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Park Slope Artist Invades Brooklyn with 'Tiny Battles'

 Park Slope artist Justin Captis is scattering miniature skirmishes between toy soldiers across the borough.
Park Slope artist Justin Captis is scattering miniature skirmishes between toy soldiers across the borough.
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Justin Captis

PARK SLOPE — The battle of Brooklyn wages on — but not the one you think

Park Slope artist Justin Captis is scattering miniature skirmishes between toy soldiers across the borough and leaving the pint-sized conflicts as a reward for observant New Yorkers.

"It's mainly to get people to stop and pay attention to the little things," Captis told DNAinfo New York.

The "tiny little battles," as Captis has dubbed them, are invading neighborhoods across the borough including Gowanus, Williamsburg and DUMBO.

Captis pauses on his journeys as a bike messenger to arrange the plastic troops and documents the impromptu battlefields on the Tinylittlebattles Instagram where he posts snaps of the mini-military men duking it out on city streets, bridges and ledges with #tinylittlebattles plaques. 

But the real struggle for the troops is surviving the concrete jungle — be it people inadvertently crushing a war with a single step or slowly being picked off by the elements. 

"They’re actually a living thing until the battle is gone," said Captis. "Once it’s on a street it’s fair game. I might come back and see it entirely different from the way I left, so it's interactive in that way."

The miniature hobby began two years ago when Captis was living in Philadelphia, where he stumbled upon an abandoned box packed with plastic toy soldiers.

"At first I took a few, set them up and then I got into it — took the whole box — and just kept going," said Captis. 

Now after moving to Park Slope about a year ago, Captis has been marching the troops across Brooklyn for roughly a dozen battles in the borough and a combined 40 in Brooklyn and Philadelphia. 

Eagle-eyed New Yorkers are already starting to spot the vest-pocket warfare and post to social media.

 

Stumbled upon a street fight #tinylittlebattles-022 #gowanus #brooklyn

A post shared by John (@enjohneer) on

"What a neat thing," said Ethan Moore, who stopped to admire a tiny battle in Gowanus. "I love the idea of accidentally finding these little guys — it's like its own private world until you share it with others." 

 

Tiny battle happening in Williamsburg today

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Captis says he enjoys seeing people reinterpret the battles with their photos and hopes people take a moment to appreciate the momentary war zones before they're picked apart.

"My favorite part is seeing how people see the battles," he said. "I just hope people snap a picture and walk away remembering it."