I was fortunate to be a guest author / signer at the recent Gettysburg Militaria, Relics, and Book Show at the All-Star Complex near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. My host was Jim McLean of Butternut and Blue, a Baltimore-based dealer of toy soldiers and Civil War books. Among his specialties are 55mm figures from The Collectors Showcase, which are among the finest (and more expensive) collector figures on the market today.
I had a chance to look over several of these figures that Jim had for sale on one of his vendor tables in the dealer hall at the All-Star (the soccer barn). The attention to detail is unbelievable, and the quality of these metal castings superb. While not cheap (a 3-figure set of infantry retails for $79.50 US, for example) the value per dollar is high relative to many other makers of this generic genre of 55mm – 54mm Civil War figures. I think some of the competitive figures on the market today are rather cartoonish and not well proportioned, but The Collectors Showcase toy soldiers are indeed as advertised “fine museum quality.”
Notice the wonderful detail on this set of Union artillerymen! Hide the bases with a little flocking and this might be a photo of an actual gun crew in action.
Butternut and Blue has long been one of the leading dealers of toy soldiers in the Mid-Atlantic region, and many CHARGE! readers undoubtedly have book titles from B&B in their personal libraries (I have several books published by Jim over the years). These photos are from Jim’s excellent website, which features an extensive catalog of books for sale, as well as toy soldiers from The Collectors Showcase and W. Britains.
Do you collect 54mm toy soldiers? If so, what is your favorite manufacturer and why? Conte? St. Petersburg? Britains? Collectors Showcase? Some other maker?