Most every kid growed up in amerika I know played with army men. 

The majority of the time was spent on the elaborate setup, the placement of each soldier in position, contingent upon his armament, special skills, etc. This strategic deployment was performed in peace—the silent detente before the first shots were fired. Boys will be boys. Throwing sand became hurled rocks. Rocks became firecrackers. Just like conventional wartime, a bigger gun must be drawn each time until a nuclear cloud fills the sky, and eventually the toy soldiers were set ablaze.

I find that these pro-peace assemblages comprised of toy soldiers hit with a propane torch hold some strange regressive nostalgia. The acrid yet pleasant odor of burning plastic triggers a mnemonic olfactory response, and I'm nine again, lighting the heads of the bazookamen.  There is a certain meticulousness—which transforms into a meditation as I imagine the noxious cloud as the world's suffering that I breathe into my heart where it is transformed into lovingkindness, and then exhaled back out into the world.  Inevitably chaos lords over this creative process, albeit that I have developed a skill of herding the flaming, melting militia into place.  I have only suffered a few nasty burns by way of molten plastic finding its way onto my hands and arms, and the symmetry of the piece emerges from its asymmetry.

I used a textured spray aerosol for the first layer of paint, which gave it a gritty, ashlike quality.  The look is not dissimilar to Rodin's "Gates of Hell" meets Pompeii...

Rodin's Gates of Hell


I've recently been placing bids on eBay for lots of 1000 army men....

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