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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Britains Herald & Swoppets - Toy Soldiers

Britains Herald was a brand within the Britains product line. It was Britain's first incursion into plastic figure market. They launched it in the mid 50s and continued to produce them and sell them through the mid 70s. The Herald product line coexisted with the Britains swoppets, and 'eyes right' brands during the 60s and 70s, when they were phased out in favor of the Deetail figures. In contrast with the later Deetail figures, the Herald range did not cover WWII. Perhaps it was too soon to address that subject when the Herald guys came out. They did produce a set of 'modern infantry' which can pass for WWII figures though. The figures came factory painted with some basic colors. To give the Tommies an opponent, the same figures were released with a darker helmet. Initially this set was made in the UK and later it was made in Hong Kong. To read more about the evolution of the Herald product line, check out this excellent post . OK, so let's take a look at their poses.

Britains Herald British Infantry - Part I
You can see based on the weapons they are carrying these guys seem to be post-WWII figures, but their poses are nice enough that I couldn't resist being a purist and I drafted them into the WWII Army. I like the dynamic nature of their poses, like the guy who is charging with the bayonet. 

Britains Herald British Infantry - Part II
I don't like casualty figures that much -mainly because they are not very useful for war-gaming- but I have to say that the guy in this set is quite dramatic and well done. BTW, you can tell some of the newer figures, the ones made in Hong Kong, from the base which is not part of the figure but attached to it.

Britains Herald British Infantry - Part III
This is how they looked in their original colors. The mine sweeper guy did not get painted because I got him after I was done painting the other guys. The marching guy was eliminated because I wanted more active poses.

Britains Herald British Infantry - Part IV
This guy is more like a 50mm figure than 1/32. From waht I understand he was designed and manufactured as a test product -and just this single pose- when Britains was evalauting getting into the plastic market. In case of a failed experiment, they were going to be sold to the tourist market, hence the ceremonial stance. 

Britains Swoppets British Infantry - Part I
I only have a handful of these guys, but this sample is quite nice. The mortar team is very well put together. Unfortunately the man dropping the shell into the tube is missing the shell, but if you assume that he just dropped it, then it works just fine. The stretcher guys unfrotunately are also missing the stretcher, so I had to place the wounded man on the ground. I guess that's the downsied of the swoppet approach. Those detachable pieces go missing. Note that the wounded guy comes with a blanket, which gives it an additional nice touch.

Britains Swoppets British Infantry - Part II
A couple more guys. The marching guy is nothing out of the ordinary. The other guy is showing quite a bit more action. Definitely more into the heat of the moment. 

Britains Swoppets British Infantry - Part III
This guy came to me already in a pretty beaten up shape. Looks like the previous owner wanted some casualties in his army and even painted some blood stains on this poor fellow. I wish they had kept him in his original state... BTW, his upper body looks like the one from the man dropping the shell into the mortar. 

Britains Swoppets British Infantry - Part IV
This guy seems to have the same lower body as the previous guy. although he seems to have lost his base, but that's OK. He does not really need it. The uppor body is very much to my liking and his weapon is in great shape. I think he is one of my favorite swoppet figures across all swoppet manufacturers. 

Click here to see British Infantry in action


  1. Interesting set, very collectible too. I'm not very into British infantry, I only have a few BMC British infantry. The Main reason is that my war game scenarios usually involve conflicts between German and American forces.

  2. Great blog.
    As a (British) child of the early 1960s, I can remember all these. Swoppet soldiers were expensive (and kids who had them were "cool"), so Herald were (at least for me) a low budget alternative, allowing for the creation of a reasonable sized army!