Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Hello and welcome

My name is John Tunstill and I’ve been collecting soldiers for about sixty years. They go by a variety of names, toy soldiers, lead soldiers, model soldiers, military miniatures, figurines, military models, blei soldaten, zinn figuren, and here in Italy where I live, soldatini.
Hans Christian Andersen must probably take the first place as the original promoter of little metal soldiers, in his fairy tale "The Steadfast Tin, or Lead, depending on the translation, Toy Soldier". Later, about 1870, a man called Livermore, an American, invented a system of wargames and wrote the first rules. There is a copy of his book in London’s British Museum which I studied as an under-age reader, about 1955, I also gained admittance to the Victoria and Albert Museum Library to find out about the uniforms worn by the soldiers, there weren’t any reference books for sale in those days, only old collections of manuscripts and scrap books, which had been saved for the nation.

H.G.Wells came out with his book, "Small Wars", about the turn of the century, and in the illustration you can see the great man, taking time off from writing "The War of the Worlds" or "The History of Mr Polly" to play soldiers, much like most of us have done. The really interesting thing about the photo is that the figures are obviously Britains Toy Soldiers, and William Britain took the illustrations for his figures from the available sources, the illustrations by Simpkin and Payne.
KEEP TUNED TO THIS STATION and in the meantime look at for a feast of soldiers, be they lead, tin, or toy………………..