Here is another update about the hobby. We have some news from Mars, MicShaun’s Closet and John Jenkins.
Sergey shared a sneak peak of the World War II Japanese in 1/32 scale. Here are four of the figures that will be included in this set. The Zombie Pirates, German Panzergrenadiers and Japanese Paratroopers should be released by the end of the summer. An eBay dealer from the Ukraine made a mistake by listing some sets this week that are still unavailable.
The poses are based on the same poses from the 1/72 set. But they look a little different. I am excited to see this set released now after see this first four figures.
MicShaun’s should have their big shipment of re-stock figure sets by the end of the week. I will have more information on that when it happens.
George of Minutemen Toy Soldiers shared some pictures of John Jenkins latest theme today. These are unpainted prototypes. These range should be released sometime next year. Check out George’s site at http://www.mmtoysoldiers.com/
“John Jenkins Designs previewed a new range yesterday at the June London Toy Soldier Show; figures from the battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings………………they will begin to appear in September, hopefully in time for the Chicago Show……..”
I first noticed the Mars Figures company a few years ago, http://www.marsfigures.com/. At the time they were making little plastic toy soldiers in 1/72 scale. I don’t collect figures in that scale so I really didn’t pay any attention to them. After reading an article on the Stad’s Stuff website I was aware that they had now began producing figures in 1/32 scale.
They started making some sets based on modern warfare. These subjects I do not collect, so I still didn’t really give them to much notice. They did remind me of the old boxed Airfix, Esci or Matchbox plastic toys soldiers that I used to get as a kid.
This year I noticed that they had started to make some World War II sets. I liked some of the figures in a couple of these sets. But it wasn’t until the Pirates of the Caribbean set was released that I really wanted to get a set of their figures.
Earlier in the month I started talking to Sergey Zabashta the owner of Mars Figures about doing an interview. After a few weeks he finally found time to answer a few questions.
Warhorse Miniatures: Hi Sergey. Can you tell us a little about yourself and Mars Figures?
Sergey Zabashta: Yes of course. From my early childhood I was fond of collecting model airplanes. The same was for 1/32 & 1\72 scaled plastic figures. When the USSR collapsed it was a difficult time for many people. Many people stopped taking part with their hobbies because they were faced with many other problems. My interests had also changed. Approximately in 2001, I realized that I wanted to work and make money that brought me satisfaction. I analyzed the 1/72 scale market at that time. I concluded that I can earn money and that I would be interested in doing it.
(Sergey continues) It began with the fact that I created the EVO brand and repackaged LW products (At that time, a company with a large assortment of figures of 72 scales) in bags with my EVO logo. I also resold wholesale products from Zvezda, Miniart and others. It did not last long. Then I leased a number of molds from the Archipelago company. By that time I decided to make a beautiful package(box art) and a new brand that I called Mars (god of war and a close planet in my horoscope :-))
(Sergey continues)Things went well and I also bought some of the molds from the Converter company. The production of these figures from those molds were copies of Esci and Revell figures. At that time it was not prohibited in my country but buyers from Europe had a negative opinion about such products. Therefore it was decided to make new original molds. The first set was Pirates of the Caribbean Sea in 1/72 scale. There were many difficulties with the production of the first set, but I was able to achieve a good work of the mold. Today we have more than 100 sets in 1/72 scale. And about 20 sets in the 1/32 scale. This year 10 new sets are planned.
Warhorse Miniatures: Most of your figures are cast in the 1/72 scale. When did you decide to cast them in 1/32 scale?
Sergey Zabashta:I had long thought to start producing figures on the 1/32 scale. I played with toy soldiers of this scale in my childhood. I liked to play WWII figures. In the USSR we had WWII themed toy soldiers from Matchbox, Airfix, and Hong Kong copies growing up. I wondered if I could make a mold for figures of the 1/32 scale. The production of these molds takes a lot of time and money. So for a long time I did not dare to experiment. One day, a friend of mine suggested that I remake the Taliban set in 1/32 scale. This set initially consisted of 8 figures. My friend once invested in producing this set from Oritet. Two molds were made. At that time they were issued, but the head of Oritet died and the project was discontinued. I made a mold using these 4 figures. Production of this mold took about 1 year, but the mold turned out to be successful and is still working. After that, I finally decided that I would release some of the sets in the 1/32 scale.
Warhorse Miniatures:Your first sets cast in the 1/32 scale were based on modern warfare of Afganistian & Vietnam. Why did you choose these subjects?
Sergey Zabashta:I thought that the 1/32 scale from the USA were the most favorite of this scale being collected. So I wanted to make some sets on the topics related to the conflicts in which the USA took part. Six sets were released for this period. My favorite is Viet Cong. The period of the war in Afghanistan was also limited by manufacturers of 1/32 scaled figures. I made 2 sets for this period, but the sales were low. Therefore more sets for this period are not planned.
Warhorse Miniatures: My favorite set you did in 1/32 scale are the Pirates of the Caribbean. The sculpting with this set has really improved over some of the earlier sets. Are you using a new sculptor?
Sergey Zabashta:This is the same sculptor who made the figures in Vietnam and Afghanistan.
Update. Sergey says that the Pirate, Vietnam and Afghanistan were sculpted by the same sculptor. The World War II sets are made with new technology and sculptor. The Somali Insurgents had a different sculptor too.
Warhorse Miniatures:I know you are planning some new WWII sets and Napoleonic sets for the future. What else are your planning?
Sergey Zabashta:I plan to continue making WWII sets. I am also planning on making sets of Conquistadors. They will be heavy cavalry and light Cavalry.
Update. Sergey said that there will be 4 Mounted poses. These figures will be new sculpts. He is in the process of making the horses first and looking at different sculptors for the figures. He is real excited about this project.
Warhorse Miniatures:There are a lot of collectors out there like me that collect Barzso, Conte and Airfix. We are looking for new figures that match those figures in scale. Your last set of Pirates of the Caribbean figures match the Barzso pirates perfectly. Are you going to make future sets in the same scale as these brand of figures?
Sergey Zabashta:Yes, of course. I plan to produce figures of 54-58mm. I do not plan to make larger figures in the same way as they produce some technological difficulties.
Warhorse Miniatures:Thank you for taking your time in answering the questions Sergey. Is there any thing that you would like to say to the collectors?
Sergey Zabashta:Today, most collectors are people over 40 years old. I would like a younger generation to grow up being interested in history and figures. It would be nice if fathers played with their children using toy soldiers. Then when their children grow up they would also continue this. I still remember my feelings when I first picked up the Airfix soldier from the Ghurkas set. I was only 9 years old then. I hope my thoughts were interesting to you.
For questions about the distribution of Mars figures, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
That concludes the interview section of this article. I have a few things that I would like to also share.
I repainted a Barzso Block House foam piece that I got in Gettysburg last month and took out some figures to take some pictures. One of the Barzso Redcoats in the kneeling pose firing had a base. Up to this point I thought they all came with out a base. I had a few other sets that I had in storage that I took out and noticed that these had bases.
My question is when did they discontinue or start using a base?
Ever once in a while I stumble across something on eBay or sometimes I read something on Stad’s Stuff about some foreign plastic figures and then will look for them. A few weeks ago I stumbled across these Cromoplasto Indians.
They are 1/32 in scale. The material used is rubbery. The are almost semi flat too. One day I will repaint these too….
Last month I picked this metal figure up at a local flea market. He was made by The Saturday Evening Post in 1982. They appear to be about 1/32 in scale. Probably around 56mm or so in size. The details are really nice. I paid S5.00 for this figure. I will paint this one too, one day……
Last month while at the Gettysburg Toy Soldier show I purchased this Barzso Block House for S100. It had been repainted a semi gloss brown. I didn’t like the way it looked. So I planned on repainting it. It was another project to add to the pile of never ending projects. I was lucky enough to find some time when the weather was nice. Here are some pictures below of my progress.
I noticed a few areas that I have to touch up. I was thinking of maybe repainting the stone too. Besides the touch up I was also thinking of dry brushing the wood timbers. What color should I use? A beige or light gray? Plus a ash brown wash?
Next time when you are having a bad day, think of the time Davy had to fight a Grizzly Bear with a tiny knife….
I hope all you Fathers enjoyed Father’s Day today.
This is the first year that my Father is not here to share with us. He passed away last year. He was a US Navy Veteran and served 28 years in the New York City Police department. He liked discussing historical topics of World War I & II, Medieval history and the American Civil War. Most of the things that I collect are based on history. I would say I got that from my Father. So today I reflect and Honor his memory.
– (FoV-801013B) T-34-85 Moderate weathering effects with different marking
– (FoV-801007A) Jagdpanther early production with big size display base **88mm display base is considered as medium size, new camouflage patterns. Have you guys discover many of the old 1/32 scale FoV camouflage patterns had not fully covered the vehicles, that probably had to do with extra costing in paint templates, again another issue with outsourcing:( This new one should be much improved)
– (FoV-861010A) Chinese Liaoning 16 aircraft carrier, the story background is based on its visit to Hong Kong during 2017 July
– (FoV-861010B) Chinese Liaoning 16 aircraft carrier, the story background is base on a military exercise in South China sea during 2016 December, we added moderate weathering effect to the deck to show aircrafts take-off and landing traces
– (FoV-801024A) JagdTiger Henschel road wheels, we are working on the camouflage paint scheme at the moment, it is very challenging because it is two tones colour but we are quite confident that it will set new benchmark in our industry
– (FoV-801008A) 88mm Flak gun with Flak 36 gun barrel and 36 cruciform, story background is Stalingrad.
After all the above would be new Tiger I family and the new member, SturmTiger, a model that worth waiting because we eventually did about 70% of full interior, many open parts and full die-cast hull top.
We will begin developing die-cast tracks from Tiger I family because technically it is not difficult and we would be acquiring a new zinc alloy casting machine in early July.
Chintoys released pictures of the latest sets coming out soon. It is two sets of religious orders of Medieval Knights. The Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller.
The first set is CHT017 Knights Templar. There are 8 figures in 8 different poses in 1/32 scale.
The second set is CHT018 Knights Hospitaller. There are 8 figures in 8 different poses in 1/32 scale.
Both sets look very nice. I like the different types of medieval weapons displayed with these figures. I guess we shall see some Arabic Warriors coming next…
I was told and it was announced last week that Steve Connell and the Midwest Toy Soldier Group will now be promoting the Gettysburg Toy Soldier Show besides the 3 others shows that they promote. Midwest Toy Soldier Show
John Stengel Jr. had told me that he was slowly getting away from promoting the shows because of all his other responsibilities. He still will be selling at the shows and has plans of releasing new products for years to come.
“On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops.”
The 75th Anniversary of D-Day was a couple of days ago. One of the most iconic images we have of that day is that of the brave boys landing on the beaches and the LCM landing craft.
On the 75th Anniversary of D-Day Forces of Valor announced the are going to release new Landing Craft Mechanized, LCM-3 in 1/32 scale. The released a statement the other day too. I have added that below.
We would like to take this special opportunity; 75th anniversary of D-Day Normandy landing, one of the most important battles during WW2, to announce our new 1/32 scale project, Landing Craft Mechanized, LCM-3. Forces of Valor / Unimax had produced the 1/72 scale LCM-3 back in 2008 and since we had taken over the FOV brand, we have always wonder why a 1/32 scale version had not been made in the past? So we began conducting some researches about the LCM-3 and eventually found out that a 1/32 scale LCM-3 version has a dimension of 47.6cm (Length) x 13.6cm (Width) and 13.5cm (Height), that would probably cost a fortune to make the molds, however since 8 months ago, we started our new 1/32 scale Sherman tank program, we have planned to release 2 variants of Sherman M4 and 8 variants of Sherman M4A3… (Sherman tanks have way too many variants so for M4A1 and M4A2 we have to reluctantly leave it until 2020)
That said… with nearly 10 models of 1/32 scale Sherman variants that would be rolling out in the next 12 months, a landing craft seems to be more than necessary to join our iconic 1/32 scale family and so 5 months ago, we had chosen the LCM-3 as a kick start of our landing crafts series.
One of the major concerns of FOV enthusiasts is how much metal parts would be used in every new product. We can firmly tell you that at least with 2003 FOV level, which means turret, gun barrel and top hull and for this particular LCM-3, at least the ramp, certain body parts would be made of die-cast metal.
Following post would be about the new FOV 1/32 scale US Sherman tank series.
Here are some preview pictures of Mars’ new WW2 German Panzergrenadiers. There are 1/32 in scale and should be released in a few months. I like the color and some of the poses are nice. The last picture above is my favorite pose from this set.
Here are a few more pictures that Conte released of the Romans that will be released in plastic hopefully by the end of the year.
Here are some pictures of Seven Years War Austrians by Hat in 1/32 scale. No release date on these. If we are lucky they will be released by the end of the year. It has only been almost 2 years now……
Mikhail of Plastic Platoon sent me some more pictures of the 7th Cavalry figures that they are making. The details are excellent. There is a debate going on with collectors about the uniforms and poses of this set.
Michael sent me some more pictures his latest projects.
So far this year has been exciting with all the news and new releases. We didn’t even get to Chicago yet. Almost every week some one or something new pops up. That is it for now. Thank you for reading.
One thing about going to the toy shows is getting a chance to meet fellow collectors, dealers and company owners. Just to talk about our collections, their products or hobby news. It is almost like therapy, lol. I don’t have to many personal friends that are collectors. So it is fun to talk or explain things to people that actually know what you are talking about or share the same passion in collecting.
Eddie White and Rich Egan.
Or collectors you meet you can talk about the crafting of things. I have been looking into all kinds crafting builds, sculpting items or figures, casting & making molds the past few years. I find it really interesting when I come across someone that is currently creating things. Even if it is something that I might not personally collect. I like to learn what they are doing.
Michael Sreckov on the right talking to fellow collector Thomas Kontos at the Midwest Toy Soldier Show.
A few months ago while I was at the Midwest Toy Soldier show I meet Michael Sreckov. He owns a small business called Warring Warbirds, Inc. They build hand crafted Airplanes and other unique items.
I remember seeing some pictures of his work being displayed in some of the toy soldier forums about the Chicago Toy Soldier Show. They are really impressive.
Michael found some time to answer a few questions.
Warhorse Miniatures: Can you tell us a little about your background and how did Warring Warbirds get started?
Michael Sreckov: I started Warring Warbirds, Inc. about four years ago. I was at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show during the room trading as everyone loves to do. I have been going to this show since 1996 and been a toy soldier collector since I was 12. I loved to see companies like King and Country, Figarti and Britains go head to head in competition with each other bringing new innovated ideas and concepts to the toy soldier industry and to the toy soldier collector. They were always trying to do one up from each other with the so called “Wow factor” to there displays and products. For example the Deutsche Reichsbahn train set introduced on a beautiful diorama depicting a German Train station during WW2 that Figarti did or the awesome diorama’s that depicted snap shots of history that are breath taking that Andy & Gordon Nelson from King and Country would do when showcasing there artistic new figures and vehicles making there creations come alive in miniature.
Michael Sreckov continues:
It was my fellow collectors and I that would talk nonstop of the many wonders they would see room to room. My friend Hans gave me the idea that he would love to see more WWII aircraft to go with his figures and dioramas that he was buying from K& C and Figarti. Then it dawned on me that this was a niche I would love to fill, but how. You heard the saying when opportunity comes a knocking you start a rocking. It was at one of my brother-In-Laws family parties that my opportunity came. See my brother in-law wife’s family are Filipino. My sister in-law’s first cousin was a artist and wood carver. His family owns a mahogany forestry in the Philippines and they carve airplanes, boats and cars and other wooden products. I could not believe what I was hearing. I spoke to him about starting a model plane business that catered to the toy soldier collector. From there it began. I started to ask my fellow collectors what they would like to see in planes.
Michael Sreckov continues:
I would make prototypes like Horsa Gliders and Lancaster Bombers all in 1/32 and 1/30 scale like the toy soldiers and bring them to the show and showcase from the back of my car in the parking lot of the Chicago show. Every plane I built was sold and more people asking where they could get them. I started to think, If I could get orders from customers at the shows. I could start getting them made and delivered to them. I knew my customers, because I am that customer. That toy soldier collector that knows all the details from the exact colors, patterns and accessories of a soldier as to the details to a model plane of a Junkers JU-52 transport bomber. See the devil is in the detail and so am I when it comes to creating works of art. As you can see in the photos I attached.
Warhorse Miniatures: What is the process with the designing of the planes?
Michael Sreckov: It takes 6 to 12 hours in research on the planes then a ten stage process: Carving, Interior build, Putty, Masking, Priming, Base coat painting, Masking, Secondary coat, Detailing, and Final sealer coating. Then the item is carefully packaged for shipping.
Warhorse Miniatures: Are they made of solid wood or a mixture of different materials?
Yes, they are made from Mahogany wood.The only other material would be metal land gear and polymer canopy’s.
Warhorse Miniatures: So I am guessing that most of your sales are at the shows & orders you receive by email. Do you do custom orders too?
Yes at the shows and orders that we receive by email. We do custom orders, but these can take longer pending on the size and detail special pricing.
Warhorse Miniatures: How much do you charge for these?
That depends on the size of the model, The level of detailing and shipping costs. For example a fighter plane 1/30 scale can be around $600 – $800 a model. Medium size range from $800-$1,500.00. Larger planes under 48″wing span $1,500- $1,800 and then there is custom which we would quote a price.
Warhorse Miniatures: Besides the planes do you do the dioramas too?
Yes. Typically bases for the model planes so they can be displayed. Like a 2 x 2 or 3 x 3 diorama base with a run way and area for adding toy soldiers,vehicles and buildings.
Warhorse Miniatures: And any other creations besides airplanes?
Well my good friend Marcus Thorsen of Thorsen Studios has made some beautiful dioramas for my plane displays which are for purchase. For example: We displayed the Hartenstein Hotel from the Movie Bridge Too Far. See pictures attached.
Well that concludes the interview. Michael will be at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show this September. Stop by and say hello. Here is his contact information below.
Michael Sreckov Warring Warbirds, Inc. 3640 Waterscape Terrace Elgin, Illinois 60124
email@example.com Mobile: (708) 683-0518
It was announced on May 30th that the East Coast Toy Soldier Show will continue. It will be on Sunday, November 3rd 2019.
We have more news about Conte. They released some information about their plastic figures on facebook. You can read that below.
Mr. C thought we should show this one, so you understand the process a bit.
We start with a wax original sculpt. Then we make ‘mold masters’ out of what is referred to as a ‘casting resin’. Once the mold masters are perfect, we send to the factory for review and prototyping. The gray figure on the right is a ‘mold master’ which is a virtually an exact copy of the original wax.(not shown) The cream colored figure on left is a plastic prototype made at the factory. Once the cream figure has been reviewed/modified/approved by Mr. C the factory can start making the heavy duty molds which ill produce the plastic soldiers we all have been waiting for.
You can see that what the factory is achieving is almost an exact copy of the mold master. Very slight shrinkage in size usually occurs; also the different colors can play ‘tricks’ with your eyes and make things look slightly different.
the great news here is that the final product looks to be true, faithful and beautiful ‘copies’ of our originals
(in the past, especially with product which we made in Canada, our beautiful originals were often heavily compromised, modified or changed at the factory thereby losing some of the action or sculpting excellence which we pride ourselves upon)
In answer to numerous similar questions:
1) we hope to show the first 4 charging attacking fighting poses in one fell swoop when factory prototypes are approved. We might even delay their unveiling a short time so they can be pictured with the 8 additional action sculpts which have NOT yet been sent to the factory.(like the centurion which we’ve previously shown here on FB)
2) many of the attacking/fighting poses DO have alternate heads, arms and such . we will try to prepare photos of the several alternate permutations.
3) no decision has been made on colors of plastic yet but red, silver , bronze seem the usual suspects
4) Yes, there are ‘casualties’. Thus far a falling wounded with spear in chest, a wounded prone on side, a dead face down, a dead face up have been finished as sculpts. Several at factory and several sit here on RC’s desk. Wounded on knee is almost finished as a sculpt.
5) Roman fort. Nothing to report here. We hope to do one if there is enough collector interest for Roman range. Right now, all action is towards figure sculpt and production and a large scale hand to hand battle.
6) Configuration of sets. NOTHING HAS BEEN FINALLY DECIDED. Having said that, we are leaning towards 12 and/or 16 figures per set.
7) Pricing. No conclusions yet. Need to factor in shipping from factory to USA, shipping once in USA to us, customs fees, production costs, sculpting costs, possible tariffs, packaging, costs of mold masters, etc. etc. This is much more involved than many collectors might realize. Our goal is to keep the price as low as possible for our fellow collectors while also being able to make product which is in keeping with(and better than much of our plastic from the past) our historical Conte standards
8) Yes there are centurions (yes plural), aquilifer, signifer, vexillarius etc. either in the mix already or otherwise coming soon. First versions of these ‘characters’ are all in action fighting poses. As I write this, I know that a brand new sculpt of a signifer who is attacking stabbing with sword in one hand and ‘flag’ in other is almost finished. A variation of this pose has him holding the ‘flag’ with 2 hands and using it like a spear.
9) What other Roman ranges (made by others) will these ‘go with’? We are designing these as a “conte” series with typical conte size and have given absolutely no thought at trying to match the size or ‘look’ of Romans made by others.(There are a lot of nice Romans by others) The sculpting detail, the animation, the full-round designs, the ‘interaction ‘ of the figures within the range etc. are what we are focusing on.
Each collector will have to decide for themselves whether our new sets ‘go with’ any of the other Romans out there….
Our Romans will , in general, be a tad shorter than our Barbarians. This is intentional and based upon historical fact and ancient writings. It was even recorded that the Barbarians often attempted to insult the Romans by calling them ‘pygmies’
No set date yet. As soon as the first groupings go into mass production we shall have some updates.
We are as anxious as you to see these fellows in action and doing our best .
Lastly, Mr. C asked me to let you know that while he tries to answer all emails and letters, he cannot respond to all of the private inquiries and questions asking for special advance info or advance sneak peeks. He wants all collectors to have access to updates equally and at the same time. The best places for updates are here on FB or to be signed up (on our web page) for email blasts from us directly.
Sergey sent me a picture of the new Zombie Pirates in green color. They should be out in June. My favorite one looks like Barbrossa.
I almost forgot about the leaked photos of the Plastic Platoon 7th Cavalry prototype sculpts. Plastic Platoon released these are some pictures were leaked. Hopefully we will see these by the end of the summer. Here are more pictures.