Miniature Wargames

BRITAIN’S TOY SOLDIERS: THE HISTORY AND HANDBOOK 1893-2013

◗ James Opie ◗ Pen and Sword (2021 reprint) ◗ £35 ◗ 504 pages (hardback) ◗ ISBN:9781848844­445 ◗ pen-and-sword.co.uk

- Chris Jarvis

The author is a leading authority on Britain’s products, not only through a love for the figures but also many years of research and advising on auction values. This treasure trove includes over 400 colour photograph­s of the firm’s output, plus some photos of its competitor­s’and partners’offerings (including those delightful Herald plastic ACW figures). The text is extraordin­arily detailed, charting the developmen­t of the various ranges and the reasoning behind them.

There is an appendix listing many of the sets, including their period of production and their rarity today. A lengthy Glossary covers all manner of subjects – detecting fakes, lead rot, types of packaging, possible sale values, and so on.

The older ones amongst us may recall looking longingly at the boxes of figures in Hamleys toy store in central London – priced 10/6d (53p in this new-fangled decimal money) for four cavalry or seven infantry, with the jewel being the King’s Troop RHA set at around 42 shillings (£2). Happy days, and this book is a joyful reminder of model soldiers in all their glory. Delightful.

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