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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hilco - Toy Soldiers

Hilco is the name of the plastic line of figures issued by Jonh Hill & Company, also known as Johillco. John Hill & Co was founded in 1898, and built hollowcast figures for a long time. They were a cheaper and lower quality alternative to the well established Britains figures of the time. During this period they produced a very wide range of figures. It was not until the mid-50s that they started to adjust to the changing landscape of the toy soldier manufacturing world by issuing their line of plastic figures, however this move seems to have come a little late and the company went out of business by the early 60's. I am not really sure how many WWII plastic sets they produced. So far I have only come across one of them.

Hilco British (or US?) Infantry - Part I
These are only three poses from the set. I've seen another 4 or 5 guys. I am not sure how many there are in all. The figures are a bit on the slim side, and the sculpting is OK, but not extraordinary. Even so, they seem to be a bit hard to get. And for some reason, that piece behind them with the tree stumps seems to be something special as I saw it go for 20+ dollars on eBay. Also, The shape of the helmets makes me doubt whether they are really British Infantry or US GIs.

Hilco British Infantry - Part II
Here are a few more Hilco guys that I recently found. As you can see they are mostly recasts of Britains Herald (grenade thrower, officer), Timpo (minesweeper, radio man), and Crescent (flamethrower) figures. The one sure thing that confirms that they are Hilco figures is that the base is stamped as such. About the country that they represent, I am now wondering if they actually come from two different sets: American and British.

Hilco British (or US?) Infantry - Part III
Another guys based on the Timpo figures. Note how the plastic that this guy is made of also shows those unusual color variations. 

Hilco British Infantry - Part IV
And here is one more guy. This one also seems to be a copy of the Herald British Infantry. The plastic and original paint scheme are different from the figures in the previous pictures, so there must have been several releases of these figures. 

Hilco British Infantry - Part V
And they keep coming in one at a time. From a large lot of mixed figures... Although similar to the Timpo guy, I know it is Hilco due to the stamp on the bottom of the base, and also due to the strange and unique plastic that many of them are cast in. The other sign that this is a Hilco guy is the fact that the base is split into two sections, just as it is for the kneeeling radio man. A good heavy weapon to add to the team.

Click here to see British Infantry in action
Click here to see a post about US Infantry