August 31, 2017


All new for 2017 is Vallejo’s Mecha Color range of airbrush colors which has has been designed especially for painting Sci-fi, robots, fantasy, Gundam, Transformers and Gunplas figures with an endless list of applications. The innovative formulation of the colors, although water based, guarantees a maximum resistance to manipulation, impacts, friction, scratches and overall extreme wear. Once dry, the color appears the same as the injected plastic color. respecting all the details of the kit. Supplied in 17 ml. eye dropper bottles.
Look for a MTSC Trench Runner review soon.

Mecha Color

17 mil. Bottles
VLJ-69001 Mecha Color Pure White
VLJ-69002 Mecha Color White Grey
VLJ-69003 Mecha Color Offwhite
VLJ-69004 Mecha Color Yellow 
VLJ-69005 Mecha Color Light Flesh  
VLJ-69006 Mecha Color Pink
VLJ-69007 Mecha Color Orange  
VLJ-69008 Mecha Color Red  
VLJ-69009 Mecha Color SZ Red  
VLJ-69010 Mecha Color Magenta  
VLJ-69011 Mecha Color Dark Red  
VLJ-69012 Mecha Color Purple  
VLJ-69013 Mecha Color Titan Blue  
VLJ-69014 Mecha Color Grey Green 
VLJ-69015 Mecha Color Blue Grey  
VLJ-69016 Mecha Color Light Blue  
VLJ-69017 Mecha Color Sky Blue  
VLJ-69018 Mecha Color Deep Blue  
VLJ-69019 Mecha Color Blue
VLJ-69020 Mecha Color Electric Blue  
VLJ-69021 Mecha Color Dark Blue
VLJ-69022 Mecha Color Titan Dark Blue  
VLJ-69023 Mecha Color Turquoise 
VLJ-69024 Mecha Color Stone Grey 
VLJ-69025 Mecha Color Light Green
VLJ-69026 Mecha Color Green
VLJ-69027 Mecha Color Green Blue 
VLJ-69028 Mecha Color Olive Green
VLJ-69029 Mecha Color Deep Green  
VLJ-69030 Mecha Color Dark Green 
VLJ-69031 Mecha Color Grey Sand
VLJ-69032 Mecha Color Yellow Ochre  
VLJ-69033 Mecha Color Sand Yellow
VLJ-69034 Mecha Color Brown 
VLJ-69035 Mecha Color Chipping Brown 
VLJ-69036 Mecha Color Light Grey
VLJ-69037 Mecha Color Grey
VLJ-69038 Mecha Color Medium Grey 
VLJ-69039 Mecha Color Grey Z
VLJ-69040 Mecha Color Phantom Grey
VLJ-69041 Mecha Color Dark Grey Green 
VLJ-69042 Mecha Color Pure Black 
VLJ-69054 Mecha Color Yellow Fluorescent 
VLJ-69055 Mecha Color Orange Fluorescent
VLJ-69056 Mecha Color Magenta Fluorescent  
VLJ-69057 Mecha Color Green Fluorescent  

Mecha Color Metallics
17 mil. Bottles
VLJ-69058 Mecha Color Gunmetal
VLJ-69059 Mecha Color Gold
VLJ-69060 Mecha Color Old Gold 
VLJ-69061 Mecha Color Copper  
VLJ-69062 Mecha Color Bronze 
VLJ-69063 Mecha Color Steel
VLJ-69064 Mecha Color Light Steel 
VLJ-69065 Mecha Color Dark Steel  
VLJ-69066 Mecha Color Metallic Red  
VLJ-69067 Mecha Color Metallic Blue  
VLJ-69068 Mecha Color Metallic Green

Mecha Color Washes
17 mil. Bottles
VLJ-69505 Mecha Color Light Rust Wash 
VLJ-69507 Mecha Color Dark Rust Wash  
VLJ-69515 Mecha Color Light Grey Wash  
VLJ-69518 Mecha Color Black Wash
VLJ-69521 Mecha Color Oiled Earth Wash 
VLJ-69522 Mecha Color Desert Dust Wash 

Mecha Color Varnishes
17 mil. Bottles
VLJ-69701 Mecha Color Gloss Varnish
VLJ-69702 Mecha Color Matt Varnish
VLJ-69703 Mecha Color Satin Varnish

Mecha Color Effects 
17 mil. Bottles
VLJ-69813 Mecha Color Oil Stains (Gloss)
VLJ-69814 Mecha Color Fuel Stains (Gloss)  
VLJ-69817 Mecha Color Petrol Spills (Gloss) 
VLJ-69818 Mecha Color Brown Engine Soot (Matt 
VLJ-69821 Mecha Color Rust Texture (Matt)

Mecha Color Primers
17ml Bottle
VLJ-70640 Mecha Color White Primer
VLJ-70641 Mecha Color Grey Primer  
VLJ-70642 Mecha Color Black Primer  
VLJ-70643 Mecha Color Ivory Primer 
VLJ-70644 Mecha Color Sand Primer
VLJ-73640 Mecha Color White Primer  
VLJ-73641 Mecha Color Grey Primer
VLJ-73642 Mecha Color Black Primer
VLJ-73643 Mecha Color Ivory Primer
VLJ-73644 Mecha Color Sand Primer

Mecha Color Primers
200ml Bottle
VLJ-74640 Mecha Color White Primer
VLJ-74641 Mecha Color Grey Primer
VLJ-74642 Mecha Color Black Primer  
VLJ-74643 Mecha Color Ivory Primer
VLJ-74644 Mecha Color Sand Primer

You can order these products from MTSC HERE

MTSC PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT UPDATE: Meng Models World War Toons Series Created For Kids Big & Small

Take time out for some comic relief, as Meng Model announces the World War Toons series....
 Meng Models is working with Roqovan Studio to provide model kits inspired by its World War Toons game. World War Toons is a first person shooter (FPS) game set in the WWII era where soldiers, guns, and tanks are cartoonized. Meng brings these figures and tanks as kits, and these were recently presented to the public during the World War Toons launch party aboard the USS Iowa.

The kits feature cartoony exteriors. Its snap-fit design does not require glue during assembly. Ideal for kids, beginners, and even for experienced modelers who would like to take time for a leisurely and relaxing build. This is another welcome effort to bring young people into our hobbies and we will support this range to it's fullest.

Meng World War Toon Meng Model Kids Caricature Series
MGK-WWT-001 German Tiger I Heavy Tank
MGK-WWT-002 M4A1 Sherman U.S Tank
MGK-WWT-003 German Heavy Tank King Tiger (Porsche Turret)
MGK-WWT-004 Soviet Heavy Tank KV-2
You can order these products from MTSC HERE

Two more kits have just been announced for this Fall
MGK-WWT-003 German Heavy Tank King Tiger (Porsche Turret)
MGK-WWT-004 Soviet Heavy Tank KV-2
Pre-order these and save $ HERE

Meng Warship Builder Series

MGK-MV01 Warship Builder - Lexington
This is a cartoonized model kit based on the U.S.S. aircraft carrier Lexington (CV-2). The new Warship Builder Series aims to present cartoonized ship models by highlighting the unique features of the real ships. These kits features pre-colored parts and press-fit assembly design. These cute models are perfect for display or play!

You can order these products from MTSC HERE

Meng Kids Series

Meng Kids is designed to get youngsters into modeling (and history) these kits have simple, pre-colored and cement free (snap) parts. Each kit also contains a Knowledge Card describing the models and their history.

MGK-M1 B-17G Flying Fortress Bomber Snap Kit.
MGK-M2 Lancaster Bomber
Snap Kit.

MGK-M3 He 177 Bomber Snap Kit.MGK-M4 Tu-2 Bomber Snap Kit.You can order these products from MTSC HERE


August 30, 2017


Resident plastic guru Tom Stark checks in with second part of his Swoppets opus...

As I stated at the end of Part I, the popularity and possibilities of multi-part plastic figures with each part molded in different colors to replace paint and allow for some “conversions” by pivoting the joints was a concept not lost on other makers. Many other makers as it turned out. Let’s take a look at some of the ones I have come across over the years.

Returning to Timpo, they had a copycat too by the name of Transogram. At a glance, these are difficult to distinguish from Timpo’s over-molded figures but twist the arm of one of their figures and you’ll see it moves because it is a separate piece from the torso. Similarly, the heraldry on the tunics/shields of their knights/crusaders or the vests on cowboys are separate pieces that “plug” in. I think it is appropriate to say Transogram figures are second generation copies of Britain’s Swoppets and first-generation copies of Timpo’s using a completely different engineering/production approach. Images A and B below show Transogram figures compared to their Timpo counterparts and showing the conversion potential of the Transogram’s created by the ability to rotate arms (and legs). It must have been a bitter irony to Timpo that after first copying Britains Swoppets and then doing them one better with overmolding, they in turn had several of their figure lines copied, right down to the awkwardly conceived poses, by another competitor who did them one better. Transogram produced cowboys, Indians, Mexicans, rebs and yanks, crusaders and knights in 54mm.
Image A Timpo vs. Tranagram #1 Click to enlarge
Image B Timpo vs. Tranagram #2 Click to enlarge
Perhaps because they were so well suited to separate cut and thrust weapons or because the armor that encased them lessened the need for lots of separate pieces, knights were a popular subject matter for swoppets. Not all were of equal quality and the Cherilea knight shown on Image C is one of these. This fellow is large at 65 to 70 mm. He has only 8 pieces, base, legs, trunk with attached head, weapon, sword belt, shield, shield emblem and a plume, missing on this fellow. Not a bad count but the moldings are far from crisp, poses a bit stiff, albeit not downright odd like Timpo’s and often with an extreme amount of flash contributing to poor fits between the parts. They produced the same ranges as Transogram but in the larger scale.
Image C Cherila Knights (minus weapons etc. 
Others did better and perhaps the best was Elastolin shown on foot and mounted on the left and right of Image D . The crispness of the molded plate armor is clear and, like Britains, they equipped their heads with separate plumes and visors and the sword belts had loops for swords and daggers. Also note that, since the visors can be raised or lowered they had to address the issue of the faces being the color of flesh or silver. Unlike Britains, they did not resort to paint as shown on the Britains’ kneeling crossbowman. The faces of the Elastolin knights are facial discs that plug into the helmets. Assembly of these and the visors which are attached to very delicate “pegs” one the sides of the helmets must have been a labor-intensive assembly step adding significant cost. Only their shields came up a bit short of the Britains’ standard being one piece with no heraldry in a separate color. The Elastolin horses are large animals and beautiful with or without the colorful caparisons. Elastolin followed the themes established by others releasing knights, but not crusaders, cowboys, Indians and Mexicans, rebs and yanks/US Cavalry in 54 mm. They also added 54 mm WWII Germans and British (carrying post WWII rifles) and Saxons/Vikings . Their range in 70 mm was limited to the western-themed figures to the best of my knowledge.
Image D Click to enlarge
The remaining figure in Image D is a current limited production Heritage Toy Figure (HTF) made in America by Don Ducote. Don is one of those rare souls who loves the Swoppett style so much that he produced his own ranges. These include medieval knights, men at arms, Robinhood-esque yeomen/ Vikings, War of 1812 British and American infantry and sailors and WWI Germans. The Germans were a range once out of production but currently being “revived” along with some landscape elements.   Don does the sculpting, makes or has the molds made and hand injects and assembles all the pieces and paints the odd details. HTF resorts to paint only for those pieces hard to produce by hand pressing; faces, hands and minor accent spots, like the mail coif inside the neck of a knight’s tunic. These are the only figures I review in this blog that are still in production. This is a labor of love to be sure.  Get ‘em while you can!

Returning to Elastolin, Image E below hows one of its 70 mm cavalrymen on the left. The mottled brown they used on this figure is a wonderful, very natural-looking plastic for horses but only produced in 70 mm. Other horse colors in both scales were black, white, tan and brown. Not shown are the excellent saber belts and scabbards that adorn these figures in both scales. Next to him in a 65-70 mm scale is a cavalryman and his mount by the Italian firm Nardi.
 Image E  Elastolin & Nardi Swoppets Click to enlarge 
Image F below shows an Indian by Nardi also in 70 mm next to a Plasty cowboy (see below) Nardi’s figures are not as crude as Cherilea  but  are on the lower end of the “quality” scale, remembering the intended market was low-cost toys, than Britains or Elastolin. The molding is better but certain pieces, like hats and neck scarfs, are a bit out of scale, an effect heightened by their being in a rigid enough plastic that it doesn’t “slump” and take on the shape of the underlying part. (This is an effect quite visible in 12-inch “action figures” whose uniforms are accurate but don’t behave like cloth and always look wrong out of the box.)  To be fair, getting “hats” to look the right size on a full headed figure (not cut off at the “hat” line and equipped with a peg for the headgear), was a bit tricky for many of the swoppett makers. The clunky look of the helmets on Timpos’ WWII ranges demonstrate 
 Image F Plasty Swoppet Cowboy & Nardi Indian Swoppet Click to enlarge 
Yet another German maker was Plasty that made cowboys, including townsfolk in “civilian attire”, Indians, Rebs and Yanks/US cavalry and knights and crusaders and a fairly wide range of accessories/buildings in 54 mm. Their figures (excepting the Indians) had flesh colored heads with plug-in headgear (western) or plug in faces (Crusaders) but the hands were molded in the same color plastic as the arms. Most all of their figures were, like Transogram, molded with separate arms to allow posing by the owner. A Plasty cowboy to the right of a Timpo overmolded cowboy in Image G below shows how compatible these two ranges were. Their western figures were essentially original sculpts while the knights and crusaders were more or less direct copies of Timpo.
Image G Timpo & Plasty Swoppets Click to enlarge
Getting down to even more obscure "“makers", Image H below shows a first series Timpo Indian in the middle flanked by two versions of Kinder Egg* Indians. Kinder Egg* made hollow chocolate eggs with a toy surprise inside and some of these, in the 1970s or possibly 1980s, were 54 mm soft plastic swoppetts. Who made the figures is not something I have learned and, as suggested by the different styles of sculpting on these two fellows, there were likely several makers. Having pieces that swopped was essential for Kinder Eggs* as the figures had to fit inside the eggs and came disassembled to accomplish this. Some came with bases and others with extra-large feet to stand up. The large feet on the astronauts  look very convincing. The Indian on the left, with the large feet, is hinged at the knees. The one on the right pivots at the shoulders. The colors are a little garish but the Iroquois hairstyle is a nice touch. Kinder Egg certainly did not feel constrained by the themes adhered to by the other makers and they went a little wild. Themes I know of are knights, ancient Egyptians, Samurai, Spacemen and aliens (Image I), medieval crossbowmen (Image J), Zorro and Mexicans, oddly in two slightly different scales, cowboys and Zulus. Some of these at least appear to have been released in sets of 4 different figures with variations in their base colors, weapons, shields, and various other accouterments such as plumes. Kinder Egg also release knights and Napoleonics in the style shown in Photo but as these are not really using color to represent reality so I do not consider these swoppets.
Image H Kinder Egg-Timpo-Kinder Egg Indians Click to enlarge
Image I Kinder Egg Spacemen & Alien Click to enlarge
Image I Kinder Egg Medieval Crossbow Click to enlarge
And finally, another product premium, this time Roche Aux Fees products from France. These are rare enough that while they don’t quite fit the swoppet theme, they don’t fit any other theme so why not show them. In three semi-military themes; Black Buffalo and Indians, Davy Crockett and friends and General Jackson and soldiers (Thanks to Kent Sprecherko’s website, for the group names). While attributed to General Jackson the last group looks more like Santa Anna and his Mexican army at the Alamo to me. The figures are roughly 54 to 60 mm scale. Each theme has 10 to 12 figures and all but one are one piece moldings. The final pose is a mutii-part “character” figure; Black Buffalo (?), Davy Crockett, and General Jackson/Santa Anna. The “Alamo” also gets a multi-part cannon. Each of the characters has a “hat”, torso and legs in a separate and “realistic” colors justifying my putting them into this review.
Image K Roche Aux Fee Black Buffalo & Davy Crockett Click to enlarge
Most of the good Kinder swoppet types were made by Res Plastics of Italy. Usually sets of four.
Tom contributes regular articles to Plastic Warrior and Playset magazines. 


August 29, 2017

FARLEY'S FIGURE(S) OF THE WEEK #160: U.S. Army Toy Soldiers by W.S. Reed Toy Co.

This week we are going super toy soldier old school . All the way back to 1885 when W.S. Reed produced this set of 16 U.S. Army figures in dress uniforms on a telescoping scissor stand. Litho paper on wood made by W.S. Reed Toy Co. ca.1885

I had the pleasure of viewing this wonderful set at the home of a local collector and thought to myself (insert cliche here)...they just don't make 'em like that anymore. This wonderful set of 16 soldiers and three flags is made of chromolithograph paper on wood, each figure fits into the original slotted wooden base which unfolds and extends to 36” allowing appearance of a large army. The set measures 10” x 4” x 11” (36” extended).

William s. Reed entered the toy business in 1874 co-founding the New England toy company bearing his name in Leominster, Massachusetts. That original business lasted only eighteen months yet Reed had been bitten by the manufacturing bug. In 1881 Reed took on a partner by the name of Charles E. Dresser and together they created the W. S. Reed Toy Company. Antique Reed toys are known for their unsurpassed quality and distinctive artwork, with elaborate details and vivid chromolithographs.

August 25, 2017

FRIDAY'S WITH FARLEY: 82nd Airborne Division Celebrates 100 Years

• The Good Stuff...
With just 18 hours of notice, the 82nd Airborne Division can deploy and conduct a forcible-entry operation in support of U.S. interests. But the division wasn't always that ready, and they weren't always airborne... 

Original WWI Shoulder Patch*
"The All American Division"
The 82nd Division was first constituted on 5 August 1917 during World War I in the National Army. It was organized and formally activated on 25 August 1917 at Camp Gordon, Georgia. The division consisted entirely of newly conscripted soldiers. The citizens of Atlanta held a contest to give a nickname to the new division. Major General Eben Swift, the commanding general, chose "All American" to reflect the unique composition of the 82nd—it had soldiers from all 48 states but the majority of officers were from Georgia, Alabama and Florida and the enlisted men were from Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

Original WWII Shoulder Patch*
In World War II the 82nd became the first airborne division in the history of the U.S. Army, and was redesignated as the 82nd Airborne Division.

NPR Morning Edition has a great segment from August 24th on the 82nd 100th anniversary HERE which features Kenneth "Rock" Merritt who was the second man out of a C-47 transport over Normandy - hours before landing craft hit the beaches.

Digital Delights...
A fantastic new U.S. Army podcast series "The All American Legacy Podcast" explores 100-year history of 82nd Airborne Division. From it's origins in World War I to it's present day operations. You can find it on You Tube HERE or in the iTunes podcast store. 

U.S. Army Airborne Normandy, 1944 by Ivan Lesnichenko, Moscow, Russia
82nd Airborne Normandy 1944 by Young Miniatures

120mm 82nd Airborne Soldier Desert Shield by Verlinden
Teach Your Children Well...

Painting the Young Miniatures 82nd Airborne Bust as featured on the Military Modelling forum. HERE


WWII 82nd grouping from one gentleman, Ben Hauser. The grouping includes his uniform-removed patches, dog tags, Embarkation Certificate out of LaHavre, France, and his M3 Trench.

Below: A Model 1917 combat helmet painted in a four color camouflage pattern using dark green, dark red, light blue, and ocher. The color segments are divided and separated by thin lines of black paint. On the front of the helmet is the insignia of the 82nd Division, rendered in black paint. After the helmet was painted with its camouflage pattern (and after the war had ended), the names of town and areas of service were added around the helmet, with the names of places such as "Southampton", "Marseille", "St. Juvin" and "Argonne" being placed on the helmet, as well as the designation "325th Inf" on the front below the divisional insignia. 

1:30th Scale Pewter 82nd Airborne Division Normandy 1944 solder by the W Britain Collection

 376th Parachute Field Artillery Bn., 82nd Airborne Division Normandy 1944 ref. WBN 25006

12" action figure of 82nd Airborne Division Normandy 1944 by Soldier Story

Soldier Story Action Figure ref. SS-077

Distinguished Military Service Member Commemorative Stamp Series honoring Army service members Second Lieutenant Audie L. Murphy, Sergeant Alvin C. York, General John L. Hines, and General Omar N. Bradley. Issued 3 May 2000.

WWII US Army 82nd Airborne Paratrooper M-1942 Jacket
82nd Airborne Division Modern  12" Action Figure
• Game On!

28mm 82nd Airborne by Warlord Games

The Greatest Generations...
Kenneth "Rock" Merritt jumped into Normandy with the 82nd Airborne Division on D-Day in 1944.

Sgt. Alvin C. York
Alvin Cullum York (December 13, 1887 – September 2, 1964), also known as Sergeant York, was one of the most decorated United States Army soldiers of World War I. He received the Medal of Honor for leading an attack on a German machine gun nest, taking 35 machine guns, killing at least 25 enemy soldiers, and capturing 132. York's Medal of Honor action occurred during the United States-led portion of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France., which was intended to breach the Hindenburg line and force the Germans to surrender.
The Parting Shot...