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Spartans in Action

Welcome to the Webmaster's "Blog" page.  Here's where I get to just play with the incredible figures Conte produces.  I hope you enjoy your time browsing through the ages on these pages.    If you want to contact me, e-mail me at playsetaddict@charter.net .  Thanks!

Joe Baker







The Sons of the South









These are some pictures from OTSN.  Here my painted resin Afghans confront the Highlanders in a display from Traverse Dioramics.

This is the very cool diorama in Crown Military Miniatures room.

Also in Crown Military Miniatures room.

The Conte Zulu War diorama in Crown's room.  This isn't the greatest photo, but the dio is very cool.



I've been wanting to get the Conte plastic Civil War stuff out for a long time. I've had a vision of what I wanted to do, but it just takes so much space, that I've kept putting it off.  Well...today I did it.

I still only used the two end pieces of the fortifications.












I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first wave of Highlanders.  They should be arriving any time.  I spent most of this last week painting up some of the resin Afghans from the Scotland the Brave playset.  Painted up, they are sweet figures.  The 24th Foot guys will have to stand in for the Gordons for just a little while.


A taste of what's to come....








I spent most of today working in my basement, trying to get things cleaned up and organized.  I put together this shelf display.



I don't think they like what they see.

But I do!


I recently tried my hand at making a wire tree armiture.  I'm pretty satisfied with it as a first try.

Here's the tree finished, 

I do love these Ortiz sculpted Indians.

Joe Baker       

Here is a masterpiece by Joe Quintini...perhaps his best yet!  I can't wait to get my hands on the 5 new Zulu sets that are due out soon. 



Another five Zulu sets will be arriving soon.  Joe Quintini, affectionately known in the Collecting Community as "Papa Zulu" , had the honor of taking the early photos of these sets.   In the above picture, three of the new Zulus go after the colours.  Below are the five soon to be released sets.

7/13/10 -7/16/10


The Flying Zulu set is proving to be very popular.  Don't procrastinate and miss out!

Attention Collectors

Email Newsletters Started Going Out June 3rd
If You Did NOT Receive Our First "blast" , One of 3 Things Are Possible: (1) Our Email May Have Been Lost In Your Spam Filter  or (2) Your Email Address Needs To Be Updated In Our Records or (3) Our System May Have Unfortunately "lost" Your Address.

If you have signed up for email from us but did not receive anything on the 3rd, please check your spam folder and mark our blast "not spam" OR email us and let us know you did not receive anything so we can manually add yuo to the list and get things right!!

I plan to begin sending out on a semi regular basis photos of new sets and sculpts in process & we'd hate to have you miss out.

Stay informed of upcoming product releases by clicking below


This shot features some of the older Conte figures.  It's clear that as cool as the poses are, the sculpting and the painting doesn't measure up to the quality of the new stuff.  It just keeps getting better!


I've done a little clean up of this page.  I've segregated the Valhalla Awaits Action Photos on their own Page and also made a separate page for the Ship to Ship Combat dIodrama.

Now that Joel, a great new addition to the Conte Crew, is on board in North Carolina, I'll be less involved with maintaining the websites as a whole, but I still will keep this blog going. Now I get to have the fun and Joel gets to do the work!

July 2

I have just returned from a road trip to North Carolina where I had a chance to visit with Richard and Nancy and take some pictures of the first figures in the fantastic Northwest Frontier Range that will be coming soon.  Here are the first of many images to come.

Say it with me...."Wow"  The first shot was taken in direct afternoon sunlight.  The other two were taken the next morning with the sun shining from behind and to the right of the figures.  The first picture really captures the color of the tartan on the kilts.

The view from a chair in RC's backyard in Raleigh on Sunday, June 27, 2010

This set is near the top of my Best Ever List.



The Zouaves are going to be available soon!

These pictures are of actual production run samples.  They're on their way!

Look at those faces....

Saving the Colors


I do love getting as many of my figures into battle as possible.  In this set up there are the new Conte Zulu sets, including the upcoming Flying Zulu set, the figures from the Keith Rocco Zulu War sets Conte released a number of years ago, painted plastic Conte figures from the Zulu playsets and several William Britains metal figures. It's beginning to get very interesting.  It is easy to see the new standard of dynamism, sculpting and painting Conte has achieved with the new sets.  The new stuff just keeps getting better.


The Flying Zulu set is flying off the shelves now.  Don't miss out


Like most of you, I tend to mix and match my figures when I play.  I love it when figures from different manufacturers fit well together.  I'm very pleased that the new Conte Zulu range works well with the Britains Zulu range.

I'm  loving playing withthe Zulu stuff, but I'm getting more and more excited about the ACW Zouave range that's coming this spring. 


I've been having some computer problems lately.  I went on a week's vacation and came back to a burned out mother board and destroyed hard drive on my four year old computer.  I got a new computer but, wouldn't you know,  that most of the programs I'm used to using are not really compatible with Windows 7. O well. Here are some pictures taken by Joe Quintini, "Papa Zulu" himself.  Thanks, Joe, for the pics and your endless enthusiasm for the hobby and all things Zulu.


Scroll down for the newest Zulu action  pictures.

A New Day Dawns.

"Steady Lad, Steady......he's not threatening, he's just saying that lots of photos are starting to appear  on the Conte web site  and wait, oh yes, he's saying the sun is shining very brightly over Conte Zululand."

I finally got my hands on the new Zulus and they are amazing!  The sculpting is great as always and the color on these guys really pops.  Best of all, they fit in scale wise with the Rocco Zulu sets.  It's time to have some fun!  







Hey guys!  A quick HEADS UP.  A bunch of painted Metal ACW sets that we thought we completely had sold out have surfaced as the boxes from Nevada have been opened and sorted.  If you have been wishing you had a chance to obtain some of these sets, you have a small window of opportunity to act.  For example, a few sets of the Confederate dead and the Confederate Artillery sets are available for those who move fast.  Click on the picture or right here.

It's been way too long since I played with the plastic ACW guys. 


One of the cool perks of being Conte's webmaster is that collectors often send me pictures of what they've done with Conte products.  John Donato sent me some pictures of some plastic Spartans he has painted as the Spartans' Greek allies...or opponents until the Immortals show up.  Aren't these amazing?  I'll probably be making a whole page with pictures of the different Greeks he has painted.  Stay tuned for a link to that page.


These pictures are by Joe Korpar




RC has put together another update which should be  posted this morning. (I'm still waiting for a couple more pictures and hoping for a little more editing before I post it. ) I did update the Preview page with a whole bunch of new pictures...some of which haven't been made public before.  So stay tuned...

Also, I could use some help from you guys.  I am now the one doing the updating of the contecostore site...something which was done out of Las Vegas previously.  If you guys ever find anything in there with the old Las Vegas address or telephone number, could you let me know?  The only way I seem to learn how the site is put together is when someone tells me about a problem and I have to figure out where the problem is.  After the Vegas phone numbers were disconnected, nothing was going through on the store site because I didn't have a grasp of how the internal information was originally set up.  I think the site is working again. If there are problems...would you please let me know?  Thanks.

One of the good things coming out of the move is the discovery of stock that we thought was long gone. For example, a bunch of the figures from the Scotland the Brave sets were found.  Look for those to become available soon.  Also, I believe some Texas Brigade sets were found.

I also was surprised to learn that most of the Immortal sets are still in stock.  Last September at OTSN it seemed everyone thought they were all sold out. If you've been waiting for those, call the office and get 'em while you can.

The big project coming up will be to go through the websites and remove all the sold/out gone forever sets.  I am waiting for the final inventory to do that.

Take care  and Happy Memorial Day!

Here are a couple more pictures of the Colonial Adventurers.


Hullo again!  Did ya miss me?

It looks like my days are going to get busier now.  Things are beginning to solidify in Conteland.  I've started messing with the Contecostore.com website.  It's going to take a while to figure out everything that needs to be done to bring it up to speed, but I've started playing with the aesthetics of the homepage. I expect some new info will be showing up on that page soon. 

I've also started playing with some of the samples of not yet released product. 

I wonder what has them spooked?

Anyway, I think you can expect a trickle of News and Surprises to start flowing.  You may not need to check for new info every day, but probably every week. 

Take care.


Will they shoot? (And No, the gorilla is not an upcoming Conte release.)

I digitally enhanced their eyes in this shot. 

I remember as a kid making jungle scenarios out in the back yard.  Those were some great adventures...but I never had adventurers like these back then.  The Gorillas are by Safari.  I used digital magic to shrink them down to the right size.

This archaeological site has all kinds of dangers....

Check out these plastic Spartans painted by George Hanger from across the pond.  Thanks to Len Cooksey for sending the picture.  If you have some cool photos of what you've done with Conte product...send them to me.  There's room for your adventures on the blog!


Be sure to check out the new specials on the online store homepage!


10/02 - 10/0308

The Plastic Spartans in Silver and Bronze have arrived in the country and should be ready to ship by about October 4.  Let the Battles Begin!

 The way the detail shows on these beauties is amazing.


One of the many fans captivated by the Plastic Spartans at OTSN.


I took my plastic Spartans down to the lakeshore today. 



It's not news anymore, but "Hey! The Plastic Spartans Have Arrived and they are Astoundingly Awesome!" I loved the prototypes I had, but the production run figures are much nicer even than those. I still can't quite believe that figures that look so good can have the pose-ability and interchange-ability that these figures have.  They've been compared to swoppet figures, but swoppet figures sacrificed dynamism for the interchange-ability feature.  These don't.  And the spears have no droop whatsoever!  Conte's reached a whole new level once again!


They also paint up pretty darn nice.  Scott Odden,  (Fubar to those of you who spend time on the forums), painted these up as soon as he received his Spartans.  Wow.

I decided to get my early plastic Spartan samples out and play a little.  I have to note that the production Spartans are in a different shade of red.  






'A Load of  Trouble"

"Hot Pursuit"

"Top Gun"  This guy is hard to keep in stock.



"The Terminator"



I recently got hold of a production model Roman ship to go with my Test Shot ship.  Boy am I happy to report that the factory did a great job in making the actual production ships assemble smoothly compared to my experience with the prototype.  I remember watching RC assemble the prototype ship at OTSN.  He kept making notes about things that needed to be corrected.  I'll be darned if the factory didn't get them all fixed.  Here's to smooooth sailing!


The Conte navy proudly on display in my Living Room. 


The Roman Ship is now blowing Collectors away as it arrives on their doorsteps in it's huge box.  I'm still rather amazed this project succeeded,  It was such a huge undertaking.  I must admit I thought RC was reaching just a little too far.  Even if he was able to solve all the engineering issues, I figured the cost would be prohibitive. When I heard him telling Collectors at OTSN what he expected to be able to price it at, (500 plus shipping) I was very pleasantly surprised.   When I heard the Introductory price of $400.00 plus shipping, I just shook my head.  This thing is an awe inspiring, museum quality collectible.  Conte's slogan from the beginning has been "Setting New Standards".  Clearly, that is what is being done here both in terms of quality and value.

I've also heard that there has been some discussion about the "stone" tower on the ship.  Historically, (I've been told), the tower was made of wood like the rest of the ship, and then often painted to look like stone.  That was RC's design concept with this piece.

It's a good life (for some).


This is another scenario I've wanted to do for quite a while. There is a museum in Madison, Wisconsin, that has a life size diorama of the Iron Brigade coming through a cornfield. Thanks to Michigan Toy Soldier for the corn and Gary Livingston (Shiloh) for the great split rail fence...And thanks to Conte Collectibles for the best Iron Brigade figures ever! 

And if I'm gonna play with Civil War guys, I just gotta get the Sons of the South into play!


It's been a while...Lately I haven't been very motivated.  One of the main reasons was my frustration with my inability to get the red color right in pictures like the ones above and below...pictures that should have been the most simple pictures to take.  I had spent a whole afternoon shooting the plastic Spartans and the color came out horribly. So, after about a month of stewing, I went out and bought a cheap little Nikon camera to just use for well lit, catalog type photos...and voila!  Accurate reds! Not bad for a hundred dollar camera.

This picture is from our table at the Hackensack show and was taken by our friends at Michigan Toy Soldier. These are factory samples in the actual  production colors.  Pretty cool, huh?


I know there are a number of you out there wanting the D-Day playsets with the fantastic Church and Priory buildings.  They are back in stock but you better act fast...they move very quickly.  Go to the Online Store to order yours now!


The stuff of Dreams...


The Roman Ship is the perhaps the most stunning piece Conte Collectibles has ever produced.

Look at the detail.


Here's a shot of the elusive Norman Cog.

Here's another shot of the plastic Spartans. The five central figures are the same "pose". I'll have a full treatment of these guys soon.  So much great stuff to show you guys...and so much real life stuff in the way.  Stay tuned!

I did post some pictures of the Roman Ship and crew on the Preview Page...check them out.


I'm back from the Chicago show.  I apologize for not posting while down there, but I could not get the laptop to allow me to upload...so hopefully you got your news from other sources. 

We had announced the debut of Viking Raid playset #1.  It was very well received.  We sold every set we brought. (We were sold out before 10:00 AM today).  I'm really not surprised because of the bargain it is.  We were expecting to have the first six sets of metal Persian Immortals for sale and the first nine sets of the Viking raid, but DHL proved more incompetent than words can describe. The factory got the product to Los Angeles by last Monday, but through an incredible series of mistakes and incompetence and whatever the opposite of customer service is, they failed to deliver the product in time for the show.  The final unbelievable goof up was that the they got the stuff to Chicago Saturday morning...but the driver who picked it up at the airport did not follow the routing instructions and took the product to the nearest delivery hub to the hotel...which was not staffed on weekends.  And they refused to do anything to correct their mistakes. (The shipment going to the warehouse in Las Vegas did get through..so if you've preordered the sets they will go out as soon as the staff gets back to the office from Chicago.)

We had two other crowd pleasers that kept Collectors smiling.  Our surprise playset is a beautiful Roman bireme with a full complement of slave oarsmen and some other great figures. (Yes..we were "By Thunder".)  It's probably the most impressive piece Conte has made to date.     There will be a version for metal collectors and and a version for plastic collectors.  The ships are in production now and should be shipped soon.  I brought one home from the show so I should have some nice pictures up soon.



And the real mind blower were the samples of the upcoming plastic Spartans.  Not only are they fantastic figures, but Richard conceived of a way to make them have articulated arms, wrists, necks and in many cases, forearms. The end result is that you can adjust the pose in many ways...and the arms and heads and hands are interchangeable.  And the figures don't look awkward at all.  There is no sacrifice in realism to get these features.  The potential for other ranges with this technology is staggering for people with as active imaginations as we toy soldier collectors have.

There were also many other great new products released this year. Ron Barzso outdid himself with a fantastic Robin Hood set that contained injection molded figures!.  His display in the front lobby of a huge castle under attack was beyond impressive.  TSSD had their mounted Civil War Cavalry available...Hobby Bunker had some great new buildings.  Charles Moore, at his first OTSN, had a roomful of great stuff.  Add all that to what we had to debut and it was a very good show for the collector.

or the Norman Castle????