Two years ago while driving home from the Chicago show, my wife turned down the radio, looked at me, and said "we could do that too.". I had no idea what she was talking about, but she explained that we could, if we wanted to, start our own toy soldier company. And so we began the long journey of figuring out exactly what we wanted to accomplish, and how we wanted to go about it.
After lots of work, I'd like to introduce you to our new online home and our new website...
Within the next few days, I'll be giving you a link that will show you what we've been working on. It will, in fact, take the place of this website. In a way, it's fairly sad that after 5 years, The Plastic Battalion will cease to exist. But I can't wait to show you what's taking it's place!
Stay tuned for the next phase. You won't be disappointed.
TSSD's website has a short note about 21st Century Toys. If it means what I think we all assume it means, that's too bad. I always appreciated that they could bring historically accurate toys back to the mainstream market. While I didn't collect all their lines, I always looked forward to browsing the O.D. Green section of Wal-Mart, and now that it's not there anymore... kind of depressing. Their 1/32 vehicles were amazing, and their figures were always a nice addition to any battlefield. Wish they had gotten the chance to release a few more figure sets, including the WWII British and the Marines that were advertised a few times.
I don't read a lot of fiction. And I don't read fast. I usually read a couple pages at a time, and spread a book out over a month or so.
But yesterday, during my work as a librarian I came across the book Appaloosa by Robert B. Parker. I picked it up and read the intro just to get a feel for the book. It was really, really good. I took it home and read it in a single sitting, which I think I've only ever done once before with a book. Much better than the movie that portrayed it. If you're into westerns, or simply a good story, give it a shot.
All right, now back to the unintelligible ramblings that have been leading up to June... Keep a sharp eye. Never know where a code might pop up.
"I soon saw that we were the reserve, which is a dreaded position when kept up, for you will hear the roar of the battling front... one may be shot down and not so much as raise a hand in self defense..."
Clues and hints, teases and clues, with plenty more to come. I hope you've enjoyed the few Civil War quotes so far, kind of my way to kick things off... I have a few more weeks left till the 5th anniversary of The Plastic Battalion. Goodnews, bad news, it's all the same. While what once was fun, it just won't stand up to what's in the que. Stick around, and if you're lucky, you might figure out what's going on.
Sometimes you just can't beat a classic. These Airfix Cav figures are some of the best figures ever done. Can't wait to throw them up against some TSSD Indians.
I'll be gone this weekend to a reenactment in North Vernon, IN. It's a small little town where Morgan's Raiders came through during the Civil War. It's also where I met my wife, so, it has two signifigant historical happenings. Rock on, and enjoy your weekend!
Forgive me this proud moment. This is my nephew showing off the poster he made for his Civil War project. He had to give a presentation as well, which I hear he Aced. I knew if I kept pushing the Toy Soldiers, he'd turn out pretty well!! You know they're growing up when they take their Thomas the Tank train table, chuck the trains, and turn it into a battlefield filled with the BMC San Juan Hill playset.
Jonathan, who requested a few more Western Federals in the recent survey, is showing off his own version of Western Federals here. These are Imex Confederates painted up as Yanks. I like the fence too!
Awhile back I wrote to both of my Indiana Senators about the CPSC regulations that may cause financial difficulties for the makers of our favorite toys. I got a letter in the mail from Senator Lugar a couple days ago and it read as such:
Thank you for sharing with me your concerns about legislation that was recently enacted to modernize the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). I appreciate knowing your thoughts about the potential difficulties small businesses could face in complying with this new law.
As you may know, on February 2nd the CPSC issued a one year stay of enforcement for the testing and certification requirements included in the CPSC Reform Act. This stay will give the CPSC additional time to establish the regulatory framework that is needed to ensure that enforcement of this law is responsive to the needs of manufacturers while protecting children from harmful substances such as lead. The rulemaking process is ongoing and is subject to public review and comment. Additional information about the implementation of this law and the stay of enforcement can be found online at http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html. I will follow this issue closely as the CPSC moves forward with the rulemaking process.
Hey All! Here are the final entries to our little survey: Thanks to everyone for participating.
GREG would like to see some JAPANESE ARTILLERY, FOX HOLE MARINES AND JAPANESE, RESTING OR WOUNDED. COMBAT CHOW LINE. And his dream playset would be OKINAWA FEATURING 96TH ARMY INFANTRY AND MARINES.
JOHN's dream playset would be CULLODEN 1746.
MARTIN FROM ENGLAND would like to see more NAPOLEONICS, and his dream set would be BORODINO.
MITCHELL wants some more WWII figures, and his dream set would be STALINGRAD.
An unsigned entry simply wanted more REV WAR figures.
And finally, BEAU (me) would like to see more CIVIL WAR figures, and my all time dream set would be A FULLY LICENSED STAR WARS PLAYSET.
So there you have it. 38 entries in all, and it was really spread all over the board as to what people wanted. There were a few themes that kept popping up, but overall, I'd say that as a whole, our hobby has some pretty eclectic desires. One theme I did see was the desire for specificity, such as singling out particular units or particular battles.
All right everybody. Rock on, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!
At my local Sam's Club I spotted the TV Shows Combat and The Rat Patrol. Both were in the $10-$12 range for all seasons. I haven't seen many episodes of either, but I used to watch re-runs of Combat! during my lunch break and thought it was awesome. Anyway, just thought I would pass it along.
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my little survey. Here are a few more responses:
CHRISTIAN wants more WWII and his dream set would be PEENEMUNDE PLAYSET COMPLETE WITH V2 ROCKETS AND GERMAN SCIENTISTS.
An unsigned entry wants more ANCIENTS, but their dream set would be "GUNS OF NAVARONE.
Another unsigned entry simply wants more WWII.
MIKE needs more figures from the TURN OF THE CENTURY: TEXAS / MEXICO BORDER and his dream set would be OF COURSE: THE WILD BUNCH, RIGHT BEHIND; MAJOR DUNDEE. I'm right there with ya on the Wild Bunch Mike!
JONATHAN needs more REV WAR figures, and his dream set would be either SHARPE'S RIFLES, KING'S MOUNTAIN, CIVIL WAR WESTERN THEATRE.
Hmmm.... Western federals have been sorely neglected haven't they... Somebody should do something about that.
That's it for now! But hey, GREAT NEWS for you Alamo Collectors. TSSD has contracted Ken Osen to do the North Wall for your Alamo. Ken Osen is to this hobby like what Dale Murphy was to Baseball. Amazingly awesome work, and an all around nice guy. Err, if you don't know who Dale Murphy was, sorry. I was a Braves fan back in the day.
Hey All! Wanted to throw out a few more of the results that came in.
STACY would like more MODERN troops, but their dream set would be 55 DAYS AT PEKING, THE WIND AND THE LION, OR LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.
ANDY wants some more figures from the PLAINS INDIANS WARS, and his dream set would be FETTERMAN & LITTLE BIG HORN.
JIM would like some more WWII, and his dream set would be A WWII PACIFIC THEATER PLAYSET WITH US NAVY SHORE PARTY FIGURES AND A PT BOAT.
RON needs some FRENCH WW2 figures, but his dream set would be BRAVEHEART.
PICKLE always needs more WWII, and he would love a BATTLE OF BERLIN / BATTLE AT MONTE CASSINO set.
JOHN needs CIVILIANS FOR CIVIL WAR SCENES, but his dream set would be a WESTERN TOWN.
I'll post some more later. But in the meantime, feel free to check out this blog dedicated to cool little Civil War stories. It's run by my friend Greg, and he's just started it, but he's uncovered some little known facts and stories that are worth reading if your into such things. My favorite was the article about "The Big Parade". Rock on ya'll.
Happy Saturday! Thanks to all who submitted answers to the survey. Here are a few more of what people submitted.
WARSMACKER wants more ANCIENTS, and like a couple others, their dreamset would be TROY.
An unsigned entry needs more MODERN figures, and their perfect set would be 55 DAYS AT PEKING.
George always need more CIVIL WAR, and his dream set would be FORT FISHER: ARMY, NAVY, MARINES, AND A FORT. ALL IN ONE SET!
Another unsigned entry wants some more WWII figures, and their perfect set would be the BATTLE OF BERLIN.
MARK wants some more ALAMO figures, and his perfect set would be, of course, the ALAMO.
And one more, for those a different persuasion, JOHN wants to see some STREET FIGHTER figures, and his perfect playset would be ALL MY FAVORITE VIDEO GAMES CHARACTER EVER FIGHTING. ALL STREET FIGHTER, GEARS OF WAR, GOD OF WAR, HALO, MARIO, SONIC, AND LINK. I MAY HAVE MISSED A FEW. Thanks John, and good talking to you yesterday!
All right, it's a bright sunny day out there, it's a saturday, and I have a date with the Half-Price Books. Got my 15% off coupon in my hand, and on the hunt for Osprey. Rock on ya'll, and have a good Easter weekend. And if you don't do Easter, then just have an all around rockin' weekend.
And a few more from the ever dedicated toy soldier community!
LARRY needs more ANCIENTS and his dream set is HELEN OF TROY.
ED "PSYCHO" BORRIS always needs more ALAMO figures, but this time he wants a playset where THE TEXANS WIN THIS TIME.
JONAH wants more NAPOLEONICS, but his dream set would be A MASSIVE GETTYSBURG SEVERAL PART SET WITH THE UNITS NOT BEING GENERIC CONFEDERATES OR UNION INSTEAD WITH UNITS FROM EACH STATE. THAT WOULD BE AMAZING.
And unsigned entry simply wants some VIET-NAM figures.
TIMOTHY needs more NAPOLEONICS and his dream set would be A WATERLOO PLAYSET THAT INCLUDES THE WHOLE BATTLE, NOT JUST THE HOUGOUMONT.
Excellent stuff. If you haven't played already, get in on it by answering here! You could be the grand winner of a lifetime supply of happiness that comes inherently from answering toy soldier surveys!
Here are a few of the responses from the survey yesterday.
Paul said he wants to see more REV WAR and his dream playset would be TROY.
Tom also wants more REV WAR and his dream playset would be THE GREAT ESCAPE.
An unsigned entry wants more MODERN figures and their dream playset would be PORK CHOP HILL.
Tom wants more ANCIENTS and his dream set would be ALESIA or MARATHON.
Ian said he wants more ANCIENTS as well, but for his dream set he says "CIVIL WAR WOULD BE FAVORITE, BUT DREAM SET IT WOULD BE PRETTY SWEET TO HAVE SOME BIPLANES ALL THE WAY UP TO THE FIGHTERS OF WWII.
Stephanie has been a fan of the Britain's Petticoat series ever since she first saw them, but the Jane Austen series from Britain's is going to make her a true collector I bet.
I actually attempted to read a Jan Austen book once. It was before Stephanie had agreed to date me, and I was trying to get on her good side and impress her. So, I picked up Pride and Prejudice and gave it a shot. I was asleep in probably 4 minutes.
Tom, who has left a comment or two on this site, has his own site dedicated to toy soldiers. I had to point it out because he has taken some really nice "portrait" pictures of some awesome figures. I always appreciate the ability and talent for taking good pictures. Anyway, there are several posts there and it's worth checking out. My favorite is the German Sniper.
This just doesn't seem to be going away. Nick at TSSD has a great post that pretty much spells out what is going to happen when these new safety regulations take effect. It's not going to be pretty for the small companies that we depend on for new products. I would suggest doing as Nick says, and writing your local representatives and letting them know that their regulations, while good intentioned, are over-reaching and punishing the wrong people.
A Gold Star to anyone who finds a Senator or House Rep. that is a fan of toy soldiers!!
Thanks for stopping by my webpage. It means a lot to me that you actually opened up your browser, and managed to land on my little corner of the internet. And it is a little corner, but this particular corner has been around for coming up on 5 whole years. Yup, it was June of 2004 when my band fell apart, and I needed something new to write about online. And that something was naturally Toy Soldiers. I started this page mostly as a way to pass the time at work, and because I liked the idea of being able to create a webpage from scratch. At the time it was fairly novel. These days, all you need is a google username, and WHAM, you can have your own website in under 30 seconds. And that's pretty awesome. I've seen several new "blogs" pop up having to do with toy soldiers, miniatures, and collecting in general over the years. And being able to share our collections, and see what others are doing is what makes this hobby so much fun.
I've been mentioning over the past few months that The Plastic Battalion will be undergoing some MAJOR changes soon. I think a five year anniversary is a pretty good time to do it.
Finally got a chance to really put together my Barzso Fort. Used some Civil War soldiers because, hey, they're my favorite. Had it all set up, and then of course someone had to come check it all out. Not sure if she was invading the fort or simply guarding it. Regardless, she was the cause of casualties on both sides.
I can't say enough good things about this fort system. This is like the new Fort Apache. Can't wait to throw in some TSSD Indians. Hey, did ya hear that TSSD will be releasing their new cav sets in gray? Awesome for us that don't mind figures doing a little double duty through time.
I think we are about set for the Texas Show coming at the end of May. We found some great deals on rooms through some travel websites. We actually found some rooms at the Menger Hotel (site of the show) for way below normal cost. You just got to keep checking the sites and wait for them to run specials and what-not. As I've said before, my wife seems to be able to find the deal of the century on almost a weekly basis.
Hey, have you heard that the Menger is supposed to be haunted? Rock on. I ain't never seen a ghost, nor heard a ghost, nor seen a Ghust Hunters episode that I thought was believable... but hey, I've got an open mind.
The Indianapolis Toy Soldier was yesterday and I was able to attend and take some pictures, though not as many as I should have. I did see Jim, the photographer for the Indy page for Playset Magazine, taking lots of pictures, so be sure to check out that site for more photos.
I did take some pictures of Ron Barzso's display table and the new foam Blockhouse that is now available to go along with his new fort. It is an excellent piece. I probably should have gotten two of them. They even give you the option to name your fort by custom carving your name onto a plaque that fits onto the front of the Fort. "Fort Beau". Hmmm... sounds French.
There were several cool items at the show, and several familiar faces. They even opened up an extra room to accomodate some extra vendors. Not sure if there were actually more vendors, or the extra room simply allowed them to spread out a bit more. It did seem as though the crowds were down a bit, but I was not there the whole time, so I probably didn't have a good feel for it.
I spent most of my time rummaging through the 50 cent and dollar buckets as usual looking for odd or unusual pieces, or simply poses to finish out collections. I came home with about 60 Marx Knights that I truly didn't need, and some reverse colored marx Yankees. As always it was a fun show, and as always, I managed to spend all my money.
First I moved all my ESCI Napoleonics off my shelf. Then went the Call to Arms Cavalry back into the box. Finally, I moved all my Airfix, Timpo, and Italeri Napoleonics into the closet. I was done. Napoleonics just weren't my thing....And then Hat has to start coming out with awesome sets like this!!
The sculpting is crisp and the poses are life-like. Does anyone know whether these fall into 1/35, traditional 1/32, or the new larger 1/32? Hat seems pretty determined to put together a pretty stunning range of 1/32 Napoleonics. It's really what the era needed after being just touched on by so many different companies through the years.
We're getting closer to the Indianapolis Show. As posted on the Hobby Bunker forum, here is a link to see pictures from past shows and a vendor list for this year. The show is always a lot of fun, and Mr. Barzso's display is always fantastic. No indication that there will be "new" product there, but you never know. I can't make it to the Saturday room trading because of a prior commitment (I'm going to have paintballs shot at me), but I'm sure that whatever cash I save myself because of missing the room trading, I'll spend at the Sunday show.
Yes, paintball. I've played before. Several years ago. It was 4 hours of lying prone on the ground cursing the fogged mask that obscured my vision. I managed to never get hit by getting lost and wandering off the battlefield. Not only did I not get hit, I never even fired a shot!!! Hopefully this weekend I'll fare a bit better. So if I show up at the show on Sunday, obviously sore, you'll know why.
This is very cool. I haven't seen many pictures or ever knew much about this set, besides the fact that it was a very early set by Mr. Conte, and that the figures were done in resin. TSSD has a supersized version for sale at their site. For you deep pocketed collectors, might just be the thing you're looking for.
Stephanie and I went antique shopping yesterday and I came home with a few more troops. You can see that these are the Tim-Mee Vietnam era figures. The nice things about these two are that they from the earlier sets that still included both the grenade thrower (instead of simply waving) and the marching figure. Notice on the marching figure that the tip of the rifle is still attached. I have several with the rifle tip broken off. I got the whole bag for $5. As I've probably mentioned before, these are the figures that I grew up with, and thus, have a special place in my collecting heart. I got more than I know what to do with, but I'm always on the hunt for them.
Now, I know I ain't no big time playset collector, and that most of you could fill a garage with your playset boxes. And, that may be the answer to my question, but what I want to know is... WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ALL THOSE BOXES?? I mean, I ain't going to throw them away. They are way too cool and decorated for that. And maybe most of ya'll keep the actual set in the box. Not me. I have the actual contents out on display most of the time. So I'm left with this stack of boxes that is difficult to find storage for. Ah, the difficulties of toy soldier collecting.
I'm always interested in finding new computer games, and I've found one that had me up playing it till about 2:00 am last night. It's called Take Command: 2nd Manassas. It's a real-time strategy game, based in a 3D world. Some would probably find it terribly boring, but if you're into "Napoleonic" tactics, including battle lines, formations, wheels, blah blah blah, you'd probably enjoy this. Here's a link to their website with a free demo of it, which is all I've gotten so far.
Check out TSSD's latest offering here. I'm really digging how they are presenting this. You can tell, simply from the page and the bits of history given, that they are excited about this range, and in turn that gets me excited.
For me, unless I am intriqued by the history of it, I usually can't get excited about the figures. Take Napoleonics for example. I've never done much studying on the era. I'm sure if I would, the history would get to me and I would start buying figures left and right. But as it is, I'm fairly "meh" on the subject.
The old west has always been a little off my radar as well, but a simple "teaser" page like what TSSD put up is enough to get me started. I find myself doing an Internet search on Kit Carson and Santanta, reading up on the different Native American tribes, figuring out how Native Americans waged war against each other, and how they fought the U.S. army. And once I'm that far into, it's becomes a certainty that the Toy Soldiers are going to find a place in my collection.
So rock on to TSSD, and I'm hoping this range proves to be lucrative for them. And thanks again for lowering the price point to $16!! How awesome is that?
Nick has posted that he's going to be putting a page on his site devoted to the new Plains Wars series they are undertaking. There are some pictures of the Indians over at the Treefrog Treasures website forum as well. They look awesome, which doesn't surprise me.
One nice aspect of this set, at least in my opinion, is that there are only six figures. Now I know that in this hobby, less is less and more is more, but in these tough economic times, and jobs are becoming a real issue for folks, putting out these smaller sets will help people be able to afford their favorite toys. Prices haven't been announced yet, but with prices going up all over the place, I'd assume that the $20 per bag of 16 figures is a thing of the past. Now if you are like me, $20 has always been a serious chunk, and laying down more than that really tears at your insides. Again, I'm not sure what Nick's prices are going to be, but personally, I'll gladly take these smaller sets at a more affordable prices.
Looking foward to seeing what the Plains War playset is going to look like!
A HUGE new posting over at the Conte main site. It gives some reasons why releases have been slow, and seems to indictate a steadier schedule in the future. And, most meaningful to me, and I'm sure a few of you, it does throw a tidbit in there about Plastic Immortals, which in my view, lets us know that they are still in the plans. The amount of teaser pictures thrown in there should be enough to get anyone excited about the future of Conte products. Wild West, Scottish Independence, FFL, and some dude in a loin cloth. Fun times to be sure.
Mr. Conte can stir up this hobby like no one else, and I'm wishing him best of luck with his move and all of his new product. And after the seeming demise of 21st Century, it makes me appreciate the manufacturers that we have all that much more. Between Conte, TSSD, Ron Barzso, Steve Weston, Hat, Italeri, AIP, Pegasus, and the several others, we can continue to grow our crazy and obsessive collections.
Hey, are there any pictures of those new TSSD Indians anywhere online yet?
Some news from the TSSD website... Looks like Plains Indian Warriors will be their next set. They will be showing test shots at the West Coast show, with the rest of the figures showing up in April. Very cool. Hopefully some pictures start showing up soon. If anybody sees some anywhere on the net, please let me know.
A real nice find on ebay right now. It's a 28 figure box of Airfix Italian 1/32 figures. Not easy to find, and not been recast. I'd assume the mold is lost or damaged, though I don't know for sure. As I'm writing this, the price is at $27, which in my humble opinion, ain't bad for box and figures. The seller is Conte, so you know it's coming from a reputable source. Just thought I'd throw it out there, in case anyone has been on the hunt for these.
The big West Coast show is almost here, and as always, it's a bit out of my range to attend. But it should be awesome. Reading TSSD's page, I saw that they were going to have "test shots" of their new set there, and that they should be available by April 1st. Awesome. I haven't seen any indication of what the set might be, but one can assume that it will be well worth the price of admission.
Those of you that take awesome pictures of your toy soldiers... I appreciate your skill. My pictures come out blurry and just plain awful. I'm thinking I need a tripod to steady my hand. And some sort of lighting besides the ole' ceiling fan light. Anyway, was playing with my Spartans again last night.
Bleck, it's been busy around here, but I did find time today to hit the local HobbyTown USA. They had the new Italeri Templar Knights for $25. I have a question... how do you pronounce Italeri??? The guy at the shop pronounced it like "Ed Leery". See, I asked him whether he had much demand for 1/32 figures, and he said besides "Ed Leery", they don't carry much. I was like "what's this new brand "Ed Leery" you speak of?" It was Italeri. Not the way I usually pronounce it. But after thinking about it, I have no idea how it's said. The way I say it is like this: The first part is the same as "Ital"ian, and the second part sounds like "Hurry" without the H. Italeri. I don't know, I could be wrong. Probably am actually. Not that this is all the crucial. Just something to think about on a boring Saturday.
Hey, did you see that new stuff on the Conte site? I'm not much into the metals of course, but could those FFL figures be coming in plastic?? And is one of them left-handed??? An expansion of their FFL line would be awesome, but I hope it's not at the expense of Plastic Immortals, or even plastic Romans which he mentions in the FAQ section of the page. Whatever is next for Conte, I'm sure it will be awesome.
My wife and I were planning our trip to the Texas Show this morning. I think we'll probably arrive on Thursday, do a bit of sight-seeing for a couple days, and then enjoy both days of the show on Saturday and Sunday. I've never been to Texas before, and am excited to see the Alamo, or whats left of it. I think we are staying at the Hotel Contessa... I think. We've changed our minds a few times trying to look for a nice place, plus a nice price as well. I figure each dollar I can save on the room is more dollars I can spend at the show.
I haven't heard whether we'll see anything new at the show or not. I'd always love to see something pop up, but really, I'm so behind on new releases over the past couple of years, it would do me good to focus on filling some holes rather than picking up new stuff.
21st Century is totally gone from my local Wally World. Now, if you read my posts with any regularity, you've probably noticed that my Wal-Mart is kind of a rock star when it comes to carrying 21st Century. They get everything at some point or another. Planes, vehicles, figures, sets... it all rolls through the Noblesville Super Wal-Mart at some point.
As I walked through a few nights ago, I noticed that there weren't even shelf tags for them. They had about 5 of the WWII action figures left, but that was it. I didn't even see a price tag for them. Where the all the O.D. Green boxes used to be are now bright green John Deere toy boxes. Nothing against kids (or adults) who play with farm toys, but BLECK!
I will be the first to admit, I took for granted the fact that 1/32 toy soldiers were available at a local store at such a good price. It got to the point where I wasn't buying much, just checking out what they had, happy that they were there. But with them gone... what's the point of crusing the toy aisle anymore?
Hope it's just a temporary thing and that 21st Century Toys stays in the game. Their product is just too good.
on a different note, I mentioned a couple months ago that the site will be undergoing some major changes... still happening. And I don't mean changing background colors.
Heads up, Michtoy is selling the Italeri WWII German set for $16.99. Just thought you might like to know, in case the regular $22 price tag was a bit much for you. Personal opinion, the figures weren't all that great, but if you're like me, you can lower your standards if it means more variety.
The set is the "Savannah Collection" from a series of hard plastic toys called Nature's Wonders. This Tree and Rock, plus a couple of other small rock pieces and a fairly goofy looking pond, cost a whopping $2 at my local Wal-Mart. They had a TON of them, and I plan on going back and picking up a more tomorrow.
For 1/48th Airplane guys, they had 21st Century planes for $3 each.
I don't know how many people use RSS feed readers, but they are handy when sites make use of the capability. the 1/72 news site Plastic Soldier Review is now offering an RSS feed. Awesome. Now, you may be asking yourself "why would he want to keep updated with a site dedicated to 1/72, when he obviously doesn't care a lick about 1/72?" And I would say, because an awesome web site is an awesome website, and it's a wonderful source of actual history as well. The reviews are well written, and simply keeping up with anything in the plastic toy soldier market is fun.
If you don't use a RSS feed reader, I would suggest Bloglines. It's what I use, and it works great.
I like the way Hat thinks. Check out these previews (especially the dude with the axe!!). Skim through their whole site and you'll see lots of plans for future 1/32. Also, keeping up with their forum board makes for good reading.
My wife is a bargain hunter, and she rarely comes home without a kill. I mean it. She can walk into any store and find an item that was once $60 on sale for like $3. I'm not kidding. She bought a nice denim jacket for $3 from Sears one time. I doubt she has a pair of shoes that cost more than $20.
As for me, I never find good sales. But it ain't my fault. The junk I like (toy soldiers, orange crush, star wars books, and guitar strings) NEVER go on sale. I've just become numb to the fact that 99% of what I buy is going to be at retail cost.
So, whenever a nice sale comes along, it's a bonafide reason to celebrate. Go check out Hobby Bunker's "Weekly Sales" section. Good browsing and good prices.
Try Quarter Priced books! My local Half-Price Books, which I never go to, had an awesome selection of Osprey Books for sale. All of them $5, including the thicker "Essential Histories" series. I got several including the on topics of Inch'on, Celtic Forts, and Pirate Ships. I think I got about 7 all together. I didn't even get all that they had. They had 5+ copies of several of the titles, and some more unique titles that didn't interest me much.
Anyway, if you got a Half-Price books around you, probably worth checking out if you're into Osprey.
Stopped by my local Wal-Mart today and saw that all of their 21st Century items are on clearance. 1/32 vehicles are $9, all 1/32 figure three packs are $3, all 1/18 figures are $3, all 1/72 vehicles including planes were, I think, $3. Good time to stock up, if there is any stock left. All mine had in 1/32 were some Chinese Infantry and some planes, which didn't look to be discounted.
It's Wildcard Weekend for us NFL fans, so today is going to be spent in front of the TV with a Grape Crush in one hand, and a paint brush in the other. Going to try to finish up a few projects that have been sitting around for awhile including a few Hobby Bunker foam pieces, starting with the courtyard. But I have a huge decision... should I paint it a Summer or Winter theme?? Hmmm.... maybe I can compromise with a Fall look.
Oh, one more thing. I hit my local Hobbytown U.S.A. today and they had some nicely bagged cloned/copied WWII figures. They were labeled as Stevens International. They had bags of American, Japanese, and German... possibly some Russians?? They were 5 dollars a bag. They were the usual Matchbox and Airfix clones, so if you're in the market for some, try your HobbyTown, or whatever is equivalent.