Thursday, August 14, 2008

What color is the sky on your planet?

Apparently, not blue.

Am I the only one that gets aggravated by this?:

How can we expect, as a united nations, to get the Soviets (I call 'em as I see 'em) out of Georgia when we can't even get the manufacturers of toy soldiers to agree on what comprises the color "blue".

(By the way, if the Russkis had invaded Arkansas rather than Georgia, I bet it would have taken folks longer to notice.)

Good Grief, every manufacturer seems to have a different conception of what blue is.  There is a variation even among batches from the same manufacturer.

These two Yankees are both from Armies in Plastic.  Though both are an acceptable (to me) shade of  blue I find it odd that this company cannot even standardize its own in-house criteria for the color blue.

Look at the three at the top of this page:  The guy on the left is a Marx original, the other two are repops.   Frankly I like the color on the right the best.  Even Marx had color variations, including those hideous "metallic" guys.

Now check out these two Iron Brigade guys, the one on the left made by "A Call to Arms" the guy on the right is "Armies in Plastic".

(note my feeble and ineffectual attempt to paint the guy on the left dark blue, this plastic does not paint well)

Why is our Iron Brigade Yankee tricked out in Confederate gray? (tho' marketed as "blue").

"Made in China"
Usually I like to pin this wild variation in color on the side effects of manufacturers turning a blind eye to the use, by the Chinese government (a leisure service of Wal-mart), of slave-labor, though this time the joke's on me.  That very gray Call to Arms guy is manufactured in England, by Lionel Jefferies or Jean Marsh or some such of the like, while the one on the right...the very blue one, is in fact, made in Red China.

Still, this slave labor rant is too good to let alone. Check out this wildly graduated color wheel; Yankees making the transition from dark blue to light blue to powder blue to greenish to Confederate gray.

Look, if all of my backyard campaigning were depicting 1861, this color variation would be just fine, but once you fight the first Bull Run its time to standardize!

One might think that color correctness might be a manifestation of price, with the cheaper soldiers being oddly or inconsistently hued and the more expensive figures would be spot-on (the only time I'll ever use that silly expression) every time.  Not So!

Behold the very pricey Toy Soldiers of San Diego soldier:

Not only is he charging into the greenish spectrum but his anatomy is not particularly convincing (fodder for a future post).

But wait, it gets even more disillusioning.  One would think with the prices commanded by Conte figures that one could expect the finest quality control not just of sculpting but also something as basic as "what blue is".  Again, one is smacked in the kisser with the cold, wet mackerel of slipshod quality control.

Our Conte Yankee (bottom) is attired appropriately for a baby shower, rather than combat with the Army of the Potomac.  How embarrassed he must be, how the plastic men of the Armies of the Tennessee and Cumberland must hoot at and deride him.  I'd feel a lot more empathy for him if he and his fellows hadn't cost such a large portion of my paycheck

No, price has little to do with the consistency or accuracy of the color. In fact its a wonderful irony, like a little joke on me, that the most consistent manufacturer of all, both in color and crappiness is none other than my favorite 54mm whipping boy:


"Blue" is one thing that they do right, every time.

On the other side of the "plastic brother against plastic brother" struggle are the 54mm Confederate figures, yes the color variations are just as erratic, and no, it doesn't bug me one bit.  If there was anything uniform about the rebels it was the non-uniformity of the color of their uniforms.   The yankees however?, c'mon; dark blue is dark blue.

And this guy?:

                                                              Don't get me started.

I'll be back with more on September first. As always comments, questions, corrections, and plastic soldiers are always welcomed.

Soldier on, forever!



John said...

Is the red guy a Zouave? Its hard to telling on my dying computer.


Cap'n Bob said...

There were Union soldiers in gray at First Bull Run, but I agree that some of those blues are off the mark.

Mannie Gentile said...

Yes John, that is a Zouave, in all of his fire-engine red glory. And bob, you are correct, the third Michigan took to the field at First Manassas in gray uniforms.

festus said...

Mannie, you know there are gamers out there that paint their figures. and there´s at least one school of painters strongly opposing darkly coloured plastic soldiers.
my Preisers came all white.

Mannie Gentile said...


My metal guys, I paint.

My plastic guys, I hose off.



Lets not worry bout Georgia Mannie its Third world war country and who wants that? Love your blog though.