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Guideline Publications The latest news from the global toy soldier hobby October 2014 The latest news from the global toy soldier hobby
October 2014
Centurion exclusives
Birmingham show figure

The 'all new' Birmingham Toy Soldier Fair organised by Patrick Adams (of the British Toy Soldier Company) is due to take place on Sunday October 12th at the Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham. Not only is this an exciting new venue but also Patrick has worked hard to get support from the industry for this show and one of the things I'm sure many W. Britain collectors will be pleased to hear is that a very limited edition (200 piece) WB figure will be available on the day.

Birmingham was an important area for recruiting for the 6th Regiment of Foot between 1782 and 1798 therefore this seemed an ideal figure for Patrick and W. Britain to produce for the show. I believe there will be 144 available on the day priced at £21.99 and 56 available after the show which will be priced at £26.99 including postage. See www.toysoldierfairbirmingham.com for further information.

Picture: The 200 piece limited edition figure of a 6th Regiment of Foot 1782-1798 made by W. Britain exclusively for the Birmingham Toy Soldier Fair


Guideline Publications Feature Article July 2014 Feature Article
July 2014
We Few, We Happy Few
An insight into a large WWI commemorative diorama built by a group of friends and collectors in Australia

Toy soldier collectors are regularly reminded that they are in a niche or boutique hobby. There are even murmurs from some collectors that rising costs are slowly but surely returning the hobby to its aristocratic roots. This vision of a looming apocalypse for the hobby, where only the wealthy are able to indulge their passion for military miniatures, is thankfully exaggerated. Nevertheless, it is true that manufacturers will need to be increasingly creative in their efforts to balance the competing demands for affordable figures, improvements in quality and expanded ranges. King and Country s decision to market three tiers of figure quality (plastic, regular and P ranges) and the foray into wargaming by The Collector's Showcase are two initiatives which shows that manufacturers are not content to accept the status quo. This can only be good news for the collector.££££££

The challenge for the 'average' collector, however, is to explore ways to maximise their engagement in the hobby while still staying within their budget. A group of Australian collectors based in Brisbane have found a way to do just that. In doing so, they have expanded their involvement in the hobby far beyond what would have been possible as individuals. Working in collaboration with St Joseph s Nudgee College and The Military Workshop in Brisbane (owned and run by Brett and Gerelou Williams), they have constructed three large dioramas as part of the College s commemoration of the outbreak of WWI. Covering almost 15 square metres, Beersheba (King and Country), Dawn Patrol (John Jenkins, King and Country, Wingnuts) and Over the Top (Britains, King and Country, Thomas Gunn), offer three snapshots of the Australian experience of war. They are the central focus of a six month exhibition called For King and Country which was opened by Andy Neilson on July 8, 2014, at a Collectors Dinner held at the College.

As curator of the College museum, I was fortunate to meet a number of collectors and diorama specialists at Thursday night gatherings at The Military Workshop in Brisbane. People like Phil Charlwood, Robert (Bob) Crombie, John Kerby, Wayne Roberts, Marc Robertson, Glenn Smith, and Brett Williams have devoted hundreds of hours to constructing an exhibition that has no precedent in terms of school based commemorative projects. As these collectors offered open access to their private collections, grant money from the College Foundation and the Department of Veterans Affairs was sufficient to cover the purchase and construction of cabinets, perspex covers and diorama materials. In addition, Andy Neilson very generously sent a selection of K&C s wonderful Light Horse range for use in the diorama.

Bob Crombie, who came to the project from a wargaming and diorama background, observed that I have worked on many dioramas over many years. But I have never had the opportunity to work on so broad a canvas. A lot of it, however, was trial and error using inexpensive material available at any hardware store. We used 12 litres of PVA glue, 20 square metres of foam, eight kilograms of grout, two kilograms of plaster, many litres of spray paint and over 1000 Tamiya 1:35 scale sandbags. It was quite a learning experience .

For Wayne Roberts, it was about indulging his love for all things Great War. I collect anything Australian, but in particular I am fascinated by the experience of the AIF (Australian Imperial Force). Many of my relatives served during the war and four of them are buried or commemorated in France and Belgium .

Phil Charlwood sees the dioramas as an investment for the future. I have really enjoyed the experience but, as is the case with Bob, my main collecting focus is Napoleonics. With next year marking the bicentenary of Waterloo, I am already thinking seriously about a cavalry charge with over a hundred King and Country French cavalry smashing into the British squares in a diorama space measuring almost five square metres. It will need over 200 figures . For Glenn Smith, it introduced a part of the hobby he had not yet explored. Glenn acknowledges that he is a collector of figures rather than a diorama maker. My tastes are eclectic, so my collection is more an extended series of vignettes rather than dioramas as such.

John Kerby, who made a number of Wingnuts models for the airfield diorama, including a majestic 1:32 scale Gotha, remarked that it was never a matter of where to source figures and aircraft. Jenkins aircraft are beautiful, as are their figures. King and Country has an extraordinary range across many conflicts. The real challenge is where to put them after the diorama comes down!

The challenge was, however, much more than just making dioramas or where to store the figures. There was a philosophical challenge as well. In the early part of the twentieth century the College was belligerently Irish in its outlook, staffed as it was by Famine era Christian Brothers. In the insular, almost monastic environment of an Irish Catholic boarding school, the loss of almost one quarter of the 250 who enlisted was particularly traumatic and was commemorated with decidedly mixed feelings.

Other than the Honour Board memorial at the door of the chapel, there is still no permanent reminder on the Campus of the College s experience during the conflict. For the war had hardened prejudices rather than lessened them. The sectarian animosities fanned during the bitterly contested conscription referenda created an estrangement between Catholics and the new forms of national ceremony observed on the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli. The Catholic Church did not participate in the post war commemoration of Anzac Day, nor did the College Annuals of the twenties and thirties make any reference to a yearly ceremony marking 25 April as a significant event at either a local or national level.

The question of how the College Museum might mark the centenary of the outbreak of the conflict was one that therefore could not be guided by precedent. Inspiration needed to come from further afield, and it was to the Australian War Memorial that the College looked. Counted among the greatest treasures of the Memorial are the First World War dioramas which were constructed in the 1920s under the guidance of Charles Bean, the Official Historian and one of the Memorial s founders. Bean s vision was for a series of dioramas that fused history and art as a means of offering to the Australian people an accurate and moving visual record of their men and women at war. In this same tradition, though perhaps on a more humble scale, the Brisbane collectors likewise sought to create works of both art and history as well as enjoy playing with their collections!

Though Andy Neilson did not use the word art in the foreword he wrote for the commemorative book published to mark the occasion, he described the results in a manner that Bean would have well understood.
They say a good picture is worth a thousand words I have been a toy soldier collector for more years than I care to remember and among the many things I have learned is this A few soldiers, on their own can look O.K. Put them next to a fighting vehicle or an artillery piece and they look even better. Place all of them into a diorama with buildings, landscaping and a healthy dose of imagination and they come alive!

Andy finished the foreword with the question of what s next? That depends Andy what s coming out??

Text by Dr Martin Kerby. Photographs by Marc Robertson


Guideline Publications Toy Soldier Show June 2014 Toy Soldier Show
June 2014
Here are some photos from our very successful show on Saturday - enjoy!


Guideline Publications The latest news from the global toy soldier hobby May 2014 The latest news from the global toy soldier hobby
May 2014
Heritage Returns

Heritage Miniatures, the figure production arm of retailer Maison Militaire has been very quiet over the past 12 months, but now I realise why. At the March show Ken Jackson owner of both Maison and Heritage was previewing the undercoated masters of new add-ons for the Zulu Wars as well as a striking Nile Naval Brigade (rumour has it these work well on their own but also look pretty good on Britains gun boat released last year). The releases total around 23 new sculpts, no mean feat for a small maker with only the one sculptor, Martin Tabony. And talking of Martin, I would honestly say this is the best sculpting work I've ever seen him do, the faces on everyone of these figures is a true character and I can't wait to see the painted versions at the next show.

The foot figures are £20 each, the pairings are £40 and the mounted figures are £50 each. These prices are all based on Heritage's usual matt/connoisseur painting style.

Contact:

Heritage Miniatures
c/o Maison Militaire
25 Main Street
Seamer
North Yorkshire
YO12 4PS

Tel: 01723 864453
www.maisonmilitaire.com


Guideline Publications The latest news from the global toy soldier hobby May 2014 The latest news from the global toy soldier hobby
May 2014
Heritage Returns

Heritage Miniatures, the figure production arm of retailer Maison Militaire has been very quiet over the past 12 months, but now I realise why. At the March show Ken Jackson owner of both Maison and Heritage was previewing the undercoated masters of new add-ons for the Zulu Wars as well as a striking Nile Naval Brigade (rumour has it these work well on their own but also look pretty good on Britains gun boat released last year). The releases total around 23 new sculpts, no mean feat for a small maker with only the one sculptor, Martin Tabony. And talking of Martin, I would honestly say this is the best sculpting work I've ever seen him do, the faces on everyone of these figures is a true character and I can't wait to see the painted versions at the next show.

The foot figures are £20 each, the pairings are £40 and the mounted figures are £50 each. These prices are all based on Heritage's usual matt/connoisseur painting style.

Contact:

Heritage Miniatures
c/o Maison Militaire
25 Main Street
Seamer
North Yorkshire
YO12 4PS

Tel: 01723 864453
www.maisonmilitaire.com


Guideline Publications New scenery maker The latest news from the global toy soldier hobby - May 2014 New scenery maker
The latest news from the global toy soldier hobby - May 2014
Collector and part-time model maker Dean Winter got in touch recently to let us know that he has begun offering for sale some scenic items he has, up until now, only been making for his own collection.

If you like what you see then you can email Dean at: deanwinter09@gmail.com to get further information and prices for his work.


Guideline Publications ModelKraft Show 2014 27 April at Milton Keynes ModelKraft Show 2014
27 April at Milton Keynes
Eduard and IPMS Brno have kindly supplied the organisers of the show with a copy of the new Messerschmiit Bf109G kit prior to its release as well as a Spitfire IX both boxes signed by Vladimir Sulac to be auctioned in aid of Willen Hospice.

The auction will happen after the competition prize giving at aproximatly 3.15pm tomorrow.

Obviously we would like the word spread to help them raise funds for this worthwhile cause, so please pass it on!!

http://www.mksmc.co.uk/modelkraft/modelkraft_gen.html


Guideline Publications London Toy Soldier Show 29 March 2014 London Toy Soldier Show
29 March 2014
The Toy Soldier Show held last month was a great success - with 106 'Early Bird' entries and over 400 general admissions.

Many of the traders experienced an increase in sales from last year and visitor feedback was very positive.

We are now looking forward to the next show in June!


Guideline Publications Ninth winter gathering for W. Britain faithful The latest news from the global toy soldier hobby   January 2014 Ninth winter gathering for W. Britain faithful
The latest news from the global toy soldier hobby January 2014
The Rifle Officers Club in Mayfair provided a historic new setting for the ninth W. Britain Collectors Club annual gathering in early December 2013.

Situated close to Bond Street station, the venue has the authentic feel of a British regimental club. In the main hall area in which the gathering took place, club members fell under the stern gaze of past rifle unit commanders framed within paintings on the walls and there were numerous wood-mounted battle honours and flags to commemorate past conflicts.

The hall layout also featured a number of excellent Britains diorama pieces representing the trench battles of the Great War, the epic confrontation at Rorke's Drift in 1879 and some Napoleonic War encounters involving French Empress Dragoons and the sharp shooters of the 95th Rifles.

After a warm welcome from Major Tristram Carter, an officer of the Territorial Army unit of the rifle regiments, members enjoyed a light buffet and a chance to mingle and speak with members of the W. Britain team, including General Manager and Creative Director, Ken Osen.

Also on hand to share some fascinating facts about the British fighting men of the Napoleonic Wars were re-enactors Dave Gower (95th Rifles) and Craig Appleton (44th Regiment of Foot). I strongly recommend that any toy soldier collector who attends events where re-enactors are present takes some time to speak with them about the history, equipment and battle honours of the regiments they represent. They are absolute goldmines of accurate historical information. I spent about 10 minutes chatting to Dave about the contents of a 95th Rifleman's knapsack and was completely gob-smacked at how well equipped and self-sufficient the individual soldier was.

Later, Ken Osen took the stage to thank members for their continued loyalty to the Britains brand and to share some of his philosophy on making historically accurate military miniatures. W. Britain brand manager for Europe, Malcolm Watson, then offered some insights into what's coming down the production pipeline and introduced Alan Ball and Graham Scollick for two short 'meet your maker' sessions with the company's sculptors. Both men acknowledged their gratitude at being able to do something they genuinely love for a living.

An unexpected treat for a good number of members on the night was a visit to a regimental museum situated in another section of the building, where more fascinating facts about the country's historic rifles regiments was shared.

An enjoyable night for all involved and a big thumbs up for the new venue.

News item by George Phillips


Guideline Publications Starlux  Historique du geant Francais de la figurine November 2013 Starlux Historique du geant Francais de la figurine
November 2013
Roughly translated 'Starlux, the history of the French toy soldier giant' is a book written by collector Alain Thomas in conjunction with Alain Mimoun and Phiippe Guilbert. This is the updated/second edition of the book which was released in 2010.

The authors spent many years researching the owners, sculptors, painters and salesmen of Starlux, with Alain personally owning more than 10,000 pages of documentation on the Starlux company. The book is divided into various chapters a key one being 'Starlux before Starlux', which focuses on the company's earliest days when it produced composition style figures called 'les blancs de Meudon' prior to it moving into plastic production for which it became so famous. Further chapters are a detailed inventory of the Far West, Modern armies and the middle ages, all of which were key ranges. The history of Starlux is well illustrated with pictures of the factory, exhibitions and figures.

The book is written in French but is so richly illustrated that you don't have to be fluent to just enjoy the 255 pages full of images. The book can be bought direct from Alain Thomas (alain.thomas@live.be) and the price is 60 plus P&P.

News item by Erwin Goossens


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