January 31, 2017

FARLEY'S FIGURE OF THE WEEK: #140 Marx Nutty Marx 'End Zone'

It's Super Bowl Week so we have chosen this classic Nutty Mad from Marx who answers to the name 'End Zone' as our latest FOTW. 

This week's figure was submitted by Walter Stamm who tells us that way back in the 1963 Marx issued four series of injection-molded polymer plastic toy figures with a total of 24 in all. Generally about 6 inches tall, each figure stands on a flat base in a fixed, "demented" pose—complete with bulging, bloodshot eyes and maniacal expression. They originally sold in five and dime stores like Woolworth's, S. S. Kresge and G. C. Murphy for 15 cents apiece. Each figure was available in a variety of colors; the current value and/or collectibility of these vintage toys is determined by the scarcity of the figure and color, as well as the overall condition. (The third series is the hardest to find—and usually the most expensive.) Their popularity led Marx to expand the product line with several similar series, including Weird-Ohs, Blame-Its and Cartoon Soldiers (commonly referred to as "Nutty Generals")

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 michtoystaff@michtoy.com. 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. 

TOYS IN THE ATTIC: The Rattle & Hum of Electric Football and the Tudor NFL No. 620

It's Super Bowl weekend so that means it's time for another self indulgent 'Toys in the Attic' trip down memory lane for this baby boomer...so enter the world of Electric Football

The first Electric Football games were made by Tudor in 1949. The early Tru-Action No. 500’s games are very cool pieces, millions were made between 1949-61. but the heart of Electric Football collecting lies in the NFL line that Tudor* began producing in 1967 and the holy grail is the 1967 Tudor NFL No. 620 with the Browns and Giants.That year saw the introduction of three Tudor NFL Electric Football games, as well as the introduction of Tudor’s miniature mail order NFL and AFL team figures. These games, which Tudor made from 1967-69, are Electric Football classics. They are the small 26” x 16” NFL No. 510 with the Packers-Colts; the mid-size 31” x 18” Sears exclusive NFL No. 613 with the Bears-Cardinals (this was also made as a Montgomery Ward-exclusive No. 619 with the 49ers-Rams); and the large 36” x 21” NFL No. 620 game with the Browns-Giants.

It’s the Tudor NFL No. 620 which seems to be the gold-standard for Electric Football collecting. There are other Tudor NFL games that are harder to find, but this is the game that made the biggest impact on boys of the time. Maybe it was the realistic NFL Gold single-posted goal posts, or how perfect the Giants and Browns looked on the giant “grass” field, but this is the game, more than any other, that men of a certain age want to reclaim. For so many people, their lifelong devotion to the NFL started on a living room floor with a Tudor No. 620.

620’s aren’t exactly scarce but the demand is high. And like most collectibles, condition is everything. A complete game in excellent condition – no frame or field dents, all 22 NFL players, no broken players, and all the little parts like corner flags, team scoreboard names, player bases etc. – can easily exceed the $200 mark. Throw in some extra NFL teams that a kid actually ordered from Tudor, and a No. 620 can cross the $300 mark.

Tudor used the 36” x 21” 620 template from 1967-1977, including on many NFL models that were numbered something other than “620.” Not all of these large games command the same prices as an original 1967-1969 NFL 620.

The 1969 Sears Super Bowl features the Jets and the Colts. As a point of reference, a broken non-buzzing Sears SB III recently sold on eBay for $280.

DYK- In 1947, Norman Sas, owner of Tudor Metal Products and Tudor Games, created electric football. He used a vibrating car race game made by Tudor as the base and added small players which moved down the field as they vibrated.[1] It was an immediate hit. More than 40 million of the games have been sold since its creation, and new editions are sold each year.

January 30, 2017

MATT KOLTONOW'S GAME ON! January Historical Wargaming Round Up

First up are this months issues of Wargames Illustrated 351 and Wargames Soldiers and Strategies 88. Both of these issues have new army lists for the new Swordpoint Rules mentioned last month. WGI has new lists for Numidians and Seleucids and WSS has Spanish and Seleucids. Great issues throughout but fans of Gripping Beasts new Ancient rules won’t want to miss these.

Soviet Players Rejoice! New from Warlord Games this month are the Plastic KV-1/KV-2 Kit (WLG 402014001) and the metal Soviet Veterans in Snowsuits (WLG 402214001). Also Coming Soon is the first campaign book “Battle of The Bulge” (WLG 401010002). This is a campaign supplement compatible with both versions of Bolt Action. New scenarios, units, and rules are present to cover this complex series of engagements.

New from Osprey is a personal favorite, The Pikeman’s Lament (OSP-OWG19). The newest version of the very popular Lion Rampant Rules, this new ruleset covers many 17th century conflicts including; the English Civil War, Thirty Years War, the Great Northern War and many others. Using the same core engine as Lion Rampant but incorporating new rules to cover this era allows for easy pick up and great games.

Also coming this month is the new “edition” of the Battlegroup Core Rules from Plastic Soldier Company (PSC-BGK025). This is not so much a new edition of the rules as much as it is a re-formating of the rulebook according to designer Warwick Kinrade. This core rulebook is new printing of the Core Rules to replace the now out of print Core Book. In addition, it collects all the special rules into one place as well as a new campaign set in Normandy just after D-Day.

Theres a lot to look forward to in the coming months as well. The new Age of Arthur Saga Supplement Aetius & Arthur (GBP-SRB07) is expected soon. This new supplement is set in the year 410AD, comes with 6 new battle boards and requires a copy of either the core book or Crescent and Cross.

Looking down the road a little further, Perry miniatures has teased their next plastic box set; Zulu War British! These are due out at Salute (Late April) and look to be great figures. From looking through the Facebook page, It appears theres going to be parts for 2 heliograph teams, 4 casualties and a total of 38 figures


MTSC EXPANDED LOOK: : PLA Editions - Bear in the Sand: Modelling the Russian Armour in Syria and Libya

PLA Editions Bear in the Sand: Modelling the Russian Armour in Syria and Libya
132 pages, softcover, A4 Portrait
Color Pictures throughout, Text in English

The Abrams Squad team make the fifth Special issue with ten stunning articles of models in 1/35 scale: about the Russian Armour used in Syrian and Libyan current conflicts. Bear in the Sand is  filled with ten builds all from the two theatres in the title by some of the best modelers known in the hobby. Acting as a complete guide featuring ten articles with “how to build” and “how to paint” tips for the most used vehicles by the many forces that fight in Middle-East in step- by-step format. It is a book full of inspiration for all types of modelers, from beginners to advanced. The book also contains articles on how to reproduce and paint many details, compliments, figures and to set your vehicles in a scene or diorama.
Available to Order HERE

A collection of tanks, artillery, IFV and recovery tanks:
T-72 URAL - Martin Covacs
GAZ-69M -  Ken Abrams
BMP-1 - Lukasz Orzcyc-Musialek
2SU-23-4 Shilka - Chris Jerrett
T-55 w/KMT5 - Zack Sex
T-72M1 - Chris Jerrett
D-74 122mm - Anthony Guarderas
VT-55 Recovery Tank - Nacho Inigo
T-62 Diorama - Pere Pla
2S3 Akatsiya - Volker Bembennek 
T-72 URAL by Martin Covacs
GAZ-69M by Ken Abrams
BMP-1 by Lukasz Orzcyc-Musialek
2SU-23-4 Shilka by Chris Jerrett
T-55 w/KMT5 by Zack Sex
T-72M1 by Chris Jerrett
VT-55 Recovery Tank - Nacho Inigo
D-74 122mm by Anthony Guarders
T-62 Diorama by Pere Pla
2S3 Akatsiya by Volker Bembennek

January 27, 2017

Fridays with Farley...Another Dose of Useless Tidbits

• Digital Delights...
The monster 2017 Vallejo product catalog is available as free download from Michigan Toy Soldier HERE and covers their ever growing range of products in great detail. One of the best catalogs out there! 105 pages includes Tips & Tricks and all these ranges...Model Color, Liquid Gold, Model Air, Metal Color, Panzer Aces, Game Color, Game Air, Weathering Effects, Pigments, Model Wash, Surface primers, Diorama Effects, Premium Color, Auxiliaries and Accessories
W Britains
The 2016 Winter catalog which contains new products that will be available in the Spring & Summer is now available for pre-order.
View PDF of the 2016 Winter Catalog

Our Latest Newsletter Over The Top for January 26 is is available to view by clicking HERE

...The OSW bills itself as the online authority for the sixth scale enthusiast! The Gallery features some stunning stuff including this WWI German titled: Verdun. Bleed Them White. June- November 1916. See more images and the building of the base HERE

Verdun. Bleed them White. June- November 1916

• BUILT...
120mm Stunner!
I've seen that movie
Too cool for words...


A Italian collectors private museum collection of toy soldiers. Created entirely with commercially available miniatures.


January 26, 2017

"I'M SAYIN' WHAT?" Talking Figures! Winner for #01-17 and Teaser for #02-17

New Year...New contest! This year our I''m Sayin' What Contest' will feature toy soldiers, historical figures, model kits, dioramas and toys. All you have to do is come up with the wittiest quote for the word bubble.

"I'm Sayin' What?" #01-17 WINNER

It's Thursday so...we have a winner for last weeks “I’m Saying What” contest. Taylor Holbrook has snagged one of the most coveted prizes on earth...which is of course is a $50 Gift Card from Michigan Toy Soldier. Email us at michtoystaff@michtoy.com to claim your prize

"I'm Sayin' What?" #02-17 Teaser

Here's our image for this weeks contest. All you have to do is come up with the wittiest quote for the word bubble, post to the comments on our Facebook page and you will win a $50.00 gift card from Michigan Toy Soldier Company. Just think... you get free stuff and you get show off your comedic charms that will fly around the world via  ‘Over The Top’ ‘News From The Front’ Google+ & Facebook pages. We will post the winning entry right here next Thursday.

January 24, 2017

TRENCH RUNNER REVIEW: Vignettes A How-To Guide

To order this book Click HERE
Vignettes A How-To Guide 'A Guide to Realize Scenes and Vignettes' by Joaquín García Gázquez
Click images to enlarge

First off I have to point out that the English copies of this book have six miscollated pages. They are out of sequence. In speaking with the publishers this is not a easy thing to correct and unless the first printing sells out it won't be. A bummer yes, but a minor distraction because this is an amazing book, and for a number of reasons. First and foremost it guides you through building vignettes from beginning to end. Similar books on dioramas are exclusively or at least mostly focused on replicating nature...the groundwork, water, terrain and foliage. However this guide contains not only the above but also teaches you how to paint and weather vehicles, and how to paint figures. These areas receive the same degree of attention, so it can be considered three books in one, for scenes, vehicles and figures -all of them needed to build a vignette. But it is unique because it deals exclusively with vignettes, that is, small scenes with a base, one vehicle and one (or a couple) figures. Although the techniques may be similar, large dioramas are out of the scope of this book. I came away from this book with the feeling that I could actually pull one of these off.  The featured projects are also affordable and all of the processes are carefully explained, step by step with excellent text and photographs.

The book, as the title says, is a how-to guide for creating and building vignettes. There are several scenes with a detailed construction process, explaining not only how to do it but also why. I found the 168 pages more than adequate to cover all the aspects in depth. All articles feature 1/35th scale elements. It is softcover, printed in good quality paper, thick and glossy and it is published by Accion Press, the publishers of Panzer Aces magazine.

The author is Joaquín García Gázquez, a Spanish modeler with a long and successful career. His works have been published in Military Illustrated Modeller, Abrams Squad, Steel Masters, Military Modelcraft and The Weathering Magazine. He also wrote the popular book The Paint Guide for Figures of World War Two published by Histoire & Collections. Two of the chapters have vignettes by Andrés Bernal and Javier Redondo, modelers of great skills who make an interesting contribution to the book. Unfortunately, these two articles lack the detailed step-step painting photos for both vehicles and figures, although they do a good job with the text and images.

The book opens with a foreword by the author and an editorial from Rodrigo Hernandez (who is the publisher and owner of Accion Press). Then starts the content itself with an introduction that defines what a vignette is and gives some basic composition and design information. The rest of the chapters are based on a vignette each, except one which is focused on proportions. Apart from the introduction, this is the only theoretical chapter but it is kept to a minimum. As one would expect, the book is full of images. Most of them are photos but there are also drawings. One interesting technique used is a transparent overlay highlighting the design process.  The photos of the finished projects are just a few for each vignette, so there is no "gallery of models" occupying lots of pages. This is not a draw back but a plus in my mind. The text is clear and easy to understand, with both a main story and detailed captions for the photos. Some original Spanish text has slipped on a couple of illustrations, but it does not really affect the readability of the book.

The layout of pages is very nice and easy to follow, including numbered photos for easier location of the text. As for the products used, there is a variety of known brands with no particular preference for one or another. All of the chapters by Joaquín García Gázquez start with a study about the composition, followed by step a step detailed sections on how to paint the vehicle, the figures and how to build and paint the base and its elements. It is noteworthy that the techniques are explained once, and not repeated for each scene. For example, the first chapter explains how to paint figures, then the next just give the colors used and some photos.

Highlighted sections include:
- Why Scenes are Made
- Composition-
A brief study, dealing with symmetry, balance and height to create a pleasant view.

- Basic Decoration Tips-
Days of Wine and Roses, a vignette of a German soldier with a Simca car on a countryside road in France, the ground has some bright green plants and a small water stream.

A Simple Anecdote-
The (other) Desert Fox, again a German soldier in Africa with a Kubelwagen, on a desert terrain with sand and dust that cover the vehicle.

- Composing a Vignette-
Hungarian AFV Crew on Manoeuvres, features a Toldi tank with three soldiers crossing a rail road, using different heights for the elements and positioning the figures to keep the balance and interest.

- Playing with Different Heights - 
"Region Esercito", Tunisia 1943, by Andrés Bernal, showing part of an AB-41 with two figures at very different heights, showing how works the triangle overall shape.

Tilting the Planes-
Stalinetz S-65 with Howitzer, Spanish Civil War 1938 built by Javier Redondo, where the tractor and gun are positioned on a sloped street with a house. The house and walls are made of stone.

- Telling a Story-
The First Flower of Spring A T-70 in front of a house, with a soldier and a girl giving him a flower while a lady looks through the door from inside. The wooden house has faded paint and there are patches of snow in the ground.

- Other Approaches-
Postwar Kids, a small scene of two kids seated on an abandoned T-34 track and playing with papers.

This is an excellent guide that goes beyond what you would expect from a diorama/vignette book, as it covers all the processes from composition to painting and weathering vehicles and painting figures, all in great detail. The text is clear and easy to follow and is supported by many excellent photos showing both general views and details. The examples cover most of the situations found in nature...desert, snow, urban, countryside.

I absolutely recommend Vignettes. A How-to Guide both for new modelers and experienced ones. The former will have a detailed yet easy to implement guide, while the latter will surely find new and interesting advice and techniques.
Arley Mitchell 2017
To order this book Click HERE