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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Timpo Swoppets - Toy Soldiers

Timpo was a British firm started in 1938 and in production until 1978. Its name stood for Toy Importers. Their figures were famous for having detachable weapons and parts, aka swoppets. Some were manufactured with similar techniques as the Britians Super Deetail, using plastic of different color on the same figure. Timpo made a wide range of figures but only a small set were focused on WWII. After bankruptcy, its assets were purchased by Toyway.

Timpo Swoppets GIs - Part I
This is a diverse set of GIs. I am not sure how many upper/lower bodies it contained originally, but in this batch I got about 8 upper bodies and 8 lower bodies, with which you could assemble many different poses. Unfortunately all of the helmets were missing.

Timpo Swoppets GIs - Part II
Some more poses. Some already repeat parts used in the previous picture, but some are using new ones. All in all, a decent set as you can assemble quite a few engaging action poses, although not with the same level of realism as what you got with other manufacturers. 

Timpo Swoppets GIs - Part III
Another pose/combination with the series 1 GIs.

Timpo Swoppets GIs - Part IV
This is a nice set from Timpo and in very good condition. The fact that the figures still have their helmets does make a big difference in making them look unmistakably as GIs. I wonder if the man on the back was orginally holding a shell or something. He is not holding anything at the moment. Or perhaps his upper body got swapped? That might be because it is also a bit odd that he would be holding a rifle at the same time that he is helping to load the bazooka.

Timpo Swoppets GIs - Part V
Here are the other poses from what I understand were the series 2 GIs. Definitely a good improvement from the earlier ones, both in terms of uniforms, poses, weapons. And I also like that these came with helmets. 

Timpo Swoppets GIs - Part VI
Some of the kneeling poses. As you can see, I have a few more officer upper bodies than I really neeed, but I'll make do with what I got. Just happy I found a set with enough figures and in decent condition.

Timpo Swoppets GIs - Part VII
 This is an interesting combination. The figures are not the original crew. I just grabbed the ones who might fit the best. In fact, the guy who is operating the howitzer, appears to be a driver from some type of vehicle. And the guy in the back looks like a bazooka loader. But since they came with the howitzer I decided to try to make some use of it.

Timpo Swoppets German Infantry - Part I
Here is a sample of Timpo Swoppets German Infantry figures. A bit hard to find, particualrly with helmets and weapons. As you can see, some of the poses are better than others. I personally prefer the three guys in the middle over the two on the sides which are leaning in a bit of an unusual way. 

Timpo Swoppets German Infantry - Part II
A couple more guys. The only new thing in this picture is the torso of the man throwing the [missing] grenade. The other torso and the two sets of legs were already depicted in the previous picture, but nonetheless, the nice thing about the swoppet system is that you can recombine them to create new poses as is the case with the man on the right. 

Timpo Swoppets German Infantry - Part III
A more complete grenade thrower and the officer's upper body as a rifleman.

Timpo Swoppets German Infantry Mortar
I am quite happy with the state that this set is in. All parts seem to be there, including helmets, and as you can see, it was a fairly decent set. In addition to the actual mortar and its crew, it also comes with a few extra shells and a detachable bush which can be swapped for another plant of your choice :-). A nice addition to the collection.

Timpo Swoppets German Infantry Series 1 - Part I
Initially I thought these guys were German paras due to the sahpe of the helmet. Later I learned that they were the first attempt from Timpo to make German Swoppets. They are basically the same figures as the GIs, but cast in shades of Grey. There are supposed to be 7 of them, and I can actually count 7 distinct torsos and 7 setsof legs, but I don't know which were originally attached to which.  

Timpo Swoppets German Infantry Series 1 - Part II
As you can see, some of these guys would barely be able to see with those oversized helmets. 
I must admit that I am very happy that they gave it another try at making Germans, as Series 1 was not their best work. And I still think they might be better suited as paras being used as regular infantry.

Timpo Swoppets British Infantry - Part I
Here are a couple of the figures in the regular British infantry set. They seem more dynamic and better posed than their German or US counterparts. I particularly like the man charging with the bayonet. The officer is also nicely done, including his revolver. Hopefully I can get my hands on the rest of the set at some point. 

Timpo Swoppets British Infantry - Part II
Here is another guy from the Timpo swoppet set. The top combines nicely with the legs giving it a very dynamic stance. He is holding a revolver on one hand and a grenade on the other. Note also that the base if a different color than the two in the previous picture.

Timpo Swoppets British Infantry with raft
Here is another nice an interesting set from Timpo. This time it is a set of British Infantry advancing on a raft. Sometimes such rafts feel quite a bit underscale, but in this case, both the figures and the raft are well proportioned. Two of the poses seem to be repeated, and I don't know if that was the case with the original set, but I am still quite happy having found it in this good condition.

Timpo Swoppets Bren Gun Carrier - Part I
Apparently Timpo also produces some vehicles to go with their figures. This is an all plastic model. The scale is adequate, but the level of realism is not quite the same as what you see fromother manufacturers, but I suppose that has a lot to do with the plain plastic finish. Perhaps with a bit of paint it would look more real. 

Timpo Swoppets Bren Gun Carrier - Part II
As far as the shape, it looks a bit different than other ones I have seen. This angle provides a better perspective to evaluate it. I am not sure if they just modeled a different variation of a real Bren Gun Carrier or whether they took some liberties in order to simplify the manufacturing process. The two figures that came with are in line with the style and quality of other Timpo Swoppets.

Timpo Swoppets British Commandos
I am a bit confused here. I have seen British Commandos wearing green berets mostly, and very dark ones which could be black occasionally. Troops from armored units, also wore black berets, like the guys on the Bren gun carrier in the previous picture. But I am inclined to think that these figures were meant to represent commandos. In terms of the figures, they are very similar to the Paras described next, with the main difference being the head gear.

Timpo Swoppets British Paratroops
These guys are wearing the distinctive red beret. They come with the typical webbing used by British Army units as well as a backpack. They also have a good range of weapons. I particularly like the Sten gun. The poses as obviously influenced by how you combine the torsos with the legs, but I should say that some of the leg stances are not the best. It also looks like the legs might have come from another set, or they made the Paras in a couple of color schemes.