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Old 06-18-2019, 04:57 AM   #1
SteveKrieg
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Happy 20th Birthday Hans

G'day all,


Today I was going over some of my shelf stock (trying to find that little piece that I put aside in a place not forgotten - but months later - cannot find (surely we've all been there?). I did find the piece but also stumbled upon 'Hans'...that German feldwebel that started me down the rabbit hole of 1/6th modelling 20 years ago.


Dragon Models Limited (DML) 'Hans' was the model company's first dabble into what was then a relatively niche market and came out on March 15th 1999. Renowned for their plastic scale model kits, the figure broke new ground with regards to 1/6th figures and advertised them as 'New Generation - Life Action Figures'. What set them apart from the classic staples of the day (Side Show, Blue Box International and 21st Century Toys) was not the detail (which some of the other companies had done better in some areas) but the range which expanded greatly over a 13 year period in terms of both head sculpts, body mechanics and uniform/equipment detail. Then there's the wide-ranging accessories (a whole other thread in itself).


But, for me, it all kicked-off with 'Hans', a figure that I purchased largely because - being a drawer - I thought why not buy one and base drawings from its poses rather than rely on the small wooden mannequin. By doing so, I was able to accurately draw to scale the clothing and equipment.


But then came 'Klaus'...and so on...and so on...and so on...I then tried what every budding collector tried to do and keep pace with new releases and whilst that syphoned-off my pay it also began to creep into my shelf space. Later I concentrated (due to the increase in releases) on just figures that suited my wants rather than needs.


20 years on (and long after the demise of DML's 1/6th effort), some 13 years of collecting now sits in tubs in my garage wrapped in bubble-wrap, their accessories (weapons, helmets and such) in separate zip-lock bags and so-named. I barely look into them now given the various large-scale projects over the past several years however today I dug down to pull out and reassemble the figure that set me on my wild ride...'Hans'. I have a whole swag of spares still in their boxes which suits my kit-bashing requirements (such as the current Project 'CURRAHEE').


So a quick question to all on the SAG - what figure started you off???


Happy Birthday Hans - you are indeed the gift that keeps on giving (now if I can just explain that to my wife and credit card).
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:45 PM   #2
Kev Longino
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Re: Happy 20th Birthday Hans

Setting to one side the childhood Action Men toys I had, the first modern 1/6 that got me addicted was the 21st C Fallschirmjager, the start of a slippery slope of dolly madness!
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:50 PM   #3
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Re: Happy 20th Birthday Hans

I first came in contact with 1/6 figures when I attended the 60th memorial events in Bastogne. My very first figure was Erwin Rommel, the Westwall version with the scissor-binoculars on tripod. I used him in my 'Kriegspiele' diorama for one of the MDFC-contests.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:08 PM   #4
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Re: Happy 20th Birthday Hans

Sans my childhood, my first action figure as an adult was the 21st Century TUS German Soldier and Motorcycle w/Side car, I had been getting my son a bunch of the TUS GI's and my wife at the time thought he needed some bad guys to battle, so Xmass 1999 they got me the Motorcycle set as a present...about a year later I followed the web link on the box and was introduced to the wonderful world of 1/6th scale customizing and modeling
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Old 06-24-2019, 02:06 PM   #5
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Re: Happy 20th Birthday Hans

My first was a TUS FJ. He's still around somewhere.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:35 PM   #6
thegreatshaggy
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Re: Happy 20th Birthday Hans

For WWII its was DML Volker; loved the 44 Dot Parka but knew absolutely doing else about WWII beside what I saw in the movies and the few weeks spent on it in school. Fast forward 19 years and I mostly confine my studies to the ETO namely the Normandy/Rhine Campaign for my father's side of the family where they served and the Eastern Front, Army Group South (later Army Group Ukraine) where I found out I had relatives from my wife side had fought there.
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Old 07-16-2019, 04:47 PM   #7
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Re: Happy 20th Birthday Hans

The 21st Century 101st Airborne Market Garden boxed figure and the carded US 3rd Infantry Division riflemen were my first two figures around the turn of the millennium.

My first Dragon figure was Volker... damn, that takes me back!

Great thread!

Hope we all have at least 20 more years in the hobby - or at least until all the pleather finally goes!

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Old 07-19-2019, 11:04 PM   #8
SteveKrieg
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Re: Happy 20th Birthday Hans

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Old 07-19-2019, 11:19 PM   #9
SteveKrieg
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Re: Happy 20th Birthday Hans

20 more years...???...phew, I've already got half my garage chocked with the stuff and if I do my maths right another 20 would mean occupying my wife's side also (best I run that past her for consideration). As for the textiles lasting, yes that is a concern as some of the still boxed figures are starting to show some natural yellowing whilst some of the pleather items (particularly that mid-production DML period where they appeared to experiment with some manufacturing processes most evident on German yolk harnesses and belts) are becoming more brittle. Same could be said for some of the earlier DiD releases. I tend to avoid the early DML plastic belts and yokes (swapping out where needed with the late release types which are more realistic) however that may be a fall-back (retro-fit) plan should the pleather items worsen. Either way, just enjoying the ride. One of the biggest issues we have with military vehicles in our museum network are those components made of rubber (vehicle tyres, windscreen frames, switch covers etc) given that particular material has a natural decaying process where there's currently no preservation method though conservation professionals around the world are working on a way to try and stem it.


No need for immediate panic though and let's face it, these figures represent the 'Greatest Generation'...so it would be reasonable to think they're inherently tougher than figures covering other periods...???


Cheers


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Old 07-22-2019, 02:44 PM   #10
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Re: Happy 20th Birthday Hans

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveKrieg View Post
...so it would be reasonable to think they're inherently tougher than figures covering other periods...???
HAHA - well, that'd be nice if they were, Steve!

Here's a pretty extensive thread on the Sixth Division covering many of the items in the hobby that are decaying:

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/ones...-w-t24514.html

- Fred
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Old 07-23-2019, 12:10 PM   #11
SteveKrieg
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Re: Happy 20th Birthday Hans

That is concerning Fred, though I'd have to agree with the later DML hands as I've had a few that break very easy around the peg/joint area (which has led me to purchase spare hands whenever they become avail) I rarely use the leather-like material boots if I can avoid it, for example - my current Project "Currahee" - I've tried to utilise DML/BBi plastic Corcoran boots rather than the laced-up leather types despite the later being more realistic as the DML plastic variants are definitely harder-wearing though I do have a few of the figures in the leather types (DiD and Soldier Story) given I've 40 "Screaming Eagles" to accommodate.


Speaking of paras, the most troublesome for me, to date, was the chinstrap of the later Brit DML para releases. The pleather material not very forgiving at all and many were becoming brittle and fraying from the backing material as soon as I took them out of the box.


Funnily enough, every time I think about it, it reminds of the movie 'Toy Story'; the scene where Woody is holding a meeting and talking about the upcoming plastic corrosion prevention presentation.


Cheers and thanks for the link, how ever will I sleep tonight?. Steve
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Old 07-23-2019, 12:19 PM   #12
SteveKrieg
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Re: Happy 20th Birthday Hans

That is concerning Fred, though I tend to agree regarding the DML hands as I've often had to resort to drilling out the pegs from the socket after the wrist area crumbles whilst affixing the hands - particularly hands of the later DML releases which is why I now buy up on early release hand sets when I see them.


For the current Project "Currahee", I've chosen to stick as much as possible to plastic Corcoran jump boots rather than the material variants as they are harder-wearing though I've had no choice with several figures as I've 40 "Screaming Eagles" required to fill-out the 20 scenes (which vary from one to several figures each).


Speaking of paras, the latter DML release Brit para helmet chinstraps (for the 2014 "Arnhem assault" series of dioramas) gave me no end of frustration with many of the pleather strappings falling apart no sooner than I had taken them out of the box and trying to feed them through the buckles - I've since amassed more Brit paras for another diorama plan in-future but already I'm looking at finding a replacement strap for all of them.


This particular concern always reminds me of the movie 'Toy Story' - the part where Woody is talking about the upcoming plastic corrosion prevention meeting (shudder down my spine), sometimes I wonder I manage to sleep at night knowing that my army has to put up with such second-rate gear and I fear the day when I open up my workshop door and broken hands, frayed chinstraps and boots are thrown at me. Still, as they say in the Army, the lowest bidder always gets the contract. Cheers, Steve
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Old 07-23-2019, 11:10 PM   #13
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Re: Happy 20th Birthday Hans

"This particular concern always reminds me of the movie 'Toy Story' - the part where Woody is talking about the upcoming plastic corrosion prevention meeting (shudder down my spine), sometimes I wonder I manage to sleep at night knowing that my army has to put up with such second-rate gear and I fear the day when I open up my workshop door and broken hands, frayed chinstraps and boots are thrown at me. Still, as they say in the Army, the lowest bidder always gets the contract."


Right!!! My inspiration is to replace with real leather ala Patrick Lin/Sgt Doggy/Etc Etc...all my stuff in real leather has held up, I've replaced all my old elastics with leather and real webbing long ago, now to upgrade 100 sets of Y-Straps and Belts!!!(Thankfully any boots I have are made of plastic of real leather)
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