Ed Borris and Nick Versteeg
|Friends, we have lost two more of our troops, Ed Borris and Nick Versteeg. Like so many others in the hobby, their deaths seem very close and extremely loud. It makes us all feel vulnerable. These were extremely nice and warm human beings and they were toy soldier men to the end.
Nick VerSteeg died June 5th, 2022 in Texas, where he always wanted to be. One of the expansion founders of the hobby, it was Nick and his bride DeAnna of San Diego Toy Soldiers whose larger scale (roughly 60mm or 2 ½”) figures brought substance to an entire new area of the toy soldier hobby. Their new line of Alamo structures made a giant and awesome Alamo setting, and they added many new figures to it in genuine bagged sets. He was the first to do Marines of the Vietnam conflict, an area everyone said wouldn’t work, and cowboys, a fine line of Little Big Horn Indians and 7th Cavalry, Wyatt Earp and Civil War.
Nick played football and was a military helicopter pilot, a shining example of American ingenuity and industrial expertise. He expanded things when TSSD began manufacturing figures in genuine soft plastic in China, a previously impenetrable system for low-quantities of toy soldiers thanks, he said, to the help of another pioneer, Bill McMaster of BMC.
Nick collaborated with Ron Barzso on the Stalingrad set providing new soldiers in winter gear; and with DeAnna founded the Texas Toy Soldier Show at San Antonio. After suffering a stroke, and a long struggle to regain his health they thankfully sold the business to David and Kim Cook who carry it on with great success. Despite his illness, he was also concerned for the individual collector. Collectors have called with many stories of Nick’s kindness and fraternity and his creations, continually offered and championed by the good folks at MicShauns, live on.
Nick was 73 years young and loved the hobby when he passed away in his sleep.
|A consummate toy soldier collector and converter, Ed Borris was a funny, opinionated and dedicated toy soldier man. Many didn’t realize he also worked at a bank in high finance but Ed did, from an office overlooking the city, as he described it once.
He lived in Algonquin, Illinois near Fort Dearborn and loved the history surrounding the area. His bluff demeanor purposely protected an open heart, a real sweet fellow who fought cancer for over two years, remaining a stalwart at the Old Toy Soldier Show in Chicago, always bringing a wide selection of converted figures that he patiently created. I remember his Alamo Mexicans were so good they looked as if they had been made by Marx – and should have been. Ladder carriers to swarm the walls, lots of casualties, they were so good I quickly amassed a small army of them myself here at the magazine (and they are in the Marx Alamo book). As his illness began to look fatal, daughters, Melody and Harmony rushed to help with an internet funding effort.
His longtime partner Mike Kutnick was the first to let us know Ed was gone this May, 2022.
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