Thursday, March 01, 2012

The World of Model Soldiers

Based on the World of Model Soldiers originally commissioned and paid for by André Deutsch in association with Rainbird Reference Books 36 Park Street, London, W1Y 4DE in 1979, but unhappily never published, due to the miners and Ted Heath and the three day week.

Granted an ISBN number of 0-233-96537-8 and with copies of the original manuscript lodged with the principal libraries in the United Kingdom.

Much of the original material has now been superceeded, but I hope that this work will be of interest to collectors of model soldiers throughout the world.
Copyright 2003 © John Tunstill, Calzolaro, Umbertide, PG, Italy

PREFACE & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS >Part 1 : Early Model Soldiers

Model figures have been made by man from the time that he was first sufficiently civilised to be able to model clay and to use the primitive tools; and model soldiers, as opposed to ordinary human figures, were made from the time of the earliest soldiers having a uniform, instead of a purely warlike appearance.

Crude drawings of model figures - not necessarily of soldiers - have been found in some of the earliest human settlements. One of the earliest collections of model soldiers belonged to the Chinese cavalry commander, Chang, and was found in the province of Wu Wei in 1969; another belonged to the Egyptian prince, Emsah, who lived about 2.000 years before the birth of Christ.

These two may have been posthumous collectors in that both collections were found in the tombs of their owners as were most of the earliest known models. Reproductions of other early Chinese figures have been on sale in China for many years and are still sold there. They are usually of a wire frame surmounted by a china or porcelain covering and then hand painted.

Around the Mediterranean there have been finds of bronze model figures from Ancient Greece; and flat tin figures of Romans, and Roman soldiers, have been found throughout Europe - one of the best known being the figure of a legionary found in Germany at Mainz. Greece, the Mediterranean islands, Mexico, and Peru all have claims to be the sites of early manufactories of model soldiers and figures fashioned from metal, terra cotta, clay, and stone which are arguably military in style.

to be continued

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