September 30, 2016

Fridays with Farley...a Dose of Useless Tidbits

Just back from the Chicago Toy Soldier Show...
This year both the 3-day room trading and attendance at the show itself seemed down. This is a sign of the times as the internet is taking it's toll on collectors shows of all types. The Chicago show is still the biggest and best toy soldier show in the world and with the new promotors taking over I don't see that changing in the near future.

Show time!
This show can be divided into there basic food groups.
1. Plastic Collectors- Large scale plastics 54mm-60mm are always a big at this show. Lot's of rooms selling & displaying plastic & playsets whether it's vintage such as Marx, Timpo, Britains and US & European plastics, modern generation but out-of-production and now on the secondary market such as Barzso or Conte and lately new production manufactures such as TSSD, LOD, Paragon and Replicants who have used this show to launch their latest sets. This year was no exception with all of the aforementioned companies offering new figures and sets. The "plastic" guys are still passionate about their hobby and support it with a mind boggling amount of available products in the "hall of plastic" on the 5th floor of the hotel.

Happy Marx Room Collector!
New plastic abounds!
2. Vintage Collectors- Long a staple of this show is the vast array of vintage toy soldiers available. Dimestores, Hollowcast, Composition and lead can be found in ever growing numbers at this show. With the hobby "graying" many collections have come on the market recently and there was an abundance of it at this show. The prices for dimestores and composition figures are dropping drastically as the older collectors that these appealed to die off with no new ones there to take their place. Another sub-category of this group is the 2nd generation of toy soldiers that start appearing in the 1980s. These "traditional gloss style" toy soldiers surprisingly, are becoming popular with younger collectors. Early King & Country, Trophy, Tradition, Imperial and many others are staging a come back.
New Production Gloss Figures
2nd generation gloss figures at the show
3. Current Metal Collectors- Over the past few years this show has grown into a showcase for manufactures of the new historical style, matt finish figures to display their latest products. W Britain, Collectort's Showcase, Morgan Miniatures. King & Country, Jenkins and 1st legion being among the most predominate. This year it was almost overwhelming the amount of new products available. With ever rising prices and numbers of releases one has to wonder how the hobby can absorb all this before it implodes on it'sself. Is the average collector getting priced out of the market? One can only wonder...
Morgan Miniatures Room
W Britains Display 
Collectors Showcase room
Michigan Toy Soldier tables at the show
Found on Facebook
Toys from the 50s 60s and 70s
A place to find and share images and memories of our youth. 
Have a LOOK

Toy Soldier & Model Figure magazine gets a new look...
TSM&F magazine showed in Chicago up with a sweet new look with a slightly larger, expanded page count and a beautiful matt finish paper. They are also going from 12 issues a year to 8 issues. 

Sample pages

September 29, 2016

"I'M SAYIN' WHAT?" Contest #26 Winner + This week's teaser for "I'M SAYIN' WHAT?" #27

"I'm Sayin' What?" #26 WINNER
It's Thursday so...we have a winner for last weeks “I’m Saying What” contest. Rivet Head Ralph has snagged one of the most coveted prizes on earth...which is of course is a $25.00 Gift Card from Michigan Toy Soldier.

"I'm Sayin' What?" #27 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 and you will win a $25.00 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.

Email your entries to:
FYI- Have a cool image you'd like to get captioned? Send it to us at and we will give you $25.00 gift card for any images used.

September 28, 2016

Trench Runner Pat Hillard Attacks the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) Late War British Armoured Division, Army Box in a Multi-part Review & Build.

Part 1: A look at the set

This is a review and build of the Plastic Soldier Company's 15mm plastic Late War British Armoured Division, Army Box. Product code PSC-AB15002 with 18 vehicles and 34 figures. Using this box set you can field 11x Sherman M4A4's, 3x Sherman Fireflies, 4x M5 Halftracks, 34x Infantry figures, including 3x Bren teams, Command, 1x Piat team, 1x 2 inch light mortar team and 1x mixed base sprue.

For those of you that play Flames of War (FoW) this box set give you 1535 points of Confident Veterans from the Market Garden Book or 1455 points of Confident Veterans using the Taurus Pursuant, 11th Armored PDF. I will provide the playing list from Market Garden.
The Basics...
The finished box set
I am going to try something different for this review. Instead of have paragraphs of text I will put a brief intro and summary here and put a detailed description with each picture. This will eliminate long lists of paint colors and make for an easier step by step procedure for assembly and painting of this box. This is my first try painting Allied vehicles and British infantry. I have previously only painted late war German forces and an HQ platoon of the US 82nd Airborne.

For Flames of War 
British Armored Squadron, Confident Veteran - 1535 points
HQ Section - 180 points
2 Sherman V - 170 pts
2 .50 cal AA - 5 pts each (10 pts)
Armored Platoon 1 - 390 points
3 Sherman V, 1 Firefly - 385 points
1 .50 cal AA - 5 pts - 5 points
Armored Platoon 2 - 390 points
3 Sherman V, 1 Firefly - 385 points
1 .50 cal AA - 5 pts - 5 points
Armored Platoon 3 - 390 points
3 Sherman V, 1 Firefly - 385 points
1 .50 cal AA - 5 pts - 5 points
Motor Platoon 4 - 185 points
3 mg squads with command including 2" mortar and Piat team - 150 points
1.50 AA - 10 points
additional mg squad - 25 points

An additional unit of Allied airborne, some 6 pound anti tank guns, a recon unit or some self propelled artillery would easy take this to a 1750 list. It is a very nice and affordable way to build an allied army.

Overall I am very happy with the quality of the kit components and the finished product. Hopefully these troops will see some action in the near future. I plan to use them to help introduce my son to the rules of FoW. 

The Set...
The kit comes in a heavy duty box with nice graphics and a good description of the product inside. The only problem I have with PSC packages is that the boxes are not sealed in any way and the sprues are not in bags. I am always worried about missing parts in kits that are not sealed. I am please to say that there was no issues with this product.

The side of the box provides a list of the pack contents and a basic painting guide for the armored vehicles and the infantry. There is a basic Vallejo color chart listed also.

When opening the box the contents are neatly stacked and there are two sheets of instructions included for assembly of the vehicles. There are no recommendations for basing the infantry models.

There are 14 tank sprues to make either the M4-A4 (dry stowage) Sherman or a Firefly. These models are very similar to the Sherman V, I don't see any problem using them for the above list.

The combined M4/Firefly sprue. All of the components to build either vehicle are on the one sprue. I saved the extra parts in my bits bag for future projects.

The tank assembly instructions are very basic and it uses color codes to show you what hull to use for the M4 or the Firefly as well as what turret and gun mantel. There is an option to add dust shields if you desire. I did this on a few models just to have a variety of vehicles. I looked at a lot of late war pictures and very few of the Sherman's had these shields on them.

There are four sprues for the M5-A1 half track. It includes some nice stowage, two mg options and five sitting crew per vehicle not including a driver and  navigator, gunners are also included.

The M5A1 instructions give you a choice of assembly with the 50 caliber mg ring or with a pedestal mount. Many of the pictures I saw did not have either of these options on the vehicles. I added them for visual aesthetics on the table.

PSC includes on sprue of infantry bases. For a FoW list you will need 3 small bases and four medium bases. The large base is not needed.

The kit includes 3 infantry sprues with 12 figures per sprue. The mortar team and  Bren gun team are in two pieces and must be glued together.

Next Week in Part 2 I will build the Shermans and the M5s

September 27, 2016

FIGURE OF THE WEEK #126: DAZ Washing Powder Cowboys & Indians by Crescent

In the 1960s children around the world delighted in getting premiums/prizes as a bonus in their cereal boxes and in many other types of food and non food items. Marketing "Mad Men" knew that including toys that appealed to kids would send them begging mom to purchase the products with the free giveaways. To this end, in 1964 the UK company DAZ Washing Powder offered a series of twelve different plastic cowboys & indians as a premium when buying their boxes of soap. The figures were packaged in special full color boxes and depending on the size of the soap box with either two or three random figures and attached to the boxes of soap. The twelve 54mm plastic figures were comprised of six cowboys and six indians and were actually made by the English company Crescent. This two figure set in its original rare box was picked up at the recent Chicago Toy Soldier show. 

DAZ Washing Powder Cowboys & Indians 3 pack 

DAZ Washing Powder Cowboys & Indians 3 pack #2
In the 1960’s Crescent beat off stiff competition to secure a contract to produce figures for Kellogg’s cereals. known as cereal premiums these figures were given away free in a box of cereal such as Cornflakes or Frosted Flakes. Usually a set of 4/5 figures were included with one per box covering a  real mix of characters, Knights, Robin Hood, Circus and others. They were issued unpainted and marked Kellogg’s on the base

Crescent also issued the figures themselves commercially but these were  hand painted and marked Crescent. Today collectors still want to have both the Crescent set and Kellogg’s set in a collection. Cereal premium such as these and “soldiers of the world” remain collectable and still relatively very easy to find due to the enormous quantities made for the cereal makers.
Kellogg’s Robin Hood figures by Crescent

MTSC PRODUCT RELEASE: TSSD unleashes Vietnam Series in plastic

Toy Soldiers of San Diego aka TSSD has a new range of 60mm plastic figures for the Vietnam War. Now available, the first two sets TSD-29 U.S. Marines and TSD-30 NVA Soldiers each contain 16 figures in 8 poses. They also include extra weapons and are bagged sets w/header cards.
View & Order HERE

TSD-29 U.S. Marines

TSD-30 NVA Soldiers Vietnam

September 26, 2016

Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 12 - 1964 Famous Monsters of Filmland / Aurora Model Contest

FM issue 27 announcing the contest
The "Master Monster Maker" model kit contest of 1964 was a collaboration between FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine, Aurora Plastics, and Universal Studios. All three had a huge stake in the venture and, if successful, a bounty of notoriety (and lots of cash) would be realized. The project was ambitious; Universal had licensed the rights to Aurora to make model kits in the image of their horror icons. Since introducing the Frankenstein kit, Aurora enjoyed a popularity in figure kits that was never before seen in the industry. They sought to further capitalize on their success by introducing two monster customizing kits that coincided with the contest. Universal benefited from the promotion of their "Shock Theater" ensemble and the potential for more licensing revenue. FM was the fulcrum of the campaign and got the paint stirring when it announced the contest in issue #27 (March 1964). The result? Monster Kids by the thousands entered their customized monster models at their local participating hobby shop all over the United States. It was an overwhelming, unparalleled smash hit.

Banner for participating hobby shops

Back cover of FM issue 27 announcing the contest
The year following the contest, FM published an article in issue #32 (March 1965) that showcased the Grand Prize winners of the Master Monster Maker contest from around the country. The article describes the prize packages, which included future Aurora models, a subscription to FAMOUS MONSTERS (that was good until 1970!), and a trip to Horrorwood, Karloffornia.

Greg Gellman of Oklahoma was crowned the Master Monster Maker for his elaborate two-story creation that depicted a mad scientist in his lab readying a jolt of life into the Frankenstein monster strapped to a table. See the slide show at the end of this article for images from FM 32 and other items from the contest.

To coincide with the contest Aurora released the Customizing Monster Kits No.1 & No.2.
for the kit builder who wanted even more ghoulish goodies to go with their monsters and a saint set of Monster Colors. 
#463-98 Aurora Customizing Monster Kit - Series 1
#464-98 Aurora Customizing Monster Kit - Series 2

1964 advertisement

Rich Palmer, owner of Rich’s Hobby Town in Pine Brook, Montville Township, NJ, is pictured behind the counter of the store’s “Monster Korner” in this photo from 1964.
Amazing Figure Modeler Magazine notes that Palmer’s business was the nation’s largest-volume hobby shop at the time, attracting enough attention in the industry that the Aurora Plastic Corp. hired him to organize a “Monster Customizing Contest” that year.
The contest, Aurora and the shop received national attention later that year when Walter Cronkite, anchor of the CBS Evening News, visited the shop and interviewed Palmer.

Vacuform First Place plastic awards w/cardboard backing