Thanks to Twitter agent @DanHammond72, I think we can safely say that this mystery is now solved! Scroll down to the bottom of the post to find out the maker of these soldiers!
I recently picked up some paperwork items from a local vintage toy shop here in France. Among the items was a folder of photographs showing a vintage toy soldier collection. The soldiers seem to be Napoleonic era and include both infantry and cavalry. The photos look professionally made and are printed on Kodak paper. This looks like it could have belonged to someone who was documenting and cataloguing their collection. All in all there are about 400-450 pieces across 18 photographs. I’ve spent time online trying to match these figures to brands such as Airfix, Britains, Starlux, Timpo etc, but to no avail. The figures all have the same rectangular bases (similar to Britains) apart from one set which has round bases. If anyone recognises any of the pieces and can put a name to the brand(s) please let me know! Thanks for looking.
Here is the comparison I received that makes me certain enough to say that the majority of the figures in the collection of photographs are from the French Starlux l’Empire line. Big thanks to @DanHammond72 for the awesome detective work!
I’d already looked through a whole bunch of Starlux images previously and had drawn a blank, so having a match from a mint in box was priceless as it enabled me to make further searches online and find other matches. The figures all appear to be 60 mm in height and datewise appear to span 1965 through to the 80s.
There. Mystery solved. Or is it? The question that remains now is who did this collection of soldiers belong to? Who was it that took time and care to label and photograph this collection? And why did the photographs end up in a vintage toy shop in Toulon, France? I expect that’s a question that will remain unanswered. For now I’m happy to be able to put a name to it all. Starlux. Thanks for looking, and please feel free to add any further information.