Saturday, December 30, 2017

Tim Mee Recon Patrol armored cars

Lockheed XM800W

Just received: the Tim Mee “Recon Patrol: Armored Scout vehicles” set. These are based on the Lockheed XM800W, a three-axle vehicle introduced in 1972. The Tim Mee version has one less axle.

The Lockheed xm800w was one of the vehicles submitted for testing for the Cavalry. By 1975, the project was cancelled and none of Lockheed’s vehicles was accepted.

The armored car featured a 20mm auto cannon.

Tim Mee has been making these since 1978. You can see the appeal.  They have a “space age” look to them.

Overall, this is an interesting design. The roof hatch being small, was it meant for discarding spent ammo? I wonder. The driver’s hatch is like a type that swivels to allow the driver to get in or out. Armament is obviously an auto-cannon and could be anything in the 30mm to 30mm caliber. Molded on are pioneer tools and other equipment.

The Tim Mee armored cars look good in tan or green. They are clearly meant for soldiers in the 50mm to 60mm sizes.

Now my wicked mind goes to work. The turret could be altered or removed to allow a larger gun or recoilless rifle, making the car a light tank destroyer. Pop the turret and with a little work you have an open-top command car. You could also mount katyusha type rockets.

The armored car could also be a futuristic sci-fi vehicle. A little work can render that cannon into a large ray gun. One might also make it a rocket launching vehicle. Paint it white with black markings and you have an Imperial Stormtrooper support vehicle. Use other colors, and you can have a land car for the Galaxy Laser team figures. All you would need is a cunning paint job to make a Klingon battle car. Use your imagination.

Sci fi fans might consider weird looking tires to complete the effect.

A sharp hobbyists can convert these cars into an entire fleet of combat vehicles including standard cars, anti-tank defense, command cars, armored ambulances and indirect-fire rocket batteries.

There are many other ways to enhance the cars. Camouflage will look great on them. Woodland, jungle, desert and winter camo schemes can be applied. Details are prominent enough  that they can also be painted, right down to the straps,

Obviously, the Tim Mee armored cars are one of the more attractive vehicles for the toy soldeir hobby.

The cars come with stickers. Jeff Imel has done a lot of work adding stickers to both Timmee and BMC products. Hard to see in photos, the stickers include thee large and six small stars and three serial number panels in OD green.

These are cool modern recon vehicles. I also like their potential for sci-fi skirmish gaming.

Presently, you can order yours here:


Armored cars like these are generally used for reconnaissance and infantry support. They are lightly armored and generally lightly armed, although some anti-tank versions have heavier guns. The armored cars are made for speed. Classic armored cars include the German SD Kfz 222 and 234 series, the German “Puma”, British “Saladin” and American “M8 Greyhound.” The modern Stryker vehicles are eight-wheeled armored cars used as personnel carriers wit ha few heavily-armed support versions.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Model Train, Toy Soldier and War Game Discussion Groups

We have three facebook pages for discussing hobbies

The All Gauge Model Railroading Page is for discussing trains of all kind,s form models to the real thing. It is at We have an All Gauge Model Railroading Facebook Page at  

The Army Men Homepage discussion group is for every type and genre of Toy Soldiers, Military Miniatures, military vehicles, structures, miniature wargaming, etc. 

Our Shambattle and Omog discussion is for players of Shmabattle and our OMOG skirmish games. That includes the basic games as well as supplements, from Ancients to Sci-Fi

Monday, November 6, 2017

BMC Iwo Jima Marines and Japanese in Marx-compatible colors.

Some years ago, I bought the Iwo Jima playset by BMC. That was when it was first released. I liked it then. The ground base was cool, and the LVT and Sherman tank looked good. Though I liked the poses and detail, I thought the colors of the Japanese figures were a bit too orange. The Marines were a lighter OD shade. I later acquired more of the sage-green Marines and tangerine-colored Japanese.

The new Add-on set issued by BMC has 14 Japanese (2 of each pose), 12 Marines (1 of each pose) plus the six-man Iwo Jima flag-raising diorama. The figures have not changed. One thing that has changed is the availability of the Iwo Jima figures in new colors. responding to customer suggestions, BMC offers this set in both the original colors and in colors that are more compatible with Marx, Tim Mee, MPC and Lido troops. These new colors are a darker green for the Marines and a khaki tan for the Japanese.

What a difference color makes! Both Marine and Japanese figures look great in these colors. The colors make the details stand out better. Frankly, I like these Japanese troops better than the Airfix counterparts. Ditto for the Marines. The Airfix 1/32 Japanese and Marines are okay, but the BMC figures are better. As good as the Marx recast Japanese Infantry figures are, BMC’s Japanese troops have better detail. They might not have as many poses, but the BMC figures are much better detailed. BMC Japanese have 7 poses, Marx’s set has 12.

Many people do not know that the originals were made as painted metal figures by King & Country. BMC licensed the figures for the Iwo Jima Playset.

The set itself has plenty of firepower. Japanese forces have riflemen supported with light machine gunners and “knee mortars”. US Marines have riflemen, BAR gunners, a flamethrower and a bazooka.  There is also a peculiar figure of a Marine in life jacket standing on  box. He was supposed to ride wither in he landing craft or the LVT.

Consider it a plus that the Iwo Jima Marines and Japanese are affordable, quality figures. List price is $12.20 a bag. That includes 12 Marines, 14 Japanese and an Iwo Jima flag-raising piece with six more figures. Man for man, that is less than the average price for Marx recasts. Get while the getting is good!

The BMC set has enough troops for a game of OMOG Advanced, by the way. That would place 12 on the US side and 14 for the Japanese.

So how do these new “Marx compatible” colors measure up against the old ones? Let’s take a look! I have plenty in the older colors: light (Sage) green Marines and orange-tan (Tangerine) Japanese. The darker Green Marines and Tan Japanese look much better than their light green and Tangerine counterparts. See for yourself!

Improved Flag on rifle for Tan figures
A bag of cabbage salad? No, these are the Iwo Jima figures in the old colors


You can get there here:

Marine on box imitates politician on soap box. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Review: Toys R Us "True Heroes" Pirates (and Skeletons) Set

 Yo-Ho-Ho and a Barrel of Bones!

The True Heroes Pirate set is unusual in several ways. It plays on a theme that has been around for a few years: Pirates versus Skeletons. The first of these were in plastic tubes imported from China about 3 years ago. The True Heroes version set has a bit more.

Opening the set, I came across 41 figures: 20 Pirates and 21 Skeletons. These are all new figures and differ from the Hing Fat figures and recasts of Marx and Ideal figures. Both the Pirates and skeletons in this set are in the 45 - 50mm size range, most being about 50mm. There are six different pirate poses and five different skeletons. The pose animation is pretty good as is detail. I think they would look great painted.
Egyptian-style Skeletons!

The skeletons could be used in Fantasy games. They can also be converted to other poses with relative ease. An average hobbyist could build quite an army with these bony fellow. Simple conversions might yield anything from standard bearers to command figures.
Swordsman and axeman - Shades of Harryhausen!

I was informed that the skeletons were originally offered by a company called Toyway in a large playset. The original set had one more footman - an archer - and a mounted figure on skeletal horse. (Of course, it would not take much to convert an archer from the five figures in the Toys R Us set.)
A rather large morningstar.

The accessories stood out. There were rowboats - one large and two small. Also included was a snap-together platform, possibly meant as a dock. Platform dock? Barrels, boxes and sacks were included, as were treasure chests and some very small cannons. As for scenery, there were a couple of plastic rocks and two Palm Tree pairs.
Good assortment of hard plastic accessories: boxes, barrels, bags & treasure chests

Some of the pirates looked more like Vikings.
Axe-wielding Pirate or Viking?

The True Heroes pirates would blend well with the Hing Fat and recast Ideal pirates. They would be rather short compared to the recasts Marx pirates. There are only six poses, but they are definitely different. One man has a hammer and a short sword, for instance. Another is wielding a hatchet.

This is a nice little set that can boost your Pirate and Fantasy armies as well as provide interesting accessories. The small rowboats and cannons are a but small for 50mm figures, but might serve smaller scale figures. The palm trees look good, and the boxes, barrels, sacks and treasure chests are the kind of things that fit many gaming scenarios. A nice set for $9.99
Pirate carrying hammer and Pirate captain.

What with all the unusual sets of figures out there, one could put together a game where Skeletons face Zombies or Pirates square off with Fantasy characters.
Small cannon with skeleton for perspective on size.

2 small rowboats

I large rowboat

2 Palm tree pairs

2 barrels

2 sacks

2 boxes

2 treasure chests

2 stones

4 small cannon

20 pirates:

3 pirates with hammer and dagger

5 pirate axemen

3 pirates with sword and pistol

3 pirate captains

3 pirates shooting muskets

3 pirates walking with musket

21 skeletons

6 mace wiedlers

4 axe swingers

3 scimitar wavers

3 swordsmen

4 spearmen


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Review: Toys R Us “True Heroes” Mythical Warriors

A can of weird!

I have been trying to develop sets of Sword & Sorcery and Fantasy Rules for OMOK and Shambattle. These genre have been supported mainly by metal figure makers. I wanted to find an affordable alternative.

Audrey and I were in Toys R Us to pick up some toys for another occasion. I decided to see if they had any Army Men type figures. Though the Medieval and Modern troops were figures I had sen elsewhere, the Mythical Heroes and Pirates sets were intriguing. Not bad at $9.99 a can. I surmised that these might provide affordable figures.

The Mythical Heroes set comes with a stone bridge, stone dais, pillars, fake rocks, 2 sandbag bunkers, 10 little candles and a red dragon. There are also 42 figures.

The accessories have a sort of medieval feel to them and would work with figures from 28mm to 54mm size. The figures themselves run from around 48 to 54mm in size, 50mm being average. I would guess the inspiration was a mix of Conan the Barbarian and Lord of the Rings. There were seven poses: a Conan / Schwarzenegger type swordsman, two sorceresses, woman with two swords, Orque / Goblin with axe, an Archer and what might be a Dwarf. He looked like the Dwarf in Lord of the Rings, but has a Thor-type hammer. I think the figures are put in randomly, as there was no consistency in their numbers.

Detail and animation of the figures was pretty good. I am sure that an average painter could get great results with these figures.
Sorceress and Female Sword Fighter

At the price, a person could build up a couple of armies large enough for Shambattle for a lot less than he would spend on metal castings. The real shortcoming of the set is the number of poses. Those with a talent for converting  figures might be able to extend that count. The other problem is that all of the figures are cast in the same color. They would have to be painted to indicate two different armies.
Archer and Sorceress

Figures could also be used as is or converted as larger characters for 25mm and 28mm Fantasy gaming. The Goblin / Orque and Dwarf would be easy to convert into Ogres and Trolls. Here is an easy and cheap way to expand the big monster contingent of your fantasy forces.
Thor-Hammer Wielder and Conan-type Swordsman

A nice set for the money! The True Heroes Mythical Heroes set is an affordable Fantasy / Sword & Sorcery resource.
Goblin / Orque and Plinth / Headstone

What came in the set:



2 pillars

5 rocks

1 plinth

2 bunkers

1 dragon

10 Candles

42 Figures:

6 Thor types

6 standing sorceresses

4 sorceresses waving wand

5 swordswomen

7 archers

3 Conan type swordsmen

11 orques / goblins / Pennsylvanians

You can get a free copy of our skirmish game, OMOK, and other games on this page - just scroll down:

Sunday, October 29, 2017

BMC New Civil War “Battle of Appomatttox”.

Jeff Imel, the new owner of BMC toys, sent me a copy of the “Battle of Appomattox” Civil War soldiers. I have wanted to review these soldiers for awhile. They are quite different from their original Civil War figures. Packed in a bag with large header card, the troops looked promising. The card advertises 26 figures. There are 24 regular soldier in Blue and Gray, and figures of General Grant and General Lee. The blue is close to Swedish Blue; the Gray is a medium shade.

Along with the two character figures of Lee and Grant are line troops. They come in four poses: standing shooter, kneeling shooter, reloading rifleman and standard bearer. There are three of each in each color. Size is within the 54-56mm scale. Grant and Lee run taller. From bottom of foot to top of hat, Grant is about 64mm. Lee is about 62mm. Both officer figures are very well-detailed.

The standard bearer is a two-piece figure. His flag is molded separately. This is one of the most dynamic poses I have seen for a toy Civil War standard bearer. Because of his pose, he could be a good basis for conversion to other poses. The simplest would be to put a pistol in his free hand.

The kneeling rifleman is looking over his right, a realistic detail. The standard rifleman is looking over his rifle, as if he fired and is getting ready to step back or is firing as he steps back. Face detail on these guys is good.

These are toy figures. And as such, they succeed. The figures have a degree of character thanks to the detailed faces. Hands on the rifleman remind me of the hands on the fellow in the Lido set of WWII GIs, specifically the guy with the submachine gun. Come to think of it, BMC sells a set of those figures, too.

For a game in a pinch, the “Battle of Appomattox” set has its merits. Just enough troops on each side for a game of OMOG 19C. Just add dice, rules and impromptu scenery and there you go!

There are going to be more standard bearers than one needs, so consider conversions. With a little work, that empty have can be holding a pistol, a rifle or a bugle.
This image is from the BMC Toys site


As I understand it, many of the original BMC molds were owned by the factory, not BMC. When the factory owner died, the molds were put up for auction and sold to someone else. The figures are now sold under the brand name Americana.

Get OMOG 19C Skirmish Game Rules free here: