September 28, 2016

MTSC NEWS & GOSSIP: Forces of Valor Returns

Waltersons Industry has officially acquired the famous military die-cast company, Forces of Valor (Unimax). Off the market for several years now it came as no surprise that someone would purchase tooling  at some point. Look for new FOV to begin appearing on shelves in 2017.

Waltersons Press release-

"Forces of Valor" has been bought out by a Hong Kong hobby company, Waltersons Industry. We are now in the process of moving all the moulds from OEM vendors to the Waltersons manufacturing facility, the 1st round of production should begin in September. As you are aware, there are approximately 190 models in the FOV range, and we can only make the 20 most in demand  models in the 1st production run. All packaging and user manuals will be completely brand new. We will try our best to enhance the painting if there were things that were not done right in the past. For certain models we will make new tooling, for example with the 1:32 scale Tiger I tank, the road wheels were slightly off scale. In 2017, we will announce new 1:32 scale tanks and 1:700 scale aircraft carriers.

As the new owners of the Forces of Valor brand we have decided to make some changes to the way in which we present the brand to the public. Because we will likely reintroduce some of the older items in updated packaging or with different accessories and features, we will be distinguishing old inventory from new with some minor SKU modifications to lessen confusion yet extend the brand. Any of the products remaining in inventory that were offered by Unimax, the original makers of the line, will have a product code that begins with UNI. Any new items being offered by the new manufacturer, Waltersons (Walter & Sons), will sport a FOV product identifier. So, a Unimax-built 1:32 scale Tiger I tank will carry the code UNI80003, while a similar Waltersons release will be identified as FOV80003."

 FOV display at the 56th All Japan Models & Hobby Show 2016 held in Tokyo, Japan. Shown is one of their relaunched warships, complete with its new display plinth and etched metallic name plate. Also highlighted were some of the past 1:32 scale favorites, which may come with updated paint schemes and revised packaging to differentiate them from the Unimax releases.

September 27, 2016

FIGURE OF THE WEEK #126: DAZ Washing Powder Cowboys & Indians by Crescent

In the 1960s children around the world delighted in getting premiums/prizes as a bonus in their cereal boxes and in many other types of food and non food items. Marketing "Mad Men" knew that including toys that appealed to kids would send them begging mom to purchase the products with the free giveaways. To this end, in 1964 the UK company DAZ Washing Powder offered a series of twelve different plastic cowboys & indians as a premium when buying their boxes of soap. The figures were packaged in special full color boxes and depending on the size of the soap box with either two or three random figures and attached to the boxes of soap. The twelve 54mm plastic figures were comprised of six cowboys and six indians and were actually made by the English company Crescent. This two figure set in its original rare box was picked up at the recent Chicago Toy Soldier show. 

DAZ Washing Powder Cowboys & Indians 3 pack 

DAZ Washing Powder Cowboys & Indians 3 pack #2
In the 1960’s Crescent beat off stiff competition to secure a contract to produce figures for Kellogg’s cereals. known as cereal premiums these figures were given away free in a box of cereal such as Cornflakes or Frosted Flakes. Usually a set of 4/5 figures were included with one per box covering a  real mix of characters, Knights, Robin Hood, Circus and others. They were issued unpainted and marked Kellogg’s on the base

Crescent also issued the figures themselves commercially but these were  hand painted and marked Crescent. Today collectors still want to have both the Crescent set and Kellogg’s set in a collection. Cereal premium such as these and “soldiers of the world” remain collectable and still relatively very easy to find due to the enormous quantities made for the cereal makers.
Kellogg’s Robin Hood figures by Crescent

MTSC PRODUCT RELEASE: TSSD unleashes Vietnam Series in plastic

Toy Soldiers of San Diego aka TSSD has a new range of 60mm plastic figures for the Vietnam War. Now available, the first two sets TSD-29 U.S. Marines and TSD-30 NVA Soldiers each contain 16 figures in 8 poses. They also include extra weapons and are bagged sets w/header cards.
View & Order HERE

TSD-29 U.S. Marines

TSD-30 NVA Soldiers Vietnam

September 22, 2016

"I'M SAYIN' WHAT?" Contest #25 Winner + This week's teaser for "I 'M SAYIN' WHAT?" #26

"I'm Sayin' What?" #25 WINNER
It's Thursday so...we have a winner for last weeks “I’m Saying What” contest. Riley Johnson has snagged one of the most coveted prizes on earth...which is of course is a $25.00 Gift Card from Michigan Toy Soldier.

"I'm Sayin' What?" #26 Teaser

Here's our image for this weeks contest. All you have to do is come up with the wittiest quote for the word bubble and you will win a $25.00 gift card from Michigan Toy Soldier Company. Just think... you get free stuff and you get show off your comedic charms that will fly around the world via  ‘Over The Top’ ‘News From The Front’ Google+ & Facebook pages. We will post the winning entry right here next Thursday.

Email your entries to:
FYI- Have a cool image you'd like to get captioned? Send it to us at and we will give you $25.00 gift card for any images used.

September 20, 2016

FIGURE OF THE WEEK #125: "Africa Salvaje" by Arcla of Spain

FOTW is back after an extended summer vacation with a look at Arcla figures. Enrique Sabaté was the owner of the Spanish company known as Arcla aka Arte Clastica. In 1956 he released a range of toy soldiers under the banner "Africa Salvage" These were manufactured using new technique at the time, A wire armature shaped like a cross was inserted in the molds before injecting rubber. As a result, fully articulated figures were obtained. The figures were 80mm in size and the bases were detachable. The shields, weapons, drums and other adornments were cast separately in hard plastic. Enrique even went as far as to add feathers and fur to the figures. The range included Tarzan, explorers, porters, natives and animals as well as various accessories, huts, totems and even a throne. 

The company was only in existence for three years and faded away in 1957. Nowadays these figures are exceptionally rare and are highly sought after by collectors of African Safari and Tarzan figures. After 20 years for searching I've only managed to accumulate the items featured here. The trees are by Elastolin c.1950s. 
Hobby on & enjoy the hunt!!

Trench Runner Pat Hillard Attacks the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) Late War British Armoured Division, Army Box in a Multi-part Review & Build.

Part 1: A look at the set

This is a review and build of the Plastic Soldier Company's 15mm plastic Late War British Armoured Division, Army Box. Product code PSC-AB15002 with 18 vehicles and 34 figures. Using this box set you can field 11x Sherman M4A4's, 3x Sherman Fireflies, 4x M5 Halftracks, 34x Infantry figures, including 3x Bren teams, Command, 1x Piat team, 1x 2 inch light mortar team and 1x mixed base sprue.

For those of you that play Flames of War (FoW) this box set give you 1535 points of Confident Veterans from the Market Garden Book or 1455 points of Confident Veterans using the Taurus Pursuant, 11th Armored PDF. I will provide the playing list from Market Garden.

The Basics...

The finished box set
I am going to try something different for this review. Instead of have paragraphs of text I will put a brief intro and summary here and put a detailed description with each picture. This will eliminate long lists of paint colors and make for an easier step by step procedure for assembly and painting of this box. This is my first try painting Allied vehicles and British infantry. I have previously only painted late war German forces and an HQ platoon of the US 82nd Airborne.

For Flames of War 
British Armored Squadron, Confident Veteran - 1535 points
HQ Section - 180 points
2 Sherman V - 170 pts
2 .50 cal AA - 5 pts each (10 pts)
Armored Platoon 1 - 390 points
3 Sherman V, 1 Firefly - 385 points
1 .50 cal AA - 5 pts - 5 points
Armored Platoon 2 - 390 points
3 Sherman V, 1 Firefly - 385 points
1 .50 cal AA - 5 pts - 5 points
Armored Platoon 3 - 390 points
3 Sherman V, 1 Firefly - 385 points
1 .50 cal AA - 5 pts - 5 points
Motor Platoon 4 - 185 points
3 mg squads with command including 2" mortar and Piat team - 150 points
1.50 AA - 10 points
additional mg squad - 25 points

An additional unit of Allied airborne, some 6 pound anti tank guns, a recon unit or some self propelled artillery would easy take this to a 1750 list. It is a very nice and affordable way to build an allied army.

Overall I am very happy with the quality of the kit components and the finished product. Hopefully these troops will see some action in the near future. I plan to use them to help introduce my son to the rules of FoW. 

The Set...
The kit comes in a heavy duty box with nice graphics and a good description of the product inside. The only problem I have with PSC packages is that the boxes are not sealed in any way and the sprues are not in bags. I am always worried about missing parts in kits that are not sealed. I am please to say that there was no issues with this product.

The side of the box provides a list of the pack contents and a basic painting guide for the armored vehicles and the infantry. There is a basic Vallejo color chart listed also.

When opening the box the contents are neatly stacked and there are two sheets of instructions included for assembly of the vehicles. There are no recommendations for basing the infantry models.

There are 14 tank sprues to make either the M4-A4 (dry stowage) Sherman or a Firefly. These models are very similar to the Sherman V, I don't see any problem using them for the above list.

The combined M4/Firefly sprue. All of the components to build either vehicle are on the one sprue. I saved the extra parts in my bits bag for future projects.

The tank assembly instructions are very basic and it uses color codes to show you what hull to use for the M4 or the Firefly as well as what turret and gun mantel. There is an option to add dust shields if you desire. I did this on a few models just to have a variety of vehicles. I looked at a lot of late war pictures and very few of the Sherman's had these shields on them.

There are four sprues for the M5-A1 half track. It includes some nice stowage, two mg options and five sitting crew per vehicle not including a driver and  navigator, gunners are also included.

The M5A1 instructions give you a choice of assembly with the 50 caliber mg ring or with a pedestal mount. Many of the pictures I saw did not have either of these options on the vehicles. I added them for visual aesthetics on the table.

PSC includes on sprue of infantry bases. For a FoW list you will need 3 small bases and four medium bases. The large base is not needed.

The kit includes 3 infantry sprues with 12 figures per sprue. The mortar team and  Bren gun team are in two pieces and must be glued together.

Next Week in Part 2 I will build the Shermans and the M5s

September 19, 2016

Joseph Svec's Plastic Fun With Dioramas - 1700’s Port Royal Harbor

Greetings Hobbyists and toy soldier collectors, Its diorama time again.
As a child I really enjoyed creating dioramas with my toy knights and toy soldiers. Now as an adult it is even more fun, as I have greater resources and more figures. And It is very simple to set up epic sized dioramas. The detail and quality of toy buildings and scenery available today is outstanding! And we must not forget the sand and lichen. 

Please Click on images to enlarge them

Today I am going to share with you a 1700's Port Royal Harbor diorama set up on a 5'x9' table. I have created three different versions, using 54mm painted figures, 54mm unpainted figures, and 60mm unpainted figures. The harbor and ships used will remain the same in all three versions.

The Port Royal harbor is made using medieval buildings produced by Playmobil, and Simba, while the fortress walls and towers are custom made. I have always felt that the best part of the Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean ride is when the ride chamber opens up to show the large pirate ship to the left and the curved harbor fortress on the right, firing cannons at each other.  The size, detail, and appearance of that scene is truly outstanding! I knew had to recreate that in 54mm. That is what my Port Royal Harbor is based on.

I created an inner anchorage for two ships, with docks, wagons, and warehouses for the East India Trade company, and other buildings appropriate to the era and location.  Fortress walls defended by naval cannons surround the harbor. You can see numerous brass pencil sharpener naval deck cannons. They work quite wonderfully. Sand, palm trees, small sea shells, and lots of crates, barrels, and boxes help finish the scene.

Returning to the pirate ships used, the two single masted ships are different versions of the Playmobil schooner. The blue deck version is shown crewed by Ideal Pirates. The large tan deck, two-masted ship with tan sails, is a Playmobil pirate ship that is 40 years old. The other two tan deck ships called are called the 'Flying Shadow,' and were made by Simba, (another German company) in the early 2000's. They also produced red deck and blue deck versions of their Flying Shadow pirate ship.

In the painted figure version below , you will see 54mm pirates made by Safari Ltd. Hing Fat, Conte, Reissue Marx hard plastic, Pirates of the Caribbean, Toysmith, and a few unidentified figures. Defending Port Royal, are painted British, French & Colonial 1776 infantry produced by Awsome Kids, (sadly they are no longer in production) and Safari Ltd. Jamestown settlers..

One of my favorite photos is what I call "the gunners first day on the job". He is trying to read the instructions for the cannon, but they are in Latin!

The island of the Marx cake toppers! (with a few friends)

In the second version, I use unpainted pirates by: Reissue Ideal, (the best sculpted pirate figures ever!) Hing Fat, Toysmith, and Reissue Marx, while the defenders are Accurate, CTS, MPC, and Marx reissue British AWI infantry. I have added the Simba blue deck pirate ship as well.

For the unpainted 60mm diorama, I used Reissue Charbens and Reissue Marx Warriors of the World pirates, Reissue Cherilea Elizabethans, Round hats & Cavaliers, and BMC AWI British & French Infantry. The Marx figures are a bit limited in pose variety but they look good. The Cherliea figures are excellent!

Each version of the diorama has its own flavor and style, creating its own unique feeling. The painted figures version has the most color and detail, and is quite dynamic, while the unpainted 54mm version has the largest number of figures and different poses. The 60mm version is more limited in poses, but the Cherliea Elizabethans add a great deal of excitement with their realistic action poses. 

Using the different types of figures, I can create three different dioramas, and get three times the fun! My younger self is so jealous.
Thank you!