Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Osprey Men-At-Arms Book

I gotta tell ya, this book I got is awesome. Almost 400 pages of color plates, the ones that Osprey is known so well for. It's a big, heavy hardcover book with a nice slipcase. Amazon has it for a pretty good price, and you never know, keep an eye on it, and you might be able to grab it for a discount at some point. But it's just awesome. Got me reading about all sorts of historical time periods I'd never been interested in before.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Taken... again

I've been taken, abducted if you will, by the evil snare of video gaming once again. It happens sometimes. The toy soldiers start to gather dust, the shiny new parts of my collection don't seem so shiny, and I don't even bother to pick up the latest troops knocked over by the cat. All I can think about is getting back on this confounded computer to continue my journey as The Witcher. (beware, hide your children, it's rated M, which stands for "More Fun Than You Should have on a Computer")

But seriously, and I know most of you probably don't fall into the video game playing demographic here, but this is the most awsomest... yes, it's a word... awsomest game ever. No kidding. I almost thought about skipping the Colts game this past Sunday to keep playing. I didn't, but I THOUGHT ABOUT IT, and that's the scary part.

Anyhoo... so what you think about this new picture on the Conte site?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Haul

As you can see, my Christmas turned out pretty well. The first picture is of three buildings from Hobby Bunker, Hand-painted by my wife. I have no idea when she had time to do it, but it was a surprise!! The second picture is of course the Barzso Fort Boonesborough.
I also got the new Osprey Men-At-Arms 4oth Anniversary book, full to the brim of color plates. Possibly the best book ever put into publication.
Hope all your Christmas days were wonderful. Rock on.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Hope this season finds you someplace warm and comfortable, in the company of friends and family. And if you've been really good, maybe there will even be a company of reenforcements under your tree.

(and if you ain't been good, it may be a good idea to start setting up a special operations team to go out and find some reenforcements for New Years!)

The Cost of Business

Here's an article from Yahoo news about the cost of creating toys with today's safety regulations. These "safety" regulations are becoming a problem not just for big name companies, but also small production companies, and that includes all of our favorite toy soldiers that have anything to do with overseas production. I would imagine TSSD, Conte, possibly Hat, Italeri, and Imex have to deal with this when making their plastic toy soldiers.

May be a rough road ahead for awhile.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Invaded by Silver

As you can see, my silver spartans showed up. Again, I can't say enough good things about these figures. Sculpting, posability, the fact that they are Spartans..., can't really go wrong.

One thing to be careful of, if you haven't already found out. The wrists on these guys are a bit fragile. I snapped off two only seconds after they had come out of the package. And one guy has a perpetually floppy shield arm.

I haven't attempted to switch arms for fear of ruining more of them, though I'm dying to try.

I wonder, none of my red ones have even thought about breaking, but the silver ones, they snapped right out of the package, and a couple more are just a twist away from permanent separation. Wonder if the color somehow affects the strength of the plastic, or if I just got really lucky with my red ones, or really unlucky with my silver ones.

Please don't let that warning stop you from buying them though. Wonderful figures, and the small breaks are nothing that a little superglue can't take care of.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

News article about Roman Battle Site

Saw this on Yahoo news and thought it was interesting. It's an article about a previously unknown battle between Romans and Germanic Tribes. Has an interesting picture slideshow along with it. Makes you wish a toy soldier maker would really delve into this part of history.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A glimpse into Ancient Greece

I bet you didn't know that the ancient Greeks were one of the first cultures to build adobe buildings... and there were palm trees everywhere... and they collected Aztec monuments to decorate the outsides of their adobe forts. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Birthdays galore

Stephanie's birthday is in December, and mine is in January. For her birthday, this past weekend we went up to see Harry Connick Jr.'s Christmas Show. I have to admit, it was pretty awesome. That guy can sure put on a show. We saw him at the Chicago Theater and stayed at the Hard Rock hotel on Michigan Avenue. It was a fun little trip for us, though I could have done without the six-story Macy's building. Lord help me if I ever get caught in that behemoth again.

For my birthday, I'm picking up for myself a few more of the Conte spartans. If you zip on over to Ebay, you can pick up a set of 12 cards, including each of the different sets, in silver, for $150. These are being sold by Conte.


I got the latest from TSSD on Friday. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful figures. I love that they went with something a bit more unique, because, let's face it, Civil War has been done a lot. Not saying we can't use more, but it's nice to see some "colorful" poses being offered up. My favorite of the set, and possibly one of my new favorite poses is the kneeling figure firing a pistol. The motion of the figure is apparent immedietly. And of course the wounded figures are much appreciated. I know some people find them a bit of a waste, but for me, a scene simply isn't finished till it has some casualties.

I took a few pictures of a western scene that included a few of the newest figures and posted them to my flickr page.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fiddlin with the decor

Seems to be a fairly quiet time for toy soldiers lately, so I'm playing with colors a little bit. So, if you show up, and it's like bright purple or something, don't worry, just trying out some new things.

I'm looking forward to getting the new TSSD CW figures. Plus, I'm keeping tabs on the updates at the Hat page and their latest 1/32 previews. I haven't ordered the new Weston Cav figures yet, but if santa doesn't leave em' under my tree, I'll put in an order after Christmas.

AIP, which I don't mention very often, does have some new figures coming out. I haven't gotten anything from them since their WWI figures (which are still the mainstay for WWI collecting). But they do have some new Napoleonics coming out soon.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Restock of 21st Century

I don't know what this means, but my Wal-mart recently got in a few more 21st Century items. Mostly some of the old boxed mini-playsets, but at least they are still getting new things in.

My wife told me today that she wants a train set to put around the Christmas tree!! Awesome! Should be fun... I'll make sure to get as close to 1/32 scale as I can so that I can have some fun with them too!

Lookin for a Deal?

Michigan Toy Soldiers is having a 20% off sale on everything in the store. Heck yea! You better let your Santa know soon, as the sale ends after Monday. I got my order in already. Rock on.

I also put my order in for the new TSSD figures a few days ago. I reckon they should be showing up soon. I'll post some pictures when they get here, though you can see some pictures all over the TSSD site.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

21st Century @ Wal-mart, or lack thereof

I've been reading on various boards about the Wal-mart not offering new 21st Century items anymore. I don't know anything besides what I have read in various places, but it sure seems that my local Wal-Mart hasn't restocked any 21st Century items in several months. They recently updated most of their toy shelves including Star Wars, Hot Wheels, G.I. Joe, and even Barbies... don't ask how I know that. The point is, the rumors seem to have some truth to them. Bummer.

I hope to be able to get to my local Super Target to see what they have. Last time I went, they had some 21st Century figures in the new colored boxes done specially for Target. I'm curious if they have added anything new.

Rock on.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


A good friend of mine is selling his entire CTS Alamo, and he's looking for a buyer who will give it a good home. He's offering it up "at a price well below what it sells for". I've bought some items from him before, and he's a straight up guy to deal with. If interested, you can email me and I'll forward you along, or you can email him directly.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bargain Hunting on Ebay

You can find some individual packs of Conte Spartans listed for 16.99, sold by Conte Collectibles through ebay here. I might go for some of the Bronze sets, or maybe wait and see if some silver sets show up there. I might also pick up a couple of his other single color pewter figures. The civil war ones I got awhile back are super nice, and I might spring for a couple of the alamo sets.

Colts vs. Steelers

Alright, I live in Indiana, so it's obvious I'm a Colts fan. Nice to know they dig me a little too.

Indystar.com used a track I played guitar on with my former band Rotovox on a video that features pictures from the Colts/Steelers game. Pretty cool.

I'm not in Rotovox anymore, but they are still out there rocking. Feel free to check em' out at www.myspace.com/rotovox.

Mark WOW Vikings

Hey All,

Just got back from Atlanta, GA. Was at Nash Farm for a reenactment there. Hey, I thought it was always warm in Georgia!! What the deal with all that cold weather?!? Fun time though!

My awesome Aunt-in-Law picked up some Marx figures for me at a flea market. She had no idea what they were, just knew that I dug little plastic soldiers. She got me a few MPC Russians, a lone Marx German, and some hard plastic painted Marx Warriors of the World figures. There are four of them, and three of them are broken. I couldn't find my digital camera, so tried using my computer's camera, which isn't very good. But here they are:

Too bad they are busted like that. Anybody know of a place where I could get some recasts of these in unpainted soft plastic?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lazy Sundays

Another Lazy Sunday, filled with Football, Wii Baseball, and painting. You can see here the latest paint jobs attempted by me. I'll be the first to claim "laziest painter" title, but I thought these two turned out ok. I got these from TSSD at the Chicago show. Not sure the original maker. Hobby Bunker, Conte?? If anybody knows the origins of these pieces, I'd love to know.

Hope everybody had a good Halloween. I didn't know I needed a costume, but at the last minute Stephanie decided we were going to a Halloween party. We raided our closests and came up with enough stuff to put together a couple costumes for ourselves.

Friday, October 31, 2008

For the Michigan Guys

Check out the event going on at Michigan Toy Soldier. I was way impressed when I met Ken Osen a few years ago. Super nice guy, and very open to talking to collectors. Sounds like it would be a fun time, if I lived closer.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Napoleonics from Hat

Here's something to keep you Napoleonic fans enticed. Hat has released some photos of their test shots for their new French Light Infantry set. I'm wondering, are those packs plug-ins? Not sure a release date yet, but with test shots available, it can't be too long hopefully.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Conte Sale

If you are needing any of the older plastic Conte sets, you can now pick them up at 50% off. That's a great deal. Not sure what they have in stock, but really, at that price, any of his sets would be worth picking up. Looks like 30% off his in-stock playsets.

I love seeing updates on the Conte site. I would love them even more if they would mention something about Plastic Persians. Or even a mention about some Greek scenic pieces.

Hopefully, Hat will post some test shots of their upcoming Persian Immortals soon. Hat is obviously not in the same style of 54mm as Conte, but that's never bothered me so much. I just mix em' all up and have a good time with em'.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Texas Show

Hey all!

There are some tentative plans on the TSSD main page about the 2009 Texas Show. I don't think anything is set in stone yet, but they are looking for feedback, so let Nick know what ya think. Nick and his wife Deanna are great people, and I fully plan on being at the Texas show this year.

FYI, the Barzso website has been updated to include the new Daniel Boone playset and Fort along with the Fortefied Abbey to go with the Castle system.

My apologies for not posting so much. But it's not for lack of toy soldier interest. I will let ya know, there are probably going to be some changes and additions to this website, possibly some major ones. You just never know what I'ma gonna get into. Is that cryptic enough for ya?

Rock on, ya'll

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Imex Finally!

Hey Ya'll,

TSSD has an announcement up on their website about Imex finally releasing their Alamo Mexicans within the next few weeks!! Those figures have been under the "Coming Soon" heading forever it seems. My only concern is the type of plastic that will be used. If they are going to be done like the last Confederates, in a very stiff, fragile plastic, it'll be hard to justify the purchase. Hopefully they go back to the hard, but still durable plastic of their first Civil War figures.

It looks like there will be Infantry as well as Cavalry. Those of you who dig the Alamo (and I know there are a few of you), will be grateful for more Mexican poses I'm sure, especially of mounted figures.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Identity Theft

We've been struck!! Somebody decided to buy a new Dell Computer. Personally, I wouldn't have gone with Dell, unless it was the XPS M1730. It actually looks pretty good!! Anyway, whoever thought they needed this new computer decided to do it under my wife's name. Actually, they used her maiden name, like I don't even exist!! Jeez, thanks a lot mister Identity stealer. Next time you steal an identity, try to use an up-to-date one. moron....

Dell caught it, but not before they actually set up the card and ran a credit score, and so on and so forth, which is a bummer, cause we were actually looking at a bank loan soon. Not sure if this will hurt our chances or not. And now we have to file police reports, sign affadavits, and check with our banks to make sure they haven't tried anything else fishy. Blah. What a bother.

Friday, October 3, 2008

For The History Guys...

Got a question for you history types. Civil War related. I have a picture of a fellow, clearly in officer garb, but is listed in all sources as enlisting as a Private, and mustering out as a Private. Any possible explanations, other than the guy in the picture is NOT the same as the name attached to it. It's always a possibility, but I don't know enough about ranks, whether it may have been a field brevet, or whatever. And the fellow doesn't really look old enough for the picture to have been post-war, though he was a GAR member (he was born in 1831).

Thanks for any insight!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Silver and Gold (go ahead, sing it, yes, the christmas song)

Ok, so it ain't really gold, but rather bronze. Conte will be shipping their newly colored Spartans shortly. I saw some at OTSN and talked to Joe Baker. Real nice guy. The new colors look great, though I couldn't bring myself to order any. I'll probably pick up a few of the blister packs, but not all of them. Too Much $$$$.

I did ask him about the Persians. He wouldn't say for sure, but as far as he knew that they were still coming in plastic, but some work was still being done on them to get them just right. Like everything I assume, future products will depend heavily on our economy and the markets.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Bat Cat

He has yet to learn how to climb up on top of my table, so I think I'm still good to play with all my new OTSN toys.  But here are a few pictures of the new kitten who has taken over my toy room.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pegasus River System

Thought this might be of use to you. Before buying the Pegasus river pieces, I had no idea what size they were compared to our 1/32 figures. So, here are a few pictures. It's made of a very hard plastic and the pieces lock together. I bought two packs, 12 pieces in all. It's plenty of river for me, though it might be a touch on the narrow side for some. The Barzso pieces are much wider I think, though I don't have any on hand to measure and compare with. So, it really just depends on the type of river you want.

Tomorrow we are adding to our little family. We are welcoming a new kitten to the fold. It should prove to be an interesting day. It's going to be spending it first couple of weeks living in my Toy Soldier room. I'm cleaning it up right now to be a bit more kitten friendly.

In Response...

Decided just to answer Christian's question here instead of in the comments section. According to Nick from TSSD, his new Civil War arty set is supposed to be released around Thanksgiving. You can see pictures at Playset Magazine's show report. They are about halfway down the page. I reckon TSSD will post some pictures on their website soon. They are good about keeping it up to date. They look great up-close. Some of their finest sculpting yet, and they were getting a lot of attention while I was standing there.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

OTSN 2008 Report

Hey All, just got back from Chicago. It was an awesome trip. I snapped a few pictures, but not many. I was too busy diggin' through buckets, and browsing the new stuff. You can probably read full reports on other sites, but let me tell ya, this was one of the best shows I have been to. Barzso's new items were Above and Beyond!! The Fort, Daniel Boone Playset, and the Abbey were amazing. I came home with the playset, and told Santa to put me down for the rest.

TSSD was there with their fine products, including a preview of their new Civil War arty set. Plus they sold me several houses and bunker pieces, all of which my wife wants to paint up (my wife is awesome). I got to talk to Steve Weston as well. I've wanted to buy the adobe Church from him for awhile, but he didn't have one last year. He remembered me and brought one this year, which I snatched right up. It's just a stellar piece that will fit in well with all the Barzso adobe pieces.

And of course, I had to cruise by the Hobby Bunker booth... several times. They were really hoppin'. They had some great new foam pieces which were calling to me. You can see pictures of one of them here.

Meh, it's late, and I'd rather be playing with my stuff that typing. So more tomorrow.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

More Exciting News from OTSN

Thanks AGAIN to Jim for posting pictures on the Playset Magazine website. Check out the Friday report to see some news from TSSD! Rock on.

I'm scrounging up all the loose change I can find for Sunday. I emptied out and counted up my change bucket for an extra $90. Not quite enough for a full playset, but enough to get me in trouble.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Barzso Playset

Jim Clouse has been kind enough to throw up an early OTSN show report on the Playset Magazine website. Check it out!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spooky Town Mountain... err.. hill

I picked this Spooky Town piece up at Michael's the other day. It was 50% off of a regular $30. Not bad. It's a fairly large piece. I'm able to fit quite a few figures on top and even some cannon. Not sure when they will go back on sale, but like I said in a previous post, you can get Michael's to send you some coupons, or you might be able to find some in your Sunday paper... if you read newspapers.

New TSSD Playset

Toy Soldiers of San Diego have packaged together some items to create a "Road to Berlin" playset. While many probably already have the main components included in the set, as a stand alone it looks really nice. It includes painted Artillery pieces, lots of scenics including what I would assume to be the new Pegasus stuff (I could be wrong on that), and American, Russian and German troops. They are selling it all for $169 at OTSN, which sounds like a pretty good price!! If you don't have any TSSD stuff, you should get it.

The Pegasus scenic pieces are definitely going to be on my radar this Sunday in Chicago. I've thought it looked good ever since it was first shown. The river looks especially cool. I'm also interested in the Barzso painted river sections. The Barzso pieces are a little pricier, but knowing past Barzso product, they are going to be top notch.

Look forward to seeing and talking to folks at the show this Sunday. You'll recognize me cause I'll be with the hot chick (my wife).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Countdown to OTSN 08

It's Tuesday before OTSN... I'd imagine news will start popping up pretty soon. Those diligent souls that tear themselves away from the room trading to post a quick update to forum boards, websites, blogs.... hint hint hint.... WE WANT SOME INFO!!! It's hard not being able to go till Sunday this year. I shouldn't complain though, at least I get to go, living so close and all... Being a Hoosier does have it's perks, though our football team doesn't appear to be one this year.

Anyway, what's really got me interested are the Barzso and Replicants playsets. I'll also be excited to see any new foam products from Hobby Bunker and TSSD.

Oh, and just so you don't think I'm nuts, my last post was made while showing my dad how easy it is to use Blogger software. He was setting one up for his Civil War unit.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hey Everybody

What's UP!!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Various tib bits

1. Michael's craft store, carrier of Spooky Town and Christmas village scenics, supposedly has some coupons that you can sign up for online somewhere. My mom said she had a 50% off coupon good for anything in the store. Just a heads up if you're interested.

2. A new Replicants playset eh? I'll be honest... I have not a single Replicant in my collection. NO WAIT!!!! I have some of the American Civil War union and Confederate. I picked them up last year at OTSN for cheap. I'm intrigued as to what the new playset will be. The price, according to some postings at Hobby Bunker will be $140. Not bad for a playset. Hope they have some left on Sunday when I get there.

3. My local walmart finally got in one of the 21st Century playsets that include the Long Tom and figures. Might have to pick up one.

4. Of no interest to anyone but me probably... The new Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game is released today. I've got mine on order from Amazon.com. There goes another $50 I was saving for OTSN.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

21st Century at Target

For the past few years, it seemed that Target was the carrier of FoV, and Wally World had the 21st Centurty stuff. It seems though that 21st Century jumped the barrier and is now carried by both. My local Target has the new 21st Century American Arty figures. They are in different packaging than what is offered at Wal-Mart... go figure.

Still working out my OTSN plans. Looks like I'll be there for just the Sunday show. It's too bad that Mr. Conte won't be able to be there. I'm sure there are a lot of people wanting to know when the plastic Persians will be available, myself included. As always, I'm probably most looking forward to whatever Ron Barzso brings. Whether it be a new playset, or just some pieces parts, it's all good.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Spartan Pictures

The Arrival

"It is said that as many days as there are in the whole journey, so many are the men and horses that stand along the road, each horse and man at the interval of a day’s journey; and these are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed."

My Spartans arrived last night, thanks to the sharp eye of some nameless postal service worker somewhere. Thank you anonymous post-person. Actually, I think it was UPS. So thanks mr. ups dude.

I doubt I can add anything to the reviews that have been circulating around the Inter-webby about the new Conte Spartans. Most reviews I have read have been gushing, glowing, and usually announcing a revolution in plastic toy soldiers.

They ain't too far off.

I won't bore you with a long summation of my feelings on these little red wonders, only that I have already found myself attempting the twist the arm of some other poor toy soldier that wasn't meant to twist. The poseability of these figures has opened new doors for the hobby. Let's see... I bought 70 figures in 21 different poses, but on my table are 70 differently posed Spartans. You can't beat it with a stick.

The only thing missing are the Persians. I imagine we have quite a wait in front of us. My hope was that we would see Spartans and Persians available together in a series of playsets that would include some terrain pieces. I guess that wasn't meant to be. But OTSN is coming, and you never know what will show up.

Hey, you think other companies will try to create similar figures? And would it work for other eras? Is Conte pricing itself into oblivion at $24 a card? Or is $24 the price we are going to have to get used to? Do you think this hobby will still be around in 100 years? How about 50 years? 25 years? I guess as long as we all keep kickin', we'll find out in due time.

Pictures of spartans coming later tonight.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Waiting for Spartans

I now know what happened to my Spartans. Seems they got their marching orders a little confused and ended up in Idaho rather than Indiana. Those crazy Spartans....

But a little confusion in shipping addresses won't delay them too long I hope. The folks at Conte were very helpful and have gotten it taken care of. My table should be full of Spartans before no time.

Hey, has anybody heard any news on 21st Century. Wal-Mart seems to be going through a renovation in it's toy department, and I hope 21st Century still has a place once they are all done. After buying several pieces at a steep discount, it makes me worry. Hopefully they are just making room for the christmas season.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wal-Mart Clearance on 21st Century

Check it out, I found two 32x vehicles and a couple of sets of 1/144 planes marked way down. $5 each for the vehicles, and $2.50 for the planes. Not bad for a trip to wally world.

I've been reading here and there that people are starting to get their Spartans in the mail. Nothing here yet, but as soon as I do have them, I'll be posting some pictures. I've been trying to work out a good way to recreate the Thermopylae pass scene. Need styrofoam. Lots and lots of it. If anybody has any good tips on how to find sheets of styrofoam cheap, I'm all ears.

Also, my house is still in a bit of disrepair from the water pipe incident the other day. Here is a picture of our living room. You can see the big dehumidifier and the fans that we are using to dry out the walls. And yes, that is concrete where the carpet should be. bummer. Though it would probably make for a great place to set up some figures for the next couple of weeks.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Conte Spartans Shipping

Just thought I would pass along, I just got a phone call from Conte that the Spartans are shipping out today. I don't know if they are calling everyone, of if I got a phone call simply because my credit card expired back in July, so they needed an updated card #. A bright note in an otherwise bummer of three day stretch. To be honest, I shouldn't be too bummed out. My insurance agreed to pay for everything that got damaged by my busted pipe. So, Stephanie and I got to go floor shopping today. Never knew that there were SOOOO many types of flooring. boggles my little mind.

Has anybody else ever had water damage? Right now we are running industrial sized fans. Very loud, but, if it keeps mold from setting in, I can live with it.

Rock on!

21C German Tank Destroyer at Wal-Mart

Saw this guy for the first time at my local Wal-Mart yesterday. It wasn't priced, and I didn't feel like walking it to a price check thingy.

They also had, and this may not interest most of you, the new G.I. Joe figure sets packaged with DVDs of the original cartoons. I always loved those Cartoons, and they are not currently available to purchase. Rhino used to have the rights, and released a season and a half, but then sold the rights to Sony, who have not released anything. You can buy those original Rhino DVDs, but they usually cost an arm and a leg.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

We're taking on water!!!

I had a water pipe bust on me today. The living room is drenched all the way through to the carpet pad. Not fun. The dog seems to like it. He's finding all sorts of new scents and stains as we pull up the carpet to sop up all the water. So, myself, I wouldn't be completely disappointed if the Conte Spartans don't show up for another month. New carpet, drywall, and some hard wood flooring, along with a boat load of Spartans don't really fit into my monthly budget all that well. Oh well. Maybe I can sell the dog. Anybody want a 4 pound poodle that has a taste for plastic?

I got some comments ( I LOVE getting comments) about the Hat figures being undersized. Don't know myself, haven't seen them, but that was always a fear. And one has to take into account, are they undersized compared to Conte and TSSD, or undersized compared to Marx and Airfix? If they are more akin to ESCI, that will be tough to swallow, though I could probably get over it. I've never had too much trouble mixing styles and sizes. And yet, there are small people, and larger people, but when it comes to standards, like helmets, rifles, ect. ect., there needs to be a concerted effort amongst companies to make everything jive.

Monday, August 4, 2008

More Hat 1/32

Hat has really picked up their production of 1/32. You can see here their upcoming Sacred Band set. If you skim around on their forum you will find several other upcoming 1/32 projects. A lot of them fall in the "Ancients" category. I haven't picked up any of their latest offerings, but will try to sometime soon. I'd like to get the Italian Allies and the Gallic Warband. They look cool.

I think I have checked the Conte website everyday waiting for more word about the plastic Spartans. Waiting truly is one of the most exciting things about this hobby. Once they actually arrive, and have been torn out of the packaging and neatly aligned on the shelf, the only thing left is to allow them to collect dust, occasionally getting them down off the shelf to examine, play with, or show a bewildered friend the extent of your madness. It's all part of this "collecting" disease we suffer from. The wanting is often a more powerful emotion than the joy you get from actually having something. I wonder if everyone is like this, or if I live in a mad little world all of my own. Don't worry, it doesn't keep me up at night. The only thing that keeps me up at night is my cat. She bites my fingers. At least she doesn't lick my eye lids, like she does to Stephanie.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Keeping an eye on Ebay

I was just skimmin around, and found these playsets of interest.

1. A huge Ben Hur playset, being sold with lots of extras along with the Conte Roman ship.

2. Captain Gallant Playset.

3. Alaskan Trading Post Playset

4. Barzso Aztecs and Conquistadors Playset

The Latest Catches

Last night, whilst perusing my local Wal-Mart, I finally found some of the new 21st Century Chinese Infantry. Now, I have no idea what I'm going to do with these figures, but the poses were so cool, and they were so unique, I had to get them. HAD TO!!! One downside, the guy with the binocs, his rifle is very fragile near the tip and is about ready to break off.

I have a tendency to paint my 21st Century figures in solid colors to match my other figures, but I doubt I'll do that with these. They look so nice, and besides, It would be hard to set up a scene with only six infantry. So I'll just leave them to be nice display items.

Stephanie, while at the Michael's craft store, picked me up a Lemax Spooky Town palm tree. I'm not sure what's so spooky about a palm tree, but it's going to look great with my next Pacific Island scene. It cost 4.99, but I reckon they'll go on sale once halloween gets a bit closer. I'ma gonna get me a whole load of em'. You can find the whole range of new Lemax items, including the Spooky town collection, at www.lemaxcollection.com. Just to warn you, the vast majority of it is NOT useful for our hobby. If the figures were just a touch smaller, we could probably really have some fun with them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wal-Mart moved my Cheese

I walked into my Wal-Mart tonight, and of course headed straight for the toy aisle. I about fell over from shock to see that entire side of the store empty!!! Not just empty shelves, but NO SHELVES AT ALL!!!

I got panicky for a moment. Changing my little Wal-Mart routine troubled me more than I realized it could. For years I have walked into that Wal-Mart entrance, turned right, passed the Ovaltine display, turned back left, turned right at the Hot Wheels and travelled to the 21st Century section, and from there rounded the corner to find the Star Wars figures. It was habit, it was routine, it was almost ritual.

Of course, I did find the new toy section a few minutes later, and the hyperventilating ceased. They have actually upgraded the new toy section and it's going to be really nice once they are all done. Nothing new in the 21st Century section, but let's just be thankful they are still there.

The Dark Knight

I went and saw the new Batman movie last night in IMAX with a few friends. After standing in line for an hour, we finally got in a got pretty good seats right in the middle of the theater.

I give it a 10 out of 10. For me, it lived up to the surrounding hype. I don't want to talk too much about it, lest I give away something to those of you who haven't seen it yet. The one thing I will say is that when it says PG-13, it means PG-13! I'm not sure I would take any kid under 16 to see this movie. My wife and I disagreed on this, but I felt it was one of the darkest movies I had seen in awhile. Of course there was no profanity or graphic violence, but there was a copious amount of implied graphic violence.

Can't wait for the sequel.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

2 New Somethings from Weston Toys

Just a quick note, you should go check out Mr. Weston's site. He says on there that he hopes to have 2 new surprises with him at OTSN. See?? This is why I love the run up to the Chicago show. It's all about teasing us, the vague website postings, the rumors, the wild guessing... It's probably just as much fun as actually going to the show!!

Updates to Hat Greeks

At the Hat forum you can see the latest updates to their upcoming greek line, along with a Persian sculpt. The Greek poses look good, and should really help to bulk out the line. No, they may not be as detailed as the Conte Spartans, but hopefully we will be able to buy them in larger quanities, and really fill up a table. Same with the Hat Persians. Plus, who knows when the Conte Persians will be released. Like I've said before, anything ancient that isn't a Greek will probably suffice for Persians for a long time. Marx Vikings, Celtics, Mongols, Normans, Indians, Aztecs... well, I may have to draw the line somewhere.

It's crazy how the year has sped by, and again, OTSN is creeping up on us. Usually at OTSN, we get all sorts of cool new things. Ron Barzso usually has something new, TSSD always has cool stuff, if not a new figure set, and Mr. Conte usually pulls a few surprises out of a bag as well. Plus, last year he was having some crazy sale prices on plastic. It's only two months away. I still haven't convinced myself that I'm going. If I go, it can only be for Sunday because of a wedding. The most fun is to be had during the days and evenings running up to it. I always like talking to the dealers, fellow forum boarders, and random people that I meet while digging through 50 cent buckets.

So yea, I'll probably go.

Friday, July 18, 2008

30 seconds of your life you'll never get back.

Toy Soldiers are Nice
Almost as big as Mice
Though lacking tails
And carry less Lice

Toy Soldiers are the Best
Our own little plastic Fest
I buy all I can Afford
And wish I had the Rest

Sometimes I have too much Time
So, so much Time
to write bad toy soldier Poetry
that actually does Rhyme

*written whilst VERY tired, but stuck at a library lock-in. I'll probably delete this entry in the morning, or whenever I finally wake up.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

War Torn Worlds

I was at a game store earlier today and saw that they had expanded their line of War Torn Worlds terrain pieces. I talked about these a couple of years ago on this site, but thought I might mention them again, as they have released quite a bit of new items since then. You can get all sorts of walls, hills, rock pieces, ect. I believe a lot of it is made for 28mm gaming, but most can be used with 54mm as well. I know a lot of you create your own terrain, but for those of us lacking the "do it yoursef" initiative, this might be a good way to dress up your displays.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Indiana Jones in 1/32

At my local Wal-Mart I found this Indiana Jones toy in approximately 1/32 scale. Close enough anyway. It has limited uses for anything other than an Indiana Jones set-up, but hey, it's pretty rockin'. They also had a figure of "Mutt" from the new movie on a customized motercycle in about 1/32, but maybe a touch bigger.

These are part of the Titanium series, and come fully painted. Right now, the one pictured and the "Mutt" figure on the motorcycle are the only ones in roughly 54mm scale. You can see the entire line here at the Hasbro site. You 1/72 guys might find something you need. Hopefully they will release something similar featuring some Germans.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hat Forum talks about 1/32

There was an interesting post on the Hat forum board a couple of days ago. It referred to the possibility of future 1/32 figures. It's short, vague, and encouraging.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We Never Get Tired of ACW

If I had to guess, the road to riches in the toy soldier industry is lined with American Civil War sets. You could probably take all the Rev War guys, WWI guys, Alamo guys, Modern guys, Western guys, Napoleonic guys, Ancient guys, put them in a room together, and they still wouldn't outnumber all the Civil War fanatics out there. I think we can all agree that WWII and Civil War are the most popular topics for Toy Soldiers, and I'd be willing to bet a whole $10 that Civil War probably comes out on top. (Hey, $10 is a lot of money these days. It's almost half the cost of a new Conte set.)

Sooooo...., I think it's a smart move for Conte to bring out a new Civil War line. They have the beginnings of it posted on their blog, and might I say that Zouaves are cool! If they can do for Zouaves what they have done for American G.I.s and their soon to be released Spartans, that'll be great for us ACW collectors. WARNING: 4 Zouave poses don't help anybody. Zouaves fought as entire regiments, not as single troopers in a line of regular sack coated soldiers. I know it'll be more expensive, but I am a fan of really doing a series up right rather than piece parting it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Back from Gettysburg

I just arrived home from the 145th Gettysburg Reenactment. It was a long week of Historical goodness. We hit Antietam first, then Harper's Ferry, then Monocacy, and finally Gettysburg. The battlefields were a lot of fun to tour, especially with other guys interested in Civil War history. At Harper's Ferry I ran into Jonathan, an intern working there, and who is a reader of this site. That's crazy!! So I got to talk toys for a bit with him before we ran off to the next adventure.

The Reenactment was... meh. Of course, we were already exhausted from camping for the previous five days, so three more nights of camping just drained us more. We were like zombies walking around the event. I barely remember much of it. There was a battle, a funnel cake, some ticks, a whole lot of spiders, a frock coat that caught on fire, and several cans of spam.

I did get to visit Gettysburg Miniatures Soldiers. It's a nice toy soldier shop right on the strip that had all sorts of cool stuff. I picked up a set of CTS Japanese, and some reverse colored Conte Civil War figures. If you're ever in Gettysburg, you should stop by.
So now it's time to clean up all my gear, get unpacked from the trip, catch up on any toy soldier news I might of missed out on, and to generally take it easy for the rest of the day. Rock on.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I never thought 300 was that many...

The whole point of the thing is that there were ONLY 300 Spartans. The Persians were like "300??? Pshaw. That ain't nuthin'!" Yea, well, 300 hundred ain't a whole lotta many to defend all of Greece, but when they cost around $3 each, 300 turns into an awful many.

You can check out the latest details on the Conte Spartans here. Looks like the date has been pushed back to August, and the price has been set at $24 per blister pack. And right now, you can only pre-order all nine cards (the freebie being a free 10th card). Also, if you have them on pre-order, they want you to make sure you confirm that order with them so they can charge a $30 deposit. Hmmmm.... never paid an upfront deposit for Toy Soldiers before, but hey, times they are a changin'.

The prices are high, the wait has been long, and buying all 9 cards at once is tough. If it were any other subject matter besides Spartans, I'd probably have balked by now. Well, that's not totally true. This just happens to be one historical era where I'll slap down the cash and only cringe on the inside. But when you consider that they are poseable, and the high quality of the figures, it all evens out in the end I think.

Of course, if you can't wait for the August release date, you can always get a couple on Ebay.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sprucing up the Spruces

As I may have said here before, I love the Christmas Village accessories. Rock walls, fences, street lamps, grave stones, trees of all sorts... But the problem with them is that you can only pick them up during the holidays. I tried to prove that statement wrong by visiting a local Hallmark store on 96th street in Indianapolis. They have miniature village accesories for Christmas and Halloween all year round. Problem is, I had no idea how expensive this stuff is when it isn't on sale.

See, I usually pick us this junk right before or after christmas when they have 70% markdowns. They are usually trying to give this stuff away. You can get a tree for a buck, a full rock wall for $1.50, and all sorts of cool little knick knacks for next to nothing. But when it ain't on sale, you can expect to pay $20 for a pack of four trees, or $18 for a rock wall. Youch. No thanks. I'll wait till the holidays to spruce up my spruce collection.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Rather Unique Subject

I was bumming around the Hat site, which is full of great stuff; a forum, a wiki, conversion ideas, and production pictures from all their upcoming sets. And whilst bumming, I saw on their 1/32 page plans to make a new set simply titled "Sacred Band". I have to admit, I had no idea what that was. I was assuming it would probably include some tubas or some cymbal crashers or something.

I was wrong. Now, I can't say for sure which "sacred band" they are referring to. There were several. Both Thebes and Carthage had one, along with more modern day Greeks. I'm assuming they are doing the Thebes "Sacred Band", since it has a bit more flashy history to it.

I hope I don't step on anybody's morality toes here, but I think Hat just went to the top of my list by doing this set. Quite frankly, homosexuality is still rather taboo in a lot of places. To create a set of figures that depicts a group of homosexual warriors is very forward thinking. This was a group of fighters that, when outnumbered, bested the warriors of Sparta at the battles of both Tegyra and Leuctra. Regardless of your moral stance, of which I have no concern, Hat's dedication to the truth of history proves that we are lucky to have them doing 1/32 again. Plus, it's going to be nice to have another army to throw against the new Conte Spartans.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gettysburg Trip

In a couple of weeks I'll be taking off in a van with a few other reenactors to do the Gettysburg Reenactment. On the way we plan to hit Antietam, Harper's Ferry, the Civil War Medical Museum, and of course the Gettysburg battlefield park. It's going to be an 7 day trip, camping the whole way. It's gonna be crazy fun and I'll try to take pictures.

I got some Conte pewter figures yesterday in the mail. They really are astounding and make for wonderful centerpieces for displays. The exact figures I got were the Confederate and Union flagbearers, and the trio of falling Union figures. I think I'm gonna go back and get some cannon and the two mounted figures, and maybe even some non-civil war poses. The one thing I worry about with them is that they are, to a certain degree, fragile. The flag poles and the bayonet tips, if bent on accident, feel like they could break off.

Also on my "to buy" list is the new scenics from Pegasus. The fences, stone walls, wooden boxes, and the River sections look awesome. I think I'll start with those.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

21st Century British

21st Century is finally going to be releasing their next British Infantry Set. I first saw these awhile ago advertised on the back of another set and wondered when and if they would ever be released. No date is given, but usually 21st Century has a pretty quick turn over time between announcing product and it showing up at Wal-Mart.

In other, less interesting news, I saw a bagged set of Wall-E plastic toys at a Kay-Bee toy store the other day. Might be a nice supplement if you're ever doing a sci-fi setup of any kind. You can see a picture of the Bag-o-Bots at Amazon.com.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Single Color Pewter Conte Available

Conte is having a sale on figures that were previously unavailable on an individual basis. They are letting go of some of their single color pewter figures that were packaged with their plastic playsets. Check them out and see if there are any you need. Might not see these available very often outside of playsets (I think I saw a couple at a show once, and one was broken).

Rock on.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Toy Soldiers or Pants.... decisions, decisions.

I'm still here, I just don't have much to say. I suppose like everyone, money is tight in these depressed economic times. Which means, money that used to go towards Toy Soldiers is now going to those other, not so fun things, like fuel, food, and a stupid new pair of pants. I hate spending hard earned money on pants. Laying down money for any type of clothing is painful to me (except for maybe a cool Star Wars T-Shirt). You spend, at best, $20 on a new pair of pants. That's a whole set of TSSD Germans that you could have had. And if Kohl's ain't having a sale, you could be spending upwards of $50 on pants. That's all three of the figure sets by Pegasus and an AIP set thrown in to boot!!

I know that it's just getting harder and harder for companies to keep producing Toy Soldiers. With the dollar failing, shipping charges going up, and plastic prices probably on the rise... it's amazing that the price of this hobby hasn't skyrocketed, and it may yet. And the real kick of it is, now is the time that these companies need our support the most, but yet we have fewer hobby dollars in our pocket. What a bummer.

On a brighter note, Conte has set an approximate date of July 4th for their plastic Spartans. I'll be in Gettysburg that whole week, so hopefully by the time I get back, they'll be waiting on my doorstep.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hat Greeks

You can see the unfinished masters of the Hat Greeks here. Can't wait to see the finished product.

Of all the companies, I appreciate Hat's willingness to allow us a glimpse into the pre-production and production stages of their figures. Many other companies keep everything very hush-hush, and probably for very good reasons. Maybe it's because Hat knows they are playing in such unique historical areas, that they don't feel the need for the secrecy drapes. Whatever the reason, I think it's cool to get an inside look.

Rock on.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Size Matters

Mr. Conte has posted a new blurb about the forthcoming Spartans, along with a ten ton of pictures. He also addresses the size issue and pretty much puts it to rest. There is a great photo of a Britains Deetail figure, an 70mm Elastolin figure, and a new Spartan all side by side. Looks pretty convincing that these new Spartans are not the gargantuan he-men that we might have feared. This is great news, especially since Hat is hopefully going to be adding to this field as well.

Rock on.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pulling a Spartan out of your Hat

The Field of Spartans just got a little more crowded. Hat has listed Greek Hoplites and Persian Immortals as future projects on their 1/32 page. This might give the average collector a way to bolster their "300" without having to take out a mortgage on their home to get 43 packages of the Conte figures. Man, what would I do with 300 Greeks?? I'm not exactly sure I would have enough room on my table for 300 figures. Plus, however many Greeks you have, you probably need twice as many Persians!!! I'd probably have to relocate from my table to my driveway!

Speaking of Persians, has anybody heard whether Conte is planning on doing the poseable thing wth the Persians. I hadn't really thought about it, but I assume they would... but haven't heard anything. I'd imagine that the costs are very high to produce the poseable figures, and you would have to wonder if the Persians will sell nearly as well as the Spartans will.

Ok, lets see... a little fanciful math for ya... say you wanted 300 Conte Spartans. With 7 Spartans per card, at let's say $23 per card, thats $989. And, according to my woefully misguided logic, you will now need twice as many Persians as you need Spartans. That's 600 Immortals. $989 times 2 equals $1,978. Add in what you paid for those Spartans, and you have a grand total of $2,967. This does not include the 4 proposed terrain pieces to be released later in 2008. Hmmm... Time to start finding a second job.

Now, before anyone gets too concerned about my mental status, I WILL NOT be buying 300 Spartans, nor will I need 600 Persians. One of each card will suffice most likely. But having Hat throw their... erm... hat into the ring will add to the possibilities, as long as size difference isn't too much of an issue.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

TSSD, Pegasus, and Black Cat

Got a package in the mail from TSSD yesterday. Inside were the new TSSD Germans, the new Pegasus Russians, and the fairly new Black Cat Napoleonics.

The Germans: What can I say about them that isn't obvious. Their sculptor is spot on with dynamic poses, uniform, and weaponry. The set includes an MG42 team, a sniper, a couple mounted figures, a panzerfaust, and an mp40 figure. The MG42 even has a ammo belt that slides into the gun and is supported by the second figure. This set fits in well with all existing German sets and fills in some holes, especially with the mounted figures.

The Pegasus Russians: Very innovative. For only $15, you get 12 poses, with no duplicates. In my book, that's like the best deal ever. There is a bit of assembly required, mostly glueing on arms, weapons, and heads, but it only took me a few minutes. Had to straighten out a few of the pieces, but a little boiling water did the trick. Very awesome set! If you do any Eastern Front setups, this is a must have.

Black Cat Russians: I'm not way into Napoleonics right now, but this is such a nice looking set, that I wanted it just to show off. The sculpting is on size with the likes of Conte and TSSD. The figurse are full, and with their packs and weapony, look rightfully bulky. The poses are perfect and natural looking. My favorite thing about them is the type of plastic used. It's very pliable, and came out of the bag bent all over the place, but a little boiling water fixed everything. The figures are durable with no chance of breakage, and that is always a big plus. They remind me of TSSD figures in that regard.

Still waiting for the Conte Spartans to be released, but these three sets should keep me busy till they arrive. This package was sort of to get me through not being able to go to the Texas Show this weekend. I really thought we might make it down, but as is so often the case, things come up where you can't get away.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend and enjoys their Decoration / Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

New Spartan Scenics from Conte

I don't know how long this has been posted at their site, but I just saw what Conteco has planned for 2008 in their Spartan line (look on left side of page). Besides the upcoming Spartans, and teh projected release of the Persians in late 2008, they are also showing several more pewter sets and... terrain pieces that will include The Hot Springs, a two-part Phocian Wall, and Xerxes tent. I wonder if this will mean a playset sometime down the road for us plastic collectors. For me, Ancient themed playsets would probably be more valuable than WWII or Civil War themed playsets. For both of those eras, duplicate figures are simply not needed at this stage of my collecting. I can fill up my table with over two hundred Germans and never duplicate a pose. Same situation with Civil War.

Ancients on the other hand.... Something like the Spartan Phalanx, you need a bunch of figures to make it look right. And Persians.... You're going to need boatloads of them. Heck, I'll probably chuck in some ancients from other companies just to round out the army. So, if Conte does decide to do a playset for the 300 Spartans, you can count me in. This is one theme where I say bring it on.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Pictures at TSSD

Four of the new TSSD poses are available for your perusal at their website. Mounted Germans, eh? Very different, very unique. It LOOKS like his shooting arm is a plug-in. That might make it easier to replace it with a different arm to allow for a quick conversion if needed. I just love the late war look to these figures so far. Tattered clothing and assorted weapons. Makes for interesting setups. You know what would go good with these, that Pegasus 1/72 scale of late war German Civilians, except bumped up to our 1/32. Just an idea. I've been dying for a good set of WWII civilian fighters for awhile now, either Russian, French, or German.

New Scenic Pieces

I'm usually all about more figures, but every once in awhile, new scenics catch my attention. At the Indianapolis show, Ron Barzso and Jim Clouse were debuting their new modular river system. They had it displayed with their Robin Hood Castle display, and it really stood out as being top-notch. They are now available through their website for $15 apiece (2 for $30).

Pegasus Hobbies is also offering some new pieces, and for really nice prices too. Fences, rock walls, another modular river set, sandbags, oil drums, boxes, crates... everything a good battleground needs. You can see them at the TSSD website (scroll down a bit past the new figures.)

Right now I've got my pre-order in for the new TSSD Germans, along with a few other items I missed including the Blackcat Napoleonics, and the Pegasus Russians. I've also got my pre-order in with Conte for a full set of the Scarlet colored Spartans. Hopefully they don't all become available at the same time. My checking account would never forgive me. And dangit, don't ya know that the ole' federal government would direct deposit that stimulus package into my wife's account!!

Speaking of the new TSSD Germans, I'm still waiting to see some good pictures of them. There is a post over at the Hobby Bunker forums that talks about the different poses, but more pictures besides the sniper have yet to be posted. But how can you not expect that the whole set is going to rock? The sculpting done by TSSD's sculptor is always awesome.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A House Divided

A couple posts ago I gave a shout out for anybody who wanted to do some reenacting, that my unit, the 49th Indiana, was a good one to try it with. But then I thought, what if there are some people out there who harbor feelings of a bit more rebellious nature. If that is the case, you should check out the 44th Tenneessee. Good group that often shares the field with us (plus, my dad is a member!!). They are also based out of the central Indiana area.

Aztec Conversion

I was browsing the HAT site, and I found this gem of a conversion. This fellow would go great with the Barzso Aztec set!! I just got that set out yesterday and was looking at it again. Overall, it has the trademarks for what makes the perfect set. It's a unique time frame. It has a few character figures, ample little bits of character to it such as the blood pools and the treasure. And finally, the temples were top notch. The intricate designs are really something to see. One of my all time favorite sets.

Barack Obama Stopped By Today

Barack Obama was in my hometown today. Little Tipton, Indiana. That's crazy. Hillary Clinton was just down the road from us a few days ago in Kokomo, Indiana. Man, we ain't had this big of news since Mr. O'Leary's barn burned down, and all his cows got loose and stampeded through the city park!!

But seriously... those cows could have really hurt somebody.

I have no secrets about my own political views. As the great author Douglas Adams wrote:

"It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it... anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."

Friday, May 2, 2008

Something besides WWII & Civil War

I found some pictures of the Waterloo WWI Italians. Plus, Hat has some new offerings in 1/32. More ancients, which when the mood strikes me, I find pretty cool. I've never even heard of Celtiberians, but man, I think I might need me some.

Weekends and Projects

Last weekend my wife and I went to the Vernon, IN. Civil War Reenactment. It's actually one of the best events in the state for reenactors.; laid back, easy battle, lots of nap time, a dance on Saturday night, and lots and lots of pie. This year it was hosted by our unit, the 49th Indiana. If you're an Indiana native, and you're looking for a good unit to join, or just to try out reenacting, let me know and I'll help you fall in with us.

I have the day off today, and I'm spending it reorganizing my room, which we finally finished last night. All the walls painted, shelves hung, and now comes the daunting task of reorganizing my collection. Right now I just have mounds and mounds of plastic sitting in little piles around my room.

Oh, I also put my pre-order in with Conte yesterday for the plastic Spartans. Now it's just the long wait till they actually show up and start shipping.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Here, take my wallet.

Conte has a new announcement on their site about their plastic spartans. Dude, after seeing these at OTSN, I knew I needed them. The poseable figures are really a step forward for this hobby (in my humble opinion). It's something that could have been done REALLY poorly, but after seeing the samples in Chicago, I'm convinced that this is the was to go for ancients.

I wrote a post awhile back trying to figure out if these were too much like Action Figures. My fear was, are poseable toy soldiers, still toy soldiers? And if they are, will they still fall within my realm of collecting? It was a long winded post, and probably didn't make much sesnse to anyone but me. But forget all that. Plastic Spartans... bring em' on.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Thanks for the well wishes on my recent surgery. It really wasn't much of a surgery, but it was a surgery, including post-op drugs and everything. On wednesday I had corrective eye surgery done. Everything is still a bit blurry, but I'm healing nicely and should have 20/20 vision within the end of the month. This wasn't Lasik, but rather a process known as PKR... or PRK... I kind of forget which. So, I can drive and walk up stairs, but reading is rather tough right now. Being a Librarian, reading is one of those necessary things, so, don't expect stellar reference service at the Tipton County Public Library for a few weeks.

And I'll have some updated pictures of my room sometime soon. All the wallpaper is gone!! Three walls are painted and complete. Only one wall remains. Then I can put my colllection back in order.

Off to check the Internet for any news on toy soldiers, that's if my eyes don't give out first.

Monday, April 21, 2008

On The Horizon...

You can check out TSSD's Coming Attractions page to see news about Pegasus figures and a teaser for the next TSSD figure set. I ain't gonna lie, TSSD's figures are top notch, and I have and will continue to buy every set. The release date they mentioned was Memorial Day weekend, to coincide with the Texas Show. Hopefully the fates are with them and delays are avoided.

I keep checking the Conte website, but nothing has been posted recently about the plastic Spartans. The site has been focused on the new Zulu range, which I assume will be done in metal. I'll just have to settle for watching 300 again to get my Spartan fix.

Still haven't seen the new 21st Century American Arty or Chinese figures at my Wal-Mart yet, and they are usually right on top of things. They have a TON of the 1/18th sized Platoon figures. When I was a kid, I loved my G.I. Joe figures, and still have most of them. I always wanted actual historical soldier figures made, and now they finally are, but I just can't get interested in them. I'm sure it's my problem, and not the figures, because they are pretty cool, just not within my collecting parameters.

I'm also looking forward to the Weston Mexican Bandits. I liked their cowboys a lot, and coupled with the Barzso Fortified Hacienda set, it makes for a pretty good Old West Shootout. Now I just need those Mexican Bandits to spice things up.

If my postings are few and far between for the next few days, it's because I'm going in for surgery on Wednesday (nothing serious). Also, my home Internet is down... its an intriguing story involving a lovely lady and her garden tiller... but it's cool. Because of the surgery, I'll be worthless for a few days anyway, so having Internet wouldn't be helpful, so of all times for it to go down, this is the perfect time.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Shelves Go Up!

And the Shelves Go Up!!! Finally! Now, this is just one wall done. Below you'll see the next wall that we need to tackle. Stuff moved, wallpaper stripped, painting... blarg. But it'll look good once it's done. You can see my little shrine to Star Wars there. Hopefully the posters will be able to be relocated to a new side of the room. I'd hate to roll em' up and put em' in storage.

While emptying out some drawers that I haven't opened up for a couple of years, I stumbled upon my Gummi Army Men. It's crazy what you feel the need to keep around.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

One wall is almost done

We're gettin' close to havin' one wall complete. Once we got the wallpaper off, we painted it a nice blue color. Then we went out and bought the shelves, tracks, and brackets tonight. As you can see in the picture below, the plan is to have 3 tracks that mount seven shelves, about ten inches apart, stretching from the corner to the window. The shelves are 73 inches long. So thats 511 inches of soldier space I'm going to have on that wall. The idea is to do the same thing on the opposite wall, but we haven't quite got to it yet... still have to strip the wallpaper. We're just doing one wall at a time. My wife is a real trooper, but she actually enjoys this type of thing.

And thanks for the tip about the wall steamer. Saved me HOURS!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Home Improvement / Manny the Dog

My wife had an idea for my room. It involves new shelving, a new paint job, some curtains, some display nooks, and.... taking down the old wallpaper. I think it's really gonna look good once it's done, but for now, it looks like a disaster area. And stripping wallpaper is an awful, awful chore.

And of course, with all my former shelves gone, there ain't much room for my stuff, so a bunch of it is simply living on my display table for now.

And on a different note, you may remember my dog Manny. Well, instead of him chewing on something, this time something chewed on him. Yesterday, an unleashed Rottweiler got ahold of him. My wife, being the loving dog mother that she is, actually wrestled the Rottweiler until it let go of Manny, but not before it added a few new holes too him. We took him to the Pet Emergency Center and they put a staple in his side. He's doing pretty good right now, being doped up on Pain meds, and pretty much sleeping the day away. But it was a close call!! Don't underestimate the tenacity of a Poodle or the craziness of a dog lover (thankfully the Rottweiler didn't turn on her!!!).

Friday, April 11, 2008

21st Century, Bringin' it

My assumptions that the 21st Century Chinese might not make it to market have proven totally wrong. Some of you pointed out that a few dealers are now carrying them, plus, they are showing up on Ebay. And not just the Chinese, but a few sets of the American Arty crew have been available on Ebay in playset form. I've yet to see any of this new stuff at my local Wally World. Rock on 21st Century.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Barzso Inn

As promised, here are a couple pictures of the new Barzso Inn. You can see how it matches the style of the other townhouse, just larger, and a bit more detailed. The third picture shows off some of my new Barzso casualties that I got.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Creating the WORST figure ever

I've talked about good figures, pointing out such things as dynamic poses, crisp sculpting, unique topics, ect. ect. ect. But what about the things that bring a figure down? You know, those unsightly aspects of these special little figures that we wish we could change. So lets for a minute imagine that we were setting out to make the WORST toy soldier ever. How would we do it?

1. Claim they are 1/32, but make sure they are way too small or way to big to be used with other figures.

2. Make sure that they are packaged using those plasticy wire wraps that Forces of Valor uses, making it impossible to get them out of the box. Man, everybody loves those.

3. If the army wore Red uniforms, make sure you only offer them in Blue.

4. Make sure at least one figure in the set is not capable of standing on it's own.

5. All pistols should be sculpted to look like bananas.

6. Gumby cartoons should be your standard anatomy reference.

7. Each set should contain 1 shooter, and 5 mine sweepers.

8. Make sure to choose a really popular topic, such as the Guelph-Ghibelline War.

9. Give all your figures smiles.

10. People should have to ask "is that a spyglass, or a rifle?"

Can ya think of anymore?

Indy Show, New Barzso stuff, and.... Schleich Smurfs

As always, the Indy show was a ton of fun. I enjoyed talking with several other collectors and meeting some new people. My wife, mom, and my dad all went with me, and each of them found something they needed. My dad is into the Britains Civil War figures, my mom found some TimMee animals that she used to have, and my wife found out that Schleich makes .... Smurfs. I have a feeling that our house will soon be invaded by those evil little blue creatures. I always sympathized with Gargamel.

My purchases included the new Inn that Ron Barzso brought with him, the smaller townhouse that goes with the castle, and a couple sets of his Civil War casualty figures. I also picked up a Plastic Underground figure, who belongs in the Alamo, but will probably find himself in Confederate ranks.

One new piece that really caught my eye was the Barzso river. They had some all painted up and set up with their castle display. Rivers have always been hard to do for non-diorama builders like myself, and these would really help a guy out. They sell unpainted for $20, and you can buy a couple different types to make any shaped river you need. It beats using a strip of old blue material that you stole out of your wife's sewing basket.

I'll try to post some pictures of the Barzso Inn either tonight or tomorrow. It really is a nice looking piece, and would work great in all sorts of European settings. It matches the style of the castle townhouse.

Rule #1 for toy soldier shows: If you see something that you want, and it only costs $1, I don't care what it is, GET IT. It WILL NOT be there when you go back.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sales and New 21st Century

Thanks to the person who left a comment about the Conte sale! Buy 1 get 2 free on plastic blister cards. So, if you need to stock up a crazy amount of Mexicans, G.I.s, or Civil War troops, nows the time.

Looks like we'll be having some new 21st Century Allied crewmen available before too long. I never did get the Long Tom or the Howitzer, but not for lack of wanting. I've really enjoyed 21st Century's latest infantry figures, being able to buy them in the three packs. It's kind of fun seeing all the different packs hanging on the pegs. I just wish they had a more varied selection at any given time.

I still haven't seen the 21st Century Chinese figures anywhere yet. Could it be possible that there wasn't enough interest shown, and they may never see the light of day? Now, I ain't saying I wouldn't have bought them, because I would have, or should I say, I will when they are released. But I can't imagine many people chompin' at the bit to start their Chinese Army collection. I think I've said it before, I love the fact that 21st Century is willing to do something outside of the box. I wish they could do more unique subjects. I guess that's why I'm not the CEO of a some major toy company.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Italeri Available

I just saw over at Michigan Toy Soldier that the new Italeri WWII field guns with crew are available. Price is set at $31.99.

I've only bought figure sets in the past from Italeri, usually priced anywhere from $16 to $22 per box. I was hoping this set would be similar. I wonder if it is because this set has the model of the gun, or if it is due to the rising cost to produce these figures and import them into the states? The nice thing about these sets is that they are unique, and new crewmen poses are always needed.

In cases like this, I'd love to be able to purchase just the crewmen without the guns, but, I doubt Italeri will give me that chance.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm Cheap

I'm happy to report that my local Toys R' Us did have the McFarlane 3 inch figures. Quite a few of them actually. I can tell you that they are painted up nicely, detailed to the extreme, and have wonderfully dynamic poses. I can also tell you that they are $5 each. And the last thing I can tell you is that I left every one of them hanging on the pegs. I actually feel bad about this. They were very cool... but $5 each... I just can't legitimize it.

How much is a toy soldier worth to you? Lot's of factors go into that. Here's a few that I look at when deciding whether to purchase something new.

1. Is it cool? All right, very subjective, as we all have a different definition of cool. I guess you can simply ask, does this bring that feeling of "I've GOT to have this, or I'm gonna blow a gasket!". If it does, then it's cool. The McFarlane figures had the cool factor in spades.

2. Does it fit with my collection? Not everything does. And when something doesn't, is it worth starting something new so that you can add this one piece? The McFarlane figures don't fit with what I do. They are painted, just a touch big, and modern.

3. Will it go up in value? Ah, the speculative part of our hobby. I'll be the first to admit, this isn't something I think about too often. Every once in a while I'll take it into consideration, but most of the time, it's a toy first, and a collectible second. In fact, sometimes if it is obviously a collectible, it takes away from the fun of it. You might feel bad if you were playing with it and you accidently caught it on fire.... hey, it happens.

4. Is it too expensive? Too often, the over-riding factor. Even if it passes the other three tests with flying colors, it might just be too much to swallow. In the case of the McFarlane toys, this is a big factor. Now, I can afford to shell out $5 here and there, but a whole set of these figures would get pricey, and what would I have to show for it. Two handfuls of figures that don't go with anything I already have.

So there you have it. That is how my subconscious played out while I was standing in the Toys R' Us toy aisle. My thrifty ways won out. But.... I read on the Groundpounders forum that there might be some McFarlane WWII figures on the way. Whole different story there....

Friday, March 21, 2008

McFarlane 3 inch figures

What the hay, I'll give em' a shot. A post over at the Hobby Bunker forum alerted me to these 3 inch figures from McFarlane Toys. 3 inches, eh? Hmmm... Probably won't fit with other 1/32 figures, but by themselves, they will probably look pretty cool lined up on a shelf. I don't know prices yet, but I'm going to hit a Toys R Us this weekend, and if the price is right, I'll pick me up a couple. Anything done even remotely close to 1/32 gets me excited.

I saw a ROCKIN' Forces of Valor tank at my local Meijer. I'm gonna snag it tonight. I'm not actually in love with the tank... I've got tanks, but it has a couple German figures that I want. So, I'll probably be spending $20 on a couple of figures and a tank that I'll never use. Yay me for attempting to stimulate the economy.

And how about some of the most horrible news you've ever heard. I CAN'T GO TO THE CHICAGO SHOW THIS YEAR!...... blarg. My wife's "not really her cousin, but she calls her a cousin anyway" is getting married that Saturday. See, I could run up there Saturday night, but by then, most of the dealers are looking to get ready for Sunday... and everybody knows the best times are had on days running up to the show... so is it worth it to only go for Saturday evening and the Sunday show? I mean, yeah, it is, but that's a long drive to miss out on the best parts of the show. This morning I was concocting a plan to somehow hire a body double to act like me, and go to the wedding in my place. I'd make sure it was someone who was just as socially impaired as I am, and who danced as poorly as I do... yes, yes. It's all coming together now. I'll make it to Chicago yet!!!

shameless plug for my band: We are now available on iTunes and from Indiana Best Buy stores. "Extraordinary how potent cheap music is."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Formtech Website

This may be a case of me living under a rock, but I didn't realize Formtech had a website. I've actually looked for it before, but was never able to find anything. I actually found it this time through an ebay listing for their three piece bunker system, which I always wanted. Anyway, thought I would pass it on, just in case you were interested.

Formtech's stuff is really great. Hey, I've tried getting out the styrofoam cutter, and making a building from the TV packaging. It ain't easy, plus the fumes are enough to run your wife right out of the house!! So for now on, I let the pros do it.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Lazy Day

My wife spent a bit of time yesterday working on the Hobby Bunker Destroyed 2 story house. I think she's done a great job so far. I love the green door. She's still trying to decide on a color for the general rubble. She'll probably finish it today.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Box Art for 2008 Italeri releases

Here are some preivews of the 2008 Italeri releases. I always love their box art.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I find this stuff amazingly interesting. Dealing with details is always something I enjoy, and you may not care a bit for this, but thought I would pass it along anyway. What follows are some Keywords that people have typed in that brought them to this site. Here we go...

THE MOST POPULAR - "Plastic Battalion" boring..., so let's look at the second most popular.

THE SECOND MOST POPULAR - "Emhar" Emhar??? Why Emhar? Nothing against the company, but I just didn't expect it to be searched so much. Maybe it's a fluke. My stats only go back so far.

HOTTEST CURRENTLY - "Blackcat Miniatures" Obviously people are into the new plastic Napoleonics being put out by this company. Can't wait to see them up close.

ANOTHER CURRENTLY HOT TOPIC - "Italeri Templar Knights" Actually, there have been lots of searches for all the new Italeri 2008 releases. This one just seems to be the most popular.

BIGGEST SURPRISE - "Waterloo Japanese" These are probably people looking for information on the 1/72 sets. I just didn't think there would be so much interest in this company. I guess I shouldn't underestimate the 1/72 fan base.

ODDEST - "How to make a toy soldier hat" Ok, ok, wait a second. What is a toy soldier hat? Is it a hat FOR toy soldiers, or is it a hat that says "Hey, I like toy soldiers!". Either way, I probably need one.

OH OH, I KNOW WHAT YOUR LOOKING FOR! - "Mundane toy that involved sticking plastic pieces on scenes" If I had to guess, they were probably remembering Colorforms. I had a G.I. Joe Colorform set back in the 80's, and my wife still has a Smurfs Colorform set.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pop Culture Toy Soldier Sighting!!

So, everytime I see a toy soldier in an everyday setting, like a tv show or a movie, I get so excited, and then I realize that I'm the ONLY person around me that has any interest in Toy Soldiers, and I have to reign it in before I look like a total tool. meh.

Anyway, PC Gamer magazine, in it's current issue, uses some toy soldiers as the main image for their "Co-Op" article. The article was just so-so, because Co-Op gaming is pretty boring. Why would you want to WORK with someone, when you just just SHOOT them instead. Obviously the writer has never experienced the unparalled joy of ruining someone's night in Call of Duty 4.

Uhhh, wait, did you come here expecting real toy soldier news??? HA. er... I don't really have anything else. I'm mostly waiting for news of the Conte Spartans, and biding my time till the Indianapolis Show, which I attend every year. Gonna get me some Barzso stuff. I'm not sure what yet. Either the Big Castle, and then buy a few figures separately, or buy the actual playset, and simply fawn over the huge castle without actually buying it. Getting both would be a severe misappropriation of my funds (translated as my wife would kill me). Actually, that's not true. My wife wouldn't kill me. Of all the toy soldiers out there, all the different brands, she likes the Barzso figures and playsets the most. I think it was the Tripoli set that did it for her. She liked the bright colors and what-not.

Oh, hey, anybody got the new Italeri WWII arty pieces yet? I see they are selling them in Europe already. Was looking for reviews, thoughts, whatever.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wikipedia, The Wonder of

Anytime I need information, my first stop shopping is always Wikipedia. Now, I know, I know. You can't always trust it. But, for the most part, it's proven itself over the past years as a reliable place to BEGIN any type of research. It's ok, you can disagree with me if you want to. The rest of my profession does (stupid traditional librarians....)

Anyway, I typed in Toy Soldiers, just to see what I would find, and this article came up. Not too bad. It also links to a nice introductory of the Marx Company. The nice thing about Wikipedia is, if you see anything that is WAY wrong, you can change it yourself. Or heck, add a whole new page on something you think needs to be there. Of course, if you're way off base, they'll revert it back. Just thought it was interesting.

There should be a word for spending way too much time on Wikipedia...

"What ya been doin' today man?"

"You know, just wikapedin' a bit."

Errr. maybe not.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Scored some 21st Century

I hit the Toys R' Us in Indianapolis today and picked up the 21st Century Italian and German DAK infantry. They had quite a few of them hanging on the pegs. When I got them home and opened them up, I was really impressed with the details and sculpting of the figures. These, along with their recent Germans, Russians, and Japanese, have simply been awesome. Some might say they are a bit spindley, but I think they look great.

My wife and I spent the better part of this afternoon painting some Barzso accessories. Barrels, treasure chests, logs, cannon, and those awesome slop buckets. I was a little hesitant to put the paint brush to these, since they came as part of a set, and it was expensive... and, well, I don't know. Anytime you change something, make it different than what it was originally, you wonder if it is for better, or for worse. In this case, it brought the pieces to life. I'm still loath to paint any of my figures, but I'm getting better at the side items.