In my time I did indulge in Military Modeling, but not that much really, as I wrote in my book I have tried all the approaches to the hobby. Those chaps in Matt finish look very nice indeed but once you have finished them they are eminently “decorative” meaning by that there is no way to play “games” with them. Some I painted myself, some I bought already painted and based in a shop.
I will show next a mounted officer from the Spanish Army in the same scale as the Highlanders.
And finally a Greek Warrior, Prince Valiant and Richard Sharpe all in 54mm.
I stopped collecting them because they are quite fragile and when cleaning the bookshelves they are exposed to heavy damage, not if I clean myself mind, but sometimes the “hired help” are not careful enough. Did do some repairs on them several times.
I also have a Custer Last Stand model but I deleted the post Little Big Horn.
By 2016 I had sold my 25/28mm collection -a hard but sound decision- , as a result of a deep crisis with that scale, I still like them mind, in fact I liked them so much that I already considered them Military Modeling stuff of the first order. The standards of painting had improved in a way that you can extend this to 15mm and lower, but let’s leave it at that. They are too expensive and beautiful to be handed and grappled (to do not say dropped) by uncaring hands. For me, by now they are minis to be displayed in cabinets. They seem to do some lot of skirmishing nowadays. The point is clear.
Since then I have built a small collection of 6mm, it is small because of the scale but also because I concentrated on some periods and I did not ” let myself go” as I did in my youth/middle age adopting now a more prudent way of amassing minis. They are mainly Baccus because of the sheer quality of the minis and because they suit my taste, but another reason is that the range -catalogue- is quite extensive (which permits proxies) and growing which is a bonus (and a temptation). But not exclusively, I have some Rapier ACW too. Curiously for such small things they do not seem to mix very well, but this is just a matter of taste, do your own thing, it’s ok. It is always a matter of taste and in my case of “numbers”, I own now more ACW minis that I ever got in 25mm -and have BOTH Armies when in our youth my brother build the Confederates and yours truly the Union- My 25mm ACW troops went to the collection of my brother and where reunited with the opposition once and for all. Even in 6mm there are differences of measure so check compatibility before buying. Adler seems to steal the show with Napoleonics (some say the are big-headed minis… but for what I have seen in FB they look superb), got problems ordering from them BTW, I placed a small order of ACW minis and after quite a long wait (for me) it got returned to them… was not refunded and that was the end of the story, I must say -philosophically- that”shit happens”, but emails from them are not in the same level of friendliness as Baccus one’s.
ACW is my more orthodox approach to wargaming.
Me going to 6mm was a slow process: I already had the Crimean Light Cavalry Brigade of Tennyson fame (Baccus Napoleonic proxies). But after a stop or pause of several years I steadily built other periods. First of all I ordered from a painting service -more about that in an specific post- Roman Republic and Carthaginian Units to use in a board-game grid of a very old game (Metauro) whose 54mm plastic original figures had disappeared from the Earth after several generations of my family playing with them. I was pleased by the look of them Baccus -Up to that moment I had doubts about the quality/presence of Infantry minis in 6mm scale!-
All right then, I went Colonial British Khaki, I specify so because I am not doing some of the periods I used to enjoy in 25mm and on the contrary going for some who were neglected for lack of time or cash or space. It is important to say for your info that I do not build the Opposition anymore, gone are the days of painting hundreds of Zulus, Dervishes, Fuzzy-Wuzy, Pathans, Afridis, Ghazis, Plains Indians and what not; I never preach or try to impose my ideas and do not believe in proselytism so as a mainly solo wargamer it is my decision and that’s that. Talking about “cash” I did self-imposed a condition to my wanderings, or several as it is: 54mm toy soldier collecting will not exceed the volume of the cabinets that exist (and not going to build more “cabinets”) meaning if I want to buy something… other parts must go to make place. And the funds raised by selling my 25/28mm stuff and a large part of my Playmobil Collection will pay for the 6mm venture (not that in the end I do not indulge in investing more in a monthly pocket money basis), but I seem to keep financial matters under control… more or less.
So, Colonial Brits with Bengal Lancers and Indian Regiments, Custer’s 7th (only Custer battalion), The French in North Africa aka XIX Corps late XIXth Century were added to the Crimean Cavalry, also a one off Von Bredow’s Cavalry Brigade from the Franco-Prussian War (the famous Death Ride) and last but not least the ACW with both sides present, meaning Billy Yank and Johnnie Reb. The ACW was my first love and a period played extensively with my usual wargames companion, my little brother (ten years younger than me and steadily going to sixty!). I think it was the Prussian General Von Moltke who said he was not interested -in the ACW not the age of my brother- because it was an affair of “two mobs chasing themselves in the woods”, I respectfully disagree. I will detail why I love it in subsequent posts.
I started again buying Baccus figures with Colonial British in mind, but with a change of colour, I went khaki because a read of the book MAIWAND made it compulsory -we wargamers are like this-. By then I had already decided to use a painting service -or several- not because I do not know how to do it myself, just because when you are near seventy years old… time is a factor and that was not the only project in mind. In fact due to real life work pressure I did use painting services in 25/28mm in the late old days of that scale unable to snatch the time to do the painting myself, so it was not a new experience at all.
I was lucky, the painting service provided by Mersey Wargames, Turbil Miniatures and REVEILLE (found them on eBay) has been excellent: the ratio price/quality, the basing they use, and quite a quick turnaround. Sometimes the packing is a bit loose but that with 6mm is not a problem -never ever had nothing broken in transit- I have already mentioned that I put the flags myself and do retouch the final aspect with POSKA markers. Yes! the 66th carried their Colours at Maiwand… (I did a quick conversion to get the Ensigns with the Colours using dressmakers pins).
I use – of course – the same minis to fight Maiwand, the North West Frontier and The Sudan. It is a bonus of 6mm. One of the main attraction of Baccus is the quite complete Catalogue, but of course it is never complete for maniacs of a certain period, then you use proxies. I had the lucky strike to get (from the WWI range) the minis with turban head I needed to my project -a coincidence in time mind, I had already started blindly when Peter added those figures to the Catalogue!- he did graciously acknowledged the point! in a private email saying something about how sometimes -not frequently- small pieces seem to get into place to make someone happy! A great chap Peter Berry.
So lets do a quick survey of the Baccus Catalogue for Colonials: The packs I used have the following references: CBR02 British Infantry-Firing (only problem the bugler comes with the marching infantry pack); CBR24 Highland Infantry-Firing (again the pipers are on the Marching pack); CBR04 Lancers (great pack no problems there); CBR05 Royal Artillery 7 pdr. , I used limbers from the ACW range -finally having 6 horses per limber- never managed that on 25/28mm! mind that I do not duplicate the stands I simply use my ACW limbers!; CBR25 Royal Artillery 2.5 RML Mountain Gun simply excellent, I also dissembled some mountain guns and glued them on mules from the mule pack and a perfect stand!; CBR26 Royal Navy – Gardner Gun did the same with them but with pack camels; and CBR08 Mounted Officers excellent again… have bought several because I use them as converted standard-bearers too. Somehow that ends the “normal” packs then as proxies: WWI range Indian Troops GWE10 Indian Infantry Advancing – GWE11 Indian Infantry Firing – GWE12 Indian Vickers Guns and Crew – GWE13 Indian Cavalry (excellent Bengal lancers) and GWE15 Indian 2.5″ RBL and Crew. Of course it is very important in that scale to have the transport baggage so I bought packs: EQU03 Pack mules (used too on the Little Big Horn project, the trick is NEVER use figures on the stand!); EQU01 Waggons; EQU12 Pack Camels (ABU KLEA in mind); and the Naval Brigade using Confederate from ACW08. I even managed to build a Hussars with Swords Cavalry Regiment using CBR03 and a bit of cutter work modifying carbines into swords and a bit of work on the scabbards too. Really satisfied with the result.
This period is completed and does not need new additions, as other minor “one off” themes quite self-contained.
The one imposible to control up to today is the ever increasing ACW project!, but that is my particular pet subject.
After taking a peek at the Outro of my book I guess it is time to say that 6mm won. The decade or so that I toyed with Playmobils is gone forever, mind, it was FUN and no dealing (well a bit) with paints and rigid figures (lead toy soldiers have a definite “position” and you can not change it) was a novelty for me -of course I could not resist painting some extra details on them- but what was really amusing was to dissemble them and do other figures exchanging parts- that way you could get the soldiers Playmobil never produced (even if they produced the parts!).
So, the movements Up & Down in scale after a deep crisis with my beloved for years 25/28mm ended with an exclusive dedication to 6mm. I sold or gave as gifts to my grandchildren the vast majority of Playmobils and kept some for good old times sake. Currently in my office Cabinets there are only the Trooping of the Colour set, and the complete 7th Cavalry at the Little Big Horn (1/5 aprox scale)
Baccus 6mm has won the contest without doubt and it is a scale I am really satisfied with for wargaming purposes. Gone are the days of detail obsession, fear of derision at doing something wrong on the painting scheme (never painted “eyes” on my 25mm), the ever present search of the perfect set of rules, and other aspects that were nagging me as the lack of room to maneuver, the always secure flanks, the difficulty to present the tail of an Army, Lines of Communication and so on. There were intelligent tricks to represent all this on the tabletop in the larger scales… but got fed up with them in the end: dice to see if that flanking troops arrive!; dice to see in which place of the table!; take a chance card! etc. It was becoming Monopoly.
Maybe I should have explained earlier that for me not all the fun comes from winning a wargame, not anymore, it is equally interesting the disposition of forces in a marching Column, its movements, the scouting ahead and the flanks and rear, and the correct orders and ways to attack or pin down and flank an enemy position that a battle head to head so many times done in 25/28mm. I can move troops in 6mm! Suddenly couriers and vedettes have a meaning, where the troops “are placed” also, and moving them around is a serious business I enjoy. This of course is mainly done in small Colonial periods aka Punitive expeditions in the NW Frontier, Desert warfare in North Africa with the XIXth Corps (French you know), Tamai affairs (Osman Digna), Custer’s Battalion movements (an interesting mystery), Doomed Charges of Cavalry (or not), they all have the BONUS of space in my old tabletop. Of course that not exclude big battles as in the ACW period but are today less of an obsession and not the only target.
So, to sum up and end this post 2016 actualization:
1) I have a nice -for me- 54mm traditional New Toy Soldier Collection on display and add items to its themes very very slowly and carefully!… It is real interesting when I find a firm as Replicametalsoldiers&models (Andrew Stevenson) who can do “special things” on demand. No change of main themes in the offing, but toying of with my own version of A GENTLEMAN’S WAR with 54mm… will keep you posted about that (a 2020 project).
2) Playmobils are in my past. But I still skirmish or parade them when my grandchildren are in the mood… not often enough.
3) 6mm is my actual passion, I keep saying to myself: This is the last order… this is the last parcel to the painters… I have to write down some really good rules for 6mm just in case my brother turns up unexpectedly and we have a game like in the good old days… only reason why I built those ACW Rebels!.
4) The old Boardgames of my childhood have new figures (METAURO has Baccus 6mm), and Little Big Horn has kept the only 25/28mm figures I own today a mix of Dixon’s for the 7th and Old Tradition of London for the Native Americans… Nowadays waiting for the release of the Hostiles by Baccus to get even another possible way to game the LBH outside the limits of the old boardgame. Incidentally I must mention that I have over one hundred books about the LBH alone… quite obsessive about it! And even a couple of Hex based Boardgames like my brother enjoys!
And I hope that makes clear what I am up to at the beginning of 2020!, finally decided to build a 54mm force to “play with” NOT a cabinet display unit… jus a FUN purpose game. Blame Mr. Howard Whitehouse book “A GENTLEMAN’S WAR”.
For old Napoleonic good times sake let me recommend to you those imprescindible books by HEIMDAL… The French Line Infantry is due in May 2020. Still wondering if I will indulge on the period again… OMG!.
Well, this is the end of the ACW project. On the pics above you can see the results of pestering painters (and paying them of course!) the last two years. This is my more orthodox project so far, even have the POLEMOS rules (in fact it all started with a pic in the cover of Battlegames (nº15) featuring East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg!) then I bought the Polemos rules got hooked by the colour pics and the rest you know how it goes. Of course readers know that I did not stop there and added a lot more of Brigades of Infantry, Cavalry; Caissons, Wagons, Divisional Commanders and what not!… LOL (see elsewhere in this web page).
Well, here they are after the POSCA treatment, Greg provided them with dark blue kepis and grey kepis, so far so good. But after reflecting a bit and perusing the HEIMDAL book I decided to change the colors of the headgear because there were units like that -obscure militia maybe but they existed- So that gave me a sort of “twin” units or “mirror” stands, now I have Blue clad Confederates with red kepis and sky blue kepis, and Grey clad Union stands with red kepis and sky blue kepis… as you can see in the pic. I thought that this permitted more flexibility and the stands are going to be used not only in First Bull Run (First Manassas) but also later on in the big battles of 1862 and even 1863… after all the flags are all important in 6mm scale.
There you can see how easy it is to “customize” a bit, and it is really fast I assure you.
As a corollary, when at the end of building Brigade stands I stopped to think a bit, I decided to put variety and glue the minis differently on them stands, after all the 60×30 stand was already paramount in my Armies and had a lot of two lines of 12 + 4 skirmishers in front so… those questions come to my mind:
1) How do you represent the feat of the First Minnesota at Gettysburg?, it was a single Regiment NOT a Brigade who charged by orders ALONE! into a Confederate Brigade who was superior in numbers and also outflanked them on both sides… HOW DO YOU DO IT?… Don Troiani’s paintings as an inspiration… but not exclusively that. I am not shouting excuse the emphasis.
2) At the end of the ACW there were Rebel Brigades reduced so much that in fact had the strength of a Regiment…
Well, all of that put me in gear to do some special stands, the theory was completed: I did build new stands in the following manner:
Using the standard 60x30mm Baccus stand I represented units understrength, meaning NOT the usual two ranks of 12 minis and 4 skirmishers in front.
I represented isolated units with flanks unprotected -aka 1st Minnesota at Gettysburg- Using fewer minis in the center of the stand with no skirmishers and still two ranks.
In the same stand I will put side by side two units with their colours but much reduced -Confederates- to represent late war status.
Last but not least that induced other supporting ideas… why not push forward both lines and eliminate skirmishers from the picture making some minis in the rear rank a bit not aligned -that represents stragglers or tired soldiers trying to catch up- a new stand to give variety to the tabletop- and what about mounted officers of the Brigade?… THE MEN MUST SEE US TODAY!… just another variation… and so on… (still not shouting).
And in my final order I included Brigades with flank refused, as in Little Round Top extreme of the line.
I did the drawings and schemes and post them to Greg at MERSEY WARGAMES PAINTING SERVICE, those “new stands” will gave my own rules more scope for variety.
I am probably not the first to realize the flexibility of the system that enables a more liberal composition of the minis glued to the base -I am not claiming originality at all- but I guessed it would be a good idea to post my thoughts about them.
Hereby find the instructions and diagrams -scanners attached- for the painting of the ACW Infantry and Cavalry.
1.- Union troops are absolutely REGULAR in dress, blankets Black tarpaulin (Impermeable gear). Only one Regiment of coloured troops (NEGROES) with white officers. Hats always black.
2.- Confederates mainly butternut and dark brown blankets. I appreciate if bits of grey showing be that kepis, jackets or pants in 50% of the minis.
NOTE: These typed instructions have pre-eminence over the diagrams, in case of conflict between the two follow the present text. Of course, clarifications can be provided.
As you know these stands have NO skirmishers, have the standard double line (pushed forward because NO skirmishers) always central command strip with flags in the centre in the first rank -officer to one side, drummer at the other- with independence of the gluing of the minis on the stand which is the purpose of this present order: ADD VARIETY TO THE ASPECT OF THE STANDS. All minis are facing forwards, even when refused flanks or catching up… no minis running away. Remember NO NEED TO GLUE FLAGS ON THEM, just paint the guidons on the cavalry.
A.- Union Infantry stands:
A1.- Number one on the diagrams, 20 minis glued as shown with margin at the sides, meaning as together (centred) as on a typical stand of 28 minis such POLEMOS.
There are two minis “catching up” at the rear, not much distanced, one and two base width is OK (on the diagram looks much distorted). All kepi with blanket.
A2.- Same as above but a mix of kepi and hats. 4 minis in the rear rank “catching up”. Always same criteria as on A1.
A3.- 24 minis + Mounted Officer at the front (from the Cavalry packs), It is a standard POLEMOS stand with the addition of the Mounted officer instead of skirmishers and 3 minis catching up in the rear rank. Minis glued more forward to permit that.
A4.- 12 minis. All black hats. Centred in stand. Flanks unprotected.
A5.- 20 minis. Right flank refused. Same as above.
A6.- Stand with two small Brigades. 24 minis + Mounted Officer. First rank of the rear Bgde. and Second rank of forward Bgde. can be aligned.
A7.- Same as A5. But the other flank refused. (Left). 20 minis.
A8.- Put as many kepis as possible in that one… at least 50%. Very similar to A1 but those are Coloured troops with white officers. Two minis “catching up”.
B.- Confederate Infantry stands:
B1.- Number one on the diagrams, 20 minis glued as shown, meaning as together (centred) as on a typical stand of 28 minis such POLEMOS. But right flank refused as in A5. Mixed lot. Use different colours for hats.
B2.- Same as above but left flank refused.
B3.- 12 minis + Mounted officer.. All “straw coloured” hats. Centred in stand. Flanks unprotected.
B4.- Stand with two small Brigades. 24 minis + Mounted Officer. First rank of the rear Bgde. and Second rank of forward Bgde. can be aligned. Quite as A6.
B5.- Same as B4 minus mounted officer. When aligned like this they have to match B4 and B6 position glued as to look a “LINE”. In fact it would look as an standard POLEMOS stand with two sets of colours, no skirmishers and pushed forward.
B6.- Same as B4 but symmetrical, see diagram.
TOTAL of 124 infantry minis and 3 mounted officers. (Include 9 command strips).
For the Infantry stands you will need 14 units of 60x30mm bases NOT INCLUDED.
ACW Cavalry Stands:
Colour of horses predominantly Dark and Red Bays, some Black. All buglers on white horses. Mix a bit.
C1.- 60x30mm stand with 9 minis (UNION) wading a river as mentioned in previous emails:
The idea is to have in a 60×30 Baccus standard base of 9 figures unit in column wading a river… IN LONGITUDINAL WAY DIRECTION FRONT OF 30mm … that means: To cut the bases of the first three (command) and the last two troopers, and the whole legs of the horses (4) in the middle of the base, glue them like that in a more or less “disordered way” but still in column… and paint the base sky blue… as WATER.
C2.- Same as above but Confederate. (No butternut)
C3.- A typical Cavalry Brigade of 9 minis (UNION) as per POLEMOS… but in arrow formation as seen in the Forum in Baccus webpage. Officer forward and troopers on each side a bit behind each time, so that the extremes are the more back figures. Quite straightforward.
C4.- Same as above. Confederate. (No butternut)
Now, what to do with the remaining mounted minis?. NO officer’s left but still guidons (standard-bearers) and buglers.
Please use 30×30 stands on the rest, groups of 4 minis, 2 in front 2 behind as you have done for me repeatedly.
C5.- 4 Union stands, guidon on front rank (right side), bugler front rank (left side). Two troopers behind. Please mix hats and kepis.
C6.- 2 Confederate Stands same as above. (No butternut)
C7.- 4 Union stands with 4 troopers mixed headgear.
C8.- 2 Confederate Stands with 4 troopers as C7. (No Butternut).
Finally found a way to post my last ACW parcel to Greg (Mersey Painting services)… hopefully its gone today… and I have seen in FaceBook that Peter is probably opening the cart for orders next friday, that way Greg can get bases and the last pack needed!… ACW01 if you want to know. So with a little luck and in due time I will complete that period to satisfaction… meaning 50 infantry Union Brigades etc. Will post pics when I get them by summer’s end… In the post “New” in this hereby blog I explained how to add variety to the LOOK of the minis in them stands… I will not repeat myself. As usual I will add some finishing touches and the flags.
I am not going to tire you endlessly with the permutations I do in my head with Baccus minis projects. I buy one thing having in mind doing for example ACW Division Generals (I know Polemos and Altar of Freedom do not use them but… I do what I want as everybody else!)… and then I get nagging doubts and decide to use the minis as brigade commanders of Infantry Units… Mounted standard-bearers have been considered for Rush’s lancers… even tempted by 60×60 stands to speed movement… I think that the Polemos approach is very well suited to the ACW even if I write and play by my own rules… the Tempo bidding is probably OK for those who like it… but for solo playing I prefer the “turn of a friendly card”… after all IMHO when two armies met on the field specially in 1862-1863 they meant business… aka friction/attrition until they called the thing of… war is mainly throwing things at the enemy and be brave enough to stand in the receiving end of what he throws at you (from the beginning of times I guess). So my ACW Armies do not need to be “motivated” they know what are expected from them… but of course they are subject to fog of war and the unexpected… the “chance of war”.
What follows I do not delete just to show you the mental processes I am going through. Take care.
Monday the shop at Baccus opened again. I could not resist buying some ACW stuff to polish my Armies even more… What “polish” means?… I am never 100% satisfied with my collections… so I want to try a new approach on some units. That means the cumbersome task (FUN!) that the minis will fly to me in Andorra… I will convert, organize and even paint some details I can not do once finished and based by the painters… and then send to MERSEY WARGAMES PAINTING SERVICE to be properly finished. After a deep thought about it I am going to rearrange the units of the Union Army and a bit of shaking the Rebs too… just for the ultimate search of perfection, if that exists mind…
I have bought three packs of ACW07 and one each of Generals (USA and CSA). Five packs in all. I asked for strips with mounted standard-bearers first and foremost on those two last packs! Still not sure how I am going to base them so I did not bought the bases… that Greg can do once I have organized the troops (well, Brigades).
updated 14-March-2020: Well, got the minis at last!… in fact I have had them for a couple of weeks by now… useful information: If you buy three packs of ACW07 you will be able to cut from the strips the minis with kepi and blanket across chest in a way as to get two complete brigades of them!… of course that will leave you with 8 extra brigades of infantry with hat!… but THAT is what I wanted… The 2 kepi+blanket with 4 hat+blanket will make the six brigades (Union) needed to substitue the one’s I got with Rapier’s minis… they are not bad mind… but I prefer Baccus… I still do not know what to do with the old six… but something would be devised… still six brigades left that I would probably ask the painters to glue in column instead of in line… Another thing I did was buying packs of generals… some would go to the Pony Wars proxies… and I am still doubting if Division Generals would be a good move or addition… even if Polemos rules says no need for them… Also under the influence of magazine Battlegames number 15 full of cavalry eye candy pics I am considering a bit more of Cavalry for my Armies… East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg and Brandy Station (in inverse order of course)… so… waiting for the Postman again… and the reopening of another window in that flickering shopcart at Baccus!
Of course the current pandemic has also disturbed my projects, including the pics making and the ability of sending minis to the painters… hope all ends well yourselves included. Take care.
That’s it DHL collected the parcel with my last ACW Brigades… hopefully not long now… will take pics and show you what is the end of my ACW collection in 6mm.
Updated 26th October. Parcel from Mersey Wargames Painting Service arrived with my last Brigades (ACW), have to put the flags etc. EXCELLENT! Have a couple of pics.
A close up.
1st November 2020. Have added the flags (some from Baccus some from Stone Mountain) and now I am going to check the paint and add little details. Will add some real close ups when finished.
Here are some pics after last “touchs”.
Ok. Having really finished the ACW project. I am writing my own personal SOLO ACW 6mm rules, have no intention to publish them, but I am going to do the effort of putting them down as if that was the purpose. Of course the alternative of playing with others will be in mind… But first things first. I have discovered that it is over easy to complicate them enough for SOLO playing. The idea is that the mechanisms of resolving combat are well explained with diagrams and pics. After that it is more easy to introduce “fog of war” for various players and other imponderables. I have used Fire&Fury, POLEMOS and Altar of Freedom as guides but “biding” against oneself playing solo does not work of course, and also the idea of a “clock” is very alien to my playing. Of course there would be “chance cards” and other issues introduced to make for different alternative scenarios to develop. I have always ranted against commercial sets of rules and now it is my time to be criticized… LOL.
The complete REPLICA METAL SOLDIERS&MODELS collection (khakhi), it was collected during 2020 but the last parcel arrived in 2021. Maiwand/Kandahar . Absolutely fantastic old Britains style but brand new. Andrew Stevens did such a great job following sparse instructions… Cabinet a bit crowded but a delighted collector!
For a Blog who deals on Toy Soldiers or has the burden of the topic attached from the very beginning I have waited enough to do a post on the subject. You see, at least for me, ALL of them are Toy Soldiers. But there is a firm distinction of what is considered a “classic” Toy Soldier -and we are talking Antiques here- a bit snobbish and pricey if you please… “New Toy Soldiers” is an even more puzzling definition which I am going to explain too and for once I will not write a lot myself, all has been written to perfection by others… I began collecting 54mm Toy Soldiers -I should have said New Toy Soldiers as you will see- as everybody else who does. I like them. Bring back memories of a happy childhood when I did parades of soldiers on the floor following the counsels of my maternal grandad. They were my favorite toys and that’s that. When visiting London as an adult I couldn’t resist visiting the shops of “Tradition of London” and “Under two Flags” and started buying some red boxes as a result. It probably all started because when quite young my parents come back from London with an spectacular gift, a set of Britain’s with Coldstream Guards on a big box with two trays inside -superposed- ColdstreamGuards Band, Guards Marching, Guards at the present, Officers, Ensigns with Colours etc. Later on I even bought the books who described all those goodies and even finally knew the reference number of the set.
Well, as I have said, I am not a collector of Antiques, neither Britain’s, Mignot, Lucotte, Heyde or the like, I do not particularly see the point of “flats” even if some are beautiful pieces themselves, and I firmly stayed with my times and the “new” products available then.
In fact you only need to read the books about it by the specialist James Opie. For me the unavoidable volume is Collecting Toy Soldiers, he has written a lot of books on Britains, one of them the real “BIBLE” (The Great Book of Britain’s: 100 Years of Britains’ Toy Soldiers, 1893-1993) -bought it in Hamley’s myself numbered edition and all- but of course there is no point for me in all that because I do not collect Britain’s, but if you do, get Opie’s books, really top stuff. Much more interesting for me was the book by solo wargamer legend Stuart Asquith The Collector’s Guide to New Toy Soldiers, a 1991 book -got a dedicated copie- who funnily enough deals with the new brands and manufacturers from 1973 onwards -post hollow cast Britain’s- that by now are “new classics” because in those nearly fifty years have ceased to exist or are much more less preeminent nowadays. Let’s mention DUCAL or FORT-DUCAL (Jack and Thelma Duke who become long distance “friends”), Tradition of London, Dorset Soldiers (Giles Brown times), Marlborough, and some other minor interests of mine.
Collecting 54mm traditional Toy Soldier gloss figures -not to be confused with 54mm Military Modeling figures- become an habit, and finally even purposefully build cabinets where made to show them at home… not playing stuff anymore I fear… and even less for kids.
It was not a straightforward process!, I bought sets that later I did sell to “make place” and finally concentrated in some themes dear to me and now is a fairly steady collection not subject to sudden whims or extreme changes of direction anymore. But from time to time I add a piece or two, always filling gaps you know…
As a picture is worth a thousand words hereby see what I mean.
It required time, but they are in the cabinet at last. I did found Andrew Stevens line of Traditional Toy Soldiers in FaceBook, his trade mark is REPLICAMETALSOLDIERS. They are quite Britain’s style but brand new, meaning no Antiquarian prices (or “oldies” look). I can recommend his products because I am really satisfied. I always wanted a range like that and he really adapts himself to your need (in fact so well that another order is on the way I fear!).
It was a long wait but worth the time, as usual I could not stop there and passed another order for some odds and ends and some Corps of Guides units (after a while I added Gurkhas and Highlanders too!). THAT would hopefully stop my collecting in 54mm for a while… if you do not count 5 SPAHIS I am asking for at Dorset Soldiers on the 1st of September.
It must be puzzling for some of the readers that I collect in 54mm and wargame mainly (when I do) in 6mm… but that is that.
After years waiting for them the officer of Spahis will get troops to command!, the parcel with 5 SPAHIS is on the post. I was very late on deciding to add them to my collection (after all at some point of their history they rebelled and killed their French Officer’s… similar to the Indian Mutiny but other times and reasons…)… a colourful outfit no doubt about it… but mainly because Henri de Beaujolais was an officer of Spahis… you must be careful with what you read when very young… Dorset Soldiers under a new management after Giles Brown retired.
Well, BTW excellent packaging, boxes, DHL, terms and time elapsed from command until arrival… everything went without a hitch. Customer satisfied. Will buy again from Dorset Soldiers.
The two pics above are from a megaset titled NAVAL BRIGADE, for once it is not mine at all (sadly… lol)… but could not resist posting the pics on the blog. That shows that collecting 54mm toy soldiers is alive and kicking. Andrew REPLICA Metal Model Soldiers. Someone must be very happy with this set!