Saturday, January 31, 2009

Atomic TV

Naturally the firing of an Atomic Annie was an important event. News crews film the soldiers as they prepare for the atomic test to happen. This sort of spectacular event is perfect for yellow journalism, represented here by yellow MPC and other figures.

Newsreels require a crew of several to move the heavy gear, and make sure everything works just right in the field.

An MPC APC and pair of weasels are getting the Hollywood treatment.

Naturally TV was black and white in those days, so the final result of their work is shown above.

TV was still a bit of a novelity in the 1950s and many people would have watched this work on the movie screen in a news reel before the movies.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hut, Two, Three, Four

Model Power makes a number of buildings and at least four sets of military buildings. This set comes with two Quonset huts, one with a red cross on the roof and the other one with side mounted windows. These are similar to the ones made by Roco.

These two buildings are fully assembled and come with two of the old Roco HO scale US Infantry figures in a sling arms walking pose. These two figures are 1/72nd scale and are conversions of some Revell US Army troops that I painted. They both got head swaps into hats from other sets. As you can see from the doorway they fit well with 1/72nd scale troops too. These buildings are pre-assembled and pre-painted.

They have an M-47 tank in the set is nearly identical to the Roco kit, but have no holes in the bottom for the little wheels and the turret hatch is molded on. It is molded in a nice olive green.

The two huts are glued into the box! But with a little care, they and the tank can be removed without any damage.

The M-47 shows a WWII era Allied forces star with the circle. This marking was not used at the time the M-47 was in service. I have picked up a few of these sets, the Quonset hut was used all during WWII all over the world by US and Allied forces and came in several different sizes. After the war they continued to be used, and are still found here and there in military bases. They were also sold commercially and as surplus and so can be used as civilian buildings, often with a new front or attached to the side or rear of a traditional building. About $25 at a model railroad store near you.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Twilight 1946

This is a virtual wargame. It takes place in 1946 with WWII still going on in Europe. Those who subscribe to the Yahoo Group can simply lurk or they can actually play. The players are German soldiers who are continuing to fight the war on the Eastern Front. It is pretty interesting to manage your ammunition, food, fuel, and weapons.

I have been on one of these groups for a long time and they are very fun. It allows you to get as involved or not as you wish and as you have time for. This particular group has not been around very long and they are looking for recruits. It is a good bunch of folks and you will have fun with them.

Back in the old times there were companies that allowed you to play wargames by mail. You make your moves and then mail them into the company. The company would check out everyones moves and then mail back the results. It could take weeks just to get an answer to a pretty simple move. This system is pretty fast, generally they answer within a few hours and there are results all the time. Its a fun site, check it out.

More Atomic Annie

Police in an armored personnel carrier protect the atomic testing materials. Note the man at the front of the APC with the Thompson SMG.

Another APC control vehicle with fire fighters. Note they are military firemen and have an APC armed with a machine gun. Also look at the helment on the front of the APC.

Two MPC ring hand figures inspect the Atomic Annie cannon prior to the actual shoot.

This atomic cannon is a great toy. The big silver wheel is to pull the gun back into a travelling position and out of battery.

A view from the top of the gun. This is a huge model. Atomic Cannons were used until newer atomic munitions could be developed that were smaller and could be fired from more conventional artillery. A truck on each end of this cannon towed this massive piece of artillery around the US and Europe.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One of the things I like about 60mm Army Men is the accessories you can get for them. This Tim Mee soldier is standing next to a Marx switchboard. Military communcations from the time of the First World War relied heavily on telephone lines to carry important messages. Every headquarters would have switchboard operators on duty 24/7.

An army travels on it's stomach and miniature armies are no exception. These Marx table, benches and trash cans are typical of those seen in military bases all over the world. As soldiers would occupy positions for longer periods of time, they would seek to improve their lot. Even in WWII you would see barracks going up and mess halls being built as the lines were stablized in some areas.

No army moves or even sits still without paperwork. You need typewriters to write it, and filing cabinets to store it in and wastepaper baskets to toss it out in. This Marx desk set is just like so many I saw in the real Army. These desks were steel and just about indestructable. A great little set up from Marx, I really like the chair. Soldier by Tim Mee.

The top view of that desk. You can almost read the memos and orders in the in box. I like the pin with documents forced down over it. You don't see that any longer, but it used to be a common method of holding documents together. The blotter under the typewriter is a nice detail too. Papers under a paperweight and an inkwell with ink pen. Very cool, very retro.

All the papers end up in one of these two places eventually! Soldier by Tim Mee. Nice detail on the filing cabinet. Books on the top of the filing cabinet. Everyone in the Army goes by the book because if you don't the paperwork gets kicked back to you.

Monday, January 26, 2009

More Atomic Testing Photos

MPC infantry on patrol near the atomic test site.

Radio operator give the all clear for the test to begin. He is in communication with the APC near the front. MPC jeep and ring hand figure on the right.

A view through the fence of the fireman APC and the atomic cannon. You can also see a GI on patrol. The Ideal Atomic Cannon is a great toy. It has a crank to raise the cannon. There is a crank to move the gun barrel in and out of battery. It also has a major spring in it that probably would fire a real atomic projectile.

Lonely patrols along the perimeter fence. Vital, if boring jobs. How many hours a year are spent with soldiers, police, prison guard, and security guards walking fence lines in a year? Atomic testing sites are heavily guarded to prevent unauthorized observation, or accidental injury or death.

MPC ring hand figure makes last minute checks of the atomic cannon before the shot. This is a big toy and has great play value.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jacques Littlefield

In northern California there is a large collection of military vehicles, including a fully restored WWII German Panther tank. These vehicles were owned by a Mr. Jacques Llittlefield. It is my sad duty to report that Mr. Littlefiled passed away on January 7, 2009.

The Military Vehicle Technology Foundation, founded by Mr. Littlefield, now oversees the vehicle collection.

If you would like to make a donation to the MVTF in Jacques’ memory and help preserve, display and have access to the Jacques M. Littlefield Collection, please consider sending a contribution to:MVTFP.O. Box 7390Menlo Park, CA 94026. The MVTF is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c) 3 corporation. Donations are considered fully tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Also, check out their website to learn more about their vehicle collection.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mexican American War 2016 - U.S. Military: Mexico Could Collapse Under Drug Violence

Wargame scenario, most of our military is in other countries or has been demobilized. All warnings are ignored and Mexican government collapses. Suddenly we have a Somalia right next door. A U.S. Military Intelligence report says that due to drug traffickers murdering police and corruption within the government, Mexico could actually collapse as a government. While Mexico has been fairly stable in the last fifty years, it was wracked by revolution and invasion in the 1800s and early 1900s. The slowdown of the US economy has also meant less money going into Mexico from Mexican citizens living and working here.

So a small town in the US near the border in rural Texas is being raided off and on by "revolutionaries" from Mexico. Just as in 1916 the US Army sends troops to the border to protect American citizens. This times the troops are nationalized members of the Texas National Guard. Set up a small American town, with six or eight buildings, including a bank and a supermarket, and a few others that are destroyed. The National Guard troops are set up some distance away from the town, with the town between them and the border.

Mexican revolutionaries, using American HumVees and other light American made armored and soft skinned vehicles, as well as perhaps a few foreign ones too. I would use a mixture of Caesar figures, the Terrorists, WWII Partisans, and some of the Special Forces troops too. For the TNG use HumVees as well as a platoon of Bradleys and perhaps even a platoon of Abrams. The town can be populated with Revell and other companies Cowboys and other civilians. The civilians have to delay the Mexican forces until the TNG can respond and drive them out. The goal of the Mexicans is to raid the supermarket for food and the bank for cash. They have to load a certain amount of supplies from the market, blow the safe, get the cash loaded and back across the border with only a reasonable number of causalities.

Both history and the news can provide great wargame scenarios, if you just think about if for a few moments.

Atomic Annie and Her Staff

Technicians stand by for the test to take place. They handle the atomic projectile and train the soldiers. MPC slot hand figures in 60mm.

Fire crew in red uniforms in white APC and police response team in the other white APC. Atomic Annie is nearly ready to fire it's round. More scientists and soldiers near the jeep. Mostly MPC ring hand and slot hand figures.

Soldiers in the test are much nearer the blast as show in this photo. In the far distance you can see the technical staff and the Atomic Annie. MPC figures.

Weasel, close up from the front. MPC APC and weasel; Tim Mee jeep.

Close up of APC with machine gun. Radio operator standing in the front of the passenger compartment. A section of troops marching in the background.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Terrain.

Michigan Toy Soldier carries a new line of 1/72nd scale terrain called Bresica Miniatures. They are made in the USA, right here in California, not too far from me.

Bresica Miniatures now makes a new line of 1/72nd scale terrain. It is cast in resin and sold both painted and unpainted.

Terrain items are suitable for the gunpowder era, and in this photo we see a group of Caesar WWII Germans taking position in a trench line.

More Caesar Germans entering a covered position.

Italeri 75mm gun position with Caesar Germans. Note the retaining wall holding up the dirt positions. That's a nice detail.

Another small anti-tank gun position. Again the Italeri PaK 40. These are some nice looking terrain pieces, and you can't have too much terrain. So check out the Michigan Toy Soldier Company website and buy some bunkers.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Atomic Testing

60mm MPC troops on the march. In the 1950's experiments were made with atomic weapons and live troops and vehicles.

Troops double time to get to cover before the big explosion.

MPC and Tim Mee weasel, tank, APC and jeep. Troops in trenches, and in vehicles were exposed to the effects of atomic attack for research and as training to survive the atomic battlefield.

The Atomic Annie, by Ideal can be seen just to the upper left edge of the photo. Atomic tests were often conducted in the western deserts of the United States. Note how large the cannon looks even from a great distance.

Two MPC white APCs as range control vehicles flank the Atomic Annie, atomic cannon. These were in service for nearly 20 years from the mid- 1950s. More photos soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Haunebu Set

I got some more of the Haunebu set in gray plastic this time and in a darker sepia as well. I did not the previous photos, they were a bit fuzzy, so I took some more so you can see the detail in these figures. The middle guy is from HaT. Note the detail on the boots of the two in hats. These guys work well as spy's, Gestapo, FBI, Secret Service, or even off duty soldiers in mufti. I have considered a hand conversion and attaching a Thompson, or MP40 or pistol. But I will probably wait until I get a few more.

Nazi mad scientists. Can't you see these guys working on a Nazi Atomic Bomb, or Nazi Zombies, or some other fiendish project?

Female soldier. Painted up she could pass for RAF or US Army or even as a US police officer.

High ranking staff officer. The Odemars German Commanders set really needed this guy to carry maps and papers. I can see this guy with the Pegasus Hitler, in a wooden meeting room at Wolf's Lair...

German Chaplain and female nurse. Two figures with a lot of emotion in them. German units did have chaplains, even SS units, contrary to popular belief. Probably to prevent Nazi Zombie friendly fire incidents.
Remember, Odemars is on sale until February 15, 2009, buy one get one free for $10 or 10 euros, including postage. Contact Yves at:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Marx Recasts

One of the fun things about 60mm figures is the accessories. I like the extra weapons, gear and equipment that we can get in this scale. Here is a large bazooka I got in the mail today. It is a re-cast of the old Marx set.

This Tim Mee officer figure is with a .30 caliber machine gun.

A nice recoilless rifle, these small arms are really good weapons, they turn on the tripod.

.30 caliber water cooled machine gun. These M1917A1 guns were in service for probably 50 years with the US Army. Marx made loads of different accessories for many periods. I have been buying both originals and recasts recently. I will have more photos of them soon.