These three strange figures appeared in a (school?) jumble sale mix of plastic figures in the early 1980s. I had no idea what they were, had not encountered flat figures and they were surprisingly heavy for their size.
All the lead hollowcast figures had vanished from the family by the late sixties, these lost legions possibly the casualties of parental concern about lead in children’s toys and the new possibilities of plastic.
I had no idea what these were. They had a strange marking ‘HE’ on the base.
1980/81 – This was the days before the Internet.
They were bare metal or grey undercoated when found, at some point they received my desultory painting of red and black, then languished unseen for decades.
Their survival is probably due to having been in the 1980s Blue Box for the next 25 to 30 years or more, where they remained unused in my 1980s Blue Box of odds and ends, as what use were three figures?
Image source from my blog post on the Military Modelling / Battle for Wargamers 1983 Wargames Manual – https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/30/brian-carricks-big-wars
I didn’t connect these orphan HE figures at all with the tempting adverts in Military Modelling in the early 1980s for these grown up, hot metal moulds. The moulds and the metal were unobtainable on my Airfix figures pocket money income, even if I could be trusted with hot metal (unlikely then).
Another 25 years pass.
Early in 2005/6 in a small craft shop on a backwater street of a backwater southwest town, by chance I discovered in a sale one Prince August casting starter set and a box of 54mm Traditional Toy Soldier moulds. At last I could cast my own figures.
Being able to cast your own figures whenever you want more and own the means of production still seems a little bit magical to me.
I have not looked back since.
I sometimes wonder how different my toy soldier hobby life would be without that chance shop find.
I know now that these three figures are Holger Eriksson 18th Century / Seven Years War moulds, still available from Prince August and I now have some of these moulds in my collection:
I know now that HE obviously is the talented Swedish Toy Soldier designer Holger Erickson. His HE figures from the 1950s and 1960s are still available through Prince August and from Tradition Of London including S.A.E Figures from the Featherstone era.
Brian Carrick’s excellent blog posts on Holger Eriksson:
This seemed such a weird size when I first encountered these three Unknown figures in the early 1980s. Figures to me back then were Airfix size 1:32 or 1:72/76. I now have a fair amount of 40-42mm figures in my collection and gaming skirmish units, including Pound Store Plastic copies of 54mm figures that have through copying shrunk in size, stylish HE Cowboys and Indians and of course my current STS Little Britons 42mm range Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
I wonder if one day these three stray orphan 40mm HE figures – my first metal figures – will kickstart a small gaming collection of Tricorne and Musket figures? Who knows?
These tricorne figures to me inexplicably have a Gulliver’s Travels Lilliputian look to them. If it does eventually happen, it might be unconventional ImagiNations / Lace Wars Steampunk like this 2007 blog link I found via TMP about 6 years ago. But not just yet …
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 15 August 2022.