East Coast Toy Soldier Show 2018 Review

2018 East Coast Toy Soldier Show

Last Sunday I went to the 36th Annual East Coast Toy Soldier Show. Bill Lango had passed away earlier this year. He had been the promoter of the show for 35 years. The show seemed to be busy. A few times I thought I saw Bill, it was weird not seeing him there. There were rumors that this could be the last show, at least at the current location. We shall see what happens next year. 

ECTSS 2018

I got to the show early and was one of the first one in line to get in. This year the sky was clear and that cold. I talked to a few fellow collectors about different hobby related things for about 50 minutes while we wait for the show to start. When they opened the door there were about a 100 people behind me. I stayed for about 5 hours. One of my co-workers attended the show too. After I ran around and took care of my business, I helped him with a few things. Most of the things I found were vintage plastic western toy soldiers. At the end of the review of the show I will show some of the things that I did find.

I would say that this year the show was about 85% toy soldiers related. The other dealers had some vintage toys, history related items, books or movies, Hess trucks and some art work. There was a mixture of plastic toy soldiers and painted metal toy soldiers. When I walked in I first saw Treefrog Treasures Military Miniatures

Treefrog Treasures1

Next I saw Mike Russo. He had some Barzso sets at the current prices that you will see on eBay. I didn’t get any of these even though I was tempted. He also had some other vintage toys and many painted metal sets.

MikeRusso

When I get to these shows I usually walk around quickly and scan the tables. If I see something that interests me or something that I am looking for I will stop. After I do my walk thru I start again and see if I missed something. Here a few random pictures below. There were a bunch of boxes to go through that had either plastic or painted metal figures.

Another dealer that I saw was George’s Toy Chest. He had some vintage painted metal and plastic figures.

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Next I saw Scott Schleh’s table. He had some nice painted figures and custom display pieces. Scott does not have a website but he can be reached by email. Some of his pieces are amazing. This is what is great about going to the shows. There are small dealers or collectors that just sell their products at the shows. You can see some great things first hand. 

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Look at the picture below for his contact information if you are interested in anything he has.

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Next I saw Crown Military Miniatures. They sell mainly painted metal figures. 

Arley L. Pett Antiques was another dealer of old painted metal figures.

Doug Dearth was at the show with his amazing artwork. He also does commissions. You can see more at his website DearthCo

Francis Turner who used to run the Marx Museum was at the show too. He had loose figures, bagged sets of figures and boxed playsets.

There was Hess Truck Collectors table again with plenty of Hess trucks and information.

Some of the vendors were at different locations from past shows. I think there were less vendors too. Here are some more pictures of various tables.

Rick Eber of Marx Playsets was at the show also. As usual he had plenty of Marx Playsets and figures. He even had some Marx figures in original bags. It is amazing how he finds all of these sets and figures in excellent condition.

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Next I met Steven & Shelby from the Armchair Emperor. They offer a painting service for toy soldiers and 28mm Warhammer figures. They also are developing a war game for historical 54mm miniatures. They were real friendly. Check out the website for more information.

John Stengel Jr the Marx-Man was at the show too. He had plenty of plastic toy soldiers. I got a few Barzso figures and some other things. If everything goes right he will have his World War II German Paratroops next spring. He said he should also have the marching American Civil War figures too. John produces figures because of the passion he has for the hobby. He has many other responsibilities and life tends to get in the way with many of his projects. His figures are a limited run  production and you will have to find him at one of the shows he attends if your interested in his work. 

Paul Stadinger of Stad’s Stuff was at the show too. It’s always nice to see him. We talked about the show and other hobby related topics.

Paul Stadinger

Paul and his wife Laurie were at Gerry Watts table. Gerry had a bunch of vintage plastic figures. I spent some time digging through a few different boxes. He had different prices on his boxes. Some where $2 a figure, $5 a figure or $10 a figure. Gerry does not have a website but sells at the shows.

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I saw George Guerriero of Minuteman Toy Soldiers. George always has great displays of the different painted metal figures that he sells. I don’t buy many painted metal figures but when I do it is from George.

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The next table I saw was some of the Russian painted Military Miniatures. These are amazing and the price reflects that. For more information check out Aero Art International.

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Another dealer named Josh had a bunch of vintage plastic figures and toys. He had boxes of figures at different prices also.

Josh

Here are some more pictures of the show.

There were some nice custom made toys made out of metal at table belonging to Remsons. For more information go to Remsonsec.com

Philip of Lord Tankervilles Knights was selling some Medieval themed toys. He had some castles, figures and books for sale.

The last dealer that I went to was Hobby Bunker. They always bring both vintage and current products. Both plastic and painted metal sets.

Hobby Bunker1

I saw a Barzso Conquistador playset that was going for $1,200. That was way too much for me and I think anyone else at the show. I forgot to take a picture of that but I took a few pictures of some other vintage playsets. There was a Barzso Lexington Green playset for $450 which I would have purchased if I didn’t have it already.

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I was not really looking for anything in particular except for some Airfix Paratroops that were recasted from the last batch they made. Here are a few Armymen that I did get. I picked up most of these for a dollar or two. There was a 60mm Auburn Soldier, a Conte painted American Paratrooper, 45mm Marx Marine, 3 60mm Marx Academy Cadets and a 60mm Timmee Soldier. 

Aurburn Army1Aurburn Army2Aurburn Army3Conte AirborneMarx 45mm MarineMarx West Point Cadets 60mmTimmee SoldierTimmee Soldier1Timmee Soldier2

I picked up a big bag of mainly BMC Plains Indians from the Battle of Little Big Horn set for $20. There were some recast Marx Indians too. Even through the figures are not the best sculpted, I like them. Most of the figures are about the same scale as Airfix Plain Indians.

BMC Indians

Here are some of the vintage Marx figures that I found at Gerry Watts table for $2.00 each.

I picked up a few Barzso figures, some accessories and some split rail fences from the Marxman. Some were Pirates. One was of Robert Rogers.

Barzso Camp PiecesBarzso PiratesBarzso Roger RogersBarzso Roger Rogers1Barzso Split Fences

I also picked up a few Britain figures.

Britain Detail Indians

I found some Crescent Cowboys & Indians at Gerry Watts table. They were also $2.00 each. The last Cowboy is made by Jean Hoefler of Germany.

Cresent CowboysCresent Cowboys1Cresent IndiansCresent W German Cowboys

Here are some 45mm Marx Indians that I got for about $10.00. These figures have a certain charm. I have a few of them in my collection. 

Here are some Marx recast Indians that were part of the lot of BMC Indians.

At Francis Turner’s table I found a bag of Reisler Western figures. I paid $20.00 for the bag. It had Cowboys, Indians and Mexicans. I really like these figures. The poses are filled with action. These figures are 1/32 in scale. They are hard to find.

Reisler Cowboys

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Reisler Indians

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Reisler Mexicans

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Here are some other vintage figures that I picked up.

I picked up a box of the Expeditionary Force Celtic Barbarians. They look like they are about 65mm. I will have to put them together and then compare them to some other figures that I have. The details on the figures look great. I wanted to see if I could convert them to look like Vikings or Saxons. They appear to be bigger than Conte Viking figures. I will have a future post on these guys soon.

X Force CeltsX Force Celts1

Here is a figure that Paul Stadinger had commissioned for himself. He gave it to me at the show. It looks like a pioneer or western woman shooting a pistol. It is pretty cool and will fit nicely in my western collection. She looks to be about 54mm. Thanks again, Paul.

Stads Frontier Woman

I hope they continue to have this show. There is something for everyone. I didn’t find what I was looking for. But I found things that I didn’t think would be there. That is it for now. Thanks for reading.

A Tribute To Bill Lango. The East Coast Toy Soldier Show, Sunday November 4th 2018. & Weston D-Day British Infantry Toy Soldier Review.

East Coast Show1East Coast Show

It is less than a week for one of the largest Toy Soldier shows. On Sunday November 4th in Hackensack, NJ starting 9am over hundred dealers will be met by hundreds of collectors looking for treasures. Here are few pictures below from last year. If you want you can read my review of last years show here East Coast Toy Soldier Show 2017 Review.

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This show has alot of plastic figures, metal painted figures and all kinds of other toys too. There is something for everyone. Last year I was there for about 4 hours.

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This will be the 36th year for the show and maybe the last one. As many of you know Bill Lango passed away this year. There has been talk that the Lango family will not continue running the show after this year. So attend if you have not been to the show in a while or never went to it. 

You can read more about the show at their website East Coast Toy Soldier Show.

 

Weston D Day British

I remember Bill used to publish the Toy Soldier Review. Here is a Toy Soldier Review of my own. I picked up a set of the Weston D-Day British Troops earlier this year. This set came out about 5 years ago. I have been looking for some British Infantry that would fit with my Conte figures. These guys fit the bill. They blend with the Conte British Paratroopers very well. The set has 12 figures in 6 different poses.

It looks like there are 6 poses of Infantry men with no officer. I like that there are different styles of the helmets. Some are plain, others with a cover on it and then some with camouflage. I will try to customize a few by just swapping helmets.  

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These figures have a resin type feel to them, like the LOD Revolutionary figures. I am going to paint half them and hope they will look like something in the picture below.

British Infantry

My last picture shows a comparison of the Weston and Conte figures. 

Weston Conte

If your not tied up this weekend, head over to the show. That is it for now. Thank You for reading.

Wild West

Interview with Andrew Stevenson of Replica Metal Soldiers & Models. Plus some hobby news.

When I was young my Parents & Grandmother would buy me and my brother plastic toy soldiers. I also had some painted metal figures too. As a kid I had some Prince August toy soldier molds. I would melt the metal and then cast & paint them. I still have some of those figures. 

 

Replica Metal Soldiers

The other day I met Andrew Stevenson on Facebook. I have seen his pro-painted figures on eBay for a few years now. He is also the owner of Replica Metal Soldiers & Models. His company sells painted and unpainted metal toy soldiers. Their figures reminded me of the the early Britain painted metal sets.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Hi Andrew. For years I have seen your pro painted figures on eBay. I always admired your painting skills. Now I see you’re the owner of “Replica Metal Soldiers & Models.” Can you gives us some history of you and your company?

Andrew Stevenson: I’ve been collecting and painting Toy Soldiers, Wargame and Model soldiers since I was a kid. I still have a crate full of Airfix 1/72 Napoleonic’s which were my favorites when I was a child. My Gran dad and Dad collected and so I’ve had Toy Soldiers of one type or another in my life since I can first remember. I have always enjoyed painting figures and love painting plastics in Matt in all scales and I’ve undertaken some big private commissions over the past 4-5 years for collectors in 1/72 and 1/32.

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My real personal passion, and my own collection is traditional glossy figures, and it was my Gran dad who really got me into these when he retired and started collecting again. To be able to commercially produce figures for fellow collectors has been a dream come true and I was very fortunate following a discussion with James Opie. I had visited him to see his collection, that the opportunity to acquire the Late Pat Campbell’s Replica Models came up. Pat was a true enthusiast who supplied some of the great names in the toy soldier world with castings and his own unique painted sets which were exquisitely painted in both Gloss and Matt.

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I’m both privileged and honored to have the chance to build upon Pats work, and continue to supply collectors with figures, both as castings and painted figures. A once in a lifetime opportunity, and I thank James Opie and Margaret Campbell for helping make my toy soldier dream a reality. I hope that Replica Metal Soldiers and Models will continue the tradition of the gloss toy soldier well into the 21st Century. Exciting times for the glossy I hope!

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Warhorse Miniatures:  I read on your website that you have plans on expanding the ranges in the future. What ranges are you going to go into?

Andrew Stevenson: I’m focusing on re-releasing the original Replica range of Indian Army figures, originally a joint venture between Bill Cranston and Pat Campbell. There are 70 sets listed in the paperwork I have, so far sorted out the first 40 or so sets. I’m also going through the other moulds and discovering more recasts of hollow figures and adding the to the recast list.

There are also other figures in the range which fill in the gaps Britains never made, and this is something I’m looking to expand. My first releases are RN landing party with field gun, all in full equipment, and RN figures at the ready and kneeling at the ready, and Indian Army figures to complement the original Britains Indian army figure but in different poses. I have also a new Chelsea Pensioner figure. In the next phase I have Anglo Egyptian War Egyptians/Turks, and plenty of others on the work bench! My Ideas book just keeps growing!

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Warhorse Miniatures: What is the average cost for your figures?

Andrew Stevenson: My figures start from £3.75p and £9 for a mounted figure as castings, with Painted figures in the toy soldier style starting from £8-9 for a foot. My spare arms and heads start from 35p. I want to provide a good quality reasonably priced product for collectors of all budgets, so will supply castings and painted items in any quantity. I always charge postage at cost, to ensure that that collectors get best value. Why waste money on over the top postage…. Buy another couple of figures!

Warhorse Miniatures: It looks like you’re a one man show. Do you have any help?

Andrew Stevenson: Yes, I’m a “One Man Show”! I design, sculpt, cast, clean, paint and dispatch. So, my figures really do get the personal touch! I do sometimes have support from friends at the show, and I have a lot of support from others in the hobby, including James Opie and Chris Bartlett and my good friend Craig Appleton at Redcoat Models who have all helped me get Replica up and running again.

Warhorse Miniatures: One other question that I have. Are you ready to take orders from the USA? Or is most of your business done locally in England?

Andrew Stevenson: I’ll take orders from wherever they want my troops! Post will all be at cost. I send tracked and signed only abroad.

Pro Painted3aPro Painted4a

Besides all the work that Andrew is doing with his new company he also does a lot of custom work. Both with painting and some customizing of the poses. He sells some of his pro-painted plastic figures on eBay. I will have all the links listed below at the end of this article. Send him a message if you are working on a project and need some help.

You can find Andrew at some of the shows in England.

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John Tunstill and James Opie and Andrew Stevenson at the Replica Stand Birmingham Toy Soldier Fair 2018.

 

I am glad to see new companies continuing the classic style of  traditional toy soldiers. Listed below are all the links that Andrew has.

Replica Metal Soldiers & Models

Replica Metal Soldiers & Models on Facebook

Custom painted figures on eBay – painted172

That concludes the interview with Andrew Stevenson. I would like to thank Andrew for taking his time to answer the questions. Now here is some hobby news below.

News

East Coast Show1

“Please join us Sunday, November 4th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 for the 36th Annual East Coast Toy Soldier Show & Sale, where history comes alive. Sponsored by Vintage Castings, Inc., once again, the show will be held at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Rothman Center, 100 University Plaza Drive, Hackensack, NJ 07601. Plenty of free on-site parking and a convenient bus ride from Manhattan. Admission is $7 (free for children under twelve).
Our show has grown to become the largest and best attended toy soldier show on the East Coast with tons of soldiers, militaria, military miniatures, diecasts, G.I. Joe and action figures, dioramas and antique and collectible toys from ancient toy soldiers to Star-Wars and everything in between – including our 6th Hess Toy Truck Meet & Greet.  Plan now to attend this once-a-year event and for the opportunity to connect with other collectors and share nostalgic memories. The Hess Meet & Greet is an event where you can bring your Hess Trucks for appraisals, or display your rarities, or just hang out and chat with other collectors. Participation in the Meet & Greet is free with paid admission to the show.
Now some sad news – many of you might not know that William Lango, toy soldier guru and organizer of our show, suddenly passed away this summer. He was a great man in all respects and a “regular” guy, originally from Queens, New York.  A true patriot, he loved his country, was a member of the VFW and proudly served aboard Naval destroyer USS Mullinnix during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  He was a member of Operating Engineer’s Local 68. Artist, historian, writer, editor and magazine publisher (Toy Soldier
Review Magazine), he was at the forefront of the re-emerging toy soldier hobby in the 1980’s. An avid toy soldier and toy train enthusiast, he founded Vintage Castings, making and specializing in American Dimestore-style figures (acquiring many of the original molds from the defunct Barclay factory). Through his work and mentorship, he brought
many different generations of toy soldier enthusiasts together and helped grow the hobby. For all his accomplishments, he was always fair and honest – lived a simple yet exemplary life – was humble and never tried to impress. The world and the hobby community doesn’t see people like this very often.  Bill appreciated and valued all his friends in the toy soldier, toy train and Hess toy truck communities and we will all miss
him. In homage to his love and devotion to the hobby, our family is carrying on his legacy this year by running the show as a tribute to him. We hope you can join us on November 4th to salute Bill!
In friendship and appreciation for all your years of patronage,
The Lango Family”
East Coast Show

I wanted to share an email from the Lango family with some information about the show and the passing of Bill. 

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The Tecumseh’s Woodland Indians set is available now from Expeditionary Force. They are listed as 54mm. I will see if I can pick this set when I go to the East Coast Toy Soldier show on November 4th.

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Chintoys released two new sets. CHT012 Conquistadors Set 2 and CHT019 Aztec Warriors in 1/32 scale. They should be available now.

 

That is it for now. Thank you for reading 🙂

Latest News!! October 13th, 2018. Plastic Platoon WWII German Paratroopers. Columbus Ohio & East Coast Toy Soldier Shows, New Vintage Sets from BMC.

PP34 German ParatroopersPP34 German Paratroopers1PP34 German Paratroopers2

Yesterday I saw on Stad’s Stuff a preview of the latest set from Plastic Platoon and on the Plastic Platoon page of FB. Finally some nice plastic World War II Fallschirmjäger or German Paratroopers. These are highly detailed museum quality figures. They will come at a premium price which does reflect the quality of the work. They should be available sometime in November or soon after. I will have to get a set of these.

PP34 German Paratroopers8aPP34 German Paratroopers8b

These figures depict “Operation Mercury” the German Invasion which started the Battle of Crete. Here is a some text from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Crete .

The Battle of Crete (German: Luftlandeschlacht um Kreta, also Unternehmen Merkur, “Operation Mercury,” GreekΜάχη της Κρήτης) was fought during the Second World War on the Greek island of Crete. It began on the morning of 20 May 1941, when Nazi Germany began an airborne invasion of Crete. Greek forces and other Allied forces, along with Cretan civilians, defended the island.[11] After one day of fighting, the Germans had suffered heavy casualties and the Allied troops were confident that they would defeat the invasion. The next day, through communication failures, Allied tactical hesitation and German offensive operations, Maleme Airfield in western Crete fell, enabling the Germans to land reinforcements and overwhelm the defensive positions on the north of the island. Allied forces withdrew to the south coast. Over half were evacuated by the British Royal Navy; the remainder surrendered or joined the Cretan resistance.

The Battle of Crete was the first occasion where Fallschirmjäger (German paratroops) were used en masse, the first mainly airborne invasion in military history, the first time the Allies made significant use of intelligence from decrypted German messages from the Enigma machine,[12][13] and the first time German troops encountered mass resistance from a civilian population.[14] Due to the number of casualties and the belief that airborne forces no longer had the advantage of surprise, Adolf Hitler became reluctant to authorise further large airborne operations, preferring instead to employ paratroopers as ground troops.[15][16] In contrast, the Allies were impressed by the potential of paratroopers and started to form airborne-assault and airfield-defence regiments.

I am glad that they made these figures. I hope that we get some World War Japanese figures in the future.

BMC

BMC announced that they are bringing back two classics. The first is the M42 “Duster” AA Vehicle from an original Payton mold. The second one is Marx World War II Russian Infantry from an original Marx mold. I like the moves that Jeff has taken the past few years in expanding BMC with using classic molds or retooling old molds.

 

Ohio Show

If you could not make it to the Big show in Chicago there are still a couple nice shows to go to before the end of the year. Next week on October 21st is the Columbus Ohio Toy Soldier Show. There should be a lot of plastic there. If it is like the Indiana show it should be great. Presented by the Midwest Toy Soldier Group

East Coast Show1East Coast Show

Yesterday I got in the mail a postcard about the East Coast Toy Soldier Show. It was titled “A Tribute to Bill Lango”. I was saddened to hear about his passing earlier this year. There is some talk on the net that this might be the last East Coast show. I hope not. I will be going to this show and will have a full report afterwards.

 http://eastcoasttoysoldiershow.com/  

William Longo

 That is it for now thanks for reading.

 

Latest News! October 1st, 2018. New Previews from Petite Guerre, . Vintage Blue Box, Cherilea. Timpo and ?? Plastic Plains Indians.

Canadian Militia1

Earlier this year I did an interview with Nino Serra the owner of Petite Guerre. Toy Soldier Review & Interview ~ Petite Guerre Toy Soldiers & Nino Serra 

If you’re a fan of Barzso Playset you will also like Petite Guerre. His resin figures mix very well with Barzso figures. Nino sent me a message about some of the latest figures that he is working on. He is working on some Scottish Highlanders and Canadian Militia at this time. I like the prototypes. I will order some when they become available.  

Here are some of the new Canadian Militia.

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Here is the preview of the Scottish Highlander.

 

Mars Pirates

Over at Stad’s Stuff Paul did has a preview of a set of Pirates from Mars. They look very nice. I would say probably their best work to date.

Vintage Plains Indians1

I did a post a few months ago and had a few pictures of vintage western plastic Cowboys & Indians. I have purchased some more vintage plastic figures over the months since my other post. 

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Vintage Plains Indians

I don’t know who made most of these figures. I stumble across figures from time to time that I have never seen before from Europe. Most of the time they are very expense or the shipping is way too much for me. So I wait for a good deal to come. These figures are 1/32 in scale. The Indian Chief with the rifle across his chest is made by Timpo.

I was told by Erwin Sell that “They were made by Dom and also Linde from Germany and Austria who often base poses in Elastolin but not direct copies.”

 

Vintage Plains Indians15Vintage Plains Indians16

Here are some U.S. Cavalry figures by Cherilea.

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Here are some Plains Indians in 1/32 scale that were made by Cherilea. I found a complete mounted Chief with the spear. The other figure I had was missing the spear.

Here is a Indian figure on an Airfix horse. Do you know who made this figure?

Here are some pictures where I try to catch the details of the faces. I have some more figures coming in the next few weeks and will talk about them in another post.

Blue Box Indians

I stumbled across these Indians too. The are labeled Blue-Box. They look nice and are about the same size of the Airfix Plains Indians. They used some wild colors to paint them though.

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Here are the pictures of the Blue-Box and Airfix Indians comparison.

That’s it for now. Thank you for reading.

Chicago Toy Soldier Show 2018 ~ Barzso Playsets LOD Battle of Yorktown

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Greetings fellow collectors. Just in case you do not know tomorrow is the 38th annual Chicago Toy Soldier Show. This show is on my bucket list. It’s the biggest and best Toy Soldier show in the world. Most of the companies and major dealers attend the show. At the show new products are released or previews of future products are showed. Collectors from around the world will spend days trading, selling and buying.

CTSS 2018

Ken Ciak of LOD Enterprises had shared some pictures on FB and some others with me for the Battle of Yorktown Playset. I will break down the playset when I get mine in the mail in a couple of weeks.

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For the latest news about the show you can head over to Stad’s Stuff. One of Paul’s latest updates tells us about Ed Borris’s latest custom figure. This year it is of Ron Barzso. He is depicted as Robin Hood. The figure looks very nice. 

Ed Borris Barzso

One other thing that I saw about LOD was the new Christmas sets.

 

Also from LOD was a preview of some Amazon prototypes. 

LOD Amazons

Thanks it for now. Enjoy.

An Interview with Ron Barzso of Barzso Playsets.

“Remember the feeling you had as a kid when you received a playset for a present?”

“Looking at the box, opening those little bags that contained treasures never before seen, setting up for the first time… Well, now you can recapture those feelings with a brand new playset from BARZSO PLAYSETS!”

barzso-playsets

These are the words you will see when you visit the Barzso Playset website. In 1993 Ron brought back the second Golden Age of Toy Soldier Playsets. Barzso Playsets released their first playset “Roger’s Rangers, In the Attack on St. Francis”.

The Figures1

It was the first new American produced playset in about 25 years. Barzso Playsets would release a new playset almost every year after for the next 25 years. Most of his products were focused on early American history. From early colonial history to the American Civil War. The French & Indian War was a major theme of his. The Native American Indian figures are some of the best figures every produced. He also brought to life some of our childhood classic stories like John Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” and the medieval tale of “Robin Hood”.

Wigwam1

Most of there early figures were casted in resin and so were the playset accessories. Their products were made in the USA. Later on they used plastic injected molds to make the figures and they were made in China. They still continued to use resin casted character figures and accessories that are made here in the USA.

Barzso China

Besides producing some great playsets Barzso sold figure packs, different kinds of small accessories and foam buildings. But some of his best products had to be the forts and castles they made.

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Barzso brought collectors dreams come to life. Today his products are very desirable and can command a premium price.

Barzso Playset A

This year at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show Barzso Playsets in a joint venture with LOD Enterprises will release a playset together.

Yorktown1

The other day I got a chance to talk to Ron Barzso and ask him a few questions. He and his family were busy packaging their final playset the “Battle of Yorktown: Attack on Redoubt #10”.

 

 

We talked over the phone. This was the first time I did an interview over the phone. I had some questions written out to ask. The conversion was almost a half hour. As we talked I took notes to use later on for this article. The conversation moved into different directions as you will see as you read further. 

 

 

 

Warhorse Miniatures: Hi Ron, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. I would like to say I am a big fan of your work and have followed your company for a while now. It started with the first playset, Roger’s Rangers.

My first questions is; Who is Ron Barzso and how did all of this start?

 

Ron Barzso: (Ron laughed at who is Ron Barzso) Ron told me he was a 5th grade teacher(his wife Mary is also a teacher) and a collector of toy soldiers. He would go to the shows in the 1980’s with like sixty dollars in his pocket and be amazed at the prices that some of the playsets were going for. After a while Ron got tired of seeing nothing new being produced or nothing that he was interested in. He started doing some research on making his own playsets. After seeing collectors spending a lot on old toys he realized that there would be a market for his products. So he started reaching out to different companies. He started working with some small local companies to start the business.

 

Plastic Addict

Roger’s Rangers raiding. Here is a picture from the http://playsetaddict.com/

Warhorse Miniatures: One of the main themes of your sets is early American Colonial history. Your first set was Roger’s Rangers playset. What was the main reason that you started here.

 

Ron Barzso: Ron told me he loved history. One of his favorite movies is “Northwest Passage” He said “that would be a cool playset”. He saw an ad about Hudon Allen Studio. He contacted them and met Ken Olsen. Ken was the sculptor of the Roger’s Rangers figures. Ron used a few different companies to put together the playset. One did the figures and accessories. Another produced the buildings.

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Barzso Rangers1Barzso Rangers2

Warhorse Miniatures: One of the things that I remember about your sets is the amount of detail given. Of all your playsets, do you have a favorite? Or which one was the most fun to produce.

Ron Barzso: After about 15 seconds of thought Ron said he had two that came to mind. “The Last of the Mohicans and Treasure Island”.

Treasure Island is one of Ron’s favorite books. Ron reread Treasure Island and used details from the book to design some of accessories. The late Steve Lortz sculpted the figures. Ron had a lot fun bringing this playset to life.

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The second set was “Last of the Mohicans”. While at the West Coast Show in the mid 1990’s Ron was approached by some executives from 21st Century. They wanted Ron to develop a playset for them. These executives were also collectors of toys soldiers. After some talks they agreed to use “Last of the Mohicans” for the playset. Ron like the characters and story. Plus the historical background. Wes Studi even autographed a picture of himself for each playset. Ron said about 550 playsets were made. He was able to visit the studio set of the movie. They gave Ron some movie stills and few blue print designs they used in the movie. One of the blue prints was of Fort William Henry which Ron said is about twelve feet by 3 feet. It is a everlasting reminder of the playset and movie for him.

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Both of these sets were followed up with expansion sets. A few ships where made and a Pirates cove set were made to go with the Treasure Island set. For the Last of the Mohicans set they made Fort William Henry.

Barzso Playset2aFort William Henry

 

Warhorse Miniatures: In 2017 you allowed Ken Ciak of LOD Enterprises to produce your Medieval and Revolutionary War figures. Now that your going to retire soon, do you have any plans for Ken to produce some of your other sets? And if yes, which other sets?

 

Ron Barzso: Ron said that he sold the rights to the Robin Hood medieval molds, Lexington Green molds and the Yorktown figure molds to Ken. They came to an agreement to work on the Yorktown Playset together. Ken providing the figures and Ron gathering the other parts for the playset.

Ron never did answer the second part of the question. But I asked Ken about it and he said “Ron and I have discussed his molds and the opportunity to purchase them. We have not delved too deep into the details but will look to do so in Schaumburg” at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show.

(As we talked about this Ron jumped back to question about favorite playsets)

Ron Barzso: Ron said he enjoyed meeting Fess Parker while they developed the Fess Parker Daniel Boone Playset. This was another licensed playset. He spent over 3 hours talking to Fess. Fess was surprised about that there was any interest about him acting as Daniel Boone after all the years. This playset was almost produced as much as the Last of the Mohicans playset.

Daniel Boone1Daniel Boone2

 

(from here we jumped into the prices of Barzso)

Ron Barzso: Ron said he was a little surprised about prices of what some of his products are going for now. But he said collectors will spend whatever their willing to get what they want. He said he gets requests for some of his items that are over 17 year old sometimes. And that collectors from around the globe send such requests.

The Figures Native

Warhorse Miniatures: You told me that you plan to retire after the Yorktown playset. If you could design another playset what would it be?

 

Ron Barzso: After some thought, Ron says that he would have liked to do a science fiction based playset. Maybe either the movies “Forbidden Planet” or “The Time Machine”. He said that he didn’t know what he would have used as the main display for Forbidden Planet. He said the idea of the Morlocks with the Time Machine would have been fun.

Forbidden PlanetThe Time Machine

I later found some pictures of toys and images of what could have been?? The Barzso “Forbidden Planet” playset.

or The Barzso “The Time Machine” playset.

If Ron ever makes another playset I bet it will be really cool. I brought up the idea of zombies or the Walking Dead. He liked the Walking Dead zombie figures that where made at one point. He is surprised that they were not produced into a bigger production.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Any new details about the Yorktown set you would like to share with us?

 

Ron Barzso: Ron talked a little about he history of the battle. He mentioned about the Redoubt #10 being a surprise attack and the American soldiers were ordered not to load their muskets. They would use their bayonets to charge the British to take the redoubt.

He said the redoubt would have 3 sides. Six different sets of figures included. A few character figures like Alexander Hamilton and George Washington. The figures were sculpted by Jim Holloway. These were some of the things he divulged.

We then talked about how much he liked the action poses that these figures had. He also mentioned that he had planned to originally release this playset the year after the Lexington Green set. But he ran out of gas and put it to the side until now. He is excited now to finally release the Yorktown set.

Warhorse Miniatures: This is my last question. I would like to thank you for the time you took to answer the questions. It saddens me that your retiring. At the same time I am happy to see that you will be enjoying yourself in retirement. Is there anything else that you would like to say about Barzso Playsets?

Ron Barzso: One of the things that we discussed was some of Ron’s plans when he retires. He talked about traveling and his interest in preserving wild flowers. He also mentioned that it was mainly he and his wife that would handle the daily tasks of the business. From taking the orders, to packaging item to be shipped. It was overwhelming at times. He is ready to retire. He is glad to have met all the collectors over the years. He has many fond memories of the toy soldiers and toy shows.

Ron will now be retired but he still will be at some of the shows for the near future.

Ron-Barzso

Ron & Mary Barzso

This is the conclusion to the interview. As I was looking for some figures to take a few pictures of, I found some old flyers that Barzso Playsets would mail out to customers. I thought it would be interesting to take a few pictures of those. It was nice that Ron would send a personalized note at times to thank you or answer a question that you might have sent with an order.

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I also came across some old order forms. I wish these items were still in stock );

I have been collecting Barzso playset products off and on since almost the beginning. Their playsets of early American History and Native Americans are my favorite sets from Barzso. 

 

I hope that LOD Enterprises will continue the legacy of Barzso Playset. I have a feeling they will.

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