Monday, December 8, 2014

An Update. Finally!

I've left things sit for almost 2 years, so I really should post more pix. Right now I'm trying to do this with a mobile android device, so I'm a little dubious about the success of this endeavour. I may have to wait for the library to open and use their desktop machines (I've been cable tv and home internet free since the New Year. I think tv's pretty lousy and I was only watching the History Channel and the Military Channel and they aren't worth $60 a month. Espescially since History Channel mostly plays crap like Ancient Aliens.)Anyway, here's some pix


Well it's the next day and I'm at the library...

And this post should have been first today...

Oh well, here's a few pictures:

These are some odd projects I've been working on. The first are Italeri Saracen camel mounted warriors. The elephants are knick knacks from the ubiquitous Dollar Store, that I added plasticine howdas, armour and accoutrements to. A handfull of old brittle Airfix figures are along for the ride.
The last grouping are Parthians in 25mm from Warrior miniatures.

Note: This is a repost from a couple years back. I was putting labels on my posts and somehow I changed the date for this one. I couldn't change it back, so instead of deleting it, I figured I'd just repost it. Oh well....

Friday, December 5, 2014

Comic Book Toy Soldiers: 204 Revolutionary War Soldier Set

This is a follow up on the comic book soldier theme I did with the Lucky Romans a while back. This is for the later fully round plastic figures, not the earlier flat figures.

We're all familiar with the comic book ad:

As a kid the "No Canadian or foreign orders accepted!" never stopped me from trying to order, but alas, the letters were always returned.
As an adult I began to find them at flea markets, often for a few dollars. Then with the internet I began buying sets and partial sets from comic book stores.
But ebay was the eye opener. For a while the toys were relatively cheap, but then their prices began to climb rapidly.
Now I occasionally buy a set in the $30 range, but I've seen some auctions realize several hundred dollars a set.

Here are the original contents:

They were:
36 Dragoons (Cavalrymen)

12 Shooting Infantrymen

(Note: I'm not sure what figures were specified by some of the descriptions. There are 3 shooting figures, one standing, one crouching, and one kneeling.)

12 Marching Infantrymen

12 Crouching Infantrymen

12 Fifers

(Note: The figures depicted don't have a small fife in the traditional sense, rather it looks like a horn or oboe of some type.)

12 Charging Infantrymen

(Note: None of the figures are very active and I have no idea which one could be seen as charging.)

12 Sharpshooters

12 Field Cannon

12 Cannon Loaders

12 Drummers

12 Minutemen

(Note: Along with the Hessians, these figures are strictly meant for one side only. In this case, Blue American Militia. However, both the Militiamen and Hessians feature figures in both colours. However, there are relatively few red militia and blue Hessians, at a ratio of 30 to 1 in my collection of 10 or so sets. It could be that these odd coloured troops were mistakes or were added in later sets? Frankly I don't know.)

24 Mohawk Indians

12 Officers

12 Hessian Troops

Here's what a full set looks like.

There were many variations in the two colours. Whether this is a result of sun fading, age or variations in plastic I'm not sure.

Here's a comparison of the figures with Airfix, Revell and Zvezda figures. As you can see, they measure up size wise with Revell and Zvezda, but they do tower over Airfix.

One observation I've had is that these figures have resisted the plastic rot that many old Airfix figures have experienced. They remain bendable and hold their shape.

Now these figures were a little odd compared to Airfix figures, but they conveyed the expected general appearance of Revolutionary War Soldiers. The dragoons have the boiled leather helmets, albeit with minimal detail. The tricornes are fine, but the Hessians/Grenadiers sport rather fanciful mitres. Reminicent of the old Bee Hive Honey logo, they did stretch the imagination.

The Indians were a little disapointing at first, One would have expected the feathered Iroquois of children's books or hollywood. Or at least the ones from the ad. But in reality, the general costume is rather apt when compared to contemporary art.

In point of fact, the posing and sculpting of the soldiers closely resemble the depictions seen on artwork and posters made early in the revolution.
Here are a few pictures of some early depictions of the war by artist Amos Doolittle:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

28mm Marx Arab Recasts

I recently purchased a couple bags of Made in China toy soldiers. I ordered them off the net.
I wasn't sure what I'd be getting scale wise, but I thought "why not?"

Turns out the figures I expected to be 45 mm - 54 mm tall are recasts of Marx's Arab figures. Here's a link to an article about them:

These figures are cast in a harder plastic than current 1/72 scale releases. They are all between 23 to 28mm tall, most being the latter. There are 11 poses and the original mounted poses are included, albeit with their feet fixed to bases.

It takes little to clip them free. However finding recast horses might be a problem. I settled on the Thai Giant recasts. The riders require a little trimming between their legs, and the horses' saddles must be carved flat, but they do fit. I also mounted a dozen on some toy camels. These took a bit more trimming of the legs, and I found the plastic can break away under pressure, so careful carving is required.

Anyway the bag of toys has over 200 figures. Some casualties from shipping are present, broken guns, snapped off bases, but the vast majority are in acceptable condition. Also included are 4 towers in two styles, 10 trees, deciduous and palm, some of the usual dollar store accessories like fences and sandbags, a large tent, a modern building front and some simple fighter jets and inflatable rafts. Missing was the tank that was to be in the set, and two fictional plastic maps were included. The Muslim soldiers were cast in two colours, tan and olive green.

The potential for these toys is great.

Beyond mounting the riders, of whom there were over 60 in a bag, the weapons were all muskets and swords. With a little paint and imagination they would do as Pathans, Mahdists, Indian, Mamelukes or even Sikh soldiers. 

Removing the muskets and replacing them with spears could transport them back in time for armies of the middle east, the crusades, the turks or others.
As an aside, the ad that caught my eye sold me with a photo of all the soldiers set up. But the caption referred to them as "middle eastern aborigines"! I guess the company used one of those computer translators.
I mounted the three rider poses on horses, camels and made some standard bearers. I have no cognisance of what's on the flags, it's a rough copy of those in the first volume of Funcken's Le Costume et les Armes: Des Soldat de Tous les Temps. Vol. I. Des Pharaons a Louis XV. by Liliane and Fred Funcken. (1966)
Now I've seen Marx 28mm recasts of Mexican Alamo soldiers, Civil War soldiers, Captain Gallant Foreign Legion, Noah's Ark, so does that mean other sets might be in the offing? I certainly hope so, but I'm not holding my breath.  Or maybe we'll see the Revolutionary war sets of redcoats and rebels or the Charge of The Light Brigade? Or the World War 2 sets? One can only hope.

on the light side of things, I've been growing raspberries every year. what started as a single bush now produces 6 to 8 liters of berries every summer. I went for a rummage through the basement and I've got enough preserves and jams canned to make a nice batch of wine. So my lousy painting isn't likely to improve with age, but the wine will.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

It's Been A While

Just a quick post of some plasticene conversions. They're on artist canvases that I painted as terrain, just an idea I've been playing with.

Mostly cavalry, some Napoleonic Airfix/Esci/Italeri but the cowboy hat types in evidence as Nine Years War types.
Also I did a couple regiments from Airfix 8th Army copies as English and French regiments.
The first photos have Wurzburg troops.
The house is a foam carving painted to resemble the Chew House.
The trees are florist items on black toothpicks.
Oddly enough, I painted the pink hussars then found their similar historical counterpart on a Knotel print of Danish Hussars.

The cannon is a Mars Swedish Seige cannon.