Cecil Jackson, the force behind Tru-Craft Models, started working on model figures in the late 1930's. According to John Garratt, in his "World Encyclopedia of Model Soldiers," Jackson was "one of the pioneers of the better class commercial solid in the United States. "Working with another modeller named Carl Romanelli, he produced U.S. and Japanese World War II troops. Later U.S Civil War and French Foreigh Legion figures were manufactured, along with football figures and some oddities such as duelists from the era of the Three Musketeers.
As we see in the company catalogue (pictured underneath), Tru-Craft was based in Santa Monica, California. The catalogue in my possession is divided into two main sections.
By Henry I. Kurtz
Recently, a fellow toy soldier collector sent me some photos of wonderful dioramas he had created with his toy troops. They are so well done that I thought it would be nice to share them with readers of my blog. So here they are.
The Malcolm Forbes toy soldier and tin boat collection at the Forbes New York Gallery, which I wrote about in an earlier blog article, will be sold at auction by Sotheby's in New York on December 17 2010.
Certainly the most popular and prolific of the traditional toy soldier manufacturers was Britains Ltd. Beginning in 1893, the firm of William Britain and Sons produced a line of hollowcast figures, cheaper to cast and ship than solid figures, that grew in size and scope over the decades to several thousand separate catalogue items. Military items, for the most part, captured children's fantasies (especially boys). Among the most sought after items were the colorful band sets, particularly those of short duration. What follows is a sampling of band sets and other items that sold for extremely high prices at Phillips, New York.
The firm of Georg Heyde of Dresden began producing fully round solidcast toy soldiers in the 1870's. Figures were produced in many sizes but the most commonly found outside of Germany, and especially in the United States, are the Size 2 figures, which varied in size from 48mm to 52mm. Heyde had such a wide variety of sets available that it is impossible to do more than scratch the surface of its production in short surveys such as this one. The company's animators were masters of twisting and shaping figures into different poses and then soldering on appropriate heads and equipment. A few interesting examples follow: