The History of Toy Soldiers

The History of Toy Soldiers


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Humans have made and collected toy soldiers from time immemorial. They amuse and comfort us, awaken our curiosity, turn aggressiveness into creativity. In The History of Toy Soldiers, Luigi Toiati, himself an avid collector and manufacturer of toy soldiers, conveys and shares the pleasure of collecting and playing with them.

Far from a dry encyclopedia, it leads the reader through the fascinating evolution of the toy soldier from ancient times to the early twenty-first century. The author, as a sociologist with an interest in semiotics (the study of signs), offers truly original insights into why different types of toy soldiers were born in a given period and country, or why in a given size and material.

The author's writing is packed with factual detail about the different types of toy (and model) soldiers and their manufacturers, but also with anecdotes, nostalgia, wit and his enduring passion for the subject. Six hundred beautiful color photographs, many depicting the author's own collection, complete this delightful book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781473897298
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 09/04/2019
Sales rank: 752,433
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.80(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Luigi Toiati cannot remember a time before he collected toy soldiers. He has a massive collection but doesn't keep count. He was a professional figure painter for 45 years, starting his career in London, working for his close friend Edward Suren, creator of the famous Willie brand of soldiers. In 1987 he began making his own soldiers, founding Garibaldi & Co. Toy Soldiers. A familiar figure on the toy soldier show circuit, he and his collection have been mentioned in various books on the subject, and he has himself written numerous articles on related matters. He has a degree in Sociology and a deep interest in Semiotics (the study of signs). He now lives in his native Rome with Monica, his wife and co-founder of their marketing research agency, Focus srl

James Opie is the toy soldier consultant to Bonham's auctioneers and recognized as one of the world's leading experts on the subject. He has a very significant collection of his own, which he has been building since childhood. For over a quarter of a century, until his recent retirement, James Opie was also editor and buyer for the Military and Aviation Book Society and various other book clubs. He has written seven previous books on various aspects of toy soldier collecting.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Introduction: Toy soldiers: what a passion! viii

Acknowledgements xiii

Foreword: The miniature through the ages xiv

Toy and Model Soldiers: History and Gossip

Chapter 1 Some reasons why you too can love toy and model soldiers and figures 2

Chapter 2 Archeosoldiers: between play and religion (c. sixth century BC to c. sixth century AD) 8

Chapter 3 The Profession of Arms (c. thirteenth to eighteenth century) 14

Chapter 4 Zinnfiguren und Drang (c. eighteenth century to today) 25

Chapter 4.1 Light and shade of the flat tin soldier 80

Cameo: Toy-Soldiers can move anything - even themselves Gisbert Freber 87

Chapter 5 Paper Moon: dreams and battles with paper soldiers (c. eighteenth century to today) 92

Chapter 6 Half-round toy soldier: the missing link, its rise and fall 128

Chapter 7 Pinocchio in uniform and other merry soldiers (c. nineteenth to twentieth century) 144

Cameo: A collector's (myself) anecdote: Go hunting 176

Chapter 8 The bee and the toy soldier: the epic of the solid (c. nineteenth to twentieth century) 178

Cameo: Heyde to dream about By Steve Sommers 239

Chapter 9 The ephemeral Kingdom of Aluminium (c. 1930-56) 244

Chapter 10 'The Hollow Man's Burden' (nineteenth to twentieth centuries) 254

Cameo: 60 years of collecting Toy Soldiers Rob Wilson 295

Chapter 10.1 Hollow-cast beyond the Channel, and its Dimestore version 300

Cameo: Dimestore Don Pielin 315

Chapter 11 Toy soldiers march in goose-step (twentieth century) 321

Chapter 12 The 'lightness' of the war (twentieth century to today) 369

Chapter 12.1 The 'Middle Earth': Airfix and others 397

Chapter 13 The Era of the Model, or the 'associative' soldier (twentieth century) 410

Chapter 13.1 Todels or moys? 414

Chapter 13.2 The men for all seasons 439

Chapter 13.3 The New Model (Soldiers) Army 459

Chapter 13.4 Plastic models and plastic conversions 479

Cameo: Willie and Swinging London: Anecdotes from a young Maoist traveller By … yours truly 488

Chapter 14 Composite figures 494

Cameo: The perspective of a maker Giannetto Bruzzone 514

Chapter 15 Lilliputians go to war 518

Chapter 16 New old toy soldiers: filling a gap, solace for a loss (twentieth century) 536

Cameo: Memories of an 'Alchemist' John Tunstill 604

Chapter 17 Some Useful Reading 610

Index of Makers 614

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