Photos by Russ Lilly Text by Ponylope
All is quiet near the Western Front. A handful of civilians carry on with simple commerce and farming duties during a lull in the fighting. Milk cans are driven to market behind a patient team of horses, flocks of fowl are hand-fed grain in the farmyard. Temporarily, peace reigns.
A Reisler of Denmark wagon and driver crest a bridge,
made by BUM, above a scratch-built farm scene where
Bergen farm women tend to their chickens and geese.
Suddenly, the armies return in force.
Underappreciated Bergen cadets and cadet cavalrymen mix well
with reproduction 60 mm Ideal Mexican War figures. Horses
are Bergen Large Standing Horse with Saddle and Large Running
Horse with Saddle, in the foreground.
Wave upon wave, in splendid uniforms . . .
Bergen and Mignot figures; Bergen 45 mm Small Standing
Horse (at the back) and Small Trotting Horses (in front).
. . . on foot as well as on horseback.
A company of World War I Bergen Riflemen, Marching Position, on
the original separate oval bases. At far left, the Munitions Carrier.
The Home Guard springs into action.
In classic World War I uniforms with parade-silver helmets,
a Bergen Prone Machine Gunner, Infantryman with Field Glasses,
and Grenade Thrower hold the BUM battle-damaged bridge.
Traditional arms trump rifles
in close quarters.
A 60 mm reproduction Ideal cavalry figure of the American
Civil War period, astride a Bergen jumping horse, wields
his sword. Ideal ACW infantrymen are in the foreground.
Sepia toning and high contrast techniques.
One side, then the other gains the high ground.
A Bergen Cavalry Officer, riding the Large Running Horse with Saddle,
reviews the bridge positions of two Infantryman with Gas Mask figures
and an Observer (also known as an Infantryman with Field Glasses). Sepia
toning and engraving refine the scene into a noble and historic tableau.
Deep in the fog of war . . .
Bergen cadets, cadet cavalry and reproduction 60 mm Ideal Mexican War
foot soldiers mill about a battlefield, in a deeply toned and shadowed rendering
very unlike the treatment of the same figures in the second photo above..
. . . the old farmhouse becomes a rallying point.
Bergen cavalrymen surround a BUM battle-damaged building.
Mignot figures fill out the scene. Note the dying Marx figure
in the upper window. The Photoshop treatment creates the
appearance of an engraving.
Defending the flag in the Old City . . .
The blurring in Photoshop treatment creates the effect of motion
in this battle scene, featuring Bergen 45 mm military riders, mounts,
and Mignot troops in action.
. . . means hand-to-hand combat inside the gates . . .
Reproduction Ideal ACW cavalry figures and, yet again, a Bergen jumping horse.
. . . then retreat! Send the good news,
but keep watch for the next incursion.
On the bridge, Bergen Signaller, Machine Gunner Kneeling, Observer,
and Munitions Carrier. At the rear, Riflemen in Marching Position.
Photographs of toys are part of the Works on Paper Series.
Copyright Russell F. Lilly 2004-2008. May be used (with credit, please) for any noncommercial activity.
Story and descriptive captions by Ponylope, from Russ’s notes.
Russ says: “I started shooting film with huge sheet film press cameras ages ago, and love digital manipulation and possibilities with photos. I also work with mixed media and oil painting. I am not the hot Western landscape painter of my dreams yet, but I do a mean enough Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona, scene now and then.“
Vintage Toy Horses and Plastic Playset Miscellany from the 1950s On . . .