Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Share-the-Toy-Soldier-Blog Game!

Hey all!

Prompted by a comment, and remembering how much fun it was to track down some of the best wargames rooms, I was thinking back of the great blogs that I have found since I started looking for toy soldiers, and how much I would like to keep looking!

One of the things I've done, late at night, when I am not quite ready for sleep, is to pore over links and photos until they lead to that awesome internet toy soldier find... a blog packed full of beautiful photos of miniature collections... inspiring conversions and dioramas... terrain projects... you know what I mean? There have been dozens of these sites over the years... the original Kapiti fusiliers, Gile's AWI blog, the Teahouse... so many great ones!

But of course... I am just one guy! I figure SO many people must have found toy soldier treasures online that I've never seen...

SO! I wanted to try this; I would love to ask each visitor to share just a SINGLE, absolutely-top-shelf toy soldier website that the rest of us can take a look.

The Share-the-Toy-Soldier-Blog Game!

A few rules!:)

Rule #1: Each person can only suggest ONE... so make sure to recommend the very best you've seen!

Rule #2: No repeats! If someone already provided a link for it, you've gotta contribute a different one!

Rule #3: Obviously, no posting your own.

So! I hope that some folks can share some great sites they have found, and that folks can find new places to look at toy soldiers!

I will start the game off with.....


Uhm... okay, it is AWFUL hard to beat Tarleton's Quarter... Giles Allison's FANTASTIC AWI blog is a treasure trove of eye candy coupled with fantastic text... just a great blog.

So... who is up next?!:)

25mm Viking Berzerkers finished

Hey all! Well, I finished my Viking berzerkers!

These guys were made out of a combo of Wargames Factory Armored Vikings and Unarmored Celts. I felt that berzerkers shouldn't be wearing armor... hence the bare torsos. I also gave them bare heads, unlike the majority of the troops, who are wearing helmets... in fact, they all are with the exception of the captains. I do still have to paint their eyes, though... I keep forgetting to do that! Maybe tonight:)

The movement tray is a standard War of the Rings tray with half the holes covered up. I added a dead horse to the tray as there was a lot of room and I wanted to try something different... it turned out okay, although not mind blowing. I tried to tie the guys into the rest of the collection through the use of the rocks and bushes as well.

Even in this tiny unit, you can see my love of symmetry... two guys with axe and shield, two guys with double axes, which can neatly break down if I do run a game where my vikings fight each other.

One more group that is already undercoated and has a figure done needs doing, and then one last unit, and the vikings are done!

P.S. Now that I look at these photos I find they are a bit blurry. I'll see about taking different ones.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My summer plans

Hey all!

Well, while I was away for a few weeks, I had a bit of time to think about what projects I want to tackle this summer!

Now, my time is, unfortunately, a bit limited:( I have a few weeks of time, as I am away for three weeks this summer, and need to do some other big jobs... powerwashing and restaining the deck, painting a piece of the outside of the house, painting the guest bath... there is a lot to do.

However; I will get some toy soldier work done!

So! What are the plans? Glad you asked!

First up... finishing the unit of 25mm Wargames Factory Viking warriors, and the unit of bezerkers. That will take maybe two nights, maybe three of painting... then dipping, varnishing, flocking, and voila!

After that I think I'll knock out a few more 25mm Napoleonic Brits... I am doing them a few at a time... just so I have them as a group of skirmish figures to compliment my Russians, Austrians, and French... after all, what kind of Napoleonic collector doesn't have some Brits done! I will make up a few skirmish movement trays for these guys, and likely a flag as well.

Then, after that, I think I want to tackle, FINALLY, my diorama for my 25mm Napoleonic Russians... namely, my French Prisoners/Russian guards scene! I've wanted to get to that for a long time, and honestly my 25mm Russians need some attention:)

After that? Well, summer may be over by then. I might bring the diorama on a family trip to North Carolina, so if I CAN get all of that done, then I should probably polish off my half-finished regiment of Russian infantry that has sat, half done, for a year on the bench. Or maybe I should finish the last company of Norsemen?

Anyway... lots of plans! Now I think I am going to totally ignore ALL of those carefully-laid plans and see if I can figure out how to sculpt a greatcoat on a figure!:D

25mm Viking Captains

Howdy all!

As loyal readers know, I've returned from Italy, full of painting vigor!:)

So, last night I assembled the movement tray for my 25mm Viking commanders. It holds three figures; my Foundry monster, who is the chieftain of the warband, and his two captains. I opted for two captains so that if I ever do any skirmish games with these guys against each other, I can just put on captain on each side... I am not sure I'll use the big boss, as scale-wise he is a bit big, but still...

A note about the captains in general... both are bare-headed, as I wanted them to stick out a bit from the regular guys. They are the only bareheaded guys other than the bezerkers. Also, both of them are standing on rocks, to tie them in a bit with each other and the big Foundry guy, as well as to give them a bit of size and stature compared to the warriors. I also gave each guy a bit of yellow to further tie them into the big boss figure.

The first guy is a blond fellow. He is pointing with a sword at something I am sure he is planning to kill. I gave him a more colorful, fancy shield than most of the warriors. I also gave him a full kit of gear on his back, including both a bow and arrows as well as a helmet on his belt. Also do notice that for every guy with a sword, I cut away a hilt and gave them empty scabbards.

The other captain is a fierce looking red-headed fellow... like his friend, he also got a rather fancy shield, this time with some sort of horse imagery on it. I didn't give him a bow and arrows, instead giving him a horn as a piece of individualistic, "leader" kit. I did want both of the captains to stand out a bit as far as how much gear they carried... I think the "cluttered" look actually looks pretty cool:)

Finally I also polished off another single figure... namely, the "scout" for the first company of warriors. I want to have each company consist of seven regular warriors and then a single warrior with a bow, who can act as a "scout" sort of figure or skirmisher, who is mounted at the front right spot of the company... I used unarmored celt bodies for them, with a simple helmeted head to tie them in with the rest. Unfortunately one scout will be wearing armor, as I ran out of unarmored bodies, but what can you do!

So! What else is there? Well, I have the bezerkers to do, as well as two more units of warriors, one of which has not yet been assembled or primed or anything... I'll likely get these done after polishing off a few more Napoleonic brits... but I'll post a bit about my summer painting plans soon:)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Greatest Wargames Table Ever

Whelp, here goes!

So. When we were in San Gimignano, I happed to see a flyer for a new museum. It was a museum dedicated to the study of the town in ancient times, featuring a number of neat exhibits, including some clothing, and some larger scale models of medieval life.

However, the centerpiece of the museum was this; a handmade, all-ceramic model of the town as it would have looked in approximately 1300. It was an AMAZING thing to see; really, truly fantastic. The city was made using over 800 models, each constructed and sculpted by hand. While you are NOT supposed to photograph the model, I couldn't help but sneak a few photos when the guide was not with us.

There were GREAT little touches all over, and we could actually find our hotel among the buildings! There were two sections that were removed; they simply had to be slid over to fit in the display room, which is itself a historic site! It was a very nicely detailed table, down to each individual row of vegetables in the fields of the outer houses, the cisterns and wells... it was really an exquisitely finished piece.There is even a store now associated with the museum, which sells the buildings themselves!

Now... obviously the owners of the museum do not realize that they actually a wargames table, but holy cow... ! It really is one of the best tables I have ever seen... beautifully put together, and almost a perfect 25mm scale.

The name of the museum is San Gimignano 1300, and I HIGHLY recommend it to ANY toy soldier lover or diorama who is even remotely in the area! Check out the website for a few videos chronicling the making of the table!

Back from Italy... Lots to Share!

Hey all!

Sorry for the two weeks of quiet; spent it in Italy with the wife!
Spent a bit of time in Rome and Florence, and also some time in a few smaller towns and even a bed and breakfast that was the most delightful place I've ever stayed... and I've stayed in some delightful places!

More importantly though... what about the toy soldiers!

Well, success all around. First up... Rome! Unfortunately I did not remember my camera, but I DID find a wonderful little store just near the Coliseum... Strategia e Tattica... a small place, to be sure, but it had loads of painted historicals, which I honestly appreciate... VERY little Warhammer stuff.

Then, on to Assisi! I found a small store near a main square the sold some medieval toy soldiers... it was actually a bit funny, as I said to my wife as I turned my head to look around the square "Darn it, I want more toy sol... waittasecond, what's that?" I literally saw it in mid sentence. Anyway, they had some very nice stuff (the above right and left photos) painted by a guy from Perugia. A bit expensive, obviously (wait until I get to the San Gimignano place!) but still GREAT to see. I particularly enjoyed some of the knights they had... very nicely detailed stuff!

After that came Florence, where I found ANOTHER store that I don't have a photo for (it is on another camera and the wife put it somewhere...) Strategema. I was very happy to find the place, for while it DID seem a bit heavy on the boardgames and GW stuff, they also had some stuff I bought... namely some War of the Rings movement trays for my vikings and some green stuff. So, overall, a good find!

The last place I found was in San Giminiano! Again, about twenty seconds before I saw them, I turned to my wife and said "Hmmm... I smell toy soldiers!" I then looked around me, and voila! Toy soldiers! Anyway, this place had the most toy soldiers, and the most directly-connected-to-my-collecting habits too... Napoleonics, ACW, as well as Romans and knights and the like. The top picture on this post is from there, and you can make out the different dioramas and such that they had. They even had a BUNCH of stands of troops that were ideal for wargaming... except for their price! A single stand of decently painted figures was in the 100 euro range. Insane! Listen, I love toy soldiers as much as the next guy, but come on:)

So! Overall, there were toy soldiers in almost every place we stopped, which was great.

Now... there is one more treat... a treat unlike anything I've ever seen. I am saving it for its own blog post, which I'll put up in a day or two... but I will say it is the GREATEST wargames table I have ever seen... EVER... anywhere on earth. And I found it in Italy. But more on that in the next blog post.

After that? A rundown of my summer projects, which will begin getting worked on tonight!

Thanks for coming by!