Category Archives: TOY SOLDIERS

The mystery of the French toy soldier photo collection – SOLVED!

GIF courtesy of theatrenerds.com

Update: 20/10/2017

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.









Update: 20/10/2017

STARLUX

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!

Figurine number 274 (left) with the mint in box picture I received (right). Mystery solved.

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.

No doubts here. MIB photo from Lulu-Berlu.

 I’m pretty certain the riders here are the same. The MIB photo next to my photo is from Lulu-Berlu. They date the figure as 1965, which leads me to believe that the figure in my photo is possibly a later 80s remould – due to some differences in the horse, most notably the position of the head and colour of base. It could be a switched horse, as online photos of Starlux lots show riders that can be detached. As with many toys that are painted and licensed across the globe, it’s possible that paint applications and mould details may differ. Some collectors add their own paint schemes. This can all lead to many variations. 

No doubts here about the match. MIB photo by Lulu-Berlu.

I was able to match most of the figures in this lot from Paravendu France with figures in my photos.


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.

Toy Soldiers

Toy Soldiers (or Army Men) typically measured around 5 cm (2 inches) in height and were usually moulded in green, brown or grey solid plastic. Popular figure sets were based on modern military soldiers and came in various combat and strategy poses along with vehicles and accessories (often of a smaller scale to the soldiers) which were sometimes bundled into sets. As well as the modern military sets, other sets available on the market were cowboys and Indians, medieval knights and space figures.


US. Ghostly Haunts. 1974.

US. Ghostly Haunts. 1974. Lucky Products ad.


US. Weird War Tales. 1978. This variant of the Lucky Products ad appeared four years later and shows a price increase as well as change of address.

US. Weird War Tales. 1978. This variant of the Lucky Products ad appeared four years later and shows a price increase as well as change of address.


US. Marvel Doctor Who. 1981.

US. Marvel Doctor Who. 1981. Fast-forward three years and this variant shows another price increase, some minor changes to the order details, and “imaginary war scene shown” added below the illustration.

The footlocker versions as seen above were probably only available via mail order. At the cheap end of  the spectrum these soldiers were often sold in stores in clear bags with an illustrated cardboard header. Companies such as Louis Marx, MPC and Airfix offered a more expensive range that covered many more armies from around the world.

Below are more ads from the same Lucky Products stable, plus some from other companies offering similar toy soldier sets.


US. Weird War Tales. 1975.

US. Weird War Tales. 1975.


US. Weird War Tales. 1976.

US. Weird War Tales. 1976.


US. Star Wars 28. 1979.

US. Star Wars 28. 1979.


US. Weird War Tales. 1975.

US. Weird War Tales. 1975.


US. The New Mutants. 1985.

US. The New Mutants. 1985.


 

Atlantic Toy Figures

logo1Atlantic

Atlantic was an Italian company operating between 1966 and 1984 that specialised in plastic toy soldiers and vehicles. Atlantic produced many WWII figures and vehicles sets, as well as an “Ancient Civilisations” line which included sets like the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. Also noteworthy is Atlantic’s “Far West” line and the colourful “Galaxy Serie” space sets.

 

France. Pif Gadget. 1976. This 1976 French advert is a promotional tie-in for the French 14th July national celebrations.

France. Pif Gadget. 1976. This 1976 French advert is a promotional tie-in for the French 14th July national celebrations.

 

TVTR_PIF 450_1977_ATlantis

France. Pif Gadget. 1977.

 

France. PIf Gadget. 1977. Left side of a two-page double ad.

France. PIf Gadget. 1977. Left side of a two-page double ad.

 

France. PIf Gadget. 1977. Right side of a two-page double ad.

France. PIf Gadget. 1977. Right side of a two-page double ad.

 

France. PIf Gadget. 1977.

France. PIf Gadget. 1977.

 

The cover of Pif Gadget #446 Sept 1977. Pif Gadget featured many adverts from Atlantic and even devoted one of its covers to the Egyptian series line of figures.

The cover of Pif Gadget #446 Sept 1977. Pif Gadget featured many adverts from Atlantic and even devoted one of its covers to the Egyptian series line of figures.

 

Page 3 from issue 446 Pif Gadget showing a diorama featuring pieces from the Eygyptian sets.

Page 3 from issue 446 Pif Gadget. Diorama featuring pieces from the Eygyptian line.

 

France. Pif Gadget. 1977.

France. Pif Gadget. 1977.

 

Italy. Topolino. 1978.

Italy. Topolino. 1978. Ancient Civilisations sets.

 

France. PIf Gadget. 1978.

France. PIf Gadget. 1978.

 

Atlantic Topolino 1979

Italy. Topolino. 1979.

 

US. Weird War Tales. 1979.

US. Weird War Tales. 1979.

 

Pif Gadget 1979 Atlantic

France. PIf Gadget. 1979. Galxy Serie.

 

PIF552_1979_Atlantic

France. PIf Gadget. 1979. Galaxy Serie.

 

France. Pif Gadget. 1979. Advert for Humbot Story, collectable story books feauring the character Humbot from the Galaxy series of figures.

France. Pif Gadget. 1979. Advert for Humbot Story, collectable story books feauring the character Humbot from the Galaxy Serie line.

 

PIF546_1979_Atlantici

France. PIf Gadget. 1979.

 

Pif Gadget 634 May 1981_Atlantic armees et engins

France. PIf Gadget. 1981.

 

France. PIf Gadget. 1982.

France. PIf Gadget. 1982.

 

France. Pif Gadget. 1982.

France. Pif Gadget. 1982.