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.

Wednesday, 30 September 2020


On the previous post I'd mentioned the two W. Britains AA guns needed a complete reconstitution if they were to have any value. Yesterday I completed the work converting them into coastal artillery. Serving with these artillery pieces are my converted plastic guardsmen,  representing Royal Artillerymen.


(Campaign news. This coastal battery will now take up position on Vancouver, British Columbia.)

Monday, 28 September 2020


I have just paid out a sum for second-hand Britains. Am I the only one to notice Royal Navy figures go for shocking prices. Having failed in quite a few auctions, I just gave up and bought seven figures for £29.95 delivered, the most I have paid for old castings. On the positive side, I already have a naval officer, so this gives me enough to man a coastal battery. Here's some photos of the figures. 

On a separate subject, but connected, last year I picked up two Britains no.1715 AA guns, costing £11 delivered. I thought this was a fair price but on inspection I discovered they were not only missing parts but the elevation section on both barrels were broken. Now I won't allow this to become a total disaster, I had been planning to use them as coastal artillery pieces. Because of this damage, have decided to go to work on them. First job, break them down, and file away the broken castings. Then a paint strip.  I'm now working with metal bits and bobs to create some new 'detail', but I want them to still keep their W.Britains toy look..... but in Ordnance grey and black. (This is not the first occasion something like this has happened, one of my 4.7" naval guns had a badly broken carriage, I decided to convert that into a coastal gun too, with metal parts from a curtain rail and watering can, see last photo, these coastal guns are very useful for creating scenarios on the wargames table.) 


Saturday, 26 September 2020

Liverpool Scottish Regiment c.1900 (Conversions)

Prior to the arrival of some metal Highlanders from my friend Paul Watson, the original plan was to see what could be achieved with a handful of plastic Herald figures which I'd picked up from various sources. Now the Heralds were made in the 1970s, they are attractive, well designed, but are also prone to oxidisation/plastic rot. the musicians being particularly susceptible. Luckily, I had previously cast a suitable glengarry for a another project, and with my metal shouldered-arms, steel pins, and good superglue they are now quite robust. The next issue was to find something different to paint up. Here is the completed Liverpool Scottish, raised in 1900 for home defence, but also sending volunteers to the Boer war. I think their green-yellow uniforms are an interesting addition to my collection.


(Campaign news. By telegram, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Queen's Governor-General has advised Her Majesty's Government in London that Her Majesty's Government in Canada has become aware of 'interesting weather forecasts'. We can now confirm that a British expeditionary force departed from Liverpool Docks, without fanfare, this very evening. It is assumed they have been dispatched to assist Her Majesty's governments in Canada, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, in case heavy precipitation causes unnatural and peculiar inundations.) 

Friday, 25 September 2020


For my American army 1880-1900 I decided to convert and cast my own figure. The original torso was an old mounted Foot Guards officer. Knife work and Miliput was used to alter the coat, and then I added braid-cords, gauntlets, etc. The head, sword scabbard and carbine are cast separately. My 54mm cavalry units are only four figures strong, but I'm still glad the mould included the braid-cords and tassels on the coat. The mounts are plastic lifeguard horses. They are cast with a light saddle, and US cavalry just used a small grey blanket rather than a shabraque. Have also converted four dismounted lifeguards into US cavalry. Just added some home-cast arms and Miliput gauntlets. Having raised some regular cavalry, I couldn't resist having a unit of US Scouts in their distinctive red & white striped helmet manes. Picked up (six) damaged Deetail horses for £5 delivered.


(Campaign news. It really is a bit disturbing hearing about these constant manoeuvres just south of the border with British North America.)

Wednesday, 23 September 2020


Last year I picked up a large box of figures. They comprised original Airfix, copies of the same, and nondescript Chinese-made figures. Having paid £6.50 for over 300 toy soldiers they still only become a bargain if they are actually used. This interesting predicament led to a number of projects that can best be described as 'fringe' wargaming. I really enjoyed the film Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), and the idea arose for recreating something for the wargames table.

The Zubrowkan Militia are shown wearing uniforms which are very similar to German WW2 Mountain troops, while the WW2 Japanese could also represent them with a head swap. The Black Guard look similar except for their colour and armband. For the record, all my 54mm 'toy soldiers' are gloss varnished. This is a distinction I am keen to stick to, just as all my 28mm 'miniatures' are matt finished.

Finally, this skirmish collection must include something to represent General von Schilling's Iron Tank Division, and a certain building should make an appearance in any games. The armoured car is made of plasticard, used paint pots, and some wheels I picked up off Ebay (I took the liberty of adding headlights).


(Footnote, the opposition will be a mixture of Soviet NKVD, Anarchists, and Soviet WW2 infantry, more than half of which are now ready for the table.) I'm planning on using some fast play Featherstone WW2 rules involving groups of three firing figures and a dice.

NB. Clips from the film are for purposes of review and promotion of the film, and therefore permitted.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020


Here are some photos of a Medieval game I staged in early 2019. The figures are predominantly W. Britains belonging to the Herald range. I know most collectors prefer the Deetail range, but I remember both from my childhood and always thought the Herald's were clean-cut in their design and arguably more authentic in their armour. Although sold under the Britains label, the Herald range was actually produced in Hong Kong. Despite these figures dating back to the 1970s, its very rare to find any that have suffered plastic oxidisation/rot, which is a bonus. But I never liked the sticky-back designs on the shield, which reminded me of modern municipal coats of arms, or school blazer badges rather than anything authentic. Since most of them had largely worn off anyhow, I decided to clean and prime the shields and paint genuine Guelph (pro-Pope), and Ghibelline (pro-Emperor) heraldry for Italy during the 14-15th centuries. I should also mention, a large number of modern, cheap Chinese toy soldiers have also been drafted into the armies. These very inexpensive bags of figures include some real rubbish, but there are also some very useful castings, including a crossbowman, and I enjoyed painting them. All spears and lances were replaced with steel rods.

Pleased to report that it was a great evening with George and Chris, a slight victory for the Guelphs, and the whole occasion was made even more appropriate with our Italian themed meal! (But never trust Medieval bombards, they will always crack unexpectedly.)