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.