Thursday, December 20, 2007

Imex Web Site Down

The website for Imex is all messed up. I'm not going to post a link, because who knows what sort of weird stuff it might link to, but suffice it so say, Imex's website got hacked. Looks like it was done by a Turkish hacker group of some sort. That's a bummer. Maybe when they go in to fix it, they'll see that they need to update their 1/32 section!!

Christmas is only a few days away. I hope everyone has sent their "reenforcement" list to Santa. My Santa always does pretty good for me. And hey, I'm excited about these new 21st Century Chinese Infatnry figures! Something a bit different and unique. It's nice to see them stepping away from the main WWII powers and doing something that's never been done before. I never did get their Italians. They never showed up at my local Wally World. I think I got all the other new Infantry Sets they have released though. My personal preference here, but I enjoy their sculpts and poses a touch more than the Forces of Valor Infantry. But I'm sure there are those that would disagree but it's all cool.

I've had a couple emails asking about pictures from my library display. I FORGOT TO TAKE ANY!! sorry. It wasn't that good anyway. My displays tend to focus on the figures rather than the terrain. I'm not good with all that stuff; making trees and grass and rocks and what not. I would love to do it, but right now I just don't have the space to create and keep something like that. I envy the guys who do, because they are able to make some really nice display pieces.

I have to go to a Christmas party now. Take Care ya'll

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I had to look up "imbued" in the Dictionary

I didn't come back from OTSN with much money. But to defend myself, why would I travel 4 hours to simply window shop? So, because I came back with a trunk full of plastic, there ain't too many toy soldier item's on my list to Santa this year. I was keeping my fingers crossed that the Conte Spartans would be ready, but alas, it wasn't meant to be I guess. Have you seen the pictures on their site? I think the colors look good. The silver and bronze are absolutely rockin'. I still haven't wrapped my mind around the whole "poseable figure" idea yet. In fact, let's talk about that...

I'm all for change. Change is a good thing. I love change in most regards. If it ain't broke, it's a good time to see if we can make it better. Just like my computer... it's running really well right now, so let's take it apart and see if we can make it run even faster!!!

I don't know. They are what they are. I mean, there are action figures, and there are toy soldiers. When does a toy soldier become an action figure? Can they be one and the same? If someone would have told me they were making poseable spartan figures, and not mentioned the name Conte, I would have assumed they were going to be action figures, much like my beloved Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures from the 80's. But squash em' down to 1/32 scale, and all of a sudden, poseable or not, they become "toy soldiers". Why do we make a difference between them? Are they played with any differently? Do action figures, with poseable limbs and detachable weapons, dissuade imaginative prowess? Do we as hobbyists consider the "Snake Eyes" action figure with the patented Karate-Chop-Action cheaper, and beneath our realistic "scale miniatures"?

Please understand, I'm not trying to decide whether it is a good thing or a bad thing that Mr. Conte has "changed the game" on us. I've already decided, and have in fact decided that it is a spectacular thing!!! Any fresh air to the hobby is appreciated. But I'm still trying to decide whether for me, myself, poseable arms and limbs stray from my preset notions of the concept of "toy soldiers", which I have already imbued with my own particular perceptions.

But you know I'm gonna buy a ton of em' :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Discerning Eye

During the month of November, I had a Toy Soldier display set up at the library I work at. It consisted of four smaller scenes, and one large scene. The smaller scenes included the Alamo, Tripoli, Civil War, and Conquistadors. The larger scene was a winter WWII battle.

Of course, it was a hit with the children. It was set up right at the entrance to the Children's department, so everyday, kids would see it, and run straight to it to gawk. It was very rewarding for me to see them so interested in it. But what really interested me were the adults. And from what I saw, the results were about half and half.

One half, let's call them the good half, showed interest in the figures. They asked good questions about them, and they knew that these weren't figures that you could buy in the grocery store toy aisle. They recognized that these were sculptures, collectibles, an item beyond a simple toy categorization. I appreciated that.

The other half, let's call this the bad half, showed no interest whatsoever. They usually ended up pulling their kids away from the display after a few seconds, and said something like "you have some just like them at home". Now, I could be mistaken, but I doubt the kid has any Conte, Butternut & Blue, or TSSD figures at home.

But the difference was more than just being interested or not. The people that stopped to look also had a spark about them... as if all of a sudden, they were transported back to when they were kids, a time when imagination was still permitted and encouraged. Many of them got that goofy smile on their face, just like they probably did on Christmas morning when they were eight years old. The world, so nicely laid out in miniature, just waiting for idle hands to start playing with it.

Needless to say, that spark was not there on the people who didn't appreciate the display. I think that we, the few, who love this hobby, have somehow managed to retain that spark, that excitement that comes along with imagination, where we can transport our mind to a different place and setting at the drop of a hat. And when we see our tiny soldiers lined up, we get that goofy smile, and we are eight again.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Chicago... highlights

It's like a whirlwind. Everywhere you look is something new and cool, or old and cool, and you want it all. Too much to take in. I'll let you know right off the bat, I didn't take any pictures. My camera, for some reason, has a 10 minute battery life. But there are plenty of pictures on other sites for you to enjoy, which I suggest visiting when you have the chance.

Now for the things that really stood out in my mind:

1. Lots of nice people. From the dealers to collectors, everyone I met was super nice and ready to talk about what they brought or what they had bought. Being able to put faces to online names is almost worth the trip alone.

2. New stuff - Barzo's Robin Hood, Conte's Spartans, TSSD's Cavalry, and Mr. Weston's Gunfighters and Peasants were what I was most interested in. There was of course lots of other stuff that was outside my interest range, but these were the things that I went to see. I have to say, each of the above makers/dealers were super nice and helpful. Anyone that has met Ron Barzso knows what a super nice guy he is, and always willing to talk about his newest creations. Jim Clouse, who sculpted the Barzso buildings, is also a real addition to the hobby and fun to talk with. Richard Conte, who always manages to cause waves in the hobby for one reason or another, was nothing but extremely friendly and helpful. Even though his room was full, and had people clamoring to talk to him, he took the time to go digging into the top corner of his closet to find me a set of Viking figures. (Thanks!) And of course, Nick and Deanna from TSSD, even though they seemed pretty busy the whole weekend (probably a good thing!), were always willing to stop and talk to Stephanie and I. Hope to see ya'll at the Texas Show in 2008!! Steve Weston, who has the new gunfighters and peasants, is also just a really nice guy, and you can tell is just way into the hobby. If the weekend seemed like a rush to me, who was just wandering around shopping, I know it had to seem even worse to these people, having to set-up, tear down, and then set-up again, all the while selling and talking about their product. Thanks to them for taking the time to stop and "hobby talk" with Stephanie and I.

One of my favorite rooms to be in was the Hobby Bunker. The guy has everything (.50 cent buckets!!!!) and gave a good dry-brush painting demonstration on his foam buildings. I got myself the unpainted two-story blown up building and going to give it a shot. (don't worry, I think Stephanie is going to help... a lot.)

My favorite part of the weekend was after my 7 year-old nephew bought a set of the Barzso Merry Men and we went to eat at the Cheesecake Factory with him and his parents. I took out my Airfix Cowboys, and he took out his Merry-Men, and we had a grand ole' battle right there between the fried macaroni and the bannana cheesecake.

Good times.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Itinerary for Tonight


I should get to the show tonight at around 6:00. In my quest to become ever more like Danny Tanner, here is the itinerary for tonight.

1. Go directly to Barzso Display and then to Barzso room and accidently spend my whole stash within the first few minutes of my arrival to OTSN.
2. Find an ATM.
3. Go Directly to TSSD Room, spend everything that I just pulled out of the ATM.
4. Raid the wife's purse for loose cash (she always has some)
5. Run (not jog, actual sprinting here) to Mr. Conte's Room.
6. Feign surprise and astonishment when wife realizes all of her cash has disappeared. "You just can't trust these toy soldier types, darlin. Sneaky and desperate guys they is".
7. Rob the nearest bank.
8. Mosey on over to Mr. Weston's room to find me some Gunfighters and Peasants. Dude yea!
9. Give blood, trade watch, and sell my shoes for some paltry bit of cash.
10. Hit up the Hobby Bunker for some recast Marx bits.
11. Hang out at the Chicago Skyway McDonald's because I don't have enough cash to pay the toll booth in order to get home.

Yea, pretty much the same as last year.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Barzso at OTSN

Well, the news has hit the web that Ron Barzso has delivered an entirely new set this year. You can see the Robin Hood themed set at his website, and dang, the OTSN display looks HUGE!! The hub-bub is that Mr. Barzso used injected molded plastic this time instead of the usual resin. I know some people didn't like the composition of his previous figures, but for me, I always thought they were great, a little fragile, but still unique enough to make them a stand-out. Plus I thought the most recent Tripoli figures had moved beyond being very fragile, and had reduced a lot of the flash. I'm most interested to see his newest offerings. I guess I'll need to go get the Marx figures to go along with them.

So far this is the only big surprise I've heard about thus far. I've got one and a half days of work ahead of me, and then I get to scoot on up to Chicago to see it all for myself. I'm taking my camera, and as long as it stays charged, I should be able to post some pictures for ya'll.

You should also be able to keep up with the show through the Playset Magazine website, which always does a nice job of covering the show. And I believe TSSD will be updating their page each day with reports from the show. And, keeping an eye on the Hobby Bunker forum usually proves educational.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

So Much New Stuff

Well, I've been off in la-la land lately... mostly "chilling" before the big Chicago show. I'm way too excited about it, and looking forward to all the new stuf that is going to be there. And to get you even more excited, check out the teaser page from TSSD. Yup, Civil War Cav. Rock on. And what was that they said, possibly another new TSSD figure set??? New stuff from Steve Weston (see his site for pics of the peasants), new Barzso, Pegasus having sample shots... It's just all too much to take in. (I may need to go lie down for a second... and it has nothing to do with the fact that it's 3:03 in the morning right now.)

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. It may continue to be fairly sparse. With all the news coming out, I don't want to just simply repeat what's being said on other message boards and collector sites, so, I just don't say anything at all. My room is in tatters right now, so I can't put up any new displays till that is cleaned up. Plus, the other day while going through my toy soldier closet, I saw a great big huge black spider. I haven't wanted to venture into the closet anymore since then. I have some friends who had a brush with death because of a situation that featured me driving and a dangling spider... It wasn't pretty.

Labor Day weekend, Stephanie and I went down to North Vernon, Indiana for the annual flea market and antique show. We set up a table and sold a few things, including some BMC civil war soldiers. I was practically giving them away to the kids, but it was fun to see them root around in the bucket looking for different poses. One thing I was most amazed at, the girls were just as interested as the boys. In fact, many of the boys sped right by the toy soldiers to hit the NASCAR die-cast dealer right beside me. The girls on the other hand had no love for the cars, but were mesmerized by the miniatures. It was surprising to say the least.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Need a new Stone Wall?

Reaper Miniatures has a nice tutorial on how to create a great looking stonewall from foam. On the left hand side of the page you can click on the "craft" link to find more "how-to" things, like making windows with glass, and miniature pumpkins out of acorns. Rock on Reaper.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Conte... Rev War Plastic

Here's an interesting one for ya. Just saw this on Ebay. Only got about three hours left.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Meebo Me!

Man, I just had to add this little feature. You can now instant message me while on my site. So, if you ever see me actually online, feel free to shoot me an IM. What will they think of next? So yea, I'm not sure how much I will actually be online, but yea, it's cool.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Spooky Town Stuff

I made a trip to my local Michael's Hobby store a couple days ago and found some of the new Spooky Town stuff. I got a "hill" sort of thing and a wooden fence that is part of their Christmas Village line. I also got a some piles of skulls that are pretty cool (see on right hand side of picture). Here are some pictures of them in my latest set-up.
The fences in the above picture are actually made of wood and are fairly fragile. All my other Christmas Village wood fences have actually been made of the hard ceramic, which is much more durable and easy to store. Makes these kind of a pain, but they look so good, I'll forgive them.

As for the hill piece, it is simply rockin', made of the same foam type material that FormTech uses, and is painted up nicely. There is another add on piece to the hill that is a bit taller and has stairs on it. I plan on getting it before the holiday season is over. They do have a hill like this for their christmas village as well which would come in handy. I can already see a confederate artillery battery on top of it with the TSSD winter dress Federals charging up it...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Spooky Town

One of my favorite things about the approach of Halloween is the Spooky Town Collection from Lemax. This year's offerings look pretty good, as they are going to give us a bit of Pirate flavoring. They have a nice cannon piece, an anchor, piles of skulls, several pirates, a few neat scenes including pirates playing cards and men being tortured in a dungeon, and some barrels that would look good with most any set-up. Aside from these are the wonderful trees they come out with every year. The Mulberry trees look especially nice. You can usually find them at Menards, and they always seem to be on sale for 50% off. You know, I have no idea if Menards is a national store or not. It's a home improvement store... kind of like a mix between Home Depot and Wal-Mart.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

HaT's Innovation, 300 DVD, and Harry.

I have to applaud the people running HaT. On their website they have set up the HaTwiki. You all know Wikipedia probably. But you might not have known that it is becoming easier and easier to set up your own wiki, which is exactly what HaT has done. It is a collection of links that users might find interesting. Granted, it is more to the interest of wargamers and painters, but still, seeing a company do something like this is satisfying. I'd like to see more of the companies use the Internet to get their products out there, to show them off a bit more, and to allow interaction with their customers. Forums, interactive photo galleries, pages that use flash technology, wikis... heck, set up a myspace page.

I sat down and watched 300 on DVD today (our library got a copy a bit earlier than the release date). It's as good as I remember it, though watching it for the second time, I was able to resist the uncontrollable urge to stand up and pump my fist in the air. Also, I want the soundtrack. There is a fine line between macho goofiness and supercool. And there are those that I know will disagree, but this movie definitely falls in the supercool category, and it's the music that gets it there.

I went and saw the 5th Harry Potter movie last night. well.... meh. I don't know. Sure, it was, you know, good. But after reading the 7th book, revelling in the Harry Potter mythology, the detail, the magic of the printed word, letting the author take my imagination on a vivid and elaborate ride, the movie felt... empty. A bit hollow. Kind of like reading the 2 paragraph summary of the American War for Independence that was in my 7th grade history textbook. Not to say that the actors weren't good. I think the actors used have been perfect. Harry, Hermione, and Ron all fit exactly what I had in mind when I read the books. My favorite has to be Alan Rickman as Snape. Perfect inflection of the voice, and he really gets the character. I loved him in Galaxy Quest too, and he rocked in Die Hard... but I'm getting off the point. When I need a Harry Potter fix, I will read the books, not watch the movies.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New Packaging Configuration from TSSD

TSSD is repackaging their civil war figures into different groups. There are some firing line groupings, charging groupings, ect. It's a good idea for collectors trying to make HUGE scenes where you will need every figure you can get to create 100 man companies and the like. I ain't got a big enough table for something like that... well, it might hold that many. Sounds like something fun to try out. But not for awhile...

I'm heading on Vacation starting tomorrow. Stephanie and I are going down to a lake cabin in Tenneessee. It's gonna be great. I'm just gonna sit around, eat cookies, and read Harry Potter #7, if I can find it for sell somewhere between here and Tenneessee. So yea, not need to check this page till Friday of next week.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New WWI Weston Tank

Mr. Weston is showing off some pictures of his upcoming WWI German Tank. Looks like he's hitting a market that has been ignored for the most part. WWI just doesn't get much attention. Anyway, to view the pictures, go to his site, then go to regular stock, and then go to World War One. Looks good. I didn't get his World War I British tank, but I'll be looking for it at the Chicago show.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Test Your History Knowledge...

To test your knowledge of history, look at this picture of Civil War soldiers and pick out the person that doesn't belong.

Actually this is my Civil War Reenacting Unit, the 49th Indiana, at the 4th of July Parade in Carmel, IN. Miss Indiana paid us a visit. I'm the guy with the drum.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

New Prussians from Waterloo 1815

Whoo diddley Doo!! Look at these fancy new figures from Waterloo!! We got ourselves some Prussian Infantry on the way. You can see a picture over at TSSD's Coming Attraction page. I like the mounted figure. The sculpting looks really awesome and precise. It makes no mention of what color they will be in.

The Shield

I was thinking about finally finishing up that organization scheme I had been working on... but instead I started watching The Shield. I know, what rock did I just crawl out from under. I went out and bought Season 1, and man, it's awesome. Now, I was a fan of Michael Chiklis from back in the Commish days. Me and my mom loved that show. Of course, I was 11 when I watched it. But I highly suggest The Shield. It sucked up my entire day off yesterday, and that's ok with me.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Need a Hand?

After playing in my room last night, and knocking my shelves about on accident, I've decided to make a list of some figures that have become notorious for not being able to stand up on their own. Some are worse than others, but all of these are "guilty" of being not so stable. Whether it's due to an ambitious pose that over-weights one side, or simply due to a skimpy base, these guys are always the first to fall in battle.
The Airfix American Bazooka guy. Nice compact figure, good sculpting, a tad small by today's new standard, but still a nice addition to a battle, except for the fact that you spend half the battle setting him back up. His left foot and right knee, the anchor points for the figure, are just a little too aligned. Sort of like a bicycle trying to stand by itself without a kickstand. Just doesn't work.

A part of CTS's Mexican army. Has a nice open stance, looking like he's getting ready for something. Not actually part of the fighting just yet, but getting ready to maybe climb a ladder, or bust through a door, 0r simply just a few steps behind the frontline of fighters. Problem is, before he can make his glorious debut into the fight, he usually falls flat on his face. All of my poses like this lean a bit to the front, causing him to be a just a bit overbalanced in the front.
Revell British Infantry... actually I think it's actually a Scottish themed set of some sort, but never mind those details for right now. Let's explore this character. A great pose, wonderful sculpting, and a lot of action. This guy is under fire, rushing for cover, hoping against hope that the next bullet isn't meant for him. But, he isn't going to make it to cover, because like the Mexican soldier above him, he's going to land flat on his face. Overbalanced and too small of a base are going to spell the end of this loyal Brit.
Now this is a real tragedy. This guy was really going someplace. You can tell, with one foot lifted off the ground, a satchel holding all important... stuff. It is imperative that this guy make his rounds. Under fire from Japanese snipers, he dodges through jungle brush and across sand dunes, but just before he makes it to his destination, he falls down on his left side. If he's lucky, he might find a palm tree to lean on to make it through the rest of the battle. His base is wonderfully sculpted, but just doesn't give him enough support on his left side.
Not quite as noticable as the others listed here, this guy is usually propped up by the wall he's throwing his rock over. Tricky, tricky. But as a ground fighter, you have to watch him. As he goes to bash that wounded guy over the head with a rock, he inexpicably changes his mind and decides to crush him with his entire body weight instead. Just a tad over balanced in the front, I think because the base thins out towards the front of the figure. Mine just might be a mis-mold on my two figures.
Next time we'll explore five more figures (mostly Marx) that can't quite seem to stay upright.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Celebrating the 4th of July

It's a good holiday. Sitting around with family and friends, eating all-american food like hot dogs, hamburgers, brownies, and drinking ice-cold sweet tea. We all sat around, talked about cars, movies, music, and whatever else. Then we settled down to watch the local small town fireworks. And for being a small town, they always do em' up right. A local radio station plays patriotic music in the background while the fireworks go off, and I always get a bit of a chill when Johnny Cash sings about the Ragged Old Flag. It is a good holiday.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Playset Magazine Remembers the Alamo / The Bummer 80's

Whew... I just got done reading most of the way through the latest issue of Playset Magazine. I really enjoyed this issue. It was devoted entirely to the Alamo with pictures galore. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I'm not a big devotee of the Alamo era, but this sure got me interested in a hurry. Near the back of the magazine was an ad from TSC offering a set of recast Marx items for a really good price. Or at least it seems like a really good price. I've checked it against some other places and seems to be a steal actually. Anyway, it looks a whole lot like what you may have gotten back in the original Alamo sets. If you have the magazine, make sure to check it out.

The magazine actually comes to my parents house because my mail service likes to shred my magazines for some reason. My dad usually ignores them, but this one he kept skimming through. I think his generation (the baby boom generation) has a close relationship with the Alamo that my generation never picked up. When I was a kid (or, previously in my childhood), there were no Alamo movies. The John Wayne Alamo seemed dated to an 80's kid, and it didn't inspire the imagination that it did in kids of an earlier generation. Too bad really. The 80's were a bummer. Well, we had G.I. Joe cartoons and Star Wars movies, and those were the toys I chose to get. I had no historical heros. There were none to be had. There were baseball players, race car drivers, and plenty of He-Men and Transformers, but no actual historical personalities. I wonder if that could explain the apathy with which history is viewed today by guys and gals of my generation. Instead of having a cool movie like Ben Hur, we got Barbie and the Rockers. Meh.

Friday, June 29, 2007

New Emhar WWI

TSSD is reporting that new Emhar figures are on the way. This time they will be offering WWI Americans. Makes sense as they have released their Germans and British 1/32 sets, both of which started out life as 1/72 figures. I know several people have mentioned, and I agree, that the plastic they use, very hard, fragile, and shiny, is not the best. The figures are only 1/35 rather than 1/32, which doesn't sound like all that big of a difference, but yea, it's a difference. But... there ain't much WWI out there, and if you're looking to setup a nice scene, the more figures the better. Plus, they usually sell for a pretty reasonable price. Michtoy has all the sets for 8.99.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Doritos X-Box 360 Chips

Well, they aren't really called X-Box 360 Chips, but that's what Stephanie called them, and it just kind of stuck. Anyway, you may or may not have seen them in the stores. Doritos in a black bag, a mystery flavor that you're supposed to taste and then think of a name for. Good concept, and of course we're all suckers to taste something mysterious that is named after letter-number combinations, so we bought some. Shortly after that, we tasted them. The best description can be found on yesterday's Penny Arcade site (second paragraph down, language warning for younger readers, or for those that don't find the occasional use of profanity Hi Larious.).

This post had nothing to do with Toy Soldiers, unless you count the fact that I bought a set of the FoV Pirates during the same shopping trip. Yea, they rock, but then ya'll probably already knew that since they've been out for awhile. I was a bit behind on getting them.


Mostly, as far at toy soldiers go, I'm just sort of killing time till the Chicago show. I sent an email to Mr. Conte a few days ago about what he might have there. From his reply I could tell that he is VERY excited about the Spartan and Persian sets, as probably most of us are, and that he is trying his best to have them available by Chicago. He did say that the Viking set would probably be available first. Cool, I can dig it, though if they do arrive at around the same time (both this year), I would have to go with the Spartans, simply because that is where my personal interests would be.

I'm just not a Viking fan.

Maybe it's because I'm not up on Viking history. That's usually what it takes with me. Give me a good book on Viking history, or some really Rockin' movie, and I'd probably start feeling that pull, the undeniable need to start setting up scenes in small scale plastic, and that somehow by doing that, I might glean an even better understanding of it all. Meh. I don't know. Where was I? Oh yea, killing time till Chicago. Or, simply killing time till this Sunday, as that is when Mr. Weston has said he would put up some information about some new sets coming from himself and Replicants. Specifically, test shots of the Mexican peasants (not to be confused with Mexican Pheasants). Rock on. I think it's high time someone did a complete set for civilians. I hope they turn out to be successful, as I would like to see civilians from other time periods done as well. Civil War era civilians, WWII European & Russian villagers, Western townfolk, ect. It's probably hard to sell non-military poses, but I sure wish more companies would give it a try.

New Italeri

I've been seeing some pictures of the newest Italeri figures popping up in a couple different places. They have a set of Mamelukes and Napoleonic British Infantry (The Green Jackets). Now, I've only seen pictures, but these look like some good poses. We'll have to wait and see what sort of scale we will end up with, but the poses look nice enough.

I love the sword bayonets used by the British Rifles. Their weapons look small, but I think they are supposed to, being a shortened style of rifle. The figures, as you probably know, are originaly from the 1/72 set, which had twice as many poses. For the most part, us 1/32 guys got most of the best poses. I would have liked to have seen the Officer figure included at the expense of the guy standing in an open stance or the marching figure, but oh well, can't win em' all.

The Mameluke set looks pretty awesome, and includes, if I'm seeing right, four different cavalry poses. Rock on. The figures have some awesome outfits on, and armed to the teeth. My only small complaint would be that I would have liked to have seen the other poses from the 1/72 set added in somehow. The trumpet blower and the standard bearer would look great in a setup, but in the end, I guess having more actual troopers is a better thing. I'd better stop before I start muttering nasty things under my breath about those lucky 1/72 guys.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Weston Gunfighters, Father's Day

I read on TSSD this morning that they have gotten a large supply of the Weston Gunfighters. And they are in a new color: Marx Cream. Good choice, as they will now go with the old Marx Cowboys, if they match up in size. I'm still holding out on ordering them hoping that I can lay my hands on one of the Apache figures at the show in Chicago.

I hope ya'll all had a nice father's day, if in fact it applied to you in anyway. Me and my dad went out car shopping... er, he was shopping, I was just drooling. Mustangs, Jeeps, Harleys... I'll take one of each, thank you. Nah, we was just havin' some fun. My gift to him were three new Britain Civil War figures sculpted by Ken Osen that I bought at a reenactment earlier this year. My dad really liked them and will most likely set them up in his office with the painted Conte Civil War figures he has. He says that he'll walk into his office sometimes, and all his figures will be moved around in a new configuration. His coworkers seem to enjoy toy soldiers too.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tim-Mee Fort West

We went out to some yard sales today. For the most part, nothing but junk. You know, cans of nails, beat up shoes, pink doors, toilets, ect. But I did manage to pick up a box playset from Tim-Mee called Fort West. It had the entire fort, a bunch of copied Airfix cowboys and Indians, and some fairly nice Tim-Mee horses with riders, both cowboys and Indians. Most of the accessories were missing, but it still had the hitching post and the watering trough, the cardboard teepee, and the cheapy green trees. I really like the fort. It fits together really well, unlike some other cheapo fort apache rip-offs I've gotten over the years. Much better than the new Marx version that came with MPC cavalry figures that was available a few years ago. That was junk, junk, junk. For $1.25, not a bad deal overall. I love yard sales.
Mrs. Mow Mow loves them too. She spent about 30 minutes in the box, and then decided to pose inside the fort when she saw the camera come out.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Barzso Alamo Accessories

Somebody help me out here. On the TSSD page, it says they picked up a few items from Ron Barzso at the Texas Show. The first item mentioned is a bagged set of Alamo Accessories #2. I don't think I've ever heard of such a bag of accessories. Is this something new he made especially for this show, a collection of old items cobbled together, or something that has been around forever that I just don't remember seeing before? And if it's set #2, where and what is set #1?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Sopranos Ending

Some of you may watch The Sopranos. The last episode aired this past Sunday, if you watched it, you know that it was an ending that is hard to shake, and even harder to fully understand. Radley Balko (political blogger) has one of the better explanations I've read. Bummer to see the series end, but I think it was a great ending.

New Hat Figures

I only have a few Hat sets, mostly because it pains me to buy a full set of figures and only get four different poses. Another reason is that they haven't done much in 1/32 for my particular eras of interest. But the poses always look good, and someday I will pick up the sets that I don't have. Their next couple sets look to be Gallic Warriors and Spanish Infantry. My grasp of history for these troops is non-existant, which means a trip to wikipedia later in the day to figure out what's up. I appreciate that Hat is getting back into the 1/32 market and showing off some of their master sculpts before the product is ready. Rock on.

A Variety of Soldierish Things

First off, run on over to the Conteco site and tell them what color you want the unpainted Spartans and Immortals in. For the Spartans, I would love to see the scarlet color. Seems to fit best in my opinion. For the Immortals, I have no opinion. In fact, I would like to see them in a variety of colors like some previous Conte troops. Still no word as to the contents of the Spartan playset. Hopefully that cat will get let out of the bag in the near future.

I'm not a metal guy so much, but I do appreciate them. Plus, I've always had a soft spot for the fantasy miniatures from the Reaper company. They mostly do mini (20mm?) figures for games such as Dungeons and Dragons. I used to play a bit and I always loved their line of miniatures. They have, in the recent past, done a few 54mm figures in white metal. It's a variety of sculpts, but a couple of them are pretty cool. My favorite, and one that I would consider buying, is the Monique DuNoir vampire. Rockin'. Anyway, for you Metal guys, thought that might be of interest.

Back to Conte for a second, you can see on the same page as the Spartan color options that they have restocked some of their older playsets including an FFL set and a Zulu set. Man, I'd love to pick them up, but I have to wait to see what is new at OTSN this year. If nothing new sparks my interest, I'll look into going back and picking up an out of production playset from either Conte or Barzso. But the chances of not seeing something new I want is slim to none if I had to guess.

Friday, June 8, 2007

If Only it was my Birthday...

I used to think I wanted a new Jeep, but I've got my eye on another beauty.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

News from the Conte Site

Whats Up!!

Skim on over to the Conte site to read the latest offerings from Mr. Conte. I love his continuing FAQ section. It's insightful, interesting, and full of great teases! ROMANS!!! I give that a big "RAWK ON"! Meh, I'm getting ahead of myself. Stow the Romans for now, I need some Spartans! I believe it is mentioned somewhere in there that the Spartans and Immortals are still scheduled for an 07' release. Bring it.

He spends the final paragraphs talking about Toy Soldier forums. From reading what he wrote, it sounds as if there are a LOT more Toy Soldier forums out there than what I know about. I'm registered over at the Hobby Bunker forum (my favorite!!), and I skim through the Treefrog Treasures one. There is one that's called Sarge's Militaria Forum Board, though I haven't visited in awhile, and not sure how active it is (there is a link to it on the LINKS page). The Plastic Warrior Magazine has a forum, though the last time I checked, not much was posted. And then there is the forum that you can link to from the MichToy website for ONTC, but it focuses on metal figures. Oh, and then there is the HAT forum, but the few times I've rambled through it, it seems to be held firmly by the 1/72 guys. So I'm curious as to what these other forums are that talk about 1/32 figures. He did name the Marx Yahoo Group, and it's always got good information, but since I only read the new messages on the actual group page instead of through my email, I can never see the pictures that get attached. I don't know if this is normal or if I have a setting messed up somewhere.

Changing topics, I found a random toy soldier mention the other day. One of the premier Alt-Country bands on the scene today, Two Cow Garage, mentions toy soldiers in their song "Come Back To Shelby". The song can be found on their new album "III" and on their myspace page. Dude, they rock.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Hey All,

Been busy for the last few days, including over the Holiday. Hope everyone had a good Memorial day. I spent mine out at Crown Hill cemetery in Indianapolis doing a cermony at Confederate Mound. The Confederate Mound is a collection of graves of those Southerners who died while imprisoned in Indiana during the Civil War. I've done it for the past 10 years, and it's probably one of the more meaningful reenactments we do.

I spent last Saturday and Sunday tucked away in a recording studio with my bandmates recording our first album. You can see pictures from the two days at our myspace page. I think you have to log in to see the pictures. Those that are interested, the album is slated for an early August release, and they will hopefully be available online in some fashion. If you like System of a Down (I don't), you'd like it. If you like Kris Kristofferson (I do), you probably won't like it.

On the toy soldier front, I'm mostly waiting for the pictures from the Texas show to start showing up online. Usually new items show up at shows, surprises of some sort, and I hope this one proves no different. I mean, it's pretty awesome when the news that Snape killed Dumbledore was leaked before Harry Potter 6, but you don't know what the next Barzso set is going to be until the release date. These guys know how to keep a secret. Uhhh, if I ruined a plot point for anyone right there, major apologies. I know, I'll title this entry with a Harry Potter spoiler warning. But seriously, if you haven't read book 6 yet, get with it man.

Ok, keep rockin', and I'll continue to keep an eye on the usual suspects for news on new stuff.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


An APB has been put out for "Manny The Poodle". Manny was seen by witnesses in the heinous act of first degree murder. He is about 1 foot tall, weighs 4 pounds, blonde, and goes by several aliases including "puppy", "mouser", and "that stupid dog". If you see him, do not try to apprehend him. He is fierce, remorseless, and unmerciful. Plus he has really pointy teeth.

Initial reports indicate that the victim was one Conte G.I. He was a decorated war hero with a perfect record of not falling over in a display. He will be missed by his unit and not easily replaced. Pictures of the crime scene can be found here (WARNING: Pictures contain graphic material of a plastic nature.)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tack Putty to Keep em' Standing

Conte's flag bearers are some of the nicest and most useful poses that came in their ACW sets. Wonderful sculpting, lots of detail, great flag motion, but dang it, after a few years of sitting on my shelf, they can't quite support themselves anymore. Both of these tip to the left and won't stand up. After some experimenting with different things, I've found that Elmer's Tack Putty works really well to fix them up. It's the blue stuff you hang posters with so that you don't have to use tape or push pins. Really cool stuff. Plus, you can remove it and reform it anytime you want. The only color I've found of it is blue, which works great for the Union figures. But I'd like to find a different color to work with the Confederate pose. Maybe a white would work if they don't make gray. But for now, it works, and gets these figures back into battle.

21st Century U.S. Mortar Team

This morning I picked up the 21st Century U.S. Mortar Team on a blister card at my local Wal-Mart for $10. Not a bad price for what you get. First, the good things. The officer figure molded to the base is really good. The base is fairly large had has a crate molded to it as well. Lots of detail and the figure is a nice "behind the front lines" pose. The next part is the bunker piece. Again, a wonderfully sculpted plastic bunker. Much smaller than the one that came with the German Mortar team, but very nice none the less. The two figures that are loading the mortar are nicely done, but unlike the German Figure set, the standing figure does not come with a detachable base. A mistake in my opinion, as he DOES NOT stand on his own. You have to use him with this particular bunker piece, or create a base from scratch. The German standing figure came with a circular base that you could attach him to. Also a downfall is the fragile mortar itself. While wonderfully sculpted, mine was snapped when I opened the package. A little glue will fix it, but I need to be careful, as the whole thing seems very fragile. The German mortar was the same way. Overall, for 10 bucks, you can't beat it. Doubt I will get the listening post set, as I already have the bunker piece and the figures are nothing I need.

Meeting Ken Osen

This weekend I participated in the Conner Prairie Civil War reenactment right here in Indiana. Really nice historical park that is set in 1836. This weekend the Union army fast forwarded to 1862 and occupied the town.

One of the dealers at the event was the W. Britain Company, and Ken Osen was running the booth. Ken Osen was the sculptor for many of the Conte sets and had a hand in many other aspects of our hobby on both the Plastic and Metal side. He has a wonderful lineup of figures at the W Britain company that are worth checking out if you do metal. I bought my first sets this weekend, and I love them. Anyway, I got to spend quite a bit of time talking to Mr. Osen, and he is just a fantastic guy, not to mention a very talented sculptor. For me, being WAY into this hobby, it's nice to be able to talk to one of the guys that actually makes these figures possible on the most basic of level. It's from his mind that these poses come, and that's just rockin'.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I woke up singing Boston songs today

It's a cold morning here in Indiana. Cold. Yup. Middle of May, had been gettin' around 85 degree weather, and now it's close to frosting - Eh, negate that word "close"... it did frost, I just looked out at my car. Bother.

I've been hearing that some guys have started to get the new TSSD figure sets, and the reviews have been mostly positive. There are some nice pictures of them over at the Hobby Bunker forum (registration req.) under the New Plastic Figures category. And now that these have been released, we can start making all sorts of wild guesstimations on what the next set will entail. According to their site, it's a civil war set, and it's going to be released in September. Hmm... what will it be... We know that TSSD likes to do original things as they have done in the past, such as the three sets with longcoats and the WWII heavy weapons team. For the civil War they have already done a nice grouping of charging Federals, some motley Confederates, and some federals in Greatcoats. What could be next... If I had my way, I would like to see a cannon crew of some sort. And now that they've shown they can make accessories (The heavy weapons team), I think they could throw in a cannon as well. Another request would be dismounted Union Cavalry. But, I bet this set will be Confederate since the last one was Union. Meh, I don't know. What do you think?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Saving Plastic Ryan

Now be honest. Do you have the next 7 1/2 minutes free? Nothing to do? If so, check out this clip of toy soldiers reenacting the last battle of the movie Saving Private Ryan. It's awesome, a little funny, but mostly just impressive. The creator uses mostly Airfix copies and Tim Mee figures, but also has some nice custom city landscaping. Very cool!

Conte Blog Page Update

Joe Baker, webmaster for Conte, has posted a new blog entry over at Conteco. I absolutely love the dioramas the guy is able to create. Now, I know there is some digital trickery going on, but man, these are some really good toy soldier shots. I wonder if he used plastics or metals for these latest WWII shots. The guy hanging out of the bell tower is awesome. I really like that stone wall he has too. Is that formtech? I know some of the rubble wall pieces are standard FoV accessories.

Anyway, the whole Conte site is filled with great pictures. I've used them for my computer backgrounds before. I got to talk to Mr. Baker for just a couple of minutes last year at Chicago during the Sunday show (the Conte table was VERY busy), and he seemed like a super nice guy. I can't wait to see what he does with the Plastic Spartans and Persians that are coming. Rock on!

Top 10 Star Wars T-Shirts

Ah, this was too good to pass up. Found via, this guy ranks the best Star Wars t-shirts of all time. I've only seen one of them before, and that's the "Han Shot First" design near the bottom. You can get that from A rockin' store that'll also outfit you in your favorite Penny Arcade gear. My two favorite are Metal Vader and Run R2 Run. Classic!!

21st Century German Mortar Team

I picked up this set for $10 at Wal-Mart last night. They had previously just had them in combined mini-playsets with a vehicle, the troop carrier I think. The American Mortar team came with a halftrack. Last night was the first time I had seen them on individual blister cards like that. They had the German Mortar team, the American Mortar team, and the American Listening post. I had all three of them in my hands and asked Stephanie which one I should get. She picked the German Mortar team because of the bunker it had with it, and I agree, it's an awesome piece to be found on a blister card in a Wal-Mart. Life is good when you can find stuff like this in the big stores.

I added the size comparison picture as well. From left to right is Airfix, Conte, TSSD, 21st Century (3 figs), Marx, and FoV. He fits in perfectly with TSSD, Marx, and FoV. He is of course taller than the Airfix figure, and I believe he would be just a smidge taller than the Conte fellow if they were both stretched straight. But he's a good fit all around, and it's nice to have a German Mortar figure. The Mortars seem to be gettin' some love these days. The TSSD set coming out, the Italeri set with their, um, mortars, and these 21st Century figures. Rockin'.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Plastic Battle of Thermopylae

I just read over at the Marx Playset group a letter from Mr. Conte. In it he states that he hopes to have the plastic Spartan Playsets out later this year, and the announcement of what is in them should be forthcoming. This is a playset I've been looking forward to for awhile. I'm assuming this will be a $300 playset, so I'm thinking to myself, what could they have inside this playset? Of course there will be Spartans. That is probably going to be the main focal point. Lots and lots of spartans. But what else will it have in it?

Playsets usually have walls, tanks, huts, animals, cannon, hedgerows, trees... so what sort of trimmings can a playset based on the Battle of Thermopylae have in it? The only thing I can think of is the Phocian Wall. And will this set have Persians in it, or simply the Spartans? To tell the truth, it's going to have to be something pretty awesome for me to pick up the playset. Not because I have anything against Conte's playsets, but rather they are just a little TOO NICE for my style. For example, the Omaha Beach playsets were AMAZING to look at, but I don't have much use for the metal landing crafts that came with them. I like my BMC landing craft. So... it will all depend on the contents of the playset on whether I spring for it or not. It will also have something to do with what else is available when it comes out. If it's planned for a OTSN release, it will probably go up against most likely a Barzso playset, and possibly other contenders should they choose to do a playset. I'm keeping my hopes up that this will be an awesome playset that is worth every penny. Unlike WWII figures, there is a NEED for multiple figures in the same pose. That's a personal view, I know, and some may disagree, but I don't need 4 German officers firing a pistol. But I will need 4 spartans thrusting a spear. Heck, I'll need 400 of them... err, maybe just 300 of em'. You know what I mean.

Hopefully the announcement will come sooner rather than later, so we can all start scrapping up our pennies in case it's one to have.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Free Apache Figure from Weston Toy Co.

Mr. Weston has concieved of a clever marketing idea. He is offering a free Apache figure with the purchase of the gunfighter set, but the catch is, you must buy them at a show. The free figure won't be available over the phone or internet, just at shows. I like these types of things. Thinking outside of the box just a bit. Good deal. I'll most likely already have the set by the time Chicago rolls around, but hey, might just buy another set in order to get the figure if he still has them by then. I wonder if this is the "8th" figure of the 7 figure gunfighter set. (hold on ya'll, here goes me talking about stuff i don't know anything about!!!) So, I reckon if a mold has enough room for 7 guys, then it might just have room for an 8th guy, and modern sets such as TSSD have come with an even 8 guys. So I'm assuming this guy was thrown in as well, not sculpted as a cowboy to keep the magic number of seven, and now offered free to those who can make it to shows. Again, guessing on all that, but makes sense, and if it's true, I think it rocks.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Drive, the Television Show

I'm still hurting over the cancellation of this show. But FOX is throwing us a bone. The last two episodes will air back to back on the 4th of July at 8/7 central. If you have any interest, you can watch the first four episodes on the Drive Myspace page. Rockin' show. I give it the "Plastic Battalion Quality Watchin' Guarantee". And man, not a whole lotta many shows get that!

New TSSD Set and Converting Ideas

I saw on the TSSD website that their new Fire Support set has arrived, and I suppose available for order. Excellent. And the sitting guy, you can pick him up seperately. Hmm... I'm not one for converting my figures too much, but here is a guy that you could do a lot with... if only I had the imagination. I reckon he could be sitting with an M1, maybe cleaning it, or just sitting there with it. You could get four of them, a table, and say they were playing cards, or looking at a map. Could you find a little pipe to give him, make it look like he's smoking? Or put a little puppy dog in his hands like he was petting it? Lots of options if you're talented enough with a straight edge.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Weston Gunfighters

Hey All!! TSSD has some new pictures (scroll down just a bit) up of the Weston Gunfighter set. Shows em' in pretty good detail. Some really good poses, but I have a question on one of them. There is one that is holding something in his right hand... what is that? Is that a bottle? is it a pistol? I can't quite tell. If you know, post it in the comments. Looks like they will be selling for $20 bucks a bag, and two other sets are in the works to be released later this year. Rock on. I'm looking forward to the peasant set. When I first read that awhile back, I misread it as a "village pheasant" set. I was like, "Pheasants??!!" Well, I guess every village needs some crazy pheasants running around.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Highway 38 Yardsales

After lunch today, Stephanie and I are heading east to hit the annual Highway 38 Yardsales. Yardsales and garage sales always seem to be better luck for me than Antique malls. Always cheaper, more stuff, cooler knick-knacks, and fun to talk to the people. I'll let ya know if I find anything. Before we leave I have to mow the lawn. Man, I hate mowing the lawn. And this year, we fertilized it!!! I have to mow it like every four days now!!! GAHHHH!!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Zizzle Me Timbers

I couldn't resist anymore and I got myself some of the Zizzle Pirates of the Caribbean figures. Not only did I get the four pack, but I also got the Zizzlingers... or whatever they're called. They're the ones that come in the stuff that boils to reveal the figures. Blah, I just tore em out of the pack and made a big mess in the process. Powder stuff everywhere! Anyway, I snapped some pictures...

The above are the four you get in a pack, much like the Star Wars Unleashed Battle Packs that are available. I really like the Jack Sparrow pose, and the guy in the blue vest. The parrot guy is pretty good too. As far as useful in an actual setup, the little guy with the crazy gun is kind of worthless, and I can't tell what his base is supposed to be. But I'm sure kids would love them, and since that's who they are made for, I won't throw too many stones.
The next picture is a comparison of one of the above figures, one of the stellar Barzso pirates, and one of the better figures I got in the "boil em" set. The "boil em" sets are sold as mystery sets. You get 2-3 figures in each set, and the object is to collect all of them. I believe they are no longer being made, so if you're interested and you see them, better buy now. Anyway, here is the picture.

As you can see, the Zizzle Pirate on the left of the picture might be a little tall for 54mm, but not enough to really get all bent out of shape over. The Zizzle pirate on the right ("boil em" figure) is obviously a bit smaller, has no action, and has a crumby paint job. The paint job won't be an issue after I paint him a solid color to match the rest of my guys, and since he is a regal looking fellow, it's appropriate he isn't lunging or jumping, so in my opinion, this guy actually works. I've seen all the figures in the set, and there are some I would really like to get.

I was inspired to get me some of these zizzle figures after reading about them in the latest Plastic Warrior Magazine. Great read all the way through. Highly Suggested if you're into such things and can read.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Almost forgot what today was...

Bet you didn't know that right before the Battle of Hoth, Darth Vader pwned some Germans stationed on the other side of the planet....

I Feel An Order Coming On....

I'm just not sure what I want the most. There are so many cool things out right now, or coming soon. WHAT DO I GET? Definitley getting me some of the new TSSD figures. No question there. TSSD has gone above and beyond in their sculpting, pose selection, and quality. And that applies to ALL their sets.

But then I get sort of stuck. I really want to get the new Gunfighter set, but my collection suffers from a lack of Cowboys... so it would be like starting a whole new area of collecting. But being the first set of figures from a company, these are, from a collector's point of view, "Must-haves". Plus the church piece they have done with it looks awesome. If I don't get all the other pieces, I'll definitley get the church.

Italeri... A favorite of the hobby store. You walk into a model shop, you know you won't find Conte, CTS, AIP, ect., but you will almost always find Italeri. And that's a good thing for the Toy Soldier market. But the last few sets they have done, while cool, feel a tad expensive to me. $22 for the new German and Russian sets... ouch. And from reviews I've read elsewhere, these won't be the greatest sets. Sure, a few good poses, but for the most part, fairly static. Plus the plastic color is awful!

And then there are the new 21st Century and FoV sets. I'll probably break down and buy these at some point, assuming they don't disappear from Wal-mart and Target too quickly. I really like the new FoV set with the captured Germans. Fun fun. A good coat of green and gray paint, and they'll fit right in with my running battles in my room.

It's actually strange... there has been a LOT of new product coming out lately. It's a good time to be a collector.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Fox, you're breaking my heart

I discovered my new "favorite show", only to find out that it had already been cancelled... after 9 days. The show was so good, I'll still suggest seeing it, even if you already know that it ends without an ending, never to be picked back up. The show is called Drive, and it played on FOX. It's about cars. Fast cars, slow cars, and rockin' cars. It has Nathan Fillion from Firefly/Serenity in it, and I can't say enough good things about the 4 episodes that are available. You can watch them for free (and legal) here. The final two episodes filmed will air later this summer according the official FOX website.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Reisler of Denmark

Here are a few shots of the Reisler figures. You can tell they are old style figures, but I think several of the poses mix in perfectly with other brands, including the newer stuff. And it's always nice to have more medical poses.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hollywood vs. History

I got an Osprey Publishing Newsletter today. In it was a link to a great article by Dr. Kaveh Farrokh about the movie 300 and how it differs from actual history. I'll be the first to admit, I liked the movie, and yes, I know it was way off base historically speaking, but it is nice to hear an academic talk about the faults. A lot of insight into the armies of Iran, their culture, and their point of view on the invasion of Greece. Very good good reading. It's a .pdf file so you'll need Adobe Reader.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Quick Barzso Link

I noticed that Ron Barzso has his new Hacienda Pieces up on his website. I can't stress enough how nice these are. Very Rockin' stuff.


Ok, so, I know it's been awhile. BUT IT'S BEEN FOR GOOD REASON!!! you know, video games, tv, and rockin' out every saturday night. all good reasons. But here I am again, and I do have some things to talk about. First off, I saw that the new Italeri Germans and Russians are available from a few vendors (maybe all of them by now). I'm going to get me some... soon. Also, next time you're in wal-mart, or the like, look for the 54-60mm pirates. They are very much like the Star Wars Unleashed battlepacks. 4 plastic figures all painted up. Slap a coat of paint on them and hopefully they'll blend in with the rest of my pirates. And dude, new Forces of Valor sets. Not my favorite figures, but the new poses are unique, and they are sculpted a tad differently. Haven't seen em' up close and personal yet, so can't give many details.

I also, just the other day, had a friend send me some items including a set of the Reisler WWII figures. Not real familiar with their history, but neat little poses. My wife found the nurse pose and asked for it for her sewing room. My friend also sent me a Marx Navarone Mountain along with the box. Most of the pieces were all there, which is pretty cool. I've got plans for it...

So, assuming I can pull myself away from the video games and the tv (Thank goodness the Sopranos is only on once a week!!), I should be able to jump back into the toy soldiers. Rock on.

Friday, March 30, 2007

300: A Review

Last night I went with three good friends to see the movie 300. I'm a bit late in going to see it, and most of you have probably already gone, but here goes my review anyway:

Over-the-top, impossibly fantastical, historically wrong, gratuitous in all regards, stylized beyond belief, and by far, one of my favorite movies that I've seen in a long, long time. Please don't think you're going to walk away from this movie with a history lesson. This movie is an unabashed tribute to the legend of Sparta. The Battle of Thermopylae, having been fought so long ago, is shrouded in myth, and some even question whether the battle even happened, though I think the current scholarly consensus is that it did indeed happen at the "hot gates". But again, for this movie, none of that matters. This is a story, a darn good story, and kept me glued to my chair the whole time. It's a masculine movie, no doubt there. These aren't the "fancy lad" Greeks you may have heard about. These guys live for battle, kill with glee, ignore maiming wounds, and die with a smile on their face.

So if you go and see it, I suggest leaving your history book at home. This is Tolkien meets Rambo, and it's not a good day to be a Persian. And that brings me to one other thing. I've read a lot about it being a metaphor for our current worldly situation. Well, I don't know about that. I take it more as a guys movie simply being a guys movie, though I know several girls that have liked it. But yes, I see the connections to today's wars and conflicts, but while I was watching it, that never crept into my mind.

I give it a 10 out of 10. And man, I hate most movies. The last three movies I've watched have been The Wild Bunch, James Bond's Casino Royale, and 300. Violence, mayham, and a strange sense of ethics. Loved em' all.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Emhar Vikings

I just saw on the last Michtoy newsletter that the Emhar Vikings were back in stock. I never got these, as I was a little worried that they were going to be 1/35 rather than 1/32. Also, I wasn't totally pleased with the plastic they used to make their WWI figures. Now, don't get me wrong, WWI figures of any sort are a welcome addition, but the plastic just didn't do it for me. So if anyone already has them, let me know what you think of them. I might get lucky and find them in stock at my local hobby store. They still carry the WWI sets.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New AIP Russians

Armies in Plastic is going to be releasing new AIP Napoleonic Russians scheduled for the end of April. I missed their last set of Russians, but hope to add them sometime. Now, a lot of guys might not like AIP because of their style, but for me, they make excellent line troops. You know, the guys that need to be there just to fill out the table... or as we sometimes call them, cannon fodder. I like em'. Do they command attention like Conte, TSSD, or Barzso... not really, but there they are, the forgotten figures that you can field an army of and not go broke. Plus, they cover some really cool topics that nobody else does. So Rock on AIP.

More of Mexico

This Barzso stuff is AWESOME. I snapped these pictures this morning. The colors and the texture of the buildings just make it come to life. These pictures don't really do it justice, but trust me, this is great stuff. And you should have seen the Buena Vista display they had at the Indy Show. It was huge!! When I got there, there were about 10 kids crowded around it picking out figures. I guess they were allowing kids to take a figure of their choice from the board. I didn't ask the age limit, but I assumed I didn't fit the bill. ;)

Ok, here is a question for you plastic experts out there. Conte's Alamo Defenders... rockin' figures, but dangit, all of mine are a bit warped and bent. I tried to boil em' and put back into shape, but they refused to comply. Any secrets on how to shape these guys up, or am I just out of luck?

I owe a few emails today to a few of you, and I should have a little free time later, so look for something from me if I've been silent on the email for awhile. Rock on'.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Self Promotion

I know most of you faithful readers won't care, but this Saturday, Rotovox (my rockin' sockin' band) will be taking the stage at Birdy's in Indianapolis. I probably do the least of all the guys to promote our shows, so this is for them. So come, bring a friend, bring some soldiers, we'll set them up on the bar and have mini skirmishes between the bands. It'll be awesome. The above picture was taken at the Rock Lobster a couple weekends ago. I'm in the hat and Aaron is on the left side. I've found that if I make strange faces while I play, and grit my teeth, people think I'm a really good guitar player... suckers.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Indy Show, The Goods...

Give me a couple days to do a full write up of the Indy Show, but for now, you can check out some of what I managed to pick up. Included are several of the reworked Barzso pieces including the new Hacienda piece. When it's all put together it makes a stunning enclosure.

Forgive the pictures, I didn't take the time to crop them or edit them in anyway. I'm too busy playing with my new stuff. Other additions included the Barzso small pirate boat/canoe thing. Some Conte Mexicans, some Conte Alamo Defenders, some Conte FFL, Butternut and Blue Confederates, the Barzso Mule Train, and some Formtech wall pieces.

I got to meet a lot of cool people, some that I recognized their names from forum boards, email lists, ect. But again, I'll write more about it all at length after I get done playing a bit. Rock on ya'll.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Wild Bunch

Dude, I watched the movie The Wild Bunch last night. Never seen it before. Geez... That is one AWESOME movie. Now, I don't like a lot of movies. I'm pretty critical. Something has to be pretty darn good to take up 2 hours of my time. But man, when those guys were walking down that street towards the final shootout... chills man, chills. Plus, I'm from a generation that has seen it all. Sin City, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill... but this movie outdid them all. There was emotion involved instead of just pure shock value violence. Now all I need is for someone to make some WWI G.I.s, wait for those new cowboys from Steve Weston, and get that TSSD .30 cal machine gun. And a train. I need a train.

My next movie is going to be The Magnificent Seven. Nope, never seen it. I know, culturally deprived. I've been on a western kick lately. So, what other classics have I missed? I've seen all the Clint Eastwood westerns, some of the John Wayne flicks. What other classics do I need to watch?

Speaking of movies, my friend Myles told me that he got to see 300. I asked him if he liked it, and his words were "It PUMPED me up!!". He said it made him want to walk around stabbing people and scream "I AM SPARTA". Now that's a good review.

The Indy Show!!!!!

I'm not going to be able to go to the room trading. One of my friends is getting married this weekend, but I'll be at the show on Sunday. My dad has always gone with me, and last year my wife joined us. But this year, my MOM is actually going as well!!! Toy soldiers... bringing the family together. I think it's become popular with the fam because we've made it a tradition to hit the Cheese Cake factory afterwards. I never buy because my budget is totally spent by noon.

But yea, it's a really great show, and not just because it's only 30 minutes from me. Lots of plastic, lots of good dealers, Ron Barzso is going to be there, Spirit of 76' is usually there giving away coupons, and it's a nice place to wander around and look at toys. Plus, it's in a really nice part of Indy with plenty of food options and shopping. So, anybody going?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Sewing Invasion Continues

Not only the wife with her sewing utensiles, but now the cat has decided that the table makes a wonderful napping area. Some serious tactical maneuvering is going to be required to reestablish control over the area.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ever been to Mars?

This is super cool. It's a panoramic of Mars that makes you feel like you're standing on the surface turning in a circle. I love this kind of thing.

My room is being taken over tonight

You see, I have this rockin' table. My wife told me the other day that I better be glad that the table is a bit beat up, or it would be hers. But tonight she's having her cousin over and they need a place to cut out material for some aprons they are sewing up. So guess where they are going to be working. My "War Room" is going to have purple sewing machines, dress patterns, pin cushions, bobbins, and all sorts of other things in it. Hmph... Well, I suppose I can give up my table for a night... I'll see if I can snap a few pictures of them hanging out with the toy soldiers tonight.

Pricing for new TSSD

TSSD posted the pricing for their new G.I.s. Looks like they will be $22 a bag, a couple dollars higher than their previous sets, though their previous sets didn't include weapon pieces of any sort, so its all good. You can bet that I've got $22 dollars burning a hole in my pocket for these guys. In fact, I'm a bit more excited about the 4 longcoat G.I.s than I am the heavy weapons guys, but that is just where my own particular interests lie I suppose.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

New from Italeri via MTS

Michigan Toy Soldier's website has a nice overview of the new Italeri figures coming out this year. The Mamelukes will make an interesting figure set, assuming they are well done. They have quite a history to them. Of course all of us WWII collectors should be happy about the two new figure sets and the two heavy weapon kits coming out. Most of us probably already have the 21st Century PAK 40, but the Russian AT gun will make a nice addition. They both come with crew, though I've yet to see how many or what they look like.

More Comparisons

For your viewing pleasure, I've set up four similar german poses from four different brands. You can probably ID them for yourself, but in case any of them are unfamiliar, we have, from left to right: TSSD, 21st Century, Conte, and Forces of Valor. I've painted both the 21st Century and the FoV to match my other figures.

One of the most obvious differences I see is that the 21st Century figure is a bit more spindly and has a bit longer neck than the rest of them. At first glance, you almost think he's 1/35 scale, but in a comparison like this, you can see that he actually is up to 1/32.

Another thing I notice is the good movement sculpting in all of them. To my eye, they all look very realistically posed. They are all animated nicely, and none have that "tin soldier" feel to them.

The three figures on the left of the picture carry the MP40 submachine gun. The Conte and 21 Century guns look very similar, but the TSSD looks a bit longer, a bit more heavier, and to my untrained eye, a bit more in scale. Now, forgive my lack of knowledge, but having only held an MP40 a handful of times, I can't say which is more accurate.

The FoV figure is, by large, the most muscular of them all. And here, that's not too much of a problem since he's carrying the MG34. You'd have to be pretty built to be waggin' that thing around all day. But unfortunately, the entire series of the WWII FoV have the same muscular build, leaving them a little "odd" looking... almost, well, chubby at times. Painting them a solid color, covering up the flesh colored paint, seems to remedy this just a bit.

I think a lot of people don't like to mix brands like this, but I think once you've matched them in color close enough, they work fine together.

New TSSD Figure Set in Detail

Everything you might want to know about the new set coming out. Personally, I think it looks like it's going to be a great set, and I hope it sells really well for them. Those weapons look simply amazing, and I'm glad they went the extra mile to make them these figures and accessories so good. Also make sure to read the whole thing. Very good look into the whole process of figure making.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Laws of Gravity

So, uh, how is this supposed to work? Pretty rockin' hand-to-hand sculpt. No clue how it will support itself, but I'm not a metal collector, so chances are I'll never have to worry about it. Though I've told my wife, and probably a few of you, if I ever, EVER, decided to go down that metal road, these Conte Spartans are what would do it. Oh, and speaking of Spartans, my plans to go see 300 fell through tonight. Stephanie is feeling a tad under the weather, so I'm staying home with her and spending the evening on the couch eating ice-cream and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (yea, no need to shed any tears for me). I'll probably go see it either Saturday, Sunday, or possibly catch an afternoon showing this coming week, if I can wriggle my way out of work one day.

New CTS Hedgerows

Anyone that ever played Call of Duty multiplayer, the map with all the hedgerows, will appreciate this (54mm) ">new piece from CTS. It's said to be modular, made up of 8 pieces, and when all put together will be 27'' by 27''. Cool. Instead of making a square with it though, I would probably be more interested in buying all the straight pieces to simply make a line across a board with it. I wonder how tall it is. Wish they had put in a figure to show scale.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Quick Comparison

I've been busy with my green paint lately. I've been coating several of my 21st Century guys in a nice forest green to make them match the rest of my troops. I was worried how they would look lined up against the other brands like Conte and TSSD, but overall, I think it worked out pretty good. The details and sculpting are really clean, and the facial expressions are superb. Plus, they offer a wide variety of poses that deviate from the regular standing firing, kneeling firing, ect. I made the choice to NOT paint the base, which I may go back and revisit later. But right now, I'm happy with it.

More Previews from TSSD

TSSD posted a couple more pictures from their upcoming G.I. set. Here and here. I like the winter coats. Very cool. And the mortar piece itself is very well done, better than what we have been using. I'm curious as to how these will be packaged. You think we will get two mortars and two machine guns per bag? Or you think we will only get one pose of each of the heavy weapons guys, and the set will be rounded off with the mortar piece and the machine gun piece?

They also have posted over there that they only have 1 Tarawa playset left. Wow, that sold out quick. With it selling out so fast, hopefully that will encourage more playsets in the future. I myself didn't get the Tarawa playset. It was a nice set, just not what I was looking for at the time. The beach pieces looked nice, but I didn't feel like I needed anymore vehicles. I plan to someday pick up the ruined Sherman piece along with the two smaller beach pieces.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Via Steve Weston's site

Check it out, according to Steve Weston's website, the new Italeri Russians and Germans should be arriving this week. He also has a nice picture of one of the new TSSD figures. Plus, he says that his new Mexican peasants are done being sculpted and on their way towards production. Good news all around. I'm especially excited about the Italeri Russians and Germans. Anything Eastern Front is welcome in my collection. Hopefully someone will have the two new Italeri sets at the Indy Show coming up.

Ebay Seller Worth Watching

I posted this on the old site, but it bears repeating. Keep an eye on vidterry over at Ebay. He's selling off a lot of good stuff for even better prices. Right now, mostly Barzso and TSSD, including a couple of complete playsets and reverse color sets. More figures, books, and who knows what else are likely to follow. Rock on, and good hunting.

And from the other corner...

Who could have thought a Wednesday morning would have had such an interesting beginning. TSSD has posted a rebuttal of sorts in defense of their Alamo piece. After the bit about Nick talking about his love for the Alamo, you think we may see some TSSD Alamo figures someday? I think it would be a great idea, and they have my vote. WAIT, dang it, I just said in one of the previous posts that I'm not an Alamo guy. Well, it probably wouldn't take much to convert me.

300, the Movie

Ok guys, I'm going to see it this Friday with some buddies. While I was at work yesterday, I heard two guys talking about it, saying it was one of the best films they had seen. Good sign since one was a history teacher and the other a preacher. I know that it doesn't follow history, but man, this is the stuff of legends, and it should be interesting to see it presented as such. A complete, over the top, bigger than life, epic, almost wishful thinking history piece. Now, I haven't seen it, but that is how I envision it. So, have you seen it, and what do you think?

Whoops, posted a bit too soon, more Conte

There is another picture up on the Conte Preview page. It's a Persian archer. Looks good, and yes, I've got this tiny candle of hope that these are previews of the plastic figures and that they will be available this year.

Conte FAQ updated, mentions TSSD and new Persians

Ok ok, so it's mostly talking about METAL Spartans and Persians, but us plastic guys can hold out hope that somewhere, floating in the murky shadows behind the fine pewter, are the plastic sets. Anyway, it shows a nice picture of one of the sculpted persians. And that's all good and interesting, but for us gossip hounds, it gets real interesting once he starts talking about his Alamo plans and the piece that TSSD just put out.

I would applaud both companies for tackling the same subject, or any subject for that matter. As far as 1/32 is concerned, we should really be happy with ANYTHING from ANYBODY. Options are something that we don't have a lot of in this hobby, so two alamo pieces that are similar is a good thing in my book. Granted, I'm not really an Alamo guy, so my dog ain't in this fight.

Monday, March 12, 2007

In Case You Missed It, New TSSD

Ok, so, here we are, it's like starting over again. Blah, but anyway, in case you missed my previous ramblings on the old page, TSSD has some pictures up of their new set. It looks like some winter coat G.I.s plus a heavy weapons team. Looks like good stuff. You can see them here and here. Those were links to some pictures that TSSD posted from the West Coast show.

Hey Look, New Site!!

Well, the old site was giving me problems, and from what I could find out, it probably wasn't going to go away. Too bad. So, here I am, on another free blog site, making sure to give you your daily (well, almost daily) toy soldier goodness. Give me a few days, and I'll come up with a banner of some sort, you know, with a toy soldier on it. Cause I'd hate for people to NOT know what this page was about. Actually, this is going to be a lot better. There will be a search feature, I can give tags to my posts, and the HTML isn't going to go all CrAzY on me when I try to edit it. Ok ya'll, rock on.