civil War.

An finally, the other end of the ATS diorama shows the Royalist Horse in all their finery.

I am remiss in not mentioning earlier about the new forum/discussion board for those interested in wargaming with 54mm figures, it already has 75 members so take a look here: