Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Wm. Britains civilians, down on the farm.

As the toy soldier table has matured, more civilians are showing up, and it makes quite a difference.

Initially, for civilian portrayals, I used MPC ringhands and the Grandpa Charlie guy from the BMC Andersonville set. Stiff and unpainted, they were slightly better than nothing.

Then Wm. Britians started intorducing Civil War-era civilians, and that brought a broader story to the proceedings.

The Britains figures are beautifully sculpted 60mm pewter figures.  The detail and  painting are exquisite, with a price to match. 

 This wonderful farm lady pauses a moment from feeding her chickens...

to watch the war gallop past her farmyard.

The range of figures puts them in everyday vernacular poses, perfect for farm or village life.

Most of the figures are women, which fits, as the menfolk are off to war.

The man on the left is actually a soldier, but I will be repainting his clothing for a civilian appearance.

This guy is actually a Confederate artilleryman, but, lacking any uniform or insignia, he makes a perfect farmer.

This guy might be a businessman or travelling salesman; in my Gettysburg scenario of a couple of years ago, he was a newspaper reporter for the New York World (which you can view here).

Even the Wm. Britians chickens are remarkable in their detail.

This small collection is perfect for populating the tiny crossroads village of Greenbrier Maryland...and generally, that's the seat of battle on the Toy Soldiers Forever! toy soldier table.

Let me know if, and how, you represent civilians in your set-ups. 

Until next time,

Soldier on!


Monday, May 29, 2023

Range day! Marx 28" howitzer

 It's my birthday (71), so I'm goofing off all day.

I took out my recently acquired, and refurbished giant Marx Atomic Howitzer, and put it through its paces against the BMC Sherman.  The range was at the extreme end for the gun, but after eight tries I was finally on target.

At over twenty-seven feet, I think the gun can be termed a "good shooter."

Now it's time for cake.  See you soon, and...

Soldier on!

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Marx giant 155mm howitzer: update

 Trigger warning:  this post may horrify hard-core collectors :-)

After getting my newly-acquired Marx 28-inch howitzer cleaned, oiled, and, smoothly operating, I made a couple of modifications.

The fact that there were three colors busily competing on this thing - green, gray, black - and the rusted black barrel was irking me.

So, I masked the tires and body, leaving the barrel and trails exposed,

and gave it all a shot of Tamiya olive drab.

I'm very happy with the result.

This howitzer is a really good shooter, sending the projectiles about 25 feet down range.  The one original projectile that came with it was pretty beat-up, but I found a guy on ebay who 3D prints near-exact duplicates - I bought two of them.

The bright yellow did nothing for me, so I painted them the same olive drab, and left a yellow band as the "high-explosive" designator.

Eventually, I'll have a "range day" and post the results here. So, stay tuned, and...

Soldier on!


Thursday, May 11, 2023

Marx giant 155mm howitzer

 Take that neighbor-kid!

(click on the photo for a moment of awe)

One Christmas season in the early 1960s, I was visiting with the across-the-road neighbor kid, and he showed me his new Marx 28" 155mm howitzer.

It was magnificient...huge, and it fired projectiles!

He demo-fired it a couple of times for me; then, when my natural impulse figured that it was my turn...but he made it clear that the only one who could shoot it was him; all I got to do was watch.

I remember thinking that he was a pretty selfish kid.

Recently, I was scrolling through ebay, looking for lost childhood treasures, when I saw this beauty.  It was listed as non-operational, but I've found with other Marx mechanisms, it might be reparable.

It arrived yesterday, as magnificent as I remember.  It was pretty grimy, but intact, it even came with one of the two projectiles.

The first thing that I did was to soak it down in WD-40.  After it sat for a while I took foaming detergent and a brush to it and got all of the dirt and crud out of all the nooks and crannies. Rinsed and air-dried, it looked great.

Then, with machine-oil and persistance, I got the jammed mechanism to move more; at first it was balky, but the more I worked at it, the more smoothly it moved, until it was nearly as slick and smoothly operating as new.  I cocked it, pulled the lanyard, and the projectile flew about twenty-five feet.   Victory!

If you ever swing by my house, unlike my long-ago neighbor kid, I'll let you shoot it as much as you like, and well have sandwhiches for lunch.

Soldier on!