Tuesday, January 24, 2017


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


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.

Modern coelacanth models can be used to represent Megalocoelacanthus dobiei, a giant Cretaceous coelacanth which is thought to be anatomically similar to modern Latimeriidae. One model that is of suitable size comes from the second series of the Kaiyodo Deep Sea Odyssey line (海洋堂 深海生物フィギュアコレクション 2).

The model is just a bit over 2" long, which scales out fairly closely to the size of M. dobiei. Kaiyodo has at least one other similarly sized model, as does Epoch, but they are a lot more expensive.

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!

Sunday, January 8, 2017


I purchased the turret from the fictional IS-W dieselpunk walker tank created by Noah Li from Shapeways just because I thought it looked cool.

The IS-W model is supposed to be 1/100 scale, but it looked like it would work fine for 1/72 as well. I considered buying the full model for a second, but decided against it since the total price would have been close to US$100.

The design is very similar to the KV-2X Heavy Walking Tank made by the now defunct MIG Productions in 1/35 scale many years ago.

The turret looks a lot like the conning tower of a submarine.

I'm not going to use the gun that came with the turret because it is way oversized. Here is the turret with a D-10T barrel.

I originally envisioned the turret with a ML-20 barrel like the IS-152 designed by Kow Yokoyama for the Panzer Front game (not to be confused with the real life ISU-152).

Here's the turret on a IS-3 chassis.

I dunno, doesn't look very convincing. I wonder if the T-10 chassis might look better...

Here's the turret on an E-100 chassis for purposes of showing it on a larger hull.

A little better? Perhaps. The turret probably still looks best with it's original walking tank body.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


Table Top Scale produced the Force20 line of miniatures which included figures for science fiction, modern/zombie, WWII, and pulp gaming. The company seems to have disappeared after a website hack a couple of years ago, but some of the figures have re-emerged from Covert Intervention Games.

I purchased some of these figures from Elhiem Miniatures in their recent sale, and have to say that I was a bit disappointed with what I received.

I ordered two sets of pulp figures. The first set is the G Men/Gangsters pack (DS02), consisting of 10 figures.

The sculpts are on the chunky side, and their weapons are way out of scale, but I'd say that generally they look about right for 1/72 scale.

The second set is the Smugglers! pack (DS08), consisting of 10 figures.

These figures are nicely proportioned, but they are tiny figures that are more like 15mm miniatures.

DS08 left, DS02 right

It's bewildering that there is such a disparity in size within a single range of figures, and it makes deciding whether or not to buy other sets from the range very difficult.

The next two sets are from the SWAT-X line. SWAT-X set 2 (SX02) consists of five figures.

I really like the poses, but they are very chunky, and in fact are probably closer in proportion (if not size) to 25mm figures.

The figures in SWAT-X set 3 (SX03) are the same style. The set includes two dogs (not shown).

The final group of figures are from the zombie line. The first set is the Zombie Hunters pack (ZH01). The set consists of 12 figures (11 human, 1 canine).

The other figures which I didn't photograph, are duplicated from SX02 and SX03. Again, most of these figures just seem too bulky to work with 1/72 scale miniatures.

To me, the best set is the Modern Zombies pack (ZC01). The set includes 11 zombies and (I believe) one human.

I think the guy with the chainsaw
is a survivor and not a zombie...

The sculpts are a bit rough, but that can be forgiven for zombies. A few of these zombies are armed with guns and knives as well.

The final set is of the Zombie Wanderers (ZW01), which consists of five figures.

These figures are not as nice as the Modern Zombies, and a couple of them seem a bit oversized, but I'd probably still use them in a crowd of zombies.

I didn't order any of the WWII or science fiction sets, so I can't comment on those, but looking at some of the old postings by Table Top Scale on the internet, they seem to divide their figures into the categories of "heroic 20mm" and "true 20mm". I'm guessing that the heroic 20mm figures are like the SWAT-X figures, but I'm not sure what they consider to be true 20mm.