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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bergen Toys - Toy Soldiers

Bergen Toy and Novelty Co. was an American manufacturer of plastic figures. They were also known as Beton, a name that combines the first letters of the words in the company's name. The firm began in the mid 30s, manufacturing lead figures, and they later switched to plastic. Their range is not just military, but they also made circus, farm, and other types of figures. The company was quite popular in the 40's and early 50's but by 1958 it folded under the pressure of foreign made plastic manufacturers. In terms of military figures, they made both WWI and WWII soldiers, although they seem to have focused on the domestic market making only GIs. The WWII figures seem to have borrowed heavily from the WWI set. Let's take a look at what the WWII set looks like. 

Bergen Toys US Infantry - Part I
If it were not for the paratrooper you would definitely wonder if this set is from WWII or WWI. The machine gun does not seem to represent any of the actual weapons issued during WWII and the man with the gas mask on is also a bit out of place. 

Bergen Toys US Infantry - Part II
Note how the poses are very straight, favoring ease of manufacturing. The man throwing the grenade could have certainly used a bit more action in its sculpting. 

Bergen Toys US Infantry - Part III
Always a good thing to have a standard bearer, just in case you want to have your troops parade down the Champs Élysées. I find the guy holding the phone so close to his chest a bit amusing though.

Bergen Toys US Infantry - Part IV
You can recognize these figures by the logo in the bottom of the base.

Click here to see more US Infantry figures
Click here to see US Infantry in action