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.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Ruritanian Mounted Officer (Prisoner of Zenda)

I hate waste. Wanted to see if it was possible to save a very, very badly damaged lead cavalryman. Was tempted to just put it into the melting pot, its not even a 54mm casting. Its one of those 45mm cavalry figures that occasionally crop up in auctions, smaller versions of Crescent 54mm Horse Guards. This had been sent by Paul Watson. To be used or disposed of as I think fit.

An extra staff officer for my Ruritanian army could be a useful addition. This collection comprises mainly cheap Chinese-made plastic figures. Their Foot Guards in bearskins, and ww2 Germans are easily converted into Ruritanian uniforms, using the 1952 movie for inspiration. These plastic figures are only about 50mm in size. While this lead cavalryman was only 45mm, it was possible to reconstruct the missing rear half of the horse to imply it was a larger casting, rearing up. Steel wire and milliput, combined with plenty of superglue, seems to have faked the scale reasonably well, and it was a fun project. 

Here is Fritz von Tarlenheim, played in the 1952 movie by the English actor Robert Coote. This actor had a long film career from 1931 to 1981. He died in his sleep at the New York Athletic Club in 1982, aged 73. Fitz is seen in the film wearing either a blue dress uniform or a less-formal brown tunic. Have decided the latter uniform represents my Sudmark Regiment of Foresters. Tarlenheim is loyal to Crown Prince Rudolf!
Early work on the rearing horse, seems firm enough to last. I don't want anything that cannot take fairly robust handling, accidents will happen!
MGB

8 comments:

  1. There's something so very dramatic about figures on a rearing horse and yours looks wonderful Michael! It goes perfectly with your infantrymen! Another great save and conversion!

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    1. Thanks Brad. There is something very satisfying in seeing an old broken toy soldier restored. And I am keen that my Ruritanian collection should have all the personalities of the 1952 movie, so its a useful addition too.
      Michael

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  2. I hadn't realized that in the movie they had brown uniforms. My Ruritanians have grey jackets and light blue trousers based pretty much on Confederate colors! However, my royal guard are in red jackets. It is great to see old figures repaired. I just obtained fifty old battered hollowcasts for $150 including overseas postage. That works out at $3 each for mostly cavalry figures. Unfortunately the seller bound them tightly in bubble wrap which caused horse legs, sword scabbards and carbines to bend so that when they were straightened they often snapped. Still, it is not bad for such old figures. I have plenty of home cast heads for the many without them.

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    1. Hi Q, Only Colonel Zapt (also spelt Sapt), and Tarlenheim are shown in distinct uniforms of brown. At least three are in grey, with different facings. There are at least six different blue uniforms. Two are in different lilac-tinted grey. There is also a yellow, and two white uniforms. There are some more, but they represent foreign embassy staff at the coronation, so disregarded them. Keep in mind, every film has different uniforms. With one exception, I have stuck to the 1952 movie, but I have a few Black (Horse) Guards from an earlier production. Thats a superb purchase, at a very fair price. Difficult to get anything imported here, customs duty, and inspection charges make it too expensive. Still, the best lead bargains are in the UK, but interesting plastic figures are often seen in France and Italy. Tin plate toys are dominated by the USA and Germany.
      Michael

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  3. Fantastic job - sorry I short changed you in scale :)

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    1. Hardly going to think that, Paul. Its now a useful staff member for my miniature Ruritanian experience. I want all the personalities from the 1952 movie to be represented. Just about to post again, with something you also kindly furnished, just varnished it.
      Michael

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  4. Amazing what a change of head will do - oh, and a half a horse.

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    1. Indeed, Mark. I didn't think it looked right for him to enter the fray with such disadvantages., lol.
      Michael

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