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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

En avant...

For reasons that are not unconnected (but only in a small way) with the forthcoming H G Wells 100th Little Wars jamboree, I spent some time this evening digging through my classic toy soldier boxes. I have a few nice vignettes done in toy soldier style by contemporary chaps, but I also have quite a few of those more recent classics by Starlux:

Just look at that French style - the swagger, the élan ! And all in mass produced plastic. My money is on Starlux being the best of the toy soldier manufacturers in recent times, but they were hard to find in the UK, and, even on trips to France, I had trouble digging them out.

These fellows too - French air force (I think). You can almost hear that strange, harsh, drum and bugle dominated military music that characterises the French military. Unlike our military bands, which often contain  good musicians.

Scrabbling around in the loft, I also came across this rather nice despatch rider, but, sadly, I can't remember who made the fellow. Neither can  I remember who made this poignant little piece:

Christmas 1914. There are, of course, plenty of histories of both the Christmas truce in 1914, not just between the British and Germans, but also between other Christian armies of the period. I have a few on my shelves, for example, Stanley Weintraub's Silent Night (Simon & Schuster, London, 2001), but for the best insight into the impact of the events on one man's entire life, Henry Williamson's novels are difficult to beat.


  1. An enjoyable browse. Starlux does have a certain continental swagger doesn't it?

    Something about the Christmas vignette makes me think Toy Army Workshop but that's just an impression. Nice piece anyway. (but now I have an earworm ' "My name is Francis Tolliver..." )

    1. Indeed, the only real downside to Starlux was the oddly brittle plastic - I've quite a few chaps that have been disarmed, their weapons have also proven resistant to variouis glues. But, still, I do wish I had more.

  2. Great figures indeed.
    I do like the way that the French Army plays these stirring baroque tunes.

    1. All bash and trumpets - sort of discordant modernism in military music form. Mmmm, something else the French Revolution can be blamed for...? Although, of course, the guillotine was a Scots invention?