Saturday, May 13, 2017

Thierry la Fronde


Thierry la Fronde was a popular French TV show from the early 60s which I am only aware of due to the existence of a rare set of 1/72 figures representing characters from the show. The set was produced by an unknown manufacturer, and rumor has it that the figures were commissioned by collectors who were fans of the series.

English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms,
you sons of a silly person!

I was able to obtain a small lot of these figures recently, but unfortunately it did not include a figure of the Black Prince.



The poses are not particularly exciting, but these toys are pretty difficult to find in my experience.

If anyone has a Black Prince figure they can trade or sell, please contact me.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Arts of War: Artistry in Weapons across Cultures

I visited Harvard University over Spring Break and found an interesting display of weapons and armor at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, which runs through 2017.


Armor from Kiribati in Micronesia with a porcupinefish helmet.

Front

Back


Tlingit armor from the Pacific Northwest.

Ring mail fashioned with Chinese coins


War helmet representing totemic killer whale


Pictures of other pieces of armor in the collection.

Spanish breastplate

Moro armor from Mindanao

Yi armor from Western China

Ifugao shield from Luzon (left)
Papuan shield (right)

Shields from Papua New Guinea

Spanish shield (Adaga) from Mexico (top left)
Pueblo shield from New Mexico (lower left)
Kayan shield (Kliau) from Borneo (right)

Indian shield (top)
Persian shield (middle)
Ethiopian shield (bottom)

African shields

Pictures of various weapons in the collection.

Maces

Clubs

Clubs

More clubs

Spear throwers

Axes and daggers

Swords and daggers

More bladed weapons

There is also an online exhibition which features some of the weapons and armor on display and additional items in the collection.

The final picture is of a small scale model (not quite 1/72) of the main temple at Tenayuca that is on display with the museum's collection of Mesoamerican artifacts.



Sunday, March 26, 2017

T-26 Quickbuilds

The Soviet T-26 was one of the most widely used tanks of the interwar period, and took part in many conflicts that are of particular interest to me.

Two quickbuild models which I have assembled are produced by Pegasus and Minairons.


The Pegasus kit is only 15 parts, and goes together pretty easily. The only real criticism I have with the kit is in regard to the track assembly.

The return rollers, appear as single cylinders, as opposed to being two joined wheels. The same applies to the rear idler.


The tracks have a little too much sag, and are on the crude, chunky side, but they still give the appearance of being proper tank tracks.

It has been mentioned that the tracks stick out a little too much on these models, but I only noticed that on the left front corner of my build (I had already painted the tank by that time, so it was too late to do anything to fix it).


The Minairons kit has 10 parts, and can be built as either the double turreted A version, or the single turret B version. The kit goes together without issue, but it seems less detailed and more toy-like when compared to the Pegasus kit.

The main gun of the Minairons kit does not reflect the appearance of the actual gun, but that was a minor issue I could overlook.

A larger issue was that I had to inscribe additional panel lines to define the second hatch on the turret. The second hatch seems to be present on the 1/100 models, so it's unclear why they would be missing on the 1/72 version.

The panel line needs more work to make both hatches match.

The tracks are simplified with a very shallow pattern. The return rollers are featureless cylinders that protrude directly out from the sides of the hull. The drive sprocket and return idler are similarly rendered.


I glued the track assemblies so that the bottom edge was not flush with the hull, since during test fitting it seemed that not doing so would make the tank sit lower than the Pegasus kit.



The Pegasus T-26 was given Finnish markings, while the Minairons T-26 was painted with Republican markings from the Spanish Civil War.


Here is a comparison of the quickbuild tanks with a diecast Altaya/Eaglemoss T-26.




This particular Eaglemoss kit is made with a metal hull, and has quite a bit of heft. It even has the triangle security screws underneath, so maybe it is from some old Altaya stock.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lindworm

The lindworm is a northern European dragon typically depicted with just two front legs. The name is derived from lindorm, a Scandinavian word used to describe dragons in general.



Lindworms are a common motif in the marginalia of medieval manuscripts, in illustrations of alchemical texts, and featured in the Norwegian fairy tale Prince Lindworm.


A related creature is the Tatzelwurm which has been reported to have been sighted in the Alps even within the last 10 years.

Two miniatures of this creature have been made. A metal Medieval Wyrm (HOT110) from 15mm.co.uk (left), and a plastic Tatzlwyrm (Legends of Golarion #28) from Paizo (right).


The Medieval Wyrm takes its inspiration from a picture showing Hans Fuchs encountering a Tatzelwurm in 1779.


The unfortunate Herr Fuchs suffered a fatal heart attack from the encounter, but was able to describe the creature before dying as being 5–7' in length, with clawed front legs, and a cat-like head.


Subsequent stories of the Tatzelwurm throughout the years were similar, albeit the length was typically reported as being closer to 1–3' in length.

Both of the figures look perfect for use with 1/72 scale figures. I'd say that they were more Lindworm than Tatzelwurm since they have traditional draconic heads, as opposed to cat-like heads.

The only figure that I can think of which fits the description of the Tatzelwurm is Madcoil from the Ral Partha Elfquest Personalities boxed set (Elfquest 96-003).


Madcoil is much larger and bulkier than the other figures, but it definitely has the feline head.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Coelacanths


Known to the locals of the Comoro Islands by the names of "Mame" or "Gombessa", the coelacanth was brought into public awareness after a specimen was discovered in the catch from a fishing trawler by museum curator Marjorie Courtenay Latimer in 1938.

The coelacanths are members of an order of ancient lobed-finned fish with primitive lungs, the majority of which became extinct in the Late Cretaceous period.

Modern coelacanths are about 2m long, but prehistoric specimens like Mawsonia could reach 4–6m in length.

Kaiyodo makes a model of Axelrodichthys in their UHA Dinotales line (series 1), but the fish of this genus are pretty small (~40cm long). However, I think these models can easily pass for the similar looking, but much larger Mawsonia which belongs to the same family of coelacanths.


The brown coelacanth is the standard color miniature, while the blue coelacanth is the alternate color version of the miniature.


Monday, January 9, 2017

The West Coaster Toy Soldier Show


The West Coaster Toy Soldier Show has been around for 28 years, but I've never had the chance to attend until this past weekend.

I've been aware of the show for a few years, but traditionally it has been held in March, and always conflicted with my schedule.

This year, the show took place in the ballroom of the Wyndham Hotel in Anaheim, and it looks lilke it had a decent turnout.


The primary focus of the show is definitely for large scale figures in metal.





Working toy cannon

There were vendors with vintage plastic figures as well, but very few had anything in 1/72 or "HO" scale.

Bins of plastics

I ended up buying one bag of random plastic animals just so that my trip would not be a complete wash. The figure that really caught my attention was the gray sabertooth cat in the upper right-hand corner.

I have no idea of who manufactured any of these miniatures.

The body is modeled after the much larger Marx figure, but the sculptor got lazy with the head which looks almost like something from a lion dance costume. I'd really be interested in knowing who the manufacturer was, and if they made any other similarly scaled creatures.

Some of the figures are also useful as references for sculpting as well. I don't know what this animal is supposed to be, but the sculptor really managed to convey the poofiness of the fur.

Marmot? Squirrel-dog?

Here are the remaining figures from the bag. I think there are some old Marx and Timmee items in there, but I have no idea of who the other manufacturers may be.


I think that the models that impressed me the most in the show were 54mm metal models made by Bruce Hebron of The Metal Shed.

The models are all hand crafted from sheet metal, and come with many moving parts. I'm not sure how long it took to construct the railway gun, but Bruce estimated that something like a Rolls Royce armored car would take him about 20 hours to put together.

12 inch railway gun



How I wish someone would make a Big Bertha in 1/72.

Big Bertha


Peoria scout car









Gotha G.V

I probably won't attend this show on any sort of regular basis, but I enjoyed my time there. There were a lot of friendly people who like to talk about old toys (and new) as both vendors and attendees. It was also nostalgic to see many of the toys I had as a child, and to see that the mistreated ones were damaged in the same way my own old toys were!