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.

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Warhorse Miniatures: So I noticed that most of your items for sale are painted metal sets, plans for plastics sets?

 

Richard Conte: I have posted an update about plastic figures on our web page in the blog section which I think gives the most honest assessment of where my thinking is at as of today.  Summarized, we are looking into costs of new molds and new production & also researching what new production runs of already existing plastic sets might cost.  I’ve also started considering different types of materials for the actual soldiers themselves.  It’s too early to be able to give any firm  answers on whether the plastic will be like that we used on our American Airborne or more like what was used on our GI’s.. 

Prices and methods have changed dramatically since I made my Spartans and I need to reeducate myself before coming to any conclusions. I’m also evaluating what sorts of ‘dumbing down’ of our sculpts will be necessary in order to realize a mold making cost which we can afford. Said another way, I don’t see us making any 12-14 separate part figures like our poseable Spartans because the market just won’t support the costs. I hate sacrificing any of the detail or implied motion/action of our sculpts but realize that trade offs will need to be made.

I love plastic figures(as well as painted metal) like many others do. There is something visually or artistically beautiful about a single colored toy soldier where the detail can really be seen as it is.  The best I can say is that I’d like and hope to make new plastic.  I encourage all plastics guys to support the folks who are making plastic like LOD, TSSD, Paragon, Plastic Platoon, etc……Most collectors have no idea what goes into producing a completed set of plastic figures.  It’s an expensive, time consuming and sometimes worrying  & thankless project.

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Warhorse Miniatures: If you have plans for the plastic sets.  Are you going to use the same material or something new?

 

Richard Conte: The jury is out on this one.  I don’t know. Some collectors love the ‘rubbery’ plastic we used on the Zulu War, Alamo defenders, Foreign Legion, Germans, Brit Paras, Us Airborne and Medieval. Others who paint the figs, don’t like and complain of bendable bayonets and swords being a problem with paint flaking…

The harder plastic we used on the Mexican Army, Civil War, WW2 GI/s and the Spartans has it’s fans and detractors. It seems there are two schools of thought on which type of plastic we should use. Can’t please everyone…

New materials (new to our product) will be considered and only time will tell .

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Warhorse Miniatures: I see some new product themes in the pipeline. Do you have any information on these?

 

Richard Conte: Several new ranges or series are in the pipeline.  The Tombstone figures , the French Foreign Legion, medieval Scots, Woodland Indians , etc.  are all in varying stages.  As excited as I am by some of the new ranges, first efforts are being directed towards major additions to our Zulu War, NWF, ACW, Roman and Viking ranges.  I was mid stream on a number of these themes when things got interrupted.   I also have some Revolutionary War, WW2 and Spartan sets which I’d like to add to those ranges in due course.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Thanks Richard, this is going to be my last question. What are your future plans and would you like to share anything else with us? 

Richard Conte: Thank you for the interest and in spreading the word that we are back in action. Jokingly, I’d like to share the expense of the sculpting, the mold making, the product itself with you!

Future plans are to gradually gear back up and to release some toy soldiers which hopefully do us proud and more importantly, please our fellow collectors.  Most people seem to think we are some large toy soldier company with endless resources and loads of employees and they don’t understand the delays or why a phone call is not answered immediately .  We are trying to keep costs down so that we can keep prices as low as we can to collectors. People often don’t know that I started Conteco as a frustrated collector who could not find what he wanted from the big corporate soldier makers; namely, hand to hand action, casualties,  poses that showed raw emotion and tremendous implied motion/action, and character likenesses which actually looked like the characters they were supposed to portray. 

Lastly, I’d ask people to take the  vile & specious negative attacks directed against me personally or the company with a grain of salt. Sadly, there are a number of disgruntled collectors, dealers we’ve parted with, competing companies (who would rather see us out of the market and not pulling collector money away from them) and a few others who for whatever reason have an ‘axe to grind’ who perpetually criticize anything we ever announce or post. A number of the usual ‘naysayers’ and Conte bashers have gone extremely far ‘out on a limb’  and are telling people that I am a liar, a huckster and that no new product will ever be released …..

Toy soldiers should be a positive thing. A source of enjoyment.  I’m doing my best to return and to unleash some exciting new designs.   Thanks to all the collectors for their past and current support. 

Hail Einar !

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Here is the new page here,  Conte Collectibles.

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“The world has changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it.

And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend, legend became myth.”

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In the late 1990’s Conte Collectibles exploded into the scene of Toy Soldiers like Attila the Hun once did to the world. He heralded the coming of the second Golden Age of Toy Soldiers. They released set after set for years of painted metal figures, plastic figures and playsets.

After years of no new releases, they are finally back with a new website https://contecostore.myshopify.com/. They are also having a 20% sale on their sets, check out the new site for more information. They are in the process of updating it now. You can sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more on their website.

I had a feeling something was up after I received a card from Richard after a order I had made recently.

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Here are some of the comments from Richard Conte below.

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“DEAR FELLOW COLLECTOR

APOLOGIES FOR OUR ‘ABSENCE’ .  WE’VE HAD A ROUGH COUPLE OF YEARS ON THE HOME + PERSONAL FRONT WHICH CAUSED NUMEROUS MAJOR DISTRACTIONS AND UNAVOIDABLE DELAYS IN MAKING EXCITING NEW PRODUCT AVAILABLE TO YOU LOYAL SUPPORTERS. WHILE WE’VE BEEN RECEIVING ORDERS AND SHIPPING PRODUCT THROUGH THIS PERIOD, WE MADE A DECISION TO DELAY RELEASE OF OUR LATEST CREATIONS UNTIL WE FELT ABLE TO HANDLE THE EXTRA WORKLOAD.  WE VERY MUCH APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE.  

NOW THAT EVERYTHING HAS CALMED DOWN, WE ARE COMMITTED TO RELEASING LOADS OF BRAND SPANKING NEW HIGH QUALITY & FAIRLY PRICED SOLDIERS . WE ARE ADDING TO EXISTING RANGES AND ALSO INTRODUCING SOME NEW ONES INCLUDING WOODLAND INDIANS VS. COLONIALS, FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION, WILD WEST.”

 

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“OUR FIRST PRIORITIES ARE TO * * * * * * * EXPAND EXISTING RANGES

THEN TO INTRODUCE NEW SERIES BASED UPON THE FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION, THE WILD WEST , ROBIN HOOD AND A FEW SURPRISES.”

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“SOME EXTREMELY COMPLEX SETS ARE IN THE PIPELINE ALONG WITH LOADS OF 1 OR 2 FIGURE SETS

WE ARE EXCITED TO BE BACK & LOOK FORWARD TO RENEWING THE QUEST WE HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US”

 

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I am interested in seeing some of the new sets and themes. The Woodland Indians & Colonial theme sounds really interesting to me. I will follow up this article when I get some more information.

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HAIL RAGNAR! HAIL EINAR! HAIL OUR FELLOW COLLECTORS! 

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Time is almost up for Crowdfunding * Hat 1/32 Seven Years War Austrians

The Crowdfunding for this project started in the beginning of February. They said that they would keep this open for 3 months to fund this project. I hope that they got enough support to produce these figures even if they didn’t make it to stage 10. These figures have the potential to fill a lot of gaps with my collection. Besides being used as Austrians for the SYW, that could also be used as Hessian mercenaries too for the American Revolution. If you have not pledged yet, click on this link Hat 1/32 Seven Years War Austrians.

A good sign is that they have made the prototypes to create the molds. 

 The design of these figures are really good. It will be a bargain to get 18 figures for the cost of around $15.00. Even if you are not the biggest fan of this subject it will help support the future production of 1/32 figures from Hat.

Barzso & LOD are producing 4 more American Revolutionary sets later this year. The Yorktown set is based on Redoubt #10. The British defended this Redoubt against the Americans. Redoubt #9 was defended by a mix of Hessian & British troops that was attacked by French forces. The Hat Austrians could help fill in as Hessian mercenaries. 

Here are some pictures showing the Hat Prussians they did years ago. They blend in very well with the Barzso figures. I think the new Austrians should be the same. So if you want to see these figures made, pledge here Hat 1/32 Seven Years’ War Austrians

Barzso Playsets “Battle of Yorktown: Attack on Redoubt #10” Playset LOD Revolutionary War Pre-Sale

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In my last post I had mentioned about Barzso Playsets and LOD Enterprises announcement of the “Battle of Yorktown: Attack on Redoubt #10″ Playset.” I have some more information on the joint venture. The playset estimated to cost $279 to $299.

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 “Barzso Playsets is teaming up with LOD Enterprises to produce this new playset. While contents are not completely finalized, here is what you can expect.”

  • 48 British Soldiers – Regulars and Light Infantry

  • 48 Continental Soldiers – Regular and Light Infantry

  • 2 Character figures: George Washington touching off the first shot to open the siege of Yorktown and Alexander Hamilton, leading the charge on Redoubt #10

  • Redoubt #10

  • Cannon, mortars

  • Many other accessories

100 SETS WILL BE PRODUCED. Pre-orders are NOW being taken! We are limiting the number of pre-orders to 50, (one per customer). If you want to pre-order a set please contact Ron Barzso.

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Jim Clouse had shared this picture and comment “Ron Barzso previewed the new character figures (original sculpts) for the Battle of Yorktown playset. George Washington is firing the first cannon shot to open the siege. At right, is Alexander Hamilton, who commanded the assault on Redoubt #10.”

Also LOD is having a pre-sale on the new unreleased Revolutionary sets that go with the Yorktown set. 

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“In anticipation of the new LOD Enterprises Rev War figure sets and the release of the Barzso Yorktown Playset, we are having a pre-order sale on the figure sets while also giving collectors an opportunity to win a free Yorktown Playset.

The pre-sale includes one figure set of each of the four (4) new figure sets. The figure sets have 16 toy soldiers in eight (8) unique poses.

LOD FIgure Set 10 – British Regular Army
LOD Figure Set 11 – British Light Infantry
LOD Figure Set 12 – American Regular Army
LOD Figure Set 13 – American Light Infantry

Each set will retail for $25.00. With the order of four (4) sets, you will be able to select one free set from the choices above. So, you wil get five (5) sets for the price of four (4) plus shipping. Shipping in the United States is $18.75 so for $118.75, you will receive five (5) figure sets along with an entry into the drawing for a free Yorktown Playset from Barzso Playsets.”

This is going to be Ron Barzso last playset. He is going to retire after this set is produced. Pre-order now before it is too late or you will have to travel to the Chicago show to pick one of the last 50 sets.

You can read more on the LOD sale here LOD Revolutionary War Pre-Sale (Buy 4 Sets Get 1 Free) and contact Ron Barzso at BARZSO PLAYSETS.

 

P.S. Don’t forget about the Hat Crowdfunding 1/32 7 Years War Austrians

Toy Soldier Review & Interview ~ Petite Guerre Toy Soldiers & Nino Serra

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Last month I read an article about Petite Guerre Toy Soldiers on Stad’s Stuff by Erwin Sell. You can read about that here, Stad’s Stuff.

After I read the article I went to the website and ordered some of their figures. The owner of Petite Guerre is Nino Serra, he is also the sculptor. They are located in Italy. Petite Guerre means “Little Wars”, which is the style of his figures. 

“More specifically, my interest focuses on the Petite Guerre, the unconventional, small-scale warfare that played  such an important role in the conflicts of the 1740s and 1750s: the War of the Austrian Succession, the Seven Years War, and of course the French and Indian Wars.” ~ Nino Serra

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So far they have some Native American Woodland Indians, Canadian Militia, British Infantry and now French Hussars. 

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After I emailed Nino and ordered some of his figures, we chatted as I waited and after I received them. I told him that I would do a review and he answered a few questions that I had. So here is a little interview we did.

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Warhorse Miniatures:  Greetings Nino, I am glad you have some time to answer a few questions. The first question I have with most creators or owners of companies is how did all this start?

 

Nino Serra:  Greetings to you Mike, and thanks for the opportunity you are giving me to present my work on your blog!

I grew up playing with toy soldiers, and began attempting at making my own white-metal figures as a boy in the early 1970’s. At that time, I used the lost-wax method (non-reusable wax masters and plaster molds). The results were quite frustrating, though, and for many years I achieved nothing. 

I then started using RTV silicon rubber to make the molds, and things gradually improved. By the time I went to college, I was able to sculpt and cast a few figures of my own. However, pressed by more important things, for many years I could spare only little time for the hobby… 

About fifteen years ago, I decided to make some toy soldiers to play with my twin kids, then three years old, and in the process ended up with a small range of white-metal figures.

Having successfully experimented with resin / hard plastic, I am now perfecting and expanding my range of figures, and hope they may meet with the interest of other toy soldiers enthusiasts. 

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Warhorse Miniatures: After seeing your figures first hand, I am truly impressed. How many years did it take you to achieve the level that your at now?

 

Nino Serra: It certainly took some years until I could make decent enough figures. 

At the beginning, I subscribed to a couple of military modeling magazines, bought a few books written by well-known military miniaturists, and gradually familiarized with different materials and sculpting techniques. 

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Warhorse Miniatures: I see you are fond of the French & Indian War era, is there any other theme that you are interested in?

 

Nino Serra: I have always been interested in 18th-Century military history and warfare. I think it all started with reading “Treasure Island” and “The Last of the Mohicans” as a small boy, and with a fascination for tricorne hats and flintlock muskets…

Beside the French-and-Indian Wars, I would like to also cover other conflicts of the mid 18th-Century, in particular the War of the Austrian Succession with its colorful variety of irregular warfare specialists.

 

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Warhorse Miniatures: Are there any brands of figures that you collect, like Barzso?

 

Nino Serra: I am not a toy soldiers collector. Over the years, though, I have occasionally purchased plastic toy soldiers (Airfix,  Italeri, Hat, Barzso, Accurate, TSSD, etc…) to study and use as a reference in order to improve my own figure design.

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Warhorse Miniatures: I was reading your blog about the muskets you created. I noticed that you’re trying to stay historical accurate with your figures, right?

 

Nino Serra: Yes I try to stay historical as much as I can. 

From the blogs and forums that I occasionally visit, I can see that most toy soldiers enthusiasts, collectors or wargamers, are indeed historically conscious and are usually put off by figures that are not accurate enough. 

This said, I also like my figures to look a little naive, or “toy-like” (that is why, when I paint my figures, I keep the shading and highlighting at a minimum and finish them semi-gloss).

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Warhorse Miniatures: What are your plans for the future?

 

Nino Serra: At the moment, I am working at a few more Canadian Militiamen and British regulars, as well as Highlanders and French regulars. I would also like to add some command figures to my range, as required to play skirmish wargames…

I am also working at more mounted Hussars, and possibly other irregular figures for the War of the Austrian Succession / Seven Years War period.

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Warhorse Miniatures: And lastly I will conclude the interview by thanking  you and asking you if there is anything else you would like to talk about or say. 

Thanks again, Mike.

Nino Serra: Although I would love to do so, I do not have the facility to produce soft plastic toy soldiers, nor the the means to mass-produce figures for the wider public as industrial manufacturers can do. So, at least for the time being, I will keep operating at a hobby level and produce my figures in small batches upon demand.

Thanks again + kind regards, Nino.

Here is my review of Nino’s figures. I love them, to me they are a piece of art. I ordered the French Canadian Militia and Native Woodland Indians. One of my favorite Toy Soldier companies is Barzso Playsets. The French & Indian War and the Seven Years War are some of my favorite conflicts to study. So if you’re like me, you will have to get some of Nino’s figures. I like the appeal of a raiding or war band of mixed French & Indians. 

With that said, the are for die hard collectors. I say that because of the cost, which is around 5 Euro each. But it seems that most new figures or the older Barzso figures can cost that much these days. One of the reasons for the high cost is these figures are hand cast and the molds have a short life. They are a Hobby based production, not an establish company. You can visit his blog and see how the process is done, it is very interesting.

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The Petite Guerre figures match very well with most of the current Barzso figures. They vary from 54mm to 57mm tall, but are the same scale. The reason for this is to make them more natural or an accurate realism. Some people are 5 feet, some are 6 feet. Barzso’s  earlier figures were on the small size, so they will not match well with the Petite Guerre figures. The most recent Barzso Indian sets match very well with the Petite Guerre Indians.

The Petite Guerre figures are not brittle, the weapons are strong. This resin mixture is very good. I like the sculpting of the Natives, it captures the look of the Huron or Iroquois people. One of my friends has the same shaped head. 

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Also the French Canadians look great, there are not too many figures sculpted that depict French Canadian Militia. 

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All in all, they are a welcome addition to my collection. When I finish painting these figures, I will take some more pictures and do another post. I purchased these figures to paint them. As of right now I think the colors are gray and black. The Vallejo paints that I used adhered very well. I am looking forward to seeing more of his Canadian Militia and French Regulars.   

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Paul sent me some of his pictures to use for the review. Erwin also got his British Infantry figures. Here are Erwin’s pictures. 

Erwin Sell did a review too on Nino figures over at Stad’s Stuff check it out.

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Happy Easter Everyone.

Happy Easter

 

Gettysburg Toy Soldier Show 2018

Gettysburg Toy Soldier Show

Spring is around the corner and so is the Gettysburg Toy Soldier Show. I try to go to the show each year. This has to be the best place for a Toy Soldier show with all the history your’e surrounded by. Besides the show and Battlefield, the town of Gettysburg is a really nice place to visit too. This would be a nice weekend to come and stay at Gettysburg. Take a walk around the town, Steinwehr avenue is a good place to start. Plenty of antiques stores and historical related shops to visit. Destination map of Gettysburg. Some of the shops sell Toy Soldiers too. 

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One of those shops is the Gettysburg Miniature Soldier Toy Soldier Shop that is owned by John Zawaba. It is a nice place to visit for both plastic and metal figures. One of the last brick and mortar shops around.

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Now back to the show. Last year the show was great, you can read more by reading my review here Gettysburg Toy Soldier Show 2017 Review. The show has both plastic toy soldiers, painted metal miniatures, historical items, hand crafted diorama pieces, books and other toys. Besides all the toys,  it’s a great place to talk to fellow collectors and dealers. 

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The show is on Sunday, April 29th, 2018. Show hours are 10am to 3pm. Located at the Eisenhower Hotel & Conference Center, 2634 Emmittsburg Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325 (717) 334-8121. Aspire Grand Ball Room. There is plenty of parking, the hotel is outside the town. Admission is $7.00, Children under 12, Free with an Adult.

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The show is promoted again by John Stengel Jr and co-promoted by Carl Hoegermeyer. They do a wonderful job at the show. Maybe we will see some new figures from John this year. You never know what he is bringing.

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Latest News!! New Figures & Projects.

I would like to wish all my collector friends from around the world a Happy New Year. I hope I will see some new figures or playsets at the Toy Soldier shows this spring or at least by the end of the year. Barzso Playsets might release some new figure sets or have some old figure sets back in stock in the near future. We shall see in time. 

There was a bunch of new products that came out the last few months of the year. Mainly from X-Force and Russian makers. Paul from the Stad’s Stuff page has reported most of these sets already. I will show a few pictures of some of these sets that I found either on the company website or ebay.

Today on ebay I saw a limited edition Publius Viking for $14.99!!

Expeditionary Force keeps producing new figures about every other month it seems. Last year they started releasing Napoleonic Wars figure sets. They also branched out to the War of 1812. Some of the British figures could be used for both Wars. The Highlander figures had different Uniforms at the Battle of New Orleans than they did at the Battle of Waterloo. For me it is not a big deal if everything is not exact. These sets are going for about $32.50. Here are a few pictures.

 

British Highlanders

British Line Infantry

  British Royal Marines

American Militia

Also last year there was a bunch of Vietnam related sets from different companies like Mars and TSSD. But the best so far have be made by the Russian company called Plastic Platoon. So far they have released 3 different American sets. They are going for around $55 to $60 or so on ebay. Hobby Bunker has Plastic Platoon figures also. Here are a few pictures of the American Vietnam forces. 

25th Infantry Division

1st Cavalry Division

US Marines

 

Another Russian company is Chintoys that start releasing sets of Napoleonic Officer sets and now US Civil War Officer sets. I saw some of the mounted sets on ebay today. They are going for about $50 for each set. Here are some pictures.

Union

Confederate

Here are a group of Medieval figures that are made by another Russian company called Warhansa. The set of Knights & Sergeants includes 5 different figures for $32. I think these are the best sculpted toy soldiers they have made to date. 

 

Inzhener Basevich released some new figure sets based on the Russo-Japanese War. One set for each side. They are really nice, but are priced around $60.

The most common thing about all these new figures is the price. The cost of plastic Toy Soldiers have gone up so much the last few years. These are collectors prices and not prices for “Toys”, which is what the hobby of Toy Soldiers have become. It is for Adults now and made for a collection. Not as toys that we used to get when were kids. I remember going to the store and getting a set of Airfix toy soliders for less that $4.00. And now you cannot even get one figure for that price!

I ordered some new Playmobil parts and will start making some new customs soon. Besides that I will be finishing some other projects that I have been working on for a while.

East Coast Toy Soldier Show 2017 Review

This year at the annual East Coast Toy Soldier Show it was it’s 34th year. As usual I had a good time. I stormed in like Queek Headtaker, lol.

After I did a quick recon of the place. I quickly found some vintage Marx German toy soldiers that Mike Russo was selling. He had 45 dark grey Marx German soldiers for $30.00. Then I later got 40 light grey Marx German soldiers for $20.00 from Francis Turner of the Marx Toy Connection. Last year I was looking for Conte figures and this year I was looking for the new recast Barzso figures. I didn’t find any of the Barzso figures. Maybe next time……

A few years ago I purchased a boxed “Guns of Navarone” playset for $50, but it didn’t have the German soldiers. So now that problem is solved.  I also found a few other plastic figures, recast Marx Japanese figures, a metal cannon, 2 W. Britain “Wrath of the Northmen” figures and I re-joined the W. Britain fan club. Here are some pictures of the items that I got.

This year I noticed a few more vendors with vintage toys besides toy soldiers. There were some Warhammer miniatures, action figures, dolls, Playmobil, Fisher Price, Hess trucks. other vintage toys and some Military related items too.

After I finished searching the show, I got my camera and started taking pictures. One of the things I like about going to the shows is not all the vendors are toy dealers. Some of them are collectors or don’t sell over the internet. You never know what you might find at these shows. Then there are some unique vendors that either paint or create their own products. One of the first vendors that I started talking too after I finished searching was Mark Bell. He creates historical dioramas, check out his site Bell’s Dioramas in History

Another vendor that I came across was Josh. He is a big collector that comes to the show every year and sometimes to other toy shows in Pennsylvania. He had a lot of vintage Marx figures and some other brands too.

Besides seeing some the vendors I know, I get a chance to see some of the other collectors. Paul Stadinger of Stad’s Stuff is one of them. Paul was there as a collector and a blogger like me. He should have a blog post about the show too. I spent a few minutes talking to him and his wife Laurie. Here is a picture of Laurie, Paul and me.

Stad

Another vendor was Mike Russo. He used to have a store in East Stroudsburg, PA. I used to go there a few times a year and now I see him once a year at the show.

Mike Russo

W. Britain was also was there. I took the time to sign up for the collectors club again.

Here are a few more pictures from different vendors.

One of my favorite vintage toy dealers to see Rick Eber of Rick Eber’s Marx Playsets. He always has something interesting to see. If your looking for that hard to find item, Rick might have it.

Another vintage dealer was George’s Toy Chest. They had some nice items for sale.

Another vintage dealer that I got some items from was the Marx Toy Connection.

Another vendor that had some cool items was Mark Mcdermott.

Another of my favorite vendors is John Stengel Jr of Marx-Man. He has a lot of vintage figures. Either loose figures or in bags, plus sets and playsets. They usually have something that I am looking for. Also John does produce limited run figures. He might have some new sets next year. Hopefully will see some Normans, Saxons and maybe some WWII Germans.

Here are some more pictures from different dealers.

Michael D Roberto is the guy to go to if your interested in Hess Trucks. The Hess Toy Truck Encyclopedia

Doug Dearth does some really nice art work. You should check out his historical based art at Dearthco.net.

Here are a few of the main vendors that come to most of the shows on the east coast. George Guerriero  of Minutemen Toy Soldiers always has the some of the nicest displays of painted metal toy soldiers. He also has some vintage or hard to find plastic figures too. I picked up some W. Britain figures from him and recast Marx Japanese figures at the show.

Treefrog Treasures Military Miniatures has a nice selection of painted metal figures at the shows.

Crown Military Miniatures is another dealer of painted metal figures. They usually have a lot of John Jenkins figures available.

One of my other favorite dealers is Hobby Bunker. They usually have plenty of both plastic and painted metal figures.

There were plenty of other dealers at the show worth coming to see. Bill Longo did a good job again. After I spent the first hour and a half searching for items, I came back to gather information on the show. Some dealers I missed just because of time. The ones that I did do my review on are ones that I have dealt with in the past or have had positive interactions with.

I am going to try to put together another post in a few weeks about WWII Japanese plastic toy soldiers. That is it for now. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed.

East Coast Toy Soldier Show, Hackensack NJ October 29th 2017

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Well it’s almost Halloween and a month after the the big toy soldier show in Chicago. If you’re like me and couldn’t make it to Chicago, what do you do? Well if your in the Tri-State area you go to the East Coast Toy Soldier Show. It is located at Fairleigh Dickerson University, Rothman Center, 100 University Plaza Dr, Hackensack, NJ 07601. So get up early on October 29th, it starts a 9am and lasts to 3am. 

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Last year I had a great time at the show. There was mixture of plastic and metal toy soldiers. They have a big selection of Hess truck toys, plus some of old & vintage toys. You can read more about last years show here, East Coast Toy Soldier Show 2016 Review

Also don’t forget pre-order your ticket for the show!!!!!!! You have until 10/20/2017 for them to process it. So get it done!!!! Last year I did it for the first time. Instead of waiting on line to pay, I walked in like a boss when they opened the doors. East Coast Toy Soldier Show Ticket Info

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So, say hello to Bill Longo and thank him for putting together another great show 🙂 East Coast Toy Soldier Show on Facebook

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