An Interview with Austin Beidelschies of Austin Miniatures.

Logo LG

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.

Austin Covboys1

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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Austin Prototype1c

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.

Austin Japanese1

Prototype1

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.

Western Figures

Marines4

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.

Playset3

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

Playset1Playset2

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.

Metal G-Man

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.

Painted

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. 

Austin Compasion1

Austin CompasionAustin Compasion2Austin Compasion3Austin Compasion4Austin Compasion5

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”.

Logo LG

Thank you for reading. That is it for now 🙂

Banzai!!! World War II Japanese Plastic Toy Soldiers Project.

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WWII Japanese Toy Soldiers

When I was in my early teens I picked up some Airfix  World War II sets. I got a few of the WWII Japanese Infantry and it is still one of my favorite sets that I have. I put two videos above mainly just for the sounds of the Banzai shouts.

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Airfix Japanese2aAirfix Japanese2bAirfix Japanese2cAirfix Japanese2dAirfix Japanese2e

Ever since I picked up those Airfix WWII Japanese I have been looking for more plastic Japanese figures to go with them. The first set few sets that I got were the dark green figures. Later on I started finding the beige colored Airfix figures.

Airfix Japanese1

Airfix Japanese1aAirfix Japanese1bAirfix Japanese1cAirfix Japanese1dAirfix Japanese1eAirfix Japanese1fAirfix Japanese1gAirfix Japanese1hAirfix Japanese1iAirfix Japanese1j

This is a project that I started many years ago. I am putting together different groups of figures to be used for a Japanese Army. I have found other brands over the years that are nice too. The Japanese figures by TSSD blend very well with the Airfix figures. I like the TSSD WWII Japanese figures too. They capture the “Banzai” attack with their set. There are action poses of running, shooting and charging with bayonets fixed on the rifles. The bayonets look really nice too. Plus the different pieces of head gear. Right now TSSD & Airfix are my favorite combinations to use.

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TSSD Japanese

TSSD Japanese1aTSSD Japanese1bTSSD Japanese1cTSSD Japanese2TSSD Japanese3TSSD Japanese4TSSD Japanese5TSSD Japanese6TSSD Japanese7TSSD Japanese8TSSD Japanese10TSSD Japanese10aTSSD Japanese10bTSSD Japanese11TSSD Japanese11aTSSD Japanese11bTSSD Japanese12TSSD Japanese12aTSSD Japanese12bTSSD Japanese13TSSD Japanese13aTSSD Japanese13bTSSD Japanese14TSSD Japanese14aTSSD JapaneseBTSSD JapaneseC

This year BMC released recast figures using original Marx molds. These figures are really nice and seem to have not lost much accept some extra flash. I like the Marx figures too. They are a little taller and thinner than the Airfix Japanese for the most part.

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Mars released a set of WWII Japanese figures this year. They match well with the Marx in scale. They are crudely made. I only like 4 of their poses. They are the running and shooting figures. I am going to try to customize a few of the figures to make them look better.

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Next year Austin Miniatures is going to release a set of Japanese Infantry. From the prototypes they look really good. The Austin US Marines are really nice too. I will get a few sets when they are released. These figures should mix well with the TSSD & Airfix figures.

Austin Japanese

Austin Japanese1Austin Japanese2

I will get some foam bunkers in the future to set up a nice display one day. Right now I have the BMC Iwo Jima playset and an old Playmobil piece to use. The BMC terran piece is really nice and so is the whole set. This is probably the best priced playset being produced today. You get a quality set at a great price.

BMC IWO JIMABMC IWO JIMA1

The BMC Iwo Jima Japanese figures are nice too. They are a little bigger than the TSSD and Marx figures. 

BMC Iwo Jima Japanese1BMC Iwo Jima Japanese2

Most of the poses that I look for are the ones that will join my “Banzai” attack. This was the Japanese tactic they used to try to overrun their opponents. They would rush against an enemy as a suicide attack. It was used mainly as a last resort.

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Banzai4Banzai5Banzai6Banzai7WWII Japanese Warrior Soldiers and Rising Sun Flag

Tenno Heika Banzai!!!

Thank you for reading. Take Care for now.

Latest News!!! December 23rd, 2018. Weston Trail Drive Set & Gunfighters Review. Hobby News, Austin Miniatures WWII Japanese, LOD Amazons, Plastic Platoon German Partatroops & Vintage Finds. Playmobil 1804.

Weston Cowboys

I ordered the “Trail Drive” set last month from the Weston Toy Co. website which is here Steve Westons Toy Soldiers. I had purchased the Weston Gunfighter set a few months ago on eBay. Both sets are really nice.

Weston Trail Drive BoxWeston Trail Drive Box1

Weston Trail Drive 1

The Trail Drive set came in a white box and the figures were protected in plastic padded envelopes. The are 6 Longhorn Cattle in 3 different poses and 4 mounted Cowboys in 4 different poses. The cattle have detached horns and 2 have detached tails. The figures are made out of Poly-resin. They are in 1/32 scale. We will first take a look at the Cowboys. 

Weston Trail Drive 3

Weston Trail Drive 9

 

Weston Trail Drive 14

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Ever since I started collecting some of the vintage western figures this year I wanted to pick up this Trail Drive set. It fits very well with the vintage 54mm figures. I like the fact that the saddles are attached to the Cowboy and they fit perfect on the horses.

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Weston Trail Drive 19

These figures will look great displayed or in a diorama. The poses tell a good story when setup right. Each Cowboy has a role to play in this cattle drive. The first figure is the Trail Boss shouting out orders. The second figure has the point or acts as a Scout. The third Cowboy is pushing the cattle along with his leather strap. As the last figure with the neckerchief comes in at the rear.

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Now we will take a look at the Longhorn cattle. Their poses show that they are on the move. One has his head looking towards the right. The other has his head looking towards left and the last pose has his head up looking forward.

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Weston Trail Drive 24a

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Weston Gunfigters

Here are the Weston Toy Co. set of Gunfighters. They are also 1/32 or 54mm. These figures are made out of plastic. There are 14 figures in the set with 7 different poses.

Weston Gunfigters1

I think these cowboys are supposed to be the “Magnificent Seven” or maybe the just appear that way.

 

Weston Gunfigters2

They are the same scale as the Trail Drive Cowboys.

The poses are nice. Some are classic poses and some are unique. I like the one that appears to have a knife in his hand ready to throw. Plus the one with his hand out forward like he is telling someone to stay calm or to wait.

Latest News

Now we move to some hobby news. As I was putting this post together Ken Ciak of LOD Enterprises was posting a video on Facebook.

Here is a preview of the Amazons that are supposed to come out next year. They look nice from what I can see. I think there will also be two mounted figures too.

Weston News

Other news about LOD comes from Steve Weston. He says that his Weston Mexicans will now be distributed by LOD in the USA after the TSSD was sold off.

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Plastic Platoon German Paratroopers will be ready sometime in January. These figures should be the same scale as Conte figures I hear. Here are some pictures of production cast figures. I like the details they have and the color too.

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I think Hobby Bunker should have these sometime in January. 

Plastic Platoon Colt

Plastic Platoon also posted this picture of an old pistol. I think it is a colt. I guess we might see a western themed set or two in the future.

Austin Japanese

Austin Miniatures announced last week that they will have 2 new sets to preview at the next Chicago show in 2019. The last Chicago show they had the prototypes of the WWII Japanese Infantry. As I was putting this together Allen Beidelschies of Austin Miniatures shared these pictures of some of them painted.

Airfix German ParatroopsAirfix German Paratroops1

I am planning on putting an online reference guide for a few brands that I collect starting sometime next year. It will include mainly Airfix, Barzso and Conte. Plus some others. About 6 months ago I picked up a few British Infantry sets and noticed that they were bigger than the vintage cast figures. It must be because of the plastic used. The latest figures cast years ago are of a hard model type plastic and probably didn’t shrink like the softer plastic used on the old sets. After a few months searching for a German Paratroops set I finally found one at a fair price. They are a little bigger. The newer sets do lose some of the detail of the vintage sets too. I will keep up the research and post more on this in the future.

The Finds

Playmobil 1804Playmobil 1804 APlaymobil 1804 B 

I found this Playmobil set for $10.00 while I went to a vintage toy show in Allentown earlier this month. It is set number 1804 the Doctor & Nurse Super Deluxe Playset. It is almost complete. The box is roached and I replaced the windshield. But besides that it is in pretty good shape. This a Schaper edition playset. This was probably sold at Sears or Sterns in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s.

Atlantic

I got these figures for a steal at $1.00. They are Greek Infantry by Atlantic. I got about 25 of these figures from Europe. Half had missing weapons. They are 60mm. I stumbled across them while searching for something else. I had not been collecting ancient figures but I had to get these at that price. 

Airfix German Paratroops1

I should have some other posts up soon. Thanks for reading. Take Care.

Latest News!!! December 1st, 2018. New Owners of TSSD, No Texas Toy Soldier Show in 2019.

After a couple of months of speculation about the status of Toy Soldiers of San Diego there was an announced today. The new owner is David Cook. He is the eBay seller MicShaun’s Closet.

TSSD

I have purchased toy soldier sets from them in the past on eBay. I’ve had great service from them. The last time was in July when I ordered 3 sets of the Paragon Plains Indians. I can’t wait to see what their plans are.

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https://www.ebay.com/usr/micshaunscloset2013

https://www.facebook.com/MicShaunsCloset/?hc_location=ufi

TSSD Romans

I would like to thank Nick and DeAnna for their time put into creating some nice figure sets and expanding the hobby of Toy Soldiers for us plastic guys.

 

 

Texas

We have some sad news to mention too. The Texas Toy Soldier Show will not continue in 2019. But it should be back in 2020.

Thank you for reading. I hope to have some future posts in a couple of weeks.

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Latest News!!! November 23rd 2018. Black Friday Deals!! Plus some Hobby News……

Black Friday

I hope everyone didn’t eat to much turkey this year. Now that your stomach has settled it is time to find some deals on toys!!! I have a few places to go that I noticed had sales for Black Friday or the holiday season. I hope you guys make out like a Bandit. So lets us begin in alphabetical order.

 

 

AIP logo

AIP Sale

We begin at Armies in Plastic

 

 

ATS

ATS Sale

Next is ATS Toy Soldiers.

classictoysoldiers.com

CTS Sale

Next we visit Classic Toy Soldiers.

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LOD Sale

Check out the sale at LOD Enterprises Toy Soldiers.

MTS 

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Next we head over to Michigan Toy Soldier Co.

Latest News

That is it with the sales. We will head over now for some hobby news. 

W Britain

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Besides collecting plastic figures I also collect some of the metal painted miniatures too. The past few years I have been buying mainly W. Britain “Wrath of the Northmen”. I also belong to the W. Britain Collector’s club.

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I like the club. You get to pick one exclusive figure every year and are able to purchase other limited figures. Also included are a magazine, catalog and updates. Beside that they have some sales once in a while like the pictures below show.

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BMC Toys

BMC NewsBMC JapaneseBMC Marx Battle

Over at BMC Toys Jeff has been real busy this year with adding a lot of vintage recasted figure sets to their line of toys. They are starting to add some Marx World War II sets and accessories. They have Plans of bringing back the Marx WWII Marines in green and tan early next year.

BMC RussiansBMC Peyton4

We should see the Marx WWII Russians figures, Japanese figures, Axis Ambush playset accessories and Peyton Anti-Aircraft vehicles soon. Some of these sets should be here next week.

BMC Iwo JimaBMC Rough Riders

The news does not end there. The BMC Iwo Jima playset and Rough Riders are available in a week or so. Both of these set have been retooled with new colors and a few other things changed.

Mars Japanese

 

 

I read over at Stad’s Stuff earlier this month about Mars Toy Soldiers is going to release a set of World War II Japanese Infantry. They look crude but might look better painted or converted. I will get a set one day to fill up the ranks of my  Japanese forces. 

 

 

This is my Pre-Black Friday deal. I purchased these Lone Star Harvey Series Cowboys & Indian figures for about $7.00. I had some clones of these figures but never the original ones. I like them a lot. 

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If I missed any sales send me a message and I will update the post. Thanks for reading. Now go out shopping, lol.

 

 

 

 

 

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

East Coast Show1East Coast Show

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

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

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

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

 

Weston D Day British

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

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

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

British Infantry

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

Weston Conte

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

Wild West

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

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

 

Replica Metal Soldiers

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

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

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

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

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

Metal Figures1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pro Painted3aPro Painted4a

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

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

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

 

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

Replica Metal Soldiers & Models

Replica Metal Soldiers & Models on Facebook

Custom painted figures on eBay – painted172

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

News

East Coast Show1

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

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

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

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

 

That is it for now. Thank you for reading 🙂

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.

Barzso China

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

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

Barzso Playset A

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

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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.

 

Plastic Addict

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

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

 

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

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Barzso Rangers1Barzso Rangers2

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

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

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

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

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

Barzso Playset2aFort William Henry

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Daniel Boone1Daniel Boone2

 

(from here we jumped into the prices of Barzso)

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

The Figures Native

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

 

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

Forbidden PlanetThe Time Machine

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

or The Barzso “The Time Machine” playset.

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

Walking Dead3

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ron-Barzso

Ron & Mary Barzso

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

Ron-Barzso1

 

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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Latest News! September 3rd, 2018. HaT Toy Soldiers SYW Prussians 1/32 Scale Return!!! ATS Sale, And……???

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Hat SYW Prussians5

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It is a very exciting time for us collectors this time of the year. The Chicago Toy Soldier Show is less than a few weeks away. Usually the toy companies will release new products or show some prototypes at the show. Last week HaT finally re-stocked the Seven Years War Prussian sets in 1/32 scale. These sets will be available this month(September). I have been looking for these for almost 5 years now. I really like these figures. Hopefully they will release the new 1/32 scaled Seven Years War Austrians soon. 

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The sets are sold as Marching, Action and Command.

Hat SYW Prussians

With these sets you can change hats of the figures to make them look as either Musketeers, Fusiliers or Grenadiers. 

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You can get these sets for around $15.00 or less.

Besides being used as Prussians these figures can be easily used as Hessian mercenaries that served for the British in the American Revolution. The mix well with the new LOD/Barzso figures.

Prussians

I like the Grenadier hats the best. The details on those hats are really nice and have a nice shape to them. Other plastic Grenadier figures that have been made over the years have some weird shaped hats.

Schlacht bei Leuthen 1757 / Röchling - Battle near Leuthen 1757 / Röchling - Battle near Leuthen 1757 / RöchlingPrussians4

Also this week ATS Toy Soldiers has a sale of 20% off your order with a purchase of 2 items or more! You can check that out over at ATS Toy Soldiers.

I was going to write up a post this weekend about some vintage figures that I got last month. I will most likely get to that at the end of the month or in October. Instead of relaxing this weekend, I went to work on Sunday. 

Next week I will have an exciting blog post. It will be another interview. On Saturday I did an interview over the phone with someone that I have been wanted to do for a long time now. That is it for now. Thanks for reading.

Latest News! July 29th, 2018. Vintage Toy Soldiers, Flea Market Finds, and Hobby News.

Here is another blog post on the hobby of toy soldiers. Here are a few pictures of some of the figures that I am going to talk about.

I usually try to visit flea markets, yard sales and antique stores in the late spring, summer and fall seasons. Most of the time I don’t find too many toy soldiers of interest to me. But the last couple of years I have been lucky to find some nice items. A couple of years ago I started searching for new places to visit that were about 2 to 3 hours away from the house. I find a store or town that I want to visit and then take the local roads until I get to that place. Usually we find stores or discover some yard sales along the way. The other day me and my girlfriend took a random drive and discovered the small town of Honesdale, PA. There were a few nice shops there. One of the stores that we visited was Ambeez Toy Box. This toy store was selling a combination of vintage and new toys. I saw a lot of vintage action figures there. Plus some Warhammer figures. The store is family owned. The owner Paul Bas was very friendly and helpful. I picked up a 21st Century Airplane. An WWII Italian Macchi C.202 Folgore in 1/32 scale  for $30. If you are ever around Honesdale stop by.

 

Ambeez Toy Box

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I stopped at a local Dollar Tree and found this Western bagged set. It had a few figures, a wagon and a camp fire. For a dollar you can’t go wrong. The Wagon is not bad, the figure is about 54mm. The other figures are about 60mm.

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The last couple of months I have been picking up vintage western theme figures either from the flea markets or the internet. Mainly groups of figures from different companies and not sets. At the same time I have been going through my collection and re-discovering figures or sets that I forgot I had. One example is the Airfix Plains Indians  in 1/32 scale. I was looking for a few weeks for some on eBay. The prices are crazy these days. I was watching a set and then discovered a bunch of figures that I already had, lol. I also found some Timpo Solid cast figures and Reisler Indians that I had stored away. I am going to do a future post on them and some other sets that I have. One of my favorite was the 1/32 scaled Timpo Native American in the picture above and the others pictures below. This is from the 1960’s I think. He is holding a rifle with a blanket covering him. I had to repair him and the horse above too. His rifle was broken and the horse’s leg had broken off. I am planning on painting these one day. I think the horse is by Marx?