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Britains toy soldiers

Toy soldiers (71), 'Types of the British Army', Display Set 93 and box, comprising Royal Horse Guards and Coldstream Guards and band, metal, 1:32 scale, Britains Ltd, Hornsey, London, England, 1911-1941 Britains Display Set 93 comprises a box of 71 hollow-cast, lead toy soldiers of the British Army comprising Coldsteam Foot Guards and Royal Horse Guards all in full dress uniform. The soldiers were originally sold packed in a box in two layers. The top tray contained Coldstream Foot Guards and a 13-piece marching band including the baton bearer. All the figures have swinging detachable arms except for the baton bearer. The tray also contained 12 soldiers 'at the run' bearing rifles in swinging detachable right arms; 12 marching soldiers with rifles on their left shoulders without bayonets ('men at slope'); and two buglers, four pioneers, an officer carrying colours, two marching officers with swords drawn, and a mounted officer on a brown horse. Although the Britains firm did not go into very intricate detail, they did put in sufficient elements to make the various regiments identifiable. The Coldstream Guards are recognised by the insignia of red plumes on the right of their bearskin Grenadier caps together with their red coats and blue or black facings. Other uniform details are picked out, including trouser stripes, collars, buttons, belts and different coloured boots. The figures all have detailed painted faces finished in flesh colour with eyes, moustache, and red cheeks added on top. The guards stand on a rectangular-shaped green base. The lower layer contained Royal Horse Guards, part of the Household Cavalry, with detailed painted uniforms of helmets with red plumes and blue tunics with the cuirass, or breast and back plates, the last survival of medieval body armour. This layer comprised 15 mounted Troopers with swords drawn at the trot, a Corporal Major who carries the colours on a prancing black horse, 2 Trumpeters galloping on Scots Grey horses with raised bugles in his hands, and 6 Troopers with pennanted lances on full-gallop rocking horses. The term 'rocking horse' is used to describe the horses depicted at full gallop like a traditional rocking horse. The box is labelled with a universal title 'Types of the British Army' rather than a more specific description. This is because the set is a large display type and it probably would have been uneconomical to produce individual labels for these sets. (Only the single row boxes had individual labels).

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(Accession num: 88/392)

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