SPECIAL THANKS. I would like to thank Paul Watson for his sponsorship of several lead figure collections on this blog. Having decided to clear his spare/surplus figures, he generously forwarded them on with no other requirement than they deserved to be restored. I would also like to mention George S. Mills, who kindly furnished a quantity of plastic figures which allowed me to complete another five or six military units, serving in several collections.

Thursday 13 June 2024

Working on the Naval Collection (Ships, Cannon, Navy Crew)


Some time back I started building a fleet of toy ships. My plan being to reproduce the style of toys manufactured during 1870 to 1910. These were originally built in tinplate, while mine would utilise plasticard, or a combination of wood and stiff card.

One of my earlier ships was a reproduction of an American toy. While my efforts captured something of the original, it was not one of by best, and the colour scheme of white trimmed with red didn't help any. Being keen to include a paddle steamer in my collection, decided to reconstitute and repaint my earlier model. I am a lot happier with this, it has something of the early toy look, and also the paddle steamers actually used in the Schleswig War of 1848, and other mid-19th century conflicts.


 Just arrived are three artillery pieces for £10, including delivery. I knew two were large models.... and they are very large...... but I like them. The Penncraft (a Pennsylvania toy company) naval gun is in perfect condition, and made of brass and iron. It will serve as a powerful garrison or siege cannon. The Spanish-made piece is a whopper, made of brass and wood. I suspect it might still end up in some wargames but more likely guard my DVD collection.... after it has been given a good clean. 

The third is one of those pencil sharpener cannon made out of bronze. I already have one of these and recently found a method to remove the metal rubbish attached to the top of the barrel. The carriage and barrel is actually quite good for mid-19th century wargames, so these can now form a battery.

Penncraft Cannon in service!
64pdr Cannon in real service.

Now I must admit to having over-paid for the following, but I've been keen for some time to acquire a few W. Britains Napoleonic Royal Navy gunners. Considering they are plastic and often found in poor condition, and with moderate paintwork, I've still had to drop out bidding on some previous auctions. However, I picked up the following for a few pence under £20. But it does furnish three gunners, and some of the ACW figures will be useful as German and Danish mounted officers in the Schleswig collection. (Yes, I will add some paint to the naval gunners, a white plastic sword scabbard is unacceptable on parade.)
PS. I'm still interested in acquiring another three W. Britains naval gunners, with a generous swap or recompense.
PPS. Presently fighting a WW2 war-game, lots of photos to follow soon.


Hi MJT. Every time I looked at the original scratch built ship, I just wasn't happy with it. But the reconstituted paddle steamer is a fun toy to utilise in a game. I also noted how both the Americans and European navies experimented with dark grey paint. And there is a reference to the Danish having black paddles on one of their ships. I do think the three cannon were a bargain, and made a point of saluting the eBay seller for the excellent service, all round. I am going to use the RN figures as Danish Navy c.1848.

Thank you, Brad. Three separate items, all with a nautical connection, thought I better make a post of it. I am very pleased with the toy paddle steamer, the original came close to being sent to the breaking yard. I have seen this larger Penncraft gun selling for a lot more than £10. No plans to raise a large naval crew for the 1840s, just a few more will do the job.

Thanks Donnie. The cannon sort of compensated for what I spent on the Naval gunners. While I am very pleased with all three cannon, the Spanish-made does look more appropriate for pre1815 wargaming, if I am honest. Still, it is a lovely collectable, and I do have a small collection of late-19th century Spanish, which have become more of a 'garrison' collection anyhow. So that cannon will get used!

Friday 7 June 2024


Picked up another eight Timpo French Napoleonic Guardsmen from the collectables shop for £5. Removing the plume, and using Milliput to construct trousers, have completed a full battalion of twelve Saxony Guards c.1848. This German state was involved in the First Schleswig-Holstein War of 1848-50, so I thought it would be interesting to furnish the Guards battalion in their ceremonial uniform. But it is very unlikely the uniform ever saw service in Denmark as it is rather similar to the colours used by the Danish army.

With the arrival of some tin helmets from Irregular Miniatures, have been able to complete the restoration of these eight lead WW1 Highlanders. 
Three spare figures have been added to my WW2 British commander's jeep. I think it makes a nice gaming piece.
Just clearing some broken figures in my spares box, but have gained a vital 4man crew for my WW2 torpedo boat. These US naval figures are wearing blue deck jackets.
Picked up this rather nice die-cast reproduction of a Ford F100 Truck (1956). The scale is 1/36, and this Chinese-made model is sold by various 'car collecting' companies. Now mine has lost its rear hatch, and wing mirrors, so needs a trip to a local garage. Picked it up in a second-hand shop for £1. Have seen the same models being sold for much more. 

PS. Current View of the Gaming Table
Careful with the furniture, please.
❊18th century English meaning..... cheap, shoddy, imitation, counterfeit. And having no connection with a film made in 1969.

Hi MJT. I have a small army of British WW1 now, some of which are the same lead castings I can remember finding in my Grandmother's garden, formally in service with my late father. I really have no plans to fight WW1 wargames, but still pleased to have the collection. Yes, the dresser has already made its debut, lol. Everything is now ready for the game, as and when I'm in the mood.

Thank you Donnie. I only post once a week, and only if there is something worth recording. I am just this moment throwing the preliminary dice for the Brummagem war-game, and the story is flowing very well........ the scenario is so vital to keeping my attention, and the dice is adding spice to the game!

Thanks Brad. I do seem to be having a good run at clearing projects, but it's time to increase the gaming! I don't feel my 'gunboats' are complete unless there is an official crew to go with them, and my rather basic rules need 3-6 figures. The refugee participation is very much linked to the film which inspired this Wargame, and it has captured something of it...... slightly.

Hi Quinn, I am just recording some notes on the early moves at Brummagem. A member of my family is commanding the Germans, he is normally very lucky with the gaming dice. This game is combining something of the stress and various issues a commander has to face, which is often overlooked in simple point-based wipe-out wargames. 

Saturday 1 June 2024

WARGAME (1848) Danish Army Engages Schleswig Patriots

The year is 1848 and a brigade of Danish Regulars has been despatched to secure a fortified position held by a large number of German-speaking volunteers.
The Schleswig army comprised three battalions of volunteers, each thirteen strong. There was also two gun crews of three, able and familiar with using cannon. The only Regulars troops was a company of Schleswig Jaeger (4), formally loyal to the Danish Crown. A local aristocrat commanded the whole.

The Danish brigade comprised three battalions of thirteen, a sharpshooter battalion of eight, and two artillery crews (6). A General Officer commanded.

MOVE ONE The Danish brigade advanced. MOVE TWO The Danish brigade continued. MOVE THREE The advance continued and a Schleswig gun was in range and able to hit a Danish gun crew. MOVE FOUR A second hit on the Danish gun crew routs the last survivor, and a neighbouring battalion delayed its further advance. But the Danes also had some success. They missed an artillery target but hit a neighbouring Schleswig volunteer battalion, it panicked, and it spread to the original artillery target too!

MOVE FIVE Some small arms casualties. The Schleswig commander failed to rally his routing volunteers, it was not looking good for him. MOVE SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT The Danes advanced, their single gun constantly hitting a house which was now fortified. MOVE NINE The jaeger and sharpshooters exchanged shots, despite the windmill providing saving throws they were still outnumbered. MOVE TEN The Danish redcoats suffered casualties due to the lack of cover. But the Schleswig jaeger were knocked down to half strength and routed, the Danes took the windmill. 

MOVE ELEVEN Two battalions of Danish infantry charged the enemy, and routed them.

MOVE TWELVE Only a Schleswig gun crew still stood firm, and fired their gun until silenced by small arms fire from three battalions.

A very enjoyable game, and I only used my smaller gaming table. Strange how 12 moves seems to conclude practically all my games. I should mention, the Schleswig volunteers were nearly all C-CLASS and required a morale test whenever they suffered a casualty, although 'defending a declared position' certainly helped their morale. The Danish regulars were all B-CLASS. 
Danish fourteen, one routing. Germans thirteen, thirty-seven routing.

Hessian Jaeger 1848, converted lead figures.


Thank you, Donnie. I was somewhat surprised how well the one-table worked, having usually used two. I think many early game moves could be undertaken off the gaming table, so saving space. The Schleswig collection is practically complete, although the German regulars are a little understrength, hope to field them in a game very soon...... a mixture of Hanoverians, Hessians, Mecklenburgers, and Saxon states.

Thanks Brad. For my part, I've realised it is so much easier to game on my original one-table, the two-table system was a reaction to having a larger collection but very time-consuming to set up, and pack away. And also difficult to actually move some of the units. With this system, expect more games, having largely completed the projects floating in my head, and spares boxes. As a student of history, I thought this game respected military situations, and likely results, which is important to my gaming.

Hello Tony. I very much enjoyed playing this game, and more will shortly follow. May I just mention, I am unable to comment on some blogs due to my new computer security and Google, but found your post on the napoleonic ancestor very interesting! 

Hi Quinn. I stopped using enamels and white spirit many years ago, too slow to dry, and too smelly. I only use matt acrylic paints. Concerning old lead figures, the enamel paintwork is often damaged. If 65% remains I lightly sand the chipped area, prime and paint match with acrylic, then varnish the area. But most cheap secondhand figures are well under 50%, and often missing parts, so I completely paint strip, and start again using a good primer and acrylics. Traditional painting methods are (in my opinion) inferior, and chip too easily. My figures are protected under yacht varnish. I can drop my figures on concrete and they will never chip. Repainting straight over old enamels can be risky, thick layers of paint can clog the detail, old chips can leave a cratering on the figure. But collectors do what they want, I want mine to recognise the casting detail, and look clean and smart on my gaming table. Now having a museum collection is a very different matter, it might then be best to seek out those in the finest condition, and just leave them as they are..... I have a large collection of military books, coins, and militaria dating back to  the 1760s, I do nothing with them but keep the dust from settling.

Thanks MJT. I very much enjoyed this fast moving brigade level action. While I confess to having just picked up another eight more figures, to convert into Saxony Foot Guards, I'm keen to really increase my tally of games!

Saturday 25 May 2024

This Weeks News...King Victor Emmanuel meets Garibaldi


Have completed a battalion of Garibaldi Volunteers. I enjoyed converting and painting these, using the Timpo solid ACW figures. Will issue a flag later.

2. THE FENIANS PREPARE TO INVADE CANADA, just got to paint up their flag.

The four new additions.....


And here are thirteen more completed partisans. Yet another change in their establishment, have decided to have five partisan battalions of thirteen, the thirteenth will be a standard bearer. This leaves me with a spare half dozen figures for other roles.

And here they are integrated..... just five more to complete the three non-uniformed battalions of thirteen.

As a follow-on, and proof of the above. My fishing boat has gained a third crew member.
A charity shop visit furnished an unusual acquisition. This Aynsley Bone china Welsh dresser is about 1/32 in scale. Now those constructing street barricades aren't too careful, I must ask them to try not to scratch the furniture.. (Aynsley produced chinaware from 1775 to 2014, and supplied items to the late Queen, and Lady Diana.) This item floats around for about £8 secondhand, picked it up for £1.

Picked up another Timpo Prussian and increased the Dessau company to four. 

Back to the 'Box that Keeps on Giving'. A 1/30 scale British Horseguard has been altered into King Victor Emmanuel the IInd of Italy. It's another odd casting which came very close to being melted down on several occasions.
Original condition

8. SAXONY FOOTGUARDS sent to Schleswig
Finally. I decided to miliput trousers and remove the side plume on some Timpo French Napoleonic Old Guard. They now represent Saxony Foot Guards in there 1848 ceremonial uniform. Although never worn in the  Schleswig War, I will still use them....... although their red and sky-blue colours are rather Danish looking.
Original condition
PS. Having completed thirty-five figures this week, it has allowed me to largely clear my work top, and tidy up a bit!


Hello Brad. Have been doing some basic research on the 1st Italian War of Independence. It's rather overlooked by the 3rd. But the first has some very distinctive uniforms, and the failed Defence of the Roman Republic has some interesting actions between the French Army and the Italian revolutionaries. I also found the Neapolitan Army is very similar to figures in my collection, even the Swiss Mercenaries have red uniforms similar to my Danish army. 

Hello Donnie. Yes, that dresser is a fun addition to the collection! Now I wasn't expecting to return home with that, lol. Presently working on converting some more Timpo figures, to serve as civilian dressed artillerymen. I will then pack the paints away for a while, and have some inside and outside wargames, as Brad suggested.

Hi Quinn. I have used modelling sprays on larger items, such as ships, etc. I have painted (brush) toy soldiers using several gloss varnish products, but my favourite is a very, VERY runny, cheap yacht varnish sold in a discount store. It gives a smooth and strong protection, and yacht varnish is designed to resist the effects of ultraviolet, which turns white into off-white in a year or two. Note, I only paint with acrylic matt products, never gloss enamels. I can drop lead figures on hard surfaces and the paint NEVER chips, if by a fluke the varnish got rubbed badly all I need do is touch up with more varnish. Yacht varnish may also have a measure of flexibility superior to ordinary varnish, this should reduce plastic rifles cracking, but that is always a likely risk.

Thanks MJT. In my earlier years I would have done so. But I'm less 'sure' these days so it survived, and it all turned out for the best, lol. But you know what I'm like with projects...... if my morale is high, get it sorted!