In the 1890s, UK, William Britain perfected the metal hollow casting process that led to the production of hollow ‘cost effective’ lead toy soldiers. This method had already been utilised to some degree by German manufacturers, but it was William Britain that led the way in creating affordable lead toy figures.
In 1959, William England purchased the Herald toy company which had been successfully manufacturing plastic toy soldiers. William Britain embraced this new method and began producing a wide range of plastic toy soldiers, a successful farm series, a space series, and a range of ‘Deetail figures’ with metal bases that were popular throughout the 1980s.
More history here: A short history of Britains Toys