Toy soldiers

Military figures have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, and have appeared in many cultures and eras. Tin soldiers were produced in Germany as early as the 1730s, by molding the metal between two pieces of slate. Toy soldiers became widespread during the 18th century, inspired by the military exploits of Frederick the Great. In 1893, William Britain revolutionized the production of toy soldiers by devising the method of hollow casting, making soldiers that were cheaper and lighter than their German counterparts.

In addition to Britains, there have been many other manufacturers of toy soldiers over the years. For example, John Hill and Company produced hollow cast lead figures in the same style and scale. Companies such as Elastolin and Lineol were well known for their composite figures made of glue and sawdust that included both military and civilian subjects. After 1950, rising production costs and concerns about lead poisoning led to the development of plastic toy soldiers.

lead soldiersOne large historical producer in plastic was Louis Marx and Company, which produced both realistic soldiers but also historical collections of plastic men and women, including the "Presidents of the United States" collection, "Warriors of the World", "Generals of World War II", "Jesus and the Apostles", and figures from the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Britains produced plastic figures under the brand names of Herald and Deetail. Also in England, the scale model company, Airfix produced a variety of high quality plastic sets, which were frequently painted by hobbyists. Many Airfix figures were imitated by other companies and reproduced as inexpensive, bagged plastic army men.


Updated: 7 October 2019

Other collectors also search for:
Del Prado Stadden Timpo Elastolin Hiriart Lineol Cbg Mignot

Lead Soldiers value and price guide

What's your Lead Soldiers worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
military plastic toy soldiers army men figures 12 poses Military Plastic Toy Soldiers Army Men Figures 12 Poses 12/2021 AU $18
pack 15 toy figurine action soldiers in plastic 9cm Pack 15 Toy Figurine Action Soldiers In Plastic 9cm 12/2021 AU $15
eaglemoss tin toy foot horse soldier napoleonic wars Eaglemoss Tin Toy Foot Horse Soldier Napoleonic Wars 12/2021 AU $12
tamiya 1 35 german soldiers at field briefing plastic Tamiya 1 35 German Soldiers At Field Briefing Plastic 12/2021 AU $19
airfix ww2 raf personnel 1 76 scale 25mm model soldiers Airfix Ww2 Raf Personnel 1 76 Scale 25mm Model Soldiers 12/2021 AU $12
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices12/2021AU $-.--

Lead Soldiers forum

"Ask questions or share your stories." - John, Fabtintoys
: (first name only)*
(will not be displayed/shared)*

Comments (4)
John - May 4, 2020
Been collecting 48 years,
That's a long time, you must have a lot then!
Loveucreations - April 26, 2011
I would like help in finding 54mm Bibical figures. Figures to use a the market, children, Jesus, please help.
You could try and search for Biblical figures on this website.
Rebecca - September 13, 2010
My son has been given some lead and bronze soldiers. I would like to know how to age them. They have RP 1482 Patents stamped into them. They have names stamped on the front - Sudista 2/Sudista 4 / Roman 1/ non gold - 3/
My son would love to know anything about these. They have come from his Great Great Great Grandad. Many Thanks Bec :)
Will - August 13, 2010
Grandfather left me British infantry and mounted Calvary. Were can I go to determine value? Or buyer. About 60 pieces. Also band members