Interview with Michael Sreckov of Warring Warbirds. Plus some hobby news.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Horsa Glider MKI E3c

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.

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Michael found some time to answer a few questions.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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

michael@warringwarbids.com
Mobile: (708) 683-0518

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latest-news

 

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It was announced on May 30th that the East Coast Toy Soldier Show will continue. It will be on Sunday, November 3rd 2019.

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We have more news about Conte. They released some information about their plastic figures on facebook. You can read that below.

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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)

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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’

10)When?

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.

 

Mars

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Mars Zombie Pirates

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.

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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.

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Well that is it for now. Thank you for reading.

 

 

An Interview with Gene Abravaya of Paragon Scenics & Miniatures.

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One of my favorite themes to collect is from the Great Plains Indians Wars period. When collecting figures for this theme Paragon is one of the first companies that come to mind first. If not, it should be. You can visit their website by clicking on this link here Paragon.

I first learned about Paragon Scenics & Miniatures in 2012. They produce Western themed sets in plastic. Their miniatures fit into three themes; The Alamo, American Civil War and The Great Plains Indian Wars. Besides the miniatures they also sell foam terrain pieces, buildings and Forts. They also have produced a few playsets. Their Native Americans figures are considered some of the best ever made in plastic.

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I have wanted to do an interview with Gene since I started doing them. But we couldn’t set some thing up until now. With the help of Ed Borris I was able to put this together. Thanks Ed : )

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An Ed Borris figure by Jason Pope fighting off two Paragon Native Sioux Warriors.

Today we get a chance to talk to Gene Abravaya the owner of Paragon Scenics & Miniatures. Hi Gene. Thank you in advance for taking your time to answer some of these questions.

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Box Art from one of Paragon’s sets.

Warhorse Miniatures: Can you tell us about yourself and how did Paragon get started?

 

Gene: First of all, thank you Mike for giving me this opportunity to reach out to other collectors. This labor of love started a long, long time ago for me when, back in 1959 or so, I received my first Marx Fort Apache playset. I admit that, during my teenage and college years, when I was more concerned about dating and pleasing girlfriends, I was absent from the hobby. After that, pursuing a career and then raising a family took me further away. But always the love of toy soldiers lingered. It wasn’t until my own children gave me a set of Lord of The Rings figures that the desire to collect was reawakened. And shortly after that, the desire to create my own line of figures took hold of me. I have always been a creative person, a lover of all the arts and an over-achiever – the type of person who has always looked to challenge himself. If I was going to make my own line of figures, I was going to make them myself. Something in me kept saying ,”you can do this.” So I did.

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(Gene continues) After checking out the leading manufacturers of new figure sets – Conte and TSSD in particular, I realized how far the industry had come. The work they did and continue to do in advancing the quality of product has to be recognized for its genius and respected its love for the hobby. They were my inspiration and still are. I contacted Nick VerSteeg, who not only unselfishly gave me the benefit of all his insight but gave me the names of the people I needed to contact if I was serious about getting into “the business.” That’s how it started, and after producing sixteen different sets and close to thirty foam diorama pieces, I am still at it. 

Paragon Wilson’s Creek Banks

 

Warhorse Miniatures: Your Native American figures are some of the best sculpted miniatures ever made. Who is the sculptor and can you tell us any background in the development with these figures?

 

Gene: Whether or not other collectors are a fan of my figures, I can honestly say they are the product of my own creation. I personally sculpt each figure of each set. The process has taught me patience if nothing else.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Your latest set is the Alamo Mexican Set 3. They look very nice. I like the new pattern of mixing some mounted figures with figures on foot. Will you continue this practice?

 

Gene: Most of our sets are six figures. Recently, because of rising costs, I have released new sets with four poses but, in many cases, these sets have swivel and swappable heads, giving collectors options that they don’t have when buying other manufacturers’ sets with six or more poses with fused features.

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Warhorse Miniatures: It seems that you are very fond of the American West or American Civil War History. Have you ever thought about producing another theme?

 

Gene: Taking a serious look at what had already been produced and what needed to be produced, it seemed like there was an opportunity to make my own presence known to the collecting community by beginning with a line of figures that, growing up, I had always wanted for myself. I have always loved John Ford’s Cavalry trilogy – Fort Apache, Rio Grande, and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. At that time no one had done the Apache Wars of the Southwest, circa 1870’s, so it seemed like the perfect time to do it. We now do three Apache warrior sets, four US Cavalry sets and one set of Cavalry and Apache Scouts.

Paragon Fort Apache

(Gene Continues) From there we have produced two sets of Civil War figures, Sioux warriors and, another personal favorite, The Alamo. The very next set I received as a boy after my Marx Fort Apache was, you guessed it, Disney’s Davy Crockett Alamo playset. I still remember watching the Davy Crockett series on TV. It was the first time, I believe, a main character of any TV series, died at the end, and if you didn’t exactly see him Fess Parker die (I think the final scene Davy is swinging his rifle at the top of the stairs, the camera pans up as he is surrounded by Mexican soldiers from all sides), it was definitely implied. Nevertheless, to a youngster it was riveting and The Alamo, became not just a monument and a memorial to the nation but something epic in scale in my imagination. I’m very proud of my Alamo sets. What they lack in authenticity, they make up for in drama and versatility. The Mexicans are very reminiscent of Disney’s original designs (minus the backpacks) and the defenders are not just buckskin-clad Tennesseans but from all walks including Tejano.

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Paragon Alamo Defenders 2

Warhorse Miniatures: There was some talk on one of the forums about you retiring at the end of this year? What are your plans?

 

Gene: That brings us to the present and the future of Paragon Scenics and Miniatures. I am currently working on a whole array of foam scenic pieces, twenty or more to be specific, intended for five new playsets that are in development. Two will be 7th Cavalry in concept – Paragon’s version of Custer Hill and the defensive position by Reno and Benteen’s men on the bluffs above.

(Gene Continues) Two will be what I call The Antietam Series – The Bloody Road and the taking of Burnside’s Bridge.

(Gene Continues) The fifth and last of the new playsets will be an expanded version of what we began with – The Final battle in John Ford’s Fort Apache. I believe the design and detail in these new pieces will be unsurpassed by anything plastic collectors have seen in the past, and I hope they delight and spark not only those collectors’ imaginations but their children’s and their grandchildren’s.

Paragon The Apache Wars

Warhorse Miniatures: Thank you again Gene. Is there anything else that you would like to say to the readers?

 

Gene: What does the future hold? My answer to that is “who knows”. I have always been driven by inspiration and by my wife’s love and patience. Currently, I have sacrificed a den, a guest room and 90% of my garage to this business. How much more I can sacrifice depends on my health, my wife’s love and her patience. Happy collecting to all!

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Well that is some exciting news about all the future sets and terrain pieces. I can not wait until the Plains Indian theme sets show up.

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Paragon makes some really nice foam pieces. You should try to get them while they are still available. 

Their figures blend very well with other companies like these Barzso Buffalo. They also look great with the TSSD Native American sets. Speaking of TSSD, the new owners have a new website over here at https://micshaunscloset.com/.

Paragon also has painted sets available for sale. Check them at over at http://www.paragon-scenics.com/miniatures/Painted_Figures.html.

 

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The Gettysburg Toy Soldier Show

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Warhorse Miniatures is proud to support Prikaz Toy Soldiers. I have set up a online catalog for Alexey Pisarev. The page is still under construction and will be updated soon. It also will be updated as each new set is produced. You can see and read more about this over here at Prikaz Toy Soldiers

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Well folks that is it for now. Thank you for reading.

An Interview with Austin Beidelschies of Austin Miniatures.

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In 2013 Austin Miniatures started production of plastic toys soldiers plus foam buildings, terrain bases and accessories. Their figures can be compared to Conte figures in scale and detail. The first figure set made was of cowboys. They followed later with a set of Marines for the Pacific Theater.

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Marines

I noticed their figures about the time I started collecting again after about a 10 year absence. I had picked up a set of the WWII Marines a couple of years ago. They have nice details and mix well with other brands.

Recently I was able to chat with Austin Beidelschies. Austin is the son of Dan Beidelschies. Together they are now expanding the product line of Austin Miniatures. He was able to take some time to answer a few questions.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Hi Austin. My first question is; can you tell us about yourself and how did Austin Miniatures get started?

 

Austin: My name is Austin Beidelschies, I am 19 years old and I am the concept artist and painter for Austin Miniatures. My dad (Dan Beidelschies) started up Austin Miniatures in 2013 and named the company after me in hopes that I would eventually take over the business. Which I am most definitely going to do. The passion for toy soldiers started with my dad when his mom bought him a Marx Battleground Playset when he was just 8 years old. Like some of us he “grew up” and got rid of his toy soldiers. He still regrets doing it to this day. It wasn’t until his late twenties that he reconnected with toy soldiers again. He saw Conte’s Airborne figures on the internet and was so amazed at how detailed they were. So then I got to grow up with all these great WW2 figures from his collection. He would make these giant dioramas that went from the kitchen to the end of our living room. Playing with Conte’s WW2 figures is how my passion for toy soldiers began. I was around 14 years old when we released our western figures. Since I have grown I have been becoming increasingly more involved into Austin Miniatures. Just last year I created some concept sketches of a new set of WW2 US marines and now they are in the hands of our sculptor who is making a new set of US Marines. These will be the first Figures coming from Austin Miniatures that I have designed.

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Warhorse Miniatures: I recently picked up some of your cowboys the details are really nice. Why did you start here as your first set of figures?

 

Austin: We decided to do cowboys as our first set because we love the idea of the wild west. This era of American history happened very fast but so many awesome characters and battles have came from the wild west era. My dad grew up watching many western movies. It just seemed right to make cowboys for our first set.

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Warhorse Miniatures: I have seen your prototypes of the WWII Japanese Infantry for a few years now and heard you were supposed to produce that set years ago. Can you tell us more about this?

 

Austin: We have been teasing you with the Japanese figures for a very long time. The simple answer as to why you don’t have them yet is life. We are not a multi million dollar corporation like Hasbro or Mattel, we are just normal everyday Americans. Sometimes life gets in the way of our goals and aspirations. But they are going to be available for purchase this year so we can all look forward to that. Trust me I want to make shooting noises and knock over the Japanese figures just as much as you guys do. We at Austin Miniatures are just as much collectors as we are producers.

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Warhorse Miniatures: This year looks like it might be a break out year for you with the announcement of a few news sets to be produced. Can you tell us more about your plans?

 

Austin: So for 2019 we have 3 new sets planned as well as a pacific theatre playset. We have another set of WW2 US Marines coming after the Japanese. The new Marines are being sculpted as we speak and will include 2 riflemen, an NCO with a Thompson, a Navajo code talker radio man, and a new and improved BAR gunner. Included in the set will also be interchangeable arms and equipment. This will be very useful for the guy who likes to convert their figures. For example; the radio man can swap his radio for a backpack turning him into a standard infantryman. Maybe you want him to have an M1 Garand instead of a carbine, you can do this with our new set. Because of our new system we were also able to include the parts to make a Marine with a Winchester model 97 shotgun which I am very excited about. After the Marines we have more cowboys in the works. So far the new set of cowboys will include a Mexican bandito, “Old Timer”, an Indian scout, and the kneeling rifleman that we have not yet released yet. As for the playset it is going to include everything you need for a battle in the pacific. Marines, Japanese, one of our foam battlefields, BMC amtracs, Pegasus palm trees and some other accessories. If this playset sells well you will definitely see more playsets from us. We have all those awesome western buildings so it only makes sense to do a couple western playsets.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Are you planning on releasing the playset this year will you be releasing it for next year?

 

Austin: We are planning to have the playset ready for sale at this year’s Chicago toy soldier show.

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The playset could look something like this? These are pictures from the Austin Miniatures.

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Warhorse Miniatures: I collect mainly Dark Age or Medieval figures and early American Colonial figures. I recently started collecting WWII & Western figures. Do you have any plans on ever making Medieval figures or Colonial figures?

 

Austin: We currently have no plans for medieval or colonial figures. However we are gonna be coming out with a bunch of new stuff in the next couple of years. I will just say that NOTHING is off the table. We are collectors just like you guys, except we can produce figures. So we might see a new movie or read a new book that gets us excited for a certain battle or war. If there is enough demand for something we will definitely consider it. There are many sets that I personally would like to produce. World War two is my favorite time period so I would like to make Waffen SS and US GI’s some day. The big conflict when I was growing up was the war on terror in the Middle East, I have always wanted to make modern marines and insurgents. The possibilities for the future of Austin Miniatures are endless. I believe the future of the toy soldier hobby is very bright. The third “Golden Era” of toy soldiers is coming.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Here is my last question. I would like to thank you and your father for taking your time to answer the questions. Is there anything else you would like to say to the collectors?

 

Austin: Thank you for the interview! The only other thing we would like to say to the collectors is thank you for your continued support to Austin Miniatures and to all the other great producers in the toy soldier community. Keep an eye out for our new products, we will be posting pictures of our new sculpts as we get them.

Besides selling plastic toy soldiers, they also offer painted sets too.

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Here are some comparison pictures below of Austin figures with some other brands out there.  Their Pacific Marines are some of the best World War II plastic figures since Conte released his WWII figures. 

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You can see more at the Austin Miniatures website. They also sell on ebay at https://www.ebay.com/usr/maschefie2005. To get the latest news go to the Austin Miniatures page on Facebook.

If you like to make displays or dioramas, their foam buildings are really nice. Some detachable roofs and/or 2 stories. They also have a few accessories, like a Gallow. 

I am excited about the news of the World War II Japanese Infantry and future WWII sets. It was nice to also talk to someone that is young and so passionate about the hobby of Toy Soldiers. It looks like Austin will be taking an active part for a long time. The future does look bright. I hope we do enter another “Golden Age”.

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Thank you for reading. That is it for now 🙂

Interview with Igor Basevich of Engineer Basevich.

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In 2010 Engineer Basevich came on the scene. Unlike most of the other Russian toy companies, Engineer Basevich produces figures in the classic plastic like Marx and Airfix of old. Most of there figures are on the same scale as Conte 1/32 figures. Today they are one of the leading toy companies of plastic toy soldiers.

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The sets they produce are historically based. A lot of them are based on the history of Russia. These sets are cast in limited run sets. The last few weeks I have been messaging Igor Basevich with some questions. 

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Here is another interview of a Toy Soldier company owner from Russia. This time it is Igor Basevich of Engineer Basevich.

Igor collects mainly plastic toys soldiers. He is not a fan of resin figures. Rather likes the classic plastic that many of the vintage toy companies used.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Hi Igor. I have been a fan of yours for a while. I would like to thank you for taking your time to answer the questions I presented for you.

Igor Basevich: Hi Mike! Thank you very much for your interest in my soldiers. I am glad that my work does not leave people indifferent. I will try to answer your questions.

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Warhorse Miniatures: My first question is who is Igor Basevich and how did Engineer Basevich come around?

 

Igor Basevich: I am primarily a fan of plastic soldiers, a collector and enthusiast for the promotion of toy battles. No war propaganda. “We are at war on the tables, no more war on earth!!” I was passionate about soldiers when I was 7 years old. First it was the Soviet soldiers of metal and plastic, then East Germany & Poland. With the fall of the “iron curtain”, there were more opportunities and plastic soldiers of Western Europe and the USA were added to the collection

Engineer is my first profession, engineer-technologist of semiconductors. In the 90’s Russia began with the bourgeois revolution and the engineers were not needed. I was forced to go into private business. But the dream of making my own soldiers did not leave me. And then there was such an opportunity, it was necessary to come up with a brand. I combined my profession and passion. So there were Toy Soldiers Engineer Basevich.

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Warhorse Miniatures: I understand that your sets are made in limited amounts. What is the process of production?

 

Igor Basevich: Initially, I do not set myself the task of making this a business. For me it is primarily a hobby. Over the past 20 years, all production links in Russia have been destroyed, the market is saturated with Chinese goods. Specialists in the manufacture of plastic products was not found. I spent almost five years searching and building the structure to make my soldiers. It was necessary to find a sculptor, caster, galvanist and most importantly, the manufacturer of molds. I managed to do it, and now my team consists of real professionals. Limited edition due to financial costs, they are significantly less. As well as the ability to more quickly implement the entire batch and release the next set.

Warhorse Miniatures: I see three main themes with your figures so far. First is 20th Century Russian themed history. The second is medieval themed Russian related history. The last is Ancient Biblical related historical civilizations. Are your future plans to continue with these main themes or do you want to expand into something else?

 

Igor Basevich: First of all, I tried to realize my childhood dreams and historical Hobbies. Civil war in Russia, the Second world and Russian Imperial wars. But Ancient times and the middle Ages have always been in my heart. I hope to continue all these topics, but also to please my colleagues collectors with new unexpected sets. In my personal collection there are all time periods, almost all world brands. Lately, I’ve been really into non-military figures in the Bible . The theme of Christmas and Jesus ‘ life (only plastic).

 

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Warhorse Miniatures: I see you have a love of history. I love history too and have a collection of old history & military related books. Besides the figures do you collect historical objects?

 

Igor Basevich: Yes, I love war books very much. I collect Soviet children’s books on the military theme. I visited a lot of European flea markets and antique shops, and if you come across cheap (!!!) military badges, medals, ammunition, photos and porcelain figurines, that I could afford to buy. Specially I do not buy.

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Warhorse Miniatures: I also see that you are involved with Chintoys. Can you tell us something about this?

 

Igor Basevich: Poor Chintoys, many do not give (it a) rest! 😃😃. My old business partner wanted to invest some money and decided to invest in soldiers. So as he too had toys in his childhood, but not fan(collector). I helped him. But then the sales did not go to well with the first sets. Because it’s a business for him. Then we decided that we would combine our business, and I do marketing and management. Chintoys brand belongs to him. We sometimes also exchange ideas and sculptors for his new sets.

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Warhorse Miniatures: What plans do you have for the future for ChinToys?

 

Igor Basevich: I do not like to talk about my plans in advance, and my partner has a different opinion😀. He has already passed the information about the two sets of Maya and Inca. Work on them is very hard, but it will be just a masterpiece.

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Warhorse Miniatures: As a collector, what are some of your favorite brands to collect?

 

Igor Basevich: Atlantic, Starlux, Marx – old. Conte, TSSD, S.Weston- new.

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Warhorse Miniatures: I see that your have some sets in different colors. Do you ever plan or releasing some of the older sets in different colors?

Igor Basevich: No, the molds of the old sets are lost.

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Warhorse Miniatures: I am sorry to hear about that. Even the Ancient Slavs?

Igor Basevich: Yeah, they just run out of stock and that’s it.

 

Warhorse Miniatures: I would like to thank you again for taking you time answering the questions. Is there anything else that you would like to say?

Igor Basevich: I would like to thank all our fellow collectors for their interest . Join my FB group TOY SOLDIERS ENGINEER BASEVICH. Unfortunately modern politicians try to separate us, let soldiers unite us!!! Thank you for your attention!!

Engineer Basevich on Facebook

Toy soldiers Engineer Basevich

 

That ends this blog post. Thank you for reading.

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Interview with Alex Pisarev of Prikaz Toy Soldiers.

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Prikaz Toy Soldiers is another company from Russia that is owned by Alex Pisarev. Maybe not as popular as Plastic Platoon or Engineer Basevich. But that should change with each set they make. Prikaz means “Order” or “Regiment” in Russian. Last year was the first year of production. The first sets they made were of the Streltsy. Russian riflemen from the 16th Century to the 18th Century.

 

 

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Then they moved to medieval sets. These sets had many figures of everyday people besides the normal collection of warriors.

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Recently Alex was able to answer some questions about his company.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Hi Alex. I understand the you began making your figures last year. Can you tell us something about yourself and about your company?

Alex Pisarev: Hello, Mike. Yes, I began to produce sets of plastic soldiers a year ago. For me, this is a completely new and very interesting page of my life. About myself, in short, then: I am 39 years old, married, a historian (Ph. D.). For 11 years I worked in a school as a history teacher. From 2000 to the present day I have been a reenactor (Vietnam War, earlier – Moscow Streltsy, Indochina war and historical fencing). With the soldiers it turned out like this: I made a series of sketches of figures for the set of “The Ancient Slavs” by Igor Basevich (Engineer Basevich), and became interested in the design of the soldiers. From design to production, in which Andrey Litvinenko (Warhansa) helped me a lot. The name “Order” appeared from a long-term scientific study of the 17th century Russian army. The order is a regiment (Moscow Streltsy) in Old Russian.

prikav3Warhorse Miniatures: You told me that you were a History teacher for a while and a Historian. Your figures seem to be historically based. Can you tell us more about your existing figure sets?

 

Alex Pisarev: Yes, as I said, I am a historian and worked for a long time as a schoolteacher. For me the creation of the figure of an ancient warrior is an amazing opportunity to apply my knowledge as a historian with the experience of a reenactor and  to combine all this with my love of a toy soldiers. In total, I released 12 sets of soldiers on two topics. The first theme was the release of figures about Russian & European Warfare in the 17th century. There are Russian Streltsy with their commanders and Polish soldiers. The Russian & Polish soldiers are in action poses. My second favorite theme is the Viking Age (and of course the Ancient Russia as part of this era). In this series of sets, I did not focus on action poses. Although I love them very much. I wanted to create a peculiar world of the princely court, an old Russian or Scandinavian city. To populate it with not only military, but also with civilian characters. Thus, an old woman housekeeper, a Jewish merchant, a Scandinavian merchant, Princess Rogneda, a pagan priest, Prince Rurik on a throne and other figures appeared.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Your latest set is based on the Indochina war of 1947-54. This is an interesting subject. Can you tell us why you chose to base some figures on this era? Also any other sets from this theme?

 

Alex Pisarev: The Indochina War and the battle of Dien Bien Phu is my newest project. I would like to model this after my medieval sets. To make soldiers of various units, historical personalities (such French officers as Jean-Pierre, Raphalle, Saint-Marc, Bijard, Langley, Vietnamese – Ho Chi Minh, Vo Nguyen Ziap and others), plus civilian characters of French and Vietnamese. It’s hard for me to say exactly what attracted me to the Indochina war. I am generally fascinated by Vietnam. Moreover, both the Indochina and Vietnam wars in Russia are known only to fans of this era and  profession historians. In the set of “2BEP” combined interest in the unknown, the love of adventure and respect for the exploits of the warriors of the past.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Your Medieval sets are my favorite figures that you have made. Will you continue making sets with this theme?

 

Alex Pisarev: Of course, I will continue this series. Because a Prince needs a Princess, a Princess needs servants, merchants need helpers and competitor. Then there is a need of peasants, artisans, and of course new warriors. I would like to expand the geography to make sets about the Saxons, Franks, Normans, Baltic Slavs, maybe Czechs & Alans.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Can you tell us what sets you have available for sale?

 

Alex Pisarev: Yes, certainly. Currently available for purchase: the Viking Age sets: “Prince’s court -1”, “Prince’s court-2: Konung”, “Prince’s court-3: Prince”, “Squad”; the wars of the 17th century sets: “Assault”, “Streltsy (Russian king guard)”, “Streltsy: the Headquarters”; the Indochina war sets: “2 BEP”.

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Prince Court #1. Russian Medieval Market.

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Prince court #2. Viking life. Ragnar.

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Prince court #3. Russian Prince Rurik

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Squad. Noble Warriors

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2BEP. Dien Bien Phu

 

 

 

Warhorse Miniatures: That is great news that you plan to expand with more medieval sets. The villager poses are much needed. Anything that you can tell us about any future sets?

 

Alex Pisarev: I can’t reveal my plans completely, but I will say this; in the development now is the set “Squad 2”. It will include 1 Horseman and three foot soldiers of 10-11 centuries. What exactly they will be, I will not say yet. Let it be a surprise. Also in the development is the set of “Princely Court 4: Princess”, where there will necessarily be a figure of Princess Olga, maybe Prince Svyatoslav, the maid of the Princess and an Orthodox priest. I am also thinking about the second set of the Indochina War series, “1 BEP” .

 

 

Here is a preview of an Artillery set that Alex is working on too.

 

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Warhorse Miniatures: I have only seen a few of your sets on eBay. Where else can collectors find your figures?

 

Alex Pisarev: I have a group on Facebook PRIKAZ plastic toy soldiers and VK “ПРИКАЗ” солдатики Алексея Писарева.

You can also write to me directly pisarevalexey1979@gmail.com.

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Ragnar

Warhorse Miniatures: Thank You again Alex. Is there any thing else you would like to say to the readers?

Alex Pisarev: Thank you, Mike. Dear readers – also thank you very much for your attention and interest in the toy soldiers “PRIKAZ”.

Sincerely, Alex Pisarev

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The Prikaz figures were a wonderful surprise for me last year. I have been looking for some figures that I could use to create a village. These figures are perfect for that. You can set up a lot of displays with the poses of these figures. The even look a lot better painted. You can order from Alex directly. He is selling most of his sets right now between $30 to $38. 

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Well that is it for now. Thank you for reading.

 

 

Interview with Mikhail Glikin of Plastic Platoon. Интервью с Mikhail Glikin из “Пластического взвода”.

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https://www.facebook.com/soldiers.plastic.platoon/

https://vk.com/plasticplatoon

Mikhail Glikin started producing highly detailed toy soldiers a few years ago under the name “Plastic Platoon”. They entered the market selling figures based on the Vietnam War. In a short time they have set the bar in quality. Recently they started creating figures based on World War II. The figures are more like “Military Miniatures” than toy soldiers.

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Михаил Гликин начал производство высокодетализированных игрушечных солдат несколько лет назад под названием «Пластиковый взвод». Они вышли на рынок, продавая цифры, основанные на войне во Вьетнаме. За короткое время они установили планку качества. Недавно они начали создавать фигуры на основе Вторая мировая война. Фигуры – это больше “военные миниатюры”, чем игрушечные солдаты.

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Recently Mikhail found some time to answer some questions. This interview will be in English and then followed in Russian. If your using a translator the English might be corrupted. 

Недавно Михаил нашел время ответить на несколько вопросов. Это интервью будет на английском, а затем на русском.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Hi, Mikhail. I have been a fan of your work since the first time I saw them. The detail in your sculpting is amazing. Can you give us some history about yourself and Plastic Platoon?

Привет, Михаил. Я был поклонником вашей работы с тех пор, как впервые увидел их. Детали в вашей скульптуре удивительны. Можете ли вы рассказать нам немного о себе и о Пластиковом Взводе?

 

Mikhail Glikin: Hi Mike, I have been collecting plastic Soldiers for over 30 years. My collection consists of more than 10,000 plastic figures in 1/32 scale. The idea to make toy soldiers began about 10 years ago. I wanted plastic miniatures that were highly detailed. The fine details of small parts with the flexibility & strength of plastic. Finally the technology  was available to achieve this and I was financially able to start their own business.

Привет, Майк, я собираю пластиковых солдат уже более 30 лет. Моя коллекция состоит из более чем 10 000 пластиковых фигур в масштабе 1/32. Идея сделать игрушечных солдат возникла около 10 лет назад. Я хотел пластиковые миниатюры, которые были очень подробными. Мелкие детали мелких деталей с гибкостью и прочностью пластика. Наконец-то появилась технология, позволяющая добиться этого, и я смог в финансовом отношении начать собственный бизнес.

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Warhorse Miniatures: You started with the Vietnam War. Why did you start here?

Вы начали с войны во Вьетнаме. Почему ты начал здесь?

 

Mikhail Glikin: Everything is very simple. Six years ago I flew to Vietnam. I have been fond of military history since childhood. I traveled across Vietnam and visited many military sites. For over a month I traveled through the military bases, battle sites and tunnels. Until I just got sick of the country of Vietnam! I decided that the Vietnam War would be the background for my first toy soldiers made.

Все очень просто. Шесть лет назад я летел во Вьетнам. Я с детства увлекаюсь военной историей. Я путешествовал по Вьетнаму и посетил много военных объектов. Больше месяца я путешествовал по военным базам, местам сражений и туннелям. Пока я просто не заболел страной Вьетнама! Я решил, что война во Вьетнаме станет фоном для моих первых игрушечных солдатиков.

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Warhorse Miniatures: It states that your figures are in 1/32 in scale. Are the size of your figures the same as Conte or Airfix?

В нем говорится, что ваши цифры в масштабе 1/32. Размер ваших фигур такой же, как у Conte или Airfix?

 

Mikhail Glikin: I suggest right now to compare. What is a collector with experience. All the figures at hand! (Mikhail supplied us with these pictures  of his figures compared to some Conte, Airfix, Matchbox and TSSD figures)

Предлагаю щас сравнить. Что такое коллекционер со стажем. Все цифры под рукой! (Михаил предоставил нам эти фотографии своих фигур по сравнению с некоторыми фигурами Конте, Аирфикса, Спичечной коробки и TSSD)

Warhorse Miniatures: Now that you have started with your first WWII German Paratroopers from Operation Mercury. I assume your building some sets around the Battle of Crete?

There are a lot of collectors that have been waiting for some one to make WWII German Paratroopers in this scale.

Теперь, когда вы начали с ваших первых немецких десантников Второй мировой войны из операции “Меркурий”. Я полагаю, что у вас есть здание вокруг битвы на Крите?

Есть много коллекционеров, которые ждали, чтобы кто-нибудь сделал немецких десантников Второй мировой войны в этом масштабе.

 

Mikhail Glikin: Of course, in Crete, we have planned 4 sets. The first is parachutists jumping with parachutes. They are with knee pads and parachute strapping. They will have an additional set of containers.

Yes. There are a lot of collectors that have been waiting for some one to make WWII German Paratroopers in this scale.

Конечно, на Крите у нас запланировано 4 комплекта. Первый – это прыжки с парашютистами с парашютами. Они с наколенниками и парашютом. У них будет дополнительный набор контейнеров.

Да. Есть много коллекционеров, которые ждали, чтобы кто-нибудь сделал немецких десантников Второй мировой войны в этом масштабе.

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Mikhail Glikin: We are also preparing 2 sets – Defenders of Crete. British infantry (you saw the master model). Maori will be with them. And the fourth set – the Greek infantry and the militia (it will be a truly incredible set, because in the militia there will be a girl)

Мы также готовим 2 комплекта – Защитники Крита. Британская пехота (вы видели мастер модель). Маори будет с ними. И четвертый сет – греческая пехота и ополчение (это будет действительно невероятный сет, потому что в ополчении будет девушка)

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Warhorse Miniatures: What other themes do you think Plastic Platoon will do in the future?

Как ты думаешь, какие еще темы сделает Platon в будущем?

Mikhail Glikin: The next topic after Crete will be very logical. Paratroopers after the battle of Crete in 1941 sent near Leningrad. Therefore, we will do the battle for Leningrad. There will be units of the Red Army and the Soviet Marines. Plus Wehrmacht infantry units and our old acquaintances, paratroopers.

Следующая тема после Крита будет очень логичной. Десантников после битвы на Крите в 1941 году отправили под Ленинград. Поэтому мы будем сражаться за Ленинград. Там будут подразделения Красной Армии и Советских Морских пехотинцев. Плюс пехотные части вермахта и наши старые знакомые, десантники.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Your figures are really detailed and from my knowledge your sets are made in a limited amount. What is the process that you use to produce your figures?

Ваши цифры очень подробны, и, насколько мне известно, ваши наборы сделаны в ограниченном количестве Какой процесс вы используете для производства ваших фигур?

 

Mikhail Glikin: Yes, this is absolutely true. We cast our kits in limited quantities. Approximately 300 sets. Cast from a special polymer. By properties, it is like rubber / plastic. Flexible but durable. Figures can be thrown from the Table and squeezed in a fist; nothing will happen to them. For casting, we use silicone molds. Unfortunately, they withstand only 30 castings, so we make 10 sets of molds. We also work with beautiful sculptors for figures. For weapons, flasks, helmets and other trivia we use 3D Technologies and a 3d printer.

Да, это абсолютно верно. Мы отливаем наши комплекты в ограниченном количестве. Примерно 300 комплектов. Отлито из специального полимера. По своим свойствам это как резина / пластик. Гибкий, но прочный. Рисунки можно выкинуть из таблицы и сжать в кулак; с ними ничего не случится. Для литья мы используем силиконовые формы. К сожалению, они выдерживают только 30 отливок, поэтому мы изготавливаем 10 комплектов пресс-форм. Мы также работаем с красивыми скульпторами для фигур. Для оружия, фляг, шлемов и прочих мелочей мы используем 3D-технологии и 3d-принтер.

Warhorse Miniatures: You said you have over 10,000 figures. What are some of your favorite brands to collect? What are some of your favorite items in your collection? 

Вы сказали, что у вас есть более 10000 цифр. Какие ваши любимые бренды собирать? Какие из ваших любимых предметов в вашей коллекции?

Mikhail Glikin: I love my collection very much. And of course for me the inspiration of most favorite sets are Conte World War II figures.

Я очень люблю свою коллекцию. И, конечно, для меня источником вдохновения для большинства любимых наборов являются фигуры Conte World Второй мировой войны.

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Warhorse Miniatures: That sounds very interesting about the Battle for Leningrad. I guess maybe one day we will see a Battle for Stalingrad?

Это звучит очень интересно о битве за Ленинград. Наверное, однажды мы увидим битву за Сталинград?

 

Mikhail Glikin: If everything is as I had planned, we will see Stalingrad and Tobruk, Ardennes and Berlin, Monte Cassino and the Philippines.

Если все будет так, как я планировал, мы увидим Сталинград и Тобрук, Арденны и Берлин, Монте-Кассино и Филиппины.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Thanks for the information about the process of making your figures. There are a lot of collectors out there that like your products but because of the cost they will not purchase your sets. Will you ever make any mass produced figures one day?

Спасибо за информацию о процессе изготовления ваших фигур. Есть много коллекционеров, которым нравятся ваши продукты, но из-за стоимости они не будут покупать ваши наборы. Будете ли вы когда-нибудь делать какие-либо массовые фигурки в один прекрасный день?

Mikhail Glikin: Yes, I know the high price. But I decided to follow this path. My figures will be like a Mercedes in the world of plastic Toy Soldiers.

Да, я знаю высокую цену. Но я решил пойти по этому пути. Мои фигуры будут похожи на Мерседес в мире пластиковых игрушечных солдат.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Thank You Mikhail for taking your time to answer the questions. Is there any thing else that you would like to say to the readers?

Спасибо, Михаил, что нашли время ответить на вопросы. Есть ли что-то еще, что вы хотели бы сказать читателям?

 

Mikhail Glikin: First of all, I want to thank you Mike. For the very interesting questions and for your interest in our project. I would like to say to all collectors of Toy Soldiers that we will try to do even better with more interesting poses and more detailed figures. We will try to cover a lot of different topics and eras. Parallel to the WWII project, we are starting a project on Wars in the Americas. I am happy that I part of such a wonderful hobby of Toy Soldiers. I made a lot of friends from different countries. I can say for sure in our troubled world, our hobby unites people from different countries and nationalities.

Прежде всего, я хочу поблагодарить вас, Майк. За очень интересные вопросы и за ваш интерес к нашему проекту. Я хотел бы сказать всем коллекционерам Toy Soldiers, что мы постараемся сделать еще лучше с более интересными позами и более подробными рисунками. Мы постараемся охватить много разных тем и эпох. Параллельно с проектом Второй мировой войны мы начинаем проект по войнам в Северной и Южной Америке. Я счастлив, что являюсь частью такого замечательного хобби Toy Soldiers. Я завел много друзей из разных стран. Я могу с уверенностью сказать, что в нашем беспокойном мире наше хобби объединяет людей из разных стран и национальностей.

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Спасибо за чтение!!

Interview with David & Kim Cook of MicShaun’s Closet, The new owners of TSSD.

 

Last year Nick & DeAnna VerSteeg of TSSD announced that they were looking to sell their business. I remember communicating with Nick when he first started selling toy soldiers. TSSD was one of the first companies on the internet that I dealt with. The news that they were no longer going to continue was sad.

tssd endingThe VerSteeg’s had built one the of the most iconic plastic toy soldier companies in recent history. They started off selling toys soldiers over 20 years ago. Then they started producing there own products which included plastic toy soldiers and foam buildings and terrain pieces. 

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Finally they expanded into developing there own playsets. In 2006 with Barzso Playsets they produced one of TSSD most iconic playsets “Road to Stalingrad”.

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There was a couple of months of speculation about who the new owners would be. Then in the beginning of December it was announced that TSSD was sold to David & Kim Cook. They have been selling plastic figures from different companies and other products on eBay under the name of “micshaunscloset2013.”

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The news that MicShaun’s Closet were the new owners was good news to me. I had purchased toy soldier sets from them over the past few years with no problems. Most of my online purchases take place on eBay.

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I started communicating with the Cooks a few days after the announcement of the sale. After things had settled down they were able to take some time to answer a few questions.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Hi David & Kim. Congratulations with purchasing Toy Soldiers of San Diego. I have purchased figure sets from you the past couple of years on eBay. Besides your eBay business, what else can you tell us about yourselves and how did the deal with TSSD get made? I am assuming that you have the rights to the molds too.

MicShaun’s Closet: Currently my wife and I have full time jobs and our Ebay business has been a “side hustle” for many years. I have always dreamed of owning a toy/hobby store and grew up playing with plastic soldiers which were always my favorite toys. When I first heard that TSSD was for sale, I didn’t know if it was a realistic possibility. Not long after, I mentioned the potential sale to Kim. We talked about it and decided, why not us. TSSD figures have been high on my favorites list for a long time. The attraction of TSSD was the amazing 30 plus sets, the colors and the quality of the figures.

We reached out to Nick and DeAnna because we have a long standing business relationship with them. After many phone calls & email conversations, we reached an agreement and made this dream a reality. We would not have been able to accomplish this without the openness and candor of Nick and DeAnna. They shared all the information that we needed to make this decision.

The deal included all TSSD inventory including figure molds and foam molds, and all intellectual property associated with TSSD.

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Warhorse Miniatures: I have purchased figure sets from you the past couple of years on eBay. It was always a pleasant experience. Besides eBay are you going to sell your items on a website, Amazon and maybe some other venues?

MicShaun’s Closet: We are continuing to sell on Ebay, and we have opened a Shopify site that will serve as our website, blog and store. We are selling through Facebook and plan to add Amazon to our sales channels in the near future. We will also add Instagram as a sales channel in the coming months.

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Warhorse Miniatures: I guess that you are going to spend some time selling off the sets that you acquired with the deal. TSSD made some nice sets over the years. My favorite where the Plains Indians. Most collectors I think would like to know if you planning to recast any of the past sets?

 

MicShaun’s Closet: We are selling off the inventory that we received and we believe the Plains Indians are a great set. Coincidentally, the Plains Indians Set #13 are completely out of stock and are part of a large re-order that we are about to make to our manufacturer. This re-order will include the sets we currently don’t have in most of the colors that Nick and DeAnna have been selling in the last few years. We recently made a large re-order of the foam pieces and should have most if not all pieces back in stock in the next 4 to 6 weeks. We can’t keep the foam pieces – as fast as we put them on, they sell.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Do you have any plans to expand any of the existing themes or start a new theme of figures.

MicShaun’s Closet: We definitely plan on producing new figures. It is our understanding that producing a new set is a lengthy process. Our best guess is that we would come out with a new set or sets in late 2019 or sometime in 2020. We are also considering new foam pieces as well. Theme and category is still to be determined.

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Warhorse Miniatures: You said that maybe at the end of the year or next year that you will produce some new figure sets and maybe foam pieces. Do you think that you will expand on one of the current themes that is in your inventory or maybe start a new theme?

 

MicShaun’s Closet: We are thinking about expanding the themes that have been created by TSSD and we are also considering creating new themes.  It all comes down to how well our business succeeds.  Mold creation is an expensive endeavor.

We are keeping our options open with regard the to foam pieces.

We have lots of ideas but need to recoup some of the costs from the purchase before we move forward with new figures and foam.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Do you plan on still using the TSSD brand in the future on recast and new products or will it be MicShaun’s Cluset?

MicShaun’s Closet: On the recasts we keep TSSD on the header card. On the new products we are going to have our name on the header card.

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Warhorse Miniatures: I would like you thank you for taking your time with answering the questions. Is there anything that you would like to tell us?

 

MicShaun’s Closet: Thanks so much Mike for giving us the opportunity. You have been supportive since day one when we announced that had purchased TSSD. Sales have been fantastic. The toy soldier community has made us feel welcome with kind words and support. To the toy soldier/hobby community, we want you to know that we are a husband/wife, small owner business. We plan on attending toy soldier shows and continuing to expand this amazing business that Nick and DeAnna started. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service and love hearing from each of you. I am in the process of winding down my current business and will be in a position in a few months to make this my full-time career!

Here are the places you can find us:

www.micshaunscloset.com

https://www.ebaystores.com/micshaunscloset

https://www.facebook.com/MicShaunsCloset/

https://www.instagram.com/micshaunscloset/

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I have a feeling that David & Kim will continue the success of TSSD for many years to come. Check out their new website. You can look at different themes or brands of plastic figures. From Ancient Armies of Rome to the Modern Armies of Vietnam. It is very easy to navigate around to find what your looking for. Besides TSSD products they sell Marx, MPC, Matchbox, CTS, Weston, Ex Force, Americana/BMC, Supreme, AIP, Ideal, Airfix, Mars, Chintoys etc…

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My next post will be a review of Publius Vikings Set #3. Thank you for reading.

Warhorse Miniatures

 

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.

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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

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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

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“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”
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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 🙂

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!”

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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”.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

 

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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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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.

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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.

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(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.

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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.

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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.

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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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An Interview with Richard Conte of Conte Collectibles.

In 1999 Conte Collectibles began operation. They raised the bar in both plastics, painted metal sets and playsets. Recently Conte announced they were planning to release new sets to the existing ranges and then expand to new ones. I got to ask Richard some questions. 

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Hi, Richard. I have been a big fan of your work for a while. You produced some amazing figures and sets over the years. It is good to see that you have returned with a new website. I know that you have been planning on releasing new sets for a while.

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Warhorse Miniatures: I would like to ask you to tell us a little about yourself and how did Conte Collectibles start? 

Richard Conte: I think I am a typical collector and history buff (with the exception that I’ve tried to produce my own sets). Like many, I had Marx play sets, Lido, MPC and Ideal figures as a kid.  Later I had a few plastic Britains, Herald and Timpo figures. My favorites were the Marx Boonsboro & Vikings figures and Timpo Romans & Vikings. I still have some of my childhood toys. 

I also love old movies , especially those with historical themes. Some of my favorites are Kirk Douglas’ The Vikings and Spartacus, Zulu, Beau Geste, The War Lord , The Longest  Day , Gunga Din, Captain Blood, El CID , 300 Spartans , etc., Plus all the Alamo and Robin Hood movies. Long time Conte Collectors know that we’ve been privileged to obtain the licenses to most of these films and have made products based upon most of them. 

I’ve got a wonderful wife who is very tolerant of my “ toy soldier hobby” and is well known as the model for our pirate woman with two pistols. ( I think she’s gotten over being angry about her toy soldier debut!!). Also am the old boy to a bunch of adult kids and an ever growing troop of grandchildren. 

My career was in the health care field. It involved designing, building and operating hospitals and other medical facilities.  For 20 years I worked part time in the United Kingdom. I visited just about every castle, museum and battlefield I could find time to see. One of the many special memories or highlights from my time in Britain was being invited to dinner with the Governor General of The Tower of London. One of the hospitals I designed and opened is Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Centre in Antigua. My work in the USA is far more boring …

While working in England I became friends with John Jeffries, the wonderfully creative man who owned Accurate Figures and created all of their standout soldiers . John’s excitement and enthusiasm for the hobby was infectious and sparked my interest in producing a few of my own soldiers. Years later, when I was put out to pasture I decided to see what I might be able to create…

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Warhorse Miniatures: What are some of your favorite sets or themes that your have produced?

Richard Conte: This is a tough one. Certain sets are special to me for different reasons.  I love all of the periods or themes we’ve attempted over the years. I’ve put something of me into almost all of our figures, sets, buildings and playsets.

I’m proud of the Roman War Galley because of the degree of difficulties in sculpting, producing and even figuring out the packaging for a beast that large. When we started making figures, I never could have imagined making a warship like that in 1/32 scale…and with 48 rowers below decks. I have similar feelings for our Viking Ships.

Our LCVP and LCM3  landing craft are really special because the majority of the these went to the National WW2 museum where they were sold and made $$ to help support the wonderful work they do commemorating America’s role in saving the world. The same with our ACW plastic sales; some $$$ from those was donated to the Museum of the Confederacy and other Civil War sites.

The Vikings is my favorite movie and Spartacus is the film that means the most to me. Getting to produce sets based on these with the permission and enthusiasm of my number 1 childhood hero, Mr. Kirk Douglas,  has been a real honor and privilege. Our corporate logo is based upon ‘The Great Snake’ design used in The Vikings. The first piece of our stationery (with the logo) was sent to Mr. D as a thank you. I’m hoping to get some additional poses done.

Sets based upon The Vikings, Zulu, The War Lord, Beau Geste and the Alamo are special because of private memories involving my grandfather. With regard to Zulu, Sir Stanley Baker was very kind to me starting when I was about 10 years old and cemented my love for Zulu & Colonial Wars in general. In adult life I had the privilege of being able to discuss The War Lord with Mr. Charlton Heston and really enjoyed his stories about the film.

All of our character figures (both historical and film)have been attempts to pay tribute to the actual historical person and/or actor who made an impression upon me. I’m glad we had the opportunity and I think we’ve generally succeeded.

Casualty sets, sets with a lot of action or emotion , hand to hand sets are ALL amongst the favorites because they were our attempt to pay tribute to the common soldiers, the enlisted men , the patriots and the conscripts of history. Showing or depicting the horror and misery of war was important to me.  The sacrifices of Those  who’ve come before us needs to be remembered.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Why after all these years of being absent have you returned? 

Richard Conte: Hi Michael, it is nice to hear from you.  Thank you for the kind words. Yes, we are back and doing our best to ‘gear up again’. By the way, the new website you mentioned is a work in progress and is by no means complete. Lots of sets are not posted yet; we hope to add a little each day as time permits.

I’ve ‘returned’  for a number of reasons : (a) because I love the toy soldier hobby and want to continue trying to contribute to it; (b) there are several ranges or series that I was in the ‘middle of’ when the various distractions sidetracked me..unfinished business if you like; (c) there are several projects which I am very fond of which were in their infancy or had not even been announced which I’d like to attempt. A couple of these are special to me personally (and I hope they will be to other collectors).; (d) I feel as though I let down many collectors of the Conte product who were awaiting the arrival of sets which we had shown photos of; and (e) because I enjoy bringing to life figures and sets for fellow collectors who have been so supportive of our Labor of Love all these years….

Many people don’t realize that sculpting continued , unabated, during my hiatus and that we have around 300 sculpts complete which have not yet been produced.  Even when things looked darkest, I wanted to believe that I’d one day be making soldiers again. Besides, I felt obligated to keep my best sculptor working.

 

Warhorse Miniatures: It looks like your restocking old sets and have previews of new sets to come. Any timeline on when the new products will arrive?

 

 Richard Conte: Production of new sets is my #1 priority.  I’d also like to do new production runs of some of our older, sold out sets which collectors continually ask for.  Since I’ve been sidelined from production, we have quite a backlog of new product and we have a lot of decisions to make regarding what sets we work on first.  Just a day or so ago, I posted on Facebook the names and numbers of 11 new sets which were sent to the factory for production. These were Zulu War and North West Frontier.  The second wave heading to the factory are primarily Vikings, Normans and some Civil War. And I’m at last sending the Robin Hood ‘duel’ in.

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As to timing, I’m reluctant to post dates because there are so many factors that can affect when new sets can actually be in the hands of collectors. It usually takes 4 months or longer from the moment a factory receives our paint and mold masters. Sometimes painting errors happen and delays result. Decades ago I sent a Kirk Douglas as Spartacus figure for production. It took almost 7 months to be able to sell him because the factory kept filling in his trademark chin cleft!!!!!!!!

The other factor which will affect delivery schedule is that of collector response to and interest in our offerings.  I know that the ‘market’ has declined in the past 5 years as collectors have aged and prices of figures have gone up. One needs only to look at the many companies who have either ceased to exist or have otherwise slowed release of new product.

 The initial response to our new website and to the announcement that we are back in action has been very positive with a few exceptions. I very much appreciate the response and the kind words received from many and we will try to not disappoint them.  Time will tell how collectors react to our new offerings.  The better the response, the more quickly we can make other sets…. 

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Warhorse Miniatures: The new sculpts are impressive, can you tell us more about them?

 

Richard Conte: Thank you . I actually think (immodestly) that our new & as of yet unproduced figures are probably the best we’ve attempted thus far.  I’ve been blessed to have some of the most gifted sculptors working with me. I am very proud of all sorts of the hand to hand sets. These are especially complex to sculpt and produce.

We also have quite a few multiple figure sets where the figures are part of a diorama terrain base like our upcoming Roman catapult which is something like 9 figures on 2 separate bases plus catapult, tree, accessories, etc….. As simple as it seems, getting the figure bases to exactly match the spaces for them on the terrain base is an ongoing quality control issue.