December 09, 2015

Tom Stark's Plastic Passions! Remembering Reamsa


About 15 to 20 years ago and no small thanks to Tom Terry’s Plastic Figure and Playset Collector (PFPC) magazine, I revived my love of playing with unpainted plastic toy soldiers. My revival was coincident with the hobby’s revival and this fueled an escalation in prices for original production figures. The pages of PFPC were rife with a “big picture” controversy over the introduction of reproduction or recast figures. At the core of the controversy were the apparent fear of copies that were so good, particularly concerning the qualities and colors of the plastic, that the rising values of old collections would be undermined and that unscrupulous fiends would pass-off recast figures as high-priced originals fleecing the unsuspecting. Both of these undoubtedly occurred but with lower prices and more availability the hobby expanded with an unknown number of new collectors, including young ones with limited funds. This in turn supported a generation of new figure makers. That in my opinion was a good Big Picture outcome.

Another “small picture” outcome of recasts is the topic of this entry. Many recasts were produced using molds of European makers whose figures had originally been sold painted. There was no possibility these would be mistaken as originals. Further, such original figures were next to impossible to find in the states so recasts were a real treat for me who, like my colleague, Mr. Stadinger, covets as many unique poses as possible. At the time however, not everyone was as pleased as I was because so many of the European figures were in 60mm while the American standard remained 54. 6mm may not sound like much but it is a 10% + increase in size and us so-called adult collectors were very scale conscious.
The last decade has seen new production dominated by 60 mm figures so I thought it was a good time to take a quick look at recasts of the Spanish maker, Reamsa. Not only are their figures of good to excellent quality, they provide numerous additional poses for some of my favorite time periods for which there would otherwise be  a dearth of poses available. So here comes a quick visual taste of a small sampling of what can be found with some ease and modest cost today.

Case in, point; Captain Gallant. I am not sure why I hold this playset in such high regard but I do but if there was ever a group of figures that simply had too few poses it was the Arabs. Reamsa came to the rescue with its Lawrence of Arabia line of 10 foot and three or four mounted, on camels! Molded in tan and a red-brown very similar to Marx’s red brown these are a fantastic fit. No Reamsa FFL but other makers did fill some of this gap.
Reamsa fills another large hole in eastern armies with their El Cid Muslims warriors shown here with a Barzso Norman but equally welcome as opponents to Marx’s 60 mm knights who otherwise have no opponents other than other knights and who likes civil wars?
Civil war you say? Certainly no lack of new production 60 mm ACW figures but like I said, I can never have enough poses so Reamsa’s foot and mounted Yanks and Rebs can be put to good use with TSSD, Paragon and many others.

Reamsa Arabs with Marx Capt. Gallant Figure
Reamsa’s Souix warriors are not among their finest sculpts but are perhaps the only figures for this people available in the scale and provide the needed foe for Weston’s fantastic Mexicans and older Timmee and Marx frontiersmen.

Reamsa Indians
And finally, because my pictures of the Romans and Guals did not come out, Reamsa’s trappers provide some extra mountain men poses for playing pleasure.

Reamsa Indians with Weston Mexican
Reamsa is not the only European maker whose recast figures are now available but they are one of my favorite. The numbers of figures they made and the periods they represented are quite extensive so if you are looking for needed reinforcements or just extra poses don’t hesitate to do a search for Reamsa. But don’t delay. Like all figures in our hobby, original, recast, new production or old, they may be here today and gone tomorrow.

Reamsa ACW with TSSD ACW figure
Reamsa Civil War with Paragon ACW figure

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