Saturday 20 August 2011

Terrain.....but no Toy Soldiers!

It is the early hours of Saturday, 20th August and I have not long returned from an enjoyable holiday in Wales. We had a very pleasant few days sightseeing in and around Aberdovey and Tywyn, however, whilst there I received an email from Dave at TM Terrain informing me of some disappointing news

Some of you may already have heard, or read, that Dave and Mark are no longer going to be selling toy soldiers as part of their business. Rather than summarise the announcement, I thought I would reproduce it here:

This is a release we have sent to Treefrog Treasures (a toy soldier forum):

Some of you may have heard that TMTerrain has lost the JJD dealership so we can no longer buy figures from John. Mark and I were very disappointed when John told us and it dramatically affects our business. John's ranges made up around half of our toy soldier sales and his monthly release schedule helped a great deal with cash flow. Now that this has gone, and the fact that the terrain side of the business is going from strength to strength, we have decided to stop selling toy soldiers altogether
We have arranged for the new JJD dealer to buy all our John Jenkins stock from us so from Monday evening we will be stopping the sale of John’s figures altogether
We also have stocks of First Legion, Collectors Showcase and W Britain's. We plan to sell these off at 20% discount from today. Our web site still has the full prices listed but we will sort that out over the next couple of days. If you do want anything then ring us so we can sort it out over the phone. When the prices are done on the web site then you can buy using our online store as normal
The web site lists what we have in stock. Items will disappear off the site as we sell them and that will be it so if you want a deal on First Legion, Collectors or Britain's get in touch with us quickly
We expect to sell off the last of our stock at the Birmingham and London shows before Christmas so you will also be able to see us there
Finally, although TMTerrain will no longer be selling toy soldiers once we have sold off our stock, this does not affect the terrain building. Mark and I set up the company about 10 years ago to make terrain so we will have really just done a full circle but we now have all that experience under our belt and the dioramas we are making just get better and better. We plan to be around for many years to come! [Huzzah! Ed]
May we take this opportunity to thank all our customers over the last 4 years. It has been great fun selling toy soldiers to you. We hope we did a good job for you. Hopefully we will continue to see you and talk to you when you want a diorama! [You certainly will, Dave. Ed]
So, there you have it. I for one was very disappointed to hear the news, however, good to know that the terrain making side of things will remain unaffected. I have plans for a number of other commissions I would love them to undertake so, onwards and upwards guys!

Sunday 14 August 2011

Thomas Gunn Miniatures

What landed in my inbox the other day, amongst other things, was the latest newsletter from Thomas Gunn Miniatures

Once again, the company has managed to produce a varied and interesting set of releases. Not only are they well sculpted, painted to a high standard and very keenly priced, the subject matter of the sets is well chosen being, at one and the same time, complimentary to the product lines of other major WW2 manufacturers yet a little bit different

Included in this release are the company's first two vehicles. The first of many, I'm sure

Dear Gunn Club

Septembers releases will be ready in approximately 2 weeks to be shipped from UK
although a small amount are ready for customers who cannot wait. If you are
one of those, feel free to drop me an email and buy your fix now!

SS006A Krupp Truck Normandy version with 3 figures. All figures are removable
and it comes with spare steering wheel and spare helmet to fill hole in back
seat when firing figure is removed. Limited to 200 sets with a price tag of $175

SS006B  Krupp Truck in Hermann Goring colour scheme suitable for North
Africa or Italy, limited to 100 sets worldwide and priced as above
USA001A WC54 Dodge MP Wagon, Normandy version with 1 driver figure. Priced at
$135 and limited to 200 sets worldwide. Approximately 200 of these vehicles
were produced during WW2 and used by the MP and Signals troops where they
gave sterling service

USA001B Winter 1944 version and limited to 100 sets worldwide. Heavily
weathered for the cold, dirty conditions encountered by Allied troops during
that winter, this version is bound to be highly sought after!
PARA004 The Vickers MG set comes with 1 figure and is suitable for Normandy or
Arnhem. RRP is $49 and it is limited to 200 sets worldwide
COMMANDO 001 This Vickers MG set is limited to 100 sets worldwide. Army Commandos
operated throughout the war and wore Denison smocks from Normandy onwards

PARA006 This Para Sniper Set comes with 2 figures and is suitable for Normandy or
Arnhem. RRP is $64 and limited to 200 sets worldwide. Whilst the number 1
takes aim on an unlucky German, his number 2 guards his back with a Sten gun
fitted with a silencer. Anybody who stumbles upon these 2 will be dealt with
in a silent but deadly manner!

COMMANDO 003 Sniper set, as above, but limited to 100 sets worldwide

SS017A The Raiders. This comes as a 2 man SS figure set suitable for use as a
waterborne raiding party, or perched on top of a tank, or as part of any other dio
to be honest! 200 sets available worldwide and RRP is $64. [Please note the
dinghy is not included with this set and needs to be purchased separately]

SS017B Brandenburgers. As above but limited to 100 sets worldwide

Like the vast majority of TG releases, these are sure to sell out very quickly. Best to get them on pre-order asap!

Happy hunting!

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Latest Additions

Hi there. A quick post about the most recent additions to my collection of K+C Waffen SS and Berlin '38 figures

Last month, as usual, I posted about the new releases and latest retirements from K+C and in that post I referred to the fact that they were retiring the set of three Waffen SS press men, pictured below

As yet, I haven't placed these chaps in a diorama as I'm waiting on a couple of other things to 'complete the picture', as it were!

When I bought them, I also purchased some additional figures for my Berlin '38 street parade diorama

LAH 116, marching rifleman, front and rear views

Marching LAH officer

A marching Sepp Dietrich

As with the above mentioned 'press gang', these figures have yet to be placed in their finished diorama as I am waiting on the release of the matching banner bearer and two more figures to flank him

The images below show the 6 figures I purchased in front of the Nuremberg podium model and give some idea of how good they look together

When complete they will form a group of 9 marching figures placed at the rear of the Berlin street scene and I will post one or two more pictures of them when they are placed in position

Roll on September and the release of the matching banner bearer!

Friday 5 August 2011

The Marco Polo Collection

At this year's Chicago Toy Soldier Show it was announced, officially, that Figarti and Aero Art would be embarking on a joint venture to produce a series of toy soldiers sculpted in Russia and manufactured in China

Dear Collectors,

The Aeroart/Figarti partnership is something that has been in discussion for over a year. Remember at one point I coded the project as Project "MP", which stood for Marco Polo

Basically, the alliance or rather partnership, is all about figures sculpted in Russia but manufactured in China. It is an honour to work with Aeroart and I think this is a win win win for everyone in the industry. Aeroart benefits by working with a trustworthy partner that can help with lowering manufacturing cost and produce high quality products. Figarti benefits from extending itself into other eras as well as having the opportunity to learn from the best in sculpting and painting. Collectors benefit because now you can buy top quality products at a reasonable price. The Marco Polo line is completely separate from Figarti and will be a line that Aeroart will take the lead in. As for pricing, it will be Aeroart's decision but I have been told it will be reasonable and competitive

The initial launch will be a civil war cannon set. But Aeroart has tremendous resources in sculpts and subject matter, so Marco Polo has the ability to enter any era

We look forward to this partnership


The images below show some of the ACW prototypes on display at the Chicago show

People are already discussing this exciting development on a variety of forums, including the Toy Soldiers Club forum and the Treefrog Treasures forum

It will certainly be interesting to see how this develops, especially in light of the fact that First Legion have already set this particular ball rolling with their delightfully sculpted and intricately painted figures, on sale at half the price of the St. Petersburg models

As far as I can tell, there is nothing further to look at on either of the companies' websites but if you'd like to join in with the conversations or simply look at what people are saying then you know where to go

We will wait with bated breath to see what happens next

Fair Warning!

Advance warning, in case you didn't already know, of the 21st Birmingham Model and Toy Soldiers Fayre

This year's show will be taking place on Sunday 23rd October at the usual venue, The Clarendon Suite, 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, just a stone's throw from the Hagley Road

The show is open to the public between 10.30am and 4.00pm, there is plenty of free car parking on site and a bar selling tea, coffee and a variety of other refreshments throughout the day

Admission is £4, with a £3 concession for children and the elderly

If you have any queries about the show, feel free to contact the organiser, David McKenna, on 0121 628 1397, or 07854 592011, or via email at

Although smaller than the major London shows, it's a very well attended event with a wide variety of dealers travelling from all over the country to sell their wares. If you've not been before and you're thinking of going, then do. You won't be disappointed

If you've not already done so, have a read of my review of last year's show in the archive section of the blog

Hope to see you there

Wednesday 3 August 2011


You may already have subscribed to this, in which case you will have received the newsletter announcing the arrival of Issue 2, and if you haven't subscribed yet, then why not?

Warfare magazine is a publication that can be viewed online, or downloaded to your computer as a PDF, even printed off should you want to, completely free of charge! In fact, you can do pretty much what you like with it. Enough said

Take a gander at the contents page below to see what awaits you in Issue 2. The book review section towards the beginning is full of good stuff!

Unfortunately, you can't read it on an i-phone or an i-pad since neither device supports Flash, but if you have a Kindle, then you can even read it on the move, and if you don't have a Kindle then subscribe to the magazine and you have a chance to win one!

Go on. You know you want to

Beau Geste Digest

This month's newsletter from our Argentinian cousins contains information about their latest releases and retirements

As far as new releases are concerned, they have chosen to concentrate this time round on what is arguably their most popular, and certainly their most colourful and flamboyant range, namely the Delhi Durbar of 1903. In total, 13 sets from their 19th century catalogue are being retired and will be available until August 15th

Music Courtship from Alwar

Music Courtship from Indore

Music Courtship from Kashmir. All three sets of musicians are being released as part of the Delhi Durbar series

Clearly these figures are able to stand, in spite of the instruments they are carrying. In case you were wondering whether these are really in proportion, here are a couple of photos from the time showing the real life musicians and their enormous instruments

Some of the photos that provided inspiration for the sets pictured above

More DD releases are due next month, including a brand new elephant! Meanwhile, the company's plans to streamline their production continue apace with the retirement this month of several 19th century sets, a number of which cover the armies of pre and post-unification German states. Don't forget, you have until August 15th to place an order for them. Having said that, the military bands will still be available as special request items for as long as the molds hold out!

1st grenadiers regiment, Prussian Guard infantry, 1866

Music band, 1st grenadiers regiment, Prussian Guard infantry, 1866

1st fusiliers regiment, full dress, summer uniform, Prussian Guard infantry,

Music band, Tirailleurs de la Garde, Prussian Guard infantry, 1860

Music Band, German line infantry, Saxony, full dress, 1893

That's about it. More information available, as always, direct from Beau Geste or via their UK agent and distributor, Martin Ainscough

Happy hunting!

Tuesday 2 August 2011

King and Country Dispatches

Yes, it's that time of the month again so here I am posting about the latest figure releases and retirements from K+C

Heading for the hills this month are 10 Confederate infantrymen from their ACW range together with 10 dismounted dragoons and a mounted officer from their Age of Napoleon range, and that's it, so nothing there I'm interested in snapping up!

On to the new stuff. Due for release in September will be two character figures from ancient Chinese history, half a dozen Allied D-Day sets, including a strictly limited Eisenhower staff car set, a Luftwaffe Conference set, three WW1 German fighter planes together with standing figures of their respective pilot Aces and finally, but by no means least, nine more releases for their Berlin '38 range

The Strictly Limited Eisenhower staff car set, limited to 750 pieces worldwide

The Luftwaffe Conference set

As with so many of the sets produced by K+C, the Luftwaffe Conference set pictured above was inspired by a real life meeting that took place between members of the Luftwaffe top brass:

At the height of the Battle of Britain in 1940 Chief of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Goering was becoming increasingly impatient with his air force's inability to decisively crush the Royal Air Force. At the same time the Luftwaffe was beginning to lose a growing number of aircraft to the British. He decided to pay a visit to his front line squadrons in France to find out for himself what was going wrong. 
Traveling on his private train the Reichsmarshall summoned Adolf Galland and Werner Molders, two of his top fighter aces, to meet him and discuss the worsening situation.
 At first he berated the two leading pilots and accused them (and their fighter units) of not doing enough to protect his bombers. After a while, his mood softened and he asked them both what they needed to succeed.
 Galland looked at Molders... Molders look to Galland... and finally Galland said, " A squadron of Spitfires!"
 The Reichsmarshall was not amused. This little vignette set portrays the historic meeting

Continuing with the air force theme for a moment, K+C have announced the release of three German bi-planes from the First World War, complete with their Air Ace pilots in the form of full standing figures. From the photographs they look simply gorgeous and certainly good enough to give the John Jenkins series a run for its money

German flying ace Werner Voss flew one of the most colourful and brightly marked planes of any of the leading pilots. The swastika on the fuselage of his Albatros was originally intended as a good luck symbol!

This particular Albatros was flown by a young Hermann Goering, the future Luftwaffe Chief, before he took over command of the "Flying Circus" after the death of the Red Baron

Although Manfred Von Richtofen is usually pictured in his famous all-red Fokker Tri-plane he originally achieved fame flying an all-red Albatros... and that's what he is pictured with here

To be honest, I'm seriously tempted to invest in the Goering Albatros. As the caption states, it shows him in his youth as a combatant in the Great War and would be a natural extension of my Third Reich collection. What I will certainly be investing in, at some point in the future, are the following nine Berlin '38 sets. Scrumptious!

A new updated version of a now retired figure... carrying the " blood" banner

Marching SS banner bearer

This particular SS officer is wearing the dress "aiguillettes and gauntlets" of the 1st company of the "SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" regiment

An SS officer standing at ease

Keeping it in the family! An SS officer and his Hitler-Jugend son

The original single lamp post sets were extremely popular, and I've seen them sell for very good money on ebay! I think these will go down equally well. I certainly like the idea of them being reversible and they will make a fabulous addition to any parade or Berlin street scene dio

In 1938, with the war clouds gathering, Himmler decided that he and his men should also have field grey uniforms, just like the German Army, in addition to their all too familiar black. So, here we have Heinrich and Sepp in their FG outfits to add to my growing collection of Himmler and Dietrich figures!

Finally for this post, we all love a vehicle don't we? I know I do, and I simply love this little beauty. I don't think I'll be standing the commander on top, however. He looks like he's about to fall off!

When the Leibstandarte was incorporated into the Waffen SS this was one of the first armoured vehicles they were equipped with, the Panzerjager 1. The set includes the vehicle commander

That just about wraps it up for this month, save to say further images and information are available from the K+C web site

Happy hunting!