Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Elastolin 40mm Prince Valiant Figures


(L-R on foot) Sir Gwaine, Prince Valiant, Wilhelm, and Oscar.
Two mounted Norman knights. Elastolin 40mm figures.

I must have been about ten years old when my parents gave me the most wonderful Christmas present that I could imagine. It was an Elastolin castle made out of a composition of sawdust and glue and rather garishly painted. 

Elastolin composition toy castle

All of the castle components fit inside the base of the model (when it is turned upside down), which measures 14 1/2" by 18" and 4" in height. The individual pieces have thin spikes or nails that fit into a corresponding hole in the base of the castle. The most intriguing piece is the gate tower with a metal drawbridge that you can raise or lower with a chain. The drawbridge rests on a ramp that measures 15" long and 3 1/2" wide (and 4" height at its apex).

A few years ago I was able to purchase the castle on eBay, having long lost the one that I owned in my boyhood days. I also picked up a few of the figures at one of the toy soldier shows in Chicago. So I am slowly replacing all of the lost warriors as well.

For many years I used the castle as the headquarters for my 54mm William Britain's Grenadier Guards. However, the castle also came with an assortment of 40mm hard plastic warriors from Elastolin that depicted some of the characters from the Prince Valiant comic strip. The figures looked like Saxons circa 900AD to 1066AD and they were largely clad in cloth tunics, metal helmets and round wooden shields. There were also some mounted Norman knights and a few foot Norman warriors.

Illustration from the original Prince Valiant comic strip.

The rest of the Saxon gang.

Here are some pictures of the mounted cavalry from an old Elastolin catalogue.

The Norman cavalry

I used to own all of these figures, but lost them or gave them away back in my college days when I lost interest in playing with toy soldiers. I wish that I had kept them. The cavalry figures are quite dynamic in their poses and the horses look like they are in motion at all times. The rearing horse is not my favorite pose, but it looks spectacular, if not particularly useful for war gaming purposes.

Here is a snap of the Elastolin catalogue page for the foot figures.

The 40mm Saxons and Normans.

The figures had removable weapons consisting of swords, battle axes, spears and lances so you could make two similar poses look different by changing out the weapons. One of the things that I like about the Elastolin figures is that their proportions and sizes look realistic and natural. You know how I feel about such matters.

I don't have any particular plans for building large armies of Elastolin figures and playing war games with them. The cost of acquiring the figures would be prohibitive what with foot figures going for $15 to $40 dollars. The Norman cavalry are difficult to find and when you can find them, expect to pay collectors prices.

Perhaps the coolest items in the Elastolin range were the assortments of siege equipment that included assault towers, trebuchets, catapults and mantles. I had a catapult and mantle, but the tower and trebuchet were out of my budget as a ten year old. I dreamed of having these pieces one day.

40mm Siege Tower and Trebuchet

Over the top  and over the walls!

Siege Tower with climbing figures.

I wonder how many other war gamers got their start on Elastolin figures and how many of them still have them in their collections?

If you have any of the 40mm figures and you would like to get rid of them, then Bob's your uncle and contact me if you are interested.



  1. Jim,

    You ought to have a chat with Ross Mac.


  2. Due to a family holiday as a boy to Switzerland l discovered Elastolin. My parents bought me some and on my return to the uk my father discovered an importer. I remember the hand typed lists they issued. My father used to order me some as a present. I have some still which I use in games with other 40mm figures from more modern manufacturers.

  3. They look very 'Black Shield of Falworth', such a pity they are not more readily available nowadays .

  4. Loving the siege tower in particular! Happy new Year, Jim. Here's to a prosperous 2022. Best regards

  5. I remember seeing these figures when I lived in Germany in the 70's Jim, I wanted some but they were pricey so my Dad bought me some Airfix figures instead. Always think of the film the long ships or the Vikings when I look at these.


  6. All I have left is a mounted George Washington. seems someone could reproduce something of this style doesn’t it

  7. That just might be the same castle and figures my late first cousin owned - along with a Viking ship with figures. Both of which I enviously drooled over in my youth. Way more expensive than my family could afford - so it was Airfix for me. Possible my 90+ uncle still has that stuff around somewhere.

  8. As beautiful as the figures are, I can’t see starting another medieval collection in another non-compatible scale, to go with the, uh, four (?) I already have. One could scale things down a little, though…the Revell 1/72 Saxons in particular include a number of Elastolin copies reduced in size. 1/72 castles aren’t too hard to find either. BTW, one of the first medieval things I remember owning was a Marx Knights and Vikings playset, with the tin litho castle. It, too, has been lost to the mists of time, though I still have one Viking (the rather dramatic chieftain) and one knight to remember it by.

  9. I received the archer in round helmet and green tunic as a gift around 50 years ago. I wanted many more and especially the castle and siege equipment but they were way too expensive. I kept the archer and he is in great shape - including the wire bowstring.