Hi again everyone, I am making this post about the Medieval Toy Soldier dioramas that I am working on. I wanted to make this post to help other people out that might be thinking about do the same thing. I am new to dioramas with toy soldiers, I have done things in the past with Playmobil. Working with Playmobil is a little easier. Anyway let me show different things you can get to build up an Medieval world. First there are a few different companies out there that have made plastic medieval figures over the years and I could spent hours just posting pictures and talking about this. But I am only going to talk about what I think are the best figures out there right now that will go with the new W. Britain, First Legion and the older Conte painted metal figures. In the future I post more about each group that I am using, and today I will give a brief outline.
The first question that I see collectors talk about is Scale!!!! Are these bigger than those??? This can be a little tricky at times, some times you will have a figure that is bigger for some reason that the rest of the line is about the same. Anyway, for the most part the painted metal figures from Conte, W. Britain and First Legion look nice together. First Legion detail is the best in my option, that said it would be a personal choice to included these figures with and other brands.
As for the plastic figures, Conte I think made some of the best Vikings, Saxons and Normans ever made. Barzso has some nice sculpts too with the Merry Men and Sheriff’s Men. Also I like the old Dulcop figures, I am going to get more of these and most likely convert them. But they fit in nicely with the other plastic figures that I am going to use. I also got lucky the other day of eBay, I picked up some TSSD barbarians that included a Conte Viking that I had missing from my collection. It was the guy swinging an axe over his head. The TSSD figures are large in my option, but I will add a few of these as Vikings or Saxons. I will not get any more of these for this project, most of them don’t really fit and I will have to convert some to make them fit. But an extra pose might make it worth it. And Lastly are the Russian made Pvblivs figures, they are expensive. But they look really nice, so I might be tempted to get some more if they make any new figures in the future.
Talking about cost, everything these days is expensive!!!!! From unpainted plastic to painted metal figures. If your lucky you can get a set of 14 to 16 Conte Viking or Norman plastic figures on eBay for around $15.00. If you want Conte Saxons, you would be lucky first to find any and I don’t want to even tell you about the cost. The later sets of Conte Vikings and Normans are expensive too. I was lucky enough to pick up a collection Conte Saxons, Vikings and Normans for a fair price. I wish I would have picked these up years ago. Barzso figures are also hard to find and can be expensive too. I like Barzso figures, but some of the Merry Men are a little bulky. I have a few of the Barzso Norman figures. I will try to convert the Barzso figures that I have, maybe add different weapons, shields and helmets to them.
Talking about Barzso, I think the archers that are in the Merry Men set are excellent. They fit in nicely with the Conte figures. Also the Dulcop archer is nice, you just have to twist the head so he is looking at what he is shooting at!!!!!
Talking about changing or converting figures, that’s one thing that I will be working on in the future. Once you have a 2 or 3 figures, depending on the poses there is so much that you can do to make them look different with a painting scheme. So what I will “try” to do next is add some small details to figures. Maybe using some putty to make a beard, add a shield, change the direction of the arms or by adding some other things. The bigger conversions will be cutting up figures to make new poses, or cutting off weapons to have them using a different weapons, or replacing heads or add a different arm. So much to do!!!!!
Now that you have seen some painted metal figures and plastic figures together you can see the difference in scale and detail. In a few weeks, I should have most of these figures that I started painting a few weeks ago finished. I will then post some pictures showing my finished work compared against painted metal figures that were done from the companies. I think they will look good enough to blend in with the Conte and W. Britain figures. The First Legion figures will be tough, they have excellent paint jobs and great details too.
So here are the last of the comparison pictures of different figures, I will add a few more pictures of stock groups now.
Here are the Conte Vikings, Normans and Saxons. I will list some sets, some of these sets could be different with poses when you find them, but for the most part this is what you will find. I will one day take pictures of the figures that I have and do a separate posts on Conte medieval plastic figures. So sorry in advance with some of these pictures and the amount of detail. Also some of same the Vikings, Saxons and Norman figures are used in different sets as either Vikings, Saxons or Normans. You can mix of some of the figures into different armies for more poses.
So here are most of the plastic figures done by Conte, they have to be the best plastic figures out there or one of the best. There are some other poses in rare sets or that came in playsets that Conte has done over the years. Hopefully one day they will be recast by Conte again, so they will be easier to find and cheaper. And if they ever are done again, by as many as you can get. They won’t last long in stock.
Barzso Saxons and Normans. I say this, because basically that what they were. The outlaws of Robin Hood, were mainly Saxons. And the Sheriff’s men were mainly Normans soldiers.
Here are the Russian made Pvblivs figures that you can get for about $50.00 a set. They are expensive, but they are sculpted really nice. The last two sets are the best in my option.
The last plastic figures that I will use, and will have to convert to use are Dulcop Robin Hood Merry Men and their Normans. They are ok, I like the archer figure. So I will find another set of these to convert with different heads. And will have to convert the others, like the Normans. They need new weapons and shields.
Ok, so what started as a simple post on talking about comparing different figures has grown into this. I will be posting some other articles over the next few months and next year about Viking Longships, my painted figures, and other playset items. The next few months and following year with be exciting for medieval collectors. Hopefully Conte will have new items and recast the older plastic figures, W. Britain talks about creating a Village. Will we see cottages, farmers, or who knows what?? I would like to see something that we can use to set up a village, the last one was by Conte. Too bad I missed that. Maybe somebody will make another Viking Longship? W. Britain and First Legion should be coming out with more figures next year. I think we shall see more Vikings, Saxons and Normans to add to our armies 🙂
I have to say this before I forget, but if you are not that good at painting and want some nice figures. Then W. Britain is the way to go, they have some great sculpted and painted metal figures that are priced fairly. Plus I think they are going to expand this range with scenic pieces. Also the new poses they are coming out this fall are really nice, they will make a scene pop out. Vikings and Saxons fought a lot in the Shieldwall formation and this is what I am going to try to do in one of the dioramas I am planning. The Britains have a bunch of figures in a shieldwall pose, plus do the Conte Saxons. I will try to do that in the future too, showing the different figures that I will use for this.
And lastly the First Legion Vikings, I wonder what else the will release next year.
So there it is, lol. Sorry that I kept rambling on. I thought I would never finish this post. So if you want just plastic, you can chose from the ones above. There are other brands out there, maybe you have one to add? Also most of the old Marx, Airfix and other brands are to small for me to include or too big for me to include. If you just want painted metal and don’t want to spend to much, go for the W. Britain figures and you can find some of the old Cone figures on eBay for a deal here and there. Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for future posts 🙂
8 thoughts on “The Medieval Toy Soldier Project”
Two “Grumpy” comments!Why do producers of figures with Danish axes never show them in proper use? All seem to depict the axe about to land on the shielde arm or overhead!-The only figure I can bring to mind is the fantastic “forces of Valor” Viking[re enactor ]figure.-Note the Hay bale with arrows! The overhead blow would leave the Karl comletely open to any form of attack-and would be as noted in”1066 and all that “-a bad thing!Why does no one ever seem to notice the battle that is pivtal in the 1066 campaign-Gate Fulford” If Theigns Edwin and Morcar had beaten Harad Hardrada”s Viking army -then No Stanford -and a Full prepared and reted army for Godwinson at Hastings! what if? a great game to play!-conversly had the “Viking force continued after Ful ford and not “Rested “at Stamford-we may all be Norse!
Yes, the forgotten Battle of Fulford. It did set up the coming events. But alas, we were already Norse….Also It might have been a lot different too if Harold Godwinson had instead waited to meet the Normans first and then marched to meet he Norse later. Or at least some say Harold would have been wiser to make some type of peace with King Hardrada or at least set up some delaying talks. But King Godwinson thought the fighting season was over and the Normans were not coming this year. But it was just really starting..
A man after my own heart!-I shal recomend that you read a fantastic series of articles by the renound artist/historian, Rick Scollins. they wer published in “Military Modelling in1978 but have never been bettered!-They are called The Northumbrian and Wessex Campaings of 1066.[4 parts lavishly illustrated by the Author with maps etc Scollins illustrative style is based on much research and many faces are easily recognisable!-Mr Scollins was a great friend an I am pleased to say that I did much research with him.
Thanks for the information, I think I found all the copies on eBay. July, August, September and October 1978 are the issues, I think.
Great post Mike. I love the way that you compare the figures. A great project to make. I hope to see your progress. Greetings
Thanks Jose, I am going to be busy on this project of long time. I hope to see if I can find anything new or that will help me at the end of the month when I go to the East Coast Toy Soldier show.
Great post! Love those longships
Thanks, I will be doing a post on them in a few months. I am fixing up one of the ships and going to try to customize it a bit. Thanks for stopping by.