The Real Deal

In real life, I have sweated the indignities of Fort Dix drill sergeants, danced the King Tut on a moving M48 (thanks to Steve Martin, who introduced the song in `77),  marched too far with steel pot and M16A1, and was a member of the regular Army and the National Guard.  Before that, well, there were the plastic Army Men to keep me busy.  After - well - there was that last episode of boxcar skating....

This page started over ex-GIs complaining that today's soldier doesn't look right.  Funny helmet, weird fatigues, Buck Rogers weapons - whatever happened to OD green and steel helmets?  Okay, so that started it.  That and the fact that I am hopelessly enamored of toys that replicate life in miniature.  Along with this site, I maintain several large railroad websites.  My wife and I have posted hundreds of our railroad photos, plus pics of N gauge, Lionel and K-line toy trains.

This website is really for all the guys and gals who have endured the trials of basic training, who have served in the military for however long, in whatever land.  It is aimed primarily at us Americans, our English speaking allies, and our other allies in Scandinavia and Germany.  Yet it's also here for anyone of any army, navy or air force.  Enjoy it.

One thing that's been a comical point over the years is how certain kids in certain countries are so much the same, when it comes to toys.  Americans, Brits, Aussies, Germans, Kiwis, Norwegians and Danes over the age of 35 had the same toys.  We had the same Army Men, pretty much, and we all seem to have had Matchbox cars and Mattel tommy guns and Airfix mini-men and Roco mini-tanks and that ubiquitous Britains 25 Pounder gun.  American and Canadian kids had O gauge trains, Brits and Germans had HO.  I've spoken with friends and relatives on both sides of the pond - same toys, same unwritten rules.  (Okay, in Germany the Germans and grey troops weren't the Enemy - one difference)  A Norwegian fellow remarked once about Army Men, "No, those are not American soldiers, they are Norwegians. I had them as a little boy!"  Seems that half of Western and Northern Europe wore the same steel pot, OD fatigues and rode the same old vehicles in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Now that the Cold War is a dead thing, it's time to extend a welcome to our Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Rumanian, Bylorussian and Ukrainian counterparts.  I've traded stories with Polish ex-GIs my age and their personal military experience had more similarities to ours than differences.  We invite our Eastern European friends to join us, and bring their Army Men.  (I'd LOVE to get my hands on Russian- or Polish-made Army Men!)  When we fought Nazis and Commies on our backyard battlefields, who were they fighting?  Capitalists and Nazis?  I'd really love to hear from them.  (I'd love to hear from a Russian who danced their equivalent of the King Tut on a T-55!)

So to GIs everywhere, past, present and future - this site's for YOU!

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