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.