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, 27 July 2022


Spotted these very traditional lead figures on Ebay. Thought they would be a nice addition to the collection, and useful too. Further research showed that they were made by the English company Charbens, during the 1950s. They portray American soldiers with Browning HMGs, the larger is the 1917 model, the other is the M2 design. I don't actually collect WW2 American but painted one of the figures as intended. Another was drafted into my post-WW2 French army, they also used the 1917 model for many years. While the M2 was supplied to the Soviet Army in WW2, so painted the figure as a naval rating in a reefer jacket. With delivery, came to £10 (Thanks George). Will eventually base these with a suitable supporting figure.

Original condition below.
Soviet naval uniforms
Some broken Airfix skiers are converted into something more useful.
Pleased to see a damaged Lone Star bren gun carrier brought back into service, my second.
Spare Airfix Desert Rat is converted into a Free French/colonial figure.
My spares/unfinished figures now stand at 32 needing cast heads, but otherwise painted and ready. With only sixteen more needing to be actually repaired and painted. There is also a splendid WW1 aircraft, kindly supplied by Paul, that needs painting. 

Sunday, 24 July 2022

NAVAL NEWS ( and Another Ebay Purchase)

Hardly cheap, it totalled £19.90 to obtain these figures. I suspected they would be costly, the two naval officers are sought-after additions. I was determined to get them as eight figures will provide crews for my two United States gunboats, the other two castings will join my Royal Navy flotilla.

Spoke to Paul Watson, as I wanted to find out more about the figures. Paul confirmed the officers are Johillco, two ratings are Taylor & Barrett, the remainder are Britains, set 1530. 

It would have been nice to have obtained American naval figures, in their iconic 'Dixie' hats. But further research showed that these made an appearance in 1886, but only become fully established by 1900. The old uniform print and cards confirm a more typical uniform. So the new figures will do fine.

Have uploaded a photo of the fleet, now they have acquired naval ensigns. One of the US gunboats flies the distinctive Revenue Service flag.

UPDATE With generic blue uniforms, these figures are completed, and now manning the two American gunboats. 


Sunday, 17 July 2022

Quick Game involving my Barney E1 Tank (Dominion Wargame)

With some eighteen military units in the Montreal area, the American plan was to establish their headquarters in Longueuil, from which to stage their assault on the city. The Empire garrison was uneasy, but took comfort in knowing that their twelve military units were in a fairly strong position, and supplies of food, etc, were still entering the city. But when news arrived that a relief force, comprising five units, was approaching from Quebec, the American commander was obliged to delay his assault and despatch six units down the St.Lawrence, to counter this movement.

After their despatch, the American commander received a full intelligence report (D5), indicating that the Empire was planning to utilise their new Barney E1 (Tank) He immediately ordered two more units (D2) to join the original six. Unfortunately, they would take some eight 'moves' to arrive (D6, D2).

SET UP   The Empire Relief Force was approaching at double time, keen to utilise their new fangled weapon, and confident of sweeping aside any opposition.

This photo only shows five US units, both guns belong to an artillery battalion. Another infantry unit is camped slightly to the left.
MOVE ONE The US guns opened fire on the RC, daft really, it was out of range. MOVE TWO Empire forces advanced. Those guns firing served a purpose, all American units were ready to engage. MOVE THREE US guns opened up again, miss. MOVE FOUR a hit on a US gun crew. MOVE FIVE a hit on the Barney crew, small arms fire also opened up, with casualties. MOVE SIX very bloody, for both sides, and the Barney entered the US position. Although the melee inflicted only one loss on the US infantry, the loser had to test morale. D2, they panicked. rout or surrender?, D2 again, they surrendered. While all this was going on, a US cavalry unit had sought to outflank the Empire troops. For several moves, it had remained stationary, opposed by a HMG. I'm too cautious to risk advancing: and it was restricting the HMG from other targets. so I allowed the dice to determine (D6). They advanced and suffered a casualty. Back at the redoubt, the neighbouring artillery witnessed their infantry surrendering, and were obliged to test their morale. D2, followed by another D2, they too now surrendered!
BELOW The Shocking MOVE SIX.
MOVE SEVEN The Cavalry charged the HMG, the crew opened up. D6, D6, two casualties. Morale test, D5, but with such losses, by HMG, and now half strength, they refused to charge home. The US Commander was determined still to fight on (D6). and moved to a fortified house. The Barney followed. While those that had surrendered found themselves being entertained by bagpipers. At this point, I could see no purpose in continuing. However, in retiring, one US regiment delivered a perfect volley, three casualties, and it broke a Guards Battalion. Fortunately, the panic did not spread. MOVE EIGHT The Guards were rallied, but were unable to advance further, being under half strength. One US Battalion faltered under Barney fire and broke. End of Game? Not quite. Two fresh US battalions now entered the table, making contact with the two that were still operating. It now became a rush for the Empire forces to retire with their prisoners. No time for the two captured guns to be limbered, they had to be destroyed. End of Game? Not quite. It slowly dawned on me, the Americans had nothing that could knock out the Barney, while it could continue to pound them with its medium guns. Fortunately for the Americans, they suffered no further casualties before prudently deciding to depart the field.
I confess, was expecting my new toy to be knocked out on move two! But the American medium gun crews were poor shots. And the dice always favoured the Empire during the game. The Quebec Relief Force failed to link up with Montreal, but they had captured or destroyed four military units. Their own losses amounted to one military unit. The Montreal garrison still has twelve units, but the besieging Americans are reduced to fourteen. Here is the UNITS map before the battle. Have also included a map showing battles fought, with points awarded for their impact on the campaign (five Empire points for this action). And there is a return of the units/casualties in this game.

 ps My garden de-fences have now been restored 

Friday, 15 July 2022


My plasticard model is inspired by a toy tank manufactured by the Liverpool based company WHITEANCO. This was designed by a veteran of WW1, Lieutenant Colonel Walter 'Barney' Barnard, as a tin-plate, wind-up toy. He originally offered the design to Mecanno, but they declined. Whiteanco embraced the idea and started manufacturing it in 1919. I do think its a rather splendid collectable. Examples still appear in auctions, normally selling for about £300. 

Here is my rendition. I don't mind admitting, I had some issues concerning the colour, which led to it being left on the shelf for some time.  My initial paint attempt ended in something peach coloured, that had to go. The second attempt was far too yellow, that had to go too. Have ended up with Ordnance grey, which is a nice contrast to the national emblems. The E1 refers to Whiteanco's model number.

(For my Dominion War campaign, this tank has a crew of six, and can fire two medium guns per move. this is the largest of my plasticard armoured vehicles.)

Original, typically in this deep yellow-orange, although I have seen one in dark brown. The first model, made by Barney, is apparently still owned by members of his family.

As a follow-on to the above post, completed four figures for my WW2 British Home-Front army. Its a  company of senior Air Cadets, dressed in surplus 1920s RAF uniforms and puttees. They were originally lead WW1 figures needing new heads and rifle barrels (Cheers Paul!).

Sunday, 3 July 2022


In between my researches and replacing the garden fence, decided to make an effort to clear some figures in my spares box. (Now reduced to sixteen spares/unpainted!)
First up is a command base for my Spanish army c.1900. Two WW1 Germans were easily converted. And it was nice to utilise some Britains furniture kindly supplied by Paul Watson.
Next up are some converted British infantry marching, they now have new arms and heads to represent a French Gunboat captain, and a captain for the French naval landing party. Also shown are a French 1870s infantryman and a WW2 Dutch policeman, and why not!
Police Helmet

My merchant ship now has a fully qualified captain commanding. Another kind donation from Paul. I do like the idea of my ships having an 'official' crew, It makes these models more complete.
Finally got around to completing the last part of my Spanish field hospital. When I discovered this print, had to represent it in the collection.

Any larger figures (56mm) in gaiters are drafted into this interesting unit. The Post Office Volunteers now number six.

Paul kindly sent me three artillerymen in pillbox hats. Was able to convert a marching figure into a fourth, with a spare head from REPLICA, enough now for my Royal Canadian Artillery to man a heavy garrison gun
Some repaint changes here, the former Prince Regent of Ruritania has become a Spanish Captain-General. A better choice of figure, more in keeping with the others in this collection. I also converted a spare fifer into an extra artilleryman.
My WW2 German collection has gained a command base and soldier belonging to the Empire Workers Service, in their distinctive brown uniform. And my spares box has also furnished five extra artillerymen.
And finally, Ruritania has a new Prince Regent, and Prince Michael has an infantry command base. All uniforms based on the 1952 movie. Most of the figures in this collection are about 50mm tall.
PLEASE NOTE, less posts in future, due to other projects.