|Seaforth Highlanders from Under Two Flags in square.|
|I liked the window display so much, that I bought the whole thing!|
I was inspired by my reminiscence about toy soldiers the other day to dig my collection out of storage and see what I had. All of the figures shown are either "Under Two Flags" brand sold by the old store (long since closed) or from "Trophy of Wales". Both ranges were designed by the same sculptor; I think his name was Len Barker.
The first task was to clear off some shelf space to hold all of the figures and the only place in the house that was suitable for the display happened to be the book shelves in our Living Room (also known as "The Room Only Used At Christmas or When Company Comes to Visit"). I thought that this would be a simple task, only an hour or so, right? The whole project ended up taking four or five hours of my time on friday evening. Yikes!
|Book cases showing part of the toy soldier collection.|
The first task was to remove books from the shelves and pile them up on the floor. I decided that each book case would continue to hold books on the very top shelf for several reasons: first of all, nobody would be able to see any of the miniatures on the top shelf; and second, it looks nice to have some books on the shelves, and with the top shelf used for books in each book case, it sort of ties the whole thing together visually.
|Various artillery pieces and crew (click to enlarge to read the card on the right(|
|A closer view of one of the bookshelves.|
I think that the collection goes back to around 1982, when I was visiting London and happened to walk past a store called "Under Two Flags". The window display had a square of Seaforth Highlanders fending off the Dervish in the Sudan. I hadn't looked at toy soldiers since about the end of 8th Grade, when my old Britains were packed away or lost or something. At any rate, the window display at Under Two Flags really caught my attention and brought back a lot of good memories about toy soldiers.
So what did I do? I walked into the store and declared my desire to purchase the entire window display of Seaforth Highlanders and Dervish. On a second trip to London, I bought some 21st Lancers and after that, the Under Two Flags range of figures were no longer produced. However, the same sculptor started his own enterprise called Trophy of Wales. They were a little larger than the UTF figures, but stylistically they matched up for obvious reasons (same sculptor).
I was in my twenties, single and had nothing better to spend my disposable income on, so I bought more and more Trophy figures. The company had a US distributor, James Hillestead, who lived in Upstate New York and had a company called The Toy Soldier. James and I became good acquaintances and we would talk on the phone at least once a month as he would give me the low down on the upcoming Trophy figure releases.
Most of my figures represent British troops that fought in the Sudan campaigns against the Dervish, although I did purchase a couple of units that fought on the Northwest Frontier of India. Take a look at some of the figures below and be sure to click on each picture to enlarge the view.
|British Camel Corps (left) and a regiment wearing the iconic red coat.|
|Troops from the army in India, Northwest Frontier. Some of the British regiments wore a grey tunic in India.|
|A camp scene - bakery, bread ovens, watering cart, campfire and staff meeting.|
Trophy of Wales started working on little vignettes, a number of which can be seen in the above picture. These were always fun little sets to acquire: camp life scenes for the most part or logistical support teams.
|Another British regiment wearing the field service khaki uniform.|
I knew that I was missing some figures, as I couldn't find any of the cavalry figures that I know I had. However, I was finally able to find the third of four boxes this afternoon and there indeed was the British cavalry and some camel mountain gun crews and more Dervish. Also a lot of Boxer Rebellion Austrian, Russian, and some British sailors were in Box Number 3. I will probably repack the Boxer Rebellion and some of the Dervish as I am running out of shelf space. Imagine that! Then I realized that there has to be a fourth box somewhere in the basement because I recall having a large contingent of Victorian Age civilians and none of them were in any of the previous opened boxes. I am sure that they will eventually turn up though.
I also have a handful of 54mm Agincourt knights from a company called Plantagenet Miniatures. These were some of the best looking figures that I have EVER seen in any size or scale. I will post some pictures of the knights in a future thread.