Sizing up the Future

Some time ago I contemplated my approach to this hobby and what I wanted out of it now and in the future. The first of my deliberations was on what gave me the most pleasure. After some thought I concluded that I simply enjoy playing games, particularly with toy soldiers, and have done so for as long as I can remember. That simple pleasure was best expressed by my love of traditional brightly coloured, jewel like, glossy toy soldiers.  The second consideration was how to continue collecting and playing with toy soldiers long term while keeping expenditure to a minimum. The answer was to cast my own from moulds. I considered 54mm figure moulds that would fit with standard toy soldier ranges but after some research concluded that the cost of the moulds and the metal would be prohibitive. Further research revealed a fairly wide range of 40mm moulds and 42 mm toy soldier ranges that would address my needs.

So over the past year or so I have been seeking out and acquiring home casting moulds for toy soldier style miniatures. This has not proven an easy task as I have had to purchase them via German EBay when I could. Despite the difficulty, I have managed to build a reasonable collection of moulds for casting. The moulds include Napoleonic, Franco Prussian War and late 19th Century figures in fully round and semi round forms.  In order to supply metal for casting I have been melting down old miniatures from long abandoned projects and I am now considering the fate of a number of projects that have stalled and may be better pursued in other ways.

For inspiration I have chiefly looked to “Little Wars” by H. G. Wells and “The Great War in England in 1897” by William Le Queux, along with “Vanished Armies” by A E Haswell Miller and “Armies of Europe Illustrated” by Fedor Von Koppen. I have decided that the figures will be painted in either the old British or German fashion (although more neatly), as fancy takes me, with plenty of gloss but without any black lining or shading, for that proper traditional toy soldier look. As yet I haven’t decided on any of the available rules but will give the matter more thought as the project develops. Alternatively, I will draft a set of my own or cobble a set together from aspects of different old and modern rule sets I like, as a sort of Frankenstein’s monster of toy gaming rules. I have, however, chosen to organize my units along the lines of my childhood forces.  So my units will be formed around six man infantry companies and 4 man cavalry squadrons with officers, musicians and standard bearers extra.

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Airfix Bren Gun Carrier and 6pdr Anti-Tank Gun

I am generally not keen on building model kits as I don’t normally find the process relaxing. It is something to be endured. However, late last year during a rare trip to Launceston I acquired the old Airfix Bren Gun Carrier and 6pdr Anti-Tank Gun in 1:76 scale with the intention of adding it to my small WWII British force.  I thought the process of putting the kit together would be particularly painful as the sprues for such old kits are often derived from somewhat less than perfectly engraved moulds.

I was surprised to find (amidst a wave of nostalgia) that I pleasantly enjoyed building this model kit, even with its wonky parts. I suspect the simplicity of the kit made making adjustments to the parts so they fitted together less of bothersome.  The kit was an easy build and a delight to paint. I am pleased with how the carrier and gun (with crew) turned out. So now they are completed, the carrier and 6pdr anti-tank gun are ready to take on the might of the German panzer divisions.

6 Pounder and Carrier

AT gun and tow.jpg

Bren Carrier