“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A hobby I used to have.


From about 1976 until 1986,   I collected military figurines.  Seems odd, I suppose, but I was very interested in military history.  I traveled a lot, so I had the opportunity to get some interesting pieces for the collection. The fellow up above is a Capodimonte , a full figure of a Roman Legate. The detail is really exquisite.  My wife and I went to Florence on Christmas, and there's an ancient bridge there called "Ponte Vecchio."  It has lots of tourist shops.  I bought this piece there. Today it's in our China cabinent. Amazing it made it through the different moves but I always took it to the base pack and wrap, and I never shipped it via the packers.



This is a Lladro Guardia Civil from the Navy Exchange at Rota, Spain.   The Guardia are associated with Franco and the Nationalists to this day in Spain, and I never saw one of these offered for sale in Spain outside the base, though I traveled extensively.  They still have feelings about their Civil War as some of us do about ours.


I particularly enjoyed collecting figurines based on the Napoleonic Wars, since those uniforms were the most elaborate and colorful I know of.  I also had an extensive set of Osprey Man at Arms books with which I could verify the authenticity of the figurines appearance .  I bought a set of 20 volumes on uniforms in Paris, at the bookstore located adjacent to Napoleons tomb. They were all in French of course, but my wife could translate for me.




My father was interested in the history of the Old West, and while I was on Okinawa in 1980 I ordered a pair of Michael Garman statues for him.  They depicted Cavalry Officers of the 1870's. When my father passed away, my mom returned them to me.  They are out in the barn, packed in newspapers and cardboard boxes, with about 90% of the collection.



It's been a long time since I looked for these. Once we got settled, there were more important things to do and I didn't have either the time or the disposable income for  a lot of hobbies.  The pass times that were more practical, like shortwave radio and shooting, I kept on with. But a lot of the things that were just for fun have gone by the board.

21 comments:

  1. For a brief period I actually sculpted 15mm wargame figures, Napoleonic and American Revwar. Somewhere around here I got the master mold for the ones that didn't get turned into production figures. I probably would have enjoyed doing it more professionally but I was too slow at it to make it pay. I basically got out of it as a hobby when my eye sight fell off enough that I needed reading glasses or a magnifying lens. It just wasn't the same after that.

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    1. There's a big market for those today. In fact, there's quite a hobby group built around those figures. I would think you could still make them today and sell them on ebay for a tidy sum if you had the time.

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    2. Harry - I could probably still sell em. The problem is I simply do not enjoy doing it any longer. I was able to do it without glasses or visual aid for so long when I tried it with them it just took the pleasure out of it I lost all desire to do it. I boxed up all my tools, most of which I had made myself, and never looked back. That was about 10 years ago now.

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    3. well if you ever fall on hard times you have something to look to. That's never a bad thing. If you are making them for money you aren't supposed to like it. That's why they call it "work."

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    4. I don't believe those rules really apply to areas of art though because you must be inspired to create. Or at least I do. :)

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  2. You should get yourself a display case/shelves and get your statues out where you can see them and enjoy them on a daily basis, rather than having them boxed up in storage. I'll bet they make an interesting collection to view :)

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    1. Miriam says our house already looks like we live in a submarine. She's the one who boxed up a lot of my stuff and put it in the barn, because it was so cluttered and hard to keep clean. I could open my own flea market, really. We are going to start fobbing it off on the kids here soon. For instance, when I was on Okinawa I bought a really nice set of china with all the ancillary pieces. Everybody bought china for their wives and if you didn't have a wife you bought it for when you did. I got a noritake pattern called "moon glow" that was really beautiful. I got bronzeware and crystal in Italy to go with it. But in all our years together we only used it once. We are going to give it to my daughter, whether she wants it or not, and tell her it is now a family hierloom. (Did I spell that right?) I have all kinds of pottery from Greece, replica but beautiful. Replica Roman glass from Pompei. Brass from Korea, and on and on. But unfortunately none of it has any practical purpose. As the old indian guy said in The Outlaw Josey Wales "it's not for eating, it's just for looking through."

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  3. This post reminds me of the film night in the museum

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    1. I saw part of that. It had the little Roman and cowboy, right? Honestly, you aren't far off. I used to buy stuff just to remember places. I have a pewter flask from the RAF museum at Hendon. I have a plain on whiskey bottle shaped like a bell from Scotland, and four silver cups from the ships store on the USS Manitowac. I'm really pretty hopeless, or I was until we left the service. Even then I collected guns way past the point of common sense. That's one of my many quirks, I suppose.

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  4. AT first I thought that you dressed as a Roman Solider. Thanks for sharing your hobby with us. I agree with Dreamer, put them on display so you can enjoy your hobby, even if you don't collect any more.

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    1. I wish I was a Roman soldier. Those guys knew how to take care of business. They never had to clean up the same mess twice.

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  5. I haven't listened to my short waves radios in a while...thanks for reminding me.

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    1. I've been listening a good bit lately. Not much else to do with all the ice and snow.

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  6. What a unique collection. I have a number of things packed away as well.

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    1. I think I suffer from pack rat syndrome.

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  7. That's not an odd hobby. I collected dolls. My sister has one that has a steel head. I have my Great Grandma's doll. My husband and I had a collection of arrowheads. We made shadow boxes for them, and hung them down our hallway.

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  8. My wife collects dolls. She has a big glass display case down in what used to be our family room. She likes Victorian dolls. My father collected arrowheads from all over the United States. I used to go to Kolomoki State Park in South Georgia with him when I was really small, and we would walk on the dirt roads and find arrowheads. In those days, you took them to the Ranger and if they were really nice or unique, they went into the park museum with a little tag naming you as the finder. But if they were just run of the mill you could keep them. They had a burial mound excavated and you could go underground and see the tomb. I have heard that the Indians got righteous about that in the 70's and they covered it up, but in the 1950's it was a really interesting place. When my dad died, my middle brother got the arrowheads as he is the family archeology addict.

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  9. G'day Harry,

    Back when I was still in school and into my early adulthood I used to be an avid wargamer using lead 25mm figures that I painted. It used to be fairly popular back then and everyone one had a ping pong table in their garage that was never used to play ping pong, it was the gaming table. Everyone always painted up the French or British so I wanted to be different and did the Prussians, not as pretty as the others but in my opinion they were the quiet achievers of the Napoleonic wars. They kept getting whipped by the French but each time they came back a bit better next time, by 1813 they were starting to beat French Marshals and Napoleon, was getting worried, especially as the British were coming up from the bottom of France and the Russians & Austrians were doing a dry run for 1944!

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    1. I wonder if most guys go through the wargaming thing. I know I did, back when you took little pieces of thin plywood, and glued your figures to it in small units, then you used dice, a "power" index and a ruler to maneuver them.

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  10. I did military miniatures, Napoleonic and Civil War mostly. And had a number of D @ D fantasy type figures as well.

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    1. Did you ever take Squadron Signal's catalog? They had every miniature you could imagine.

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