Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Gettysburg ritual

As I continue to occasionally review various brands of toy soldiers I want to give a nod to the place I usually acquire them from. Now there of lots of outstanding places to buy toy soldiers, including: the dollar store, ebay, online, etc. But my usual place is surrounded by a special ambience.

Every time I visit Gettysburg I make sure to drop by my favorite place for buying toy soldiers.

Gettysburg Miniature Soldiers is very nearly, itself, a miniature store, I've seen sidewalk newsstands that are larger. However the proprietor, John Zabawa, manages to pack every square inch of the place with a variety of soldiers.

All eras are represented, mostly 54mm (which I prefer), and 1/72. His stock also runs the full spectrum of the really expensive hand painted King and Country line to the super cheap cannon-fodder of BMC/Americana (I'll be doing a review of BMC at a later date when I find a suitable replacement for the term "sucks" which I assiduously avoid using).

I picked up a box of IMEX 7th Cavalry (to be reviewed soon) and while it was getting rung up I struck up a nice conversation with Johnny Zabawa (the younger).

One of the things I like about this shop, beyond their wide selection, is the friendliness with which they treat their customers (something you don't find at all niche shops). Whether you're buying or just browsing the conversation is always upbeat, knowledgeable, and friendly.

And I would imagine, working at a tourist mecca like G'burg, it might get tiresome being asked the same limited range of questions thirty times a day: "When is BMC releasing their Irish Brigade?", "Why don't these come in light blue? lighter.", "The guy down the avenue has these for thrity-nine cents less." Yeah, that's gotta be tough. But somehow, even at the height of the season, on anniversary weekend, the guys behind the counter manage to keep their good humor.

I also like the fact that you can root around and find some real bargains especially among their bagged Marx and Imex recasts.

You can never have enough reenforcements, especially at six (ish) bucks a bag.

They've been in business for ten years, and I hope they have many, many, more.

Who knows?, one day they may nail an old phone booth to the front of the building and expand the floorplan by 30%!

Playing with army guys, just north of Boonsboro.


(next post June 1)

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