Charbens US Army Men

An attractive paint scheme (if poor face painting) for a Charbens G I American infantryman figure of hollow-cast lead.

This colour scheme would work well in gloss acrylic on pound store plastic figures.

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This figure in my collection is one half of a stretcher party, Charbens figure set No. 210.

 

They are notedly similar in style and paintscheme to Timpo lead hollow-cast GI figures of the 1950s.

Some of the other Charbens GI figures in my collection appear to have been simply repainted (by their original owners?)

Made of hollow-cast lead, they have an animation to them that you could see followed through into plastic figures like Airfix, Timpo, Crescent and Lone Star / Harvey. The lack of bases to the kneeling figure or minimal bases on the Grenade Thrower are ways of saving expensive metal and similar in this way  to the American ‘pod foot’ dime store figures.

Their modern plastic pound store warrior equivalents often have similar minimal plastic saving bases, making them cheap but annoying if they keep falling over!

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Charbens American GI soldier No. 200 repainted 
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Charbens American GI soldier Mine Detector No. 209
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Charbens American GI figures Grenade Thrower No. 200, Mine Detector no. 209 and Kneeling Firing No. 203 (Photo / figures: Man of TIN Collection)

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These repainted figures with few colours are not unlike some of the postwar paint colour reductions by figure manufacturers. To keep production costs down, an increasingly smaller palette of colours was used by many figure manufacturers. Some figure painters were paid according to / by the number of colours per hundred figures completed.

Reference numbers are to the Charbens figure list in Norman Joplin’s The Great Book of Hollow-Cast Figures (New Cavendish, 1993/99) which shows this range on page 77 / plate 143.

All these figures are postwar hollowcast lead figures produced by Charbens (London, 1920-66) from 1945 to 1960s when lead figures were phased out in favour of plastic.

The Charbens name came from brothers Charles and Benjamin Reid who set up their own hollowcast business in the early 1920s, one of them having previously worked for William Britain.

Blog posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, July 2016.

 

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Author: 26soldiersoftin

Hello I'm Mark Mr MIN, Man of TIN. Based in S.W. Britain, I'm a lifelong collector of "tiny men" and old toy soldiers, whether tin, lead or childhood vintage 1960s and 1970s plastic figures. I randomly collect all scales and periods and "imagi-nations" as well as lead civilians, farm and zoo animals. I enjoy the paint possibilities of cheap poundstore plastic figures as much as the patina of vintage metal figures. Befuddled by the maths of complex boardgames and wargames, I prefer the small scale skirmish simplicity of very early Donald Featherstone rules. To relax, I usually play solo games, often using hex boards. Gaming takes second place to making or convert my own gaming figures from polymer clay (Fimo), home-cast metal figures of many scales or plastic paint conversions. I also collect and game with vintage Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, wishing like many others that I had bought more in the 1980s ...

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