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The first plastic army men were made during WWII. Making them out of this material helped conserve tin and other metals needed in the production of arms. During this time, they were still hand painted individually in the United States. Now they stand plain, unpainted, with modern weapons and fatigues, and are made in third world countries. They are very inexpensive and are sold mostly in supermarkets and dollar stores. I personally remember being a poor kid on welfare, and getting them regularly as gifts because they were one of the only toys my mother could afford.

We believe that this is too much of a coincidence. The amount of budget that goes into the military is offensive enough. Why target minorities with the glory of war, guns, and death? That money could help educate us, make us more socially aware and many other things.

Each plastic solider has a weapon of some sort. There are no obvious medics, engineers, or technicians of any kind. In creating this video, we wanted to play with these gray, soulless figures that haunted our childhoods in a memorable way. We wanted to build a trench of peace and love that united any color of solider to send a message and set an example.

We had a lot of fun building the set and working with stop animation which was pretty new to us all. We built hills out of clay and newspaper, decorated them with paint, moss, and rocks. We patiently arranged each figure to orchestrate our message. A message that shouts "Love is louder than guns!"

Robert Khasho is a Portland based artist who mentored AFSC youth to produce "Love is Louder than Guns," this year’s entry into the AFSC/National Priorities Project If I Had a Trillion $ video contest. Using stop motion animation it features plastic toy soldiers, and was chosen as a contest finalist. Participating youth travel to Washington DC in April to receive leadership training and urge their legislators to end war and invest in education and human needs.

Author: 
Robert Khasho