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.