Our 54-60mm painted plastic toy soldiers cover every era from Ancient Rome to today
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Classic unpainted plastic toy soldiers. Some call them 'army men,' some mothers threw them out, we specialize and celebrate them!
Unpainted Plastic Toy Soldiers >
A playset is, quite simply, an “instant collection” of plastic figures and accessories. Perfect for gifts!
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Using a hot-knife technique, we create new toy soldiers by fusing parts of different toy soldiers together.
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By: Jamie Delson, proprietor
I have collected toy soldiers since I was 4 years old. That was 1952, the year my father gave me my first set: a painted plastic Britains Herald Highland marching band. Throughout my youth have vivid memories of playing with soldiers on our living room rug, in my bed when I was sick, on the rocks of New York's nearby Central Park, in the back seat of the family station wagon, on vacation almost anywhere and in my parent’s attic, where my collection resided until I moved into my own apartment. I fed my passion through infrequent personal purchases and dogged requests to favored relatives at birthdays and Christmas.
As a child, I did setups and played war games with friends, developing a set of war game rules for giant 54mm figure battles which I played from high school through the 1970s.But by the beginning of the 1980s I began war gaming with a different slant: instead of fighting massive battles with thousands of figures, the game evolved into more of a skirmish/role playing activity. I suddenly realized that I didn't I really need 100,000 figures if the game now only required a few hundred guys.
Coincidentally, one day in 1984, I found to my surprise that parts of my collection were salable to fellow hobbyists. I decided to sell off part of my collection, so I took ads in a few collector’s publications and published a catalog on my computer, expecting to make a few extra dollars. I called my venture "The Toy Soldier Company".
When I began the business, there was only a tiny market for toy figures. The collecting community for 1:32nd scale models had shrunk considerably, having been replaced with a demand for GI Joe and Star Wars toys in 1:18th scale. The toy soldier market was almost entirely based around used figures, and was limited to a collectors who purchased original American models from "The First Golden Age" of toy soldiers from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. There were no recasts available at that time, and even the thought of a company starting up to sell newly-designed soldiers seemed unimaginable.
My first catalog contained items solely from my personal collection. But as the size of my "inventory" shrank with each sale, I realized my competitors had me at a disadvantage. All five of them had access to a wide world of tag sales which Manhattan did not offer. So how could I restock my shelves without taking road trips to the garages of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states?
I needed to take a different course, to create a niche apart from the others in the field. As I had been quite successful at selling off old English lines, such as Airfix and Timpo, plus that great Italian maker, Atlantic, I decided to create a strategy based on the sale of new, not used, goods. As there were no American manufacturers turning out quality products, I began importing the few ranges of plastic soldiers being produced by such European companies as Starlux, Preiser, ESCI and Britains, as well as such soldier-related toy lines as Playmobil.
A fledgling market was beginning in the metal soldier field at this time, establishing itself in the great void left by the banning of lead from toy soldier production almost two decades earlier. We picked up such "new" lines as Tradition, Dorset, and Marlborough, which we still sell three decades later.
Shortly thereafter, to increase our business further, I began contacting European manufacturers who were no longer producing soldiers, but who still owned the molds capable of doing so, to do limited production runs for which I was convinced there would be a market.
With all the figures flowing in from Europe, The Toy Soldier Company was expanding and needed new quarters. At first, I filled my apartment. Then I stored the overflow in a neighbor’s closet! (The Toy Soldier Company Annex). A real warehouse was required. We expanded into an 800 square foot artist’s loft in Brooklyn, in an area called DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). This lasted only a year before we moved again, this time to a 5,000 square foot warehouse in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Soon after we moved into our new space, we concluded several deals to obtain reissues of plastic figures made by such European companies as Dulcop and Jean Hoefler. At the same time, we began offering plastic recasts by Marx, which became (and still remain) one of our most popular ranges.Over the following years we made deals with over 100 other plastic and metal manufacturers.
As a result of efforts by me and the other leading toy soldier dealers, all the nurturing and development of this market in the 1980s paid off. It grew and matured to such an extent that by the end of the decade new, original plastic soldiers finally began to appear. New manufacturers such as Accurate, Classic Toy Soldiers, Barzso, Form Tech, Revell, A Call to Arms, BMC, Replicants, IMEX and others (none of which existed when I was a boy) fed this demand for newer and better toy soldiers, resulting in what many are now calling "The Second Golden Age" of toy soldiers. Subsequently, many more new makers came into being, such as Armies in Plastic, Toy Soldiers of San Diego, Conte Collectibles, Paragon Scenics, 21st Cebbtury Toys and Forces of Valor.
As we enter our 30th year of doing business our future looks quite rosy. Our 9,000 square foot warehouse (still in Jersey City), holds millions of figures from every imaginable historical era. We produce the hobby's only exhaustive photographic product catalog. We offer over 8,000 different sets of hand-painted plastic and metal figures. We boast the only range of hand-made "animated" figures on the toy soldier market, and our Toy Soldier Company Playsets offer hobbyists of all ages the opportunity to purchase an 'instant collection' of painted or unpainted figures and accessories recreating many of history's greatest eras and battles.
It’s not every little boy who can advance from a setup on the kitchen table to a 9,000 square-foot warehouse, as I have done in the past 60 years.