|The lovely Amanda Johnson tells a couple of 'kids' |
they are probably a little too old for the event.
I know all the kids had great fun, but what an experience for my wife and I running the booth. We had everything from very young children who left with more paint on themselves, and subsequently Mom and Dad, to kids who were asking me for reference materials as they wanted to “get it right”. By far the most popular thing kids tried was camoflage. We had some interesting schemes…..green-brown, green-brown-black, red-white-green-brown-black, all black, all white, all red, and my personal favourite, khaki with pink puttees (because they are his lucky pink socks we were informed by the 6 year old girl). I was impressed as most kids recognized the red coated British soldier, and one little girl went as far as to mix 3 colours together to create a very nice skin tone for her highlander she was painting.
In all we had a great day. At the end I think we sent home somewhere between 70 and 80 figures on wood bases that the kids painted. I answered many questions about the hobby from parents hoping to get their kids involved. For the smaller kids I suggested just start with craft paint and some green plastic army men they can get from the dollar store and see how it goes. For most of the older kids, and many interested parents, I directed them to check out hobby shops and specialty stores like The Michigan Toy Soldier Co. as they would have more variety to choose from. A couple times throughout the day I laughed as I thought how some of the ‘rivet counters’ in our hobby just wouldn’t be able to do an event like this. They can’t even handle when a cartridge box has the wrong clasp in 1/72 scale, let alone a red helmet, blue pants, white jacket and lime green webb gear on a WW1 infantryman. The important thing is the kids had fun, and were creative. Many parents sat and encouraged the kids, and many older kids took it upon themselves to help younger siblings. And I didn’t see one cell phone.
No one knows the fate of the painted warriors the junior artists took home. I’m sure some will find closets and toy box bottoms, however I am also sure some will sit proudly on shelves to be shown off to friends and family. We will be back next year on Family Day, and hopefully we have sparked the imagination and interest in these kids for a very enjoyable lifelong hobby.
Mat and his "supportive wife" Amanda hail from Durham, Ontario. Mat will be will be posting on 1/72nd products and his diorama work for several museums in Canada. I was drawn to Mat's views by his philosophy which he mentions in detail below..."I will be focusing more on the positives and the enjoyment factor of the hobby" More from Mat Johnson
Here's just a sampling of the Gold Medal figures that were created by the kids at the event
DYK: We here at Michigan Toy Soldier support anything that exposes kids and newcomers to our hobbies. If you have an event, meeting, school project, scout troop, birthday party let's help. We will support you in anyway we can! Contact us at 1-888-642-4869 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org