Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Box of Britians


I have a box of old Britains that have been with me for the past 11 years. I got them from my former girlfriend's father for Christmas and they are still with me even though the girl is not (she ran off with an Italian chef....but I think I may have got the better deal ;)!). Her father was a collector of toy soldiers and some of his collection wound up in the huge collection of Malcom Forbes, so he was a pretty serious collector at that. I managed to get some single figures and a partial "Queens Coronation set" one Christmas from him that are really nice even if a little less than pristine collector quality. As a gamer, I always have a bit of a "beef" against the high prices that those figures are bringing these days.

As I currently struggle with my pencil, pad and calculator to figure out how to make two "Little Wars" armies of the new Spencer Smith Little Britons happen here at the Lead Gardens, I took a few of these old figures out of the box for a bit of inspiration.
A Bengal lancer, of my favorites!
If you look close you can see Her Majesty herself.

...after many years of service, this fellow is in need of some rest...perhaps in a nice RTV rubber mold
This fellow in the pic is an old Britians that I found at a flea market almost 20 years ago with a few guardsmen in home service uniform. I think his is a pretty old vintage as the oval bases I think are pre 1940s.

I always loved this figure because of the stalwart pose and simple lines of the sculpting. I think the figure was repainted by a prior owner. I was thinking about this guy and wondering if I might try to make a rubber mold and try to recast a unit of these. These may be a bit hard to cast at home without a spin casting set up so I'm going to have to do some research to see if is at all possible. I think the horsemen would be difficult as I think they would require a three part mold.

All the figures in pretty tattered shape but they have stayed with me because I don't have the heart to sell them on ebay (even though I would probably sell them if I ever got an offer...)

I'm hoping all of my readers have a peaceful and fun holiday season. I'm splitting time shopping with my wife/taking care of kids with some progress gaming and also making some organizational changes in my gaming space to make the gaming a little more pleasurable and less disrupting to the household.

It seems this time of year is really a time for reflection and remembering the good stuff.
Happy Holidays!


Ross Mac said...

A splendid parade. Let me know if you want some cheap bandsmen to march with them.

As for copying the figure, it is possible but tricky one side of the mold has to be built up to support the rifle.

You may want to check out some of the old toy soldier molds at Reb Castings

Merry Christmas back at you.

Archduke Piccolo said...

A magnificent parade - and of course, these guardsmen aren't there merely for show. Looking at that infantryman and bearing in mind his comments, I was wondering if maybe he's big enough to be moulded sans the sticky out bit of the rifle. What I have in mind is to bore a hole part way through the advanced left hand to accept a wooden substitute, say. That might be a simpler approach that gives you more robustness in that area.

tradgardmastare said...

A lovely parade awash with toy soldier nostalgia for one and all.
Interesting plans afoot in Lead Gardens.I await updates with great interest.
best wishes

tidders2 said...

Nice selection of old britains figures

Happy Xmas

-- Allan

Brian Carrick said...

You can't beat the charm of old Britains figures in a wargame!

Casting copies of the foot figure isn't too dificult and it shouldn't need to be spun, the mounted ones are more problematical and hollowcasting isn't really practical in a domestic setting so you end up with a piece that is quite heavy and takes a lot of metal. Also buying a whole tin of silicon and catylist is expensive if you are only going to make one mould.

You can pick up damaged hollow cast figures quite cheap if you are prepared to do a bit of work on them, I usually pay about £1 foot and £3 mounted, you can get replacement parts such as heads arms etc. from Dorset toy soldiers. Otherwise plastic figures painted in toy soldier style and gloss varnished give a cheap light alternative.

Best wishes for a peaceful Christmas, Brian

Mosstrooper said...

Seasons greetings

AlFront said...

Cracking turn out! Good to see that Her Majesty is doing better in real life than her lead miniature. Merry Christmas!

Ogilvie VC said...

Delightful story...bloody Eyetie stealing a proper chaps girl eh what!

In New Zealand old Britains figures such as these are as scarce as Unicorn doodoo and would fetch ridiculous prices.
They always conjure up happy images of boys lining them up in review on the lounge floor or fighting imaginary battles over books and such.
I had to make do with Airfix's Guards set which was woefully inadequate.