Saturday, September 24, 2022

Flea Market Finds: He Scores!!!


Nile River paddle boat that I picked up at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show.
Figures are Trophy of Wales from my own collection.


Yesterday I visited the Chicago Toy Soldier Show in Schaumburg, Illinois. The annual event attracts dealers  from all over the country and they have every possible old and new toy soldiers that one could imagine. So if you are looking to fill out the ranks of your old Britain's Grenadier Guards or want to experience the joy of finding an old toy that you used to have when you were a young lad, then this is the place for you.

I went to the show looking primarily for 1/32 (54mm) cattle and civilians that could be used to populate my Khartoum town of the 1880s. I was successful on both accounts. I only wish that I had bought more cattle - I saw them, but it was towards the end of the day and I was exhausted from tracing my way through a maze of endless dealer rooms on two floors of the hotel. My dogs were killing me!

The "actual show" will be held tomorrow, on Sunday, but a lot of the transaction action happens in what they call "room trading".  The dealers set up their wares in their hotel rooms beginning the thursday before the show and this continues through saturday. Then on Sunday, they set everything up in a large convention hall for the public part of the show. I usually miss the sunday event due to its conflict with NFL football games. The room trading is located on the fourth and fifth floors and one is free to wander around the hallways and poke one's head into the various trader rooms.

My first stop at the show was at the Hobby Bunker dealer booth. HB is so large that they usually set up shop on the first floor, rather than resort to room trading. I stopped here before taking the elevator to the fourth floor. They usually have a good selection of King & Country, Trophy of Wales, Wm. Britains, John Jenkins Designs and many plastic tubs full of old Marx plastic figures.

I saw the King & Country set of archeologists for their "Discovering Tutankhamen" series of figures and I just couldn't pass these up. The set comes with four figures: the professor, the archeologist and his wife, and an an Egyptian guide. The Mummy is an extra set and I just had to have that too. There is also a sarcophagus with a mummy laying at rest inside of that. I forgot to purchase the sarcophagus but will get that later.

King & Country's "Tutankhamen" set of figures.
Mummy Dearest?

The characters are dressed in a style that is suitable for late 19th Century through the 1930s and so they should fit right in with my Khartoum! game at Historicon 2023. This has got me thinking about how I can make an underground tomb vignette for the table top. This should be a fun idea to model, so stay tuned as I tackle this project down the road. Now all I need is an Indiana Jones type of 1/32 figure.

After making my purchases at Hobby Bunker, I noticed a Nile River paddle boat tucked away on the top shelf in the HB display area. I was interested in buying it, but I thought "no, it couldn't possibly be for sale" or "I'm sure that it is too expensive for my budget", or "I will come back later for it." As you all know, when you see something in a flea market type of setting, and you like it, you had better buy it right then on the spot or else it will be gone when you walk away and change your mind ten minutes later. Fortunately the boat was still there when I returned about three hours later.

I took the elevator to the fourth floor of the hotel and immediately pitched into the task of poking my head into every trader room possible. I think that I spent nearly two hours just on the fourth floor alone! I had a clearly defined spending budget in mind and a clear focus on finding some cattle for a Sudan cattle drive / food foraging scenario that I plan to run at Historicon 2023. I found a number of metal Britains cattle and some Marx Longhorns early on in the game so combined with the archeological team, I had pretty much hit my goals of the figures that I was looking for.

So as I was getting to wrap things up and head home, I made one last stop at the Hobby Bunker and made an inquiry about the Nile River paddle boat. It was indeed for sale (and it was still there and not on reserve) and the price was right in my budget so I bought it.

It is a fine looking boat and looks absolutely awesome on my table top. The boat is about 24-inches in length. The only downside is that when I opened up the box at home, I discovered that the model was in need of quite a few repairs. Some of the side rails have come off (but the parts were included with the model), the smoke stack is missing, and a few other items need to be reattached or reglued on the model, but none of these are beyond my average and limited modeling skills. It is much easier to make terrain than it is to make things like houses and boats.

Nevertheless, I am quite happy with my find and I look forward to making the repairs and getting the vessel into tip top and Bristol shape. Here are a few pictures of the model. I have placed some of my own Trophy of Wales Camel Corps and Sudanese regiment figures on the model to provide some perspective on the size versus the height of the figures.

That paddle wheel looks very complicated to make. Whoever made it did an excellent job.

The side rails are made from nails sticking into a grommet and then connected with white twine rope.
The wood side piece needs to be reattached to the pillars, as it should be on the outside rather than the inside of the pillars.

The boat model provides me with a good template for making my own version of the boat in the future. Now that I see how it is done, I think that I can reverse engineer things and figure out how things were made. I plan on making a smaller dugout boat that will be pulled behind the boat. The dugout will be filled with firewood for the ship's boiler.

I will have to add some handrails to the front of the boat and make
some mealie bags for  the protection of the Gatling Gun crew.

All in all, it was a great day of shopping in a flea market setting and I am looking forward to the day when this boat, let's called the Bordein, and a sister ship that I might build, let's call that one the Safir, patrol the waters of the Nile at Historicon 2023.



  1. Fantastic look boat Jim, very iconic looking.


  2. That vessel just about justifies its presence by its ... presence!

  3. An excellent days purchasing. The ship is, of course, fantastic, but I really like the archaeologist and his wife too....54mm Pulp action may be on the cards for your future?!

  4. That’s looking brilliant Jim. Some absolutely fantastic purchases and your game is going yo be the talk of the show.

  5. That ship makes the visit worthwhile all by itself - great find

  6. An excellent find, Jim. I was hoping to make Hurricon this weekend but couldn't get the leave - I understand the appeal of shopping for gaming stuff you can't get elsewhere!

  7. What a shopping trip - a great find - super paddle steamer