November 30, 2014

Links, Web Gems & Other Digital Delights: A moving Christmas ad recreates the rare truce during World War 1

The British and German soldiers meeting in No Man's Land
Sainsbury's (a UK supermarket chain) has teamed up with the Royal British Legion to create a heart-warming Christmas advert fitting for the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.

The video portrays the Christmas truce of 1914, where British and German soldiers ventured into No Man's Land to greet one another and exchange gifts. It begins with the German troops singing Silent Night, before the carol is taken up by the British men sitting just a few hundred yards away in their trench.

Eventually a young British soldier tentatively raises his hands and walks out into No Man's Land - so called because so many were killed in the space between rival trenches.

The two sets of troops then greet each other and play a game of football before exchanging parting gifts.This meeting between the two sides and the ensuing football match were well-documented in Christmas of 1914. As the war went on and became increasingly bloody, any sort of fraternising between the two sides was stamped out.

This truce early on in the conflict has been widely seen as a touchingly human moment in one of history's most brutal and relentless conflicts. As part of its Christmas campaign, the supermarket will be donating all the profits from sales of a chocolate bar featured in the advert to the Royal British Legion.

See our related post featuring the W Britains Christmas set

A Sunday Dose for 30november2014

November 29, 2014

Product Spotlight: WWI Christmas Truce 1914 by W. Britains

The Christmas Truce 1914
Though there was no official truce, roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in unofficial cessations of fighting along the length of the Western Front during Christmas of 1914.

German and British soldiers fraternizing on the battlefield
In the early months of static trench warfare during World War I, opposing infantry units in close proximity to each other often developed an attitude of “live and let live.” In some cases, overtly aggressive behavior ceased and troops participated in small-scale fraternization, engaging in conversation or bartering for cigarettes. Through the week leading up to Christmas 1914, this behavior became even more widespread. On Christmas Eve, German troops began decorating their trenches with candles and putting up Christmas trees, and when the German troops began singing Christmas carols, the British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings back and forth between the lines and in many sectors the two sides agreed to and an unofficial truce.

Football during the Christmas Truce of 1914
On Christmas Day, many soldiers from trenches on both sides independently ventured into “no man’s land,” where they mingled and exchanged small gifts such as food, tobacco and alcohol. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently killed soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties and in some cases joint services were held. Troops from both sides were also friendly enough to play games of football with one another. First-hand accounts of these “friendly games” are recorded by several units including the Rifle Brigade, the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, the Royal Field Artillery and The Lancashire Fusiliers.

The Christmas Truce - No Mans Land Soccer Match is recreated in miniature with these two limited edition sets of 1/30th scale (56mm) pewter figures sculpted by Ken Osen.

WBN 23088 A Friendly Game! 1914 Christmas Truce Soccer Set #1
WBN 23086 Look At Him Go! 1914 Christmas Truce Set #2

A Daily Dose for 29nov2014

Art Imitates Life
Wardaddy + Fury = Hell On Wheels - 2nd Armored Division from Young Miniatures YOM YM1852

November 27, 2014

Product News: Andrea Miniatures December 2014 Releases

The following Andrea kits are now available available. All kits are 1/32 Scale (54mm or 2 1/4 inches)

AND-SG-S19 Strange Love 
AND-S4-F46 US Cavalry Trooper, 1876 
AND-SG-A60 Longhorn 
AND-SG-A61 Calf 

View the Latest Andrea Releases

Product News: AK Interactive December 2014 Releases

Aces High Magazine Issue 3: The Empire of Japan 
AKI-2060 AirSeries: WW2 IJN Aircraft Colours 
AK Interactive's December releases are highlighted by Aces High Magazine Issue #3 "The Empire of Japan". This issue is complemented by the release of the new paint set, AK2060 WW2 IJN Aircraft Colours. This is a set of 8 acrylic paints essential for painting the authentic colors used by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service during World War Two. New colors have been carefully researched for accuracy by the author of the famous “Aviation of Japan” blog. The formula of these are designed for both brush and airbrush and because these acrylics are manufactured by AK from their own formula, problems with them drying in the airbrush have disappeared. A profile guide is featured on the backside of the box.

View The Latest Ak Releases

November 26, 2014

Ace Models Enters the WWI Braille Scale Arena with the Cannon de 155 C Modele 1917

ACE Models has  released a 1/72nd scale French Cannon de 155 C modele 1917. This is the first WWI kit produced by ACE.

The Kit has been designed and produced using 3D technology.

Manufacturers description:
The Canon de 155 C modèle 1917 was a French howitzer designed by Schneider. It was essentially the Canon de 155 C modèle 1915 Schneider fitted with a different breech to use bagged propellant rather than the cartridge cases used by the older howitzer. It was used by France, Italy, Russian Empire, Belgium and the United States from 1917 during World War I. During World War I it became the standard heavy howitzer of the French Army during the later stages of the war. 2043 were still in service with France in 1939. Captured weapons were used by the Germans for their 2nd-line artillery.

November 20, 2014

Figure of the Week #66 Shootin' Cowboy by J.I.M.

Click to enlarge the...
'le cowboy anime tirant réellement des balles'

Is this the first known example of a cowboy with a trench mortar? Is this guy armed with a bazooka? Grenade launcher? Nope! This plastic guy hails from France and was made by the French company J.I.M. in the 1950s. He is billed as 'le cowboy anime tirant reellement des balles' loosely translated as the Cowboy Actually Shooting Bullets. This figure came in a cello bag with a header card and each figure was packaged with a little bag of lead balls that you put down the barrel and shot out by pulling the spring on his back. The poor Indians never stood a chance in any collection containing this bad ass cowboy making him worthy addition to our collection of FOTW!

Join the Fun! Have a favorite figure? Send us a good image of it along with a brief description and become one of our Figure of the Week contributors. Email you submissions to If your figure is chosen you will receive a special promo code for a nice discount on your next order with us as well as our eternal gratitude.

MichToy's Caption This Image #63 Winner + Image for #64

It's Thursday so...We have a winner for this weeks Caption This Image #58. Jim Kobylecky who entered via our newsletter is this weeks winner of a $25.00 Gift Card from Michigan Toy Soldier. Thanks to Jim and everyone who entered.

Here is this weeks image. Come up with the wittiest caption for this image you will win a $25.00 gift card from MTSC. Just think... you get free stuff and you get show off your comedic charms that will fly around the world via our Newsletter, Blog, Google+ & Facebook pages. We will post the winning entry right here every Thursday. Post your entry here or email your entries to:

November 15, 2014

MTSC Product Spotlight: Game Effects by Acrylicos Vallejo

Ever have those days where you just can't quite get that vomit to look right? Stumped trying to paint a festering scab? Can't get that white to look rotten enough? And just what is Verdigris anyway? Well apparently the good folks at Acrylicos Vallejo were having these same issues so they turned to Angel Giráldez of Studio Giraldez to help create the all new Game (Color) Effects. These seven new effects are now available as single bottles or as a boxed set with all seven effect colors plus Vallejo Chipping Medium and a special SBS Instruction pamphlet by Angel. By the way Angel also collaborated with Vallejo on the Non Metallic Metal ‘NMM’ Set issued in 2013. By the way...Verdigris is green or bluish patina formed on copper, brass, or bronze surfaces exposed to the atmosphere for long periods of time, consisting principally of basic copper sulfate.

Game Effects in 17ml bottles
VLJ-72130 Game Effect Rotten White 
VLJ-72131 Game Effect Rust 
VLJ-72132 Game Effect Flesh Blood 
VLJ-72133 Game Effect Dried Blood 
VLJ-72134 Game Effect Vomit 
VLJ-72135 Game Effect Verdigris 
VLJ-72136 Game Effect Dry Rust 
VLJ-P72213 Game Color Special Effects Paint Set 

November 13, 2014

Figure of the Week #65 TedToy Civil War Soldier Writing Home

Our latest Figure of the Week comes from Ted Deddens over at TedToy Miniatures who made this whimsical figure of a soldier writing home. This is Ted's second trip to the FOTW podium and one of the reasons is that this is the first figure he has done in several years. Family, and not mention the need to make a real living has slowed down the recent TedToy output but when he gets around to doing a new figure or two it's always worth the wait. This has long been one of my favorite toy soldier ranges and was the very first 'new' toy soldiers I purchased way back in the early 90s. I've been collecting them ever since.  So in a way I somewhat blame Ted for leading me down the toy soldier path. 
TedToy Miniatures are designed, sculpted and hand painted right here in USA by Ted himself. 

TedToy with a similar figure in matt finish from ONTC #CC02

MichToy's Caption This Image #62 Winner + Image for #63

It's Thursday so...We have a winner for this weeks Caption This Image #58. Arley Mitchell who entered via our newsletter is this weeks winner of a $25.00 Gift Card from Michigan Toy Soldier. Thanks to Arley and everyone who entered.

Here is this weeks image. Come up with the wittiest caption for this image you will win a $25.00 gift card from MTSC. Just think... you get free stuff and you get show off your comedic charms that will fly around the world via our Newsletter, Blog, Google+ & Facebook pages. We will post the winning entry right here every Thursday. Post your entry here or email your entries to:

November 11, 2014

Why the Poppy?

The poppy has a long association with Veterans Day or Remembrance Day in Canada & Europe. But how did the distinctive red flower become such a potent symbol of our remembrance of the sacrifices made in past wars?

Scarlet corn poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers.

In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as World War One raged through Europe's heart. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields.

The significance of the poppy as a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen was realized by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice made by his comrades and quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in World War One and later conflicts.

Tower of London Poppies Honor 'Lives They Would Have Led'

LONDON — There's a good reason Veterans Day is called "Armistice Day" in Great Britain. Ninety-six years after the "war to end all wars" finally did end, Nov. 11 remains a deeply emotional date. Every year on that day, Britons across the nation have stood in silence, often in tears, as the Big Ben clock chimes 11 times, echoing the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and reminding many here of what some still call their "deliverance" from the unspeakable horror and loss that was World War I.

But on this centenary year, two British artists, Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, have offered the public a new — and moving — way to look and listen and reflect on a war whose "guns of August" would kill or maim almost 1 in every 10 Britons. "Blood Sept Lands and Seas of Red" is a reminder that the best art can imitate life — and death. Their idea was simple: plant a ceramic red poppy, long a national symbol of the commemorated fallen; then plant another and another, until you fill the giant moat surrounding the historic Tower of London with a sea of red poppies, each representing a service member killed in action in World War 1 — all 888,426 of them.

''It's not pretentious, and what you see is what you get,'" Piper, a set designer, told Britain's Channel 4 News. And what the people got has been — in a word — electrifying. Since July, when the first of 19,000 volunteers began planting the poppies, tens of thousands of Britons and tourists have come every day to marvel at the beauty of the snaking swath of red clay flowers. One older British lady dressed in red from neck to ankle summed it up: "It's so humbling isn't it? To see it all, really, it's so different."

Still, it hasn't stopped some critics from complaining that the work is too beautiful to remind anyone of war's brutality. Speaking to the London newspaper The Observer, Piper begged to differ.

"This is not an illustration of violence and barbarity; it is about loss and commemoration, and has given individuals a unique way to tap back into their own family history and appreciate some of that human cost," Piper said.

And Britons seem to have gotten the message. The exhibition has struck a chord with the public that has left organizers and government officials agog. By closing day — Armistice Day, Tuesday — about 4 million visitors will have seen and been touched by the extraordinary work of art. Now, pressure is growing for an encore, so much so that Prime Minster David Cameron has extended the display beyond Nov. 11 until the end of the month, allowing more Britons to come and experience what he called a "much loved and respected monument."

After that, some poppies will be housed in the Imperial War Museum as a permanent tribute to the fallen. But the rest will earn their legacy: Cleaned one by one and sold for about $40 each to bidders around the globe, they will raise an estimated $24 million for military charities.

In the end, both artists resisted growing calls to keep the poppies beneath the Tower of London for good. "The installation is transient," said Cummins. "I found this poignant and reflective of human life, like those who lost their lives during the First World War. I wanted to find a fitting way to remember them."

Indeed, the display has gone so viral — and public reaction has been so visceral — that pundits are now talking about a collective "sense of bereavement" after the flowing red poppies are plucked from the moat. Says London's mayor, Boris Johnson: "Yes ... that is sad, and inevitable; and it is also fitting and in perfect keeping with the message of that field of mortal flowers.

View the video reportReport Courtesy of NBC News 

November 10, 2014

A Daily Dose for 10nov2014

Don't Forget Tomorrow 11-11-14 is Veterans Day
Another stunner from Ken Osen. 1/30th scale W. Britains figures.
This is why the South Lost!
Original painting by Will Hulsey for True Men Stories - 12 Dec1959 
Plastic Makes Perfect = Toy Soldiers as Art!

Ugh! Another Monday....Where's my coffee already?

November 09, 2014

Product Spotlight: The New Kingdom Armies of Ancient Egypt and the Battle of Kadesh by Morgan Miniatures Part 1

The Battle of Kadesh
Egyptians, Sherdens and Hittites from the period known as the Egyptian New Kingdom (NK) come to life with the first figures in the new Morgan Miniatures range examining the organizations, weapons and uniforms of the forces who fought on both sides of the ancient biblical conflict known as The Battle of Kadesh. Look for future releases of Pharaohs & Kings & Chariots too! 

Morgan Miniatures are 60mm (1/30th scale), matt painted, white metal figures produced in the U.K. Each figure is individually hand-painted in the connoisseur style. These figures are compatible with King & Country Egyptains.

For many people ancient Egypt is all about religion and the afterlife, as manifested in the various pyramids and temples still to be found there, not to mention mummies. Her endeavours and achievements on the field of battle are much less appreciated, and yet Egypt was a superpower of the region for much of the period, and particularly in the New Kingdom when she exercised that power to maintain her interests against many different enemies.

One of the oldest civilisations on earth, Egypt had long benefited from its relative isolation from other centres of population, which meant it was naturally well protected and did not require large effective armies. As a result, when a potent threat did appear in the form of the Hyksos, Egypt, or at least Lower Egypt, seems to have crumbled fairly swiftly. However Upper Egypt was not attacked or occupied, and in time they learned the lessons of their enemy and drove the Hyksos out, ushering in the phase known as the New Kingdom, which was to be much more militaristic and imperial in tone, with effective and powerful armies carving out an empire, particularly in Palestine and Syria.
View of the Orontes River Near the Battlefield in Syria
The New Kingdom Battle of Kadesh (also Qadesh) took place between the forces of the Egyptian Empire under Ramesses II and the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh on the Orontes River, in what is now Syria. The battle is generally dated to 1274 BCE, and is the earliest battle in recorded history for which details of tactics and formations are known.

Morgan Hittite

The empire of the Hittites who once lived in what is modern Turkey and northern Syria, was, in its day, as powerful and important as that of Egypt. It had first began to appear around the late 17th century BCE, and finally collapsed about 1200 BCE (The New Kingdom Hittite Empire lasted from 1400-1200 BCE), but in the interim it was a regional power that stretched at its height from the Dardanelles to Palestine. Inevitably this brought it into contact, and conflict, with the Nile domain of the pharaohs as both competed for territory and influence along their common border. 

Morgan Egyptian Heavy Infantry
In his fourth year, Ramesses marched north along the Canaanite coast and reached Amurru, advancing as far as the DogRiver (Nahr El Kelb). Ramesses secured the allegiance of the King of Amurru, Benteshina, who deserted his former overlord the King of Hatti. This annoyed Muwatalli greatly, and would have been taken as just cause for war by the Hittites. The Hittites subsequently regarded the war as fought against both Egypt and Amurru.  Muwatalli made preparations for retaking Amurru and fighting Egypt. The battle of Kadesh would be fought because Kadesh was the Pharaoh’s next objective, and this time the Egyptians would be opposed by all the might of the Hittite King.

Modern Day View of the Battlefield in Syria
The Battle
Ramesses' army crossed the Egyptian border in the spring of year five of his reign and, after a month's march, reached the area of Kadesh from the South. The Hittite king Muwatalli, who had mustered several of his allies, had positioned his troops behind "Old Kadesh", but Ramesses, misled by two spies whom the Egyptians had captured, thought the Hittite forces were still far off, at Aleppo, and ordered his forces to set up camp. Ramesses led an army of four divisions: Amun, Re, Seth and Ptah. These are often called ‘divisions’, but the Egyptian word translates as ‘army’ indicating that they were self-contained forces that included infantry and chariotry; and which could operate independently. From period documents it has been suggested that each army included at least 5000 men.

While the Egyptians advanced between the Lebanese mountains and along the ‘valley of the cedars’ (the Bekaa valley) a huge Hittite force arrived in the vicinity of Aleppo, anciently known as Kaleb, about 100 miles north of Kadesh. As Egyptian texts say, ‘they covered the mountains and the valleys like locusts in their multitudes.’  The list of Hittite allied contingents given in Egyptian records shows the vast extent of the Hittite king’s empire at this time. As well as troops from the Hittite heartland and those provided according to treaty obligations by vassal kingdoms, there were mercenary contingents hired from various friendly kingdoms and tribes. 

Morgan Sherden Warrior
The Pharaoh was with his bodyguard troops, which included household chariotry and Sherden warriors on foot, leading the army of Amun. They made camp on the hills overlooking the Orontes valley and the plain of Kadesh. Ramesses probably originally intended to wait here for the rest of his forces to arrive, before crossing the Orontes for the final advance to Kadesh but in his haste to capture Kadesh, Ramesses II committed a major tactical error. He increased the distance between his Amun Division and the remaining Re, Ptah and Seth divisions, thereby splitting up his combined forces. When they were attacked by the Hittites, the pharaoh quickly sent urgent messengers to hasten the arrival of the Ptah and Seth divisions of his army, which were still some distance away on the far side of the River Orontes. Before Ramesses could organize his troops, however, Muwatalli's chariots attacked the Re division, which was caught in the open and almost destroyed. Some of its survivors fled to the safety of the Amun camp, but they were pursued by the Hittite forces. The Hittite chariotry crashed through the Amun camp's shield wall and began their assault. This created panic among the Amun troops as well. However, the momentum of the Hittite attack was already starting to wane, as the impending obstacles of such a large camp forced many Hittite charioteers to slow their attack.

In the Egyptian account of the battle, Ramesses describes himself as being deserted and surrounded by enemies: "...No officer was with me, no charioteer, no soldier of the army, no shield-bearer ..."

Only with help from the gods did Ramesses II personally defeat his attackers and return to the Egyptian lines: "...I was before them like Set in his moment. I found the mass of chariots in whose midst I was, scattering them before my horses..."

Ramesses Counterattacks.
The Pharaoh, now facing a desperate fight for his life, summoned up his courage, called upon his god Amun, and fought valiantly to save himself. Ramesses personally led several charges into the Hittite ranks together with his personal guard, some of the chariots from his Amun division and survivors from the routed division of Re, and using the superior maneuverability of their chariots and the power and range of Egyptian composite bows, deployed and attacked the overextended and tired Hittite chariotry.

The Hittites, meanwhile, who understandably believed their enemies to be totally routed, had stopped to loot the Egyptian camp and, in doing so, became easy targets for Ramesses' counterattack. Ramesses' action was successful in driving the Hittites back towards the Orontes and away from the Egyptian camp, while in the ensuing pursuit, the heavier Hittite chariots were easily overtaken and dispatched by the lighter, faster, Egyptian chariots.

Final phase of the battle.
Although he had suffered a significant reversal, Muwatalli still commanded a large force of reserve chariotry and infantry plus the walls of the town. As the retreat reached the river, he ordered another thousand chariots to attack the Egyptians, the stiffening element consisting of the high nobles who surrounded the king. As the Hittite forces approached the Egyptian camp again, the Ne'arin troop contingent from Amurru suddenly arrived, this time surprising the Hittites. Ramesses had also reorganized his forces and, expecting the help, also attacked from the camp.

After six charges, the Hittite forces were almost surrounded, and the survivors were faced with the humiliation of having to swim back across the Orontes River to rejoin their infantry. Pinned against the Orontes, the elements remaining of the Hittites not overtaken in the withdrawal were forced to abandon their chariots and attempt to swim the Orontes (This flight is depicted in Egyptian inscriptions as "hurried" to say the least—"as fast as Crocodiles swimming"), where many of them drowned.

The next morning, a second, inconclusive battle was fought. Muwatalli is reported by Ramesses to have called for a truce, but this may be propaganda since Hittite records note no such arrangement. Neither side gained total victory. Both the Egyptians and the Hittites had suffered heavy casualties; the Egyptian army failed to break Kadesh's defenses, while the Hittite army had failed to gain a victory in the face of what earlier must have seemed certain success.

There is no consensus about the outcome or what took place, with views ranging from an Egyptian victory, a draw, and, according to the view of Iranian Egyptologist Mehdi Yarahmadi,  an Egyptian defeat (with the Egyptian accounts simply propaganda).

View Our Morgan Kadesh Listings