Thursday 30 June 2011

Dorset Toy Soldiers Battleship

My final posting from the London Toy Soldier Show last weekend is this rather fine battleship from Dorset Toy Soldiers just what you need to refight the Battle of Jutland on your garden lawn. My old friend Giles Brown who owns Dorset Toy Soldiers tells me that he is about to open a shop down in the west country to sell his figures, so if yu happen to be in those parts it would be well worth giving him a call to check on opening times.

Boer War limber mounted machine gun

I'm starting to realise that I have a bit of a "thing" for machine guns mounted in wagons, sadly this pic dosen't quite do justice to this rather nice piece seen at the London Toy Soldier Show last weekend. I believe it is made by Urugayian firm Hirart and depicts a yeomanry unit of the City Imperial Volunteers from the Boer War, there was another one painted up in the uniform of the Boer Staatsartillerie (I think - note to self, must make more effort to ask questions next time)

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Seen at the London Toys Soldier Show, June'11

The King & Country Toy Soldier Company who sponsor the London Toy Soldier Show display their wares in a series of stunning doramas, the two pics above show their "Streets of Hong Kong" range. I don't collect K&C but if I did it would probably be this particular range just for the colour and vibrancy that they bring.

The two pics aboove are some of K&C's WW1 series, a rather nice late war machine gunner and a vignette of the German General Staff, the Kaiser in the middle and Von Mackensen on the right.

Monday 27 June 2011

Skirmish Wargames Group Gordon Relief Game

King & Country, who make modern white metal toy soldiers for collectors, sponsor the London Toy Soldier Show which is held three times a year. A regular feature of these shows is a demonstration wargame run by the Skirmish Wargames Group using 54mm figures, they mix both metal and plastic and there is often a high level of conversions among them. These games are always very varied, I don't think I've ever seen the same game played twice and they are known for the excellent quality of the buildings and scenery they bring to the table. Past games have included Incas and Conquistadores, French Canadian trapers and various Colonial, First and Second World War scenarios. This game was based on the Gordon Relief Expedition, these games are always a highlight of the show for me.

General Gordon's compound at Khartoum, note the hippo basking in the undergrowth.

The Camel Corps stand to behind a defensive zariba

The Mahdist hordes rush in to attack

The Camel Corps make their stand with mounted camel troops on the flank.

Thursday 16 June 2011

WW1 machine gun team

This semi flat composition machinge gun team were made in Germany around 1910 by Mars Hindenburg. They are depicted from the waist up as though firing from behind an earthwork and wear the flat topped felt Jaeger helmet, which is correct for mg crews of the period, rather than the leather spiked picklehaube. I rather like to see groups of figures that have been sculpted to sort of morph together or into their surroundings, it somehow adds something to the design for me.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Mystery Medics

These stretcher bearers and nurse are solid lead (and very heavy!), they stand about 50mm high and the scuplting is very crude to put it mildly. I've never seen anything like them so they could be home cast or some sort of artisan production, they were included in a larger lot of British made figures that I bought but I assume them to be French because of the horizon blue uniforms but the strange shape of their peak caps makes me wonder about that, perhaps they could be WW1 Austrians or Romanians.

The King and Country London Toy Soldier show is being held this Saturday and I hope to attend, if so I'll post a report. I say hope to attend because the show clashes with our annual street party at which I have unexplicably and utterly stupidly agreed to take part in a cake baking competition. The competition is only open to the men of the street and the only rule is that wives may not assist in any way. I don't bake, in fact I barely recognise the big metal box that is our cooker, I am told there has been a very low level of entries, in fact I may be in a class of one, needless to say I am desperately trying to back peddle out of this.

Monday 13 June 2011

PZG Samurai

These plastic Samurai were made in Poland, probably during the 1960's and possibly by PZG, the Polish society for the Deaf, they stand about 60/65mm high. I don't know if the brown paint is original but it may be that they were painted to make them look like terracota, I am sorely tempted to strip and repaint them and it is only the backlog of existing painting projects that prevents me entering into this act of vandalism.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Homecast toy soldiers

Making your own toys soldiers at home has long been a popular pastime, perhaps not so much in recent decades with the universal shift towards political correctness and safety concerns, but there used to be a big market for the sale of moulds to cast your own in lead. Homecasting moulds were sold extensively across Europe and the U.S. under many diffferent trade names but the figure designs invariably come back to one company in Germany, Gebr. Schneider (Schneider Brothers).

Sometimes enterprising individuals would produce figures from these moulds and paint them to a good standard for resale (as I suspect is the case with the first figure above) but mostly they were cast to a poor standard from whatever mix of metals could be found, often fishing weights or, according to urban myth, lead stripped from the church roof! The figures are mostly about 40mm high but size varies all the way up to about 60mm. They are exactly the sort of toy soldier that you will dig up in your back garden, crushed and suffering greatly from lead rot, and then be disappointed when you put it up on ebay and it dosen't sell. They are generally very crude and get little interest from collectors but I rather like them and they are great for playing wargames.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Les Ecossaise

A Highland piper in glengarry and a standard bearer, an unusual pose for for the Scots, French made plastics of unknown manufacturer, probably made during the 1960's

Wednesday 1 June 2011

So what is your favorite toy soldier?

At the moment (and for a long time since) this chap has been a big favorite of mine, composition, made in Germany circa 1910 by Mars Hindenburg it stands about 9cm high.