Monday, March 26, 2018
The Army Camp Equipment set by BMC is a reissue of the Marx originals. These were included in many of the Marx playsets. They were also copied by Payton and Tim Mee. The set includes three tents, two sets of stacked rifles, garbage cans, a recoilless rifle (looks to be the 75mm M20), a Bazooka, a .50 caliber machine gun, and an oversize water-cooled machine gun. A nice assortment of accessories for army men.
The tents and stacked rifles make for a nice bivouac scene. The heavier weapons have other uses. For instance, the Shambattle games call for each side having two machine guns and a cannon. One set of the Camp Equipment arms one side! The set also works well for OMOG, providing heavy weapons and camp accessories. They make excellent markers for battle games.
The .50 caliber machine gun is pretty good for a toy. Though the tripod is not realistic, the gun itself is surprising. The carrying handle on the barrel and the sight at as they should be. (If you have ever fired one of these weapons, you know what I mean.)
The recoilless rifle can be used “as is” or mounted on a vehicle. With more range and accuracy than a bazooka. the recoilless rifle was very popular with the troops.
I took one picture of the Camp Equipment with the recently-released BMC World war II soldiers. They look good together.
You can get the BMC Army Camp Equipment here https://victorybuy.com/collections/bmc-toys
OMOG can be downloaded here: http://www.thortrains.net/milihistriot/downloads.html
and Here: http://www.thortrains.net/armymen/sandygme.htm
Saturday, March 24, 2018
BMC and Tim Mee have been bringing a lot of classic figures back to market. A few months back, they offered recasts of the Lido Combat Soldiers. Now they have issued copies of the Tim Mee World War II soldiers. The set has 11 poses and is cast in olive drab plastic. There are 28 figures in the bag.
These figures did not come from original Tim Mee molds. Back in the old days, two other companies offered their own copies of the Tim Mee figures: Dell and D&K. Jeff Imel, owner of BMC, managed to acquire the D&K mold. The result is a new run of classic figures for a new generation of collectors.
The Tim Mee World War II figures, as well as the Dell and DK copies, were very common in the 1950s and 1960s. Bags of them could be found in toy stores, 5 & 10s, candy stores and general stores. The only figures as common were Lido “flat feet”. (Marx was only sold in a few select stores.) At less than a buck a bag, you got a lot. There were many poses of infantry in the Tim Mee set. More often than not, there was also another items. A Jeep, a cannon, maybe even a “deuce and a half” truck. Many also came with a paper flag on a thin wooden dowel with a round plastic base that simulated cobblestone.
One thing that made the Tim Mee soldiers desirable was their bases. Lido figures tended to fall over. Tim Mee soldiers stayed up until you deliberately knocked them down.
The D&K copies are a little smaller than those from the Tim Mee mold. Some say they are less detailed, but they look okay to me. Keep in mind I have handled these figures since the 1950s. Good is good, and they are as good now as they were 60 years ago. The Combat Soldiers are toy soldiers. They were never intended to be 100% accurate military miniatures.
Here is what I got in mine
5 guys with bayonet
5 guys with bayonet overhead
5 officers with pistol
2 submahcien gunner
2 heavy machien gunners
1 grenade guy
1 crawling guy
1 prone shooter
1 radio guy
Apparently, you get at least one of each pose. The additional 17 figures are picked randomly, just like they did in the old days.
|Soldiers with the Tim Mee Jeep and Cannon|
Size is a little smaller than the original Tim Mee figures. The figures are mostly in the 55mm range, with the marcher 62mm from head to foot. Compare sizes with a full-size minesweeper.
Of course, they fit very well with those classic Tim Mee Jeeps and cannons. (And I remember that we used to try to fit the radio guys in the seats.)
Painting? I have the Castings Inc / REB 3 cavity metal molds that make copies of Tim Mee World War II soldiers. Painting them is rather straightforward. But then, these are classic army men, so paint is not required.
To get a feel of the old times I would pair these guys with the Tim Mee reissue Jeeps and cannons. That is how we used to get them. Bags often included a cannon, jeep or other item. Remembering back, those were perhaps the most common toy soldier cannons. For Civil War sets, Tim Mee took the same cannon and put red spoked wheels on them.
For OMOG Advanced, these figures make a good all-around infantry squad. The machine gun provides heavy weapons fire. You have an officer, a submachine gunner NCO and several riflemen.
The Dell mold has twelve figures. Unlike the DK mold, It does not have the mine sweeper. Dell has the other ten poses plus the bazooka man and man charging gas mask.
These Combat Soldiers are available from Victory Buy at https://victorybuy.com/collections/bmc-toys
Saturday, March 10, 2018
|You can make variations with this method.|
Many hobbyists are content to give their miniature knights’ armor a coat of metallic paint. There are easy techniques you can use to make better miniature knights and armored warriors. I learned this one
For knights and armored fighters: paint the armor flat black. You can follow up in several ways.
1) Paint the armor a flat black.
2) Dry brush lightly over the black with Silver, Aluminum or Steel color
3) Optional - you may paint certain details in a Steel color: helmet, elbow armor, atc
4) Go over the figure with Rub n‘ Buff silver or drybrush very lightly with Silver-colored paint to expose details.
For bronze-colored armor on Knights or others, here are some tricks
|Bronze and Silver Knight|
1) Paint the armor a dark bronze tone
2) Get Antique Gold and drybrush lightly, or use Rub N Buff Antique Gold.
|Bronze and Silver knights using the above techniques. Knight second from left used a different method.|
Optional methods for Bronze armor.: You can paint the armor a very dark brown, then follow with moderately drybrushing a Bronze color. Finish by either: a) lightly drybrushing with a Gold tone such as Antique Gold, or b) apply Antique Gold or Gold Rub N’ Buff to hit the highlights.
|Despite a poor photograph, these Greeks benefitted from this technique.|
I usually apply Rub N’ Buff with a fingertip. First, I rub it on paper to thin it out, which makes a lighter coating. Practice with cheap figures to get the feel for it.
As the photos illustrate, these techniques allow a lot of variety. They are versatile. You can go from knights that are mostly black to others that are almost silver, and any shade in between. Bronze knights can range from dark bronze to almost gold. Practice with cheap figures to get the hang of varying the color.
For cloth, such as hauberks and cloaks, do as with other clothing. Paint the item a base color. Let it dry for at least 24 hours. The apply a wash of a darker shade of that color. You may follow up by touching up highlights - tops of folds, etc. - with the base color.
Learn to paint some of the common Medieval heraldic objects such as birds, fleur de lis, stylized lions, etc. You can paint them on shields, hauberks, and horse gear.
|Diagonal Pattern and Bird Motif|
Thursday, March 8, 2018
This all started with an exchange of information about Cossacks and the Ukraine. A friend in the Ukraine had some nice Cossack figures. They were made in Russia. He recommended the brand - Technolog. So it was that I looked for Technolog figures and hit a gold mine.
Technolog makes figures in the 54mm - 60mm (1/32 to 1/30) size. They also make a few 40mm sets. The 1/32 figures come in sets of four to six figures. These are “flat foots”. They stand on their feet rather than a base, like Lido soldiers. Ranges go from Ancients to futuristic Science Fiction. Each set has a handful of poses.
I ordered four sets from a Russian vendor on Ebay who goes by the name Chief Fly. These were the Zaporozhian (Ukrainian) Cossacks, Varangians (Norsemen), Samurai and Varan Aliens (Sci-Fi).
The four sets arrived today. They came in a mall box. Three were packed in small plastic bags, and one set had extra padding .The fourth came in fancier packaging. The Norsemen and Cossacks were cast in green plastic. The aliens were a dark hard plastic, and the Samurai were in a metallic soft plastic. Detail was excellent. The poses were nice, and the facial expressions on figures were amazing.
My first thought: these guys would be great for various OMOG games. Five figures is just about right for a team, with most battles using two to three teams per side. If you had enough, you could also make a very attractive Shambattle unit. Those Aliens would look great for a game of Laserblade, too. (Neil Goodacre has known about Techolog much longer than me.) The foot figures would also be good for a game like the old Metagaming Melee or a modern version, Legends from Dark City games. I have looked at pictures of other Technology Sci-Fi figures. There is a lot of imagination and detail in them.
Here are the sets I acquired
Zaporozhian Cossacks: a nice set of figures, the Zaporozhians were wild Ukrainians who gave the Poles, Turks and Crim Tatars many a thrashing. (They deserved it.) These figures are armed for the late 1600s to mid-1700s. I remember seeing Cossacks using flintlock pistols in a movie called Taras Bulbas. The Technolog figures are dismounted.
Varangians: a set of Viking types without the silly horns and wings. Nice detail on their chainmail coats. Ironically, Vikings civilized the Volga river area, built the city of Kiev and were ancestors of the Zaporozhians.
Samurai: it is rare to see one-piece plastic castings of Samurai. This set is exceptional. Good poses and detail.
Varan Aliens - these are bizarre, to say the least. Very detailed rendering of strange creatures.
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Perhaps 1 out of 50 can paint miniatures that win competitions. They have the talent combined with experience to produce beautiful figures. This article is for the other 49. Though we might not be able to produce competition-grade miniatures, we can paint figures that look great. Here are some tricks I have used over the years. They work great even with crude figures, as seen in accompanying illustrations
Shading is the art of adding shadows and highlights to miniature figures. These replicate their real-world counterparts. Shading follows the normal ambient light. It is as if the light comes from above. Shadows and highlights are painted accordingly.
Highly-skilled artists can do amazing shading work. They paint each fold and highlight meticulously. Perhaps one in fifty figure painters has this high level of skill. But all is not lost for the rest of us. We can do an attractive job of shading that will make miniatures of which we can be proud. in this article, I will discuss some quick and easy tricks for shading uniforms.
|Center and left figure with teal wash over light green; right with blue wash over blue grey|
This is a trick I have used for years and it produced interesting effects. I paint the fatigues in a base color. For US troops circa 1942 - 1980, I use a sage or eucalyptus green. The paint is allowed to dry fully (24+ hours minimum for acrylics.) Next, I make a wash of a darker shade of green. For this, I use Olive Drab, Forest Green or dark Teal Green.. I give the figure a good wash, making sure the colors get into the folds and crevasses. Once the wash dries, I may go over some highlighted places with the original base color.
|Shading color added|
|Finished figures (Left figure made with teal wash over grey, right with darker tan over khaki tan)|
A greenish khaki tan is easy to do. Paint the figure a khaki tan. Wash with a thinned dark green. Let dry. Touch up highlights with the base color.
|Four figures done with olive green over light green. You can vary the darkness. Compare with dark olive soldier and teal wash over light green figure.|
For some figures, I take a medium blue-grey (more blue than grey) and paint the figure’s uniform. When it is fully dry, I give it a wash of a dark Navy blue. This works for Civil War figures. A thinner wash looks good for Air Force figures.
For painting Germans in field gray, I use a flat sea green. When it is fully dry, I give it a thin wash of dark gray. Done right, it makes a great feldgrau.
|Shading: field gray tunic, stone gray trousers|
If the Germans are wearing the stone grey trousers, I paint the pants light grey. When fully dry, I give them a thicker wash of dark grey.
Another German trick is to paint the figure grey, an then wash with Dark Teal. It produces a very interesting take on Feldgrau (Field Grey)
For Afrika Korps, paint the uniform in light khaki. A more yellowish hue is also acceptable. When fully dry, wash with a honey-colored tan.
For the early olive Afrika Korps uniform, paint them a light olive. Follow with a thin wash of a darker green.
|Afrika Korps early green uniform shaded. Even a crude figure looks better.|
For the Afrika Korps uniforms that faded to brown, there are two options. Use a light to light-medium brown as the base color. When filly dry, try either of these. 1) a thin wash of a darker brown, such as cinnamon or medium brown. 2) A thin wash of olive green.
|Heavy shading makes these figures look interesting.|
Grassing the base
Get a good “grass” mixture (also known as ground foam). Scenic Express and Woodland Scencic are two good brands. You can use green grass and brown earth colors. I also have some playground sand, which is very fine.
Paint the completed figure’s base in a thick coat of paint. Green for grassy terrain, brown for earthen terrain, and tan for deserts and beaches. I use acrylics. Pour some of the stuff in a small container. While the paint is still wet, place the figure’ base in the container and swish it around. Make sure it is fully covered with ground foam. Let dry for at least 24 hours.
|Afrika Korps with sand base.|
|Civil War Goober with grassy base|
Notes: Acrylics tend to dry flat, though some may have a slight satin finish. This is not a matter of brand so much as a particular color. Whether it is a factory thing or the pigment I do not know. Acrylics need to be given a protective coat.
The acrylics available at craft stores are affordably priced. Qualtiy varies. I have had good results with Delta / Delta Ceramcoat, Folk Art, Apple Barrel Colors and Anita’s Acrylic Craft Paint. I have had poor results with Craft Smart, the bargain brand sold at Michael’s. Tamiya acrylic works well enough, but it is pricey. A bottle of it contains less than half what a bottle of the craft store acrylics contain.
I prefer to give objects a base coat of flat paint before using acrylics. I prime metal figures with a flat primer. For plastic models, I give a spray of flat enamel. I do not have to prime wood, which holds acrylics well.
This article shows applying shading to tan and green figures: http://www.thortrains.net/toysoldierart/flame1.htm
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Many collectors of toy soldiers and wargame figures like to paint their own. One thing that many find daunting is painting the eyes. Though there are experts who can paint amazingly realistic eyes, the average hobbyist does a fair job of it. All too often, they eyes are bulging as if the soldier just saw a ghost, or they are varying degrees of cockeyed.
Do not despair. Here are some simple tricks that modelers have used for years.
|Eyes are not that difficult using these trick|
The Better Paint Job.
This one is pretty easy. Follow the illustrations below, numbered 1 through 4. The oval in the middle of the image represents the contours of the casting’s eye. In other words, it is the molded-in eye.
2) Paint a strip of white over the eye. It is alright to go past the contours of the eye.
3) Paint a line downward where the pupil should be, in the eye color.
4) Following the molded contours, paint the flesh color as shown. Then follow up with eyebrows..
|Using this trick, the Sikh soldier's eyes look natural, not the "I see a ghost" from too much white|
|Even a crude figure can have a good set of eyes|
The Simpler Paint Jobs
Maybe you find that a bit difficult. Here are two tricks that were used by factories that painted the old toy soldiers. It can be used on figures 50mm / 1/35 and above.
In both examples, the oval represents the contour of the eye as molded on the figure.
This one is good for figures from 50mm on up. One company that used it to good effect was Elastolin. If you have an exceptionally well-detailed figure, you can do it on smaller miniatures.
1) Paint over the eye, where the eyebrow should be. You could use black or brown, or the figure’s hair color.
2) Paint a black line through the eye where the pupil should be
You can touch up with skin tone if your lines are too long.
This little trick is great for smaller figures from 30mm to 15mm.
1) Paint a black or dark brown line over the top of the eye contour.
2) Paint a short line underneath where the pupil should be.
Do not fret if you go over the “line”. You can touch up with skin-tone paint.
These are all good tricks for painting the eyes. With practice ,you can do more advanced techniques. These tricks will get you started in the right direction.
|This Elastolin warrior shows the simpler eye method for large figures.|