Monday, 21 May 2018

Plastic Warrior Show 2018

The Plastic Warrior Show has come and gone for another year, a part of me is always glad to get it over with, another part can't wait until the next one, we collectors are indeed a curious race.  Some new Replicants mounted Comanche Indians were unveiled at the show, I haven't included pictures of them as they are already poping up all over the blogosphere and on their revamped website which is well worth a look here: Replicants.

Dan Morgan made this rather nice medieval diorama to showcase Replicants civilian figures.

Adrian Little treated us to an extensive collection of Malleable Mouldings figures, of which this is just a small selection

There were a couple of these Polish Renaissance gun teams on Steve Vickers table, they are quite large size, the figures stand about 70mm high

One of the French dealers brought this interesting landing craft over with him.

The Melton Brothers from York had an interesting selection of early English plastics

more of the above!

This was the offering from Belgian collector Daniel Lepers

.....and more of the above.

That's it until next year folks!

Friday, 11 May 2018

War of 1812

A deputation from the Funny Little Wars group visited recently in the form of Paul and Jack, looking to try out some ideas for smoke, confusion and subterfuge in the age of Napoleon. Keen to get a recently acquired collection from the War of 1812 on the table, I thought this would be an ideal scenario to try out the new ideas.

Setting the scene, a company of British infantry picquetted in the outlying town, across the river from their stockade, are surprised by a raiding party of American regulars, militia and native scouts. A firefight breaks out but the company are quickly overwhelmed and forced to flee for the safety of the fort as the Americans overrun the village.

Troops in the fort stand to and give supporting fire to the hard pressed company. Guns fire every other move and puffs of smoke indicate they are reloading. Similarly blankets of smoke are laid down for each infantry volley, with each successive volley more smoke is laid and begins to role away but has the effect of obscuring aim, it also gives irregular troops the opportunity to slip away unseen, only to reappear elsewhere.

At this point the forlorn Company find their way to the fort blocked, pinned on three sides they decide to try crossing the river.  At this juncture a band of natives, allied to the British emerged from the woods to the right of the stockade, their musketry forces the American Militia across the footbridge to fall back but it is too little too late to save the beleaguered company across the river.

A salvo from the American guns dispersed the native allies, while our gallant Company, caught in a crossfire, were unable to cross the river and surrendered to the Yankee Regulars.

The action concluded with the American Militia snipping on the stockade from the safety of the woods while their Regulars formed up for a frontal assault which they carried despite fearful casualties.

The new rules were easy to administer and worked very well, the scenario itself made for an interesting game which could have gone either way.  A very pleasant way to spend a midweek afternoon with old friends and it's great to be getting more gaming in.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

A few of last year's finds

Rather late in the day but I just came across more pics of some figures I got at last year's Plastic Warrior Show.  I didn't take a table last year because I felt in need of a big spend up on toy soldiers and you just can't do that with the same reckless abandon when you've got to look after a stall. I bought heaps of stuff, stocking up on fodder for conversions which I won't bore anyone with, so here are just a couple of the less usual bits:

This is the original plaster form for the mould of a Charbens red Indian which never went into production.  It's very difficult to visualise the finished product from looking at the inverse impression in the mould so the chap who sold it to me had made a metal casting to see what the figure would have looked like,

These plasters came from the estate of John Riccardini who had worked as a freelance designer for several UK toy manufacturers, principally Charbens, these are red Indian legs from the Charbens swoppet range. These plaster forms were first cast around the master figure and would then be sent to the foundry where they would then be copied in brass, fine detail would be engraved into the brass to finish the mould and the plaster could be discarded. I have several original brass moulds but these are the only plasters I have ever had. I only met Mr Riccardini once and he was a very nice chap, he engraved his name into one of these moulds, I suppose to assert his intellectual rights, which is a nice touch, I wish I'd made more effort to stay in touch with him. Too late, another missed opportunity to learn from the people who made the toys.

A mounted Roman officer made in France by JSF (Juets Standart Francais), originally made in hollowcast lead, this plastic version has a high plaster content and is starting to deteriorate but happily is still all in one piece. 

Another figure from JSF from a series of French army off duty, it's a very large set with many unusual poses but quite hard to find and very sought after when they do turn up.

Well that's it until after the PW show next week, I thought it was time I did a post about proper toy soldier collecting as this blog has become rather 54mm wargaming heavy of late, but as that has always been the prime focus for my collecting activity it will probably continue to be the direction that this blog takes.

Good hunting!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Double Delay!

Double Delay is the name of scenario no. 9 in One Hour Wargames, written by Neil Thomas, and it's the game that Anthony and I chose to play this weekend. In light of our previous experience using OHW we decided to use the full 6'x10' table, nine units per side instead of six and five troop types instead of four. We diced as normal for units to get a mix of infantry, cavalry, artillery and skirmishers then switched one unit of infantry for Guards (who use the Zouave profile from the ACW section of the book)

The British have occupied the town of San Antonio somewhere in the Peninsula, they are preparing to leave and rejoin the main army when the French appear on the horizon.  They must delay the enemy and, if possible, deny them the town.

My poor old mother, God rest her soul, would have had forty fits if she'd seen what I've done to her finest Irish linen sheets.  After several days of sponging and stippling they started to look like barren scrubland.

I was still painting the rocks at eight o'clock on the morning of the game, and they were still a bit wet when we were setting up!  There's nothing like a deadline to get your productivity racing.

In true Wellsian fashion the toy soldiers all huddle behind hard cover to shelter from the enemy guns.  They needn't have bothered, although the guns have a range covering virtually the whole table, their limited casualty effect means that troops in the open can take a hard pounding for some time before their capability becomes too seriously depleted.  This is a good thing, it stops the guns dominating the game and reflects the effect of roundshot.

To add a bit of spice the British contingent included a band of Spanish Guerrillas (using the skirmisher unit profile) who act independently and can appear from any piece of cover or enter from any edge of the table at any time subject to the British player achieving an activation score of 6+ on a throw of 2xD6.  Thus there's a good probability they'll appear on cue but it can't be taken for granted, here they emerge from the rocks to give the French artillery a nasty shock!

I take any opportunity to get this old Spanish town out for a game, I bought it for £10 at the very first Plastic Warrior Show, (read about it here) I didn't really want it but it was destined to go in a skip if I hadn't taken it, also it had featured in Donald Featherstone's book "Skirmish Wargaming" (page 50) so I felt I had to save it.

French skirmishers scale the heights on the left of the field supported by the Guards and Chasseurs a Cheval, forcing the British artillery to retire.

The larger table size and additional units made for a lively game with lots of manoeuvre and three actions playing out: forcing the bridge on the left, the main assault against the town on the right and a fight to suppress the guerrillas in the rear centre.  The poor marksmanship of the Guerrillas caused few problems for the French gunners but to contain them tied down an inordinate number of French infantry that could have been put to better use elsewhere, such is the purpose of these irregulars.

The river is a sectional model that clips together, made by Pegasus, it arrived in the nick of time the day before the game and went straight from box to table.

The French eventually took the town and pursued the British off the table, as the scenario required, we played the full 15 moves in about two and a half hours.  I think we have found a formula that makes the OHW system work well for 54mm toy soldiers.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Plastic Warrior Show 2018

For those that don't already know, or who are searching the web for information on the UK Toy and Model Soldier Show, more commonly referred to as the Plastic Warrior Show 2018, it will be held on Saturday 12th May 2018. 

The venue is: The Harlequin Suite at the Winning Post Inn Chertsey Road, Twickenham, TW2 6LS.  Doors open to General Public from 10.30 (there is no earlybird entry).  Link to website: 

  This will be our 5th year at this venue and it has proved popular with dealers and collectors. There are a just a couple of tables left before it's sold out so this year looks like it will be a bumper event with many collectors taking space to shift some of their surplus.  Travel information and directions are at the bottom of this post.

If you've never been before here's a taster of last year's show:

A boxed Cherilea 7th Cavalry and Indians set, the buckboard and canoe are quite hard to find and I don't think I've ever seen that tepee before.

While primarily a show for collectors of old plastic toy soldiers there are plenty of accesories and recent manufactured figures for the 54mm wargamer.  This table had a model of Rorkes Drift and a whole Wild West town for sale.

All sorts of unusual bits and pieces here, the show attracts traders and collectors from all over Europe and beyond offering figures we otherwise don't get to see so often in England.

A large part of the fun is rummaging through all the cheapo junk boxes.

You never know what will turn up.

The show is primarily for for 54mm plastic figures but there is also usually plenty of 1/72 stuff and even a bit of Action Man stuff slips in, so if you fancy a little wallow in nostalgia you should go along and treat yourself to a few new toys.

Travel Directions to the Plastic Warrior Show 2018. London Toy Soldier Show.

From Outside London take M25, M3, A316, go over one roundabout and entrance to the winning Post is after 500 metres on your left.  From Inner London, after Richmond Circus follow A316 and continue straight on over 3 roundabouts.  You will pass the Winning Post on your right.  At the next roundabout take the 4th exit and entrance to the Winning Post will be on your left after 500 metres.

FREE PARKING.  There is extensive free parking at the site and in the residential roads behind the Winning Post, The Harlequin Suite is to the right of the main building.

By Public Transport.  From Central London and the South of England by overground train (South West Trains) from Waterloo or Clapham Junction to Whitton Station.  There are 8 trains an hour and the journey time is approx. 30 minutes, this is a loop line so 4 trains an hour run from two different platforms at Waterloo Station.   From the North of England by train to London arriving at Kings Cross St. Pancras or Euston. take the London Underground Victoria line just 6 stops to Vauxhall and change for South West Trains to Whitton Station as above.   Whitton Station is just 3 minutes walk from the Winning Post - turn left out of the station past Jubilee Avenue and Pauline Crescent, the next turning on your left is the entrance to the Winning Post.

At the time of writing (16.03.2018) there are no planned Engineering Works on this line.

Should you wish to take the London Underground to Richmond as in previous years, the easiest thing is to change platform and take a South West Train service to Whitton Station as above (4 trains an hour from Richmond, journey time 8 minutes).  Alternatively you could get a black cab or a H22 bus from the taxi rank and bus stop outside the station.

Oyster cards are accepted on all London Underground lines, buses and South West Trains to Whitton Station.

The Winning Post Inn opens from 08.00 to 11.00 serving breakfast or coffee for those who arrive early, the pub serves drinks from 11.00 and Lunches from 12.00.  There is a cashpoint on site but Whitton town center with a full range of shops and banks is just 3 minutes walk from the hall.  Within the Winning Post complex is a Premier Inn travel hotel for those who want to break their journey and stay overnight.