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Re: Iraq/Economy/Election/Religion-free thread...silly

10/21/2004 4:19 PM
Dai Hirokawa
Re: Iraq/Economy/Election/Religion-free thread...silly
either it was:  
a) multi-tasking--today's modern soldier...  
b) you two failed to recognize Ahnold...  
oh and I used to blow up plastic models as a kid too.  
10/21/2004 6:32 PM

You've heard the ads, "an Army of one."  
New molds for Army guys?  
I remember a guy who seemed to be in charge, maybe your lieut.. He had a 45 in one hand, and I think binocs in the other, both arms away from body, hands about waist high. Almost like he was about to say follow me with a gesture of the binoc hand.  
We had radio guy, he had the radio on his back, little antenna sticking up, and he was kneeling.  
I recall bayonette guy holding rifle at waist and moving forward, but there was also bayonette guy holding the rifle over his head, about to bring it down on someone.  
I am with you on sharpshooter guy, machine gun guy, sniper guy, bazooka guy (If you get bazooka guy and GI Joe together, do you get Bazooka Joe?)  
I can't get a clear picture of flamethrower guy.  
Yes, those traditional guys have been around for ages. I have seen in more recent years - and that includes 20 years ago for me - newer sets of men. I love to browse the dollar store, and I cometimes buy bags of army men for the hell of it. I have noticed newer sets come with ethnicity. You can buy Nazis molded in slate gray plastic, adn the uniforms are right down to the coal scuttle helmets. The Japs are molded in a greenish tan plastic and look decidedly oriental and have the little hats. ANd of course the USA guys. There are even British guys. You can tell because each bag includes a little flag on a wooden stick.  
I was born in 1947, and when we were playing in the dirt outside, playing soldiers was all the time. It was only a few years after WW2, so it was in the national awareness at the time. We would take turns being the Japs - who had to lose every day. Of course we all used the same green guys regardless of which side we were on. We were always digging "forts" in the dirt.  
Our kid grew up on GI Joe toys - the somewhat larger army men whose limbs and torso move. I used to fix them when the rubber ring that held them togethre broke. I bought a lot of o-rings at the hardware store as I recall.
10/21/2004 9:43 PM
Mark Lavelle
Lead soldiers?
Did anybody else here have the lead soldiers that you molded yourself? At the time (60s) I assumed they were common/popular, but it occurs to me I've never heard any one else mention them.  
Not much chance of them being on the market any more, but I remember spending many hours melting down old soldiers (so that's where they go!) and pouring new ones...
10/22/2004 8:41 AM
Mark Hammer

I was hoping you'd respond, and your reply didn't let me down. Yes I think I DO recall seeing the figure categories you describe. If a set had "radio guy" it wouldn't likely have "binoculars guy", and the over the head guy sounds familiar as does the "sarge". "Flame-thrower guy", as noted, is more recent and only makes sporadic appearances. Not nearly as standard as "hand-grenade guy" or "sniper guy".  
Does anybody here remember those sets you could buy of miniature plastic soldiers? I forget who made them but they were from Britain, came in a small-ish rectangular cardboard box, were somewhere in the $2.50 zone per set (during the 60's), could usually only be found in higher-end hobby stores (the kind that would sell parts for model trains and RC airplanes), and were made as more authentic depictions of particular historical armies. So you could get the Union and Confederate civil war armies in blue and grey plastic, Greek and Roman armies, Rommel's German desert army, and so on. The characters would vary by army, and there were paint sets for those who wished to do fine detailing in order to produce battle dioramas and such. We used to drool over them things. Of course, given their cost and size, blowing them up was a nonstarter. First, they were expensive. Second, even the tiniest "ladyfinger" firecracker would likely send the soldier off somewhere that you could never find to be able to see the damage and utter a collective "cooo...ooool".  
Of course, one of the very best part of those things was Saturday morning. You could sleep in, crumple your sheets and blankets into "mountains", and stage ambushes from the caves. "Kccch, kccch, kccch!" "AAA-a-a-a-a!!" (down the slopes), "Pccccccchhhh!!" (there goes THAT tank).  
Then there was "Sgt Rock" comics, with the ethnically distinctive machine-gun sounds. American machine-guns went "rat-a-tat-a-tat", while German ones went "budda-budda-budda". Not sure, was that supposed to reflect better engineering by the Germans? BMW machine-guns?  
Heard about them but never really saw them. I gather both the lead thing and the heat required to melt them got them classified as sort of unsafe, eh? Did they come out BEFORE "Creepy Crawly Critters" and the other "mold your own" plastic things?
10/22/2004 10:06 AM
Mark Lavelle

"Heard about them but never really saw them. I gather both the lead thing and the heat required to melt them got them classified as sort of unsafe, eh? Did they come out BEFORE "Creepy Crawly Critters" and the other "mold your own" plastic things?"
Definitely older than the mold-your-own plastic stuff, I'd guess by more than 10 years. There was an electric base like a small hot-plate and a 1/2 cup melting pot with a long handle, and mold plates that clamped together. Twisting off the mold plugs and throwing them (and the aforementioned old soldiers) back in the melting pot to watch them "disappear" was part of the fun.  
It seems to me that they disappeared long before people got worried about lead poisoning, but my memory ain't so good since those days! ;) My guess is that parents not liking burnt furniture and the rise of plastics were the real reasons for their demise.
10/22/2004 6:17 PM
Re: Iraq/Economy/Election/Religion-free thread...silly
My soldiers would rather be dead than lead.  
Nothing like a pot of molten lead for the kids to play with. I don't really recall lead soldiers, sorry. I do recall the coboys and indians guys. Were they in bright colors, unlike the army guys? Like the cowboy migh tbe bright blue or red or yellow?  
I remember the original GI Joe. I still want a GI Joe lunch box from thr original. The first GI Joe was a real soldier type, not the whacko super hero type that came later and still haunts us.
10/22/2004 9:31 PM

Urp, just got back from dinner.  
I don't remember the fancier sets of men like civil war as described above.  
I too went through my burn and blow up stage. Plasstic models burned well, especially when assisted with alcohol. (In the model, not in me) And yes I think the space between the legs of army guys was designed to be exactly the right size to hold a ladyfinger. Bang.  
We were not so much into burning the army guys and watching the drip, but that reminds me of something we did in the 1960s when we...uh...were considering alternative states of consciousness. Directly.  
We called it a "zilch." I think because of the sounds. You take a dry cleaner bag - the long clear plastic type - and twist it around so it becomes a long snake. Then tie a knot in it every 6-12" to keep it together. Now attach one end to a coat hanger and hang it from a branch or maybe a light fixture. It hangs down, and you ignite the bottom end. Put down a pan or bucket with some water in it to catch the burning bits if you are indoors. I suppose you could make a smaller one with those clear bags from the produce section of the grocery store.  
So this plastic rope is now burning, and flaming drops of goo drip off the bottom end. (It burns along from the bottom, not the whole thing at once)In a darkened room the flaming drips look cool, but there is more. The wind past the drop causes it to stobe. SO it is realy a series of fast pulses rahter than a steady flame. Your eye perceives this as a sort of dotted line. But the stobe or flutter also makes a sound - a sort of zweep zweep zweep with each drop, not unlike a fat lady wearing corduroy pants walking along. The zweep rises in freq as it falls. Depending on the burn at any point it might be a sequence of zweeps, or it may be a flurry of overlapping zweeps. And it will go for quite a while. At first the drips are close to the ground and zweep briefly, but as the burn progresses the drip falls further and further as the flame front climbs, so zweep becomes zwwweeeeeeeep.  
The thing burns different when it hits a knot, so you get a sort of verse and chorus deal.  
There will be a puddle of burnt and melted plastic underneath, so protect whatever is under there.  
In the dark, psychedelic music, attitude enhancement, the zilch adds the final touch. You too will say, "wow."  
ANyone else do that?
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