Learning from Toy Soldiers

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#1
mike-and-marquet-at-afro-am-museum.jpg

Michael Schaffner and Marquett Milton, two United States Colored Troops reenactors, use toy soldiers to discuss the formations used during the course of Civil War battles. Picture was taken at the African American Civil War Museum in Washington, DC.

The following images feature Michael Schaffner’s toy soldier collection, which depicts United States Colored Troops (African American Civil War soldiers). Schaffner has found them to be useful for teaching and training. For whatever reason, I find this to be cool; your mileage may vary. All images provided by Schaffner.

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- Alan
 

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Bruce Vail

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#6
I used to supplement my wages by painting minis like these. It helped pay the rent and often fed me.
I had a friend years ago who worked steadily painting metal soldiers for the European market. They had to be done to very demanding standards, like the ones Alan is showing here. Pay wasn't great, but at least you could set your own hours.
 

johan_steele

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I had a friend years ago who worked steadily painting metal soldiers for the European market. They had to be done to very demanding standards, like the ones Alan is showing here. Pay wasn't great, but at least you could set your own hours.
I probably averaged about $75 or so a month in the early 90s. You aren't kidding about the wargame crowd being OCD. It got to the point where I refused to do Napoleanic Wars minis.

WW1 & 2 minis & vehicles were a snap in comparison. It's a fun hobby that got much easier once I learned how to use ink washes.
 
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#9
This is pretty interesting to me. I have never really had a great interest in the soldiers, but I do admire the work it takes to paint them. I used to paint Napoleonic Cavalry figures, which were a little larger in scale. They were actually plastic model figures. I really liked painting them. Using these soldiers to study formations is a good idea, a good way to learn. I have never gotten into war gaming using the soldiers. I am sure I could enjoy it. I remember the movie Murder At 1600 where Wesley Snipes had a massive setup of Manassas. Thanks for the thread.
 
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#10
Painting them is definitely a fun pasttime. I just got into the miniatures wargaming hobby (nothing Civil War or Napoleonics just yet, I´ve mainly worked with and painted 15mm figures from ¨By Fire and Sword," a wargame set in Eastern & Central Europe in the 17th Century). It is fun to both learn about tactics and formations from the Pike and Shot period and I can say that painting itself is a relaxing and calm experience.
 

James N.

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#11
This is pretty interesting to me. I have never really had a great interest in the soldiers, but I do admire the work it takes to paint them. I used to paint Napoleonic Cavalry figures, which were a little larger in scale. They were actually plastic model figures. I really liked painting them. Using these soldiers to study formations is a good idea, a good way to learn. I have never gotten into war gaming using the soldiers. I am sure I could enjoy it. I remember the movie Murder At 1600 where Wesley Snipes had a massive setup of Manassas. Thanks for the thread.
Painting them is definitely a fun pasttime. I just got into the miniatures wargaming hobby (nothing Civil War or Napoleonics just yet, I´ve mainly worked with and painted 15mm figures from ¨By Fire and Sword," a wargame set in Eastern & Central Europe in the 17th Century). It is fun to both learn about tactics and formations from the Pike and Shot period and I can say that painting itself is a relaxing and calm experience.
I posted this in the other thread, but thought I'd again show off my handiwork from long ago - they're not wargame figures but approximately 60mm French Napoleonics by various makers; for you @mofederal, Marshal Bessieries in the center was the commander of the cavalry of the Imperial Guard. These are either lead or an alloy and all had to be assembled as well as primed and painted. I intended to make a large diorama like I'd seen in books of military miniatures, but soon after this gave up, though I still have these in a small wall case. For miniature wargaming and related figures you need to talk to @mkyzzzrdet who has thousands of them and the setup necessary to use them! (In fact, he photographed this for me.)

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Bruce Vail

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#12
I posted this in the other thread, but thought I'd again show off my handiwork from long ago - they're not wargame figures but approximately 60mm French Napoleonics by various makers; for you @mofederal, Marshal Bessieries in the center was the commander of the cavalry of the Imperial Guard. These are either lead or an alloy and all had to be assembled as well as primed and painted. I intended to make a large diorama like I'd seen in books of military miniatures, but soon after this gave up, though I still have these in a small wall case. For miniature wargaming and related figures you need to talk to @mkyzzzrdet who has thousands of them and the setup necessary to use them! (In fact, he photographed this for me.)

View attachment 166769 [/QUOT

Wow, you painted those! Really nice.

I saw some nice unpainted flats at a store in Williamsburg a couple of years back, and came within in an inch of buying them and taking up the hobby.
Wow, you painted those! Really nice.

I saw some nice unpainted flats at a store in Williamsburg a couple of years back, and came within in an inch of buying them and taking up the hobby.
 
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#13
There's nothing like a tabletop wargame with hundreds or even thousands of miniatures to get a feel for the complexities of command, from brigade to corps level, at least. Combined with walking the real battlefields, and living for a few weekends and marching a few miles as a loaded-down infantry reenactor, miniature wargames can open the window of understanding better than studying maps and reading after-action-reports. At least that's what I've found.
 

DixieRifles

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#15
Those are hand painted minis.
"Mini's"---Isn't that a brand name or reference to smaller size 25mm or less??
Those appear to be 54mm at least.

Here are a few of my 54mm figures.

French Engineers of the Guard (Historex kit) with a scratch-built palace fence----old photo.
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A mounted 54mm that I painted some hundred years ago.
I was trying to copy a calendar print of a 5th Belgian Light Dragoon which formed in 1814 and served under Wellington at Quatre Bras and Waterloo. It is a plastic Historex kit that I kit bashed to get the correct uniform and hat and animate the horse.

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jpro

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#16
Love everything toy soldiers. The ones shown above are awesome!!! I mainly collect Confederate Artillery sets but here are a few of mine. I currently have a few guys out being painted by a fellow who is retired and travels around the country!
I've sent him figures in Arizona to Maine. Depending on time of year. Has done a great job with a set I purchased unpainted. Great way to make $ too. The sets below are all company painted. Products of Spain and Great Britain.
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#17
@James N., @DixieRifles & @jpro . . . superb work guys !

Such detail on that small scale requires skills similar to a surgeon's hand/eye coordination.

I attempted to paint some 54 mm figures many years ago and it didn't turn out too well. Imperial Czarist Russian troops to be exact. They ended up looking like a Kindergarten project. Next I tried to paint some 1/72 ancient Romans . . . yet another exercise in frustration.

WW1 & 2 minis & vehicles were a snap in comparison. It's a fun hobby that got much easier once I learned how to use ink washes.
No doubt about it.

My last attempt was 1/72 Afrika Korps troops.
Much easier. Only three basic colors for the most part. Khaki, Olive Drab & gunmetal.

They turned out better than the others, but still no where near the quality posted above.
 
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DixieRifles

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#20
A few more Napoleonic 54mm figures.

An Austrian drummer with pink facings. This one has seen some wear and tear.
The drum kept popping off.
I liked drummers but I had to enlist some Riflemen eventually.
Figure_Austrian 1806.jpg


This is a cheaper lead cast as you can tell by the lack of details.
But I wanted a Russian in my collection so I tried to make it look as good as I could.
Figure_Russian Grenadier.jpg


The Airfix company produced a limited selection of plastic 54mm figures.
This is their British 42nd "Black Watch" Regiment.
I have a few more of their mounted and dismounted kits that I want to paint.
(Somewhere I have a photo of one of their French infantryman that I converted
to Swiss---Orange tunic with Red lapel facings.)
Figure_Highlander.jpg
 

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