August 06, 2015

Trench Runner Tom Stark's Plastic Passions

Well here I am.  A 64 year old modeler starting a blog on plastic soldiers. Who would have thought it? Rick’s recommendation  to me was write about whatever I am interested in and when it comes to toy soldiers, there isn’t much that would not be included. Any scale, any material, any finish or none at all and pretty much any time period. Rick did want it limited to plastic greater than HO but that still leaves me a lot of latitude and if I stray from time to time, so be it.

  Here we are in the summer doldrums waiting for what passes these days as a flood of releases as we approach OTSN and the Christmas season. Saving for another day why today’s flood is but a mere trickle compared to 10 or 15 years ago, my advice is “Look East young man!” Thanks to the modern, world-shrinking miracles of the web and PayPal, plastic figures from countries that may not have even existed when I was a kid are easier to get to than riding my bike miles across an Ohio countryside to the local toy and hobby stores. Places like Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and the Ukraine,  none with any motivation to withhold their new release until September.

  My most recent addition from these far-off spaces came from the Russian Federation and emphasizes my broader than I think is typical  interest in plastic soldiers. It is an eight foot and two mounted set of 1/32nd medieval  demi-rounds! Did I know they were demi-rounds when I bought them; no. Did I care when I opened them; not in the least. Some of you, if there are any of “you” really reading this, may also have read my articles in Plastic Warrior on demi-round plastics and others may know me as the fellow behind Two Trees Toy Soldiers’ painted Zinnfiguren and my attraction to flat and semi-flat figures would be well established. Flats in any material are part of the history of the toy soldier hobby and let me say that until you try to sculpt a figure in less than a fully round format, you have no idea how much more difficult it is than a fully round one. And yes, I can hear the questions forming in some of your heads. I even appreciate comic book flats – now. Certainly more than when I was 10. But I digress.

This set, advertised as a tournament ,  gives some nice diversity with a noble man and woman and a trumpet blower on the civilian side, 5 foot knights engaged in vicious combat and two wonderful knights on caprisoned horses charging with lances, albeit a bit short. Unlike some such sets,  the scale is holds between the foot and mounted. Quite often in this genre the mounted poses “shrink”. The armor/clothing details are historically accurate for the the early 13th century,  the detail excellent and there is virtually no flash around the edges, an affliction many demi-round sets from the east suffer from.  They are also not so thin as to be translucent.  As demi-round sets go, I would have to say this is one of the best artistically; no offense intended for others that were more clearly aimed at a younger toy market. These come close to being the soft plastic equivalent of  Zinnfiguren.

   I am not sure if these are current production or recasts of old ones but I had never seen them before and I look. The eBay seller, denandmax2012,  has one or more sets remaining as I write this so my guess would be they are new. I have purchased from this fellow a few times and delivery has always been made and always more quickly than represented. And he takes PayPal which provides another level of price protection.

Looking for a toy soldier fix for the month of August? Highly recommended.

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