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Posted on Feb 13, 2007 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Soldiers In Scale – Report From the Frontlines of the North American Toy Fair

By Peter Suciu

Unfortunately the show featured a few MIAs, notably regular attendee and fan favorite Dragon Models of Hong Kong. The company was actually a no-show this year, and appears to have pulled out at the last minute, as they were listed in the Official Toy Fair Directory. We’ll have to monitor their Web site to hear about upcoming releases.

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BBI’s Napoleon surveys the events

Thus the 12-inch space was void of major announcements, as only rival Bluebox unveiled a few more Italian figures to add to their ranks. These figures, which included Bersaglieri infantry, were extremely well crafted and featured accurate details with the equipment, weapons and uniform. While the market has been dominated by German figures, the arrival of the Italians in the last few years has really added something for 12-inch collectors. However, the market for these figures, noted one retail buyer, has been somewhat saturated, and the trend seems to be back towards scale vehicles, of which there was certainly no shortage.

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Each of the aforementioned players had numerous new offerings, with World War II and modern aircraft being the dominant military hardware on display. Bluebox is continuing to focus on the 1/18 scale vehicles and this year showed off a new F-16 Fighting Falcon, and an AH-64 Apache.

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An F-16 from BBI

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A BBI Helicopter sits proudly on display. Planes from BBI.

Bluebox didn’t have air superiority at Toy Fair however. 21st Century showed off several new aircraft, while Admiral Toys introduced their own line of aircraft, notably a rather handsome late World War II German Me-262. And long time scale vehicle maker Corgi was at the show in full force with a range of products. The company had numerous science fiction offerings from Star Wars and Star Trek, including limited edition starships, but for the military buff their aircraft were quite impressive. Upcoming B-17s and He-111 bombers will be sure to make a splash with collectors when these arrive later this year.

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The Corgi B-17 Bomber.

And no doubt Forces of Valor hopes to take down the competition a bit. The company introduced a range of 1/48 scale products including a German 88mm Anti-aircraft Gun, and troops, as well as several sets of scale figures. Forces of Valor is also looking to make a major push again this year with armor, introducing several new vehicles including a T-34/85 with white camo paint. The company is still producing the popular limited edition Michael Wittman German Tiger I set. This monster of a tank comes with a variety of accessories that will be sure to please any hardcore collector, or tank buff.

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The Forces of Valor Tiger is sure to be a big hit.

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Here’s another FOV Tiger out of its box. A Forces of Valor T34-85 is ready for action.

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But will it get past this FOV 88mm gun?

If the detailed figures and vehicles weren’t exactly your thing, B&T Toys had something for those who prefer something that is a little more child’s play. The company has a line of LEGO compatible playsets, and these included a new Stealth Fighter for ages 7 and up. As the company’s spokesperson said, “these require the skill of a 7-year old. Once you get over 30 you lose the ability to build these.”

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Here’s a LEGO compatible Stealth Fighter from B&T. A Cogi He111 shares airspace with an A10 Tankbuster.

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