Collecting Toy Soldiers in the 21st Century

B1688

It is interesting that in an age of increasingly realistic video war games, the interest in toy soldiers has not reduced and the interest in war gaming with model soldiers is increasing. The main concentration has been on the smaller figures and included plastic models intended for hand painting by the owner for display in sets, or for use in diorama displays where the owner builds a central kit or scratch model to become the centrepiece of a display with landscape, buildings and figures Perhaps the beauty of collecting toy soldiers is that it is a hobby that can start in childhood and then burst back into life at later stages, changing from simple play fun to a deeply absorbing hobby that is followed seriously and turned into a financial interest, building a valuable collection and making some very real profit. The book has been beautifully produced and is of a high quality

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NAME: Collecting Toy Soldiers in the 21st Century
CLASSIFICATION: Book reviews
FILE: R1688
Date: 211111
AUTHOR: James Opie
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword Military
BINDING: Hard back
PAGES: 208
PRICE: £30.00
GENRE: Non-Fiction
SUBJECT: Collecting, soldiers, war gaming, display, models, model making, uniforms, ancient warriors
ISBN: 1-84884-373-9
IMAGE: B1688
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/co4lj8o
LINKS: http://tinyurl.com/
DESCRIPTION: The collecting of model soldiers has become a source of heated debate amongst collectors. Some feel that the use of the word ‘toy’ denigrates the subject and they prefer the use of the word ‘model’ instead. That provides two broad camps of collectors, but they are divided even further, with some using their collection in war gaming and others much preferring to display their collection in glass cabinets. The production of miniature soldiers is probably as old as warfare. Originally, most model figures were made for children to teach the art of warfare. The models were made from a wide variety of materials, including ivory, whalebone, stone, metal, and wood. They varied greatly in their quality, some being crudely carved and others being the finest sculptures in miniature. Models of soldiers and sailors were also made as grave goods. The author has been a keen collector since childhood and has written an engaging book that covers the subject well and demonstrates his keen interest and encyclopaedic knowledge. The work is lavishly illustrated and the photographs cover much of the wide range of models. The model/toy soldier industry really took off with cast lead figures. The toxic nature of the material may have been a drawback for toys that would be handled by children, but they allowed detailed figures to be made in volume at relatively low cost. The moulded figures were sold unpainted and painted in boxed sets and, for larger figures, individually. Other metals were also used and some very fine models in pewter, silver, or bronze are perhaps outside the scope of the book, but are highly collectable. What revolutionized the industry was the use of plastics. That created the opportunity for some very cheap unpainted toy soldiers in flexible plastics that would stand up well to the attentions of children. Harder plastic was used for more detailed models and made 1:72 scale model soldiers practical, placing them in the same scale as model railways and plastic construction kits of aircraft, boats and tanks. Collecting toy soldiers is a very flexible and varied hobby that appeals to all ages. It is possible to begin collecting at any age and at low cost, by going to car boot sales and to the smaller general auction houses. Even extensive collections of smaller toy soldiers requires very little space and the author has illustrated this by including details and photographs of his own displayed collection that displays the models behind glass and includes drawers to store the original packing which can add greatly to the value when the time comes to sell. Over the years, most toy soldiers have been facsimiles of the soldiers of the time, but the author has included some of the fictional models that have become popular with sci-fi books and films. It is interesting that in an age of increasingly realistic video war games, the interest in toy soldiers has not reduced and the interest in war gaming with model soldiers is increasing. The main concentration has been on the smaller figures and included plastic models intended for hand painting by the owner for display in sets, or for use in diorama displays where the owner builds a central kit or scratch model to become the centrepiece of a display with landscape, buildings and figures Perhaps the beauty of collecting toy soldiers is that it is a hobby that can start in childhood and then burst back into life at later stages, changing from simple play fun to a deeply absorbing hobby that is followed seriously and turned into a financial interest, building a valuable collection and making some very real profit. The book has been beautifully produced and is of a high quality that inevitably requires a higher price in the bookshop. Given the production quality and the effective text, the book is good value for money.

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