You know I am a 6mm orthodox (more or less) solo wargamer… a collector of 54mm Toy Soldiers (part of them used in traditional old style games)… but also a Playmobil fan with my grandchildren. Let me explain why… probably you do not care at all for those german toys (mainly quite pacific oriented!)… but some of us perversily used them in wargames and role-playing… LOL
As always a picture is worth a thousand words so here have some… have in mind I collected Playmobil soldiers mainly for years without knowing they could be dissembled and rebuilt exchanging parts!… quite easy once you know how… the method of kitchen scissors and a towel is my own as seen in YouTube!
Lets start with the US Cavalry (You all know I have a fixation with the French Foreign Legion thanks to P.C.Wren) but this is not my only obsession… John Ford and John Wayne (and Richard Widmark, Ben Johnson and a lot of other mainly from Ford’s stock company) plunged my young imagination into it… as Errol Flynn of course!
Well, here is a theme overdone by Playmobil thanks God! See some pics:
The head act as a plug that keeps the lot together (german engineering), actually a great idea that permits personalization.
Many times only a change of hat does the trick! In subsequent entries you will be introduced to my battle of Dorking outfit (not related to Dorca at all) and will see how my French Foreign Legion Playmobils double as Prussians with the change of hat!
Playmobil has a policy of not encouraging War Toys or Wargames (idiotic if you ask me when the most popular sales are the Pirate Ships… nothing worse than pirates in my book… and also produce Imperial Romans and even a Circus (Roman you know)… hundreds of fans indulge in making for themselves Napoleonic Armies (a forever popular addiction)… why Playmobil do not produce sets os soldiers or Military Bands eludes me completely… after all they do the pieces that you can collect bit by bit and then mount on… the most difficult part to get are Hats (some astute manufacturers in resin do) the rest is fairly easy to get. There are even flags adhesive manufactured! So there you have it we have those Armies after all… and Playmobil can manufacture James Bond Aston-Martin etc. Toy Soldiers are NOT their forte (a part from the ACW which they did!… and a lot of soldiers to do AWI/7YW… and cowboys and redskins)… a strange world we live in.
I once sold a collection of ACW Playmobils because I did not want my grandchildren to fight brother against brother… LOL… if I had new they will enjoy playing videogames with plenty of shooting and killing with machine/laser/guns… oh dear!… I feel like a Neanderthal sometimes…
Recently have bought Playmobils (AGAIN) Prussians to fight the Brits at Dorking à la Wells… missile launched from canons… hope that the smaller of my grandchildren will appreciate… have my doubts (sometimes he thinks older than me).
Congratulations to the British. The civic attitude was paramount and those public and privately professionally involved gave a lesson on “how it is done”. There is no better example to compare. Long live the King!
This webpage would again be alive as from today with the usual business of giving you your daily ration (or dose) of Toy Soldiers. Cheers.
Most of you would not be interested at all but Playmobils are FUN to customize… 75mm means your fingers are able to do it without much trouble or craftsmanship… the results are great but a bit on the expensive side… those who do enjoy making very big DIORAMAS… you need all sorts as you already know.
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.
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!.