Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cross-Pollination #1

It's weird the little cliques toy fans seperate themselves into online. I regularly participate in numerous toy message boards covering tons of different niches(more than I have listed on the right, even). It's really like two concurrent hobbies, toys and something else, and the toy collectors for one subject matter gather together, and shun the others. Like sports action figure fans, superhero figure fans, movie figure fans, japanese figures, military figures, sure there's some mixing along the fringes but not that much.

This is the first of a series of brief forays into one of the niches I find interesting enough to keep track of a daily basis. If anyone bothers to read this blog, I hope they might learn something about a niche of toys they ordinarily don't give a second glance.

In this case, 1:18 scale military figures and vehicles. If anyone is reading this, they probably think this begins at G.I.Joe and ends at the execreble The Corps figures. Not so. In fact I'm going to entirely overlook the kiddy military figures, since they're held in general disdain to the military buffs by the audience of the two big names in historically accurate military toys.

The two main companies I speak of are BBi and 21st Century. The combination between these two is pretty fierce. 21st Century is reputed to have the edge in the field, with a headstart in terms of number of planes and figures produced, and level of detail and accuracy achieved. Currently they have out WW2 Japanese and Marine figures in Walmarts, as well as many vehicles.

BBi has made some strong strides in only the past week though. One of the most-wanted planes among fans is the World War 2 Japanese Zero. 21st Century made a big splash by announcing one at San Diego Comicon, for release in 2006. Unfortunately for them however BBi beat them to the punch, with the just-announced plans to release one next month! This in addition to the rather well-made WW2 paratroopers now at TRUS has given them a brief advantage.

My personal preference at the moment however is to 21st Century. I started with BBi when I started exploring this niche, and their figures are very very nice figures in the 1:18 scale, but 21st Century with their swappable arms, better headsculpts, and better attention to detail have won me over. I don't have any room for the vehicles but one day I hope to get one of either company's P-51s.

Frankly, for this scale and for this field of interest, it's a great time to collect. The competition between these two companies is really heating up, and lots of great toys are being made.


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