Thursday, 8 April 2010

A bit of DIY

We were in Twerton chippy the other night (great veggie burger) when I chanced upon a copy of Donald Featherstone’s Better Military Modelling (1977) for sale on their charity bookshelf. I thought a quid was a fair exchange for this rather obscure title if only for the pictures of various military modellers with 70s pointy shirt collars doing strange things to Airfix figures.

As I flicked through the pages I was amazed to see that Chapter Five How to Mould and Cast Figures featured a picture showing you how to cast your very own Hinton Hunt cavalry lancer! Well I know that it has been said that Hinton Hunt Figures have suffered more than most from piracy over the years but this did seem a bit in your face. The book does say “To sell such copies not only invites prosecution but, by discouraging manufacturers, kills the goose that lays the golden eggs.” So don’t try this at home folks.

I haven’t actually tried this kind of DIY myself but I have been engaged in quite a lot of the regular variety since we moved which explains the lack of posts. The house is getting to the point where it is almost straight and I’m hoping to unpack the soldiers within the next week or two. The final DIY job will be to put up the display case and get the lads back on the shelves where they belong.


Anonymous said...

Welcome back-hope the house move went OK! Looking forward to more posts.


paulalba said...

What a great Chippie you must have Stryker! A book section!!

My brother has a copy if the same book.

Glad your move went smooth

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

It was different back then... no really it was... I remember casting up metal troops in a mould I'd made from the Airfix standing highlander... it was just done - model soldiers were fewer and further between.... and either way - no one (trust me) was ever going to buy anything I'd managed to cast!!!!

Rafael Pardo said...

Are you again amongst the living beings!
Welcome back!

DC said...

DF seems to have been qite open to piracy back in the day (needs must, i suppose), and keen to tell us about it - i'm sure there's a passage in one of his books where he tells us how he created his 1859 armies by copying SAE and other 30mm figures at home. Then there was the London/Southampton spat that may have had something to do with allegations of some Alberken figures being conversions of Hinton originals...or so the rumour goes.

Stryker said...

Thanks for the comments chaps. I hope to be posting again properly soon. Paul you are right it's a classy type of chip shop we have here!


lewisgunner said...

Piracy is a tricky subject. When I was at school back in 67 there were lads who had whole armies of HH that were on the basis of buy one figure and make a mould as instructed by Don Featherstone. I soon started casting up variants of the HH ancient figures that HH just did not make in order to fill out armies with the approprioate troop types. I still have some nice Dacian LHI that were converts from HH Anglo Saxons.

It is also true to say that some Alberken and some of the first Minifigs were based upon HH figures and many Der Kriegspielers etc are straight 'pirates'. Marcus actually fed the pirate market by keeping his prices so high. Minifigs pricing policy was to sell much more cheaply and that has made copying less attractive. Figures are now much cheaper and people much better off than they were back in the 60s.
BTW, in the late 60s, early 70s everyone was doing it!
We see this to some extent in the music industry. where CDs at £15 were a rip off and piracy has forced down prices to the consumer.
I think too that piracy only really has an effect when the original product is still on the market. I would have a real ethical problem with casting a Rose napoleonic figure because I can now buy one again, similarly with RSM/Pax Britannica. However, where its a question of the figures being long term unavailable the ethics are rather different as long as whoever does it is not selling them commercially .
Do I think that the guy who sells solid casts of now unobtainable Britains 54mm figures is 'pirating ' them.... no not really.
As I've said here before, when one buys off Ebay you get some originals and some pirates. I got some Swedish infantry that thought were original, were advertised as original, but were , when they got home, quite clearly othet than original, but they will go in my army fine.
We now even get other old 20mm figures passed off as HH with the vendor claiming to have bought them from Marcus himself!!

What I would really like is for the guys in the states who have obtained the moulds from David Clayton, to do at least some commercial manufacturing because that would bring down the Ebay prices.

Lee said...

Great to see you back and posting Ian, glad it all went well.

I must confess to having tried casting Minifigs war elephants back in the early seventies, using silicone rubber, stank my parents house out something terrible it did! Castings turned out rough too so gave up, but I think we all had at least one go at 'piracy' back then?

Look forward to the next post.


Lee said...


Actually, I was thinking after I left the last comment, about the time I bought 6 x 36 figure painted battalions of 'Front Rank' French infantry a few years back on EBay. When they arrived something was not quite 'right' about them, some small detail lacked definition. I then had an email from a guy telling me he thought they were copies and not genuine FR figures. Contact was made with FR who requested a couple of the figures to look at and they confirmed that they had been pirated! Luckily I got all my money returned promptly by the seller. I'm not sure what happened to them after that but it just goes to show.


Albannach2 said...

Hi Ian, Glad you are back on the blog, even if for some strange reason you have left unpacking the figures to the last.....?

Stryker said...

Hi Iain - yes what self control I am displaying! Actually its really because we've been having quite a lot of building work and the figures are tucked up safely in boxes of polystyrene beads. They will emerge soon I hope.


lewisgunner said...

Oh no, not polystyrene beads. They sometimes come as the packing in parcels and when you open them they explode across the floor. They wedge in every nook and cranny of the figures.
Good luck to you on abstracting your treasures from the grip of the manic polyballs!

The Old Metal Detector said...

I once had an e-bay purchese - WW11 troops and vehicles - which came packed in rice crispies. Very effective but hard to get out of the cabs of trucks...


lewisgunner said...

At least they were not in honey coated wheat puffs!!


I'd like to pick one of those up. I have recently bought for very few pence some excellent Hinton Hunt 54mm. One was a Dragoon in the British Civil war of america. He's dressed a bit like bAN tARLETON. I also picked up some Vikings but not sure if H.H. I think H.H are a new area for future profit as regards investment. I think its pretty obvious considering Hinton himself and his legend.great blog.

Fire at Will said...

Twerton chippy?

If you are talking about Bath then you are very near my old stomping ground of Oldfield Park!

Red Cardinal said...

Could well be wrong about this but...

I thought casting copies of figures was perfectly legal provided they were for your own use and not given away/swapped/sold to anyone else?

The question of whether it's morally right to do so, is another question...

I'm very jealous of your display cabinet!