Tag Archives: toys

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.

Radar Search by Ideal

Spy vs Government Agent. A game of high seas electronic action. Images from the Ideal toy catalogue 1972.

2008 Airfix catalogue UK

The 2008 UK Airfix catalogue features model-making kits for Doctor Who and Wallace and Gromit along with the typical military vehicles and soldiers the Airfix brand is famous for. The high-quality 97 page catalogue was aimed at the UK market and is packed with wonderful photographs. Below are a few sample scans.

Doctor Who. The cover features a cheeky appearance from the Tardis to make the first letter ‘i’ of ‘Airfix’.

Wallace and Gromit

Military

Thanks for looking!

 

Scarecrow Target Game by Ideal

UK. Ideal catalogue page. 1972.

Latest vintage Star Wars ads

Representing merchandise as advertised in Italy, France, Germany, UK and the US.

Radio Control R2-D2. Italy.

Italy. 1979. Radio controlled R2-D2. In Italy this droid was called C1P8.

Star Wars toys. France.

France. Castors Juniors. 1979. Featuring models and action figures from both the small and large size lines. Plus… how often do you see a vinyl and cloth cape Jawa pictured together?

Star Wars Palitoy catalogue page from Hamleys. UK.

UK. Hamleys. 1983. Featuring vehicles for the 3.75 inch action figure line.

Star Wars model kits. Germany.

This 1979 Kenner Germany ad reads “Hello model fans”. It features Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter, the X-Wing Fighter, and our two favourite droids. The photo of the X-Wing vehicle appears to be the electronic toy meant for the 3.75 inch action figures and not the model kit version. It is not uncommon to see vintage Star Wars toy ads substituting certain products with others. My idea is that sometimes the foreign (to US) license holder had to make do with whatever images or products were sent over by parent company Kenner from the US. In other cases we may also catch sight of prototype versions, which were the only images available at the time prior to a toy’s actual release.

In the case of French license holder Miro-Meccano, which in 1981 ran a spectacular “saynettes” ad series, a mixture of toys were used to create perspective. Here we see a small scale die cast X-Wing in the background, with the bigger 3.75 inch action figure Landspeeder in the foreground.

Star Wars Denys Fisher model kits competition. UK.

Star Wars Weekly. 1978. This UK competition offered the chance to win one of 40 prizes for Denys Fisher licensed Star Wars models.

Return of the Jedi SnapFix models. Airfix. UK.

UK. Hamleys Christmas Book. 1983.

Boots stores model kit products. Airfix. UK.

UK. Eagle. 1983. I remember Star Wars toys being on sale in UK toys shops and newsagents but not in Boots – which is a high street chemist that still exists today. This ad from 1983 shows that Boots did indeed stock some toys, and gives mention to Star Wars.

School stationery prize competition, Helix. UK.

UK. Star Wars Weekly. 1978. The Star Wars Helix brand has always been popular in the UK collecting world, and items can command high prices. One of the most popular and perhaps rarest of Helix items is the Death Star Pencil Sharpener – which is mentioned here as a lowly “runners up prize”.  If only we knew back then how desirable those little pencil sharpeners would one day become!

Eagle comics Return of the Jedi sticker album offer. UK.

Eagle comics. UK. 1983.

Eagle comics Return of the Jedi free stickers. UK.

Eagle comics. UK. 1983.

Atari Return of the Jedi Death Star Battle. Parker Brothers. US.

US. Alpha Flight. 1983.

Intellivision and Atari cartridges by Parker Brothers. UK.

UK. Hamleys Christmas Book. 1983.

That’s all for now. Please check out our Star Wars section beneath the banner for the best international Star Wars vintage advertising this side of the galaxy! Thanks for looking!