Turning Cheap Pound Store Army Figures into Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts

The tools for the job and some suitably cheap China made seaside toyshop figures.

I wanted to make some simple cheap 54mm Boy Scout and Girl Scout figures for my Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop project.

Simple cheap Pound Store figures to be turned into 54mm scouts for playing tabletop Wide Games.

Adding a simple card brim to a helmeted or bereted figure can change the appearance

Trimming off the gun and adding a scout staff starts the transformation. A suitable bush hat helps.

A simple Scout stave or staff was added using a pin vice to make hand-drilled holes through their hands and hole drilled into the base to take a wire staff, or superglued as needed.

Comparison of the original soldier figures and the rough conversions

Some of the figures like this cowboy already have the bush hat.

Turn your hole punch upside down, remove base and you can do single holes accurately.

A khaki base colour for the scouts and light olive green for the troops

Small Pound Store 30mm conversion next to the larger 54mm-ish figures

Girl Scouts of America from Modern American Troops?

As I worked on the Boy Scout figures, one or two looked as if they might make passable Girl Scouts with bush hat and the addition of long skirts, so I sought out more of these poor quality figure poses in my rummage box.

And now for the female scouts … and scout mistress, a former paratroop officer.

Padding out the tissue skirts with a discreetly placed wedge of polystyrene
The original figures and then the tissue paper skirted Girl Scouts

I wanted to prove that some simple cheap and distorted 54mm figures could be usefully transformed into Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for my tabletop Scouting Wide Games project. I wanted to use them in games like the Snow Fort recent snowball fight scenario. If it didn’t work, no good figures would have been lost.

I chose figures that looked like they may be throwing snowballs.

However I chose to paint the bases bright toy Soldier style green instead of grey or white to make them more versatile. Likewise the pink cheek dot is a toy soldier style touch.

The figures, as one clever blogger has chosen for his blog title, ‘Just Needs Varnish‘. Some gloss varnish should keep that toy soldier look and preserve the paint through hours of game handling.

Marx plastic and Britain’s hollowcast lead 54mm figures are shown here alongside Pound Store plastic 54mm.

A quick diversion into Khaki Soldiers

The poor flattened, thin and distorted pirate copies of Matchbox 8th Army figures proved worthy conversion material into khaki troops, using the same hole-punch bush hat technique.

Boy Scout in shorts or khaki bushfighter and Desert Rat from the same figure

Attack of the giant jungle bugs – rifle butts at the ready.

Turning Pound Store Plastic Soldiers into Girl Scouts (of America)

Daisy, Maud, Alethia and Edith …

Some of the poses chosen look a little masculine in stance and do not look that suitably ‘demure’ for the tomboyish early Girl Scouts in America or Britain.

The most successful figure transformation I feel was Maud the Scoutmistress, previously a cheap pirated Airfix paratroop officer. I had snipped off the submachinegun before I realised it could be a Mary Poppins type umbrella. I fixed this mistake with a cocktail stick, quickly superglued on.

Maud the Scout Mistress and copy of the original pirated or cloned paratroop figure

The other Girl Scouts figures were not so successful but then to be honest we were starting with some fairly crude, disposable distorted Pound Store Plastic figures in the first place. At a distance they would pass.

Distorted small thin copies of the Matchbox US Army grenade thrower. Alethia.

Edith: This Rambo-esque original figure had an open chest which needed tissue paper and PVA cover

Daisy: Girl Scout and African American Boy Scout from this original figure.
Injection moulding studs on arms could be hidden with paint as scout badges. In future a triangle of scout neckerchief could be added at the back with tissue paper.

The long skirt needs rounding out with more polystyrene but generally matches the long ankle length skirts of early Girl Scouts.

Getting the female shape right would probably require trimming and bulking out with Milliput / epoxy putty green stuff, however we have an allergy to this in the household that makes its use a problem. So more careful fine use of PVA and tissue paper in future is needed.

Girl Scouts practising firearms drill for the real dangers of frontier life in America.

Daisy, Alethia and Edith take their names from some of the very first Girl Guides registered in Savannah Georgia America, taken from the Savannah Orphans Asylum Girl Guide Troop.

Fascinating research reading and photographic reference.

These 54mm scouts were cheaper than chips, mainly they cost time, effort, a lick of paint and PVA.

Was it all worth the effort? I hope so and hope that these cheap figure conversions will prove passably useful for playtesting Scouting Wide Games scenarios.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on 17/18 October 2019.

16 thoughts on “Turning Cheap Pound Store Army Figures into Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts”

  1. Yes, I especially liked the Girl Scout mistress. it made me think that she could also serve (with a gun) as a basic character figure, partisan or Boer.


  2. Splendid work Mark. You have vision to see the potentially in those figures and the skills of transformation. They have come out really effectively. I particularly like Maud too. The rifle armed ones are different and interesting. I look forward to seeing these figures widegaming away. Some fascinating black and white photos too. Your post reminded of the articles in Airfix magazine / annuals converting figures into all types of exotica and the Blue Peter makes of my childhood,fine company indeed.


    1. The easy snip, glue and paint conversions (like you say Airfix Magazine Annual style) are good fun, especially when you are not wasting precious Airfix. Converting Pound Store Tat – who cares? Sometimes however the outcomes are not quite as graceful as what you first imagine or hope them to be!


  3. hmm, I tried to leave a comment, clicked on something and it went away – my apologies if I am submitting this twice!

    Kudos for your wonderful work here and in particular Maud the Scout Mistress. I’m deathly afraid of modifying figures and do so only under duress. However, you’ve got me thinking that it’s not such a big deal to experiment with these inexpensive figures; after all, what’s to lose?


    1. I had in mind cheap sources of figures for your library games and snow ball fights.
      I have also just tracked down modern Snowball fighting children from Lemax Christmas village for our family Christmas decorations (and cunning extra source of gaming figures). I will post these when arrived and painted backwards into the past.


  4. Well, you have been productive! I am always impressed at how you can see a figure and turn it into a vision of something entirely different. In the case of some of these horrible cheap figures it is no exaggeration to say that you have vastly improved upon them with your conversions. I swear you could even market these. Would it be breach of copyright to cast your conversions into metal, I wonder?


  5. hi just seen your scout figures very nice l convert lots of toy soldiers and l would never have thought of that they are absolutely great thankyou for post kind regards Paul


  6. Thanks for your comment Paul. I never seem to find cheap affordable mass plastic sets of anything I want to play with in the right size so conversion is often my only option. The shiny toy soldier style covers a multitude of errors.

    The Scout Wide Games and snowball fights are both ongoing projects, focussed on a ‘public outing’ to the small informal Woking UK 54mm games day March 2020. Didn’t make it due to Covid, neither did my co-creator Alan Gruber (Duchy of Tradgardland blog)


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