March 31, 2017

WWI in 1/35: Takom International World War I Kits

‘Big Bertha’ (German: Dicke Bertha)—literal translation "Fat (or heavy) Bertha"—is the name of a type of super-heavy howitzer developed by the armaments manufacturer Krupp in Germany on the eve of World War I. Its official designation was the L/12, i.e., the barrel was 12 calibre in length, 42-cm (16.5 inch) Type M-Gerät 14 (M-Equipment 1914) Kurze Marine-Kanone ("short naval gun", a name intended to camouflage the weapon's real purpose).

The complete range of Takom International World War I model kits in 1:35th scale

TAO-2002 WWI St. Chamond Early Type French Heavy Tank 
TAO-2008 WWI British Heavy Battle Tank Mark IV Male 
TAO-2009 WWI British Heavy Battle Tank Mark IV Female 
TAO-2010 WWI British MK.IV Hermophrodite 
TAO-2012 WWI St.Chamond (Late Type) WWI French Heavy Tank 
TAO-2015 WWI Male Tadpole British WWI Heavy Tank 
TAO-2025 WWI British Whippet Medium Tank 
TAO-2031 WWI British WWI MK.I Male
December 2015 Release
TAO-2032 WWI German Krupp 21cm Morser 10/16 
TAO-2033 British WWI MK.I Female

TAO-2034 WWI British MK. V Heavy Tank 3-in-1 Kit
TAO-2035 German WWI Big Bertha 42cm Seige Howitzer 

TAO-2076 WWI Heavy Battle Tank MK.IV 2 in 1

TAO-2008X WWI Workable Track Link Set for ALL British WWI MK.IV Heavy Tanks

The complete range of Takom International World War I model kits in 1:35th scale

Courtesy of WarDrawings


MEET YOUR MAKER: Armand P. Bayardi

Many roads lead starting a business and every business has real people behind the curtain. But who are these people and how did they get here? We've found more times then not it starts with a passion, an inspiration and somewhere along the road a mentor may have played a part. A father and son building a model together, locked in pitched toy soldier battles with a brother, a group of friends getting together in a winner take all in duel on the gaming table. Like we said there are many roads along the way and from time to time we like to peel back the curtain put a name and face on the products we offer. With that said it's time to...

MEET YOUR MAKER!  Armand P. Bayardi....

I was born in 1948 into a family of jewelers and engravers. They were craftsmen who brought their skills from Europe to America many years ago. I was raised in an environment that stressed honesty, hard work and attention to detail. One of my fondest memories is of going into the shop as a boy and learning how to use the jeweler’s tools.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved miniatures and making small things. In 1968, Uncle Sam invited me into the U.S. Army. When I returned from Vietnam in 1970, I entered the family business. I worked at making molds and casting gold and platinum.

In 1971, Betsy and I got married. We’ve weathered all of the highs and lows together – raising two fine children along the way. Today, Betsy is an integral part of my business. Mostly, she reminds how to be nice.

I was involved in various aspects of the jewelry trade until 1992. At that time, I decided to start up a company to provide miniaturists with accessories and various groundwork and architectural elements cast in resin. The skill sets for making masters and molds, I had, but casting resin was very different from casting precious metals. After much trial and error, I developed a casting technique that met my quality standards. As they say, the rest is history.

My infatuation with models began as a kid. Back then speed was the most important thing - I wanted that model built! Using Testors glue straight out of the tube, I could assemble that Monogram tank or plane in record time. Today, my love of modeling is as strong as ever, but I'm not winning any awards for speed.  I learned the most important skill any modeler will ever have - patience.

When I started my business the products were made with figure painters in mind. As time went by, I expanded the line to include armor modeling - the area that most interests me.

Mine is truly a cottage industry; there is no manufacturing plant in China. It all comes from my “cottage”. From prototype to packaging – I do it all, the ultimate quality control. All that I try to do is provide my fellow miniaturists with the best product that I can make.

View The Armand Bayardi Range By Series

View The Armand Bayardi Range By Listing

March 30, 2017

TALKING TOYS CONTEST! Winner for #10-17 and Teaser for #11-17

It's Thursday so...we have a winner for last weeks Talking Toys contest. Simon Rafe 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 to claim your prize

TALKIN' TOYS #11-17 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.

March 29, 2017

TRENCH RUNNER REVIEW: Charles Oldaugh Reviews Dioramas F.A.Q. by AK Interactive & Ruben Gonzalez

Dioramas F.A.Q. by Ruben Gonzalez
ref. AKI-8000
With a final count of 559 pages and weighing in at 8 pounds, this tome of knowledge takes you step by step through the creation of 12 dioramas. Ranging from modern urban settings, war torn Europe during World War II, to the jungles of Vietnam, this book covers a wide range of techniques and materials. Each step by step article in the book contributes to one of the 12 featured dioramas.

Like any good project, a diorama must start out with an idea and a solid plan. The prologue of the book covers planning out a diorama. From concept to composition, the author tells you how he plans out each masterpiece.

Getting to the meat and potatoes of the book, the first chapter is about bases. Utilizing wood, clay, foam, cork, and more, he starts each of the projects with a good foundation.  The materials he uses range from scratch built, to found objects, and commercial products, all blended together to make bases from simple to complex.

An entire chapter is dedicated to ground and earth modelling. Natural deserts, mud, and rocks are explained alongside man-made groundworks like concrete and asphalt.  A section entitled ‘Special Ground Effects’ take you step by step through bomb craters, sink holes, and mud puddles.

The chapter on vegetation was an eye opener. There is no cookie cutter process for each diorama. He varies the techniques and materials for each location. Starting with ground cover like grass and flowers, he works up to larger elements like bushes, shrubs, and trees. Even the lowly mushroom gets some attention lavished on it.

The next chapter is my favorite as it covers buildings. I love the contrast of buildings with natural elements. Hundreds of photos detail making buildings of brick, stone, concrete and wood with all sorts of materials. To compliment the buildings he has instructions for accessories like signs, lights, doors, and windows.

The final large chapter covers miscellaneous items used to add life to a diorama. Small things like boxes, posters, crates, and tarps are all covered in great detail. The most impressive step by step in this chapter is a 7-UP vending machine that looks like it could have been plucked from a gas station in a ghost town.

The chapter on figures explains his process for fast and efficient painting of figures to fill out our scenes. He then explains how to integrate them into the scene for maximum realism and effect.

He finishes the tutorials with a chapter called ‘Construction and Atmosphere.’ The chapter details how to bring all of the elements together to tell the story. Even though they were all painted separately, we need to integrate them into the diorama so they all look like they belong to the scene.

Now we come to the end of the review where I tell you to buy this book. If you are interested in dioramas or vignettes at all, this is a must have. The amount of knowledge contained inside is unbelievable!
Charles Oldaugh 2017

Order from HERE

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March 28, 2017

FARLEY'S FIGURE OF THE WEEK #147: Grant & Lee from the Franklin Mint

Our latest Figure(s) of the Week come from the Franklin Mint circa 1983. Released under the banner American Military Historical Society - Toy Soldier Set 1775-1965. While I wouldn't normally equate 1/32 scale painted pewter figures with The Franklin Mint these two figures warrant attention. Depicting Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant & Robert E. Lee these are beautifully sculpted and painted and among the nicest figures of these two ever released. These turn up on eBay from time to time and can purchased relatively cheap.


March 24, 2017

TRENCH RUNNER REVIEW: Wings of Glory WWII - Battle of Britain

Battle of Britain is the new starter set for Ares Games’ WW2 Wings of Glory: an all-in-a-box opportunity for new players to approach this classic air combat game in the WW2 period. 

Under the Battle of Britain’s lid, players will find four iconic fighters - two Spitfires and two Messerschmitt Bf-109E- each beautifully sculpted in 1-200 scale and painted in every detail; all the cards, rulers, markers, tokens, and other materials to fly them across your tabletop; a rich rulebook ranging from introductory to advanced and optional rules, plus all the specific rules needed to add the two-seaters and the multi-engine bombers available in the range; and a booklet with seven scenarios giving a married choice of game situations, all set during 1940 in the skies of England.

Separate Squadron Packs are also releasing, with the most famed planes from the Battle of Britain - not only Spitfire and Bf-109E, but the feared Stuka dive bomber and the glorious Hurricane fighter. The new feature of these Squadron Packs is a sheet of alternative decals with individual Codes and insignia: buying several copies of the same pack, players can then field a whole squadron.

The Battle of Britain set is also compatible with all the miniatures released up to now for the WW2 series, from the biplanes of the early war to huge bombers such as B-17 Flying Fortress and Avro Lancaster. 24 different WW2 planes have been released thus far, all available in a range of different variants and color schemes, and more will follow.

For newcomers to the game, Wings of Glory in designed to simulate air combat during WW1 (the colorful biplanes of 1915-1918 already form a range of 32 plane models) and WW2 in the most streamlined way without giving up accuracy. Every plane in the game reflects the features of its historical counterpart. Yet the game can be quickly learned in just two-minutes; kids and casual players of all ages can play without difficulties.

Every plane has a deck of maneuver cards with arrows on them; they are chosen in secret and then put in front of the miniature, then moved on top of the arrowhead. I call it “hidden complexity”. You don’t need charts, tables, points, or specific rules to handle differences in plane speed and maneuverability, special maneuvers, and pilot tricks - it’s all in the shapes and lengths of the available arrows on the cards. All the same, combat is easily resolved by drawing damage chits for all planes in range: They determine if the plane is hit or not, the amount of the damage and special occurrences depending on the weapons used.

More experienced players have the option of playing with a wide range of additional rules to deal with every detail of air war - from aim and tailings, to fuel, take offs, and landings. Wings of Glory is a fast-paced, with no downtime and easily scaled: the largest game session ever was a 100-players match in Florence on a huge table along the Arno river, and was played in just one hour!

Since its first release, Wings of Glory has been very successful, both the WW1 and WW2 versions, have devoted fans and communities who make this game richer and more lively, sharing house rules and homemade scenarios. The largest group, “Wings of Glory Aerodrome” (, counts more than 4600 members. The players’ community is always in action to meet and play, promoting events and game sessions in massive gaming fairs and small conventions all over the world, and even online through Skype, to engage all types of players in the game. Thanks to its loving supporters, the game continues to spread and gain new players every day. For them, I am sure the new starter set Battle of Britain will be a great way to start to fly high with Ares Games’ WW2 Wings of Glory.
View to Order HERE

AGS WGS003A Wings of Glory WWII: Battle of Britain Starter Set
AGS WGS401A Wings of Glory WWII: Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I
AGS WGS402A Wings of Glory WWII: Messerschmitt Bf. 109 E-3
AGS WGS403A Wings of Glory WWII: Hawker Hurricane Mk.I
AGS WGS404A Wings of Glory WWII: Junkers Ju.87 B-2

The Company line-
In the summer and fall of 1940, after the fall of France, the German Luftwaffe faced the Royal Air Force in the first major military campaign fought entirely in the air...The Battle of Britain. This was the prelude to the invasion Hitler planned for the British Islands, Operation Sealion. An ultimate German victory was at hand, and British pilots bravely flew into battle, fully aware of what a defeat would bring to their country and the entire free world.

Now, with this WW2 Wings of Glory Battle of Britain Starter Set you can bring to life the epic aerial duels between the Axis and Allied aces on your tabletop. Defend Britain as an Allied pilot, controlling one of the most iconic WW2 airplanes, the Spit fire; or fly dangerous missions as a German pilot in a powerful Messerschmitt Bf.109 fighter.

The Battle of Britain Starter Set is an all-in-one boxed set with everything needed to play, including four airplanes fully assembled and painted - two Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I and two Messerschmitt Bf-109E, a comprehensive rulebook (presenting from Basic to Advanced rules, plus Optional rules), a scenarios booklet, and a rich assortment of counters, rulers, and airplane console boards.

The WW2 Wings of Glory Squadron Packs feature a complete airplane model together with decals to customize it as a member of a famous squadron. The airplanes coming in these new packs are the Spitfire Mk.I (610 Squadron), the Messerschimitt Bf.109 E-3 (Jagdgeschwader 2), the Hawker Hurricane Mk.I (303 Polish Squadron) and the Junkers Ju.87 B-2 "Stuka" (Sturzkampfgeschwader 77).

Andrea Angiolino, co-designer of Wings of War and Wings of Glory (together with Pier Giorgio Paglia), grew up playing wargames with toy soldiers and hex-grid simulations. Today he is a game designer and journalist: His many board games and books about gaming have been translated into near twenty languages. He has published a 1,200 page long “Dizionario dei Giochi”, a game dictionary about all types of games, and he broadcasts the history of games and toys on the Italian State Radio Rai Tre

March 23, 2017

TALKING TOYS CONTEST! Winner for #09-17 and MARCH MADNESS Teaser for #10-17

#09-17 WINNER
It's Thursday so...we have a winner for last weeks Talkin' Toys contest. Charlie Bass (with enhancements for us) 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 to claim your prize

TALKIN' TOYS #10-17 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.

March 22, 2017

The Art of The Toy Soldier: “Toy Soldier” by Vik Muniz

The Art of The Toy Soldier
 “Toy Soldier” by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, based on a portrait of Pvt. Edwin Francis Jemison, 2nd Louisiana Regiment C.S.A., ca. 1860-62. Jemison, a native Georgian enlisted at 16 and died at 17 at the Battle of Malvern Hill in Virginia. Look closely and you will see that this is completely made made plastic toy soldiers.


March 21, 2017

FARLEY'S FIGURE OF THE WEEK #146: WWI Germans by Lasette

This weeks figures are WWI German Infantry by Lassett. The English firm of Greenwood & Ball, made 54mm figures sculpted by John Tassell and released them under the name Lasset. John transposed the T and L in his own name to give a name to the series. These were professionally painted in oils from the original 1970s castings.

Click to enlarge image

Click to enlarge image