I remember as a child, my father’s large collection of dime store hollow casting toy soldiers. These were 1940’s era, chipped and broken, but they provided hours of imaginative fun. I recall that positioning and repositioning the troops was my favorite part. These strategic scenes were an integral part of my childhood.
In the late 1970’s, my father decided to quit smoking, (for the first of many times) and as an incentive, he planned to buy something frivolous with his “smokes money.” He settled on William Britain’s, Tradition and CBG Mignot painted toy soldiers. I admired these sets he would come home to show. I remember seeing the prices for 4 or 6 soldiers and thinking, “My dad must have smoked a lot!” As a 12-year-old, the cost was out of my reach. So I began painting my own soldiers. At first, I painted plastic. As I matured and became more adept with the brush, I worked into white metal castings and kits.
When I was first married and had a workshop of my own, I really became passionate about toy soldiers. While my wife was expecting our first son, Nick, I spent many hours perfecting my skills and keeping quiet in the workshop. A few years later, when our second son, Ben came along, I was throughly engrossed in researching the historically accurate uniforms. Now, I cast my own figures. I paint all different scales from 15 mm to 77 mm. I have bought and sold many castings to date. However, I find that although I have the means to purchase Britain’s or Mignot’s, I most enjoy researching each unit and creating it to the best of my ability by either hand casting from molds or assembling kits.
I hope that you enjoy this topic of “Toy” figures as much as I enjoy the process of bringing them to you.