Playmobil 75mm

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When I got my 25/28mm crisis (a deep one) that produced the effect of selling my whole collection on that scale (but for 3 or 4 sentimental minis) I was distraught… I was still reading History and Historical Fiction but wargaming in 25/28mm had lost its appeal… I thought my wargame days were over… I toyed with Playmobils as a distraction mainly having my grandchildren in mind (not that I had much success with that) but the original idea was there. For nearly a decade I collected, converted, added stickers, bought special headgear and weapons and what not… to get the Playmobils the trade mark NEVER PRODUCED!… LOL… in fact I was recreating, in the end, my old 25mm collection in 75mm… but it was FUN!… and there were “things” not possible to do with metal minis as mounting a horse or dismounting at will, getting weapons in hand or not, magnificent sailing ships, skirmishing games were possible and periods like the Lace Wars (Tricorne era… a la Charles Grant) which I never indulged on in 25/28mm were a joy to toy with (that part of my Playmobil collection is in the respective hands of my grandchildren). Of course at the same time I rediscovered 6mm (1/300 in the old days) and went wargaming again. Not that I stopped ever collecting 54mm Toy Soldiers mind…

Today’s pic (extracted from Facebook) is an example of what I mean… probably german readers will love their toys… if really interested see posts about Playmobil and Playmopics in this web page.

Customized Ancient Warriors (Facebbok source)… see what I meant?

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 (the original plastic Romans and Carthaginians have long dissapeared from view) here using 28mm Foundry Greeks. Now the figures used are Baccus 6mm. (Second Punic War again)

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 (not much nowadays), 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 XXth or XXIth century are 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 of that… of course I did it too! 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, buildings, tress 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 (LOL)

FFL Interlude

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With Cavalry and Mounted Companies support. Some Dorset some REPLICA.
Dorset Soldiers 54mm Toy Soldier Collection displayed in Cabinets in Pal.

Yesterday, and the day before, I included some pics of the French Foreign Legion in my post, well, let’s go through with it, I am a fan of this elite corps since I read the novel –Beau Geste– when a child, in fact I read the whole trilogy -which is not a trilogy- Beau GesteBeau SabreurBeau Ideal (connoisseurs know there are two more books about the Geste brothers Good Gestes and Spanish Maine*). Ever since I have not resisted the impulse to buy minis related to it and that’s that. Whatever my main wargame interest or collector fancy, there are always FFL soldiers in it. *The Desert Heritage in the USA.

So to make a clean sweep of this particular topic I will give you today the pics that shows my love for it -Legio Patria Nostra- a very particular elite mercenary unit which incidentally serves under the French Flag of Madame la Republique.

I have had Rubber India 54mm soldiers, 25mm Minifigs proxies, 28mm To The Redoubt, 54mm Dorset Soldiers, never got the Airfix box because I did not found it in the shops when visiting England, 54mm Military Modelling stuff from Andrea Miniatures, and I had to build them in GodsOwnScale (6mm) using proxies (see other posts), and of course customized Playmobils!

Some Conversions… Havelock heads from To The Redoubt ACW range…
That was more complicated… but the FFL is always “capable de se debrouiller”.

Too many pics probably… but this takes out of the way a personal passion (mania) which would have appeared recurrently on the blog. This is it and we forget about the FFL. Curiously enough I did my own compulsory military service in Spain in the (then) Spanish Sahara… so I know a bit about the desert myself. Always have tried that my sons and grandsons did not get the chance to repeat such a silly ordeal… and I still like P.C.Wren.

Lets depart from the theme with a pic showing the separation of the brothers Geste… Digby is going to Tokotu with the their Americans friends Hank and Buddy to train on the Mule Mounted Companies. Playmobil 75mm customized.
And finally 6mm Baccus -proxies-
Captain Danjou FFL Companie on the road to Camerone*, for once 1/1 scale (all are there represented by a mini) . Foundry 28mm. It includes some “conversions”.
*Hacienda de Camaron.

Changing the Guard

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Today we had lots of snow in Andorra, so my grandsons did not went to school (as on the Calvin&Hobbes comic strip). Then we went to my old office (on the first floor) and we played or toyed a bit with Playmobils.

The new Guard is coming from Wellington Barracks, and the three seem interested enough… the trick was to let them manipulate the minis themselves (with a bit of grandad guidance).
A rear view of the New Guard going up the Palace.
With Playmobils you need the whole table… Appearance of the Old Guard formed in the court. They still were interested… Brainwashing the family says…
A close up of the Old Guard. Such a well known ceremony worlwide that does not need a lot of words to describe it.
Another perspective. A bit tricky those pics…
The Changing of the Guard begins properly.

They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace –
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
“A soldier’s life is terrible hard,”
                                                                    Says Alice.

They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace –
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We looked for the Queen, but she never came.
“Well, God take care of her, all the same,”
                                                                    Says Alice.

We had a great time, because afterwards I gave them the EXIN CASTLES box full of bricks/things to play… and each one of them did their own thing… bits of castles everywhere now…

After a bit of time has passed… I do not really know who was entertaining who…

Playmobil variations 28-06

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The Royal North Surrey of THE FOUR FEATHERS fame (1939 movie). Quite difficult to get the parts!. Legs from one standard figure, torso with stickers -as the arms- resin helmets with stickers… and what not! Sold them too.
To understand the process of customization, this is the basic figure that permitted building the Royal North Surrey, the color of the arms and torso matched the legs of the Spanish Conquistador, use the correct stickers (I asked that color RAL) and the rest is mechanical.
Guards Pioneers
The Line about to Wheel…
Full caption…
Household Cavalry
Detail
Stored in the Cabinet to play another day…
Queen Elizabeth the Second… and personalities…

I could not resist doing some Highlanders too.

I am afraid the Goldberg are much better! specially those by Gould. But joking aside I did dedicate a whole chapter of my book to those plastic german chaps. They can be customized quite easily once you learn how.

And that is entertaining, specially if you are affected by the syndrome “I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt”. There used to be the middle age crisis -I do not know what middle age is nowadays- at 39 I bought a New Model LOTUS ELAN two seater (front traction) if you know what I mean… Happy marriage does not need a divorce! As I said before let’s put joking aside.

Basically a Click as they are known is a plastic chasis with a head plug that holds all the other parts together. Quite simple concept. But a small engineering feat. They were originally very crude and toys for kids. They evolved. From what I call the third generation onwards they began to interest me. I started buying them for my grandchildren -who already got them never fear- and stocked a few because they were too young by far. Then one thing lead to another IT WAS FUN!… anything that fits the formula TOY SOLDIER + FUN = ENTERTAINMENT in my life. So, there I was, first I learned to disassemble them -YouTube is full of tutorials -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Y8KYaO-83o-, and Wikipedia will tell you the full story of Playmobil- and the “creation” of new soldiers, or to be fair, NON existing ranges was extremely funny.

Age of Reason clash!… Fictional Armies now in the hands of my grandchildren. The “tricorne” period is where the availability of parts is better in the markets.

After an intermittent span of ten years since I bought the first one and finally lost interest and got back to wargaming -6mm- and collecting -54mm toy soldiers- I went through many periods, I customized a lot, gifts to grandchildren were made, and complicated conversions were even sold! I have the tendency to sell the parts that does not interest me anymore to raise funds for new ventures, that way I have a real budget -more or less- I always spend more than I cash back but it helps!

So I did the ACW -and then sold the collection because it was too real brother against brother- I did Ancients (sold), I did British Colonials including Highlanders! (sold), I did the 7th at the LBH (still in my hands but for sale), I did the Household troops I already had in 54mm Traditional Toy Soldiers -quite a recurrent job- I did the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimea (sold). I did the Spanish and French Foreign Legion outfits (both sold). I bought Ships -customized them- now in the navies of my grandchildren. And I probably forget the Ivory Patrol and a lot of other minor subjects that were also sold. It was real FUN.

Two versions of ACW General Custer.
The whole 7th at the LBH… many customs.

I explained it all quite in detail in my book but it is a lot easier to include pics in a blog.

Highlanders… that is not easy!… you need special kits…(for the kilts).
The whole Zulu set…also sold!
Somehow I collected a lot of Mounties in 75mm too…

Thought I add some more pics…

The last eleven at Maiwand…

PLAYMO-PICS

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As a summing up of the periods I was involved with in the decade or so I toyed with original Playmobils and customized a lot of them (to avoid enamels or painting a lot) with stickers, some felt pen additions and resin parts (mainly headgear), here you have a collection of pics quite self-explanation in themselves.

Wheeling the Line (Trooping the Colour)
Carthaginian Army.
Peloponnesian War
Second Punic War
SEcond Punic War
Hannibal
Ships and rol-playing a bit…
Close up
Naval combats
Close up.
XVIII Century Tricorne period… very easy to get the parts…
Spanish or Austrian Army (choose the flags and that’s it)
Grenadiers and similar… quite complicated headgear to get right.
Wargames in 75mm
Now in the Collections of my Grandchildren.
Only two ever Napoleonics I got… too complicated I guess…
Crimean War: Charge of the Light Brigade.
Another view.
ACW: The Horse Soldiers
ACW: Union Infantry
ACW: Confederate Infantry
ACW: Generals
Detail
Headgear makes the Man… or the soldier…
French Foreign Legion
Detail
RCMP
See OSPREY book.
7th Cavalry 1876
Ulundi
Abu Klea
Spanish 1920 tercio de extranjeros… aka Spanish Foreign Legion.

And in the End…

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Slightly smaller than DUCAL but exactly as BRITAINS or DORSET SOLDIERS.

The games you play are equal to the games you make…

I could not resist it, saying farewell and knowing when to quit is very difficult.

I have painted a “new old toy soldier”… a 54mm (ReplicaMetalSoldiers Andrew) a mounted Inspector General of the NWMP in a dark blue patrol jacket – I enjoyed so much the painting of it that I am currently pestering Andrew for a variation on the theme…- and all just because a childhood memory. I was very young when I got a box of mounties (I already had a lot of them) but in that one proudly in front of the lot there he was… a mountie with a dark blue tunic -and yellow gauntlets!- of course it was the commander of the unit!… I always had a crush for that figure (and of course never found one alike)… so in the end I decided to make my own and quite satisfied I am going full circle. Of course the original one was lost forever, but I have still 3 “mounties” over 65 years old.

I am going to update this post with pics and slowly edit the rest, meaning that I think there is always room for improvement.

There he is on its proper place before saluting the flag of the parading mounties.

It was a pleasure comparting posts here… and sure I will post more pics!… and edit existing posts but that’s all. To elaborate would be just a copy/ paste of what I said in my book “My Toy Soldiers and Me” so just peruse sometimes to see editions to come (of the posts of the blog not my book!).

Playmobil “mounties”… customized… and of course the dark blue patrol tunic is there too! Not very good light on that pic. See OSPREY MAA.

Editing this blog would be much more interesting that writing new entries, just yesterday I got one half of my last REVEILLE Leven buildings (Daniel Hodgson is the chap you need for your scenery!), vaguely colonial they would be pressed into service at the battle of Maiwand, NWF and North of Africa indistinctly.

Renaming and ordering the Posts of the Blog by subjects and categories nowadays.

Original pic of my DUCAL mounties in the garden (Pal in ANDORRA) not Canada at all I am afraid.

Summing up, my interests on “toy soldiers” are wide and large. I do not restrict my activities to a single field or even scale, neither period. No original at all, as you can imagine there is nothing more conservative than the Household Division to collect in 54mm, and the rest of my 54’s are in three main themes: French Foreign Legion (with some Chasseurs d’Afrique); Tel el Kebir/Rorke’s Drift aka Brits colonials before khaki; and last but not least NWMP/RCMP. As you can see in Collecting I the minis collected in 54mm have been subject to buy/sell, Scot Grey’s cometh and goeth, same with US Cavalry in gala uniform, Denmark Royal Guard, and some mat finish Spanish miniatures I had because a compulsory swap was made. That is Collecting for me, something alive but with periods of lethargy. Not Original at all I am afraid but a rewarding pastime.

I dedicated a chapter of my book to Collecting (my own experience mind) but the books you need is the one by James Opie: Collecting Toy Soldiers, and THE COLLECTOR’S GUIDE TO NEW TOY SOLDIERS by Stuart Asquith. The former has written many excellent books about Britain’s but THIS ONE is the best of all his production IMHO.

Indispensable.
By now it should be named The Collector’s Guide to “OLD” New Toy Soldiers. How time flies by…

Guess it is time to start making lists again… first objective get the remaining ACW brigades organized (after a bit of checking up what minis I have used so far), deciding who is gonna paint what… and put a perspective into new projects, mainly completing “things” already exist… Will keep you posted.

Cheers.

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