Thursday, 15 May 2014

Cheap Plastic Cowboys

As I suspect is true of a number of fellow modellers/gamers, I often stealthy wander over to the toy section of any superstore or discount store I happen to be in. It's in these sections that you can find cheap toys that can be utilized for your tabletop. As I don't have any children, just in case I'm ever accosted by an overly helpful assistant, I have even created an imaginary nephew called Barry. Now Young Baz (I'm quite a happy go lucky pretend uncle, I don't even take the mick out of his awful name) is a very versatile character and is aged between 3 and 15 (which probably reflects my mental age as well) depending on what type of toys I'm looking at. 

This avoids the very embarrassing situation (and real life situation) when you're paying at the till when the operator asks you: 

"Are these toy cars for your nipper, what's his name, how old is he?" 
"Err no...they're for me actually." 

Anyway, back to reality, it was a regular jaunt to Morrisions that I noticed a big tub of brightly coloured plastic 'Cowboys and Indians' (other sets were available such as modern soldiers and knights, both awful). The cowboys caught my eye because I instantly recognised them as (very cheap) copies of toys I had played with way back in the mists of time, or 'the 1970's' as people tend to refer to them nowadays. I have no cowboy projects planned, these were purely an impulse buy and nostalgia trip. 

The detail, or lack off, was initially a problem. The 'face' on most of these figures generally consisted of a blob for a nose. Luckily I soon accepted that this was probably for the best as I didn't really want to invest too much time and effort into things that are, after all, cheap plastic toys.

I've also been thinking about how to indicate the various size of models and figures when posting images online as sometimes on seeing a figure thinking, 'that's not bad for 28mm' then realising its only 6mm high. Unfortunately sometimes the opposite is true, 'nice 10mm figure...oh dear that's a 28mm figure, blimey.'
I have seen people use various coins as a reference, obviously using their own national currency, one pound, euro dime, yen coin etc. This is great if you happen to live in the same country or have a ready supply of foreign coins at hand. It could also turn the posts into more of a 'Various International Coins That I Have Found Down The Side of the Sofa' feature, which I'm certain no-one wants to see.
With all this in mind I tried to think about an object that is relatively small and is internationally recognisable. I recall seeing someone used a pencil sharpener as a size reference and realised that would prove ideal (well that's the hope, if anyone has better ideas please let me know). Even if someone has never used a pencilsharpner (which I suppose is possible in this digital day and age) everyone will know the approximate diameter of a pencil. So from now you will hopefully see a token pencil sharpener popping up somewhere on my photographs simply as a scale/size reference for the figures. You'll have to trust me but hopefully this will make a lot more sense when I start posting images of the 6mm figures that I've been painting for my Franco-Prussian War project.