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