Tuesday 14 January 2020

Figuren Magazine

To complete the line up of toy soldier publications, Figuren Magazine popped through the letter box last week.  This magazine has been published since 1973 (originally under the name "Der Lineol Soldat) which I guess makes it the longest running publication for toy soldier collectors.  In the early days the coverage was predominantly German composition toy soldiers but over the last ten years or so a younger generation of contributors has broadened the scope.

Above, Sitting Bull graces the cover of the latest edition, the two page spread below give an idea of the layout and format of the magazine, in this case it's a report on the collectors show at Friedburg by Andreas Dittmann.  Other articles look at composition Ethiopian cavalry from the Italo-Abyssinian war of 1936 by seven different manufacturers, 1930's wooden cut-out soldiers, paper cut-out Wild West figures from the 1890's to 1950's and an offering of seasonal Nativity figures.  There are three different articles showing exquisitely made large dioramas, which are a very popular feature of the German collecting scene.  Several other show reports also include 7cm resin figures, made in the style of the old Elastolin plastic production, these high quality figures are a popular new stream of collecting in Germany but don't seem to have taken off anywhere else.

The text is all in German and some of the articles can be quite lengthy so it's a stretch if you don't know the language (although toy soldiers seem to have their own universal vocabulary), 50 pages in full colour.  There are four issues a year and cost with postage is 30/39 Euro depending on where you live.  For more details and to subscribe see their website: Figuren Magazin.

I know that many people who occasionally look in at this blog have also been active participants on the Collectors and Wargamers forums provided by Yahoo Groups.  For reasons which I don't entirely understand, Yahoo has decided to effectively close down the Groups and delete all existing content.  In fairness I think the Groups have been in decline in recent years since the emergence of  blogging, which seems to have become prominent on the web, but it is still a great loss of information and opportunity to comment.  I guess the same thing could happen to Blogger one day, all the information that people have contributed over the years just lost at the swipe of an executive decision somewhere far away, and that's why we need to support magazines like this and all the others that provide a permanent record of our hobby.  Makes you think doesn't it?

Thursday 9 January 2020

Eurofigurines - French toy soldier magazine

Following hard on the heals of Die Zinnlaube in the last post came my resub notice for the French magazine Eurofigurines which is issued four times a year and mainly covers hollowcast and solid lead, aluminium, composition, plastic and pressed tin toy soldiers.  As you'd expect, many of the manufacturers included are French but the firms featured will be familiar to most people and that makes this magazine more accessible to the majority of collectors 

The front and back covers (above and below) of the latest two issues give a taste of the quality and format of the magazine.  I'm not going to go through the table of contents for these as it would take too long but I will mention something of the house style for articles, which is to pick a subject and then illustrate as many figures relating to the subject as they can find.  The articles are short on text and long on pictures, for example in the latest issue an article for the 250th anniversary of Napoleon's birth ran to 13 pages with 105 pictures of figures from 12 vintage manufacturers.  The pictures tell the story, this is my kind of magazine.

The text is in French but, as mentioned before, there isn't a lot of it so it's easy enough to follow or translate using Google.  On average there are 30 pages, in full colour, plus a separate wadge of advertising and collectors wants/sales lists.  Cost is 45 Euro (including international postage) by Paypal for 4 issues, the subscription runs for the calendar year so if you subscribe in July they'll send you the first two issues for that year and then your next sub is due the following 1st January, it's a neat system that works well.  For more details and to subscribe see their website: Eurofigurines

Tuesday 7 January 2020

Die Zinnlaube - German toy soldier magazine

The last month has seen quite a flurry of activity in the world of toy soldier magazines, it kicked off with Plastic Warrior, which came through at the start of December, see the blog links bar to the right for details.  Followed on Christmas eve by Die Zinnlaube, this German magazine is only issued roughly once a year and isn't widely known so I like to give it a bit of a plug.  The toys covered tend to be early, predominantly German made, flats, solid lead and composition figures, so it aims very much at the top end (read expensive) of the collectors market.  Still it's nice to see lots of unusual toy soldiers that rarely get an airing elsewhere.

The front and back covers (above and below) show carved wooden figures by the French firm Giroux, I do like the "rocking horse" pose of the mounted Cossack.  

Articles include: Editorial, Obituary - Roland Umhey, Italian Composition Figures, Giroux Soldiers, Advertising figures from the George Spenkuch foundry, Diorama with Heyde figures celebrating the 250th anniversary of the explorer Alexander von Humboldt, the "Saxon artillery kettledrum carriage" made by Heyde, the French conquest of Algeria made by J E du Bois of Hanover, Paris World Exhibition set by Krause, figures from the collection of Peter Hofmann, interview with Danish collector Mogens Hvid, Austrian General Staff of 1859 in flats, homecasting moulds made made in France by Scad, figure identification page and Heyde 75mm personality figures, 

The text is now just in German and English (French has been dropped) which covers 90% of the readership, and anyway it's worth getting just for the pictures.  Cost is 20 Euro (including post to UK) by Paypal and as it only comes out once a year I feel it is worth giving yourself a treat at Christmas.  It's a high quality publication, runs to 96 pages in full colour and it's available from Freunde alter Spielfiguren