Saturday 24 December 2016

King & Country at the London Toy Soldier Show 2016

As mentioned in the previous post, Andy Neilson had a stand at the show representing King & Country Hong Kong and here is what he brought over with him.

Wars of the Roses, beautiful figures made by John Jenkins Design, I wish I'd taken more pics.

A simple diorama that shows these figures off to great effect, I find these displays invaluable for uniform references and conversion inspiration.

At the other end of the board, the Royalists get a helping hand from Cardinal Richelieu  and his Mousquetaires?

This section of a Japanese aircraft carrier is massive, I can't imagine many homes in the UK being large enough to accommodate it! 

The inexorable march of the victorious Japanese (or are they limping away in retreat?) either way I thought the terrain effect were very impressive.

Another massive diorama, these are 60mm figures, Andy Neilson is standing behind it to give you an idea of the overall size.

A close up of the Russian advance......

.....and the desperate German rearguard.

With Christmas Day galloping up upon us may I extend to all, my Compliments of the Season, and wish you all the Peaceful and Restful few days that you have surely earned.

Saturday 17 December 2016

London Toy Soldier Show - December 2016

Some more gratuitous pictures of toy soldiers taken at the recent show in London, the December show is usually the best one of the year as it attracts dealers who don't bother with the earlier ones.  I just noticed that the March 2017 show has been advertised as "Incorporating Wargaming" so lets hope that means we'll be seeing more of the Skirmish Group.  The show will continue in it's current venue, the Design Centre, Islington for the March and June events next year but in December 2017 it is moving to Haverstock School in Chalk Farm, London NW3.

Not sure who made these or who's stall they were on but I felt such nice models needed a wider audience

This  piece was labelled "Big Bertha" and was on the same stall as the diorama above, shame it doesn't fire matchsticks though!

This was the table of a dealer from France who only comes over for the December London Show, he brings such unusual pieces it;s always worth a good long look at his wares.  I was very taken with the Chinese flagmen, I don't know if they go with the rickshaws - clearing a way through the crowds for them but it looks like they are the same maker.

More of the table above, love those early tanks and the pairs of animals: tiger bringing down an antelope and cobra with mongoose, a bit gruesome perhaps but full of originality, made by "RF" France.

This rather nice Nile Gunboat was on the stall of Modellers Loft who mostly deal in Action Man and similar genre (as you can see from the boxes in the background) but I thought it worth taking the pic to inspire anyone who might be thinking of making one for themselves.

Other news: Dorset Model Soldiers had a stand under the auspices of Peter Jones who is taking over the mantle from Giles Brown, Giles is still involved but mostly in an advisory capacity and carrying out repairs to old figures.  The contact details and everything else remains unchanged, I had a long chat with Peter about an order I had sent in just the day before and found him very helpful so this augurs well for the future.

New to the show and new to me were Covent Garden Games who tell me they have had a toy soldier stall established in Covent Garden Market for 30 years!  I'm a fairly regular visitor to the Covent Garden area and I never knew of them so there's a reasonable chance that you won't have either and hence I'm giving them a plug here, nice young people, if you find yourself in Central London take a look in.

Also at the show was Andy Neilson representing King and Country Hong Kong, they had brought over some quite impressive dioramas which I'll try to get posted up before Christmas.

That's all for now folks.

Sunday 4 December 2016

Skirmish Wargames Group at the London Toy Soldier Show

I managed to miss the June show and would have missed yesterday's event had it not been for a last minute text from an old pal (so thanks for the heads up Keith).  Suddenly it's December and I don't know where the rest of the year has gone....too much work, not enough toy soldiers, that's where it went!

I digress, back to the show and I was delighted to see that the Skirmish Wargames Group had made a reappearance after several years of absence, they returned with a game based on the Spartacus Slave Revolt in Rome, and here it is:

Overview of the table, groups of rebels mill about rioting while a body of Gladiators square up to the black shield wall of the 9th Legion (Thomas Gunn figures).

View of the revolt from across the river.

Roman troops close in on the rioters.

The escapees from the Circus stand their ground.

Stand off with the Legionnaires.... the net tightens.....

.....the slaves have nothing to lose and throw themselves at the shield wall.

Once again the Skirmish Wargames Group showed us great figures and great scenery, I think the rules they were using were "Hail Ceasar" written by Rick Priestley and available to download from Warlord Games.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the Group's return to the London Show will become a regular feature once more as I always find their demonstrations inspiring.

More gratuitous pics of toy soldiers from the show to follow as time allows.  A great show followed by convivial company and a few pints in a proper old London boozer, when I returned home the latest issue of Plastic Warrior magazine was waiting on the mat for me (see link on the left).  
My Christmas has started.

Thursday 5 May 2016

More Marathas

Today the sun finally shone on London so I took the opportunity to get out in the garden and take some pics of the rest of my Maratha collection as promised in the previous post.  All of these figures were converted by an old friend, Ian Walden, who sadly passed away recently and I thought it would be nice to share them with a wider audience to show my appreciation for his great skill and imagination.

I couldn't decide which of the pics to show so I just put up everything I took, hence this post is long on images and short on text!

The collection as a whole less the artillery wagon shown in previous post, they are all based on the Maratha army at the time of the Battle of Assaye though in my world they also double as Mughal troops for the Carnatic Wars.

The cavalry are made from Jean Hoefler Napoleonics, the shields were made from decorative buttons and earrings.  Ian was very keen on these Hoefler figures, he'd been a career soldier and spent much time posted in West Germany where he acquired a mountain of them. 

Spearmen made form Jean Hoefler cowboys with turbans and tunics made from milliput.  

These musketmen and the swordsmen below are all converted from Hing Fat pirates made in China.

More buttons and earrings pressed into service as oriental shields, I sometimes think Ian must have had shares in Milliput.

Ian couldn't always get models of the Britains Indian elephant so he would just cut down the ears on the African elephants and use them instead.  Here bowmen are sitting in the howdah.

More mobile artillery, the gunner is made from a Britains/Herald medieval knight.

For the backdrop I used the rockery in my garden with every palm tree I could find.

In the third howdah the nearest figure wields a long spear with a counterweight on the end to aid balance, the two bowmen are made from Britains/Deetail Wild West series Indians.

The vegetation looks quite lush in the bright sunlight.

 Mrs C sneaks into the back of the shot.

A reasonable number of pieces for a skirmish game, now I just have to knock out some East India Company troops for the opposition

And finally........... the Sepoy General deploys his Burmese to bring down the Maratha elephants!

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Maratha mobile artillery

Almost a year has passed since the last Plastic Warrior toy Soldier Show in London and as this year's event approaches I realise that I never posted my finds from last year, this was the highlight for me:

This Maratha gun mounted on an ox wagon was made by modeler Ian Walden who has been converting figures to this period for many years now and only offers them for sale once a year at the PW show.

The cart should be pulled by a pair (or more) of Gaur but Ian couldn't find any so these oxen had to step in.  The cart itself was a tourist souvenir of a jaunting car, the gunners are made from the crew of the Britains RNLI lifeboat, the boy leading the cart is from the farm series and the chap running behind the cart with a barrel of powder and bucket of balls was a cheapo China pirate.

The first year that Ian brought his Maratha figures to the show he had camel mounted gunners and I shied away from buying them because of the price and I've regretted that ever since, so now I don't ask the price I just hand over the cash and take everything he's got. Over the years I have been steadily building up a force of infantry, cavalry and elephant troops, I now have reasonable numbers for a small game, still regret not getting those camels though!

Sadly I learned a few weeks ago that Ian had passed away suddenly and those of us that knew him are still thrown by the loss, he was a great character and one of the most imaginative people I've had the pleasure to know. 

The 2016 Plastic Warrior Toy Soldier Show will be held on Saturday 14th May  at the usual venue

Friday 22 January 2016

Soldiers in Silloth come to London

Up in Cumbria there is a museum dedicated to Toy Soldiers, it's called Soldiers in Silloth and for just 3 days part of their collection is coming south to London courtesy of those nice Swedes at IKEA.  The Exhibition opened yesterday and ends on Saturday (24th January), its at the The Proud Archivist, 2-10 Hertford Rd, London N1 5ET, so if you happen to be in London why don't you pop along, as I did yesterday.

A selection of types from the Imperial French Army of 1870 fill one half of a cabinet while their Prussian opposition (out of picture) command the other half.

Lone Star paratroopers force their way across a Bailey Bridge in face of stiff opposition from the Afrika Korps.  I don't know who made the bridge, which all breaks down into it's constituent parts, but I've been after this item for as long as I can remember......and that's a long time......even though my memory isn't what it used to be!

The Foreign Legion advance across the burning sands against rebellious tribesmen who are (as all good guerrilla fighters should be) out of  shot.

French, Swiss and Danish troops on parade to show how International this hobby of collecting toy soldiers is.

A wider shot of the collectors cabinets (which are actually the point of the exhibition) with Peter Evans (left) from Plastic Warrior magazine and Tim Barker who created the museum.

My apologies for the poor quality of the pictures and some of the better ones didn't even come out - Elastolin, Starlux and Russian made medievals to name but a few.  

The exhibition at the Proud Archivist is titled "The Collection" and has been organised by IKEA to showcase the various ranges of  display units they produce for displaying collections in the home, and very good they are too (I have some myself).  Apart from Toy Soldiers there are also collections of Vintage Cameras, Pez machines, Beatles memorabilia, Lego and Retro Fashion so there is plenty more to browse around

If you can't make it to the exhibition you can always make a note to visit the museum if you're holidaying in the Lake District - here is the link: Soldiers in Silloth

Sunday 10 January 2016

Figuren Magazin

The latest issue of Figuren Magazin hit the mat this weekend, it's the final issue for 2015 and I guess it got caught up with the Christmas post, nonetheless it's a very nice start to the new year.

Contents include:
Report on the 2015 International Toy Soldier Show at Bad Nauheim (I keep promising myself I'll try to get over to this show again each year)

The Berlin Humboldthain Flak Bunker - modelled in 1:24 scale

Review of CTS new plastic North Koreans

Composition Czech flag bearers made in the 1930's by a firm called Oexle (which are new to me)

Richard the Lionheart - character figures by Starlux from the French ORTF TV series

Three comic book heroes from Spain - Prinz Eisenherz etc.

"Every Sunday the Colts smoked" - a look at the Wild West figures spawned by all those cowboy series on TV in the 1960's

The Western Train made by Hausser (Elastolin) - it's origins (the prototype)

The Arabs by Timpo - more plastic colour variations

Reports on the Toy Soldier Shows in Herne, Neustadt, Altenburg, Wohlen and Hamburg

"Toy Soldiers in the Great War" an exhibition at the Museum Porte de Halle in Brussels - there's a PDF version of the booklet accompanying the exhibition which may be of some interest HERE

Book Review - Encyclopedia of the German Tinplate Toy Industry

A sample page of the Bad Nauheim show report, lots of pics and not much text, that's just how I like to see reviews.

Printed in German throughout, but easy to follow with lots of images.  A few too many show reports in this issue for my liking but hey, it's just as well to get them out of the way in one go.  In recent years there have been a lot of small firms setting up in Germany making 7cm figures in the style of the old composition but  made in resin and they only seem to show their wares at the German shows.   

A subscription of 4 issues costs 33 Euro to Europe or 39 Euro to Rest of World. More details here: Figuren Magazin