The Latest News!! 07-19-2019 ~ News & Reviews. Plastic Platoon, Chintoys, Prikaz, Conte & Mars.

Here is a quick recap of what has been happening this week. Plus a review of Chintoys sets 017 & 018.  

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Here are some pictures of sculpts that were sent to me by Plastic Platoon. They are Plains Indians from the Tribes of the Sioux & Cheyenne. I guess these will be available sometime before the end of the summer or early fall. The details are excellent. These figures are more like a set of Character figures than a regular set. I wish that some of the poses were crouching or running as they would have been at the Little Big Horn. Maybe we will see some figure sets of hand to hand fighting. Or even some mounted figures would be even better.

 

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Here is another figure that is being made for the Conte Romans sets. The details are also excellent. I can’t until these available.

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Lion King with alternate arms. Here we have freed him from his ‘flag’ and are turning him loose for hand to hand combat. ; (also have a 3rd left arm holding round shield)

 

Mars

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Mars sent me some pictures of the way the box will look for their upcoming set of WWII German Panzergrenadiers.

 

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Here are some pictures of the new sets that have just been released or will be released this month by Prikaz. They are about 56mm or the big 1/32 scale. I will update the catalog page with prices and more pictures soon Prikaz Toy Soldiers

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Here are the 6 figures in the Viking Shieldwall set. Three figures with shields standing and three figures with shields kneeling. This set sells for $37.00.

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Here are some pictures of the figures from the new “Hunters” set. This set goes for $37.00

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Some more pictures of the new Artillery Set. This set has 8 figures and a cannon. This set goes for $100.00.

 

Chintoys

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I ordered the two new sets from Chintoys last week. These sets come in various colors from blue, blue-gray, red and brown. Maybe even more colors? I ordered the the sets in blue. You can find these sets on eBay right now.

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Here are the Chintoys Knights Templar CHT017 & Knights Hospitaller CHT018. Here are some more pictures below of the Knights with figures from other brands of Prikaz, Conte & Engineer Basevich to compare them too.

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These plastic figures are really nice. I like the choice of poses and use of other medieval weapons the we usually never see. The figures say 1/32 but they are closer to 1/30. They are a little bigger than the Conte medieval figures. But still look really nice with them. They fit very well with the Prikaz & Engineer Basevich figures. If I see the blueish gray color figures I will pick them up one day. I think I will paint a set of these one day if I get another set of the brown ones. I think we will see some Arab warriors one day to fight our Crusaders. I would like to see them do a Teutonic set and some Baltic Pagans to fight. That would some great sets to see.

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That is is for now. Thanks again for reading.

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

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One thing about going to the toy shows is getting a chance to meet fellow collectors, dealers and company owners. Just to talk about our collections, their products or hobby news. It is almost like therapy, lol. I don’t have to many personal friends that are collectors. So it is fun to talk or explain things to people that actually know what you are talking about or share the same passion in collecting.

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Eddie White and Rich Egan.

Or collectors you meet you can talk about the crafting of things. I have been looking into all kinds crafting builds, sculpting items or figures, casting & making molds the past few years. I find it really interesting when I come across someone that is currently creating things. Even if it is something that I might not personally collect. I like to learn what they are doing.

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Michael Sreckov on the right talking to fellow collector Thomas Kontos at the Midwest Toy Soldier Show.

A few months ago while I was at the Midwest Toy Soldier show I meet Michael Sreckov. He owns a small business called Warring Warbirds, Inc. They build hand crafted Airplanes and other unique items.

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I remember seeing some pictures of his work being displayed in some of the toy soldier forums about the Chicago Toy Soldier Show. They are really impressive.

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Michael found some time to answer a few questions.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Can you tell us a little about your background and how did Warring Warbirds get started?

 

Michael Sreckov: I started Warring Warbirds, Inc. about four years ago. I was at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show during the room trading as everyone loves to do. I have been going to this show since 1996 and been a toy soldier collector since I was 12. I loved to see companies like King and Country, Figarti and Britains go head to head in competition with each other bringing new innovated ideas and concepts to the toy soldier industry and to the toy soldier collector. They were always trying to do one up from each other with the so called “Wow factor” to there displays and products. For example the Deutsche Reichsbahn train set introduced on a beautiful diorama depicting a German Train station during WW2 that Figarti did or the awesome diorama’s that depicted snap shots of history that are breath taking that Andy & Gordon Nelson from King and Country would do when showcasing there artistic new figures and vehicles making there creations come alive in miniature.

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Michael Sreckov continues:

It was my fellow collectors and I that would talk nonstop of the many wonders they would see room to room. My friend Hans gave me the idea that he would love to see more WWII aircraft to go with his figures and dioramas that he was buying from K& C and Figarti. Then it dawned on me that this was a niche I would love to fill, but how. You heard the saying when opportunity comes a knocking you start a rocking. It was at one of my brother-In-Laws family parties that my opportunity came. See my brother in-law wife’s family are Filipino. My sister in-law’s first cousin was a artist and wood carver. His family owns a mahogany forestry in the Philippines and they carve airplanes, boats and cars and other wooden products. I could not believe what I was hearing. I spoke to him about starting a model plane business that catered to the toy soldier collector. From there it began. I started to ask my fellow collectors what they would like to see in planes.

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Michael Sreckov continues:

I would make prototypes like Horsa Gliders and Lancaster Bombers all in 1/32 and 1/30 scale like the toy soldiers and bring them to the show and showcase from the back of my car in the parking lot of the Chicago show. Every plane I built was sold and more people asking where they could get them. I started to think, If I could get orders from customers at the shows. I could start getting them made and delivered to them. I knew my customers, because I am that customer. That toy soldier collector that knows all the details from the exact colors, patterns and accessories of a soldier as to the details to a model plane of a Junkers JU-52 transport bomber. See the devil is in the detail and so am I when it comes to creating works of art. As you can see in the photos I attached.

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Warhorse Miniatures: What is the process with the designing of the planes?

 

Michael Sreckov: It takes 6 to 12 hours in research on the planes then a ten stage process: Carving, Interior build, Putty, Masking, Priming, Base coat painting, Masking, Secondary coat, Detailing, and Final sealer coating. Then the item is carefully packaged for shipping.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Are they made of solid wood or a mixture of different materials?

 

Yes, they are made from Mahogany wood. The only other material would be metal land gear and polymer canopy’s.

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Warhorse Miniatures: So I am guessing that most of your sales are at the shows & orders you receive by email. Do you do custom orders too? 

 

Yes at the shows and orders that we receive by email. We do custom orders, but these can take longer pending on the size and detail special pricing.

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Warhorse Miniatures: How much do you charge for these?

 

That depends on the size of the model, The level of detailing and shipping costs. For example a fighter plane 1/30 scale can be around $600 – $800 a model. Medium size range from $800-$1,500.00.  Larger planes under 48″wing span $1,500- $1,800 and then there is custom which we would quote a price.

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Warhorse Miniatures: Besides the planes do you do the dioramas too?

 

Yes. Typically bases for the model planes so they can be displayed. Like a 2 x 2 or 3 x 3 diorama base with a run way and area for adding toy soldiers,vehicles and buildings.

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Warhorse Miniatures: And any other creations besides airplanes?

 

Well my good friend Marcus Thorsen of Thorsen Studios has made some beautiful dioramas for my plane displays which are for purchase. For example: We displayed the Hartenstein Hotel from the Movie Bridge Too Far. See pictures attached. 

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Well that concludes the interview. Michael will be at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show this September. Stop by and say hello. Here is his contact information below. 

Michael Sreckov
Warring Warbirds, Inc.
3640 Waterscape Terrace
Elgin, Illinois 60124

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

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

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

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Mr. C thought we should show this one, so you understand the process a bit.

We start with a wax original sculpt. Then we make ‘mold masters’ out of what is referred to as a ‘casting resin’. Once the mold masters are perfect, we send to the factory for review and prototyping. The gray figure on the right is a ‘mold master’ which is a virtually an exact copy of the original wax.(not shown) The cream colored figure on left is a plastic prototype made at the factory. Once the cream figure has been reviewed/modified/approved by Mr. C the factory can start making the heavy duty molds which ill produce the plastic soldiers we all have been waiting for.

You can see that what the factory is achieving is almost an exact copy of the mold master. Very slight shrinkage in size usually occurs; also the different colors can play ‘tricks’ with your eyes and make things look slightly different.

the great news here is that the final product looks to be true, faithful and beautiful ‘copies’ of our originals

(in the past, especially with product which we made in Canada, our beautiful originals were often heavily compromised, modified or changed at the factory thereby losing some of the action or sculpting excellence which we pride ourselves upon)

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In answer to numerous similar questions:

1) we hope to show the first 4 charging attacking fighting poses in one fell swoop when factory prototypes are approved. We might even delay their unveiling a short time so they can be pictured with the 8 additional action sculpts which have NOT yet been sent to the factory.(like the centurion which we’ve previously shown here on FB)

2) many of the attacking/fighting poses DO have alternate heads, arms and such . we will try to prepare photos of the several alternate permutations.

3) no decision has been made on colors of plastic yet but red, silver , bronze seem the usual suspects

4) Yes, there are ‘casualties’. Thus far a falling wounded with spear in chest, a wounded prone on side, a dead face down, a dead face up have been finished as sculpts. Several at factory and several sit here on RC’s desk. 
Wounded on knee is almost finished as a sculpt.

5) Roman fort. Nothing to report here. We hope to do one if there is enough collector interest for Roman range. Right now, all action is towards figure sculpt and production and a large scale hand to hand battle.

6) Configuration of sets. NOTHING HAS BEEN FINALLY DECIDED. Having said that, we are leaning towards 12 and/or 16 figures per set.

7) Pricing. No conclusions yet. Need to factor in shipping from factory to USA, shipping once in USA to us, customs fees, production costs, sculpting costs, possible tariffs, packaging, costs of mold masters, etc. etc. This is much more involved than many collectors might realize. Our goal is to keep the price as low as possible for our fellow collectors while also being able to make product which is in keeping with(and better than much of our plastic from the past) our historical Conte standards

8) Yes there are centurions (yes plural), aquilifer, signifer, vexillarius etc. either in the mix already or otherwise coming soon. First versions of these ‘characters’ are all in action fighting poses. 
As I write this, I know that a brand new sculpt of a signifer who is attacking stabbing with sword in one hand and ‘flag’ in other is almost finished. A variation of this pose has him holding the ‘flag’ with 2 hands and using it like a spear.

9) What other Roman ranges (made by others) will these ‘go with’? We are designing these as a “conte” series with typical conte size and have given absolutely no thought at trying to match the size or ‘look’ of Romans made by others.(There are a lot of nice Romans by others)
The sculpting detail, the animation, the full-round designs, the ‘interaction ‘ of the figures within the range etc. are what we are focusing on. 

Each collector will have to decide for themselves whether our new sets ‘go with’ any of the other Romans out there….

Our Romans will , in general, be a tad shorter than our Barbarians. This is intentional and based upon historical fact and ancient writings. It was even recorded that the Barbarians often attempted to insult the Romans by calling them ‘pygmies’

10)When?

No set date yet. As soon as the first groupings go into mass production we shall have some updates.

We are as anxious as you to see these fellows in action and doing our best .

Lastly, Mr. C asked me to let you know that while he tries to answer all emails and letters, he cannot respond to all of the private inquiries and questions asking for special advance info or advance sneak peeks. He wants all collectors to have access to updates equally and at the same time. The best places for updates are here on FB or to be signed up (on our web page) for email blasts from us directly.

 

Mars

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Mars Zombie Pirates

Sergey sent me a picture of the new Zombie Pirates in green color. They should be out in June. My favorite one looks like Barbrossa.

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I almost forgot about the leaked photos of the Plastic Platoon 7th Cavalry prototype sculpts. Plastic Platoon released these are some pictures were leaked. Hopefully we will see these by the end of the summer. Here are more pictures.

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

 

 

The Latest News!! ~ 05/26/2019 ~ Previews of Prikaz & Conte. Plus some hobby news.

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I hope everyone is enjoying the Memorial Day weekend. “Let Every American Remember”.

 

The Hunt

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We will start off this post with some news about Prikaz. They just released a new set of Strelet’s artillery. I will have a preview of this set in about a month from now. But until then here are a few more pictures of the set. For more information about Prikaz Toy Soldiers check out this link, Prikaz Toy Soldiers.

 

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But that is not the only news that I have about Prikaz. Next month they will be releasing two more sets. The first is called “Princely Court 4: Hunters”. It includes 6 figures. Elder, Slav with a child, a worker with a bag, a hunter-archer, a hunter with a knife, a bear. 

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The second set is called “Konung 2: Wall of Shields”. This is a set of Vikings. Alexey says. “Three vikings in a fighting stance and three vikings in a squat. Shields are removable. I emphasize that we tried to make just the Vikings – for the whole team only one helmet and only two swords, the most respected and successful. The rest have shields and axes. No armor. Only leather and cloth jackets, only hardcore)))”

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Next we have some more pictures of the LOD Amazons with some Conte Spartans. The Amazons should be available for sale at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show in September. Here is the link for LOD, https://lodtoysoldiers.com/.

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Conte Roman

Talking about Conte, we have some more updates on the plastic Romans. They have a poll set up to decide which colors to use. It looks like we will see Red, Bronze and Light Tan. It might change. Hopefully we will some of these sets by September. Here is Conte’s new website https://contecostore.myshopify.com/.

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MicShaun’s keeps restocking it’s inventory. Ever since they took over Toy Soldiers of San Diego they are bringing back some of the older products. They are expecting a big shipment in July if everything goes according to plan. Here is their website, https://micshaunscloset.com/

Austin Miniatures

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Here is a new Austin Miniatures Native American Cavalry Scout prototype for a future set. 

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Here is a picture of me cleaning up this week. In about a weeks time I picked up 4 different playsets for under S250. I wasn’t even looking for them, they found me. Well sort of, lol. 

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At a local flea market I picked up this Auburn playset for S50. I never saw a boxed set from Auburn before. I think this set is from the 1950’s. The box is a good condition with some damage. Most of the figures are in really good condition. Some of the pioneer’s rifles are cut. The stage coach driver is a Rel figure. I added a horse that I got last month from Gettysburg to the set. That horse needs a bath, lol.

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Here is a Barzso Playsets “Ranger Camp” playset. I picked this set up for $95. I didn’t have too much interest in this set years ago. I thought it was another Ranger figure add-on set. But I was wrong. It has a lot of things inside the small box. There are three different displays that you can set up with this set.

The first is using the burnt out cabin. It is the center piece of the set. You can set up the Rangers fighting off the French & Indians.

The second scene is the Ranger Camp. Some really nice poses in camp setting. There are a few tents and a half faced camp.

The last scene is the Rangers rescuing a captive from the Indians.

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Here are some pictures of the Rogers’ Rangers. They are cast in a nice shade of green.

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Here are some of the French Infantry figures cast in a Cream color. They were cast in this color when they first came out. Most of the French figures that I have are cast in gray.

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There were a few Indians in this set. The Huron Indians were cast in a chocolate brown.

The Rangers had an Iroquois Indian Scout with them. He is cast in a tan color.

The burnt out cabin.

The half faced camp.

The split railed fence.

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Two tents.

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The set has a bunch of little accessories too.

The Captive was one of the Character figures. She was cast in gray.

Robert Rogers was another character figure. He was cast in a squash looking color.

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The Information sheet about the Rangers.

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Everything back in the box.

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Lastly here are some more pictures of the box.

 

 

Prikaz

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Head over to the Prikaz catalog page I set up for Alexey. There are some pictures of his sets and the contact information to order directly from him. Here is the link Prikaz Toy Soldiers.

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Next time I will have some pictures of the Conte set and the other Barzso set I picked up. Well that is it for now. Thank you for reading.

Latest News! 03/24/2019 Toy Soldier Review of Prikaz Noble Slavic Warriors & Hobby News ~ Midwest Toy Soldier Show, Conte Romans, MicShaun’s Closet.

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Today we head back to Russia for a review of the newest set by Prikav. Most of the sets he sells are between $30 to $38 dollars. There is a conversion fee also. If you are interested in this set or any of the other Prikav sets you can contact Alex Pisarev of Prikav at his email address which is pisarevalexey1979@gmail.com. I have ordered a bunch of sets from him the past month. Send him a message and he will get back to you.

Now back to the review. The name of this set is “Squad”or Slavic Noble Warriors. These are professional veteran warriors. This set includes 4 figures. One is mounted. One of the warriors is female. I am very pleased to own this set. I purchased two of them. One of the sets I will paint. The size of these figures are about 1/32 in scale.

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Here is the first warrior. It looks like he is wearing Lamellar armour of leather over some chain mail. He swinging a sword and holds a Kite shield.

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The second figure is wearing chain mail. He holding a round shield and is about to thrust a sword forward. Both the first and second figure can be used in a shield wall formation. 

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The third figure is the Female warrior. She is rushing forward banishing a sword and axe. She is protected by chain mail.

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The last figure is of a Mounted Warrior. I would say he is the leader of this small warband. He is wearing an ornate helmet and protected Lamellar leather armor over chain mail. He has a sword and a Kite shield. He looks like he is charging forward into battle.

 

Here are some pictures of the rider by himself. These figure is nicely sculpted.

The horse is beautifully detailed. I like the pose. The action of the horse pulling his head and the direction of his tail. The figure fits really nicely on top of the horse. No tilting over.

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Here are some pictures of the figures compared to some Conte Vikings.

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Here are some more pictures of the Prikav warriors with Conte vikings.

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Here are some more pictures of the prototypes of an Artillery set the Prikaz is working on.

Latest News

Now we head over to some news. If for some reason you have not heard about the Midwest Toy Soldier show it is about 2 weeks away.

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Last year was the first time that I went. I made the trip into a mini vacation. It was a great show. I am glad that I made the trip. They had a ton of Barzso figures. They also had a ton of BARZSO figures. Did I say that Ron Barzso was attending this show, lol.

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This show has a lot of quality dealers. From Ron Barzso to John Stengel Jr. There is a lot of plastic and there is also metal figures. The show is a nice size. You are able to take your time and browse the tables with out the feeling that you have to rush because there is a crowd pushing you through. I had a lot of fun just talking to collectors and dealers. 

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The show is on Sunday April 7th. On Friday April 5th & Saturday April 6th they have room trading in the hotel that the show is at. I never did any room trading. But this year I will. If you want to read more about last years show check out the review I did over here Midwest Toy Soldier Show 2018 Review. Check out the Midwest Toy Soldier Show website for dealer information and other show information.

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Here is some news from Conte. I got an email the other day about some of his plans for some plastic figures. Here is what he said below. I hope to see these by the end of the year. Conte Collectibles

ATTENTION PLASTIC COLLECTORS

At long last, some plastic news.  Plastic Romans are becoming a reality.  These are photos (received today) of the first Roman figure prototype rendered at the factory.  
We are very pleased that minimal changes of our original sculpt have been made—meaning that our vision of how we want our Romans to look can be realized in plastic.
We had worried that the ‘cheek guards’ on the helmet might have been compromised/changed  due to molding issues or that the weight of the shield might be a problem but things are looking good.
Work at the factory is proceeding on a marching figure, an archer, a massed formation figure and 8 attacking poses. (that’s 12 if you are counting ).
The factory has in their hands an additional 4 poses which have not entered the mold making process yet.
4 Casualty poses & 4 additional fighting sculpts are being finalized here in the USA.  We plan to send these to the factory as soon as they are finished.
The Barbarian Horde is also being readied; as soon as we know ‘things are good’ with the first 8 or so Romans, we will be sending Barbarians….

If you guys support the range, we also have catapults, ballista, siege tower and battering ram sculpted and ready ….Thanks as always for your patience and support for our Labor of Love. 

Hail Einar Maximus
RC

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If you need some Romans right now you can head over to MicShaun’s Closet today!!!!

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David Cook tells me that they keep re-stocking items.

Yes our restock is ordered on all of our missing figure sets and should be here sometime in late June. We still have a large foam order in production and it should be here in the next 2 weeks. Lastly we are placing our 4th large foam order this week. Thanks for this Mike your post reaches a lot of people!!!

 

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Go over and check out all the new products that MicShaun’s Closet is selling. I just noticed today all the new foam products they now have. Besides the TSSD products they also sell LOD, BMC, Paragon, Austin Miniatures, Atherton Scenics & more.

 

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Last but not least is the Mars Pirates in 1/32 scale that are now available for sale. Kent Sprecher is selling these on eBay right now. Go to his page to check them out 32016 Mars Caribbean Pirates toy soldiers 15 in 8 poses. These should go well with the Barzso Pirates.

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That is it for now. Thank you for reading.

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Toy Soldier Review Prikaz Rus Vikings Set #3. Gudredsw Swedish Vikings Preview. Plus some Hobby News 1-11-2019

Warhorse Miniatures

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Hello everyone. I have a lot of Medieval news today. First is review of a set of Rus Vikings from Prikaz that I purchased recently. Under the title Prikaz. Prince court #3. Russian Prince Rurik. on eBay I found this set. The set includes 5 figures for about $65.00. Prikaz is a company from Russia. They cast sets in a very limited amount. I think only die hard collectors of Medieval figures will purchase this set. I picked up the other 2 sets last year.

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Prince Rurik. He is the founder of the Rurik Dynasty, which ruled the Kievan Rus.

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His brother Truvor

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His brother Sineus

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Battle priest with Perun (slavic god of thunder and lightning) banner

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Princess Rogneda (Ragnhild)

I will use these figures in a display that I have been planning to put together. I probably will use these figures as either Vikings or Saxons. I like all of these figures. Especially the figure of the Prince in his throne. 

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These figures look nice when mixed with the ones made by Conte. Some are bigger than others.

 

 

 

 

Here are more pictures above. If you click on the pictures they will expand. These figures are made out of a soft rubbery material like the Conte figures. Some of these figures had a few marks of a different color on them. I am planning to paint these so the marks are not a problem for me.

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In my last blog post I had mentioned these Viking figures above. Afterward I had gotten some more information. They are made by Gudred, he is a specialist on the Viking Age. He is making sets of Vikings that are authentic. Right now there are some hard resin sets that are made in Russia. They might be made in plastic one day. If I hear any other news I will keep you updated. I have some more pictures below.

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This is Set #1. They are Swedish Vikings.

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Set #2. This one is also of Swedish Vikings. I think this set of Vikings are Professional Warriors. There are plans to make more sets of Danes and Norwegians too. These figures are about the same size of Conte figures. 

Latest News

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We have some more news from Conte this week too. No plans on recasting their old plastic sets. They have plans for making new plastic sets. Right now they thinking about making Romans and/or Vikings first. Maybe we will see something like the figures above? They are still looking for feedback of the plastic sets. You can read more at Conte Collectibles Plastic Update.

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Also they mention plans about terrain pieces in the future. I hope to see some new Medieval buildings. The Medieval Church would be a welcome addition.

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What era of plastic 1/32 figures would you like to see in 2019?

Also I did a straw poll last week and after 163 Votes this is the results. I will be doing some more polls in the future and keep collecting the data to share with others.

 

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Tomorrow I will post another Interview so come back to check that out. Thank you for reading and Take Care.

 

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 !

RC

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Here is the new page here,  Conte Collectibles.