Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cloning a Clone: Plastic Army Guys



Everyone has seen them, those ubiquitous bags of cheap plastic made-in-China clone soldiers hanging on the rack in seemingly every supermarket and drug store in the US.  Do kids even play with these anymore ?  Maybe just big kids like us.  As often as not, they're 35-45mm knockoffs of their 54mm plastic army men brethren, the Airfix or Timmee roots clear to see. I've posted about them before.

Inspired by the engrossing series Jono's World at the Archduke Piccolo blog, I decided to to take another crack at these.  In this case, I modied one of the figures for the evil Tan forces. The raw materials in this bag are two main types of soldiers.  The Vietnam era guys seem to be copies in the Timmee style. But others look like British WW2 infantry from the neck down, capped off with US M1 style steel pots.  This helmet had a good long run from WW2 until the Fritz in the mid-80's, wore one myself (now over 40 years ago, wow !).


Here is the candidate figure, selected for his appealing and useful assaulting pose.  The main change was was substituting an AK for his WW2 rifle (Enfield ?), brass wire for the barrel and green stuff magazine and front sight.  That and giving him boots for a more Russian sort of look, plus a rucksack to cover the old-fashioned web gear.



And for added strength and repeatability, made a mold to cast the figure in metal.


The result ?  Not too bad and he certainly meets my needs.



The BMP in the background is a cheap and simple paper model. More about this in a subsequent post. For now, I'm belatedly painting the first example of the modified cavalryman.

15 comments:

  1. I like him a lot! There is a great irony in ripping off a figure (for personal use) that has, no doubt, prevously been ripped off, scores of times. Nice casting!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great idea. Your modifications came out a treat. If you didn't know the story you'd think that was a commercially available metal miniature.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is an amazing transformation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, Simon. Yes, no worries on the copyright score. ;-) By the way, the last few times I tried posting on your blog, I got prompted to update stuff on my Google account. While no doubt it was safe to do so, I didn't want to mess with what works already.

    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks very much, Michael and James. Really, I didn't do all that much - the basic figure is already pretty good. But I'm glad people think it turned out well.

    Regards,
    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm sorry Steve, it's this Google+ thing. It does suit me in many ways, but I really dislike how it stops people posting who aren't into it (and I didnt know it would do that until after I'd changed to it). Feel free to drop me an email- I have my address on the front of the site! Cheers, Simon

    ReplyDelete
  7. Simple but effective transformation - and it tells me how I might deal to some of the worst moulding marks on my guys!
    Cheers,
    Ion

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ion. Trimming with a sharp x-acto blade can work too, but with really soft plastic sometimes the fibrous residue can be darned near as bad as the original problem.

      Delete
  8. Very clever...it's funny how these bags often have one or two useful poses, I can't place the figure; the others are mostly Matchbox US infanty, the pointy guy is the Airfix Para officer and the two 'modern' chaps seem to be China originals...or copies of copies of!

    Hugh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Hugh. And of course, Matchbox ! I'd completely forgotten about them. Yes, the Rambo machine gunner and the fellow brandishing the M-16 ape the Timmee style but the poses aren't direct copies.

      Delete
  9. Good idea well executed. I'll tuck it away for future reference in case I ever get to that box full of similar figures in my cupboard. Figures in berets and/or field caps.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks very much, Tradgardmastare & Ross.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congratulations! I confirm Maverick's identifications. I owned (better) chinese clones of the so called Vietnam war guys with capped with Fritz helmets, that we commonly referred to as Desert Storms because they came out in the early 1990s.

    ReplyDelete