Hello I'm Mark Mr MIN, Man of TIN. Based in S.W. Britain, I'm a lifelong collector of "tiny men" and old toy soldiers, whether tin, lead or childhood vintage 1960s and 1970s plastic figures.
I randomly collect all scales and periods and "imagi-nations" as well as lead civilians, farm and zoo animals. I enjoy the paint possibilities of cheap poundstore plastic figures as much as the patina of vintage metal figures.
Befuddled by the maths of complex boardgames and wargames, I prefer the small scale skirmish simplicity of very early Donald Featherstone rules.
To relax, I usually play solo games, often using hex boards. Gaming takes second place to making or convert my own gaming figures from polymer clay (Fimo), home-cast metal figures of many scales or plastic paint conversions. I also collect and game with vintage Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, wishing like many others that I had bought more in the 1980s ...
Two interesting pages from a random issue of Railways magazine Volume 3, No. 21 January 1942 which I scanned before I passed them on.
Above is a 1941 era Cruiser tank “en route to embarkation points” – official LNER photograph – and obviously a propaganda shot. such open daytime shipping shows our allied armoured might, replacements only a year and a half after the disastrous loss of tanks at Dunkirk and the Fall Of France in May 1940.
And now from WW2 to the American Civil War (amongst the early Wars to use railroads)
According to Wikipedia: “Shoo Fly” is among the songs (“John Brown’s Body” is another) claimed as compositions byT. Brigham Bishop.
According to Bishop’s account, he wrote “Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me” during the Civil War while assigned to command a company of black soldiers.
One of the soldiers, dismissing some remarks of his fellow soldiers, exclaimed “Shoo fly, don’t bother me,” which inspired Bishop to write the song, including in the lyrics the unit’s designation, “Company G”
These painted backscenes were done by Peco employee and artist Jack Whealdon in the 1960s and 1970s. He must be one of the most familiar, affordable and frequently purchased landscape painters in the world!
I use these country and city scenes as backdrops for displaying my figures, once painted …
My Salvation Army Life Saving Scouts and Guards (Guides)
The 1961 Airfix Civilians set designed by John Niblett. Its box art of urban Britain is just about how I remember it as a late 1960s / early 70s child. These Civilian figures have not been available since 1973 to 1975.
I grew up with a few of these civilian oddities mixed in as ‘personalities’ mixed in with my motley mix of HO/OO toy soldiers.
I like the description of the characters on the box back –
Image from Airfix’s Little Soldiers, Jean-Christophe Carbonel – I like the silhouettes of the figures.
The struggling postman with mail sack has lots of character. It’s good to be able to name and identify poses – although some are not now quite PC? (2 Fat Men)
These Station Accessories and mix of railway figures and workers are often not listed with military figures in some Airfix reference books. They feel a little forgotten, less familiar or undiscovered.
Image source: the lovely Dapol website – pure Airfix purchasable nostalgia
Wonderfully Airfix Railway figures are all still available from Dapol in hard grey plastic including this old 1960s Platform Figures and Accessories set.
These are slight and slender (HO 1:87 maybe according to Plastic Soldier Review?) in comparison to the chunkier 1961 Airfix Civilians above and later 1970s Airfix. This is in the same way perhaps that first version 1960s Airfix figures such as Infantry Combat Group, German Infantry, 8th Army and Afrika Korps are small compared to their 1970s larger Airfix second versions.
Worth mentioning that those familiar Airfix building kits – the thatched cottage, Church, windmill, Tudorbethan house and others – are still available from the same Dapol website.
Other former Airfix figures still available from Dapol:
These plastic figures needed a bit of height to be adults alongside my strapping Boy Scouts, so I mounted the adults on 1p MDF and penny pieces.
A bit of research suggests that they are hard to find ex-Lionel Railway stock (USA). Now out of production and widely sold out (including from my original supplier below), they were sold or marked as O figures.
Tank Engine Tuesday? No that’s not engines for tanks. I once saw a Matilda tank engine for sale on EBay and thought for a moment, it’s a start. A Matilda Tank on the Front Lawn would certainly be a conversation piece …
One of the attractive sections of H.G. Wells’ Floor Games (1911) is the ‘lectric, or clockwork engines, the photographs of the cities and islands by his wife Amy Catherine (“Jane”) Wells and the charming drawings by illustrator J.R. (John Ramage) Sinclair.
Floor Games 1911
The most attractive parts of railway modelling has always been the scenics and especially the figures, often a useful (but sometimes expensiv e source) of civilians for my DMZ Demilitarised Games – snowballers, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts / Guides …