A work colleague of mine recently asked me what I collected. For some this might be an easy answer – Either nothing or perhaps one or two things but for me I didn’t quite know where to start. I’ve collected toys since the early 90’s and I have also had some non-figure items for around 20 years including Mexican film posters, autographs, money banks and Robots. Naturally given my interest in toy figures you wont be surprised to hear I have a Timpo Plastic ( solid and Swoppet ) collection including some of the rarer variants but despite Timpo remaining close to my heart (as they were what I played with as a kid ) I’m just as happy with the standard knights than having to collect all the variants. I also have a bit of a thing for Cherilea knights including the fairly ungainly swoppet knights. Read on to see this in a bit more detail when I cover my Crusader project !
On the figure front I also have a collection of Indians from many different makers in lead and plastic and Aluminium, Wigwams, totem poles (see an earlier post) and campfires. I use the plastic warrior show to pick up these cheaply and expect some posts on these in the coming months.
I did have a lot of Airfix sets from the early and late 60’s but over time have sold most of these. My original gun emplacement set and figures went to landfill many years ago but I’ve always had a fondness for all things Airfix including the Models. My dad was a keen modeller and I remember major projects such as the Spitfire and flying boat from the late 60’s and early 70’s. My efforts usually ended up with a glue fight.
I love the italian maker Atlantic. Especially figures in 54MM (1:72 is too small for my big hands) and if I had the time might like to collect more of the far west story figures in the bigger scale and perhaps paint them. In my opinion Atlantic also have the best box art of any manufacturer ( along with Airfix ) and this adds a really pleasing dimension to collecting . To be honest I havent properly painted a figure or model since I was about 14 so this may just be fancy talk.
My Kingdom of Heaven
I’ve always liked the history of the crusades (I can highly recommend The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land by Thomas Ashbridge which I consumed with vigour in Turkey last summer) and the lengthy but simply brilliant Directors Cut of “Kingdom of Heaven” is one of my favourite films of all time. The Directors cut is essential.
Here’s my 1960’s Wooden Castle currently garrisoned with my emerging Timpo Crusader and Cherilea Crusader Swoppet Army ( currently circa 120 strong ) plus shots of the army on the march.
The Timpo are series 1 and 2 54mm figures including several of the rarer skirmisher figures. The Cherilea knights are slightly larger swoppets at 60mm and are in mint condition and include my King Richard figure on White horse with bronze helmet (painted by me ). Flag bearers on the turrets are made by Supreme as are some of the lances. The Black Knights are Timpo with homemade flags.. The castle is a classic wooden one made from a kit and dates to the late 60’s or early 70’s. This is not the one I had as a boy (the one I smashed up with a hammer! – Sorry dad) but was picked up earlier this year from a local antiques fair and is a close to what I remember from those days. Once my crusader army is at full strength at around 200 figures I’ll start on saladin’s army.
I also have a large Wooden Ark with vintage lead animals from different makers. The Ark is I think a unique one-off, hand-built. I started off with the intention to put in two vintage figures for each 2by2 Animal from Britain’s (as easiest to find) but despite the Ark being full up with figures it’s a mixed bunch, not in strict ark rules and needs sorting out !
On the Lead front I have a small Taylor and Barrett Zoo housed in an Edwardian display case but again the Animals are a real mixed bunch. Britain’s, Pixyland Kew, FGT, T&B, B&S, Crescent and Timpo. Amongst the Zoo is an emphasis on Lead elephants from most of the well-known makers which are housed in their own display case. I’m keen to get the Philip Segal Elephant in due course.
My collecting is also fairly broad, not just toy soldiers and civilian figures and animals. I also have:
Denys Fisher/ Takara – Henshin Cyborg. 12 inch and 8 inch figures. I’ve had this collection for some time put together since the late 90’s. I’ve around 30 figures, Accessories, 2 large spaceships, Motorbike and Jaguar (cat) all in clear plastic. Considered and seconded by me – One of the coolest toys ever made and historically the forerunner of GI Joe and Action man.
Japanese toys and robots – 1970’s. I have a round 40/50 die-cast and Tin robots and characters from Japanese 1970’s toy companies such as Popy, Takatoku, Ark and Grip. I’ve had these since the mid to late 90’s and most are boxed and complete.