Monday, May 29, 2006

Some photos of the Soldiers Show of last weekend at La Preghiera ,

Lead Toys

Greetings Mr. Tunstill,
I hope you won't find my missive (unsolicited as it is) an impertinence;

..........if I found unsolicited emails from enthusiasts impertinent, I'd close the site

I simply typed "lead soldiers" into Google and up came your site. it would

In brief, I am writing my memoirs/family history for local publication (I live on Tyneside), and an important part of that history concerns my paternal grandfather's shop on Raby Street in Byker, here in Newcastle.

..........wonderful stuff

Essentially it was his mother's shop, and sold drapery et al, but he started several sidelines, and one of those was lead toys. I have no other information, other than the fact that he was making them, and I wondered if this was a common occurrence back in the period between the wars (WW1 & WW2) and subsequently following 1945.

I hope you have a moment to perhaps enlighten me briefly,
Best Regards,
Keith Fisher.

He, your grandpa, was making them? I started making lead soldiers in 1949, when I was nine years old, so in all probability your Grandpa bought his moulds, as I did, through the Exchange and Mart. They were aluminium moulds, with screw-on wooden handles, and were made to cast any number of soldiers, zoo and farm animals etc

In the between the wars period the figures were often painted with a spitit lacquer, which allowed the brightness of the newly cast metal to shine through. Thus making more appealing toys

Hope it helps, we'll blog and message board your letter just in case it stirs some other memories

Best wishes

John Tunstill
Went to Rimini over the weekend, nice town on Italy's Adriatic coast. Lots of fighting there in the Second War.
On the SS 16 as one approaches from the south, coming up from Pesaro and near Catolica, the touching hillside cemetry of Gradara, beautifully maintained by the War Graves Commission. And on the same road as one reaches Riccioni, a small but beautiful Greek Orthodox cemetary, remembering their dead in this conflict of some 60 years ago. A little further up the road near Rimini is the Coriano Ridge Cemetery, whilst on the side road towards San Marino yet another resting place for soldiers from foreign lands, this time the Gurkhas, brave young men from the mountains of India, who died in the mountains of Italy.

It's Tommy this, an' Tommy that,
And chuck 'im out, the brute.
But is 'Saviour of 'is Country'
When the guns begin to shoot

Rudyard Kipling

Monday, May 22, 2006

Watched the film "Kim" yesterday afternoon, British India of the 1890's, with Errol Flynn & Dean Stockwell, made by MGM in the 1950's, good Boy's Own adventure based on Rudyard Kiplings book. Kipling lived in a house in London in Villiers Street, and this street appears in the film Callan, on our However the most interesting thing about Kim is, some 20 years ago in my Soldier Shop in Lambeth, London I bought a pair of statues, spelter, about a12" high, military in style, that, according to the lady who sold them to me, "Had been used in a film". But which film she didn't know.
Imagine the pleasure and surprise to see my statue on the headmaster's desk as I watched the film. Photo attached, oh, and by the way, the soldier site is, and the collection is housed in Italy in La Preghiera monastery,
Should there be any property master out there missing a couple of statues from his inventory.............don't call me!

John Tunstill

Friday, May 12, 2006

Soldiers Lover

For the Soldiers lover.....we have just entered three Figir figures onto for sale! Further pieces, and Elastolin figures will be entered next week.

John Tunstill

20/21 May - International Toy Soldier Convention in Umbria - - info at:

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Soldiers’ Soldiers





10.30/13.00 14.00/18.30

La Preghiera Country House
06018 Umbertide PG

Info 0039 075 930 2428 Mon to Fri office hours