Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

New link

New Link

Check to the left for a new link to Brian Carrick's site; Collecting Toy Soldiers.  It's pretty cool.(

Premier 25-pounder howitzer

(Perhaps my favorite photo of Sophia Loren)

Three bombshells, Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield...

and Premier's 25-pounder howitzer.

I saw this gun on ebay for a very reasonable price and decided to take a chance on a gun I'd never seen before, but I am familiar with the manufacture -Premier, and I've always been pretty satisfied with their guns.

I recently purchased the Premier 155mm gun on ebay, it's essentially a Japanese knock-off of the classic Britains 18-inch howitzer (9740) just as they copied the Britains gun of the Royal Aritllery (9715); all of which I'll be profiling in future posts.

This just in: Hi Mannie, the Premier 25 pounder is a copy of another British made gun, it was originally made by a firm called Bullock in the 1950's. The reason why all the parts bolt together instead of being soldered is that you could buy it ready assembled or in kit form. Bullock also used the basic barrel assembly in in other gun types, you could get it as a 6 pounder a/t gun, fixed Garrison mounting and as an anti-aircraft gun on a swivel mounting. The Bullock casting is much sharper than Premier but otherwise they are identical.
As a boy I used to look down through the barrel to sight it before loading and firing, apart from the incredible range it was deadly accurate, the Bullock gun originally came with wooden shells.
Best wishes, Brian 

And just as Brian noted, here's another Bullock, using the same barrel/breech system in another configuration:

One thing that blogs have over books is the nearly instantaneous editing that you can do once new information comes in.  I got Brian's information about an hour ago, and now it's been added to this post.  I'm able to utilize this audience participation on my  helmet-collecting blog as well (  Thanks Brian for the input.  Now back to the walk around.

Manufactured in Japan in the late 1960's, this gun was new-in-the-box, still wrapped in the original tissue paper!

The gun was much larger than I expected.  At nine inches in length I was pretty dazzled; I expected it to be more the size of a typical Barclay gun.  This gun is robust and well made.

Unlike the copycats of the classic Britains cannons, this gun design is a copy of the same gun manufactured by the British company Bullock (thanks Brian), and its really wonderful in design and operation.

Unlike any other gun in my collection this one is fired realistically with a lanyard and the spring mechanism is elegant in its simplicity,

Note the pins that affix the hubs to the axle.

These red hubs remind me of two very whacky "restoration" jobs of actual Japanese guns...

one in Zeeland Michigan...

and the other in Worthington North Dakota:

The eagle is the icing on the cake on this goofy statement of  municipal pride.

As with most Britains guns, the Premier utilizes a threaded shaft and knurled nut to elevate and depress the barrel.

Many of the Britains guns are assembled with solder, which often fails; this Premier, however, is put together with many stout screws...

and nuts and bolts.

This gun is a breech loader, which really adds to the fun of loading and firing.  Because of the rapid reloading afforded by breech loading, many a toy soldier will be sent to his celestial reward.

The white plastic projectiles are a perfect fit to the breech and barrel.

With the projectile in position, and the spring hammer cocked, a pull on the lanyard will activate a spring-loaded hammer release and send the shell hurtling from the muzzle.

The gun comes with two little bags of about two dozen shells.

This is a particularly well-designed and robust little gun.

The two-color box art is pretty reflective of the era.

All firing instructions are clearly articulated.

The inspection walk-around is over, now it's time to take the gun to the range to take a look at its performance in action.

Locked and loaded...

lanyard pulled...

and the projectile flies far downrange...

to an incredible 34 feet.  That's some pretty good shootin'!
The plastic shows its age as the pointed end of the shell broke off upon impact.

I'm really happy to have this gun and to share it with you, over the coming posts I be profiling many more of the cannons in the Toy Soldiers Forever! collection.  Until then, as always...

Soldier on!


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Not dormant!

Hi everybody.

I'm gratified that I have followers of this blog believe me that's half the fun, and, it's a little humbling.

After my recent post (the Gettysburg toy soldier show) one kind commentor noted that it was great to have me back.

I'd just like to say that I haven't gone anywhere.  There will certainly be lapses, much like the long lull prior to the six installment Battle of Greenbrier series. I'm still here, but my postings come when I have something interesting to show or say.  So stick with me.  I'm planning a series this summer about classic Britains artillery pieces that I hope you'll enjoy...I know I will :-)

Thanks for all your kind comments...they mean a lot.

Soldier on!


Monday, April 30, 2018

2018 Gettysburg Toy Soldier Show

It was with some anticipation that I headed out the door to go to the Gettysburg Toy Soldier Show.  The 'burg is only about 45 minutes from home, an easy and scenic drive over  Catoctin mountain - and past Camp David no less.

I arrived at the Eisenhower Conference Center and no sooner had I walked in the front door than the power went out.  People ended up being lost in pitch-black restrooms, extricated from elevators, and wandering around in a state of bewilderment.

Inside the big room, forlorn dealers were desperately trying to conduct business in the gloom.  The only light was coming from the propped-open exit doors and the light from the flashlights of the patrons phones.

I heard more than one vendor lamenting the fact that he wasn't even going to make back his table fee. It was from one of these unfortunates that I made a charity purchases.

Although the darkness prevented me from finding all of the bargains nonetheless I found a few which I share here.

From a very congenial collector/dealer named Michael I acquired, for a neat bargain, three Imrie/Risley items; an ACW caisson and two limbers.  Used, with a very small amount of wear, they're going to look really great for the next artillery duel on the toy  soldier table.

Teamed up with the classic Britains horse-drawn limber, this caisson is ready for the front

The pair of limbers is equally nice.  The lids come off to show the projectiles inside.

Also from Michael, an again at a bargain price, I got this nice little Britains howitzer.

From one of the dealers who was afraid he wasn't going to make back his table fee, I bought this nifty little semi-flat heavy cruiser.  Every little bit helps, even six dollars at a time.


I picked up an original MARX General Grant, only to get home and find that I always have one.  Well, I guess that when you're in a tight spot on the 54mm battlefield, there's no such thing a too many Grants.

My triumph was the 1/16 Lindberg ACW horse-drawn limber and six-pounder gun.  The dealer was eager to sell and the price reflected his mood.

Today, I took a break from yard work and spent not quite two hours assembling the gun.

Flash-free and beautifully injection molded, the detail was excellent and the fit was perfect.

This is going to be a major undertaking as all of the tack and harness for the four horses is incredibly involved and detailed.  The assembly and painting of this kit is going to take a very long time.  The gun I put together specifically for this blog post.   Otherwise, I'll be setting this project aside until, perhaps next winter. 

The kit purports itself to be 1/16, but it's much closer to a robust 1/12 scale.


Well, as you see, I picked up some pretty nice items.

If you're in the area next April I'd recommend that you check out this show.  And while you're out here, come over to my side of the mountain for a tour of the toy soldier table.

Soldier on!