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.
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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….
Take Care and Thank you for reading.