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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lone Star - Toy Soldiers

Lone Star was a British manufacturer of die cast vehicles and plastic toy soldiers. It was founded just before WWII and was in business until the early 80s when it went bankrupt. While its main focus seems to have been the vehicles and trains, it also produced a few interesting WWII sets. The sets came factory painted and the sculpting is of varying degrees of quality from one set to the next. The original figures are a bit hard to find and I have found it an interesting challenge to collect them. At least one of the sets -the ANZAC figures- has been acquired by Timpo and they have released new production figures using the original molds. 

Lone Star Afrika Korps - Part I
This is a rare set. Out of production and not easy to find. The poses are acceptable considering when they were made (50s or 60s). As far as poses they offer a good mix of fighting/non-fighting figures. The guy on the left is the only one I've ever seen waving a white flag.

Lone Star Afrika Korps - Part II
This other picture has the guys going on the offensive. It also shows the only flamethrower among all the poses across all manufacturers in this post, which is another reason why I am glad I finally got my hands on this set.

Lone Star British Paratroopers - Part I
These are two figures that I stumbled upon on eBay. They are standing a bit too straight for my taste, but they are also old, so we can give them a bit of a break. Anyhow, once they are painted they will be a good addition to the unit, providing their specialized services. I wonder what the guy on the right is supposed to be carrying on his back. Does not look like the usual field pack. Is it supposed to be his parachute? But if he is already operating the mortar, doesn't that mean that he already jumped?

Lone Star British Paratroopers - Part II
Here are some more guys from this set. They are not in the best shape. A couple of them have broken weapons but they still give an idea of what the original poses looked like. The guy on the right is an interesting pose. I am not sure what he represents. Is he supposed to be pulling his parachute? or maybe he is supposed to be in the air, in the middle of a jump?

Lone Star British Paratroopers - Part III
A couple more guys that I recently got in a mixed lot. The guy who is crawling is interesting. He seems more like he is doing some push ups. I would have made him with at least one knee on the ground. The man with the binoculars is fairly decent. Too bad it has lost all its paint.

Lone Star British Paratroopers - Part IV
A few more guys in much better condition. The bazooka guy seems to be based off the same figure as the standing man aiming with the rifle, or most likely the other way around, which explains why the rifleman is holding the rifle that way. The flamethrower guy is just a better version of the one in the previous picture which has the flame missing. 

Lone Star British Paratroopers - Part V
Three more figures from the set. Well actually the guy on the left showed up already in one of the earlier pictures, but the weapon was broken, so I included him again since I just got the same figure in better shape. The other two are nice additions. I like the guy who is crawling quite a bit. The MG is also a good addition to the uint, giving it a bit more firepower.

Lone Star British Paratroopers - Part VI
And yet one more guy who I found by chance, without knowing that I was missing him, in a large batch that I bought, also without knowing what exactly was in it. I guess every unit needs a good grenade thrower, and here he is. He does not seem to be winding up much for the throw though... let's see how far he manages to throw that. 

Lone Star British Paratroopers - Part VII
This is one more guy I just ran into. He is just sitting down, as if he were riding on a plane waiting to jump. To setup such a scene, you would need several of them and they are not easy to find, so I doubt I'll ever get around to that. I should clarify that I did not see any manufacturer marks on him, so I am just assuming that he is a Lone Star figure because he really resembles the other ones.

Lone Star British Paratroopers - Part VIII
So I think I found the set that the sitting para belongs to, or at least one where he can be used more appropriately. This is a Willys Jeep made by Lone Star. Presumably issued to the British Paras through Lend Lease :-)

Lone Star British Paratroopers - Part IX
Here is one more British Para. This guy happens to be the machine gunner for this Bren gun carrier, although his MG does not really look like a Bren gun. If he's not the actual gunner, then it's a big coincidence that he fits so well on the seat that has the MG opening... 

Lone Star British Modern Paratrooper
This guy came with some of the WWII paras. At first I did not notice that he was from a more modern set. As you can see, the only thing that stands out is the weapon. So if you are not too selective, you can include him in your WWII unit. I probably will.

Lone Star British Red Berets - Part I
These guys are post WWII figures, but if you overlook the automatic weapons, they could fit well with the rest of the guys. The flamethrower is a good complement to the other sets. I don't know exactly how many poses were produced. First I found these four and later on I found two more (see below).

Lone Star British Red Berets - Part II
I recently got these two other poses. The plastic is a bit brittle as they arrived in multiple pieces. Note how the arm holding the grenade is reattached as well as the head of the other guy. Too bad because there aren't that many of these figures left around. One thing that the figures in this set have been criticized about is the size of the beret which is certainly on the bigger side.

Lone Star British Red Berets - Part III
And here is one more guy that I was missing from the set. The guy firing from a kneeling position. A classic post in most sets. Fairly well executed in this case.

Lone Star British Red Berets - Part IV
Here is one more guy who I was missing. Also, one of those that I was not aware of and who came in  a larger batch of figures, so I guess I got lucky. He is displaying a good degree of movement, which is how I like them. BTW, this is almost the same pose as the modern para a few pictures earlier. Initially I thought all they had done was change the helmet. I think I'll let you find the rest of the differences!

Lone Star ANZAC Infantry - Part I
The sculpting on these figures is a bit coarse, but it's nice that they provide a bit more variety and poses. Luckily they are also wearing a tropical uniform. I am sure that once they are painted they will blend in acceptably with the Airfix guys. This set includes an officer with a cap, which looks a bit more official than the Airfix commander.

Lone Star ANZAC Infantry - Part II
This other set contains a bazooka guy, which is a welcome heavy weapon addition, as well as a radio man, which is also not present in the Airfix set. These Lone Star guys are sold in a blister pack which is branded as both Lone Star and Timpo, so if you look for them you might find them under either brand, however my understanding is that they were originally released by Lone Star.

Lone Star ANZAC Infantry - Originals - Part I
I got lucky and found some original figures in a large batch that I bought. I only got 5 of the poses, but I think they give a good idea of how the set used to look. Several of the guys still retain their original paint. It looks like the commander got a bit of a 'touch up'. Also, note how they were issued in tan uniforms. Compared to the green, new production figures, I think I like the originals better, even with some of the paint missing.

Lone Star ANZAC Infantry - Originals - Part II
Here is one more pose in the original color scheme. Again, much better than the recasts.

Lone Star ANZAC Infantry - Originals - Part 3
Two more down. Unfortunately, with the weapon tips broken off. 

Lone Star British Naval Infantry - Part I
This is a bit of a rare set. I am not sure how many figures came with it, but it is one of the larger ones. I have found 9 so far. Note that the two white figures are actually made by Charbens -I found this out after I had taken the pictures-. The poses are quite diverse and fairly well done for their time. The only thing that I don't like is how brittle the Lone Start plastic becomes over time. Out of all these figures, only 2 of them arrived in one piece. All the rest had broken limbs or weapons and had to be patched up. In fact, look at the man with the rope. He is missing a couple segments, which is quite unfortunate.

Lone Star British Naval Infantry - Part II
These poses show a bit more action, which is more to my linking. Even the prone man with the Bren gun is lifting his foot to make him look more 'into it'. The man on the left however is taking what seems like a very odd step. Usually when a leg moves forward, it is the opposite arm that moves forward along with it, but what do I know. Maybe he is getting off a boat in which case I can see how he might be stepping off and reaching with his free hand at the same time.

Lone Star British Naval Infantry - Part III
Here are two of the less common guys. The officer, which happens to have a movable arm that allows him to look into his binoculars and the helmsman. I actually don't have much use for the the helmsman without a ship to place him in. I would have preferred another raiding pose in the set. 

Lone Star British Naval Infantry - Part IV
Here two of the poses already depicted in the first picture, however this time I found them without any pieces broken off, which is hard given how thin and brittle the rope and flag poles are. Note also that the man on the right is painted in a different color scheme.

Timpo / Lone Star British Naval Infantry - Part 1
These are recast figures of the Lone Star British Naval Infantry. They are pretty much the same poses, except for the fact that they do not have any factory paint on them, and that they are made of a more resilient plastic which does not break. Now that I have found these guys, I will not paint my original/vintage Lone Star figures and paint these newer recasts instead. 

Timpo / Lone Star British Naval Infantry - Part 2
Out of the original nine Lone Star figures Timpo recast 8 of them. The guy who is missing is the helmsman, however I did not really have much use for him as part of a raiding party, so it's not like I will be missing him much, 

Lone Star Frogmen - Part I
A nice and interesting set from Lone Star. I don't know what country they represent exactly, and whether they are meant to be WWII or post war figures. As was the case with Lone Star, they were on the generous side in terms of the number of poses in the set. I don't know however if I got them all already.

Lone Star Frogmen - Part II
Unlke the Atlantic divers, these guys don't have any bases to keep them 'off the ground', so they must lie flat on their bellies on the sea floor when diving!

Lone Star Frogmen - Part III
As you might suspect from all the different colors, these actual figures are not originals. They are clones of relatively decent quality. Once they are painted it won't be that noticeable.

Lone Star Frogmen - Part IV
 I believe the original frogmen from Lone Star came with factory paint as did their other sets. Interestingly enough, the paint schem that I have seen shows them wearing only a bathing suit, instead of a full diving suit. If so, I guess these guys would have to be used in the Mediterranean only! I am planning on giving them a full body suit when I paint them...

Click here to see some more British Paratroops
Click here to see some more ANZAC Infantry
Click here to see some more Afrika Korps toy soldiers

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