Sunday, May 8, 2022

The Magnificent Seven

 (Cue the music)

 I wanted to come up with a clever title for this post, but the iconic "The Magnificent Seven" is something that you don't want to mess around with.

Last weekend I went to the annual Gettysburg Toy Soldier Show.  As always, I had a blast, and as always, there were lots of bargains to be had.

I picked up a late-issue Marx Fort Apache set, nearly complete, without box, for a very good price.  The set is the red/brown version with the free-standing blockhouse.  I had another red/brown set and I've combined them to make a Fort Apache fantasy set, much like I did with my Giant Blue and Gray set that I profiled here.

The set comes with the usual cavalry and Indians as adversaries.

I wanted to go in a different direction than just having these two traditional goodguy/badguy, badguy/goodguy scenarios, and mix it up a little.  To that end, I also picked up several Marx cowboys, gunfighters, and bandits.  The idea is to create the gang that Billy the Kid ran with - the Lincoln County Regulators.  The Regulators were a quasi-legal organization but eventually, nearly all of them returned to a life of crime, rustling, murder, and eventually, getting their just desserts.

I found some great 1/32 figures of gunfighters as well as the four Earp brothers.  The gang was filling up nicely. Then I stumbled across an ebay auction for a set of Weston 54mm Magnificent Seven figures.  The plan was to just fold them in to the Regulators as  seven more anonymous gun-slingers.  But then when they came in the mail I realized...


So, on the toy soldier table, that's exactly who they'll portray, probably assisting the cavalry in their efforts to defeat the regulators, or joining forces with the Indians to fight against unscrupulous cavalry renegades.

For anyone just arrived from Rigel 7 and not familiar with the movie, first of all welcome to Earth (and this blog), and here is the briefest recap of the 1960 John Sturges film.

Seven gunfighters are hired by the elders of a small Mexican village that is being extorted and terrorized by bandits.   You can imagine the rest.

Sturges assembled some of the coolest of the cool for this movie - Yul Brynner, James Coburn, and Steve McQueen.

The theme music is epic (in the truest sense of the term) and the action is fantastic.

Find this movie and watch it this weekend.

So here we go, with a walk-around of this offering by the Weston Toy Company of the UK.

James Coburn, a favorite of mine, plays the Britt, who is equally adept with knife and gun.

The folks at Weston did a pretty good job of catching his posture and likeness.

Britt is my favorite character in the movie.  Coburn only has eleven lines in the movie but he dominates every scene that he's in.

Actor Brad Dexter (left) plays Harry Luck.  Harry seems to be the least complex of all the characters.  He has a hard time believing that the mission of the Seven is totally altruistic, he's certain that there has to be a big pay-off ...he ends up a happy man.

Again, the Weston figure does a good job of capturing Dexter's full face.

Robert Vaughn's, Lee, is (in my opinion) the most complex of all of the Seven.  In an early portrayal of what has come to be known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Lee is haunted by his past, and probably haunted by all of the men that he has sent to their graves.  The viewer is left to doubt just how effective Lee will be in the effort...until three shots in rapid succession remove that doubt.

Lee's attire is like that in the movie, and that pose with his hand against the cabin wall very much suggests his moment of truth.

Horst Buchholz does a great job of portraying the pain-in-the-butt, Chico.  Chico is my least favorite, and least satisfying character,  Weston, however, does a great job of capturing him in 1/32nd scale...

right down to the silver conchos on his vest.

I always enjoy Charles Bronson, however his character - Bernardo O'Rielly is corny and predictable...nonetheless, he really knows his way around a gun.

That's Bernardo with his shootin'-iron drawing a bead on one of Calvera's banditos.

Then there's Steve McQueen as Vin.  Vin is sort of the second in command of the Seven.  As with all McQueen characters, he's a man of few words and a lot of action.

The last of the Seven is their leader, Chris Adams, played by Yul Brynner.  Chris is the driving force behind recruiting the Seven as well as keeping them motivated to do the right thing.  His parting with his old pal Harry Luck is another peek at the character's reluctant altruism.

Although Weston also sells the banditos that the Seven are pitted against, their leader Caldera, isn't distinctly portrayed among them.  And actually I wish that a Caldera figure would have been included in the Magnificent Seven set.  Eli Wallach as Caldera is a force of nature, and the character would have been worthy of his own movie; provided that Wallach reprised the part.


Whew!  after all the excitement, I gotta go lie down.

Until next time...

Soldier on!


School's out. Navarone update.

I had been telling myself since last August that with the end of the school year I'd get back to the toy soldier table...

well, last week was finals, and for the past two days I've been painting a new backdrop, so  it looks like toy soldiering is in the offing.

Positioning the mountain prior to mounting the backdrop to the wall.

For the Navarone scenario, I'm making an overcast sky and a foreboding mountain landscape.  I'm painting it on sheets of cardboard and mounting it over the existing, permanent, South Mountain backdrop.

This morning I finished the backdrop panel, and now I'm putting down a coat of mottled grays on the table surface.  I really like the way that it's starting to look.

If everything stays on track, the battle of Navarone will happen this spring/summer.

Stay tuned, and...

Soldier on!