Sunday, 23 September 2012

Three new books on Toy Soldiers.

We have an old saying in London, "you wait ages for a bus then three come along together" and this used to be the case until the introduction of GPS Vehicle Management Systems and Bus Lanes but the saying has been retained as a euphemism for a period of scarcity followed by plenty.  Thus it has been recently with regard to books on toy soldiers, nothing for ages and then three land in my lap together.

The title translates as "Small Handbook for the Identification of German Lead Toy Soldiers" it appears to be self published by Dr. Hanns Roth as there is no publishers name or ISBN number quoted, Dr Roth has included his email address (which I won't post on the Internet but will happily pass to collectors who email me) so you could contact him direct to buy the book, my copy cost £30.  Soft cover, it has 99 pages and is illustrated in full colour throughout. 

The problem with German 40/45mm semi flat and fully round figures is that they never carry the makers name on the base and the sculpting style varies very little from one company to another.  This book does exactly what it says on the cover, it points out the subtle differences that distinguish between the the figures of Haffner, Heyde, Heinrich, Norris, Spenkuch, Krause and various other smaller manufacturers.  The text is in German but there is little of it so it's easy enough to follow with the help of Google translate and it is overflowing with illustrations, which makes it my kind of book and a long overdue addition to the wealth of toy soldier knowledge.

Die Zinnlaube, translates as The Tin Arbour (summerhouse?) and is more of an almanac than a book, it is set out in the form of individual articles on various types of old toy soldiers and I understand that it is to become an annual publication.   Produced by the German society "Friends of Old Toy Soldiers" it is edited by Dr. Ignacio Czeguhn, again there is no ISBN number and contact details available from me on request, my copy cost £20.  Soft cover, it has 85 pages and is illustrated in full colour throughout.

Articles include, figures of "Der Alte Fritz", The Huns, two smaller manufacturers of Flats - Seidel and Zufall, Anni Schweizer nativity figures 1926,  Theodor Salomon - manufacturer of 30mm solids in the 1930's, Charles Dickens' charachter figures, Abd el Kader and the Spanish Moroccan War, Interview with Dr. Hans-Henning Roer, Collectors favorite figures, book review and a photo roundup of the club Freunde Alter Spielfiguren.  Main text is in German but each article also has a precis in English and French, as you can see it's quite a good quality publication.

Tinasotilas, Tin Soldiers.  Written by Yrjo (George) Larmola, published by Gummurus Publishing Ltd. ISBN number 978-951-796-529-3, my copy cost £20

Covers the history of toy soldiers, playing with them, uniforms and then the author takes us through a potted history of the world (from a European viewpoint) illustrated by the figures from his own collection.  A novel approach but nothing new or interesting from a toy soldier perspective most of the figures illustrated are Schneider homecasts or modern white metal models, and there is no mention of SIRO the only Finnish toy figure manufacturer I know of.  The text is in Finnish so this book is only really worth getting if you speak Finn, collect books about toy soldiers or are a complete toy soldier nut.  I plead guilt on two of these charges.


  1. That first one especially looks like the sort of thing one could spend a lot of time just looking at the pictures.

  2. Hi Ross, I find these old Heyde types provide most of the inspiration for my Little Wars armies these days.

  3. Hi Jeff, I just can't get enough of those books on old toy soldiers!

  4. Hi Brian,

    I would be interested in the email address for the Hans Roth book if you would not mind sending it my way. Im at

    Thank you - Michael!

  5. Do you know of someone who has Zinnlaube #1 in stock?

  6. Hi Michael, you could try Adrian Little, he's the only dealer I know who stocks it regularly, Google "Mercator trading". If he doesn't have a copy he might know someone who has.