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.

Saturday, 31 October 2020


Yesterday I completed the basing of my 1936-40 Germans, inspired by games on  John's 54mmorfight blog. and also WWIIPlasticToySoldiers blog (see sites I like to visit). I'm also working on a dozen late war Germans, and they will look very different. In the photos I have included some of my Soviets, which I painted earlier in the year. When all are complete, I will have about forty figures in each army. I know some wargamers will squirm at gloss varnished WW2 but this is a feature to all my 54mm collections, and I love that look and protection on actual toy soldiers. 


Thursday, 29 October 2020


In my 1970s childhood I remember having some Lone Star plastic figures representing Royal Navy and Royal Marines. Last year I picked up a large box of plastic toy soldiers which included some of those Marines, apparently Timpo had re-issued the figures. Although the new production did not include the original crude paintwork, they were now being made in a more reliable plastic. Here are those figures painted and varnished. Scale wise, I would suggest they are 58mm, but still acceptable in their own war-game units. (I'm into 54mm for the nostalgic value, so its real pleasure to have these figures in my collection.)

The second group photo are some plastic guardsmen that have been converted and painted up as Royal Marine Artillery c.1900, with a metal conversion marching nearby. Nothing great, but they do provide a useful crew to man a blue issue of the Britains model no.1292 gun. I picked up three of these pieces from a seller for about £11 delivered, only to find that the two green examples were missing key parts. One of the guns has since been broken up for spares but I hope to restore the least damaged example. 


Tuesday, 27 October 2020


About a year ago I had the good fortune to pick up a box of over 300 plastic figures for £7 delivered. The scales varied from 50-54mm, and some were Chinese-made. But they all dated to the 1990s?, and most of the figures were Airfix, other good makes, or very fair copies. Having classified the contents in accordance to their size, portrayal, etc, some of these went to my nephew, Oliver, who has also become a keen collector. Some others were boxed in preparation of future plans. During the last two days I've used my hobby time to set about painting some WW2 Germans. Now I am not that well informed on the World Wars, so I had to do some primary research on how they should be painted. Thanks to the internet, and a YouTube video, I decided on the 1936-40 uniform, with their contrasting tunic and breeches, helmet insignia, etc. Must say, I quite enjoyed this little diversion, and I hope to base and varnish them in a few days time. 


Saturday, 24 October 2020


As a side project to my British Empire and United States armies c.1880, I wanted to use some spare figures to form a small force of Spanish, just enough for a garrison, or skirmish game. Having completed six cavalry units for each of the main armies, I was able to raise two cavalry units for the Spanish, using some damaged lead castings. They comprise a Light Horse regiment, and some mounted officer cadets. The infantry presently comprise a small unit of colonial marines, and a company of regulars. Some plastic guards musicians were also going spare and I converted these into two gun crews. Have just secured some more broken lead guards, hope to increase the marines and regular infantry.


Thursday, 22 October 2020


The cost of 54mm military vehicles can be on the high side. But I also have another issue. My 54mm collections are meant to be nostalgic, and often a diversion from strict historical authenticity.  

Something which I would have liked to collect, if time and funds allowed, would have been pre-1980 wind-up, tin plate tanks and armoured cars. I just love the imaginative designs, paintwork, and the fact that they can actually move. I've got on-file a fair number of examples, so the next step was to see if I could capture something of these toys for service on the wargames table. Using plasticard, this armoured car cost less than £5 to put together and paint, this was my first attempt and completed it in August this year. I will happily use it in any post 1930 games. (Have also included some photos which inspired its production, particularly photo-4.)


Wednesday, 21 October 2020


Have just completed fourteen of the twenty-seven figures recently acquired. They comprise four American infantry musicians, which gives me two complete regiments of twelve. Ensign and musicians for the Irish Guards, it too now musters twelve. And I have also re-raised the Detroit Light Infantry, my previous version was a rather ad hoc unit which ended up being drafted into other units. I'm a lot happier with this new recreation, and they will be serving as skirmishers.


Tuesday, 20 October 2020


With this second game in the Dominion War, an American force was landed on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, during the night. Their intention being to capture by surprise Fort Macaulay, as control of this coastal battery would make the arrival of Empire reinforcements a risky business. The American force comprised a battalion of Marines, two small units of National guard, and a commander. The fort garrison comprised the commander with two companies of Royal Canadian artillerymen. However, a dice was thrown to determine whether the BC Government was aware of American plans, scored ONE, fully aware. A second dice was thrown to determine whether the garrison was aware it was to happen this night, score ONE, fully aware. Unknown to the Americans, the garrison had now been reinforced with the Royal Canadian Grenadiers. and a company of Royal Marines. In addition, the garrison could signal they were under attack by cannon fire. At the beginning of each subsequent move they would throw a dice. If scoring a SIX, a further dice would determine if armed civilians, mounted police, or Canadian Regulars would arrive to support them. Note, although the garrison had two heavy guns, they were of no value, as their arc of fire is only out to sea, but they did also possess a medium field gun, and the extra crew could serve as an infantry company.

The American force advanced on the fort, still with the intention of surprise, and for the first three moves dice throws indicated they had not been seen. Could they still take the fort by surprise? On the fourth move their luck concluded, the alarm was called and all in the garrison took up positions, their gun opened fire. The Americans approached with great determination, keen to use their numerical strength in a melee. But on move 5 some armed civilians arrived, and on move 6 they took down some of the marines, while the medium gun also inflicted a casualty on the skirmishing NG. Still they advanced, now into rifle range. Despite steady casualties for little return, the American line charged. In the subsequent melee the marines killed or scattered the RCG, but the RCA and RM were able to inflict heavy casualties on the two NG units. Both those units had suffered 50% casualties and they routed. By now the Marines had also suffered 50% casualties and could not take offensive action, but their morale held and they chose to hold their position. In truth, they were having little impact on the garrison and the armed civilians were picking off one figure on almost every move, requiring a five or six on the dice. Now down to only one third still fighting, when the RA gun crew joined their comrades firing with small arms, the marines were now surrounded, and the survivors surrendered on move 18. 


This was a solo game lasting 20 minutes, dice determined practically every decision.

Here are the game returns.


Commander 1

Royal Canadian Artillery 6 (-1)

Royal Marines 4 (-2)

Royal Canadian Grenadiers 6 (-5)

Armed farmers and timber men 7

(Canadian regulars arrived on move 21, so never participated, 12 plus a mounted officer)


Commander 1

US Marines 12 (-9)

National Guard light troops 6 (-3)

National Guard 6 (-3)

(Footnote, the routing National Guard threw a dice to determine if they made it back to their row boats, scored ONE, the Mounted Police had confiscated the boats, they were later picked up in the woods and granted permission to return to American territory on parole, that they do not act against the Empire until there is an official exchange of prisoners....... I just could not believe the number of poor dice throws for the Americans in this game!)

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

OLD TOY SOLDIERS recently acquired

Today a parcel arrived with a batch of old toy soldiers. Having paid £17 delivered, I'm quite pleased with them. I think the musicians are REKA-CRESCENT 1930s castings. Now I have several plastic and metal regiments which require a few figures more to bring them up to a strength of twelve, and also some odd numbered detachments that would look better mustering six figures. So these will be drafted, furnishing drummers, fifers, and buglers. 

While I'm happy paint stripping the castings, as they appear to have been repainted, I've got mixed views on any conversions. I think it would be wrong to commit surgery on these old toys, unless they are actually broken. (Opinions welcome)


(PS. I'm not sure what make the firing figures are, top row, but I already have eight in my collection, I'm assuming they are also Crescents?)