Tuesday, October 31, 2023


Here's a little video showing the most recent improvement to the Toy Soldiers Forever! studio.

With this finished, I'll be closing the studio until next Spring.

Tonight, when trick-or-treating, look both ways before crossing the street and...

Soldier on!



Thursday, October 26, 2023

24th Michigan flag conversion

What I had, what I needed, what I made.


"Unfurl those colors!"  and...

Soldier on!

Fifteen years of Toy Soldiers Forever!

I note that I've kept this blog for fifteen years now.  Here's a repost of "A Gettysburg Ritual" which was my second post to this blog back in May of 2008.

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.

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?...no 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.

Give them a visit next time you're in Gettysburg, and let's keep our hobby rolling.

Playing with army guys, just north of Boonsboro.


(next post June 1)

Soldier on!

Steadfast tin soldier - Conte ACW 57457


This  recent acquisition is the most inspiring toy soldier that I have in my collection; 

I have proclaimed him Colonel Henry Morrow, commanding officer of the 24th Michigan of the Iron Brigade. 

 He has become my all-time favorite toy soldier figure.

(Dawes is shown mounted at left)

The stars and stripes are all cast in relief.

At Gettysburg, in combat action, the 24th Michigan lost a staggering 14 flag-bearers.  Morrow, himself,  took the flag from a fallen bearer and inspired his men until he too was serverely wounded and taken from the field.

The detail is wonderful, with the eagle on his shoulder strap clearly depicted.

Released in 2003 and retired sometime following that, this figure is difficult to find.

Why is an officer holding the flag?

I pretend that he has taken it from the fallen flag-bearer and he is rallying his men.

I also portray him as watching the falling regimental flag-bearer.

I also use him in this mash-up of Conte and Britains figures with Britains cornstalks in the background and Conte fence in the foreground.  The Conte Cornfield set will be the subject of my next post.

Rally on the colors!  and...

soldier on!


Tuesday, October 17, 2023

W. Britain "Millers Cornfield" set 31152 ; a closer look

Here's another W. Britain walk-around, this time of the Cornfield set that was retired a few years ago.

This is a particularly nice set and all of the figures are characterized by the fine detail, animation, and sculpting of what I am referring to the "second generation" of Britain Civil War soldiers.

This is one of the "The Art of War" limited series based upon the art of painter Keith Rocco.  This set is number 164 of 600...I wouldn't exactly call that a "limited edition."   The brochure contains a very brief overview of the action on the morning of September 17, 1862.  

Here is a little video that I did on the subject of fighting in the cornfield:

As always, the packaging of this product is lush...which is always reflected in the price of W. Britain figures.

WBCW 301

This is one of my favorite company officer figures.  Britians switching from pewter to steel swords was a master-stroke.  The sheen of the sword is wonderful.

The pewter cornstalks are wonderfully painted and will go great with my home-made ones. (Mannie Gentile: Toy Soldiers Forever: My 54mm cornfield....with pumpkins!)

WBCW 304

I would have preferred that the regimental flag bearer had been upright, but this is otherwise a beautiful sculpt.

WBCW 299

Britains makes a wide variety of standing shooters, and these second-generation figures are wonderful.

WBCW 298

As much as possible I've tried to avoid duplicate poses, and fortunately Britains has a pretty wide palette of standing shooters.

One common discrepancy that one usually finds in W. Britain Civil War soldiers is that almost invariably the standing shooters have their bayonets fixed.  This practice was avoided as it made loading both difficult and dangerous for the shooter.

WBCW 313

Although, as packaged as a Wisconsin guy, I've made him part of my 24th Michigan regiment, as they are all in the advancing position and my Wisconsin soldiers are all on the firing line.

My Iron Brigade is comprised of two 50-man regiments, one from Michigan and one from Wisconsin.  Being from Michigan, I have an upper-midwest bias, and all of my Union batteries and regiments are from Michigan or Wisconsin.

I find that none of my casualties in repose include an item number.

WBCW 305

This is a very nice flag bearer, but I needed a figure that was in line and not advancing; my solution will be in my next post.

 The years around 2012 are within the date range that I roughly refer to as "second-generation...that terminology is something that I've come up with just for my own reference.

WBCW 302

Another Badger dragooned by the Wolverines.

Altogether a very handsome set and much-needed reinforcements for the campaigning ahead.

Until next time, keep an extra forty cartridges in your pocket, and, as always...

Soldier on!