Johnathan Crawford has put together a comprehensive collection of articles on toy soldiers together with a large ‘yellow pages’ directory of dealers, stores, manufacturers, suppliers and publications to make this book THE Toy Soldier Book to get hold of.
The best thing that I like is its ‘up to date’, published late ’98, it has an article that deal with “Cyber Soldiers on the Web” which, as you are reading this via the internet, it is most relevant to our hobby. The advertising and sales via Internet, together with the exhibitions of toy soldiers, such as my site, will come even more to the forefront into the next century.
The 220-page spiral bound book, contains articles which will provide the reader with much background into all aspects of our hobby. There one article from Jonathan on “Better Toy Soldier Modeling, Casting & Painting” which has help helped me with my painting, simple tips, but things that I hadn’t thought about.
Both British and American plastics have historical articles that trace their rise in the 1950’s and also Composition Figures are well covered in Jack Matthews pages covering Elastolin, Lionel, other manufacturers, types of figures and collecting hints. Heyde Figures also feature so this has been an awakening to me about this German manufacturer .
I really enjoyed reading the pages on “Getting Started”, “So You Want To Collect” and “Thoughts On Collecting”, they are most relevant to all of us who are collecting, What era should I specialise in? What type of figures? Should I only collect one particular country, corps, pose, or age. The possibilties are endless, but read these pages and hopefully you may be able to rationalise your collection, or make it bigger!
Britains is heading in a new direction, so you can meet the people who will be guiding it into 2000. There are interview with both the UK and USA staff so we can all get to know who is at the helm of the flagship of toy soldiers. I had not realised what had been going on behind the scenes but by reading the interviews you will appreciate the work that has and will be happening with the new releases of their figures.
They wide use of images that have been well placed into all the articles are most relevant to the text, and enhance the content. They say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so you are getting quite a coverage of toy soldiers from all around the world. I found the advertising very useful and as it gives many contacts to follow up if you are searching for a particular type of soldier or manufacturer. The Photo Picture Page are a great addition, I can put face to names that I read about, maybe it’s a bit of a rogues gallery, but I leave it to you to see and comment.
The extensive use of URLs and email addresses in the advertising has showed me how much the Internet is growing and it use in sales of toy soldiers. Many of the manufactures and suppliers and shops now have websites or email addresses. This means that you can sit in front of your computer and converse with the manufacturer, shop owner, or publisher and find out what is new, is it in stock, can you order it, all at the touch of a key pad. The comprehensive “Yellow Pages” Directory list not only dealers, stores and manufacturers, but also casting and suppliers, auction houses, restoration services and publications. They have been arranged by country, and classification, so it is very easy to check “Where is my closest supplier?”, or “Who is the contact there?”. One very useful page lists the time chart so you know what time to telephone, and includes the International Telephone County Codes (for those without email!)
What more can I say, “get out and buy one” and see for yourself.
I can recommend this book as a valuable resource to today’s toy soldier collector.