Sunday, January 2, 2011


A recent posting on the Old School Wargamers' group has been the inspiration behind this posting. 'Uncle Thor' was looking for someone to playtest his table top play concept OMOG - One Man, One Gun , intended to be packaged with his Toy Soldier Art.

Natuurally intrigued, I went off to explore what was meant by 'Toy Soldier Art'. It was an eye-opener. I had never come across before quite what this guy was about. Although he doesn't say specifically, the philosophy behind the whole idea is to find virtue in even quite crude and cheap figures (emphasis very much on 2-3" figures); to use your painting skills to supply deficiencies in the figure and or its equipament; and for the play: to use whatever you have available. Teacups, cutlery, books - anything at all - can be used to provide terrain. Mind you, he can supply soldiers and terrain...

My first thought was for several plastic 19th century figures I have waiting for the decision whether to go the Horse Foot Guns direction, or something a bit more Little Wars. It appeared very quickly that I had too many of these figures for OMOG to be a goer, though I did ask for the 19th Century download.

It was not until then I bethought me of some half-forgotten figures stashed away somewhere, and quickly fished out. Way back when my daughter was 3, she had spotted a pack of soldiery that she thought Dad (me) might like for his 'wargamings'. Actually, I quite liked what was in the bag: musketeers and grenadier figures, some artillery, a mounted and a couple of foot officers, a cannon with the wheels the wrong way around (easily sorted), a siege mortar(!) and a gun emplacement. The whole could be arrayed on a (rather crudely) printed plastic play mat.

Seeing what Thor had to say concerning Toy Soldier Art, I felt I had shortchanged these figures, and have spent much of the last 3 days transforming them into something like Toy Soldiers. At least, I hope I have. Here's a bunch of pics. What do you reckon?

These redcoats I had figured on as British Grenadiers, but I am told that the guys in black plastic were supposed to be 'Hessians'. It had crossed my mind to repaint some as Germans of one sort or another, but I stayed with the Brits. Black plastic, by the way, ain't easy to paint...

Now, the whole idea of OMOG is very small scale - what we call 'skirmish games'. As these pics show, there's plenty to work with, and even if the Mortar won't see much action, it would make a fine objective for a trench raid in a Yorktown scenario.

Of course, with these inexpensive (cheap) buys, you get some naff poses. I'm sure that no one with a view to longterm battlefield survival would have wielded their bayoneted muskets in quite the overhead manner shown here. Particularly odd are the Grenadiers standing - well, staggering, really - firing. I'm prepared to suppose that even well braced for the impact, one can not avoid reeling with the recoil. But I would have preferred the 'pre-discharge' pose... One thing is for sure - you can see how easy it would be to shoot over your target's head!

Here are a few 'situational' pics with which to end this posting...

Small patrols meet whilst scouring the swamp flanking the main positions. No doubt after a very brief exchange of shots, both sides will fade back into the undergrowth and report ...

This Mortar Emplacement is rather close to enemy trench lines... The picquet on guard watch anxiously alert for the enemy to try a surprise raid on the emplacement.

Thor identified these soldiers as BMC, possibly also sold under an 'Americana' name. Some of the BMC moulds fetched up in China (I noticed that my figures have CHINA imprinted under the base). BMC originally produced French and 'Hessians' as well as Continentals and British, and had playsets for other conflicts: ranging from the Alamo, San Juan Hill, Iwo Jima. I suspect the set Ursula bought me might have been intended as Yorktown...

Crude they might be, and yet they are quite engaging once painted up. I hadn't appreciated that until now. Nor had I any idea what to do with these fellows. Soon, I daresay they will be locked in combat on our kitchen table...

Meawhile, check out ...


  1. These look like very enjoyable figures . . . your daughter did well!

    For a more "toy soldier" look, I'd suggest sealing them with some Future/Klear (comes with various names around the world) giving them that shiny look (and protecting the paint job too).

    -- Jeff

  2. Looks like fun!

    Have to agree with Jeff - a coat of varnish will keep the paint on.

  3. It´s a difficult thing to paint modern produced stuff to look like the toy soldiers of old but these are as close as can be. A coat of gloss would definately bring the look closer.

  4. Thanks for the tip, guys. I'll do that, once I've touched up what needs touching up...

  5. You really have brought out the character of these minis. Superb!