October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

Suddenly It's Saturday!
Get your monster on at Michigan Toy Soldier. We have been offering History Thru Hobbies Since 1996! We are open 11-5 ET Saturday & Sunday. Too far? Our website www.michtoy.com is 24/7. We have everything you need to to make your project MONSTERLY AMAZING!


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October 29, 2015

MTSC's Caption This Image #103 Winner + This week's photo for Caption This Image #104

Caption This Image #103 Winner


It's Thursday so...We have a winner for last weeks image. Joe Buccellato who entered via Facebook is this weeks winner of the most coveted prize in the sport of Image Captioning which of course is a $50.00 Gift Card from Michigan Toy Soldier.
Read last weeks Facebook entries here: http://on.fb.me/1MWg0Iy
- - - - - - - - - - - - - 
CAPTION THIS IMAGE #104 TEASER


Here is this weeks image. Come up with the wittiest caption for this image you will win a $50.00 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’ Blog, Google+ & Facebook pages. We will post the winning entry right here next Thursday.
Email your entries to: michtoystaff@michtoy.com

FYI- Have a cool image you'd like to get captioned? Send it to us at michtoystaff@michtoy.com and we will give you $25.00 gift card for any images used.

October 27, 2015

FIGURE OF THE WEEK #89: Chialu Composition Cowboy & Indian Duplex Figure

Toys? Yes but to many collectors the toy soldier is a work of art in it's own right. So presented here you will find our ideas on the THE ART OF THE TOY SOLDIER. 


This week’s offering comes from the Italian company Confalonieri Chialu. Produced in the 1950s & 60s these were sold in the USA through department stores like J.L. Hudson's here in the Detroit area. Chialu figures were made of composition and like German figures of the period were 7cm in size.  The western cowboy and Indian series was the most popular. Featured here is one of the six duplex figures Chialu made of fighting cowboys and Indians. The range was imaginative and offered many figures not available from a any other manufacture. Today these figure still command a tidy sum from collectors looking to either bring back childhood memories or simply build a collection of wonderful works of art from a by some era.

When the age of plastic toy soldiers kicked in Chialu tried to produce figures in plastic using their original composition molds but this was unsuccessful and short lived. The company faded from toy soldier production and instead survived on Nativity and Manger sets until it's demise in the 1970s.

Have a favorite figure you consider a work of art? Send us an image of it along with a brief description. Email you submissions to michtoystaff@michtoy.com.

October 24, 2015

Meet our newest Trench Runner Steven Lowenthal

Steven is a experienced modeler with a passion for the hobby who is more then willing to offer up informative help, tips, views and anything else to promote the hobby to beginners as well as  advanced modelers. So Meet our latest addition to the Trench Runners Corps...Steven Lowenthal

I started modeling as a kid, back in the days when TV's and phones had dials, kids read comic books and they played outside. My favorite kits to build were airplanes and the occasional auto. I took the inevitable detour when I became a teenager and went off to college. After school, while working in the arts, my attentions returned to modeling. I have been building ever since. Today I live with my wife and two daughters on Long Island in New York. Where I own a firm that builds custom computers.

While my interests have mainly stayed with aircraft, usually 1/48, with 1/32 coming in a close second, I have expanded my builds to include 1/35 armor and 1/350 ships. In addition, my tastes also include Fantasy and Super Hero figure painting in 72mm and 1/6. I enjoy all aspects of modeling, from construction, painting and weathering. I am particularly interested in the extra detail aftermarket and scratch building lends to the hobby. I haven't built "out of the box" since discovering Verlinden Productions back in the '80's. Using both aftermarket and scratch, I enjoy the challenge of fitting as much detail into a project as I can.

My goal, in participating in this blog, is to pass along my experiences in this hobby. Part of what makes modeling interesting is that, generally, there is no "right" way of doing things. It was only by trial and error that I developed different methods that gave me the results I was looking for. However, if you are building "Out of the Box" to building "Super Detailed" wonders, my "musings" should be only one stop in researching your skills. I am "just a guy making models". I hope to convey this in my writings. 

There are several modeling web sites I follow daily. All have excellent information and have a worldwide community to share your hobby with. Most are free, but some do require a membership fee for full site access. I recommend you check them out if you haven't already.

Hypercale.com
Internationalscalemodeller.com
Florymodels.com
Genessis-models.co.uk
Aircraftresourcecenter.com
Largescaleplanes.com
The Kitmaker Network at kitmaker.com
Modelwarships.com
Modelingmadness.com
Scalemodellingnow.com

Most of these allow people to share their work with others in the community. Personally, I post work on International Scale Modeller and occasionally on Flory Models. I can also be found on the International Scale Modeller Facebook page putting my 2 cents in answering people's questions.

Finally, I often see people new to the hobby admiring the work others post and bemoaning how their work will never look as good. I've even seen people say they were giving up on modeling because they thought they could never produce similar quality models. If there is one thing I can tell novice modelers, don't look at other peoples work as unobtainable. Remember, the reason these people can produce such enviable models is because of their experience. It's only through building many models, that you will develop the skills and knowledge to produce such results. And yes, they failed. They more than likely failed multiple times. Failure is knowledge too, so the key is not being afraid to fail. As you continue to build, the failures will become far and few between. Experience builds great models. One last thing I would add is never stop learning. I am constantly buying new books, watching others work and modifying my methods. Watching how others accomplish tasks and use products will lead you to new methods, new ways and sometimes, better ways.

October 23, 2015

Another Somewhat Daily Dose of Useless Tidbits for October 23., 2015

The Art of Modeling
by unknown artist


Good Reads
Is Now Available for Download. Easily my favorite magazine right now this issue features a whopping 124 pages for less then two bucks! The main theme of this issue is creating and painting flats.

from the publisher..
One of the goals of FPM is to show you, our readers, things that you may have never seen before and introduce you to new ideas. That’s why this issue is a bit of a special one dedicated to flachen zinnfiguren or flat tin figures. In this issue we have a show report from the Mecca of this sometimes overlooked part of our hobby, Kulmbach. We also have instruction about how to sculpt a flachen zinnfiguren and even a guide to buying them. Jessica Rich shares with us how she painted her first flachen zinnfiguren and this month’s insight is with Penny Meyer, who was awarded Best of Show for flachen zinnfiguren at Kulmbach earlier this year.

We have all the usuals reviews, views and news and interviews; in fact, we speak to Karol Rudyk, whom we last spoke to in issue one, about his latest project that we can exclusively reveal in this issue!

Also we have a breath taking tutorial from Adrian Hopwood about his sensational rendition of Hush and one from our very own Italian Stallion, Davide Rainone on how he recently painted his Dr. Doom bust...


Worth a Kick?
Illumistation - Created by Westwood Woodworks
The Illumistation is a compact painting and craft case, comprised storage and a removable base with an LED lamp. Now on KickStarter

Truth in Advertising!
Battle in a Box from Perry Miniatures is exactly what the name says! Everything you need to to play a civil war historical game including...2 Generals, 145 Infantry, 12 Cavalry, 18 Artillerymen, 4 guns, 1 Farmhouse, over 4 feet of fencing, unit bases for all figures, a revised 'Firepower' rule set by Alessia Cavatore to play the game. Throw in a uniform guide and flags and you truly have a "Battle in A Box".
PS- Probably need some glue and a couple tools and some paint if you really want to go to war.


Parting Thoughts...

Toys in the Attic - "Soakies" Monsters from the 60s

Apparently the kids in the 60s were a grimey bunch. Additionally they were quite reluctant bathers because it was in the late 50s and early 60s that soap companies started to put their bubblebath in character-shaped containers to get kids excited about bathing. It was Colgate Palmolive that sold liquid bubble bath in plastic containers shaped like popular cartoon characters which they called "Soaky." This started as a brand name, but has since become a generic term for any soap or bubblebath container. In 1963 the company produced a line of four licensed Universal monster characters - Frankenstein, Wolf Man, Mummy and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Today, these Soakies are usually found empty, missing the cardboard box around their base and a tag that extended from their neck.
Universal Monsters soakies - set of 4
Universal Monsters with original tags and cardboard base

October 22, 2015

Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 4 'The Aurora 13' Wolfman

The Frankenstein kit had been the surprise hit of 1961, and the exec's at Aurora knew a good thing when they saw one. The old Universal pantheon of beasties had been given new life and millions of new fans through late-night "Creature Feature" style programs hosted by the likes of Sir Graves Gastly, Vampire Seymour, and Zacherley. Riding the trend, Aurora released the Wolf Man and Dracula kits in 1962. They were a smash, and gave the company the courage to continue what would become perhaps their most significant contribution to toy and hobby history - the Classic Monster Series.

'The Aurora 13'  No. 5 The Wolfman
"The terrifying shape of the wolfman stalked the silence of the night, prowling in search of victims to satiate his bestial appetite. Since the beginning of written records many early legends and numerous stories were related by wizened citizens in the villages of the Old Country.

The Werewolf would appear when the moon was full, a beast stalking his prey until daylight when it would once again assume the human form. It was written that only a silver bullet could kill them, and so the beasts would wander through the swamps and woods with no fear of extinction. Stories came from Transylvania, Hungary and other countries and were pieced together for intensive research.
Lycanthropy, it was called, which meant the transforming from a human form to the form of an animal. Tales of werewolves persisted down through the ages and specialsts have explained their views on Lycanthropy and how a human acquires the form of a wolfman

It is believed that heredity is responsible for this cursed malady, the tainted bloodline being passed to the descendants of such a creature. As the offspring reaches adulthood the instincts of the werewolf finally overpower the human elements and during a full moon the transformation takes place.

Many novels have been written on the activities of various wolfmen, in addition to stage plays and motion pictures on the subject. The werewolf has been known to exist since the early days of Greek mythology and the legend has been repeated for centuries in the sagas of the north and tales of the middle ages to the present time."
Promotional Copy from Original Instruction Sheet
©1962 Aurora Model Corp.


Original Kit Issued: 1962 - 1968 as Catalog #425
Plastic: Drak Gray, 1/8 scale
Sculptor: Bill Lemon
Box art: James Bama

Curiously, the model's pose in no way resembles that shown on the original box art above. There was no tree prop, and the werewolf wore no shirt. Instead we have a shirtless werewolf with his face in a horrible scowl, holding his clawed hands aloft; his pants are ripped at the bottom. He stands on an uneven base which also features a human skull and a rat. 
Rare 1969 Frightening Lighting Strikes Wolfman Box.When model was released with extra glow-in-the-dark parts the redone boxed art more closely resembles the finished sculpt. 
Wolfman Glow in the Dark

1970-75 as Catalog #450
Plastic: Drak gray & luminous
12" x 12" Square box format
Box art: Harry Scheme


Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s

Sources: 
Web: "Collecting Aurora Monsters" Dennis L. Prince
Web: Professor Plastiks "Aurora Monster Kit History"
Print: Aurora Model Kits by Thomas Graham

Tom Stark's Plastic Passions #4

So far this blog has concentrated on new production figures and that’s fine. We all like new things. But the world of plastic toy soldiers has been around for 50 to 60 years now and if one ignores all that history he or she will miss out on a lot of great figures. Further, if you appreciate the art of these toy soldiers for what they are, toys with varying levels of sophistication, the past has all the more to offer.
But where to start? There is so much material.
I can’t remember where I got the idea but I decided I would focus this installment on different makers’ interpretations of an iconic pose; the stalwart American Indian shielding his eyes and staring into the sun/future wondering where life will take him. This pose was a staple in the world of cigar store Indians and found its way into plastic many times.
Marx went to this way quite early and at least twice, once in 40 mm and once in 60 mm. Both came onto the market in the 1950s in a variety on incarnations of the Fort Apache playset all of which will soon be reviewed in depth by Playset Magazine. Some people may not be satisfied with the detail and animation of these two poses but, if you are like me, nothing brings a sense of childhood-past to mind like the smell of the soft vinyl plastic these fellows were initially made of. Both were produced a bit later on, with bases, in polyethylene.

Timmee followed right on Marx’s heals. Most of its production, excepting perhaps its WWII Russians, was considered of lesser quality than Marx. While I prefer to think of them as just being a different style of toy, the close up of their figure (on left) does make me wonder if the sculptor thought Indians wore sunglasses of some type. His companion is by Hoeffler, a German masker who likely produced their rendition sometime in the late 1960s, but that date is a guess. Not at all sure why he would be holding what appears to look like a rock.

Next we have Austrian maker Linde who produced a fantastic line of American wildwest figures “borrowing” some from the Hauser/Elastolin ranges in general and Karl May in particular but also making many of their own such as this fellow. There are many truly excellent poses in this range of about 40 poses which I believe was produced as a product premium. He is joined by Danish maker Reisler’s pose who decided to get a bit creative and sculpt their interpretation of the pose on its hand(s) and knees

Another creative interpretation and perhaps my favorite is Italian maker Atlantic’s two-figure pose of Indians on their hands and knees, draped in wolf skins to suppress their scent, sneaking up on a buffalo herd. This is an old photo since I could not find the pose for this blog making me use a shot taken for a Plastic Figure and Playset Magazine article many years ago. Sorry it is dark. The figure to the back is the one shading his eyes.



Just so you don’t think it was only Indians that needed to look into the distance, the last photo shows pioneers and cowboys doing the same including a mounted, hard plastic Elastolin, a standing Leyla and a kneeling Reisler with a moveable right arm. At least when the sun went down this fellow could put his arm down too. Great stuff that I hope you enjoy.

MTSC's Caption This Image #102 Winner + This week's photo for Caption This Image #103

Caption This Image #102 Winner



It's Thursday so...We have a winner for last weeks image. Jimmy Hutchison who entered via Facebook is this weeks winner of the most coveted prize in the sport of Image Captioning which of course is a $50.00 Gift Card from Michigan Toy Soldier.

CAPTION THIS IMAGE #103 TEASER


Here is this weeks image. Come up with the wittiest caption for this image you will win a $50.00 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’ Blog, Google+ & Facebook pages. We will post the winning entry right here next Thursday.
Email your entries to: michtoystaff@michtoy.com

FYI- Have a cool image you'd like to get captioned? Send it to us at michtoystaff@michtoy.com and we will give you $25.00 gift card for any images used.

October 20, 2015

BEST OF 2015! F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions for Constructing & Painting Dioramas

Andrea Miniatures via their Andrea Press imprint pioneered the F.A.Q. genre of modeling books when they published FAQ Frequently Asked Questions by MIG which is one of the best selling modeling books of all time. MIG went on to write a updated version that was published by AK Interactive who have also published the excellent new F. A. Q. Aircraft Modelling book.

Andrea Press is coming full circle with the publication of  F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions for Constructing & Painting Dioramas by Mario y Rafael Milla. This 320 page tome covers all that you need to know to build outstanding vignettes and dioramas with step-by-step details through over 380 questions and answers and more than 1300 high quality photographs.

This is definitive book on dioramas and covers every imaginable aspect of creating dioramas and display models from the four seasons to electronics to "closed" dioramas. 
To view 30 page sample CLICK HERE
A new 6 page sample can be viewed HERE
View Ordering Details

The Andrea  Press F.A.Q. series... 
AP-023 F.A.Q. Frequently Asked Questions by MIG
AP-030 F.A.Q. Frequently Asked Questions About Figures
AP-039 F.A.Q. Advanced Modelling Techniques About Planes
AP-037 F.A.Q. Frequently Asked Questions About Modelling Cars and Motorcycles
AP-057 F.A.Q. Frequently Asked Questions for Constructing & Painting Dioramas

October 19, 2015

Another Somewhat Daily Dose of Useless Tidbits for October 19, 2015

Random Funny Stuff

Casting Resin Parts - Making the Mold VIDEO Tutorial. 
FineScale Modeler magazine Associate Editor Aaron Skinner walks you through the steps for casting resin parts for your scale modeling needs in this excellent video. The Fun Starts HERE

Works of Art
This amazing 1/35th scale diorama is entirely self-made, including figures, weapon and equipment by Oleg Lanky of  Novocherkassk. MORE IMAGES HERE

The Grass is Always Greener...

Great Graffiti 

Historically Speaking...

October 18, 2015

Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 5 'The Aurora 13' The Creature

Aurora's first monster model was Frankenstein which appeared in 1961. Aurora followed with twelve more monster kits over the next five years. These 13 kits are affectionally referred to by collectors as "The Aurora 13.'

'The Aurora 13'  No. 5 The Creature
"In the beginning of time as the gasses cooled, the planet Earth became covered with oceans. As the waters receeded and continents were formed, life moved from the water to the land. From this primeval slime 150 million years ago came a Creature so horrible as to be unbelievable. At least ten feet tall, it was neither fish nor human but a hideous combination of both. Instead of hands and feet it had long webbed claws. It was completely covered with scales. Down the center of its back was a double row of fins. Its head was ghastly to behold. The eye's were without benefit of eyelids. The mouth was a wide slash across the face, constantly pulsating. There was no real nose. Where ears should have been there were gills throbbing like the mouth."


Original Kit Issued: 1963 - 1969 as Catalog #426
Plastic: Metallic Green
Sculptor: Bill Lemon
Box art: James Bama
Re-Issued: 1969-1975, 1992, 2000


In 1963 Aurora produced their model kit devoted to the beloved movie monster, The Creature From The Black Lagoon. The model was molded in metallic green plastic and was roughly 1/12 scale. The Creature's pose in this kit resembles that depicted on the box art: the monster is walking forward with mouth open and arms raised menacingly. He stands on what seems to be a seaside rock, with a lizard, snake, and human skeletal remains lying nearby. 


The Creature from the Black Lagoon is one of the most fondly remembered of the classic movie monsters, not only because of the high quality of his original film appearance, but also mostly due to his unique and fascinating design.


The Ceature Glow in the Dark
1970-75 Reissue of #483
Plastic: Metallic Green & luminous
Square box format 8.25"X8.25"X3.25"
Box art: Harry Scheme

Click to enlarge
Original James Bama Box Art  Painting
Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s

Sources: 
Web: "Collecting Aurora Monsters" Dennis L. Prince
Web: Professor Plastiks "Aurora Monster Kit History"
Print: Aurora Model Kits by Thomas Graham

Beautiful Creatures
...

October 15, 2015

Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 6 'The Aurora 13' The Mummy

Aurora's first monster model was Frankenstein which appeared in 1961. Aurora followed with twelve more monster kits over the next five years. These 13 kits are affectionally referred to by collectors as "The Aurora 13.'

'The Aurora 13'  No. 4 The Mummy

Examining the tomb further they discovered another door over which was an inscription in hieroglyphics. Deciphered, it read, "Death will come on swift pinions to those who disturb the rest of Anahnka." A sentinel figure guarded the door. On the mummy case of the figure were protective formulas of adjuration to "frighten away the enemy of Anahnka in whatever form he may come." Another inscription yielded the fact that the case contained the mummy of Kharis, a high priest, who was to protect Anahnka in death."

Original Kit Issued: 1963 - 1968 as Catalog #427
Plastic: Lt. gray
Sculptor: Bill Lemon
Box art: James Bama
Aurora issued this model kit devoted to the Mummy in 1963. It is patterned after the classic Universal version of the monster as played by Boris Karloff.  The model is posed exactly as depicted on the box art: the creature dumbly steps forward, its right arm held at its side as if injured, and its left arm reaching forward menacingly. The figure stands amid a patch of uneven ground dotted with what appear to be ancient (and one case certainly Egyptian) ruins; a cobra rears up at his feet, baring its fangs at the viewer. 




The Mummy is considered the fourth in the Big Four of classic movie monsters, after (in order) Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, and the Werewolf..


Super rare 1969 Frightening Lighting Strikes Mummy Box
The Mummy Glow in the Dark
1970-75 as Catalog #452
Plastic: Light gray & luminous
12" x 12" Square box format
Box art: Harry Scheme
Original James Bama Box Art  Painting

Aurora Models advertisement from the 1965 Famous Monsters of Filmland Yearbook.

Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s

Sources: 
Web: "Collecting Aurora Monsters" Dennis L. Prince
Web: Professor Plastiks "Aurora Monster Kit History"
Print: Aurora Model Kits by Thomas Graham

I want my Mummy!
...