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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Speedwell - Toy Soldiers

Speedwell was a British toy soldier firm. From what I can gather, it seems to have been around in the 70s and 80s, but it was not a major player in the industry. Many of its figures are clones of the Britains Herald modern British Infantry figures, also recast by UNA. They also seem to have made at least one set of their own, which is the one that is depicted in the pictures below. Their figures are not so easy to come by, particularly their original set. Luckily I managed to get my hands on one of them. Let's take a look. 

Speedwell German Infantry - Part I
These are not quite 54mm. They are at the most 50mm in size. They are very rare and therefore a bit pricey. At the same time, the sculpting is nothing extraordinary. The poses are a bit stiff and the level of detail is not quite there. Also in terms of the color scheme that they came painted in, it is also a bit unusual. Perhaps they could be used as Afrika Korps troopers.  

Speedwell German Infantry - Part II
Here are a few more poses. As per one of the comments below, I am still missing one additional pose: an officer with a moveable arm holding binoculars. Note that these guys have different head gear. The man on the right seems to be wearing a paratrooper helmet. Again, the poses are a bit stiff. From what I know, the figures were released on both sand and brown/green, as shown in this picture.

Speedwell Afrika Korps - Part I
Here are the same figures in a desert setting, more appropriate to their uniform.

 Speedwell Afrika Korps - Part II
The rest of the guys. You can be the judge of where they fit better.

Speedwell Afrika Korps - Part III
Here is the man at the far right of the prior picture, this time in the AK color scheme. I think I like him better like this. 

Speedwell Afrika Korps - Part IV
And here is the commander. Unfortunately, missing an arm. You can tell that it was not resting at the waist as there is no hand left behind, but based on the rest of the body, it could not have been doing something very exciting. Or maybe he was doing the nazi salute and that's why someone chopped it off? 


  1. Hi TSG, they are meant to be Afrika Korps and they are from the 1960's which was the heyday of British toy soldier manufacturing, by 1970 the smaller companies were pretty much long gone. You have them all except the Officer who is standing with a moveable arm holding binoculalrs (arm nearly always missing), the ones in dark green plastic a regular German infantry and are much harder to find. This was the only set Speedwell marked with their brand name, they also made a small set of Foreign Legion and Arabs but most of their other stuff was, as you say, copies of Britains and Timpo.

    Best wishes, Brian

  2. Makes sense, given the 'tan' color scheme. Thanks for letting me know about the additional pose that I am missing. I wonder if/when I might run into it... these were really hard to find already!

  3. The uniform in these figures with pouch pockets in front of pants, shirt under pant and belt with open V NECK collar and German type M35 helmet are very close to Spaniard(1936-1939) civil war uniform, more on nationalist side…

  4. Thanks for the tip. I just wish I had enough of them to field an entire unit of them. Given the few that I have, I have to use them mixed up with other Germans as Germans.

  5. My favorites are the African natives.