An Interview with Gene Abravaya of Paragon Scenics & Miniatures.

Paragon

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

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

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

Ed Borris

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

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

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Box Art from one of Paragon’s sets.

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

 

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

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

Paragon Wilson’s Creek Banks

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Paragon Fort Apache

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

Paragon Alamo Mexicans Set2a

Paragon Alamo Defenders 2

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

 

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

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

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

Paragon The Apache Wars

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Gettysburg Toy Soldier Show

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

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

Latest News! July 1st, 2018. Toy Soldier News, Yard Sale Finds, and Paragon Sioux Indians Review.

Latest News

Greetings everyone, here is another blog article on the hobby. In this post we will cover some news about Toy Soldiers, yard sale finds and some products that I purchased off the internet. 

Before I start I am sorry to say that William Lango has passed away at the age of 74. He was the promoter of the East Coast Toy Soldier Show for about 35 years. He also published the magazine Toy Soldier review for many years. I met him a few times over the years at the shows. He was a really nice guy. He will surely be missed. Gentlemen like Bill are the reason I started a blog page in the first place. He inspired me to continue promoting the hobby of Toy Soldiers.

 

Yard Sales1

I went out hunting again the past few weeks and here are a few things that I found. First I stopped at a few yard sales. I got these 4 trees about a minute away from my house for a twenty five cents each.

Yard Sales Star Wars

I got this Star Wars figure for $1.00, a nice find.

While at an antique store I found a bag of toys. Here are some of my favorite figures that I found inside. 

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Some Vintage 54mm Marx Indians and some green Hong Kong Indians that were a little smaller.

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Some Vintage Marx Union Civil War Soldiers in powder blue and some other vintage western figures. They look like they are 54mm or 1/32 in scale. 

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 Here is another picture of the cowboy, I never seen this one before. 

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Here are some 54mm Marx World War II Americans and Germans. 

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Here is a vintage Marx Robin Hood figure. This figure is 1/32 in scale.

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Some more vintage World War II American toy soldiers. These figures are about 45mm.

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This figure looks like Batman. This is 1/32 in scale.

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This MPC Soldier looks like he is being attacked by some type of alien. I guess quality control was not that good back then. This figure is 1/32 in scale.

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Those trees already came in handy for this picture. I think these deer are made by Marx. These figures are 1/32 in scale.

 

The Find

 

Reisler Animals

I found these on eBay the other day. They are a mixture of farm animals in 1/32 scale by Reisler of Denmark. I am always looking for things to add to make my displays come to life. These farm animals are great for that. I got these for about $13.00.

 

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You don’t see to many cats in this scale. These are really nice.

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These piglets are excellent too.

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Some Rooster and Chickens.

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You don’t see to many ducks either.

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A few young horses.

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Here are some lamb and rams.

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Some young calves.

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And lastly a Billy goat and a jumping kid.

 

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Here are some 54mm Cowboys that were also made by Reisler. I also got these on eBay for $9.99. They look like ranch hands. The guy with the throwing knife is an unusual pose for a Cowboy. 

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After I got those Marx Indians last month I started searching on eBay to get a few more. I got lucky with this auction. 68 Vintage Indians for $9.99. Most of these figures are in very good condition. I bid on this auction for the brown 54mm Marx Indians. The other Indians were a pleasant surprise once I looked at them first hand.

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I am planning on using some of these Indians with the Barzso Great Buffalo Hunt playset. They should mix well.

Here are some pictures of the other Indians that were in that lot. Some are also from Marx. Most of these have broken weapons. Some have some really nice details.

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Latest News

Now for some Toy Soldier news. 

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“The New Figures are coming!!!!” 

“The New Figures are coming!!!!”

“There Is still time to Pre-Order!!!!!”

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The figures are finally done. The color selection is really nice.

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“The new Rev War sets are shipping next week from the factory and should be at LOD headquarters in early August. Pre-sale orders will be shipped shortly after they arrive.

There is still time to pre-order the sets to receive one free as well as earn an entry into the drawing for a Barzso Yorktown Playset.

The pre-sale will conclude at the end of the weekend after July 4th (official end time on 7/8). If you have not ordered your sets yet or want to increase your odds in the Playset drawing, visit us at www.lodtoysoldiers.com.

 

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These are still pictures of the prototypes, but test shots should be arriving next month that depict the characters in their production colors. They should be ready for the holidays. The size of these figures is 60mm. 

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“The full set with Santa, the elves, sleigh with reindeer, and gifts will retail for $22.50 and be packaged in a decorative box. The figure set is named Santa’s Christmas Delivery.”

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“The smaller starter set includes Santa, the three elves, and two gifts. It will be packaged in a header bag and retail for $12.50. It is appropriately named Santa and his Elves.”

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“The prototypes for the 6” figures have arrived and the details look great. Each figure will retail for $17.50 or you can purchase both for $30.00.”LOD Troy1LOD Troy2LOD Troy3

“The original War at Troy set gets a small makeover as there will be limited bags available with grey Trojans. The Greeks remain in the beige hue they have been over the three sets. These figure sets will be available late summer for $27.00 per bag or included in the combo or super sets.”

 

Hat

As it was stated before the Hat 1/32 Seven Years War Austrian figures have been approved. You still can pre-order the sets at a discount. Hat 1/32 7YW Austrians

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I can’t wait to get the sets that I pre-ordered. These figures should be really nice and cost efficient.

 

Plastic Platoon Marines Set 2a

“New set on the Vietnamese war – Marines set 2. Battle of Hue of 1968. 
6 figures in 6 poses. 1/32. Material of rezino-plasticity. Flexible and strong, real game miniature.”

You can now find these figures on eBay.

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Engineer Basevich. New set 23 NOMADS. Polovtsy, Pechenegs and Khazars. plastic, 1:32.

 

 

 

You should be able to find this new set in the near future. The price is most likely around $60.

 

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Here are some future pirate figures that Warhansa is working on. They said these figures are 1/32 in scale. The weapons seem to still be over sized. They should be available in a few months. 

Toy Soldier Review ~ Paragon Sioux Indians

Paragon Indians

I finally got a few sets of the new Paragon Sioux Indians. For the price of around $30.00 you get 4 mounted Sioux Indians in 2 different poses. Plus another 8 figures on foot that you can get 5 different poses. Two of the figures have plug in hands. You can create 4 different combinations  of weapons that these warrior could use. They are 1/32 in scale are about the same size as the TSSD Plains Indians.

Here was the first pose I made. I gave him a Tomahawk and knife to weld into battle.

Here is the next pose that I made. I gave this warrior a spear and shield to protect himself. The other poses would be a Tomahawk & Shield or Spear & knife.

Here is one of my favorite poses in this set. This warrior is running and shooting the bow. His face reminds me of Wes Studi a little.

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This pose is unique and my least favorite pose. Only because I can not re-use this pose easily. I will try to convert these figures first one day…

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Here is another nice pose. This warrior has a carbine.

 

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Here are the two mounted poses. They are both very nice. The are mounted on TSSD horses. 

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I like this pose. It can be used in many different scenarios. A classic pose. I like the touch of having a quiver and bow on his back too. The figure can also be pushed so he is resting on the mane of the horse. These figures rest nicely on the horse’s back and you don’t have to be worried about them failing off easily. 

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I like this pose too. This is a realistic pose of getting close and have better odds of hitting someone after you shot the rifle. Plus doing more damage. 

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Here are the Paragon Sioux Indians raiding a TSSD Plains Indian camp. 

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The Paragon and TSSD Indians are a perfect match. I am glad that they use the same brand horses. I like the Paragon plastic better than the TSSD. They are less rubbery than the TSSD and it is easier to straightening the bent weapons using he hot/cold water treatment. 

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This blue Indian was made by Jason Pope of Plastic Underground.

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Here are some groupings of the different brands. The wait was worth it. Thanks again Paragon for making these figures. I can’t wait to see what they will look like painted.

Viking Staples

Before I wrap up this latest installment I have one more item to show. This is a vintage staple box that my girlfriend got me. I love the art work. It will look nice in a display with some figures one day. Thanks for reading and enjoy the 4th of July holiday. 

 

Latest News! Yard Sale Finds, Vintage Toys and Toy Soldier News

Latest News

June2018 Plains Indians

 

The other day I purchased a box of toys at a yard sale. They wanted $10 for a box of mainly Cowboys & Indians. I am not a huge Marx collector. I grew up during the last of days of the Marx Toy Company. So I didn’t have too many Marx toys growing up. I had the Guns of Navarone playset and a few other western sets, but that was about it. I had a bunch of Timmee Soldiers, MPC figures and Airfix Soldier sets. Also a few Britain Napoleonic figures, that I would get time to time from a little store that sold antiques. I am not paying those high prices for something that  I don’t have a nostalgic attachment to. If I come across something at a good price I will purchase it. Most of the figures were in good shape. Here are some of the things that I found in this box.

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When I first looked into the box I saw some of the Britain Herald Indians.

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There were some Army Men too. I found six of these blue toy soldiers. I had one already that I had picked up somewhere years ago. They are about 65mm.

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There was a few wagons too. I think they are from Marx and MPC. 

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There were two cannons. One was broken. I am going to try to fix it. 

June Wilderness

Here are some figures that are mainly by Marx. The Civil War Soldier I have been cleaning to try to get whatever is on it off.

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Two different types of fences. 

 

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These Marx Cowboys are really nice. Most of the time I find these at flea markets or yard sales they are either broken or recast.

June2018 Trees

A few trees and cactus. The big tree is really nice.

June2018 Log Cabin

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There were two cabins too. The brown one is made out of a hard plastic. The blue one is made out of a soft rubber type plastic. 

June2018 Ranch

Here are some playset accessories.

June2018 Lincoln Logs

Some type of Lincoln Logs. I think these are Halsam American Logs.

June2018 Plains Indians

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My favorite part of this box of toys was the Marx Plains Indians. Most were unbroken or roughed up. The mounted chief is one of my favorite plastic toy soldiers figures.

 

 

That is it for the box of toys. There were some timmee, ringhand figures and other types of army men too. Most of these were broken.

 

The Find

 

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It got these two mounted German Soldiers on ebay. They are painted plastic figures in 1/32 scale. I don’t know who made them, do you?

GI Cargo

Here is another item and mystery that I got on ebay. This figure was made for the Ecko Unlimited clothing company. 

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At first I thought it might have been a clone of a Airfix American. 

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After doing a few comparisons it seems to be a clone of an Airfix WWII German soldier. 

 

Latest News

Now for some news. My last article was a review of Prikaz’s Viking and Slavic figures that purchased from the ebay seller Toy Soldiers for all ages. Andrew said that he will have another set in about a mouth based on first Russian Prince “Rurik”. I will try to do a review on these next month.

X Force Celts

I read on Stad’s Stuff the other day about X-Force upcoming releases of the Napoleonic British sets and Ancient Celts. The Celts look promising. 

BMC

BMC is getting ready to re-release the Rough Riders. They have found some of the old molds and are retooling them. I think they also are making a few new parts. Right now they are asking about what colors they should use in their lastest blog post BMC TOYS: ROUGH RIDERS REISSUE CONFOUNDING COLOR CONUNDRUM.

Paragon Sioux Plains Indians

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Paragon finally released their Sioux Indians. I ordered a few sets on ebay from this seller Paragon Sioux Plains Indians . You can purchase them through the Paragon website also.

Well that is it for this post. Thank you for reading.