February 14, 2017

A MTSC SneaK PeeK: Expeditionary Force’s Zulu Wars Wave 4 + Future Releases Update

Three new sets including a gatling gun highlight Wave 4 of Expeditionary Force’s Zulu Wars range. Due last week of February Pre-order HERE and Save

Follow the ongoing TOM STARK'S PLASTIC PASSIONS look at  Expeditionary Force’s Zulu Wars & Colonial Wars 1878-1902 Range

EXP-54ZBR06-G Naval Landing Party Sailors with Gatling-Guns

EXP-54ZBR06–H Naval Landing Party in Sennett Straw Hats

EXP-54ZBR06–S Naval Landing Party in in Sailors Flat Cap

Latest Update from Scott at Ex-Force...
The next release for the Zulu Wars range will be the...
- Mounted Infantry/Natal Mounted Police (Horse & Foot)
- British Infantry (extension) to include the newly sculpted kneeling and advancing postures
- British Marines (same as the infantry sets but in blue plastics). 
These are targeted for release in March 2017. With these sets, the Zulu War range will only be left with the Lancers and the Mounted Auxiliary Carbineers (April-May 2017).

The Colonial Wars Range will however be extended to cover the First Boer War, the Second Afghan War and the Mahdist Uprising; and also the Boxer Rebellion & Second Boer War in due course.

Following the release of the latest Ancient Persian sets recently, there will be a slight extension/revision to the Persian sets (replacement of soft plastic spears with hard plastic ones, a few remodelled Persian infantry and head-types, shields etc. ). Likewise, there will be extension to the Classical Greeks as well (Iphicratic-reformed Hoplites in quilted corselets). These are targeted for April-May 2017.

The planned Napoleonics are progressing and we expect to see the first releases during the second half of 2017. The Romans, 18th Century and WW2 Pacific Wars are still on the table. Will see how fast we can run in 2017 (Year of the Rooster).

TOM STARK'S PLASTIC PASSIONS: Expeditionary Force’s Zulu Wars & Colonial Wars 1878-1902

Tom Stark takes a multi-part look at the Zulu Wars from Expeditionary Force...

The Initial Release 
Expeditionary Force’s historical theme of “British Colonial” are in my hands. They have begun with the ever-popular toy soldier conflict of the Zulu Wars. Excellent stuff here.

Let me start with the colors. Interestingly I have just noticed that the colors of the boxes, past releases and present,  mirror the colors of the figures. Using the same “stiff” but still soft and matte  plastic that makes the figures less subject deforming,  the Zulus are in a deep brown and the British in a most excellent deep red. For my taste, this red is so much better than the reds used by other makers in recent years that have been much  brighter, almost  glowing!   EF’s plastic is red enough to make the point, these are Brits, but deep enough not to blind you and not to obscure the excellent sculpting detail



Next scale. These hit the 54mm scale perfectly making them very compatible with what is already on the market, albeit, some of these are out of production now. Prior to EF’s entry into this conflict-rich time period, Armies in Plastic was the only source for a substantial number of figures. AIP’s plastics and animation left a fair amount to be desired and if EF continues to produce additional sets, they will be filling a considerable hole in the world of 54 mm unpainted plastic. This critique of AIP may be too general. The AIP Zulus were some of their best animated sets and they fit in very well with these new EF Zulus, being just a slightly lighter shade of brown.


Left: Ex-Force Zulu. Right: AIP Zulu
Left: A Call to Arms 24th Foot. Middle: Conte Right: Ex-Force 24th Foot.
Collectors should be quite happy with the alternative arm selections provided for the British. You get many more than needed for the 9 figures in the box giving you the option to customize the pose selections. If you want a firing line, you can make half the troops in this pose. This may in part be a response to negative feedback I heard on EF’s  approach on their WWII sets where to get more variety, in the WWII case provided only by different head/helmet sculpts, you had to purchase complete additional sets. For the British colonials, it remains true that to get the three “major” head varieties of sun helmet, badged sun helmet and spiked helmet, you have to buy individual sets but, unlike the WWII sets,  these headgear types are indicative of troops in different conflicts. I believe (not my prime period of historical interest) that the badged helmets are the most Zulu-oriented belonging, perhaps exclusively, to the 24th Foot. Un-badged can be used for almost anywhere in Africa in the late 1800’s, when the Martini Henry rifle was in use. I am not sure where one would have found spiked helmets on British Line. “Minor” head varieties in my set include bearded and clean shaven faces with one in a Glengarry cap thrown in. The arm combinations are much more significant.

For the cut and thrust Zulus EF has again provided  separate weapons in a harder plastic to remain straight. These include assagis, a longer spear, a knobkerrie club, a Zulu axe and another striking weapon I am not at all familiar with but I am sure was researched by EF as in use in the conflict and at least three shield varieties. This time the weapons come in a dark brown matching the figures exactly which I really like. I could have lived with a lighter shade of brown but the match is better. I don’t dislike the mis-match of gun metal weapons for the recent EF Greeks but I do find it distracts me from the unpainted plastic experience somehow; just a little bit.. Remembering EF’s plastic is also more paint-friendly than most older plastics.  Like the British arm sets, you get far more weapons than needed to arm the nine are figures in a box. This is a very good thing. I already lost my first assagi while doing these photos despite trying to be careful. In part this is the sculptor’s fault. He or she has not taken the easy way out making these” ring hand” figures molded with a hole through a ball at the end of the arm with some rudimentary fingers sculpted on. The Zulu’s right hand has each finger clearly articulated and the palm is actually open and sculpted with an opposing thumb. They hold the weapon of choice firmly and naturally. Fantastic artistry in my opinion. If weapons were limited I would be inclined to superglue the weapon of choice into each palm so as not to lose them but with the number of weapons supplied I don’t have to. I just have to be a bit more careful.

Wave Two 
Expeditionary Force releases just keep them coming. The British Dragoon Guards for the Zulu wars and beyond are a treat. Once again EF has provided 5 mounted figures in a box, in this case with two  torsos; sitting straight in the saddle and turned slightly to the right. Without looking closely you could overlook this difference. Pose variety comes primarily from the arm selections; striking with saber (3 sets),  holding saber at ready (3), firing pistol (2), holding carbine in right hand (2), holding carbine at ready (2) and firing carbine (2), so you get plenty of arms to use as you see fit.  A left arm holding reins is also provided. There are two horses, running and  walking, but the walking horse has two head options and two left rear leg options. Like the torsos, the optional horse elements are only subtly different so don’t transform the poses available but they are clearly different nonetheless and the “fit” of these parts is excellent, almost invisible. You get one of each “major” horse in light and dark brown and the officer’s horse, always running as far as I can tell, in white.




A separate saddle/saddle blanket and a separate carbine boot with gunstock protruding is supplied for each horse but the horses also have a molded in saddle. I suspect the horses will see use for a number of future releases where the heavy dragoon saddle equipment would not be appropriate, like Natal Native Horse. The riders fit a little loosely on a horse without the separate saddle and a little tightly with the saddle; note how the striking pose in my photo appears to be standing in his stirrups. Neither fit is perfect but both work without fuss.

There are three sets distinguished exclusively by the type of pith helmet; dress with spike, plain and wound with a “turban” as seen in the Anglo-Egyptian wars. I suspect we will see the later in khaki sometime in the future. The heads, or which there are at least two and perhaps more variants, are molded separate from both the bodies and the helmets. This would not seem to make design sense to me but it was the same approach taken with the WWII sets so I guess it makes sense to EF. It does however result in an extra assembly step, albeit a very simple one as all the part fits are clean and tight.  Given that small parts are not a concern to EF, I am surprised they did not supply separate hilts for the swords since all torsos have an empty sheath molded on but  those using their carbines would typically still have a sword to fall back on. A very small matter but one that made me wonder.

Next up: Wave 3 Artillery

Expeditionary Force Colonial Wars 1878-1902
Zulu Wars
British & Colonial Forces
Infantry
EXP-54ZBR01-M British Infantry 1879 in Badged Sun Helmet- Zulu Movie Version
EXP-54ZBR01-P British Infantry 1879 in Plain Sun Helmet
EXP-54ZBR01-S British Infantry 1879 in Spiked Helmet with Metal Strap
EXP-54ZBR04-C British Auxiliary Carbineers in Spiked Sun-Helmets (Dismounted)
EXP-54ZBR04-F British Auxiliary Frontier Light Horse in Slouch Hats (Dismounted)
EXP-54ZBR05 Natal/Boer Volunteers
EXP-54ZBR06–H Naval Landing Party in Sennett Straw Hats
EXP-54ZBR06–S Naval Landing Party in in Sailors Flat Cap


Cavalry
EXP-54ZBR02-N British Dragoon Guards Cavalry - Helmet with Pugri
EXP-54ZBR02-P British Dragoon Guards Cavalry - Plain Helmets 
EXP-54ZBR02-S British Dragoon Guards Cavalry - Spiked Helmets

Artillery
EXP-54ZBR03–P British Artillery in Plain Sun-Helmets w/9-pdr RML Field Gun
EXP-54ZBR04–S British Artillery in Spiked (Ball) Sun-Helmets w/9-pdr RML Field Guns
EXP-54ZBR06-G Naval Landing Party – Sailors with Gatling-Guns

Zulu Kingdom
EXP-54ZUL01-M M Zulu in War Dress (Married)
EXP-54ZUL01-U M Zulu in War Dress (Unmarried)
EXP-54ZUL02–C Cetshwayo’s inGobamakhosi Zulu Regiment
EXP-54ZUL02–M Mpande’s uThulwana Zulu Regiment
EXP-54ZUL02–S Shaka’s uGibabanye Zulu Regiment

EXP-54ZUL04 Zulu with Rifles including Zulu Officers in coattail kilts
View & order the current range HERE

FARLEY'S FIGURE OF THE WEEK: #142 "I'll Be Seeing You"

It's Valentines Day and love is in the air. What better way to celebrate than with a new FOTW? This year we chose the W. Britains "I'll Be Seeing You" A RAF Pilot and Girl Kissing Goodbye. This little vignette played out millions of time during the war years as "Sweethearts" went off to war. Recreated beautifully in 1:30th scale pewter by Britains sculptor Ken Osen this couple harkens back to the days when "Sweetheart' was a person you loved very much and not a sweet little candy hearts with the quirky little sayings.


Since 1893 William Britain has been producing toy soldiers and military miniatures with attention to detail, quality and authenticity. Each model figure is cast out of metal and hand painted to the highest possible standards. This item features a matte finish and is in 1/30 scale (58mm / 2.3125" tall for a standing figure in this scale). Most major time periods are covered by William Britain - from the eighteenth century up to the conflicts of the twentieth century. Whatever your interest, William Britain has figures and accessories for your collection!


WWII Sweethearts Reunite After More Than 70 Years Apart
More than seven decades after the end of World War II, one long-separated couple is getting a very happy Valentine's Day.

U.S. paratrooper Norwood Thomas, then 21, and Londoner Joyce Morris, then 17, met before D-Day in London and started a relationship. After the war ended, they wrote each other letters, but Thomas's request that Morris move to the U.S. to marry him was somehow misinterpreted, and Morris stopped writing back. They married other people, and eventually Thomas was widowed and Morris divorced.

But last year, Morris had her son help her find Thomas online, and the pair began corresponding again. Thanks to donations from well-wishers, Thomas, now 93, has been able to fly from Virginia to Australia to reunite with Morris, 88, for a Valentine's Day visit. "This is about the most wonderful thing that could have happened to me," Thomas said in a broadcast of their meeting, according to the Associated Press.

"We're going to have a wonderful fortnight," said Morris.

February 10, 2017

Fridays with Farley! Another Dose of Useless Tidbits

• Quickies...
Mission Models Aircraft Colors!
MMP will be announcing 32 new colors with a total of 70 by July. German WWII , Allied , Modern Jets and more. 

Italeri 1/72nd scale Battlesets
The new Italeri catalog shows four new Battles sets are scheduled for 2017. 
6179 Civil War Farmhouse Battle Battle Set
6180 The Last Outpost (French & Indian War) Battle Set
6181 El Alamein: Battle at the Railway Station Battle Set
6182 1944 Battle at Malinava Battle Set
View the 2017 Italeri Catalog HERE


More WWI from ICM in 2017
The ICM Catalog for 2017 shows a Model T 1917 Utility Truck and 7 new figure sets coming in their extensive range of Great War 1/35th scale plastic.
View the 2017 ICM Catalog HERE
• Digital Delights..
The third issue of Blitzscales magazine is ready to download for free HERE
This first issue of 2017 has the following content:
Fv-214 Conqueror Mk.I, British Massive post war tank by Amusing Hobby
FV-214 Conqueror Mk.II walkaround
Flakpanzer I, Wehrmacht tiny AA SPG
Morris C8, 1/35 Quad by Mirror Models
T-55AMV, Still fighting in Siria
Whippet, The fastest WWI tank at 1/35 scale by Meng
ZSU-57-2, Soviet AA SPG in Croatia
Plus two printable bases and labels for the models featured on the magazine

MXpressions Director's Cut Second Issue
The second issue of Director's Cut, the digital magazine from MXpressions, is ready to download HERE
These are the contents that you will find on its 71 pages:
“Lucky Guys”, Part II
Robert Doepp continues his Master Class. This time he shows us how to sculpt figures from scratch. 
“Red Army Whippet”
Part I of a complete step by step article on how to build and paint Takom’s Whippet Tank. Starting with construction they show how a few simple improvements can go a long way to refine a kit.
“BSMC 2016 - Reloaded”
A show report on one of the major Belgian modelling shows.
Ground Hug Day”
Part 2 in a step by step guide on how to make a small figure base. This time we go gardening.

• Socialized...
found on Facebook...

Mind Blowing Figures "Sit back and enjoy from the most realistic miniature figures created by the best artists in the world." As the name suggests this FB page features a Mind Blowing amount of figures across all genres. A eye candy delight that will blow your whole lunch hour scrolling through.
• Blogged...
"Coloured Dust" A fantastic blog featuring all kinds of tips, videos and information on  painting and modelling miniatures.  All written by ARBAL
...My name is Michał "ARBAL" Walczak. I am a miniatures painter and author of the blog "Coloured Dust". When I do not paint or write I lead a regular life, working in the IT industry and raising my 3 years old daughter. My adventure with painting began in 1995 with miniatures and the game of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. With time I put aside the game part and focused on painting only. Also the size of my favorite figures changed and now I very much enjoy challenging myself with larger scale models too. For almost 2 years now I share my passion and experience with others through a blog entitled  "Coloured Dust”. All this has been continuously my hobby and hobby only.

• BENCHED...

• COLLECTED...
One Amazing Toy Soldier Collection!

• THE PARTING SHOT...
Coming soon to all toy shops along the US Border. Made in Mexico.



SaveSaveSaveSave

February 09, 2017

TALKING TOYS! Winner for #03-17 and Teaser for #04-17

TALKIN' TOYS #03-17 WINNER

It's Thursday so...we have a winner for last weeks Talkin' Toys contest. Mac MacIntyre has snagged one of the most coveted prizes on earth...which is of course is a $50 Gift Card from Michigan Toy Soldier. Email us at michtoystaff@michtoy.com to claim your prize

TALKIN' TOYS #04-17 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, post to the comments on our Facebook page and 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’ Google+ & Facebook pages. We will post the winning entry right here next Thursday.
CLICK HERE TO ENTER ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE

February 08, 2017

FARLEY'S FIGURE OF THE WEEK: #141 Robin Hood and his Merrie Men

Robin Hood and his Merrie Men. This beautiful and rare display card from Herald Models (ref. no. H5499) includes Maid Marian, Robin Hood, Little John and Friar Tuck. Produced in England in the late 50s, early 60s by Herald, this is the small carded version. A larger boxed set included a mounted Sheriff of Nottingham. They just don't make them like this anymore.

February 04, 2017

TRENCH RUNNER: Joseph Svec's Plastic Fun With Dioramas A Grand Castle Siege!

Joseph Svec checks in with another one of his monster dioramas created with a dizzying variety of plastic figures, scenics,  equipment and accessories
Please Click on images to enlarge them
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.

Below we have a 9'x5' Grand Castle Siege Diorama, with 615 figures from 21 different manufactures, plus 3 siege towers, 4 trebuchets, 7 campaign tents, 11 ballistae, and 16 catapults. One hundred knights are mounted, organized into six different groups.

The observant hobbyist will notice that the custom castle walls and Playmobil buildings are the same ones that were used in the previous blog entry featuring a 1700's Port Royal Harbor.  There are many buildings and scenery pieces that can be used in multiple eras.  The two dark brown, with green trim foam rock formations in the far left rear corner of the diorama, are from the Paragon Scenics Cavalry vs Apache series of figures and scenery. The remainder of scenery pieces were made by myself using Woodland scenic rock molds, plaster and misc. chunks of foam. Again, they can be used in dioramas of any era.

The mounted knights are organized into six groups. The castle defenders feature groups of silver knights, gold knights, red and silver knights, and blue and silver knights, all inside the castle, and one additional group counterattacking around the forward side of the castle, having exited from the sally port in the rear wall of the castle. The mounted attackers are organized into one large cavalry charge.

The diorama features knights by Britains, Herald, Timpo, Timpo copies, Airfix, Accurate, Dulcop, Elastolin, Jean, HTF, Ludorev, Safari, Schylling, Simba Germany, Supreme, ToySmith, D&D Distributing, Forces of Valor, Belgium Toy Soldiers and two unknown manufacturers. Siege equipment shown features siege towers by Safari, Britains, and Jean. The campaign tents are by Timpo and Schylling.

February 03, 2017

Fridays with Farley...Superbowl Edition...Another Dose of Useless Tidbits



• Digital Delights...

The accolades continue to grow on the new paint range from Mission Models. Besides our review by Steve Lowenthal here on the blog Armorama has a great in-depth review by Mario Matijasic. You can view it HERE


Over the Top
Our Latest Newsletter Over The Top for February 2, 2017 is is available to view by clicking HERE

• SOCIALIZED...

on You Tube...
Plastic Commandos
Off the wall stop-motion videos by Martin Cordova billed as "Surrounded in blood, a series of short stop motion movies about British Commandos in WW2: ultra violent, action packed raids across europe. We use high quality figures and diecast vehicles in 1:32 scale, combined with beautiful diorama elements. United we conquer!"  HERE

on You Tube...Carsten the Tightheadprop

Carsten the Tightheadprop hails from Germany and maintains a great You Tube channel full of his Prop Show' videos of products, unboxings, reviews, and how-to's of small scale AFV's and Sci-Fi gaming products. He covers a wide variety of products and has some great tips…entertaining & informative...
...Hello my friends, welcome to my YouTube - Channel. I like to show you on my channel tutorials, reviews, interviews and unboxing videos about WW2 and Sci-fi modelling. Have fun :-)

• BUILT...
60mm Russian made plastic soldiers painted by Harold Oden

...

• BENCHED...

• COLLECTED...
Mind blowing collection of 1000s & 1000s of plastic knights...Timpo, Britains Deetail. WoW!

...
• THE PARTING SHOT...
Rattle & Hum...

Tudor NFL No. 620

SaveSave
SaveSaveSaveSave
SaveSave