Freitag, 16. Dezember 2011

Soap and coffee...

... and cigarette trade cards seem to have been very popular in the early 20th century.

Nowadays comparable merchandise usually depict movie and cartoon characters or athlets, especially during Olympic Games and international football (i.e. soccer) championship. (At least here in Germany.)

But back in the day these showed pictures of  a broad variety of subjects, also of wars. (We know about this at the latest since Baldrick's whole family took up smoking to get the cards with Lord Flasheart during WWI.)
I've collected a couple of those covering the Russo-Japanese War over the last year or two. For me these are great little pieces of history.

First up are four cards of German origin, which I found at a flea market in Hamburg about a year ago (fronts and respective backs):

Standards of the world - Japanese infantry in battle.

Russian dragoons capture a Japanese flag.

The Japanese cruiser Asama in combat.

The retreat of the Russians from the Yalu.
Here's also a shot for size reference with a GBP-Penny, a US$- and an €-1-Cent coin (the four cards above are all pretty much same size):

As you can see, some of these are more of an artistic impression rather than a historical correct depiction.

Next up is a set released by the British cigarette company Wills. Besides the military scenes, these also show scenes of the street lives in Tokyo, St. Petersburg and Port Arthur. There are also portraits of a lot of the important personalities of the war. Exactly the same series of cards (pictures, numbering and descriptions) was also available from the company Lambert and Butler, the only difference being the company's name on the back.

These are really small, even compared to the other ones. (On the back each has a brief description of the shown szene/personality/etc.)

Here are three showing Japanese troops:

Also some more unusual subjects like this one are part of the collection:

(I'm only short of number 51 for a complete set, if somebody has a spare one, please let me know! I also have a couple of duplicates to swap.)

Sonntag, 11. Dezember 2011


... or what else can the RJW Japanese be used for besides the actual RJW? (A question which is frequently asked.)

One interesting piece of history for which they can be pressed into service (with or without some minor modifications) is the siege of Tsingtao (or Tsingtau in German): The battle for the German foothold in China during WWI in late 1914. With the Germans on one side and the Japanese on the other with support from Austro-Hungary and Great Britain respectively.

Here are two pages from an old book/magazine showing Japanese soldiers preparing for the encounter with the Germans. As one can see, our Japanese miniatures would fit the bill nicely. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a date for these photos.

The following photo is meant to be taken during the actual siege in 1914. Most noticable the lack of gaiters. A lot of soldiers seem to have replaced them with wrappings around their lower leg (the correct Englisch term escapes my right now, sorry!). These wrappings can be seen sporadically also on RJW photos but by the time of WWI these seem to have become the norm (maybe due to British influence?).

Another photo from the siege, cleary showing that the gaiters were also still in use:

I hope to have some photos of new greens for the next releases soon.

Freitag, 18. November 2011

Comparison Shots, Part II

Here's another comparison shot, this time with a WW1 Russian by Musketeer Miniatures:

This photo was taken by Lt. Hazel of fame. Thank you very much Jan!
(Please check out his blog for some really great painted miniatures. If you haven't already seen his outstanding work, you are definitely missing something!)

Comparison Shots, Part I

Finally, I had a delivery from Redoubt Enterprises in the post box today.

So here are some comparison shots of Tsuba Miniatures Japanese with their Redoubt Enterprises' counterparts and another one with miniatures from Copplestone Castings, Musketeer Miniatures and Hinterland Miniatures. (Please note the slightly different base heights.)
(Unfortunately, I don't have any Musketeer Miniatures WW1 Russian but I hope to get some in near future and include them in another comparison shot.)

Please note, that the Japanese are meant to be slightliy smaller than their Russian opponents (at least those of Caucasian origin). This will be depicted by our miniatures.

Donnerstag, 3. November 2011

Japanese Medical Orderly

In some fora the question arose, if the Japanese medics really wore the Red Cross armband in action. There are quite some photos showing them with the armband during different stages of the war and also wearing different types of uniforms.

Of course, it would be pretty hard to recognize a medic on an old photo without it as long as he's not performing his duty (i.e. attending a wounded or something similar). On the other hand, one could always argue that an individual doing so could also just be a regular soldier giving first aid to a comrad or a POW.

In the end I'd say it's up to you, if you paint your miniature like Simon did with our showcase miniature or if you just file the armband down a little bid  or use a small amount of green stuff or miliput to cover it up (you could also just leave it as it is and paint it in the same colour as his jacket).
However, it would certainly help to make the medic stand out from the rest of the khaki-clad soldiers.    

Mittwoch, 2. November 2011


I got a copy of the famous "A Photographic Record of the Russo-Japanese War", published by P.F. Collier & Son, New York in 1905.

This massiv tome (over 250 pages and nearly A3-Size) is one of the best sources, if not THE best source, of actual photos of the war. (I've included a Tsuba Miniatures NCO for size reference.)

I've meant to get one for a decent price for over a year now and finally Lady Luck was smiling over me! If you are interested in the RJW you should definitely get one yourself. Quite some of the photos of other, more recent, publications (like the two Ospreys volumes for example) can be found here and a lot more. In fact, it has already given me the ideas for at least one more set of miniatures, which I haven't had already on my long to-do-list, just by flipping through it.

As it has been published over a hundred years ago, I think it's OK for me to post photos from it to clarify a couple of queries which have come up. Most prominent, if the Japanese Medics wore the Red Cross armband or not. (I'll try to get these photos up here by tomorrow.)

I'm also working on a couple of scale photos of my miniatures with those of a other manufactures but I'm still waiting for one delivery.

Donnerstag, 6. Oktober 2011

First sign of life

Hello and welcome everybody!

This is the first post on my first blog, so don't be suprised, if something isn't working/looking as you might be used to it from blog pros. ;-) 
(Also, English is not my native tongue, so please excuse any mistakes due to this and please let me know, if anything is unclear!)

My name is Markus and I'm from Germany. This blog is dedicated to my favourite hobby: collecting, painting and even playing with little lead soldiers. 
I'm 'in the hobby' for almost twenty years now and I felt it was time for something new. Instead of just collecting (i.e. buying) miniatures, I thought why not make my own?

The subject was found pretty fast as I've been interested in the Russo-Japanese War for quite some time now. I also decided right up front, that I wanted to go for a 'campaign look' of 'my' miniatures. 'Real' soldiers, gritty looking in their field uniforms not those clean and polished parade ground ones. 

Next I got in contact with Paul Hicks, who is the sculptor of some of my all time favourite lines of miniatures out there (Anglian/Empress Miniatures Spanish Civil War, Musketeer Miniatures Irish War of Independence/Very British Civil War, Brigade Games Atomic Café '57, to name just a few and not to forget his very own line he produces under the name of Mutton Chop Miniatures), and he agreed to do the sculpting on my little guys.

The fine chaps at Griffin Moulds are responsible for moulding and casting, and they've done a great job, and the shown examples haven been painted be the very talented Simon Bradley of Stone Cold Lead Figure Painting.

So, here we are now, with the first three sets of Japanese soldiers wearing the M1904 khaki uniform and charging a Russion position:

Overview (RJ-J01 - RJ-J03)
 RJ-J01 Japanese Command, charging (medical orderly, officer, NCO and casualty)

 RJ-J02 Japanese Troopers, charging with bedrolls
 RJ-J03 Japanese Troopers, charging without bedrolls

If you'd like to get some, just get in touch with me via:

The prices are 7.50 Euros for each pack of four (4) miniatures or 35.- Euros for a bundle set of one command pack (RJ-J01) and four trooper packs (RJ-J02, RJ-J03) of your choice, for a total of twenty (20) miniatures. (I will charge postage at cost.) (Please note that all miniatures are supplied UNPAINTED.)

Future plans include a HMG team (three soldiers + gun), four advancing/skirmishing troopers, four firing/loading troopers and a suitable command set to complete the Japanese infantry in M1904 uniform.