I’m in Berlin visiting family and living the Bohemian life. On my visit, I stopped by Berliner Zinnfiguren, a small miniatures shop on the Savingy Platz in Charlottenburg. I’ve been told it’s not a very good store due to its small size, but I must tell you in my view, it’s a must see destination for wargamers visiting this area of Germany. As a Yank, this is a special store. Berliner Zinnfiguren has been producing flat miniatures since the 1930’s. Most of the more complete ranges focus on the Napoleonic Wars, but they’ve got numerous ranges covering the American Civil War to Deutsches history. They are beautiful. Fully painted versions are available for many of them and are on display. See the pictures below. I picked up some Berbers. Also available are a number of large scale (greater than 25mm) miniatures and other fully 3-dimensional pieces. Due to the poor selection of flats available in the U.S., I found them the most interesting.
What I found most interesting about the store was the large selection of military history books available in German, English, French, Spanish and Italian. Being a former art history student, I can bungle my way through French and Spanish, and the odd Italian text. German I’m at a complete loss. Many of these books are not available in the States, so I thoroughly enjoyed going through each book stack and looking at all the European press not available even on Amazon.com. I noticed that several of the texts are out of print in the U.S. I picked up a few German-language uniform and horse picture books, painting books as well as a few British press books not avilable in the States. Also available are several ranges of European modelling supplies.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I give the store a 9. It might not fit the typical wargaming or FLGS store, but that’s what sets it apart.
BTW – I don’t speak German, but an older gentleman wearing ill-fitting and slightly soiled clothing came into the store when I was there. He might be what some would refer to as a nerd and had the stereotypical B.O. smell and hair growing in weird places (e.g. the top of the nose). He made me feel right at home when he entered and I noted to myself that it doesn’t matter what country you are in, it’s an international geek language we speak.
BTWW – I found a model store nearby that catered solely to aircraft models and a train store we visited (my 4-year-old nephew is the biggest train nut I’ve ever met) had some model engines that cost $2K! They take their hobbies seriously here boys.