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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Brogamats - Yoga GIs

Got these from a good friend who knows that I collect toy soldiers. You can find them online at Amazon. They will not add fighting poses to your army, but they might amuse you a bit.  

Brogamats Yoga GIs - Part I
I think I could do 3 out of 4 here. Any guesses re which? 

Brogamats Yoga GIs - Part II
Coming to your nearest bootcamp?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Imperial - Figures

I don't really know much about this manufacturer. It's not listed on the O'Brien guides and I only found one reference to it online at Toy Soldier HQ, which has it listed under Foreign Manufacturers without specifying the country of origin. It also says that these figures were made around the mid 70s, which would make sense, given the fact that they copied some of the Matchbox and Airfix poses. Whether they made any other figures, WWI or otherwise, is also unknown to me. So if you happen to have any more info on them, please leave a comment. 

Imperial US Infantry - Part I
This is an interesting set in 1:32 scale. It is a mix of figures based on the Matchbox GIs, Airfix GIs, and the Airfix Australians. The Australians have given up their distinctive hat in favor of the steel helmet. As far as I know there are 9 poses. The missing guys are the Australian Bren gunner who is kneeling, the Australian who is standing/walking on guard duty, the Airfix GI with the bazoooka -he was given a base-, and the Airfix GI who is running with the rifle at his chest. The nice thing is that they have cast them in a way that you can hardly distinguish that they are originally from different sets. The original Matchbox guys used to have baggier outfits, and the Airfix guys were a bit slimmer, but here they look as if they were from the same set. As far as I know, they were made in the mid 70s and they have the Imperial brand stamped beneath their bases

Imperial US Infantry - Part II
This picture includes four additional poses. Two of the men shown were already in the prior picture. Again, these are a mix of Airfix GIs and ANZAC troops, with some slight modifications. Likle the bazooka man has been given a much needed base. And the man standing with the weapon slung over his shoulder has been given a helmet. Other than that, they are very mush the same as the Airfix figures. The paint on this guys was added by a prior owner. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jean Hoefler - Figures

Jean Hoefler is a German firm started in Furth, Germany in 1923. It was founded by three brothers, George, Leonard, and Johann Höfler - it is not clear to me where the name Jean comes from. The firm had its origins in the manufacturing of sheet metal products, and while the other two brothers broke away to produce other consumer goods and tools, Johann focused on making tin toys. In the 50's, Johann's son Ernst took over and shortly after moved away from tin into plastic. The range of toys that they produced was large, and it's possible that they are better known for their cars, than their toy soldiers, particularly the red, ride-on 'bobby' car. In terms of toy soldiers, they covered a good range of periods, such as medievals -including some nice siege machines-, cowboys and indians, US Cavalry, Napoleonics, Astronauts, and of course, some WWII figures. They seem to have been popular during the 80's when they were one of the few firms making these figures. In terms of WWII figures in particular, I am only aware of their US GIs. Let's take a look at them.

Jean Hoefler US Infantry
These are five out of the eight poses made by Jean Hoefler. I have also seen them in dark green plastic. The missing guys are a bazooka man, a heavy machine gunner, and an officer leading on his men. The sculpting is fairly good, both in terms of the level of detail and the movement in the poses - aside from the guy who is just standing around. I don't know if the figures came factory-painted or if a prior owner painted them. Overall a nice set. It would have been nice if they had made some Germans to go against them. Being a German firm, it's likely that they decided to side-step that land mine. 

Soviet Cargo Trucks

Logistics is key for every army, but for the Soviets, with its huge territorial expanses, this was a crucial element during WWII, as it was bitterly discovered by the Germans. During the course of the war, the Soviet High Command needed to move huge amounts of men and materiel to replace its losses which were several times higher than those of the Germans throughout the course of the campaign, and in the later phases of the war, to overwhelm their enemy and roll them back all the way back Germany. While much of it was done by rail, trucks played a key role in getting the cargo to and from the railway endpoints, or covering areas where the railway infrastructure was inadequate. In terms of toy soldier trucks, we don't have much, but I recently found one which is a good start. Let's take a look. 

Ural Soviet Truck
This truck was actually introduced in 1976 and saw action in Afghanistan. Its name comes from the fact that it was manufactured at the Ural Automotive Plant. It is a very versatile vehicle, which has been adapted to many uses both within the military and in the civilian world. It is capable of traveling very rugged terrain and has a reputation for being easy to maintain and repair, Given the scarcity of WWII Soviet cargo trucks in the toy soldier world -outside of model kits, I find this to be a very viable alternative to give my WWII Soviet troops some logistical support. As you can see, the canvas has some Cyrillic writing, which makes it distinctively Soviet.

Click here to take a look at German Cargo Trucks
Click here to take a look at US Cargo Trucks