After WW2 toy manufacturers began to look at new methods to start producing figures that were cheaper and more child friendly. Technological advancements had made plastic a more viable medium and companies began to produce set of figures initially using the original lead moulds and then producing either a hand painted figure or an unpainted one that could be painted at a later time.
The early plastic figures varied in quality as a number of additives such as chalk were added to the mix .Consequently they would over time become very fragile. Painting on plastic allowed a much greater colour palette but again the paints used did not, in many cases stand the test of time and often meant that older figures are often found with considerable paint loss even if they have lain untouched for many years in an old box.
Plastic then went into a new era of development where makers started designing and making moulds just for plastic figures. They became highly detailed and sculptured figures such as those from Herald still remain highly collectable.
The early 60’s saw a step change in plastic production when concerns about lead figures focused the industry on even more improved techniques. This gave rise to the development of over moulded plastic figures by Toy Importers Limited, universally know as Timpo.
Timpo developed a process which resulted in a multi coloured figure directly from the processing process with no painting. Figures were made up of individual parts that could be swapped around to create unique and varied figures and these figures have become highly collectable.
Plastic remains today the primary material used for producing toy figures although in recent years we have seen new metals and resin figures becoming popular as makers have sought to offer a more traditional figure.