Christmas Toys Toy Soldier Seller 1947

Toy soldiers for sale Petticoat Lane Market London Christmas 1947

You can see the whole offcut of Pathe Newsreel Christmas Shopping 1947

Difficult to get a good clear close up on moving film.

These at first sight appear to be hollowcast lead figures, sold boxed in the market – hard to identify, but they could be Crescent or copies. However, after checking a few sources in response to a comment by Alan Gruber, in 1947 they were probably solid cast or homecast scrap metal.

Classic playset arrangement mixture of scales in some boxes of big figures, smaller horses.

Hopefully they cheered a small boy for Christmas 1947!

Brian Carrick of the Collecting Toy Soldiers blog has found some more Pathe Newsreel toy soldier related films here:

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, July 2020.

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

In response to Alan Gruber’s question: “Do we know how toy soldier production was affected by the war and was it much better by 1947? The dolls look home made and I wonder if there was much of a market in cheap copies? Would it be hard to have got hold of metal anyway? A most enjoyable clip,thanks for posting it.”

Many of the Britain’s toy companies including Britain’s (1941) shut down toy production due to a scarcity of suitable metal and shifted to munitions war work. Postwar for a number of years, much of the metal available was for export manufacture of figures to the US and world markets, rather than home market. Hollowcast production did not widely resume until about 1949.

In Christmas 1947, these figures being sold in the market may well have been scrap metal home casts or solid copies. The boxes look unmarked.

Here is more detail from a small section from the wonderful Norman Joplin’s colourful and inspiring The Great Book of Hollowcast Figures.

Taken from Norman Joplin’s The Great Book of Hollowcast Figures

For more on wartime and postwar toy improvisation read these two posts about Alfred Lubran’s DIY wartime 1940s Toys – an unusual ‘Character’

Father’s Day 2019

Usually on Father’s Day (UK) I post a link to a toy soldier figure that has some strong link back to my late Dad and the love of Toy Soldiers and History that he passed on to me.





Although the last few months of blogging have been Scout Wide Games based, I think my Dad would have approved of this year’s family gifts.

This year the wonderful addition to my toy armoury was two handmade warships which I saw and liked in a vintage shop months ago, a small hollow-cast raiding force (a complete surprise, as a raiding force should be!) and an ACW book that I had put aside in case my family weren’t sure what to get.

Father’s Day 2019: Two wooden ships, a book and a small raiding force

Mannie Gentile recently posted a blogpost on the Golden Book of the American Civil War

So Mannie is responsible for me buying a cheap secondhand paperback of this interesting book that launched the hobbies and careers of hundreds of Civil War enthusiasts and historians.

A book I never saw as a child growing up in Britain …

This book is richly illustrated and includes some fabulous battlefield “bird’s eye view” maps whose detail I would have found fascinating as a child.


This is what my childhood Airfix ACW games aspired to, without knowing this book. (First Bull Run, detail)

The toy hollowcast soldiers are a  treat – a surprise gift from my family found all together in a local vintage shop that they “hoped were all right”.

Crescent figures metal American infantry in 54mm and smaller 50mm range with the round backpack flamethrowers. All postwar issues.

Any vintage lead soldiers are all right in my eyes!

Curious Cherilea figures c. 1954 – designed to carry a firing mortar or bazooka?
Similar figures by Cherilea in Norman Joplin’s The Great Book Of Hollow-Cast Figures.
At first sight I thought these Cherilea bazooka or mortar  teams might be gimmicky paratroopers with parachutes or engineers with carrying arms.
Two fine Crescent Khaki Infantry with green helmets, figures issued postwar. I like the lively animation of the grenade thrower.  John Hill (Johillco) Bren Gunner?
American troops by Crescent 1940s – 1950s. Paratroop type helmets

I was interested to see the kneeling American infantryman  as he appears quite similar in style  to a trio of (solid lead home cast?) soldiers sent to me by Alan as reservists from his Duchy of Tradgardland forces. The kneeling green Crescent trooper has a knee ‘flange’ to give him more stability.


The three Duchy of Tradgardland reservists have acquired new blue uniforms for a mission in a galaxy far far away. They have an odd space look to them with their helmet and rifle. They are now acquiring blue uniforms and white or silver boots, helmets and weapons to come.  They should soon have a 30s /  50s space ‘thing’ going on to match some of the Tim Mee Galaxy Laser Team and Airfix Space Warriors.

The lady in the vintage shop thought that all these four items belonged together, so maybe the photo and  1940s / 1950s Royal Navy trade certificate of AB Able Seaman Thomas C. Owen are of the man who made  the two fine warships?

The two fine handmade boats have some battle damage that needs sympathetic repair. They deserve a blog post of their own as they are repaired and researched, along with their paperwork. They came from what can be a “grey port” at times of naval vessels in for refit.

Are they accurate handmade models or spirited imaginative examples of “modern warships” with guns and rockets? It will be interesting to find out.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, Father’s Day 16 June 2019.