The Toy Soldier Factory is based in County Cork, Ireland. This blog has all the latest information on hobby events we attend in Ireland and the UK and latest news on the hobby. We manufacture rubber moulds that allow you to cast in metal all sorts of miniatures, including Chess Sets, Historical and Fantasy Wargaming figures in 25mm, 28mm, 40mm and 54mm scale.
Mithril Miniatures released three more MZ figures at the end of February 2017. These are digitally designed minis that were cast in metal and primed or undercoated with grey primer paint. These figures are 32mm scale. The first one is MZ624, Tobold Hornblower, the Hobbit that was credited with cultivating pipeweed. This figure was the winning idea way back in May 2015 in the Fellowship club. It is a beautiful piece showing the tiny Hobbit smoking his creation and holding a pot of it for gift or sale to his Shire friends.
The fierce Snow-Troll is the northerly cousin of the Stone Trolls and while a little smaller in stature, they make up for that with more brutality, if such a thing was deemed possible. They harass any travellers brave enough to venture north during the night. They are still subject to immobilization during the daylight hours if caught outside. This was the winning idea from January 2016.
Finally the last figure is the Silvan Elf Orophin of Lorien, brother of Rumil and Haldir. He is a skilled archer that guards the woodlands of Lothlorien, in the realm of Galadriel, the Elven queen. This was the winning idea from April 2016.
Prince August Moulds and myself go back a long ways. I was
18 years old when I got my first set so we’re talking 43 years ago. I even
remember my first mould; it was an 18th Century Musketeer figure
standing shooting. Believe it or not I still have it in my box of moulds. I
thought I would approach this subject as the days of buying a couple of dozen
figures to create a display of soldiers have gotten rather expensive for most
of us. It has also gotten difficult to find the right bands that we want for
our display, and yet with a set of moulds we can still create small armies at a
rather respectable cost.
use of a hot plate, a starter set and my first mould I was able to create a
firing line of British soldiers representing a Royal regiment from the French
& Indian wars. Of course the same mould could be used for producing a
French regiment as well. The early sets of moulds produced by Prince August
Limited were made in Ireland, and then shipped to Sweden for packaging, so many
of us believed that they were a Swedish company. In fact the owner of the
company, Lars Edman, is Swedish. The factory is now found in Kilnamartyra, Macroom, Co.Cork, Ireland
and both production and packaging are done in the same place.
Most of Prince August Limited’s
early moulds were 40mm or 25mm figures, and while you could do a lot of
moulding using lead weights, it didn’t fulfill that need many of us wanted,
54mm. Then something wonderful happened. The company started producing 54mm
moulds of Prussian Seven Years war figures. While still not an era I was deeply
interested in, it was a start. Time at University, and an early 1st marriage,
took me away from the hobby for a while. I still dabbled in trying to paint connoisseur
style using Imrie/Risley miniatures and Airfix sets, but as far as the toy
soldier style went, that was out. Then something magical happened in the 1980s
when I was in the Navy. William Britain Limited came out with a ceremonial set
of the Cameron Highlanders and I was hooked once again. I also found John
Tunstill’s Soldiers Soldiers in the UK while on leave and was able to not only
purchase finished products, but could purchase the castings as well. This all
lead back to me collecting Toy Soldiers again and getting involved with a group
in Victoria, BC. This round about story
leads me back to Prince August Moulds.
While stationed at Esquimalt, I met
a former Canadian Guardsman/PPCLI Officer named Steven Brodsky. Steve was a
wonderful gentleman and taught at Royal Roads Military College. At one of our
meetings Steve brought in the Colours and Escort of the Royal Roads Cadets. He
had made the set from a recently released 54mm set of moulds produced by Prince
August Limited. I desperately wanted to get my hands on this set of moulds as I
could imagine doing countless regiments of Canadian & British units. It
would be another 5 or 6 years before I could find them. Remember there really
was no internet of home computers in the late 80’s.
Eventually I was transferred to
Ottawa after a trade transfer and things didn’t start off to well while I was
there. I was frustrated with the military and my second marriage fell apart. It
was a pretty low time in my life and then I came across a small store in
Norwood, Ontario that sold militaria, soldiers, and prints. The gentleman who
owned the store had some Prince August Limited 54mm moulds that he wanted to
sell off (they were used) of the Dragoons and Household Cavalry. I purchased
these from him and using tire balancing weights; I started moulding a Blues
& Royal mounted band. I used any band instrument arms that I had managed to
scrounge or collect over the years and constructed the tenor drums from cigar
sleeve holders and wine bottle lead cork wrappings. A few months later I showed
the set to the store owner and he suggested I start making the figures for
purchase. By this time I had also found the address for Prince August and had
received a catalogue from them in the mail. I may not have had a lot of extra
cash at that time, but using the Prince August moulds and a little ingenuity, I
was able to start getting back in the hobby. It also started me off with my own
In 1996 I created figures for the
Canadian War Museum and sold them on consignment in their small souvenir shop
in the old location. This also lead to my first contract for figures when I was
approached by Marty Lane of the Governor General Foot Guards kit shop to create
100 sets of a Guardsman and Sentry Box for their 125th Anniversary. While I
produced the Guardsmen from the Prince August “Toy Soldiers on Parade” moulds,
I purchased 100 W. Britain sentry boxes from OMSS member Richard Malott. Dick
told me later that it was the largest single sentry box order that Britains had
ever had. If you look at the official GGFG web page today, you can see that
they still have some of my sets in stock.
Today I only use the basic body to
start creating figures for my business and all figures are cast using lead free
pewter. Using spare heads, and Milliput you can make a lot of different figures
with the basic moulds. All of the PRIDE OF THE NATION figures that I produce
have been built off of the headless, armless figure you can cast using Prince
August. The great things about these sets are you really are only limited by
your imagination and your abilities. Casting figures and painting them gives
you the ability once again to create large groupings for a fraction of the
price that finished products cost. Some of my personal creations are the Corps
of Drums Canadian Guards, REME Staff Band, the RCN Stadacona Band, the Corps of
Drums Fort Henry Guard, the mounted band of the Blues & Royals, “Brock’s
Last Charge” and countless other figures. The Corps of Drums Canadian Guards
set has extremely strong feelings for me. I had started the figures around
2006, but had put them aside. Then in late 2007 I decided to finish them off
and put them in the 2008 OMSS competition. I had found a wooden side drum rim
to use on the display base and my Dad took the time to strip it and sand it for
me. This was our last project together as my Dad passed away early in 2008. I
finished the project for the show that year and if you look at our OMSS
pamphlet you can see that the unit is the center photo.
Yes, the Prince and I have had a
long relationship together. I expect it will continue until my hands aren’t
steady enough to hold the moulding ladle or a paint brush. Examples of Scott's painted work.
Prince August has just started a large sale on many products today (Jan 17th), including reducing some moulds to just 1 Euro (exc. tax). However stock is very limited so first come first served. We have put the stock numbers up on the sale too, so you can see what is available per sale item.
Also Prince August has reintroduced our Lucky Dip Mould bags. Each bag contains five random moulds. There are no documentation with these moulds but they are all unused. There are less than 20 bags for sale and as I write this that number has already dropped almost in half.
This sale will end at noon on Jan 24th 2017, unless we sell out before the weekend, which is possible.
Mithril Miniatures wants to invite you to paint our latest MZ figure, Duinhir of Morthond, and tell us how you did it, and as a reward the best entry gets five free releases (figures that are released after closing date).
The conditions are pretty simple:
No digital text of any kind including watermarks.
No digital backgrounds, if you put a background in, make it a real one.
No other figures are to be in the photo.
Figure cannot be altered physically in any way, or obscured in some fashion.
Photo must be jpeg format, highest quality possible. Over 1200 pixel size.
MZ630 must be photographed clearly and in focus.
Take at least six supportive photos to show progress in painting figure.
Write some supportive text (in English) for each photo or overall to explain your thought process in approaching this figure.
Video submission (via youtube link) is allowed but must supplement other requirements, not replace them.
Final entry date is midnight February 15th 2017 GMT.
Only one entry can win.
Entries submitted by email, info at mithril dot ie, with subject line "MZ630 Painting Competition Entry".
The winning entry will be used in advertisements for Mithril. Credit will be given to the artist on the website. The homepage of Mithril will link to an article all about the winning entry and this competition, giving the title "master painter" to the artist. They will win the next consecutive five MZ figures released by Mithril Miniatures for free, postage included.
This is stage two of a two part transition from traditionally clay sculpting figures to fully 3D digitally designing and printing master figures. Finally, after a year of frustrating delays, we are able to start producing the new type of miniature. The figures available for sale are still cast in metal, but their master figures have been completely produced using the new techniques for the first time.
Duinhir is therefore the first to bear the letters MZ instead of the MS in its product code. All future miniatures, from the Fellowship range, will have that code for the foreseeable future.
This figure was the winning idea from February 2016, and was suggested by Fellowship member 'barliman'.
Duinhir was a Gondorian lord that lead his two sons and five hundreds skilled archers to aid Minas Tirith, Gondor's capital, during the siege by Mordor. His archers were particularly useful against the huge Mumakil and their war towers. Unfortunately Duinhir lost his two sons during that battle.
This metal figure is 32mm scale, primed in grey undercoat and does require a little assembly (bow with partial arm and sword are separate and need to be glued on).
As a special introductory offer, Mithril Miniatures has cut the normal price by 50% to allow everyone to see just how amazing the new figure is. The detail is crisp and clear and the figure will look astounding when skillfully painted.
With a history of growing up in Scandinavia and sharing the nordic tradition of casting in white metal, Lars Edman helps Dr Eva Orsmond cast little witches from Prince August moulds (Halloween Decorations) at the recent Bank of Ireland Enterprise Exhibition in Macroom, County Cork.
There are also other Halloween decorations available too, including a Spooky Ghost, Scary Black Cat and a Jack O' Lantern Pumpkin. Each mould can be reused hundreds of times and the figures have little loops to hang them from ribbons or chains if desired.
The Toy Soldier Factory is now the oldest factory in the area, allowing customers to cast their own Halloween figures when they visit (via seasonal workshops).
Mithril Miniatures has released two more long awaited Fellowship miniatures this week. The first one was 'Ohtar with the shards of Narsil' (MS626), the winning idea from August / September 2015. Ohtar was Isildur's squire, who carried the shards of Narsil, the broken sword that cut the One Ring off Sauron's finger, to the house of Elrond. Eventually the shards were reforged and renamed as Anduril and given to Aragorn to aid him in the War of the Ring.
The second figure was Gollum (MS631), who needs no introduction to any fan of Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit books. Here he is following the Fellowship as they leave Lorien by river, on small boats. He improvised and used an old log to float after them, forever keeping his huge eyes fixed on his ultimate goal, to reclaim the One Ring.
Both these figures are limited to only 100 and are primed with grey undercoat. These are 32mm scale metal figures sculpted by Chris Tubb. Originally they were to be made using the new 3D printing process but delays meant they were remade using the traditional methods instead.
Prince August has a wonderful new craft kit that is perfect for a gift to children 6 or over. Cast, with your Mum or Dad, little fairies and then give them a home in your home. Inspire a child's compassion and imagination as well as their artistic creativity this season. This kit contains a surprising large amount of contents, including casting equipment, 11 acrylic paint tubs, a primer tub, 2 different paint brushes, a Fairy mould that casts two different fairies, a wooden engraved detail fairy door and a pack of self adhesive decorations.
Adult supervision is required for casting with small children but that is part of the fun, getting some quality time with your kids. The metal used is pewter so it is safe to handle.
There are options to add more metal and fairy door packs too, to extend the fun to friends as well.
Mithril Miniatures has restored the long cherished tradition of manufacturing a special Christmas figure annually. 2015 did not have one, but 2016 does. The tradition also calls that the figure be a leader or king and this year it is the Dunlendings High-chief we honour.
Dunlendings were driven into the hills by the Rohirrim and this seeded deep animosity between the two peoples. During the War of the Ring, Saruman profited from that anger and used them to bolster his armies as well as have raiding parties harrass Rohan villages.
A high-chief to such hardy folk needs to be both strong in leadership and skill in battle. They would never tolerate a weak man in such a role.
Mithril Miniatures produced 100 of these 32mm scale metal figures. 25 are primed in Mithril's grey undercoat and 75 are antique finished, which involves dipping the metal figure into a mix of black gloss and thinner and allowing it to soak into all the details, then wipe off the surfaces, resulting in better contrast.
Prince August has previously released Prussian, Austrian, Hungarian Regiments in the Austrian army and finally Russian army moulds. Overdue but finally released, the French army is a welcome addition to this expanding 40mm scale range that focuses on the mid-eighteenth century international war that swept the known world.
These French moulds can cast fusiliers and grenadiers with and without turnbacks on their coats, as well as drummers, NCOs, standard bearers and officers.
As expected these moulds have interchangeable parts so there is more flexibility than first meets the eye.
As a bonus Prince August is offering all four moulds in a bundle with 10% discount on R.R.P.
The previous release (Russians) are also now available as an 100+ Army Pack deal, which includes 20 bars of metal so you can cast up to 100 soldiers for as little as 1.21 Euro (ex. tax) per soldier.
Pretty amazing value.