Tuesday 10 July 2012

Toy Soldiers

Over the next few months - and possibly beyond if I find enough material - I intend to post a series of pictures from my photo archives of Toy Soldiers. Unlike our modern miniatures these were rarely made with wargaming in mind beyond perhaps the carpet variety promoted by H.G.Wells in his book Little Wars. Many of these early miniatures were simple toys and collectors items and many more were home made using basic moulds and bits of lead pipe.

Many of my pictures have been taken at museums and private collections and most have not been showcased on BLMA before. My intention is to post the occasional picture with as much information as I can regarding the type of model featured, scale, who made it etc. So to start off here's a picture of a lead mould popular in the war years. No doubt with the right selection of moulds - and a limitless supply of lead pipe - kids (and their fathers) could churn out whole battalions with which to play their own Little Wars.

Lead Soldier Moulds and Figure (c 1940's) - These were 'cast your own' figures and were very popular during the war. (The Toys and Memorabilia Collection, Bletchley Park)


  1. Thanks for that Lee. It's a bit of a surprise given the fact they were cutting down the railings all over the place!!! I have heard though that this was just to raise morale so everyone felt they were doing their bit. I have no idea of how much truth their is in that.


  2. Interesting stuff, looking forward to see what you 're going to dig up.

  3. What a great idea Lee, looking forward to the series.

  4. This is really interesting.

  5. I'm also looking forward to your next post. I'm always interested in such items. I must confess when I visit a toy museum, it is the first thing I'm looking for! ;-)


  6. Fascinating stuff. I started gaming by casting my own miniatures. This takes me back ;-)

  7. My father had a mould that had a three soldiers in it. I remember finding it one day and we spent the next few hours scrounging up all of the scrap lead we could find and poured out several dozen lead soldiers melting the lead in an iron ladle over a Coleman camp stove. In the press there was a fellow holding the American flag, a sailor with a bugle and a soldier with a rifle shouldered. Thanks for the post. This brings back some fond memories.

  8. Ah, wow! When one thinks "toy soldiers" nowadays this isn't what jumps straight to mind. But I suppose it was, once!


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