Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Toy Town Soldiers - Part 1



Eureka’s range of “28mm” Toy Town Soldiers have exerted a pull on me since first seeing them posted at TMP when the range was first launched.  Come to think of it, that’s going back to 2006 !  

 I think it was a combination of things that kept me from actually taking the plunge for all these years.  First, as I recall they seemed overpriced to me for the amount of metal you get with a  28mm figure.  Perhaps the cost has dropped in the interim because when I got around to calculating the price of the infantry, the AU$ exchange rate is comfortably under $3.00 per figure in US currency, not cheap but not prohibitively expensive either.  Secondly, while I really liked the style of the men, at least in photos the look of the nursery room horses didn’t quite do it for me.  But as I’ve grown a bit more adventurous with the figure modifications, perhaps something could be done there.  And lastly, while the uniforms effectively evoke the 1840-1850’s, the soldiers seem most suited for imagi-nations which took me quite a while to buy into.

So why not give them a shot ?  From Eureka USA, I ordered a dozen shako infantry plus command, a ½ dozen light horse and an artillery set.  Rob at Eureka USA said it would take about 12 days to get the figures from Australia and he was as good as his word. Inside of two weeks I took delivery on the figures. The first reaction ?  Delightful, really.  And also pleasantly surprised at the size and heft of the figures.  They actually measure 33mm from eyes to feet and seem even taller on account of the exaggerated shakos.   A few quibbles, nary a cross belt and cartridge box for the infantry which would have made a good alternative to the epaulettes.  And as expected, the horses didn’t thrill me, more about them shortly.

So how are they to paint ?  With the simple style and raised detail, easy !  




I told myself no shading on these and I’m stick to my guns there.  Gloss coating naturally suits and with the blank faces and amusing cylindrical nose (n’er-do-well Pinocchio swept up by a recruiting party), the rosy-cheeked look suits them just fine.   

 

Now about that cavalry.  I know what the sculptor was aiming for but to my eyes, even a toy cavalryman should look a bit more imposing relative to the foot.  I first thought about something like Gumby’s horse Pokey but a set of these toy horses on Amazon caught my eye.  Here's some examples for size comparison purposes, stock horse second from left.


 
So, it’s the smaller ones potentially fitted out for war and all the rest go back out to pasture (or to be precise, into my 2-year old granddaughter’s toy bin).  I’m not 100% sold on these, quite possibly not toy-like enough but certainly okay for a cheap experiment.  Not to mention a big cost savings if I can mold one.  More about the cavalry coming soon in the next post. 

For the meantime I’ve had the most relaxing and enjoyable painting sessions with these Toy Town soldiers in quite some time, enough to entertain the thought that I might actually sustain the resolve to paint two armies to do battle with.

14 comments:

  1. Like them ! - pleasingly different ! , Tony

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    1. Thanks, Tony. Glad you like them.

      Regards,
      Steve

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  2. They are very charming indeed. And I fully agree with block painting, no shading and gloss finish . . . other painting styles would diminish the delight they give.

    Now that you have the red/black uniformed side, you need to get some blue/(gold or white) opponents for them.


    -- Jeff

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    1. You're right, Jeff. Plenty of charm and character to these figures.

      The infantry come in three styles: this one, bulbous spiked helmets in the early style and British/Scots. Of course, any amount of mixing and matching can be done.

      The uniform coats here are actually dark blue. For the enemy army, I plan to use the spiked helmet guys. I'm a good way off from having to decide uniform colors but I'm leaning towards green coats/gray trousers.

      Regards,
      Steve

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    2. Steve,

      I am always a bit leery of using green uniforms since it is difficult to get enough contrast to the green table top without getting too garish.

      How about a lighter coat color perhaps something like an antique gold with your grey pants?

      The important thing being a nice easy obvious difference between the two sides without one blending into the "background" (which is always a danger with greens).


      -- Jeff

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  3. Great looking figures ,well done sir!

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  4. Your figures look splendid! I thought about purchasing some for Little Wars/ImagiNations battles, but decided not to do so for the following reasons:
    The size - I haven't painted 28mm for years, and couldn't do such large figures justice. I haven't much space to play or store wargaming stuff, so have settled on 10mm which are large enough to have some character, but small enough to be easy to paint in a simple style.
    The cost - 28mm figures are not cheap, then there is shipping from Australia and the chance of being hit with import duty by HMRC. I did enquire of Nic about the cost of commissioning a 10/15mm range but it was more than I could justify - though not unreasonable in itself.
    The mounts - like you, I don't find the horses satisfactory. Toy soldiers ride horses that are scaled to them, not models of children's hobby horses or rocking horses! I like what you've done with your cavalry.
    Solution - I'm going to buy suitable 10mm Napoleonic figures with bell-top shakos, light dragoons, lancers and heavy cavalry in classical helmets and paint them in a plain toy soldier style, maybe even in gloss enamel, and play simple games with them.
    Your blog provided the inspiration. Thank you!

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  5. Excellent looking soldiers...particularly the noses. The most important thing is that you enjoyed painting them....so well worth the investment.

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  6. I have been to Nick's shop and I can say he is a great person to deal with. I mostly collect 54mm, except for my Citadel 28mm. I have found dome of Nick's fantasy stuff compatible with Warhammer and I have bought some of the Toytown and teddy bear soldiers, originally supposedly for my young daughter but really because I love them. My daughter, now fifteen, is not very interested but I just might buy a few more Toy town figures!

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  7. Thanks very much for the kind comments and feedback, gents.

    arthur1815, good to read your observations on the Toy Town Soldiers and thanks for sharing your plans with us. If this blog has provided inspiration, so much the better !

    Regards,
    Steve

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  8. They are charming even more so than the Teddy Bear soldiers, but just. I have been tempted. Sometimes whimsy is easier when its explicit and if frees the mind.

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    1. Although I'm not so enthusiastic about the Teddy Bear soldiers, I agree about whimsy, Ross. When it comes to imagi-nations, It's never felt quite right to me to paint historical soldiers as something fictional but these seem to be made for it.

      Regards,
      Steve

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  9. Hmmm- Your interest in Toy Town and success with the figures by Eureka could develop into quite a grand collection Steve- yes, being larger than 28mm by quite a good deal they tend to have a very real presence. Do like Your Horse Sculpts - they have worked out well indeed. Have joined Your Site and perhaps in some way my TINKERTON Project may entice You to go further with Your Toy Town Armies in the near future- Whimsical IS great fun!. Regards. KEV.

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    1. Thanks very much, Kev. I'll need to make a new mold for the horse, the first one barely serves. As for this battalion, at long last I'm now finishing it. It's funny, seeing your Tinkerton project helped inspire me to resume.

      Regards,
      Steve

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