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Hair Curler Armies

   This article owes a huge nod to Andy Callan who is as far as I am aware the innovator behind the curler masses.

                   You can link to my blog posts with curlers at haircurler blog entries

                   I was first attracted to ultra cheap armies by an article by Andy Callan in one of the Featherstone "wargamers newsletter"s. He described building 6mm troops from card and pins etc and I decided to have a go. I then discovered some hair rollers in Boots the chemist that were perfect for infantry and my seven years war forces were born  A few years later I took part in some games games put on by Andy Callan played at CoW in the 80's and read an article by Andy Callan in one of the leading wargames mags of the time. In these Andy used a very different type of roller with which you could make cavalry as well so I built myself a lot of these too. So much so that when I moved here to Spain part of my luggage contained 2 carrier bags of hair rollers of each type. I still have a few left some 30 years later heheheh.  Now no one will claim these can be compared to the beautifully sculpted figures we see on the web today but for me they have provided a quick and cheap way to investigate other periods.

                 In this article I shall try to demonstrate the art of building such armies and provide links to my main blog showing some of my roller armies.

Type 1/

To the Left 7yrs war French cavalry massing to attack while to the right French infantry build a fire line.

The first type I built used card cavalry and hair roller pin infantry .

First the infantry

This type is simple. The infantry are the pins on the roller and the base connecting them the round web of  the roller . Simply cut off the number of files you need, glue to a base , apply a little paint and there you have it, Instant infantry. that base is 35 years old

 The cavalry

The cavalry file consists of a card base, two matchsticks for legs two matchsticks for the horse bodies, a strip of card riders and finally a card strip representing the horse heads.

First glue the feet to the base
Glue the front and rear body to the card riders.
Glue the top to the bottom
Glue the heads to the front matchstick at 45 degrees.

Job done

I really like these in a toy soldier kind of way. They remind me of those 18th century paintings with their serried ranks of "toby jug" like soldiers.

Type 2 

These photos show confederate cavalry, skirmishing cavalry and various infantry brigades.

               This is the type described by Andy Callan which I particularly liked as it used the rollers for both infantry and cavalry

To explain how the assembly works I think the following diagram from Andy Callan expresses it perfectly. The principle difference is the web on the roller is actually part of the figure in this method.

 Here we have two examples of Confederate elements. One of Infantry with a skirmish line and one of cavalry. Now Obviously they don't bear close scrutiny but on a wargames table they work quite well

A few examples of what can be produced using this method.

I did make a lot of Artillery from card and plastic rod etc but this proved really fiddly and I found that H&R 5mm worked really well with the rollers so a lot of the later troops used H&R artillery pieces. 



  1. Replies
    1. The originator Andy Callan is a man of many talents when it comes to wargaming. This was one of his finest for me.

  2. Nice work. I still use my armies that I scratch built.

  3. I recall another Andy Callen method of constructing 6mm figures using matches as well. Two matches for a rank of infantry and IIRC, four matches and some card made cavalry.