of Model Soldiers
Part 7 : The 54 mm Range in the Rest of the World
The production of 54 mm model soldiers in countries other than Great Britain is something very difficult to keep a check on. One can only write to the various companies that advertise in magazines in the hope that they have catalogues available.
In France, the long-established firm of Mignot is still going strong in Paris, producing toy figures exactly as it has done for the best part of 100 years. The figures are expensive but they are in the unmistakable style of the company and to those people who are addicted to their particular quality, no others will suffice.
Historex, another French firm, specializes in plastic figures for which even the most minute details are produced as separate items to be stuck on by the patient modeller. They have also recently brought out a new range of half-round figures which come in bags of 12 and depict a variety of military and civil leaders from all periods of history. (The Café Storme figures, which were included in packets of continental coffee for some years, appear to be of a similar style.) Historex productions are distributed in England by the Historex Agents at Dover in Kent, and in the USA by Coulter-Bennett in California.
Another French firm that manufactures a very good range of plastic figures is Segom. They provide figures in kit form which then have to be assembled, animated, and painted by the collector. The plastic material that is used in the Segom figures is softened by the use of acetone and all the figures can be easily assembled and animated in this manner.
In the United States, Imrie Risley is probably the best-known firm. It comprises two partners who work together in New York to produce a wide range of models and castings for the home and overseas markets. They have been producing figures for many years and have also published a variety of works to assist the collector in his efforts to achieve perfection. In addition they market a range of paints that they have developed for painting model soldiers.
Cavalier Miniatures of New York City are also concerned with the production of 54 mm model soldiers and have a fine range of well-sculpted figures representing the North African conflict between the Eight Army and the Africa Korps as well as a selection of Confederates, the French Army in North Africa, and Spahis.
Other American firms include Valiant Miniatures of Skokie, Illinois, who have a good range of 54 mm figures including some attractive Highlanders, and Squadron/Rubin Miniatures of Michigan who go right across the board with their figures from primeval man of 1,500,000 years before Christ, through Picts of AD 300, to figures of the American Revolution, Hun Cavalry, and the American Civil War. Their models are cast in white metal and are competitively priced.
Mini Men, produced in Ohio, include figures of the British Army and Zulus at the time of the Zulu wars, as well as figures of various personalities. Monarch Miniatures produce figures made by the British artist, Cliff Sanderson, and sell his series of ‘Pirates of Portuga’, realistically engraved models of the pirate Henry Morgan and his shipmates. H.R. Products of Illinois manufacture a range of 54 mm weapons and have a complete listing from handguns, priced at a few cents, to artillery pieces costing 100 times more.
Another American company, Monogram, have produced a good rang of plastic armoured fighting vehicles, and also the personnel to go with their lorries and tanks. The Squadron Company make what they call a combat pack, a collection of war-gaming pieces in 54 mm which can be used either in a diorama or for war gaming. They also produce a range called the ‘Waterloo Series’, which are plastic figures representing some of the foot and horse soldiers of the French Army at the time of Napoleon.