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Part 2: Irvanian Commandos and the Infamous Princess Leia Brigade

The Irvanian Commandos were introduced around 1975 in the Encyclopedia Irvania, attained infamy in the Generic Legions games in the 1990's, and appear in my first novel, as yet unpublished. For reasons which apparently made sense at the time, in the 1970's I converted plastic WWII infantry figures into what I imagined the Irvanian Commandos would look like. I think my original idea was to use them in a diorama, but that project never got much past the figure-painting stages. I still have the figures though.

"Keep the dream alive!"

Part 2a: Irvanian Commandos in 1/35 scale

This guy was part of a set I did in 1979. He's an Irvanian Commando officer, possibly the King himself, converted from an ESCI partisan figure.

Home computers hadn't been invented yet when the blueprints for the VAKOOM Tube Computer first appeared in the Encyclopedia Irvania, and still weren't in wide use when I scratchbuilt this VAKOOM unit in 1979 based on the original blueprints. Note the realistic rabbit ears on the console. The figure is converted from the ESCI Red Devils set.

This Irvanian Commando corporal was converted from another ESCI "Red Devil" British Paratrooper figure. The blurry shape blocking the shot is another Commando figure in the foreground.

The "Eat at Joe's" guy that has graced Irvania.com for nearly a decade is garbed in the uniform of an Irvanian regular army infantryman. I think the figure is from Tamiya and is supposed to be Monty, from the famous generals set.

Part 2b: Irvanian Commandos in 25mm

In the 1990's I had planned on writing a skirmish game version of Generic Legions for 25mm figures. Never got around to it of course, but I did get some figures painted. Here is a squad of Irvanian Commandos, pretty much stock WWII British Paratroopers from Battle Honours.

The bases are supposed to be color-coded so they could be distinguished by squad for the game. The figure on the right, which may look familiar, is an old Heritage figure from the 1970's and was intended to be captain of a Slargeball team.

The game I had in mind would have each player control a different squad: Irvanian Commandos for one player, a Slargeball team for another player, a squad of elite Dweasel Jannitories for another player, a squad of Bad Day Gummibärenjäger for another, and so on. I'd still like to write that game someday.

Extreme close-up of a sergeant. The hands are huge, but these aren't bad for 25mm wargaming figures.

Part 2c: The Infamous Princess Leia Brigade

So what do you do when you find yourself with a bag of 68 identical figures, and the figure isn't a particular useful pose? You make the Infamous Princess Leia Brigade.

Sometime in the late 1990's I bought, sight unseen, an entire lot of inventory of miniature wargame stuff from a hobby store in Long Island that had gone out of business. The seller wasn't a miniatures wargamer and had absolutely no idea what any of it was. There were some useful goodies in the lot, along with some real head-scratchers, like these 68 identical 25mm Princess Leia figures. As far as I could tell they were from an unlicensed (read: bootleg) range manufactured by a company called Archive in the 1970's.

Step 1: organize the figures into squads and paint accordingly.

Step 2: add appropriate weapons. I think I was planning on using these figures as another squad of Irvanian Commandos, this time in disguise. I hadn't thought it out much past that point though.

Aside from the Sparrow missile from some 1/72 scale airplane kit, the weapons are all from 1/35 and 1/32 scale plastic figure kits: Airfix, Tamiya, ESCI, Italeri, Heller. Generally, 1/32 scale is considered comparable to 54mm figures. Oddly, these 54mm weapons on 25mm figures fit in fine with Warhammer figures.

Irvania.com webmaster: Dave Ferris
The content on this page was written: January 13, 2011
Last updated: June 11, 2016