Ken of LOD was kind enough to rush me a set of the Amazons. I am truly impressed. The details are really nice and so is the color. It was hard for me to get really detailed pictures. But I did try.
The set includes 8 figures on foot in 4 different poses. There are two mounted figures in 2 different poses. I like the fact that Ken had them insert a piece of plastic between the horses legs to keep them from warping. Plus the weapons were protected in a plastic case. After opening the bag I used some hot water to straight a few that were bent a little. Hot water in a coffee cup placed in microwave for a minute or two. Dip the figure or weapon in for about 10 seconds. Then straighten out the figure or part to the desired place. Finally run with some cold running water or cold water you place with ice. Let the figure or part stand in the cold water for about 10 seconds. This works like a charm.
The first figure is thrusting a spear downward. The spear is separate which makes for a better and easier casting. Plus an easier way to customize with other weapons that a collector might have or make.
The second pose is of a warrior with an battle axe. I used the hot water method to change the stance of the other warrior a little. You get a aggressive stance and then a defensive stance from the same figure.
Here is the third pose of a wounded Amazon. My least favorite figure of the set.
Here is the fourth pose of an Amazon warrior shooting a bow. This pose is really nice. I bet I could change the stance too with some hot water to get a few different versions from the same pose.
There fifth pose is of a mounted Amazon shooting a bow. Both the figure and horse are really nice.
Here is the last and sixth figure. This one is of a mounted Amazon thrusting a spear downward. These one looks like the leader of the group. She is mounted on a different horse too.
These figures are really nice and the scale fits well with many other brands.
Here are some random pictures trying to show the details of some of the figures.
All in all the Amazons are really nice. They will be available starting on the 19th. Get details. Nice mounted figures. So run out and get a few at https://lodtoysoldiers.com/.
Ken of LOD: I will be in Room 5101 this year. Ron and I swapped rooms and he is in 5104.
Amazons are in the Midwest and arriving at LOD headquarters tomorrow. Figure sets will be on the website on Thursday (9/19) and available at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show the same day.
That is it for now. Thank you for reading.
It is less than a week now until the Chicago Toy Show begins. Next Sunday is the official show. But collectors will be arriving on Wednesday. Room trading starts on Thursday and goes on until Saturday. I will not be attending. But I am thinking about going next year. Check out the Chicago Toy Soldier Show Website for more information.
Some of the Vendors have sent me some information about new products, what they are bringing and the room they will be at.
Kirk Larson: I’ll be in Room 4105 selling: Britain’s Deetail, Marx toy guns, Die cast vehicles, Playmobil, Misc plastic Wild West stuff & more!
Stephen Connell: I will be in Room 5412, with my general mix of Plastic and Metal….larger mix this year than most.
Here are some of the things that Todd Nace is bringing. Looks like a lot of vintage plastic. He will be in Room # 5428.
Ed Borris will be in room # 5203. He and Mike Kutnick will have vintage plastic sets & toy soldiers. Plus some Barzso Playsets & figures too. He also has his own line of toy soldiers, Beast Productions. They are limited run figures. I will get one of the John Stengel Sr. figures which is in the last picture above.
Ed sent this while I was writing up the article.
We will good stuff we will also have the large Davy Crockett Alamo with 5 firing cannons and cream Mexicans.
a Fort Apache stockade with unfolded tin
plus the two Barzso sets. Treasure Island and New Orleans.
2 sets of matched tan Marx 60mm Rin tin tin cavalry
1 matched set of Marx 60mm powder blue Rin tin tin cavalry
plus hundreds of 60mm Marx Indians
Mint in Box Andy Gard cowboys and Indians never been opened
plus surprises, meaning i don’t know what (Mike) he is packing
not to mention the Beast production figures and John Stengel memorial figure
I will also be giving a demo on how to convert
Friday or Saturday I don’t know
There will be tons of stuff can you dig thru.
Hobby Bunker: I’ll be in the Sage room all week, lobby level. They should have a little of everything. Both plastic and metal.
Austin Miniatures is getting their new WWII figures ready for the show. I hoping to hear about the details about the playset before the show.
Reno’s Last Chance and the Montana Bluffs
Gene of Paragon will be in room 5110. Here has a bunch of new foam terrain products. They look really nice.
Here are some photos of a diorama I will be displaying during the show.
I call it “Reno’s Last Chance.”
The base is a new piece that I am bringing to the show. We call it Montana Bluffs. I have also done a covered wagon with accessories.
It is not a playset. The scenic piece comes in two pieces that form a 36 x 24 x 4.5 diorama piece. It comes completely painted and flocked and sells for $235.00.
The Wagon sells for $42.00 and comes with the cover and a removable insert (crates and sacks)
The barriers sell for $12.00 a piece.
You can inquire with Gene about the Custer’s Battlefield, Bloody Lane and Burnside’s Bridge pieces.
We are excited to be a part of the 2019 Chicago Toy Solider Show. Room trading will begin on Thursday, September 19th through Saturday, September 21st. We are looking forward to meeting more of our amazing customers.
We are in Room 5201 and our tables are in the Lower Level Main Room South. Tables 301A, 302-305.
We will accept cash, credit cards and checks!
At the show, we will have two (2) new prototype Alamo buildings – the Kitchen and the Lunette! We will have the painted/finished buildings available for purchase. Below are the photos of the prototypes:
The Kitchen. The right side of the kitchen designed to be placed next to the Main Entry Gate Building #TS222. The kitchen will be painted to match the current Alamo buildings.
The Lunette. The Lunette goes in front of the Main Entry Gate Building #TS222. It will be painted in earth tones similar to what you find in Mark’s Lemon’s Book – The Illustrated Alamo 1836.
We will also be carrying many more Expeditionary Force figure sets, Chin Toys/Engineer Basevich. We will definitely have the Ex Force sets in Chicago and hope to have the Chin Toys/Engineer Basevich as well.
We have received a large restock of the Atherton Scenics diorama pieces.
New stock of our TSSD Foam pieces and have arrived and we expect more over the next week.
We will be bringing many of these pieces with us to Chicago.
Ken of LOD: I will be in Room 5101 this year. Ron and I swapped rooms and he is in 5104.
Short post today but excited for the events over the next couple of weeks.
Amazons are in the Midwest and arriving at LOD headquarters tomorrow. Figure sets will be on the website on Thursday (9/19) and available at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show the same day.
New foam Santa’s Workshop will also be available at the Show and online now.
We look forward to seeing friends and collectors next week in Schaumburg.
Here are the New Amazons.
Santa’s Workshop can be the centerpiece of your Christmas display. This finely crafted foam piece is the hub where the elves are hard at work building the toys that Santa delivers every year to good boys and girls.
The Workshop will be available on its own ($125 plus shipping) or as part of an LOD display set ($160 plus shipping).
The display set includes the following – Santa’s Workshop, Santa’s Christmas Delivery figure set, a bag of decorative snow, five assorted sisal trees, and eight LOD gifts in four colors (blue and pink shown).
This set will be on the website this weekend and available for pre-order. I will also have them at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show.
Merry (early) Christmas from LOD 😊
Ron Barzso will be at the show too. He will be in Room # 5104 this year. Even though he is retired he still has some products to sell. He even has a couple things to surprise us sometimes too!!
That concludes any information that I have about the show from the vendors. I should have another post up next weekend about the show itself. I will update this article if I have anything new to add. I hope to attend next year.
I was just going to do this post about the show. But I was informed about some more new sets coming from Russia.
Here is Publius latest set, Ancient Scythians. They are 1/32 in scale. Another 8 figure set. Well sculpted as usual. They are up for sale on eBay now.
MAN is the company that came out with the set of Tlingit Natives earlier this year.
Man-made monument to HUMANITY
Workshop on the creation of plastic men.
Project goals: through contemplation of the “little men” through the game, to convey as much as possible the originality and colorfulness of historical cultures and ethnic groups born in the process of forming a single human race.
They now are releasing two new sets about the natives of Aria or Ancient Aryans. You can read more about Aria here, https://www.ancient.eu/aria/. Also you can read about the Ancient Aryans here, https://www.ancient.eu/Aryan/. Check out the video below to see all the figures.
These sets are 1/32 in scale. I will try to find out more information on when they will be available and what the cost of these sets will be.
That is it for now. Thank you for reading.
I hope everyone is enjoying the Labor Day weekend. Now that the summer is over I am returning to my normal work schedule and will have more time to do some things. In this post I have a few updates and some pictures of some items that I have picked up over the summer. We shall start with some news first.
THE CHICAGO TOY SOLDIER SHOW IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER! Join us at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg Chicago, Sunday, September 22nd, 10 am – 3:30 pm. This show is the biggest show in the world. All the newest products, prototypes and news can be found here. Plus hard to find vintage toys, custom one of a kind and limited edition sets. You can read more about the show at their website over here, https://chicagotoysoldiershow.com/.
Here is what Conte had post on his FB site in his words below.
Thought you’d like to see 6 ( of 8) poses from Roman Set 1 ‘in action’ .
Please note that the ‘gobs’ supporting shields and such are only ‘there’ to temporarily hold up separately molded parts. They will NOT (obviously) be part of the finished product.
Also, the pila/spears have been artificially made a tad thicker than we’d wanted and designed( so that they inject properly and do not bend or twist) We are hopeful that their thickness will be reduced a bit for the final production while still avoiding any bending…it’s all about compromise when the functioning of the molds vs. playability & original design come into debate….
Lastly, the spearchucker is not holding his pilum at the proper angle as it came loose for the photo-shoot
Can’t wait to show you photos of these fellows mixed with additional poses from sets 2 and 3…
A different view which gives some idea of the full-round nature of these figures. The photos were sent to us this morning BY THE FACTORY. These are actual photos of prototypes for RC’s approval/comment sent to us from THE FACTORY.
7th & 8th poses from Set 1
Centurion almost complete; might make some adjustments to the cape ; also working on alternate head and alternate arms. Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing this fellow progress…the problem always is that the large shield hides so much detail.
Austin Miniatures will have the new Japanese Infantry & US Marine figures and playset available at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show. I will have more information soon about the details of these sets.
Forces of Valor is starting to release more new products in 1/32 scale now. The new Russian tanks will available this month. The German tank above should be released next year in March. We should see new items come out on a regular basis now. Next year will see a lot of German, American and some more Russian armored vehicles. There will be more items released other than the ones shown below.
Soviet T-34/85 Model 1944 Medium Tank – 55th Guards Tank Brigade, 7th Guards Tank Corps, Berlin, 1945 [Bonus Model V-2 Diesel-Fueled 12-Cylinder Engine] (1:32 Scale)
Soviet T-34/85 Model 1944 Medium Tank – 95th Guards Tank Brigade, 9th Tank Corps, Berlin, 1945 [Bonus Model V-2 Diesel-Fueled 12-Cylinder Engine] (1:32 Scale)
Here is the famous “Whittmann” Panzer. German Late Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank – Michael Wittmann, “007”, schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 101, Cintheaux, France, 1944 [Bonus Maybach HL 230 TRM P45 Engine] (1:32 Scale)
German Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer – “332”, schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654, Normandy, 1944 [Bonus Maybach HL230 P30 Engine] (1:32 Scale)
German 88mm Flak 36 Anti-Aircraft Gun with FLaK Rohr 36 Gun Barrel and Sd. 202 Towing Vehicle – Unidentified Unit, Stalingrad, 1942 (1:32 Scale)
German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Henschel Suspension – schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Germany, 1945 [Bonus Maybach V-12 HL 230 P30 Engine] (1:32 Scale)
German Sd. Kfz. 184 Elefant Heavy Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit – schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Italy, 1944 [Bonus Two 300 PS Maybach HL 120 TRM Engines] (1:32 Scale)
German Mid Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank with Zimmerit – 3/schwere Panzer Abteilung 501, Orsha, Russia, June 1944 [Bonus Maybach HL 230 TRM P45 Engine] (1:32 Scale)
Here are some items that I picked up over the summer. In my last post I mentioned that I picked up a Barzso/TSSD “Road To Stalingrad” playset. After I picked up that set I found a few die cast tanks to add to it. Most of them were made by Ultimate Soldier, 21st Century, Unimax or Forces of Valor.
Here are two WWII Russian tanks by Unimax and Forces of Valor. Plus WWII Russian Infantry by TSSD. All of them are nicely detailed. They are all in 1/32 scale.
Here are the TSSD Russians in olive green. The T34 tank is made by Unimax.
Here are the TSSD Russians in Maroon. The KV-1 tank is made by Forces of Valor.
Here are some of the TSSD WWII Germans in long coats for the Russian Invasion.
These are early set cast in white gray color.
The first Tank is made by W. Britain. I found it for $34. It was damaged, but I was able to fix some of it. The barrel on the gun turret was warped. Probably from some accident when it fell and hit the ground. There was a small crack on the bottom of the track. I was able to heat up the gun barrel and straighten it out.
Here is another German tank. I think this one is a Panther. It was made by 21st Century toys.
The half-track is made by Forces of Valor. The figures that came with this set are really nice. They make an epic piece in any collection. The look nice with other brands of toy soldiers in 1/32 scale.
I ordered some trees about a month ago from Micshaun’s Closet. Each tree was $12.99. The details are great. It is a nice size. The tree measures about 9 & 1/2 inches tall.
So if you need any Germans, Russians or trees head over to https://micshaunscloset.com/, they carry plenty of different sets from multiple companies.
These die cast tanks are great. But they can also cost a lot of money. But if you are patient you find these die cast vehicles at good to fair prices. The Forces of Valor are the best in my opinion.
Over the summer I have purchased a few figure lots. In these lots there was either different sets from the same brand or different brands mixed together. I picked up a few vintage WWII Russian Infantry figures in different colors.
Here are some of the orange Airfix Russians that I think were made in the late 1980’s.
These Marx recast Russian figures I think were cast in the 1990’s??
I have never seen these in yellow before until I got them in a figure lot. They are nicely cast. They are marked Marx on the bottom. They are 1/32 in scale.
It is a few weeks away from the big show. I can’t wait to hear about and see the newest products that are going to be released. I should have a post before or maybe two post before the show. That is it for now. Thank you for reading.
Well it is almost September and the Chicago Toy Soldier Show. One of the biggest plastic makers will not be there this year. If you have been collecting plastic toy soldiers over the last 20 years you probably heard of Toy Soldiers of San Diego or TSSD. When I first started looking for toy soldiers on the internet Nick was one of the first dealers that I found. I remember chatting with him about some hobby related topics and getting few things. He was very helpful.
Last year TSSD was sold to Dave & Kim Cook of https://micshaunscloset.com. They are now re-stocking older sets if you need something.
I had stopped collecting for a bunch of years and TSSD started producing their own plastic figures. A bunch of years later I started collecting again. This was around the time their Plains Indian Sets were being produced. The have always been a favorite of mine.
Last year I was planning on setting up to do an interview with Nick & DeAnna, but waited when I heard that they were talking about selling their company. Recently after purchasing some items from them we set up an interview.
Hi. Nick & DeAnna. It has been a pleasure to purchase your products over the years. I hope that both of your a doing well.
Warhorse Miniatures: I remember purchasing some things from you before you started producing your own products. Can you tell us how you got started?
TSSD: Hello Mike.
I started collecting again, perhaps 25 plus years ago after seeing an ad in a civil war history magazine from “The Toy Soldier Company”. Then Conte Collectibles arrived on the scene. I had visited with Richard when he was still in Las Vegas. I was very impressed with what he had already done in the hobby and what he had planned to do.
I wished to design & manufacture figures at least as good as Conte Collectibles had already released. The two keys to our manufacturing success was the sculptor David Lea and Bill McMaster of BMC Toys. He introduced us to his Hong Kong connection for the manufacturing.
Warhorse Miniatures: You started producing plastic figures in the 1990’s. Your first sets were American Civil War figures. What was the main reason you started with this theme?
TSSD: DeAnna and I could not afford to “Lay an Egg” on our first attempt. So we went with something safe, the American Civil War. At the time, it seemed that the most popular historical period was the Civil War.
Warhorse Miniatures: You have produced figures from the Alamo, American Civil War, Cowboys & Indians, Romans & Barbarians, Vietnam War and World War II themes. If you were going to start making figures in new theme, what would that be?
TSSD: Perhaps World War One. There are so many different ways to go. WWI had everything from Cavalry to Tanks!
Warhorse Miniatures: It seems that the cost of producing plastic figures these days has really increased since when you first started. Can you give us your insight into this?
TSSD: It has been years since we first started manufacturing. I think it is logical to assume that all costs to produce new figure set would have increased by now. That being said, it still seems very reasonable to me. The key to keeping the costs down is to manufacture enough sets the first time out.
Warhorse Miniatures: My favorite sets that you produced were the American Indian sets. They are really great to paint too. What are some of your most favorite sets and why?
TSSD: I agree, David did a great job with the American Indians. I have always like the long coat winter Union Civil War Infantry. They are different from most other Civil War sets made by anyone. They came out very well and they also look great when painted.
Also our very first set the Civil War Confederates have always been some of my favorite figures. I remember when we first released set # 1 they were very well received. Collectors had really not seen anything like them at the time.
Warhorse Miniatures: Along the way you worked with Barzso Playsets and Paragon Scenics. Was there any other companies that you worked with or wanted to work with?
TSSD: It was really great teaming up with Ron Barzso on “The Road to Stalingrad” playset. It was a big hit!! Today if we were to make something new, I would like to team up with Ken Ciak the owner of LOD Enterprises. I like what he is doing and what he plans to do.
Warhorse Miniatures: What are some of your favorite things in your collection? And are you still collecting?
TSSD: My favorite TSSD set is Set # 1, the Civil War Confederates. The sculptor did an amazing job. I also named each figure pose, which people really enjoyed. To this day they still are a hit with collectors. Over 10,000 sets sold world wide!
I also really like some of our foam pieces. Most made by Gary Fournier in SoCal. The 12 pieces that we added to the “Conte Collectibles” Alamo are some of my favorites too. With the Conte pieces and the TSSD Alamo pieces & TSSD Chapel building. You can easily make a great looking Alamo diorama.
Today I mostly collect “King & Country” metal figures. Years ago we were also a metal dealer. I have some metal figure sets from K & C, Frontline, Conte, W. Britain and other older companies.
Warhorse Miniatures: If there was one more set of toys soldiers or a foam piece that you could make what would it be?
TSSD: I would like to do something different. Like “The Charge of the Light Brigade” or If money was no object a Massive “Picketts Charge” type of playset or similar!
Warhorse Miniatures: One of the reasons you retired was because of your health. How are you feeling these days?
TSSD: I’m doing ok. I had a stroke several years ago. Plus several other heath issues since then. I feel lucky to still be here and still a part of the hobby. My Amazing wife DeAnna has been through all of this with me as well, Unfortunately! DeAnna ran TSSD while I still had my real job and she learned the business. She has done a Great job.
Warhorse Miniatures: Your journey in this business has been an inspiration to me, the Cooks and to others. What advise would you give to any one thinking about trying start there own toy soldier company?
TSSD: I would say “Go For It!!” Make a good business plan and follow it. Find the best sculptor that you can. It all starts there. Visit with other toy soldier companies as well. I wish everyone working in the hobby and anyone wanting to manufacture all the Best & Good Luck.
Warhorse Miniatures: Thanks again for taken your time in answering the questions. Would you like to share anything with the collectors?
TSSD: I would like to Thank Everyone in this Great Hobby that helped us and supported us all these years. And I want to Thank my business partner & Wife who made all this possible! DeAnna has been the perfect “Toy Soldier Wife” and business partner!
Thank you everyone and keep on collecting!!
FORMERLY ‘TOY SOLDIERS OF SAN DIEGO
Well that concludes the interview. Thank you Nick & DeAnna for all everything you have done for the hobby. Now we will start with some news.
Ed Borris has acquired these original Barzso sculpts that were never made. He has plans to have them cast for a limited run mini set. These were supposed to go with the Bushy Run set Ed says.
I read on Stad’s page that X-Force is getting ready to release a medieval set again. Here are what look like some peasant militia. You can read more over here, Stad’s Stuff.
I recently got these Mars World War II Japanese Paratrooper from Kent of Toy Soldier HQ. You can check out his page over here, http://toysoldierhq.com/. He also sells on eBay, Kent on eBay. Mars is getting better with there sets. I would give them a B for this set. The grade of B is mainly for a missed opportunity of this set being so much better.
I like the subject matter and most of the poses they did chose. The main thing that I dislike is the scale of these figures. If they were just a little thicker, it would have been a great set. They do look good when you mix them in with Marx & MPC Japanese figures. MPC is there best match. Some of the Marx figures look ok mixed, some not that good. TSSD are bigger that these figures and Airfix are thicker. Like the Marx figures, the Airfix figures look ok with some poses and not that good with others.
Some of the figures look clean and some less. You can see what I am talking about by looking at the pictures. The weapons look better than the earlier Japanese set. For the price it is worth getting to add these figures to you vintage Banzai!!!
It has been a busy summer with work. I have picked up a few more figure sets and playsets the last couple of months. While writing this article I purchased the TSSD/Barzso “The Road To Stalingrad” playset, lol. In my next post I hope to have some pictures of the things that I have been getting. Plus a few more reviews of new or older products. That is it for now. Thank you for reading.
Around 2015 I started becoming more active in collecting toy soldiers again. I joined a few of the facebook groups and started this blog page. I also started attending the toy shows on a regular basis. After a while you start building some connections & friendships with other collectors. One of those collectors is named Ed Borris. He reminds me of Boris Todbringer from Warhammer. The Grizzly Leader of Middenheim who gave his eye defending his realm also known as Elector Count Boris Todbringer, Graf of Middenheim, Grand Duke of Middenland, Prince of Carroburg, Protector of the Drakwald, Warden of the Middle Mountains, Beloved of Ulric. They must have used Ed as inspiration.
Today I got a chance to sit down with the Infamous Ed Borris. If you have been collecting for a while you most likely have either heard of him, met him at a show or seen some of his custom conversions on the internet. He is famous for his Alamo conversions. He also has a some limited run figure sets made. Plus a custom designed figure of himself set in the Alamo theme. Which I am proud to say I own.
Hi Ed, I hope you are feeling better soon.
Warhorse Miniatures: I know that you are a collector of a lot of the Marx figures. Can you tell us about yourself and when did you start collecting?
Ed Borris: Well, I was born and raised in Chicago. I was hooked at an early age (with toy soldiers). What got me me hooked was my Alamo playset that I got for Christmas one year when I was 5. It was the large Alamo with 5 cannons, the cream and metallic blue Mexicans and the 45mm defender. I’ve been collecting off and on since then. I really got back into it in 2000 and slowly became a dealer/collector.
Warhorse Miniatures: I have seen some of your great conversions over the years. When did you start doing this?
Ed Borris: Back in 2000 I started gathering Alamo figures off of E-Bay. At first I bought all my conversions from Roger Ross and Gary Dutko. While I like their figures they didn’t necessarily cover the poses I wanted. So examined what they did and decided to try it myself. I made poses I felt I needed. One day a buddy came over and he saw my Alamo that I had set up in my basement at the time and some of my conversions. Well he really liked them and asked if he could buy some of them from me. I was reluctant, but I said why not and he bought 25 or 30 of my conversions. I thought if he liked them maybe other people would too. So I started making them, most of them unique. Unlike others I don’t do too many guys over and over or just do a lot of head swaps. The first time I went to a show and tried to sell my conversions I brought about 140 or so of them. Four or five guys bought 5 or 10 at a time. Then suddenly Craig Remington walked in took one look at them and said how much. I gave him the price and he said he’ll take them all. I’ve been churning them out ever since.
Warhorse Miniatures: I would think that you must have done thousands of conversions. Can you tell us about the process?
Ed Borris: There are few standard conversions that whoever converts does and I do them too. My process is, I think a pose up in my head or look at a picture from some book or magazine what pose I think I want to do. I then try to find the parts from my rather large pile of figures & parts to make the pose come alive so to speak. My actual process is fairly simple I don’t have a drill or a saw, I cut everything with an X-acto knife and use brush on crazy glue with straight pins to attach all the parts. I do use filler now and then, but often the glue and the paint can obscure the seam lines. Often when I’m trying to put together one of my visions I discover my idea won’t work, however the guy I end up with is better than my vision. (At the end of the interview we have a tutorial that Ed provided.)
Warhorse Miniatures: Last year you had a limited run set of Mexicans based from original Barzso sculpts. Do you have any other sets planned that you want to make?
Ed Borris: I do have one figure in the works that I found in a junk box, I made a couple slight changes and suggested a couple of more to Jason Pope who is going to make him up for me. It will be small run, very small.
Warhorse Miniatures: Besides your Alamo collection. What are some of your favorite things to collect?
Ed Borris: My only other real interest is Custer’s Last Stand. I also collect single figures that I find interesting, they can be from any era. Generally they are odd figures that you don’t often see or take notice of. The pose is what usually strikes me.
Warhorse Miniatures: Any funny stories that you would like to share with us from some of the shows?
Ed Borris: John Stengel and I were at a dealer party at Mad Dawgs in San Antonio. I got there late because my original flight got cancelled. By the time I got there most of the people were half in the bag. So I had some catching up to do. Anyway gradually everyone else cleared out except John and me. We were pretty toasted. We finally decided it was time to go and we suddenly realized we didn’t really know how to get back to the motel. I somehow managed to remember part of the way I walked there and we staggered back together to the motel.
Medieval figures by Valdemar Miniatures
Warhorse Miniatures: What do you think of the hobby these days? There was Marx and then nothing. Then companies like Barzso & Conte popped up. Do you have any insight about the hobby from the past to the present?
Ed Borris: Unfortunately I didn’t get involved at the height of the Marx heydays. I got back around 2000. I say the tail end of the higher prices, but the height of Conte & Barzso and the emergence of TSSD & Paragon. When I got interested again those newer companies were already in action. I think they were great for the hobby, they breathed new life into it and got more people involved. Not just old Marx collectors. The more the merrier I say. If the hobby was just old Marx items the hobby would had pretty much died out. Many people involved now have no interest in old Marx items and collect newer items.
Ed Borris’s Ron Barzso tribute figure made by Jason Pope
Conversions by Ed Borris
What is a conversion?
My definition would be the transformation of a figure into a new and different pose.
Why would someone convert a figure or figures?
No matter how many figures are produced on a subject or era, one can always imagine a pose or poses that are lacking for their needs. Most manufacturers of plastic figures and even metal figures generally only cover the most basic of poses even if it is a specialized set. Like perhaps a cannon crew. Someone may want a dead cannoneer draped over the cannon which may not have been produced. If someone truly desires that pose for their diorama, they would either need to make one themselves or pay someone to make one for them. While I convert different era’s my specialty is the Alamo. I find that casualty figures are lacking. It seems that when manufacturers are making figures that they shy away from these poses. They have a limited number of poses that they can produce in one set and they fill them standard poses. That’s what got me started in converting in the first place, trying to fill that void.
What process is involved in converting a figure?
⦁ Visualize the pose you want to end up with, this really the most important step,. You have to know what you want in the end before you can start. Do you want to produce someone being shot, dead, firing, charging, fighting hand to hand etc etc.
⦁ Consider what parts would be needed to transform the figure to the desired pose.
⦁ Locate the parts needed from other figures or other sources.
⦁ Verify that those parts from other figures are compatible with the original figure. There is often a difference in sizes in various figures even if produced by the same manufacturer. The parts could be too large or too small. There are differences in the way they are dressed to make them not compatible. For instance a figure in long sleeves cannot easily be matched with a figure with short sleeves or a figure from the Revolutionary War may not match up well with WWII Marine.
What tools are needed to convert a figure?
There are many tools that can be used, some people use small hand held saws, Dremels, drills, and soldering irons. These all have their uses and over time you can decide for your self what you need. I however believe in the KISS philosophy ( keep it simple stupid), I use the flowing tools:
X-acto knifes ( I use a large one for cutting and a smaller one for fine tuning)
Straight pins (they reinforce any parts you may add to the base figure)
A push pin (use to make the hole in which you insert the straight pin)
Glue (choose your favorite, I use brush on crazy glue)
Combination wire cutters/pliers (to push in the straight pin and cut the inserted pin down to size)
Bic Lighter (I use BIC you can use whatever you like if you choose to go this route. I use the lighter to heat up one of the X-actos to smooth out rough seams where you are attaching parts from different figures)
Paint (often the parts you may use may be different colors than the figure you are merging them with) I try to paint all figures to fit into the typical play set theme, where different armies are one color.
I will now go through a step by step of a simple conversion.
I use simple tools. Once you get comfortable making conversions you may find other tools not pictured will help you in your task. I have two X-acto knifes, glue, straight pins, push pin, combo pliers/wire cutter and a BIC lighter. The push pin is hidden by the glue.
I selected these two figures as I have done them many times before, instead of standing firing pose and an advancing pose, we will have a shooting pose advancing.
Cutting the figures
I am going to cut each of these figures at the waist. There is a clear division between the torso and the legs, it’s hard to make out in this photo, but I am going to make my cuts at this division.
Preparing the figure for pin insertion
When combining figures from different makers, you will often find that the plastic from one figure is of a harder type then the other. I always insert the pin in the harder plastic figure so it makes it easier to combine the figures later on. Since these figures are from the same maker, I selected the upper torso as there is more room to insert the pin without worrying about the pin protruding from the legs when I combine them. It is not necessary to completely insert the push pin, just insert if far enough so you will get a firm connection.
Inserting straight pin and cutting off the pins head
Use the combo pliers/wire cutter to push the pin into the figure, again don’t push the pin all the way in as you will want to use the pin to connect to the other part of the figure you are trying to make. Just push it in far enough so you will have a firm platform to combine the figures. After you have inserted the pin to your satisfaction, cut the head off the straight pin, you will want to leave enough pin sticking out so you can combine it with the other part or parts. The length you will leave protruding will vary depending on the parts you are combining. For example you would leave more pin when combing upper and lower torsos then you would for a hand or head.
Combining the parts
You are now ready to combine the two parts. Line up the parts and try to center them so they will combine as evenly as possible.
Now that you have it lined up, put some glue in between the two parts. I use a brush on Crazy Glue as this makes it easy to apply the glue where I want it. Once you have applied the glue push the parts together.
Hold the two parts together firmly and give the glue a chance to set up. You now have a new figure.
The only thing left to do is try to smooth out the seams between the two parts, I heat up the smaller X-acto knife and smooth out the junctions.
Now that you have a finished figure you can paint it if you wish, note the figures used in this conversion were the same color, that is not always the case. I paint all my Mexicans one color and the defenders another, so I have that clear distinction between opposing forces.
I would also advise to save your extra parts as they may come in handy later for making additional conversions.
Ed Borris & Plastic Toy Soldiers
I sometimes find myself asking why I collect plastic unpainted toy Soldiers. This requires me to take a close sometimes scary look at myself. So, I’m going to take you on a journey to my early years.
I grew up in Chicago in a predominately white lower to middle class neighborhood as an only child. We lived in the basement of a house owned by my grandparents. The dominant religion in my neighborhood was Catholic. The ethnic makeup was predominantly of Eastern European descent with a sprinkling of Irish and Italians. Although Chicago is a vast city our street only extended for one block,but that one block housed a lot of children.
One of the interesting facts about Chicago is that it averages about 84 days of sunshine a year and the winters can be rather snowy and cold. You may ask yourself what does this have to do with unpainted plastic toy soldiers? Well, due to the weather a lot of days are spent indoors.
What does a young child do to occupy himself on these days spent indoors? Different children do different things, some watch TV, but in those days we only had four channels to choose from, you can read, or the most popular, play with toys. Different kids had different tastes, so many would color, play with cars or build things with building blocks. My personal choice was generally unpainted plastic toy soldiers.
Why unpainted plastic toy soldiers? Well, they were readily available, almost every drugs tore or variety store carried them back then from one maker or another, they were cheap and for me they held my attention. I could set them up and have battles for hours at a time. There was a cool little variety store located a couple of blocks from where I lived called Darby’s. It was an old-fashioned store with wooden floors that sold just about everything. They had a candy counter and one half of an entire aisle devoted to toys with a counter made of wood portioned with glass forming bins containing all sorts of toy soldiers, plus rack bags galore. This store was a favorite of mine, so when my mother would announce she was going there I tried to always tag along and con her into buying me some toy soldiers as they were always my first choice. Back then there many different toy soldiers to choose from in the many bins in the toy aisle. Some contained painted metal, mostly Barclay pod feet type guys or unpainted plastic Marx 60mm figures, the ones that later became Warriors of the World. On most trips my con game was successful, I would choose the plastic figures that you got the most bang for your nickel or dime. Sometimes my dad would accompany us and he would usually buy me a Barclay metal figure. I guess he identified with metal toy soldiers and he probably thought they were more of a collectible item. I preferred the plastic guys, but who was I to complain?
Why do I prefer unpainted plastic? To me there is something simple yet elegant in an unpainted plastic figure, you can see the facial expressions of each figure. The lines in the clothing, the details of the weapon they hold plus the were usually advertised as unbreakable. Always a plus with rowdy young child.
Once I returned home, always an anxious time for me because I could hardly wait to tear open that bag and incorporate these newly purchase figures into one of my many battles. I had a sandbox in my yard and on those sunny days my toy soldiers would accompany me to the sandbox where I could dig trenches, make fox holes and give my battlefield a more realistic feel.
In my early days, I didn’t get boxed play sets, but rather just bagged or loose figures. That all changed with my 5th Christmas. On Christmas morning there was a rather large box under the tree. When I opened it there was a box that said Alamo on it. I waited anxiously as my father removed the large staples from the box so I could see what was inside. Inside there was a tin Alamo, bags of Mexicans & defenders, horses, cannons accessories and everything a kid could need to fight his own battle of the Alamo. My set had two bags of metallic blue Mexicans one bag of cream defenders. Then I had two bags of silver and one of tan defenders, there were 5 cannons , bags of accessories and horses. I was in awe and couldn’t wait to start my battle. Of course I had to wait for my dad to read the instructions and assemble all the tin pieces before I could begin the carnage. Funny thing after 67 years on this planet I can still remember that day as if it was yesterday, it was the first Christmas I remember and one I will never forget.
For the next four or five Christmases or birthdays I would receive a Marx play set every year and each one was greatly appreciated, some more than others. I would put a set on my want list every year, Battleground, The Artic Explorer and Cape Canaveral. But instead of the Marx sets I requested I’d get a substitute and although grateful, there was always a tinge of disappointment. Although in some instances I probably got more enjoyment out of some of these replacement sets than I would have from the Marx set I wanted.
Anyway, from the age of 5 to perhaps 14 unpainted plastic toy soldiers were a part of my life, when I wasn’t outside doing whatever it was that kids did back then I was inside playing with my toy soldiers. Of all the things that occupied my time, I enjoyed those times the best. I remember with sadness when my parents started commenting that I was getting to be too old for toy soldiers and maybe I should pass them on younger kids. I guess they could never grasp how I felt about my toy soldiers and all those things they meant to me, they were like friends to me. The day my mother finally made me give them away almost broke my heart, it was another one of those days I will remember forever. However, that day was a day of sadness and not joy.
Gradually I accepted that perhaps I was too old and maybe I should move on to other things. Whenever I would go over to a friends house and if he had a little brother playing with toy soldiers, I would always check them out. If I was at some store that sold toys, I would make it a point to sneak into that aisle to see what was being sold in the way of toy soldiers.
As I grew older, I moved on to other things and for the most part I was occupied with girls, sports , school and working. Toy soldiers were pretty much on that back burner, but I never fully forgot those good times I had with them. If I would go to some store that carried them I would always make it a point to check out what was new. While I would refrain from purchasing any it was more out of a sense I was too embarrassed to buy them, not that I didn’t want them.
Eventually I got married at a young age, too young really and I found myself disenchanted with my wife and basically bored with her. At this point I decided that I was of the age that I could become a hobbyist and build dioramas. That would be like playing with toy soldiers again, but not actually crawling on the floor and having battles. So I began buying them with the intent of making a diorama that depicted Waterloo. I would run off to the local hobby shop and buy boxes of Airfix 25mm figures, terrain pieces and other items to complete my diorama. When I wasn’t playing ball, working or out chasing women (yes, I was still married), I got to work on my diorama. I should point out that at this time I ventured into making conversions, they were somewhat crude. But conversions none the less. I would spend hours when not otherwise occupied setting up and gluing figure to my diorama base, then viewing the battlefield and rearranging them.
One day I got divorce. About a year later I got remarried. This event caused me to put my hobby on hold again as I now had what I thought was new purpose. This hiatus lasted 19 years. Once again I found myself getting a divorce after 17 years of marriage, I got custody of my two young daughters so after two years of learning to be a proper parent I discovered E-Bay. The first thing I searched for on E-Bay was you guessed it, unpainted plastic toy soldiers. My first purchase was a home made Alamo compound. Once again I was back in the hobby, now that I had an Alamo compound I needed figures to occupy it. I was off and running and haven’t looked back since.
Since that initial purchase I have bought many unpainted plastic toy soldiers and even revived my making of conversions. Eventually, I graduated into becoming a dealer and have remained one to the present time. What do I sell? Why of course unpainted plastic toy soldiers.
You can see what Ed & Mike are selling on eBay at this link, eBay Seller beverlkutnic-0.
Thank you for reading. That is it for now.