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 metal and plastic figures which allowed me to complete another five or six military units, serving in several collections.

Sunday, 29 November 2020


In retaliation for the invasion of Canada, a Royal Navy flotilla set sail from Halifax, Nova Scotia, with the intention of securing the Maine coastline. Seven cities and towns were selected. (All results, the size of the landing parties, the number of defenders, some tactical decisions, etc., were determined by dice.)

Ellsworth....... Having informed the RN flotilla they would not declare their neutrality, a landing party, comprising 12 RN, and 3 Royal Marines, were instructed to secure the city. Foreseeing such an attack, the residents were well prepared, and were able to quickly muster two NG units, one of 12, and another of 6. A further 6 armed civilians also offered their services. The latter took up post in a large house, while the NG blocked the coastal highway and bridge to the city.

The RN landing party deployed as skirmishers and moved towards the city.. On move three they came under fire from the house. Hesitant to advance further, a message was sent to the flotilla for their guns to open up on this prominent target. On move five there was a direct hit on the house, no casualties but those inside scattered. Unfortunately for the Empire troops, the flotilla guns could not be redirected for fear of hitting their own side. Two further shells did level the house. 

By move seven the RN commander had spotted the NG had moved to turn his right flank, he also noted they had occupied a watermill. He decided to advance on this position but in the following exchange of fire two RN and one NG were casualties. On move nine the commander of the Americans rallied the scattered civilians, and with the smaller NG unit, decided to advance on the three Royal Marines. At this point, the RN commander ordered a withdrawal to the rowboats. The Americans sought to pursue but a flotilla gun fired a perfect shot where the house had once stood, and the American commander decided not to hinder the landing party's withdrawal. 

This was an exciting game completed in twenty minutes. With only three casualties.


Ellsworth....... The NG successfully repulsed an attempted occupation by Empire troops.

Belfast....... The city accepted terms, to be neutral, not to participate or contribute in the current conflict. 

Rockland....... Declined to accept terms. A landing party was duly sent but met no opposition. All government property and war munitions were seized or destroyed. A gunboat is now anchored in the harbour.

Wiscasset..... Declined to accept terms. Due to poor weather conditions the flotilla moved on.

Bath......Accepted terms for neutrality.

Portland..... Declined to accept terms. With their coastal batteries and strong garrison (50) the flotilla has restricted itself to implementing a naval blockade of the city.

Biddeford..... Declined to accept terms. A naval landing party was dispatched. In a very minor skirmish some NG were able to inflict two casualties for only one on their side. Being greatly outnumbered, the NG were obliged to retire. and the city is now occupied by Empire forces. 

Saturday, 28 November 2020


A fun collection of Lone Star models has just arrived. All three items are a little bit small in scale but I'm more than happy to use them with my collection of Britains toy soldiers. Haven't a clue what the armoured car is but I guess its a generic model as it was available in yellow or green, depending on whether it was German or British! A bit of research was rewarding as I found several vehicles, Staghounds, Coventrys, Italian AB41s, and German-Chinese SdKfz 222. that it might 'loosely' serve as. For scale its almost perfect representing a Daimler Dingo/Ford Lynx. Looking forward to restoring these, it only cost £10 delivered.


Wednesday, 25 November 2020


Picked up a few Ebay items. The first box has just arrived,  and its quite an assortment. This batch cost £22.10 including delivery. I do wonder if the Britains 1263 gun has original paint, but its such a distinctive apple green! The Britains Line infantry will join several others to form the West Essex Regiment, 1870s, before their amalgamation into the Essex Regiment in 1881. My hope is I can get away with their distinctive purple facings. I particularly like the WW1 artillery crew, and the ammunition limber. The Crescent guardsmen will be drafted.


Sunday, 22 November 2020


Yesterday I completed the colours for my Irish Guards, which are now twelve figures strong. The castings are pre-1950 lead CRESCENT figures, so I was tempted to rename them the Crescent Guards. I have also included a photo of four somewhat larger castings, painted up as Scots Guards. The Irish Guards ensign was originally a bassoon bandsman. Easy job to drill out the hands, add a sword, and milliput a sash.


Wednesday, 18 November 2020


Pleased to report twelve more figures completed today. Thats the Naval contingent ready and operational. The kind reinforcements sent by Paul Watson have been repaired, painted, varnished, and integrated. I can now field three distinct companies to man coastal or field guns (or naval vessels). While the Royal Navy Landing Party has three firing sections (9+ figures).  I particularly liked the three Timpo castings, so replacing their broken rifle barrels was very satisfying.



Monday, 16 November 2020

Unusual Diecast Artillery and Armoured Cars

I would like to upload some photos I've kept on file because they are a little different from the usual, I hope others will find them of interest too. 


The first is a blue BRITAINS 25PDR GUN, common enough in green and also khaki, this model has not been repainted.

This second gun is the popular BRITAINS no.1263 and again its in a dark blue colour. The other is a repaint. (On a previous post I have shown my own BRITAINS no.1292 gun, also in original dark blue.


Here are two BRITAINS anti-aircraft guns, the first is apparently listed as 1715 in a light khaki, and the other in green and numbered 1718. But here is a third in blue.

Here is a pre-war BRITAINS Rolls Royce Armoured Car. OK, they were listed as 'small' in scale, and they probably would look better used by those wargaming in 25-40mm scale figures, but I really like their toy appearance. With this one exception they have all been dark green, but I'm thinking this might be original paintwork, or at the very least its old? (Footnote, I'm hoping to utilise some of these vintage toy cars to serve with my WW1 and WW2 British infantry, also made by Britains. My plan is to distort their scale with larger/higher bases. I have noted others wargaming with 54mm scale figures often adopt smaller scale vehicles by choice.


I've heard rumours that BRITAINS may have issued some artillery pieces in red. I'm not sure who manufactured this gun but the paintwork could be genuine?

Friday, 13 November 2020


Decided to go straight ahead with some of the naval figures so kindly furnished by Paul Watson. Here is the field gun and limber. Its apparently an early model produced by Dorset Miniatures. Decided to dismantle the figures and equipment so I could utilise my favourite superglue, and to ensure a close join between the torsos and arms. I also wanted to use milliput to fill any casting defects, replace the officer's nose, and work on any irregularities in the naval hats. Some 28mm cut-down bayonets served well to repair the tips on several rifles. At this point, I seriously considered removing the shield on the artillery piece as this dates it to post1900. But I felt bad breaking away from the original model. Looking on the internet, similar toys appear to have a combined chain and rope system for the runners, and I was able to find some suitable materials. I don't mind admitting it has given some serious weight to my British Empire collection, and it was a real pleasure painting the model.


Monday, 9 November 2020


Today a box arrived from someone who has played no small part in fostering my interest in collecting traditional toy soldiers. I initially started a renewed interest in 54mm in 2018, the plan being to convert old plastic toy soldiers, some of which I possessed in my childhood during the late 1960-70s. Suddenly, out of the blue, a box of lead Highlanders arrived from Paul Watson, inviting me to have a go at repairing them for the wargames table. Recently, I mentioned an intention to raise a naval contingent, but it was proving a bit difficult. Out of the blue, Paul sends a box of figures that are surplus to his requirements having now completed his own collection, his only interest being a wish to see them restored. I hope I'm not out of order if I mention that Paul has gone through a bad spell of ill health, and has not yet fully recovered. I know many will want to join me in wishing him a full recovery. 

Well, here they are. I will start with a general paint stripping, having made a record of the original paintwork, then comes the pleasurable part of deciding how they will be utilised, what figures can be mixed, etc,.  Must admit, I don't recognise some of these castings, the bottom row are solid lead, possibly new figures?

(Paul, hope you don't mind if I send something in return.)


Sunday, 8 November 2020


Finished the basing of these late-war German figures yesterday. This now gives me enough to have a skirmish game against my Soviets, or even my Zubrowkan army (Grand Budapest Hotel). In addition to these, have converted three Soviet infantry into partisans, altering their heads with milliput. 

During the Summer I picked up some broken hard-density plastic guttering, by gluing two pieces together I was able to create a useful machine-gun bunker.


Thursday, 5 November 2020


While watching the American election results yesterday, thought I would also try and clear a hobby project. In my spares box I had a dozen Airfix and Matchbox Africa Korps figures which were dressed in a style that could be painted up as very late war Germans in Europe. This idea is not mine, WWII PLASTIC TOY SOLDIERS blog (see my research sites) gave me this clever idea. For my part, I've added some camouflage items of clothing, based on four patterns recorded being used by standard German infantry units. In addition to ten extra infantry, have converted two more as artillery crew. Next step is to base them. 


Monday, 2 November 2020


Some nice additions have been captured in recent auctions. Looking forward to start on their restoration, and choosing what they will represent. Many will probably augment my Spanish c.1900 army. A few will join my Ruritanian Civil War, British Royal Navy, and United States Army c.1880. Total cost £18.50, I guess thats a bit steep but naval figures seem to go for higher prices. Note the Highlander, not sure what make it is but the shoulder-arms is on the right side, which is strange for British troops.