Small Conversions, as part of collecting.

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Now, this could possibly go under “Collecting Toy Soldiers” or even “Conversions” alone… a post I deleted and going to use in part to show what I mean for conversions.

Life is not perfect sometimes (we all learn to live with that), and mistakes or omissions appear in your collecting hobby. For example on my last order to Andrew (REPLICA METAL SOLDIERS&MODELS 54mm) I did not specify that I wanted my 92nd Highlanders pipers 1878 with pith helmet (Khaki)… to my surprise they come with a different headgear… a bit out of place when campaigning in Afghanistan… but not historically imposible… anyway after much thinking about it I have decided to change those heads. Andrew did loyally commented that they were (and are) one-piece castings, so the process would be “cutting off” and drilling a new hole o the neck to acomodate the new head (painted and supplied by Andrew) which of course implies the use of special tools I did buy long time ago for doing the same thing in 25/28 mm scale.

For once, I am going to post the pics as it goes instead of a posteriori, just to see if it helps some of you. In fact the idea occurred to me as a result of asking Andrew for a small order (Only 4 toy soldiers) because you can always try to improve displays… I asked for the second ensign of the 92nd (with the Regimental Yellow Colour), a RSM for the 92nd, a bugler with pith helmet if you please!, and an extra officer for my guns at the time of the Zulu War or Tel el Kebir it does not exactly matter. Then I asked Andrew to provide three plug in heads: two for the pipers and another for “Bobs”. To come already painted in toy soldier style.

They would probably be here sometime in July if all goes well.

This head is probably going to be replaced or either repainted anew… not decided yet. Not pleased by the look of it. I did it myself and it is a bit too realistic for a Toy Soldier.
A samples pic to help Andrew to identify what I wanted and the exact “positions” of the Toy Soldiers, the one on the right is a RPWTS (Robert Prati).
Here are some of my OLD conversions of Founfry 28mm figures for the Crimean War, I still have in my possesion a Nolan figure (left of pic) for sentimental reasons. Do not ask for them and pester FOUNDRY, they are not in the catalogue, I wanted a mounted Highlander officer, a mounted colonel of Rifles, a general based on Raglan (the one wawing sword and some other assorted pieces. I used horses from their range and some heads from REDOUBT (those with havelock).
My most “convoluted conversions” Tim Tyler’s Ivory Patrol minis in 28mm. Maybe too log to explain how I did them because the use of parts was really complicated.
A very simple swap of heads and another general (it was a Turk originally) added to my collection (now sold out). FOUNDRY 28mm.
I was really obssesd with doing “conversions” at that stage of my wargaming life.
And for RolePlay and skirmish games I did make a lot of versions of mounted and dismounted pairs of characters in 28mm.
See what I mean?… the sky is the limit…
Another example… the RED CAVALIER…
Another mixed lot… in 28mm.
A sample of the scales I messed up with in my wargaming life… and a couple of my childhood toy soldiers… the one in the bike and the mounted RCMP. Both from Spanish manufacture in some kind of cautxuc or rubber composition.

If I had to start again

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As with your real life -I know we all have one!- experience modifies the approach. Many people have uttered the nonsense sentence: “I wish I was twenty-something again”, it is understandable… but I must add please let me take with me all that I have learned!, and that is valid both for your real life and your miniature fictional one.

My oldest game with a grid using 28mm Foundry Greeks. Now the figures used are Baccus 6mm.

Not going to bother you much with reminiscences but let me say that if I could go back in time I would have gone Heroics&Ros in the seventies, but with big bases as POLEMOS suggests, my mistake back then was to try to base them in twos or threes… what a mess it was! If the idea of basing Regiments or Brigades in a single base had occurred to me I would have enjoyed my games much more and saved a lot of cash!. Many projects I had in mind could have been done easily and simultaneously… All of this is of course an anachronism and wishful thinking. On those days, not so much today, I was obsessed to conform to the rules, and THE RULES (popular at the time!), how to play with them model soldiers without a decent set of Rules!. An Orthodox view was a necessity to me in those days…

Well, if you have read some of this Posts or my previous adventures in the Baccus Forum, you know I collect Toy Soldiers in 54mm, I buy, I sell, I found new interests, I change direction, whatever, but this is a cabinet display affair… “decoration” perish the thought!… they are decorative but the collection in itself is a way of gaming too… a Post someday will be done. But my main interest since a child was playing at war -aka wargames- and if a bit chivalrous the better, I loved gaudy uniforms and commanders leading from the front. I firmly put the stop or limit at 1900 for obvious reasons to me (Boer women and children concentration camps is a no go zone for me… and I know the Spaniards did it in Cuba before too!). My brother is a WWII nerd and I can accept that without problem but no thank you the XX century is not for me. But let’s go to the point, what did I learn in all those years?… not much I can hear you say… but one or two things are probably useful. See if it helps:

  1. Plan ahead. In a way I tried hard to do it but mistakes did occur nevertheless. You will have to choose a period (or several); Scale (or several even if that means multiplying gear&scenery), I am a firm believer in sticking to a scale no matter what.
  2. Choosing a period is a matter of taste and affinity, it helps a lot that a good or several ranges of minis do exist to begin with. At that point the Napoleonic trap is already looming on the horizon. If ever a mini is overproduced and available readily is a grognard of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard… Manufacturers know it and it is their bread&butter… anybody in the hobby, those who remain in it -and those who have tried and gone to do other things- have bought an Imperial Guardsman with Bonnet a Poil. Enough. Go for a period (or several).
  3. Sticking to a Scale has the immense BONUS of not duplicating scenery, terrain, and equipment!… how many wagons, pontoon trains, tents, and what not are you going to get if you go for several scales? Specially if you are a solo wargamer -in the back of beyond as me- for those with Club facilities the matter is quite different.
  4. With the same stands you can play Free Kriegspiel or in a grid. Do what you like. I particularly hate metric rulers and the notion of measuring things on the tabletop… -probably a consequence of my profession in real life- and “counting stores” every half hour. Removing casualties is another thing to avoid in my experience.
  5. If megalomaniac, meaning you go for it BIG in scope even in the smaller scales, consider the multipurpose units, a simple exchange of the Command&Colours stand and you have a double or triple unit, but that is a useful concept only if you have planned that ahead. In the Napoleonic period it was useful, but I am talking 25mm here.

I will have to edit heavily this Post once I remember other useful things, but for the sake of it I have given you food for thought.

A paradigmatic multipurpose unit, I had 4 different command stands, one British as you can see, one ACW Union, one ACW Rebel, one French… and what not… it was useful to balance particular games changing sides as it was necessary. In fact all the figures are conversions with new heads.
In Napoleonic period the Swiss and the Danes are particularly able to be used changing command stands. And not the only nationalities you can tamper with.
I guess you dig the thing. In 6mm it would mean breaking in three parts that beautiful concept of Brigade stand… but only for a few units… and you avoid the repetitive process and cash inversion.
Playmobil 75mm paranoia… ok… it was just a different thing for fun!… I am over it now!
A “thing” you can do with Playmobils that you can not do in lead… specially useful in skirmish games. It was fun for a decade or so. I am cured now.